jcsuperstar wrote:if jhana and sati were synonymous wouldn't we just have a 7fold path?
The seventh factor of the path is sati not satipatthana.
The seventh factor is samma sati (right mindfulness) which is defined
as satipatthana - the four foundations of mindfulness:
"And what is right mindfulness? There is the case where a monk remains focused on the body in & of itself — ardent, alert, & mindful — putting aside greed & distress with reference to the world. He remains focused on feelings in & of themselves... the mind in & of itself... mental qualities in & of themselves — ardent, alert, & mindful — putting aside greed & distress with reference to the world. This is called right mindfulness...
-DN 22 http://www.accesstoinsight.org/ptf/dham ... index.html
My question revolves around the culmination of sati i.e. satipatthana.
My understanding of the purity/perfection of sati in Jhana is that sati has already been, from the outset, present as a factor in some degree, developed outside of meditation, but it is obscured by other jhanic factors. It becomes more prevailent as other jhanic factors drop away. It's the same with other factors (like equanimity) which are present to some degree, but not considered "jhanic factors" until unobscured.
The Jhanas in Theravada Buddhist Meditation - Bhante Gunaratana
The meditator in third jhana is also said to be mindful and discerning, which points to another pair of frequently conjoined mental functions. Mindfulness (sati), in this context, means the remembrance of the meditation object, the constant bearing of the object in mind without allowing it to float away. Discernment (sampajañña) is an aspect of wisdom or understanding which scrutinizes the object and grasps its nature free from delusion. Though these two factors were already present even in the first two jhanas, they are first mentioned only in connection with the third since it is here that their efficacy becomes manifest. The two are needed particularly to avoid a return to rapture. Just as a suckling calf, removed from its mother and left unguarded, again approaches the mother, so the happiness of jhana tends to veer towards rapture, its natural partner, if unguarded by mindfulness and discernment (Dhs. A.219). To prevent this and the consequent loss of the third jhana is the task of mindfulness and discernment.
Of course for this to work, mindfulness needs to be established in the context of the eightfold path. The first seven factors of the eighfold path serve as "supports and requisite conditions" for right concentration. See The Great Forty