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SA 484 English translation of section on first jhāna with full physical body awareness


#1

translated by W. Chu, my comments follow:

(2. What is foremost in what can be heard)

「阿難! "Ananda!
有眾生 離生喜樂 A sentient being who, [by virtue of] seclusion, gives rise to happiness and pleasure.
處處潤澤, Such [happiness and pleasure] nourish and pervade everywhere.
處處敷悅, [they are felt as] soothing and pleasing in every part,
舉 身充滿, saturating the whole body.
無不滿處。 There is no part [in the body] that is not saturated/filled.
所謂 離生喜樂 This is called “happiness and pleasure born of seclusion.”
彼從 三昧起, He (that sentient being) comes out/rises/emerges from the samādhi.
舉聲唱說, He raises his voice to proclaim,
遍告大眾:『 so to inform people in his assembly : "
極寂靜者, As for that (zhe is a nominalizer) which is utterly peaceful,
離生喜樂 it is “the happiness and pleasure born of seclusion.”
極樂者, 離生喜樂 。』 As for that which is utterly pleasurable, it is “the happiness and pleasure born of seclusion.”
諸有聞彼聲 者,是名聞第一。 Those who have heard such a proclamation are called “those who have experienced the foremost of what can be heard.”

my comments

The bolded phrase that appears four time above, 離生喜樂, appears in the standard first jhana agama formula. It's exactly the same four words in

the standard pali first jhana formula,
viveka-jam pīti sukham = seclusion-born rapture (&) pleasure

So someone who’s objecting, “but the passage above doesn’t explicitly say first jhana.”

Well what is it then? It does say “emerging from a samadhi” to declare what an excellent pleasure it is. What other samadhi is there that use those exact four words seclusion-born-rapture-pleasure?

Do a pali string search in all the suttas for “vivekajaṃ pītisukhaṃ” and see what you find. Close to 100% of your results, you’ll see this string in the results right next to it:

" paṭhamaṃ jhānaṃ upasampajja viharati. "
first Jhāna (he) enters, dwells.|

It’s the standard first jhana formula.

Do the same search in chinese agamas, with 離生喜樂,
and you’ll probably find something similar.


Error in MA 2 third jhana formula (Charles Patton trans.)
#2

MN 68 is an example from the pali EBT that shows the Buddha is unmistakably referring to first jhana, but the sutta text in MN 68 never explicitly uses the label “first jhana”.

Like SA 484, it uses the unmistakable four words of seclusion born rapture and pleasure, with the additional “seclusion from akusala dhammehi”, making it even a tighter match with the standard first jhana formula. Throw in the references to 5 hindrances, this is absolutely the first jhana the buddha is talking about here.

MN 68 excerpt:

(this is first jhāna he’s referring to without explicitly saying “this is first jhana”)

“Evaṃ pabbajitena ca pana, anuruddhā, kulaputtena kimassa karaṇīyaṃ? “But, Anuruddha and friends, when a respectable person has gone forth like this, what should they do?
Vivekaṃ, anuruddhā, kāmehi vivekaṃ akusalehi dhammehi pītisukhaṃ nādhigacchati aññaṃ vā tato santataraṃ, tassa abhijjhāpi cittaṃ pariyādāya tiṭṭhati, byāpādopi cittaṃ pariyādāya tiṭṭhati, thinamiddhampi cittaṃ pariyādāya tiṭṭhati uddhaccakukkuccampi cittaṃ pariyādāya tiṭṭhati, vicikicchāpi cittaṃ pariyādāya tiṭṭhati, aratīpi cittaṃ pariyādāya tiṭṭhati, tandīpi cittaṃ pariyādāya tiṭṭhati. Take someone who doesn’t achieve the rapture and pleasure that are secluded from sensual pleasures and unskillful qualities, or something even more peaceful than that. Their mind is still occupied by desire, ill will, dullness and drowsiness, restlessness and remorse, doubt, discontent, and sloth.(5 hindrances)
Vivekaṃ, anuruddhā, kāmehi vivekaṃ akusalehi dhammehi pītisukhaṃ nādhigacchati aññaṃ vā tato santataraṃ. That’s someone who doesn’t achieve the rapture and pleasure that are secluded from sensual pleasures and unskillful qualities, or something even more peaceful than that. (2nd jhana, 3rd, 4th jhana, etc)

#3

This is first jhana description .


#4

You’ve only translated a single passage of SA 484. Here’s a quick translation of the rest of the important parts:

[0123b22] 爾時,尊者阿難往詣尊者跋陀羅所,共相問訊慰勞已,於一面住。時,尊者阿難問尊者跋陀羅比丘言:「云何名為見第一?云何聞第一?云何樂第一?云何想第一?云何有第一?」

Then the Venerable Ananda asked … “What is called the best vision? What is called the best hearing? What is called the best happiness? What is called the best perception? What is called the best existence?”

[0123b26] 尊者跋陀羅語尊者阿難言:「有梵天自在造作、化如意,為世之父,若見彼梵天者,名曰見第一。

The Venerable Bhadra told Ananda: “There is Brahma who creates at will and transforms as he likes and who is the father of the world. If you see that Brahma, that’s called the best vision.”

Next is the passage you’ve shared a translation, which defines the “best hearing.”

[0123c04] 「復次,阿難!有眾生於此身離喜之樂潤澤,處處潤澤,敷悅充滿,舉身充滿,無不滿處,所謂離喜之樂,是名樂第一。

"Furthermore, Ananda, there are sentient beings who in this body part with the enjoyment of this pleasure that nourishes, everywhere nourishes, filling them with spreading gladness, filling their whole body, and nowhere does it not fill. That parting with the enjoyment of that pleasure is called the best happiness.

[0123c07] 「云何想第一?阿難!有眾生度一切識入處無所有,無所有入處具足住,若起彼想者,是名想第一。

"What is the best perception? Ananda, there are sentient beings who are freed from all awareness, and enter where nothing exists. Entering the place where nothing exists, they fully abide there. If someone produces that perception, it’s called the best perception.

[0123c09] 「云何有第一?復次,阿難!有眾生度一切無所有入處,非想非非想入處具足住,若起彼有者,是名有第一。」

“What is called the best existence? Furthermore, Ananda, there are sentient beings free from any entry into places where nothing exists. Entering into the place that has neither perception nor non-perception, they fully abide there. If someone produces that existence, that’s called the best existence.”

So, as it becomes clear when we look at the entire sutra, the topic is realms of rebirth attained through the dhyanas and formless samadhis. You’re right that it’s connecting these meditations to these realms of rebirth, and there’s clearly a poetic equation being made.

This text is dropping the experiences in the heavens into the meditative experience. That’s the take away here to me. The Abhidharma passage I shared on the other thread confirmed to me that the description is borrowing from how the Brahma heavens are described. I’m not trying to say it isn’t the dhyanas being referenced, just that the description we read here is that of a practitioner directly accessing the brahma heavens.

Edit: The finale of the sutra in which Ananda offers a different approach not related to rebirth:

[0123c12] 尊者阿難語尊者跋陀羅比丘言:「多有人作如是見、如是說,汝亦同彼,有何差別?我[6]作方便問汝,汝當諦聽,當為汝說。如其所觀,次第盡諸漏,是為見第一。如其所聞,次第盡諸漏,是名聞第一。如所生樂,次第盡諸漏者,是名樂第一。如其所想,次第盡諸漏者,是名想第一。如實觀察,次第盡諸漏,是名有第一。」

Ananda said to the monk Bhadra: “Many people have such visions thus described, and you are the same as them. What difference is there? I asked you these questions rhetorically. Now, listen closely to what I will describe for you. If someone by what they observe successively ends the contaminants (asava), this is the best vision. If someone by what they hear successively ends the contaminants, this is the best hearing. If they by the arising of happiness successively end the contaminants, this is called the best happiness. If they by their perceptions successively end the contaminants, this is called the best perception. If they investigate things truly and successively end the contaminants, this is called the best existence.”

So, Ananda is telling Bhadra that he’s got things a little mixed up, thinking about the higher realms of rebirth. He should be trying to end the contaminants instead. That’s the ultimate point of the sutra.


#5

Ok, after reading cdpatton’s message following yours, I think I understand. “vivekajam piti sukha” is also how the chinese translation names of the inhabitants of that deva realm.

That is how Chinese translate “brahma kayika” devas, or is that a different deva realm?

Of the 4 times it occurs, which one is referring to the name of the devas, and which one is referring to first jhana experience description?

And who is emerging from the samadhi? The monk describing what he sees, or the deva realm being in that realm?

Thanks for translating the rest of the sutta, I think based on that, I’d have to agree if everything else is in that sutta is referring to beings being reborn in higher realms, directly witnessed and experienced by the meditator (his is a monk?) Bhadra, then the passage translated in the OP is describing the normal state of a deva realm being in that particular deva realm.

Could you edit a version of the passage and add comments to exactly what’s happening? Who is emerging from the samadhi, and which of the 4 references to “vivekajam piti sukha” is referring to the name of the devas and which are referring to first jhana experience?


#6

This is my take , the text is about Ananda questioning bhikkhu bhadra wrong understanding . What could be considered as something ranking number 1 in all cases either seeing , hearing or thinking etc would has to be in connection with abandoning of the defilements .
However , bhikkhu bhadra wrong understanding was according to existing ascetic views where a person attaining to a state where upon Seeing the Brahma is called Foremost in Seeing , entering into 1st jhana proclaiming it the utter seclusion and those whom upon hearing the utterance to be regarded as Foremost in Hearing etc etc .
So , it is all about Foremost in attainment .
Not about Rebirth into another realm .
Hope this helps .


#8

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