Reply To: Mahāsaccaka Sutta Translation.


Those Pali words in question are: “vivicceva kāmehi” and “vivicca akusalehi dhammehi”.

In the English translation that you quoted those are translated as: “Quite secluded from sensual pleasures” and “secluded from unskillful qualities.”
– So it does not make sense to have “quite secluded” in one and “secluded” in the other.

That verse in almost all suttas on Ariya and anariya jhana.
– We could translate those words as: “separated from sensuality/sensual thoughts” and “separated from akusala/akusala thoughts.”

1. In anariya jhana, one keeps the mind away from those thoughts of sensual pleasures (kama sankappa) by forcing the mind to focus on a neutral object like a kasina object/breath. They also stay from doing akusala kamma. However, kama raga anusaya is in them, and they have miccha ditthi, i.e., ditthi anusaya as well as avijja anusaya is in them.

2. In the first Ariya jhana, kama raga anusaya is absent, and also the ditthi anusaya is absent. In the fourth Ariya jhana, basically, all anusaya are absent, including the avijja anusaya.

3. So, you can see that “separated from sensual thoughts” and “separated from akusala thoughts” have VERY DIFFERENT meanings in Ariya and anariya jhana.
– It is a matter of “level of separation.”
– One can compare an anariya jhana to a coal fire that has been put out to the level that no flames can be seen. But hot coals remain and the fire can ignite again; also one can still feel the warmth.
– On the other hand, with anusaya removed, it is like a fire that has been put out by pouring water over it. The cooling down is complete and no fires can re-start.