Anguttara Nikaya


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Anguttara Nikaya
Pañcakanipata

The Book of Fives

Suttas 153

Tatiya Sammattaniyāma Suttaṃ

The High Measure of Madness Method (3)[1]

Translated from the Pali by Michael Olds

 


 

[1][pts] I HEAR TELL:

Once upon a time, Sāvatthī-town revisiting
The Lucky Man addressed the beggars there:

"Beggars!

"Bhante! said the beggars in response,
and The Lucky Man said:

2. "Five, beggars, are things possessed of which,
even hearing the best of Dhammas,
there will be no falling in with the method
of skillful things consummately delightful.[1]

What five?

Listening to Dhamma hypocritically, pre-positioned to fake enthusiasm[2],
listening to Dhamma critical at heart, seeking the weak spots,
Dhamma-teaching being beaten-back in a heart overpowered by obstructions,
being stupid, a dull dribbler
being knowledge-proud, not knowing.

These, beggars, are the things possessed of which,
even hearing the best of Dhammas,
there will be no falling in with the method
of skillful things consummately delightful.

 


 

2. "Five, beggars, are things possessed of which,
just hearing the best of Dhammas,
there will be falling in with the method
of skillful things consummately delightful.

Not listening to Dhamma hypocritically, not pre-positioned to fake enthusiasm,
not listening to Dhamma critical at heart, not seeking the weak spots,
Dhamma-teaching not being beaten-back in a heart not overpowered by obstructions,
being wise, no dull dribbler,
not being knowledge-proud not knowing.

These, beggars, are the things possessed of which,
just hearing the best of Dhammas,
there will be falling in with the method
of skillful things consummately delightful.

 


[1] Sammatta. This is one of those words that I say comes down from the oldest forms of Pali and is a Manta, or magic charm. PED has it broken into two forms, one as SAṀ+MATTA, meaning 'with madness' or intoxicated, delighted, etc., but also (unmentioned) 'with measure'; and the other as abstracted from SAMMĀ meaning 'correctness,' 'righteousness' (I say 'High' or 'Consummate') and then defining that as the Magga. I suggest the meaning is derived from an earlier form incorporating all those meanings: extatic intoxication: "A High Measure of Madness," "Devine madness."

[2] Makkhī ... makkhapariyuṭṭhito. Smearing over, masking, hence Hare's 'unction'.

 


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