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Saŋyutta Nikāya,
V: MahāVagga
51. Iddhipāda Saŋyutta

Sutta 20

Vibhaŋga Suttaṃ

Analysis

Translated from the Pali by Michael Olds

 


 

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

2. The four Power-paths, beggars,
developed and made a big thing of,
are of great fruit, great profit.

How then, beggars, are the four Power-paths
developed and made a big thing of,
so as to be of great fruit, great profit?

3. In this case a beggar develops the power-path
that is wish-serenity-connected-exertion-own-making thus:

"Let my wishing not be too sluggish,
not be too unrestrained,
not be inwardly cramped,
not be scattered abroad."

Live after-before-perceiving:

As before so after
as as after so before.

As above, so below,
as below, so above.

As by day, so by night,
as by night, so by day.

Thus with clear thinking,
disentangled thinking,
the heart becomes radiant.

4. He develops the power-path
that is energy-serenity-connected-exertion-own-making thus:

"Let my energy not be too sluggish,
not be too unrestrained,
not be inwardly cramped,
not be scattered abroad."

Live after-before-perceiving:

As before so after
as as after so before.

As above, so below,
as below, so above.

As by day, so by night,
as by night, so by day.

Thus with clear thinking,
disentangled thinking,
the heart becomes radiant.

5. He develops the power-path
that is heart-serenity-connected-exertion-own-making thus:

"Let my heart not be too sluggish,
not be too unrestrained,
not be inwardly cramped,
not be scattered abroad."

Live after-before-perceiving:

As before so after
as as after so before.

As above, so below,
as below, so above.

As by day, so by night,
as by night, so by day.

Thus with clear thinking,
disentangled thinking,
the heart becomes radiant.

6. He develops the power-path
that is investigation-serenity-connected-exertion-own-making thus:

"Let my investigation not be too sluggish,
not be too unrestrained,
not be inwardly cramped,
not be scattered abroad."

Live after-before-perceiving:

As before so after
as as after so before.

As above, so below,
as below, so above.

As by day, so by night,
as by night, so by day.

Thus with clear thinking,
disentangled thinking,
the heart becomes radiant.

 

§

 

7. And what, beggars, is wishing that is too sluggish?

Whatever, beggars, is wishing
that has got mixed up with hesitation,
yoked to hesitation,
this, beggars, is what is called
wishing that is too sluggish.

8. And what, beggars, is wishing that is too unrestrained?

Whatever, beggars, is wishing
that has got mixed up with aggitation,
yoked to aggitation,
this, beggars, is what is called
wishing that is too unretrained.

9. And what, beggars, is wishing that is inwardly cramped?

Whatever, beggars, is wishing
that has got mixed up with lazy ways and inertia,
yoked to lazy ways and inertia,
this, beggars, is what is called
wishing that is inwardly cramped.

10. And what, beggars, is wishing that is scattered abroad?

Whatever, beggars, is wishing
set on,
scattered following after,
diffused following after,
the five external pleasure cords,
this, beggars, is what is called
wishing that is scattered aborad.

11. And how, beggars, does a beggar live after-before-perceiving:

As before so after
as as after so before?

Here, beggars, a beggar
easily gets the
well-studied,
well taken hold of,
well reflected on with wisedom
perception of the after and before.[2]

This then beggars, is how a beggar lives after-before-perceiving:

As before so after
as as after so before.

12. And how, beggars, does a beggar live:

As above, so below,
as below, so above?

Here, beggars, a beggar lives viewing this body from the tops of the tips of the hair above to the bottoms of the soles of the feet below as a double-ended skin bag filled with various sorts of putrid filth:

There is in this body hair of the head, body hair, nails, teeth, skin, meat, sinews, bones, marrow, kidneys, heart, liver, pleura, spleen, lungs, innerds, intestines, stomach, excrement, bile, phlegm, pus, blood, sweat, fat, tears, wax,[3] spit, snot, synovial fluid,[4] and urine.

It is thus, beggars, that a beggar lives:

As above, so below,
as below, so above.[5]

13. And how, beggars, does a beggar live:

As by day, so by night,
as by night, so by day?

Here beggars, a beggar
by whatever method, along whatever lines, by way of whatever signs
wish-serenity-connected-exertion-own-making is developed by day
he by such method, along such lines, by way of such signs
so develops wish-serenity-connected-exertion-own-making by night.

By whatever method, along whatever lines, by way of whatever signs
wish-serenity-connected-exertion-own-making is developed by night
he by such method, along such lines, by way of such signs
so develops wish-serenity-connected-exertion-own-making by day.

It is thus, beggars, that a beggar lives:

As by day, so by night,
as by night, so by day.

14. And how, beggars, does a beggar
have clear thinking,
disentangled thinking,
with the heart become radiant?

Here beggars, a beggar's light-perception is well-grasped, day-perception well-established.

It is thus, beggars, that a beggar has
clear thinking,
disentangled thinking,
with the heart become radiant.[6]

 


 

15. And what, beggars, is energy that is too sluggish?

Whatever, beggars, is energy
that has got mixed up with hesitation,
yoked to hesitation,
this, beggars, is what is called
energy that is too sluggish.

16. And what, beggars, is energy that is too unrestrained?

Whatever, beggars, is energy
that has got mixed up with aggitation,
yoked to aggitation,
this, beggars, is what is called
energy that is too unretrained.

17. And what, beggars, is energy that is inwardly cramped?

Whatever, beggars, is energy
that has got mixed up with lazy ways and inertia,
yoked to lazy ways and inertia,
this, beggars, is what is called
energy that is inwardly cramped.

18. And what, beggars, is energy that is scattered abroad?

Whatever, beggars, is energy
set on,
scattered following after,
diffused following after,
the five external pleasure cords,
this, beggars, is what is called
energy that is scattered aborad.

19. And how, beggars, does a beggar live after-before-perceiving:

As before so after
as as after so before?

Here, beggars, a beggar
easily gets the
well-studied,
well taken hold of,
well reflected on with wisedom
perception of the after and before.

This then beggars, is how a beggar lives after-before-perceiving:

As before so after
as as after so before.

20. And how, beggars, does a beggar live:

As above, so below,
as below, so above?

Here, beggars, a beggar lives viewing this body from the tops of the tips of the hair above to the bottoms of the soles of the feet below as a double-ended skin bag filled with various sorts of putrid filth:

There is in this body hair of the head, body hair, nails, teeth, skin, meat, sinews, bones, marrow, kidneys, heart, liver, pleura, spleen, lungs, innerds, intestines, stomach, excrement, bile, phlegm, pus, blood, sweat, fat, tears, wax, spit, snot, synovial fluid, and urine.

It is thus, beggars, that a beggar lives:

As above, so below,
as below, so above.

21. And how, beggars, does a beggar live:

As by day, so by night,
as by night, so by day?

Here beggars, a beggar
by whatever method, along whatever lines, by way of whatever signs
energy-serenity-connected-exertion-own-making is developed by day
he by such method, along such lines, by way of such signs
so develops energy-serenity-connected-exertion-own-making by night.

By whatever method, along whatever lines, by way of whatever signs
energy-serenity-connected-exertion-own-making is developed by night
he by such method, along such lines, by way of such signs
so develops energy-serenity-connected-exertion-own-making by day.

It is thus, beggars, that a beggar lives:

As by day, so by night,
as by night, so by day.

22. And how, beggars, does a beggar
have clear thinking,
disentangled thinking,
with the heart become radiant?

Here beggars, a beggar's light-perception is well-grasped, day-perception well-established.

It is thus, beggars, that a beggar has
clear thinking,
disentangled thinking,
with the heart become radiant.

 


 

23. And what, beggars, is a heart that is too sluggish?

Whatever, beggars, is a heart
that has got mixed up with hesitation,
yoked to hesitation,
this, beggars, is what is called
a heart that is too sluggish.

24. And what, beggars, is a heart that is too unrestrained?

Whatever, beggars, is a heart
that has got mixed up with aggitation,
yoked to aggitation,
this, beggars, is what is called
a heart that is too unretrained.

25. And what, beggars, is a heart that is inwardly cramped?

Whatever, beggars, is a heart
that has got mixed up with lazy ways and inertia,
yoked to lazy ways and inertia,
this, beggars, is what is called
a heart that is inwardly cramped.

26. And what, beggars, is a heart that is scattered abroad?

Whatever, beggars, is a heart
set on,
scattered following after,
diffused following after,
the five external pleasure cords,
this, beggars, is what is called
a heart that is scattered aborad.

27. And how, beggars, does a beggar live after-before-perceiving:

As before so after
as as after so before?

Here, beggars, a beggar
easily gets the
well-studied,
well taken hold of,
well reflected on with wisedom
perception of the after and before.

This then beggars, is how a beggar lives after-before-perceiving:

As before so after
as as after so before.

28. And how, beggars, does a beggar live:

As above, so below,
as below, so above?

Here, beggars, a beggar lives viewing this body from the tops of the tips of the hair above to the bottoms of the soles of the feet below as a double-ended skin bag filled with various sorts of putrid filth:

There is in this body hair of the head, body hair, nails, teeth, skin, meat, sinews, bones, marrow, kidneys, heart, liver, pleura, spleen, lungs, innerds, intestines, stomach, excrement, bile, phlegm, pus, blood, sweat, fat, tears, wax, spit, snot, synovial fluid, and urine.

It is thus, beggars, that a beggar lives:

As above, so below,
as below, so above.

29. And how, beggars, does a beggar live:

As by day, so by night,
as by night, so by day?

Here beggars, a beggar
by whatever method, along whatever lines, by way of whatever signs
heart-serenity-connected-exertion-own-making is developed by day
he by such method, along such lines, by way of such signs
so develops heart-serenity-connected-exertion-own-making by night.

By whatever method, along whatever lines, by way of whatever signs
heart-serenity-connected-exertion-own-making is developed by night
he by such method, along such lines, by way of such signs
so develops heart-serenity-connected-exertion-own-making by day.

It is thus, beggars, that a beggar lives:

As by day, so by night,
as by night, so by day.

30. And how, beggars, does a beggar
have clear thinking,
disentangled thinking,
with the heart become radiant?

Here beggars, a beggar's light-perception is well-grasped, day-perception well-established.

It is thus, beggars, that a beggar has
clear thinking,
disentangled thinking,
with the heart become radiant.

 


 

31. And what, beggars, is investigation that is too sluggish?

Whatever, beggars, is investigation
that has got mixed up with hesitation,
yoked to hesitation,
this, beggars, is what is called
investigation that is too sluggish.

32. And what, beggars, is investigation that is too unrestrained?

Whatever, beggars, is investigation
that has got mixed up with aggitation,
yoked to aggitation,
this, beggars, is what is called
investigation that is too unretrained.

33. And what, beggars, is investigation that is inwardly cramped?

Whatever, beggars, is investigation
that has got mixed up with lazy ways and inertia,
yoked to lazy ways and inertia,
this, beggars, is what is called
investigation that is inwardly cramped.

34. And what, beggars, is investigation that is scattered abroad?

Whatever, beggars, is investigation
set on,
scattered following after,
diffused following after,
the five external pleasure cords,
this, beggars, is what is called
investigation that is scattered aborad.

35. And how, beggars, does a beggar live after-before-perceiving:

As before so after
as as after so before?

Here, beggars, a beggar
easily gets the
well-studied,
well taken hold of,
well reflected on with wisedom
perception of the after and before.

This then beggars, is how a beggar lives after-before-perceiving:

As before so after
as as after so before.

36. And how, beggars, does a beggar live:

As above, so below,
as below, so above?

Here, beggars, a beggar lives viewing this body from the tops of the tips of the hair above to the bottoms of the soles of the feet below as a double-ended skin bag filled with various sorts of putrid filth:

There is in this body hair of the head, body hair, nails, teeth, skin, meat, sinews, bones, marrow, kidneys, heart, liver, pleura, spleen, lungs, innerds, intestines, stomach, excrement, bile, phlegm, pus, blood, sweat, fat, tears, wax, spit, snot, synovial fluid, and urine.

It is thus, beggars, that a beggar lives:

As above, so below,
as below, so above.

37. And how, beggars, does a beggar live:

As by day, so by night,
as by night, so by day?

Here beggars, a beggar
by whatever method, along whatever lines, by way of whatever signs
investigation-serenity-connected-exertion-own-making is developed by day
he by such method, along such lines, by way of such signs
so develops investigation-serenity-connected-exertion-own-making by night.

By whatever method, along whatever lines, by way of whatever signs
investigation-serenity-connected-exertion-own-making is developed by night
he by such method, along such lines, by way of such signs
so develops investigation-serenity-connected-exertion-own-making by day.

It is thus, beggars, that a beggar lives:

As by day, so by night,
as by night, so by day.

38. And how, beggars, does a beggar
have clear thinking,
disentangled thinking,
with the heart become radiant?

Here beggars, a beggar's light-perception is well-grasped, day-perception well-established.

It is thus, beggars, that a beggar has
clear thinking,
disentangled thinking,
with the heart become radiant.

 


 

39. Thus developed, then beggars,
thus made a big thing of,
the four power-paths
are of great fruit, great profit.

It is through thus developing, beggars,
thus making a big thing of the four power-paths,
that the result for a beggar
will not be just one of the various sorts of power.

Being one he also becomes many,
being many he also becomes one.

Manifest here, transported beyond notice,
transported through walls,
transported through fortifications unsticking,
he goes whithersoever as if in space.

He jumps into and out of the earth
as though in water;
goes on water without parting it
as though on solid ground.

He goes through space cross-legged like a bird on the wing.

He touches and feels with the hand the Moon and Sun, as great and powerful as they are.

He turns up in the body even in the Brahma world.

40. Thus developed, then beggars,
a beggar thus making a big thing of the four power-paths,
with purified godlike hearing,
beyond that of ordinary men,
hears both sounds:
godly and man-made,
far or near.

41. Thus developed, then beggars,
a beggar thus making a big thing of the four power-paths —
of other beings,
of other men,
heart encompassing heart,
he knows:

Of a lustful heart: "This is a lustful heart."

Of a lust-free heart: "This is a lust-free heart."

Of a hateful heart: "This is a hateful heart."

Of a hate-free heart: "This is a hate-free heart."

Of a clogged up heart: "This is a clogged up heart."

Of an unclogged heart: "This is an unclogged heart."

Of an deranged heart: "This is a deranged heart."

Of a balanced heart: "This is a balanced heart"

Of a constricted heart: "This is a constricted heart."

Of an unconstricted heart: "This is an unconstricted heart."

Of a state of heart that is less than superior: "This is a state of heart that is less than superior."

Of a state of heart that is superior: "This state of heart is nothing less than superior."

Of useless heart: "This is a useless heart."

Of a beneficial heart: "This is a beneficial heart."

Of a heart that is not free: "This is a heart that is not free."

Of a heart that is freed: "This is a heart that is freed."

42. Thus developed, then beggars,
a beggar thus making a big thing of the four power-paths,
recollects not just one arrangement of previous inhabitations.

For example:

Just one birth,
just two births,
just three births,
just four births,
just five births,
just ten births,
just twenty births,
just thirty births,
just fourty births,
just fifty births,
one hundred births in all,
a thousand births in all,
a hundred-thousand births in all,
not just one evolution of a kappa,
not just one devolution of a kappa,
not just one evolution and devolution of a kappa.

That there:

Of such a name
of such a clan
of such color
of such food
of such experience of pleasure and pain,
of such coming to life's end.

Shifting away from that, re-appearing elsewhere.

In that habitation:

Of such a name
of such a clan
of such color
of such food
of such experience of pleasure and pain,
of such coming to life's end.

Shifting away from that reborn here."

Thus with it's makeup in detail,
he recollects not just one arrangement of previous inhabitations.

43. Thus developed, then beggars,
a beggar thus making a big thing of the four power-paths,
he sees beings with purified godlike sight
surpassing that of mankind.

He knows of beings
their shifting away, re-appearance,
being left behind, advancing,
their beauty, their uglyness,
their experiencing of pleasure, experiencing of pain,
according to their intentional deeds:

For sure these good beings were
committed to injurious bodily conduct,
committed to injurious verbal conduct,
committed to injurious mental conduct,
denegrated Aristocrats,
held low views,
were committed to behavior in accordance with low views,
for upon the break up of the body after death
they have arisen in states of woe,
pain,
punishment,
Niraya Hell.

For sure these good beings were
committed to beneficial bodily conduct,
committed to beneficial verbal conduct,
committed to beneficial mental conduct,
spoke well of Aristocrats,
were of high view,
were committed to behavior in accordance with high view,
for upon the break up of the body after death
they have arisen in worlds of heavonly pleasures.

Thus he sees beings with purified godlike sight
surpassing that of mankind.

And he knows of beings
their shifting away, re-appearance,
being left behind, advancing,
their beauty, their uglyness,
their experiencing of pleasure, experiencing of pain,
according to their intentional deeds.

44. Thus developed, then beggars,
a beggar thus making a big thing of the four power-paths,
through his own higher knowledge experiences
the destruction of the corrupting influences,
and without corrupting influences,
in this seen thing,
enters into and lives
in freedom of heart,
freedom of wisdom.

 


[1] No nidana, no indication that it is Gotama that is speaking.

[2] Pacchā-pure. See the Forum Discussion The Eye in the Back of the Head where this is given as an explanation of the meaning:
...a beggar lives developing
wish-, energy-, heart-, investigation-
serenity-connected-exertion-own-making
such that his
after-before-perception
is behind him as it is in front of him
is in front of him as it is behind him.

...he does this by
developing his perception of the after and of the before
such that he gets this perception easily
because it has been well-studied,
is well grasped and retained,
and has been thought-over carefully with intelligence and recollection of experience (that's another word for 'wisdom').

[3] Vasā. the distinction between this and medo is not clear. It appears to have something to do with the degree of solidity, hense the choice here.

[4] Lasikā. Spelled kasikā in the text.

[5] I have here followed the order in the text. In other places I have opted to reorganize the list to point to the way a vivid image of the body is created if one visualizes the parts from the outside top to the inside bottom. Bhante Punnaji has a theory that the mixed up way these body parts are usually listed is deliberate, intended to keep one awake. It is possible both are involved, there is definately a thrill involved in managing to create the visual image in the mind. 'Brain' is not included in the Pali here but is sometimes included to turn this list into a sort of joke and lesson and to conform with the imagry of the corpses and of the bird torn apart by the winds of the upper atmosphere.
It is also helpful to visualize that this is a double-ended skin bag, and that awareness of the parts is likened to the knowledge of the bean peddler dumping out his wares, that 'there is rice, there are beans ...'
So the way I see this developing of the iddhipada is to be understood is as an instruction to apply the disgust one feels at seeing the body in this way to all sorts of birth, whether high or low.

[6] Note that usually these last two items are combined into one: He lives by night, as by day, as by day so by night thus bringing his heart to brilliance. When the two are combined the instruction points to maintaining the perception of light throughout the night. This is how it is understood in the commentaries.
Woodward footnotes: [DN 33 DN 33.4.5, Olds, trans.] "Cf. Dialog. iii, 215, 'acquisition of intuition and insight is when a brother attends to the sensation of light, sustains the perceptin of daylight, and attends to light no less in the night-time, and thus, with open and unmuffled consciousness, creates a radiant, luminous mind.' Comy. 'When in his concentration on a luminous image the reflex is the same to him, whether his eyes are open or shut, by day or by night.'


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