Reply To: Wrong English translations of Aniccha, Anatta, Sakkaya ditthi… etc


As I was just going through the Vipassanākathā sutta and saw asāraka was actually categorized as: “Asārakatoti, anattānupassanā.” Then I noticed a mention was already made that it should fall under anicca.

This thread is many years old but I found an interesting point brought up by Siebe. I think more people could bring up this point once they hear the true meaning of tilakkhana (anatta in this specific context) and see the items of contemplation listed under dukkhanupassana which appear to be the same.

I’m referring to these three related ones:
– Without protection (atāṇa) as contemplation of dukkha.
– Without shelter (aleṇa) as contemplation of dukkha.
– Without refuge (asaraṇa) as contemplation of dukkha. (Another translation I came across was “helpless”)

Anatta is often described as “without refuge” as well, so I can understand why that point was made.

I don’t have the knowledge of Pali where I can distinguish between any nuances. The English words seem the same, but there must be more to them. I think Lal is in a better position to comment.

If I simply go by the definitions given, then I could give my thoughts as follows:
The suffering one undergoes is inevitable as long as one has a nicca perception (doesn’t comprehend anicca). One can’t hide, run away from the suffering, and is confronted with it no matter what. One will face the vipaka within this or a future life, and is destined to be reborn in lower realms with the worst kinds of suffering. One CANNOT escape it. (atana, alena, asarana).
Experiencing this over and over, throughout samsara, makes one completely and utterly helpless (anatta) FOREVER (until one develops the anicca sañña).
If we ought to make any distinction, it is that anatta emphasizes the atana, alena, asarana described above. Dukkha is inevitable, but anatta “rubs it in,” so to speak; one ends up in complete desperation unable to escape from the horrors one inevitably faces (in the apayas) and it won’t EVER stop (until one gets on the noble eightfold path).
It’s like you can’t escape from going to jail versus you can never ever leave jail.
Once you go to the apayas, it’s extremely difficult to get out. Hence, we need to make haste developing the anicca, anatta sañña of this essenceless world.

Again, if I miss any nuances from the translations given, I’d love to hear them.