V&V in Sphuṭārthā Abhidharmakośavyākhyā


It seems to me that there are five major types of discussion that take place here on D&D

    • those among IT nerds on how to develop the features of Sutta Central :pray: Sadhu!
    • those between professional translators on difficult/subtle points of translation in the EBTs :pray: Sadhu!
    • those been interested parties who want to investigate their own and each others understandings of specific points in the EBTS :pray: May these help increase your understandings and support your practice!
    • questions asked to the experts by beginner learners of Pali :pray: Thank you for answering!
    • those that seek to relate contents of the EBTs to our individual lives and meditation practices :pray: Thank you!

After a little time reading generally in the forum, it becomes easier to select and contribute to the threads that are relevant to oneself. (For me it is 4&5.)

@karl_lew: last night I happened to be reading chapter 4 of Kittisaro & Thanissara’s Listening to the Heart. It contains a description of the Five Jhana Factors that explains how V&V fits into a regular mediation practice that I think might interest you. :slight_smile:

(Tho it doesn’t address the issues of translation and interpretation that are being debated in this and related threads on D&D.)


I feel that we are in danger of veering away from the topic direction set by the OP, so I shall attempt to use my shiny new moderator hat for the first time ever by splitting this contribution and the question it responds to into a new thread. :slight_smile:


[quote=“crizna, post:39, topic:11316”]
M: Only people who haven’t experienced jhana and examined it are vying for ‘lighter’ interpretations.

C: Could you please come up with real arguments instead of producing yet another cliché. Otherwise any discussion is pointless. [/quote]

I’m not trying to argue, you are using arguments for something which needs practice. These verbal exchanges are the antithesis of samadhi. It’s your lack of awareness and/or verbosity that shows this discussion is not going to be productive.

Yes we should but texts can be wrong too. It helps to ‘triangulate’ EBTs with my experience and those of prominent teachers. I don’t agree that there are 5 Rupa jhanas as per the Theravada abhidhamma. Triangulation shows there’s four not five, and it can be argued that five was derived from subtracting one jhana factor each from those of the first jhana i.e. and analytical exercise.

Just that could be attachment.


Thank you for the link. And thank you for editing the posts. I was quite confused while posting and had rambled all of us into very strange waters. I realized this myself last evening after reading MN44, which is the other sutta I am studying. MN44 has a different presentation of V&V that aligns with a separate experience of mine and completely renders all my prior posts irrelevant and confusing to both myself and others. Briefly, I had confused V&V with immersion. They are quite different. Since that insight is recent, I won’t say more. Rather, I will study and practice harder before saying anything further about V&V or immersion.

And apologies to all for my rambles!



Thanks for your honesty. I needed to hear that.

Me too, and the work, for me, is smiling at the ‘monkey’ [as in monkey mind] and not regarding my success or failure in meditating as real failure in Buddhist practice.


I was born in the Year of the Monkey.


Monkey’s Mischief is endless. All that Monkeey Poop to pick up. sigh


Gotta go to Walmart for a Monkey Pooper Scooper! :roll_eyes:


" Monkey is the ninth in the 12- year cycle of Chinese zodiac. The Years of the Monkey include 1920, 1932, 1944, 1956, 1968, 1980, 1992, 2004, 2016, 2028… The monkey is a clever animal. It is usually compared to a smart person."

" People born in a year of the Monkey have magnetic personalities and are witty and intelligent. Personality traits like mischievousness, curiosity , and cleverness, make them very naughty. Monkeys are masters of practical jokes, because they like playing most of the time."

Oh! This is me:
" Rabbit is the fourth in the 12- year cycle of Chinese zodiac sign. The Years of the Rabbit include 1915, 1927, 1939, 1951, 1963, 1975, 1987, 1999, 2011, 2023… For Chinese people, the rabbit is a tame creature representing hope for a long time. It is tender and lovely."
" Ladies belonging to the rabbit zodiac sign, apart from a pretty and demure appearance, have a pure heart"

“Fire Rabbit 1927, 1987 Broad-minded, smart, and flexible, with unique views”



Gotcha. Neener neener. :rofl:
And yes, your heart is pure. :heart:
Of me I would be wary. Monkey knows how to untie the leash.


I find it takes me about 5 days on retreats, to overcome the 5 hindrances (one day each, Abhidharma may deduce :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:).


You seem to be arguing something different than what Crizna was trying to point out. He wrote at least two excellent posts on this thread that were very clear, and is worth re-reading.

The ability to do what the teachings say is a separate issue. The main point he was getting at is the language we use needs to be coherent and consistent. For example, when scholar monks redefine body as “not physical, but a collection of mental aggregates”, or vitakka as “placing the mind” when everywhere else in the suttas it means “thinking”, this causes havoc. It has nothing to do with whether one can do jhanas or not. We are using a common language and need to be consistent in how we use words.


So then you leave and start all over again?


Hi! I have two comments.

First, I wonder if part of the issue is a fundamental disagreement on the reference set:

  • Ajahn Brahmali was pointing out where ekagatta was in reference to samma samadhi. The first jhana being part of the standard definition of samma samadhi. -> since ekagatta is used to describe the whole set of samadhi, which includes first jhana, then ekagatta also applies to the first jhana.
  • Your focus is on finding an explicit definition of ekagatta within the first jhana. -> since ekagatta is not explicitly used to describe first jhana in EBT, then ekagatta isn’t a descriptor for the first jhana, even if ekagatta describes samadhi in the four jhanas.
    While I struggle to understand your logic, could I check if my paraphrasing and framing of my understanding of your argument thread and of the source of disagreement with Ajahn Brahmali is correct?

The second comment is with reference to V&V. When you refer to EBT, i notice that you have made no references to the Chinese Agamas. But looking at the Chinese, it is quite clear that vitakka in the jhanas (覺, which means awareness) is a completely different character from vitakka outside the jhanas (尋, which means search, thinking). And this is repeated throughout the Chinese Agamas whenever the jhanas are referred to. How would this reconcile with your point of view?

With much metta.


No need for anyone to apologise. It is confusing finding one’s way around here at first.

When I read some of the ‘high end’ discussion on this site I started wondering if I was a bad meditator. Then I remembered the word path. The best way to stay on a difficult path is to put one’s foot right in front of where one is standing atm. That is the only skilful thing to do; staring at the acrobatic antics of people further up the mountain might even be a little dangerous.

I didn’t split the thread: it doesn’t seem necessary, and I couldn’t push the right button anyway. :wink: One of us might start a new thread in the Discussion category, if we’re interested in discussing experiential ramifications further. … I’m off to read MN44 and see what it says about immersion.


I know, this is what you want all along. The sole purpose of this constant ‘experience-mantra’ is to obstruct the discussion and prevent investigations that run counter to your personal beliefs. I’ve described these tactics already earlier on this thread. So what’s up next? Personal insults? Slander?


Please can we remember that the Forum is dedicated to fair discussion and follows the tenets of Right Speech? This should apply in all the threads.


No. Triangulation is what I’m proposing : comparing texts to jhana experience to expert teachings. As 100’s of posts have already been written purely from a textual perspective I propose that approach is not productive, and only lead to arguments which is counter to Right speech.


I don’t read chinese and I’m not really qualified to have a view on that. But I do know that ancient Chinese is vague and abstruse enough that there’s no agreed upon unambiguous understanding of V&V in the jhanas.

One thing is for sure though, and that’s V&V in Chinese Agama passages could not be translated as “placing the mind & keeping it connected.”, as well as the sanskrit passage featured in this thread.

What’s motivating your line of questions? Why do you care about ekaggata and its framing?


If using an incorrect meaning suggests a gross verbal thought it means the first jhana is a lesser degree of samadhi.


Thanks for that. I need to be reminded, as one of my needs/desires/aspirations is to speed up that path so to avoid Life’s ubiquitous suffering. And then of course I trip in the act of trying to duplicate the steps of those who have gone before.

I had an emotional outburst the other day and hurt someone I love. Am I walking backwards on the path? Only time will tell.
W/Metta, Always