Aṅguttara Nikāya

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Aṅguttara Nikāya
Pañcaka Nipāta
10. Kakudha Vagga

The Book of the Gradual Sayings
The Book of the Fives
Chapter X: Kakudha

Sutta 93

Añña-Vyākaraṇa Suttaɱ


Translated by E. M. Hare

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[1] Thus have I heard:

Once the Exalted One dwelt near Sāvatthī;
and there he addressed the monks, saying:


'Yes, lord,' they replied;
and the Exalted One said:

"Monks, there are these five avowals of gnosis.[1]

What five?

One will avow gnosis through folly and blindness;[2]
one [93] filled with evil desires and longings;
one being foolish with mind tossed up and down[3]
one through overweening pride;
and one will avow gnosis from the fullness[4] of knowledge.

Monks, these are the five avowals of gnosis. '


Psalms of the Brethren, Introduction, pg xxxiii: "... the so-often reiterated record that the poems were first publicly uttered as 'confessions of aññā,' deserves a passing word. The history of this term, of its use and of its non-use, in Buddhism has yet to be written. Signifying literally ad-sciens, 'ac-knowledging,' aññā is used in the Suttanta books to signify that mental flash, or suffusion of intuitive knowledge and assurance of 'salvation' constituting emancipation, or aarahantship. The Buddha testifies to having realized it under the Bodhi-Tree, but uses the kindred, less specialized word ñāṇa. In the mouth of bhikkhus such testifying was no guarantee of right (sammā) gnosis; it might be made through mental illusion, conceit, frenzy, or even evil design (Aṅguttara iii, 119). Genuine, or samma-d-aññā is, of course, intended by the Commentary. This, in Dhammapada, verse 96, is rendered by Fausböll absoluta cognitio; by Max Müller, 'true knowledge.' That the testifying to it is as old as the Four Nikāyas, appears from the little episode in the Aṅguttara Nikāya, iii. 359: - Two disciples who have newly realized this intuitive knowledge or gnosis, wait upon the Buddha and testify to the same before him. As they again depart, the Buddha remarks: 'Even so do men of true breed declare gnosis (aññā); - they tell of the good they have won (attha), but they do not bring in their ego (attā). [Footnote: The context shows that no derogatory judgment on confessions, such as these poems contain, is implied, but that only self-conceit and self-advertisement are condemned. Cf. ... vs 1076.] That the public individual testimony to the assurance of salvation won, invited yesterday and to-day in Christian revivalist meetings, should have been thus anticipated 2000 years ago in Buddhist usage, is an interesting link. And aññā is rarely met with except in connexion with the confession of the attainment of such consciousness: - the 'fruition of arahantship' (arahattaphala).

p.p. explains it all — p.p.

[1] Cf. Vin. v, 189; Brethr. p. xxxiii.

[2] Mandattā momūhattā; our colloquial 'soft' is manda. Cf. M. i, 520; below V, § 141.

Psalms 109.23: "I am gone like the shadow when it declineth: I am tossed up and down as the locust.

p.p. explains it all — p.p.

[3] Cittakkhepā, as the Psalmist (cix, -23). Cf. S. I, 120.

[4] Samma-d-eva. Comy. hetunā, nayena, kāraṇna.

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