Points of Controversy

13.7. Of jhāna as Enjoyment

Controverted Point: That the expert enjoys jhāna, and the desire for jhāna has jhāna as its object.

Theravādin: Do you mean that a given jhāna is the mental object to that same jhāna? If you deny, your proposition falls. If you assent, you must equally admit that he touches a given mental contact with the same contact, feels a given feeling with that feeling, and so on for perception, volition, thought, applied and sustained intellecttion, zest, mindfulness, understanding… .

You admit that desire for jhāna and jhāna itself are forms of conscious experience? But are you prepared to admit further that they constitute two conscious processes going on at once? You deny; then your former admission is invalid. And if you admit further that desire for jhāna is wrong while jhāna itself is good, you bring the good and the bad up against each other in the same consciousness—things as “far apart as earth and sky,” etc.

Andhakas: But, if I am wrong, was it not said by the Exalted One:

“Take the case, bhikkhus, of a bhikkhu who, aloof from sensuous ideas, aloof from evil ideas, entering into, abides in First jhāna: he enjoys it, he yearns over it, and by it he is delighted.”

Hence surely the expert enjoys jhāna, and the desire for jhāna has jhāna as a mental object.