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Edited: Monday, March 27, 2023 2:35 PM

Saṃyutta Nikāya
3. Khandha Vagga
22. Khandha Saṃyutta
5. Atta-Dīpa Vagga

Sutta 47

Samanupassanā Suttaṃ


Translated from the Pāḷi
Michael M. Olds



[1-2][pts][than][bodh] I Hear Tell:

Once Upon a Time, the Lucky Man,
Anāthapiṇḍika's Park,
came-a ReVisiting.

There he addressed the beggars:


"Bhante!" they responded.

The Lucky Man said this to them:

"Whatsoever shaman or Brahmin there are, beggars,
who lay out various observations[1] concerning self,
observe it as the five fuel-stockpiles,[2]
or observe it as one or another of them.

What five?

Here beggars, the uneducated commoner,
not seeing the Aristocratic,
untamed by the Aristocratic Dhamma,
untrained in the Aristocratic Dhamma,
not seeing the good men,
untamed by the good man' Dhamma,
untrained in the good man' Dhamma,
observes: 'Form is self,' or
'Self has form,' or
'Self is in form,' or
'Form is in self';

observes: 'Sense experience is self,' or
'Self has sense experience,' or
'Self is in sense experience,' or
'Sense experience is in self';

observes: 'Perception is self,' or
'Self has perception,' or
'Self is in perception,' or
'Perception is in self';

observes: 'Own-making is self,' or
'Self has own-making,' or
'Self is in own-making,' or
'Own-making is in self';

observes: 'Sense-consciousness is self,' or
'Self has sense-consciousness,' or
'Self is in sense-consciousness,' or
'Sense-consciousness is in self'.

Thus these observations
as well as
'I am'
are not done away with.

Then further, beggars,
'I am' not done away with,
there comes descent into the five forces:[3]

There beggars, you have mind,
there you have things
there you have a description of blindness.

With contact with contact-born blindness, beggars,
in the uneducated commoner the experience of
just this very 'I am' is had,
just this very 'This I am' is had,
just this very 'Existence is'[4] is had,
just this very 'Form exists' is had,
just this very 'Formlessness exists' is had,
just this very 'Perception exists' is had,
just this very 'Non-perception exists' is had,
just this very 'Neither-perception-nor-non-perception exists' is had.

Right there then, beggars,
are established the five forces.

And it is right here then, beggars,
that in the well educated student of the aristocratic,
letting go of blindness,
vision arises.

With the disappearance of blindness,
the arising of vision,
just this very 'I am' is not had,
just this very 'This I am' is not had,
just this very 'Existence is' is not had,
just this very 'Form exists' is not had,
just this very 'Formlessness exists' is not had,
just this very 'Perception exists' is not had,
just this very 'Non-perception exists,' is not had,
just this very 'Neither-perception-nor-non-perception exists' is not had."


[1] Samanupassa: saṅ + anupassati con-, co-, with- once- own- further-seeing. Observing. Bhk. Thanissaro translates 'assume' here but this causes him a problem when dealing with the sentence: "Iti ayañc'eva samanupassanā 'asmī' ti c'assa avigataṃ hoti." making him insert the term 'understanding' which is not there. Bhk. Bodhi has a similar problem translating the term as 'regarding'. He handles it thus: "Thus this way of regarding things and [the notion] 'I am' have not vanished in him. Woodward, also using 'regard' translates the sentence: "Thus this is the view: — it has come to him (to think) "I am". My solution, uses the double meaning found in 'observe' (to see and to hold or state an opinion) solves the problem.

[2] Upādāna-k-khandha. The difficulty of understanding this term and the early translation as 'grasping' by the PTS translators has caused no end of difficulty in understanding this compound. The problem originates with the mental bias that attempts to make the paṭicca samuppāda a straight-line cause-and-effect progression which requires some sort of logical link between thirst and being. Bhk. Thanissaro's research into the term uncovers a more reasonable solution in the literal idea of 'fuel' and figurative understanding that this means that which supports. When we see how neatly 'fueling' mates up with 'stockpile' (for khandha) we can see the correctness of this understanding. It can be understood even more clearly if translating 'khandha' as 'trunk' where we can see a woodpile there. Stockpile of fuel.

[3] Indriyani. PED: Indriya (nt.) [Vedic indriya adj. only in meaning "belonging to Indra"; nt. strength, might (cp. inda), but in specific Pāli sense "belonging to the ruler", i.e. governing, ruling nt. governing, ruling or controlling principle] A. On term: Indriya is one of the most comprehensive and important categories of Buddhist psychological philosophy and ethics, meaning "controlling principle, directive force, élan, δύναμις"," Using 'force' I am attempting to show how the senses, their objects and consciousness are objective entities divorced from the individual, like the tides of the oceans, or gravity. The common translation is 'faculties' which has the disadvantage of implying their derivation from the individual (the view: 'the sense spheres are in the self") rather than the fact that the sense-spheres enter the picture upon the establishment of the notion of self in connection with consciousness. Upon own-making (sankhārā) consciousness arises. That consciousness is experienced as (has as its object) awareness of sense-experience as personal experience.

[4] 'Will be' and 'will exist' but in the sense of 'There will be (will exist) such a thing as ...' The delusion that such things have a substantial reality. Bhks. Bodhi and Thanissaro insert "I" throughout the list: "I will be" etc. which is not in the Pāḷi. Woodward has: "things will be" where again 'things' is not in the Pāḷi. The idea is that this individual has created the basis for a generic belief in real existence right on up to the sphere of neither-perception-nor-non-perception.


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