The Pali phrase

diṭṭhadhammikañca vajjaṃ samparāyikañca vajjaṃ

(The fault apparent in the present life, and the fault to do with lives to come.)

Occurs once in the entire Sutta/Vinaya Pitakas. (at AN2.1)

Whereas the phrase

paṭhamaṃ jhānaṃ

(the first jhana)

Occurs 268 times. ( for e.g at DN2)

It can reasonably said from this fact that for the Buddhists of the Pali Canon the first jhana was a more important concept than the faults apparent in this life and the next.

How about we compare something else to the first jhana? What about the four foundations of mindfulness?

paṭhamaṃ jhānaṃ V 46 D 24 M 52 S 24 A 61 T 268

cattāro satipaṭṭhānā V 3 D 10 M 11 S 48 A 18 T 92

So in the entire Sutta/VInaya Pitaka first jhana is mentioned almost 3 times as often as the four foundations of mindfulness.

Lets try one more thing and remove the Samyutta from the equation.

Now we have

paṭhamaṃ jhānaṃ V 46 D 24 M 52 A 61 T 244

cattāro satipaṭṭhānā V 3 D 10 M 11 A 18 T 44

So if we leave out the Samyutta, first jhana is mentioned more than 5 times more often than the four foundations of mindfulness.

The Samyutta is the only collection to mention cattāro satipaṭṭhānā more than paṭhamaṃ jhānaṃ, actually doing so twice as often, in contrast to the other four collections where first jhana is always mentioned at least twice as often as the four foundations.

This strange clustering of the four foundations of mindfulness in the Samyutta however is even more striking than it seems, because if we remove the occurrences in the standard formula listing dhamma subjects known as the 37 factors of awakening, that is the phrase “cattāro satipaṭṭhānā, cattāro sammappadhānā, cattāro iddhipādā, pañcindriyāni, pañca balāni, satta bojjhaṅgā, ariyo aṭṭhaṅgiko maggo” then the Vinaya has no mention of cattāro satipaṭṭhānā at all. This is somewhat troubling, recall that the Vinaya mentions the first jhana 48 times.

3 of the 10 mentions of cattāro satipaṭṭhānā in D are also the 37 factors formula as are 2 of the 11 in M and 1 of the 18 in A.

Of the 48 mentions of cattāro satipaṭṭhānā in S none of them occur in the 37 factors formula.

Controlling for the 37 factors formula we have:

paṭhamaṃ jhānaṃ V 46 D 24 M 52 A 61 T 244

cattāro satipaṭṭhānā V 0 D 7 M 9 A 17 T 33

paṭhamaṃ jhānaṃ S 24

cattāro satipaṭṭhānā S 48

So if we disregard the list of 37 factors S mentions the four foundations of mindfulness twice as much as the first jhana, while D, M, S and V mention the first jhana more than 7 times as often as the four foundations.

I have also spent some time looking at “kāyānupassī viharati ātāpī sampajāno” (observing an aspect of the body) which we will call the aspect formula, which reveals no occurrences in V,

kāyānupassī viharati ātāpī sampajāno V 0 D 9 M 7 S 46 A 6

vitakkavicārānaṃ vūpasamā ajjhattaṃ V 1 D 8 M 32 S 15 A 13

Once again we see S mentioning the aspect formula more than twice as often as the rest of the Sutta/Vinaya combined.

In conclusion there is a noticeable divergence in the ratio of mentions of the first jhana and the four foundations between the Samyutta and the rest of the Vinaya and Sutta Pitaka.

Metta.