MN 117 has been tampered with

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Sylvester
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Re: MN 117: a counterfeit

Post by Sylvester »

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings,

Another sutta worth considering in conjunction with MN 117, vis-a-vis the with/without asava distinction...
AN 2.67 - Bodhi translation wrote:"Bhikkhus, there are these two kinds of happiness. What two? The happiness with taints and the happiness without taints. These are the two kinds of happiness. Of these two kinds of happiness, the happiness without taints is foremost."

This distinction between pleasure that is anāsava versus pleasure that is sāsava seems to be implied in MN 44's treatment of the latent tendencies. Apparently, the latent tendency to lust does not underlie the pleasure of 1st Jhana. To the extent that the anusayā listing coincides a fair bit with the āsavā listing, perhaps jhanic pleasure is anāsava.

This much seems to be implied from MN 101, where after contrasting the pain of the Niganthas against the pleasures of the jhanas, the Buddha proclaims that the pleasures of the latter are anāsava -
...yaṃ etarahi evarūpā anāsavā sukhā vedanā vedeti

...since he now feels such taintless pleasant feelings
I would just note that the Commentaries interpret that section in MN 44 somewhat differently, ascribing the abandonment of the rāgānusaya (latent tendency to lust) to the specific attainment of anāgāmimagga (Non-Returner's Path (citta)). That's the Abhidhammic lokuttara citta model governing the Comy, but the plain reading of the MN 117 conception of anāsava does not appear to lend itself to either being the source for the Abhidhammic model or being influenced by the Abhidhammic model.
If there can be "two kinds of happiness" where "the happiness without taints is foremost", why cannot it also be so for Right View?
I believe it is possible, going by the discussion of Right View in MN 41 that I posted a little earlier. It appears that if one craves for good rebirth, one of the necessary conditions for the desire to materialise would have to include the 3 conducts in accordance with the Dhamma. One of such 3 conducts is the mental conduct of Right View, defined in MN 117's standard pericope of "There is what is given ... etc etc".

The Right View here does not seem to be inherently an āsava. I think the "sa" in sāsava refers to āsava accompanying the Right View. The āsava in question seems to be the various forms of craving for rebirth in the respective spheres.
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Anders
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Re: MN 117: a counterfeit

Post by Anders »

retrofuturist wrote: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. :)
I think actually this is a fairly cut and dried case of later textual addition. It checks two very signficant boxes:

a) material with no parallel in either Agamas nor Tibetan collections (this one, it seems, is actually preserved in Tibetan too, so the strength of the comparison is quite heavy).
b) Proclaims tenets that are not found anywhere else in the canon(s).

Really, what more do you want for proof of it being a later addition? I suppose if some heavy grammatical analysis showed that the grammar shows signs of being later that would seal the deal, but other than that I don't see what more you could ask for if we are to acknowledge any suttas have been tampered with at all.

edit: And in this case, we also have a clear motive for the editorial addition. Although I take point that for all we know, the abidhammikas took their inspiration from the [already edited?] sutta rather than editing it back into the sutta. But it does have the look of an addition that is not exactly random.
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tiltbillings
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Re: MN 117: a counterfeit

Post by tiltbillings »

Anders Honore wrote: I think actually this is a fairly cut and dried case of later textual addition. It checks two very signficant boxes:

a) material with no parallel in either Agamas nor Tibetan collections (this one, it seems, is actually preserved in Tibetan too, so the strength of the comparison is quite heavy).
b) Proclaims tenets that are not found anywhere else in the canon(s).
Following Ven Anālayo, whose scholarship on this is far better than anything else presented here or elsewhere linked on the subject, I think you are probably correct. The question is: how important is it one way or the other?
>> 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

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723
vinasp
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Re: MN 117: a counterfeit

Post by vinasp »

Hi everyone,

Right View.

A very difficult topic, here are some thoughts.

1. The ordinary man understands right view as right belief. MN 117 gives a set of beliefs
as wrong view, and their opposites as right view. This right view is what most ordinary
men already believe. So they are sure that they have right view and that they are on
the noble eightfold path.

2. The noble disciple is not satisfied with such beliefs, although they are true they are
of no help in reaching liberation in this life. The noble disciple understands right
view as right understanding. Since there are four paths each must be understood before
one can begin. This is why right view is put first. So there are four distinct right
views because each path has to be understood.

3. So the teachings depend on an ambiguity in the word 'ditthi' (view). The literal
meaning of this word is 'sight'. There is a similar ambiguity with the word 'see' in
English, which, depending on the context, can refer to someone's belief, or to their
understanding.

4. MN 117 explains that to discern right resolve as right resolve, and wrong resolve as
wrong resolve is ones right view, and applies the same to other path factors. This
means that one has to understand what is right resolve and what is wrong resolve.
One has to understand each of the path factors in order to understand the path. So
right view is right understanding of the path, it is seeing what is the path and
what is not the path.

5. But MN 117 also says that discerning right view as right view is ones right view.
This is confusing and should be ignored. Right view as right understanding of the
path only needs to be an understanding of the other seven path factors.

6. But in any description of the path which uses these eight factors something is
missing. For a noble disciple each path is about eliminating something. These eight
factors do not specify what that something is. This understanding of what has to be
eliminated is the most essential thing, and without it there can be no right view,
no understanding of the path.

7. The first path is simple to understand because we are told, elsewhere in the teachings,
what has to be eliminated. We know that the stream enterer, the one who has obtained
the fruit of stream entry, has eliminated views of self. So it must be these views of
self which are diminished and removed by progress on this path.

Regards, Vincent.
nibbuti
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Re: MN 117: a counterfeit

Post by nibbuti »

Anders Honore wrote:I think actually this is a fairly cut and dried case of later textual addition. It checks two very signficant boxes:

a) material with no parallel in either Agamas nor Tibetan collections (this one, it seems, is actually preserved in Tibetan too, so the strength of the comparison is quite heavy).
b) Proclaims tenets that are not found anywhere else in the canon(s).
Hi Anders Honore

That is not quite true, as most of the tenets are found in the Nikayas and none of the tenets contradict the essence of the Nikayas.

MN 117 states:
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.
The above aspects of wisdom are stock in the suttas, being the Five Faculties, the Five Powers & the Seven Factors of Enlightenment.
And what is the right resolve that is without effluents, transcendent, a factor of the path? The thinking, directed thinking, resolve, (mental) fixity, transfixion, focused awareness & verbal fabrications of one developing the noble path whose mind is noble, whose mind is without effluents, who is fully possessed of the noble path. This is the right resolve that is without effluents, transcendent, a factor of the path.
Similarly, most of the terms above are found in descriptions of the path & the jhanas.
Anders Honore wrote:Really, what more do you want for proof of it being a later addition? I suppose if some heavy grammatical analysis showed that the grammar shows signs of being later that would seal the deal, but other than that I don't see what more you could ask for if we are to acknowledge any suttas have been tampered with at all.

edit: And in this case, we also have a clear motive for the editorial addition. Although I take point that for all we know, the abidhammikas took their inspiration from the [already edited?] sutta rather than editing it back into the sutta. But it does have the look of an addition that is not exactly random.
There may be an exaggeration.

:namaste:
vinasp
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Re: MN 117: a counterfeit

Post by vinasp »

Hi everyone,

"Here, venerable sir, a bhikkhu whose taints are destroyed develops the faculty of
faith, which leads to peace, leads to enlightenment. He develops the faculty of
energy ... the faculty of mindfulness ... the faculty of concentration ... the
faculty of wisdom, which leads to peace, leads to enlightenment."

[Bhikkhu Bodhi, TCDB, page 1700, part of SN 48.58 - The Boar's Cave.]

This discourse will also be rejected as a counterfeit by those who think that the
destruction of the asava's is the highest stage.

Regards, Vincent.
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Cittasanto
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Re: MN 117: a counterfeit

Post by Cittasanto »

Anders Honore wrote: edit: And in this case, we also have a clear motive for the editorial addition. Although I take point that for all we know, the abidhammikas took their inspiration from the [already edited?] sutta rather than editing it back into the sutta. But it does have the look of an addition that is not exactly random.
Hi Anders,
what motive is clear?

on a general note -
does this addition point somewhere else than to nibbana?
I am reminded of the buddhas last advise to the stream enterers "dont be content with what you have" or words to that effect.

sorry I have a bandaged finger and I am not inclined to go through the parinibbana sutta at the moment.
Blog, Suttas, Aj Chah, Facebook.

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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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vinasp
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Re: MN 117: a counterfeit

Post by vinasp »

Hi everyone,

There seems to be some variation in the 'stock' passages describing the 'four stages'.
This one, from DN 6, does not use the term 'arahant' where one would expect it.

“idha, mahāli, bhikkhu tiṇṇaṃ saṃyojanānaṃ parikkhayā sotāpanno hoti avinipātadhammo niyato sambodhiparāyaṇo.

"Mahali, in one case a monk, having abandoned three fetters, becomes a stream-enterer,
not liable to states of woe, firmly set on the path to enlightenment." [Walshe, DN 6.13]

♦ “puna caparaṃ, mahāli, bhikkhu tiṇṇaṃ saṃyojanānaṃ parikkhayā rāgadosamohānaṃ tanuttā sakadāgāmī hoti, sakideva VAR imaṃ lokaṃ āgantvā dukkhassantaṃ karoti.

"Again, a monk who has abandoned the three fetters, and has reduced his greed, hatred,
and delusion, becomes a once-returner who, having returned to this world once more,
will make an end of suffering."

♦ “puna caparaṃ, mahāli, bhikkhu pañcannaṃ orambhāgiyānaṃ saṃyojanānaṃ parikkhayā opapātiko hoti, tattha parinibbāyī, anāvattidhammo tasmā lokā.

"Again, a monk who has abandoned the five lower fetters takes a spontaneous rebirth
and, without returning from that world, gains enlightenment."

♦ “puna caparaṃ, mahāli, bhikkhu āsavānaṃ khayā anāsavaṃ cetovimuttiṃ paññāvimuttiṃ diṭṭheva dhamme sayaṃ abhiññā sacchikatvā upasampajja viharati. [DN 6.12]

"Again, a monk through the extinction of the corruptions (asavas) reaches in this
very life the uncorrupted deliverance of mind, the deliverance through wisdom, which
he has realised by his own insight."

This last passage looks like it is describing a further, higher stage. But it
could be interpreted as another description, in different words, of the non-returner.

Some of the other versions of this description of the 'highest stage' do use the term
'arahant'.

Regards, Vincent.
vinasp
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Re: MN 117: a counterfeit

Post by vinasp »

Hi everyone,

Those who have a copy of The Long Discourses of the Buddha by M. Walshe, can take a
look at DN 34.

This discourse explains what things are to be abandoned. It lists these things as:

One thing to be abandoned, two things ... three things .... [up to] ten things to be abandoned.

Nowhere are the asavas mentioned, not in the three's nor in the fours. But the floods
are mentioned in the fours, as four things to be abandoned.

The four yokes [bonds] are also mentioned as things which conduce to diminution, and
the four unyokings as things which conduce to distinction.

In total 550 things are mentioned in this discourse. How could the asavas be omitted?
They could not be, but they could be included under other names - floods and yokes.

Regards, Vincent.
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mikenz66
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Re: MN 117: a counterfeit

Post by mikenz66 »

Hi Vincent:

In DN 33:
(31) ‘Four floods (oghā): sensuality, becoming, [wrong] views, ignorance.

Here: http://what-buddha-said.net/library/Bud ... o.htm#ogha" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Ogha: 'floods', is a name for the 4 fermentations āsava
http://what-buddha-said.net/library/Bud ... %C4%81sava" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Āsava: lit: fermentations, taints, corruptions, intoxicant biases. There is a list of four as in D. 16, Pts.M., Vibh.:
1: The mental fermentation of sense-desire kāmāsava, Ex: 'All is pleasant'
2: The mental fermentation of desiring existence bhavāsava, Ex: 'Being is good'
3: The mental fermentation of wrong views ditthāsava, Ex: 'My opinion is best'
4: The mental fermentation of ignorance avijjāsava. Ex: 'Suffering exists not'
A list of three, omitting the fermentation of views, is possibly older and is more frequent in the Suttas, e.g. in M. 2, M. 9, D. 33; A. III, 59, 67; A. VI, 63. In Vibh. Khuddakavatthu Vibh. both the 3-fold and 4-fold division are mentioned. The fourfold division also occurs under the name of floods ogha and yokes yoga.
:anjali:
Mike
vinasp
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Re: MN 117: a counterfeit

Post by vinasp »

Hi Mike,

Yes. I agree with those quotations. I was attempting to show that the four asavas, the
four bonds, and the four floods, must be the same thing even if one considers only the
four main Nikaya's.

The real question is this: at what stage have all four asavas been eliminated?

The Buddhist Dictionary says: The Arahant.

I say: The non-returner.

What do you say?

Regards, Vincent.
vinasp
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Re: MN 117: a counterfeit

Post by vinasp »

Hi everyone,

"Thus, monks, there are twenty factors siding with skillfulness, and twenty with unskillfulness. This Dhamma discourse on the Great Forty has been set rolling and cannot be stopped by any contemplative or brahman or deva or Mara and Brahma or anyone at all in the world." MN 117

Twenty factors siding with skillfulness. What twenty?

This discourse has examined 'ordinary' right view, resolve, speech, action, livelihood,
and transcendent right view, resolve, speech, action, and livelihood. That makes ten
factors. Where are the other ten?

"One gives a gift to one who has entered upon the way to the realisation of the fruit
of arahantship...
....
One gives a gift to one who has entered upon the way to the realisation of the fruit
of non-return...
...
One gives a gift to one who has entered upon the way to the realisation of the fruit
of once-return...
...
One gives a gift to one who has entered upon the way to the realisation of the fruit
of stream-entry..." [MN 142.5]

I count four ways in the above. How many do you count?

Regards, Vincent.
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equilibrium
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Re: MN 117: a counterfeit

Post by equilibrium »

20 skillfulness factors as follows:

01. right view
02. right resolve
03. right speech
04. right action
05. right livelihood
06. right effort
07. right mindfulness
08. right concentration
09. right knowledge (arahart)
10. right release (arahart)

There are two routes.....therefore:

10 skillfulness based on: There is right resolve with effluents, siding with merit, resulting in the acquisitions [of becoming]; and
10 skillfulness based on: There is noble right resolve, without effluents, transcendent, a factor of the path.

Therefore 20 skillfulness factors in total.
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Re: MN 117: a counterfeit

Post by vinasp »

Hi Sekha,

This is the first of several posts in which I question some of the statements made in
the OP. These are not in the correct order but are random points. My comments are
in brackets thus: [comments]

"1) 'sāsava' correctly means 'connected with the āsavas' (ie. mental impurities or corruptions of the mind). Saying that there is a sammādiṭṭhi which is 'sāsava' is in direct contradiction with statements made in other suttas." [Quote]

[This cannot be correct. The purpose of the noble eightfold path is to gradually free
the mind of the asavas. They are eliminated only on completion of the path. Therefore,
right view must be 'with asavas' until enlightenment. The asavas are unwholesome, right
view is wholesome, but the two co-exist until the unwholesome is eliminated.]

"At SN 48.56 for example, we find: cittaṃ rakkhati āsavesu ca sāsavesu ca dhammesu
he protects the mind against the mental impurities and the mental states connected with the mental impurities.
So saying that there is a right view which is connected with the āsavas would mean that that right view is a mental state against which the mind has to be protected! "[Quote.]

[He guards the mind against the asavas: This means that they are still present and one
has to not allow them to increase.]

"Moreover, at AN 10.139, it is said: [Pali text omitted.]
And what, bhikkhus, are the states connected with the mental impurities? Wrong view, wrong thinking... wrong concentration, wrong knowledge, wrong liberation: these are called, bhikkhus, states connected with the mental impurities. And what, bhikkhus, are the states disconnected from the mental impurities? Right view, right thinking... right concentration, right knowledge, right liberation: these are called, bhikkhus, states disconnected from the mental impurities." [Quote]

[ This is very important and actually confirms what MN 117 is saying! The wrong path
in its tenfold form is still with all the asavas. Those on this path are puthujjanas,
ordinary men. The noble eightfold path, which removes the asavas, is omitted here. They
jump straight to the tenfold right factor path, which is free of the asavas. This is the
transcendent, noble path, in MN 117.]

"This directly contradicts any claim that there could be a right view connected with the mental impurities (ie. 'sāsava'). If any view is connected per se with the mental impurities, it is a wrong view. So this makes clear that this use of the word 'sāsava' in this context is a complete nonsense." [Quote.]

[The noble eightfold path is a 'mixed state' it is partially with the asavas and
partially free of the asavas, so it is not included in AN 10.139 which speaks only of
the tenfold wrong and tenfold right paths.]

More to follow ...

Regards, Vincent.
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Re: MN 117: a counterfeit

Post by vinasp »

Hi Sekha,

Comments on the OP continued:

"However, it is explainable by the fact that in later literature the word seems to have drifted in meaning. In the Paṭisambhidāmagga of the Khuddaka Nikāya, we find for example:
Pts 213: Katamo sāsavo vimokkho? Cattāri ca jhānāni, catasso ca arūpasamāpattiyo: ayaṃ sāsavo vimokkho.
What is the liberation 'sāsava'? The four jhānas, and the four formless attainments: this is the liberation 'sāsava'." [Quote]

[What is the liberation that is with asavas? The four jhanas, and the four formless
attainments. Another excellent quote! These are also called 'temporary liberation'. The
noble eightfold path is 'continuous liberation'. So these must be the wrong concentration
of the wrong eightfold and tenfold paths. These only reduce or remove the asavas in a
temporary way, anasava means permanently removed.]

"This statement is also in direct contradiction with AN 10.139, where it is said that sammāsamādhi is not 'sāsava', but on the contrary 'anāsava'." [Quote]

[ The sammasamadhi of the tenfold path, in AN 10.139, is anasava.]

"Since sammāsamādhi is always defined as the attainment of the four jhānas (eg. at SN 45.8), we can easily conclude that according to AN 10.139, the four jhānas are not 'sāsava', but on the contrary 'anāsava'." [Quote]

[No, sammasamadhi is not always defined as the four jhanas, see MN 149.10, for example.
It could be that any concentration, however arisen, is called jhana. You are again
confusing 'ordinary' right concentration with the transcendent right concentration of
the tenfold path of the asekha.]

Right View.

"Next, the definition of the 'inferior' right view is given: [Pali omitted.]
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." [Quote]

[This is both right belief for ordinary men on the wrong eightfold path, and also a part
of the right understanding of noble disciples on the noble eightfold path. But these
things are understood in a different way by these two groups. Take, for example: 'there
is this world and the next world'. The ordinary man understands this in a literal way,
this world is this life, the next world is the next life. The noble disciple understands
these in a figurative way. This world means the state of mind of one who is not yet a
non-returner. The next world is the state of mind of a non-returner, who is said to be
'one of spontaneous arising ... who does not return from that world'.]

"Removing the words 'sāsavā puññabhāgiyā upadhivepakkā', this is a stock teaching of the Buddha, which is rather common (eg. found at MN 110, SN 42.13, AN 3.118 etc.). But claiming that this view results in attachment to rebirth (since it is said to be 'upadhivepakka') as opposed to a view that would be the (real) factor of the path is clearly in direct contradiction with MN 60, where this very same view is described as being connected with sammāsaṅkappa and sammāvācā, and persuading somebody of it is said to be persuasion in what is the true Dhamma:" [Quote]

[ But 'rebirth' is also understood in both a literal and a figurative way. Figuratively,
'rebirth' is occurring continuously for all those who are not yet non-returners. This
includes those on the noble eightfold path. "This tanha which leads to renewed existence"]

More to follow, regards, Vincent.
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