Samyutta Nikaya Masthead

[Site Map]  [Home]  [Sutta Indexes]  [Glossology]  [Site Sub-Sections]

The Pali is transliterated as ASCII (aiumnntdnl). Alternatives:
[ IAST Unicode (āīūṃṅñṭḍṇḷ) | Velthuis (aaiiuu.m'n~n.t.d.n.l) ]


Sanyutta Nikaya,
V: MahaVagga
47. Satipatthana Sanyutta
5. Amata-Vagga

Sutta 41

Amata Sutta


Translated from the Pali by Michael Olds.



[1][pts][bodh][than] I HEAR TELL:

2. Once upon a time Bhagava, Savatthi-town revisiting, Anathapindika's Jeta-forest park.

There then The Lucky Man said this to the beggars:


And the beggars responding, "Bhante!"
the Lucky Man said:

"Four, beggars, are the settings-up of mind for living steadfast in heart.

Let not the deathless pass you passed.[1]

What four?

Here, beggars, a beggar, lives in the body over-seeing the body, ardent, comprehending, minding, removing worldly wants and disappointments.

Here, beggars, a beggar, lives in sensation over-seeing sensations, ardent, comprehending, minding, removing worldly wants and disappointments.

Here, beggars, a beggar, lives in the heart over-seeing mental states, ardent, comprehending, minding, removing worldly wants and disappointments.

Here, beggars, a beggar, lives in the Dhamma[2] over-seeing the Dhamma, ardent, comprehending, minding, removing worldly wants and disappointments.

These four, beggars, are the settings-up of mind for living steadfast in heart.

Let not the deathless pass you passed.



Pali Olds Woodward Bhk. Thanissaro Bhk. Bodhi
supatthitacitta steadfast in heart mind well-established mind well-established mind well-established
satipatthana settings up of mind station of mind establishings of mindfulness establishments of mindfulness
Ma vo amatam panassa Let not the deathless pass you passed. But let not that be to you the Deathless. Don't let the deathless be lost to you Do not let the Deathless be lost on you.
sampajano comprehend composed alert clearly comprehending
kaye kayanupassi viharati lives in the body over-seeing the body abides in body contemplating body remains focused on the body in and of itself dwells contemplating the body in the body
vedana sensation feelings feelings feelings
citta heart/mental states mind/mind mind mind
dhamma Dhamma mind-states mental qualities phenomena


[1]Ma vo amatam panassa.

Woodward translates: "But let not that be to you the Deathless." and footnotes:
"I.e., do not confuse the means with the end. Cf. Pts. of Controversy, 104 n:[sub 1] 'The Andhakas (and others) held the opinion that the objects of mindfulness (namely, the body, etc.) were themselves (the conscious subject) mindfulness. (This they deduced from this passage.)[sub 2]

Bhk. Bodhi translates: "Do not let the Deathless be lost on you." and footnotes:
"Ma vo amatam panassa. Spk offers no help, but I take panassa to be an aorist of panassati. Woodward has apparently understood it as pan'assa and translates ... [as above] ... But pana here would be syntactically out of place.

PED: Pana (indecl.) [doublet of Sanskrit puna(h.) with different meaning (see puna), cp. Geiger, Pali Gr. * 34] adversative and interrogative particle, sometimes (originally, cp. puna "again, further") merely connecting and continuing the story. - (1) (adversative) but, on the contrary J I.222; II.159; VvA 79 (correl. with tava). ca pana "but" J I.152; atha ca pana "and yet" D I.139; J I.279; na kho pana "certainly not" J I.151; va pana "or else" Vin I.83; Dh 42; Sn 376, 829. - (2) (in questions) then, now J II.4 (kim p.), 159 (kaham p.); VvA 21 (kena p.); PvA 27 (katamam p.). - (3) (conclusive or copulative) and, and now, further, moreover D I.139 (siya kho p. be it now that ...); Sn 23, 393, 396, 670; J I.278; PvA 3.

PED: Panassati [pa+nassati, cp. also BSk pranasha Divy 626] to be lost, to disappear, to go to ruin, to cease to be M I.177; S II.272 (read panassissati with BB); J V.401; VI.239; Th 1, 143.

PED: Nassati (v. intr.) [Ved. nash; nashyati and nashati, cp. Gr. ne/kus, nekro/s (corpse), ne/ktar ("overcoming death" = nec+tr*, cp. tarati); Latin neco, noceo, noxius] to perish, to be lost or destroyed, to disappear, come to an end Sn 666 (na hi nassati kassaci kammam); It 90; J I.81, 116, 150; pret. nassan (prohib.) Sn 1120, pl. anassama M I.177; aor. nassi A III.54 (ma nassi prohib.); J IV.137 (cakkhuni -imsu: the eyes failed); fut. nassisati J I.5; cond. nassissa J II.112. - Causative naseti (q. v.).

Sorting through the confusion here, it appears that what is influencing Woodward's translation is whether or not satipatthana, 'setting up mind' is the same thing as sati, 'mind' and whether or not having set up 'mind' is the same thing as having attained upekkha, objective detachment, liberation.
The position here takes it's clue from the use in the Way where the term for the seventh step is 'samma sati' not 'samma satipatthana'. Setting up mind is not the same thing as having set up mind. The first is the practice for the attaining of the second. This is a matter of terminology only.
Setting up mind, satipatthana, incorporates by the inclusion of the Four Truths as part of what is to be set up The Eight Dimensional Way and by that 'samma sati'. The set up mind samma sati, is described as having attained to being 'not downbound to anything at all in the world', the equivalent of being objectively detached.
Setting up mind describes the process of setting up mind, having set up mind describes the state of the set up mind, the Way describes the various states of the set up mind.
The term Satipatthana, because it includes methodologies for the beginner (settings-up, trainings) that are not found in the set up mind, can only be used as a description of a method, it is one-sided in that respect.
The terms 'Samma sati' and the other steps of The Way may be used in the beginning and middle for describing tools, 'methods,' when they are used as ways to form behavior and judge progress in the attaining of the states described, at the end for describing the attained state. They serve both ends.
As high as the praise is for the four satipatthana Gotama never states that they are anything more than the means to the end. They are the 'one sure way' to the Deathless, not a description of the Deathless itself.
On the other hand there is no call either to read this passage as anything other than an exhortation to get busy. Woodward seems to have been distracted by the debate.

For more on this see SN 5 47 42 Olds.


[sub 1] The controversy arises not from this passage, but from the first lines of the following sutta [SN 5 47 42] which is translated by Woodward: 'Monks, I will teach you both the arising and the ending of the four stations of mindfulness.'
'catunnam bhikkhave satipatthanam samudayan ca atthagaman ca dessissami.'
'I will describe for you arising and settling down in the four settings-up of Mind, beggars.'

[sub 2]Points of Controversy, p. 104 f.: 9. Of Applications in Mindfulness. Controverted Point. - That all mental states are applications in mindfulness.[sub 3] From the Commentary. - The groups holding special views who arose later, to wit, the Andhakas, comprising the sub-groups of the Pubbaseliyas, Aparaseliyas, Rajagirikas, and Siddhatthikas, held the opinion that the objects of mindfulness, namely, the body and the rest, were themselves [the conscious subject:] mindfulness. This they deduced from the passage in the 'Satipatthana-Sanutta': 'I will show you, bhikkhus, the induction and the cessation of applications in mindfulness.' To break down this opinion, the Theravadin puts the question. ...

[sub 3]'applications in mindfulness' = satipatthana.


[2]Dhamma. See SN 5.47.35 Olds footnote 1


Copyright Statement