I always had a good impression of SN 56.47 although I am looking at the Pali for the first time today. My new impression is it might be a late genre of sutta, give it shares words (such as "manussattaṃ") & themes with suttas such as MN 129 & MN 135.
SN 56.47 as literally translated by Bhikkhu Bodhi is:
It follows from above Bhikkhu Bodhi has added the words "would regain", which do not appear to exist in the Pali. The Pali appears literally:Seyyathāpi, bhikkhave, puriso mahāsamudde ekacchiggaḷaṃ yugaṃ pakkhipeyya. Tatrāpissa kāṇo kacchapo. So vassasatassa vassasatassa accayena sakiṃ sakiṃ ummujjeyya. Taṃ kiṃ maññatha, bhikkhave, api nu kho kāṇo kacchapo vassasatassa vassasatassa accayena sakiṃ sakiṃ ummujjanto amusmiṃ ekacchiggaḷe yuge gīvaṃ paveseyyā”ti?
Bhikkhus, suppose a man would throw a yoke with a single hole into the great ocean, and there was a blind turtle which would come to the surface once every hundred years. What do you think, bhikkhus, would that blind turtle, coming to the surface once every hundred years, insert its neck into that yoke with a single hole?
Yadi nūna, bhante, kadāci karahaci dīghassa addhuno accayenā
If it would ever do so, venerable sir, it would be only after a very long time.
Khippataraṃ kho so, bhikkhave, kāṇo kacchapo vassasatassa vassasatassa accayena sakiṃ sakiṃ ummujjanto amusmiṃ ekacchiggaḷe yuge gīvaṃ paveseyya, na tvevāhaṃ, bhikkhave, sakiṃ vinipātagatena bālena manussattaṃ vadāmi.
Sooner (khippataraṃ; more quickly), I say (vadāmi), would that blind turtle (kāṇo kacchapo), coming to the surface (ummujjanto) once every hundred years (vassasatassa vassasatassa accayena sakiṃ sakiṃ), insert (paveseyya) its neck (gīvaṃ) into that yoke (yuge) with a single hole (ekacchiggaḷe) than the fool (bālena) who has gone once to the nether world (sakiṃ vinipātagatena) [would regain] the human state (manussattaṃ).
For what reason? Because here, bhikkhus, there is no conduct guided by the Dhamma, no righteous conduct, no wholesome activity, no meritorious activity. Here there prevails mutual devouring, the devouring of the weak. For what reason? Because, bhikkhus, they have not seen the Four Noble Truths. What four? The noble truth of suffering … the noble truth of the way leading to the cessation of suffering.
Having read the Pali & sutta many times, I theorize a core word in SN 56.47 is "ummujjanto"; which is also used in AN 7.15 below:sakiṃ (once) vinipātagatena (gone to nether worlds) bālena (the fool) manussattaṃ (human being, i.e., human state of mind)
"Ummujjanto" is also found in another (imo, late) sutta DN 1, as follows:AN 7.15 wrote:And what kind of person has risen up, crossed over, and gone beyond, a brahmin who stands on the shore?
Kathañca, bhikkhave, puggalo ummujjitvā tiṇṇo hoti pāraṅgato thale tiṭṭhati brāhmaṇo.
It’s the kind of person who, rising up, thinks: ‘It’s good to have faith, conscience, prudence, energy, and wisdom regarding skillful qualities.’
Idha, bhikkhave, ekacco puggalo ummujjati sādhu saddhā kusalesu dhammesu, sādhu hirī … pe
Therefore, I guess the literal message & translation of SN 56.47 is:DN 1 wrote:All of these ascetics and brahmins who theorize about the past or the future are trapped in the net of these sixty-two grounds, so that wherever they emerge they are caught and trapped in this very net.
Ye hi keci, bhikkhave, samaṇā vā brāhmaṇā vā pubbantakappikā vā aparantakappikā vā pubbantāparantakappikā vā pubbantāparantānudiṭṭhino pubbantāparantaṃ ārabbha anekavihitāni adhimuttipadāni abhivadanti, sabbe te imeheva dvāsaṭṭhiyā vatthūhi antojālīkatā, ettha sitāva ummujjamānā ummujjanti, ettha pariyāpannā antojālīkatāva ummujjamānā ummujjanti.
It appears my translation is similar to Bhikkhu Bodhi, it that it emphasises the unlikeliness of "regaining" the "human state" without knowing the Four Noble Truths. However, I have emphasised ummujjanto, which I think Bhikkhu Bodhi has not. Also, if it was "human fool", i guess this would be a compound. What do we think of the Pali in SN 56.47? How would we translate the passage I have highlighted?More quickly (khippataraṃ), I say (vadāmi), would that blind turtle (kāṇo kacchapo), coming to the surface (ummujjanto) once every hundred years (vassasatassa vassasatassa accayena sakiṃ sakiṃ), insert (paveseyya) its neck (gīvaṃ) into that yoke (yuge) with a single hole (ekacchiggaḷe). Not the same (na tvevāhaṃ), I say (vadāmi) , is the the human being (manussattaṃ) that is a fool (bālena) who has gone once to the nether world (sakiṃ vinipātagatena) [as likely to rise up/ummujjanto to the human state].