At the request of @frankk and @Piotr, here are some thoughts on the status of MN 111 as an EBT. The requests were initiated in the context of the issue of whether one can “intend” whilst in a jhana. That issue will probably be ventilated after some preliminaries are addressed.
Out of sloth, I am using Ven Thanissaro’s translation for convenience. Comments regarding that translation will be made where relevant to the discussion.
I will skip the bits that have already been raised by others regarding its Abhidhammic provenance, most notably by Ven Analayo in his “Perspectives on Satipatthana”.
What I propose to cover in the first post would be MN 111’s listing of dhammas in the first 7 attainments, taking the list for the First Jhana as representative of the entire methodology of MN 111 -
Idha, bhikkhave, sāriputto vivicceva kāmehi vivicca akusalehi dhammehi savitakkaṃ savicāraṃ vivekajaṃ pītisukhaṃ paṭhamaṃ jhānaṃ upasampajja viharati.
Ye ca paṭhame jhāne dhammā vitakko ca vicāro ca pīti ca sukhañca cittekaggatā ca, phasso vedanā saññā cetanā cittaṃ chando adhimokkho vīriyaṃ sati upekkhā manasikāro…
"There was the case where Sariputta — quite secluded from sensuality, secluded from unskillful qualities — entered & remained in the first jhana: rapture & pleasure born of seclusion, accompanied by directed thought & evaluation. Whatever qualities there are in the first jhana — directed thought, evaluation, rapture, pleasure, singleness of mind, contact, feeling, perception, intention, consciousness, desire, decision, persistence, mindfulness, equanimity, & attention
The formulation that is bolded is not found in its entirety elsewhere in the suttas (but see below). I have not located such a formulation in my small survey of dhyana sutras from the Agamas either.
The next place to look would then be the Abhidhamma. After the Puggalapaññatti, the Vibhaṅga is probably the earliest collection of the Abhidhamma texts. The Vibhaṅga has an entire analysis devoted to the jhanas and formless attainments - https://suttacentral.net/pi/vb12
As you may know, Vibhaṅga adopts a two-fold method - the suttantabhājanīya (analysis according to the suttas) and the abhidhammabhājanīya (analysis according to the Abhidhamma).
What do these 2 modes in Vb 12 say about the jhanas? In the suttanta mode, Vb 12 sets out the standard jhana pericopes and offers a detailed word commentary of key terms in those pericopes. The novel MN 111 list of dhammas (bolded above) is not cited in Vb 12’s suttantabhājanīya. Even the innocuous cittekaggatā is not cited, to say nothing of the rest of the bolded listing.
What about its abhidhammabhājanīya? That section is divided into 2 broad sections - an initial discussion of skilful dhammas, followed by a section on supramundane dhammas. In the initial section on the jhanas, the suttanta jhana pericope is used, but coupled with the notion of the earth kasiṇa.
At this juncture, it is useful to recapitulate MN 111’s innovative listing of dhammas -
Ye ca paṭhame jhāne dhammā vitakko ca vicāro ca pīti ca sukhañca cittekaggatā ca,
phasso vedanā saññā cetanā cittaṃ chando adhimokkho vīriyaṃ sati upekkhā manasikāro
Whatever qualities there are in the first jhana —
directed thought, evaluation, rapture, pleasure, singleness of mind,
contact, feeling, perception, intention, consciousness, desire, decision, persistence, mindfulness, equanimity, & attention
Here I’ve italicized and bolded different parts of the listing to set them apart.
Coming back to Vb 12’s abhidhammic discussion of the jhanas in the context of skillful dhammas, it is now here that we find this -
Idha bhikkhu yasmiṃ samaye rūpūpapattiyā maggaṃ bhāveti vivicceva kāmehi … pe … paṭhamaṃ jhānaṃ upasampajja viharati pathavīkasiṇaṃ, tasmiṃ samaye pañcaṅgikaṃ jhānaṃ hoti—vitakko, vicāro, pīti, sukhaṃ, cittassekaggatā. Idaṃ vuccati “paṭhamaṃ jhānaṃ”. Avasesā dhammā jhānasampayuttā.
This coincides the italicized listing of dhammas from MN 111, and is in fact attested in MN 43 and its partial Chinese parallel MA 210.
So far, there is no mention in Vb 12 of MN 111’s listing of “phasso vedanā saññā cetanā cittaṃ chando adhimokkho vīriyaṃ sati upekkhā manasikāro”. The section on skillful supramundane dhammas while containing MN 43’s listing, does not contain MN 111’s bolded listing.
However, once we move onto Vb 12’s discussion of the supramundane fruits, we find this long listing -
_Phasso hoti, vedanā hoti, saññā hoti, cetanā hoti, cittaṃ ho_ti, (1)
Vitakko hoti, vicāro hoti, pīti hoti, sukhaṃ hoti, cittassekaggatā hoti, (2)_
Saddhindriyaṃ hoti, vīriyindriyaṃ hoti, satindriyaṃ hoti, samādhindriyaṃ hoti, paññindriyaṃ hoti, manindriyaṃ hoti, somanassindriyaṃ hoti, jīvitindriyaṃ hoti, (3)_
Sammādiṭṭhi hoti, sammāsaṅkappo hoti, sammāvāyāmo hoti, sammāsati hoti, sammāsamādhi hoti, (4)_
Saddhābalaṃ hoti, vīriyabalaṃ hoti, satibalaṃ hoti, samādhibalaṃ hoti, paññābalaṃ hoti, hiribalaṃ hoti, ottappabalaṃ hoti, (5)_
Alobho hoti, adoso hoti, amoho hoti, anabhijjhā hoti, abyāpādo hoti, sammādiṭṭhi hoti, (6)_
Hirī hoti, ottappaṃ hoti, (7)_
Kāyapassaddhi hoti, cittapassaddhi hoti, kāyalahutā hoti, cittalahutā hoti, kāyamudutā hoti, cittamudutā hoti, kāyakammaññatā hoti, cittakammaññatā hoti, kāyapāguññatā hoti, cittapāguññatā hoti, kāyujukatā hoti, cittujukatā hoti, (8)_
Sati hoti, sampajaññaṃ hoti, (9)_
Samatho hoti, vipassanā hoti, (10)_
Paggāho hoti, avikkhepo hoti
This is of course the famous Dhammasaṅgaṇī listing that peppers the book’s treatment of kusala/skillful dhammas.
Some bits from MN 111 are missing from the Dhammasaṅgaṇī listing!
Now, if the Abhidhamma recognises a suttanta method and does not include MN 111’s “phasso vedanā saññā cetanā cittaṃ chando adhimokkho vīriyaṃ sati upekkhā manasikāro” listing in the suttanta analysis, what does that say about such a listing?
I will eventually build up the argument that MN 111 post-dates the Abhidhamma quite considerably, as it already contains ideas from the Commentaries that are not part of this stratum of Abhidhamma. Let’s leave that for later while we discuss the first post.
That being said, in subsequent continuation of my discussion with @piotr and @frankk concerning “intention” in the jhanas, I’m quite prepared to take MN 111 at face value to address the “cetana” issue. For later.