The Satipatthana Sutta a forgery?

Textual analysis and comparative discussion on early Buddhist sects and texts.
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tiltbillings
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Re: The Satipatthana Sutta a forgery?

Post by tiltbillings » Mon Mar 05, 2012 7:05 pm

ancientbuddhism wrote:. . .
It is dismal only if one wants an inerrant scripture.
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

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Re: The Satipatthana Sutta a forgery?

Post by mikenz66 » Mon Mar 05, 2012 7:25 pm

Hi Kare,
Kare wrote: I am not drawing any conclusions. I am just puzzled by what has been written in this thread, since much of it seems to be based on ignorance of a basic aspect of the Suttas. I leave it to others to conclude.
The work on Satipatthana was, I believe, one of Ven Sujato's early analysis works, and he is, by his own admission, not a trained scholar but an interested enthusiast. Since then he has done a lot more writing, and discussing with others in the field, such as Ven Analyo.

Judging from later talks and writings, such as the point I brought up here about whether arahantship is permanent: http://dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=29&t=11630" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; I think he would now certainly agree with you that most suttas involve various pasting together and compilation.

So, I quite agree with you. It's fine to point out that such compilation and enhancement exist, but what I find odd is the idea that seems to have been expressed on threads like this that the Satipatthana Sutta is a particularly grievous example when compared to, for example, the Anapanasati Sutta.

To me, the take-home message is that we are lucky to have some hints of what the Buddha taught, assembled and memorized by the ancient compilers. These hints have to be interpreted with wisdom.

:anjali:
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Re: The Satipatthana Sutta a forgery?

Post by Kare » Mon Mar 05, 2012 7:31 pm

ancientbuddhism wrote:
  • "... It cannot be emphasized too much that all the versions of canonical Hīnayāna Buddhists texts which we possess are translations, and even the earliest we possess are translations of some still earlier version, now lost." (ibid. p.33-34)
And which texts might those "Hīnayāna Buddhists texts" be? I have never seen any Hīnayāna Buddhists texts. Anyone here who know any Hīnayāna Buddhists texts? :twisted:
Mettāya,
Kåre

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Re: The Satipatthana Sutta a forgery?

Post by daverupa » Mon Mar 05, 2012 8:02 pm

Kare wrote:Anyone here who know any Hīnayāna Buddhists texts? :twisted:
Have a look. Each section in that book deals first with the Theravadan text, and then any known Hinayana parallels, usually extant in another Prakrit or Sanskrit.
  • "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.

- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]

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Re: The Satipatthana Sutta a forgery?

Post by ancientbuddhism » Mon Mar 05, 2012 8:16 pm

mikenz66 wrote:… It's fine to point out that such compilation and enhancement exist, but what I find odd is the idea that seems to have been expressed on threads like this that the Satipatthana Sutta is a particularly grievous example when compared to, for example, the Anapanasati Sutta.
The Ānāpānasati Sutta would be judged by the same standard, as would others considered ‘late’. The Satipaṭṭhāna suttas are singled out only because of rivalries between meditation traditions. Although Sujato’s work is interesting and helpful, if you consider the tradition he comes from his enthusiasm for this topic is understandable.
mikenz66 wrote:To me, the take-home message is that we are lucky to have some hints of what the Buddha taught, assembled and memorized by the ancient compilers. These hints have to be interpreted with wisdom.
And the light of later scholarship offers some freedom from the constraints of orthodoxy.
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Re: The Satipatthana Sutta a forgery?

Post by Nyana » Tue Mar 06, 2012 11:07 pm

Generally speaking, the different collections of suttas that were compiled and redacted by the various early Buddhist sects are similar enough in content that in practical terms they are teaching the same dhamma, regardless of the differences in how the pericopes are arranged.

Here's Tse-fu Kuan's English translations of the Chinese versions of the Satipaṭṭhāna Sutta and the Kāyagatāsati Sutta, and his endnotes for both suttas:
Sutta_1.pdf
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Sutta_2.pdf
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Notes.pdf
(181.51 KiB) Downloaded 230 times

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Re: The Satipatthana Sutta a forgery?

Post by ancientbuddhism » Wed Mar 07, 2012 12:43 am

Ñāṇa wrote:Generally speaking, the different collections of suttas that were compiled and redacted by the various early Buddhist sects are similar enough in content that in practical terms they are teaching the same dhamma, regardless of the differences in how the pericopes are arranged.

Here's Tse-fu Kuan's English translations of the Chinese versions of the Satipaṭṭhāna Sutta and the Kāyagatāsati Sutta, and his endnotes for both suttas...
:goodpost:
I say, beware of all enterprises that require new clothes, and not rather a new wearer of clothes.” – Henry David Thoreau, Walden, 1854

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Re: The Satipatthana Sutta a forgery?

Post by piotr » Wed Mar 07, 2012 6:55 pm

Hi Kare,
Kare wrote:I am not drawing any conclusions. I am just puzzled by what has been written in this thread, since much of it seems to be based on ignorance of a basic aspect of the Suttas. I leave it to others to conclude.
I'd rather say that some things which were written in this thread are based on ignorance of Sujāto work. It's obvious for me that he was/is aware of the structure of the suttas. And it's obvious too that he's not suggesting that the bits which constitute Satipatthāna Sutta are inauthentic. What Sujāto was trying to do was to show presumably how and why this fragments were organized in this specific manner; how they then are interpreted; and lastly how it influences the idea of Buddhist meditation.
Bhagavaṃmūlakā no, bhante, dhammā...

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Re: The Satipatthana Sutta a forgery?

Post by danieLion » Sun Jul 08, 2012 2:59 am

piotr wrote:What Sujāto was trying to do was to show presumably how and why these fragments were organized in this specific manner; how they then are interpreted; and lastly how it influences the idea of Buddhist meditation.
Hi piotr,
How do we know it wasn't the other way around: Buddhist meditation influencing the specific manner of organization and interpretation(s) of the fragments?
Best,
Daniel

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Re: The Satipatthana Sutta a forgery?

Post by Dinsdale » Sun Jul 08, 2012 12:42 pm

I don't think the Satipatthana Sutta is a forgery, but it does seem to contain quite an assortment of different practices some of which may have been added later.
Buddha save me from new-agers!

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Re: The Satipatthana Sutta a forgery?

Post by daverupa » Sun Jul 08, 2012 2:53 pm

danieLion wrote:
piotr wrote:What Sujāto was trying to do was to show presumably how and why these fragments were organized in this specific manner; how they then are interpreted; and lastly how it influences the idea of Buddhist meditation.
Hi piotr,
How do we know it wasn't the other way around: Buddhist meditation influencing the specific manner of organization and interpretation(s) of the fragments?
Best,
Daniel
This is probably the case with kasina, formless attainments, body foulness, etc. Possibly even anapanasati. The renunciate culture was rife with methodology, a process which hasn't got clear stages so much as long, transitioning histories.
  • "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.

- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]

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Re: The Satipatthana Sutta a forgery?

Post by Sylvester » Sat Jul 14, 2012 6:33 am

piotr wrote:Hi Kare,
Kare wrote:I am not drawing any conclusions. I am just puzzled by what has been written in this thread, since much of it seems to be based on ignorance of a basic aspect of the Suttas. I leave it to others to conclude.
I'd rather say that some things which were written in this thread are based on ignorance of Sujāto work. It's obvious for me that he was/is aware of the structure of the suttas. And it's obvious too that he's not suggesting that the bits which constitute Satipatthāna Sutta are inauthentic. What Sujāto was trying to do was to show presumably how and why this fragments were organized in this specific manner; how they then are interpreted; and lastly how it influences the idea of Buddhist meditation.
Hi piotr

I have to agree.

Ajahn Sujato's work is not easy to digest, and it is not easy for the non-specialist to actually appreciate the finer points of Textual Criticism that he makes.

To this end, an investment in Ven Analayo's Comparative Study of the MN may help clarify. His book explains the critical methodologies used (shared with Ajahn Sujato) in far greater clarity, even if the casual reader may be bored to tears by the details of the differences between the 2 camps of critical studies.

If there are those who find Ajahn Sujato's thoughts on the said suttas heretical, I think they will be even more shocked to see Ven Analayo's conclusions about these texts, given his PhD thesis earlier.

Regardless of the "academic" outcomes of his research, he still has great, great regard for the texts' utility.

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Re: The Satipatthana Sutta a forgery?

Post by wtp » Tue Jul 17, 2012 3:41 am

The reason Ajahn Sujato concentrated on this sutta for this type of analysis is because it is particularly venerated, in Sri Lanka and Burma especially, and described by a range of authors as the main teaching of the Buddha. Therefore it carries considerable authority and influence. He also suggests that the construction of this sutta with its repeated vipassana refrain and added material, rather than being an inoccuous aide memoir, in fact ends up being misleading and misrepresents what mindfulness is all about. Agree or disagree it is a well reasoned argument.

I think you would need to read his thoughtful analysis before blithely dismissing it. There is, I think, a condensed version of the analysis - Sylvester do you know the link?

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Re: The Satipatthana Sutta a forgery?

Post by wtp » Tue Jul 17, 2012 3:46 am

I also think it is a very interesting question as to whether literary and historical analysis can get us closer to the original teachings of the Buddha or not. And whether this is even important.

Personally I think it is very important. While I do not think we can ever overcome all doubts about any particular passage or sutta, we do need some basis for embarking on the Buddhist path.

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Re: The Satipatthana Sutta a forgery?

Post by Thitadhammo » Wed Jul 18, 2012 3:39 pm

Isn't the whole world a forgery crafted by the unawakened mind? If the Satipatthana Sutta can help you look through this, then it surely should not be classified as fraud.
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