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 [Give Ear]

No Other Thing Just So Effective

In [SN 5.46.29] The Buddha tells the bhikkhus that there is no other single thing more effective at ridding one of the yokes to rebirth than the seven dimensions of awakening.

This sutta presents a big problem for translators, one similar to that found in the Book of the Ones, where the Buddha is making a statement that he does not know of another thing so effective at accomplishing a thing as such and such. And then he goes on to give another thing about which he says the same thing.

"Nāhaṃ bhikkhave, aññaṃ ekadhammam pi samanupassāmi yo evaṃ bhāvitā bahulīkatā||
saŋyojaniyānaṃ dhammānaṃ pahānāya saŋvattanti.|| ||

Yad idaṃ satta bojjhaŋgā.|| ||

I do not, beggars, perceive another single thing, developed, made much of,
just so effective for letting go things that yoke to rebirth.
That is, the seven dimensions of awakening.

My previous way of resolving this problem was to word it: 'I do not perceive another single thing more ... . Thus allowing for another thing which is 'just as much.' But the problem is this is not in the Pali. Woodward translates "I behold not, monks, any other single condition which ... is so..." Bhk. Bodhi: "I do not see even one other thing that ... . Both these translations leave one asking: Well what about the Eightfold Way? Or in the case of those cases found in the Book of the Ones, what about those other things?

Now what I believe is the case is that whether intentionally paradoxical or understood as a given or a feature of the language the meaning was that such and such was identical 'in essence' with such another thing. That to say that to say: 'no other single thing is just so effective as the seven dimensions of awakening' was in essence saying the same thing as 'no other single thing is just so effective as the eightfold way' because the two things though using different words amount to the same thing.

See also SN 5.46.32 for the same problem.

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