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Saŋyutta Nikāya,
V: MahāVagga
54 Ānāpāna Saŋyutta

The Aspiration Collection

1. Ekadhammavaggo

Book 1: One Thing

Sutta 5

Phalā Suttaṃ 2

Fruit 2

Translated from the Pali by Michael Olds

 


 

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

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

Then The Lucky Man addressed the Beggars there: "Bhikkhus!"

"Bhadante!" the beggars responded to Bhagava.

Bhagava said this to them:

Recollecting aspiration, beggars, developed, made much of, makes for great fruit, great benefit.

And how, beggars, is recollecting aspiration developed, made much of, such as makes for great fruit, great benefit?

Here beggars, a beggar
having gotten himself off to the forest
or to the root of some tree,
or to some empty hut,
and having taken up his seat there
sitting down,
setting the body upright,
legs bent-across-lapwise,
recollecting he attends to the face,
just so he recollects inspiration,
just so he recollects expiration.

If he inspires deeply, he knows:
'I am inspiring deeply.'
If he breaths out deeply, he knows:
'I am expiring deeply.'

If he inspires shallowly, he knows:
'I am inspiring shallowly.'
If he exspires shallowly, he knows:
'I am expiring shallowly.'

'Reflecting on the totality of bodily experience,
I will inspire,'
this is the way he trains.
'Reflecting on the totality of bodily experience,
I will expire,'
this is the way he trains.

'Pacifying own-body-making,
I will inspire,'
this is the way he trains.
'Pacifying own-body-making,
I will expire,'
this is the way he trains.

'Reflecting on enthusiasm,
I will inspire,'
this is the way he trains.
'Reflecting on enthusiasm,
I will expire,'
this is the way he trains.

'Observing pleasure,
I will inspire,'
this is the way he trains.
'Observing pleasure,
I will expire,'
this is the way he trains.

'Reflecting on the own-making of the heart,
I will inspire,'
this is the way he trains.
'Reflecting on the own-making of the heart,
I will expire,'
this is the way he trains.

'Pacifying the own-making of the heart,
I will inspire,'
this is the way he trains.
'Pacifying the own-making of the heart,
I will expire,'
this is the way he trains.

'Reflecting on the heart,
I will inspire,'
this is the way he trains.
'Reflecting on the heart,
I will expire,'
this is the way he trains.

'Abundantly content in heart,
I will inspire,'
this is the way he trains.
'Abundantly content in heart,
I will expire,'
this is the way he trains.

'Composing the heart,
I will inspire,'
this is the way he trains.
'Composing the heart,
I will expire,'
this is the way he trains.

'Liberating the heart,
I will inspire,'
this is the way he trains.
'Liberating the heart,
I will expire,'
this is the way he trains.

'On the look-out for inconsistancy,
I will inspire,'
this is the way he trains.
'On the look-out for inconsistancy,
I will expire,'
this is the way he trains.

'On the look-out for the end of lust,
I will inspire,'
this is the way he trains.
'On the look-out for the end of lust,
I will expire,'
this is the way he trains.

'On the look-out for ending,
I will inspire,'
this is the way he trains.
'On the look-out for ending,
I will expire,'
this is the way he trains.

'On the look-out for opportunities to let go,
I will inspire,'
this is the way he trains.
'On the look-out for opportunities to let go,
I will expire,'
this is the way he trains.

Suchwise 'developed', beggars, suchwise 'made much of' recollecting aspiration makes for great fruit, great benefit.

When developed suchwise, beggars, when made much of suchwise, recollecting aspiration can be expected to have seven fruitions, seven benefits.
What seven fruitions? Benefits?

Complete omniscience in this seen thing.

If not complete omniscience in this seen thing,
then, complete omniscience at the time of death.

If not complete omniscience in this seen thing nor complete cmniscience at the time of death,
then he gets thorough Nibbana midway[1] by thoroughly exterpating the five yokes to the lower births.

Or he gets reduced-time thorough-Nibbana.

Or he gets without-own-making thorough-Nibbana.

Or he gets with-own-making thorough-Nibbana.

Or he goes up-stream to the Akaniṭṭha Realm.

These, beggars are the seven fruitions, seven benefits that can be expected from developing and making much of recollecting aspiration.

 


[1]"Antarā" and "Upahacca" in the following line. In context with the next two these terms would indicate a state subsequent to the death of the body and prior to rebirth in another individuality. "Bardos" [Tibetan for 'between points'] come to mind. The text is abbreviated as I have indicated in my translation, although there is not present the usual "..." or "pe" or "la" that would indicate such an abbreviation. The next 'individuality' in this case would appear to be rebirth in the Akanittha Realm — a realm we are to understand is exclusively for Non-Returners who will attain Nibbana there midway through the lifespan there.
There is another possibility: The meaning could be 'Omniscience' immediately upon hearing or putting into practice the method in this sutta; Omniscience at death; or omniscience at some point between hearing the sutta and death (midway, or by cutting down the remaining time). According to this understanding the difference between steps 3 and 4 and steps #5 and 6 would be that in #s 3 and 4 there was 'work still to be done' whereas in #s 5 and 6 there would be more to be experienced, but not more to be done. The difference between #s 5 and 6 would be that #5 would be a non-returner who had let it all go and just watched the remainder work itself out and #6 would be one who still had residual impulses to create and experience things 'for himself.' According to the more standard after-death interpretation these two steps would indicate one who had no residual experiences to be experienced in the interval [after death and before taking up a new individuality] and one who did have such experiences (for example sights remaining to be seen through the organ of sight, but not integrated with a body).
The two interpretations are not mutually exclusive: What is being spoken of here is the Non-returner; even the Streamwinner 'sees' the way to the end; the non-returner actually sees the end but has not yet got the end, so in a manner of speaking the non-returner is already 'dead' [in the sense that because he can see the end, he has experienced his own death ahead of time] and the 'interval' is the time between attaining non-returner state and the death of the body -- and this interval could be one in which there were or were not episodes of 'own-making' or 'sankaraming'.
Woodward has the usual interpretation:
1. In this very life, previously, one establishes gnosis;
2. If not...then one does so at the moment of death;
3. If not...then by having worn down the five fetters of the lower sort, he is one who wins release midway;
4. Failing that, he does so by reduction of his time;
5. Failing that he passes away without much trouble;
6. ...or with some trouble;
7. If he do none of these, he is 'one who goes upstream,' and he is reborn in the Pure Abodes.
Note: As mentioned elsewhere the 'fetters' are not 'of the lower sort', but are fetters to lower rebirths; rebirths in the kama lokas.
Bhk. Bodhi has no notes on this sequence; perhaps he has dealt with it elsewhere; but the addition in his translation of much that is not indicated in the text seems to call for an explanation. His translation runs as follows:
1. One attains final knowledge early in this very life
2. If not...final knowledge at the time of death;
3. If not...then with the utter destruction of the five lower fetters one becomes an attainer of Nibbana in the interval.
4. If not...then with...destruction...one becomes an attainer of Nibbana upon landing;
5. If not...one becomes an attainer of Nibbana without exertion;
6. If not...with exertion;
7. If not...one bound upstream, heading towards the Akanittha realm.
Note: #s 5 and 6 where 'sankhara' is translated 'exertion' where his standard for this term is 'formations.' An example where a one-sided translation of this term leads to awkwardness. Whatever the translation for the term 'sankhara' it should reflect the two-sided nature of this term -- much like it's near synonym, 'kamma' it is both the act that creates and the thing created.
What we have here is the details for similar statements usually including only the idea of attaining Arahantship here and now or attaining the state of Non-Returning.
Translating for meaning:
1. Complete omniscience [Añña] in this seen thing. [Meaning either upon hearing or acting upon this sutta, or 'in this lifetime.']
2. If not complete omniscience in this seen thing, then, complete omniscience at the time of death.
3. If not complete omniscience in this seen thing nor complete cmniscience at the time of death, then he gets thorough Nibbana [parinibbāyī]midway [either between death of the body and taking up a new individuality, or between the time of hearing the sutta and the time of death of the body] by thoroughly exterpating the five yokes to the lower births.
4. Or he gets thorough Nibbana striking down [cutting down the time to be spent in the 'interval' -- no mention in the texts of the 'fetters' which may indicate that #s 4-6 'Upahacca-parinibbāyī', 'Asaŋkhāra-parinibbāyī', Sasaŋkhāra-parinibbāyī' are technical terms].
5. Or he gets thorough Nibbana without own-making [Asaŋkhāra].[Again, either between death of the body and taking up a new individuality, or between the time of hearing the sutta and the time of death of the body]
6. Or he gets thorough Nibbana with own-making [Sasaŋkhāra].[Again, either between death of the body and taking up a new individuality, or between the time of hearing the sutta and the time of death of the body]
7. Or he goes up-stream to the Akaniṭṭha Realm.

 


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