SN 12.12: Phagguna Sutta

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SN 12.12: Phagguna Sutta

Postby mikenz66 » Tue Jan 03, 2012 7:56 am

SN 12.12 PTS: S ii 13 CDB i 541
Phagguna Sutta: To Phagguna
translated from the Pali by Nyanaponika Thera


Questions that presuppose the existence of an abiding "self," are fundamentally invalid. The Buddha shows how to re-frame these questions in a way that conduces to liberation.

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

"There are, O monks, four nutriments for the sustenance of beings born, and for the support of beings seeking birth. What are the four? Edible food, coarse and fine; secondly, sense-impression; thirdly, volitional thought; fourthly, consciousness."

After these words, the venerable Moliya-Phagguna addressed the Exalted One as follows:

"Who, O Lord, consumes[1] the nutriment consciousness?"

"The question is not correct," said the Exalted One. "I do not say that 'he consumes.'[2] If I had said so, then the question 'Who consumes?' would be appropriate. But since I did not speak thus, the correct way to ask the question will be: 'For what is the nutriment consciousness (the condition)?'[3] And to that the correct reply is: 'The nutriment consciousness[4] is a condition for the future arising of a renewed existence;[5] when that has come into being, there is (also) the sixfold sense-base; and conditioned by the sixfold sense-base is sense-impression.'"[6]

"Who, O Lord, has a sense-impression?"

"The question is not correct," said the Exalted One.

"I do not say that 'he has a sense-impression.' Had I said so, then the question 'Who has a sense-impression?' would be appropriate. But since I did not speak thus, the correct way to ask the question will be 'What is the condition of sense-impression?' And to that the correct reply is: 'The sixfold sense-base is a condition of sense-impression, and sense-impression is the condition of feeling.'"

"Who, O Lord, feels?"

"The question is not correct," said the Exalted One. "I do not say that 'he feels.' Had I said so, then the question 'Who feels?' would be appropriate. But since I did not speak thus, the correct way to ask the question will be 'What is the condition of feeling?' And to that the correct reply is: 'sense-impression is the condition of feeling; and feeling is the condition of craving.'"

"Who, O Lord, craves?"

"The question is not correct," said the Exalted One. "I do not say that 'he craves.' Had I said so, then the question 'Who craves?' would be appropriate. But since I did not speak thus, the correct way to ask the question will be 'What is the condition of craving?' And to that the correct reply is: 'Feeling is the condition of craving, and craving is the condition of clinging.'"

"Who, O Lord, clings?"

"The question is not correct," said the Exalted One, "I do not say that 'he clings.' Had I said so, then the question 'Who clings?' would be appropriate. But since I did not speak thus, the correct way to ask the question will be 'What is the condition of clinging?' And to that the correct reply is: 'Craving is the condition of clinging; and clinging is the condition of the process of becoming.' Such is the origin of this entire mass of suffering.[7]

"Through the complete fading away and cessation of even these six bases of sense-impression, sense-impression ceases;[8] through the cessation of sense-impression, feeling ceases; through the cessation of feeling, craving ceases; through the cessation of craving, clinging ceases; through the cessation of clinging, the process of becoming ceases; through the cessation of the process of becoming, birth ceases; through the cessation of birth, old age, death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief and despair cease. Such is the cessation of this entire mass of suffering."

Notes

1. Consumes or eats (aaharati) — The commentators say that this monk believed that he understood the three other kinds of nutriment but concerning consciousness he had conceived the notion that there was a "being" (satta) that takes consciousness onto himself as nutriment.

2. Comy: "I do not say that there is any being or person that consumes (or eats)."

3. Comy: "That means: 'For what (impersonal) state (or thing; katamassa dhammassa) is the nutriment consciousness a condition (paccaya)?'" The term dhamma, in the sense of an impersonal factor of existence, is here contrasted with the questioner's assumption of a being or person performing the respective function. By re-formulating the question, the Buddha wanted to point out that there is no reason for assuming that the nutriment consciousness "feeds" or conditions any separate person hovering behind it; but that consciousness constitutes just one link in a chain of processes indicated by the Buddha in the following.

4. The nutriment consciousness signifies here the rebirth-consciousness.

5. aayatim punabbhavaabhinibbatti; Comy: "This is the mind-and-body (naama-ruupa) conascent with that very (rebirth) consciousness." This refers to the third link of the dependent origination: "Through (rebirth) consciousness conditioned is mind-and-body" (viññaa.na-paccayaa naama-ruupam).

6. Comy: "The Exalted One said this for giving to the monk an opening for a further question."

7. Comy: "Why does not the monk continue to ask: 'Who becomes?' Because as one cherishing wrong views, he believes that 'A being has become, has come to be.' Hence he does not question further, because it would conflict with his own beliefs. And also the Master terminates here the exposition, thinking: 'However much he questions, he will not be satisfied. He is just asking empty questions.'"

8. Comy: "Here the Master takes up that very point from where he started the exposition: 'Through the sixfold sense (organ) base conditioned is sense-impression,' and here he now turns round the exposition (to the cessation of the cycle of dependent origination).

"In this discourse, there is one link (of cause and fruit) between consciousness and mind-and-body; one link (of fruit and cause) between feeling and craving, and one link (of cause and fruit) between the process of becoming and birth."

Sub-Comy: "Since, in the words of the discourse, 'The nutriment consciousness is a condition for the future arising of a renewed existence,' (consciousness is regarded) as being a condition in a former existence for a future existence, and as being a principal cause (muula-kaarana), therefore the Commentary says that 'there is a link (of cause and fruit) between consciousness and mind-and-body.' Hence it should be understood that by the term consciousness, also the 'kamma-forming consciousness' (abhisa"nkhaara-viññaa.na) is implied" (i.e., apart from being resultant rebirth consciousness).

See also:
SN 12.11; http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .nypo.html
SN 12.17; http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
SN 12.35; http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
SN 12.31; http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .nypo.html
SN 12.63; http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .nypo.html
SN 12.64; http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .nypo.html
AN 10.27; http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .nypo.html
The Four Nutriments of Life by Nyanaponika Thera. http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .nypo.html
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Re: SN 12.12: Phagguna Sutta

Postby mikenz66 » Tue Jan 03, 2012 7:58 am

SN 12.12 PTS: S ii 13 CDB i 541
Phagguna Sutta: To Phagguna
translated from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

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

Dwelling at Savatthi. "Monks, there are these four nutriments for the maintenance of beings who have come into being or for the support of those in search of a place to be born. Which four? Physical food, gross or refined; contact as the second; intellectual intention the third; and consciousness the fourth. These are the four nutriments for the maintenance of beings who have come into being or for the support of those in search of a place to be born.

When this was said, Ven.-Moliya-Phagguna said to the Blessed One, "Lord, who feeds on the consciousness-nutriment?"

"Not a valid question," the Blessed One said. "I don't say 'feeds.' If I were to say 'feeds,' then 'Who feeds on the consciousness-nutriment?' would be a valid question. But I don't say that. When I don't say that, the valid question is 'Consciousness-nutriment for what?' And the valid answer is, 'Consciousness-nutriment for the production of future coming-into-being. When that has come into being and exists, then the six sense media. From the six sense media as a requisite condition comes contact.'"

"Lord, who makes contact?"

"Not a valid question," the Blessed One said. "I don't say 'makes contact.' If I were to say 'makes contact,' then 'Who makes contact?' would be a valid question. But I don't say that. When I don't say that, the valid question is 'From what as a requisite condition comes contact?' And the valid answer is, 'From the six sense media as a requisite condition comes contact. From contact as a requisite condition comes feeling.'"

"Lord, who feels?"

"Not a valid question," the Blessed One said. "I don't say 'feels.' If I were to say 'feels,' then 'Who feels?' would be a valid question. But I don't say that. When I don't say that, the valid question is 'From what as a requisite condition comes feeling?' And the valid answer is, 'From contact as a requisite condition comes feeling. From feeling as a requisite condition comes craving.'"

"Lord, who craves?"

"Not a valid question," the Blessed One said. "I don't say 'craves.' If I were to say 'craves,' then 'Who craves?' would be a valid question. But I don't say that. When I don't say that, the valid question is 'From what as a requisite condition comes craving?' And the valid answer is, 'From feeling as a requisite condition comes craving. From craving as a requisite condition comes clinging/sustenance.'"

"Lord, who clings?"

"Not a valid question," the Blessed One said. "I don't say 'clings.' If I were to say 'clings,' then 'Who clings?' would be a valid question. But I don't say that. When I don't say that, the valid question is 'From what as a requisite condition comes clinging?' And the valid answer is, 'From craving as a requisite condition comes clinging. From clinging as a requisite condition comes becoming. From becoming as a requisite condition comes birth. From birth as a requisite condition, then aging & death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair come into play. Such is the origination of this entire mass of stress & suffering.[1]

"Now from the remainderless fading & cessation of the six sense media[2] comes the cessation of contact. From the cessation of contact comes the cessation of feeling. From the cessation of feeling comes the cessation of craving. From the cessation of craving comes the cessation of clinging/sustenance. From the cessation of clinging/sustenance comes the cessation of becoming. From the cessation of becoming comes the cessation of birth. From the cessation of birth, then aging & death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair all cease. Such is the cessation of this entire mass of stress & suffering."

Notes

1. An alternative translation for this exchange — and one that, in light of the topic of nutriment, might actually be more apt — is:

"Lord, who takes sustenance?"

"Not a valid question," the Blessed One said. "I don't say 'takes sustenance.' If I were to say 'takes sustenance,' then 'Who takes sustenance?' would be a valid question. But I don't say that. When I don't say that, the valid question is 'From what as a requisite condition comes sustenance?' And the valid answer is, 'From craving as a requisite condition comes sustenance. From sustenance as a requisite condition comes becoming. From becoming as a requisite condition comes birth. From birth as a requisite condition, then aging & death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair come into play. Such is the origination of this entire mass of stress & suffering."

2. This refers to the moment of Awakening, when the six sense media are transcended. See AN 4.174 http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html and SN 35.117, and the discussion of "consciousness without feature" in The Mind Like Fire Unbound, chapter 1. http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... e/2-1.html
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Re: SN 12.12: Phagguna Sutta

Postby mikenz66 » Tue Jan 03, 2012 8:04 am

SN 12.12: Phagguna Sutta
Translated by Bhikkhu Ñanananda


Thus have I heard, The Exalted One was once staying near Saavatthi, at Jeta Grove, in Anaathapi.n.dika's Park:

"There are these four nutriments, monks for the maintenance of beings that have come to birth or for the assistance of them that seek to become. Which are the four? Material food, coarse or fine, secondly contact thirdly volition, fourthly consciousness. These four are nutriments, for maintenance of beings that have come to birth or for the assistance of them that seek to become."

When this had been said, the venerable Moliya Phagguna said to the Exalted One:

"Who now is it, lord, who feeds on the consciousness nutriment?"

"Not a fit question," said the Exalted One. "I am not saying (someone) feeds on. If I were saying so, to that the question would be a fit one. But I am not saying so. And I not saying so, if anyone were to ask me, 'Of what now, lord, is consciousness the nutriment?' this were a fit question. And the fit answer to it is: 'The consciousness nutriment is condition for renewed becoming, of rebirth in the future.[38] When that is come to pass, the sixfold sense-sphere contact comes to be.'"

"Who now, lord, exercises contact?"

"Not a fit question," said the Exalted One. "I am not saying (someone) exercises contact. If I were saying so, the question would be a fit one. But I am not saying so. And I not saying so, if anyone were to ask thus: 'Conditioned, now, by what, lord, is contact?' this were a fit question. And the fit answer there would be: 'Conditioned by the sixfold sense-sphere, is contact, conditioned by contact is feeling.'"

"Who now, lord, is it who feels?"

"Not a fit question" said the Exalted One. "I am not saying (someone) feels. If I were saying so, the question would be a fit one. But I am not saying so. And I not saying so, if anyone were to ask thus: 'Conditioned now by what, lord, is feeling?' this were a fit question. And the fit answer there would be: 'Conditioned by contact is feeling, conditioned by feeling is craving.'"

"Who now, lord, is it who craves?"

"Not a fit question" said the Exalted One. "I am not saying (someone) craves. If I were saying so, the question would be a fit one. But I am not saying so. And I not saying so, if anyone were to ask thus: 'Conditioned now by what, lord, is craving?' this were a fit question. And the fit answer there would be: 'Conditioned by feeling is craving, conditioned by craving is grasping.'"

"Who now, lord, is it who grasps?"

"Not a fit question" said the Exalted One. "I am not saying (someone) grasps. If I were saying so, the question would be a fit one. But I am not saying so. And I not saying so, if anyone were to ask thus: 'Conditioned now by what, lord, is grasping?' this were a fit question. And the fit answer there would be: 'Conditioned by craving is grasping. Conditioned by grasping is becoming. Conditioned by becoming, birth; and conditioned by birth, decay-and-death, grief, lamenting, suffering, unhappiness, despair come to pass. Such is the uprising of this entire mass of ill.'

"But from the utter fading away and cessation of the sixfold sphere of sense-contact,[39] Phagguna, comes cessation of contact, cessation of feeling, from cessation of feeling cessation of craving, from cessation of craving cessation of grasping, from cessation of grasping cessation of becoming, from cessation of becoming cessation of birth cessation of decay-and-death, of grief, lamenting, suffering, unhappiness, despair. Such is the cessation of of this entire mass of ill."

Notes

[38] 'aayati.m punabbhavaabhinibbatti' : 'Name-and-form' which is the reciprocal condition for consciousness, is already implicit in this expression. Except in the case of the arahants 'who have no vortex whereby to designate' (See below: Note 51 http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/nanananda/wheel183.html#fn-51), the concepts of birth, decay, death and re-birth of all beings are necessarily dependent on this vortex between consciousness and name-and-form. The consciousness of the individual is always an 'established-consciousness' (pati.t.thitavi~n~naa.na), that is to say, established on name-and-form. His Sa.msaaric existence is a constant oscillation between two. When the body breaks up at death, consciousness gravitates towards a fresh foot-hold, resulting in a crystallization of 'name-and-form' into the form of a new individual existence. "If, Ananda, consciousness were not to descend into the mother's womb, would 'name-and-form' be left remaining* inside the mother's womb?" "No, lord..." "If, Aananda, consciousness were not to get a foothold in name-and-form, would there be manifest any arising or origination of birth, decay, death and suffering?" "No, lord" (D. II. 63). The six-fold sense-sphere, contact, feeling, etc. represent the growth of name-and-form supported as it is by consciousness. "And, Aananda, if the consciousness of a boy or a girl comes to be cut-off at childhood itself, would name-and-form attain development, growth and plenitude?" "No, lord." (ib.).

Phagguna's question: "Who feeds on the consciousness nutriment?" — is not a fit question because the very concept of an individual implies both consciousness and name-and-form bound in a reciprocal relationship. The passage of consciousness at death is merely a gravitation towards its object name-and-form implicit in the last thought moment, which thereby crystallizes into a new existence. The vortex has shifted, consciousness has changed its station and a new world of experience has unfolded itself. This is the polarization between 'this-ness' (itthabhaava) and otherwise-ness' (a~n~nathaabhaava) in Sa.msaaric existence (Cf. Sn. v. 752). The other questions of Phagguna concerning contact, feeling, grasping and craving were similarly disallowed since they all fall within the orbit of the vortical interplay between consciousness and name-and-form.

* 'samucchissatha': (P.E.D.: 'derivation and meaning uncertain'). Probably from sa.m + ud + √ sish — to remain. Without the support of consciousness, name-and-form cannot remain within the mother's womb, nor can it result in rebirth. "If, Aananda, consciousness, having descended into the mother's womb, were to slip out, would name-and-form be reborn into this state of existence?" "No, lord." (ib.).

[39] With his ability to see the arising and cessation of his six sense-spheres, the arahant tests the principle of Dependent Arising (Pa.ticca Samuppaada) in the crucible of his own experience. Thus for him, the reflection on 'Pa.ticca Samuppaada' in its direct and indirect order (See Ud., Bodhivagga, Suttas 1-3.) is not a mere verbal or intellectual affair, but a thing of immediate experience.
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Re: SN 12.12: Phagguna Sutta

Postby mikenz66 » Sat Jan 07, 2012 8:27 am

"There are these four kinds four kinds of nutriment for the maintenance of beings that have already come to be and for the assistance of those about to come to be."

Spk: The Blessed One stopped the teaching at this point because he knew that a theorist (ditthigatika) was sitting in the assembly and he wanted to give him the opportunity to ask his questions.


"When this was said, the Venerable Moiyaphagguna said to the Blessed One: "Venerable sir, who consumes the nutriment conciousness?"

BB: Spk explains that the name "Moliya" was given to him in lay life because he wore his hair in a huge topknot (moli) and the nickname stuck with him after he went forth. At MN 21 http://www.metta.lk/tipitaka/2Sutta-Pit ... ta-e1.html he is admonished by the Buddha for his excessively familiar relations with the bhikkhunis. In SN 12.32
it is announced that he has left the Order and returned to lay life.
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Re: SN 12.12: Phagguna Sutta

Postby mikenz66 » Sat Jan 07, 2012 8:35 am

"Not a valid question," the Blessed One replie. " I do not say 'One consumes'."

BB: Phagguna's question "Who consumes...?" Is "pregnant" with an implicit view of self. He sees someone --- a self --- standing behind consciousness in the role of a substantial subject. The Buddha must therefore reject as invlid the question itself, which is based on an illegitimate assumption.

Spk: "I do not say 'One consumes'": " I do not say someone --- a being or a person --- consumes.


"... if one should ask me 'Venerable sir, for what is the nutriment consciousness [a condition]' "

BB: In the valid question, the Buddha replaces the personal pronoun, ko, fraught with substantialist connotations, with the impersonal form kissa, genitive singular of the stem.
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Re: SN 12.12: Phagguna Sutta

Postby mikenz66 » Sat Jan 07, 2012 8:51 am

"To this, the valid reply is: 'The nutriment consciousness is a condition for the production of renewed future existences'."

Spk: The nutriment consciousness: rebirth-consciousness. The production of future renewed existence: the name-and-form arisen along with the same consciousness.

BB: At AN 3.76 (AN i 223)
    [url]http://www.metta.lk/tipitaka/2Sutta-Pitaka/4Anguttara-Nikaya/Anguttara1/3-tikanipata/008-anandavaggo-e.html
    [/url]
    6. Pañhamabhavasutta: The first on thinking
it is said:
    "Kamma is the field, consciousness the seed, and craving the moisture, for consciousness .. to become established in a low (middling, superior) realm;
    thus there is no production of future renewed existence."
This implies that it is the stream of conciousness coming from the preceding existence that functions as the nutriment consiousness by generating, at the moment of conception, the initial rebirth-consciousness, which in terms brings forth ("nourishes") the concomitant name-and-form.


"When that which has come into being exists, the six sense bases [come to be]"

Spk: When that name-and-form called "the production of renewed existence" is generated, when it exists, the six sense bases come to be.


"'With feeling as condition, craving [comes to be]; with craving as condition, clinging; with clinging as condition, existence ..."

Spk: Why didn't the theorist ask, "Who comes to be?"?
Because he held the belief that it is a being that comes to be and the Buddha's answer would directly contradict his belief. Further, after being contradicted so many times, he became convinced, and also the Teacher continued the discourse without pause in order to prevent him from asking any more pointless questions.
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Re: SN 12.12: Phagguna Sutta

Postby Sam Vara » Mon Jan 09, 2012 10:23 am

Many thanks for this so far – it is clear and helpful.
Could you please say something more about the bits that say:
'The nutriment consciousness is a condition for the production of renewed future existences'
.
And
When that which has come into being exists, the six sense bases [come to be]

These appear to be saying that renewed future existences come into being, and in turn give rise to the six sense bases. Phagguna starts out by asking questions about who feeds, and then goes on to ask who makes contact, etc. which are ruled out as being inappropriate.
But would it not also be reasonable to ask the question as to what comes into being, and which, when it exists, is a condition for the six sense bases?
The Buddha is quite clear that there is no who involved, but to say that there are existences, and that they come into being, would seem to invite the question as to the qualities of the existent things. We are told that they are part of a chain of conditionality, but is there anything else that can be known about them? With the other elements of the chain (six sense bases, contact, feelings, etc) we know both their conditioned nature, and also something else about them. But to fail to ask the question about what exists or comes into being leaves me a bit puzzled. To know that something exists is one of the most general things we can know of something, and I find myself wanting to supplement Phagguna’s question.
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Re: SN 12.12: Phagguna Sutta

Postby mikenz66 » Sun Jan 15, 2012 9:38 pm

Hi Sam Vega,

Sorry, I've been away on a retreat, so haven't looked at this thread for over a week.

You have a good question, which I don't have a good answer to. Perhaps someone has some input?

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Re: SN 12.12: Phagguna Sutta

Postby mikenz66 » Fri Jan 20, 2012 5:03 am

Before we leave this Sutta it's work pointing out that it is one of a number of Suttas on Dependent Origination that doesn't trace all the way back to ignorance. Others include:
SN 12.65 Nagara Sutta: The City: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
DN 15 Maha-nidana Sutta: The Great Causes Discourse: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

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Re: SN 12.12: Phagguna Sutta

Postby retrofuturist » Fri Jan 20, 2012 5:16 am

Greetings,

mikenz66 wrote:Before we leave this Sutta it's work pointing out that it is one of a number of Suttas on Dependent Origination that doesn't trace all the way back to ignorance.

Indeed. Not all suttas explicitly detail each nidana, as some are only focused on part of the sequence.

More combinations, examples etc. of the different combinations of nidanas presented in the Sutta Pitaka are given in Buddhadasa's "Paticcasamuppada: Practical Dependent Origination"

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 12.12: Phagguna Sutta

Postby mikenz66 » Fri Jan 20, 2012 9:18 am

This might also be a good point to remind readers of Gombrich's theory:

Dependent Origination and the Vedas
mikenz66 wrote:I thought it might be interesting to discuss the arguments that Richard Gombrich collects in Chapter 9 of his recent book What the Buddha Thought regarding the Dependent Origination sequence.

In brief, the argument is that the 12-step chain is the result of pasting together two chains, and that the first four links are a parody of Vedic Cosmogony.
...
http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=29&t=7464

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