Re: [Pali] Divine revelation in Pali Buddhism
>> Peter Masefield wrote:PM> I am sorry to say that I do not entirely understand the question. The oral
PM> revelation, known as the anupubbikathaa, is constantly documented throughout the
PM> Nikaayas, though it should be added that many of the early editions of these texts,
PM> and their translations, by the Pali Text Society are so highly abbreviated, that
PM> this point frequently becomes lost on the casual reader.
Sorry am I for insufficient clarity of my question. Thank you very
much for your detailed description of anupubbikathaa (oral revelation).
As you have pointed out, the discourses were gelivered in different
manner to people in general, and to those who had already been enlightened
by means of such a progressive talk. Accordingly the results were
different, from attaining the level of stream-winner, or in another
terms, arising of the dustless, stainless Dhamma eye "Whatever is subject
to origination is all subject to cessation," as in case of
Suppabuddha, to full release from fermentation/effluents.
The latter cases are of special interest, since they embody the attainment
of the ultimate goal of Buddhist path. However reading the
suttas after which numerous monks were enlightened, like
Anatta-lakkhana, Aditta-pariyaya, or Chachakka, the casual reader
finds just some kind of philosophical dispute, and hardly progresses
an inch further on the Path. The compilers and translators, apparently
finding repetitions to be tiresome and uninteresting, just leave them
So we may ask a question: how exactly the listeners attained full
release from aasavas (fermentation/affluents), and what was the purpose
of the repetitions.
Some people may answer that full release was due to the personal
powers of Tathagata and that repetitions were used for memorizing of
the suttas. However such answers don't stand up to careful
examination: the suttas for attaining full or partial release have
characteristic patterns, and it is certain elements of them which are
Investigating the famous Anatta-lakkhana sutta, or less known but more
detailed Chachakka sutta, we find that Buddha guided his disciples in
experiential exploration of khandhas (aggregates of clinging/becoming)
and salayatana (six senses). Apparently the advanced diciples, while
these suttas were given, were able to connect words of Buddha with
their personal experience. So when Buddha asked:
"How do you consider, monks -- Is form constant or inconstant?"
the monks were able to investigate their experience and give the
appropriate answer. The usual translation of 'ta.m ki.m ma~n~natha' as
'what do you think' gives the impression of theoretical discussion,
however the words went deeper.
So we can ask ourselves, can we read such suttas on a deeper level,
investigating the experience? And if we can do so at least with more
detailed suttas, such as Chachakka, will it give us a real progress on
- "Äìèò?èé Èâàõíåíêî (Dimitry Ivakhnenko)" wrote:
> So we may ask a question: how exactly the listeners attained fullIn the third chapter of my book, I give textual references for five distinct ways in which
> release from aasavas (fermentation/affluents)
this seems to have taken place:
(1) by hearing a further discourse (e.g. Vin I 13f);
(2) by being exhorted with Dhamma-talk (e.g. Vin I 181f);
(3) by receiving an exhortation in brief (Vin I 18);
(4) by a teaching involving the four verbs of sandasseti, samaadapeti, samuttejeti, and
sampaha.mseti (e.g. D II 42)
(5) by reviewing Dhamma heard (e.g. M I 501).
In addition, I append tables citing occassions upon which various individuals (a) received
the Dhammacakkhu via an anupubbikathaa; and (b) attained arahantship through a further
- Peter Masefield wrote:
PM> In the third chapter of my book, I give textual references for five distinct ways in which
PM> this seems to have taken place:
Currently your valuable book is unavailable for me, however I may
consider buying it in the future.
PM> (5) by reviewing Dhamma heard (e.g. M I 501).
The excerpt from this Magandiya sutta is available at
PM> In addition, I append tables citing occassions upon which various individuals (a) received
PM> the Dhammacakkhu via an anupubbikathaa; and (b) attained arahantship through a further
PM> oral tecahing.
So far I have found ten instances of (b) with oral teaching included
in the sutta:
Mahaapu.n.nama MN 3.1.9 (109) III.15 (available at metta.lk)
Chachakka MN 3.5.6 (148) III.280 (available on the net)
Ti.msamatta SN 2.4.3 II.187
Anatta-lakkhana SN 22.59 III.66 (available)
Khemaka SN 3.1.7 III.126
Aaditta SN 35.28 IV.19 (available)
Aggikkhandhopama AN 7.7.8 IV.128
Dvayatanupassana Snp III.12 139 (available)
Pañcavaggiyakathaa Vin 1.6 I.7
Uruvelapaa.tihaariyakathaa Vin 1.12 I.24
- I say it ain't right
There are two problems connected with translating sammaa as "right":
The first is that here in the West this word has been taken from its
origins as a carpenters term for an upright or perpendicular angle, a
right angle, or Upright, and made into a term standing for power and
authority: "righteous" (or, as "correct" it means "the only correct"
or as "propper" it means the rest is impropper) and "with the right
to". The use as Upright is not heard at all, and that would be the
meaning that was needed, at least for the elements of the Magga,
although it would be awkward elsewhere. But that is not how, even, I
see the elements of the Magga, that is to say as being the upright
ways of things; I see them rather as the ways that work in a system
designed to accomplish something. This will become apparent if you
examine the structure of the individual elements. They are not stated
in terms of static states, they are stated in terms that will be
interpreted differently by different individuals at different stages
of progress. So what is needed is not a term that describes an
So the second is that this is a term that must be used as to describe
a conditional state of things, not an absolutely correct
position. "Right" allows only for any other alternative to
be "wrong", and that is not what is being said in most cases where
samma is being used, it is simply saying that this is the best for
those going This Way, second best is not necessarily wrong, and
certainly not wrong for those who are going that way. Samma ditthi is
the point of view you adopt in order to overcome views of self and
existence, once those have been overcome, samma ditthi too must be
abandoned as just one of the limitless ways of seeing things. (All
views are to be let go.) Remember the simile of the raft.If right
were right and wrong were wrong, then right view would be right for
the Arahant as well as for the student, and that is not the case. It
needs to be a word that stands for "best under these conditions".
I think that reliance on the fact that Pali is the root (or close to
it) of all IndoEuropean languages, as has been said, is a good
justification for seeking in the etymology of the word for the best
translation. From summa then, we have (at least) two alternatives:
the terms "high" (I suppose we could say "top") and "consummate"
depending on how closely you want to stick to the sound of the root.
Both these terms allow for understanding the thing it is conditioning
to be conditionally the best, and yet allow for that which is second
best to not necessarily be wrong, just not the highest, or the best
in this case.
My preference is for High, because that word fits all round, as
in. . . ahum. . . sammasamadhi = high getting high, or
sammasambuddhassa=the high #1 wide awakened one.
As for miccha, it breaks down (me>wee) into "small-stuff"; so you
could say "low", which is my preference. PED has, as well
as "wrong", "contrary".
By the way, a Google search reveals 500 plus references to Buddhology
and several universities and other institutions that offer degrees in
the science (many of them in Asia) (I have no idea what it is all
about). That fellow was a tad on the blunt side, for sure, and did
not consider his audience, but I believe a close look will reveal
that it was he that was being attacked and that there was a bit of
the pack mentality going on here. Not exactly something to be proud
Please understand, I must be off, it is not right that I should
linger where I have taken a stand against the owner of the list! I do
it wishing only that you not neglect to wish well even to your
enemies. This not being you, yourself, who then may they be but
suchas suchas you?
best to you all!
My next actions will be to resign from the list.
Bye bye, adios or better yet Ni banna!
- Generally, I believe that the word sammaa can be appropriately
translated into several English terms. To me, however, it is more
important to understand the meaning of "right" view than to enter a
hot debate as to whether "right" is right.
I have also pointed out in an earlier mail that the context in which
doctrine fit in is comparatively more important. I did mention that
"right" does not mean that only what the Buddha taught are "holy" and
good while the rest are evil and wrong. That's certainly not the
buddhist approach. The word "right" has to be understood in the
context of the Middle Path, in its effect of the eradication of
At times, the selection of words for English translation can be
disputable. This list is certainly open for members to post their
opinions for discussion and consideration, but the tone used has to
be friendly and non-agressive.