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Saŋyutta Nikaya
2. Nidāna Vagga
12. Nidāna Saŋyutta
2. Āhāra Vagga

Sutta 12

Moḷiyaphagguna Suttaɱ

Top-knot-Phagguna

Translated from the Pali by Michael Olds

 


 

[1][pts][than][bodh] I HERE TELL
once upon a time the Lucky Man,
roun-Savatthi-Town revisiting,
there to the Beggars gathered round said:

"Beggars!"

And the beggars responding "Bhante!",
Bhagava said:

Four, me Beggars, are the foods
of established living things,
or for the assistance of beings seeking existence.

What four?

Made-edible food,[1] substantial or subtle;[2]
contact is the second;
intentions[3] the third;
consciousness the fourth.

These then, beggars, are the four foods
of established living things,
or for the assistance of beings seeking existence."

 


 

This said, the elder, Top-knot-Phagguna, said this to the Lucky Man:

"Now then who, bhante, feeds on the consciousness food?"

"Not a well put question," said the Lucky Man.

"I do not say: 'feeds on'.

If I were to say: 'feeds on',
this would be a well-put question:

'Now then who, bhante, feeds on?'

But I did not say this,
and not having said this,
it is thus that you should put this question:

'Now then for what, bhante, is the consciousness food?'

That would be the well-put question.

This would be the well-put response:

'Consciousness-food is employed[4] for turning up in further-existence.'

This living being is the six sense spheres;
the six sense-spheres result in contact.

"Now then who, bhante, contacts?"

"Not a well put question," said the Lucky Man.

"I do not say: 'contacts'.

If I were to say: 'contacts',
this would be a well-put question:

'Now then who, bhante, contacts?'

But I did not say this,
and not having said this,
it is thus that you should put this question:

'Now then what, bhante, results in contact?'

That would be the well-put question.

This would be the well-put response:

The six sense-spheres result in contact,
contact results in sense-experience.

"Now then who, bhante, experiences?"

"Not a well put question," said the Lucky Man.

"I do not say: 'experiences'.

If I were to say: 'experiences',
this would be a well-put question:

'Now then who, bhante, experiences?'

But I did not say this,
and not having said this,
it is thus that you should put this question:

'Now then what, bhante, results in sense experience?'

That would be the well-put question.

This would be the well-put response:

Contact results in sense experience,
sense experience results in hunger-and-thirst.

"Now then who, bhante, hungers?"

"Not a well put question," said the Lucky Man.

"I do not say: 'hungers'.

If I were to say: 'hungers',
this would be a well-put question:

'Now then who, bhante, hungers?'

But I did not say this,
and not having said this,
it is thus that you should put this question:

'Now then what, bhante, results in hunger?'

That would be the well-put question.

This would be the well-put response:

Sense experience results in hunger,
hunger results in fueling.[5]

"Now then who, bhante, fuels?"

"Not a well put question," said the Lucky Man.

"I do not say: 'fuels'.

If I were to say: 'fuels',
this would be a well-put question:

'Now then who, bhante, fuels?'

But I did not say this,
and not having said this,
it is thus that you should put this question:

'Now then what, bhante, results in fueling?'

That would be the well-put question.

This would be the well-put response:

Hunger results in fueling,
fueling results in existence,
existence results in birth,
birth results in aging and death,
grief and lamentation
pain and misery
and despair.

Such is the arising of having this whole pile of pain.

Covered for you, Phagguna:
the utter-disappearance and ending of the spheres of contact[6] contact ends;
contact ending sense-experience ends,
sense-experience ending, hunger ends,
hunger ending, fueling ends,
fueling ending, existence ends,
existence ending, birth ends,
birth ending, aging and death,
grief and lamentation
pain and misery
and despair come to an end.

Such is the ending of having this whole pile of pain."

 


[1] Kabalinkāro āhāro Usually found translated as "material"; kabala: stuff-offerable, kāro: made. Made-edible generally because it has had the life taken out of it.

[2] oḷāriko vā sukhumo vā. Substantial or subtle because this must fit the edible food requirements of all sorts of living things, from humans who eat gross material foods, to plants which eat fine material foods, to the gods that are sustained on such things as aromas or thoughts.

[3] mano-sañcetanā. Mind one with heart. Thought in alignment with the will to do. Having the heart for what is in mind.

[4] Āyatiɱ > ayatana in meaning 2: exertion, doing, working, practice, performance. Neither Rhys Davids' 'cause' nor Bhk. Bodhi's 'condition'. Rhys Davids and Bhk. Bodhi focus on the switch from 'who' to 'what', but the Buddha's objection is not to the 'who' — the Buddha objects to the ideas 'feeds on', 'touches', 'intends' and 'cognizes' as implying the nourishment of a being that is feeding, where what is intended is that these foods further or bring about further existence. The first case implies, by pointing backward in Time, to a constant existing being.

[5] Upādiyatī. Fuels. Fueling the fire. This stands in for mano-sañcetanā. The fuel for existence (or freedom from existence) is the contimplation of and wishing for and intending to get such. The consciousness food is implied by the resulting state: either as consciousness of being an existing being or as consciousness of freedom from existence.

[6] phassāyatanānaɱ Spheres of contact. Not 'the six bases for contact' [Bhk. Bodhi] or 'the sixfold sphere of sense-contact' [Mrs. Rhys Davids] or 'the six sense media' [Bhk. Thanissaro], it is the equivalant of all these.


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