Re: AN 8.19 Pahārāda Sutta (Cont')

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Kumara
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Re: AN 8.19 Pahārāda Sutta (Cont')

Post by Kumara »

Allow me to extend the thread from Re: AN 8.19 Pahārāda Sutta (http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=25&t=21589) over here. I refer particularly to Aj Thanissaro's arguments at http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.ph ... 89#p306912 and I quote:
1. The Pali here reads, na āyataken'eva papāto. The Commentary insists that this phrase means, "with no abrupt drop-off." There are three reasons for not accepting the Commentary's interpretation here. (a) The first is grammatical. The word āyataka means "long, drawn out; lasting a long time." To interpret āyatakena, the instrumental of a word meaning "long, drawn out," to mean "abrupt" makes little sense. (b) The second reason is geographical. The continental shelf off the east coast of India does have a sudden drop-off after a long gradual slope. (c) The third reason is doctrinal. As noted in the interpretation of the simile, the shape of the ocean floor corresponds to the course of the practice. If there were no sudden drop-off, there would be no sudden penetration to awakening. However, there are many cases of sudden penetration in the Canon, Exhibit A being Bāhiya's attainment of arahantship in Ud 1.10. http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
Please read that short thread first before reading on. (Note: You can't find AT's translation of AN8.19, but the same metaphorical comparison occurs at Udana, his note above is from http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html)

I've been mulling over the 2 different takes on this, and want to get to the bottom of it, since I need a proper translation for my book.

I get what he means by "To interpret āyatakena, the instrumental of a word meaning "long, drawn out," to mean "abrupt" makes little sense." However, the idea of "long" can still agree with the idea of a long drop-off, which is of course is sudden or abrupt. Thus, "with no *long* drop-off."

As for the geographical reason, perhaps in practical terms the people then don't consider the drop-off that is so far off the shore.

As for the doctrinal reason, Bāhiya's case was really a sudden penetration. However he didn't go through a gradual training. So, perhaps we don't have to take that into consideration.

Also, I find AT's "with a sudden drop-off only after a long stretch" for "na āyatakeneva papāto" hard to fathom. Can we just transpose the "ena" like that? And what happened to the "na"?

I'd like to hear other's thoughts on this.
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Re: AN 8.19 Pahārāda Sutta (Cont')

Post by santa100 »

Kumara wrote:Also, I find AT's "with a sudden drop-off only after a long stretch" for "na āyatakeneva papāto" hard to fathom. Can we just transpose the "ena" like that? And what happened to the "na"?
Ven. Bodhi's note from his "Numerical Discourses" for comparison to Ven. Thanissaro's above:
This last phrase is commonly rendered "with a sudden drop-off only after a long stretch." But the Pali na ayataken'eva papato, with the negative particle na, actually means the opposite: that there is no sudden drop-off. See DOP sv ayataka, instr. ayatakena, "suddenly, abruptly; of a sudden." Mp explains: "It doesn't drop off at once like a steep precipice or deep pit. Beginning at the shore, it grows deeper by inches, feet, yards, [and successively longer measures] until it is 84,000 yojanas deep at the base of Mount Sineru."
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Re: AN 8.19 Pahārāda Sutta (Cont')

Post by pulga »

The word is used in the Gītassarasutta AN 5.209:
“Pañcime, bhikkhave, ādīnavā āyatakena gītassarena dhammaṃ bhaṇantassa. Katame pañca? Attanāpi tasmiṃ sare sārajjati, parepi tasmiṃ sare sārajjanti, gahapatikāpi ujjhāyanti: ‘yatheva mayaṃ gāyāma, evamevaṃ kho samaṇā sakyaputtiyā gāyantī’ti, sarakuttimpi nikāmaya­mānassa samādhissa bhaṅgo hoti, pacchimā janatā diṭṭhānugatiṃ āpajjati. Ime kho, bhikkhave, pañca ādīnavā āyatakena gītassarena dhammaṃ bhaṇantassā”ti.
"Reciting the Dhamma in drawn out song...."

Clearly it doesn't mean "abruptly" here. I would take it to mean "in an extended manner", in the way that the ocean floor extends out gradually with no (sudden) drop-off. The suddenness seems to be implied in the word papāta by way of contrast.
Mahāsamuddo, bhante, anupubbaninno anupubbapoṇo anu­pubba­pabbhāro, na āyatakeneva papāto.
"Dhammā=Ideas. This is the clue to much of the Buddha's teaching." ~ Ven. Ñanavira, Commonplace Book
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Re: AN 8.19 Pahārāda Sutta (Cont')

Post by Kumara »

pulga wrote:Clearly it doesn't mean "abruptly" here. I would take it to mean "in an extended manner", in the way that the ocean floor extends out gradually with no (sudden) drop-off. The suddenness seems to be implied in the word papāta by way of contrast.
Mahāsamuddo, bhante, anupubbaninno anupubbapoṇo anu­pubba­pabbhāro, na āyatakeneva papāto.
And how would you translate "na āyatakeneva papāto"?
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Re: AN 8.19 Pahārāda Sutta (Cont')

Post by pulga »

Kumara wrote:And how would you translate "na āyatakeneva papāto"?
Mahāsamuddo, bhante, anupubbaninno anupubbapoṇo anu­pubba­pabbhāro, na āyatakeneva papāto.

“The great ocean, Bhante, slants, slopes, and inclines gradually, not extending outwardly only to fall steeply."
Papāta means a "steep fall", given the intensive reduplication of its root.

You may want to look into some possible variant readings that might support Ven. Thanissaro's interpretation.
"Dhammā=Ideas. This is the clue to much of the Buddha's teaching." ~ Ven. Ñanavira, Commonplace Book
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Re: AN 8.19 Pahārāda Sutta (Cont')

Post by Kumara »

Here's a recent note (11 June 2020) from Bhikkhu Bodhi on this matter in a private "palistudy" group.
Monier-Williams’ Sanskrit-English Dictionary gives, as possible meanings of the indeclinable āyataṃ, the following: “without delay, on the spot, quickly.” It draws these meanings from the Śatapatha Brāhmaṇa, a work that would have been known before the time of the Buddha, and so the word and its derivatives (such as āyataka) could well have been used in this sense during the Buddha’s time. Thus I see no reason to doubt the Comy’s explanation here. The use of this word in this sense would likely have been known to the commentator.
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Re: AN 8.19 Pahārāda Sutta (Cont')

Post by sunnat »

The main thing here is that the path is sequential and gradual. There is no sudden transportation from one point on the path to another that involves jumping over intermediary steps. There are times when the results of past efforts appear quickly. This is more like moving from an area of seaweed to an area of sand. The change is stark but there is no great change in depth. Things like becoming aware of the cessation of a defilement is a hindsight experience not heralded by trumpets and cymbals but rather an awakening or dawning and is a result of correctly, patiently taking step after step.
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