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N'evasaññānāsaññāyatana

References:

Mulapariyaya Resources
[MN 1]
PTS: Middle Length Sayings I, #1: Discourse on the Synopsis of Fundamentals, Horner, trans., pp 3.
WP: Middle Length Discourses of the Buddha: The Root of All Things, Bhikkhu Nanamoli and Bhikkhu Bodhi, trans., pp 83
Examining the Mulapariyaya — Analysis
The Root Sequence, Bhikkhu Thanissaro, translation of the Mulapariyaya

 

Pali MO Hare Horner Punnaji Bodhi Rhys Davids (Mrs)Rhys Davids Thanissaro Walshe Woodward
n'evasaññānāsaññāyatana the realm of neither-perception-nor-non-perception the plane of neither-perception-nor-non-perception the base of neither-perception-nor-non-perception a state between consciousness and unconsciousness the sphere of neither-perception-nor-non-perception the Realm of Neither-Perception-Nor-Non-Perception

 


This is from an announcement I made in the Forum concerning the way I was translating this term: 'I am changing my translation for the n'evasannanasanna from "Not Even Perceiving Non Perception" to the more standard "Neither Perception Nor Non Perception". I don't know why I had never noticed it before, but while working on a sutta this afternoon I came across the very common statement concerning the belief in the self: "Those shaman and brahmin who describe the self as remaining intact and having perception after death describe this self as:

1. material
2. immaterial
3. both material and immaterial
4. neither material nor immaterial

the construction for alternative 4 is N'eva ruupi.m naaruupi.m

While that for neither perceiving nor not perceiving is: N'eva sa~n~nii naasaa~n~ni

The former case cannot be stated as I would have had the latter, so the latter must change.

The difference in connotation that I heard that prompted me to use the unusual construction to begin with was that I heard in the phrase "nor non-perception" the commentary describing the state as flitting back and forth between a sort of perceiving and the state of not perceiving. This is not how I learned one should identify the state. How I learned it is that it compares roughly with the state of someone totally absorbed, say, in eating something really delicious, but complicated, like mini-lobster tails, which requires concentration to get at the delicious meat. He looses touch with his surroundings. He looks up to see everyone at the table staring at him, and he says: "What?" On the one hand you could say that there was no lack of perception there at all. On the other hand there was no self-awareness at all. I just thought Not Being Aware of Not Being Aware (of any world where he was aware he was there) was a closer description than Neither Perceiving nor Non Perceiving, but I can live with it that way. Needless to say, my first hand experience is...um...somewhat limited...but who was it that created that great pile of empty mini lobster tail shells?


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