daverupa wrote: suttametta wrote:
daverupa wrote: that jhana is solely unique to the Dhamma also seems apparent.
It is? I thought Buddha got the top two formless attainments (features of the fourth jhana) from Alara Kalama and Udaka Ramaputta. My understanding of what was exclusive to buddha was view of the person as khandhas, dependent origination and a way of entering jhana that was just by relaxing.
The Buddha rejected those two attainments; then, at a later time, he recollected a childhood memory of first jhana.
Now, if the rupajhanas are necessary to develop prior to attaining the arupajhanas, as tradition would have it, then Alara and Udaka had rupajhana too. But then the Buddha would have recollected those teachings, and not had to recollect the unique childhood case. So those two attainments cannot be related to the fourth jhana, which was developed on the heels of the childhood case and not extrapolated from the formless attainments learned under those two teachers.
Ah ha! Looks like you've been dipping into the Wynne honeypot. Or perhaps the Brahm honeypot?
Something that is often overlooked in MN 26 is its unusual way of reporting the declarations of Alara and Udaka. The verb declared(s)/pavedesi
(eti) occurs 8 times in the sutta, all of which report actual declarations. Taking the report on the encounter with Alara, they are (using the ATI translation) -
Tassa mayhaṃ, bhikkhave, etadahosi— ‘na kho āḷāro kālāmo imaṃ dhammaṃ kevalaṃ saddhāmattakena sayaṃ abhiññā sacchikatvā upasampajja viharāmīti pavedeti; addhā āḷāro kālāmo imaṃ dhammaṃ jānaṃ passaṃ viharatī’ti.
I thought: 'It isn't through mere conviction alone that Alara Kalama declares, "I have entered & dwell in this Dhamma, having realized it for myself through direct knowledge." Certainly he dwells knowing & seeing this Dhamma.
Atha khvāhaṃ, bhikkhave, yena āḷāro kālāmo tenupasaṅkamiṃ; upasaṅkamitvā āḷāraṃ kālāmaṃ etadavocaṃ— ‘kittāvatā no, āvuso kālāma, imaṃ dhammaṃ sayaṃ abhiññā sacchikatvā upasampajja viharāmīti pavedesī’ti? Evaṃ vutte, bhikkhave, āḷāro kālāmo ākiñcaññāyatanaṃ pavedesi.
So I went to him and said, 'To what extent do you declare that you have entered & dwell in this Dhamma?' When this was said, he declared the dimension of nothingness.
Notice how the Buddha/redactors did not privilege Alara's declaration of Nothingness as "Nothingness", unlike the earlier declaration (marked with the iti clitic). It's almost as if the sutta goes out of its way to deny the truth value of Alara's declaration. Likewise for the Udaka narrative. Was this omission of the clitic accidental or deliberate? It looks quite deliberate that in 6 of the 8 declarations, they are privileged with the iti clitic. The excluded 2 do not look like accidental omissions to me.
What's odd also is the Buddha's recollection of whatever he attained under these 2 teachers as "tassa dhammassa
" (that dhamma (that was declared in the preceding relative clause - yaṃ dhammaṃ rāmo sayaṃ abhiññā sacchikatvā upasampajja viharāmīti pavedesi
). He did not identify these attainments by their names at all.
I'm offering these as an alternative to Wynne's arguments that the formless attainments were not a legitimate pursuit and that the redactors were wrong from a very early period of Buddhism to have included them. If I'm correct, these clues in MN 26 would suggest that whatever it was that Alara or Udaka declared to be, they were not the arupa attainments that gain prominence in the suttas.