MA 102, || to MN 19, corroborates the missing elephant first jhana from MN 125, MN 78

MA 102, || to MN 19 agama parallel skips first jhana, like MN 125, MN 78, MN 78 agama parallel.

From Ven. Analayo’s footnotes in MA studies. Will unpack and disect in more detail later.

footnotes analayo
MN 19 agama parallel skips first jhana
In MN 125, first jhana omitted, but in parallel first jhana present.
MN 78 is the tie breaker, both versions skip first jhana

40 [49] A complementary case occurs in MN 19 at MN I 117,6 and its parallel MĀ
102 at T I 589c10, where the Chinese version omits the first absorption and
proceeds directly from overcoming wholesome thoughts to the second absorp
tion, whereas the Pāli version does take the first absorption into account.

45 Descriptions of the first absorption in each of the four main Chinese Āgamas
have as their counterpart to savitakka the expression 有覺; cf. DĀ 9 at T I
50c19 (parallel to DN 33 at DN III 222,5); MĀ 2 at T I 422b12 (parallel to AN
7.65 at AN IV 118,21); SĀ 483 at T II 123b1 (parallel to SN 36.29 at SN IV
236,3); and EĀ 31.1 at T II 666b13 (parallel to MN 4 at MN I 21,35). Hirakawa 1997: 1062 lists √budh, √jñā and √vid for 覺, which Soothill 1937/2000:
480 translates as “to awake, apprehend, perceive, realize” and also as to be
“aware”. The term 觀 as an equivalent to vicāra usually renders terms related
to √paś in the Madhyama-āgama, such as, e.g., vipaśyanā or anupaśyanā,
“insight” or “contemplation”.

footnote on didfference between vitakka inside first jhana and not in jhana
46 Thus, e.g., MĀ 102 at T I 589c9 uses 覺 in the context of absorption, but in
the same line of the text employs 念 to refer to “thoughts”, both occurrences
paralleling the use of the same word vitakka in its parallel MN 19 at MN I
116,35 and 117,7. The use of these different renderings does convey the impression that the translator(s) were aware of the difference between these two
types of vitakka and endeavoured to render them in such a way that they would
not be confused with each other.