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I read the following on the internet:

Any topic for satipatthana "mindfulness", can be a topic for samādhi nimitta, or a subject for jhāna meditation to investigate with dhamma-vicaya, vitakka and vicāra, upekkha, sati and sampajāno in the higher jhānas.

  1. Does mindfulness investigate?

  2. Does sampajāno investigate?

  3. Does vitaka & vicara perform the function of dhamma-vicaya (investigation) in jhana?

  4. If vitaka & vicara cease in the 2nd jhana, is there no dhamma-vicaya in the 2nd, 3rd & 4th jhanas?

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    There's a reviewing process after attaining each of the Jhanas.
    – user24100
    Oct 31, 2023 at 14:15
  • Thank you. My impression is the suttas do not refer to "reviewing". Regardless, for a review to occur, there still must be direct seeing while dwelling in jhana that discerns its features & characteristics. Oct 31, 2023 at 19:54
  • Is it possible to go all out in a 100m dash while taking a bite or two? I supposed a person can try but it will be pretty pointless. But to drink or eat after a 100m dash is definitely a more enjoyable experience and both activities can be performed much better.
    – Desmon
    Nov 1, 2023 at 10:45

3 Answers 3

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Many suttas (such as SN 45.8, MN 117, MN 27 & AN 10.61) describe the place of mindfulness (sati) & situational awareness (sampajānna) in the Path, where mindfulness & sampajano are established prior to jhana.

MN 117 says:

In one of right mindfulness, right concentration comes into being.

MN 27 says:

When they have this entire spectrum of noble ethics, this noble contentment, this noble sense restraint, and this noble mindfulness and situational awareness, they frequent a secluded lodging—a wilderness, the root of a tree, a hill, a ravine, a mountain cave, a charnel ground, a forest, the open air, a heap of straw... Giving up covetousness for the world, they meditate with a heart rid of covetousness, cleansing the mind of covetousness...They give up these five hindrances, corruptions of the heart that weaken wisdom.... Then, quite secluded from sensual pleasures, secluded from unskillful qualities, they enter and remain in the first absorption...

AN 10.61 says:

Thus associating with good persons, becoming full, fills up hearing the good Dhamma. Hearing the good Dhamma, becoming full, fills up faith. Faith, becoming full, fills up careful attention. Careful attention, becoming full, fills up mindfulness and clear comprehension. Mindfulness and clear comprehension, becoming full, fill up restraint of the sense faculties. Restraint of the sense faculties, becoming full, fills up the three kinds of good conduct. The three kinds of good conduct, becoming full, fill up the four establishments of mindfulness. The four establishments of mindfulness, becoming full, fill up the seven factors of enlightenment. The seven factors of enlightenment [which include samadhi & jhana], becoming full, fill up true knowledge and liberation. Thus there is nutriment for true knowledge and liberation, and in this way they become full.

The seven factors of enlightenment are described in suttas such as SN 46.3 & MN 118.

AN 46.3 says:

Bhikkhus, those bhikkhus who are accomplished in virtue, accomplished in concentration, accomplished in wisdom, accomplished in liberation, accomplished in the knowledge and vision of liberation: even the sight of those bhikkhus is helpful, I say; even listening to them … even approaching them … even attending on them … even recollecting (anussati) them … even going forth after them is helpful, I say. For what reason? Because when one has heard the Dhamma from such bhikkhus one dwells withdrawn by way of two kinds of withdrawal—withdrawal of body and withdrawal of mind.

“Dwelling thus withdrawn, one recollects (anussarati) that Dhamma and thinks it over (anuvitakketi). Whenever, bhikkhus, a bhikkhu dwelling thus withdrawn recollects that Dhamma and thinks it over, on that occasion the enlightenment factor of mindfulness is aroused by the bhikkhu; on that occasion the bhikkhu develops the enlightenment factor of mindfulness; on that occasion the enlightenment factor of mindfulness (sati) comes to fulfilment by development in the bhikkhu.

Dwelling thus mindfully, he discriminates that Dhamma with wisdom (paññāya), examines it, makes an investigation of it. Whenever, bhikkhus, a bhikkhu dwelling thus mindfully discriminates that Dhamma with wisdom, examines it, makes an investigation of it, on that occasion the enlightenment factor of discrimination of states is aroused by the bhikkhu; on that occasion the bhikkhu develops the enlightenment factor of discrimination of states; on that occasion the enlightenment factor of discrimination of states (dhammavicaya) comes to fulfilment by development in the bhikkhu.

MN 118 says:

Bhikkhus, on whatever occasion a bhikkhu abides contemplating the body as a body, ardent, fully aware (sampajāno) and mindful (satimā), having put away covetousness and grief for the world—on that occasion unremitting mindfulness is established in him. On whatever occasion unremitting mindfulness is established in a bhikkhu—on that occasion the mindfulness enlightenment factor is aroused in him, and he develops it, and by development, it comes to fulfilment in him.

Abiding thus mindful, he investigates and examines that state with wisdom (paññāya) and embarks upon a full inquiry into it. On whatever occasion, abiding thus mindful, a bhikkhu investigates and examines that state with wisdom and embarks upon a full inquiry into it—on that occasion the investigation-of-states (dhammavicaya) enlightenment factor is aroused in him, and he develops it, and by development it comes to fulfilment in him.

About the investigation-of-states (dhammavicaya) enlightenment factor, AN 46.2 adds:

There are, bhikkhus, wholesome and unwholesome states, blameable and blameless states, inferior and superior states, dark and bright states with their counterparts: frequently giving careful attention to them is the nutriment for the arising of the unarisen enlightenment factor of discrimination of states and for the fulfilment by development of the arisen enlightenment factor of discrimination of states.

About the 3rd jhana, the suttas say:

And with the fading away of rapture, I entered and remained in the third absorption, where I meditated with equanimity, mindful and aware, personally experiencing the bliss of which the noble ones declare, ‘Equanimous and mindful, one meditates in bliss.’

About wisdom (panna), MN 43 says:

Wisdom (paññā) and consciousness (viññāṇaṁ) — these things are mixed, not separate. And you can never completely dissect them so as to describe the difference between them. For you understand (pajānāti) what you cognize (vijānāti), and you cognize what you understand.

To summarise the conclusions of the quotes above:

  1. Mindfulness recollects past knowledge, such as the Dhamma taught by a teacher (AN 46.3)

  2. Situational awareness (sampajanno) functions to ensure meditation proceeds following the parameters of that Dhamma taught by a teacher. In other words, regardless of the definition of sampajanna, it is clear sampajanna always functions together with mindfulness.

  3. What performs dhamma-vicaya (investigation of phenomena/doctrines) is wisdom (panna). Wisdom (panna) is a direct product of the consciousness of the reality of dhammas. The teachings are clear that panna, here, is not sampajanna, and sampajanna, here, is not wisdom. Sampajanna is a type of wisdom arising from mindfulness (bringing to mind past knowledge/learning). Where as panna, here, is a product of consciousness or direct/present seeing.

  4. It appears obvious dhamma-vicaya (i.e., the development of wisdom about what is blameless, inferior, superior, dark and bright) is occurring in the 2nd, 3rd & 4th jhana, thus, about the 3rd jhana, the suttas say: "experiencing the bliss of which the noble ones declare". Therefore, since dhamma-vicaya is obviously occurring in the 2nd, 3rd & 4th jhana, it appears obvious the terms 'vitakka & vicara' in the 1st jhana do not refer to dhamma-vicaya.

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I will not be able answer all the questions but I can definitely say that mindfulness does not investigate. Mindfulness focuses on what is present. It may be breath , (heavy breathing , shallow breathing, long breathing , short breathing), body postures ( sleeping , sitting , walking) , state of mind ( strong , feeble , joyful , sad etc) , feelings ( joyful , sad , neutral , disgusting) , body parts ( sensation in heart , stomach , feet etc) , and you can also be mindful of your cravings.(this is not a full list but gist is that we recognise what is there and what is not there)

I read in one of suttas (I don’t remember which) that entering into Jhanas is due to following the path shown by Buddha. There is a bliss of solitude but only if you are able to isolate yourself. I don’t know in which states of jhana I am in or anybody is in because so far nobody has told me about any blissful state they are in. But it arises by following teacher’s guidelines…

Dhamma must be investigated and understood as empty of Self.

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  • look at the standard definition of 'sati'. SN 47.2. it explicitly includes sampajāno as part of the sati definition, in other words the Buddha explicitly includes both remembrance faculty and right view and wisdom faculty as part of sati "mindfulness"
    – frankk
    Nov 2, 2023 at 18:22
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Look at MN 111, AN 4.41, and the standard 3rd jhāna formula, which explicitly contains sati and sampajāno. We already know from MN 125 that first jhāna is explicitly defined as satipatthana done with right resolves, right vitakka, and that can be done any any posture. 3rd jhāna explicitly contains sati and sampajāno.

sampajāna - adj. clearly aware; fully knowing; completely comprehending [saṃ + pa + √ñā + nā + a] ✓

Sampajāno IS the pañña indriya wisdom faculty. It wisely and lucidly discerns past AND present moment.

pañña- adj. wise; intelligent; learned; knowledgeable; skilled [pa + √ñā + ā + a] ✓

The fact that they have the same root and same prefix 'pa' (intensifier) should clue you in on it.

You misunderstand SN 46.3. dhamma-vicaya, Dharma investigation can be done by any of vicāra, vimamsa (4th iddhipāda), sampajāno (2nd through 4th jhāna).

MN 111 and AN 9.36 make it very explicit the four jhānas are doing vipassana WHILE active.

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  • All the jhana formula says is when the 3rd jhana occurs sati sampajana are prominent, which appears to mean the fully comprehension of the purpose of meditating has been strongly reinforced. Nov 2, 2023 at 20:24
  • No no about MN 111. MN 111 uses the same language as AN 4.41. AN 4.41 distinguishes between vipassana (4th samadhi bhavana) and sati sampajjana (3rd samadhi bhavana). The relevant word in MN 111 & AN 4.41 is viditā, which means "understands" or "understood" rather than "knows". I will start a question on this today for your sake. Take care with your speech Frank. Nov 2, 2023 at 20:27
  • hi. some preliminary reading material is at these links buddhism.stackexchange.com/a/31546/8157 buddhism.stackexchange.com/a/34900/8157 but the new question will go further. Nov 2, 2023 at 20:36

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