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MN 117 has been tampered with - Dhamma Wheel

MN 117 has been tampered with

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
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Sekha
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MN 117 has been tampered with

Postby Sekha » Wed Oct 24, 2012 12:50 am

Last edited by Sekha on Mon Nov 12, 2012 10:55 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: MN 117: a counterfeit

Postby retrofuturist » Wed Oct 24, 2012 1:13 am

"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead" - Thomas Paine

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Re: MN 117: a counterfeit

Postby mikenz66 » Wed Oct 24, 2012 3:11 am

Hi Sekha,

It has been noted by many (including Bhikkhu Bodhi and Ajahn Brahmali) that that the mundane/supramundane distinctions in MN 117 appear to be from the Abhidhamma. Whether that's considered to be a "problem" depends on your point of view. If one is in the "find the earliest layer of suttas" camp, then, yes, one would most likely reject it.

Here are some previous discussions.
viewtopic.php?f=25&t=1814#p23845
viewtopic.php?f=16&t=1341#p16848
viewtopic.php?f=29&t=3881
viewtopic.php?f=13&t=11852&start=380#p181037

:anjali:
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Re: MN 117: a counterfeit

Postby Nyana » Wed Oct 24, 2012 3:56 am


vinasp
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Re: MN 117: a counterfeit

Postby vinasp » Wed Oct 24, 2012 5:14 am

Hi Sekha,

Thank you for a very interesting thread. I am studying this sutta at present.

MN 117 is not a 'counterfeit', at least, no more so than most of the other discourses.

However, it is very difficult to understand, and appears to contradict most of the
other sutta's.

The important thing is this: most descriptions of enlightenment are not describing the
highest stage, but the one below.

This is why most people think that the destruction of the asava's is full enlightenment,
and that the person who has attained this is called an arahant.

MN 117 is one of only a few discourses which speak of the highest stage of the path,
which is called in this discourse, the noble path. [See: SN 48.58 - Boars Cave.]

There are four paths and four fruits. The first three paths are eightfold, the fourth
path is tenfold. Each path is fabricated and ceases when the fruit is obtained. So the
path factors must be counted separately. MN 117 analyses the first five path factors
and their counterpart wrong factors. So there are ten for each path, forty in total.

The first three paths are called the learners course, those on the fourth path are
called non-learners or arahants.

The term 'supramundane', or 'transcendent', refers to the lower of the two stages of
enlightenment. At this stage all four asava's have been destroyed. And the first of the
two 'worlds' (this world) has ceased. This is the non-returner who is said to be 'one
of spontaneous arising', who does not return from that 'other world'. So this last stage
of the path is 'beyond this world'.

This leaves 'another world' still to be eliminated. This ceases with full enlightenment at the next stage. These two final stages are the same as nibbana with residue and nibbana without residue.

Regards, Vincent.

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Re: MN 117: a counterfeit

Postby daverupa » Wed Oct 24, 2012 2:59 pm

I think this Sutta is a good example of the process of redaction which can be seen in the Nikayas. I suppose I disagree with the various characterizations which are implied in the OP.

To be almost criminally brief: the development of Indian Buddhism was probably keyed to stupa veneration within a couple of centuries, and this sort of dualist teaching seems to be wrestling with a simple, practical problem ahead of and during this shift: how does one practice for the Buddhist ideal when the surrounding laity, essential for monastic support, have devotional needs aligned with a certain cultural momentum which is at odds with that ideal?

This happens everywhere in the history of monasticism, and it is no different here. I see right view and right with effluents as a doctrinal response to this cognitive dissonance; the details are probably unrecoverable, but the general trend is unsurprising - perhaps even expected.

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Re: MN 117: a counterfeit

Postby Zom » Wed Oct 24, 2012 3:40 pm

If I'm not mistaken, "MN 117 chinese agamas version" misses that split into 2 kinds of right views :spy: :tongue:

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Re: MN 117: a counterfeit

Postby daverupa » Wed Oct 24, 2012 4:24 pm


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Re: MN 117: a counterfeit

Postby Zom » Wed Oct 24, 2012 6:39 pm

Cool PDF, thanks :reading: :toast: :thumbsup:

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Re: MN 117: a counterfeit

Postby nibbuti » Wed Oct 24, 2012 7:48 pm

Thanks for the analysis, Sekha.

It is obvious that samma ditthi is based on renunciation, thus ideally not 'sasavas'.

However, when drawing a conclusion be careful not to get lost in the details. :strawman:

Usually, the Buddha would not teach a householder about the Four Noble Truths and Noble Eightfold Path, so usually 'right view sasavas' would need no mention.

But since the Buddha did teach some householders the Dhamma, as in Anathapidika's case, he was compassionate enough and did not require them to renounce the world and lay down the burden at once, nor did he declare that merit-making was not 'right'.

Thus even if the exact wording 'samma ditthi sasavas' may be a later interpolation, it does not contradict the earliest Dhamma.

(Only practical critique generally about 'samma ditthi asavas' is that it shouldn't be talked of for its own sake, but always in context with transcending Dhamma.)

So for me it is not an exercise in "contempt", but rather compassion.

It is easy to get lost in details.

:namaste:

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Re: MN 117: a counterfeit

Postby Cittasanto » Wed Oct 24, 2012 11:18 pm

Hi,
Although there are certainly changes in this particular text, the question should whether this is a useful distinction?
here is an excellently researched paper by Venerable Analayo.
The Mahācattārīsaka-sutta in the Light of its Parallels – Tracing the Beginnings of Abhidharmic Thought.pdf
(453.73 KiB) Downloaded 109 times


personally I find the differentiation useful, because it reminds us that there is more to it than just one thing.
you can after all have right speech without it being upright.
Last edited by Cittasanto on Thu Oct 25, 2012 6:13 am, edited 1 time in total.


He who knows only his own side of the case knows little of that. His reasons may be good, and no one may have been able to refute them.
But if he is equally unable to refute the reasons on the opposite side, if he does not so much as know what they are, he has no ground for preferring either opinion …
...
He must be able to hear them from persons who actually believe them … he must know them in their most plausible and persuasive form.

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Re: MN 117: a counterfeit

Postby retrofuturist » Wed Oct 24, 2012 11:34 pm

Greetings,

Whilst scholars may have proposed that there's some abhidhammic influence occurring here in MN 117, I'm a little hesitant to follow suit... mainly because I see the:

[A]. with asavas, resulting in acquisitions
[B]. without asavas, transcendent

... distinction as having closer and older parallels to other suttas - for example, AN 4.235...

[A1 - from MN 117] "And what is the right view that has effluents, sides with merit, & results in acquisitions? 'There is what is given, what is offered, what is sacrificed. There are fruits & results of good & bad actions. There is this world & the next world. There is mother & father. There are spontaneously reborn beings; there are brahmans & contemplatives who, faring rightly & practicing rightly, proclaim this world & the next after having directly known & realized it for themselves.' This is the right view that has effluents, sides with merit, & results in acquisitions.

[A2 - from AN 4.235]. ""And what is kamma that is bright with bright result? There is the case where a certain person fabricates a non-injurious bodily fabrication... a non-injurious verbal fabrication... a non-injurious mental fabrication... He rearises in a non-injurious world... There he is touched by non-injurious contacts... He experiences feelings that are exclusively pleasant, like those of the Ever-radiant Devas. This is called kamma that is bright with bright result."

... and ...

[B1 - from MN 117]. "And what is the right view that is without effluents, transcendent, a factor of the path? The discernment, the faculty of discernment, the strength of discernment, analysis of qualities as a factor for Awakening, the path factor of right view of one developing the noble path whose mind is noble, whose mind is free from effluents, who is fully possessed of the noble path. This is the right view that is without effluents, transcendent, a factor of the path.

[B2 - from AN 4.235] "And what is kamma that is neither dark nor bright with neither dark nor bright result, leading to the ending of kamma? right view, right resolve, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration. This is called kamma that is neither dark nor bright with neither dark nor bright result, leading to the ending of kamma."

Whilst it's possible that suttas like these were used as source material for Abhidhamma, doesn't in my mind mean that the causality went the other way. The notion that good actions lead to good states of mind, which can in turn be utilised in pursuit of the final goal of nibbana is nothing new... nor is it something that requires Abhidhamma for its substantiation.

Metta,
Retro. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead" - Thomas Paine

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Re: MN 117: a counterfeit

Postby mikenz66 » Thu Oct 25, 2012 12:08 am


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Re: MN 117: a counterfeit

Postby nibbuti » Thu Oct 25, 2012 12:34 am

Last edited by nibbuti on Thu Oct 25, 2012 12:54 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: MN 117: a counterfeit

Postby retrofuturist » Thu Oct 25, 2012 12:37 am

Greetings Mike,

Thanks for sharing, but I'm unable to ascertain from venerable Dhammanando's quote whether the words 'sāsava' and 'anāsava', are the actual words used in Petakopadesa and Nettipakarana to represent 'mundane' and 'supramundane', or whether those treatises use their own words to reflect these notions, which are then in some way related back to MN 117's own terms - 'sāsava' and 'anāsava'. (Oh for the days when Ven.D was here instead of in the hills!)

The fact that words found in a particular sutta may also happen to appear in subsequent treatises doesn't seem surprising in and of itself. As for the matter of these terms appearing in this sutta alone seems of little more significance than the fact that in the 12907 posts I've made to date on this forum, that I'm sure there's some posts which include a particular word that is unique to that post (vis-a-vis the 'canon' of my posts), that does not appear elsewhere in my other 12906 posts.

If there's anything I'm missing here, feel free to help me join the dots. At this point though, I do not understand the full importance of it.

Metta,
Retro. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead" - Thomas Paine

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Re: MN 117: a counterfeit

Postby vinasp » Thu Oct 25, 2012 12:52 am

Hi everyone,

From Sekha's OP:

"There are two types of suttas: connected with the performance of good deeds and connected with insight" [Net 33].

The ordinary man is concerned with merit-making which he understands as leading to a
fortunate rebirth. The noble disciple desires enlightenment in this life, through insight
which removes unwholesome states of mind.

"There are two paths: connected with merit and connected with the fruitions." [Net 33]

The ordinary man is on the wrong eightfold path, where concentration results in only
temporary liberation in this life, but leads to rebirth in higher realms. So this kind
of concentration is really just merit-making.

The noble disciple works to obtain the first fruit, and becomes established on the
noble eightfold path. All these fruits represent the complete and permanent elimination
of a particular group of unwholesome things. For the first path these are views of self.

"There are two types of virtue: the virtue of restraint and the virtue of abandoning."
[Net 33]

The ordinary man practices the virtue of restraint. He has no other choice because he
does not achieve the permanent removal of unwholesome states.

The noble disciple, on the noble eightfold path, eliminates things permanently, this is
called the 'virtue of abandoning'. This is 'continuous liberation.'

On each of the four paths, right effort, right mindfulness and right concentration take
as their 'object' the unwholesome things which are to be removed by that path.

Regards, Vincent.

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Re: MN 117: a counterfeit

Postby mikenz66 » Thu Oct 25, 2012 1:14 am


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Re: MN 117: a counterfeit

Postby vinasp » Thu Oct 25, 2012 1:43 am

Hi everyone,

Why are people objecting to the word 'transcendent' when used for path factors?

It just means the highest of the four paths. The factors of the first three paths are
ordinary, the factors of the fourth path are 'transcendent'.

The non-returner has completed the learners course. When he enters the next path he is
no longer called a non-returner. He is called 'one working to obtain the fruit of
arahantship'. But he has passed from 'this world' to the 'next world', [taking these
'worlds' as just states of mind]. So the fourth path is 'beyond this world'.

If one understands that the non-returner has been spontaneously 'reborn' into another
world (state of mind), then why not call the fourth path 'transcendent'?

The six spheres have ceased for a non-returner, and these are said to be 'the world'.
The state of a non-returner is nibbana with residue, this is called the 'next world' in MN 117:

"And what is the right view that has effluents, sides with merit, & results in acquisitions? 'There is what is given, what is offered, what is sacrificed. There are fruits & results of good & bad actions. There is this world & the next world. There is mother & father. There are spontaneously reborn beings; there are brahmans & contemplatives who, faring rightly & practicing rightly, proclaim this world & the next after having directly known & realized it for themselves.' This is the right view that has effluents, sides with merit, & results in acquisitions."

Regards, Vincent.

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Re: MN 117: a counterfeit

Postby Sylvester » Thu Oct 25, 2012 2:06 am


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Re: MN 117: a counterfeit

Postby Cittasanto » Thu Oct 25, 2012 6:16 am



He who knows only his own side of the case knows little of that. His reasons may be good, and no one may have been able to refute them.
But if he is equally unable to refute the reasons on the opposite side, if he does not so much as know what they are, he has no ground for preferring either opinion …
...
He must be able to hear them from persons who actually believe them … he must know them in their most plausible and persuasive form.


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