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Saŋyutta Nikaya
Nidāna Vagga
12. Nidāna Saŋyutta

Sutta 67

Nalakalapiyaɱ Suttaɱ

Sheaves of Reeds

Adapted from Mrs. C.A.F. Rhys Davdis translation by Michael Olds

 


 

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

Old Man Sāriputta and Old Man Mahā-Koṭṭhita were once revisiting Benares, in Isipatana, in Antelope Wood.

Now Old Man Mahā-Koṭṭhita rising from his solitary abiding towards evening
approached Old Man Sāriputta.

Exchanging friendly greetings with him
and the compliments of courtesy,
he sat down at one side.

So seated
he said to Old Man Sāriputta: -

How now, friend Sāriputta,
is aging and death one's own,[1]
is aging and death another's,[2]
is aging and death one's own and another's,[3]
is aging and death not one's own, not anothers,
but arises on it's own?[4]

It is not, friend Koṭṭhita
that aging and death is one's own.

It is not, friend Koṭṭhita
that aging and death is another's.

It is not, friend Koṭṭhita
that aging and death is one's own and another's.

It is not, friend Koṭṭhita
that aging and death is not one's own and not anothers,
but arises on it's own.

But is is just that aging and death depends on birth.[5]

How now, friend Sāriputta,
is birth one's own,
is birth another's,
is birth one's own and another's,
is birth not one's own, not anothers,
but arises on it's own?

It is not, friend Koṭṭhita
that birth is one's own.

It is not, friend Koṭṭhita
that birth is another's.

It is not, friend Koṭṭhita
that birth is one's own and another's.

It is not, friend Koṭṭhita
that birth is not one's own and not anothers,
but arises on it's own.

But is is just that birth depends on existing.[6].

How now, friend Sāriputta,
is existing one's own,
is existing another's,
is existing one's own and another's,
is existing not one's own, not anothers,
but arises on it's own?

It is not, friend Koṭṭhita
that existing is one's own.

It is not, friend Koṭṭhita
that existing is another's.

It is not, friend Koṭṭhita
that existing is one's own and another's.

It is not, friend Koṭṭhita
that existing is not one's own and not anothers,
but arises on it's own.

But is is just that existing depends on yielding.[7]

How now, friend Sāriputta,
is yielding one's own,
is yielding another's,
is yielding one's own and another's,
is yielding not one's own, not anothers,
but arises on it's own?

It is not, friend Koṭṭhita
that yielding is one's own.

It is not, friend Koṭṭhita
that yielding is another's.

It is not, friend Koṭṭhita
that yielding is one's own and another's.

It is not, friend Koṭṭhita
that yielding is not one's own and not anothers,
but arises on it's own.

But is is just that yielding depends on thirst.[8]

How now, friend Sāriputta,
is thirst one's own,
is thirst another's,
is thirst one's own and another's,
is thirst not one's own, not anothers,
but arises on it's own?

It is not, friend Koṭṭhita
that thirst is one's own.

It is not, friend Koṭṭhita
that thirst is another's.

It is not, friend Koṭṭhita
that thirst is one's own and another's.

It is not, friend Koṭṭhita
that thirst is not one's own and not anothers,
but arises on it's own.

But is is just that thirst depends on experience.[9]

How now, friend Sāriputta,
is experience one's own,
is experience another's,
is experience one's own and another's,
is experience not one's own, not anothers,
but arises on it's own?

It is not, friend Koṭṭhita
that experience is one's own.

It is not, friend Koṭṭhita
that experience is another's.

It is not, friend Koṭṭhita
that experience is one's own and another's.

It is not, friend Koṭṭhita
that experience is not one's own and not anothers,
but arises on it's own.

But is is just that experience depends on contact.[10]

How now, friend Sāriputta,
is contact one's own,
is contact another's,
is contact one's own and another's,
is contact not one's own, not anothers,
but arises on it's own?

It is not, friend Koṭṭhita
that contact is one's own.

It is not, friend Koṭṭhita
that contact is another's.

It is not, friend Koṭṭhita
that contact is one's own and another's.

It is not, friend Koṭṭhita
that contact is not one's own and not anothers,
but arises on it's own.

But is is just that contact depends on the realm of the sensess.[11]

How now, friend Sāriputta,
is the realm of the sensess one's own,
is the realm of the sensess another's,
is the realm of the sensess one's own and another's,
is the realm of the sensess not one's own, not anothers,
but arises on it's own?

It is not, friend Koṭṭhita
that the realm of the sensess is one's own.

It is not, friend Koṭṭhita
that the realm of the sensess is another's.

It is not, friend Koṭṭhita
that the realm of the sensess is one's own and another's.

It is not, friend Koṭṭhita
that the realm of the sensess is not one's own and not anothers,
but arises on it's own.

But is is just that the realm of the sensess depends on named-shapes.[12]

How now, friend Sāriputta,
are named-shapes one's own,
are named-shapes another's,
are named-shapes one's own and another's,
is the realm of the sensess not one's own, not anothers,
but arises on it's own?

It is not, friend Koṭṭhita
that named-shapes are one's own.

It is not, friend Koṭṭhita
that named-shapes are another's.

It is not, friend Koṭṭhita
that named-shapes are one's own and another's.

It is not, friend Koṭṭhita
that named-shapes are not one's own and not anothers,
but arises on it's own.

But is is just that named-shapes depend on consciousness.[13]

How now, friend Sāriputta,
is consciousness one's own,
is consciousness another's,
is consciousness one's own and another's,
is consciousness not one's own, not anothers,
but arises on it's own?

It is not, friend Koṭṭhita
that consciousness is one's own.

It is not, friend Koṭṭhita
that consciousness is another's.

It is not, friend Koṭṭhita
that consciousness is one's own and another's.

It is not, friend Koṭṭhita
that consciousness is not one's own and not anothers,
but arises on it's own.

But is is just that consciousness depends on named-shapes.

But then we have understood friend Sāriputta to have spoken thus:

It is not, friend Koṭṭhita
that named-shapes are one's own;
it is not, friend Koṭṭhita
that named-shapes are another's;
it is not, friend Koṭṭhita
that named-shapes are one's own and another's;
it is not, friend Koṭṭhita
that named-shapes are not one's own and not anothers,
but arises on it's own;
but is is just that named-shapes depend on consciousness.

And we have understood friend Sāriputta to have further spoken thus:

It is not, friend Koṭṭhita
that consciousness is one's own;
it is not, friend Koṭṭhita
that consciousness is another's;
it is not, friend Koṭṭhita
that consciousness is one's own and another'svIt is not, friend Koṭṭhita
that consciousness is not one's own and not anothers,
but arises on it's own;
but is is just that consciousness depends on named-shapes.

How then are we to construct this
so as to see the meaning of what friend Sāriputta has said?

In this case, friend, I will give you a simile.

It is upon comprehending a simile
that some persons grasp the meaning of what is said.

Imagine, friend, two sheaves of reeds
the one leaning against the other.[14]

In the same way, friend,
consciousness depends on named-shapes,
named shapes depend on consciousness,
the realm of the sensess depends on named-shapes,
contact depends on the realm of the sensess,
experience depends on contact,
thirst depends on experience,
yielding depends on thirst,
existing depends on yielding,
birth depends on existing,
aging and death depend on birth —
the coming into existence of
upset,
grief,
lamentation,
pain and
misery.

Thus is it that this entire heap of pain arises.

If, however, friend, I were to remove
one of those sheaves of reeds
one would fall down
if I were to remove the other
the other would fall down.

In the same way, friend,
ending named-shapes ends consciousness,
ending consciousness ends named-shapes,
ending named-shapes ends the realm of the sensess,
ending the realm of the sensess ends contact,
ending contact ends experience,
ending experience ends thirst,
ending thirst ends yielding,
ending yielding ends existing,
ending existing ends birth —
the ceasing of
upset,
grief,
lamentation,
pain and
misery.

How snappy, friend Sāriputta!

How colossal, friend Sāriputta!

How well-said is this that was said by Old Man Sāriputta.

And I further rejoyce
in how well-said by Old Man Sāriputta,
are these thirty-six proclamations:

If, friend, a beggar, teaches a dhamma
of disgust with,
dispassion for,
ending of
aging and death,
he is fit to be called
'Dhamma-teaching Bhikkhu'.

If, friend, a beggar has walked the path
of disgust with,
dispassion for,
ending of
aging and death,
he is fit to be called
'a bhikkhu that lives the Dhamma in the Dhamma.'

If, friend, a beggar through disgust with,
dispassion for,
ending of
aging and death,
sets on foot freedom
he is fit to be called
'a this-seen-thing-Nibbāna-holder.'

 


 

If a brother teaches a dhamma
of disgust with,
dispassion for,
ending of
birth,
he is fit to be called
'Dhamma-teaching Bhikkhu'.

If a brother teaches a dhamma
of disgust with,
dispassion for,
ending of
existence,
he is fit to be called
'Dhamma-teaching Bhikkhu'.

If a brother teaches a dhamma
of disgust with,
dispassion for,
ending of
yielding,
he is fit to be called
'Dhamma-teaching Bhikkhu'.

If a brother teaches a dhamma
of disgust with,
dispassion for,
ending of
thirst,
he is fit to be called
'Dhamma-teaching Bhikkhu'.

If a brother teaches a dhamma
of disgust with,
dispassion for,
ending of
experience,
he is fit to be called
'Dhamma-teaching Bhikkhu'.

If a brother teaches a dhamma
of disgust with,
dispassion for,
ending of
contact,
he is fit to be called
'Dhamma-teaching Bhikkhu'.

If a brother teaches a dhamma
of disgust with,
dispassion for,
ending of
the realm of the senses,
he is fit to be called
'Dhamma-teaching Bhikkhu'.

If a brother teaches a dhamma
of disgust with,
dispassion for,
ending of
named-shapes,
he is fit to be called
'Dhamma-teaching Bhikkhu'.

If a brother teaches a dhamma
of disgust with,
dispassion for,
ending of
consciousness,
he is fit to be called
'Dhamma-teaching Bhikkhu'.

If a brother teaches a dhamma
of disgust with,
dispassion for,
ending of
own-making,
he is fit to be called
'Dhamma-teaching Bhikkhu'.

If a brother teaches a dhamma
of disgust with,
dispassion for,
ending of
blindness,
he is fit to be called
'Dhamma-teaching Bhikkhu'.

If a beggar has walked the path
of disgust with,
dispassion for,
ending of
birth,
he is fit to be called
'a bhikkhu that lives the Dhamma in the Dhamma.'

If a beggar has walked the path
of disgust with,
dispassion for,
ending of
existence,
he is fit to be called
'a bhikkhu that lives the Dhamma in the Dhamma.'

If a beggar has walked the path
of disgust with,
dispassion for,
ending of
yielding,
he is fit to be called
'a bhikkhu that lives the Dhamma in the Dhamma.'

If a beggar has walked the path
of disgust with,
dispassion for,
ending of
thirst,
he is fit to be called
'a bhikkhu that lives the Dhamma in the Dhamma.'

If a beggar has walked the path
of disgust with,
dispassion for,
ending of
experience,
he is fit to be called
'a bhikkhu that lives the Dhamma in the Dhamma.'

If a beggar has walked the path
of disgust with,
dispassion for,
ending of
contact,
he is fit to be called
'a bhikkhu that lives the Dhamma in the Dhamma.'

If a beggar has walked the path
of disgust with,
dispassion for,
ending of
the realm of the senses,
he is fit to be called
'a bhikkhu that lives the Dhamma in the Dhamma.'

If a beggar has walked the path
of disgust with,
dispassion for,
ending of
named-shapes,
he is fit to be called
'a bhikkhu that lives the Dhamma in the Dhamma.'

If a beggar has walked the path
of disgust with,
dispassion for,
ending of
consciousness,
he is fit to be called
'a bhikkhu that lives the Dhamma in the Dhamma.'

If a beggar has walked the path
of disgust with,
dispassion for,
ending of
own-making,
he is fit to be called
'a bhikkhu that lives the Dhamma in the Dhamma.'

If a beggar has walked the path
of disgust with,
dispassion for,
ending of
blindness,
he is fit to be called
'a bhikkhu that lives the Dhamma in the Dhamma.'

If a brother through disgust with,
dispassion for,
ending of
birth,
he is fit to be called
'a this-seen-thing-Nibbāna-holder.'

If a brother through disgust with,
dispassion for,
ending of
existence,
he is fit to be called
'a this-seen-thing-Nibbāna-holder.'

If a brother through disgust with,
dispassion for,
ending of
yielding,
he is fit to be called
'a this-seen-thing-Nibbāna-holder.'

If a brother through disgust with,
dispassion for,
ending of
thirst,
he is fit to be called
'a this-seen-thing-Nibbāna-holder.'

If a brother through disgust with,
dispassion for,
ending of
experience,
he is fit to be called
'a this-seen-thing-Nibbāna-holder.'

If a brother through disgust with,
dispassion for,
ending of
contact,
he is fit to be called
'a this-seen-thing-Nibbāna-holder.'

If a brother through disgust with,
dispassion for,
ending of
the realm of the senses,
he is fit to be called
'a this-seen-thing-Nibbāna-holder.'

If a brother through disgust with,
dispassion for,
ending of
named-shapes,
he is fit to be called
'a this-seen-thing-Nibbāna-holder.'

If a brother through disgust with,
dispassion for,
ending of
consciousness,
he is fit to be called
'a this-seen-thing-Nibbāna-holder.'

If a brother through disgust with,
dispassion for,
ending of
own-making,
he is fit to be called
'a this-seen-thing-Nibbāna-holder.'

If a brother through disgust with,
dispassion for,
ending of
blindness,
he is fit to be called
'a this-seen-thing-Nibbāna-holder.'"

 


[1] Sayaɱkataɱ. Of one's own making. The question implies the idea of a continuing self by pointing to the consequences of a deed done at one point in Time being experienced at another point in Time.

[2] Parakataɱ. Beyond-making. Done by one, experienced by another. The question implies the idea that there their arises and falls at each successive moment a self. This is the perception in back of the idea that there is no self, or annihilationism.

[3] The idea that the self both is and is not.

[4] The idea that the self neither is nor is not and that experience occurs without dependence on the actions of an individual.

[5] Paccayā. Supports. See n. 14 below. Previous translations have been: repercusses (mine), results in (mine), conditions, causes. From paṭi+i, 're-,' 'reflect,' 'return,' to bounce off of; PED "resting on, falling back on, foundation; cause, motive etc. The PED 'cause' no doubt arising as self-defining loop from Rhys Davids translations.

[6] Bhava. In this position in the Paṭicca Samuppada, bhava is the possibility of being a living being in some world of living beings. See DN 15. where the following is linked to other translations and the Pali:
"If, Ananda, there were no existence at all of any sort, by any being of any sort, whatever, however; that is: sensate existence, existence in forms, existence without form — with the non-existence of all existence, with the eradication of existence, could there then be any discerning of birth?" 'becoming' in this position is misleading in that it does not underscore the idea that what Gotama is talking about is the whole idea of existence, not just existence in existence.

[7] Upādāna. Up-given/bound. Fuel, Support, involvement, being given-over-to, commitment, attachment, yielding to. It is the point just before taking action when the will to resist has been overcome. Yielding is slightly better than the more literal 'giving-up' here in that it carries better the idea that one is going with or allowing one's self to be carried on by the thirst.

[8] Taṇhā. Hunger and thirst.

[9] Vedanā. Experience. The sensation experienced through the the realm of the sensess of pleasure or the sensation experienced through the the realm of the sensess of pain or experience that is not unpleasant, but not pleasant. In the case of the first case it is blindnes to the fact that pleasant sensation experienced through the the realm of the sensess is only temporary and results in pain when it comes to an end that results in yielding to the temptation to exist. In the case of painful sensation experienced through the the realm of the sensess it is blindness to the fact that pain too is temporary and that to struggle to escape pain through existence is not the way to bring pain to an end. In the case of the third case it is blindness to the fact that experience that is not unpleasant and not pleasant is the experience associated with Nibbāna and is freedom from the realm of the senses-experience.

[10] Phassa. Touch, contact.

[11] Saḷāyatana. Six Realms. The realms of the the realm of the sensess. The eye and sights; the ear and sounds; the nose and scents; the tongue and tastes; the body and touches; the mind and things, phenomena, dhammas.

[12] Nāma-rūpa. Named-shapes.

[13] Viññāṇa. Consciousness. Re-knowing-knowing. Awareness of being conscious.

[14] It is important to understand that this is not a simile about the coming into existence of the sheaves of reeds. In the simile the sheaves of reeds already exist. The simile is about the ability of the two sheaves of reeds to stand upright only insofar as they are supported by one another. We are here given insight into the meaning of the term 'paccaya', that is, that it means to lean on, support, or to be depended on. (Also, Bhk. Thanissaro's 'requisite condition') Here: 'supported by birth is aging and death' or 'depending on birth is againg and death'. This pretty much fundamentally changes all previous translations of the Paticca Samuppada that ... support the idea of creation or cause. I have used dependence, but also 'result' which is not quite correct and which I will as time and opportunity allows alter throughout this site to conform with this more precise understanding. Some persons are brought to understanding through similes.

 


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