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Leigh Brasington on Possible Altered Sutras to do with Jhana

The Culasaropama Sutra (Majjhima Nikaya #30) in addition to being an excellent teaching on the dangers of spiritual materialism, also refers to the Jhanas. However, it shows signs that suggest the text has been altered. Its beautiful mathematical harmony of the sutra suddenly breaks down in section 12 with a discussion of the Jhanas. The Jhanas are a concentration practice and concentration has already been stated in section 10 to be a lesser state than knowledge and vision. But when the Jhanas are introduced in section 12, they are said to be "higher and more sublime than knowledge and vision." The inclusion of the Jhanas here actually makes the sutta self-contradictory. It also contradicts other pro-Jhana sutras. The formulation of the eight Jhanas is the standard "short" one, (similiar to what is found in the Mahasatipatthana Sutta) but with the addition of a last sentence in each of the paragraphs: "This is a state higher and more sublime than knowledge and vision." This sentence directly contradicts the last sentence of section 84 of the Samannaphala Sutta (Digha Nikaya #2). In the previous paragraph of the Samannaphala Sutta, the recluse directs the concentrated, pure, bright mind resulting from the fourth Jhana towards knowledge and vision. The understanding gained "is a visible fruit of recluseship more excellent and sublime than the previous ones". Many other suttas show signs of this type of tampering and we are left today with the task of puzzling out the original teaching.

Leigh Brasington has noted the preceeding... Thoughts?

RE: Leigh Brasington on Possible Altered Sutras to do with Jhana
3/10/12 11:24 AM as a reply to James E P.
Hi James,

I don't know what version or whose translation Leigh was using when he brought up these ideas, but in looking back at this sutta (MN 30) in my Wisdom Publications edition translated by Bhk. Nanamoli and edited by Bhk. Bodhi, Bhk Bodhi makes clear in a footnote what this "controversy" is referring to. Perhaps Leigh was unaware of this explanation when he wrote his comment.

At MN 30.13 there is the following statement:

13. "Here, brahmin, quite secluded from sensual pleasures, secluded from unwholesome states, a bhikkhu enters upon and abides in the first jhana, which is accompanied by applied and sustained thought, with rapture and pleasure born of seclusion. This is a state higher and more sublime than knowledge and vision."[353]

353. Although the jhanas may also have been included in the attainment of concentration set forth in sec.10, and knowledge and vision was described as higher than the attainment of concentration, the jhanas now become higher than knowledge and vision because they are being treated as the basis for the attainment of cessation and the destruction of the taints (in sec. 21).

The attainment of cessation is a graphic demonstration that the mind can become free from (unattached to) the taints of: 1) sensual desire, 2) the desire for becoming, and 3) the taint of ignorance. The destruction of the taints is what prohibits these "unwholesome views," which arise from mental conditioning, from arising and affecting the mind of the awakened individual.

I hope that explanation helps you.

In peace,

RE: Leigh Brasington on Possible Altered Sutras to do with Jhana
3/12/12 8:54 AM as a reply to Ian And.
Thanks, it does make sense Ian, at some point Jhana is necessary condition for cessation in otherwords.

BTW, I've ready your all purpose Jhana thread, outstanding.

I personally I have been trying to re cultivate Jhana again after moving towards more insight.

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