SN 56.1 Concentration

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

Moderator: mikenz66

SN 56.1 Concentration

Postby mikenz66 » Tue Jul 16, 2013 9:17 am

SN 56.1 Concentration
Translated by Bhikkhu Bodhi


At Sāvatthī. “Bhikkhus, develop concentration. A bhikkhu who is concentrated understands things as they really are. [1]

“And what does he understand as it really is? He understands as it really is: ‘This is suffering.’ He understands as it really is: ‘This is the origin of suffering.’ He understands as it really is: ‘This is the cessation of suffering.’ He understands as it really is: ‘This is the way leading to the cessation of suffering.’

“Bhikkhus, develop concentration. A bhikkhu who is concentrated understands things as they really are.

“Therefore, bhikkhus, an exertion should be made to understand: ‘This is suffering.’ [2] An exertion should be made to understand: ‘This is the origin of suffering.’ An exertion should be made to understand: ‘This is the cessation of suffering.’ An exertion should be made to understand: ‘This is the way leading to the cessation of suffering.’”

Notes

1. As at 22:5; the next sutta as at 22:6.

2. Tasmātiha bhikkhave idaṃ dukkhan ti yogo karaṇīyo. Spk: Since a concentrated bhikkhu understands the Four Noble Truths as they really are, therefore you should make an exertion to become concentrated in order to understand the four truths as they really are. And since the round of existence increases for those who do not penetrate them, but stops increasing from the time they are penetrated, therefore you should make an exertion to understand them, thinking, “Let the round not increase for us.”
User avatar
mikenz66
 
Posts: 10375
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:37 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: SN 56.1 Concentration

Postby mikenz66 » Tue Jul 16, 2013 9:22 am

This is the first sutta of the last samyutta of the Samyutta Nikaya, the Sacca-samyutta, Connected Discourses on the Truths.

This Samyutta contains the Buddhas first discourse SN 56.11Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta: Setting Rolling the Wheel of Truth
as well as: SN 56.31 Simsapa Sutta: The Simsapa Leaves

:anjali:
Mike
User avatar
mikenz66
 
Posts: 10375
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:37 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: SN 56.1 Concentration

Postby mikenz66 » Wed Jul 17, 2013 8:52 am

As Bhikkhu Bodhi notes, this sutta starts out in the same way as SN 22.5.
SN 56.1 wrote:Bhikkhus, develop concentration. A bhikkhu who is concentrated understands things as they really are.

“And what does he understand as it really is? He understands as it really is: ‘This is suffering.’ He understands as it really is: ‘This is the origin of suffering.’ He understands as it really is: ‘This is the cessation of suffering.’ He understands as it really is: ‘This is the way leading to the cessation of suffering.’

SN 22.5 wrote:"Develop concentration, monks. A concentrated monk discerns in line with what has come into being. And what does he discern in line with what has come into being? The origination & disappearance of form. The origination & disappearance of feeling... perception... fabrications. The origination & disappearance of consciousness.

The latter translation, by Thanissaro Bhikkhu, differs from Bhikkhu Bodhi's more traditional translation and is, presumably, a more of a word-for-word rendering.

I believe the Pali is:


Presumably similar to what is discussed in this thread: yathābhūtadassana: "seeing things as they really are"?

:anjali:
Mike
User avatar
mikenz66
 
Posts: 10375
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:37 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: SN 56.1 Concentration

Postby Sylvester » Thu Jul 18, 2013 8:18 am

Hi Mike

I wonder if, when BB translated that sutta, he might not have been still influenced by the Comy model of a lokuttara (supramundane) citta operating on a moment-to-moment basis.

I think the argument can be made that the yathābhūta (as has come to be) refers to the quality of seeing origination and cessation in accordance with or in terms of Dependant Origination. You get this sense coming out clearly in SN 12.31 - http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html -

Do you see, Sariputta, that 'this has come to be'?"
"One sees with right discernment, lord, that 'this has come to be.'

Bhūtamidanti, sāriputta, passasī’’ti?
Bhūtamidanti, bhante, yathābhūtaṃ sammappaññāya passati.


Strangely, the yathābhūtaṃ above is left untranslated. Unless it were a peculiar idiom, the phrase "yathābhūtaṃ sammappaññāya passati" should read "One sees with right understanding that is yathābhūta", where yathābhūta is the adjective to the noun sammappaññā (right understanding).

What is quite interesting is how Ven Sariputta then applies yathābhūta in the context of yathābhūtaṃ sammappaññā

One sees with right discernment, lord, that 'this has come to be.' Seeing with right discernment that 'this has come to be,' one practices for disenchantment with, for dispassion toward, for the cessation of what has come to be (bhūtassa nibbidāya virāgāya nirodhāya ). One sees with right discernment that 'it has come to be from this nutriment.' Seeing with right discernment that 'it has come into being from this nutriment,' one practices for disenchantment with, for dispassion toward, for the cessation of the nutriment by which it has come to be. One sees with right discernment that 'from the cessation of this nutriment, what has come to be is subject to cessation.' Seeing with right discernment that 'from the cessation of this nutriment, what has come to be is subject to cessation,' one practices for disenchantment with, for dispassion toward, for the cessation of what is subject to cessation. This is how one is a learner.


I've taken the liberty of tweaking Ven T's "it has come into being" with the more idiomatic "it has come to be". There also seems to be a significant difference in BB's translation. For āhārasambhava which Ven T renders as "the nutriment by which it has come into being", BB renders as "origination
through nutriment". These wretched compounds are simply difficult to translate.
Sylvester
 
Posts: 1509
Joined: Tue Mar 10, 2009 9:57 am

Re: SN 56.1 Concentration

Postby mikenz66 » Thu Jul 18, 2013 9:03 am

Hi Sylvester,

Sorry, I'm a little confused by your post:
Sylvester wrote:I wonder if, when BB translated that sutta, he might not have been still influenced by the Comy model of a lokuttara (supramundane) citta operating on a moment-to-moment basis.

Do you mean Bhikkhu Bodhi's translation of SN 56.1: “Bhikkhus, develop concentration. A bhikkhu who is concentrated understands things as they really are."
Or Thanissaro Bhikkhus's translation of SN 22.5:"Develop concentration, monks. A concentrated monk discerns in line with what has come into being."
?

:anjali:
Mike
User avatar
mikenz66
 
Posts: 10375
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:37 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: SN 56.1 Concentration

Postby Sylvester » Thu Jul 18, 2013 9:24 am

Apologies for the confusion. I was referring to BB's translation, which looks very real-time (ie the knowledge arises concurrently with the event). That is of course possible in the Commentarial model of insight into DO on a per-citta basis, but somewhat ill-fitting with the 3 lives presentation.
Sylvester
 
Posts: 1509
Joined: Tue Mar 10, 2009 9:57 am

Re: SN 56.1 Concentration

Postby mikenz66 » Thu Jul 18, 2013 9:41 am

Hi Sylvester,
Sorry to continue to be slow. So you're referring to:
At Sāvatthī. “Bhikkhus, develop concentration. A bhikkhu who is concentrated understands things as they really are.

“And what does he understand as it really is? He understands as it really is: ‘This is suffering.’ He understands as it really is: ‘This is the origin of suffering.’ He understands as it really is: ‘This is the cessation of suffering.’ He understands as it really is: ‘This is the way leading to the cessation of suffering.’

And you say:
[This] looks very real-time (ie the knowledge arises concurrently with the event). That is of course possible in the Commentarial model of insight into DO on a per-citta basis, but somewhat ill-fitting with the 3 lives presentation.

Is there another way it could be translated?

:anjali:
Mike
User avatar
mikenz66
 
Posts: 10375
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:37 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: SN 56.1 Concentration

Postby Sylvester » Thu Jul 18, 2013 9:56 am

One could translate very literally and render the bhūta as "has become". That would be how bhūta as the past participle of bhavati (becomes/is) may be translated very literally. BB's translation (were it not based on the Comy gloss) might lead one to think that the Pali was yathābhavati instead of yathābhūta.
Sylvester
 
Posts: 1509
Joined: Tue Mar 10, 2009 9:57 am

Re: SN 56.1 Concentration

Postby pulga » Thu Jul 18, 2013 1:18 pm

Sylvester wrote:One could translate very literally and render the bhūta as "has become". That would be how bhūta as the past participle of bhavati (becomes/is) may be translated very literally. BB's translation (were it not based on the Comy gloss) might lead one to think that the Pali was yathābhavati instead of yathābhūta.


“Bhūtamidanti, sāriputta, passasī”ti? “Bhūtamidanti, bhante, yathābhūtaṃ sammappaññāya passati. Bhūtamidanti yathābhūtaṃ sammappaññāya disvā bhūtassa nibbidāya virāgāya nirodhāya paṭipanno hoti...."

I think the present perfect is suitable here, but couldn't it be rendered:

"Do you see, Sariputta, 'this has come to be'?"

"One sees with right understanding, lord, how 'this has come to be' has come to be. Seeing how 'this has come to be' has come to be one practices for the disenchantment, the dispassion, the cessation of what has come to be."
?
pulga
 
Posts: 482
Joined: Sun Nov 14, 2010 3:02 pm

Re: SN 56.1 Concentration

Postby Sylvester » Fri Jul 19, 2013 7:03 am

Very interesting pulga! So. you are reading the yathābhūtaṃ as being in apposition to "bhūtaṃ idaṃ" ti, instead of being in apposition to sammappaññā?

I suppose it might be permissible, although I have to confess that I've not see any such apposition against things wrapped in iti clitics. See how a similar phrase in SN 22.59 is rendered -

Tasmā tiha bhikkhave, yaṃ kiñci rūpaṃ atītānāgatapaccuppannaṃ, ajjhattaṃ vā bahiddhā vā, oḷārikaṃ vā sukhumaṃ vā, hīnaṃ vā paṇītaṃ vā, yaṃ dūre santike vā, sabbaṃ rūpaṃ, 'netaṃ mama, neso'hamasmi, na me so attā'ti evametaṃ yathābhūtaṃ sammappaññāya daṭṭhabbaṃ..

Therefore, surely, O monks, whatever form, past, future or present, internal or external, coarse or fine, low or lofty, far or near, all that form must be regarded with proper wisdom, according to reality, thus: 'This is not mine, this I am not, this is not my self.'' (Mendis)

Thus, monks, any form whatsoever that is past, future, or present; internal or external; blatant or subtle; common or sublime; far or near: every form is to be seen as it actually is with right discernment as: 'This is not mine. This is not my self. This is not what I am.' (Ven T)

So, bhikkhus any kind of form whatever, whether past, future or presently arisen, whether gross or subtle, whether in oneself or external, whether inferior or superior, whether far or near, must with right understanding how it is, be regarded thus: 'This is not mine, this is not I, this is not myself.' (Ven Nanamoli)


Could the 3 translators be reading the yathābhūtaṃ as being in apposition to sammappaññā? I have to confess though, I'd have expected yathābhūta to be in the same case as sammappaññā if they were in apposition. Perhaps this is a case where yathābhūtaṃ is functioning adverbially to qualify the verbs daṭṭhabba and passati. Warder calls this type of accusative an "action qualifier" (kiriyāvisesana) and the reading gives an example in "bhūtapubbaṃ ... agamāsi" (in the past ... it went).
Sylvester
 
Posts: 1509
Joined: Tue Mar 10, 2009 9:57 am

Re: SN 56.1 Concentration

Postby pulga » Fri Jul 19, 2013 5:41 pm

Sylvester wrote: Perhaps this is a case where yathābhūtaṃ is functioning adverbially to qualify the verbs daṭṭhabba and passati. Warder calls this type of accusative an "action qualifier" (kiriyāvisesana) and the reading gives an example in "bhūtapubbaṃ ... agamāsi" (in the past ... it went).


I think you're probably right here. The question is how to interpret yathābhūtaṃ . I prefer Ven. Ñanamoli's rendering "how it is" in that it more strongly suggests a structural element in one's seeing.
pulga
 
Posts: 482
Joined: Sun Nov 14, 2010 3:02 pm

Re: SN 56.1 Concentration

Postby Sylvester » Sat Jul 20, 2013 4:59 am

I agree, and I suspect we are on the same page in thinking that DO is that structure. Now the question then is whether the sutta statements on DO should be interpreted vide -

- the Vibhanga's per citta and 3 lives models;
- the Comy's interpretation of the Abhidhammic per citta presentation into a per moment model
- or modern commentaries etc etc.

Unless someone found a visual way to fold the linear graph of DO back onto itself at common points (eg consciousness overlaps contact, or volition overlaps craving), I'm not really enthusiastic about the Abhi and Comy digitised models.
Sylvester
 
Posts: 1509
Joined: Tue Mar 10, 2009 9:57 am

Re: SN 56.1 Concentration

Postby mikenz66 » Sat Jul 20, 2013 5:00 am

As is common in the Samyutta Nikaya, there is a lot of repetition in the suttas following this one.
SN 56.2 substitutes "seclusion" for "concentration".
SN 56.3 mentions homelessness.
SN 56.7 talks about abandoning unwholesome thoughts.
SN 56.8 talks about abandoning speculation about the world
and so on...

Not until SN 56.11Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta: Setting Rolling the Wheel of Truth are the truths spelled out:
1. “Now this, bhikkhus, is the noble truth of suffering: birth is suffering, aging is suffering, illness is suffering, death is suffering; 381 union with what is displeasing is suffering; separation from what is pleasing is suffering; not to get what one wants is suffering; in brief, the five aggregates subject to clinging are suffering.

2. “Now this, bhikkhus, is the noble truth of the origin of suffering: it is this craving which leads to renewed existence, accompanied by delight and lust, seeking delight here and there; that is, craving for sensual pleasures, craving for existence, craving for extermination.

3. “Now this, bhikkhus, is the noble truth of the cessation of suffering: it is the remainderless fading away and cessation of that same craving, the giving up and relinquishing of it, freedom from it, nonreliance on it.

4. “Now this, bhikkhus, is the noble truth of the way leading to the cessation of suffering: [422] it is this Noble Eightfold Path; that is, right view … right concentration.

and subsequent suttas repeat some of these elaborations, e.g. SN 56.13 mentions the aggregates as the noble truth of suffering, SN 56.14 the sense bases.

:anjali:
Mike
User avatar
mikenz66
 
Posts: 10375
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:37 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: SN 56.1 Concentration

Postby pulga » Sun Jul 21, 2013 2:28 am

Sylvester wrote:Unless someone found a visual way to fold the linear graph of DO back onto itself at common points (eg consciousness overlaps contact, or volition overlaps craving), I'm not really enthusiastic about the Abhi and Comy digitised models.


Are you familiar with Husserl's theory of categorial intuition? Categorial intuition begins -- structurally, not temporally -- at the sensual level.

In his letter disclosing his attainment Ven. Ñanavira states that he had been a dhammānusārī for a month. The letter is dated 27 June 1959. In a letter written to Ven. Ñanamoli dated 28 May 1959 (EL. 102) he pretty much explains the gist of the theory in the language of the Suttas.

But we really should get back to the topic at hand: concentration.
pulga
 
Posts: 482
Joined: Sun Nov 14, 2010 3:02 pm


Return to Study Group

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests