Buddhanussati in Visuddhimagga: Nava Guna or Dasa?

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Buddhanussati in Visuddhimagga: Nava Guna or Dasa?

Postby sukhamanveti » Thu Mar 12, 2009 12:24 am

This may seem like a trivial question, but it is relevant to my research. The Buddhanussati Gatha (see below) is often said to contain Nava Guna ("Nine Qualities") of the Buddha in the Theravadin world. Sometimes, however, a book divides them into 10 by placing a comma, so to speak, between anuttaro and purisadammasarathi, yielding "unsurpassed" and "a leader* of persons to be tamed," rather than an "unsurpassed leader of persons to be tamed." (Green brought this tenfold version to my attention in the Buddha titles thread.) I am interested to know how Buddhagosha divides the qualities or titles in chapter 7 of the Visuddhimagga (a book I do not yet own) or what number the commentaries give. In other words, is the 5th century view nine qualities or ten? Thank you much to anyone who can answer this question for me.

The Buddhanussati Gatha: Iti’ pi so bhagava araham sammasambuddho vijjacaranasampanno sugato lokavidu anuttaro purisadammasarathi sattha devamanussanam buddho bhagava’ti. (in e.g., MN 12 v. 5, etc.)

The Ninefold Interpretation:

“Thus indeed is the Exalted One (1) an accomplished one, (2) a fully-enlightened one, (3) endowed with knowledge and good conduct, (4) well gone or gone to bliss, (5) a knower of the world, (6) an unsurpassed leader of persons to be tamed, (7) a teacher of humans and devas, (8) the awakened or the one who knows, (9) the sublime or exalted.”

1. Arahat
2. Sammasambuddha
3. Vijjacaranasampanna
4. Sugata
5. Lokavidu
6. Anuttara Purisadammasarathi
7. Satha Devamanussanam
8. Buddha
9. Bhagava

*More literally, as the Pali Text Society's Pali-English Dictionary observes, sarathi means either "charioteer" or "trainer of horses." see http://dsal.uchicago.edu/cgi-bin/philol ... :1:30.pali
Sīlaṃ balaṃ appaṭimaṃ.
Sīlaṃ āvudhamuttamaṃ.
Sīlamābharaṇaṃ seṭṭhaṃ.
Sīlaṃ kavacamabbhutaṃ.


Virtue is a matchless power.
Virtue is the greatest weapon.
Virtue is the best adornment.
Virtue is a wonderful armor.

Theragatha 614


Sabbapāpassa akaraṇaṃ,
kusalassa upasampadā,
Sacittapariyodapanaṃ,
etaṃ buddhāna sāsanaṃ.


Refraining from all wrong-doing,
Undertaking the good,
Purifying the mind,
This is the teaching of the buddhas.

Dhammapada v. 183/14.5
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Re: Buddhanussati in Visuddhimagga: Nava Guna or Dasa?

Postby Dhammanando » Thu Mar 12, 2009 1:22 am

Hi Sukhamanveti,

sukhamanveti wrote:I am interested to know how Buddhagosha divides the qualities or titles in chapter 7 of the Visuddhimagga (a book I do not yet own) or what number the commentaries give.


Into nine. Anuttaro shouldn't be separated from purisadammasarathi.

Best wishes,
Dhammanando Bhikkhu
    ...and this thought arose in the mind of the Blessed One:
    “Who lives without reverence lives miserably.”
    Uruvela Sutta, A.ii.20

    It were endless to dispute upon everything that is disputable.
    — William Penn Some Fruits of Solitude,
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Re: Buddhanussati in Visuddhimagga: Nava Guna or Dasa?

Postby green » Thu Mar 12, 2009 2:21 am

I asked the same question, since I was an avid Buddha anusati practitioner, and found the "Nava Guna Gatha" answered my question. However, I am not sure which is older (Visuddhimagga or Nava Guna Gatha?) I assumed the Nava Guna Gatha to be older, since it is a part of Pali devotion...please correct me if I am wrong. :anjali:

"anuttaro" is treated as an entirely different quality from "purisa damma sarathi"...this Gatha however, leaves out "Buddho", I think because it is included in the "sammasambuddho" quality.

So there are actually 9 qualities instead of 10, with 1 quality being a subset of the other quality.

Nava Guna Gatha (Psalm of Nine Qualities)
http://www.buddhanet.net/pdf_file/vandana02.pdf
1. By name He is an Arahant as He is worthy
Even in secret He does no evil
He attained the fruit of Arahantship
To Thee, the Worthy One, my homage be.
2. By wisdom He is Sammasambuddha
By teaching He is Sammasambuddha
A fully Enlightened one is He in the world
To Thee, the fully Enlightened One, my homage be.
3. He is endowed with wisdom and knowledge
His wisdom is made known
The past, future and present He knows
To Thee who is endowed with wisdom and
knowledge, my homage be
4. He is Sugata being self-disciplined
Being beautiful He is Sugata
In the sense of going to the good state of Nibbāna
To Thee, the Sugata, my homage be.
5. By name He is Lokavidu
He knows the past and future
Things, beings and space He knows
To Thee, the Knower of worlds, my homage be.
6. By wisdom and conduct unrivalled is He
Who is the Unrivalled of the world
In this world He is revered as an Incomparable One
That Incomparable One, I salute.
7. O Charioteer, the King Charioteer
A charioteer, a clever trainer is He of Deva
Who is a clever charioteer of the world
And is a respectful charioteer in this world,
That great trainer, I salute.
8. To Devas, Yakkhas and men in this world
He gives the highest fruits
Among those taming the untamed
To Thee, O Remarkable One, my homage be.
9. The Bhagava is repleted with fortune
He has destroyed all passions
He has crossed the ocean of Saṃsāra
To that Blessed One, my homage be.

Nava Guṇa Gāthā
1. Arahaṃ arahoti nāmena —
Arahaṃ pāpaṃ na kāraye
Arahattaphalaṃ patto —
Arahaṃ nāma to namo
2. Sammāsambuddha-ñāṇena —
Sammāsambuddha-desanā
Sammāsambuddha-lokasmiṃ —
Sammāsambuddha te namo
3. Vijjā-caraṇa-sampanno —
Tassa vijjā pakāsitā
Atītānāgatuppanno —
Vijjā-caraṇa te namo
4. Sugato sugatattānam —
Sugato sundaram pi ca
Nibbānaṃ sugatiṃ yan ti —
Sugato nāma to namo
5. Lokavidū ti nāmena —
Atitānāgate vidū
Saṅkhāra-sattamokāse —
Lokavidū nāma te namo
6. Anuttaro ñāṇasīlena —
Yo lokassa anuttaro
Anuttaro pūjalokasmiṃ —
Taṃ namassāmi anuttaro
7. Sārathī sārathī devā —
Yo lokassa susārathī
Sārathīpūjalokasmiṃ —
Taṃ namassāmi sārathī
8. Deva-yakkha-manussānaṃ —
Loke aggaphalaṃ dadaṃ
Adantaṃ damayantānaṃ —
Purisājañña te namo
9. Bhagavā bhagavā yutto —
Bhaggaṃ kilesa-vāhato
Bhaggaṃ samsāra-muttāro —
Bhagavā nāma te namo
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Re: Buddhanussati in Visuddhimagga: Nava Guna or Dasa?

Postby Dhammanando » Thu Mar 12, 2009 4:38 am

Hi Green,

I don’t know anything about the origin of the gāthā that you quote. But in any case, that anuttaro purisadammasārathi is a single quality (as stated in the Visuddhimagga), with the first word qualifying the second, can be plainly seen in the Suttas. For example:

    “Among the teachers of training it is he that is called ‘the incomparable leader of persons to be tamed.’ So it was said. And with reference to what was this said?

    “Guided by the elephant tamer, bhikkhus, the elephant to be tamed goes in one direction - east, west, north, or south. Guided by the horse tamer, bhikkhus, the horse to be tamed goes in one direction – east, west, north, or south. Guided by the ox tamer, bhikkhus, the ox to be tamed goes in one direction – east, west, north, or south.

    “Bhikkhus, guided by the Tathāgata, accomplished and fully enlightened, the person to be tamed goes in eight directions.

    “Possessed of material form, he sees forms: this is the first direction.

    “Not perceiving forms internally, he sees forms externally: this is the second direction.

    “He is resolved only upon the beautiful: this is the third direction.

    “With the complete surmounting of perceptions of form, with the disappearance of perceptions of sensory impact, with non-attention to perceptions of diversity, aware that ‘space is infinite,’ he enters upon and abides in the base of infinite space: this is the fourth direction.

    “By completely surmounting the base of infinite space, aware that ‘consciousness is infinite,’ he enters upon and abides in the base of infinite consciousness: this is the fifth direction.

    “By completely surmounting the base of infinite consciousness, aware that ‘there is nothing,’ he enters upon and abides in the base of nothingness: this is the sixth direction.

    “By completely surmounting the base of nothingness, he enters upon and abides in the base of neither-perception-nor-non-perception: this is the seventh direction.

    “By completely surmounting the base of neither-perception-nor-non-perception, he enters upon and abides in the cessation of perception and feeling: this is the eighth direction.

    “Bhikkhus, guided by the Tathāgata, accomplished and fully enlightened, the person to be tamed goes in these eight directions.

    “So it was with reference to this that it was said: ‘Among the teachers of training it is he that is called the incomparable leader of persons to be tamed.’”
    (Saḷāyatanavibhanga Sutta, MN. 137)

Best wishes,
Dhammanando Bhikkhu
    ...and this thought arose in the mind of the Blessed One:
    “Who lives without reverence lives miserably.”
    Uruvela Sutta, A.ii.20

    It were endless to dispute upon everything that is disputable.
    — William Penn Some Fruits of Solitude,
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Re: Buddhanussati in Visuddhimagga: Nava Guna or Dasa?

Postby sukhamanveti » Thu Mar 12, 2009 2:10 pm

Thank you, Bhante, for the answer and the sutta quotation.

Ed
Sīlaṃ balaṃ appaṭimaṃ.
Sīlaṃ āvudhamuttamaṃ.
Sīlamābharaṇaṃ seṭṭhaṃ.
Sīlaṃ kavacamabbhutaṃ.


Virtue is a matchless power.
Virtue is the greatest weapon.
Virtue is the best adornment.
Virtue is a wonderful armor.

Theragatha 614


Sabbapāpassa akaraṇaṃ,
kusalassa upasampadā,
Sacittapariyodapanaṃ,
etaṃ buddhāna sāsanaṃ.


Refraining from all wrong-doing,
Undertaking the good,
Purifying the mind,
This is the teaching of the buddhas.

Dhammapada v. 183/14.5
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Re: Buddhanussati in Visuddhimagga: Nava Guna or Dasa?

Postby green » Thu Mar 12, 2009 11:53 pm

Dhammanando wrote:Hi Green,

I don’t know anything about the origin of the gāthā that you quote. But in any case, that anuttaro purisadammasārathi is a single quality (as stated in the Visuddhimagga), with the first word qualifying the second, can be plainly seen in the Suttas. For example:

    “Among the teachers of training it is he that is called ‘the incomparable leader of persons to be tamed.’ So it was said. And with reference to what was this said?

    “Guided by the elephant tamer, bhikkhus, the elephant to be tamed goes in one direction - east, west, north, or south. Guided by the horse tamer, bhikkhus, the horse to be tamed goes in one direction – east, west, north, or south. Guided by the ox tamer, bhikkhus, the ox to be tamed goes in one direction – east, west, north, or south.

    “Bhikkhus, guided by the Tathāgata, accomplished and fully enlightened, the person to be tamed goes in eight directions.

    “Possessed of material form, he sees forms: this is the first direction.

    “Not perceiving forms internally, he sees forms externally: this is the second direction.

    “He is resolved only upon the beautiful: this is the third direction.

    “With the complete surmounting of perceptions of form, with the disappearance of perceptions of sensory impact, with non-attention to perceptions of diversity, aware that ‘space is infinite,’ he enters upon and abides in the base of infinite space: this is the fourth direction.

    “By completely surmounting the base of infinite space, aware that ‘consciousness is infinite,’ he enters upon and abides in the base of infinite consciousness: this is the fifth direction.

    “By completely surmounting the base of infinite consciousness, aware that ‘there is nothing,’ he enters upon and abides in the base of nothingness: this is the sixth direction.

    “By completely surmounting the base of nothingness, he enters upon and abides in the base of neither-perception-nor-non-perception: this is the seventh direction.

    “By completely surmounting the base of neither-perception-nor-non-perception, he enters upon and abides in the cessation of perception and feeling: this is the eighth direction.

    “Bhikkhus, guided by the Tathāgata, accomplished and fully enlightened, the person to be tamed goes in these eight directions.

    “So it was with reference to this that it was said: ‘Among the teachers of training it is he that is called the incomparable leader of persons to be tamed.’”
    (Saḷāyatanavibhanga Sutta, MN. 137)

Best wishes,
Dhammanando Bhikkhu



:thanks: Bhante for the sutta, and Sukhamanveti for the question.

So where are these gathas coming from? Are they non-canonical? And if so why are they being used and disseminated as Dhamma?

Where does the Narasiha Gatha come from, btw :?:
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Re: Buddhanussati in Visuddhimagga: Nava Guna or Dasa?

Postby Dhammanando » Fri Mar 13, 2009 12:25 am

Hi Green,

green wrote:So where are these gathas coming from? Are they non-canonical?


I don't know about the precise origin of the Nava Guna verses, but in every Theravada country there are lots of non-canonical verses that have been composed as parittas or for devotional chanting.

Where does the Narasiha Gatha come from, btw :?:


It consists of verses taken from the Nidānakathā, the introductory section to the Jātaka Atthakathā.

Best wishes,
Dhammanando Bhikkhu
    ...and this thought arose in the mind of the Blessed One:
    “Who lives without reverence lives miserably.”
    Uruvela Sutta, A.ii.20

    It were endless to dispute upon everything that is disputable.
    — William Penn Some Fruits of Solitude,
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Re: Buddhanussati in Visuddhimagga: Nava Guna or Dasa?

Postby green » Fri Mar 13, 2009 2:32 am

Dhammanando wrote:Hi Green,

green wrote:So where are these gathas coming from? Are they non-canonical?


I don't know about the precise origin of the Nava Guna verses, but in every Theravada country there are lots of non-canonical verses that have been composed as parittas or for devotional chanting.

Where does the Narasiha Gatha come from, btw :?:


It consists of verses taken from the Nidānakathā, the introductory section to the Jātaka Atthakathā.

Best wishes,
Dhammanando Bhikkhu


So is the Narsiha Gatha considered canonical? The words of a true Theri?
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Re: Buddhanussati in Visuddhimagga: Nava Guna or Dasa?

Postby Dhammanando » Fri Mar 13, 2009 3:37 am

Hi Green,

green wrote:So is the Narsiha Gatha considered canonical? The words of a true Theri?


The word "canonical" is used by most people to refer to the "root texts" (mūla-pāḷi), meaning the Tipiṭaka. The Narasīhagāthā are from an atthakathā and so would be termed "commentarial". In the classical Theravāda classification atthakathā is the third of the four sources of the Dhamma:

1. Sutta: the three baskets of the Tipiṭaka.
2. Suttānuloma: a direct inference from the Tipiṭaka.
3. Atthakathā: a commentary.
4. Attanomati: the personal opinions of later generations of teachers.

In this scheme sutta is viewed as the most reliable source of authority and attanomati the least so.

Best wishes,
Dhammanando Bhikkhu
    ...and this thought arose in the mind of the Blessed One:
    “Who lives without reverence lives miserably.”
    Uruvela Sutta, A.ii.20

    It were endless to dispute upon everything that is disputable.
    — William Penn Some Fruits of Solitude,
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Re: Buddhanussati in Visuddhimagga: Nava Guna or Dasa?

Postby green » Sat Mar 14, 2009 12:03 am

Dhammanando wrote:Hi Green,

green wrote:So is the Narsiha Gatha considered canonical? The words of a true Theri?


The word "canonical" is used by most people to refer to the "root texts" (mūla-pāḷi), meaning the Tipiṭaka. The Narasīhagāthā are from an atthakathā and so would be termed "commentarial". In the classical Theravāda classification atthakathā is the third of the four sources of the Dhamma:

1. Sutta: the three baskets of the Tipiṭaka.
2. Suttānuloma: a direct inference from the Tipiṭaka.
3. Atthakathā: a commentary.
4. Attanomati: the personal opinions of later generations of teachers.

In this scheme sutta is viewed as the most reliable source of authority and attanomati the least so.

Best wishes,
Dhammanando Bhikkhu


:thanks: :anjali:
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