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Saɱyutta Nikāya,
V: Mahā-Vagga
56. Sacca Saɱyutta
II Dhamma-Cakka-Pavattana Vagga

Sutta 20

Tathā Suttaɱ


Translated by Bhikkhu Bodhi

Copyright Bhikkhu Bodhi 2000, The Connected Discourses of the Buddha (Wisdom Publications, 2000)
This selection from The Connected Discourses of the Buddha: A Translation of the Saɱyutta Nikāya by Bhikkhu Bodhi is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
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[1][pts][than][olds] THUS HAVE I HEARD. On one occasion the Blessed One was dwelling at Baranasi in the Deer Park at Isipatana. There the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus of the group of five thus:

"Bhikkhus, these four things are actual, unerring, not otherwise.[1]

What four?

"'This is suffering': this, bhikkhus, is actual, unerring, not otherwise.

'This is the origin of suffering': this is actual, unerring, not otherwise.

'This is the cessation of suffering': this is actual, unerring, not otherwise.

'This is the way leading to the cessation of suffering': this is actual, unerring, not otherwise.

"These four things, bhikkhus, are actual, unerring, not otherwise.

"Therefore, bhikkhu, an exertion should be made to understand: 'This is suffering.' ... An exertion should be made to understand: 'This is the way leading to the cessation of suffering.'"


[1] Tathāni avitathāni anaññathāni. See 12:20 and II, n. 54.[n1] Spk: "Actual in the sense of not departing from the real nature of things; for suffering is stated to be just suffering. Unerring, because of the nonfalsification of its real nature; for suffering does not become nonsuffering. Not otherwise, because of not arriving at a different nature; for suffering does not arrive at the nature of the origin (of suffering), etc. The same method for the other truths." I understand anaññatha in the simpler and more straightforward sense that the truths are "not otherwise" than the way things really are.


[n1] The reference points to a footnote to a comment to a statement explanining another statement in SN 2.12.20! In this context we read: "With birth as condition, aging-and-death [comes to be]': whether there is an arising of Tathāgatas or no arising of Tathāgatas, that element [Ed.: dhatu, better as 'property' or 'characteristic'] still persists, the stableness of the Dhamma, the fixed course of the Dhamma, specific conditionality."
This paragraph goes on with the rest of the conditions and is footnoted thus (only partially quoted): That element (sa dhātu), the intrinsic nature of the conditions (paccayasabhāva), still persists; never is it the case that birth is not a condition for aging-and-death. ... Whether it is unpenetrated before and after the arising of Tathāgatas, or penetrated when they have arisen, that element still persists; it is not created by the Tathāgatas, but aging-and-death always occurs through birth as its condition. A Tathāgata simply discovers and proclaims this, but he does not invent it.
Then we read the paragraph to which our footnote refers: "Thus, bhikkhus, the actuality in this, the inerrancy, the not-otherwiseness, speecific conditionality: this is called dependent origination."
Then the footnote itself reads: "At 56:20, 27 the Four Noble Truths are said to be tatha, avitatha, anaññatha — the adjectives corresponding to the first three abstract nouns here. Spk gives a very specific interpretation (translated just below), though we might suspect the original sense was simply that the teaching of dependent origination is true, not false, and not other than real.
Spk: (Actuality (tathatā) is said to indicate the occurrence of each particular phenomenon when its assemblage of appropriate conditions is present. Inerrancy (avitathatā) means that once its conditions have reached completeness there is no nonoccurrence, even for a moment, of the phenomenon due to be produced from those conditions. Not-otherwiseness (anaññathatā) means that there is no production of one phenomenon by another's conditions. The phrase specific conditionalityis used to refer to the (individual) conditions for aging-and-death, etc., or to the conditions taken as a group (paccayasamūhato).

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