I agree with you. There is no real loss of intelligibility or meaning by just translating it focusing on the sense of succession as the primary meaning. If anything, the addition of 'as they occurred' is an interpolation. Although that particular meaning could be present in the text in some rather incidental fashion, I think it is clear from the context that the emphasis of the passage is on the fact that the Ven. Sariputta discerned such states one after the other, and by taking on the phrase "as they occured" one changes the emphasis.Sylvester wrote:Is this reading even necessary? Occam's Razor would suggest that the normal periphrastic construction is the easiest, so I would take the phrase to simply mean "they were discriminated successively" and complete drop "as they occurred". This lean interpretation does the least violence to such absorption suttas such as DN 9 and DA 28, which posit that the perception in the attainments is very singular, not diverse. See how the singular perception proposition is repeated for emphasis in each passage.
Even though I happen to accept the position that this addition hints toward, I don't think that such an idea is actually present in this passage.
By the way, could you please tell me what the relavent portions of DN 9 and DA 28 are? I remember going through DN 9 and not really understanding the point because I didn't quite know what I was looking for. It sounds to me that in DN 9 the Buddha is talking about how in the jhanas up to the sphere of nothingness, one replaces the perception of one thing with the perception of the thing specific to that jhana, and that perception only comes to an end during cessation.