Anguttara Nikaya

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Anguttara Nikaya
Book of the Tens
One-Mind Chapter

Sutta 57

Perceptions 2

Translated from the Pali by Michael Olds




[This from the Introduction to the previous sutta:] "I have done this translation so that we would have here a contrast with Woodward's translation. There is an enormous difference when 'sannā' is translated 'perception' rather than 'idea'. Sannā = 'one-knowing' or 'first-knowing' or 'once-knowing' = perception, not idea. The difference is that an idea is an abstract thing, tending to suggest an intellectual understanding apart from the perception of it being something connected to the self (speaking conventionally, or, rather, since these things are 'helps along the way', speaking with regard to the identification with 'this being'); here the idea is to have actually seen these things as they manifest themselves to one's self... actually seeing, or smelling, or tasting the identical repulsion one has of faeces, in some otherwise delightful food for example, or the actual feeling of world-wearyness when some ambition arises, or the conscious recognition of release (a deep sigh of relief that feels like it is a full breath) when one has finally passed the withdrawl stage connected with some habitual practice one has let go."
This sutta while including some of the perceptions from the previous sutta, adds a few that are in need of a little explanation. These ideas are generally associated in the commentaries with the use of concentration devices (specifically those of observing a corpse). That has the tendency to create the same distance from them as does the use of 'idea' in the translation. These are 'live' perceptions. One sees in one's mind's eye, as clearly as in a vivid dream, maggots heaving around, as often as not within 'one's own' or some live person's body, not just in the body of a corpse one is using as a concentration device. One sees a repulsive swelling or bruising in ordinary objects and people. Again, in the mind's eye, one perceives this whole universe as a disgusting skeleton, or one sees right into the bones of some person or sees some person as simply a walking skeleton. Woodward does not comment, Bhk. Bodhi has these as perceptions of corpses.

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

Once upon a time Bhagava, Savatthi.

There then, The Lucky Man addressed the beggars:


And 'Broke-tooth!' the beggas answered Bhagava.

These ten perceptions, beggars,
which made become
made a big thing of,
have great fruit,
great advantage,
plunge into deathlessness
conclude in deathlessness.

What ten?

Perception of discontinuity,
perception of non-self,
perception of death,
perception of disinclination for food,
perception of displeasure with all the world,
perception of bones,
perception of larva,
perception of mal-coloration,
perception of spongiformity,
perception of swelling.

These then, beggars, are ten perceptions,
which made become
made a big thing of,
have great fruit,
great advantage,
plunge into deathlessness
conclude in deathlessness.




See in connection with this: AN 10.56


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