I need some help getting a clearer understanding of the Canki Sutta:
Thanissaro Bhikku's translation:http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.095x.than.html
Unknown translator: http://www.vipassana.info/095-canki-e1.htm
The particular passage where the meaning is unclear is the following:
Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:"Contemplating is most helpful for exertion, Bharadvaja. If one didn't contemplate, one wouldn't make an exertion. Because one contemplates, one makes an exertion. Therefore, contemplating is most helpful for exertion."
"But what quality is most helpful for contemplating?..."
"Being willing... If one weren't willing, one wouldn't contemplate..."
"But what quality is most helpful for being willing?..."
"Desire... If desire didn't arise, one wouldn't be willing..."
"But what quality is most helpful for desire?..."
Unknown translator wrote:‘Good Gotama, for struggling, what thing is of much help?
‘Bharadvaaja, interest, is of much help for struggling. Without that interest, there is no struggle, therefore that interest is of much help for struggling.’
‘Good Gotama, for interest, what thing is of much help?
‘Bharadvaaja, rightful speculation (* 3), is of much help for interest.. Without the rightful speculating mind, there is no interest, therefore the rightful speculative mind is of much help for interest.’
Bhikkhu Bodhi wrote:25. But what, Master Gotama, is most helpful for application of the will? We ask Master Gotama about the thing most helpful for application of the will."
"Desire is most helpful for application of the will, Bharadvaja. If one does not arouse desire, one will not apply one's will; but because one arouses desire, one applies one's will. That is why desire is most helpful for application of the will."
26. "But what, Master Goata, is most helpful for desire? We ask Master Gotama about the thing most helpful for desire."
"Accepting the teachings as a result of pondering them is most helpful for desire, Bharadvaja. If one does not accept the teachings as a result of pondering them, desire will not spring up; but because one accepts the teachings as a result of pondering them, desire springs up."
As I understand it, the Buddha explains a chain of useful tools in the Canki Sutta (where not noted otherwise, the translation of Bhikkhu Bodhi were used.)
For the arrival at truth --> Striving is most helpful
For striving --> Scrutiny (B.B.) / Contemplating (T.B.) is most helpful
For Scrutiny / Contemplating --> Application of one's will is most helpful
For Application of one's will --> Desire (B.B.) (T.B.) / Interest (Unknown) is most helpful. (?)
For Desire / Interest --> "Accepting the teachings as a result of pondering" them is most helpful
For "Accepting the teachings as a result of pondering" --> Examination of the meaning is most helpful
For Examination of the meaning --> Memorizing the teachings is most helpful
For Memorizing the teachings --> Hearing the Dhamma is most helpful
For Hearing the Dhamma --> Giving ear is most helpful
For Giving ear --> Paying respect is most helpful
For Paying respect --> Visiting is most helpful
For Visiting --> Faith in a teacher is most helpful
It seems unusual to me that Thanissaro Bhikkhu and Bhikkhu Bodhi use the term desire here, where interest made more sense to me. Is this to be understood thus, that desiring to arive at the truth, i.e. a certain longing or craving for nibbana is helpful for applying the mind to examining the truth?
Then again, desire is a term that is usually referd to as tanha, which is an obstruction to insight when one sees desire in the context of craving for the kkhandas. And of course craving for mind objects and the whole field of sankhara-kkhanda is something that obstructs knowledge, too.
So that's why it seems very interesting to me that Bhikkhu Bodhi and Thanissaro Bhikkhu use the term desire here.
What's the meaning of desire in the Canki Sutta? Does the Buddha mean that desire is an essential tool for getting drawn to the truth because when we desire the truth, we follow, investigate and pursue it till we "have it" ? It always looked to me like desire is rather not helpful on the path, but this Sutta draws a different picture ie it also matters what we desire. When we desire the freedom from desire, then this is alright at some point ? (taking into account the Buddha spoke to a Brahmin not familiar with his teachings instead of adressing well-instructed monks or Arahants here. So this may be a more coarse level of instruction on how to pursue the path.)
Bhikkhu Bodhi's translation seems the most understandable to me in that respect, as that "aroused desire" precedes applying the will to pursue something. If there would be no interest and no desire for knowing the truth, in wisdom and in understanding, then one wouldn't apply the mind to this and one wouldn't put any effort in contemplating and arriving at the truth.
Do I get that right?
Thanks for the help!