Saturday, February 23, 2019

MN 125 why B. Sujato and B. Analayo conspicuously avoid discussing this sutta

His blog post originally dated 2012 dec.
A copy of B. Sujato's blog on V&V here

He deliberately avoid talking about MN 125 because it clearly blows away his mistranslation of V&V.

Over a period of more than 2 years, I've been collecting incontrovertible evidence that invalidate his mistranslation of V&V.
Publicly. On his forum. Impossible for him to miss my posts.

My post on MN 125
from 2018-august

Look for the missing first jhana in that sutta MN 125:

    MN 125 gradual training of wild elephant, Pali+Eng, B.Sujato trans 1

    (Buddha is like the wild elephant trainer)
    (renounce, shave head, work on sīla)
    (guard sense doors)
    (moderation in eating)
    (S&S: sati & sampajāno)
    (5niv hindrance removal)
    (4sp satipatthana nonstop, like elephant tethered to post)
    (do 4sp with no kāma-vitakka/thoughts of sensuality)
    (skip first jhāna, go directly to 2nd jhāna, since first jhāna can have thoughts connected to Dhamma)
    (imperturbability/āneñjappatte, the dynamic form of 4th jhāna)
    (#4 of 6: higher knowledge of reviewing past lives)

First note, you don’t leave 4sp (satipatthana, samma sati) to enter the jhanas. S&S (sati & sampajano) is explicitly state as factors in 3rd jhana, and 4th with upekkha. You can’t be in a frozen state where the “will” disappears and have S&S perform their duties.

Now look at carefully how V&V are used in this section where the first jhana is missing, in Bhante Sujato’s translation. V&V are clearly thoughts & evaluation right before jhana, and when it gets to second jhana, it becomes (b.sujato trans.)“placing the mind and keeping it connected”. You got to keep the translation of V&V consistent here, it just doesn’t make sense the way it reads now.

In the section right before jhana it says, “don’t think thoughts connected with sensual desire”, and then the sutta deliberately omits first jhana and jumps to second jhana. This means that the V&V (thoughts and evaluation) are “thoughts not connected with sensual desire.” In other words, the V&V in first jhana, you have thoughts about Dhamma, whatever the 4sp meditation topic you’ve chosen happens to be. (not “placing the mind and keeping it connected” as B.Sujato renders in 1st and 2nd jhana).

And this is why you just hear deafening silence in response when I talk about the elephant in the room. There are a few other places in the suttas like this. And if you look at the EBT time line:

480 BCE: Birth of the Buddha
400 BCE: Pari-nibbāna of the Buddha
350 BCE: AN 5.50/EA 32.7
237 BCE: KN Ps = Paṭi-sambhidā-magga
200 BCE: Abhidhamma is not EBT
101 BCE(?) KN Pe = Peṭakopadesa
100 BCE KN Mil = Milinda Pañha
1 CE Vimt. = Vimutti-magga
500 CE Vism = Visuddhi-magga

In Theravada, you see from the pali+english audits I posted in SCDD for KN Pe, Vimt., they retain the proper interpretation of V&V in first jhana as thinking & evaluation. Even early Abhidhamma agrees with straightforward V&V = thinking. But then in Vism. in VRJ (redefined jhana), they are forced to deal with the contradiction in V&V, so they get around the problem by creating “access concentration” for pre jhana, and then the redefine, creating a different V&V for first jhana.

Bhante Sujato follows the Vism. V&V definition in first jhana, but with no “access concentration” in EBT, it gets into these incongruent and flat out nonsensical situations like MN 125.

To the people who’ve studied the EBT carefully, this is obvious to them. But for most people, pali is a barrier, and then they just end up trusting their teachers, not having the means to verify their claims. So hopefully these detailed pali/english passage audits I’m publicizing will allow non-pali readers to see the truth.

I believe Bhante Sujato is reasonable, and if enough people voice their concerns, he would consider rendering V&V differently. But if no one speaks up, he’s going to assume everyone is fine with it.
(do 4sp with no kāma-vitakka/thoughts of sensuality)

Tamenaṃ tathāgato uttariṃ vineti: ‘ehi tvaṃ, bhikkhu, kāye kāyānupassī viharāhi, mā ca kāmūpasaṃhitaṃ vitakkaṃ vitakkesi. Vedanāsu … citte … dhammesu dhammānupassī viharāhi, mā ca kāmūpasaṃhitaṃ vitakkaṃ vitakkesī’ti.
Then the Realized One guides them further: ‘Come, mendicant, meditate observing an aspect of the body, but don’t think thoughts connected with sensual pleasures. Meditate observing an aspect of feelings … mind … principles, but don’t think thoughts connected with sensual pleasures.’

(skip first jhāna, go directly to 2nd jhāna, since first jhāna can have thoughts connected to Dhamma)

So vitakkavicārānaṃ vūpasamā ajjhattaṃ sampasādanaṃ cetaso ekodibhāvaṃ avitakkaṃ avicāraṃ samādhijaṃ pītisukhaṃ dutiyaṃ jhānaṃ … tatiyaṃ jhānaṃ … catutthaṃ jhānaṃ upasampajja viharati.
As the placing of the mind and keeping it connected are stilled, they enter and remain in the second absorption … third absorption … fourth absorption.

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