I wonder how many of you also found this quote in the third-jhana-formula peculiar:
he enters and dwells in the third jhāna of which the noble ones declare: ‘He is equanimous, mindful, one who dwells happily.’
The Buddha usually doesn’t quote anyone else for dhamma, and why would he? After the first batch of arahants, did the Buddha catch them in a conversation where one said “do you agree friends, that one in the third jhana dwells happily?” “yes friend” - and from then on the Buddha used it as a standard quote??
I will list the possibilities of how this quote got into the formula, but I just can’t understand why the editors made it part of the standard version
1. The Buddha actually said it
- He referred to the Buddhas of old as a kind of old traditional way to describe the third jhana (similar to the re-found old city)
- The jhanas actually existed before the Buddha (in his lifetime) and he referred to a proverbial saying which picked up during his own years of study (this is part of an ongoing debate, see for example Snp 5.1 where the brahmins who visit the Buddha are ‘enjoyers of jhana’)
- The Buddha actually heard it from his disciples as a standard reference to the third jhana and started to refer to it in this way regularly
- Or the Buddha came up with the expression sometimes in a form “of which I say he dwells happily”, then it gained popularity, much more than he used it, and then he started to quote the sangha
2 Source is not the Buddha
- It could have been an expression of a (or a few) influential bhanakas that was incorporated into the suttas
- Or it was included at the time of one of the editions by editors/commentators only
As I see it, I would quote only an authority or common knowledge. So I would lean either towards ‘the jhanas already existed’ or ‘bhanakas referred to the 3rd jhana in this way’.
I would be interested in your understandings
- do you see other possibilities for this peculiar expression/quote?
- do you know other places in the sutta where the Buddha refers to dhamma-doctrine with a quote to others?