Is the Dark Night in the suttas after all?!

George S, modified 27 Days ago.

Is the Dark Night in the suttas after all?!

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So I was thinking about how visuddhimagga style insight practice sometimes gets a bad rap from purists for "causing unnecessary dark night nanas". I was wondering where these nanas come from, when suddenly this passage came to mind in a new light:

 Culavedalla Sutta (MN 44)

“The underlying tendency to greed should be given up when it comes to pleasant feeling. The underlying tendency to repulsion should be given up when it comes to painful feeling. The underlying tendency to ignorance should be given up when it comes to neutral feeling.”

“Should these underlying tendencies be given up regarding all instances of these feelings?”

“No, not in all instances. Take a mendicant who, quite secluded from sensual pleasures, secluded from unskillful qualities, enters and remains in the first absorption, which has the rapture and bliss born of seclusion, while placing the mind and keeping it connected. With this they give up greed, and the underlying tendency to greed does not lie within that.

And take a mendicant who reflects: ‘Oh, when will I enter and remain in the same dimension that the noble ones enter and remain in today?’ Nursing such a longing for the supreme liberations gives rise to sadness due to longing. With this they give up repulsion, and the underlying tendency to repulsion does not lie within that.

Take a mendicant who, giving up pleasure and pain, and ending former happiness and sadness, enters and remains in the fourth absorption, without pleasure or pain, with pure equanimity and mindfulness. With this they give up ignorance, and the underlying tendency to ignorance does not lie within that.”

“But ma’am, what is the counterpart of pleasant feeling?”
“Painful feeling.”
“What is the counterpart of painful feeling?”
“Pleasant feeling.”
 “What is the counterpart of neutral feeling?”
“Ignorance.”
“What is the counterpart of ignorance?”
“Knowledge.”
 “What is the counterpart of knowledge?”
 “Freedom.”
“What is the counterpart of freedom?”
“Extinguishment.”

Notice anything familiar there? Go into the first jhana, which feels like A&P (suddenly altered energetic state). Coming out, experience sadness (“misery”) due to longing for the supreme liberation (“desire for deliverance”), giving up repulsion (“disgust”). Enter the fourth jhana (equanimity) and then on to extinguishment (nibbana). Am I just imagining things or what?!

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