AN 10.30 Kosala 2

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pulga
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Re: AN 10.30 Kosala 2

Post by pulga »

gavesako wrote:Well, consider a passage from the Suttas such as this one describing Pasenadi:...
It may be my own personal temperament but I don't regard people who have trouble with overeating as "a bit dumb". That King Pasenadi could end his addiction to food through being mindful and following the Buddha's advice showed a great deal of understanding and wisdom.

I prefer Geiger's "große Schüssel", i.e. " big bowl" to Ven. Thanissaro's "bucket" (doṇa is a measurement of capacity: it needn't be taken literally), and would translate mahassāsī as "breathing heavily" rather than "huffing and puffing". But as I said, it's a matter of temperament -- how one views other people -- that inevitably influences the way the sutta is translated .
Last edited by pulga on Tue Mar 25, 2014 4:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"Dhammā=Ideas. This is the clue to much of the Buddha's teaching." ~ Ven. Ñanavira, Commonplace Book
santa100
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Re: AN 10.30 Kosala 2

Post by santa100 »

yikeren wrote:
(6) “Again, Bhante, the Blessed One gets to hear at will, without trouble or difficulty, talk concerned with the austere life ...
Can someone explain the 6th declaration?
It means the Buddha possesses the prerequisite for the development of the wings to self-awakening as described in AN 9.1:
"'Furthermore, he gets to hear at will, easily & without difficulty, talk that is truly sobering & conducive to the opening of awareness, i.e., talk on modesty, on contentment, on seclusion, on non-entanglement, on arousing persistence, on virtue, on concentration, on discernment, on release, and on the knowledge & vision of release. This is the third prerequisite for the development of the wings to self-awakening.
yikeren
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Re: AN 10.30 Kosala 2

Post by yikeren »

Thank you Santa100

When we hear (or read)
What and only what we want to hear (or read)
Ditthi cannot be but personal (not Samma)
Possessed of the 3 characteristics

The Blessed One has shown
The way to avoid entanglement
To arouse virtue and discernment
Is to be truly open to awareness
culaavuso
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Re: AN 10.30 Kosala 2

Post by culaavuso »

pulga wrote: It may be my own personal temperament but I don't regard people who have trouble with overeating as "a bit dumb". That King Pasenadi could end his addiction to food through being mindful and following the Buddha's advice showed a great deal of understanding and wisdom.
Overeating does not seem to be the sole reason for this claim.
[url=http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/thanissaro/gettingmessage.html]Getting the Message[/url] by Ven. Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote: Even King Pasenadi of Kosala, the king most closely associated with the Buddha, comes across as well-meaning but somewhat dense. An entire discourse, MN 90, is a satire of how his royal position has thwarted his ability to learn the Dhamma. He can't phrase his questions properly, has trouble following a discussion for more than a few sentences, and is unable to come to any certain conclusions about the truth. Still, in other discourses he has his occasional moments of spiritual clarity, and the Buddha uses those moments as opportunities to teach the Dhamma.
binocular
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Re: AN 10.30 Kosala 2

Post by binocular »

gavesako wrote:It was Ven. Thanissaro's comment that Pasenadi seemed "a bit dumb".
/.../
If the pride of soldiers and actors required special handling, even more care was required in the handling of kings, for their pride was often coupled with an unrestrained sense of power. A remarkable feature of the Pali Canon is that even though the Buddha was a member of the noble warrior caste, the discourses generally show a low regard for the spiritual standing of kings. In many passages, kings are mentioned in the same breath with thieves: They confiscate property and show little regard for the rule of law. The Canon does recognize exceptions — King Bimbisara of Magadha achieves stream-entry the first time he hears the Dhamma, and he never engages in war — but for the most part, kings are depicted as spiritually stunted. King Ajatasattu, on first seeing the Buddha sitting surrounded by monks, can't tell which person in the assembly is the Buddha, a sign of his spiritual blindness; this blindness is later proven by his asking the Buddha's advice on how to defeat his innocent neighbors in war. As one of the discourses suggests, this sort of blindness is an occupational hazard for rulers, in that the unfair exercise of power can make a person unfit for learning the truth.

"Because of having wrongly inflicted suffering on another person through beating or imprisonment or confiscation or placing blame or banishment, [with the thought,] 'I have power. I want power,' when told what is factual, he denies it and doesn't acknowledge it. When told what is unfactual, he doesn't make an ardent effort to untangle it [to see], 'This is unfactual. This is baseless.'"


— AN 3.69

Even King Pasenadi of Kosala, the king most closely associated with the Buddha, comes across as well-meaning but somewhat dense. An entire discourse, MN 90, is a satire of how his royal position has thwarted his ability to learn the Dhamma. He can't phrase his questions properly, has trouble following a discussion for more than a few sentences, and is unable to come to any certain conclusions about the truth. Still, in other discourses he has his occasional moments of spiritual clarity, and the Buddha uses those moments as opportunities to teach the Dhamma. The Buddha's approach here is twofold: to try to expand the king's perspective on life at times when the king is willing to be frank; and to encourage the king when the latter gains insights on his own.

/.../
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... ssage.html


(emphases mine)
Hic Rhodus, hic salta!
pulga
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Re: AN 10.30 Kosala 2

Post by pulga »

culaavuso wrote: Overeating does not seem to be the sole reason for this claim.
[url=http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/thanissaro/gettingmessage.html]Getting the Message[/url] by Ven. Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote: Even King Pasenadi of Kosala, the king most closely associated with the Buddha, comes across as well-meaning but somewhat dense. An entire discourse, MN 90, is a satire of how his royal position has thwarted his ability to learn the Dhamma. He can't phrase his questions properly, has trouble following a discussion for more than a few sentences, and is unable to come to any certain conclusions about the truth. Still, in other discourses he has his occasional moments of spiritual clarity, and the Buddha uses those moments as opportunities to teach the Dhamma.
I hardly think that the Kaṇṇakatthalasutta was meant to display the king's dim-wittedness. Finding himself in a particular religious culture he had the opportunity to ask the Buddha about the nature of omniscience, whether caste had any bearing on liberation, and whether or not there actually are devas. While some might roll their eyes and see the king as someone stupid asking stupid questions, I see him as a man of his times asking questions that might very well occur to any thoughtful person familiar with other religious teachings of those times.
"Dhammā=Ideas. This is the clue to much of the Buddha's teaching." ~ Ven. Ñanavira, Commonplace Book
culaavuso
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Re: AN 10.30 Kosala 2

Post by culaavuso »

pulga wrote:Finding himself in a particular religious culture he had the opportunity to ask the Buddha about the nature of omniscience, whether caste had any bearing on liberation, and whether or not there actually are devas. While some might roll their eyes and see the king as someone stupid asking stupid questions, I see him as a man of his times asking questions that might very well occur to any thoughtful person familiar with other religious teachings of those times.
It doesn't seem that it's the content of the questions being asked that Ven. Thanissaro is referring to when he says "He can't phrase his questions properly", but the actual phrasing and the fact that Pasenadi seems to have difficulty asking what he actually means the first time.
MN 90: Kaṇṇakatthala Sutta wrote: "Lord, there are these four castes: noble warriors, brahmans (brahmans), merchants, & workers. Is there any distinction or difference among them?"

"Great king, of these four castes, two — noble warriors & brahmans — are held to be foremost in terms of receiving homage, hospitality, salutation, & polite services."

"I'm not asking about the present life, lord. I'm asking about the future life. Is there any distinction or difference among these four castes?"
...
"What the Blessed One says, lord, seems reasonable. What the Blessed One says seems logical. But, lord, are there devas?"

"But why do you ask, 'But, lord, are there devas?'?"

"Whether the devas come back to this life, lord, or whether they don't."
...
"What a joy he is! What a true joy! But, lord, are there brahmas?"

"But why do you ask, 'But, lord, are there brahmas?'?"

"Whether the brahmas come back to this life, lord, or whether they don't."
It's also interesting to note that in AN 10.30, face to face with the Buddha, he doesn't ask any questions or seek any teachings, but seems to just celebrate and leave. It's interesting to consider this in light of MN 135:
MN 135: Cula-kammavibhanga Sutta wrote: This is the way leading to stupidity: when visiting a brahman or contemplative, not to ask: 'What is skillful?... Or what, having been done by me, will be for my long-term welfare & happiness?'
Another interesting point to consider is in footnote 1 to Ven. Thanissaro Bhikkhu's translation of MN 86, which seems to suggest that Pasenadi is portrayed as using improper grammar in MN 90:
[url=http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.086.than.html#fn-1]MN 86: Angulimala Sutta (Footnote 1)[/url] by Ven. Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote: The PTS reading here, followed in The Middle Length Sayings and The Middle Length Discourses of the Buddha — "I will not stamp him out" — is surely a mistake. I follow the Thai reading on this passage, even though it is somewhat ungrammatical. There are passages in MN 90 where King Pasenadi's sentences don't quite parse, and perhaps this is another example of his brusque language.
pulga
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Re: AN 10.30 Kosala 2

Post by pulga »

culaavuso wrote:It doesn't seem that it's the content of the questions being asked that Ven. Thanissaro is referring to when he says "He can't phrase his questions properly", but the actual phrasing and the fact that Pasenadi seems to have difficulty asking what he actually means the first time....
I see your point. There is a tendency in the Suttas to deflate figures of authority, be they gods or men. But King Pasenadi is depicted in such positive light that I think "dense" is too harsh a description for him. To me he is meant to represent the best qualities of a puthujjana with the sort of faith and piety in the Dhamma that inspires those of us who have yet to enter the stream.

Regarding AN10.30, there is a sutta in the Majjhima Nikaya (quoted by boris) that more or less parallels it -- the Dhammacetiyasutta MN89 -- that closes:
Atha kho bhagavā acirapakkantassa rañño pasenadissa kosalassa bhikkhū āmantesi: “eso, bhikkhave, rājā pasenadi kosalo dhammacetiyāni bhāsitvā uṭṭhāyāsanā pakkanto. Uggaṇhatha, bhikkhave, dhammacetiyāni; pariyāpuṇātha, bhikkhave, dhammacetiyāni; dhāretha, bhikkhave, dhammacetiyāni. Atthasaṃhitāni, bhikkhave, dhammacetiyāni ādibrahmacariyakānī”ti.

Then, soon after he had left, the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus thus: “Bhikkhus, before rising from his seat and departing, this King Pasenadi uttered monuments to the Dhamma. Learn the monuments to the Dhamma, bhikkhus; master the monuments to the Dhamma; remember the monuments to the Dhamma. The monuments to the Dhamma are beneficial, bhikkhus, and they belong to the fundamentals of the holy life.
So I don't take the Anguttara sutta to be an underhanded slight.
"Dhammā=Ideas. This is the clue to much of the Buddha's teaching." ~ Ven. Ñanavira, Commonplace Book
santa100
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Re: AN 10.30 Kosala 2

Post by santa100 »

pulga wrote:So I don't take the Anguttara sutta to be an underhanded slight.
+1. From the background story:
"Now on that occasion King Pasenadi of Kosala had returned from the war front, victorious in battle, his purpose having been achieved"
Ven. Bodhi's note:
Mp explains the historical background: When King Kosala the Great (Pasenadi’s father) presented his daughter in marriage to Bimbisara (the king of Magadha), he gave her the village of Kasi (between the two kingdoms) as a wedding gift. Years later, after Ajatasattu killed his father Bimbisara, his mother died of grief. Pasenadi decided: “Since Ajatasattu killed his parents, the village belongs to my father.” Ajatasattu, too, thought: “It belongs to my mother.” The two, uncle and nephew, fought a war over Kasi. Pasenadi was twice defeated by Ajatasattu and had to flee the battle, but on the third occasion he captured Ajatasattu. This was the purpose of which it is said “his purpose having been achieved” (laddhadhippayo).
Combine that with what he said in the end:
And now, Bhante, we must be going. We are busy and have much to do.
..it might be the case that he was actually quite busy and tired after the big battle and had to save the Dhamma conversation for other occasions like in MN 90, MN 89, etc.
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