Anguttara Nikaya


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Anguttara Nikāya
Sattaka Nipāta
Dhana Vaggo

Sutta 52

Purisagati Suttaṃ

Seven Gateways for Man

Translated from the Pali by Michael Olds

 


 

[1][pts] I HEAR TELL:

Once upon a time Bhavaga, Savatthi-town revisiting.

2. I will teach you, beggars, of the seven gateways for man
and the unfueled[1] thorough-Nibbāna.

Hear this well!
Study it in mind!
I will speak!

Even so, bhante! the beggars then responded.

The Lucky Man said this to them:

And what, beggars, are the seven gateways for men?

3. Here, beggars, a bhikkhu having thus practiced:

'No being, and no being mine:
not becoming; not becoming mine.

Such as is, such as lives,
that I void.'

gains detachment as a result.[2]

He is not excited by existence.

He is not excited by becoming.

He sees there is a superior, peaceful path
by way of consummate wisdom,
and yet that path has not,
wholly completely[3] been made real.

The tendency to pride has not been wholly completely let go.

Nor has the tendency to desires to become been wholly completely let go.

Nor has the tendency to blindness been wholly completely let go.

He having destroyed the five yokes to birth in the lower realms[4]
becomes mid-way-throughly cool[5].

In just the same way, beggars,
as if with an iron cauldren fired all-day long,
when struck[6]
a fragment breaks off, veers out and cools down[7].

Even so, beggars, a bhikkhu having thus practiced:

'No being, and no being mine:
not becoming; not becoming mine.

Such as is, such as lives,
that I void.'

gains detachment as a result.

He is not excited by existence.

He is not excited by becoming.

He sees there is a superior, peaceful path
by way of consummate wisdom,
and yet that path has not,
wholly completely been made real.

The tendency to pride has not been wholly completely let go.

Nor has the tendency to desires to become been wholly completely let go.

Nor has the tendency to blindness been wholly completely let go.

He having destroyed the five yokes to birth in the lower realms
becomes mid-way-throughly cool.

 


 

4. Here again, beggars, a bhikkhu having thus practiced:

'No being, and no being mine:
not becoming; not becoming mine.

Such as is, such as lives,
that I void.'

gains detachment as a result.

He is not excited by existence.

He is not excited by becoming.

He sees there is a superior, peaceful path
by way of consummate wisdom,
and yet that path has not,
wholly completely been made real.

The tendency to pride has not been wholly completely let go.

Nor has the tendency to desires to become been wholly completely let go.

Nor has the tendency to blindness been wholly completely let go.

He having destroyed the five yokes to birth in the lower realms
becomes mid-way-throughly cool.

In just the same way, beggars,
as if with an iron cauldren fired all-day long,
when struck
a fragment breaks off, veers out, flairs up and cools down.

Even so, beggars, a bhikkhu having thus practiced:

'No being, and no being mine:
not becoming; not becoming mine.

Such as is, such as lives,
that I void.'

gains detachment as a result.

He is not excited by existence.

He is not excited by becoming.

He sees there is a superior, peaceful path
by way of consummate wisdom,
and yet that path has not,
wholly completely been made real.

The tendency to pride has not been wholly completely let go.

Nor has the tendency to desires to become been wholly completely let go.

Nor has the tendency to blindness been wholly completely let go.

He having destroyed the five yokes to birth in the lower realms
becomes mid-way-throughly cool.

 


 

5. Here again, beggars, a bhikkhu having thus practiced:

'No being, and no being mine:
not becoming; not becoming mine.

Such as is, such as lives,
that I void.'

gains detachment as a result.

He is not excited by existence.

He is not excited by becoming.

He sees there is a superior, peaceful path
by way of consummate wisdom,
and yet that path has not,
wholly completely been made real.

The tendency to pride has not been wholly completely let go.

Nor has the tendency to desires to become been wholly completely let go.

Nor has the tendency to blindness been wholly completely let go.

He having destroyed the five yokes to birth in the lower realms
becomes mid-way-throughly cool.

In just the same way, beggars, as if with an iron cauldren fired all-day long,
when struck
a fragment breaks off, veers out, flairs up,
and not stopped-short by hitting the ground[8], cools down.

Even so, beggars, a bhikkhu having thus practiced:

'No being, and no being mine:
not becoming; not becoming mine.

Such as is, such as lives,
that I void.'

gains detachment as a result.

He is not excited by existence.

He is not excited by becoming.

He sees there is a superior, peaceful path
by way of consummate wisdom,
and yet that path has not,
wholly completely been made real.

The tendency to pride has not been wholly completely let go.

Nor has the tendency to desires to become been wholly completely let go.

Nor has the tendency to blindness been wholly completely let go.

He having destroyed the five yokes to birth in the lower realms
becomes mid-way-throughly cool.

 


 

6. Here again, beggars, a bhikkhu having thus practiced:

'No being, and no being mine:
not becoming; not becoming mine.

Such as is, such as lives,
that I void.'

gains detachment as a result.

He is not excited by existence.

He is not excited by becoming.

He sees there is a superior, peaceful path
by way of consummate wisdom,
and yet that path has not,
wholly completely been made real.

The tendency to pride has not been wholly completely let go.

Nor has the tendency to desires to become been wholly completely let go.

Nor has the tendency to blindness been wholly completely let go.

He having destroyed the five yokes to birth in the lower realms
becomes stopped-short throughly cool.

In just the same way, beggars,
as if with an iron cauldren fired all-day long,
when struck
a fragment breaks off, veers out, flairs up,
and stopped-short by hitting the ground, cools down.

Even so, beggars, a bhikkhu having thus practiced:

'No being, and no being mine:
not becoming; not becoming mine.

Such as is, such as lives,
that I void.'

gains detachment as a result.

He is not excited by existence.

He is not excited by becoming.

He sees there is a superior, peaceful path
by way of consummate wisdom,
and yet that path has not,
wholly completely been made real.

The tendency to pride has not been wholly completely let go.

Nor has the tendency to desires to become been wholly completely let go.

Nor has the tendency to blindness been wholly completely let go.

He having destroyed the five yokes to birth in the lower realms
becomes stopped-short throughly cool.

 


 

7. Here again, beggars, a bhikkhu having thus practiced:

'No being, and no being mine:
not becoming; not becoming mine.

Such as is, such as lives,
that I void.'

gains detachment as a result.

He is not excited by existence.

He is not excited by becoming.

He sees there is a superior, peaceful path
by way of consummate wisdom,
and yet that path has not,
wholly completely been made real.

The tendency to pride has not been wholly completely let go.

Nor has the tendency to desires to become been wholly completely let go.

Nor has the tendency to blindness been wholly completely let go.

He having destroyed the five yokes to birth in the lower realms
becomes without own-making throughly cool.

In just the same way, beggars,
as if with an iron cauldren fired all-day long,
when struck
a fragment breaks off, veers out, flairs up,
and meets with an itty-bitty pile of straw or sticks —
it there just begets fire,
just begets smoke,
having begotten fire,
having begotten smoke,
and thus consuming that itty-bitty pile of straw
or pile of sticks
without food, cools down —

Even so, beggars, a bhikkhu having thus practiced:

'No being, and no being mine:
not becoming; not becoming mine.

Such as is, such as lives,
that I void.'

gains detachment as a result.

He is not excited by existence.

He is not excited by becoming.

He sees there is a superior, peaceful path
by way of consummate wisdom,
and yet that path has not,
wholly completely been made real.

The tendency to pride has not been wholly completely let go.

Nor has the tendency to desires to become been wholly completely let go.

Nor has the tendency to blindness been wholly completely let go.

He having destroyed the five yokes to birth in the lower realms
becomes without own-making throughly cool.

 


 

8. Here again, beggars, a bhikkhu having thus practiced:

'No being, and no being mine:
not becoming; not becoming mine.

Such as is, such as lives,
that I void.'

gains detachment as a result.

He is not excited by existence.

He is not excited by becoming.

He sees there is a superior, peaceful path
by way of consummate wisdom,
and yet that path has not,
wholly completely been made real.

The tendency to pride has not been wholly completely let go.

Nor has the tendency to desires to become been wholly completely let go.

Nor has the tendency to blindness been wholly completely let go.

He having destroyed the five yokes to birth in the lower realms
becomes with own-making throughly cool.

In just the same way, beggars,
as if with an iron cauldren fired all-day long,
when struck
a fragment breaks off, veers out, flairs up,
and meets with a substantial pile of straw or sticks —
it there just begets fire,
just begets smoke,
having begotten fire,
having begotten smoke,
and thus consuming that great pile of straw
or pile of sticks
without food, cools down —

Even so, beggars, a bhikkhu having thus practiced:

'No being, and no being mine:
not becoming; not becoming mine.

Such as is, such as lives,
that I void.'

gains detachment as a result.

He is not excited by existence.

He is not excited by becoming.

He sees there is a superior, peaceful path
by way of consummate wisdom,
and yet that path has not,
wholly completely been made real.

The tendency to pride has not been wholly completely let go.

Nor has the tendency to desires to become been wholly completely let go.

Nor has the tendency to blindness been wholly completely let go.

He having destroyed the five yokes to birth in the lower realms
becomes with own-making throughly cool.

 


 

8. Here again, beggars, a bhikkhu having thus practiced:

'No being, and no being mine:
not becoming; not becoming mine.

Such as is, such as lives,
that I void.'

gains detachment as a result.

He is not excited by existence.

He is not excited by becoming.

He sees there is a superior, peaceful path
by way of consummate wisdom,
and yet that path has not,
wholly completely been made real.

The tendency to pride has not been wholly completely let go.

Nor has the tendency to desires to become been wholly completely let go.

Nor has the tendency to blindness been wholly completely let go.

He having destroyed the five yokes to birth in the lower realms
goes up-stream to the Akanittha Realm.

In just the same way, beggars,
as if with an iron cauldren fired all-day long,
when struck
a fragment breaks off, veers out, flairs up,
and meets with a great pile of straw or sticks —
it there just begets fire,
just begets smoke,
having begotten fire,
having begotten smoke,
consuming that great pile of straw
or pile of sticks
sets fire to shrubland
sets fire to woodland
having burnt up the shrubland
having burnt up the woodland
coming to an end at stretch of earth
or of pleasant green fields,
or of rockland
or water,
without food, cools down —

Even so, beggars, a bhikkhu having thus practiced:

'No being, and no being mine:
not becoming; not becoming mine.

Such as is, such as lives,
that I void.'

gains detachment as a result.

He is not excited by existence.

He is not excited by becoming.

He sees there is a superior, peaceful path
by way of consummate wisdom,
and yet that path has not,
wholly completely been made real.

The tendency to pride has not been wholly completely let go.

Nor has the tendency to desires to become been wholly completely let go.

Nor has the tendency to blindness been wholly completely let go.

He having destroyed the five yokes to birth in the lower realms
goes up-stream to the Akanittha Realm.

These then, beggars, are the seven gateways for man.

 


 

And what, beggars, is the unfueled thorough Nibbāna?

10. Here, beggarsm a bhikkhu having thus practiced:

'No being, and no being mine:
not becoming; not becoming mine.

Such as is, such as lives,
that I void.'

gains detachment as a result.

He is not excited by existence.

He is not excited by becoming.

He sees there is a superior, peaceful path
by way of consummate wisdom,
and that path has wholly completely been made real.

The tendency to pride has been wholly completely let go.

The tendency to desires to become has been wholly completely let go.

The tendency to blindness has been wholly completely let go.

He, in this seen thing,
seeing with his own eyes,
by his own higher knowledge,
the corrupting influences destroyed,
without corrupting influences,
enteres into and abides in
liberated heart,
liberated wisdom.

This, beggars, is what is called the unfueled through Nibbāna.

These, then, beggars, are the seven gateways for man and the unfueld thorough Nibbāna.

 


[1] Anupādā. Using Bhk. Thanissaro's term rather than my usual 'support'. Here the similies are unmistakably pointing, in the lesser cases, to the idea that it is fuel that is obstructing the attainment of thorough-Nibbāna

[2]

'No c'assa, no ca me siyā;||
na bhavissati, na me bhavissati.|| ||

Yad atthi yaṃ bhutaṃ,||
taṃ pajahāmi' ti

upekkhaṃ paṭilabhati.|| ||

This is the Paṭicca Samuppada in brief. If there is no identification with an existing being, and no idea of a thing being 'mine', there will be no identified-with coming into existence, or coming into possession of things, and as for that which now exists, or is already living, by not holding on and by letting go one dumps that and by this whole process one attains detachment.

[3] Sabbena sabbaṃ. Hare's 'all-in-all' is really excellent, but today the meaning of that term as become 'all things considered' which implies compromise, where what is needed is a word indicating that his practice has scoured out every last glitch, bug, and obstacle. Bhk. Bodhi has 'totally'.

[4] Orambhāgiyānaṃ saŋyojanānaṃ. Saŋyojanā: Yokes to rebirth. Orambhāgiyānaṃ: Hare: 'Fetters of the lower sort'; Bhk. Bodhi: 'lower fetters.' PED: 'Having part in the lower, i.e., this world.' The term is to indicate that these are ties to the 'lower' or 'kama' realms, not that these are a lower set of ties although they are the first five of 10 and lower in order of difficulty. We just don't like to think of ourselves as 'the lower realms.' The five are: 1. Sakkāyaditthi: One Truth View (holding the view that any one way of seeing the self or any other thing is the one true way and that all other ways are false); 2. Vicikiccha: Doubt (about the Four Truths and kamma); 3. Sīlabbata-parāmāso: (holding the belief that Ethical Culture, Good Deeds, Ritual or Ceremony can bring an end to Dukkha); 4. Kāmacchanda (wishing for sensual pleasures); 5. Vyāpādo (deviance: wrath, anger, malevolance). For the full set of 10 see: The Ten Fundamantal Attachments At the time of breaking the first five one becomes a Non-returner. The various forms of non-returner described here meet their various destinies after death based on the work they need to do to rid themselves of the remaining yokes. It is interesting to note that here the things which have not wholly completely been let go does not wholly completely encompass the usual 'higher' five.

[5] For a full treatment of the issues relating to my choice of terms for these Non-Returners, see SN 46.3 n. 2

[6] Divasa-santatte ayo-kapāle haññamāne. Santatte means both to heat or fire, and to suffer torment and the simile points to the lack of clear distinction between hell and this life. ... in the lower realms. I have used 'cauldren' to parallel my translation of one of the first of the many torments of Hell (see The Horrors) where one is boiled in an enormous series of iron cauldrens. Cauldren seems more accommodating to the task than Bhk. Bodhi's 'bowl'. Haññamāne means to strike or hit or kill or murder and stands for death. We say a man has a heart-'attack' or is 'stricken' or 'sruck' to death.

[7] Papaṭikā nibbattitvā nibbāyeyya. Continuing the subliminal message. Papaṭikā is a fragment (which has fallen off) which would generally be understood as an impurity: slag. Nibbatti is 'nis vatti' or 'down-out-volution' or 'fly out and fall' but also means to be re-born; Nibbaye > Nibkhāyati is to 'go out' as a flame goes out and stands for Nibbāna (dis-binding). The simile clearly points to a period following the death of this body which does not fall into the usual classification of 'rebirth' but which is some form of identified-with existence. Bhk. Bodhi notes this and references what is one of the clearest cases of error being made by the commentators (see my note at SN 5.46.3). It could be a purely mental state in which one works out one's final issues, or as with the one called 'with-ownmaking' where some deeds of some sort are done with the intent to create experience and with the resulting experience (I imagine this to be something like participating in a dream and willing some situation or another, experiencing it, and that's the end of it, there is no notion of a 'whole lifetime'), or, short of being able to work things through before taking a formal new birth, birth in the Akaniṭṭha realm. No mention is made of the other 'Pure Abodes' which are also said to be destinations exclusively reserved for Non-returners. Since the five Gateways described here are already highly advanced states, it seems reasonable to assume that there is another grade of Non-returners who have a lot more work to do who are subject to rebirth in the 'lesser' 'Pure Abodes' and other Brahma Realms. We even hear of non-returners being reborn in the Tussita Realm, which is below the Brahma Lokas.

[8] Anupahacca talaṃ and upahacca talaṃ This case and the next can be thought of in two ways: As his course being not the course of the spark — by identifying with the spark (as it were), his course is altered or foreshortened. Or not. So in the first case, where the spark goes out before hitting ground, his course is not foreshortened, in the next case it is. Or, as I prefer to visualize it, it is the recrudescence of 'being' that is being spoken of as being stopped short, not the length of the interval (although it amounts to the same thing). This series is in descending order, but the terms appear to me to have been constructed from the bottom up. What is stopped short is the extension of the conflagration.

 


 

References:

SN 46.3
AN 7 16
AN 9.12
DN 33 (fives)

 


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