Ven. Ñanamoli's translation of the Mūlapariyāya Sutta

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tiltbillings
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Re: Ven. Ñanamoli's translation of the Mūlapariyāya Sutta

Post by tiltbillings »

chownah wrote:in general I think alot of common lay people go to great lengths to construct a belief system which allows them to deny that they are talking about self making while actively engaged in that very same self making.
chownah
And some Buddhists and some Dhamma teachers. But let us not go off topic here.
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723
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Re: Ven. Ñanamoli's translation of the Mūlapariyāya Sutta

Post by mikenz66 »

tiltbillings wrote:
Paul Davy quoting Ven Nananda wrote:“. . . All that was needed was already found in the Suttas. Teachers like Nāgārjuna brought to light what was already there but was hidden from view. Unfortunately his later followers turned it in to a vāda.”
I have been saying that for sometime. I do not, however, think it was all that hidden from view. It is just that there is a tendency to try to read into the teachings stuff that is not there.
I agree, which is why I've always struggled with figuring out what is so different about the so-called phenomenological approach since I struggle to think of any sensible interpretation of the Dhamma that is not about the phenomenology of experience and that would conflict with "interpretation underlies the percept in our perceiving it", though of course the different interpretations would certainly argue about some of the details.

:anjali:
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Re: Ven. Ñanamoli's translation of the Mūlapariyāya Sutta

Post by Sylvester »

Ven Ñāṇamoli's translation and notes are certainly insightful. I wish to focus on just one word, which may turn the course of the discussion in another direction. That is sañjānāti here -
pathaviṃ pathavito sañjānāti
From earth he has a precept of earth;
The MLDB renders it less idiomatically as "he perceives earth as earth". I will turn to the issue of the ablative later.

The issue I wish to raise concerns the semantic range of sañjānāti, and whether in MN 1, it must mean the Perception Aggregate. I propose that it is not necessary.

In MN 139, we have this usage -
Idha, bhikkhave, tadevekaccesu janapadesu ‘pātī’ti sañjānanti, ‘pattan’ti sañjānanti, ‘vittan’ti
sañjānanti, ‘sarāvan’ti sañjānanti ‘dhāropan’ti sañjānanti, ‘poṇan’ti sañjānanti, ‘pisīlavan’ti
sañjānanti. Iti yathā yathā naṃ tesu tesu janapadesu sañjānanti tathā tathā thāmasā parāmāsā abhinivissa voharati: ‘idameva saccaṃ, moghamaññan’ti. Evaṃ kho, bhikkhave, jana¬pada¬niruttiyā ca abhiniveso hoti samaññāya ca atisāro.

Here, bhikkhus, in different localities they call the same thing a “dish” (pāti) or they call it a “bowl” (patta) or they call it a “vessel” (vittha) or they call it a “saucer (sarava) or they call it a “pan” (dhāropa) or they call it a “pot” (poṇa) or they call it a “mug” (hana) or they call it a “basin” (pisīla). So whatever they call it in such and such a locality, he speaks accordingly, firmly adhering to and insisting on that, “Only this is true, anything else is wrong.” This is how there comes to be insistence on local language and overriding of normal usage.

Ven Ñāṇamoli's translation at http://www.bps.lk/olib/wh/wh269-u.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Here, the 3rd person plural sañjānanti does not seem to have anything to do with Perception simpliciter, but turns on the philological grasping of terms. It has more to do with adhi­vacana­samphassa (designation contact: DN 15) where one employs language for adhi­vacana (designation) and paññatti (description).

In fact, the EA parallel to MN 1 uses a completely different verb for the same passage above. It says 彼觀, where MN 1 has sañjānāti, and 觀 where the Pali has abhijānāti (directly knows). Apparently, 彼觀 is paṭisaṅkhā (the absolutive "reflecting/considering") or the present indicative paṭisankhāti. These are not perception simpliciter, but look like more complex and ruminative forms of interpretation, much like the sañjānāti in MN 139.

Now, if I am correct in suggesting that MN 1's sañjānāti is not "perceives" but the process one step removed where one interprets or labels, then the ablative would give us - "he considers earth based on earth".
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Re: Ven. Ñanamoli's translation of the Mūlapariyāya Sutta

Post by mikenz66 »

Thanks Sylvester, that certainly makes a lot of sense.

:anjali:
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Re: Ven. Ñanamoli's translation of the Mūlapariyāya Sutta

Post by pulga »

Thank you for your input, Sylvester.
Sylvester wrote: These are not perception simpliciter, but look like more complex and ruminative forms of interpretation, much like the sañjānāti in MN 139.
You’ve offered some interesting thoughts. Though I don’t think that the interpretation that the sutta is dealing with necessarily entails rumination. When I perceive a book it isn't as though I have to think about its having pages (and other book-like qualities) in order to interpret the percept as a book: brought about by feeling, the interpretation is intuited: once intuited it can be thought about -- yaṃ vedeti taṃ sañjānāti, yaṃ sañjānāti taṃ vitakketi (MN 18). Interpretation is immediate and prior to thinking -- structurally not temporally, i.e. thought can't arise ex nihilo, but can only be derived from what is being intuited.

It is my understanding that asmimāna as well is affective and immediate.
Ñanavira wrote:The puthujjana does not by any means experience his 'self' as an abstraction, and this because it is not rationally that notions of subjectivity are bound up with nescience (avijjā), but affectively. Reason comes in (when it comes in at all) only in the second place, to make what it can of a fait accompli. Avijjāsamphassajena bhikhave vedayitena phutthassa assutavato puthujjanassa, Asmī ti pi'ssa hoti, Ayam aham asmī ti pi'ssa hoti, Bhavissan ti pi'ssa hoti,... ('To the uninstructed commoner, monks, contacted by feeling born of nescience-contact, it occurs '(I) am', it occurs 'It is this that I am', it occurs 'I shall be',...') Khandha Samy. v,5 <S.iii,46>. And in Dīgha ii,2 <D.ii,66-8> it is in relation to feeling that the possible ways of regarding 'self' are discussed: Vedanā me attā ti; Na h'eva kho me vedanā attā, appatisamvedano me attā ti; Na h'eva kho me vedanā attā, no pi appatisamvedano me attā, attā me vediyati vedanādhammo hi me attā ti. ('My self is feeling; My self is not in fact feeling, my self is devoid of feeling; My self is not in fact feeling, but neither is my self devoid of feeling, my self feels, to feel is the nature of my self.') SN Dhamma
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Re: Ven. Ñanamoli's translation of the Mūlapariyāya Sutta

Post by Sylvester »

Hi pulga

Yes, rumination seems to be unnecessary for interpretation; language, it seems, suffices.

Of late, I've been having doubts about the standard understanding of the nature of saññā in MN 18's presentation of papañ­ca. It's typically translated as "perception" but you have this odd situation here -
Yathāvādī kho, āvuso, sadevake loke samārake sabrahmake ­sassama­ṇab­rāhma­ṇiyā pajāya sade­va­manus­sāya na kenaci loke viggayha tiṭṭhati, yathā ca pana kāmehi visaṃyuttaṃ viharantaṃ taṃ brāhmaṇaṃ akathaṃkathiṃ chinna­kukkuc­caṃ bhavābhave vītataṇhaṃ saññā nānusenti—evaṃvādī kho ahaṃ, āvuso, evamakkhāyī”ti.

"The sort of doctrine, friend, where one does not keep quarreling with anyone in the cosmos with its devas, Maras, & Brahmas, with its contemplatives & brahmans, its royalty & commonfolk; the sort [of doctrine] where perceptions no longer obsess the brahman who remains dissociated from sensuality, free from perplexity, his uncertainty cut away, devoid of craving for becoming & non-. Such is my doctrine, such is what I proclaim." (per Ven T)

“Friend, I assert and proclaim such [a teaching] that one does not quarrel with anyone in the world with its gods, its Maras, and its Brahmas, in this generation with its recluses and brahmins, its princes and its people; such [a teaching] that perceptions no more underlie that brahmin who abides detached from sensual pleasures, without perplexity, shorn of worry, free from craving for any kind of being.” (per MLDB)
Straightaway, the problem of interpreting saññā here to mean the Perception Aggregate becomes obvious. Perception, form, consciousness and feelings cannot anuseti a feeling; only anusayas anusenti. This much is obvious that only Intentions/sankhārā underlie their specific triggering feelings. If we admit Perception into the those things that can anuseti and thereby bring about rebecoming (SN 12.38) instead of limiting it only to sankhāra, there would be no escape from the round.

Ever since I discovered the magical bifurcation of contact in DN 15, I have begun to be more appreciative of the possibility that the word "perception" in MN 1 and MN 18 has nothing to do with perception simpliciter arising at impingement contact (paṭi­gha­samphassa) but is related to the linguistic gush that pours forth in designation contact (adhi­vacana­samphassa) The fact that MN 18 says that this saññā can anuseti would place this phenomenon among the saṅkhārakkhandha.

As for the timelessness and immediacy of things bound by Dependant Origination, I find that very hard to square with this -
Saññā nu kho, bhante, paṭhamaṃ uppajjati, pacchā ñāṇaṃ, udāhu ñāṇaṃ paṭhamaṃ uppajjati, pacchā saññā, udāhu saññā ca ñāṇañca apubbaṃ acarimaṃ uppajjantī”ti?
“Saññā kho, poṭṭhapāda, paṭhamaṃ uppajjati, pacchā ñāṇaṃ, saññuppādā ca pana ñāṇuppādo hoti. So evaṃ pajānāti: ‘idappaccayā kira me ñāṇaṃ udapādī’ti. Iminā kho etaṃ, poṭṭhapāda, pariyāyena veditabbaṃ—yathā saññā paṭhamaṃ uppajjati, pacchā ñāṇaṃ, saññuppādā ca pana ñāṇuppādo hotī”ti.

“Now, lord, does perception arise first, and knowledge after; or does knowledge arise first, and perception after; or do perception & knowledge arise simultaneously?”
“Potthapada, perception arises first, and knowledge after. And the arising of knowledge comes from the arising of perception. One discerns, ‘It’s in dependence on this that my knowledge has arisen.’ Through this line of reasoning one can realize how perception arises first, and knowledge after, and how the arising of knowledge comes from the arising of perception.”

DN 9 : https://suttacentral.net/en/dn9" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
In case one suspects that this is a Commentarial interpolation by a naughty redactor, the same proposition is also attested in the Dharmaguptaka redaction -
梵志又問:「先有想生然 後智?先有智生然後想?為想、智一時俱生 耶?」
The Brahmin asked again : "Does perception arise first and thereafter knowledge? Does knowledge arise first and thereafter perception? Or does knowledge arise at the same time?"

佛言:「先有想生然後智,想有智。」
The Buddha said : "Perception arises first and thereafter knowledge, through perception knowledge comes to be.

DA 28 : https://suttacentral.net/lzh/da28" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Judging from how the Dirgha Agama translation uses the preposition "through" (由) in the parallel to DN 15, it is the special construction used to render idappaccayatā into Chinese. And we see idappaccaya in the DN 9 passage cited.

How does one insist on immediacy as the structure behind idappaccayatā when this sutta/sutra suggests one contrary case?
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Re: Ven. Ñanamoli's translation of the Mūlapariyāya Sutta

Post by tiltbillings »

Sylvester wrote:
How does one insist on immediacy as the structure behind idappaccayatā when this sutta/sutra suggests one contrary case?
Well, that should raise an eyebrow or two.
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723
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Re: Ven. Ñanamoli's translation of the Mūlapariyāya Sutta

Post by retrofuturist »

Greetings,
tiltbillings wrote:Well, that should raise an eyebrow or two.
Only if one mistakes an atemporal structural relationship for immediacy.

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)

"It is natural that one who knows and sees things as they really are is disenchanted and dispassionate." (AN 10.2)

"Overcome the liar by truth." (Dhp 223)
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Re: Ven. Ñanamoli's translation of the Mūlapariyāya Sutta

Post by tiltbillings »

Paul Davy wrote:Greetings,
tiltbillings wrote:Well, that should raise an eyebrow or two.
Only if one mistakes an atemporal structural relationship for immediacy.

Metta,
Paul. :)
Let us see what Sylvester has to say in light of his analysis. I do not find that the "atemporal" reading of conditioned co-production is necessary, nor the only way to read it.
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723
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Re: Ven. Ñanamoli's translation of the Mūlapariyāya Sutta

Post by Sylvester »

As for that wretched akāliko, I still stand by what I wrote many moons ago -
I think this sutta should shed much needed light on akālika. It's SN 12.33 -
Katamañca, bhikkhave, jarāmaraṇaṃ? ....

And what, bhikkhus, is aging-and-death?… (definition as in SN12.2)

Yato kho, bhikkhave, ariyasāvako evaṃ jarāmaraṇaṃ pajānāti, evaṃ jarāmaraṇasamudayaṃ pajānāti, evaṃ jarāmaraṇanirodhaṃ pajānāti, evaṃ jarāmaraṇanirodhagāminiṃ paṭipadaṃ pajānāti, idamassa dhamme ñāṇaṃ . So iminā dhammena diṭṭhena viditena akālikena pattena pariyogāḷhena atītānāgatena yaṃ neti.

When, bhikkhus, a noble disciple thus understands aging-and-death, its origin, its cessation, and the way leading to its cessation, this is his knowledge of the principle. By means of this principle (dhamma) that is seen (diṭṭha), understood (vidita), AAA (akālika)[,] fathomed (patta), penetrated (pariyogāḷha), he applies the method to the past and to the future thus:
The same analysis is repeated for each of the constituents of the nidānas, ending with saṅkhārā.

Notice that 4 of the predicates of dhamma (ie diṭṭha, vidita, patta and pariyogāḷha) are past participles of their present tense verbs (passati, vindati, pāpuṇāti & pariyogāhati respectively), all of which are semantically related as awakening/insight verbs. There is therefore every reason to infer that akālika here is used appositionally as an adverb to patta, giving "immediately fathomed". This seems possible, given the break in the waxing syllables, if akālikena and pattena were to be read sequentially, rather than in apposition. It also better preserves the whole sequence as one of participles functioning adverbially (ie how is DO known), rather than to read akālika as a nominal intrusion (ie what is the nature of DO).

http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.ph ... 20#p253907" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
In case the above regarding the meaning of akālika is too obtuse, essentially what SN 12.33 and SN 42.11 demonstrate is that akālika in the instrumental is functioning as a half of ONE adjective akālikena-pattena that is predicating the substantive noun dhamma/Dhamma that is also in the instrumental case.

So, I would assert that all instances where you find the nominative akāliko in the pericope "sandiṭṭhiko dhammo hoti akāliko ehipassiko opaneyyiko paccattaṃ veditabbo viññūhī”ti ", a sparse and unexotic interpretation would simply go back to akālikena-pattena and interpret akāliko in like fashion.

What I find too exotic in the "timeless" interpretation is that the entire series of adjectives in the pericope describes the quality of Dhamma in relation to a practitioner, ie -

sandiṭṭhika - visible to the person
akālika - immediately attained by the person
ehipassika - inviting the person
etc etc

Why break the series which clearly refers to the qualities of the Dhamma as it relates to a person, by introducing a solitary definition of akālika which sets its apart from the series by taking on an abstract quality, instead of a relational quality?

Edit - it just occurred to me why the Buddha or the reciters used only akāliko, without bringing in the other half of the adjective. Look at the beautiful waxing syllables structure - sandiṭṭhiko (4) akāliko (4) ehipassiko (5) opaneyyiko (5) paccattaṃ veditabbo viññū (9). Had the Buddha introduced the full form akāliko patto (or whether as an optative or future passive participle) to conform to SN 12.33 form, that would be at least 6 syllables and it breaks up the neat waxing syllables series.
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Re: Ven. Ñanamoli's translation of the Mūlapariyāya Sutta

Post by pulga »

Hi Sylvester,

As always, your thoughts are worthy of consideration.
Sylvester wrote: Ever since I discovered the magical bifurcation of contact in DN 15, I have begun to be more appreciative of the possibility that the word "perception" in MN 1 and MN 18 has nothing to do with perception simpliciter arising at impingement contact (paṭi­gha­samphassa) but is related to the linguistic gush that pours forth in designation contact (adhi­vacana­samphassa) The fact that MN 18 says that this saññā can anuseti would place this phenomenon among the saṅkhārakkhandha.
So long as we don’t restrict language to the discursive, I agree with you. Meaning – the significance of an experience -- doesn’t come to an end with the stilling of thinking and pondering in second jhāna. Though the meaning of language doesn't so much "pour forth", but presses down on us holistically; at least this is how I understand Ven. N. Ñanamoli's brief essay Existence Means Control which is made a whole lot clearer with some familiarity with what Heidegger means by being "thrown into this world", cf. the British Ñanamoli's and Ñanavira's preferred rendering of papanca as "diversification". (We're in effect oppressed by the parts of a transcendent whole, a whole we're impelled to "diversify" in our craving to gain control over our situation.)

As for saññā in the particular passage you've quoted I would say that it is amongst the saṅkhārakkhandha. Though just as pages have to be "interpreted" as such in order to be determinations for a book, saṅkhārā need an underlying layer of determinations to give them significance and meaning. We’re dealing here with Ven. Ñanavira’s hierarchy of generality.
Determinations generally, whether they are cetanā or not, have two essential characteristics: (i) they are bound up with what they determine and (ii) they are not what they determine (or not wholly). And, of course, determinations in their turn require other determinations to determine them; which is why sankhārā are themselves sankhatā. Thus, a sheet of paper is for wiping up a mess, which is for having my room clean, which is for my personal comfort, which is for attending to my concerns, which is for my future comfort. Cf. Heidegger, op. cit., p. 63 et seq. A Note on Paṭiccasamuppāda.
Sylvester wrote:As for the timelessness and immediacy of things bound by Dependant Origination, I find that very hard to square with this - ...How does one insist on immediacy as the structure behind idappaccayatā when this sutta/sutra suggests one contrary case?
I'm going to be slack here and let Ven. Ñanavira's Shorter Note on Saññā address your question:
At Dīgha i,9 <D.i,185>, Potthapāda asks the Buddha whether perception arises before knowledge, or knowledge before perception, or both together. The Buddha gives the following answer: Saññā kho Potthapāda pathamam uppajjati, pacchā ñānam; saññ'uppādā ca pana ñān'uppādo hoti. So evam pajānāti, Idapaccayā kira me ñānam udapādí ti. ('Perception, Potthapāda, arises first, knowledge afterwards; but with arising of perception there is arising of knowledge. One understands thus: 'With this as condition, indeed, knowledge arose in me.'') Saññā thus precedes ñāna, not only temporally but also structurally (or logically). Perception, that is to say, is structurally simpler than knowledge; and though perception comes first in time, it does not cease (see CITTA) in order that knowledge can arise. [a] However many stories there are to a house, the ground floor is built first; but it is not then removed to make way for the rest. (The case of vitakkavicārā and vācā—A NOTE ON PATICCASAMUPPĀDA §5—is parallel.)
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Re: Ven. Ñanamoli's translation of the Mūlapariyāya Sutta

Post by Sylvester »

Thank you for your time and effort on this.

Pls excuse the brevity of my reply as I am on my phone. I just wish to make 2 points.

Concerning Ven N's position on "determinations" requiring "other determinations to determine them; which is why sankhārā are themselves sankhatā", I would say the textual evidence (both Buddhist and pre-Buddhist) goes against him on this. There is as far as i can see no textual support for the notion that one abhisankharotis any of the three MN 44 sankharas. The usage of this verb shows that the Buddha borrowed the Vedic creation verb to apply to intentions or what is neatly defined as sancetanas (SN 12.25). As such, the hierachical interpretation does not resonate with me.

As for the hierachies shown by the simile of the multi-storey building, i have previously expressed my preference for the trapeze monkey in SN 12.61. Unless we are supposed to infer that the monkey had a basket and was shopping for fruit as he swung from branch to branch... :stirthepot:
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Re: Ven. Ñanamoli's translation of the Mūlapariyāya Sutta

Post by pulga »

Thanks, Sylvester. Just a quick response.
Sylvester wrote: Concerning Ven N's position on "determinations" requiring "other determinations to determine them; which is why sankhārā are themselves sankhatā", I would say the textual evidence (both Buddhist and pre-Buddhist) goes against him on this. There is as far as i can see no textual support for the notion that one abhisankharotis any of the three MN 44 sankharas.
What about the Khajjani Sutta (SN 22.79)?
Kiñca, bhikkhave, saṅkhāre vadetha? Saṅ­kha­ta­mabhi­saṅ­kha­ron­tīti kho, bhikkhave, tasmā ‘saṅkhārā’ti vuccati. Kiñca saṅ­kha­ta­mabhi­saṅ­kha­ronti? Rūpaṃ rūpattāya saṅ­kha­ta­mabhi­saṅ­kha­ronti, vedanaṃ vedanattāya saṅ­kha­ta­mabhi­saṅ­kha­ronti, saññaṃ saññattāya saṅ­kha­ta­mabhi­saṅ­kha­ronti, saṅkhāre saṅkhārattāya saṅ­kha­ta­mabhi­saṅ­kha­ronti, viññāṇaṃ viññāṇattāya saṅ­kha­ta­mabhi­saṅ­kha­ronti. Saṅ­kha­ta­mabhi­saṅ­kha­ron­tīti kho, bhikkhave, tasmā ‘saṅkhārā’ti vuccati.

“And why, bhikkhus, do you call them determinations? ‘They determine the determined,’ bhikkhus, therefore they are called determinations. And what is the determined that they determine? They determine determined form as form; they determine determined feeling as feeling; they determine determined perception as perception; they determine determined determinations as determinations; they determine determined consciousness as consciousness. ‘They determine the determined,’ bhikkhus, therefore they are called determinations.
Sylvester wrote:As for the hierachies shown by the simile of the multi-storey building, i have previously expressed my preference for the trapeze monkey in SN 12.61. Unless we are supposed to infer that the monkey had a basket and was shopping for fruit as he swung from branch to branch... :stirthepot:
As I see it, it's the monkey's basket that solves the riddle of the rising and the ceasing of the world. In the words of Ven. Ñanavira: "two things define a thing, namely the difference between them".
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Re: Ven. Ñanamoli's translation of the Mūlapariyāya Sutta

Post by retrofuturist »

Greetings,

I would like to share some thoughts from Ven. Nanananda on why the Mūlapariyāya Sutta is such an important sutta in the context of the Dhamma, and why it is such a valuable sutta to understand fully (and hence, why Ven. Ñanamoli's translation yields such insight)...
Nanananda wrote:We all know that there are six senses. The five external senses are eye, ear, nose, tongue and body. When the objects taken in by these five senses reach the mind, they take on a different mould. All objects of the mind are called ‘dhammā’ – ‘things’. So you may note first of all that the problem concerns those things that come to the mind. About this ‘thing’ which is the object of the mind, there is a highly significant discourse in the Majjhima Nikāya, namely Mūlapariyāya Sutta. It is probably because of its fundamental importance that those arahants who held the First Council placed this discourse as the very first in this discourse collection. But unfortunately nowadays teachers when they teach this book to their pupils ask them to skip the first sutta and start from the second. They say that this is so abstruse that even those who listened to it could not understand it. But we wish to point out that this discourse is like the basic alphabet to the understanding of the philosophy of this entire Dhamma. Why do we say so? Because this Mūlapariyāya Sutta reveals the basic pattern of all ‘things’ that occur to the mind (mūlapariyāya).

Let us now describe the way this discourse is presented. It has a very brief introduction. The Buddha seated under a Sal tree in the Subhaga forest in the Ukkaṭṭhā, addressing the congregation of monks preached this sermon presumably because he wanted to bring up a very important subject. He introduces the subject with this exhortation:

“Sabbadhamma mūlapariyāyaṁ vo bhikkhave desissāmi. Taṁ sunātha sādhukaṁ manasikarotha bhāsissāmi.”

“Monks, I shall preach to you the fundamental mode of all things. Listen to it. Attend to it well, I shall preach.”

What is meant by ‘the fundamental mode of all things’ is this: There is a certain mode according to which all phenomena
occur to our mind. It is this basic mode that is found in grammar. Within this linguistic usage, all phenomena that occur to the mind present themselves according to some grammatical pattern. In regard to that grammatical pattern this Mūlapariyāya Sutta analyzes the respective attitudes of the average worldling uninstructed in the Dhamma, of the monk who is a learner not attained to arahanthood, of the arahant and of the Fully Enlightened One – the Tathāgata. But we can boil it down to three attitudes since the attitude of the arahant and of the Buddha are essentially the same. Because the Tathāgata, the Fully Enlightened One proclaimed this Dhamma as the teacher, he is in a category by himself. But for all practical purposes his attitude and that of the arahant are the same. So we are now going to analyze this discourse based on those three attitudes. We have already mentioned that this discourse describes the attitude of the worldling towards the grammatical pattern in usage in the world, the attitude of the learner training in this Dhamma and the attitude of the arahant. To represent all objects of the mind regarded as ‘things’ the Buddha lists 24 dhammas. It is not a complete list of all possible dhammas, but a fair representation of them as instances. They may be summed up as follows in brief.

Firstly, the four great primaries: earth, water, fire and air, then the eight classes of beings: namely beings, gods, Pajāpati, Brahmā, the Radiant Ones, the Lustrous Ones, the Vehapphala Brahmas, the Overlord. Then the four formless realms: the realm of infinite space, the realm of infinite consciousness, the realm of nothingness, the realm of neither perception nor non-perception. Then the sum-total of sense-experience: the seen, the heard, the sensed and the cognized. And finally, the concepts of unity, diversity, universality and Nibbāna (ekattaṁ, nānattaṁ, sabbaṁ, nibbānaṁ).

Having thus introduced 24 mind-objects (dhammā) The Buddha describes the different attitudes of the above three classes towards each of them. When we give one instance you all can understand the rest of it. Out of the four primaries given first, let
us take earth. This is how the attitude of the uninstructed average worldling towards it is described. He perceives earth as earth – even as the deer perceives water. Having thus perceived earth as earth (‘paṭhaviṁ paṭhavito saññatvā’) he imagines an earth (‘paṭhaviṁ maññati’). There we find that maññanā coming in. Then he imagines: ‘In the earth’ (‘paṭhaviyā maññati’). He imagines ‘from the earth’ (‘paṭhavito maññati’). He imagines ‘earth is mine’ (‘paṭhaviṁ meti maññati’). He delights in earth (‘paṭhaviṁ abhinandati’). Then the Buddha asks: ‘Why is that?’ (‘taṁ kissa hetu?’) and gives this explanation: ‘It is because it has not been comprehended by him’ (‘apariññātaṁ tassāti vadāmi’).

Then about the learner (sekha) who has not attained arahanthood this is what comes in the discourse: ‘paṭhaviṁ paṭhavito abhijānāti’. In this case it is not sañjānāti (perceives) but abhijānāti i.e. understands through higher knowledge. Through his attainment of the Fruit of the Path, even for a split second he had an experience of the Truth. As if by a streak of lightening in a dark night, he had a glimpse of Nibbāna. Thereby he got an understanding which is of a higher order than mere perception. He has understood the true state of affairs though it is short of full comprehension. About him, this is what is stated in the sutta: ‘paṭhaviṁ paṭhavito abhijānāti’. He understands earth as earth. And then: ‘paṭhaviṁ paṭhavito abhiññāya’ – having understood earth as earth – now comes a peculiar expression: ‘paṭhaviṁ mā maññi, paṭhaviyā mā maññi, paṭhavito mā maññi, paṭhaviṁ meti mā maññi, paṭhaviṁ mā abhinandi.’ The use of ‘mā’ here is a big puzzle for the commentator. But it is the prohibitive particle in Pāli language. You may have heard the dictum: ‘mā nivatta abhikkama’ – ‘Do not turn back, go forward.’ However, the commentator goes off at a tangent here. He says that this particle conveys the idea that the noble disciple neither imagines nor does he not imagine. This is not the reason for this peculiar usage. The learner (sekha) is that noble disciple who is still training. Though he has higher knowledge beyond mere perception, he has not yet attained full comprehension (pariññā).

So he has to constantly remind himself to refrain from imagining, drawing inspiration from the higher knowledge he has won. ‘paṭhaviṁ mā maññi’ etc. means ‘Do not imagine earth as earth, Do not imagine in the earth, Do not imagine from the earth, Do not imagine earth is mine, Do not delight in the earth.’ Why? Because he has yet to comprehend (‘pariññeyyaṁ tassāti vadāmi’). This is an injunction for self-training.
Well then, that is as far as the noble disciple who is a learner is concerned. Now as for the attitudes of the arahant and the Tathāgata, we said that they are the same. For Instance, this is what is said about the arahant: ‘paṭhaviṁ paṭhavito abhijānāti, paṭhaviṁ paṭhavito abhiññāya, paṭhaviṁ na maññati, paṭhaviyā na maññati, paṭhavito na maññati, paṭhaviṁ meti na maññati, paṭhaviṁ nābhinandati.’ That is to say, the arahant as well as the Buddha has the following attitude towards the concept of earth. The arahant by virtue of his higher understanding of earth has seen its voidness. He does not imagine earth as earth, he does not imagine ‘in the earth’, does not imagine ‘from the earth’, does not imagine ‘earth is mine’, does not delight in the earth.

We said that there are 24 concepts listed. With regard to each of them the same mode of imagining is given in detail. What is said in particular about the Tathāgata, the Fully Enlightened One is that he is the teacher who revealed this Dhamma. In conclusion, the Buddha says: ‘nandi dukkhassa mūlanti iti viditvā bhavā jāti bhūtassa jarāmaranaṁ’ – ‘Having known that delight is the root of suffering. From becoming, birth and to the one born there is decay and death.’ That is why there is no delighting in any of those concepts. ‘Nandi dukkhassa mūlaṁ’. Delighting is the root of suffering. It is by delighting that an existence comes to be, and that existence is turning otherwise. That is the beginning of suffering. Birth, decay and death and all the rest follow.
Metta,
Paul. :)
Last edited by retrofuturist on Thu Mar 24, 2016 2:56 am, edited 1 time in total.
"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"It is natural that one who knows and sees things as they really are is disenchanted and dispassionate." (AN 10.2)

"Overcome the liar by truth." (Dhp 223)
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