Do the suttas speak of bhavaïga-consciousness in the heart to move from the first jhâna to the second jhâna?

I don’t recall any Pitaka or Commentary or Visuddhimagga says such a thing.

Visuddhimagga Kasina procedure:

  1. Exit the first Jhana
  2. Contemplating the drawbacks of vitakkaa-vicara of first jhana and the peacefulness of piti-sukha-ekaggata of second Jhana.
  3. With that intention, repeatedly contemplating the same Nimitta (Pathavi)
  4. For him, the Bhavanga becomes cut off (interrupted) and the Manodvaravajjana is born (knowing “now second jhana will be born”)
  5. Then four or five Javanas are arisen and then Dutiyajhanika one.

The sincere beliefs of higher attainments are called Adhi-mana (Conceit about higher) and they are considered to be common in meditation field.

Adhi-manas about Maggaphalas and Vipassana Nanas could be seen prevalent in Mahasi offshoots and Goenka crowds. Paauk crowds seem to provide more Jhana adhi-mana people.

The respect for Vinaya and Samadhi seem to be the reason for many Vinaya-monks to join with the Paauk groups than with other groups.


Thank you.

1/ But why do you think Pa-Auk respects Samadhi, if you disagree with their method? Do you think their method differs from the Buddha’s, but leads to the same jhanas?

2/ Also, I want to talk a bit more about Beth Upton.

(I mention her because I was intrigued by her extensive experience with Pa-Auk and her statements. I’m not talking about her to denigrate or praise her, but simply to sincerely and seriously try to better understand the Way).

In one video, Beth explains that she left the monastic life because she is “addicted” to life’s challenges (she wants to meet and deal with new situations, experiences, and difficult people) and wants to learn things. She felt that there weren’t enough challenges in the monastery because she was surrounded by people who loved her.
What’s more, at the beginning of the video, she explains that before she became a nun, she already had this challenger spirit.
I found it intriguing that her mastery of the Pa-Auk teachings didn’t remove this “addiction”. She entered Pa-Auk with this addiction to challenges, and she left Pa-Auk with this addiction to challenges.

Furthermore, in another video, she explains that when she had to create her site (there’s her own name “Beth Upton” in the URL of her site), it was a very “uncomfortable” and “cringe” process.
Again, I find it intriguing that her mastery of the Pa-Auk system didn’t suppress this kind of extremely basic painful mental reaction. Personally, I would have thought that someone who had mastered the Pa-Auk system could quite happily create a website in their name without feeling “uncomfortable” and experiencing “cringe”.

I don’t doubt for a second that the Pa-Auk teachings are very profound and lead to very refined mental states. In fact, I’m not questioning this system at all. But I do find it interesting that in Beth Upton’s case, I have the impression that the Pa-Auk system has not enabled her to eliminate some of the very basic mental discomforts of normal life. Is there a problem of stabilization in everyday life?

I don’t know.
I’d like to know what you think. Perhaps, without talking directly about Beth’s case, you have an idea to share with us?

Again, the reason I’m talking about Beth is because I’m seriously interested in Buddhadhamma; that interest leads me to study a little about the lives of people who practice Buddhism to understand a little better where I’m supposed to be going.

Thank you in advance

First video : “ep138 trained as a nun beth upton” (guru viking) time : 38:58
Second video : “about me” (beth upton) time : 4:32

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It’s so nice to see people here sharing a lot of references and trying to get their point through so that it is clear and understandable. Let me clarify a few points so that we get back to the scriptures and avoid conjectures and personal feelings.

The Suttanipata Commentary explains the relationship between those who have jhanas and their defilements when it describes the emotions of the ascetic Asita Kāḷadevila mentioned in the Nālaka Sutta:

"[Question:] “… isn’t it incorrect to say that dejection arose in him [Asita Kāḷadevila], since it would have been suppressed by his achievement of the meditative attainments?” [Reply:] “This is not so, because it was only suppressed. For defilements eradicated by the development of the path do not arise, but in those who gain the meditative attainments, they arise through a strong condition.” [Question:] “If the defilements arose, he would have lost the jhāna, so how could he be going to the formless realm?” [Reply:] “Because he could easily achieve it again. For when defilements have arisen, those who gain the meditative attainments do not fall into a strong transgression, but as soon as the surge of defilements has subsided, they easily attain distinction [in the meditative attainments] again. It is hard to know of them, ‘These have lost their distinction,’ and he was one like this.” (Suttanipāta Commentary for 3. Mahāvagga - 11. Nālaka Sutta, tr. by Bhikkhu Bodhi)

The fact that some meditators who are appointed to be teachers have mental illnesses, I believe, is actually not as serious unless we talk about Enlightenment, which is explained in Pārājikakaṇḍa Commentary as incompatible with mental illness. It still seems to be feasible that a person who attained jhāna would then have a depressive/schizophrenic/OCD/etc. episode, then the episode would completely end, and the person would attain jhānas. According to Visuddhimagga, it is possible even for an Enlightened person to lose the ability to enter Fruition upon stressful period, and he/she may need even up to three days to calm down through a samatha practice so that he/she can attain enter Fruition. To be honest, I am here inspired by the pakkhapaṇḍaka explanation, which allows pakkhapaṇḍakas to be ordained as monks during the phase of the moon when they are full-fledged men:

“Tesupi pakkhapaṇḍakassa yasmiṃ pakkhe paṇḍako hoti, tasmiṃyevassa pakkhe pabbajjā vāritāti kurundiyaṃ vuttaṃ.” (MM Vinaya Piṭaka Aṭṭhakathā - Mahāvagga-Aṭṭhakathā p. 297)

I know that this is very stretched - comparing paṇḍakas to jhānalābhī, but my idea is that these are allowed to be ordained as monks (and thereby, I assume they can become Enlightened) in certain periods and cannot be ordained (or even stay as ordained!) outside of those periods. Similarly, it should be possible for mentally ill people to be highly virtuous and skillful in concentration in periods when their mental illness does not affect them. Some mental illnesses have neurologic etiology and, therefore, may be entirely unrelated to one’s success in meditation because the attainment is mostly mental, while the disorder is primarily physical.

As for conceit, that is removed only upon Arahanthood, and restlessness up to some extent appears even in Anagamis (note that out of 10 saṃyojanas, fetters, Anāgāmīs still have rūparāga, arūparāga,māna, uddhacca, avijjā). Some time ago, I read a story that in the Buddha’s time, an old Anagami traveled with a young Arahant, and on the way they got a lodging, but the Anagami got a luxurious lodging, while the Arahant got an uncomfortable place. The Anagami was worried about his friend throughout the night, while the Arahant actually enjoyed the night in meditation. Let me know anyone if you know where this is. I thought I read it in Visuddhimagga, but since then, somehow can’t find it again. :thinking:

Regarding light, this is a very interesting point, and I am thankful to venerable Moneyya for his particularly important mention, a mention that I have so far never heard (perhaps I was unlucky?) :

“Because there is already light even from a bit of Samādhi, nothing to say about Vipassanā Ñāṇa.”

So, the venerable Moneyya seems to imply that every “little” concentration will actually be accompanied by light. Or, let’s flip it around and say “If you do not experience light, it is not concentration.”

I’d say this is a bold statement and surely needs a very careful citation. The Buddha did mention that the mind, when it is pure, it shines. But this shining is clearly explained in the commentary to MN 49. Brahmanimantanika Sutta as the absence of defilements.

(This is a point that Pa Auk Sayadaw missed, as you can see in the transcript I previously shared in this post. Pa Auk Sayadaw takes Brahmanimantanika Sutta Commentary as proof that there is light in Enlightenment, but the Commentators actually failed him because they, in the next part of the same paragraph, provide about four explanations for the light, none of them is with kalāpas or “light” as an experience that a meditator should get in ānāpāna’s paṭibhāga-nimitta, etc.)

Now let me show you proof that there is a concentration that is “mind-liberating” (ceto-vimutti) and still, there is no light. It is… loving-kindness. And equally, compassion, altruistic-joy, and equanimity. Visuddhimagga Sub-Commentary glosses on the explanation of nimitta in Loving-Kindness meditation provided by Visuddhimagga and stresses that the nimitta for loving-kindness is actually not like in the other meditation techniques. See it here:

“Nimittanti yathā kasiṇakammaṭṭhānādīsu taṃtaṃkasiṇamaṇḍalādipariggahamukhena bhāvanāvasena laddhaṃ uggahanimittaṃ nissāya jhānassa gocarabhāvena paṭibhāganimittaṃ upatiṭṭhati, na evamidha upaṭṭhitaṃ nimittaṃ nāma atthi. Yo panāyaṃ yathāvutto sīmāsambhedo laddho, sveva nimittaṃ viyāti nimittaṃ. Tasmiṃ hi laddhe bhāvanāya sātisayattā nīvaraṇāni vikkhambhitāneva honti, kilesā sannisinnāva, upacārasamādhinā cittaṃ samāhitameva. Tenāha ‘‘nimittañca upacārañca laddhaṃ hotī’’ti. Tameva nimittanti sīmāsambhedavasena pavattasamathanimittaṃ.”

→ In brief, this means that in Loving-Kindness there is not a nimitta, a sign, that is achieved like it is achieved during kasinas. Instead, the breaking of barriers (considering all beings, including oneself equally) is the nimitta itself.

When my students achieve light in loving-kindness practice (and out of the hundreds of students I have already had, this happened only to about two), I know that they are doing something wrong. I ask them: but did you also concentrate on breath during your loving-kindness practice? And they say: Yes, I did. Then I redirect them back to loving-kindness and they don’t see the light anymore, despite their complete destruction of the boundaries and very deep levels of concentration, which sometimes result in very miraculous, interesting experiences inside as well as outside, in their social environment.

Now, regarding the unreliability of Commentaries, the main point is that Commentaries were not recited by crowds of monks unisono. I do not doubt that some people did know the Commentaries by heart. But my point is totally something else. To recite something in such a way that it stays untouched and undefiled for half of a millennium requires thousands, tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands of monks, unbroken generations after generations, who recite it in groups, together, and correct each other. There is no scriptural evidence that Commentaries were recited in this way in large groups of monks. We do, however, have a lot of evidence that the main scripture (mūḷa pāḷi) was recited by thousands, tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands of monks. Therefore, we can safely say that mūḷa pāḷi was preserved well and is reliable. However, Commentaries were not preserved through meticulous daily crowd-recitation and mutual correction; hence they are not reliable. But they are definitely a very useful source of inspiration, and, hopefully, the Buddha would agree with most of their interpretations. :sun_with_face:

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Okasa bhante,
I’m going to re-quote what you quoted from the Nalaka sutta Commentary.

This sentence clearly mentions “strong condition”. So Jhanalabhis need strong conditions in order to Nivaranas arisen in them. Otherwise in daily life they don’t have Nivaranas, as it implies.

This again stressess that Jhanalabhis do not fall into a strong transgression, even after defilements have arisen in them, because of the following reason.

So how can Jhanalabhi be an emotional person in daily life?

Doesn’t this stress it again that they re-attain the distinction quickly and easily, so that it is hard to know of them, ‘These have lost their distinction.’

I have also noticed this kind of failures of Sayadaw in quoting Commentaries.

Even the Commentary itself says that the Tipitaka is more reliable than the Commentary while the Commentary is more reliable than the Personal opinions.

And the Tipitaka means also the Tipitaka which is interpreted in the Commentarial way. Otherwise the Tipitaka becomes mixed with Personal Opinions because it can be interpreted in many ways. That is what other early schools did.


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It comes from Dhamma Bhante.

Patibhāga nimitta (counter part sign) is the light used to enter Jhāna.
There are only 22 meditation objects that brings patibhāga nimitta.

However, all meditation objects, whatever, creates brightness as well. Brahmavihāra use the concept of beings as nimitta (mature at the breaking down of the barriers, sīma sambedha) to enter Jhāna, does it mean there is no light while developing Brahma vihāra?
There is light also while developing Brahma vihāra when concentration develops.
But this light is not used as nimitta to enter Jhāna. That’s why there is no Patibhāga nimitta.
And Buddhānussati as well as all meditation objects that brings only access concentration, that is upacāra samādhi, is there light while practicing it?
There is light but it can not be used as nimitta to enter Jhāna. Hence it is Uggaha nimitta only.

Here I have selected a Sutta showing it.
It in Vinaya Piṭaka, Cūlla vagga, in
Anāthapindika vatthu:

"atha kho anāthapiṇḍiko gahapati – svedānāhaṃ kālena taṃ bhagavantaṃ dassanāya upasaṅkamissāmi arahantaṃ sammāsambuddhanti – buddhagatāya satiyā nipajjitvā rattiyā sudaṃ tikkhattuṃ vuṭṭhāsi pabhātaṃ maññamāno. atha kho anāthapiṇḍiko gahapati yena sivakadvāraṃ tenupasaṅkami. amanussā dvāraṃ vivariṃsu. atha kho anāthapiṇḍikassa nagaramhā nikkhantassa āloko antaradhāyi, andhakāro gahapatissa pāturahosi, bhayaṃ chambhitattaṃ lomahaṃso udapādi, tatova puna nivattitukāmo ahosi. atha kho sivako yakkho antarahito saddamanussāvesi –"sataṃ hatthī sataṃ assā, sataṃ assatarīrathā,ekassa padavītihārassa, kalaṃ nāgghanti soḷasiṃ [soḷasinti "abhikkama gahapati abhikkama gahapati,abhikkantaṃ te seyyo no paṭikkanta"nti.atha kho anāthapiṇḍikassa gahapatissa andhakāro antaradhāyi, āloko pāturahosi. yaṃ ahosi bhayaṃ chambhitattaṃ lomahaṃso so paṭippassambhi…

Then the householder Anātapiṇḍika, thinking " Early tomorrow I’ll got up to see the Blessed one, the Arahant Sammāsambuddha" lay down with Mindfulness directed to the Buddha ( Buddhagata satiyā) , so that he got up three time during the night thinking it was dawn. Then the householder Anātapiṇḍika approached the gate way to the cool grove, and non human beings opened the gateway.
Then as the householder Anātapiṇḍika was going out from the town, light disappeared, darkness appeared, fear consternation, hair standing arose so that he was desirous to turn back from there. Then the yakkhā Sīvaka invisible made this sound heard:
“A hundred elephants, a hundred horses, a hundred chariots with mules, a hundred maidens adorned with jewelled earrings- these are not worth a sixteenth part of one length of stride. Advance, householder, advance householder, advance is better for you, not retreat. The darkness vanished for the householder Anātapiṇḍika, light arose, whatever fear and terror subsided.”

In this story, the householder Anātapiṇḍika got brightness while practising Buddhānussati. Because of that he believed it was dawn, but as the Amanussa tried to helped him, he got frightened , and lost his brightness. Then when he heard a yakkhā to encourage him he could again get his brightness while fear and fright subsided thinking of going to see the Buddha and so on. This incident happened 3 times during the night till he met the Buddha later and attained Sotapatti Magga and Phala.
The text mentioned he got brightness while directing his mindfulness towards the Buddha, in other words, while practising Buddhānussati bhāvanā.
It is also mentioned that while he got afraid he lost his brightness. But when he was encouraged by the yakkhā he obtained it again.

It shows that while his mind was free from hindrances thinking with great Faith about the Buddha, he obtained light. But while being frightened, when hindrances arose he lost it.

This is the light of meditation. And you can notice Bhante, that it happened with a meditation object which does not produce Patibhāga nimitta, but only Uggaha nimitta (learning sign)

As for your statement on the light which would be the mere absence of nīvarana in MN 49 Atthakathā, I didn’t find it.
Please you can quote, we will see the statement.
But how it could be, for exemple Patibhāga nimitta if the light not existing really? How it could be a light of Vipassanā that becomes Upakkilesa when the yogi misinterpret it? It doesn’t match Bhante.

Let’s see how the light is explained in Visuddhimaggamahātīka:

vipassanobhāsoti vipassanācittasamuṭṭhitaṃ, sasantatipatitaṃ utusamuṭṭhānañca bhāsuraṃ rūpaṃ. tattha vipassanācittasamuṭṭhitaṃ yogino sarīraṭṭhameva pabhassaraṃ hutvā tiṭṭhati, itaraṃ sarīraṃ muñcitvā ñāṇānubhāvānurūpaṃ samantato pattharati, taṃ tasseva paññāyati, tena phuṭṭhokāse rūpagatampi passati, passanto ca cakkhuviññāṇena passati, yoginoudāhu manoviññāṇenāti vīmaṃsitabbanti vadanti. dibbacakkhulābhino viya taṃ manoviññāṇaviññeyyamevāti vuttaṃ viya dissatīti.

“the brightness of Vipassanā is bright materiality produced from the Vipassanā mind and also with this same lineage ( of materiality) , materiality produced from temperature. This Vipassanā mind-born bright materiality having been produced stands in the body of the meditator, the other having been realised from the body spreads all around according to the power of wisdom.
This is perceived by him only, he sees in the place of contact where the materiality has gone. The yogi can see by his eye consciousness or he should examine with his mind consciousness? As in the case of someone having the Divine Eye, he sees by mind consciousness, thus it is said”.

Here the commentary of the Visuddhimagga explains that the brightness of meditation is actually materiality produced by the mind. It is according (proportionally) to the wisdom power. It spreads and also on objects where it contacts, it the same process as divine eye.
In the case of Buddhānussati by the householder Anātapiṇḍika, it is also this kind of brightness. There is also wisdom because it is consciousness accompanied by Knowledge, as for all powerful kusala citta. That is why in upacāra and Jhāna samādhi, light is produced. Thus is produced Patibhāga nimitta and the light in all other meditation objects.This is materiality born from the mind ( cittajja rūpa) and also from temperature when the tejo in this same rūpa kalāpa produce other generations of temperature born materiality (utujja rūpa).
It is this last one that spread everywhere when wisdom is powerful.

This is why Bhante, powerful kusala citta produces light, and it must be even more the case with Phala Samāpatti.


But friend, you omitted the beginning before" after discerning the materials body".

The text says that before to discern the condition s for mental body, one should discern the conditions for the physical body. And it is to discern the arising of into the womb which is due to Ignorance, Craving, Clinging and Kamma:

" It is born in between the receptacle of indigested food and the receptacle for the digested food, behind the belly lining,
In front of the backbones, surrounded by entrails(…) When it is born thus, the four causes are namely ignorance, craving, clinging and kamma , since it is they that bring about birth(…) And of these, the three beginning with Ignorance are decisive support for this body, as her mother for her enfant, and kamma begets it, as the father does the child, and nutriment maintains it, as the nurse nurture the child.

After discerning the material body in this way…"

So if one follows the Visuddhimagga,. as mentioned, before to discern the mentality that arises from this body (eye consciousness from the eye base and so on) first one need to discern the condition of the arising into the womb, that is ignorance, craving clinging and kamma. And this come from the kamma that arise at the time of the previous death just before this life.


Dear Venerable Moneyya
That section is describing the occurences at the time of birth. It is the knowledge of the Buddha and great arahats- very important to know these details as it breaks up the idea of any self involved in what is only a process of mentatlity and materiality.
But it is not saying that beginners in insight or even the advanced need to see into the past in a like way.


Defining both to be alike by inference from that same object : the meaning is that by inference, by induction, from the object seen by actual experience he defines****

  1. “‘Causes cessation’: he causes greed to reach the cessation of suppression; he suppresses it, is the meaning. That is why he said ‘by means of mundane knowledge.’ And since there is suppression, how can there be arousing? Therefore he said ‘not its origination’” (Vism-mhṭ 828).
    both [the seen and the unseen] to have a single individual essence thus, “The field of formations dissolved in the past, and will break up in the future, just as it does [in the present].” And this is said by the Ancients:

“With vision of those present purified

He infers those past and future to be alike; He infers that all formations disappear,

Like dew-drops when the morning sun comes up.”


Friend, sorry I can’t agree. This beginning of the section of kankhāvitaraṇavisuddhi describes the practice for one who discern causes and conditions:

" Having this directed his mind to cause and conditions of mentality and materiality, he firsts discern the condition for mentality and materiality of the body in this way: when this body is born it is not born in red or blue lotus or water lily, or inside a pearl in jewellery store, on the contrary, like a rotting flesh… It is born in between the receptacle of indigested food and the receptacle for the digested food, behind the belly lining,
In front of the backbones, surrounded by entrails(…) When it is born thus, the four causes are namely ignorance, craving, clinging and kamma , since it is they that bring about birth(…) And of these, the three beginning with Ignorance are decisive support for this body, as her mother for her enfant, and kamma begets it, as the father does the child, and nutriment maintains it, as the nurse nurture the child.

After discerning the material body in this way…"

Very clearly, It is practical description for the arising of this Vipassanā Ñāna. Nothing here about Buddha or Agga Savaka Knowledge.

There are some inference about the past of this infinite saṃsāra and future infinite saṃsāra, this is the inference.
But as to discern the direct past and direct future lives are necessary to get rid of doubts of past and future, according to the five methods of discerning causes and conditions described in Visuddhimagga.


I give the full context of this :slight_smile:

  1. To begin with, **he considers thus: “**Firstly this mentality-materiality is not causeless, because if that were so, it would follow that [having no causes to differentiate it,] it would be identical everywhere always and for all. It has no Overlord, etc., because of the non-existence of any Overlord, etc. (XVI.85), over and above mentality-materiality. And because, if people then argue that mentality- materiality itself is its Overlord, etc., then it follows that their mentality-materiality, which they call the Overlord, etc., would itself be causeless. Consequently there must be a cause and a condition for it. What are they?”
  2. Having thus directed his attention to mentality-materiality’s cause and condition, he first discerns the cause and condition for the material body in this way: “When this body is born it is not born inside a blue, red or white lotus or water-lily, etc., or inside a store of jewels or pearls, etc.; on the contrary, like a worm in rotting flesh, in a rotting corpse, in rotting dough, in a drain, in a cesspool, etc., it is born in between the receptacle for undigested food and the receptacle for digested food, behind the belly lining, in front of the backbone, surrounded by the bowel and the entrails, in a place that is stinking, disgusting, repulsive, and extremely cramped, being itself stinking, disgusting, and repulsive. When it is born thus, its causes (root-causes) are the four things, namely, ignorance, craving, clinging, and kamma, [599] since it is they that bring about its birth; and nutriment is its condition, since it is that that consolidates it. So five things constitute its cause and condition. And of these, the three beginning with ignorance are the decisive-support for this body, as the

mother is for her infant, and kamma begets it, as the father does the child; and nutriment sustains it, as the wet-nurse does the infant.”

3. After discerning the material body’s conditions in this way, he again discerns the mental body in the way beginning: “Due to eye and to visible object eye- consciousness arises” (S II 72; M I 111). When he has thus seen that the occurrence of mentality-materiality is due to conditions, then he sees that, as now, so in the past too its occurrence was due to conditions, and in the future too its occurrence will be due to conditions.
4. When he sees it in this way, all his uncertainty is abandoned, that is to say, the five kinds of uncertainty about the past stated thus: “Was I in the past? Was I not in the past? What was I in the past? How was I in the past? Having been what, what was I in the past?” (M I 8), and also the five kinds of uncertainty about the future stated thus: “Shall I be in the future? Shall I not be in the future? What shall I be in the future? How shall I be in the future? Having been what, what shall I be in the future?” (M I 8); and also the six kinds of uncertainty about the present stated thus: “Am I? Am I not? What am I? How am I? Whence will this being have come? Whither will it be bound?” (M I 8).

5. Another sees the conditions for mentality as two-fold, according to what is common to all and to what is not common to all, and that for materiality as fourfold, according to kamma, and so on.
6. The condition for mentality is twofold, as that which is common to all and that which is not common to all. Herein, the six doors beginning with the eye and the six objects beginning with visible data are a condition-common-to-all for mentality because the occurrence of all kinds [of mentality] classified as profitable, etc., is due to that [condition]. But attention, etc., are not common to all; for wise attention, hearing the Good Dhamma, etc., are a condition only for the profitable, [600] while the opposite kinds are a condition for the unprofitable. Kamma, etc., are a condition for the resultant mentality; and the life-continuum, etc., are a condition for the functional.
7. Kamma, consciousness, temperature, and nutriment constitute this fourfold condition for materiality beginning with kamma. Herein it is only when it is past that kamma is a condition for kamma-originated materiality; consciousness is a condition, when it is arising, for consciousness-originated materiality. Temperature and nutriment are conditions at the instant (moment) of their presence for temperature-originated and nutriment-originated materiality.1

This is how one man discerns the conditions for mentality-materiality.
10. When he has seen that the occurrence of mentality-materiality is due to conditions in this way, he sees also that, as now, so too in the past its occurrence was due to conditions, and in the future its occurrence will be due to conditions. When he sees it in this way, his uncertainty about the three periods of time is abandoned in the way already stated.


Dear venerable @Moneyya-Bhante ,

> "Andhakāro antaradhāyīti so kira cintesi – ‘‘ahaṃ ekakoti saññaṃ karomi, anuyuttāpi me atthi, kasmā bhāyāmī’’ti sūro ahosi. Athassa balavā buddhappasādo udapādi. Tasmā andhakāro antaradhāyīti. "

→ The commentary on the Sudatta Sutta, however, does not suggest that there was any light arising from Sudatta at the time he left his home. We know from the commentary that he left only after the end of the third watch of the night: “Pacchimayāmāvasāne pana balavapaccūseyeva uṭṭhāya ākāsatalaṃ āgantvā mahādvārābhimukhova ahosi, sattabhūmikadvāraṃ sayameva vivaṭaṃ ahosi.” Instead, after the ogre spoke to Sudatta, the Commentary says that “darkness disappeared.” The darkness, as explained earlier in the text, was caused by flies, bad smell, in addition to a reduction in his Buddhānussati:

“Makkhikā uppatitvā parikiriṃsu. Duggandho nāsapuṭaṃ abhihani. Buddhappasādo tanuttaṃ gato. Tenassa āloko antaradhāyi, andhakāro pāturahosi.”

→ Note that the powerful faith in the Buddha arose in Sudatta only after he lost the light (“… so kira cintesi – ‘‘ahaṃ ekakoti saññaṃ karomi, anuyuttāpi me atthi, kasmā bhāyāmī’’ti sūro ahosi. Athassa balavā buddhappasādo udapādi.”). The light was not caused by his Buddhanussati (it was simply the light of early dawn because there would be no other way for him to get out of his house), and it is not indicated anywhere in the sutta or the Commentary that Buddhanussati would cause the light at the time after the third watch of the night. However, it is true that his faith in the Buddha made him so resolved that he was able to remove the flies and overcome the bad smell he encountered on his way and thus continue further.

We get there, however, a different mention, which is worth mentioning here - the light caused by pīti, joy. This joy, however, though it causes “light,” as the Commentaries say, did not reduce Sudatta’s desire to sleep: “paṭhamayāme tāva vītivatte uṭṭhāya buddhaṃ anussari, athassa balavappasādo udapādi, pītiāloko ahosi, sabbatamaṃ vigacchi”. I worry that the Commentarial gloss that the light was as intense as the light when the sun or moon rises is not tenable because then Sudatta might not be able to fall asleep again (but he did, two times). The Sub-Commentaries agree that the light was caused by joy and that the joy was caused by faith. There is no talk about concentration or wisdom. It was this particular light that was caused by mind & temperature:

“Balavappasādoti buddhārammaṇā balavatī saddhā. Pītiālokoti purimabuddhesu cirakālaṃ paricayaṃ gatassa balavato pasādassa vasena ‘‘buddho’’ti nāmaṃ savanamattena uppannāya uḷārāya pītiyā samuṭṭhāpito vipassanobhāsasadiso sātisayo āloko hoti cittapaccayautusamuṭṭhāno.”

The problem of vipassanā obhāsa is explained in Sāratthadīpanī-Ṭīkā MM vol. 2 p. 236, where it is explained only as upakkilesa. A yogi misperceives it as the Path or Fruition and does not progress:
“Tassa amaggaṃ ‘‘maggo’’ti aphalaṃ vā ‘‘phala’’nti gaṇhato vipassanāvīthi ukkantā nāma hoti. So attano mūlakammaṭṭhānaṃ vissajjetvā obhāsameva assādento nisīdati.”

“As for your statement on the light, which would be the mere absence of nīvarana in MN 49 Atthakathā, I didn’t find it.
Please you can quote, and we will see the statement.
But how it could be, for example, Patibhāga nimitta if the light not existing really? How it could be a light of Vipassanā that becomes Upakkilesa when the yogi misinterpret it? It doesn’t match Bhante.”

→ It seems there is confusion regarding two different phenomena, Paṭibhāga nimitta of meditation on the breath and Upakkilesa light. There is light that is desirable, namely Paṭibhāga nimitta of breath. There is light that is not desirable, namely Upakkilesa light. They are different because their causes are different. Paṭibhāga nimitta of meditation on the breath is caused by concentration on the breath; some people see various things in place of the breath jhāna nimitta, which are not necessarily mainly light, such as when they see a lump of cotton. The object of breath produces these images probably because the air that is breathed is cool and soft, which may cause the perception of a similarly experienced phenomenon - light. However, loving-kindness has no “lighteness” or “softness,” likewise Buddhānussati. Both of these objects are purely mental. In the case of upakkilesa, the light there is caused by a delusion of the mind, just like when the mind starts to create poems or reminds the person of important plans or duties so that the mind does not have to deal with the object of concentration (cf. the simile of a wild elephant tied up at a post).

→ Dear venerable sir, I am sorry for the inaccuracy. The text for Brahmanimantanika Sutta, which explains light as the absence of defilements, was not a Commentary but a Sub-Commentary. Here I am copy-pasting from the document I have already shared elsewhere in this forum:

"Atha vā pabhanti titthassa nāmaṃ, sabbato pabhamassāti sabbatopabhaṃ. Nibbānassa kira yathā mahāsamuddassa yato yato otaritukāmā honti, taṃ tadeva titthaṃ, atitthaṃ nāma natthi. Evamevaṃ aṭṭhatiṃsāya kammaṭṭhānesu yena yena mukhena nibbānaṃ otaritukāmā honti, taṃ tadeva titthaṃ. Nibbānassa atitthaṃ nāma kammaṭṭhānaṃ natthi. Tena vuttaṃ sabbatopabhanti.” (MNA 2.310)

→ The Sub-Commentary further explains that (a) because there is no darkness (tamo), Nibbāna shines; (b) how the word “pabha” is a different form of “pabhū” (better), thus exalting the great element of Nibbāna, (c) that Nibbāna “shines” by the absence of immaterial phenomena, or (d) that is in fact a different way of pronouncing “pavisa” (entering the shore of Nibbāna) - Apabhassarabhāvahetūnaṃ sabbaso abhāvā sabbato pabhāti sabbatopabhaṃ. Tenāha ‘‘nibbānato hī’’tiādi. Tathā hi vuttaṃ – ‘‘tamo tattha na vijjatī’’ti. (Netti. 104) pabhūtamevāti pakaṭṭhabhāvena ukkaṭṭhabhāvena vijjamānameva. Arūpībhāvena adesikattā sabbato pabhavati vijjatīti sabbatopabhaṃ. Tenāha ‘‘puratthimadisādīsū’’tiādi. Pavisanti etthāti pavisaṃ, tadeva sa-kārassa bha-kāraṃ, vi-kārassa ca lopaṃ katvā vuttaṃ ‘‘pabha’’nti. Tenāha ‘‘titthassa nāma’’nti. (MNṬ 2.317)

The Dīgha Nikāya Sub-Commentary explains “pabha” as a different way of pronouncing “papa” (water), thus elaborating on the Commentarial explanation of the same words (Viññāṇaṃ anidassanaṃ, anantaṃ sabbatopabhaṃ) mentioned in DN 11. Kevaṭṭa/Kevaddha Sutta and adds that “shining all around” means that Nibbāna “shines by the total absence of defilement” – “Titthassa nāma’’nti vatvā tattha nibbacanaṃ dassetuṃ ‘‘papanti etthāti papa’’nti vuttaṃ. Ettha hi papanti pānatitthaṃ. Bha-kāro kato niruttinayena. Visuddhaṭṭhena vā sabbatopabhaṃ, kenaci anupakkiliṭṭhatāya samantato pabhassaranti attho.” (DNṬ 1.393)

“The brightness of Vipassanā is bright materiality produced from the Vipassanā mind and also with this same lineage ( of materiality), materiality produced from temperature.”

→ I do not see any reason why would Visuddhimagga Mahāṭīkā be anything more than attano mati (personal opinion) of its author. Whatever these statements that are providing a requirement for meditators, they should be well supported by the Mūḷa and Aṭṭhakathā. As the Buddha explained a short time before He passed away, if someone claims they have heard something from the Buddha, etc., but it is not in accordance with the original Dhamma Vinaya, it should be rejected.

Without decisive scriptural support, the conclusions that all upacāra samādhi and jhāna samādhi produce light are far-fetched exaggerations. They will need a direct quote from the scriptures; otherwise, they are again attano-mati, like there was this idea that Nibbāna is the same as Saṃsāra. Again, this is a far-fetched exaggeration, requiring a quote from Buddha-Dhamma.

Dear @RobertK,
It seems that we are here mixing two different things - meditation and contemplation. Meditation is samatha-vipassanā, contemplation is sammasana, which is always conceptual and does not count as the essential meditation practice. See here what the great Burmese master venerable Paṇḍābhivaṃsa wrote about it in his book “Paṭipattikkama Ṭīkā” (my translation from Burmese) -

p. 348 Kalāpasammasana ñāṇa is a summarized understanding of all past, present, and future (both in momentary perception as well as longer period perception) phenomena in all three worlds (kāma, rūpa, arūpa) and repeated, continuous observing of their impermanence, unsatisfactoriness, and not-self, The practice is based on conceptual perceptions. …

p. 351 … all of the three times - past, present, future -cease on their own without ever exceeding the other time or mixing with the other, e.g., past never gets into the present, present never gets into the future, future never reaches the present - all three times of time are however conceptual, they are not real. This considering three times is for each and every one of the five aggregates - body, feelings, perceptions, intentions, and consciousness.

p. 348 Kalāpasammasana practice was practiced by people in the Buddha’s time in India as observing anicca, dukkha, anatta in body and mind. It is a practice to be followed, especially at the level of cittavisuddhi. An author of a Tika scripture suggests that because kalāpasammasana is only for teaching purposes, it should not be added to any of the visuddhis.

→ Note that this practice is dependent on observing the past and future, which was discouraged by the Buddha, e.g., in MN Bhaddekaratta Sutta. Ven. Paṇḍābhivaṃsa suggests that this was said in reference to a “must” case, i.e., it “may” be added into a visuddhi level; however, it is not a must. [p. 357 In Sri Lanka it is called naya vipassanā.]


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