I would like to compare and discuss sn52.3 and an10.153
Here are the passages:
imesañca panāhaṃ, āvuso, catunnaṃ satipaṭṭhānānaṃ bhāvitattā bahulīkatattā hīnaṃ dhammaṃ hīnato abbhaññāsiṃ, majjhimaṃ dhammaṃ majjhimato abbhaññāsiṃ, paṇītaṃ dhammaṃ paṇītato abbhaññāsin”ti.
katamo ca, bhikkhave, na anussaritabbo dhammo? micchādiṭṭhi … pe … micchāvimutti — ayaṃ vuccati, bhikkhave, na anussaritabbo dhammo. katamo ca, bhikkhave, anussaritabbo dhammo? sammādiṭṭhi … pe … sammāvimutti — ayaṃ vuccati, bhikkhave, anussaritabbo dhammo”ti. katamo ca, bhikkhave, anussaritabbo dhammo? sammādiṭṭhi … pe … sammāvimutti — ayaṃ vuccati, bhikkhave, anussaritabbo dhammo”ti.
Here is Bhante Sujato’s translation for the SN 52.3 passage:
And it was by developing and cultivating these four kinds of mindfulness meditation that I directly knew the lower realm as lower, the middle realm as middle, and the higher realm as higher.
Here is Bhante Bodhi’s:
Further, friends, it is because I have developed and cultivated these four establishments of mindfulness that I directly knew the inferior state as inferior; that I directly knew the middling state as middling; that I directly knew the sublime state as sublime.”
He apparently follows the commentary but also notes:
On the three levels, Spk quotes Dhs §§1025-27, which defines inferior phenomena (hīnā dhammā) as the twelve unwholesome classes of consciousness; middling phenomena (majjhimā dhammā) as mundane wholesome states, resultants, functionals (kiriya), and form; and sublime phenomena (paṇītā dhammā) as the four paths,their fruits, and Nibbāna. See, however, AN I 223-24, where the three terms are correlated with the three realms of rebirth—the sensuous realm, the form realm, and the formless realm.
It seems that for whatever reason Bhante Sujato went along with the second interpretation. However, I went to AN I 223-24 to check and all I found are the expressions ‘hīnāya dhātuyā’, ‘majjhimāya dhātuyā’ and ‘paṇītāya dhātuyā’.
Therefore, this looks at first sight like a mistake on Bhante Bodhi’s and Bhante Sujato’s part.
Now here is Bhante Sujato’s translation of AN 10.153:
And what is the principle not to recollect? Wrong view, wrong thought, wrong speech, wrong action, wrong livelihood, wrong effort, wrong mindfulness, wrong immersion, wrong knowledge, and wrong freedom. This is called the principle not to recollect. And what is the principle to recollect? Right view, right thought, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, right immersion, right knowledge, and right freedom. This is called the principle to recollect.
Here is Bhante Bodhi’s:
… the Dhamma to be recollected and the one not to be recollected …
He seems to have interpreted the word Dhamma as ‘teaching’ rather than ‘state’.
It seems to me that the expressions hīnaṃ / majjhimaṃ / paṇītaṃ dhammaṃ (inferior, middling and superior dhamma) (SN 52.3) on one hand and on the other hand the expressions uppādetabbo dhammo (dhamma to be aroused), āsevitabbo dhammo (dhamma to be pursued), bhāvetabbo dhammo (dhamma to be developped), bahulīkātabbo dhammo (dhamma to be cultivated), anussaritabbo dhammo (dhamma to be recollected) (AN 10.149-153) are comparable and might call to be translated along similar lines.
So what if in AN 10.153 the word Dhamma should be translated in a way similar with SN 52.3, that is as ‘state’ rather than ‘teaching’?
The implication would be that the states of mind contrary to the noble path should not be recollected and that one should not focus on anything negative oneself or anyone else has done. For example, one should not focus, recollect, and think too much about genocides, human rights violations etc. but instead focus for example on Metta for all parties involved etc.
What do you guys think of such an interpretation?