Anguttara Nikaya


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Anguttara Nikāya
Navaka Nipāta

Sutta 12

Sa-upādisesa Suttaṃ

With Holding-on

Or
Is it Safe?

Translated from the Pali by Michael Olds

 


 

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

Once upon a time, Bhagava, Sāvatthi-town revisiting,
Anathapindika's Pleasure Grove.

There then, the Venerable Sāriputta, rising aforetime,
taking up bowl and robes
entered Sāvatthi to get food.

But then the Venerable Sāriputta said to himself:

'It's too early now to go around in Sāvatthi to get food
how about if I visit the park of wanderers of other views?'

Then the Venerable Sāriputta approched the park of the wanderers of other views.

Having approached the wanderers of other views,
he exchanged greetings and shared friendly talk and took a seat to one side.

2. Meanwhile this was the topic of the talk
the wanderers of other views
had been sharing amongst themselves:

'Is it always the case, friend,
that whoever dies[1] with remaining holding-on[2],
is not absolutely safe from Niraya,
not absolutely safe from animal birth,
not absolutely safe from the ghostly garb,
not absolutely safe from the abyss, going bad, and ruin?'

 

§

 

3. Then the venerable Sāriputta
spoke neither approval nor belittlement
of the wanderers of other views
but rising from his seat departed,
without approving without belittling, thinking:

'I will get my understanding of this talk
in the presence of the Lucky Man.'

Then the Venerable Sāriputta,
after entering Sāvatthi and making his begging rounds,
having returned from his food-gathering and eaten his meal,
approached The Lucky Man and drew near.

Having drawn near The Lucky Man and exchanged greetings,
he took a seat to one side.

Seated to one side, then,
The Venerable Sāriputta said this to Bhagava:

I, bhante, rising aforetime,
taking up bowl and robes,
entered Sāvatthi to get food.

But then I said to myself:

'It's too early now to go around in Sāvatthi to get food
how about if I visit the park of wanderers of other views?'

Then I approched the park of the wanderers of other views.

Having approached the wanderers of other views,
I exchanged greetings and shared friendly talk and took a seat to one side.

Meanwhile this was the topic of the talk
the wanderers of other views
had been sharing amongst themselves:

'Is it always the case, friend,
that whoever dies with remaining holding-on,
is not absolutely safe from Niraya,
not absolutely safe from animal birth,
not absolutely safe from the ghostly garb,
not absolutely safe from the abyss, going bad, and ruin?'

3. Then I spoke neither approval nor belittlement
of the wanderers of other views
but rising from my seat departed,
without approving without belittling, thinking:

'I will get my understanding of this talk
in the presence of the Lucky Man.'

 

§

 

4. 'Some wanderers of other views, Satiputta,
are youngsters who cannot tell,
but some will know someone with remaining holding-on has remaining holding-on,
and will know someone without remaining holding-on as without remaining holding-on.'

'Nine, Sāriputta, are the persons that dying with remaining holding-on,
are absolutely safe from Niraya,
absolutely safe from animal birth,
absolutely safe from the ghostly garb,
absolutely safe from the abyss, going bad and ruin.'

What nine?

 


 

5. Here Sāriputta, some person
has brought ethical culture to fulfillment,
brought serinity to fulfillment,
but not brought wisdom to fulfillment.

Thoroughly breaking the five lower yokes-to-rebirth[3]
he becomes midway-thoroughly-cool[4].

This is, Sāriputta, the first person that dying with remaining holding-on,
is absolutely safe from Niraya,
absolutely safe from animal birth,
absolutely safe from the ghostly garb,
absolutely safe from the abyss, going bad and ruin.'

 


 

6. Again Sāriputta, and further than that, here some person
has brought ethical culture to fulfillment,
brought serinity to fulfillment,
but not brought wisdom to fulfillment.

Thoroughly breaking the five lower yokes-to-rebirth
he becomes stopped-foreshortened-thoroughly-cool[5].

This is, Sāriputta, the second person that dying with remaining holding-on,
is absolutely safe from Niraya,
absolutely safe from animal birth,
absolutely safe from the ghostly garb,
absolutely safe from the abyss, going bad and ruin.'

 


 

Again Sāriputta, and further than that, here some person
has brought ethical culture to fulfillment,
brought serinity to fulfillment,
but not brought wisdom to fulfillment.

Thoroughly breaking the five lower yokes-to-rebirth
he becomes no-own-making-thoroughly-cool.[6]

This is, Sāriputta, the third person that dying with remaining holding-on,
is absolutely safe from Niraya,
absolutely safe from animal birth,
absolutely safe from the ghostly garb,
absolutely safe from the abyss, going bad and ruin.'

 


 

Again Sāriputta, and further than that, here some person
has brought ethical culture to fulfillment,
brought serinity to fulfillment,
but not brought wisdom to fulfillment.

Thoroughly breaking the five lower yokes-to-rebirth
he becomes with-own-making-thoroughly-cool.[7]

This is, Sāriputta, the fourth person that dying with remaining holding-on,
is absolutely safe from Niraya,
absolutely safe from animal birth,
absolutely safe from the ghostly garb,
absolutely safe from the abyss, going bad and ruin.'

 


 

Again Sāriputta, and further than that, here some person
has brought ethical culture to fulfillment,
brought serinity to fulfillment,
but not brought wisdom to fulfillment.

Thoroughly breaking the five lower yokes-to-rebirth
he goes upstream to Akaniṭṭha.[8]

This is, Sāriputta, the fifth person that dying with remaining holding-on,
is absolutely safe from Niraya,
absolutely safe from animal birth,
absolutely safe from the ghostly garb,
absolutely safe from the abyss, going bad and ruin.'

 


 

7. Again Sāriputta, and further than that, here some person
has brought ethical culture to fulfillment,
but not brought serinity to fulfillment,
and not brought wisdom to fulfillment.

Thoroughly breaking the three yokes-to-rebirth
diminishing lust, anger and stupidity,
he becomes a once-more-goer[9]
coming only once-more to this world he makes an end of pain.

This is, Sāriputta, the sixth person that dying with remaining holding-on,
is absolutely safe from Niraya,
absolutely safe from animal birth,
absolutely safe from the ghostly garb,
absolutely safe from the abyss, going bad and ruin.'

 


 

8. Again Sāriputta, and further than that, here some person
has brought ethical culture to fulfillment,
but not brought serinity to fulfillment,
and not brought wisdom to fulfillment.

Thoroughly breaking the three yokes-to-rebirth
he becomes a one-seeder[10]
just once reappearing among men he makes an end of pain.

This is, Sāriputta, the seventh person that dying with remaining holding-on,
is absolutely safe from Niraya,
absolutely safe from animal birth,
absolutely safe from the ghostly garb,
absolutely safe from the abyss, going bad and ruin.'

 


 

9. Again Sāriputta, and further than that, here some person
has brought ethical culture to fulfillment,
has measurable serinity,
and measurable wisdom.

Thoroughly breaking the three yokes-to-rebirth
he becomes a clan-to-claner[11]
two or three times transmigrating around in good families he makes an end of pain.

This is, Sāriputta, the eighth person that dying with remaining holding-on,
is absolutely safe from Niraya,
absolutely safe from animal birth,
absolutely safe from the ghostly garb,
absolutely safe from the abyss, going bad and ruin.'

 


 

10. Again Sāriputta, and further than that, here some person
has brought ethical culture to fulfillment,
has measurable serinity,
and measurable wisdom.

Thoroughly breaking the three yokes-to-rebirth
he becomes a seven-more-at-moster[12]
seven more times at most transmigrating around as god or man he makes and end to pain.

This is, Sāriputta, the ninth person that dying with remaining holding-on,
is absolutely safe from Niraya,
absolutely safe from animal birth,
absolutely safe from the ghostly garb,
absolutely safe from the abyss, going bad and ruin.'

 


 

'Some wanderers of other views, Satiputta,
are youngsters who cannot tell,
but some will know someone with remaining holding-on has remaining holding-on,
and will know someone without remaining holding-on as without remaining holding-on.'

These are, Sāriputta, the nine persons that dying with remaining holding-on,
are absolutely safe from Niraya,
absolutely safe from animal birth,
absolutely safe from the ghostly garb,
absolutely safe from the abyss, going bad and ruin.'

So far Sāriputta, this Dhamma Curiculum has not been repeated to beggars, male or female, lay-followers, male or female.

How come?

Thinking 'Let not those hearing this Dhamma Curiculum take on carelessness!'.

Nevertheless Sāriputta, this Dhamma Curiculum is repeated in response to the question.

 


[1] Kālaṃ karoti. Done time. Served their time. Served their sentence. Died.

[2] Upādiseso. Upādi + seso upadi-remainders. upadi: Up-to-that or up-to-held or up-given or up-bound. Support, fuel, grasping, bind-ups, issues, scaffolding, ensnarements ... This term is the one used for the 'rebound' subsequent to being down-bound to (ensnarled by, knotted to, going down to) taṇhā 'thirst', hunger, desire, wanting and prior to 'becoming' or 'being'. Between wanting and becoming is intention to get and taking some action to get and this is based on some idea of what it is one wants to get and experience. Think of 'setting the ball rolling'. Fueling, but not 'fuel'. Stoking the fire. Most frequently translated 'grasping' in the Paticca Samuppada and with regard to the khandhas; in the present context usually 'substrata'. I have used 'bound up', and 'upkeep' previously. As best as I understand the matter, what it is that remains after death that is the subject here is fond recollections (recollections connected with longing, not simply memories), thoughts (again, those connected with unresolved anger and longing), intentions, impulses to act, unresolved commitments, promises, debts, kamma which is to be experienced or resolved but which has not yet been dealt with: and so forth here using the 10 Saŋyojānanaṃ. (see next note), yokes to rebirth, in other cases various aspects of hanging on to the six sense realms or the khandhas. What is being spoken of is what it is that remains after death that can potentially lead one to rebirth, that which is still 'held on to' fits both meaning and etymology.
PED: Upādā (adv.) [shortened ger. of upādiyati for the usual upādāya in specialised meaning] lit. "taking up", i. e. subsisting on something else, not original, secondary, derived (of rūpa form) Dhs 877, 960, 1210; Vism 275, 444 (24 fold); DhsA 215, 299, 333, cp. Dhs translation. 127, 197. - Usually (and this is the earlier use of upādā) as negative anupādā (for anupādāya) in meaning "not taking up any more (fuel, so as to keep the fire of rebirth alive)", not clinging to love of the world, or the kilesas q. v., having no more tendency to becoming; in phrases a. parinibbānaṃ "unsupported emancipation" M I.148; S IV.48; V.29; DhA I.286 etc.; a. vimokkho mental release A V.64
Upādāna (nt.) [from upa + ā + dā] - (lit. that (material) substratum by means of which an active process is kept alive or going), fuel, supply, provision; adj. (*-) supported by, drawing one's existence from S I.69; II 85 (aggikkhandho -assa pariyādānā by means of taking up fuel); V.284 (vāt-); J III.342 sa-upādāna (adj.) provided with fuel S IV.399; anupādāna without fuel DhA II.163. 2. (applied.) "drawing upon", grasping, holding on, grip, attachment; adj. (*-) finding one's support by or in, clinging to, taking up, nourished by.

[3] Saŋyojānanaṃ. The 'Five' are the first five; the 'three' are the first three. 1. One-truth-view, 2. doubt, 3. trust in good works, ethics and rituals, 4. wanting pleasure, 5. anger, 6. lust for material things, 7. lust for immaterial things, 8. pride, 9. fear, 10. blindness
PED:
Saŋyoga: [fr. saŋ+yuj] 1. bond, fetter M I.498; S I.226; III.70; IV.36; A IV.280... — 2. union, association... —3. connection (within the sentence), construction (accanta-)...
Saŋyojana[fr. saŋyuñjati] bond, fetter S IV.163 etc.; especially the fetters that bind man to the wheel of transmigration Vin I.183; S I.23; V.241, 251; A I.264; III.443; IV.7 sq. (diṭṭhi-); M I.483; J I.275;. The ten fetters are (1) sakkāyadiṭṭhi; (2) vicikicchā; (3) sīlabbataparāmāso; (4) kāmacchando; (5) vyāpādo; (6) rūparāgo; (7) arūparāgo; (8) māno; (9) uddhaccaṃ; (10) avijjā. The first three are the tīṇi saŋyojanāni e. g. M I.9; A I.231, 233; D I.156; II.92 sq., 252; III.107, 132, 216; S V.357, 376, 406. The seven last are the satta saŋyojanāni. The first five are called orambhāgiyāni e. g. A I.232 sq.; II.5, 133; V.17; D I.156; II.92, 252; M I.432; S V.61, 69. The last five are called uddhambhāgiyāni e. g. A V.17; S V.61, 69. A diff. enumn of seven saŋyojanas at D III.254 and A IV.7, viz. anunaya-, paṭigha-, diṭṭhi-, vicikicchā-, māna-, bhavarāga-, avijjā-. A list of eight is found at M I.361 sq. Cp. also ajjhatta-saŋyojano and bahiddhāsaŋyojano puggalo A I.63 sq.; kiṃ-su-s- S I.39.

[4] Antarāparinibbāyī. As defined in the footnotes of the PTS translations, in PED and in Cohen's NPD, this is a technical term which means a non-returner who, after death and after rebirth in some unspecified heaven reaches thorough coolness before the end or around the mid-point of that life. I have checked DN 3. XXXIII, PTS trans, pg 227: 'one who passes away before middle age in that world in which he has been reborn' (but the Pali does not contain anything like 'in that world in which he has been reborn'. [Follow above link to see for yourself.] I have also checked out the other references given in footnotes and the dictionaries and in every case what is happening is that a definition/translation is being given to this term that is not to be found in the Suttas (that is, it is likely being taken from commentary). By itself, which is what I believe the proper method in this case would indicate, the translation is: midway-allround-cool(er) or beteen-allaround-cool(er) or if you want to go to 'Old Pali': End-around-allaround-cooler or fore-around-allaround-cooler. In the list of non-returners in AN 7.16 which is the same as in this sutta and in DN 33, this person is the first in the descending-in-accomplishment group found here and each term of which is similarly translated with reference to information outside the suttas. The possibilities are that this is in fact reference to reaching the cool mid-term of the next life, or, looking at the last term, which speaks of rebirth in the Akaniṭṭha Realm, a Pure Abode, which is a destination exclusively for Non-returners where all persons born there attain the cool mid-way through the given lifespan there and thinking 'hum ... this looks like the last person is experiencing the same destiny as the first,' concluding that what may be being spoken of is 'midway between the death in this body and the next rebirth.' This is, of course, a point which raises a hulla-balloo in some circles. I don't see any problem with the idea that there is a period of time which varies for different individuals between say 'formal rebirths' and simply traveling around disembodied such as in a dream and that what is being spoken of in this series is the length of that period — the endpoint of which period for the non-returner if he had not got free earler would be rebirth in the Akaniṭṭha realm. I am translating the terms as found, leaving the meaning ambiguous. I do not recall a case where a technical term not obvious from the formation of the term itself is not defined within the suttas. Remember! The list is in descending order of skill, so each subsequent term is describing a person with more holding on than the one before.

[5] Upahacca-parinibbāyī.

[6] Asaŋkhāra-parinibbāyī.

[7] Sasaŋkhāra-parinibbāyī.

[8] Uddhaṃsoto hoti akaṇiṭṭhagāmī.

[9] Sakadāgāmī.

[10] Ekabījī. What is the difference between this one and the previous? Cone, NPD: -bījaka -bīji(n) '...the most advanced type of sotāpana ... who will become an arahat in his next life as a man.' No sutta citation. This looks to break down like this:
The one-seeder after death may find rebirth in various heavens (one presumes up to the limit of six) but only returns to the realm of man once in that life to make an end of pain.
The once-returner after death returns to the realm of man in his next rebirth and there makes an end of pain.

[11] Kolaŋkolo.

[12] Sattakkhattuparamo. Following on the comment in note 10, the 'Seven-more-at-moster' ... I have heard this one goes back and forth between rebirths as man and rebirths in various heavens before making an end to pain. If he went the full term that would mean his last rebirth would be in a heaven. Since we also hear that with the exception of the Pure Abodes, life in the heavens is too pleasurable for the attaining of Arahatship, this last rebirth must take place in the Pure Abodes. This is just working out the logic, not a statement as to what is what based on knowing.

 


 

References:
[AN 10.13]
Glossology: Saŋyojānanaṃ.
Appendix: The 10 Fundamental Attachments
The Five Fetters to the Lower Rebirths
For a map of the various major locations for rebirth see: Realms of the Imagination

 


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