MN 117 has been tampered with

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vinasp
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Re: MN 117: a counterfeit

Post by vinasp »

Hi sekha,

Comments continued:

"And now the definition of that 'noble' right view: [Pali omitted.]
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 noble right view that is without effluents, transcendent, a factor of the path.

This definition is quite peculiar to this sutta, not found anywhere else in the suttas nor the Vinaya. It is also surprising, because one would rather expect to see the other well-known definition of sammādiṭṭhi, which is always given in terms of the four noble truths (eg. SN 45.8). Another remarkable thing is that when he defines an important term, the Buddha doesn't just give a mere list of synonyms, but this kind of definition is a well-known habit in late texts, especially the Abhidhamma." [Quote]

[ Right view is not always defined in terms of the four noble truths. There are about
six different descriptions given. Even if it was it would only apply to each of the noble
eightfold paths, and not to the tenfold path which MN 117 is speaking of.]

"2) 'anāsavacitta' also a peculiar term not found anywhere else. That term could not refer to anything else than somebody whose mind is without impurities, ie. an arahant (as stated at the end of MN 2). So that would mean that right view becomes a 'factor of the path' only when one is already an arahant. Again this is sheer nonsense." [Quote]

[ I will avoid the term 'arahant' since it may refer to more than one stage of
enlightenment. You say: "somebody whose mind is without impurities", this is correct.
You say: "ie. an arahant (as stated at the end of MN 2)." MN 2 does not use the term
'arahant' and refers to other things besides the asavas. Transcendent Right View becomes
a factor of the path only for those whose minds are free of the asavas. Do not assume
that there is only one stage called 'arahant'. Do not assume that the destruction of the
asavas is the completion of the path.]

More to follow, regards, Vincent.
vinasp
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Re: MN 117: a counterfeit

Post by vinasp »

Hi everyone,

The paper by Ven. Analayo on The Mahacattarisaka-sutta is interesting, but is also
misleading in some respects. I will here comment on some of his statements.

1. From the first page of my pdf version, marked page 59, Introduction, first paragraph:

"The Mahacattarisaka-sutta is a discourse of particular significance in the
Pali canon, as it is the only canonical instance in the four Nikayas that
presents a supramundane version of the path factors."

Comment: What does Ven. Analayo mean here?

Comment: MN 117 is the only discourse which uses the term 'supramundane' to describe
some of the factors of the noble path. But it is not the only discourse which describes
the noble path. Other discourses make it clear that this noble path has ten factors, and
that those on this path have minds which are free of the influxes (asavas). MN 117 is
simply using the term 'lokuttara' in an unusual way, which differs from its use both in
the discourse MN 48, and in the Abhidhamma. In MN 117 'supramundane' means: above the
level of a non-returner. The last of the four ways is called the noble path, the first
three ways are called the noble eightfold path.

2. Page 61, first paragraph:

"Thus, what according to other discourses leads to the eradication of dukkha, in
the Mahacattarisaka-sutta is presented as something that ripens in attachment and
is associated with the influxes."

Comment: In MN 117 the 'mundane' path factors are simply those of the noble eightfold
path. This leads to the cessation of suffering, it also leads to the elimination of the
asavas. So, until the asavas are completely eliminated the path factors can be said to
be 'associated with the asavas'. The phrase 'ripens in attachment' does seem wrong, but
perhaps it is just an incorrect translation? [more on this point to follow.]

3. Page 61, second paragraph:

"That is, the use of the qualification 'factor of the path' (magganga) is based on
the idea of the 'path' as understood in the Abhidharma and the commentaries, where,
instead of referring to a prolonged period of practice, 'path' stands only for the
moment when the four stages of awakening are attained."

Comment: This is, in my opinion, a complete misunderstanding. MN 117 is not speaking
of such momentary path factors. It represents an earlier stage in the development of
the teaching on the path. The supramundane descriptions all include the phrase: [one]
... who is developing the noble path. Since it is the fourth of the ways it is described
in MN 142 as follows: "One gives a gift to one who has entered upon the way to the
realisation of the fruit of arahantship."

More to follow.

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

Post by vinasp »

Hi everyone,

More On Right View.

The teachings of the Nikayas avoid saying certain things directly. The ordinary man is
on the wrong eightfold path, which means that he must have wrong view. But all ordinary
men think that they are on the noble eightfold path and have right view. How is this
possible? This situation arises because the teachings never say exactly what right view is.
The discourse MN 117, which is a late one, is the first, and only discourse to specify
the path factor of right view, it says:

"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."

So this is right view. But many of these statements are ambiguous and can be understood
in various ways. One way of understanding these is a part of right view, but the other
way is wrong view. The ordinary man, understanding these in the wrong way, therefore has
wrong view, but is allowed to think that he has right view.

To say that these statements are right view is true. But one could also say that they
are wrong view. It depends on how they are understood. Let us examine these statements.

1. "There is what is given, what is offered, what is sacrificed."

How could anyone not agree that this is true? But the ordinary man thinks it means that
gifts and offerings generate something called 'merit'. This is not actually said.

2. "There are fruits & results of good & bad actions."

Again, this is obviously true, all actions have results. But the ordinary man imagines
results in the future, going beyond what can be known by present experience.

3. "There is this world & the next world."

What this means depends on what 'world' means. The ordinary man thinks that 'this world'
means this life, and that 'the next world' means the next life. But the teachings speak
about 'the cessation of the world', here, it makes more sense to take 'world' as meaning
a particular state of mind.

4. "There is mother & father."

Obviously true. The ordinary man thinks that this refers to the importance of right
moral conduct towards ones parents.

5."There are spontaneously reborn beings."

There are beings who permanently leave one state of mind and enter another, what else
is enlightenment? I will not try to guess what the ordinary man imagines this means.

6."there are brahmans & contemplatives who, faring rightly & practicing rightly, proclaim this world & the next after having directly known & realized it for themselves."

The non-returner who has arisen in the 'next world' (state of mind), has direct
knowledge of 'this world' and the 'next world'. The ordinary man imagines that some
contemplatives can actually see their own, or other peoples, next (literal) life.

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

Post by daverupa »

vinasp wrote:This situation arises because the teachings never say exactly what right view is.
I find that they do.
vinasp wrote:The discourse MN 117, which is a late one, is the first, and only discourse to specify the path factor of right view, it says:

"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."

So this is right view.
Two things: we can't say that the entire Sutta is late, but we can say that parts were added later than the original composition; and, we aren't justified in saying it's right view when other Suttas define right view, and this one specifically calls its new addition "...with effluents".

It's unnecessary to find a way to make it work, since it isn't needed in the first place, and baroque extrapolations go even further afield.

:heart:

(I think that the addition is designed to justify the function of kamma within the burgeoning devotional aspects of early Buddhism & the beginnings of the stupa cult, itself prompted by popular veneration of the Buddha's (and others') relics by the fourfold Sangha, as a function of the surrounding cultural milieu.)
  • "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]
Cassandra
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Re: MN 117: a counterfeit

Post by Cassandra »

daverupa wrote:I think that the addition is designed to justify the function of kamma within the burgeoning devotional aspects of early Buddhism & the beginnings of the stupa cult, itself prompted by popular veneration of the Buddha's (and others') relics by the fourfold Sangha, as a function of the surrounding cultural milieu.
I tend to agree and I am surprised why nobody picked it up when you suggested it in the first post itself. As you said this probably sums it up:
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?
Or better yet, "right view with effluents" is a seemingly practical way to initiate and nurture devotional faith in the surrounding laity so that the monastics can be supported in their practice of going forth. It creates a healthy balance.

Although, I am not sure why this is a later addition. Any reason why the Buddha couldn't have spoken it himself, other than the fact that "with effluents" does not appear anywhere else? Also if one starts the noble 8-fold path with right view, that view certainly can be with effluents (but productive towards the path) because a practitioner has not fully developed the path or eradicated effluents at this point.
daverupa
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Re: MN 117: a counterfeit

Post by daverupa »

Cassandra wrote:Any reason why the Buddha couldn't have spoken it himself, other than the fact that "with effluents" does not appear anywhere else?
One thing perhaps: we can see the formula of right view with effluents in the Sutta in my signature, where it is opposed to its formulaic negation - but neither one is called right view of any kind at that juncture, they are simply opposed views which partly comprise the perplexing situation, and setting both aside is recommended in favor of practical engagements.

A section on the front of the whole thing does make mention of that formula as being right view with effluents, but again it's tacked onto the beginning almost like an apologia; the Buddha didn't bring it up to Pataliya when it would have been ideal to do so, but some redactor felt it was obviously correct to include.

It's the shape of a transition, it seems to me, and would coincide with abhidhamma compositions.
  • "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]
vinasp
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Re: MN 117: a counterfeit

Post by vinasp »

Hi daverupa,

I did not reply to your first post on this thread because I did not understand what
you were attempting to explain.

Quote: "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?"

Are you saying that the development of the teachings was driven by the needs of lay followers?

What do you mean by "dualist teaching"?

What is the conflict you see between the "Buddhist ideal" and "the laity ...which is
at odds with that ideal"?

Quote:"... I see right view and right with effluents as a doctrinal response to this cognitive dissonance ..."

Can you please explain this in more detail.

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

Post by daverupa »

vinasp wrote: Are you saying that the development of the teachings was driven by the needs of lay followers?
That is certainly a variable.
vinasp wrote:What do you mean by "dualist teaching"?
Here, shorthand for "right view" & "...with effluents".
What is the conflict you see between the "Buddhist ideal" and "the laity ...which is at odds with that ideal"?... Can you please explain this in more detail.
My thinking revolves around the cultural context of kamma, merit, this world and the next... these are all concurrent social concerns, but they don't seem to become part of the Dhamma until some time has passed transmitting it. I suggest that common devotional people who entered the Sangha (monks and nuns don't usually seem to come from elsewhere) are largely responsible for this shunt.

In the Pali Vinaya, it is acceptable to travel during the Rains when there is a Sutta to be salvaged from the brink of extinction... but, other cases where such travel is acceptable involve likely cultural rituals, such as those surrounding a new house or a wedding. These, then, are seen as equivalently necessary as compared with Sutta preservation, and they stand as examples of ritual behaviors Buddhist monastics were expected to perform.
  • "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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Sekha
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Re: MN 117: a counterfeit

Post by Sekha »

sorry, I don't have the time to read everything that has been said.

here is the link, it will be much more readable and obvious:

http://www.buddha-vacana.org/articles/m ... rfeit.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

I am aware that this paper is far from being perfect, all the more that I wrote it while in complete seclusion without anyone to mirror my thoughts, so I learn from the criticism you may express, and I will do my best to correct the mistakes I have done. I need for sure to find more balanced expressions than 'nonsense' etc.
Where knowledge ends, religion begins. - B. Disraeli

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Sekha
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Re: MN 117: a counterfeit

Post by Sekha »

I read the Bhante Analayo pdf..

he is basically saying the same thing I said, he is only using more balanced expressions, and actually putting in more arguments with a parallel study of the Tibetan and Chinese versions:
This goes to show that, whatever may be the final word on the relationship
between the (Mūla-)Sarvāstivāda and the Sarvāstivāda traditions,
the Tibetan and Chinese versions of the present discourse do stem from
two to some degree independent lines of transmission. For them to
nevertheless agree in not having any exposition of the supramundane
path-factors provides strong evidence against the Mahācattārī­saka-sutta.
As already mentioned at the outset of the present paper, the treatment of
the supramundane path-factors does not seem to be necessary from the
viewpoint of the central topic of the discourse, the same treatment shows
distinct Abhidharmic characteristics and vocabulary, and it is absent
from both parallels. This makes it highly probable that the supramundane
path-factors are a later addition to the Pāli discourse.
Last edited by Sekha on Mon Nov 12, 2012 1:40 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: MN 117: a counterfeit

Post by JhanaStream »

Sekha wrote:I am aware that this paper is far from being perfect, all the more that I wrote it while in complete seclusion without anyone to mirror my thoughts, so I learn from the criticism you may express, and I will do my best to correct the mistakes I have done.
Sekha

MN 117 itself speaks well of its opponents:
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.

If any brahman or contemplative might think that this Great Forty Dhamma discourse should be censured & rejected, there are ten legitimate implications of his statement that would form grounds for censuring him here & now.
Take care, friend, to not bite the benevolent hand which liberates. The snake bite was prophecized in MN 22.

:geek:
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Re: MN 117: a counterfeit

Post by JhanaStream »

equilibrium wrote: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.
Dear friend with enthusiasm (chanda) for Dhamma

I would recommend to read the discourse again, about what comprises of the Great Forty.
Of those, right view is the forerunner. And how is right view the forerunner? In one of 1. right view, 2. wrong view is abolished. The many evil, 3. unskillful qualities that come into play with wrong view as their condition are also abolished, while the many 4. skillful qualities that have right view as their condition go to the culmination of their development. In one of right resolve, wrong resolve is abolished... In one of right speech, wrong speech is abolished... In one of right action, wrong action is abolished... In one of right livelihood, wrong livelihood is abolished... In one of right effort, wrong effort is abolished... In one of right mindfulness, wrong mindfulness is abolished... In one of right concentration, wrong concentration is abolished... In one of right knowledge, wrong knowledge is abolished... In one of 37. right release, 38. wrong release is abolished. The many evil, 39. unskillful qualities that come into play with wrong release as their condition are also abolished, while the many 40. skillful qualities that have right release as their condition go to the culmination of their development.

"Thus, monks, there are twenty factors siding with skillfulness, and twenty with unskillfulness.
With metta-karuna

:namaste:
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Re: MN 117: a counterfeit

Post by Sekha »

JhanaStream wrote: Take care, friend, to not bite the benevolent hand which liberates. The snake bite was prophecized in MN 22.
This is a misunderstanding of my standpoint. please read my article before criticizing what you think I say
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Re: MN 117: a counterfeit

Post by Sekha »

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."
If there can be "two kinds of happiness" where "the happiness without taints is foremost", why cannot it also be so for Right View?
And why would it?
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Re: MN 117 has been tampered with

Post by mikenz66 »

Hi Sekha,

Thank you for the interesting article, and the detailed comparisons with other suttas. You make some compelling arguments that would have to be taken seriously in any programme of sorting out which statements can or can not be directly attributed to the Buddha.

:anjali:
Mike
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