Aṅguttara Nikāya

[Home]  [Sutta Indexes]  [Glossology]  [Site Sub-Sections]


Aṅguttara Nikāya
IX. Navaka Nipāta
II. Sīhanāda Vagga

The Book of the Gradual Sayings
IX. The Book of the Nines
Chapter II: The Lion Roar

Sutta 14

Samiddhi Suttaɱ

The Venerable Samiḍḍhi[1]

Translated from the Pali by E.M. Hare.

Copyright The Pali Text Society
Commercial Rights Reserved
Creative Commons Licence
For details see Terms of Use.



[1][than][upal][olds] Thus have I heard:

Now the venerable Samiddhi visited the venerable Sāriputta, saluted him and sat down at one side.

And the venerable Sāriputta spoke to him, so seated:

"What, Samiddhi, is the basis of purposive thoughts?"[2]

"Name and shape, sir."

[257] "What gives them their variety?"

"The elements."

"What gives rise to them?"


"Wherein have they common ground?"

"In feeling."

"When are they at their best?"

"In a state of concentration."

"What is their master state?"


"What is their still higher state?"


"What is their very essence?"

"The giving of liberation."

"Wherein are they finally merged?"

"In the deathless."[3]




"'What, Samiddhi, is the basis of purposive thoughts?"

'Name and shape, sir,' [you answered][ed1]

'What gives them their variety?'

'The elements.'

'What gives rise to them?'


'Wherein have they common ground?'

'In feeling.'

'When are they at their best?'

'In a state of concentration.'

'What is their master state?'


'What is their still higher state?'


'What is their very essence?'

'The giving of liberation.'

'Wherein are they finally merged?'

'In the deathless.'

"Such, Samiddhi, are the questions, and such are your answers.[4]

Well done, well done, Samiddhi!

Well have you answered the questions put to you;
but be not vain[5] on that account!"


[1] His name does not occur in the lists at A. i. 23 f. He entered the Order when young (K.S. i, 15). At M. iii, 208, the Buddha calls him a moghapurisa; and there he is chaffed by the wanderer, Potaliputta, for pretending to expound Dhamma after three years in the Order. However, at K.S. i, 149, he routs Māra; see also Th. i, 46; J. ii, 57. He seems to have been psychic; hence, perhaps, his name. Comy. observes that he was a pupil of Sāriputta, and received the name Samiddhi on account of the wealth of his personality, atta-bhāva-samiddhatāya. Cf. K.S. i, 15: 'Thou art young ... and callow, black-haired and blessed with luck of youth.' See slso K.S. iv, 19.

Dh.S.: A Buddhist Manual of Psychological Ethics, C.A.F. Rhys Davids, trans.: §7: What on that occasion is application of mind (vitakko)? The discrimination, the application, which on that occsion is the disposing, the fixing, the focussing, the superposing of the mind, right disposing - this is the application that there then is. fn: Vitakko and vicāro is a pair of terms which it is hard to fit with any one pair of English words. It is very possible that academic teaching came to attach a more pregnant and specialized import to them than was conveyed in popular and purely ethical usage. Cf. M. i, Suttas xix and xx, where vitakkā would be adequately rendered by ideas, notions, or thoughts. In Asl. 114, 115, on the other hand (cf. Mil. 62, 63), the relation of the two to cittaɱ and to each other is set out with much metaphor, if with too little psychological grasp. Vitakko is destinctively mental procedure at the inception of a train of thought, the deliberate movement of voluntary attention. As king ascends to his palace leaning on the arm of favourite or relative, so mind, or consciousness, ascends to its object depending upon the apprehensive act (vitakko; As. 114). Other metaphorical attributes are its impingeing upon, circum-impingeing upon (paryāhanaɱ), the object, and, again, bringing it near. Hence in selecting "application" in preference to "reasoning", by which vitakko has often been translated, I wished to bring out this graspoing, apprehending, reaching-out act of the mind, this incipient fetch of the consciousness elaborated in the Buddhist scholastic analysis of the term. Yet, just as applied thinking may include "reasoning" or "ratiocination", so vitakko is, in the reply, described by takko, the term used for ratiocinative procedure, argument, or logic (cf. D. i, 12, 21). "What," asks the Cy., "does one reason about (takkesi)? About a pot, a cart, the distance of anything. Well, vitakko is a stronger reasoning."

Vicāro, as compared with vitakko, was used to express the movement and maintenance of the voluntary thought-continuum, as distinguished from the initiative grappling with the subject of reflection. Examining in detail, as compared with grasping the whole, is also read into it by commentators (Asl. 114). It is a pounding up (anumajjanaɱ), as well as a linking together. Metaphors are multiplied, to show its relation to vitakko. It is as the reverberation of the beaten drum or bell is to the beating; as the planing movement of the bird's wings after the initial uspsoaring; as the buzzing of the bee when it has alighted on the lotus; as the scouring of the dirty bowl when clutched; as the manipulating hand of the potter, vitakko being represented by the hand which holds the clay to the wheel, and so on. "Investigation" would well represent the sustained activity; "analysis" the cogitation in details; "discursive thought" gives some of the import of both.


§21: What on that occasion is right intention (sammā-sankappo)? The answer is as for §7 Vitakko. fn: Sankappo is by the Cy. especially identified with the expression cetaso abhiniropanā, superposing of the mind, the disposition or adjustment of attention, that on which the heart is set, hence aspiration, intention, purpose, design. In M. ii, 27 f., it is said to arise out of saññā (perception).

p.p. explains it all — p.p.

[2] Cf. above, p 221. On sankappa-vitakkā see Dh.S. trsl., § 7, n.; Cpd. 238. Comy. here, sankappa-bhūtā vitakkā.

[3] Cf. with this Sāriputta's quest, Vin. i, p. 39.

[4] The text repeats in full.

[5] Mā maññi. Comy. mā dappaṅ akāsi.


[ed1] Hare abridges; completed here with this addition.

Copyright Statement