sañjānāti and abhijānāti (two truths?)

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sañjānāti and abhijānāti (two truths?)

Postby retrofuturist » Mon Feb 01, 2010 3:26 am

Greetings,

I thought it might be worth investigating these two terms, which find their way into...

MN 1: Mulapariyaya Sutta
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

... setting the scene for the different levels of speech found throughout the Majjhima Nikaya and the Sutta Pitaka in general. Here are definitions of these terms from the PTS Pali-English dictionary @ http://dsal.uchicago.edu/dictionaries/pali/

Sañjānana

Sañjānana (nt.) & ˚ā (f.) [fr. sañjānāti] knowing, perceiving, recognition Miln 61; DA i.211; characteristic, that by which one is distinguished DhsA 321. As f. at Dhs 4; DhsA 110, 140 (trsln Expos. 185: "the act of perceiving by noting").

Sañjānāti

Sañjānāti [saŋ+jānāti] 1. to recognize, perceive, know, to be aware of Vin iii.112; D ii.12; M i.111, 473; S iii.87; A v.46, 60, 63; J i.135; iv.194; ThA 110. -- 2. to think, to suppose J ii.98. -- 3. to call, name, nickname D i.93; J i.148. -- Aor. sañjāni DA i.261; ger. saññāya J i.187; ii.98; saññatvā M i.1; and sañjānitvā J i.352. -- Caus. saññāpeti (q. v.). -- pp. saññāta.


Abhijānāti

Abhijānāti [abhi + jñā, cp. jānāti & abhiññā] to know by experience, to know fully or thoroughly, to recognise, know of (c. acc.), to be conscious or aware of D i.143; S ii.58, 105, 219, 278; iii.59, 91; iv.50, 324, 399; v.52, 176, 282, 299; Sn 1117 (diṭṭhiŋ Gotamassa na a.); J iv.142; Pv ii.710 = ii.103 (nɔābhijānāmi bhuttaŋ vā pītaŋ); Sdhp 550; etc. -- Pot. abhijāneyya Nd2 78a, & abhijaññā Sn 917, 1059 (= jāneyyāsi SnA 592); aor. abhaññāsi Sn p. 16. -- ppr. abhijānaŋ S iv.19, 89; Sn 788 (= ˚jānanto C.), 1114 (= ˚jānanto Nd2 78b) abhijānitva DhA iv.233; abhiññāya S iv.16; v.392; Sn 534 (sabbadhammaŋ), 743 (jātikkhayaŋ), 1115, 1148; It 91 (dhammaŋ); Dh 166 (atta -- d -- atthaŋ); freq. in phrase sayaŋ abhiññāya from personal knowledge or self -- experience It 97 (v.l. abhiññā); Dh 353; and abhiññā [short form, like ādā for ādāya, cp. upādā] in phrase sayaŋ abhiññā D i.31 (+ sacchikatvā); S ii.217; It 97 (v.l. for ˚abhiññāya), in abhiññā -- vosita perfected by highest knowledge S i.167 = 175 = Dh 423 ("master of supernormal lore" Mrs Rh. D. in kindred S. p. 208; cp. also DhA iv.233); It 47 = 61 = 81, and perhaps also in phrase sabbaŋ abhiññapariññeyya S iv.29. -- grd. abhiññeyya S iv.29; Sn 558 (˚ŋ abhiññātaŋ known is the knowable); Nd2 s.v.; DhA iv.233. -- pp. abhiññāta (q. v.).


I know the "abhi" prefix refers to "higher", but what does the "sañ" refer to... I assume it's related to perception, ala sañña?

In Bhikkhu Ñanananda's Nibbana Sermons, he seems to treat sañjānāti as understanding in conventional/conceptual/linguistic/wordly/grammatical/putthujana terms. An example of which is in the Nibbedhikasutta (PTS ref: (A III 413))

"Monks, I say that perception has linguistic usage as its result.
In whatever way one perceives, so one speaks out about it, saying:
`I was of such a perception'."


In contradistinction, abhijānāti is explained, with reference to MN1 by Bhikkhu Ñanananda as such...

The Tathāgata, who has a higher knowledge of earth, as suggested
by the word abhijānāti, does not entertain imaginings by
taking earth at its face value. He is not carried away by the
grammatical structure to imagine in such terms as `on the earth'
and `from the earth'


I find this interesting, because if this is true, it appears as if it is a sutta-based instance of "two level of truths" which seem to be generally reserved in Buddhist circles for distinguishing between Abhidhammic paramattha classifications and worldly conventions.

If these distinctions are made in sutta, I believe this necessitates some serious contemplation about which level of speech is being used in various suttas, and to not simply assume that they refer to conventional worldly things. Unless we pay attention to this, we may be inadvertedly allowing our putthujana tendencies to discolour our reading of the suttas... obscuring the deep and profound wisdom they illustrate.

Any comments or thoughts on these terms, their definitions, or the implications resulting from their usage would be greatly appreciated.

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: sañjānāti and abhijānāti (two truths?)

Postby David N. Snyder » Mon Feb 01, 2010 4:31 am

I think there might also be some evidence for the 2 truths in Samyutta Nikaya 12.15. I don't have my copy of the SN with me now, but here is Ven. Thanissaro's translation of part or all of it:

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
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Re: sañjānāti and abhijānāti (two truths?)

Postby Paññāsikhara » Mon Feb 01, 2010 4:37 am

sañ is sa.m-, not necessarily related to perception at all. Though in the case of samjanati, it is the verbal form of samjna / sanna.
abhi is not always "higher", but has other meanings, too. abhijanati would be the verbal form of abhinna.

But if one is to raise such questions as this, a really good knowledge of pali is essential, and examining all examples and related examples of terms in the canon, not just single instances. Moreover, one must examine the sutta sources which they come from, unless one wishes to assume that all suttas are verbatim from the mouth of the Buddha. Examine the passages in all sources, Pali, Sanskrit, Chinese, etc. The worst methodology is to pick and chose examples to back up theories, discarding those which do not match.
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Re: sañjānāti and abhijānāti (two truths?)

Postby retrofuturist » Mon Feb 01, 2010 4:38 am

Greetings David,

I assume you mean this (as grabbed from Walshe's translation).

[At Saavatthii the Ven. Kaccaayana asked the Blessed One:] "'Right view,1 right view,' it is said, Lord. In what way, Lord, is there right view?'

"The world in general, Kaccaayana, inclines to two views, to existence2 or to non-existence.3 But for him who, with the highest wisdom, sees the uprising of the world as it really is,4 'non-existence of the world' does not apply, and for him who, with highest wisdom, sees the passing away of the world as it really is, 'existence of the world' does not apply.


With the following notes...

1. Samma Di.t.thi: the first step of the Noble Eightfold Path, lit. "Right Seeing." It is also rendered "Right Understanding," but the connotations of this are too exclusively intellectual. The rendering "Right Views" (plural) is to be rejected, since it is not a matter of holding "views" (opinions) but of "seeing things as they really are."
2. Atthitaa: "is-ness." The theory of "Eternalism" (sassatavaada).
3. Natthitaa: "is-not-ness." The theory of "Annihilationism" (ucchedavaada). All forms of materialism come under this heading. See the discussion in Bhikkhu Bodhi's translation of DN 1, The All-Embracing Net of Views (BPS 1978), pp. 30-33.
4. Yathaabhuuta.m: cf n. 1.


Regarding yathābhūta, from the PTS dictionary...

1. Yathā : (page 549)

(guṇa). yathābhūtaŋ pajānāti he knows as an absolute truth or in reality D i.83, 162; S iv.188; v.304 & passim; ditto yathābhūtaŋ jānāti passati Ps ii.62. Similarly with noun: yathābhūta-- ñāṇa absolute knowledge S v.144; Ps ii.63=Vism 605 (+sammādassana); Vism 438, 629, 695; VbhA 459 (=maggañāṇa); also as ˚ñāṇa-- dassana in same meaning: A iii.19, 200;


It would therefore appear to be in meaning to abhijānāti

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: sañjānāti and abhijānāti (two truths?)

Postby retrofuturist » Mon Feb 01, 2010 4:41 am

Greetings bhante,

Paññāsikhara wrote:But if one is to raise such questions as this, a really good knowledge of pali is essential, and examining all examples and related examples of terms in the canon, not just single instances. Moreover, one must examine the sutta sources which they come from, unless one wishes to assume that all suttas are verbatim from the mouth of the Buddha. Examine the passages in all sources, Pali, Sanskrit, Chinese, etc. The worst methodology is to pick and chose examples to back up theories, discarding those which do not match.

Well, any clown can ask the question or pose the hypothesis... but it certainly would take someone endowed with that set of knowledge, skills and methods to actually answer the question definitively, or prove/disprove the hypothesis.

I (in my capacity of clown ;) ) put forward the hypothesis and hope those with the knowledge, skills and methods you refer to might be able to contribute something useful to the evaluation of the hypothesis.

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: sañjānāti and abhijānāti (two truths?)

Postby David N. Snyder » Mon Feb 01, 2010 4:48 am

retrofuturist wrote:Regarding yathābhūta, from the PTS dictionary...

1. Yathā : (page 549)

(guṇa). yathābhūtaŋ pajānāti he knows as an absolute truth or in reality D i.83, 162; S iv.188; v.304 & passim; ditto yathābhūtaŋ jānāti passati Ps ii.62. Similarly with noun: yathābhūta-- ñāṇa absolute knowledge S v.144; Ps ii.63=Vism 605 (+sammādassana); Vism 438, 629, 695; VbhA 459 (=maggañāṇa); also as ˚ñāṇa-- dassana in same meaning: A iii.19, 200;


It would therefore appear to be in meaning to abhijānāti


Hi retro,

Yes, I think so. Another definition from MettaNet:

abhijānāti : [abhi + ñā + nā] knows fully or by experience; is aware.
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Re: sañjānāti and abhijānāti (two truths?)

Postby Paññāsikhara » Mon Feb 01, 2010 5:26 am

"bhuta" is notoriously multivalent. Careful.

By the way, if we're citing the PTSD we can also note which texts the term appears in, and their relative chronology.
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Re: sañjānāti and abhijānāti (two truths?)

Postby retrofuturist » Mon Feb 01, 2010 5:33 am

Greetings bhante,

Paññāsikhara wrote:By the way, if we're citing the PTSD we can also note which texts the term appears in, and their relative chronology.

I don't know how we would definitively establish their relative chronology, but in copying the above definitions I have been mindful to include the entire dictionary entry, which includes (alas, in PTS reference code - e.g. S ii 16, instead of the more modern SN 12.15 classification) the texts in which the terms appear.

It would be good if there was an online converter of PTS, CDB and "modern" codes, but I'm not presently aware of one. Do you know of one? I was just reading Analayo's Satipatthana text earlier and was thinking that this would be a handy tool.

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: sañjānāti and abhijānāti (two truths?)

Postby Paññāsikhara » Mon Feb 01, 2010 5:53 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings bhante,

Paññāsikhara wrote:By the way, if we're citing the PTSD we can also note which texts the term appears in, and their relative chronology.

I don't know how we would definitively establish their relative chronology, but in copying the above definitions I have been mindful to include the entire dictionary entry, which includes (alas, in PTS reference code - e.g. S ii 16, instead of the more modern SN 12.15 classification) the texts in which the terms appear.

It would be good if there was an online converter of PTS, CDB and "modern" codes, but I'm not presently aware of one. Do you know of one? I was just reading Analayo's Satipatthana text earlier and was thinking that this would be a handy tool.

Metta,
Retro. :)


We can easily understand the relative chronology of the Nikayas, the books of the Abhidhamma, para-canonical texts like the Miln, CulaNid & MahaNid, etcl., and the Atthakathas which are composed by different authors.

Of course the reference is for the PTS editions, it is their dictionary! :P The sutta numbers differ across Sri Lankan, Burmese and Thai editions, so are not fixed. So the numbers like #:# are not "modern", but really just for non-specialists who want things simple. Things are never so simple in actual fact, so reference to a particular Pali edition is required. And for a question like you are asking here, referring the Pali is essential. "Modern" scholars use this method, too.

I use the Cattha Sangayana ed. on my laptop, which has the page numbers of the various editions at the bottom of the browser. Very helpful. Bodhi's translations have the PTS pg. numbers, too [#] and <#>, though the Access to Insight site is rather lacking in this - just the bare essentials.
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