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Saŋyutta Nikāya,
V: MahāVagga
51. Iddhipāda Saŋyutta

Namo tassa Bhagavato arahato sammāsambuddhassa.

Sutta 1

To Beyond

Translated from the Pali by Michael Olds

 


 

[1 ][pts] I HEAR TELL:

Once upon a time Bhagava, Savatthi-town revisiting, Anathapindika's Jeta-forest park.

2. Four, me beggars, are the power-paths which developed, made a big thing of, conduce to leading to beyond the not beyond.[1]

What four?

3. Here beggars, a beggar develops the power-path
that is wish-serenity-connected-exertion-own-making,[2]

develops the power-path
that is energy-serenity-connected-exertion-own-making,

develops the power-path
that is heart-serenity-connected-exertion-own-making,

develops the power-path
that is investigation[3]-serenity-connected-exertion-own-making.

These then, beggars are the four power-paths which developed, made a big thing of, conduce to leading one from here to the beyond.[4]

 


[1] Sri Lanka Buddha Jayanti Tripitaka Series Text reads: Apārā pāra; PTS Text has aparāpara. The original Pali would have had: apārāpāra or aparāpara which would have stood for: 'a para apara' or the even earlier 'a pa ara a-pa ara'. As we have it, it would not have been 'a para para' or 'a apara para' or 'apara apara'.
Pāra or para: pa = pass; ara = around the sun. Over, beyond. To beyond not-beyond.
Woodward reading the PTS text "aparāpara as a para apara understanding that to mean 'to and fro going," (meaning 'from here to there', 'to the beyond from the not-beyond'; but 'not-beyond' does not actually postulate a 'here' and neither does 'beyond' postulate a 'there') and thinks this is a mistake for a-pārāpāra = a-pāra-apāra, translating: 'no more of this or that shore' (not beyond nor not-beyond). He correctly points out that it is a-pārāpāra, that is consistent with the goal of the system.
In the next sutta in this series it is pointed out that whoever neglects this practice also neglects the way to the end of pain and that the reverse is also the case: whoever does not neglect this practice does not neglect the goal. So it is in fact important to arrive at a correct understanding of this phrase.

[2] Chanda-samādhi-padhāna-saŋkhāra-samannāgataṃ The first point to be made here is that this is a compound. However translated it must be made into a single, multi-fasceted term. My translation is saying that the term is describing a type of own-making where the exertion to create experience for the self (own-make saŋkhāra) is connected to 'wish-samadhi'. It is 'own-making' that is the mechanism of action. The other terms are modifiers.

Woodward: Here a monk cultivates that basis of psychic power of which the features are desire, together with the co-factors of concentration and struggle.

Bhk. Bodhi: Here, bhikkhus, a bhikkhu develops the basis for spiritual power that possesses concentration due to desire and volitional formations of striving.

Sutta 13 of this Samyutta has this on 'wish-samadhi' (the other samadhi's follow the same pattern):

Chandaṃ ce bhikkhave bhikkhu||
nissāya labhati samādhiṃ,||
labhati cittassekaggataṃ||
ayaṃ vuccati chandasamādhi.|| ||

If beggars, a beggar gets serenity
got with undivided heart*
based on wishing
such is called 'wish-serenity

*this could be: 'got in alignment with heart', 'got single-mindedly', 'got with heart one- pointed, purposed, concentrated, goaled, intent on', 'got at one with heart' ... I really like 'whole-heartedly single minded' translating the word twice.

Woodward: Monks, if, emphasizing desire,
a monk lays hold of concentration,
lays hold of one-pointedness of mind,
this act is called 'desire-concentration.'

Bhk. Bodhi: Bhikkhus, if a bhikkhu gains concentration,
gains one-pointeness of mind based upon desire,
this is called concentration due to desire.

For another sutta in which Chandha is put in a good light, see: SN 5.45.51: Possession of Wanting

[3] Vīmaɱsa. PED et al have 'investigation' 'examination' 'testing' and such and suggest it's origin from 're-mind-mind,' vīmaṃsati. I have always heard 're-member' as from 're-member-memory'. I believe the resolution is in the idea of 'piecing-together' as in 'puzzling-out,' 'problem-solving' for which the usual translation 'investigation' will serve. They win. Everybody's happy.

[4] It should be pointed out that these four 'paths' need to be developed together. They are aspects of, not separate paths to the way power is to be used to make magic.


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