Anguttara Nikaya


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Aŋguttara-Nikāya
III. Tikanipāta
VII. Mahā Vagga

The Book of the
Gradual Sayings

The Book of the Threes

Sutta 61

Titthāyatanādi Suttaɱ

Three Philosophical Propositions

Translated from the Pali by Michael Olds

 


 

Translator's Introduction

This is an extremely interesting sutta for anyone attempting to break into the just-above-the-beginner level of understanding this Dhamma. In several places throughout the suttas it is hinted that 'seeing the Four Truths, one sees the Paticca Samuppada. seeing the Samuppada one sees the Four Truths'. Here in this sutta the two are combined in one. I think this only happens in one other sutta. It is very important for understanding the fact that each of the major segments of the Dhamma are in fact just ways of re-stating the Four Truths in other terms. Understanding this will go a long way to eliminate conflicts between various practices that emphasize one or another of the multiplicity of methods put forward in the Suttas and will greatly simplify comprehension of the system as a whole.

 


 

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

Once upon a time The Lucky Man, Sāvatthī-town residing, Jeta-Woods, Anāthapiṇḍika's Park.

There he said words to this effect:

There are, beggars, three philosophical propositions
which examined, questioned, debated by the wise,
at best just lead to remaining inactive.[1]

What are these three?

There are certain shaman and brahmin that speak thus,
are of this view:

'Anything whatever a person experiences,
pleasant or
unpleasant or
not-unpleasant-but-not-pleasant,
all that is driven by the anticedently-done.'

There are certain shaman and brahmin that speak thus,
are of this view:

'Anything whatever a person experiences,
pleasant or
unpleasant or
not-unpleasant-but-not-pleasant,
all that is driven by the Master-Builder[2].'

There are certain shaman and brahmin that speak thus,
are of this view:

'Anything whatever a person experiences,
pleasant or
unpleasant or
not-unpleasant-but-not-pleasant,
all that is undriven, without precurser.'[3]

[2][pts][than] In this case, beggars, as to the shaman or brahmin that speaks thus, are of this view:

'Anything whatever a person experiences,
pleasant or
unpleasant or
not-unpleasant-but-not-pleasant,
all that is driven by the anticedently-done.'

I appraoach them and speak thus:

Is it true, ancients, that you speak thus, are of this view:

'Anything whatever a person experiences,
pleasant or
unpleasant or
not-unpleasant-but-not-pleasant,
all that is driven by the anticedently-done?'

And, indeed, asked thus by me it is so acknowledged.

To them I say this:

'Then venerables, life-destroyers are predestined to become such,
driven by the anticedently done,
takers of the ungiven are predestined to become such,
driven by the anticedently done,
livers of ungodly lives are predestined to become such,
driven by the anticedently done,
false-speakers are predestined to become such,
driven by the anticedently done,
malicious speakers are predestined to become such,
driven by the anticedently done,
unkind speakers are predestined to become such,
driven by the anticedently done,
lip-flappers are predestined to become such,
driven by the anticedently done,
the covetous are predestined to become such,
driven by the anticedently done,
the corrupt in heart are predestined to become such,
driven by the anticedently done,
holders of contrary views are predestined to become such,
driven by the anticedently done.

It follows then, beggars,
that strong reliance on the 'anticentently done'
results in getting no desire
or effort at self-control over
what is to be done
or what is not to be done.[4]

Thus without taking on what is true and reliable
concerning what is to be done and what is not to be done
it follows that there is no distinction
according to Dhamma
between a shaman and one who lives forgetful-minded and unguarded.[5]

This then, beggars,
is my refutation according to Dhamma
of the first of these sayings,
these views,
of those shaman and brahmin.

[3][pts][than] In this case, beggars, as to the shaman or brahmin that speaks thus, are of this view:

'Anything whatever a person experiences,
pleasant or
unpleasant or
not-unpleasant-but-not-pleasant,
all that is driven by the Master-Builder.'

I appraoach them and speak thus:

Is it true, ancients, that you speak thus, are of this view:

'Anything whatever a person experiences,
pleasant or
unpleasant or
not-unpleasant-but-not-pleasant,
all that is driven by the Master-Builder?'

And, indeed, asked thus by me it is so acknowledged.

To them I say this:

'Then venerables, life-destroyers are predestined to become such,
driven by the Master-Builder,
takers of the ungiven are predestined to become such,
driven by the Master-Builder,
livers of ungodly lives are predestined to become such,
driven by the Master-Builder,
false-speakers are predestined to become such,
driven by the Master-Builder,
malicious speakers are predestined to become such,
driven by the Master-Builder,
unkind speakers are predestined to become such,
driven by the Master-Builder,
lip-flappers are predestined to become such,
driven by the Master-Builder,
the covetous are predestined to become such,
driven by the Master-Builder,
the corrupt in heart are predestined to become such,
driven by the Master-Builder,
holders of contrary views are predestined to become such,
driven by the Master-Builder.

It follows then, beggars,
that strong reliance on the 'the Master-Builder'
results in getting no desire
or effort at self-control over
what is to be done
or what is not to be done.

Thus without taking on what is true and reliable
concerning what is to be done and what is not to be done
it follows that there is no distinction
according to Dhamma
between a shaman and one who lives forgetful-minded and unguarded.

This then, beggars,
is my refutation according to Dhamma
of the second of these sayings,
these views,
of those shaman and brahmin.

[4][pts][than] In this case, beggars, as to the shaman or brahmin that speaks thus, are of this view:

'Anything whatever a person experiences,
pleasant or
unpleasant or
not-unpleasant-but-not-pleasant,
all that is undriven, without precurser.'

I appraoach them and speak thus:

Is it true, ancients, that you speak thus, are of this view:

'Anything whatever a person experiences,
pleasant or
unpleasant or
not-unpleasant-but-not-pleasant,
all that is undriven, without precurser?'

And, indeed, asked thus by me it is so acknowledged.

To them I say this:

'Then venerables, life-destroyers are predestined to become such,
undriven, without precurser,
takers of the ungiven are predestined to become such,
undriven, without precurser,
livers of ungodly lives are predestined to become such,
undriven, without precurser,
false-speakers are predestined to become such,
undriven, without precurser,
malicious speakers are predestined to become such,
undriven, without precurser,
unkind speakers are predestined to become such,
undriven, without precurser,
lip-flappers are predestined to become such,
undriven, without precurser,
the covetous are predestined to become such,
undriven, without precurser,
the corrupt in heart are predestined to become such,
undriven, without precurser,
holders of contrary views are predestined to become such,
undriven, without precurser.

It follows then, beggars,
that strong reliance on the 'undriven, without precurser'
results in getting no desire
or effort at self-control over
what is to be done
or what is not to be done.

Thus without taking on what is true and reliable
concerning what is to be done and what is not to be done
it follows that there is no distinction
according to Dhamma
between a shaman and one who lives forgetful-minded and unguarded.

This then, beggars,
is my refutation according to Dhamma
of the third of these sayings,
these views,
of those shaman and brahmin.

These, beggars, are the three philosophical propositions
which examined, questioned, debated by the wise,
at best just lead to remaining inactive.

 

§

 

[5][pts][than] This then however, beggars, is the
unrefuted,
uncondemned,
not contradicted,
not besmirched
by intelligent shaman and brahmin
Dhamma I teach.

And what, beggars, is the
unrefuted,
uncondemned,
not contradicted,
not besmirched
by intelligent shaman and brahmin
Dhamma I teach?

There are six data, beggars, in the
unrefuted,
uncondemned,
not contradicted,
not besmirched
by intelligent shaman and brahmin
Dhamma I teach.

There are six spheres of contact, beggars, in the
unrefuted,
uncondemned,
not contradicted,
not besmirched
by intelligent shaman and brahmin
Dhamma I teach.

There are eighteen mental ranges, beggars, in the
unrefuted,
uncondemned,
not contradicted,
not besmirched
by intelligent shaman and brahmin
Dhamma I teach.

There are four Aristocratic Truths, beggars, in the
unrefuted,
uncondemned,
not contradicted,
not besmirched
by intelligent shaman and brahmin
Dhamma I teach.

[6][pts][than] There are six data, beggars, in the
unrefuted,
uncondemned,
not contradicted,
not besmirched
by intelligent shaman and brahmin
Dhamma I teach.

This then is what was said.

And depending on what was it said?

There are, beggars, these six data:

Earth data,
water data,
firelight data,
wind data,
space data,
consciousness data.

These are the six data, beggars, in the
unrefuted,
uncondemned,
not contradicted,
not besmirched
by intelligent shaman and brahmin
Dhamma I teach.

This is that which was said;
on this that which was said depended.

[7][pts][than] There are six spheres of contact, beggars, in the
unrefuted,
uncondemned,
not contradicted,
not besmirched
by intelligent shaman and brahmin
Dhamma I teach.

This then is what was said.

And depending on what was it said?

There are, beggers, these six spheres of contact:

Eye contact-sphere,
ear contact-sphere,
nose contact-sphere,
tongue contact-sphere,
body contact-sphere,
mind contact-sphere.

There are six spheres of contact, beggars, in the
unrefuted,
uncondemned,
not contradicted,
not besmirched
by intelligent shaman and brahmin
Dhamma I teach.

This is that which was said;
on this that which was said depended.

[8][pts][than] There are eighteen mental ranges, beggars, in the
unrefuted,
uncondemned,
not contradicted,
not besmirched
by intelligent shaman and brahmin
Dhamma I teach.

This then is what was said.

And depending on what was it said?

Eye seeing forms ranges over the stand for mental-ease in forms,
ranges over the stand for misery in forms,
ranges over the stand for mental-detachment in forms.

Ear hearing sounds ranges over the stand for mental-ease in sounds,
ranges over the stand for misery in sounds,
ranges over the stand for mental-detachment in sounds.

Nose smelling scents ranges over the stand for mental-ease in scents,
ranges over the stand for misery in scents,
ranges over the stand for mental-detachment in scents.

Tongue tasting flavors ranges over the stand for mental-ease in flavors,
ranges over the stand for misery in flavors,
ranges over the stand for mental-detachment in flavors.

Body touching touchables ranges over the stand for mental-ease in touchables,
ranges over the stand for misery in touchables,
ranges over the stand for mental-detachment in touchables.

Mind conscious of things ranges over the stand for mental-ease in things,
ranges over the stand for misery in things,
ranges over the stand for mental-detachment in things.

There are eighteen mental ranges, beggars, in the
unrefuted,
uncondemned,
not contradicted,
not besmirched
by intelligent shaman and brahmin
Dhamma I teach.

This is that which was said;
on this that which was said depended.

[9][pts][than] There are four Aristocratic Truths, beggars, in the
unrefuted,
uncondemned,
not contradicted,
not besmirched
by intelligent shaman and brahmin
Dhamma I teach.

This then is what was said.

And depending on what was it said?

Supported by the six data, beggars
a child's conception occurs,
on appearance there is named-form,
named-form rebounds as the six-realms,
the six realms rebound as contact,
contact rebounds as sense-experience.

I have then, for what is sensate
revealed 'This is dukkha,'
revealed 'This is the origin of dukkha,'
revealed 'This is the end of dukkha,'
revealed 'This is the walk to walk to go to the end of dukkha.'

[10][pts][than] And what, beggars, is the Aristocratic Truth about Dukkha?

Birth is dukkha,
aging is dukkha,
sickness is dukkha,
death is dukkha,
grief and lamentation,
pain and misery,
and despair
are dukkha.

In a word, the five stockpiled heaps are dukkha.

This, beggars, is what is called the Aristocratic Truth about Dukkha.

[11][pts][than] And what, beggars, is the Aristocratic Truth about the origin of Dukkha?

Rebounding off blindness is own-making,
rebounding off own-making is consciousness,
rebounding off consciousness is named-form,
rebounding off named-form are the realms of sense,
rebounding off the realms of sense is contact,
rebounding off contact is sense experience,
rebounding off sense experience is thirst,
rebounding off thirst is support,
rebounding off support is existence,
rebounding off existence is birth,
rebounding off birth
aging,
sickness,
and death,
grief and lamentation,
pain and misery,
and despair becomes one's own.

Even thus does this whole stockpiled heap of dukkha originate.

This, beggars, is what is called the Aristocratic Truth about the origin of Dukkha.

[12][pts][than] And what, beggars, is the Aristocratic Truth about the end of Dukkha?

With the remainderless-dispassionate ending of blindness, ownmaking ends,
own-making ending consciousness ends,
consciousness ending named-forms end,
named-forms ending the six-realm ends,
the six-realm ending contact ends,
contact ending sense-experience ends,
sense-experience ending thirst ends,
thirst ending support ends,
support ending existence ends,
existence ending birth ends,
birth ending aging,
sickness,
and death,
grief and lamentation,
pain and misery,
and despair come to an end.

Even thus does this whole stockpiled heap of dukkha come to an end.

This, beggars, is what is called the Aristocratic Truth about the ending of Dukkha.

[13][pts][than] And what, beggars, is the Aristocratic Truth about the the walk to walk to go to the end of dukkha?

It is even this Aristocratic Eight-dimensional Way, that is to say:

High View,
High Principles,
High Talk,
High Works,
High Lifestyle,
High Self-control,
High Memory,
High Serinity.

This, beggars, is what is called the Aristocratic Truth about the walk to walk to go to the end of dukkha.

There are four Aristocratic Truths, beggars, in the
unrefuted,
uncondemned,
not contradicted,
not besmirched
by intelligent shaman and brahmin
Dhamma I teach.

This is that which was said;
on this that which was said depended.

 


[1] Akiriyāya saṇṭhahantī. Please not to be confused with the instruction here to practice 'intentional not-doing' which advocates strenusous conscientious effort to abstain from deeds based in lust, anger and blindness.

[2] Issara-nimmāṇa-hetu

[3] ahetu-appaccayā. Bhks. Bodhi and Thanissaro: 'without a cause or condition,' Woodward: 'uncaused and unconditioned.' My preference for 'hetu' is 'driver' over 'cause' because of the implied certainty of outcome in the term 'cause' whereas the idea is really 'driving force' where the outcome is not always certain. 'Paccaya' is 'anticedant condition' or as with Bhk. Thanissaro often: 'requisite condition.'

[4] Pubbe kataɱ kho pana bhikkhave sārato paccāgacchataɱ na hoti chando... 'previously done then again strong attachment result-getting no having desire...' It looks as though Bhks. Bodhi and Thanissaro have given up trying to make sense of this and have just followed Woodward's: "Those who fall back on the former deed, past deeds, what was done in the past as the essential reason, essential truth, being essential ..." all of which pretty well convey the idea. Freely translated this might be best understood as: 'It follows then that those who strongly adhere to the doctrine of predestination formed by previous acts will generate no desire ...' My translation attempts to adhere to the literal Pali.

[5] I think that this is to be heard:

Thus without taking on what is true and reliable
according to Dhamma
concerning what is to be done and what is not to be done
it follows that there is no distinction
according to Dhamma
between a shaman and one who lives forgetful-minded and unguarded.

 


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