SN 35.23 Sabba Sutta: The All

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SN 35.23 Sabba Sutta: The All

Postby mikenz66 » Wed Feb 23, 2011 6:54 am

SN 35.23 PTS: S iv 15 CDB ii 1140
Sabba Sutta: The All
translated from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

"Monks, I will teach you the All. Listen & pay close attention. I will speak."

"As you say, lord," the monks responded.

The Blessed One said, "What is the All? Simply the eye & forms, ear & sounds, nose & aromas, tongue & flavors, body & tactile sensations, intellect & ideas. This, monks, is called the All. [1] Anyone who would say, 'Repudiating this All, I will describe another,' if questioned on what exactly might be the grounds for his statement, would be unable to explain, and furthermore, would be put to grief. Why? Because it lies beyond range."

Note

1. The Commentary's treatment of this discourse is very peculiar. To begin with, it delineates three other "All's" in addition to the one defined here, one of them supposedly larger in scope than the one defined here: the Allness of the Buddha's omniscience (literally, All-knowingness). This, despite the fact that the discourse says that the description of such an all lies beyond the range of explanation.

Secondly, the Commentary includes nibbana (unbinding) within the scope of the All described here — as a dhamma, or object of the intellect — even though there are many other discourses in the Canon specifically stating that nibbana lies beyond the range of the six senses and their objects. Sn 5.6, [http://dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=25&t=6481] for instance, indicates that a person who has attained nibbana has gone beyond all phenomena (sabbe dhamma), and therefore cannot be described. MN 49 [http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.052.than.html] discusses a "consciousness without feature" (viññanam anidassanam) that does not partake of the "Allness of the All." Furthermore, the following discourse (SN 35.24) says that the "All" is to be abandoned. At no point does the Canon say that nibbana is to be abandoned. Nibbana follows on cessation (nirodha), which is to be realized. Once nibbana is realized, there are no further tasks to be done.

Thus it seems more this discourse's discussion of "All" is meant to limit the use of the word "all" throughout the Buddha's teachings to the six sense spheres and their objects. As the following discourse shows, this would also include the consciousness, contact, and feelings connected with the sense spheres and their objects. Nibbana would lie outside of the word, "all." This would fit in with another point made several times in the Canon: that dispassion is the highest of all dhammas (Iti 90 [http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/kn/iti/iti.3.072-090x.irel.html#iti-090]), while the arahant has gone beyond even dispassion (Sn 4.6[http://dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=25&t=4667] ; Sn 4.10 [http://dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=25&t=4962]).

This raises the question, if the word "all" does not include nibbana, does that mean that one may infer from the statement, "all phenomena are not-self" that nibbana is self? The answer is no. As AN 4.174 [http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/an/an04/an04.174.than.html] states, to even ask if there is anything remaining or not remaining (or both, or neither) after the cessation of the six sense spheres is to differentiate what is by nature undifferentiated (or to objectify the unobjectified — see the Introduction to MN 18 [http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.018.than.html]). The range of differentiation goes only as far as the "All." Perceptions of self or not-self, which would count as differentiation, would not apply beyond the "All." When the cessation of the "All" is experienced, all differentiation is allayed.

See also: SN 35.24 [See below].
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Re: SN 35.23 Sabba Sutta: The All

Postby mikenz66 » Wed Feb 23, 2011 6:55 am

SN 35.23 Sabba Sutta: The All
Translated by John D. Ireland

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... passage-51

"Bhikkhus, I will teach you the All. [69] Listen, attend carefully to it and I will speak.

"Now what, bhikkhus, is the All? It is just the eye and visible objects, the ear and sounds, the nose and odors, the tongue and tastes, the body and tangible objects, the mind and objects of mind.[70] This, bhikkhus, is called the All.

"Now whoever should speak thus: 'Setting aside this All I will proclaim another All,' it would be mere talk on his part and on being questioned he would be unable to proceed and in addition, vexation will befall him. For what reason? It would not be within his scope, bhikkhus.

Notes:

[69] Sabba.m: the whole, everything that is, the totality of experience.

[70] There are the twelve sense-bases (aayatana), six internal (subjective), the sense organs; and six external (objective), the corresponding sense objects. These present an analysis of experience complementary to that of the aggregates.
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Re: SN 35.23 Sabba Sutta: The All

Postby mikenz66 » Wed Feb 23, 2011 6:57 am

SN 35.24 PTS: S iv 15 CDB ii 1140
Pahanaya Sutta: To Be Abandoned
translated from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu


"Monks, I will teach you the All as a phenomenon to be abandoned. Listen & pay close attention. I will speak."

"As you say, lord," the monks responded.

The Blessed One said, "And which All is a phenomenon to be abandoned? The eye is to be abandoned. [1] Forms are to be abandoned. Consciousness at the eye is to be abandoned. Contact at the eye is to be abandoned. And whatever there is that arises in dependence on contact at the eye — experienced as pleasure, pain or neither-pleasure-nor-pain — that too is to be abandoned.

"The ear is to be abandoned. Sounds are to be abandoned...

"The nose is to be abandoned. Aromas are to be abandoned...

"The tongue is to be abandoned. Flavors are to be abandoned...

"The body is to be abandoned. Tactile sensations are to be abandoned...

"The intellect is to be abandoned. Ideas are to be abandoned. Consciousness at the intellect is to be abandoned. Contact at the intellect is to be abandoned. And whatever there is that arises in dependence on contact at the intellect — experienced as pleasure, pain or neither-pleasure-nor-pain — that too is to be abandoned.

"This is called the All as a phenomenon to be abandoned."

Note

1. To abandon the eye, etc., here means to abandon passion and desire for these things.
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Re: SN 35.23 Sabba Sutta: The All

Postby retrofuturist » Wed Feb 23, 2011 7:11 am

Greetings Mike,

Excellent sutta. :thumbsup:

I like this sutta because it depicts the "all" of experience.

Sometimes I like to think of a tree, and ask "how can you know a tree"? You can see it, you can touch it, sometimes you can hear it, sometimes you can smell it, you can think about it and if you're really keen you can taste it. There is no other experience of a tree outside the six-sense-bases and their corresponding data/objects.

In the final part of Bhikkhu Yogananda's interview series with Venerable Nanananda

The Heretic Sage (Part 5)
http://nidahas.com/2010/11/nanananda-heretic-sage-5/

... there's a charming story about a bird singing that explains the point well.

Bhante falls silent, and looks on with a smile.

After a few moments, he asks: “What do you hear?”

There is a bird singing in the distance.

“Did it start singing only now?”

It prob­a­bly had started ear­lier (and now that I am lis­ten­ing to the tapes as I tran­scribe this, I know that it had started many min­utes earlier).

“It must have been singing all this while, but only now…” I say.

“Only now…?”

“Only now did the atten­tion went there.”

“There you have tajjo saman­nāhāra! So is it only because of the sound of the bird that you heard it? Didn’t you hear it only after I stopped talk­ing? There could be other rea­sons too: had there been louder noises, you may not have heard it. So we see that it is cir­cum­stan­tial. That is why we men­tioned in our writ­ings: every­thing is cir­cum­stan­tial; noth­ing is sub­stan­tial


Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: SN 35.23 Sabba Sutta: The All

Postby Sherab » Wed Feb 23, 2011 7:40 am

Mike's posts seemed to suggest that the meaning of "the All" very much depends on the context in which it is used.

In this verse,

23. "Here, I see no ground on which any recluse or brahman or god or Mara or Brahma or anyone at all in the world could, in accordance with the Dhamma, accuse me thus: 'While you claim full enlightenment, you are not fully enlightened in regard to certain things.' [72] And seeing no ground for that, I abide in safety, fearlessness and intrepidity.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .ntbb.html

.... "the All" is indirectly implied.

What would be the applicable meaning of "the All" in this context?
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Re: SN 35.23 Sabba Sutta: The All

Postby retrofuturist » Wed Feb 23, 2011 7:46 am

Greetings Sherab,

Sherab wrote:.... "the All" is indirectly implied.

Is it? I don't see it.

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: SN 35.23 Sabba Sutta: The All

Postby Sherab » Wed Feb 23, 2011 8:04 am

Retro,

In the cited sutra, the Buddha was refuting the accusation that while he claimed full enlightenment, he was in fact not fully enlightened in regard to certain things. In other words, the Buddha was indirectly claiming that he was enlightened in regard to all things.
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Re: SN 35.23 Sabba Sutta: The All

Postby retrofuturist » Wed Feb 23, 2011 8:17 am

Greetings Sherab,

Well by his definition he was, wasn't he?

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: SN 35.23 Sabba Sutta: The All

Postby Sherab » Wed Feb 23, 2011 8:28 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Sherab,

Well by his definition he was, wasn't he?

Metta,
Retro. :)

All Buddhists would agree with that. But that is not the topic of discussion.
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Re: SN 35.23 Sabba Sutta: The All

Postby retrofuturist » Wed Feb 23, 2011 9:07 am

Greetings,

Sherab wrote:All Buddhists would agree with that. But that is not the topic of discussion.

Actually, that's precisely the discussion. He knew the nature of all that could be experienced. As the sutta says...

"Now whoever should speak thus: 'Setting aside this All I will proclaim another All,' it would be mere talk on his part and on being questioned he would be unable to proceed and in addition, vexation will befall him. For what reason? It would not be within his scope, bhikkhus.

What's more interesting is whether either nibbana (as discussed in the OP notes) or "consciousness without feature" is part of the all, or some kind of negation/absence with regards to The All.

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: SN 35.23 Sabba Sutta: The All

Postby Sherab » Wed Feb 23, 2011 9:22 am

Retro,

I was trying to understand "the All" that was indirectly implied in the context of this:

23. "Here, I see no ground on which any recluse or brahman or god or Mara or Brahma or anyone at all in the world could, in accordance with the Dhamma, accuse me thus: 'While you claim full enlightenment, you are not fully enlightened in regard to certain things.' [72] And seeing no ground for that, I abide in safety, fearlessness and intrepidity.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .ntbb.html
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Re: SN 35.23 Sabba Sutta: The All

Postby retrofuturist » Wed Feb 23, 2011 9:30 am

Greetings Sherab,

But the above explains why the Buddha could "see no ground for that".

See also Thanissaro Bhikkhu's notes in the opening post.

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: SN 35.23 Sabba Sutta: The All

Postby Sherab » Wed Feb 23, 2011 9:45 am

Humour me Retro,

how do you see "the All" implied in this:

23. "Here, I see no ground on which any recluse or brahman or god or Mara or Brahma or anyone at all in the world could, in accordance with the Dhamma, accuse me thus: 'While you claim full enlightenment, you are not fully enlightened in regard to certain things.' [72] And seeing no ground for that, I abide in safety, fearlessness and intrepidity.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .ntbb.html
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Re: SN 35.23 Sabba Sutta: The All

Postby retrofuturist » Wed Feb 23, 2011 9:50 am

Greeting Sherab,

As I said before... no, I don't see it.

The closest I see is the brahmans and recluses saying "While you claim full enlightenment, you are not fully enlightened in regard to certain things."

... and in SN 35.23 the Buddha saying "Anyone who would say, 'Repudiating this All, I will describe another,' if questioned on what exactly might be the grounds for his statement, would be unable to explain, and furthermore, would be put to grief. Why? Because it lies beyond range."

In other words, the brahmans and recluses would not be able to detail any "certain things" that fall outside of "the all", as defined in SN 35.23. Therefore the Buddha knows there is no ground for these accusations, and thus he "abide[s] in safety, fearlessness and intrepidity"

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: SN 35.23 Sabba Sutta: The All

Postby mikenz66 » Wed Feb 23, 2011 9:52 am

Hi Sherab,

I'm afraid I don't quite understand what you are getting at. But it seems to be something important to you so perhaps you could try to explain it in a slightly different way and I might get it...

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Re: SN 35.23 Sabba Sutta: The All

Postby Sherab » Wed Feb 23, 2011 10:11 am

Retro, Mike,

Most of the time, it would seem to me, that the meaning of "the All" is a more restricted meaning, one that is confined just to what can be experienced by the senses. However, in the cited refutation, the Buddha seemed to be saying in being fully enlightened in regard to all things, "all things" here included things that are beyond the range of those who made the cited accusation. Would this be your understanding or would "the All" here be the one with the restricted meaning. Whichever is your understanding, I would like to know your reasons for it.
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Re: SN 35.23 Sabba Sutta: The All

Postby mikenz66 » Wed Feb 23, 2011 10:15 am

Hi Sherab,

Is "all things" the same, or a related, Pali term as "the all"?

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Re: SN 35.23 Sabba Sutta: The All

Postby retrofuturist » Wed Feb 23, 2011 10:20 am

Greetings Sherab,

You'll note the sutta extract you provide says "in accordance with the Dhamma"...

Others could accuse him of not knowing various ontological, cosmological or metaphysical speculations, if that's the kind of thing you're getting at... but such papanca is not "in accordance with the Dhamma" as the statements or propositions they relate to are beyond range. The Buddha knows "the all", as it is in the Dhamma. In the Dhamma, such papanca is just intellect & ideas... and the Buddha knows intellect & ideas.

To wit, I think when people project god-like omniscience onto the Buddha, they do so without an appreciation for the qualifications the Buddha gave on that which could be directly known.

Comprehending the all as defined by the Buddha helps, in a very real and practical sense to not crave for "things", because all things, as experienced, as just more fodder vis-a-vis "the all", much like the examples I gave earlier of the tree, or the singing bird. The Buddha's instructions to Bahiya in the Bahiya Sutta explain how this ought be done.

All formed "things" (sankhata dhamma) are simply the product of ignorance. Referring once more to the Nanananda interview above...

“One has to ask: why did the Bud­dha say ‘manopubbaṇgamā dhammā, manoseṭṭhā manomayā’ (Mind pre­cedes all dham­mas. Mind is their chief; they are all mind-wrought – Dhp 1)? One has to admit that the Dhamma is mano-mūlika. But again, the mind is just one of the senses. What we have here is just a self-created prob­lem. We dis­cussed how exis­tence is a per­ver­sion. The aris­ing of dham­mas is also the aris­ing of dukkha. Not real­iz­ing this, some go look­ing for the truth among ‘things’.

“The search goes on because of delu­sion, and it is fruit­less because they are chas­ing illu­sions. Dham­mas, things, are all fab­ri­cated. They are all rel­a­tive. They are all results of maññanā (ideation). Just as those who were entrenched in self-view saw the Bud­dha as a nihilist, those who are entrenched in mate­ri­al­ism can­not grasp the Bud­dhist phi­los­o­phy

Speaking in relation to the classic Phena Sutta, but very much continuing this point, he says...
The sutta is a won­der­ful rev­e­la­tion about what we take as a ‘thing’. It is not some­thing exist­ing on its own in the world but a result of many psy­cho­log­i­cal causes. But when we say that, we are accused of being viññāṇavādins and suññatavādins

C'est la vie.

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: SN 35.23 Sabba Sutta: The All

Postby mikenz66 » Wed Feb 23, 2011 7:14 pm

See also this discussion: viewtopic.php?f=13&t=7345

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Re: SN 35.23 Sabba Sutta: The All

Postby kirk5a » Wed Feb 23, 2011 7:34 pm

Ok great, thanks for this one Mike.

So is this sutta saying

1) "there isn't anything other than the six senses and their objects" ?

OR

2) "it isn't possible to experience anything other than the six senses and their objects" ?

OR

3) It isn't possible to describe anything beyond the six senses and their objects?

Just reading it as literally as possible, I see it saying #3, not the former. And if it is saying the former, then how does it not run head on into "consciousness without feature" and/or nibbana? I mean, he certainly wasn't saying the six senses and their objects are eternal. And surely he wasn't saying it's not possible to experience "consciousness without feature" and/or nibbana.
"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230
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