Aṅguttara Nikāya

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Aṅguttara Nikāya
Pañcaka Nipāta
XXI. Kimbila-Vagga

The Book of Fives

Sutta 210

Muṭṭha-s-Sati Suttaṃ

Mindless Napping



Sutta Study

The Pali:

"Pañc'ime bhikkhave ādīnavā muṭṭha-s-satissa asampajānassa niddaṃ okkamato.|| ||

Katame pañca?|| ||

Dukkhaṃ supati,||
dukkhaṃ paṭibujjhati,||
pāpakaṃ supinaṃ passati,||
devatā na rakkhanti,||
asuci muccati.|| ||

Pañc'ime bhikkhave ānisaṃsā ānisaṃsā upaṭṭhita-satissa sampajānassa niddaṃ okkamato.|| ||

Katame pañca?|| ||

Sukhaṃ supati,||
sukhaṃ paṭibujjhati,||
na pāpakaṃ supinaṃ passati,||
devatā rakkhanti,||
asuci na muccati.|| ||


Muṭṭha-s-satissa and upaṭṭhita-satissa (MUṬṬHASSATISSA): MUṬṬHA: PED has: pp of MUSSATI; having forgotten, one who forgets, "forgetful in mindfulness" i.e. forgetful, careless, bewildered, but this would make MUṬṬHASSATI MUṬṬHASATISATI. My inclination is to think the evolution was the other way round (the first experience of having forgotten would be the recollection of the past occurrence; next forgetfulness would be used as an excuse for some present carelessness), and that MUṬṬHA relates to MUṬṬHI to take by way of the fist, which accords with the discredited derivation from "to rob" mentioned there. In other words: it is a picture of having had one's "mind" or "memory" (SATI) snatched away. So I get: MUṬṬHI + SATI: absent-minded

UPAṬṬHITA-SATISSA: UPA: uP Pass; ṬṬHI: stand; UPAṬṬHITA: furnished, provided, served, got ready, honored with; 2. come, come about, appeared, arrived; present, existing; 3. standing up (ready), keeping in readiness. < SATI-PAṬṬHANA.

asampajānassa (ASAMPAJĀNASSA): A + SAMPAJĀNA: SAṂ (own) + PAJĀNA (coming to know): PA (pass — coming to) =JĀNA: JĀ (born/burn) +NA (no, know): J(shit)+A(ah!), Ṇ(and, no, stop) + A (understood?)("NO" the most frequently heard word during the first several years of life. The relation to "understand" should be obvious). OkOk.
PED: Thoughtful, mindful, attentive, deliberate, almost syn. with sata, mindful.

Okkamayato to enter, go down into, fall.
O: PED calls O a derivative of AVA: "Phonetically the difference between ava & o is this, that ava is the older form, whereas o represents a later development. Historically the case is often reversed — that is, the form in o was in use first & the form in ava was built up, sometimes quite independently, long afterwards. The difference in many cases has given rise to a differentiation of meaning, like English ripe: rife, quash: squash ... A. The old Pali form of the prefix is o.

Latin: au; Old Bulgarian: u; Old Irish: oo, ua. Meaning: lower, low, motion: down, downward, away (down), off; away from, cut off, fall'n off, out, left over, over; go down, sink down, down on. OKA: room for, space for;

OKKANTA: coming on, approaching, taking place;

OKKANTI: entry, descent, appearance, coming to be;
PED comments: "It is strange that this important word has been so much misunderstood, for the English idiom is the same. We say 'he went to sleep', without meaning that he went anywhere. So we may twist it round and say that 'sleep overcame him', without meaning any struggle. The two phrases mean exactly the same — an internal change, or development, culminating in sleep."

Here you have a good example of how cultural bias effects translation. Somewhere back when, the English conscious body of knowledge lost it's relationship to magic. Here the idiom is taken for meaningless (not to mention that the assumption that it is meaningless is based on the idea of a "real self" that must be the thing that "goes" or the thing that is "taken over") and then applied to another culture's use of the same word. I do not know what the culture of the Buddha's day held concerning sleep, but I do know that today there are cultures that consider sleep a going to another place, and I do know that the attitude of the Shaman is that sleep is something that is an alien force that overtakes one's consciousness. (And this certainly comports with the Buddhist repugnance for sleep and loss of consciousness when at rest.) So my inclination here is to suggest that the word means what it says and that what we are being told to remember and know when approaching sleep is that it is a state where we (the body and consciousness) are vulnerable, and under the influence of external powers, and is therefore dangerous.

Supati Latin: somnus; AngloSaxon: swefn; sleep/dream >SUPINA: a dream > SUPINE: in the horizontal position

Paṭibujjhati (PAṬIBUJJHATI): to wake up, to understand (possible pun here?) I would say re-awaken

Pāpakaṃ supinaṃ passati (PĀPAKAṂ SUPINAṂ PASSATI): PĀPAKAM bad-stuff-ing; dream; sees

Devatā na rakkhanti (DEVATĀ NA RAKKHANTI): Devas (gods) no Guard. RAKKH: Latin: arceo > aleq > Alex > Alexander > alert

Asuci muccati A: not; SU: sweet; CI: che cosa, que? quis? Gothic: hvi-leiks; Latin: quid qui? what? MUCCATI: 1. to become stiff, congeal, coagulate, curdle; harden 2. to become infatuated.
The opposite is "asuci na muccati" so the opposite, "and impurity is not emitted" makes sense as Hare hears it. But I do not hear "emitted" in muccati. While this unpleasant event is certainly one experienced by careless dozers, I see an earlier stage in the process, and not such a climactic one. And surely this condition is sufficiently embarasing for the Bhikkhu to warrant this advice.

Sukhaṃ (SUKHAṂ): Pleasant

Other translations:

Hare: "... forgetful in mindfulness, not self-possessed, falls asleep ... Badly he sleeps, badly he wakes, he sees evil visions, devas guard him not, and impurity is emitted ..."

Hare footnotes "asuci": Childers, quoting Abhidhāna-p-padīpikā, 'semen virile.'



Mindless Napping

[1][pts] I Hear Tell:

Once upon a time Bhagava, Sāvatthi-town, Anāthapiṇḍika's Park, came-a revisiting.

There, to the Beggars gathered round, he said:

"Beggars! There are five bad things about falling asleep absent-mindedly, unawares.

What five?

Unpleasant sleep.

Unpleasant re-awakening.

Seeing bad dreams.

Not being watched over by the gods.

And that sweet whatchamacallum gets stiff.

Indeed, Beggars, these are five bad things about falling asleep absent-mindedly, unawares.




"Beggars! There are five good things that happen
falling asleep consciously,
not unawares.

What five?

Pleasant sleep.

Pleasant re-awakening.

Not seeing bad dreams.

Being watched over by the gods.

And that sweet whatchamacallum does not get stiff.

Indeed, Beggars, these are five good things that happen
falling asleep consciously,
not unawares."


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