When I first encountered Buddhism in the U.S. in the 1990s it was all about insight meditation with some voices shouting that the value of the jhanas were being mistakenly overlooked as a regular practice.
Years later I came across BPS Wheel 463 which states that the value of “wise reflection” (yoniso manasikara) was being mistakenly overlooked as a regular practice.
This weekend I decided to go back and take another look at BPS Wheel 463 with the amazing benefits provided by suttacentral.net with its multiple translations per sutta, and Thanisarro Bhikkhu’s translation on dhammatalks.org.
It was a very powerful refresher lesson
- in the difficulties of translation
- in the value of reading multiple translations
- in the value of expert commentaries
The translations of yoniso manasikara ( not quite those 2 words in the Pali version ) from MN 2 - Sabbāsava Sutta were diverse!
Same for samvara translated as: defilements, taints, cankers, and effluents!
BPS Wheel 463 Translated( Venerable Walpoa Rahula ) Excerpt: Yoniso manasikāra == wise reflection
“I say that the getting rid of anxieties and troubles  is possible for one who knows and sees, not for one who does not know and see. What must one know and see in order to get rid of anxieties and troubles? Wise reflection and unwise reflection.
For one who reflects unwisely, there arise anxieties and troubles that have not yet arisen, and those that have already arisen increase. But for one who reflects wisely, anxieties and troubles that have not yet arisen do not arise, and those already arisen disappear.”
BPS Wheel 463 Author’s Footnote:
“I have adapted this translation of the word āsava from the one by Venerable Dr. W. Rāhula in his book What the Buddha Taught. Regarding my general agreement his translation, I add his footnote: “The term āsava in this Sutta has wider senses than its usual psychological and ethical meanings such as ’influx,’ ’outflow,’ ’defilement,’ ’impurity.’ It is here used figuratively and embraces both psychological cares and physical troubles and difficulties as can be seen in the sequel.””
I.B. Horner’s Translation - 1954: Yoniso manasikāra == wise attention
Ajahn Sujato’s Translation: Yoniso manasikāra == proper attention
Suddhasso Bhikkhu’s Translation - 2016: Yoniso manasikāra == wise attention
Bhikkhu Bodhi’s Translation - 2009: Yoniso manasikāra == wise attention
Thanisarro Bhikkhu’s Translation: Yoniso manasikāra == appropriate attention