Saññā. Saññā (in AN 11.10
) is a noun. Sañjānāti in MN 1 is a verb. The meaning of both words appears to be the same (per MN 43).
“They speak of this thing called ‘perception’.
“‘Saññā saññā’ti, āvuso, vuccati.
How is perception defined?.
Kittāvatā nu kho, āvuso, saññāti vuccatī”ti?
“It’s called perception because it perceives.
“‘Sañjānāti sañjānātī’ti kho, āvuso, tasmā saññāti vuccati.
MN 43; SN 22.79; etc
Imo, AN 11.10 should probably be read less literally & should be read more contextually. Contextually, the sutta is about:
They don’t meditate dependent on earth, water, fire, and air.... we don’t understand what you meditate dependent on....
So AN 11.10 might be saying the Noble Disciple does not meditate making earth, water, fire, air, etc, the primary object of perception, as explained below:
And what is the faculty of immersion? It’s when a noble disciple, relying on letting go (vossagga), gains immersion, gains unification of mind. (Sujato)
And what is the faculty of concentration? There is the case where a monk, a disciple of the noble ones, making it his object to let go, attains concentration, attains singleness of mind. (Thanissaro)
.... having made release the object.... (Bodhi)
SN 48.10 appears to essentially say the Noble Disciple makes Nibbana the object of meditation (which matches my interpretation of AN 11.10).
Another sutta supporting my interpretation is MN 121, where the "perception of earth" is a formal meditation object (and uses the same terminology as AN 11.10). Thus, it appears AN 11.10 might not be referring to the everyday perception of earth, such as when the Buddha is walking in the forest and sees the trees, rocks, sand, hills, etc. It seems to be referring to a formal meditation object.
Furthermore, a mendicant—ignoring the perception of people and the perception of wilderness—focuses on the oneness dependent on the perception of earth.
Puna caparaṃ, ānanda, bhikkhu amanasikaritvā manussasaññaṃ, amanasikaritvā araññasaññaṃ, pathavīsaññaṃ paṭicca manasi karoti ekattaṃ.
Compare to AN 11.10:
Sandha, for a fine thoroughbred person, the perception of earth has vanished in relation to earth. The perception of water … fire … air has vanished in relation to air. The perception of the dimension of infinite space has vanished in relation to the dimension of infinite space. The perception of the dimension of infinite consciousness … nothingness … neither perception nor non-perception has vanished in relation to the dimension of neither perception nor non-perception. The perception of this world has vanished in relation to this world. The perception of the other world has vanished in relation to the other world. And the perception of what is seen, heard, thought, cognized, attained, sought, or explored by the mind has vanished.
“Idha, saddha, bhadrassa purisājānīyassa pathaviyaṃ pathavisaññā vibhūtā hoti, āpasmiṃ āposaññā vibhūtā hoti, tejasmiṃ tejosaññā vibhūtā hoti, vāyasmiṃ vāyosaññā vibhūtā hoti, ākāsānañcāyatane ākāsānañcāyatanasaññā vibhūtā hoti, viññāṇañcāyatane viññāṇañcāyatanasaññā vibhūtā hoti, ākiñcaññāyatane ākiñcaññāyatanasaññā vibhūtā hoti, nevasaññānāsaññāyatane nevasaññānāsaññāyatanasaññā vibhūtā hoti, idhaloke idhalokasaññā vibhūtā hoti, paraloke paralokasaññā vibhūtā hoti, yampidaṃ diṭṭhaṃ sutaṃ mutaṃ viññātaṃ pattaṃ pariyesitaṃ anuvicaritaṃ manasā, tatrāpi saññā vibhūtā hoti.
To reiterate, the word "vibhūtā
" is the key word here (which the three translators all translated as "disappears"). Rather than simply meaning the disappearance of "materialistic existence", the word "bhūtā" in "vibhūtā" here may refer to some type of "bhava" or clinging based mental becoming that ceases. This interpretation appears to match AN 11.10, which is all about the Noble Disciple meditating not dependent on
any conditioned phenomena.
Anyway, I am satisfied with my study of this, i.e., AN 11.10, MN 1 and MN 121. MN 121 makes clear the terminology, for me.