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Thread: MN13: Mahadukkhakkhandha Sutta

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    Global Moderator Esho's Avatar
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    MN13: Mahadukkhakkhandha Sutta

    Hi friends:

    I have a doubt. The Mahadukkhakkhandha Sutta talks about the allure, the drawback and the escape from feelings. There, Jhanas are treated as feelings, thus they have a drawback and a escape because they are stressful and subject to change. My question is why are Jhanas so important in the Buddha doctrine if they are stressful?

    Any comments are welcome.


  2. #2
    Hi Esho,

    I just thought I'd leave a link to an alternative translation for MN13 from Sutta Central, if anyone wants to have a look at it as well as the ATI version. I think Jhana is called "absorption" in this one.

    https://suttacentral.net/mn13/en/sujato

    With metta,

    Aloka

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    Global Moderator Esho's Avatar
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    Thanks Aloka

    I have read the Sutta Central version and is quite the same as the other one I quoted. My question still is the same. The sutta says that due to absorption the mendicant feel only feelings that are not hurtful and that freedom from being hurt is the ultimate gratification of feelings and then it says that the drawback of feelings is that they are impermanent, suffering and perishable. I understand that absorption leads to feelings but feelings are impermanent and are suffering and perishable so, why are absorptions so important in the suttas?
    Last edited by Esho; 06 Mar 19 at 15:42.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Esho View Post
    Thanks Aloka

    I have read the Sutta Central version and is quite the same as the other one I quoted. My question still is the same. The sutta says that due to absorption the mendicant feel only feelings that are not hurtful and that freedom from being hurt is the ultimate gratification of feelings and then it says that the drawback of feelings is that they are impermanent, suffering and perishable. I understand that absorption leads to feelings but feelings are impermanent and are suffering and perishable so, why are absorptions so important in the suttas?
    This is a useful sutta in that it draws attention to what we have to work on, not only in terms of feelings and senses, but also impermanence. You ask why absorptions are important. It's down to what we have to work on. We have to get beyond our 'normal' relationship with feelings and senses since this mistaken understanding of what they are leads to suffering. We assume that things like wealth and beauty are the answer to how we should live. We assume that what we feel and sense are how the world is, and how we should relate to it.

    The Buddha is asking us to get beyond this conventional thinking and to change how we understand the world and our relationship with it. To understand the kind of suffering our mistaken views generate, and to live as a person who has gone beyond, to a new understanding. How more important than that can you get?

  5. #5
    Global Moderator Esho's Avatar
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    Thanks philg.


  6. #6
    I found this audio talk about MN13, which was given by Ajahn Brahm .



    https://bswa.org/teaching/mn13-mahad...h-ajahn-brahm/

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    Esho,

    Since it appears that no one wants to answer your very, very legitimate question about the necessity for Jana practice, I will make an attempt.

    I am not the best at this sort of thing, but I have been around for quite awhile and this reply is derived from a lot of experience. Not from scholastic skill. ----- There are other features to the Jhanas besides "feelings". The Janas also involve the Shamata basics of integration of our multiple facets of personality, and general meditative ability. They provide tranquility and, at the same time, they give fuel to our fire.

    Do we really want fuel for our fires you might ask? Well, in a practical respect we need to get motivated to practice and have a glimpse of bliss. Maybe even rapture. We simultaneously need tranquility, stability and inspiration. (I am not making a real tight argument here, just my general opinion.) ------And perhaps we should also consider the possibility that the Jhanas/shamata are also partially a matter of insight.

    To paraphrase the old saying about how there is a little good in the worst of us, and a littlle bad in the best of us, can we say the same thing about Jhanas/shamata and insight meditation? Shamata is generally referred to as a kind of precondition for vipassana, but it has been said that it is also somewhat similar in function.

    I have noticed that the vipassana meditations that I have participated in actually start out with a shamata type procedure and gradually evolve into what most people refer to as vipassana. (Like I say, I am not any kind of an expert on this matter.) -----In defense of the Jhanas I have read that the Buddha fell back into a Jhanic state in his Paranirvana process. He didn't do this in order to escape his enlightened state.

    So there you have it. This is what little I can say about this. It is apparently so difficult to talk about that very few people really want to address the issue. My only really strong opinion on the matter is that in America I have noticed that a lot of people have strong opinions on the matter without treating the issue fairly. We all want to get to the heavy stuff as quickly as possible without wasting time on anything unnecessary.

    Unfortunately this may involve leaving things out that are necessary. --------------- The real and true masters often know things that I have never suspected, so I am not trying to contradict anyone and cause a fight. But I will say that all practices recommend stability and tranquility before attempting insight. Doesn't that sound right?

    To me the heavy question is whether or not the insight of the Janas is indeed insight. I believe that it is, but I am just an ordinary guy trying to do his best.

    Karma Jim
    Last edited by Aloka; 08 Mar 19 at 00:36. Reason: creating spaces in large block of text

  8. #8
    Global Moderator Esho's Avatar
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    Thanks Aloka

    Thanks Jasweet


  9. #9
    Hi Esho,

    In Ajahn Brahm's talk about MN 13 which I mentioned in post#6, he said that he prefers to change the word "feelings" in that sutta translation ... to "experiences". He also said that making that change is OK according to the Pali.



  10. #10
    Global Moderator Esho's Avatar
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    Hi Aloka,

    I have listened to the talk and it confirms what I understood. The jhanas are experiences of the greatest gratification but they have a danger; they are impermanent and subject to suffering. So my question is the same: Why are jhanas so important in the nikayas?


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