Ñāṇa wrote:Reference to the canon and to specialists in the fields of Buddhist meditation, translation, and scholarship are completely valid. Let's see what some specialists in these fields have to say on the subject, and see if you agree or disagree with them. I won't list their credentials, as I'm sure you're well aware of them.
Well there, not quite an uncountable list now, is it.
I'm sure you must realise that this name-dropping is not going to achieve very much, beyond the rather shallow comparisons already done by Brasington and Shankman. For every "authority" you cite, we can just as easily find many more Classical Theravadins who would disagree with them. So, I won't approach this by citing counter-authorities but will try to address each authority by using the 4 Great References, where possible, and if the emic approach does not work, by etic approaches..
1. Ajahn Chah
If Ajahn Chah had made that statement as a scholastic one, then the statement clearly conflicts with AN 10.72, and must be rejected.
But given his "Good Enough" teaching style, I would expect Ajahn Chah to have been motivated by compassion for a particularly poor meditator who could not get the vivicc'eva kamehi apanna-s.
2. Bhikkhu Bodhi
That is footnote No 4 to Chap 10 of his "In the Buddha's Words", published in 2005. The Venerable had since changed his stance in Sep 2008, in his lecture on Jhanas at Chuang Yen Monastery. He now asserts that review of the jhana factors is done after arising from the jhana. I don't know why he's now reverted to this position, or if he has since changed his mind yet again.
3. Bhante G
Addressed to death in this thread - http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=16&t=4990
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4. The Vibhaṅga Satipaṭṭhānavibhaṅga
In case you have not noticed, it's practically the same giant iddapaccayata set as the Dhammasaṅgaṇī Cittuppādakaṇḍa Lokuttarakusala Suddhikapaṭipadā earlier discussed. It's certainly your prerogative to interpret the locative absolute as entailing only concomitance, but until your New Pali Grammar is peer-reviewed and taken to have abrogated Warder's, I'll take my chances with Warder.
5. Dhammasaṅgaṇī Cittuppādakaṇḍa Lokuttarakusala Suddhikapaṭipadā
6. The Mahāvibhāṣā
And how do the Sarvas interpret vipaśyanā? Do they use the same doctrinal set of definitions as the Dhammasangani? Let's see if you are comparing apples to apples.
Secondly, let's not forget that part of the zeroth premise underlying the Sarvas' Tri-Temporal Materialism was their rejection of vipaśyanā review through memory, thereby entailing vipaśyanā directly into svabhava past dharmas that continue to exist after the event. Are you sure there is a legitimate basis to compare Theravadin vipassana with Sarvastivadin vipaśyanā?
As above. Secondly, what is the Sanskrit for "yoked"? Unless it was "samprayukta" and its technical meaning assigned by Vasubandhu is equivalent to the Dammasangani's "sampayutta", I don't see this as being of any worth for Comparative Buddhism. Just because the Abhidharmakośabhāṣya is interpreted by modern commentators as intending a temporal dimension to "yoked", that does not mean that the Pali's sampayutta should share the same flavour. No reason to backread a modern reading of a Sarva text into the Theravadin text, when the Theravadin text has itself explicity excluded any temporal value to nana in its kusala dhamma discussion.
8. And finally Ajahn Thanissaro's nasty experience. That sure is not Jhana. I've not heard of anyone emerging from a Jhana all stoned and spaced out. But that bad trip in itself does not excuse Ajahn Thanissaro's dismissal of seclusion from sound as a hallmark of a Jhana, since it directly conflicts with the Thorns Sutta above cited. Methinks he launched himself too fast into a stupor, without having gone through the successive cessations outlined in DN 9. What's important from DN 9 is that each successive nirodha achieved by training is anchored in a new perception that arises through training. Given his antagonism to "nimittas" (used loosely here), he may have missed the obhasa and rupa dassana stage and just blacked out without an anchor.
And since Ven. Sujato is using Sarvāstivāda texts to try to legitimize his and Ven. Brahmavamso's theories, it's appropriate to include two authoritative Indian Sarvāstivāda sources.
This has got to be the worst category mistake, popular with old school Mahayanists and Vajrayanists who have not got a clue about the Agamas or the Nikayas. What makes for a Sarva is not its Agama, but its Abhidharma theories. You've asserted elsewhere that there's no such thing as Early Theravada, but you conveniently overlook this point in alleging that the texts used are "Sarva". It's just an early Buddhist parallel to the Pali preserved in the Sarva Canon. And I don't see either Ajahn relying on svabhava or the "three-times" in their explanation of Jhana, unlike your resort to the Sarva notion of vipaśyanā that only makes sense in the context of reviewing real time "ghost" dharma-s of the past.
At your leisure...
PS - I'm still waiting for your suttanta citation of vipassana/vipassati proceeding without Dhamma-Vicaya, or that one can vipassati using an avitakka-avicara Dhamma-Vicaya. Pls track down this Enlightenment Factor for my benefit.