You make some useful points.
However I thought that the really interesting thing was Bhikkhu Bodhi's comment:
However, the two are not inseparably conjoined since, while wisdom always requires consciousness, consciousness can occur without wisdom.
Which is interesting even if you translate wisdom as discernment.
It's hard to tell with certainty if Ven T's rendition of pañña
as "discernment" was meant to endow pañña
with a vipassanā
flavour, or something less. The vipassanā
context does come through in many other places, where the proxy vipassanā
appears, especially when paired with yathābhūta
. Eg the stock phrase associated with the insight into the 4 Noble Truths that arise with Stream-Entry -
Idaṃ dukkha’nti yathābhūtaṃ pajānāti, ‘ayaṃ dukkhasamudayo’ti yathābhūtaṃ pajānāti, ‘ayaṃ dukkhanirodho’ti yathābhūtaṃ pajānāti, ‘ayaṃ dukkhanirodhagāminī paṭipadā’ti yathābhūtaṃ pajānāti
does appear to have a much broader linguistic range than being a vipassanā
proxy verb. It crops up famously in the 2 expanded Satipaṭṭhāna Suttas. Depending on how one interprets and understands the function of satipaṭṭhāna
(is it insight practice, or is it tranquility practice), see how MN 10 has been translated on ATI. Ven T translates pajānāti
as "discerns", Ven Nyanasatta renders it as "knows", while Ven Soma's rendition has a clear "vipassanā
" flavour in the rendition "understands". BB also renders this as "understands" in the MLDB, but this could simply be an artefact of Ven Nyanamoli's translation discipline of "one English word for each Pali term".
Elsewhere, the causative form of pajānāti
is clearly intended to point to a delusion, rather than insight. We have the verb paññapeti
in DN 15, translated as "delineates" by Ven T and as "describes" by BB. As a causative, it basically means "causes to be seen". As used in the section on the "delineation of self", this verb clearly has a less than salutory bent. It's hard to see how it could possibly be related to wisdom.
Now, of course, if the Abhidhammic model of supramundane cittas were correct, there would certainly be some basis for the Comy to peg this pañña
to the sort of knowledges that arise with each of the 4 stages of Awakening. If, however, the model is untenable, must pañña
and its verb pajānāti
be linked to vipassanā
? Why not "seeing" simpliciter?
PS - I'm largely driven by concern over one of the consequences that follow from the thoughts in this thread - viewtopic.php?f=16&t=15952
Taken to its logical conclusion, it might suggest that a puthujjana's
(eg moi) meditation are all pointless, since it is bereft of the Ariyan knowledge that arise with the "supramundane". This does not seem to be consistent with the tenor of the suttas in SN 25, where the Faith-Follower and Dhamma-Follower are contrasted with the Stream-Enterer. There, the Dhamma-Follower is described as someone who has pañña
. Obviously, this sutta usage of pañña
does not quite fit in with the Abhidhammic model that the Comy uses to explain MN 43's pañña
, since a Dhamma-Follower will not have touched any of the supramundane cittas...