Friday, June 12, 2020

MN 52 eleven doors to deathless (doing vipassana in jhana), and its agama parallel MA 217

From a conversation with Dr. W. Chu (Archaic Buddhist Chinese language and Agama expert):


does the chinese  also mirror  MN 52 on the part about 
doing vipassana while in 4 jhanas and attaining arahantship?

“Idha, gahapati, bhikkhu vivicceva kāmehi vivicca akusalehi dhammehi savitakkaṃ savicāraṃ vivekajaṃ pītisukhaṃ paṭhamaṃ jhānaṃ upasampajja viharati.
“Householder, it’s when a monk, quite secluded from sensual pleasures, secluded from unskillful qualities, enters and remains in the first jhāna, which has the rapture and pleasure born of seclusion, while directing-thought and evaluation.
So iti paṭisañcikkhati:
Then they reflect:
‘idampi kho paṭhamaṃ jhānaṃ abhisaṅkhataṃ abhisañcetayitaṃ.
‘Even this first jhāna is produced by co-doings and intentions.’
Yaṃ kho pana kiñci abhisaṅkhataṃ abhisañcetayitaṃ tadaniccaṃ nirodhadhamman’ti pajānāti.
They understand: ‘But whatever is produced by co-doings and intentions is impermanent and liable to cessation.’
So tattha ṭhito āsavānaṃ khayaṃ pāpuṇāti.
Abiding in that they attain the ending of defilements

Answer: (with Dr. Chu's translation)

Yes it does.


Venerable Ananda replied: "Householder! A well-learned noble disciple, as he secludes himself from sensuality and inimical, unskillful qualities, enters and remains in the fourth dhyana. While abiding therein, he contemplates the Dhamma as Dhamma. And as he contemplates the Dhamma as Dhamma while abiding therein, then it is possible that he attains the ending of fermentations. If he does not attain the ending of fermentations while abiding therein, he may still, as a result of basing himself in the Dhamma, desiring the Dhamma, loving the Dhamma, delighting in the Dhamma, conforming himself to the Dhamma--delighted in and enraptured [by the Dhamma in such a manner], completely eradicates the lower five fetters. [In the latter scenario], he is reborn through transformation there (in the Pure Abodes), attaining the final Unbinding without ever experiencing regression, or a return to this [world]."

follow up question:
Is that paragraph present in all 11 doors (4 jhanas, 4 brahmavihars, 3 first arupa samadhis) to the deathless, like in the pali? Or just the 4th jhana?
Very interesting how many of the chinese agama EBT's,  the 4th jhana and the 4th satipatthana are explicitly happening simultaneously.

Actually, this formula is present for not just 11, but 12, doors--the base of neither perception nor non perception is also included in this case. In other words, different from the Theravadin notion that the latter involves too little perception for insight to work, this Chinese sutra maintains that insight is done in the fourth of the arupa as well as all the other lower meditative attainments.

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