Anguttara Nikaya


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Aŋguttara Nikāya
Pañcaka Nipāta
III: Pañcaŋgika Vagga

The Numbers Bag
The Book of Fives
III: Five-Dimensional

Sutta 27

Serenity

Translated from the Pali by Michael Olds

 


 

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

Once Upon a Time, The Lucky Man, Sāvatthī-town
came-a revisiting.

There, to the Beggars gathered round, he said:

Beggars!

And the beggars responding:
"Broke Tooth!"
Bhagava said:

"Develop serenity, beggars, boundlessly,[1] got down, reflected upon.

Serenity, beggars, developed boundlessly, got down, reflected upon,
five knowledges arise within oneself.

What five?

'This serenity has resulted in pleasure,
and thusly in future,
and there will be pleasant consequences.'[2]
— even so is the knowledge that arises within oneself.

'This serenity is Aristocratic, without carnality,'
— even so is the knowledge that arises within oneself.

This serenity is not the practice of just any sort of person,'[3]
— even so is the knowledge that arises within oneself.

This serenity
— peaceful, above it all —
gained as a result of impassivity,
is got by having become focused[4]
and is uncontaminated by the destructive habit of own-making,'
— even so is the knowledge that arises within oneself.

Then he himself further thinks:

'This serenity
I thus[5] mindfully conjoin
I thus mindfully rise up from,'
— even so is the knowledge that arises within oneself.

"Develop serenity, beggars, boundlessly, got down, reflected upon.

Serenity, beggars, developed boundlessly, got down, reflected upon,
these five knowledges arise within oneself."

 


[1] Appamāṇa. A + Pamāṇa. without measure, immeasurable. Often along with Mahāggata: Great Gate, Wide=spread. Most frequently associated with the practice of projecting the Four Godly Thoughts. An example of the former practice is the projection of kindly thoughts outward in all the ten directions each in succession. An example of the latter is the projection of kindly thoughts outward in an expanding circle. Here there is no mention of this practice and it can fairly be assumed that this is also intended to mean broadly applying the practice of serenity.

[2] 'C'eva āyatiɱ ca sukhavipāko' 'And thusly in future and there will be pleaant-consequences'; And following from this it stands to reason that in future this same serenity will result in pleasant consequences' where 'and' is O.E.D.: II.b. the predicted consequence of fulfilment of a command, or of a hypothesis put imperatively or elliptically. 1611 Bible Luke X. 28. Thus do, and thou shalt liue.

[3] akāpurisasevita not-'any sort of-person-following.

[4] ekodi-bhāvādhi The closest we come to 'concentration'. A factor of samādhi, not the samādhi itself. eko + odhi: one-fixation. For 'unity' we have, (and need) (see MN 1) 'ekatta'. We can see here, looking to the next phrase 'not contaminated by the destructive habit of own-making' that whatever this may be it must not involve willful action. Concentration I suggest is willful activity. It is the taking of the mind and placing it on one object while simultaneously actively excluding all else. Focus is similar but arrives at the attention being on one thing as a consequence of having got rid of what is causing it to be out of focus. At least seen this way it comports better with the over-all method of the Dhamma. 'Fixation' where it can be used and make sense is even better in that it is an involuntary or natural focus on something. All these terms come close and it is really a matter of keeping in mind the lack of will involved in the act.

[5] Because of the previous four knowledges.

 


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