experience of piti and sukha

Discussion of meditation in the Mahayana and Vajrayana traditions.
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Supramundane
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Re: experience of piti and sukha

Post by Supramundane » Tue Mar 19, 2019 7:48 am

stevie wrote:
Tue Mar 19, 2019 7:13 am
Supramundane wrote:
Tue Mar 19, 2019 6:12 am
Piti and sukha as i understand them do not engender karma.
Depends. If one gets attached then karma of the form realm may ensue.
i think there is a Theravadan Buddhist, Ajahn Dhammadaro, who claims that one can become fixated on piti and sukha to the detriment of the jhanas.

this is a radical view, in my mind. i have never read in any sutra a reference to jhanas being potentially harmful.

In fact, most would concur the goal of jhanas is release from the senses, and thus fixation on pleasure would be unexpected.

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Re: experience of piti and sukha

Post by Supramundane » Tue Mar 19, 2019 7:50 am

catmoon wrote:
Tue Mar 19, 2019 7:27 am
Supramundane wrote:
Tue Mar 19, 2019 6:40 am


this suppression you make reference to, do you believe it is a product of one-pointed concentration (the meditative experience itself) or of a (pre-existing) deeper understanding (i.e. qualities that are not associated with the immediate act of meditation) that allow for the suppression of restlessness and worry?
Is it suppression at all? If I'm sitting on a jagged rock, and it's uncomfortable and it hurts, I may get up, walk away and sit somewhere else. This doesn't mean I am suppressing the rock. I'm just not getting wrapped up in the rock, and the pain and discomfort, and maybe I have something more interesting to do than sit on it.
valid point. what would you call it then? release? 'temporary forgetting'?

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Re: experience of piti and sukha

Post by stevie » Tue Mar 19, 2019 8:10 am

Supramundane wrote:
Tue Mar 19, 2019 7:48 am
stevie wrote:
Tue Mar 19, 2019 7:13 am
Supramundane wrote:
Tue Mar 19, 2019 6:12 am
Piti and sukha as i understand them do not engender karma.
Depends. If one gets attached then karma of the form realm may ensue.
....

In fact, most would concur the goal of jhanas is release from the senses, and thus fixation on pleasure would be unexpected.
you are not correctly differentiating meditation and post-meditation. It is in post-meditation phase when karma of the form realm may ensue due to attachment after having experienced piti and sukkha in meditation. It is longing for and seeking piti and sukkha which is attachment in post-meditation.

And if piti and sukkha happens without meditation then since it is impermanent it is after piti and sukkha have faded away again that karma of the form realm may ensue due to attachment to piti and sukkha. It is longing for and seeking piti and sukkha which is attachment.
Last edited by stevie on Tue Mar 19, 2019 8:11 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: experience of piti and sukha

Post by catmoon » Tue Mar 19, 2019 8:11 am

Supramundane wrote:
Tue Mar 19, 2019 7:50 am
catmoon wrote:
Tue Mar 19, 2019 7:27 am
Supramundane wrote:
Tue Mar 19, 2019 6:40 am


this suppression you make reference to, do you believe it is a product of one-pointed concentration (the meditative experience itself) or of a (pre-existing) deeper understanding (i.e. qualities that are not associated with the immediate act of meditation) that allow for the suppression of restlessness and worry?
Is it suppression at all? If I'm sitting on a jagged rock, and it's uncomfortable and it hurts, I may get up, walk away and sit somewhere else. This doesn't mean I am suppressing the rock. I'm just not getting wrapped up in the rock, and the pain and discomfort, and maybe I have something more interesting to do than sit on it.
valid point. what would you call it then? release? 'temporary forgetting'?
Best I can come up with is our old friend, non-attachment. Someone has probably come up with a better way of saying it, but it wasn't me! If there is no attachment, there is no bond to break, the mind becomes like a bee who visits such flowers as she wishes and no rope pulls her away from her chosen task.

Is the bee released? Only from bonds that were never there! Can we be released? We create the ropes that bind us, we can learn the art of untying knots.


Too poetical? I never can tell how these things will come out.
Sergeant Schultz knew everything there was to know.

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Re: experience of piti and sukha

Post by Supramundane » Tue Mar 19, 2019 8:19 am

stevie wrote:
Tue Mar 19, 2019 8:10 am
Supramundane wrote:
Tue Mar 19, 2019 7:48 am
stevie wrote:
Tue Mar 19, 2019 7:13 am

Depends. If one gets attached then karma of the form realm may ensue.
....

In fact, most would concur the goal of jhanas is release from the senses, and thus fixation on pleasure would be unexpected.
you are not correctly differentiating meditation and post-meditation. It is in post-meditation phase when karma of the form realm may ensue due to attachment after having experienced piti and sukkha in meditation. It is longing for and seeking piti and sukkha which is attachment in post-meditation.

And if piti and sukkha happens without meditation then since it is impermanent it is after piti and sukkha have faded away again that karma of the form realm may ensue due to attachment to piti and sukkha. It is longing for and seeking piti and sukkha which is attachment.
i understand

good point

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Re: experience of piti and sukha

Post by Supramundane » Tue Mar 19, 2019 8:24 am

catmoon wrote:
Tue Mar 19, 2019 8:11 am
Supramundane wrote:
Tue Mar 19, 2019 7:50 am
catmoon wrote:
Tue Mar 19, 2019 7:27 am


Is it suppression at all? If I'm sitting on a jagged rock, and it's uncomfortable and it hurts, I may get up, walk away and sit somewhere else. This doesn't mean I am suppressing the rock. I'm just not getting wrapped up in the rock, and the pain and discomfort, and maybe I have something more interesting to do than sit on it.
valid point. what would you call it then? release? 'temporary forgetting'?
Best I can come up with is our old friend, non-attachment. Someone has probably come up with a better way of saying it, but it wasn't me! If there is no attachment, there is no bond to break, the mind becomes like a bee who visits such flowers as she wishes and no rope pulls her away from her chosen task.

Is the bee released? Only from bonds that were never there! Can we be released? We create the ropes that bind us, we can learn the art of untying knots.


Too poetical? I never can tell how these things will come out.
viveka is sometimes in fact translated as 'detachment'.
you are on the right track!

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Re: experience of piti and sukha

Post by haha » Tue Mar 19, 2019 10:46 am

Supramundane wrote:
Tue Mar 19, 2019 6:40 am
haha wrote:
Mon Mar 18, 2019 12:08 pm
If one relies on Abhidharma, it will give better understanding of those two words.

The common terminology does not give proper meaning. First one should understand that, this sukha will arise in first absorption. To enter into the first one, one needs mental image (nimitya). So, one can say that it is not the ordinary kind of sukha; it is the dhyanik sukha. For this case, one needs to deal with five nivarana; the sukha you mention is arisen due to the suppression of Auddhatya Kaukritya (restlessness and worry).

this is interesting, HH.

you are homing in on the answer i am seeking.

this suppression you make reference to, do you believe it is a product of one-pointed concentration (the meditative experience itself) or of a (pre-existing) deeper understanding (i.e. qualities that are not associated with the immediate act of meditation) that allow for the suppression of restlessness and worry?
Here, the intended meaning for suppression is that practicing of the jhana (absorption) only leads to suppress of such fetters (samyojana) (i.e. restlessness). They are only eradicated by Vipassana; even Stream-enterer cannot eradicate it. Only arhats and higher bhumi bodhisattvas can eradicate this one; other people only suppress them.




catmoon wrote:
Tue Mar 19, 2019 8:11 am
Is the bee released? Only from bonds that were never there! Can we be released? We create the ropes that bind us, we can learn the art of untying knots.
Very interesting!
Do we need to learn anything to untie the imaginary knots?

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Re: experience of piti and sukha

Post by SunWuKong » Tue Mar 19, 2019 10:11 pm

I dunno, I've had people tell me that their ordinary wandering distracted gluttonous and lustful mind during their zazen, as long as they aren't "attached" to it, is a better practice than the jhanas where mind is collected in the naturally arising here&now concentrated, powerful state. I'm tired of trying to convince others. They read a few books, got fixated on an intellectual understanding of the Dharma and can't get out of it.

It's like building a raft to cross to the other side, and building a big, beautiful raft with their whole library, zendo, carport, etc. but failing to build it anywhere near the water. Then you show them your tiny raft built on the waters edge, ready to go - and they scoff at it. My only interest is getting them to the other side. I just have to move on.

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Re: experience of piti and sukha

Post by catmoon » Tue Mar 19, 2019 10:35 pm

haha wrote:
Tue Mar 19, 2019 10:46 am

Do we need to learn anything to untie the imaginary knots?

Well, first you have to know there is a knot, and then you need to be able to see the knot.

Sometimes we can't see our own attachments because looking at them is uncomfortable and the mind reflexively turns away. The nice thing about the jhanas is they calm the turbulent mind, and in that frame of mind it is easier to contemplate such things and see them as not-self.

So I'd say learning some meditational skills would be a plus. A little knowledge of emptiness goes a long way here too.

If you view the practice as confronting internal demons, then some courage would be a good thing, but I don't know how to learn or teach that. :rolling:
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Re: experience of piti and sukha

Post by stevie » Wed Mar 20, 2019 5:48 am

haha wrote:
Tue Mar 19, 2019 10:46 am
Here, the intended meaning for suppression is that practicing of the jhana (absorption) only leads to suppress of such fetters (samyojana) (i.e. restlessness). They are only eradicated by Vipassana; even Stream-enterer cannot eradicate it. Only arhats and higher bhumi bodhisattvas can eradicate this one; other people only suppress them.
This is not generally appropriately expressed because the kind of statements about eradication and the like one makes depends on what model of liberation and buddhahood one is applying. However what seems to be the general position of all is that insight is required for liberation from fetters and that jhanas alone are not sufficient.
However considering the Cula-suññata Sutta the decisive liberating insight may happen spontaneously while practicing the absorptions exclusively, so to say as a 'by-product'.

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Re: experience of piti and sukha

Post by haha » Wed Mar 20, 2019 9:44 am

catmoon wrote:
Tue Mar 19, 2019 10:35 pm
haha wrote:
Tue Mar 19, 2019 10:46 am

Do we need to learn anything to untie the imaginary knots?
Well, first you have to know there is a knot, and then you need to be able to see the knot.
Let's suppose I am walking in the desert. Now, I know I am thirsty (i.e know there is a knot). But, the water/knot I am seeing is just a mirage. Every time, I try to untie but get entangled. :shrug:

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Re: experience of piti and sukha

Post by haha » Wed Mar 20, 2019 9:44 am

stevie wrote:
Wed Mar 20, 2019 5:48 am
haha wrote:
Tue Mar 19, 2019 10:46 am
Here, the intended meaning for suppression is that practicing of the jhana (absorption) only leads to suppress of such fetters (samyojana) (i.e. restlessness). They are only eradicated by Vipassana; even Stream-enterer cannot eradicate it. Only arhats and higher bhumi bodhisattvas can eradicate this one; other people only suppress them.
This is not generally appropriately expressed because the kind of statements about eradication and the like one makes depends on what model of liberation and buddhahood one is applying. However what seems to be the general position of all is that insight is required for liberation from fetters and that jhanas alone are not sufficient.
However considering the Cula-suññata Sutta the decisive liberating insight may happen spontaneously while practicing the absorptions exclusively, so to say as a 'by-product'.
This can be presented in many different ways. Even while talking about priti and sukha, they can be categorized as bodily and mental. I remember there are five kinds of priti based on intensity.

It does not mean that one will get insight only by entering into the jhana. If one presents the story differently, the meaning can be quite different than that is intended.

Example, when Sakyamuni was giving the discourse to Sariputra’s nephew, just hearing that discourse his nephew became stream-enterer whereas Sariputra gained arharthood. Then, one can conclude that listening is enough.

Nothing would happen spontaneously. It is only spontaneously because one does not know the cause and condition. Some stories from Zen masters used to baffle me (i.e. with the same answer, the disciple got sudden awakening.) But not anymore!

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Re: experience of piti and sukha

Post by stevie » Wed Mar 20, 2019 10:28 am

haha wrote:
Wed Mar 20, 2019 9:44 am
stevie wrote:
Wed Mar 20, 2019 5:48 am
haha wrote:
Tue Mar 19, 2019 10:46 am
Here, the intended meaning for suppression is that practicing of the jhana (absorption) only leads to suppress of such fetters (samyojana) (i.e. restlessness). They are only eradicated by Vipassana; even Stream-enterer cannot eradicate it. Only arhats and higher bhumi bodhisattvas can eradicate this one; other people only suppress them.
This is not generally appropriately expressed because the kind of statements about eradication and the like one makes depends on what model of liberation and buddhahood one is applying. However what seems to be the general position of all is that insight is required for liberation from fetters and that jhanas alone are not sufficient.
However considering the Cula-suññata Sutta the decisive liberating insight may happen spontaneously while practicing the absorptions exclusively, so to say as a 'by-product'.
This can be presented in many different ways. Even while talking about priti and sukha, they can be categorized as bodily and mental. I remember there are five kinds of priti based on intensity.

It does not mean that one will get insight only by entering into the jhana. If one presents the story differently, the meaning can be quite different than that is intended.

Example, when Sakyamuni was giving the discourse to Sariputra’s nephew, just hearing that discourse his nephew became stream-enterer whereas Sariputra gained arharthood. Then, one can conclude that listening is enough.
As I said 'liberating insight may happen spontaneously while practicing the absorptions exclusively' I now say 'liberating insight may happen spontaneously while listening to a buddha's teaching exclusively'. Maybe you understand that 'may happen' is not 'does generally happen'?

haha wrote:
Wed Mar 20, 2019 9:44 am
Nothing would happen spontaneously.
There are many examples in the suttas.
haha wrote:
Wed Mar 20, 2019 9:44 am
It is only spontaneously because one does not know the cause and condition.
Which is what you can't know but of course you can assume that and your assumption will then be widely shared by the world.

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Re: experience of piti and sukha

Post by haha » Wed Mar 20, 2019 12:04 pm

stevie wrote:
Wed Mar 20, 2019 10:28 am
haha wrote:
Wed Mar 20, 2019 9:44 am
Nothing would happen spontaneously.
There are many examples in the suttas.
haha wrote:
Wed Mar 20, 2019 9:44 am
It is only spontaneously because one does not know the cause and condition.
Which is what you can't know but of course you can assume that and your assumption will then be widely shared by the world.
My assumption is that one cannot get complete picture of the story by only looking at little portion of the event. I assume that one should consider Sariputra’s effort after taking the refuge. Besides, the Buddha was more skillful to give the right discourse in right time to right recipient. This helped to untie the knot.

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Re: experience of piti and sukha

Post by catmoon » Wed Mar 20, 2019 5:44 pm

haha wrote:
Wed Mar 20, 2019 9:44 am


Let's suppose I am walking in the desert. Now, I know I am thirsty (i.e know there is a knot). But, the water/knot I am seeing is just a mirage. Every time, I try to untie but get entangled. :shrug:
If you see the mirage accurately, you do not see water. You see an interesting atmospheric deflection phenomenon, one that looks similar to, but not identical to, a body of water. Knowing it for what it is, one looks elsewhere for water. A good understanding of the mirage phenomenon could be a life saver in such a situation. Or, if you like, to see the knot clearly, is to untie it.
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Re: experience of piti and sukha

Post by Supramundane » Wed Apr 24, 2019 2:14 am

I think Theravada tends to see the Jhanas like Maslow's pyramid: you keep pushing up until you reach the highest point, enlightenment.

The first jhana seems to be centered on disconnecting the five senses. By focusing the mind on an unchanging object of awareness, one transcends distracting perceptions. Separating from the ever-changing phenomenal field, one can experience pitta and sukha by avoiding the five hindrances.

Insight and concentration cannot be combined in one path, and so they are separated into separate Jhana: but can we really put one above another? is one superior to the other?

By accessing concentration we achieve pitta and sukha which are pleasures that are not karma forming (i.e. non-sensuous and therefore not defilements). Arguably, this helps break the links to the sense pleasures and thus is just as important as the insight from vispanna.

we all assume that the jhanas go every upward toward perfection, but should they really be conceptualized like a Venn diagram?

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Re: experience of piti and sukha

Post by SunWuKong » Wed Apr 24, 2019 6:03 am

Supramundane wrote:
Wed Apr 24, 2019 2:14 am
I think Theravada tends to see the Jhanas like Maslow's pyramid: you keep pushing up until you reach the highest point, enlightenment.

The first jhana seems to be centered on disconnecting the five senses. By focusing the mind on an unchanging object of awareness, one transcends distracting perceptions. Separating from the ever-changing phenomenal field, one can experience pitta and sukha by avoiding the five hindrances.

Insight and concentration cannot be combined in one path, and so they are separated into separate Jhana: but can we really put one above another? is one superior to the other?

By accessing concentration we achieve pitta and sukha which are pleasures that are not karma forming (i.e. non-sensuous and therefore not defilements). Arguably, this helps break the links to the sense pleasures and thus is just as important as the insight from vispanna.

we all assume that the jhanas go every upward toward perfection, but should they really be conceptualized like a Venn diagram?
A few points: (1) Jhanas/Dhyana is not an exclusively Theravada teaching. In fact, Theravada meditation is a recent phenomenon, it had entirely died out. (2) Buddhaghosa's Visuddhimagga, while it has become the Theravada standard text for Vipassana and Samatha meditation, is not a product of Theravada, it comes from a quite different school. (3) While the Pali Suttas are normally quoted when questions about these things come up, Dhyana, vipassana, samatha, and Samadhi are major topics in Mahayana Buddhism. So what that piti feels like electricity and sukha feels like a narcotic, if you don't see the big picture here you will miss the point. (4) Insight and concentration are combined in one path, in fact you cannot have one with out the other. (5) sense pleasure is not a part of this. Samadhi is at once both profound and utterly subtile, it cannot be described. (6) it is more accurate to say each successive jhana is contains the next one, the direction is going inward (if you like) not upward.

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Re: experience of piti and sukha

Post by Supramundane » Wed Apr 24, 2019 11:06 am

SunWuKong wrote:
Wed Apr 24, 2019 6:03 am
Supramundane wrote:
Wed Apr 24, 2019 2:14 am
I think Theravada tends to see the Jhanas like Maslow's pyramid: you keep pushing up until you reach the highest point, enlightenment.

The first jhana seems to be centered on disconnecting the five senses. By focusing the mind on an unchanging object of awareness, one transcends distracting perceptions. Separating from the ever-changing phenomenal field, one can experience pitta and sukha by avoiding the five hindrances.

Insight and concentration cannot be combined in one path, and so they are separated into separate Jhana: but can we really put one above another? is one superior to the other?

By accessing concentration we achieve pitta and sukha which are pleasures that are not karma forming (i.e. non-sensuous and therefore not defilements). Arguably, this helps break the links to the sense pleasures and thus is just as important as the insight from vispanna.

we all assume that the jhanas go every upward toward perfection, but should they really be conceptualized like a Venn diagram?
(6) it is more accurate to say each successive jhana is contains the next one, the direction is going inward (if you like) not upward.

:bow:
excellent image!

thanks for your illumination. i will think of it that way from now on. thanks again.

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Re: experience of piti and sukha

Post by SunWuKong » Wed Apr 24, 2019 10:42 pm

In Zen the whole spectrum is covered under the topic of kensho and satori. Really its good enough. In the Suttas, you still have piti and sukha happening, when samadhi and equanimity arise. There is a debate about translating this as absorption, but actually thats a horrible translation. You aren't going either here or there. It is only deeper levels of the same stillness and quiet. Like i was saying, it is both subtle and profound as well as indescribable. People get offended by it because they think they haven't experienced it and it undermines their agenda. I contend that most people doing zazen actually do get deeper levels of the same stillness and quiet, don't know theres a terminology, and have an unnecessary reaction to the words. Dhayana is all about samadhi, and calm and insight is the how-to. What really is confusing is passing through a gate which has no gate. Just when we thought we were getting somewhere we realize we are already there. Its probably better to have said nothing.
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