Sunday, April 24, 2022

Sujato's "jhāna". Burying his head in the sand since 2016

 While doing a google search for a different topic, I came across this conversation I had with Sujato in 2016 on jhāna.

I save a PDF copy of that thread for posterity here in case the link above fails:

since the SC forum has a history of banning users who are (politely and within forum guidelines) critical of Sujato's interpretations. 

Around message #20, he claims AN 3.100 is a 'one off', an unusual situation.  Sujato claims the Buddha was remarkably consistent in equating samādhi and jhāna almost everywhere else. Sujato doesn't cite passages and show how those passages support Sujato's idea of "jhāna". Basically he just uses the argument by (his own) authority fallacy. Usually, he's good about providing evidence when asked, but in cases where his position is unsupportable, and the issue is important to him, he goes silent. 

When I bring up a number of other suttas, MN 78, AN 4.41, MN 111, MN 125, that contradict Sujato's "jhāna", he doesn't even try to respond, but you know he must have read them because he responds to other people who joined in the thread later.

People have different interpretations of jhāna. That's fine.

Everyone's entitled to their opinion. 

But if you're going to present yourself as an authority on the suttas, publish an entire collection of translations, you have a moral and spiritual obligation to be transparent and justify your interpretations publicly, supported by evidence.

To not even attempt to publicly address the obvious contradictions between MN 78, AN 4.41, MN 111, MN 125, and Sujato's translation and interpretation of jhāna, is a tacit admission of wrong doing. 

For the other SC forum members who silently witness these wrong doings, and are fully cognizant that they are wrong, you are complicit in these offenses, enablers of Sujato propagating corrupted teachings on jhāna. 

Forum discussion

Re: KN Snp 5.15 Here lies B. Sujato's physical body from 3rd jhāna.

Post by frank k » 

Joe.c wrote: Mon May 09, 2022 6:09 amIt can be that he doesn’t know yet. Maybe he is just not there yet. Translating lot of sutta doesn’t mean they understand the true teaching.

Understanding Samma Samadhi (jhana) means they have direct experience and direct insight. I would imagine, there is only a little people who has reached non returner or higher at the present.

But translating is still doing good deeds, but may also mislead others (maybe without proper knowing).
The same article I just posted on reddit r/Buddhism just got censored by a Sujato sympathizing moderator, and I've been threatened with a lifetime ban.
So it's not just unintentional misleading. Like all politics and life in general, people abuse power and influence as much as they can get away with, Bhikkhus included. The key is, Sujato isn't using his power ethically. He's repeatedly declined to comment (privately and publicly) on the many suttas that contradict his jhāna interpretation.

I recorded one instance here, from 2016: ... -sand.html

When one translates so many suttas, sure they're not going to have time and energy to deeply ponder everything as they're going along. But when one keeps pointedly ignoring questions, years after his translation when he's had time to reconsider, where detailed audits showing the contradictions occur, that's a tacit admission of guilt.

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