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This is based on the comments below this answer.

From this page, we find the commentary:

nirodha-samāpatti 'attainment of extinction' (S. XIV, 11), also called saññā-vedayita-nirodha, 'extinction of feeling and perception', is the temporary suspension of all consciousness and mental activity, following immediately upon the semi-conscious state called 'sphere of neither-perception-nor-non-perception' (s. jhāna, 8).

And also this commentary:

According to the commentary, "seclusion" here stands for Unbinding. On emerging from the cessation of perception & feeling, and having had contact with emptiness/the signless/the undirected, the mind inclines naturally to a direct experience of Unbinding.

On the other hand, the sutta states:

Furthermore, take a mendicant who, going totally beyond the dimension of neither perception nor non-perception, enters and remains in the cessation of perception and feeling. And, having seen with wisdom, their defilements come to an end. To this extent the Buddha spoke of progressive cessation in a definitive sense.”
AN 9.61

My question is:

Does nirodha samapatti aka saññā-vedayita-nirodha refer to a super trance-like state beyond the 8th jhana in which the practitioner becomes completely unconscious without any mental activity (like what the commentary above suggests) with cessation of ALL perception and feeling?

Or does nirodha samapatti aka saññā-vedayita-nirodha refer to Nibbana-element with residue aka Unbinding-property with fuel remaining of Iti 44 (please see Ven. Thanissaro's footnotes), where the arahant is fully conscious with mental activity, but has cessation of only the clinging (or tainted) perception and feeling? This is related to the clinging aggregates of SN 22.48.

The quoted passage from AN 9.61 can be interpreted in both these ways. The commentary suggests that after the practitioner comes out of the super trance-like state then he stays with Nibbana-element with residue. But the latter interpretation suggests that beyond the 8 jhanas, there is no super trance-like state. Rather, after experiencing Nibbana, it's directly Nibbana-element with residue in any state with mental activity present.

In short, does nirodha samapatti aka saññā-vedayita-nirodha mean cessation of ALL perception and feeling, or cessation of the clinging-aggregates of perception and feeling?

Question: does nirodha samapatti refer to a super trance like state beyond 8th jhana OR does it refer to the state of arahantship (nibbana-element without residue i.e. without the clinging aggregates of perception and feeling)?

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  • I’m voting to close this question because This question does not appear to be about Buddhist philosophy, teaching, and practice, within the scope defined in the help center. If saññā-vedayita-nirodha referred to Nibbana-element then it would be called the Nibbana Element Jul 4 at 4:29
  • In my current understanding, Ven. Khemaka was describing nirodha in the Khemaka Sutta: With regard to these five clinging-aggregates, there is nothing I assume to be self or belonging to self, and yet I am not an arahant. and then later uses two excellent teachings - one where he uses the scent of a flower and the other with the scent of a cloth - to describe how wasn't fully released. This coincides with your Nibbana-element with residue comment. It also coincides with my own personal understanding.
    – Max
    Jul 4 at 6:06
  • If you read about the last day of the buddha, before parinibbana he enters into & emerges from sannavedananirodha. That would be a nirodha samapati but signless/emptiness/undirected release are also nirodha based releases. All phala samapatti are also nirodha based, difference is only in how they are approached , apprehended and what defilemwnt has been removed.
    – user8527
    Jul 4 at 13:33
  • @YesheTenley I didn't originally put Theravada there, but I did put Pali Canon. Now I have removed Theravada.
    – ruben2020
    Jul 4 at 14:45
  • Ok, if you wish non-Theravada answers, but I am not sure you so wish as the Mayahana posit the attainment(s) of an Arahant and the attainment(s) of Arya beings as different from eachother and from the attainments of a Buddha. While I believe this is consistent with the pali canon, it would be hard to explain as Pali canon has most of the points in embryonic form Jul 4 at 14:51
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Does nirodha samapatti aka saññā-vedayita-nirodha refer to a super trance-like state beyond the 8th jhana in which the practitioner becomes completely unconscious without any mental activity (like what the commentary above suggests) with cessation of ALL perception and feeling?

Yes.

Or does nirodha samapatti aka saññā-vedayita-nirodha refer to Nibbana-element with residue aka Unbinding-property with fuel remaining of Iti 44 (please see Ven. Thanissaro's footnotes), where the arahant is fully conscious with mental activity, but has cessation of only the clinging (or tainted) perception and feeling? This is related to the clinging aggregates of SN 22.48.

No. the "Cessation of only the clinging (or tainted) perception and feeling" has already happened at the enlightenment moment of Arahanta. There has no ceased Kilesa left to cease anymore, after Magga arose.

And in basic Abhidhamma, 4 nama-aggregates always arises together. No sanna means no vedana, no sankhara, and no vinnana too.

But the latter interpretation suggests that beyond the 8 jhanas, there is no super trance-like state. Rather, after experiencing Nibbana, it's directly Nibbana-element with residue in any state with mental activity present.

In basic Abhidhamma, 19 nama arising (CittUppada) can know Nibbana, 4 MaggaCitta 4 PhalaCitta 4 NanasampayuttaMahaKusalaCitta 4 NanaSampayuttaMahaKiriyaCitta 2 AbhinnaCitta 1 ManoDvaravajjana.

So, the "directly Nibbana-element with residue in any state with mental activity present" is included into those 19 nama arising already. It is not NirodhaSamapatti.

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In short, does nirodha samapatti aka saññā-vedayita-nirodha mean cessation of ALL perception and feeling, or only clinging to perception and feeling?

Perhaps it's helpful to remember that cessation of dukkha is the goal.

A "trace-like state" implies to me a disconnection from reality, a non-responsiveness.

I wonder if instead, or more specifically, it's a "cessation of perception and feeling of dukkha".

Perception -- sañña -- is described as "grasping distinguishing features". So perhaps (unlike a trance) there remains awareness of distinguishing features -- ability to distinguish things -- but a pacification of the type of grasping and fabrication that gives rise to dukkha.

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  • So you believe it refers to the state of an Arahant? Jul 4 at 13:27
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Does nirodha samapatti aka saññā-vedayita-nirodha refer to a super trance-like state beyond the 8th jhana in which the practitioner becomes completely unconscious without any mental activity (like what the commentary above suggests) with cessation of ALL perception and feeling?

I think the question can be framed like they did in the sutta.

Then Ven. Ananda went to the Blessed One and, on arrival, having bowed down to him, sat to one side. As he was sitting there, he said to the Blessed One, "Lord, could a monk have an attainment of concentration such that he would neither be percipient of earth with regard to earth, nor of water with regard to water, nor of fire... wind... the dimension of the infinitude of space... the dimension of the infinitude of consciousness... the dimension of nothingness... the dimension of neither perception nor non-perception... this world... nor of the next world with regard to the next world, and yet he would still be percipient?"

"Yes, Ananda, he could..."

"But how, lord, could a monk have an attainment of concentration such that he would neither be percipient of earth with regard to earth... nor of the next world with regard to the next world, and yet he would still be percipient?"

"There is the case, Ananda, where the monk would be percipient in this way: 'This is peace, this is exquisite — the resolution of all fabrications; the relinquishment of all acquisitions; the ending of craving; dispassion; cessation; Unbinding.' It's in this way that a monk could have an attainment of concentration such that he would neither be percipient of earth with regard to earth, nor of water with regard to water, nor of fire... wind... the dimension of the infinitude of space... the dimension of the infinitude of consciousness... the dimension of nothingness... the dimension of neither perception nor non-perception... this world... nor of the next world with regard to the next world, and yet he would still be percipient." - AN 10.6

I think this is analogical because cessation of perception & feeling is a very strictly defined term. Feeling is defined as the 6 classes of feeling; primarily as mind-base contact and classed as to associated with contact based on the 5 faculties or not.

Ananda tries to cover all states of feeling & perception starting with what is derived from earth, heat, wind and water such as plants or our own body with it's organs implicated in contact, this are all bodily and sensory feelings pertaining to the five faculties & the memory or imagination based on forms cognizable via the five faculties which are unimpaired for an Arahant;

then he talks about the arupajhana, of which there isn't much varition as these are trance like states or perception or neither perception nor non-perception;

Finally he says 'neither this world nor the next', which in the discipline of the noble one's would mean neither this mind & body nor the next because in the discipline of noble one's that in the world which conceives & perceives the world is called a world (mind, eye, tongue, nose, ear, body).

I think this means neither something pertaining to this life or some vision of the next life.

Imo, essentially like Ruben, Ananda seems to be asking about whether there is some super trance-like state beyond the 8th jhana in which the practitioner becomes completely unconscious without any mental activity with cessation of ALL perception and feeling.

Sariputta puts it like this;

“Once, friend Ānanda, when I was staying right here near Sāvatthī in the Grove of the Blind, I reached concentration in such a way that I was neither percipient of earth with regard to earth…nor of the next world with regard to the next world, and yet I was still percipient.”

“But what, friend Sāriputta, were you percipient of at that time?”

“‘The cessation of becoming—unbinding—the cessation of becoming—unbinding’: One perception arose in me, friend Ānanda, as another perception ceased. Just as in a blazing woodchip fire, one flame arises as another flame ceases, even so, ‘The cessation of becoming—unbinding—the cessation of becoming—unbinding’: One perception arose in me as another one ceased. I was percipient at that time of ‘The cessation of becoming—unbinding.’

I this is is a bad translation tho, i think the end should be 'The cessation of existence is Nibbana'

Bhavanirodho nibbānaṁ bhavanirodho nibbānan’ti kho me, āvuso, aññāva saññā uppajjati aññāva saññā nirujjhati.

There is also a mention of super trance-like state beyond the 8th jhana here;

"He is absorbed dependent neither on earth, liquid, fire, wind, the sphere of the infinitude of space, the sphere of the infinitude of consciousness, the sphere of nothingness, the sphere of neither perception nor non-perception, this world, the next world, nor on whatever is seen, heard, sensed, cognized, attained, sought after, or pondered by the intellect — and yet he is absorbed. And to this excellent thoroughbred of a man, absorbed in this way, the gods, together with Indra, the Brahmas, & Pajapati, pay homage even from afar:

'Homage to you, O thoroughbred man. Homage to you, O superlative man — you of whom we don't know even what it is dependent on which you're absorbed.'https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/an/an11/an11.010.than.html

I think therefore one can say that there is a state where one is perceptient of unbinding and it is a suspension physical & mental activity and one is said to be percipient thus ‘The cessation of existence is extinguishment.’ One's life force is not exhausted and faculties are exceptionally clear, obviously as one is seeing with wisdom the truth of cessation as it actually is at that time and will thus abide percipient of unalloyed pleasure for a time determined by prior development and for up to 7 days.

This is said similarly to how one would say in regards to the attainment of the formless dimension of the perception nothingness at that time i was percipient 'There is nothing'.

"There are three conditions for the persistence of the theme-less awareness-release: lack of attention to all themes, attention to the theme-less property, and a prior act of will. These are the three conditions for the persistence of the theme-less awareness-release."

"And what is the nothingness awareness-release? There is the case where a monk, with the complete transcending of the dimension of the infinitude of consciousness, [perceiving,] 'There is nothing,' enters & remains in the dimension of nothingness. This is called the nothingness awareness-release.

"And what is the emptiness awareness-release? There is the case where a monk, having gone into the wilderness, to the root of a tree, or into an empty dwelling, considers this: 'This is empty of self or of anything pertaining to self.'[5] This is called the emptiness awareness-release. "And what is the theme-less awareness-release? There is the case where a monk, through not attending to all themes, enters & remains in the theme-less concentration of awareness.[6] This is called the theme-less awareness-release.

"This is the way of explaining by which these qualities are different in meaning & different in name.

"And what is the way of explaining whereby these qualities are one in meaning and different only in name?

"Passion, friend, is a making of limits. Aversion is a making of limits. Delusion is a making of limits. In a monk whose fermentations are ended, these have been abandoned, their root destroyed, made like a palmyra stump, deprived of the conditions of development, not destined for future arising. Now, to the extent that there is immeasurable awareness-release, the unprovoked awareness-release is declared the foremost. And this unprovoked awareness-release is empty of passion, empty of aversion, empty of delusion.

"Passion is a something. Aversion is a something. Delusion is a something. In a monk whose fermentations are ended, these have been abandoned, their root destroyed, made like a palmyra stump, deprived of the conditions of development, not destined for future arising. Now, to the extent that there is nothingness awareness-release, the unprovoked awareness-release is declared the foremost. And this unprovoked awareness-release is empty of passion, empty of aversion, empty of delusion.

"Passion is a making of themes. Aversion is a making of themes. Delusion is a making of themes. In a monk whose fermentations are ended, these have been abandoned, their root destroyed, made like a palmyra stump, deprived of the conditions of development, not destined for future arising. Now, to the extent that there is theme-less awareness-release, the unprovoked awareness-release is declared the foremost. And this unprovoked awareness-release is empty of passion, empty of aversion, empty of delusion.

"This, friend, is the way of explaining whereby these qualities are one in meaning and different only in name. https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.043.than.html

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  • I think this should answer your question because if you think that there is a super trance like state then it's certainly sannavedananirodha which is nibbana because that seeing with wisdom destroys taints. I mean the initial attainment of the Buddha, he sat for 7 days, it wasn't jhana rupa or arupa jhana, ppl later called it lokuttarajhana.
    – user8527
    Jul 3 at 23:14
  • Hi, I am either confused as to what Ruben’s question is or confused as to your answer, because this does not appear to me to answer the question… do you see my edit to the OP and agree the paraphrase is in accordance with your understanding of the question? Jul 4 at 13:13
  • I added this answer to complement the referenced comments in the link from op. I already explained to my best ability what i thinl the theravada take on this is and don't want repeat everything again to the same questineer.
    – user8527
    Jul 4 at 13:16
  • Ok, now with Ruben’s edit of my paraphrase I think your answer is affirming that it is to be understood as the state of an Arahant and not a super trance like state?? Jul 4 at 13:26
  • It's a super trance state so to speak, it lasts for a predetermined amount of time
    – user8527
    Jul 4 at 20:05

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