Mahāviyūhasutta Snp 4.13 (Week of April 18, 2021)

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Mahāviyūhasutta Snp 4.13 (Week of April 18, 2021)

Post by SDC »

:reading:

This week’s selection comes from the Sutta Nipāta (Snp) of the Khuddaka Nikāya. A unique text, mostly in verse, the Sutta Nipāta “Compilation of Discourses” is believed to contain some of the most ancient in the entire Canon. When taken as a whole, however, there are found several distinct styles of Pali across the five sections, indicating some are older than others, and that the collection likely grew over time (Bodhi). Believed to be one of the oldest parts of the Canon, and the source of this week's selection, is the Aṭṭhakavagga (Snp 4). All sixteen suttas of this chapter have Ud 5.6 (Soṇasutta) and Pli Tv Kd 5 as their parallels for a fascinating reason: both contain the same account of the Buddha praising Ven. Soṇa for having understood “sixteen sections”, adding to the likelihood that the Aṭṭhakavagga, as it stands today, may have already been well-established during the time of the Buddha:
Ud 5.6 wrote:sādhu sādhu, bhikkhu, suggahitāni te, bhikkhu, soḷasa aṭṭhakavaggikāni sumanasikatāni sūpadhāritāni, kalyāṇiyāsi vācāya samannāgato vissaṭṭhāya anelagaḷāya atthassa viññāpaniyā.

Good, good, bhikkhu! You have learnt the sixteen sections of the Aṭṭhakavagga well, bhikkhu; you have considered them and remembered them well.

[John D. Ireland, translator]
Our reading will be Snp 4.13. Similar to other discourses found in this chapter, it is a conversation in verse between the Buddha and one other person. While it is often stated who the Buddha is speaking to, according to Bhikkhu Bodhi in the introduction to his Snp translation, it is unspecified in Snp 4.13. I’m opting for a lesser known translator this week: the reclusive forest monk, Ven. Ñāṇadīpa, who recently passed away in Sri Lanka at the age of 78. His translation of Snp 4 (Aṭṭhakavagga) and Snp 5 (Pārāyanavagga), along with a few other miscellaneous selections from the Snp can be found here.

A few words by Bhikkhu Bodhi on Ven. Ñāṇadīpa for those who may be unfamiliar with him (courtesy of pathpress.org):

"Ven. Ñāṇadīpa had an excellent and profound understanding of the Dhamma, and when we periodically met he would share his insights with great clarity and eloquence. However, he was not only deeply learned but was a rare example of one so totally dedicated to the practice that he was willing to renounce everything for the sake of the goal. In his way of life, his devotion to solitude and simplicity, he exemplified better than anyone else I personally knew the muni ideal extolled in many of the suttas of the Suttanipata, a work that guided his outlook and practice."

A biography of Ven. Ñāṇadīpa authored by Ven. Hiriko Ñāṇasuci can be found here.
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Re: Mahāviyūhasutta Snp 4.13 (Week of April 18, 2021)

Post by SDC »

:reading:

(Colored verses belong to the addressee. All other verses attributed to the Buddha. The Pali for this sutta.)

Sutta Nipāta
Aṭṭhakavagga (Snp 4)

Mahāviyūhasutta (Greater Discourse on Deployment)
Snp 4.13 (Snp 174) (Verses 885-914)
Translated by Ven. Bhikkhu Ñāṇadīpa


  • 1. All of those who abide by their views
    and dispute saying “Only this is the truth”,
    they all incur blame,
    and praise too they get therein.


    2. Little is this, not enough for appeasement:
    there are two fruits of dispute, I say.
    Having seen this, one should not dispute,
    seeing as safety the field of non-dispute.

    3. Whatever common acceptances there are
    not one of these does the one who knows go close to.
    The one who does not go close, how could he engage in going close,
    when he shows no liking for what is seen and heard?

    4. Those who take virtue as the highest say that purity is from restraint
    taking up an observance and devoting themselves to it:
    “Just in this we should train, then there could be purity.”
    Aiming at rebirth they speak as if they were skillful.

    5. If one of them falls away from his virtue and practice,
    he trembles having failed in his action.
    He longs for and aspires to purity
    like one who has lost his caravan while staying away from home.

    6. But having abandoned all virtue and practice
    and action, whether blameworthy or blameless,
    with no aspiration regarding “the pure and the impure”,
    he would live unconcerned, not grasping after peace.

    7. Dependent upon asceticism and the way of loathing,
    or else, on the seen, the heard or the thought,
    they sigh after purity ‘beyond the flow’
    not freed from various existences.

    8. For the one who aspires there are longings,
    and there is shaking in preparations [for the future].
    But he for whom there is no falling away or rearising
    why should he tremble, for what should he long?

    9. The teaching that some call “the highest”,
    that very one others call “inferior”.
    The true speech is which one among these?
    For all these are claiming to be skillful.


    10. Their own teaching is that which they call “complete”,
    the other’s teaching, however, they call “inferior”.
    Thus too they quarrel and dispute,
    each taking his own acceptance to be true.

    11. If through another’s blaming one is inferior,
    not anyone would be superior regarding teachings,
    for widely they speak of another’s teaching
    as inferior, while speaking firmly about their own.

    12. But if the honouring of one’s own teaching would accord with
    the way they praise their own systems;
    then all their speeches would be true,
    and purity for them would be individual.

    13. For a Brāhmaṇa there is nothing that needs another’s guidance
    and that is assumed after investigating among teachings.
    Therefore he has gone beyond disputes,
    for he does not regard as best a dhamma that is other.

    14. “I know, I see, it is just like that”
    through view some refer to purity.
    If he saw, what use is it to him?
    Having passed beyond [themselves] they say purity is through what is other.

    15. A seeing man will see name-and-matter.
    Having seen, he will know just those.
    Let him see much or let him see little,
    not through that do skillful ones proclaim purity.

    16. The one who speaks out of belief is not easy to guide
    one who puts in front the view he has formed.
    In what he is depending upon, there he speaks of ‘beauty’.
    He speaks of purity there, for thus he saw.

    17. The Brāhmaṇa does not approach what can be classed and named.
    He does not follow view, and does not relate to knowledge.
    And having known all common acceptances,
    he looks on, while others take up.

    18. Having released the knots the Muni here in the world
    does not take sides among those involved in quarrelling.
    Peaceful among the unpeaceful, he is an onlooker,
    not taking up where others take up.

    19. Giving up old taints, not making new ones,
    he does not go by desire nor speak out of belief.
    He, the wise one, being freed from view-issues,
    does not get stuck in the world and does not reproach himself.

    20. Unopposed to all things he has become,
    whether those seen or heard or those thought about.
    The Muni with burden laid down, completely freed
    is not forming, not taking delight, not aspiring.
    • End of Snp 4.13
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Re: Mahāviyūhasutta Snp 4.13 (Week of April 18, 2021)

Post by SDC »

Thoughts?
  • The build up to the abandonment of sīlabbataṁ (virtue and practice) in verse six...do the two previous verses describe virtue as having been taken wrongly?
  • What about the reference to asceticism in verse seven? Another wrong view?
  • Verse 12 is interesting. Is this some idea of purity that could be gained simply by honoring and praising their own view? An alternate of this verse (Bodhi):
    And their veneration of their own teaching,
    is done just as they praise their own ways.
    All their assertions would be truthful,
    Since for them purity is exclusively their own.
  • "A seeing man will see name-and-matter, having seen, he will know just those" is an interesting description. Does this mean he doesn’t discern a necessary condition?
  • I found the emphasis on the "seen, heard and thought" interesting throughout.
Looking forward to this week's discussions. :smile:
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Re: Mahāviyūhasutta Snp 4.13 (Week of April 18, 2021)

Post by Ceisiwr »

SDC wrote: Sun Apr 18, 2021 2:01 am
A seeing man will see name-and-matter, having seen, he will know just those" is an interesting description. Does this mean he doesn’t discern a necessary condition?
“Name-and-matter” is a wretched translation. I much prefer “name and image/appearance/form”. The sutta talks of ascetics who declare to know and see, yet all they see is name and image. We could say, “concept and image”. I take this to be referring to the ascetics of DN 1 who under the influence of craving spin various theories built on shaky epistemological grounds (induction & synthetic a priori). In another sutta which I’ll have to dig up the Buddha calls these “personal truths”. I take this to be in reference to vedana, sanna, intention and attention and which make up nama in conjunction with the underlying tendencies. In other words, the ascetics see exactly what they wanted to see in their meditative attainments or through their reasoning alone and so, despite their claims, these are not ultimate truths but rather self constructed stories. Nothing but mere metaphysical narratives the tainted mind spins and is fettered by.
“When serenity is developed, what purpose does it serve? The mind is developed. And when the mind is developed, what purpose does it serve? Lust is abandoned.”

“When insight is developed, what purpose does it serve? Wisdom is developed. And when wisdom is developed, what purpose does it serve? Ignorance is abandoned."


AN 2.31
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Re: Mahāviyūhasutta Snp 4.13 (Week of April 18, 2021)

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Ceisiwr wrote: Sun Apr 18, 2021 2:15 am “Name-and-matter” is a wretched translation.
Taking into consideration that you find “material form” mentioned often in Pāli/English dictionary entries for rūpa, and that Bhikkhu Bodhi was partial to the rendering “materiality”, I think “wretched” is a stretch. Rūpa in the suttas is described as “the four great elements and the form derived from them” (SN 22.57), so I think it is most important that the rendering reflect that - form, materiality and matter seem to do so equally IMO.
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Re: Mahāviyūhasutta Snp 4.13 (Week of April 18, 2021)

Post by Eko Care »

SDC wrote: Sun Apr 18, 2021 2:01 am Thoughts?
  • The build up to the abandonment of sīlabbataṁ (virtue and practice) in verse six...do the two previous verses describe virtue as having been taken wrongly?
Yes. [commentary]
SDC wrote: Sun Apr 18, 2021 2:01 am
  • What about the reference to asceticism in verse seven? Another wrong view?
Wrong/outer views [commentary]
SDC wrote: Sun Apr 18, 2021 2:01 am
  • Verse 12 is interesting. Is this some idea of purity that could be gained simply by honoring and praising their own view?
11. If any view becomes inferior due to the blaming of others, then no view is superior.
Because many praise their own view and blame other views.

12. If any view becomes true due to the blaming of others, then every view becomes true.
Because they(titthiya) do puja to their own teaching in the way they praise their own teaching.
(They believe) their purity happens according to their wish (ditthi-gaha's wish)

[an attempt to translate commentary]
SDC wrote: Sun Apr 18, 2021 2:01 am
  • "A seeing man will see name-and-matter, having seen, he will know just those" is an interesting description. Does this mean he doesn’t discern a necessary condition?
  • I found the emphasis on the "seen, heard and thought" interesting throughout.
15. A seeing man will see (with psychic powers etc.) name-and-matter, having seen, he will know just those (as nicca-sukha-atta).
Let him see much or let him see little, not through that do skillful ones(Buddhas etc.) proclaim purity.

[an attempt to translate commentary]



(Don't you see the interpretation as appealing or less confusing.)
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Re: Mahāviyūhasutta Snp 4.13 (Week of April 18, 2021)

Post by retrofuturist »

Greetings,

Interested in the nama-rupa verse, I went in search of other translations. Here's one from Viggo Fausböll...
A seeing man will see name and form,
And having seen he will understand those (things);
Let him at pleasure see much or little,
For the experts do not say that purity exists by that.
I'm not sure it adds a lot other than removing the aforementioned wretched translations of nama-rupa, and replacing it with something much more appropriate.

Potentially it is suggesting that discernment of nama-rupa is insufficient, and that more is to be done (e.g. cultivation of disenchantment and lack of clinging towards it).

Metta,
Paul. :)
"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"Why now do you assume 'a being'? Mara, have you grasped a view?" (SN 5.10)

"Overcome the liar by truth." (Dhp 223)
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Re: Mahāviyūhasutta Snp 4.13 (Week of April 18, 2021)

Post by ToVincent »

It is a ridiculous, poor and pretentious erudition, than to take the mere definition of the Monier-Williams dictionary for granted — without searching the Pre-Buddhist literature as well — and try to make it an undubitable surety, in the fleeceable minds.

The meaning of rūpa is far more extended than a mere "image/appearance" in the pre-Buddhist literature - provided that one has read it, and therefore questioned the validity of the said dictionary's limited definitions.

Like in: "wait a minute! — I don't recall rūpa being just an "image/appearance", in the pre-Buddhist literature — let me check that a bit further".

Poor erudition is often a good means to impel one's own belief or what Quine calls "ontological relativity" - trying to dodge as much as possible the evident facts.

________

As far as this is concerned:
Disvāna vā ñassati tānimeva
Kāmaṃ bahuṃ passatu appakaṃ vā,
Na hi tena suddhiṃ kusalā vadanti.

A man will look towards (passaṃ/pārśvam) name and form.
He worships (√ mev) what he sees, or what he will know (from that).
According to his desire, he sees much or little.
Indeed, because of this, it is said that this is not proper purity.
one could call that "poor erudition" - or just superficial knowledge.
That turns out there - this calls,
From the coming forth of that, this originates.
That doesn’t turn out, this does not call,
Due to the cessation of that there, this ceases.

Imasmiṃ sati idaṃ hoti,
Imassuppādā idaṃ uppajjati.
Imasmiṃ asati idaṃ na hoti,
Imassa nirodhā idaṃ nirujjhati
With hoti coming from root hū (√hve) — not bhū
"Bhikkhus, when one dwells contemplating gratification in things that can fetter, this calls upon the stepping down of name-and-form.
“Saṃyojaniyesu, bhikkhave, dhammesu assādānupassino viharato nāmarūpassa avakkanti hoti.
SN 12.58
.
.
Last edited by ToVincent on Sun Apr 18, 2021 7:23 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Those who desire good are few, and those who desire evil are many.
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(And you just can't imagine how much goodness, those who desire evil, are ready to display - ToVincent).
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Re: Mahāviyūhasutta Snp 4.13 (Week of April 18, 2021)

Post by DooDoot »

Eko Care wrote: Sun Apr 18, 2021 5:15 am an attempt to translate commentary
You should compare the commentary to my answer; to identify any inferior faults in the commentary.
SDC wrote: Sun Apr 18, 2021 1:59 am All sixteen suttas of this chapter have Ud 5.6 (Soṇasutta) and Pli Tv Kd 5 as their parallels for a fascinating reason: both contain the same account of the Buddha praising Ven. Soṇa for having understood “sixteen sections”, adding to the likelihood that the Aṭṭhakavagga, as it stands today, may have already been well-established during the time of the Buddha:
Ud 5.6 wrote:sādhu sādhu, bhikkhu, suggahitāni te, bhikkhu, soḷasa aṭṭhakavaggikāni sumanasikatāni sūpadhāritāni, kalyāṇiyāsi vācāya samannāgato vissaṭṭhāya anelagaḷāya atthassa viññāpaniyā.

Good, good, bhikkhu! You have learnt the sixteen sections of the Aṭṭhakavagga well, bhikkhu; you have considered them and remembered them well.

[John D. Ireland, translator]
the Aṭṭhakavagga was spoken to Brahmin students; Ven. Soṇa was only ordained for one year and had never met or heard the Buddha; despite the Buddha's closing exclamation, Ud 5.6 does not explicity say Ven. Sona had a supramundane attainment; also Ud 5.6 gives the impression the Aṭṭhakavagga was possibly given by venerable Mahākaccāyana to Sona to learn when Sona was a layman; there are suttas where verses of the Aṭṭhakavagga have been explained in detail to avoid misinterpretations. I think Ud 5.6 does not impute any special importance onto the Aṭṭhakavagga.
1. All of those who abide by their views
and dispute saying “Only this is the truth”,
they all incur blame,
and praise too they get therein.
The above verse was spoken to Brahmin Students and is quite vague in nature because it does not define the scope or context of "truth". Superficially, it appears to contradict what the Buddha spoke to Buddhists. For example:
Dhammapada wrote:273. Of all the paths the Eightfold Path is the best; of all the truths the Four Noble Truths are the best; of all things passionlessness is the best: of men the Seeing One (the Buddha) is the best.

274. This is the only path; there is none other for the purification of insight. Tread this path, and you will bewilder Mara.
It appears the above verse may have been spoken with compassion towards the Brahmin students, because they implicitly held wrong views that could easily be destroyed by True Buddhists. Therefore, it could be the Buddha indirectly taught these Brahmins: "don't cling to your Brahmin views because your Brahmin views are inherently wrong and easily refuted, which will cause you suffering".
Last edited by DooDoot on Sun Apr 18, 2021 6:30 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Mahāviyūhasutta Snp 4.13 (Week of April 18, 2021)

Post by mikenz66 »

Thanks SDC for this challenging sutta. Verse 9 seems like a valid question for this Forum... :tongue:

Bhikkhu Ñāṇadīpa is a fascinating case. In his discussion of the 16th of Bhikkhu Ñāṇananda's nibbana sermons (https://www.buddhistinquiry.org/resourc ... s-analayo/), Bhikkhu Analayo (at about 1:13:30) discussed this translation by "The Translator" (while alive he did not want his name used). Ven Analayo spoke highly of him, and his lifestyle, and pointed out that the translation is very literal, so it is ideal for the kind of study we are doing here. [He spent quite a while discussing the technicalities of Bhikkhu Ñāṇadīpa's comment on a verse in snp 4:11, where he disagrees with Bhikkhu Ñāṇananda. However, that is not so relevant to the sutta we are discussing here.]

As for Verse 12:
Ñāṇadīpa wrote:But if the honouring of one’s own teaching would accord with
the way they praise their own systems;
then all their speeches would be true,
and purity for them would be individual.
Bodhi wrote:And their veneration of their own teaching
is done just as they praise their own ways.
All their assertions would be truthful,
since for them purity is exclusively their own
Mills/Sujato wrote:Indeed, the honoring of their own teachings
Is nothing other than praise of themselves;
If each doctrine were valid,
Then purity would be just a personal matter.
It's not easy to parse, but I would take it to be a comment on the idea that (using loose language): "Everyone has their own truth."
Whereas the previous verse would be a comment on the idea that "Anything that is criticised must be false."
And the following verse comments that the Brāhmaṇa (with the Buddha's redefinition) has gone beyond disputes and knows the truth.

Challenging, indeed.

:heart:
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Re: Mahāviyūhasutta Snp 4.13 (Week of April 18, 2021)

Post by DooDoot »

SDC wrote: Sun Apr 18, 2021 2:00 am “Sīluttamā saññamenāhu suddhiṁ,
Vataṁ samādāya upaṭṭhitāse;
Idheva sikkhema athassa suddhiṁ,
Bhavūpanītā kusalāvadānā.

4. Those who take virtue as the highest say that purity is from restraint
taking up an observance and devoting themselves to it:
“Just in this we should train, then there could be purity.”
Aiming at rebirth they speak as if they were skillful.

Sace cuto sīlavatato hoti,
Pavedhatī kamma virādhayitvā;
Pajappatī patthayatī ca suddhiṁ,
Satthāva hīno pavasaṁ gharamhā.

5. If one of them falls away from his virtue and practice,
he trembles having failed in his action.
He longs for and aspires to purity
like one who has lost his caravan while staying away from home.

Sīlabbataṁ vāpi pahāya sabbaṁ,
Kammañca sāvajjanavajjametaṁ;
Suddhiṁ asuddhinti apatthayāno,
Virato care santimanuggahāya

6. But having abandoned all virtue and practice
and action, whether blameworthy or blameless,
with no aspiration regarding “the pure and the impure”,
he would live unconcerned, not grasping after peace.
Again, superficially read, without Dhamma knowledge, the above sounds like moral nihilism.

For example, Ud 5.6 says:
“Having seen the danger in the world,
having come to know the state free from cleaving,
The Noble One does not delight in bad deeds,
the pure one does not delight in bad deeds.”
MN 6 says:
Mendicants, live by the ethical precepts and the monastic code. Live restrained in the monastic code, conducting yourselves well and seeking alms in suitable places. Seeing danger in the slightest fault, keep the rules you’ve undertaken.
The above Aṭṭhakavagga verse appears to be about the fetter of sīlabbata-parāmāsa; namely, wrong views about the efficiency of morality & rules or "fondling with" (using inappropriately) morality & rules.

In other words, the above Aṭṭhakavagga verse appears to be about doctrines of other non-Buddhist sects that are paths exclusively comprised of morality (unlike the Buddha's Path, which has wisdom to regulate any attachment to morality).

The above said, the translation of this verse probably should be compared to others:
Those who consider ethics to be the highest
Say that purity comes from self-restraint.
They undertake a vow and stick to it,
Thinking that only training in this way is there purity,
Declaring themselves experts,
They go to future rebirths.

If he falls away from virtuous conduct and vows,
He is anxious, having failed in his task.
He yearns and longs for purity, as one far from home
Who has lost his travelling companions.

But one who abandons all virtue and vows,
and deeds both blameless and blameworthy,
Does not long for either purity or impurity;
he lives detached, fostering peace.

Khantipalo
Those for whom precepts
are ultimate
say that purity's
a matter of self-restraint.
Undertaking a practice,
they devote themselves to it:
'Let's train just in this,
and then there would be purity.'
Those who say they are skilled
are [thus] led on to becoming.
But if one of them falls
from his precepts or practice,
he trembles,
having failed in his actions.
He hopes for, longs for, purity,
like a lost caravan leader
far from home.

But one who's abandoned
precepts & practices[2]
— all —
things that are blamable, blameless,[3]
not hoping for 'pure or impure,'[4]
would live in compassion & peace,
without taking up peace,[5]
detached.

Thanissaro

2. Nd.I: Abandoning precepts & practices in the sense of no longer believing that purity is measured in terms of them, the view discussed in the preceding verse.
3. Nd.I: "Blamable, blameless" = black and white kamma (see AN 4.232, 234, 237-238, quoted in The Wings to Awakening, section I/B).
4. Nd.I: Having abandoned impure mental qualities, and having fully attained the goal, the arahant has no need to hope for anything at all.
5. "In compassion & peace, without taking up peace" — a pun on the word, santimanuggahaya.
While i may be completely wrong (due to the Pali text grammar), I think the final paragraph has the following meaning:
6. But having abandoned judging with attachment all virtue and practice
and action as blameworthy or blameless,
with no aspiration regarding identifying as “the pure and the impure”,
he would live unconcerned, not grasping, fostering peace.
There is always an official executioner. If you try to take his place, It is like trying to be a master carpenter and cutting wood. If you try to cut wood like a master carpenter, you will only hurt your hand.

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Re: Mahāviyūhasutta Snp 4.13 (Week of April 18, 2021)

Post by Eko Care »

My above translation is not very correct. (12.correction: blaming should be praising in first line).
11. Parassa ce vambhayitena hīno, na koci dhammesu visesi assa;
Puthū hi aññassa vadanti dhammaṃ, nihīnato samhi daḷhaṃ vadānā.


11. If through another’s blaming one is inferior,
not anyone would be superior regarding teachings,
for widely they speak of another’s teaching
as inferior, while speaking firmly about their own.

11.[commentary.] Evametesu sakaṃ dhammaṃ paripuṇṇaṃ bruvantesu aññassa pana dhammaṃ ‘‘hīna’’nti vadantesu yassa kassaci – parassa ce vambhayitena hīnoti gāthā. Tassattho – yadi parassa ninditakāraṇā hīno bhaveyya, na koci dhammesu visesi aggo bhaveyya. Kiṃ kāraṇaṃ? Puthū hiaññassa vadanti dhammaṃ, nihīnato sabbeva te samhi daḷhaṃ vadānā sakadhamme daḷhavādā eva.

12.Saddhammapūjāpi nesaṃ tatheva, yathā pasaṃsanti sakāyanāni;
Sabbeva vādā [sabbe pavādā (syā.)] tathiyā [tathivā (sabbattha)] bhaveyyuṃ, suddhī hi nesaṃ paccattameva.


12. But if the honouring of one’s own teaching would accord with
the way they praise their own systems;
then all their speeches would be true,
and purity for them would be individual.

12.[commentary.] Kiñca bhiyyo – saddhammapūjāti gāthā. Tassattho – te ca titthiyā yathā pasaṃsanti sakāyanāni, saddhammapūjāpi nesaṃ tatheva vattati. Te hi ativiya satthārādīni sakkaronti. Tattha yadi te pamāṇā siyuṃ, evaṃ sante sabbeva vādā tathiyā bhaveyyuṃ. Kiṃ kāraṇaṃ? Suddhī hi nesaṃ paccattameva, na sā aññatra sijjhati, nāpi paramatthato. Attani diṭṭhigāhamattameva hi taṃ tesaṃ parapaccayaneyyabuddhīnaṃ.
Do you think you know better than the ancient Sangha ?
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Ceisiwr
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Re: Mahāviyūhasutta Snp 4.13 (Week of April 18, 2021)

Post by Ceisiwr »

SDC wrote: Sun Apr 18, 2021 2:48 am
Ceisiwr wrote: Sun Apr 18, 2021 2:15 am “Name-and-matter” is a wretched translation.
Taking into consideration that you find “material form” mentioned often in Pāli/English dictionary entries for rūpa, and that Bhikkhu Bodhi was partial to the rendering “materiality”, I think “wretched” is a stretch. Rūpa in the suttas is described as “the four great elements and the form derived from them” (SN 22.57), so I think it is most important that the rendering reflect that - form, materiality and matter seem to do so equally IMO.
Considering how many Pāli/English dictionaries base their definitions on Abhidhammic and commentarial ones that isn't surprising. It also isn't surprising that Ven. Bodhi prefers "matter" either, since he is an Abhidhammika. Regarding SN 22.57 you are correct to say that it defines rūpa as the 4 mahābhūta and the upādāya rūpa but seeing as how the 4 mahābhūta are closer to qualities than substances, how rūpa is defined as image/form and further still how the Buddha rejected the very methods of reasoning that allow one to arrive at "matter" I am still struggling how "name & matter" is the most appropriate translation? Further still consider that the suttas actually conflate the body with rūpa:

ayaṃ kho me kāyo rūpī cātumahābhūtiko …"
"'This body of mine is endowed with form, composed of the four primary elements, …


Rūpa here clearly doesn't mean "matter". Such a position is difficult still when we consider that rūpa in the 5 aggregates, which we have seen is distinct from the body yet related to it, also refers to objects of the other senses:

Eye consciousness arises dependent on the eye and sights. The meeting of the three is contact.
Cakkhuñca paṭicca rūpe ca uppajjati cakkhuviññāṇaṁ. Tiṇṇaṁ saṅgati phasso.


Or even more explicitly here:
“If, friends, internally the ear is intact but no external rūpa come into its range, and there is no corresponding conscious engagement, then there is no manifestation of the corresponding section of consciousness. If internally the eye is intact and external rūpa come into its range, but there is no corresponding conscious engagement, then there is no manifestation of the corresponding section of consciousness. But when internally the eye is intact and external rūpa come into its range and there is the corresponding conscious engagement, then there is the manifestation of the corresponding section of consciousness.

The rūpaṁ in what has thus come to be is included in the rūpa aggregate affected by clinging. The feeling in what has thus come to be is included in the feeling aggregate affected by clinging. The perception in what has thus come to be is included in the perception aggregate affected by clinging. The formations in what has thus come to be are included in the formations aggregate affected by clinging. The consciousness in what has thus come to be is included in the consciousness aggregate affected by clinging. He understands thus: ‘This, indeed, is how there comes to be the inclusion, gathering, and amassing of things into these five aggregates affected by clinging. Now this has been said by the Blessed One: “One who sees dependent origination sees the Dhamma; one who sees the Dhamma sees dependent origination.” And these five aggregates affected by clinging are dependently arisen. The desire, indulgence, inclination, and holding based on these five aggregates affected by clinging is the origin of suffering. The removal of desire and lust, the abandonment of desire and lust for these five aggregates affected by clinging is the cessation of suffering.’ At that point too, friends, much has been done by that bhikkhu.

“If, friends, internally the mind is intact but no external rūpa come into its range, and there is no corresponding conscious engagement, then there is no manifestation of the corresponding section of consciousness. If internally the mind is intact and external rūpa come into its range, but there is no corresponding conscious engagement, then there is no manifestation of the corresponding section of consciousness. But when internally the mind is intact and external rūpa come into its range and there is the corresponding conscious engagement, then there is the manifestation of the corresponding section of consciousness.

The rūpaṁ in what has thus come to be is included in the rūpa aggregate affected by clinging. The feeling in what has thus come to be is included in the feeling aggregate affected by clinging. The perception in what has thus come to be is included in the perception aggregate affected by clinging. The formations in what has thus come to be are included in the formations aggregate affected by clinging. The consciousness in what has thus come to be is included in the consciousness aggregate affected by clinging. He understands thus: ‘This, indeed, is how there comes to be the inclusion, gathering, and amassing of things into these five aggregates affected by clinging. Now this has been said by the Blessed One: “One who sees dependent origination sees the Dhamma; one who sees the Dhamma sees dependent origination.” And these five aggregates affected by clinging are dependently arisen. The desire, indulgence, inclination, and holding based on these five aggregates affected by clinging is the origin of suffering. The removal of desire and lust, the abandonment of desire and lust for these five aggregates affected by clinging is the cessation of suffering.’ At that point too, friends, much has been done by that bhikkhu.
https://suttacentral.net/mn28/en/bodhi

The sutta quite clearly states that rūpa in terms of the rūpa aggregate refers to objects of the 6 senses. Visual forms, sounds, tastes, smells, touches and mental phenomenon are all classed as the rūpa aggregate. When someone is hearing music the sound is the rūpa aggregate, the vedanā is the vedanā aggregate, the sañña is sañña aggregate, intentions are the formations aggregates and the conscious awareness is the consciousness aggregate. The same for the other 5 senses. How can this be a theory of matter? I just do not see how that is a tenable position. Things get even worse for the ontological realists when we look at the etymology of the word, although of course we can't rely solely on this:

Pāli

Rūpa
- form
- figure
- appearance
- principle of form

Sanskrit

रूप [ rūpa ]
- any outward appearance or phenomenon or colour
- form
- shape
- figure
- dreamy or phantom shapes

This comes from the thematic verb रूप् (rūp) which is in the 10th Gaṇa:

√ रूप् [ rūp ]
- to form
- figure
- represent

Rūpa then is an image or representation of something in sense experience, at any of the 6 senses. To return to the original verse, what the Buddha is saying is that although the ascetics claim an ultimate truth in reality it is merely a personal truth since all they see are their own conceptualisations of sense experience, of rūpa, in line with their craving and clinging.
“When serenity is developed, what purpose does it serve? The mind is developed. And when the mind is developed, what purpose does it serve? Lust is abandoned.”

“When insight is developed, what purpose does it serve? Wisdom is developed. And when wisdom is developed, what purpose does it serve? Ignorance is abandoned."


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ToVincent
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Re: Mahāviyūhasutta Snp 4.13 (Week of April 18, 2021)

Post by ToVincent »

I have heard one day, somewhere somehow, that my body is made of around 70% water.
Maybe my senses were abused that day.

Next time I walk into a tree, I hope that this 70% quality flows through it harmlessly.

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Some working for the Mara's world; some for the Brahma's world; some for the Unborn.
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Those who desire good are few, and those who desire evil are many.
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(And you just can't imagine how much goodness, those who desire evil, are ready to display - ToVincent).
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SDC
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Re: Mahāviyūhasutta Snp 4.13 (Week of April 18, 2021)

Post by SDC »

Wow! Tons of action! :bow:
DooDoot wrote: Sun Apr 18, 2021 6:03 am there are suttas where verses of the Aṭṭhakavagga have been explained in detail to avoid misinterpretations. I think Ud 5.6 does not impute any special importance onto the Aṭṭhakavagga.
Agreed, it was the age of the collection that seems to be significant in the parallel. Regarding other suttas where these verses have been explained, I was unable to find any that explicitly covered anything from Snp 4.13, but if you are aware of any please post them. Thank you for all of your other contributions, some good food for thought.
mikenz66 wrote: Sun Apr 18, 2021 6:29 am Ven Analayo spoke highly of him, and his lifestyle, and pointed out that the translation is very literal, so it is ideal for the kind of study we are doing here.
Excellent stuff, Mike. Thanks for the alternate translations!
retrofuturist wrote: Sun Apr 18, 2021 5:49 am Potentially it is suggesting that discernment of nama-rupa is insufficient, and that more is to be done (e.g. cultivation of disenchantment and lack of clinging towards it).
Agreed.
Ceisiwr wrote: Sun Apr 18, 2021 11:01 am Regarding SN 22.57 you are correct to say that it defines rūpa as the 4 mahābhūta and the upādāya rūpa but seeing as how the 4 mahābhūta are closer to qualities than substances, how rūpa is defined as image/form and further still how the Buddha rejected the very methods of reasoning that allow one to arrive at "matter" I am still struggling how "name & matter" is the most appropriate translation? Further still consider that the suttas actually conflate the body with rūpa:

ayaṃ kho me kāyo rūpī cātumahābhūtiko …"
"'This body of mine is endowed with form, composed of the four primary elements, …

Rūpa here clearly doesn't mean "matter". Such a position is difficult still when we consider that rūpa in the 5 aggregates, which we have seen is distinct from the body yet related to it, also refers to objects of the other senses:
Thanks for the detailed post, C.

To clarify, I don’t think n&m is the most appropriate translation, but I do think it is sufficient it approximating a clearer meaning in contemplation. They should “conflate” the body with rūpa because the body “derived” from all four elements. I’m not sure why a separation is necessary. The body, “composed of elements” is out there in world with everything else and will become indistinguishable from the dust in the charnel ground (MN 10, 62). Earth is hardness or solidity and the way I read the contemplations in those two suttas is that the body is a form of those elements and a thorough revelation of those relationships and is critical to liberation. All in all I don’t think “matter” fails to emphasize this. That is just my take.
Eko Care wrote: Sun Apr 18, 2021 9:38 am ...
ToVincent wrote: Sun Apr 18, 2021 5:54 am ...
Thanks for the contributions, Eko Care and ToVincent!
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