The Satipatthana Sutta a forgery?

Textual analysis and comparative discussion on early Buddhist sects and texts.
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ancientbuddhism
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Re: The Satipatthana Sutta a forgery?

Postby ancientbuddhism » Fri Jul 27, 2012 9:12 am

Sylvester wrote:Thanks AB!

The pericopes in question, as you helpfully point out, speak of -

nikāmalābhī akicchalābhī akasiralābhī


The first, nikāmalābhī, is variously translated as "attains ... as he wishes", or "attains ... as he wills" or "attains ... as he desires".

Does nikāma mean "will"? In MN 4, we hear of meditators who are -

... lābhasakkārasilokaṃ nikāmayamānā...

desirous of gains, offerings and fame


I've not surveyed all the compounds where nikāma occurs, but the general sense from the dictionary seems to be that it only means desire or wish, but not will or intention.

In fact, I wonder if the 3 words in sequence might not be a set of synonyms arranged according to the waxing syllable principle?

:anjali:



nikāma may simply depend on context. nikāma in the context of desirous of gains, offerings and fame (... lābhasakkārasilokaṃ nikāmayamānā...) indicates the intention or will of what is desired (lābha)

In the AN. 4.35 pericope:

    nikāma + lābhī = ‘one who receives (attains)’ (lābhī) + ‘(the object of) desire’ (ni (na^1 emph. part.) + kāma), or 'attains ... as one wishes'

    akiccha + lābhi = ‘one who receives’ (lābhi) + (the condition where there is) ‘no distress’ (akiccha), with reference to the object one wishes.

    akasira + lābhi = ‘one who receives’ (lābhi) + (the condition where there is) ‘no difficulty’ (akasira), with reference to the object one wishes.

Redundant as they seem, the use of waxing syllables relates again to the bhāṇaka system we have discussed in the EB sub-forum from time to time. This device – combined with stock repetitions and pericopes – is found throughout early Buddhist literature, even up to chanting rituals used today which were composed only 150 years ago.

Anālayo presents a nice discussion of this in Oral Dimensions of Pāli Discourses: Pericopes, other Mnemonic Techniques and the Oral Performance Context.
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Re: The Satipatthana Sutta a forgery?

Postby Sylvester » Sun Jul 29, 2012 4:10 am

Thanks! Illuminating, as always.

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Re: The Satipatthana Sutta a forgery?

Postby dhammarelax » Sat Dec 27, 2014 3:00 pm

mikenz66 wrote:Hi Dave,

Well, could you (or someone else) just give us a clue or a specific reference? I'm genuinely perplexed, since I don't recall ever seeing an argument that the Satipatthana Sutta contained Upanishadic influence.

:anjali:
Mike

From BhikKu Sujatos History of Mindfulness:

"Finally we come to that most definitive of satipaṭṭhāna slogans: ekāyana magga...."

"Gethin includes an interesting discussion.51 He cautions against any attempt to settle on a single concrete definition for such a term, which
early on seemed to carry spiritual/mystical connotations, and is used in avariety of senses in the Brahmanical scriptures. The Chāndogya Upaniṣad
lists the ‘Ekāyana’ as an ancient Brahmanical text, which according to the commentator dealt with nītiśāstra, ‘social ethics’ or ‘politics’; perhaps the
idea here is that social policy leads to a unified society. Gethin notes that the non-Buddhist contexts for ekāyana suggest two groups of meanings:
the ‘lonely’ or ‘solo’ way; and a way that leads to one, a convergence point. ‘Solo way’ is accepted by the commentators, but one could ask whether this was a suitable interpretation, in the light of several texts in the Saṁyutta that encourage one to develop satipaṭṭhāna also for the benefit of others.
Further, this meaning always occurs in literal contexts, not with a derived significance appropriate for meditation. Moreover, only the second meaning,
which also claims commentarial support, is explicitly found elsewhere in the early Nikāyas."

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Re: The Satipatthana Sutta a forgery?

Postby mikenz66 » Sun Dec 28, 2014 6:18 am

Sure, it's common for the Suttas to quote, and often redefine, terminology from the Upanishads and elsewhere. And this is a reference to the aim of the whole process. I thought that Dave was, perhaps, referring to corruptions of the techniques discussed in the sutta by the later addition of Brahminiaca ideas into the techniques. Is there such a reference for that?

:anjali:
Mike

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Re: The Satipatthana Sutta a forgery?

Postby daverupa » Sun Dec 28, 2014 3:04 pm

mikenz66 wrote:Sure, it's common for the Suttas to quote, and often redefine, terminology from the Upanishads and elsewhere. And this is a reference to the aim of the whole process. I thought that Dave was, perhaps, referring to corruptions of the techniques discussed in the sutta by the later addition of Brahminiaca ideas into the techniques. Is there such a reference for that?


No such citation that I'm presently aware of.

I wasn't trying to hint at corruption at all, but I was being misunderstood, and ah yes, the gesticulation snippet was a real treasure. More of my vague and odd way with language, causing much trouble it seems. Meh.

But anyway, this was all two years ago. The discussion would look very different today.
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]

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Re: The Satipatthana Sutta a forgery?

Postby sphairos » Sun Dec 28, 2014 4:03 pm

All the existing evidence points into the opposite direction: Satipaṭṭhāna is the original, core teaching of the historical Buddha and his companions and predecessors.

In terms of textological analysis, historical and textual criticism, Sujato's claims are ridiculous and totally untenable.

In fact, satipaṭṭhāna may very well represent the Buddha's personal final teaching, the comprehensive meditation system, which he designated in the end of his teaching life. Thus the minor textual inconsistencies may reflect the great effort of codification and loss prevention of his greatest and latest personal teaching (built upon jhāna, ānāpānasati, kāyagatāsati, kkhandhā-analysis-meditation etc.).
Last edited by sphairos on Sun Dec 28, 2014 11:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: The Satipatthana Sutta a forgery?

Postby dhammarelax » Sun Dec 28, 2014 5:41 pm

mikenz66 wrote:Sure, it's common for the Suttas to quote, and often redefine, terminology from the Upanishads and elsewhere. And this is a reference to the aim of the whole process. I thought that Dave was, perhaps, referring to corruptions of the techniques discussed in the sutta by the later addition of Brahminiaca ideas into the techniques. Is there such a reference for that?

:anjali:
Mike


No as far as I remember, note also that this reference is the only one in Bhikku Sujatos book and it seems more linguistical than conceptual leaving his choice of translation almost without a relevant meaning for the practice.

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Re: The Satipatthana Sutta a forgery?

Postby dhammarelax » Sun Dec 28, 2014 5:49 pm

sphairos wrote:All the existing evidence points into the opposite direction: Satipaṭṭhāna is the original, core teaching of the historical Buddha and his companions and predecessors.

In terms of textological analysis, historical and textual criticism Sujato's claims are ridiculous and totally untenable.

In fact, satipaṭṭhāna may very well represent the Buddha's personal final teaching, the comprehensive meditation system, which he designated in the end of his teaching life. Thus the minor textual inconsistencies may reflect the great effort of codification and loss prevention of his greatest and latest personal teaching (built upon jhāna, ānāpānasati, kāyagatāsati, kkhandhā-analysis-meditation etc.).


Are there any authors we could read that defend this position?

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Re: The Satipatthana Sutta a forgery?

Postby sphairos » Sun Dec 28, 2014 11:21 pm

dhammarelax wrote:
sphairos wrote:All the existing evidence points into the opposite direction: Satipaṭṭhāna is the original, core teaching of the historical Buddha and his companions and predecessors.

In terms of textological analysis, historical and textual criticism Sujato's claims are ridiculous and totally untenable.

In fact, satipaṭṭhāna may very well represent the Buddha's personal final teaching, the comprehensive meditation system, which he designated in the end of his teaching life. Thus the minor textual inconsistencies may reflect the great effort of codification and loss prevention of his greatest and latest personal teaching (built upon jhāna, ānāpānasati, kāyagatāsati, kkhandhā-analysis-meditation etc.).


Are there any authors we could read that defend this position?

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dhammarelax


Sure, see Gethins "The Buddhist path to awakening" (1993 (?), 2001), Anālayo's "Satipatthana: The direct path to realization" (my edition is 2009), "Perspectives on Satipatthana" (2014), Tse-fu Kuan's "Mindfulness in early Buddhism : new approaches through psychology and textual analysis of Pali, Chinese, and Sanskrit sources" (2007), some parts of A. Wynne's "The Origin of Buddhist meditation" (2007), his articles "Miraculous Transformation and Personal Identity: A note on the First anatman Teaching of the Second Sermon" (2009), "Early Evidence for the "no-self"doctrine? A note on the second anatman teaching of the Second Sermon" (2009), something useful as far as I remember is to be found in his "The Buddha's ‘skill in means’ and the genesis of the five aggregate teaching (Winner of the 2nd Professor Mary Boyce Award)" (2010). Oxford's Sarah Shaw's works on meditation contain many valuable suggestions, pointing in the mentioned direction. And many more - it's late here, I'm almost asleep.

I believe it's pretty much the position of everyone engaged in the detailed, serious examination of the early Buddhist texts on asceticism and meditation.

Textually wise with regard to the architecture of the received Pāli canon you would probably find most revealing the O. von Hinuber's, the distinguished philologist and textual scholar, article "Hoary Past and Hazy Memory: On the History of Early Buddhist Texts" (2009).

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Re: The Satipatthana Sutta a forgery?

Postby sphairos » Mon Dec 29, 2014 7:05 pm

"Are there any authors we could read that defend this position?"

See especially Kuan (2006), pp. 137-138 and "Conclusion", and Wynne's articles of the 2009th (don't remember exactly where he refers to the problem in those).

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Re: The Satipatthana Sutta a forgery?

Postby Kamran » Wed Dec 31, 2014 3:24 am

Analayo points out in his Chinese agama comparison that the breath sections in the Pali are later additions since it is not in the agama version and is not as useful as the anapanasati breath....not that breath is not a valid object just that it's not part of satipatthana.
When this concentration is thus developed, thus well developed by you, then wherever you go, you will go in comfort. Wherever you stand, you will stand in comfort. Wherever you sit, you will sit in comfort. Wherever you lie down, you will lie down in comfort.

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Re: The Satipatthana Sutta a forgery?

Postby Sylvester » Wed Dec 31, 2014 11:11 am

In his Perspectives, Ven Analayo has had to grudgingly concede that the Pali inclusion of the Aggregates n 4 Noble Truths in the contemplation of phenomena is commentarial in nature - p.171 - 172. However, he still believes that the establishment of mindfulness is principally a practice directed at liberating insight and produces the jhanas only as a side effect. This notwithstanding MN 125 portraying mindfulness as being geared towards the tranquilisation of unskillful intentions ie it is a Samantha strategy.

Rather than view insight as being the exclusive accoutrement of Awakening, I wonder if the jhanas are not metaphorical Nibbanas that need insight to generate. Not a comfortable idea, given how jealously Buddhism asserts a monopoly on every kind of insight. Yet, I'm reminded that the Buddha considered His 2 teachers as having little dust in their eyes while He did not consider the Five as such.

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Re: The Satipatthana Sutta a forgery?

Postby Mkoll » Wed Dec 31, 2014 6:01 pm

Sylvester wrote:In his Perspectives, Ven Analayo has had to grudgingly concede that the Pali inclusion of the Aggregates n 4 Noble Truths in the contemplation of phenomena is commentarial in nature - p.171 - 172. However, he still believes that the establishment of mindfulness is principally a practice directed at liberating insight and produces the jhanas only as a side effect. This notwithstanding MN 125 portraying mindfulness as being geared towards the tranquilisation of unskillful intentions ie it is a Samantha strategy.

Rather than view insight as being the exclusive accoutrement of Awakening, I wonder if the jhanas are not metaphorical Nibbanas that need insight to generate. Not a comfortable idea, given how jealously Buddhism asserts a monopoly on every kind of insight. Yet, I'm reminded that the Buddha considered His 2 teachers as having little dust in their eyes while He did not consider the Five as such.

I think the jhanas do require insight of the sort described in SN 47.8.

Also, is it correct to say here that the "abandoning of the defilements/corruptions" is the temporary sort of the jhanas rather than the permanent sort of liberation? That's what makes sense to me given that the sutta is about jhana.

SN 47.8 (Thanissaro) wrote:"Suppose that there is a foolish, inexperienced, unskillful cook who has presented a king or a king's minister with various kinds of curry: mainly sour, mainly bitter, mainly peppery, mainly sweet, alkaline or non-alkaline, salty or non-salty. He does not take note of[1] his master, thinking, 'Today my master likes this curry, or he reaches out for that curry, or he takes a lot of this curry, or he praises that curry. Today my master likes mainly sour curry... Today my master likes mainly bitter curry... mainly peppery curry... mainly sweet curry... alkaline curry... non-alkaline curry... salty curry... Today my master likes non-salty curry, or he reaches out for non-salty curry, or he takes a lot of non-salty curry, or he praises non-salty curry.' As a result, he is not rewarded with clothing or wages or gifts. Why is that? Because the foolish, inexperienced, unskillful cook does not pick up on the theme of his own master.

"In the same way, there are cases where a foolish, inexperienced, unskillful monk remains focused on the body in & of itself — ardent, alert, & mindful — putting aside greed & distress with reference to the world. As he remains thus focused on the body in & of itself, his mind does not become concentrated, his defilements[2] are not abandoned. He does not take note of that fact.[3] He remains focused on feelings in & of themselves... the mind in & of itself... mental qualities in & of themselves — ardent, alert, & mindful — putting aside greed & distress with reference to the world. As he remains thus focused on mental qualities in & of themselves, his mind does not become concentrated, his defilements are not abandoned. He does not take note of that fact. As a result, he is not rewarded with a pleasant abiding here & now, nor with mindfulness & alertness. Why is that? Because the foolish, inexperienced, unskillful monk does not take note of his own mind.[4]

"Now suppose that there is a wise, experienced, skillful cook who has presented a king or a king's minister with various kinds of curry: mainly sour, mainly bitter, mainly peppery, mainly sweet, alkaline or non-alkaline, salty or non-salty. He takes note of his master, thinking, 'Today my master likes this curry, or he reaches out for that curry, or he takes a lot of this curry or he praises that curry. Today my master likes mainly sour curry... Today my master likes mainly bitter curry... mainly peppery curry... mainly sweet curry... alkaline curry... non-alkaline curry... salty curry... Today my master likes non-salty curry, or he reaches out for non-salty curry, or he takes a lot of non-salty curry, or he praises non-salty curry.' As a result, he is rewarded with clothing, wages, & gifts. Why is that? Because the wise, experienced, skillful cook picks up on the theme of his own master.

"In the same way, there are cases where a wise, experienced, skillful monk remains focused on the body in & of itself... feelings in & of themselves... the mind in & of itself... mental qualities in & of themselves — ardent, alert, & mindful — putting aside greed & distress with reference to the world. As he remains thus focused on mental qualities in & of themselves, his mind becomes concentrated, his defilements are abandoned. He takes note of that fact. As a result, he is rewarded with a pleasant abiding here & now, together with mindfulness & alertness. Why is that? Because the wise, experienced, skillful monk picks up on the theme of his own mind."


SN 47.8 (Bodhi) wrote:i. The incompetent cook

“Bhikkhus, suppose a foolish, incompetent, unskilful cook were to present a king or a royal minister with various kinds of curries: sour, bitter, pungent, sweet, sharp, mild, salty, bland.

“That foolish, incompetent, unskilful cook does not pick up the sign of his own master’s preference: ‘Today this curry pleased my master, or he reached for this one, or he took a lot of this one, or he spoke in praise of this one; or the sour curry pleased my master today, or he reached for the sour one, or he took a lot of the sour one, or he spoke in praise of the sour one; or the bitter curry … or the pungent curry … or the sweet curry … or the sharp curry … or the mild curry … or the salty curry … or the bland curry pleased my master … or he spoke in praise of the bland one.’

“That foolish, incompetent, unskilful cook does not gain gifts of clothing, wages, and bonuses. For what reason? Because that foolish, incompetent, unskilful cook does not pick up the sign of his own master’s preference.

“So too, bhikkhus, here some foolish, incompetent, unskilful bhikkhu dwells contemplating the body in the body, ardent, clearly comprehending, mindful, having removed covetousness and displeasure in regard to the world. While he dwells contemplating the body in the body, his mind does not become concentrated, his corruptions are not abandoned, he does not pick up that sign. He dwells contemplating feelings in feelings … mind in mind … phenomena in phenomena, ardent, clearly comprehending, mindful, having removed covetousness and displeasure in regard to the world. While he dwells contemplating phenomena in phenomena, his mind does not become concentrated, his corruptions are not abandoned, he does not pick up that sign.

“That foolish, incompetent, unskilful bhikkhu does not gain pleasant dwellings in this very life, nor does he gain mindfulness and clear comprehension. For what reason? Because, bhikkhus, that foolish, incompetent, unskilful bhikkhu does not pick up the sign of his own mind.
ii. The competent cook

“Suppose, bhikkhus, a wise, competent, skilful cook were to present a king or a royal minister with various kinds of curries: sour, bitter, pungent, sweet, sharp, mild, salty, bland.

“That wise, competent, skilful cook picks up the sign of his own master’s preference: ‘Today this curry pleased my master … or he spoke in praise of the bland one.’

“That wise, competent, skilful cook gains gifts of clothing, wages, and bonuses. For what reason? Because that wise, competent, skilful cook picks up the sign of his own master’s preference.

“So too, bhikkhus, here some wise, competent, skilful bhikkhu dwells contemplating the body in the body, ardent, clearly comprehending, mindful, having removed covetousness and displeasure in regard to the world. While he dwells contemplating the body in the body, his mind becomes concentrated, his corruptions are abandoned, he picks up that sign. He dwells contemplating feelings in feelings … mind in mind … phenomena in phenomena, ardent, clearly comprehending, mindful, having removed covetousness and displeasure in regard to the world. While he dwells contemplating phenomena in phenomena, his mind becomes concentrated, his corruptions are abandoned, he picks up that sign.

“That wise, competent, skilful bhikkhu gains pleasant dwellings in this very life, and he gains mindfulness and clear comprehension. For what reason? Because, bhikkhus, that wise, competent, skilful bhikkhu picks up the sign of his own mind.”
Peace,
James

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Re: The Satipatthana Sutta a forgery?

Postby Sylvester » Thu Jan 01, 2015 3:17 am

:goodpost:

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Re: The Satipatthana Sutta a forgery?

Postby obo » Thu Jan 01, 2015 4:37 pm

I apologize for introducing this idea without a citation, but I cannot seem to locate the place it was stated. Rhys Davids at one place discussed the meaning of 'suttanta' as 'end (anta) of the suttas', meaning 'a compilation', and points out that the suttantas are found mainly in the Digha and Majjhima Nikayas.

With this understanding the idea of forgery must be dismissed. Whoever put together the Majjhima and Digha Nikayas was, if this understanding is correct, declaring right out that what we are seeing are compilations. Closely related anthologies if you will.

Another aspect of this is that there is no good reason to think that Gotama himself may not have been the compiler.

One could definitely piece together the entire Satipatthana verbatum from passages in the Anguttara and Samyutta Nikayas. This would argue strongly against the conclusion that the Satipatthanas were first created whole and then later raided for parts. The Satipatthanas may well have been spoken as they are found by Gotama as collections of earlier bits, but the disjointed 'feel', the lack of symmetry (e.g., some parts have similes and some not), of the four divisions would suggest a compilation of the Satipatthana by someone other than Gotama either before or after his death. I agree also with others above who have said: Who knows? It is not important. The content is True Dhamma no matter what.

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Re: The Satipatthana Sutta a forgery?

Postby mikenz66 » Fri Jan 02, 2015 1:59 am

That's the way I see it. The whole issue seems quaintly irrelevant scholasticism to me. There are so many mentions of mindfulness of body, breath, feelings, mind states, dhammas in many suttas. It is necessary to consult a variety of suttas to get a full picture, so I don't see the practical importance of the "controversy".

:anjali:
Mike


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