V&V in Sphuṭārthā Abhidharmakośavyākhyā


look at the change that happens with the two cowherd similes before first jhana, and the description of the ekodi samadhi before and after. Before, it doesn’t have passadhi. After, it has passadhi. Passadhi is passadhi-sambojjhanga, in particular the kaya-passadhi.

Nothing about the fundamental nature of vitakka has changed. Only the energetic intensity and frequency of it. If it did undergo a shift into something else, this is the time for the Buddha to explain it. He doesn’t. In the agama parallel, it’s even more explicit and unambiguous by completely removing the first jhana formula.

It’s only because you were indoctrinated with wrong ideas from Vism. and Ajahn Brahm that you have trouble reading and interpreting the EBT. You have to clear your mind, and read the EBT without bias and preconceived ideas and then the obvious will hit you.

This also matches actual experience. Second jhana energetically feels exactly like the simile in AN 5.28, like you’re completely suffused with water but you feel the powerful vibrations from your spine to your head bubbling in your tailbone from the spring feeding the lake. It has a feeling of continuous orgasmic full body bliss.

From second jhana, experiment with V&V, thinking and pondering, and then you will know from experience exactly just how much kusala and akusala ordinary thinking and evaluation you can do from that state without reducing the full power of the whole body orgasmic bliss.

Even from an arupa samadhi, where you can’t find your body at all or feel any mosquito bites and leg pain, you can do perfectly ordinary V&V thinking and evaluation.


@Frankk, you had my total rapt interest in what you were saying until I read the above line.

Now we have good advice turned into an arrow aimed at creating resentment. This is not helpful. What you said before that WAS helpful. Stop with the arrows.

I suggest we restrain ourselves from posting to this thread for 24 hours.


Thank you for that explanation. It definitely answers my first question in describing what you see Jhana is not. As for the second, it is helpful to know what Jhana is not, but I still don’t understand how you see what Jhana is. I understand that it is hard to explain, so no problem. I appreciate the lengthy response you’ve given.


That I spend my valuable time and energy trying to patiently explain important points on the jhana controversy should make it clear that my motive is to help correct misunderstandings, and not create resentment.

If you look at my full quote in context,

I was indoctrinated with the same wrong ideas on Jhana by Theravada, Vism., and Ajahn Brahm, and it took me years to sort it out. By ‘wrong’, what I mean is ideas that contradict what the EBT says.

‘wrong’ is a lot easier to comprehend than, “ideas promulgated by Vism. and late Theravada othodoxy that run counter to a straightforward ockham’s razor reading of the pali EBT texts.” It’s time to put some big boy and big girl pants on. That’s an american english expression that means, I’m not going to treat you guys like little babies. You should consider the full context and need for expediency in written communication, and not be so eager to be offended.

Mat has engaged in these discussion with me for years as well, and I deduced why he’s having trouble grokking these ideas, is because of mental blocks from preconceived notions.


Please note that the forum is a place for civil discussion. Different opinions are welcome. The aim of discussions is to present points of view and EBT based points to support that. This way each person is free to make up their own minds and explore it with regards to their interests or practice. It is NOT about convincing people about what is right and what is wrong. If this becomes the goal, illuminating discussions degenerate into arguements.

This thread has been temporarily closed to allow some time for reflection