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SN 45.1: Avijja Sutta — Ignorance - Dhamma Wheel

SN 45.1: Avijja Sutta — Ignorance

Each week we study and discuss a different sutta or Dhamma text

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SN 45.1: Avijja Sutta — Ignorance

Postby mikenz66 » Thu Jun 28, 2012 9:22 pm

SN 45.1 PTS: S v 1 CDB ii 1523
Avijja Sutta: Ignorance
translated from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu


The Buddha explains that ignorance is the cause of wrong view, wrong resolve, wrong speech, etc., whereas clear knowing gives rise to right view and all the factors of the eightfold path.

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

I have heard that on one occasion the Blessed One was staying near Savatthi, in Jeta's Grove, Anathapindika's monastery. There he addressed the monks, "Monks!"

"Yes, lord," the monks responded.

The Blessed One said, "Monks, ignorance is the leader in the attainment of unskillful qualities, followed by lack of conscience & lack of concern. In an unknowledgeable person, immersed in ignorance, wrong view arises. In one of wrong view, wrong resolve arises. In one of wrong resolve, wrong speech... In one of wrong speech, wrong action... In one of wrong action, wrong livelihood... In one of wrong livelihood, wrong effort... In one of wrong effort, wrong mindfulness... In one of wrong mindfulness, wrong concentration arises.

"Clear knowing is the leader in the attainment of skillful qualities, followed by conscience & concern. In a knowledgeable person, immersed in clear knowing, right view arises. In one of right view, right resolve arises. In one of right resolve, right speech... In one of right speech, right action... In one of right action, right livelihood... In one of right livelihood, right effort... In one of right effort, right mindfulness... In one of right mindfulness, right concentration arises."

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Re: SN 45.1: Avijja Sutta — Ignorance

Postby Viscid » Thu Jun 28, 2012 9:48 pm

What's being translated into 'Conscience & Concern'?
"What holds attention determines action." - William James

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Re: SN 45.1: Avijja Sutta — Ignorance

Postby mikenz66 » Fri Jun 29, 2012 1:53 am

Bhikkhu Bodhi has: Shame (hiri) and fear of wrongdoing (ottappa).

:anjali:
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Re: SN 45.1: Avijja Sutta — Ignorance

Postby SamKR » Fri Jun 29, 2012 2:54 am


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Re: SN 45.1: Avijja Sutta — Ignorance

Postby Sam Vara » Fri Jun 29, 2012 8:39 am

On the Sutta in general:

When I first started looking at modern introductions to Buddhism, the authors often took pains to state how the factors of the eightfold path were not sequential, and how they must be developed simultaneously. While there is truth in this, there are several suttas where they are presented in this type of sequence. I find these useful for a number of reasons. They encourage us to think about how skill in one factor can influence the development of another. They remind us that this type of exposition is not unique to the "classical" 12-part presentations of Dependent Origination, and thereby open up the possibilities for how we might understand D.O itself. And for regular meditators, they give practical help about our goal of good concentration.

in this Sutta, it seems that the earlier links in the chain of factors are necessary rather than sufficient conditions for the later ones. It isn't the case that Right View is by itself a sufficient condition for Right Resolve, and thence through the chain to Right Concentration. If this were the case, then Right View would be all that is required. And it seems obvious that someone who has developed (say) Right Resolve might not develop Right Speech to the same extent. Clear Knowing is the "leader" of the qualities in the sense of being the foremost, the best bet in terms of cultivation.

This means that there are other elements required to make progress. The Sutta is presented against an assumption that a particular type of practice will take place anyway. It is after all addressed to monks, rather than in the abstract.

This then gets me thinking about the inclusion of hiri-ottappa, which could seem slightly out of place. On the one hand, it might be an example of one of the other factors required to create the sufficient (as opposed to necessary) condition for the next link. "Followed by conscience and concern" could mean something like "You have to develop conscience and concern as well as Right View, in order to move things along". Alternatively, it might mean that hiri-ottappa is your second-best bet. If you can't grasp Right View (and can anyone say they have?) then you might find conscience and concern to be a good substitute or paraphrase.

Incidentally, does anyone know the origins of translating hiri-ottappa as "conscience and concern"? Ajahn Sucitto uses this, and it is clearly more palatable to stressy westerners than variants of "shame and dread", etc. The term was used in a Peter, Paul & Mary compilation album, and I wonder whether they (or the compilers) picked up an existing Buddhist term, or whether a more recent translator made a fortuitous discovery...

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Re: SN 45.1: Avijja Sutta — Ignorance

Postby mikenz66 » Fri Jun 29, 2012 8:52 am

Hi Sam,

Interesting connection with Peter, Paul, and Mary:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Songs_of_C ... nd_Concern

:anjali:
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Re: SN 45.1: Avijja Sutta — Ignorance

Postby Sam Vara » Fri Jun 29, 2012 8:58 am


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Re: SN 45.1: Avijja Sutta — Ignorance

Postby Sam Vara » Fri Jun 29, 2012 9:06 am


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Re: SN 45.1: Avijja Sutta — Ignorance

Postby cooran » Fri Jun 29, 2012 9:21 am

My understanding is that Paul Stookey (Paul in P,P, and M) was raised a buddhist but became a 'born-again christian' and married a female christian pastor.

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Re: SN 45.1: Avijja Sutta — Ignorance

Postby Sam Vara » Fri Jun 29, 2012 9:46 am

Thanks Cooran.

And does anyone know whether the "conscience and concern" translation of hiri-ottappa pre-dates the 1999 album?

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Re: SN 45.1: Avijja Sutta — Ignorance

Postby mikenz66 » Fri Jun 29, 2012 9:19 pm


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Re: SN 45.1: Avijja Sutta — Ignorance

Postby mikenz66 » Fri Jun 29, 2012 9:39 pm


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Re: SN 45.1: Avijja Sutta — Ignorance

Postby Sam Vara » Sat Jun 30, 2012 9:31 am


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Re: SN 45.1: Avijja Sutta — Ignorance

Postby mikenz66 » Sat Jun 30, 2012 2:17 pm


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Re: SN 45.1: Avijja Sutta — Ignorance

Postby Sam Vara » Sat Jun 30, 2012 9:16 pm

Hi Mike,

Yes, that has triggered a similar recollection in me. It would make sense, and would in addition be relevant to the sequence of path-factors that I commented on earlier. When one's view is perfected or culminated, then one can expect one's resolve to change...etc.

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Re: SN 45.1: Avijja Sutta — Ignorance

Postby mikenz66 » Sun Jul 01, 2012 6:52 am



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