Vipassana in the jhānas with ditthi, sankappa, vitakka

I noticed a couple of interesting things in this sutta that shed light on vipassana while in the jhanas.

  1. notice where ditthi falls in the food chain. Comes after perception, but before vitakka (thinking). So when vitakka drops out after first jhana, you would still expect ditthi (view) to be active in the higher jhanas. No surprise though, since if S&S (sati & sampajano) can discern impermanence in the jhanas (AN 4.41 ), it coud certainly discern dukkha as well using “view”.

  2. notice where vaca (speech) falls in the food chain. From SN 36, we know that vaca drops out in first jhāna. So if you look in this sutta excerpt I quote below, look at all the activities going on between vaca and vitakka.

I haven’t seen a sutta yet that makes me think V&V (vitakka and vicara) in first jhana is the vism. type of samatha kung fu fixity. This sutta is especially telling since it fills in the gap on what happens between vaca dropping out of first jhana, and the continued presence of vitakka.

SN 14.13 giñjak-āvasatha-suttaṃ

SN 14.13 giñjak-āvasatha-suttaṃ brick-abode-discourse
SN 14.13 brick-abode-discourse
♦ 97. ekaṃ samayaṃ bhagavā
One time the-blessed-one
ñātike viharati giñjak-āvasathe.
(at) natike (he) dwelled, (in the) brick-abode.
tatra kho bhagavā bhikkhū āmantesi —
there indeed the-blessed-one, (to the) monks (he) addressed -
“bhadante”ti te bhikkhū bhagavato paccassosuṃ.
“Lord!” those monks, (to) the-blessed-one (they) responded.
bhagavā etadavoca —
The-blessed-one, this-(he)-said -
♦ “dhātuṃ, bhikkhave,
"(An) element, monks,
paṭicca uppajjati saññā,
(through) dependence (on that) arises (a) perception,
uppajjati diṭṭhi,
(there) arises (a) view,
uppajjati vitakko”ti.
(there) arises (a) thought."
evaṃ vutte,
When this was said,
āyasmā kaccāno bhagavantaṃ etadavoca —
Venerable Saddha Kaccāyana, (to) the-Blessed-One (he) said-this:
“yāyaṃ, bhante, diṭṭhi —
“Venerable sir, {these} views -
(for the) not-perfectly-enlightened
(regarding others as) perfectly-enlightened,
ayaṃ nu kho, bhante, diṭṭhi
how is this, ******, view,
kiṃ paṭicca paññāyatī”ti?
through dependence {on what} (is it) discerned?"

inferior cause leads to inferior results

♦ “mahati kho esā, kaccāna,
"Mighty, Kaccāyana,
dhātu yadidaṃ
is this element,
the ignorance-element.
hīnaṃ, kaccāna, dhātuṃ
the inferior, *******, element,
paṭicca uppajjati
(through) dependence (on that) arises
hīnā saññā,
an inferior perception,
hīnā diṭṭhi,
an inferior view,
hīno vitakko,
inferior thought,
hīnā cetanā,
inferior volition,
hīnā patthanā,
inferior longing,
hīno paṇidhi,
an inferior wish,
hīno puggalo,
an inferior person,
hīnā vācā;
inferior speech.
hīnaṃ ācikkhati deseti
Inferior (things he) explains, teaches,
paññapeti paṭṭhapeti
proclaims, establishes,
vivarati vibhajati uttānīkaroti;
discloses, analyses, elucidates.
hīnā tassa upapattīti vadāmi.
Inferior, (will be) his rebirth, (I) say.

Hi Frank,

Sorry, but it’s rather an enumeration of things which have ignorance as necessary condition.

For example, “cetanā” is conditioned by “phassa” (contact), which is conditioned by ignorance.

Cetanāhaṃ bhikkhave kammaṃ vadāmi, cetayitvā kammaṃ karoti kāyena vācāya manasā,

"Intention, I tell you, is kamma. Intending, one does kamma by way of body, speech, & intellect.

Katamo ca bhikkhave kammānaṃ nidānasambhavo: phasso bhikkhave kammānaṃ nidānasambhavo.

"And what is the cause by which kamma comes into play? Contact is the cause by which kamma comes into play.

See also the full diagram:


Sure, but the order of the things which depend on ignorance doesn’t look random to me. It looks like, aside from puggala, it’s sorted according to complexity. Just as in 12ps, vedana->tanha->upadana->bhava, upadana is a more obsessive conglomeration of many accumulated tanhas, bhava is even more so, etc.

I see your point that the sutta only explicitly links it back to avijja for each item on the list.

Do you know of any passage that sheds more light on what’s going on with vaca ceasing in first jhana? All I’m aware of is the Vimuttimagga passage in their jhana section.