Unpleasant pain in Jhana?


That’s right, the only permanent solution is ending of mental fermentations (asavas) but even so it still helps significantly.

From my experience I equate this to the ending of negative unconscious impulses but the word asava is translated differently and interpreted differently.

There are many countless benefits of entering into higher states even if they don’t permanently resolve a problem it would still help out.

The achievement of the four jhanas helped The Buddha realize the three knowledges, the third being the ending of mental fermentations (asavas) which was the solution to the ending of suffering (from MN 36).

The benefits of the four jhanas are mentioned extenisvely in the suttas though not the ultimate goal which is ending of mental fermentations.

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Furthermore, a mendicant—ignoring the perception of the dimension of nothingness and the perception of the dimension of neither perception nor non-perception—focuses on the oneness dependent on the signless immersion of the heart. Their mind becomes eager, confident, settled, and decided in that signless immersion of the heart. They understand: ‘Even this signless immersion of the heart is produced by choices and intentions.’ They understand: ‘But whatever is produced by choices and intentions is impermanent and liable to cessation.’ Knowing and seeing like this, their mind is freed from the defilements of sensuality, desire to be reborn, and ignorance. When they’re freed, they know they’re freed. They understand: ‘Rebirth is ended, the spiritual journey has been completed, what had to be done has been done, there is no return to any state of existence.’ They understand: ‘Here there is no stress due to the defilements of sensuality, desire to be reborn, or ignorance. There is only this modicum of stress, namely that associated with the six sense fields dependent on this body and conditioned by life.’ They understand: ‘This field of perception is empty of the perception of the defilements of sensuality, desire to be reborn, and ignorance. There is only this that is not emptiness, namely that associated with the six sense fields dependent on this body and conditioned by life.’ And so they regard it as empty of what is not there, but as to what remains they understand that it is present. That’s how emptiness is born in them—genuine, undistorted, and pure.

Whatever ascetics and brahmins enter and remain in the pure, ultimate, supreme emptiness—whether in the past, future, or present—all of them enter and remain in this same pure, ultimate, supreme emptiness. So, Ānanda, you should train like this: ‘We will enter and remain in the pure, ultimate, supreme emptiness.’ That’s how you should train.” SuttaCentral


Very interesting @Mat, thank you. However, did you not see that I was quite specific with my request - asking for evidence of any arahant ever being described as having dukkha? The English looked as if thats what it may have been talking about, which is why it’s important to look at the Pāli:

‘Here there is no stress due to the perception of the dimension of nothingness or the perception of the dimension of neither perception nor non-perception.
‘ye assu darathā ākiñcaññāyatanasaññaṃ paṭicca tedha na santi, ye assu darathā nevasaññānāsaññāyatanasaññaṃ paṭicca tedha na santi, atthi cevāyaṃ darathamattā yadidaṃ—

There is only this modicum of stress, namely that associated with the six sense fields dependent on this body and conditioned by life.’
imameva kāyaṃ paṭicca saḷāyatanikaṃ jīvitapaccayā’ti.

So, this is not what as I was asking for, as you can see. Is this your only claim of evidence?

Also do you or anyone here know more about this word daratha? The PED gives this:

anxiety, care, distress

But I’d like to know more.

I find it possibly very significant that he says there is only a modicum of daratha which is “associated with the six sense fields dependent on this body and conditioned by life.”. This may in fact support my position. Remember, I was proposing that dukkha generally refers specifically to emotional affect. With this qualification of this type of daratha only being associated with the 6 senses, I wonder it this may be talking about negative sensory affect, which is as I said not eradicated by the Noble Eightfold Path while one is living.

To answer this would require an extensive understanding of the use of daratha across the EBT’s. Anyone?


Their physical and mental stress,
Tassa kāyikāpi darathā pavaḍḍhanti, cetasikāpi darathā pavaḍḍhanti;

kāyikāpi santāpā pavaḍḍhanti, cetasikāpi santāpā pavaḍḍhanti;

and fever grow.
kāyikāpi pariḷāhā pavaḍḍhanti, cetasikāpi pariḷāhā pavaḍḍhanti.

And they experience physical and mental suffering.
So kāya_dukkhampi_ ceto_dukkhampi_ paṭisaṃvedeti. SuttaCentral


Later in that sutta (MN149) stress, torment and fever cease, and physical and mental dukkha are replaced by pleasant physical and mental feelings. It appears that stress, torment and fever are aspects of dukkha, and that when they cease, then dukkha also ceases.


Note that in the Arrow Sutta both the first and second arrows include reference to dukkha, so it appears that dukkha includes both physical and mental aspects. I assume that when aversion/resistance to unpleasant physical feelings cease, then those feelings cease to be experienced as dukkha. So in that sense dukkha is just “in the mind”.


According to DN22 (and elsewhere), dukkha ultimately results from pañcupādānakkhandhā the ‘5 clinging aggregates’.

Of the five aggregates, 1 is material (rūpa), 4 are immaterial. Dukkha can arise in connection with either material or immaterial phenomena.

Since arhants are, I think, free of clinging (upadāna-) and cankers (āsava-) in respect to the 5 aggregates, I would assume dukkha does not arise for them. In other words, theirs is effectively an experience of merely the pañcakkhandhā ‘the five aggregates’.

I warmly welcome correction if this view seems wrong.


@Mat you often seem to give quotes without any explanation from yourself, without context, and so on. I wish you would discuss more when you try to make a point, it owuld make it much less hard work to follow your conversation and receive what you mean to communicate. I cannot follow what you’re saying. Who is it in your quote who has mental suffering, someone who is already an arahant?


SN22. 48 makes the distinction between clinging and non-clinging aggregates, and it seems that only the latter remain for the Arahant because clinging has ceased. And of course dukkha is summarised as the clinging aggregates in descriptions of the first Noble Truth, so when dukkha ceases then so do clinging aggregates.


Yes, it is a very interesting distinction.

To muddy the waters somewhat though, in SN 22.122, the Venerable Sāriputta tells the Venerable Mahākoṭṭhhita that an arhant should still attend to the pañcupādānakkhandhā, seeing them as anicca, dukkha etc.

How can arhants do this if they no longer experience the ‘5 clinging aggregates’?


Yes, that’s a bit confusing, particularly because SN22. 122 goes on to say “Although for an Arahant there is nothing further to do… …” If clinging has ceased for the Arahant, how can there still be clinging aggregates? :thinking:


Perhaps it is better to think of the five aggregates as fuel in the case of the arahant. Upādāna meaning clinging to fuel and the fuel itself. But with the fires of greed, hate and delusion extinguished the fuel is like coals destined to never alight again and to grow completely cool at death.

Upādāna (nt.) [fr. upa + ā + ] – (lit. that (material) substratum by means of which an active process is kept alive or going), fuel, supply, provision - PTS dictionary

The living arahant abides in Saupādisesa Nibbana, I.e. extinguishment with a remainder of fuel, the five aggregates.

Katamā ca, bhikkhave, saupādisesā nibbānadhātu? Idha, bhikkhave, bhikkhu arahaṃ hoti khīṇāsavo vusitavā katakaraṇīyo ohitabhāro anuppattasadattho parikkhīṇabhavasaṃyojano sammadaññāvimutto. Tassa tiṭṭhanteva pañcindriyāni yesaṃ avighātattā manāpāmanāpaṃ paccanubhoti, sukhadukkhaṃ paṭisaṃvedeti. Tassa yo rāgakkhayo, dosakkhayo, mohakkhayo—ayaṃ vuccati, bhikkhave, saupādisesā nibbānadhātu.

“What, bhikkhus, is the Nibbāna-element with residue left? Here a bhikkhu is an arahant, one whose taints are destroyed, the holy life fulfilled, who has done what had to be done, laid down the burden, attained the goal, destroyed the fetters of being, completely released through final knowledge. However, his five sense faculties remain unimpaired, by which he still experiences what is agreeable and disagreeable and feels pleasure and pain. It is the extinction of attachment, hate, and delusion in him that is called the Nibbāna-element with residue left. - SuttaCentral

Not an exact match up but close enough.



Do not mixed up clinging aggregate with Rupa.
The body is not the clinging aggregate.
Clinging aggregate is mental.


Have a look at SN22. 48. Form can be a “plain” aggregate or a clinging aggregate. I think clinging itself is mental, so for “clinging aggregates” you could say “those aggregates subject to clinging”, or “those aggregates being clung to”. One aspect of clinging is “sensual clinging” (SN12. 2), and clearly rupa plays a major role in that.


Rupa can’t cling.


But rupa IS a clinging aggregate, which means it can be clung to. Clinging itself is part of the sankharas aggregate. I don’t think the aggregates are doing the clinging and grasping, it’s like they are clung TO. It’s similar to tanha.


Darathā is an irritation, while torment builds up to a ‘fever’ which builds up to physical and mental suffering (kāya dukkhampi ceto dukkhampi). Uddaka Buddha’s teacher offered him the plane of perception nor non-perception. The Buddha said it doesn’t lead to cessation (nirodha), and rejected it. This shows that even a little bit of impermanence isn’t satisfactory but is unsatisfactory.


Note here the senses, with it’s darathā, is defined as suffering, below:

The noble truths of suffering, the origin of suffering, the cessation of suffering, and the practice that leads to the cessation of suffering.
Dukkhaṃ ariyasaccaṃ, dukkhasamudayaṃ ariyasaccaṃ, dukkhanirodhaṃ ariyasaccaṃ, dukkhanirodhagāminī paṭipadā ariyasaccaṃ.

And what is the noble truth of suffering?
Katamañca, bhikkhave, dukkhaṃ ariyasaccaṃ?
You should say: ‘The six interior sense fields’.
‘Cha ajjhattikāni āyatanānī’tissa vacanīyaṃ.
What six?
Katamāni cha?
The sense fields of the eye, ear, nose, tongue, body, and mind.
Cakkhāyatanaṃ … pe … manāyatanaṃ—
This is called the noble truth of suffering. …”
idaṃ vuccati, bhikkhave, dukkhaṃ ariyasaccaṃ. SuttaCentral

Furthermore the concept of parinibbana shows the nibbana is ‘complete’ at death of the arahanth and not at the point of enlightenment, though a great deal of suffering falls away.

So far 1) sense bases are suffering
2) modicum of irritation from sense bases, in an arahanth - Buddha walks away from a noisy crowd of visiting monks. Buddha has a back ache, head ache, etc. Old age, disease and dying is defined as suffering.
3) aggregates are suffering (Anattalakkhana sutta)
4) Bodhisatva rejects highest immaterial attainments due it having arising and passing away in favour of Cessation.

I would like to see what evidence you have against the above.