Anguttara Nikaya


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Aŋguttara Nikāya:
4. Catukkanipata
V. Rohitassa Vaggo

The Numbers Bag
The Book of Fours
Chapter 5: Rohitassa

Sutta 41

Samādhibhāvanā

Becoming Highs[1]

Translated from the Pali by Michael Olds

 


 

[1][pts][ati] I HEAR TELL
Once upon a time the Lucky man, Savaṭṭhi-town revisiting, Anāthapiṇḍika's Park.

There Bhagava said:

Four, me beggars, are becoming highs.

What four?

There is, beggars, the becoming high which become,
made a big thing,
evolves into pleasant living in this visible thing.[2]

There is, beggars, the becoming high which become,
made a big thing,
evolves into receipt of knowledge and vision.[3]

There is, beggars, the becoming high which become,
made a big thing,
evolves into clear comprehending recollection.

There is, beggars, the becoming high which become,
made a big thing,
evolves into the passing of the influences.[4]

[2][pts][ati] [45] And what, beggars, is becoming high which become,
made a big thing,
evolves into pleasant living in this visible thing?

Here beggars, a beggar
separating from sense pleasures,
separating from unskillful things,
with thinking, imaginging,
enthusiasm and pleasure born of separation,
arrives at the first ken'n[5a]
and makes a habitat of that.

Setting down thinking and imagining[5],
subjectively tranquillized,
become single-minded[6]
— not thinking, not imagining —
with enthusiasm and pleasure born of becoming high,
arrives at the second knowing and makes a habitat of that.

Detached and disgusted with enthusiasm,
living with clear comprehending recollection,
experiencing for himself that bodily ease
of which the Aristocrats say:
"Detached, recollected, he lives in peace,"
arrives at the third burning and makes a habitat of that.

Letting go of ease,
letting go of pain,
letting earlier extacies and depressions
'find their own way home',[7]
— not pained, not pleased —
utterly pure detached mind all-round,
arrives at the fourth brilliance and makes a habitat of that.

Such, beggars, is becoming high which become,
made a big thing,
evolves into pleasant living in this visible thing

[3][pts][ati] And what, beggars, is becoming high which become,
made a big thing,
evolves into receipt of knowledge and vision?

Here beggars, a beggar meditates[8] on perception of light[9]
set upon perception of sunlight —
as by day so by night,
as by night so by day.

Thus unobscured by thought,
the unbound mind becomes beautifully brilliant.

Such, beggars, is becoming high which become,
made a big thing,
evolves into receipt of knowledge and vision.

[4][pts][ati] And what, beggars, is becoming high which become,
made a big thing,
evolves into clear comprehending recollection?

Here beggars, a beggar sees the germination of sense experience,
sees it's support,
sees it's getting gone;

sees the germination of perception,
sees it's support,
sees it's getting gone;

sees the germination of thinking,
sees it's support,
sees it's getting gone.

Such, beggars, is becoming high which become,
made a big thing,
evolves into clear comprehending recollection.

[5][pts][ati] And what, beggars, is becoming high which become,
made a big thing,
evolves into the passing of the influences?

Here beggars, a beggar lives observing the comings and goings of the five stockpiled shitpiles:

This is entity.
This is the coming up of entity.
This is the going away[7a] of entity.

This is sense experience.
This is the coming up of sense experience.
This is the going away of sense experience.

This is perception.
This is the coming up of perception.
This is the going away of perception.

This is own-making.
This is the coming up of own-making.
This is the going away of own-making.

This is consciousness.
This is the coming up of consciousness.
This is the going away of consciousness.

Such, beggars, is becoming high which become,
made a big thing,
evolves into the passing of the influences.

These, beggars, are the four becoming highs.[10]

 

§

 

Whoso, the world high and low has figured out,
By nothing anywhere made jittery,
[46] Calm, clear, unshakable, desireless,
uprooted has he, birth and aging, so say I.

 


[1] Samādhhibhāvana

[2] Diṭṭhadhammasukhavihārāya. Woodward translated 'in this very life'; Thanissaro: 'in the here and now.' Literally: Seen-thing-sweet-abiding. The problem with 'here and now' is the difficulty of locating that point when sense experience occurs subsequent to contact of sense organ with sense object. What the early beatnicks called 'the lag.' Translating more literally puts the focus on the experienced.

[3] Ñāṇadassanapaṭilābhāya. Book knowledge that has been actualized (reafied). In the Dhamma specificially it is the having seen as true the working hypothesis set up by the Four Truths. The first stage of secure accomplishment in the system, named 'Stream-entry'; however long it takes, the streamwinner will inevitably arrive at liberation.

[4] āsavā. Anything which results in good conditions decreasing and bad conditions increasing. At the most general level: lust, anger and blindness, with blindness specifically to the truth of the Four Truths.

[5a] Vūpasama. Jhāna. Literally 'burning brite' or 'shining' > intelligence to Chinese 'Chan', Japanese 'Zen', English "Knowing", but best yet the Old English term 'ken', here meaning to grasp the meaning of a thing primarily through the mind's eye by way of the physical eyes. When 'this visible thing' aligns up with what is seen by the mind's eye without wavering, it's 'seen' 'ken' as true or understood in terms of it's cosmic significance, it's trueness as a metaphore for life or the wisdom of the Dhamma, etc. I really like the resonance with 'jhana' 'chan' 'zen' ken?

[5] Vūpasama. Settling down, not repression. What is happening here is that the thinking and imagining settle down, resolve themselves into nothing like a slip-knot when it is pulled when the meditator ceases to attend to the dialog. The meditator does not take an active repressive role.

[6] Cetaso ekodībhāva. One of the continuously debated terms. Literally: heart (or mind) made one. Concentrated, single-minded, one-pointed. Thanissaro: composed; Woodward: single-minded. 'Concentrated' causes problems for those who would define samadhi as concentration. Experience tells us it is the evolution of the mind from the ordinary diffused state to one intent on the process of becoming high. It is not concentration on one thing, as the process of geting high involves alertness to this and that source of tension and distraction and the tracing back of these sources to such a point as allows their release. Concentration on a device is a training tool which is to be let go as soon as skill in becoming single-minded of purpose is mastered.

[7] Pubbeva somanassa-domanassānaṃ attha-gamā.Pub'eva. Younger, too young, before eve, early, before. somanassa, being filled with extacy. Doma, bad feeling. [7a]"Finding their own way home" is literal, but a good way to put it.

[8] Manasi karoti. Literally Mind-such making. Woodward: pays attention; Thanissaro: attends to. I think this would be more widely recognized as meditation if that word were not being used for the composite practice of sitting, minding and becoming high that is common today.

[9] Ālokasañña. Āloka, as 'light' in English, also meaning 'seeing' 'comprehending' and 'vision' (I've seen the light), and 'intuiting' or 'insight' (throwing light on the matter).

[10] Text segues to the verses with an obvious anacronism: Idañca pana me taṃ bhikkhave sandhāya bhāsitaṃ pārāyane puṇṇakapañhe.|| || Woodward translates: "Moreover, in this connexion I thus spoke in The Chapter on the Goal in (the sutta called) The Questions of Puṇṇaka" And footnotes: In Pārāyana-Vagga of Sutta Nipāta, v. 1048. The lines are also quoted at G.S. i, 116, and other verses from this ancient poem are found in the Nikāyas. See Buddhist India, 178. Bhk. Thanissaro has: "And it was in connection with this that I stated in Punnaka's Question in the Way to the Far Shore [Sn V.3]:

 


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