Jhanacittas - Cessation of perception and feeling


Those who have accumulated skill for jhana and have developed vipassanā can attain enlightenment with absorption. Instead of a meditation subject of samatha, nibbāna is the object which is experienced with absorption. Lokuttara cittas can be accompanied by jhāna-factors of different stages of jhāna according to one's accumulations. In the process during which enlightenment is attained the magga-citta is immediately followed by the phala-citta (result of magga-citta). When the phalacittas have fallen away the process of cittas is over. The magga-citta of that stage of enlightenment cannot arise again, but the phala-citta can arise again, even many times in life, and it experiences nibbana with absorption.

 

Those who have attained the fourth stage of arūpa-jhāna, the 'Sphere of

Neither Perception Nor Non-Perception' and have also realized the stage of

enlightenment of the anāgāmī or of the arahat, can attain

'cessation' (nirodha-samāpatti) which is the temporary ceasing of bodily

and mental activities. The person who has attained 'cessation' ('the stopping

of perception and feeling') is different from a corpse. We read in the 'Greater

Discourse of the Miscellany' (Middle Length Sayings I, No. 43) that Mahā-

kotthita asked Sāriputta a number of questions. He also asked questions

about the difference between the dead body and the monk who has attained

cessation. We read that Mahā-kotthita asked: 

 

'In regard to this body, Your reverence,

when how many things are got rid of,

does this body lie cast away,

flung aside like unto a senseless log of wood?'

'In regard to this body, Your reverence,

when three things are got rid of: vitality, heat and consciousness,

then does this body lie cast away,

flung aside like unto a senseless log of wood.'

'What is the difference, your reverence,

between that dead thing, passed away,

and that monk who has attained to the stopping of perception and feeling?'

 

'Your reverence, the bodily activities of that dead thing, passed away,

have been stopped, have subsided,

the mental activities have been stopped, have subsided,

the vitality is entirely destroyed, the heat allayed,

the sense-organs are entirely broken asunder.

But that monk who has attained to the stopping of perception and feeling,

although his bodily activities have been stopped, have subsided,

although his vocal activities have been stopped, have subsided,

although his mental activities have been stopped, have subsided,

his vitality is not entirely destroyed, his heat is not allayed,

his sense- organs are purified.

This, your reverence, is the difference between a dead thing, passed away,

and that monk who has attained to the stopping of perception and feeling.'

 

For those who emerge from cessation, the first citta which arises is a phala-

citta (lokuttara vipākacitta), having nibbāna as its object. In the case of the

anagami it is the phala-citta of the anāgāmī and in the case of the arahat it is

the phala-citta of the arahat. The 'Visuddhimagga' (XXIII, 50) states that their

minds tend towards nibbāna. We read: 

 

'Towards what does the mind of one who has emerged tend? It tends

towards nibbāna. For this is said: 'When a bhikkhu has emerged from the

attainment of the cessation of perception and feeling, friend Visākha, his

consciousness inclines to seclusion, leans to seclusion, tends to seclusion.'

(Middle Length Sayings 1,302).

 

Topic ID  195
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