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 [Dhamma Talk]


MN 9

Sariputta explains the path to attaining of consummate view in thirty two (33 ?) different ways.

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Index to available translations: MN 9



A very enlightening sutta!

Note that Ms. Horner has dared to break with the pack in her translation of 'sammā' as 'perfect'.

Note that here is an exposition of the Paticca Samuppada which casts each of the factors in the form of the Four Truths which shows both that each of the factors is itself a path to Nibbāna, and that the Paticca Samuppada as a whole is a way of stating the Four Truths.

Note that the commentator numbers the proclamation of the Four Truths in this sutta as 32. I suggest that in addition the entire sutta also counts as one such proclamation, so the number should be 33.

Note that we have here the Paticca Samuppada with the 'āsavas' the corrupting influences, (Ms. Horner's 'cankers'), preceding the usual 'ignorance' as it's starting point.

Note that here 'Craving' 'Taṇha' is at one point said to be the precurser to the sustenances, and later in the secquence paralleling the Paticca Samuppada, it is said to be the origin of 'upādāna' (Ms. Horner's 'Grasping'.) I suggest this is a good argument for the translation of 'upādāna' not as 'grasping,' but as 'support' or 'fuel' or an equivalant term.

Note that under the three sankharings which I have usually described as of thought, word, and deed, the precise translation would be of body, word, and mental (where 'mental' is 'citta', or that work of the heart which has to do with intent and will, and is more specifically associated with individuality than is the more general 'mano' or 'mind'). The Buddha's system of 'kamma' makes a distinction between a passing thought and thought associated with intent or will. Passing thoughts are not 'kammic acts' or sankharas (own-makings).

In this sutta we find Lord Chalmers first encounter with the Paticca Samuppada.

Some things to note:

He translates 'upadana' as 'attachments' where it no doubt lead others to 'grasping', but where it should better be 'supports or fuel';

he translates 'bhava' as 'existence' which is unusual and most accurate;

he translates 'sankhara' as 'plastic forces' and goes way afield trying to rationalize this choice. It is very hard when trying to translate what one can see is a very deep and profound system to simply get down to earth in one's translation. Because of this exotic translation, the step from saṅkhāra to consciousness is made obscure. I will clarify:

Blindness results in own-making; own-making results in consciousness by way of having brought the sixfold sense sphere (aka nama-rupa) into existence. The PS is presented both this way (one instance of 'consciousness') and with two instances of 'consciousness.' #2 being: Blindness results in own-making, own-making results in consciousness, consciousness results in named-form, named form results in consciousness, consciousness results in the six-fold sense-sphere.

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