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From AN 9.37:

Ven. Ānanda said, “It’s amazing, friends, it’s astounding, how the Blessed One who knows & sees, the worthy one, rightly self-awakened, has attained & awakened to an opening [in a confining place]1 for the purification of beings, for the overcoming of sorrow & lamentation, for the disappearance of pain & distress, for the attainment of the right method, & for the realization of unbinding, where the eye will be, and those forms, and yet one will not be sensitive to that dimension; where the ear will be, and those sounds… where the nose will be, and those aromas… where the tongue will be, and those flavors… where the body will be, and those tactile sensations, and yet one will not be sensitive to that dimension.

Why does the passage omit the sixth-sense sphere, intellect-idea? Usually the use of ellipsis for repetitive text, but not in this discourse. Does this discourse describe intra-jhana or a state after jhana?

As an adjunct, MN43 says this about the state after cessation of perception and feeling:

Friend, what is the difference between a dead body and a bhikkhu attained to the cessation of perceptions and feelings? Friend, in a dead body the bodily determination (in and out breath) has ceased and is appeased The verbal determination (thinking and pondering) has ceased and is appeased The mental determination (feeling and perception) has ceased and is appeased. Vitality is exhausted. The heat has extinguished, and the mental faculties have broken up.

Of the bhikkhu attained to the cessation of perceptions and feelings, the bodily determintion has ceased and is appeased. The verbal determination has ceased and is appeased. The mental determination has ceased is appeased. Vitality is not exhausted. The heat is not extinguished. The mental faculties are very clear. Friend, this is the difference between a dead body and of one attained to the cessation of perceptions and feelings.

If AN 9:37 is not describing jhana, does MN.43 describe a state different than AN 9.37?

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The passage in AN 9.37 omits the sixth sense sphere because the sixth sense sphere is conscious/percipient of the immaterial spheres:

[Ven. Udāyin:] “When not sensitive to that dimension, my friend, one is percipient of what?”

[Ven. Ānanda:] “There is the case where, with the complete transcending of perceptions of (physical) form, with the disappearance of perceptions of resistance, and not attending to perceptions of multiplicity, (perceiving,) ‘Infinite space,’ one enters & remains in the dimension of the infinitude of space. Percipient in this way, one is not sensitive to that dimension [i.e, the dimensions of the five physical senses].

And further, with the complete transcending of the dimension of the infinitude of space, (perceiving,) ‘Infinite consciousness,’ one enters & remains in the dimension of the infinitude of consciousness. Percipient in this way, too, one is not sensitive to that dimension.

And further, with the complete transcending of the dimension of the infinitude of consciousness, (perceiving,) ‘There is nothing,’ one enters & remains in the dimension of nothingness. Percipient in this way, too, one is not sensitive to that dimension.

MN 43 does not say: "The mental faculties are very clear". When MN 43 uses the term 'faculties', it is referring the five physical sense faculties, as follows:

Friend, there are these five faculties each with a separate range, a separate domain, and they do not experience one another's range & domain: the eye-faculty, the ear-faculty, the nose-faculty, the tongue-faculty, & the body-faculty.

Friend, what can be known with the purified intellect-consciousness divorced from the five [sense] faculties? Friend, with the purified intellect-consciousness divorced from the five faculties the dimension of the infinitude of space can be known [as] 'infinite space.' The dimension of the infinitude of consciousness can be known [as] 'infinite consciousness.' The dimension of nothingness can be known [as] 'There is nothing.'

But in the case of a monk who has attained the cessation of perception & feeling, his bodily fabrications have ceased & subsided, his verbal fabrications ... his mental fabrications have ceased & subsided, his vitality is not exhausted, his heat has not subsided, & his [five sense] faculties are exceptionally clear.

MN 43

Also, the translation "clear" sounds misleading because it gives the impression the five sense faculties are lucid & conscious. The Pali is vippasanna, which can mean 'pure', in the sense of 'clean', rather than 'lucid' or 'sinless'.

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  • so to be clear, you are saying AN9:37 is describing jhana, and not a post-jhana state
    – blue_ego
    Jun 21, 2023 at 0:39
  • No. There are only four jhanas, the 1st with vitakka, vicara, piti, sukha, ekaggata, 2nd, 3rd & 4th. AN 9.37 is describing arupa spheres, which occur after the four jhanas. In common speech, AN 9.37 is describing the 5th, 6th & 7th 'jhana'; even though they are not called 'jhana' in the suttas. Jun 21, 2023 at 0:42
  • that's what i thought but i was reading as if it was post-jhana....
    – blue_ego
    Jun 21, 2023 at 0:50

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