The Satipatthana Sutta a forgery?

Textual analysis and comparative discussion on early Buddhist sects and texts.

Re: The Satipatthana Sutta a forgery?

Postby Cittasanto » Tue Sep 22, 2009 12:16 am

Good to know but that does leave the question as to why Ajahn used it?
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Re: The Satipatthana Sutta a forgery?

Postby mikenz66 » Tue Sep 22, 2009 1:58 am

Manapa wrote:Good to know but that does leave the question as to why Ajahn used it?

Perhaps, in part, being a student of Ajahn Brahm, he takes the opportunity to argue against the "dry insight" (without Jhana) approach discussed in the Commentaries and championed by the Burmese schools (and by some of Ajahn Chah's other students), who quote the Satipatthana Sutta as evidence for the importance the Buddha ascribed to this approach.

His book/PDF is, after all, entitled: "A History of Mindfulness: How Insight Worsted Tranquillity in the Satipatthana Sutta" and as I recall he argues that if you only keep what is common to all versions of the Sutta from various sects you are left with more "Tranquillity" (Jhana-inducing) practises (e.g. mindfulness of breathing) than "Insight" practises (such as contemplation of the khandhas), whereas in the Theravada tradition it is the other way around.

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Re: The Satipatthana Sutta a forgery?

Postby Cittasanto » Tue Sep 22, 2009 8:43 am

mean this first line jokingly, did you just save yourself a heck of a lot of research and time? :tongue:

that seams like a simple teaching and common sense! someone has done a comparison of three versions I noticed on another thread a while ago here is a copy if anyone wants it.

although if you remove all the parts that are not in each sutta/sutra version including the various Abhidhammas you are left with only the impurities of the Body and Bhojangas (see attachment)
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Re: The Satipatthana Sutta a forgery?

Postby Sylvester » Tue Sep 22, 2009 10:27 am

mikenz66 wrote:
Manapa wrote:Good to know but that does leave the question as to why Ajahn used it?

Perhaps, in part, being a student of Ajahn Brahm, he takes the opportunity to argue against the "dry insight" (without Jhana) approach discussed in the Commentaries and championed by the Burmese schools (and by some of Ajahn Chah's other students), who quote the Satipatthana Sutta as evidence for the importance the Buddha ascribed to this approach.

His book/PDF is, after all, entitled: "A History of Mindfulness: How Insight Worsted Tranquillity in the Satipatthana Sutta" and as I recall he argues that if you only keep what is common to all versions of the Sutta from various sects you are left with more "Tranquillity" (Jhana-inducing) practises (e.g. mindfulness of breathing) than "Insight" practises (such as contemplation of the khandhas), whereas in the Theravada tradition it is the other way around.

Mike


I wonder if the "dry insight" approach may not actually be just ONE monolithic approach, as expounded by some of the contemporary Vipassana schools.

Would it be correct to say that the locus classicus of the "dry insight" method expounded by the Commentaries would be to use "upacara samadhi" as the basis for the insight practices? I recall that Ajahn Brahm mentions that the basis for the work in the Satipatthana Sutta would be that the meditator "Vineyya Loke Abhijjha-Domanassam". Apparently, the Commentaries interpret this to mean abandoning the 5 Hindrances (or just the 2 main ones?). The states where this holds is upacara samadhi and Jhana.

Contrast this to the methods that have dispensed with the traditional requirement for upacara samadhi and are happy to work with "khanika samadhi" as the basis for the satipatthanas. Would that fulfill the pre-requisite of "Vineyya Loke Abhijjha-Domanassam"?

Another related issue would be whether the satipatthanas are supposed to be the basis for insight, or do they do something else? The Culavedalla Sutta says this -

""Lady, what is concentration? What is the basis of concentration? What is the equipment of concentration? What is the development of concentration?

"Unification of mind, friend Visakha, is concentration; the four foundations of mindfulness are the basis of concentration; the four right kinds of striving are the equipment of concentration; the repetition, development and cultivation of these same states is the development of concentration therein."

- Bhikkhu Bodhi's translation, but do note that Ajahn Thanissaro translates a little differently. The latter has "theme" in place of "basis".

This creates a sort of chicken-&-egg situation. If satipatthana requires "Vineyya Loke Abhijjha-Domanassam" as per the Satipatthana Sutta, how will satipatthana be the basis for samadhi as per the Culavedalla Sutta? Or might this suggest that there are 2 aspects of satipatthana - one for the development of samadhi, and the other for the development of vipassana after the 5 Hindrances are abandoned?
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Re: The Satipatthana Sutta a forgery?

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Sep 22, 2009 10:30 am

Sylvester wrote:
I wonder if the "dry insight" approach may not actually be just ONE monolithic approach, as expounded by some of the contemporary Vipassana schools.


Probably not, given that it is outlined in the Visuddhimagga, but what do you mean by this?
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Re: The Satipatthana Sutta a forgery?

Postby Kare » Tue Sep 22, 2009 12:54 pm

Whenever this "eternal" discussion of concentration versus insight turns up, I like to refer to the Yuganaddhasutta:

On one occasion Ven. Ananda was staying in Kosambi, at Ghosita's monastery. There he addressed the monks, "Friends!"

"Yes, friend," the monks responded.

Ven. Ananda said: "Friends, whoever — monk or nun — declares the attainment of arahantship in my presence, they all do it by means of one or another of four paths. Which four?

"There is the case where a monk has developed insight preceded by tranquillity. As he develops insight preceded by tranquillity, the path is born. He follows that path, develops it, pursues it. As he follows the path, developing it & pursuing it — his fetters are abandoned, his obsessions destroyed.

"Then there is the case where a monk has developed tranquillity preceded by insight. As he develops tranquillity preceded by insight, the path is born. He follows that path, develops it, pursues it. As he follows the path, developing it & pursuing it — his fetters are abandoned, his obsessions destroyed.

"Then there is the case where a monk has developed tranquillity in tandem with insight. As he develops tranquillity in tandem with insight, the path is born. He follows that path, develops it, pursues it. As he follows the path, developing it & pursuing it — his fetters are abandoned, his obsessions destroyed.

"Then there is the case where a monk's mind has its restlessness concerning the Dhamma [Comm: the corruptions of insight] well under control. There comes a time when his mind grows steady inwardly, settles down, and becomes unified & concentrated. In him the path is born. He follows that path, develops it, pursues it. As he follows the path, developing it & pursuing it — his fetters are abandoned, his obsessions destroyed.

"Whoever — monk or nun — declares the attainment of arahantship in my presence, they all do it by means of one or another of these four paths."

The translation of Thanissaro can be discussed, but the main point is clear: You can start with concentration, you can start with insight, you can develop them both in harmony, or you can start with a more intellectual approach.
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Re: The Satipatthana Sutta a forgery?

Postby Sylvester » Tue Sep 22, 2009 12:56 pm

tiltbillings wrote:
Sylvester wrote:
I wonder if the "dry insight" approach may not actually be just ONE monolithic approach, as expounded by some of the contemporary Vipassana schools.


Probably not, given that it is outlined in the Visuddhimagga, but what do you mean by this?



The inelegance of my expression is purely my fault.

What I meant to suggest was that contemporary 'dry insight' work (based on the khanika samadhi model) may actually be 'drier' than dry insight as understood by the Commentaries. I don't know of any system of Buddhist meditation where the 5 Hindrances are taught to be abandoned anywhere else other than upacara samadhi and Jhana. If that is indeed the case, then work based on khanika samadhi must be quite tough with the Hindrances intruding.

Which leads to another point in the 3rd and 4th Patthanas outlined in DN 22 and MN 10, ie the contemplation of lust etc and the Hindrances. How does one contemplate the lust and the Hindrances as if they were presently available if one has "Vineyya Loke Abhijjha-Domanassam"?

Or is this a case that (assuming Ac Sujato is incorrect in positing that some of the "padding" in the Sutta is late) the meditator's contemplation/sati is not of present Hindrances, but of Hindrances past? Perhaps the Pali experts could shed some light on how the verb "sati" relates chronologically with the Patthanas, ie must the sati be simultaneous with the objects?

I was just looking at the Satipatthanasa.myutta and the 104 suttas in there seem very, very skeletal compared to DN 22 and MN 10.
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Re: The Satipatthana Sutta a forgery?

Postby Dmytro » Tue Sep 22, 2009 1:28 pm

Hi Sylvester,

How does one contemplate the lust and the Hindrances as if they were presently available if one has "Vineyya Loke Abhijjha-Domanassam"?


'Vineyya' here does not mean complete removal. It refers to the removal of preliminary hindrances, mostly by cultivation of the opposite qualities.

""Having overcome" refers to the discipline of knocking out an evil quality by its opposite good (that is by dealing with each category of evil separately) or through the overcoming of evil part by part [tadangavinaya] and through the disciplining or the overcoming of the passions by suppression in absorption [vikkhambhana vinaya]."

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... wayof.html

As for the term 'sati', there's a thread:
http://www.lioncity.net/buddhism/index. ... opic=26574

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Re: The Satipatthana Sutta a forgery?

Postby Sylvester » Tue Sep 22, 2009 3:40 pm

Thanks Dmytro.

I agree with Ven Soma's commentarial exposition. The "removal" of the Hindrances being achieved through the cultivation of the opposite qualities would mean attaining the Jhanas, since the factors of the 1st Jhana are posited to be the factors that oppose the respective Hindrances (at least from the Visudhimagga typology).

I posted the hypothetical to invite a discussion on the possibility of using the Satipatthana exercises (as in DN 22 and MN 10) for what is popularly called "present moment" awareness. If the "present moment" were marked by a suppression of the 5 Hindrances (ie post-Jhana samadhi, which I trust is what Ven Soma's commentary means by "suppression in absorption"), then it seems that the only plausible type of "sati" that could be performed would be by way of memory/recollection, rather than "present moment" contemplation.

What do you think about the Culavedalla Sutta's proposition that the Satipatthanas are the "basis" of samadhi? Do the Commentaries draw a distinction between this aspect of Satipatthana from the aspect explained for MN 10?
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Re: The Satipatthana Sutta a forgery?

Postby tiltbillings » Wed Sep 23, 2009 5:28 am

Sylvester wrote:What I meant to suggest was that contemporary 'dry insight' work (based on the khanika samadhi model) may actually be 'drier' than dry insight as understood by the Commentaries. I don't know of any system of Buddhist meditation where the 5 Hindrances are taught to be abandoned anywhere else other than upacara samadhi and Jhana. If that is indeed the case, then work based on khanika samadhi must be quite tough with the Hindrances intruding.


(Just a procedural aside from a moderator: With such technical expressions as “upacara samadhi” and “Vineyya Loke Abhijjha-Domanassam,” please give an English translation so those who do not have access to a Pali reference resources will have some idea of what is being talked about. And so those who do have access to such resources don’t have to spend time looking them up.)

(In a non-moderator capacity:) I would argue that the system taught by Mahasi Sayadaw is probably a lot “wetter” than for which it is given credit, considering the notion of “vipassana jhanas” http://www.dharmaseed.org/talks/?q=vipassana+jhanas

The moment to moment concentration can be very strong, very stable, and as for the hindrances intruding, it is a matter of paying attention, without discursive thought, to what it is that arises.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
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Re: The Satipatthana Sutta a forgery?

Postby Sylvester » Wed Sep 23, 2009 7:16 am

Many thanks tilt. I hesitated to use the translations, as I was uncertain if I would be wading into controversy, particularly for "having overcome, in this world, grief and covetousness" (Ven Soma's) or "having put away grief and covetousness for the world" (Rhys Davids'). Even "upacara" presents difficulty for me, since I have a choice between "access" and "neighbourhood" and the latter does carry broader implications. But there you have it.

I'm generally inclined to agree with your assessment of those methods based on "momentary" samadhi being wetter than they should be. Some reports seem to indicate that such meditators do obtain the Jhana factors, whilst retaining the ability for discursive thought (a la Anupada Sutta, MN 111 perhaps?). At least that is how Sayadaw u Pandita presents it -

http://homepage.ntlworld.com/pesala/Pandita/index.htm

The issue with the Vipassana Jhanas (with or without discursive thought) could perhaps be simplified to this - are they described in the suttas or the Abhidhamma or Commentaries? For that matter, how is "momentary" samadhi related to Vipassana Jhana?

But I suppose on the practical level, we could also dispense with such nit-picking and stay with whatever works for us.
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Re: The Satipatthana Sutta a forgery?

Postby mikenz66 » Wed Sep 23, 2009 7:54 am

It's amusing how this same debate comes up again and again.

http://www.angelfire.com/indie/anna_jon ... jhana.html
In Sri Lanka, some 30 years ago, three monks criticised the pure vipassana method taught by Mahasi Sayadaw. Subsequently, one of them, in an article to the World Buddhism magazine in 1966, again criticized the method and put forward that jhana was necessary for vipassana. Sayadaw U Nyanuttara of Myanmar in a series of replies explained the position of khanika (momentary) concentration and explained why jhana was not necessary in accordance with scriptural and commentarial evidence. Eventually, the Mahasi Organisation published both the Criticisms and Replies in a book for the benefit of posterity.
[Sayadaw U Nyannutara: "Satipatthana Vipassana Meditation: Criticisms and Replies."]

Coincidentally, one of my friend picked up a copy for me in Malaysia recently. It tends to read rather similar to the endless discussions on http://groups.yahoo.com/group/dhammastudygroup/ and on E-Sangha, as in http://www.lioncity.net/buddhism/index. ... opic=86236

None of these discussion are likely to change anyone's mind, and I've long ago lost interest in the argument. Obviously I trust my teachers more than opinions expressed on the Internet, since I've experienced them guiding me through various barriers and rough patches.

I generally agree with:
But I suppose on the practical level, we could also dispense with such nit-picking and stay with whatever works for us.

With the proviso that without at least some occasional guidance it's possible to be rather deluded about what is going on. I think Steve Armstrong talks about this in one of the talks on Vipassana Jhanas that Tilt linked to above.

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Re: The Satipatthana Sutta a forgery?

Postby Dmytro » Wed Sep 23, 2009 8:27 am

Hi Sylvester,

The "removal" of the Hindrances being achieved through the cultivation of the opposite qualities would mean attaining the Jhanas, since the factors of the 1st Jhana are posited to be the factors that oppose the respective Hindrances (at least from the Visudhimagga typology).


There are three main ways to abandon the unskilfull qualities:

- tadanga-pahana - by cultivating the opposite skillful qualities - on the stage of developing virtue;
- vikkhambhana-pahana - by cultivating jhanas - on the stage of developing concentration;
- samuccheda-pahana - by finding and removing the prerequisites of theor arising - on the stage of developing wisdom.

http://www.palikanon.com/english/wtb/n_r/pahaana.htm

"Tadanga-pahana" is largely forgotten nowadays, and can be found in early texts like

Sallekha sutta http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .nypo.html

Patisambhidamagga http://bps.lk/bp_library/bp502s/bp502_part3.html

It is the main instrument for preliminary removal of coarse hindrances.

Visuddhimagga typology you mention is rather late.

What do you think about the Culavedalla Sutta's proposition that the Satipatthanas are the "basis" of samadhi?


Indeed the prime purpose of Satipatthana is to develop the "Seven factors of Awakening" (bojjhanga), which are largely jhana factors. 'Sati' is used first of all to keep in mind the basis of concentration.

Satipatthana centers on the typology of things that one can be aware of (sampajanna) during practice, and doesn't describe other facets of practice.

In the similar Anapanasati sutta, the 'sati' is always about remembering the breath, but the range of phenomena one is aware of (sampajanna) varies.

The real-life example, with multiple facets, is given in Dvedhavitakka sutta:
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

In this sutta, awareness (sampajanna) is directed to distinguishing two kinds of thinking, two kinds of menal qualities, skillful and unskillful.

Do the Commentaries draw a distinction between this aspect of Satipatthana from the aspect explained for MN 10?


As far as I remember, the Commentaries explain that the first three satipatthanas can be used for development of either samatha or vipassana, and the fourth one is only for developing vipassana.

There are many references to samatha practice in the Commentary:
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... wayof.html

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Re: The Satipatthana Sutta a forgery?

Postby BlackBird » Wed Sep 23, 2009 9:14 am

A good simile is that of the torch. One needs a torch to see things, and if one's concentration is low then it's like the battery running out on the torch - You can only see things dimly. But if concentration is strong, then it's like have some really good long lasting batteries, one can see lot's of things.

"Dry" vipassana is maybe a redundant term, because in order to practise vipassana one must develop at the least, strong access concentration which is described in the following passage:

Ven. Pa Auk Tawya Sayadaw wrote:As he continues to meditate and develop deeper concentration
based on the four elements he finds that his body begins to emit light
at first this light maybe grey like smoke or bluish white, but as he
continues to discern the four elements in that light he finds his whole
body appears to be white. Then as he continues to discern the four
elements in the white form of the body his whole body becomes
clear like a block of ice. At this point he has developed what is
called access concentration.

- http://what-buddha-taught.net/Books/Pa_ ... ibbana.pdf

With regards to the whole insight vs. jhana debate:

Venerable Bhikkhu Moneyya wrote:Whether you wish to complete all, some or none of these
samatha practices is a matter of personal preference. Mastery
of these practices provides a solid base for the cultivation of
insight by strengthening your concentration, intensifying your
light of wisdom and assisting in the development of other
positive qualities, such as faith, energy, tranquillity,
compassion, dispassion and equanimity. With a solid base of
samatha practices, you will be able to make swift progress in
your practice of vipassana. When you feel you have mastered
a sufficient number of samatha practices and are ready to make
the transition to vipassana, you may begin the practice of four elements
meditation.


- http://paauk.org/files/tt_web_03mar07.pdf

Personal preference. Both equally valid, both leading to the same goal. Simple. Personally can't see what all the fuss has been about over the last however many decades :shrug:

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Re: The Satipatthana Sutta a forgery?

Postby Sylvester » Wed Sep 23, 2009 9:27 am

Thank you Avuso Dmytro for the very helpful dissection.

What I'm trying to figure out is how the "samatha" aspects of Satipatthana are brought to fruition. The Commentaries interpret the "abandoning of the grief and covetousness for the world" to mean suppression of the 5 Hindrances by absorption. Yet, I imagine that this are precisely the goals of samatha as is traditionally presented by those who equate samatha with Jhana.

So, it seems rather circular that the first 3 sets of satipatthanas can be used to cultivate samadhi, but the formulaic description assumes that the 5 Hindrances have already been abandoned, so why bother using the 3 Satiptthanas to cultivate samatha?

Do you think there is any significance to the fact that the Anapanasati Sutta does not contain the “Vineyya Loke Abhijjha-Domanassam" formula?
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Re: The Satipatthana Sutta a forgery?

Postby Dmytro » Wed Sep 23, 2009 4:50 pm

Hi Sylvester,

The Commentaries interpret the "abandoning of the grief and covetousness for the world" to mean suppression of the 5 Hindrances by absorption.


That's a supplementary method, the main one is developing the opposite (tadanga) skillful qualities, as we have discussed earlier. So there's no cicularity.

Here's the place of Satipatthana in the course of practice, as described in Kundaliya sutta:

"'But what are the qualities that, when developed & pursued, lead to the culmination of clear knowing & release?'

'The seven factors for Awakening...'

'And what are the qualities that... lead to the culmination of the seven factors for Awakening?'

'The four frames of reference...'

'And what are the qualities that... lead to the culmination of the four frames of reference?'

'The three courses of right conduct...'

'And what are the qualities that... lead to the culmination of the three courses of right conduct?'

'Restraint of the senses... And how does restraint of the senses, when developed & pursued, lead to the culmination of the three courses of right conduct? There is the case where a monk, on seeing a pleasant form with the eye, does not hanker after it, does not delight in it, does not give rise to passion for it. Unmoved in body & unmoved in mind, he is inwardly well composed & well released. On seeing an unpleasant form with the eye, he is not upset, his mind is not unsettled, his feelings are not wounded, his mind does not become resentful. Unmoved in body & unmoved in mind, he is inwardly well composed & well released.

On hearing a pleasant... unpleasant sound with the ear... On smelling a pleasant... unpleasant smell with the nose... On tasting a pleasant... unpleasant taste with the tongue... On feeling a pleasant... unpleasant tactile sensation with the body...

On cognizing a pleasant idea with the intellect, he does not hanker after it, does not delight in it, does not give rise to passion for it. Unmoved in body & unmoved in mind, he is inwardly well composed & well released. On cognizing an unpleasant idea with the intellect, he is not upset, his mind is not unsettled, his feelings are not wounded, his mind does not become resentful. Unmoved in body & unmoved in mind, he is inwardly well composed & well released. This is how, Kundaliya, restraint of the senses, when developed & pursued, leads to the culmination of the three courses of right conduct.

And how are the three courses of right conduct developed & pursued so as to lead to the culmination of the four frames of reference? There is the case where a monk abandons wrong conduct in terms of his deeds and develops right conduct in terms of his deeds; abandons wrong conduct in terms of his speech and develops right conduct in terms of his speech; abandons wrong conduct in terms of his thoughts and develops right conduct in terms of his thoughts. This is how, Kundaliya, the three courses of right conduct, when developed & pursued, lead to the culmination of the four frames of reference."

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... ml#part2-g

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Re: The Satipatthana Sutta a forgery?

Postby Sylvester » Thu Sep 24, 2009 1:47 am

Many thanks!

So it appears from Ven Thanissaro's analysis that the relationship of Satipatthana and the Bojjhangas would be that they turn in a spiral around one another. That looks like a very reasonable interpretation to me, and does avoid the difficulties I face in trying to read the Satipatthana Suttas linearly.

Based on this spiral model, do you think it is fair to say that the "Vineyya Loke Abhijjha-Domanassam" formula is not indicative of the pinnacle of the abandonment of the Hindrances, but a progressive one? Or must we interpret that stock phrase as referring to the ideal state, as the suttas generally are wont to lay out ideal sets?

Do you know of any other suttas, besides the Culavedalla Sutta, that makes a direct linkage between the Satipatthanas and Samadhi? As you rightly pointed out earlier, the Satipatthanas develop the Bojjhangas which are in turn largely comprised of factors related to Jhana. Now, I accept that that is a very strong correlative relationship, but perhaps you could point out some suttas that explicitly make the link.

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Re: The Satipatthana Sutta a forgery?

Postby Dmytro » Thu Sep 24, 2009 5:41 am

So it appears from Ven Thanissaro's analysis that the relationship of Satipatthana and the Bojjhangas would be that they turn in a spiral around one another.


I find the spiral model obvious and fairly useless. How one can apply it?

In every meditation session I start from the coarse hindrances, and them move to the subtle ones, as described in:

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

The interplay of approaches is described in:

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

Do you know of any other suttas, besides the Culavedalla Sutta, that makes a direct linkage between the Satipatthanas and Samadhi? As you rightly pointed out earlier, the Satipatthanas develop the Bojjhangas which are in turn largely comprised of factors related to Jhana. Now, I accept that that is a very strong correlative relationship, but perhaps you could point out some suttas that explicitly make the link.


http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .horn.html
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Re: The Satipatthana Sutta a forgery?

Postby fig tree » Thu Sep 24, 2009 7:48 am

Jechbi wrote:In light of this, I'm wondering whether others here might have knowledge about discussions or debate regarding the authenticity of the Satipatthana Sutta.

I think it's best not to treat the authenticity of suttas as being a black-and-white matter. Comparing Chinese and Pali texts which are of essentially the same discourse gives us an idea of the kind of variations that occurred in at least one of them since they parted ways. Fortunately, it seems the transmission has been pretty good. But there are differences; some suttas are described with a different setting. Someone checked the counterpart to the culavedalla and mahavedalla suttas and there, some of the questions in one sutta in the Pali are in the other in Chinese and vice-versa. This kind of thing surely doesn't make the suttas or Chinese sutras "inauthentic", even if there's some kind of inaccuracy, in the sense that the discourse didn't occur exactly as described.

One of Ajahn Sujatto's examples of modification of the canon is a modern one; he says that a version was created in which the text of the mahasatipatthana sutta (DN 22) is given for the satipatthana sutta (MN 10). The difference is just that the former includes an elaboration of the four noble truths at a certain point. I don't remember his suggesting that any of the changes he suspects of having been made in the satipatthana sutta were anything but similarly well-intentioned insertions of what seemed further useful and edifying material for the person learning to recite the nikaya. If he's right then a certain shift in emphasis has crept in, however.

His comparison with the satipatthana sutta with similar Chinese sutras and other similar texts (there's a bit in the prajnaparamita sutra that looks like the "mindfulness of body" part of the satipatthana sutta) certainly is interesting. He took the time to explain his thinking at some length, so if you care you should probably read what he wrote.

I think it at least reinforces our basis for confidence in the part of the sutta that are the most consistent with the other versions, which are after all pretty important as meditation instructions. If it seems vital to one whether the Buddha did on that particular occasion present for example mindfulness of the four postures as a way of being mindful of body, or mindfulness of the five aggregates as part of mindfulness of phenomena, well, feel free to weigh the evidence oneself, but I would suggest also considering why one has gotten a feeling that this is required. I'd love to have a video of the incident as it originally occurred, but we have to make do with what we've got.

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Re: The Satipatthana Sutta a forgery?

Postby Jechbi » Fri Sep 25, 2009 4:04 pm

Thanks, Tree. Some good points.
fig tree wrote:He took the time to explain his thinking at some length, so if you care you should probably read what he wrote.
I do care. It's a 258-page document, however, and there are other things on my reading list ahead of it. I spent about 45 minutes paging through and looking for highlights, so at least I read a chunk of it. My primary motivation for skimming it was to see if he elaborated on his statement that the sutta is a "forgery," as he said clearly in his talk. In the book, he takes a more thoughtful and measured approach, as you correctly observe.

fig tree wrote:If it seems vital to one whether the Buddha did on that particular occasion present for example mindfulness of the four postures as a way of being mindful of body ... I would suggest also considering why one has gotten a feeling that this is required.
How big an issue has that been?

One thing that occurs to me as a result of all this discussion is that clearly, different things are going to happen for different people during meditation, even if they are following the same instructions. This demarcation between insight and tranquility practice to me seems completely dependent on the individual engaged in practice. I wonder if the underlying conversation is occuring, as Mike suggests, between people who approach these suttas from two different perspectives.
Rain soddens what is kept wrapped up,
But never soddens what is open;
Uncover, then, what is concealed,
Lest it be soddened by the rain.
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