MN 117 & MA 189 - Great Forty

Textual analysis and comparative discussion on early Buddhist sects and texts.
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Unrul3r
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MN 117 & MA 189 - Great Forty

Postby Unrul3r » Tue Apr 22, 2014 11:07 pm

Hello Dhamma Wheelers,

Just thought I would share a small document I made for myself with Mahācattārīsaka Sutta and it's MA parallel overlapped by color. It's based on Anālayo's Article, which gives more detailed information.

Some differences in MA that I find striking are:
- absence of taint & taintless distinction
- absence of the "spontaneously reborn beings"
- the livelihood section seems to complement the Pali's more synoptical version.
- presence of definitions of sammāñāṇa & sammāvimutti (I only remember seeing something similar in AN 10.20 as suvimuttacitto & suvimuttapañño)

Maybe some of you have some insightful comments to offer.

:namaste:

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Re: MN 117 & MA 189 - Great Forty

Postby Sylvester » Wed Apr 23, 2014 5:33 am

Hi

Thought I'd just throw in a tuppence worth of thoughts on the 1st distinction, where the Right factors are bifurcated into 2 -

sāsavā puññabhāgiyā upadhivepakkā
versus
ariyā anāsavā lokuttarā maggaṅgā


I agree with Ven Analayo's opinion that based on Textual Criticism, this bifurcation probably started life as a commentary that found its way into the sutta over time.

However, I do not agree with him when he suggests that MN 117 is the fountain for the Abhidhammic lokuttarā schema. In the Abhidhamma, lokuttarā can be translated as "supramundane", in light of the context in which it appears, eg -

1099. Katame dhammā lokiyā? Sāsavā kusalākusalābyākatā dhammā kāmāvacarā, rūpāvacarā, arūpāvacarā, rūpakkhandho…pe… viññāṇakkhandho – ime dhammā lokiyā.

1100. Katame dhammā lokuttarā? Apariyāpannā maggā ca, maggaphalāni ca, asaṅkhatā ca dhātu – ime dhammā lokuttarā.

Dhs


Is such a sense of being "supramundane" found in MN 117? Certainly, one could latch on the predicate ariyā as furnishing a nexus to the Dhs classification, but not necessarily.

In MN 122, the sutta enumerates a long list of practices that are conducive to Nibbana, and in the summary to that section, it says -

Ime kho te, ānanda, dhammā ekantakusalā kusalāyātikā ariyā lokuttarā anavakkantā pāpimatā

18. “These states have an entirely wholesome basis; they are noble, "supramundane", and inaccessible to the Evil One. (per BB)


Yet, the context of that section does not seem to have anything to do with the Abhidhammic lokuttarā. On the contrary, we get a clue from another passage that reads -

Ye ca kho ime, ānanda, vitakkā ariyā niyyānikā niyyanti takkarassa sammādukkhakkhayāya, seyyathidaṃ – nekkhammavitakko abyāpādavitakko avihiṃsāvitakko iti – ‘evarūpe vitakke [evarūpena vitakkena (ka.)] vitakkessāmī’ti. Itiha tattha sampajāno hoti.

But he resolves: ‘Such thoughts as are noble and emancipating, and lead the one who practises in accordance with them to the complete destruction of suffering, that is, thoughts of renunciation, thoughts of non-ill will, and thoughts of noncruelty: such thoughts I shall think.’ In this way he has full awareness of that.


It seems that in MN 122, lokuttarā is a synonym for niyyānikā.

In MN 48, we have another instance of the usage of lokuttarā in the context of the 7 factors of Stream Entry -

So evaṃ pajānāti – ‘yathārūpāya balatāya diṭṭhisampanno puggalo samannāgato, ahampi tathārūpāya balatāya samannāgato’ti. Idamassa sattamaṃ ñāṇaṃ adhigataṃ hoti ariyaṃ lokuttaraṃ asādhāraṇaṃ puthujjanehi.

He understands thus: ‘I possess the strength of a person who possesses right view.’ This is the seventh knowledge attained by him that is noble, supramundane, not shared by ordinary people.


Interestingly, the section is prefaced with the same pericope from MN 122 -

Kathañca, bhikkhave, yāyaṃ diṭṭhi ariyā niyyānikā niyyāti takkarassa sammā dukkhakkhayāya?

“And how does this view that is noble and emancipating lead the one who practises in accordance with it to the complete destruction of suffering?


I would suggest that MN 117's lokuttarā ought to be translated as "transcendant", not in the sense of a state a la Abhidhamma, but as a causative, following the sense employed in the other 2 MN suttas.

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Re: MN 117 & MA 189 - Great Forty

Postby Qianxi » Wed Apr 23, 2014 11:13 am

Thanks Unrul3r, that's a very clear way of presenting the differences between the two texts.

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Re: MN 117 & MA 189 - Great Forty

Postby Unrul3r » Wed Apr 23, 2014 3:18 pm

Sylvester wrote:...
I would suggest that MN 117's lokuttarā ought to be translated as "transcendant", not in the sense of a state a la Abhidhamma, but as a causative, following the sense employed in the other 2 MN suttas.

Interesting assessment, Sylvester. Thank you!

Qianxi wrote:Thanks Unrul3r, that's a very clear way of presenting the differences between the two texts.

Thank you, Qianxi! You're welcome.
:namaste:

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Re: MN 117 & MA 189 - Great Forty

Postby Qianxi » Wed Apr 23, 2014 4:53 pm

Sylvester wrote:I would suggest that MN 117's lokuttarā ought to be translated as "transcendant", not in the sense of a state a la Abhidhamma, but as a causative, following the sense employed in the other 2 MN suttas.


So does that mean that the "lokuttarā right view" (apologies, I don't understand Pali) is the right view leading to liberation, rather than the right view of those who have already achieved liberation?

That makes sense really, because there isn't any need for a 'path' for those who are already arahants.

But confusingly, the description of the "lokuttarā right view" in MN 117 seems to be a combination of attributes of the view of an arahant ("one whose mind is taintless"), and attributes of the view of one on the path to arahantship ("one whose mind is noble, and is developing the noble path").
MN 117 wrote:“And what, bhikkhus, is right view that is noble, taintless, supramundane, a factor of the path? The wisdom, the faculty of wisdom, the power of wisdom, the investigation-of-states enlightenment factor, the path factor of right view in one whose mind is noble, whose mind is taintless, who possesses the noble path and is developing the noble path: this is right view that is noble, taintless, supramundane, a factor of the path.

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Re: MN 117 & MA 189 - Great Forty

Postby Unrul3r » Wed Apr 23, 2014 5:26 pm

Qianxi wrote:
Sylvester wrote:I would suggest that MN 117's lokuttarā ought to be translated as "transcendant", not in the sense of a state a la Abhidhamma, but as a causative, following the sense employed in the other 2 MN suttas.


So does that mean that the "lokuttarā right view" (apologies, I don't understand Pali) is the right view leading to liberation, rather than the right view of those who have already achieved liberation?


No. As the quote you posted says, "lokuttarā right view" is for both the trainee and trained (arahat).

Qianxi wrote:That makes sense really, because there isn't any need for a 'path' for those who are already arahants.


Well, in a sense, there isn't a need because they already embody it (Or as the text says ariyamaggasamaṅgino)

Qianxi wrote:But confusingly, the description of the "lokuttarā right view" in MN 117 seems to be a combination of attributes of the view of an arahant ("one whose mind is taintless"), and attributes of the view of one on the path to arahantship ("one whose mind is noble, and is developing the noble path").


That is correct, the confusion seems to come only from the first question. I hope it's clearer now.

:namaste:

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Re: MN 117 & MA 189 - Great Forty

Postby Sylvester » Thu Apr 24, 2014 2:25 am

Qianxi wrote:But confusingly, the description of the "lokuttarā right view" in MN 117 seems to be a combination of attributes of the view of an arahant ("one whose mind is taintless"), and attributes of the view of one on the path to arahantship ("one whose mind is noble, and is developing the noble path").
MN 117 wrote:“And what, bhikkhus, is right view that is noble, taintless, supramundane, a factor of the path? The wisdom, the faculty of wisdom, the power of wisdom, the investigation-of-states enlightenment factor, the path factor of right view in one whose mind is noble, whose mind is taintless, who possesses the noble path and is developing the noble path: this is right view that is noble, taintless, supramundane, a factor of the path.



Hi Qianxi

While "taintless" could be usually interpreted as the reserve as the Arahant, MN 44 suggests that in some other cases, the anusayas do not underlie their respective feelings. This seems to be supported by those suttas that recommend sense restraint, as well as "concentration" suttas, such as -

Dependent on the eye & forms there arises consciousness at the eye. The meeting of the three is contact. With contact as a requisite condition, there arises what is felt either as pleasure, pain, or neither pleasure nor pain. If, when touched by a feeling of pleasure, one does not relish it, welcome it, or remain fastened to it, then one's passion-obsession doesn't get obsessed. If, when touched by a feeling of pain, one does not sorrow, grieve, or lament, beat one's breast or become distraught, then one's resistance obsession doesn't get obsessed. If, when touched by a feeling of neither pleasure nor pain, one discerns, as it actually is present, the origination, passing away, allure, drawback, & escape from that feeling, then one's ignorance-obsession doesn't get obsessed. That a person — through abandoning passion-obsession with regard to a feeling of pleasure, through abolishing resistance-obsession with regard to a feeling of pain, through uprooting ignorance-obsession with regard to a feeling of neither pleasure nor pain, through abandoning ignorance and giving rise to clear knowing — would put an end to suffering & stress in the here & now: such a thing is possible.

MN 149, per Ven Thanissaro (best to replace all occurrences of "obsession" and "obsessed" with "underlying tendency" and "underlie" respectively)


:anjali:

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Re: MN 117 & MA 189 - Great Forty

Postby Sylvester » Thu Apr 24, 2014 2:31 am

Unrul3r wrote:
Qianxi wrote:That makes sense really, because there isn't any need for a 'path' for those who are already arahants.


Well, in a sense, there isn't a need because they already embody it (Or as the text says ariyamaggasamaṅgino)



Hi Unrul3r

That's a good catch. We have a similar concept echoed from SN 55.5 -

Sotāpanno , sotāpanno’ti hidaṃ, sāriputta, vuccati. Katamo nu kho, sāriputta, sotāpanno’’ti ? ‘‘Yo hi, bhante, iminā ariyena aṭṭhaṅgikena maggena samannāgato ayaṃ vuccati sotāpanno, svāyaṃ āyasmā evaṃnāmo evaṃgotto’’ti.

Sāriputta, this is said: ‘A stream-enterer, a stream-enterer.’ What now, Sāriputta, is a stream-enterer?”
“One who possesses this Noble Eightfold Path, venerable sir, is called a stream-enterer: this venerable one of such a name and clan


Might the words be etymologically related?

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Re: MN 117 & MA 189 - Great Forty

Postby Qianxi » Thu Apr 24, 2014 11:40 am

Thanks.


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