Vedana – What It Really Means

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    • #19365
      upekkha100
      Participant

      Vēdanā – What It Really Means

      I’d like to highlight the following parts from that post:
      A) “If it is dukha vēdanā (due to a headache, getting injured, etc. ), one is likely to start worrying about it and add more suffering. Those are dōmanassa vēdanā or āmisa dukha vēdanā.””

      B) “If it is sukha vēdanā (getting a massage, lying in a luxurious bed, etc. ), one is likely to start generating thoughts about how good it is and how one can enjoy similar sukha vēdanā in the future. Those are sōmanassa vēdanā or āmisa sukha vēdanā ; one could also be generating them by remembering past such sukha vēdanā.”

      C) “Samphassa jā vēdanā are the ones to be stopped.”

      My line of thinking:
      -As per MN44, vedana is in mano sankhara. Mano sankhara is defined as vedana and sanna
      “Assāsapassāsā kho, āvuso visākha, kāyasankhāro, vitakkavicārā vacīsankhāro, saññā ca vedanā ca cittasankhāro”ti.”
      https://suttacentral.net/mn44/pli/ms

      -And mano sankhara(vedana/sanna) are automatic/unconscious due to our gati, thus we don’t have conscious control to stop this step.

      -To me, those quotes from ABC above sound like vaci sankhara/sankappa rather than mano sankhara. Especially the part about continuing to consciously think and plan about object of attachment.

      My questions:
      1) Is samphassa ja vedana(somanassa/domanassa) in mano sankhara or vaci sankhara? I’d think mano sankhara, but the reason why I’m not sure is because it has been described as what sounds like vaci sankhara to me.

      2) The part about stopping samphassa ja vedana-this does not mean to actually stop the feeling itself right? Because we can’t help it, it is automatic and super fast. Does this mean more along the lines to stop the automatic samphassa ja vedana(mano sankhara) from escalating into vaci sankhara/kaya sankhara?

    • #19369
      Lal
      Keymaster

      Upekkha100 said: “As per MN44, vedana is in mano sankhara. Mano sankhara is defined as vedana and sanna” AND “And mano sankhara(vedana/sanna) are automatic/unconscious due to our gati, thus we don’t have conscious control to stop this step.”

      Those are correct. Vedana and sanna are universal cetasika and they arise in each and every citta.

      Upekkha asked: “ Is samphassa ja vedana(somanassa/domanassa) in mano sankhara or vaci sankhara? I’d think mano sankhara, but the reason why I’m not sure is because it has been described as what sounds like vaci sankhara to me.”

      Samphassa ja vedana are initially mano sankhara. They also arise according to one’s gati. That is critically important to see. An Arahant does not have samphassa ja vedana.

      Upekkha asked: “The part about stopping samphassa ja vedana-this does not mean to actually stop the feeling itself right? Because we can’t help it, it is automatic and super fast. Does this mean more along the lines to stop the automatic samphassa ja vedana(mano sankhara) from escalating into vaci sankhara/kaya sankhara?”
      One cannot stop samphassa ja vedana as they arise. Just like in getting rid of tanha, stopping samphassa ja vedana REQUIRES Satipatthana/Anapana (via gradually reducing/getting rid of one’s gati).

      Does that make it clear? If not, we can discuss more. It is important to clarify these issues, since they are the basis of Satipatthana/Anapana.

      P.S. I just revised the post in question and gave it a new title, “Vēdanā and Samphassa Jā Vēdanā – More Than Just Feelings“.

      Also read: “Vēdanā (Feelings) Arise in Two Ways“.

    • #19370
      sybe07
      Spectator

      Regarding the arising of feeling there we three ideas in the time of the Buddha. The sutta’s threat those ideas:

      -they are all results of past deeds. All feeling is kamma-vipaka. This was the position of Jain leader Nigantha Nataputta. The soul most be freed from these karmic bonds due to painful practices.
      -feelings arise due to the creative activity of God
      -feeling do not arise because of causes and conditions. Some teachers believed feelings of pain and pleausure were measured out from the beginning. Live with it’s pleasure, pain and neutral feeling just unfolds like the unwinding of a ball of string. A kind of fatalism.

      See AN3.61 for these three positions: https://suttacentral.net/an3.61/en/bodhi

      What was the position of the Buddha?

      I think, please correct me if i am wrong, that he rejected God as cause and he also rejected that feeling do arise without cause and are destined, measured out. Such views come with fatalism that does not encourage to live the holy life like the Buddha meant it.

      His position regarding the cause of feelings was, i think:
      1. Feeling can arise as a result of the ripening of earlier moral or immoral deeds, kamma-vipaka. These kind of feelings we have to deal with in an intelligent way. Once ripened we have to bear those feeling without any aversion when they are painful and without any greed when they are nice. Even Buddha’s and arahants have those kind of feeling due to the ripening of earlier deeds in this or former lives. Some feelings are kamma-vipaka. We must learn that feelings are not mine, not me, not who i am. In stead of going out of contact of unpleasant feeling we must learn to contact them mindfully. Our ingrained aversion to unpleasant feeling must change. We have to develop an intelligent or wise relationship with unpleasant en pleasant feeling.

      1. Feelings also arise in reaction on feelings which are kamma-vipaka. For example, when pain arises as a result of kamma (earlier immorel deeds), that is a painful feeling, but when aversion starts that state of mind is also accomponied by unpleasant feeling. This is another mechanism of the cause of feeling.

      Another sutta who deals with causes for feeling is SN36.21. In that sutta you can see that kamma (i think as deeds in the past) as a cause is just one of the possible causes. So the Buddha also rejected the view of Jain leader Nigantha Nataputt that all feelings are due to past deeds. He also rejected the idea that one can wear away bad kamma due to painful practices.
      https://suttacentral.net/sn36.21/en/bodhi

      Siebe

    • #19393
      upekkha100
      Participant

      In order to be sure:
      samphassa ja vedana is strictly mano sankhara.
      samphassa ja vedana is not at all vaci sankhara(because vaci sankhara involves vitakka and vicara cetasika, and not the vedana cetasika.)

      Is the above correct?

    • #19399
      Lal
      Keymaster

      Vedana and sankhara and two different things.

      In the five aggregates we have: rupa, vedana, sanna, sankhara,and vinnana.

      As you pointed out earlier, vedana and sanna are mano sankhara. So, they are part of sankhara, but they are separated from vaci and kaya sankhara because they (vedana and sanna) arise with each and every citta.

      So, vedana is very different from vaci and kaya sankhara.

      I think it will become clear if you had read the following post:
      Vedana (Feelings)

      The website is getting bigger, so it may be hard to figure out where to start.

      Anyway, let us keep the discussion going, because these are important issues. I can see you are making a strong effort, so I want to help you figure it all out.

    • #19406
      upekkha100
      Participant

      Thank you Lal. That point has been made clear.

      This post is very interesting as it has a lot of information that sparked many questions. I won’t raise them all at once though.

      The next thing I want to understand more clearly is the 4 anupassana, because this post gives a very detailed description of vedanupassana.

      From the many PureDhamma posts on vedana and Satipatthana sutta that I have read, what I understood from those posts is that:
      Kāyānupassanā is about becoming aware of vaci sankhara and kaya sankhara, and thus controlling vaca and kammantha.
      cittanupassana is about becoming aware of internal vaci sankhara and thus controlling sankappa.
      vedananupassana is about becoming aware of the vedana that have arisen and preventing the vedana from turning into vaci sankhara/kaya sankhara.

      Questions:
      1) Did I understand those 3 anupassana correctly?

      2) I’m still unclear about what dhammanupassana is. Is it about contemplating on Dhamma concepts, especially tilakkhana, when the akusala mula have reduced to a certain extent as a result of doing the other 3 anupassana?

      3) Is this the ideal sequence one should do the Satipatthana bhavana as one progresses on the Path: Kāyānupassanā, cittanupassana, vedananupassana, dhammanupassana?

    • #19407
      sybe07
      Spectator

      some info from the sutta’s:

      “Feeling, perception, and consciousness, friend – these states
      are conjoined, not disjoined, and it is impossible to separate each
      of these states from the others in order to describe the difference
      between them. For what one feels, that one perceives; and what
      one perceives, that one cognizes.
      That is why these states are conjoined, not disjoined, and it is impossible to separate each of
      these states from the others in order to describe the difference
      between them.” MN43§9 (translation Bodhi).

      so, maybe from a theoretical kind of perspective these states can be seperated and treated like they exist disjoined.

    • #19409
      Lal
      Keymaster

      upekkha100: Yes. What you stated is correct.

      On the last one, the sequence given in the sutta is: kāyānupassanā, vēdanānupassanā, cittānupassanā, and dhammānupassanā.

      However, one can actually do all of them at the same time. Being mindful involves first three, and that can be done anytime.

      Dhammānupassanā is best to be done when one can contemplate at a quiet time.

    • #19418
      upekkha100
      Participant

      Quotes from 2 PD posts on vedana:
      1) “For example, when we see an “eye-pleasing picture”, the initial vēdanā felt by the mind is neutral.”

      2) “For example, seeing a person X  only leads to an upekkha vedana for ANYONE initially.””

      So if later today, I play my favorite music, even though I am very much attached to it via kama raga, the very initial vedana will be neutral? No matter how many times I listen to it and and how many times I enjoy that music today?

    • #19425
      Lal
      Keymaster

      My statements are based on what happens in the mind per Abhidhamma.

      However, since these processes happen very fast, one may not (and actually does not) actually experience the “neutral vedana” due to the initial response by the mind.

      This is an important point. The question is legitimate. I added a statement to that post to make it clear.

    • #19433
      upekkha100
      Participant

      Thanks for the new additions to that post Lal. Really appreciate it!

      And that makes sense. Reminded me of the post on pabhassara citta:
      Pabhassara Citta, Radiant Mind, and Bhavanga

      Here is the quote from that post:
      “Therefore, a “pabhassara citta” is that base state, or the pure state of a citta, BEFORE it goes through the 9 stages of contamination. It has only the 7 universal cetasika.

      Each and every citta of a given person starts off as a pabhassara citta, but gets contaminated to varying degrees depending one’s personality or one’s advancement along the Path.”

      My thinking:
      Vedana starts off pure, not contaminated by tanha yet. At this stage vedana is not samphassa ja vedana yet.

      Questions:
      1) Is this initial uncontaminated vedana the amisa upekkha vedana?

      2) Niramisa upekkha vedana is supposed to be the vedana experienced by Ariyas. Other than the anariya/Ariya aspect, what is the difference between amisa upekkha vedana and niramisa upekkha vedana?

      3) What would the initial uncontaminated vedana that arises in a Sotapanna, Sakadagami, Anagami be called? Would it be amisa upekkha or niramisa upekkha or something else?

      4) Am I wrong to think that out of those 9 vedana, Arahants would have only 5 out of 9 of those vedana: sukha, dukha, upekkha, niramisa sukha, and niramisa upekkha vedana? I’d think they would have even eliminated the niramisa dukha vedana?

    • #19434
      upekkha100
      Participant

      ^ And I’m sorry for the links appearing that way. I tried to follow the instructions posted in the General Information and Updates section on how to add a hyperlink, but for some reason a new window does not open for me and thus I can’t paste the copied link to the url slot.

    • #19440
      Lal
      Keymaster

      upekkha100: I fixed your link.
      Here is a step-by-step way to add a link (this is also in the General Information and Updates, where I provide links to new posts):

      1. Open the web page on a new browser window. Copy the title of the post and paste it in the posting where you want to put the link.
        Now go back and copy the URL of the web page.
      2. Come back to the posting, highlight the title and click the “link” button on the format panel.

      3. A new window will open up and paste that copied link to the “URL” slot. Also, select “Open link in a new tab”, and click “Add Link” button at the bottom.

      4. This way, one reading the post will be able to open the post in question in a new window, so that he/she can go back and forth between the post and the web page in question.

      Hopefully, that should work. Please let me know if does not.

      Regarding the questions:
      “1) Is this initial uncontaminated vedana the amisa upekkha vedana?”

      No. No one basically “experiences” the first “citta” stage in the “citta, mano, manasan…” steps. As I said in another reply, these descriptions are from Abhidhamma, where the Buddha provided detailed explanations. That is actually what happens, but anyone other than Buddha cannot actually see these steps. The mind goes through this contamination process within a billionth of a second.

      “2) Niramisa upekkha vedana is supposed to be the vedana experienced by Ariyas. Other than the anariya/Ariya aspect, what is the difference between amisa upekkha vedana and niramisa upekkha vedana?”

      Amisa upakkha vedana is the “neutral feeling” felt by a normal human. It can be, and it is at most times, contaminated with avijja. One just does not know the “reality of that particular situation”.

      “3) What would the initial uncontaminated vedana that arises in a Sotapanna, Sakadagami, Anagami be called? Would it be amisa upekkha or niramisa upekkha or something else?”
      That is a very hard to question to answer. All we can say is that the mental state would be more and more purified as one gets to higher magga phala.
      – An Arahant would be the closest to the “manasan” state, where one just recognizes who it is or what it is, but does not have ANY attachments.

      “4) Am I wrong to think that out of those 9 vedana, Arahants would have only 5 out of 9 of those vedana: sukha, dukha, upekkha, niramisa sukha, and niramisa upekkha vedana? I’d think they would have even eliminated the niramisa dukha vedana?”

      An Arahant would have the sukha, dukha, upekkha that arise from kamma vipaka. – An Arahant can experience the jhanic experiences.
      – Ohter than that, it is niramisa upekkha vedana, a neutral mindset.

    • #19451
      upekkha100
      Participant

      Thanks for fixing the link. I’m going to run a test try. Let me see if it works:
      Vēdanā and Samphassa Jā Vēdanā – More Than Just Feelings

      Lal said:
      “Amisa upakkha vedana is the “neutral feeling” felt by a normal human. It can be, and it is at most times, contaminated with avijja. One just does not know the “reality of that particular situation”. ”

      I had wondered about the association of moha/avijja to an object that is neither pleasant nor unpleasant. I thought “why is that and how?”. Now it makes sense. Thanks for that Lal.

      So an Arahant wouldn’t have niramisa sukha either?

    • #19456
      Lal
      Keymaster

      upekkha said: “So an Arahant wouldn’t have niramisa sukha either?”

      Yes. An Arahant experiences niramisa sukha. An Arahant can enjoy jhanic sukha too, and it is recommended by the Buddha. Of course, that involves Ariya jhana.

      Glad that you figured out how to do the linking.

    • #19533
      upekkha100
      Participant

      From the Vedana post, Lal described niramisa dukha as:
      “Sometimes, one gets a bit discouraged by not advancing “fast enough” on the Path. One thinks about “why am I not getting to the Sōtapanna stage?” or “Is there anything that I am missing in order to make progress?”, etc. ”

      My question regarding niramisa dukha:
      1) Does that above mindset have anything to do with the kukuccha cetasika?

      2) Can this concern/worry be extended to other sentient beings? Like “why are others not becoming Sotapanna, or sadness about others not even knowing about Buddha Dhamma, and sadness about the reality that so many infinite beings will remain in sansara”?

      3) Or would worrying and being sad about others not becoming Sotapanna and remaining in sansara actually be considered as domanassa(amisa dukha) instead of niramisa dukha?

    • #19576
      Lal
      Keymaster

      “1) Does that above mindset have anything to do with the kukuccha cetasika?”.

      It is possible. However, it is more like let down feeling with a tinge of sadness, that one is still unable to get there despite one’s efforts.

      “2) Can this concern/worry be extended to other sentient beings? Like “why are others not becoming Sotapanna, or sadness about others not even knowing about Buddha Dhamma, and sadness about the reality that so many infinite beings will remain in sansara”?”

      Of course. That feeling (not really sadness, but metta) is in all Ariyas too.

      “3) Or would worrying and being sad about others not becoming Sotapanna and remaining in sansara actually be considered as domanassa(amisa dukha) instead of niramisa dukha?”

      Feeling sad about others is domanassa(amisa dukha). Of course, anyone below the Arahant stage may have a tinge of sadness too.

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