"Deathless" and "unborn"

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"Deathless" and "unborn"

Postby Ben » Fri Oct 16, 2009 4:55 am

Dear friends

For the benefit of a friend, I am wondering if you can help me supply the pali terms and the provenances of "deathless" and "unborn". I'm very certain that they are both synonyms for Nibbana, but I'm not 100 percent certain, and I would like to know the textual contexts in which they can be cited.
Thanks for your kind assistance!
metta

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Re: "Deathless" and "unborn"

Postby Paññāsikhara » Fri Oct 16, 2009 5:18 am

Ben wrote:Dear friends

For the benefit of a friend, I am wondering if you can help me supply the pali terms and the provenances of "deathless" and "unborn". I'm very certain that they are both synonyms for Nibbana, but I'm not 100 percent certain, and I would like to know the textual contexts in which they can be cited.
Thanks for your kind assistance!
metta

Ben


PTS Dict
amata -
Amata1 (nt.) [a + mata = mṛta pp. of mṛ, Vedic amṛta = Gr. a) -- m(b)rot -- o & a)mbrosi/a = Lat. im -- mort -- a(lis] 1. The drink of the gods, ambrosia, water of immortality, (cp. BSk. amṛta -- varṣa "rain of Ambrosia" Jtm 221). -- 2. A general conception of a state of durability & non -- change, a state of security i. e. where there is not any more rebirth or re -- death. So Bdhgh at KhA 180 (on Sn 225) "na jāyati na jīyati na mīyati ti amatan ti vuccati", or at DhA i.228 "ajātattā na jiyyati na miyyati tasmā amatan ti vuccati". -- Vin i.7 = M i.169 (apārutā tesaŋ amatassa dvārā); Vin i.39; D ii.39, 217, 241; S i.32 (= rāgadosamoha -- khayo), 193; iii.2 (˚ena abhisitta "sprinkled with A."); iv.94 (˚assa dātā), 370; v.402 (˚assa patti); A i.45 sq.; iii.451; iv.455; v.226 sq., 256 sq. (˚assa dātā); J i.4 (v.25); iv.378, 386; v.456 (˚mahā -- nibbāna); Sn 204, 225, 228 (= nibbāna KhA 185); Th 1, 310 (= agada antidote); It 46 = 62 (as dhātu), 80 (˚assa dvāra); Dh 114, 374 (= amata -- mahā -- nibbāna DhA iv.110); Miln 258 (˚dhura savanûpaga), 319 (agado amataŋ & nibbānaŋ amataŋ), 336 (amatena lokaŋ abhisiñci Bhagavā), 346 (dhammɔ âmataŋ); DA i.217 (˚nibbāna); DhA i.87 (˚ŋ pāyeti); Dāvs ii.34; v.31; Sdhp 1, 209, 530, 571.
-- ogadha diving into the ambrosia (of Nibbāna) S v. 41, 54, 181, 220, 232; A iii.79, 304; iv.46 sq., 317, 387; v.105 sq.; Sn 635; Th 1, 179, 748; Dh 411 (= amataŋ nibbānaŋ ogahetvā DhA iv.186); Vv 5020. -- osadha the medicine of Ambrosia, ambrosial medicine Miln 247. -- gāmin going or leading to the ambrosia (of Nibbāna) S i.123; iv.370; v.8; A iii.329; Th 2, 222. -- dasa one who sees Amata or Nibbāna Th 1, 336. -- dundubhi the drum of the Immortal (Nibbāna) M i.171 = Vin i.8 (has ˚dudrabhi). -- dvāra the door to Nibbāna M i.353; S i. 137 = Vin i.5; S ii.43, 45, 58, 80; A v.346. -- dhātu the element of Ambrosia or Nibbāna A iii.356. -- patta having attained to Ambrosia A iv.455. -- pada the region or place of Ambrosia S i.212 ("Bourne Ambrosial" trsln. p. 274); ii.280; Dh 21 (= amatassa adhigama -- vupāyo vuttaŋ hoti DhA i.228). -- phala ambrosial fruit S i.173 = Sn 80. -- magga the path to Ambrosia DhA i.94.
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Re: "Deathless" and "unborn"

Postby Ben » Fri Oct 16, 2009 5:25 am

Dear Pannasikhara

Thank you very much for that extract from the PTS dictionary. I think we were looking at the same page at the same time!
Given the definition you have given me, is it possible the terms 'deathless' and 'unborn' are English poetic euphemisms with no close correspondents in the Pali or sanskrit?
metta

Ben
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Re: "Deathless" and "unborn"

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Oct 16, 2009 6:07 am

What follows is part of a loooong msg I posted elsewhere:

The point of this discussion that I’d like to look at is how the texts are
translated and how as a result of that we talk about nibbana.

Probably the most famous of texts is Udana 80:

There is, bhikkhus, a not-born, a not-brought-to-being, a not-made, a not-
conditioned.
-- J. Ireland

There is, monks, an unborn -- unbecome -- unmade -- unfabricated. --
Thanissaro

Monks, there is a not-born, a not-brought-to-being, a not-made, a not-
compounded.
-- F.L. Woodward

There exists, monks, that in which there is no birth, where nothing has come
into existence, where nothing has been made, where there is nothing conditioned.
-- P. Masefield

(The last two are from translation published by the Pali Text Society.)

So, what the heck does this passage mean? The problem, of course, with
translations such as these is that it suggests there is some thing that
exists. As Rahula states in WHAT THE BUDDHA TAUGHT: Nibbana IS.

In Pali the line reads:

"Atthi [There is] ajaata.m [unborn], abhuuta.m [unproduced], akata.m,
[unmade], asankhata.m [unconditioned]."


What these translations (outside of the Masefiled’s odd effort) fail to get
across is that the four “un/not” words are in Pali adjectives. The noun is
unstated. There is what? There is what that is ajaata.m, etc? The Masefield
translation attempts to deal with issue.

As mysterious as Udana 80 sounds, context gives a look at what the text is
about. The immediate context, the sutta opens:

Thus have I heard. At one time the Lord was staying near Savatthi in the
Jeta Wood at Anathapindika's monastery. On that occasion the Lord was
instructing, rousing, inspiring, and gladdening the bhikkhus with a Dhamma talk
connected with Nibbana, and those bhikkhus, being receptive and attentive and
concentrating the whole mind, were intent on listening to Dhamma. Then, on
realizing its significance, the Lord uttered on that occasion this inspired
utterance: There is, bhikkhus, a not-born….


What we see right off the top is that the subject is nibbana. There is what?
Nibbana. The four adjective modify, describe nibbana. So in the forms we have
them above or in variations they are used to describe or characterize nibbana
or are synonyms of nibbana.

The most straightforward definition the Buddha gives of Nibbana is:

That which is the destruction of greed, hatred and delusion is
nibbana.
-- S.N. IV 251 and IV 321

And we see:

That which is the destruction of greed, hatred and delusion is
asankhata.
-- S.N. IV 359 and S.N. 362

Clearly nibbana and asankhata are equivalent terms, synonyms. Nibbana is
asankhata, “unconditioned,” because there is no further conditioning -
sankhata - by hatred, greed and ignorance. The prefix "a" in asankhata
is just like the English (Latin/Greek) prefix a as in, for example, a
sexual, without sexual characteristics, free of sexual characteristics.
(And before a vowel, just as in English the Pali/Sanskrit privative a
becomes an as in anatta/anatama.)

The privative a in Sanskrit/Pali needs not be, as unfortunately it so
often is, limited to being translated as "un," "not," or "non." A
sankhata, unconditioned, can be translated as free from conditions (of hatred,
greed, and ignorance), without conditions, or, conditionlessness.

One of things that is often said is that nibbana is "the Unborn." Let us look
at that usage where ajaata and nibbana are clearly synonytms:

Then the group of five monks, being thus exhorted, thus instructed by me
[the Buddha], being liable to birth because of self, having known the perils
in what is liable to birth, seeking the unborn
[jaata.m], the uttermost
security from the bonds -- nibbana -- won the unborn, the uttermost security
from the bonds -- nibbana...."
-- from the PTS translation of the Majjhima
Nikaya I 173

What is the "unborn?" What does it mean? Try this:

”Then the group of five monks, being thus exhorted, thus instructed by me
[the Buddha], being liable to birth because of self, having known the perils in
what is liable to birth, seeking freedom from birth, the uttermost security
from the bonds -- nibbana -- won freedom from birth, the uttermost security
from the bonds -- nibbana...."


Here we have a clarity in language and a symmetry of language - that is, being
liable to birth and being free from birth. The privative prefix a, as in
ajaata.m, indicates the opposite. If I am liable to an obligation I do
not want, then what I am looking for is freedom from the obligation I do not
want.

Freedom from birth is a common theme of the Buddha:

Through not seeing the Four Noble Truths,
Long was the weary path from birth to birth.
When these are known, removed is rebirth's cause,
The root of sorrow plucked; then ends rebirth.
DN ii 91

With firm resolve, guard your own mind!
Whoso untiringly pursues the Dhamma and the Discipline
Shall go beyond the round of births and make an end of suffering.
DN ii 123

"Destroyed is birth; the higher life is fulfilled; nothing more is to
be done, and beyond this life nothing more remains."
DN ii 153 (Walshe’s
translations.)

One does not seek the “unborn”; one seeks freedom from birth/rebirth.

All four of the adjectives -- ajaata.m [unborn], abhuuta.m [unproduced],
akata.m, [unmade], asankhata.m have to do with putting together.

Knowing the destruction of the formations [sankhara],
you will know freedom from the made
[akata]. -- Dhp 383

Of that which is born [jaata.m], come into being [bhuuta.m],
compounded
[sa.nkhata.m], and subject to decay, how can one say:
'May it not come to dissolution!'?"
DN ii 144 Walshe

Why is that? Because he has known that delight is the root of
suffering & stress, that from coming-into-being there is birth

[jaati], and that for what has come into being [bhuutassa]
there is aging & death
. -- MN i 6 Ven. Bodhi
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: "Deathless" and "unborn"

Postby Ben » Fri Oct 16, 2009 6:20 am

Thank you Tilt
My friend is a poet, so he'll appreciate the subtle nuances of usage that you have teased out.
Great effort! Thanks again!
Ben
"One cannot step twice into the same river, nor can one grasp any mortal substance in a stable condition, but it scatters and again gathers; it forms and dissolves, and approaches and departs."

- Hereclitus


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Re: "Deathless" and "unborn"

Postby David N. Snyder » Fri Oct 16, 2009 6:02 pm

33 synonyms for Nibbana are from Samyutta Nikaya 43.

The deathless is there, but I didn't see the unborn, but know that term is used elsewhere.
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Re: "Deathless" and "unborn"

Postby David N. Snyder » Fri Oct 16, 2009 6:05 pm

At another dictionary, I found:

amara (deathless)

anuppanna (unborn)

edit: source is Metta Net, Sri Lanka
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Re: "Deathless" and "unborn"

Postby cooran » Fri Oct 16, 2009 9:28 pm

Hello Ben,

As TheDhamma said, links are here:
unborn : (adj.) anuppanna.
http://www.buddhanet.net/budsas/ebud/di ... ctep-u.htm
deathless : (adj.) amara.
http://www.buddhanet.net/budsas/ebud/di ... ctep-d.htm

Nibbana
http://www.palikanon.com/english/wtb/n_r/nibbaana.htm

33 Synonyms for Nibbana - talk by Joseph Goldstein - Scroll down to:
SN 43.1-44: Various Suttas — The Thirty-three Synonyms for Nibbana
http://www.suttareadings.net/audio/index.html

metta
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Re: "Deathless" and "unborn"

Postby Ben » Fri Oct 16, 2009 9:35 pm

Thanks David and Chris
That i most helpful!
metta

Ben
"One cannot step twice into the same river, nor can one grasp any mortal substance in a stable condition, but it scatters and again gathers; it forms and dissolves, and approaches and departs."

- Hereclitus


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