Anguttara Nikaya


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Aŋguttara Nikāya:
4. Catukkanipata
1. Bhandagama vaggo

The Numbers Bag
The Book of Fours
Chapter 1: At Bhandagama

Sutta 10

Yoga Suttaɱ

Yokes

Translated from the Pali by Michael Olds

 


 

Translator's Introduction

This is a crime in the translations of many of Gotama's suttas: the utter lack of a sense of humor.

I first got interested in translating this sutta because of Bhk. Bodhi's phrase: 'lie deep within one' (Woodward's: 'occupies the mind,' Bhk. Thanissaro's 'obsessed with'). I wanted to see what word was being translated this way, and whether or not it could be understood to mean 'the unconscious.' I thought this might be a good sutta describing the process of 'making the unconscious conscious'. The word was anuseti. What it means is 'to bed'. And the sutta is, indeed, an excellent example of attempting to make the unconscious conscious.

This is what happens when a person gives up sense-pleasures: the world is seen as it really is: obsessed with sex, finding sex in indulgence in every sense ... mind, such as it is, included.

The self-indulgence is so pervasive and gross and is carried to such extremes that it becomes ridiculous. So ridiculous it is undeserving of ridicule. This is something to be discussed between two wise old hands who see and joke between themselves in terms that are utterly clear but so subtle as to be completely invisible to the blind.

How come?

Because the old hands are using the very terminology of the game.

The blind, they know, are willfully blind and therefore will never allow themselves to see the joke.

This is the real joy of the intellect, to be experienced by the man of knowledge. This is no dry droning on ... um ... finger-wagging lecture on morality! There isn't humor of this caliber anywhere to be seen today and this is a shame. And to see and experience this is a reward of this study.

This is the point: This self-indulgent mind is not the unconscious mind. It is, for the blind, the dominant mind. What is unconscious about it is its lack of self-awareness. It is the person that is unconscious! By the mind being made to be ashamed of itself, it becomes a pure mind cohabiting with this low-life. Gradually it overcomes it's stockholm-syndrome-like, identifcation with it and frees itself from it. Before it is free it is said to be 'yoked' like the ox to the plow so to speak.

It is to motivate this mind intent on purification, through awareness and shame at being ridiculous, to separate itself off that a sutta such as this is constructed. To miss the double-entendra is to miss the entire point of the sutta.

You are being invited to join an elite. Take advantage!

 


[10]

[1][pts][than][bodh] I HEAR TELL
Once upon a time the Lucky man, Vajji-land revisiting, Bhaṇḍagāma village.

There then Bhagava said this to the beggars:

Beggars!

And 'Elder!' those beggars responded.

The Lucky Man said this:

Four, beggars, are yokes.

What four?

The sense-pleasure-yoke,
the existence-yoke
the opinions-yoke
the blindness-yoke.

And what, beggars, is the sense-pleasure-yoke?

Here, beggars, one does not understand as it is[1]
the origination of sense-pleasure,
the purpose of sense pleasure,
the self-indulgence of sense-pleasure,
the utter misery of sense-pleasure,
the escape from sense-pleasure.

With such lack of understanding of
the origination of sense-pleasure,
the purpose of sense pleasure,
the self-indulgence of sense-pleasure,
the utter misery of sense-pleasure,
the escape from sense-pleasure —
lust for sense-pleasure,
enjoyment of sense-pleasure,
the lubriciousness[2] of sense-pleasure,
the infatuation of sense-pleasure[3],
the craving of sense-pleasure,
the consuming passionate yearning of sense-pleasure,[4]
the frustration of sense-pleasure,[5]
— there is cohabitation with[6] sense-pleasures.

This, beggars, is what is called the sense-pleasure-yoke.

Such is the sense-pleasure-yoke.

And what, beggars, is the existence-yoke?

Here, beggars, one does not understand as it is
the origination of existence,
the purpose of existence,
the self-indulgence of existence,
the utter misery of existence,
the escape from existence.

With such lack of understanding of
the origination of existence,
the purpose of existence,
the self-indulgence of existence,
the utter misery of existence,
the escape from existence —
lust for existence,
enjoyment of existence,
the lubriciousness of existence,
the infatuation of existence,
the craving of existence,
the consuming passionate yearning of existence
the frustration of existence
— there is cohabitation with existence.

This, beggars, is what is called the existence-yoke.

Such is the sense-pleasure-yoke, the existence-yoke.

And what, beggars, is the opinion-yoke?

Here, beggars, one does not understand as it is
the origination of opinion,
the purpose of opinion,
the self-indulgence of opinion,
the utter misery of opinion,
the escape from opinion.

With such lack of understanding of
the origination of opinion,
the purpose of opinion,
the self-indulgence of opinion,
the utter misery of opinion,
the escape from opinion —
lust for opinion,
enjoyment of opinion,
the lubriciousness of opinion,
the infatuation of opinion,
the craving of opinion,
the consuming passionate yearning of opinion
the frustration of opinion,
— there is cohabitation with opinion.

This, beggars, is what is called the opinion-yoke.

Such is the sense-pleasure-yoke, the existence-yoke, the opinion-yoke.

And what, beggars, is the blindness-yoke?

Here, beggars, one does not understand as it is
the origination of the six spheres of touch,
the purpose of the six spheres of touch,
the self-indulgence of the six spheres of touch,
the utter misery of the six spheres of touch,
the escape from the six spheres of touch.

With such lack of understanding of
the origination of the six spheres of touch,
the purpose of the six spheres of touch,
the self-indulgence of the six spheres of touch,
the utter misery of the six spheres of touch,
the escape from the six spheres of touch —
lust for the six spheres of touch,
enjoyment of the six spheres of touch,
the lubriciousness of the six spheres of touch,
the infatuation of the six spheres of touch,
the craving of the six spheres of touch,
the consuming passionate yearning of the six spheres of touch
the frustration of the six spheres of toch,
— there is cohabitation with the six spheres of touch.

This, beggars, is what is called the blindnss-yoke.

Such is the sense-pleasure-yoke, the existence-yoke, the opinion-yoke, the blindness-yoke.

Being connected to bad, unskillful things,
self-soileur leading to anxiety-ridden existence
in the sphere of birth, aging and death,
with pain as the consequence —
such is to be yoked, say I.

These then, beggars, are the four yokes.

 


 

Four, beggars, are yoke-unyokings.

What four?

The sense-pleasure-yoke-unyoking,
the existence-yoke-unyoking
the opinions-yoke-unyoking
the blindness-yoke-unyoking.

And what, beggars, is the sense-pleasure-yoke-unyoking?

Here, beggars, one does understand as it is
the origination of sense-pleasure,
the purpose of sense pleasure,
the self-indulgence of sense-pleasure,
the utter misery of sense-pleasure,
the escape from sense-pleasure.

With such understanding of
the origination of sense-pleasure,
the purpose of sense pleasure,
the self-indulgence of sense-pleasure,
the utter misery of sense-pleasure,
the escape from sense-pleasure —
lust for sense-pleasure,
enjoyment of sense-pleasure,
the lubriciousness of sense-pleasure,
the infatuation of sense-pleasure,
the craving of sense-pleasure,
the consuming passionate yearning of sense-pleasure,
the frustration of sense-pleasure,
— there is no cohabitation with sense-pleasures.

This, beggars, is what is called the sense-pleasure-yoke-unyoking.

Such is the sense-pleasure-yoke-unyoking.

And what, beggars, is the existence-yoke-unyoking?

Here, beggars, one does understand as it is
the origination of existence,
the purpose of existence,
the self-indulgence of existence,
the utter misery of existence,
the escape from existence.

With such understanding of
the origination of existence,
the purpose of existence,
the self-indulgence of existence,
the utter misery of existence,
the escape from existence —
lust for existence,
enjoyment of existence,
the lubriciousness of existence,
the infatuation of existence,
the craving of existence,
the consuming passionate yearning of existence
the frustration of existence,
— there is no cohabitation with existence.

This, beggars, is what is called the existence-yoke-unyoking.

Such is the sense-pleasure-yoke-unyoking, the existence-yoke-unyoking.

And what, beggars, is the opinion-yoke-unyoking?

Here, beggars, one does understand as it is
the origination of opinion,
the purpose of opinion,
the self-indulgence of opinion,
the utter misery of opinion,
the escape from opinion.

With such understanding of
the origination of opinion,
the purpose of opinion,
the self-indulgence of opinion,
the utter misery of opinion,
the escape from opinion —
lust for opinion,
enjoyment of opinion,
the lubriciousness of opinion,
the infatuation of opinion,
the craving of opinion,
the consuming passionate yearning of opinion
the frustration of opinion,
— there is no cohabitation with opinion.

This, beggars, is what is called the opinion-yoke-unyoking.

Such is the sense-pleasure-yoke-unyoking, the existence-yoke-unyoking, the opinion-yoke-unyoking.

And what, beggars, is the blindness-yoke-unyoking?

Here, beggars, one does understand as it is
the origination of the six spheres of touch,
the purpose of the six spheres of touch,
the self-indulgence of the six spheres of touch,
the utter misery of the six spheres of touch,
the escape from the six spheres of touch.

With such understanding of
the origination of the six spheres of touch,
the purpose of the six spheres of touch,
the self-indulgence of the six spheres of touch,
the utter misery of the six spheres of touch,
the escape from the six spheres of touch —
lust for the six spheres of touch,
enjoyment of the six spheres of touch,
the lubriciousness of the six spheres of touch,
the infatuation of the six spheres of touch,
the craving of the six spheres of touch,
the consuming passionate yearning of the six spheres of touch
the frustration of the six spheres of touch,
— there is no cohabitation with the six spheres of touch.

This, beggars, is what is called the blindness-yoke-unyoking.

Such is the sense-pleasure-yoke-unyoking, the existence-yoke-unyoking, the opinion-yoke-unyoking, the blindness-yoke-unyoking.

Being disconnected from bad, unskillful things,
self-soileur leading to anxiety-ridden existence
in the sphere of birth, aging and death,
with pain as the consequence —
such is to be unyoked, say I.

These then, beggars, are the four yoke-unyokings.

To sense-pleasure-yoke connected
to fearful becomings-yoked
to view-yoke connected
blindness honoring
beings get themselves the round-and-round
to birth and death returning.

While they — sense-pleasure comprehending
existence-yoke and all
View-yoke and blindness removing, dispassionate,
all-yokes disconnected — these indeed are yoke-transcencent.

 


[1] Yathābhūtaɱ. suchas it exists. Woodward, Bhk. Bodhi: 'as they really are'; Bhk. Thanissaro: 'as it actually is present' where he is trying to bring out the idea of 'as it is found in life' or 'as it lives' which fits the Buddhist perspective better than the asertion of a state of reality.

[2] Sineh Literally 'fat', 'grease', 'oil' understood in one meaning as 'love, affection, lust, desire'.

[3] Mucchā PED: "Mucchati [murch, an enlargement of Vedic mūr to get stiff (as in mūra stupid, dull, cp. Gr. mwro/s; Sanskrit mūrakha foolish). Used in 2 senses, viz. (a) to become stiff and (b) (Causative) to harden, increase in tone, make louder. From (a) a fig. meaning is derived in the sense of to become dulled or stupid, viz. infatuated, possessed."
there is a play here between this and the preceding

[4] Pariḷāha burning desire, passion, painful longing.

[5] Ajjhosāna. Essentially the opposite of release: osāna. A little joke.

[6] Sānuseti. saŋ + anu + seti own + along-side + lying down. Getting in bed with. We say 'bedding down with'. Woodward: Occupies the mind. Bhk. Bodhi: 'lie deep within one.' The sutta is addressing the concept of 'yokes', one beast being tied to another forming a two-backed beast, as it were.


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