Anguttara Nikaya


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Aŋguttaranikāyo
Catukkanipāto
XVIII: Sañcetana Vagga

The Book of the Gradual Sayings
The Book of the Fours
Chapter XVIII: Intentions

Sutta 172

Sañcetanā Suttaṃ

Intentions (b)

Translated from the Pali by Michael Olds

 


 

[1][pts] I HEAR TELL:

On a certain occasion the Lucky Man addressed the beggars, saying:

'Beggars!'

'Bhadante!' replied those beggars to the Lucky Man.

Bhagava said:

2. "There are these four regainings of self-life.[1].

What four?

There is, beggars, the regaining of self-life
which regaining of self-life
is self-intentionally walked to,
not another-intentionally.

There is, beggars, the regaining of self-life
which regaining of self-life
is another-intentionally walked to,
not self-intentionally.

There is, beggars, the regaining of self-life
which regaining of self-life
is self-intentionally walked to,
and another-intentionally.

There is, beggars, the regaining of self-life
which regaining of self-life
is neither self-intentionally walked to,
nor another-intentionally.

These are the four regainings of self-life.

 


 

This said, the Elder Sāriputta said this to The Lucky Man:

I, bhante, of this of which the Lucky Man has concisely spoken, understand the expansion thus:

Where, bhante, the regaining of self-life
which regaining of self-life
is self-intentionally walked to,
not another-intentionally,
it is self-intentionally that those beings quit body.

Where, bhante, the regaining of self-life
which regaining of self-life
is another-intentionally walked to,
not self-intentionally
it is another-intentionally that those beings quit body.

Where, bhante, the regaining of self-life
which regaining of self-life
is self-intentionally walked to,
and another-intentionally
it is self-intentionally,
and another-intentionally that those beings quit body.

Where, bhante, the regaining of self-life
which regaining of self-life
is neither self-intentionally walked to,
nor another-intentionally —
of this, what deva is to be understood?"[2]

"Those devas, Sāriputta, are to be understood
as those uprisen in the sphere of neither-perception-nor-non-perception."

"What then, bhante, drives,
what results
in this sort of being,
upon quiting body,
to returning,
coming to it'n-n-at'n[3]?

Again, bhante, what drives
what results
in this sort of being,
upon quiting body,
to non-returning,
not coming to it'n-n-at'n?

"Here Sāriputta this sort of person,
not having put down and let go
the yokes to lower rebirth[4]
he, in this seen thing,
arises and abides
in the sphere of neither-perception-nor-non-perception.

He savours it,
is in love with it
and is enriched therein.

Taking a stand in that,
to that adhering,
the bulk of his abiding being there,
not falling back,
having served his time
having arisen among the devas of the sphere of neither-perception-nor-non-perception,
he, having quit there,
is returned, coming to it'n-n-at'n.[5]

Here again, Sāriputta this sort of person,
having put down and let go
the yokes to lower rebirth,
he, in this seen thing,
arises and abides
in the sphere of neither-perception-nor-non-perception.

He savours it,
is in love with it
and is enriched therein.

Taking a stand in that,
to that adhering,
the bulk of his abiding being there,
not falling back,
having served his time
having arisen among the devas of the sphere of neither-perception-nor-non-perception,
he, having quit there,
is a non-returner, does not come to it'n-n-at'n.

"This then, Sāriputta, drives,
this results
in this sort of being,
upon quiting body,
to returning,
coming to it'n-n-at'n.

Again, Sāriputta, this drives
this results
in this sort of being,
upon qiting body,
to non-returning,
not coming to it'n-n-at'n?

 


[1] Attabhāvapaṭilābho. Atta-bhāva-paṭilābho. Really either Woodward's 'getting personality' or Bhk. Bodhi's 'acquisitions of individuality' would do and would be more familiar, but this translation serves to point out that what is being spoken of is 're-gaining', gaining again, living as an individual thinking of himself as having a self. The Buddha's message is, in brief, directed at action of any sort, aplicable minute-to-minute, but Sāriputta takes it to the extreme case of acts which result in dropping from one form of existence and re-appearing in another.

[2] The way I hear this, Sariputta has been speaking about the previous sorts of ways beings (of all sorts, not just devas) 'shift' (cuta) from one state to another (using the extreme case of death from one sort of life and rebirth into another), but seeing no human situation in which there is no instigator of transition, he understands it must be a deva that is being spoken of. Since he is Arahant and the Arahant has the ability to know whatever he wishes to know, he must feel the explanation would be best heard from the Buddha.

[3] Itthattan. Being some sort of an 'it' at some place of 'at-ness'. Woodward's (and Bhk. Bodhi's): 'this state of things', but 'this state' is not implied by this term, it is more general: 'any state'. Elsewhere translators have used 'thusness,' 'suchness' and 'such and so'.

[4] Orambhāgiyāni saññojanāni (the first five). See also: The Anagamin

[5] In other words his returning has nothing to do with intentions, but is simply a matter of having exosted the kamma that resulted in him being reborn in the sphere of neither-perception-nor-non-perception being exosted and the attachments to worlds of sense-pleasures not having been eliminated, he 'is returned', falls back to some lower world. Or again said another way: from neither-perceivig-nor-not-perceiving, he perceives.

 


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