Anguttara Nikaya


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Aŋguttara Nikāya
Chakkanipata
V. Dhammika Vagga

Sutta 47

Paṭhama Sandiṭṭhika Suttaɱ

To Be Seen for One's Self

Translated from the Pali by Michael Olds

 


 

Trnslator's Introduction

There are some significant differences of opinion concerning the meaning of a couple of terms in this sutta and this results also in a very different understanding between translators as to its meaning in general. My take is that it is a very skillfully handled answer to Sivaka's question that not only answers his question, but teaches him a Dhamma lesson that illustrates the answer. Bhk. Bodhi does not get his say, because his translation cannot be posted because of copyright restrictions, but his translation of key terms is cited in the footnotes to my translation.
I have here suggested a significant change in the usual translation of 'moha' as 'delusion' (Hare's 'infatuation'). I am suggesting 'confusion'. In this sutta we can see that one is supposed to be able to recognize the presence or absense of 'moha' within ourselves. People are able to recognize when they are confused, they are not able to recognize when they are deluded or infatuated as those ideas are defined by the fact of the self being deceived.

 


 

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

Once upon a time The Lucky Man,
Sāvatthī-town revisiting,
Jeta Grove,
Anāthapiṇḍika's Park.

There then, Top-knot-Sīvaka the wanderer approached The Lucky Man and drew near.

Having drawn near, he gave salutation.

Having given salutation,
having exchanged greetings,
he took a seat to one side.

Seated to one side then, Top-knot-Sīvaka the wanderer said this to The Lucky Man:

"A 'to-be-seen-for-one's-self' Dhamma.[1]

A 'to-be-seen-for-one's-self' Dhamma.

This, bhante, is what they say.

In what way then, bhante, is there a 'to-be-seen-for-one's-self' Dhamma,
timeless[2],
inviting 'come, see!',
to be experienced individually through vision?"

"In this case Sīvaka what is required is a counter-question
and you should make such response
as seems fit to you.

What to you think Sīvaka?

There being greed within,
is this known:

'There is greed within me.'?

There being no greed within,
is this known:

'There is no greed within me.'?"

"Even so, bhante."

"Whenever Sīvaka
there being greed within,
this is known:
'There is greed within me,'
there being no greed within,
this is known:
'There is no greed within me,'
then in this way Sīvaka
is there a 'to-be-seen-for-one's-self' Dhamma,
timeless,
inviting 'come, see!',
to be experienced individually through vision.

What to you think Sīvaka?

There being hate within,
is this known:

'There is hate within me.'?

There being no hate within,
is this known:

'There is no hate within me.'?"

"Even so, bhante."

"Whenever Sīvaka
there being hate within,
this is known:
'There is hate within me,'
there being no hate within,
this is known:
'There is no hate within me,'
then in this way Sīvaka
is there a 'to-be-seen-for-one's-self' Dhamma,
timeless,
inviting 'come, see!',
to be experienced individually through vision.

What to you think Sīvaka?

There being confusion within,
is this known:

'There is confusion within me.'?

There being no confusion within,
is this known:

'There is no confusion within me.'?"

"Even so, bhante."

"Whenever Sīvaka
there being confusion within,
this is known:
'There is confusion within me,'
there being no confusion within,
this is known:
'There is no confusion within me,'
then in this way Sīvaka
is there a 'to-be-seen-for-one's-self' Dhamma,
timeless,
inviting 'come, see!',
to be experienced individually through vision.

 


 

What to you think Sīvaka?

There being greed-Dhamma[3] within,
is this known:

'There is greed-Dhamma within me.'?

There being no greed-Dhamma within,
is this known:

'There is no greed-Dhamma within me.'?"

"Even so, bhante."

"Whenever Sīvaka
there being greed-Dhamma within,
this is known:
'There is greed-Dhamma within me,'
there being no greed-Dhamma within,
this is known:
'There is no greed-Dhamma within me,'
then in this way Sīvaka
is there a 'to-be-seen-for-one's-self' Dhamma,
timeless,
inviting 'come, see!',
to be experienced individually through vision.

What to you think Sīvaka?

There being hate-Dhamma within,
is this known:

'There is hate-Dhamma within me.'?

There being no hate-Dhamma within,
is this known:

'There is no hate-Dhamma within me.'?"

"Even so, bhante."

"Whenever Sīvaka
there being hate-Dhamma within,
this is known:
'There is hate-Dhamma within me,'
there being no hate-Dhamma within,
this is known:
'There is no hate-Dhamma within me,'
then in this way Sīvaka
is there a 'to-be-seen-for-one's-self' Dhamma,
timeless,
inviting 'come, see!',
to be experienced individually through vision.

What to you think Sīvaka?

There being confused-Dhamma within,
is this known:

'There is confused-Dhamma within me.'?

There being no confused-Dhamma within,
is this known:

'There is no confused-Dhamma within me.'?"

"Even so, bhante."

"Whenever Sīvaka
there being confused-Dhamma within,
this is known:
'There is confused-Dhamma within me,'
there being no confused-Dhamma within,
this is known:
'There is no confused-Dhamma within me,'
then in this way Sīvaka
is there a 'to-be-seen-for-one's-self' Dhamma,
timeless,
inviting 'come, see!',
to be experienced individually through vision.

Wonderful, bhante!

Wonderful, bhante!

It is, bhante, as though the turned-down were over-turned;
the lost were told the way,
an oil-lamp were brought into the darkness
so that those with eyes in their heads could see shapes.

Thus thusly the Lucky Man has shown Dhamma with not simply one exposition.

I go to The Lucky Man for refuge
and to the Dhamma
and to the Order of Beggars.

Having been given life this day,
remember me as a follower
who has taken refuge in the Venerable Gotama.

 


[1] Sandiṭṭhiko dhammo. own-seen thing. It could be 'with-seen,' or 'co-seen,' or 'con-seen,' or 'once-seen' but none of those makes sense. Hare: 'Dhamma for this life'; Bhk. Bodhi: 'The directly visible Dhamma'. The sense is clear from the way it is explained: when one knows about one's self that such and such a thing is present or absent in one, then one has Sandiṭṭhiko dhammo. Since this is a question not about seeing things in general, 'Dhamma' here means 'Teaching', or 'Form', as in the 'Tao' or natural good form, for Buddhists, understanding and behavior according to kamma. Since this is a question coming from an outsdier, the meaning for him is this latter, 'form', 'proper form' but Gotama stears him into seeing it in the Buddhist sense of such form as leads to liberation from pain.

[2] Akālika. non-time-stuff. Not bound by time. Here meaning that the knowledge is directly perceived it is not a matter of a conclusion, or a result to be experienced at a later time. But further, in the way it is here taught by Gotama, it is an instruction that does not apply simply to, say, the culture of Gotama in his Time, but is applicable to all beings from whatever cultures, at all times, in all states of consciousness. As an instruction, it does require an understanding that greed is not a good thing, which is not something that is all that clear to people here today [USA Saturday, October 04, 2014 9:16 AM], but the description of a 'to-be-seen-for-one's-self' Dhamma does require vision and anyone with any self-awareness can recognize that the popular expression 'Greed is good', is being made by a mind aware that it is voicing what it does not believe, what is not-Dhamma.

[3] -dhammaɱ. 'greed- etc. teachings', or 'forms of greed'. If it were the latter, it would have the meaning 'things relating to greed, etc.', or 'expanding the idea of greed, etc.', but that would duplicate the first set. Hare: 'has some hold'; Bhk. Bodhi: 'state connected to'. From \/Ḥdha to hold. But the better way to put that would be 'things held to be' which is, presumably, the idea in back of Bhk. Bodhi's translation. My translateion is based on the idea that Sivaka is asking about Dhammas, teachings. First he is given a timeless Dhamma, then he is shown that this is a timeless Dhamma.

 


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