Anupada Sutta (MN 111) - Its status as an EBT

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! :fearful:

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.

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Thanks for this. FYI this was treated in some detail by Ven Brahmali in our course on the EBTs.

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Can someone point which talk it was? I want to dig into this before I’d join the discussion.

If you listen to the talk, could you post a very brief summary, a few lines, or just a few important points here to share, in case we don’t have time to listen to the full talk? Thanks. (if you can and have time).

The same discussion is found in the Authenticity of the Early Buddhist Texts, section 4.4.2, “Later texts are obvious”.

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[quote=“Sylvester, post:1, topic:4207”]
The formulation that is bolded is not found in its entirety elsewhere in the suttas…[/quote]
Maybe but MN 111 is specifically about Sariputta thus probably is to highlight Sariputta’s exceptional lucidity (wisdom). In other words, there is little in the sutta that is insidious.

Many of the well-known Sariputta suttas (MN 9, MN 43, MN 141, etc) include additional dhammas. The Buddha said (somewhere) the one bhikkhu that could follow up his Dhamma was Sariputta.

Cittekaggatā is not cited probably because it is common to each jhana, as stock suttas such as MN 19 indicate cittekaggatā is the prerequisite defining feature of the attainment of jhana. Thus the term ‘five factored jhana’ is found in a number of places in the suttas.

Nothing. MN 111 is simply a sutta to highlight Sariputta’s exceptional lucidity, that is all.

Ordinarily, there are certain factors that are unique to each jhana & this is what the suttanta ordinarily highlight.

This might be interesting but why don’t you also apply such analysis to other questionable suttas such as MN 60, MN 123, MN 135, etc.

Intention occurs in jhana. The fact the mind does not resist jhana is the functioning of intention.

It is akin to a heavenly female nymph performing physical amorous actions upon the physical body of a bhikkhu. If the bhikkhu does not resist the heavenly nymph, this non-resistance is from an intention. Similarly, the fact that the mind inclines towards the jhana is itself intention (cetana).

The list of nama dhamma in MN 111 should also properly be applied to the stock definition of ‘nama’ in dependent origination (SN 12.2; MN 9) because, just like in MN 111, this is not alien to any principles in the EBTs.

Feeling, perception, volition, contact, attention: this is called nama (mentality). MN 9; SN 12.2

In other words, it seems to debunk MN 111 is to assert there is no ‘nama’ operating in jhana, which does not make sense. The nama dhamma found in MN 111 exist throughout the suttas.

:seedling:

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Hi Deele

Currently, I’m working through the preliminaries to address the more fundamental issue of MN 111’s status as an EBT or otherwise. At this point in time, it’s still an exercise in Textual Criticism, and not yet an exercise in Hermeneutics.

Once we are done with the Textual Criticism, I will pretend that MN 111 is an EBT and embark on the hermeneutics.

Re your last 2 paras, I would agree as I had indicated elsewhere that the saṅkhārakkhandha persists in the jhanas : MN 64. During the hermeneutics, we can discuss if cetanā is the sole denizen of the saṅkhārakkhandha, and perhaps explore the meaning of cetanā in its Abhidhamma and suttanta usages. Do be patient and I look forward to you contributing to the discussion on the Textual Criticism for now.

Re my point -

you offered -

The point I was making, perhaps not clearly enough, is that the Abhidhamma is a gold mine of EBT material mixed with the “Abhidhammic” material. Every Pali suttanta category is recorded in the Pali Abhidhamma in one form or another. On the other hand, MN 111’s “phasso vedanā saññā cetanā cittaṃ chando adhimokkho vīriyaṃ sati upekkhā manasikāro” category does not make it into this early Abhidhamma text. By Textual Criteria yardsticks, this means that this passage from MN 111 postdates the Vibhaṅga. Some other bits also fail to make it into the Dhammasaṅgaṇī listing. The same yardstick would assume that the Dhammasaṅgaṇī editors could not have missed the MN 111 classification, since it has half of MN 111’s list. How did the other half disappear? While textual loss is a possibility, the more probable explanation would again be that these parts of MN 111 post-date the Dhammasaṅgaṇī .

Early Buddhism Course Workshop 2 Session 3

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Yes. But these are very ordinarily dhammas found throughout the suttas. (I am not sure about adhimokkho).

Thanks for that. What I would also find useful is the (rough) dating of these texts when you present your thesis, i.e., during what time period were the EBTs established, when the Abhidhamma was composed, when the Vibhaṅga was composed, etc. What would also be interesting is to have an idea of who exactly composed these later texts and under whose authority or stewardship.

Thanks :slight_smile:

Moving on. I think the evidence is quite strong that bits of MN 111 post-date the Vibhaṅga and Dhammasaṅgaṇī, giving it the benefit of the doubt that it was not composed in one sitting. The issue I wish to explore now would be whether MN 111’s listing was perhaps influenced by these Abhidhamma texts, especially the latter above cited.

Going back to the passage in mind, taking its First Jhana passage as representative of the rest -

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—tyāssa dhammā anupa­da­va­vatthitā honti. Tyāssa dhammā viditā uppajjanti, viditā upaṭṭhahanti, viditā abbhatthaṃ gacchanti.

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 — he ferreted them out one after another. Known to him they arose, known to him they remained, known to him they subsided.

At this point, I do not wish to address the issues of the pajanati that follows, nor of the meaning of vavattheti (ferrets in Ven Thanissaro’s rendering of va­vatthitā). The issue I wish to examine is whether or not MN 111’s listing of “phasso vedanā saññā cetanā cittaṃ chando adhimokkho vīriyaṃ sati upekkhā manasikāro” is intended to be understood as simultaneity of all 11 dhammas at the same time within the jhana. It appears that this is the intent and how it is typically understood.

Is this model of simultaneity borrowed from the Dhammasaṅgaṇī’s model which presents its dhammas of “phasso hoti, vedanā hoti, saññā hoti, cetanā hoti, cittaṃ hoti”?

Regardless of the Dhammasaṅgaṇī’s intent, how this sequence is used in the Vibhaṅga is quite instructive. In its discussion of the supramundane resultants, this is how the supramundane Second Jhana is presented -

Tattha katamaṃ dutiyaṃ jhānaṃ? Idha bhikkhu yasmiṃ samaye lokuttaraṃ jhānaṃ bhāveti niyyānikaṃ apacayagāmiṃ diṭṭhigatānaṃ pahānāya paṭhamāya bhūmiyā pattiyā vitakkavicārānaṃ vūpasamā…pe… dutiyaṃ jhānaṃ upasampajja viharati dukkhapaṭipadaṃ dandhābhiññaṃ, tasmiṃ samaye phasso hoti…pe… avikkhepo hoti.

Therein what is second jhāna? Herein at the time when a monk develops supramundane jhāna tending to release, dispersive of continuing rebirth and death; he, for the abandoning of wrong view, for the entering of the first stage, inhibiting initial application and sustained application, See section 205. attains and dwells in the second jhāna that is hard practice and knowledge slowly acquired; at that time there is contact, See Dhammasaṅgaṇī section 277. there is non-wavering.
https://suttacentral.net/en/vb12

The peyyāla is straightforward. It instructs to simply copy the entire Dhammasaṅgaṇī passage from “phasso hoti” all the way down to “avikkhepo hoti”. And what do we have in that passage if not “vitakko hoti, vicāro hoti”.

Clearly, the Vibhaṅga is not treating the verb hoti as a present indicative of presence (paccuppanna), but as a verb that allows temporal vagueness. Hoti here indicates possibility.

This is in stark contrast to MN 111’s prima facie reading that treats “phasso vedanā saññā cetanā cittaṃ chando adhimokkho vīriyaṃ sati upekkhā manasikāro” as all being simultaneously present in the jhanas. Leaving aside the doctrinal problem of the presence of upekkhā before the Third Jhana, it is quite clear to me that MN 111 does not derive its model of dhammas from the Vibhaṅga model.

So, where does this simultaneity model come from?

No prizes for guessing - it’s the commentarial model of Universals (sabbacittasādhāraṇa cetasikas) and Occassionals (pakiṇṇaka cetasikas). Here’s Wiki convenient listing -

Seven universal mental factors

The seven universal mental factors (sabbacittasādhāraṇa cetasikas) are common (sādhāraṇa) to all consciousness (sabbacitta). Bhikkhu Bodhi states: “These factors perform the most rudimentary and essential cognitive functions, without which consciousness of an object would be utterly impossible.”[10]

These seven factors are:

Phassa - contact
Vedanā - feeling
Saññā - perception
Cetanā - volition
Ekaggata - one-pointedness
Jīvitindriya - life faculty
Manasikāra - attention

Six occasional mental factors

The six occasional or particular mental factors (pakiṇṇaka cetasikas) are ethically variable mental factors found only in certain consciousnesses.[11] They are:

Vitakka - Application of thought
Vicāra - Examining
Adhimokkha - Decision
Viriya - Energy
Pīti - Rapture
Chanda - Desire (to act)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mental_factors_(Buddhism)

But hang on. Can it be possible that MN 111’s entire list of “phasso vedanā saññā cetanā cittaṃ chando adhimokkho vīriyaṃ sati upekkhā manasikāro” stems from the Pali Commentaries? That seems quite unlikely, given the absence of upekkhā from either Commentarial list.

Where it gets interesting is that upekṣā and adhimokṣa occupy the roles assigned to them by MN 111 in the Sarvastivadins’ Abhidharma Mahāvibhāṣā Śāstra. Upekṣā is a kusula mahābhūmika (equivalent to the Theravadins’ Occassional), while adhimokṣa is a citta mahābhūmika (equivalent to the Theravadins’ Universal). This is the only source I could find to account for MN 111’s assignment of roles to upekkha and adhimokkha.

How far removed from the EBTs is MN 111 really?

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