SN 44.10 With Ānanda / Ānandasutta

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This topic contains 8 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by  Johnny_Lim 11 months, 3 weeks ago.

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  • #17680

    Tobias G
    Participant

    In the Anandasutta SN 44.10 the Buddha rejects self and no-self. But there is a phrase which I do not fully understand:

    “…When Vacchagotta asked me whether the self exists absolutely, if I had answered that ‘the self exists absolutely’ would that have helped give rise to the knowledge that all things are not-self?”

    “…Ahañcānanda, vacchagottassa paribbājakassa ‘atthattā’ti puṭṭho samāno ‘atthattā’ti byākareyyaṃ, api nu me taṃ, ānanda, anulomaṃ abhavissa ñāṇassa uppādāya: ‘sabbe dhammā anattā’”ti?

    Here the last line in Pali says “sabbe dhamma anatta“: all dhamma are without substance or without essence. What is the meaning in relation to “a self exists”? Is it that a “self” would imply “essence”?

  • #17686

    Tobias G
    Participant

    In the post Anatta – the Opposite of Which Atta? it is stated that anatta is the opposite of atta, but not attā (with a long a). In the Anandasutta “sabbe dhammā anattā’”ti” has the long a in anatta. How is that possible?

  • #17687

    Tobias G
    Participant

    This Pali-English dictionary translates atta as “oneself”:

    atta : [m.] soul; oneself. || aṭṭa (nt.) 1. lawsuit; 2. watch tower; 3. a scaffold for workers. (adj.) (from aṭṭita:) grieved; afflicted.

    https://www.budsas.org/ebud/dict-pe/dictpe-01-a.htm

    This dictionary states
    anattā (n. and predicative adj.) not a soul, without a soul. Most freq. in combn. with dukkha & anicca

    http://dsalsrv02.uchicago.edu/cgi-bin/philologic/getobject.pl?c.0:1:533.pali

    There seems to be no difference between atta and attā. Both can lead to anatta or anattā?

  • #17688

    Lal
    Keymaster

    There are two concepts mentioned in this sutta: “Atta” as “self” AND “atta” as “opposite of anatta” as the Buddha meant in Tilakkhana.

    In the first case, “anatta” is NEVER used as the opposite of “atta” in ANY sutta.

    For example, in this sutta, Vaccagotta asks the Buddha: “kiṃ nu kho, bho gotama, atthattā”ti? Evaṃ vutte, bhagavā tuṇhī ahosi. “Kiṃ pana, bho gotama, natthattā”ti? Evaṃ vutte, bhagavā tuṇhī ahosi.

    Translated: “Master Gotama, is there a self? (atthattā”ti)”
    When this was said, the Buddha was silent.
    “Then, Master Gotama, is there no self? (natthattā”ti)”
    Again the Blessed One was silent.”

    Here the Vaccagotta was asking whether there is a “self (atthattā”ti)” OR “no-self (natthattā”ti)”

    Note that here the opposite is written as “natthattā”ti“, using the negation “na” and NOT “anatta“.

    After Vaccagotta left (when the Buddha did not answer for the second and third time), Ven. Ananda asked the Buddha why he did not explain it to Vaccagotta. The Buddha said he did not answer because at that time Vaccagotta was incapable was grasping this difference, just as many even in Theravada are unable to grasp. He did not think Vaccagotta could understand “sabbe dhammā anattā” and could get confused, as mentioned at the end of the sutta.

    This is the difference explained in the post: “Anatta – the Opposite of Which Atta?” and in “Atta Hi Attano Natho”.

    This is the danger posed by those who translate these key suttas incorrectly. Of course they are not aware that they are doing a very serious damage. But the problem is that when we try to point out the problem (and explain at length), many of them do not even listen.

    Now we are getting to these deeper issues in Buddha Dhamma that are critical to understand. I encourage everyone to ask questions if not clear.

  • #17689

    Tobias G
    Participant

    Then it is wrongly written as sabbe dhammā anattā’”ti (anattā with long a)?

  • #17690

    Lal
    Keymaster

    No. Sometimes anatta is written as anattā too, especially when it rhymes better as in “sabbe dhammā anattā”.

    July 26, 2018: Actually it is do with more than to rhyme.
    Anatta is a fact: This world is of “anatta nature”.
    Anattā refers to something specifically with that nature, here dhammā: “sabbe dhammā anattā“.

  • #17697

    Tobias G
    Participant

    Hi Lal,
    in my first post from July 23, 2018 at 4:12, I wrote:

    “…Ahañcānanda, vacchagottassa paribbājakassa ‘atthattā’ti puṭṭho samāno ‘atthattā’ti byākareyyaṃ, api nu me taṃ, ānanda, anulomaṃ abhavissa ñāṇassa uppādāya: ‘sabbe dhammā anattā’”ti? ”

    Here the last line in Pali says “sabbe dhamma anatta“: all dhamma are without substance or without essence. What is the meaning in relation to “a self exists”? Is it that a “self” would imply “essence”?

    Could you please reply to that question?

  • #17698

    Lal
    Keymaster

    Hi Tobias,

    Yes. I think I should write a post on this. This is the key reason why many people today are confused about “anatta” as “no-self”.

    Even in English (and in other languages), there are some words that have double meanings. For example, the word “right” is used to mean two different things in the sentences: “You are right” and “Turn right”.
    Here is another example with the word “leaves”: “He leaves for work early morning”, AND “This tree has green leaves”.

    So, “anatta” in that latter sentence “sabbe dhamma anatta“, has NOTHING to do with “atta” and “na atta” with reference to a “self” and “no-self”.

    If you read the English translation at the Sutta Central site (with this key information in mind), you may be able to see what I mean. There, Vaccagotta also got confused, and the Buddha explained this to Ven. Ananda after Vaccagotta left.

    I will write a post with more references from the Tipitaka, since this is a key issue.

  • #17704

    Johnny_Lim
    Participant

    “sabbe dhammā anattā”

    All dhammā arise out of causes and conditions. It appears that the phenomena that we see are actually the decaying process of the causes and conditions that gave rise to these phenomena. For example the process of inhalation and exhalation of breath. Exhalation is the cause of inhalation. The onset of the inhalation process is already a self-consuming and self-destroying one whereby the conditions for inhalation is progressively being destroyed. The more we inhale, the lesser there is a need to do that. Just because we love inhalation, we cannot perpetually inhale without exhaling. The inhalation process is a self-consuming and self-destroying one and yet it is building up the necessary cause for exhalation. The opposite holds true too. Another way I look at the arising and perishing of dhammā is for example, a desana delivered by a bhante. The moment the bhante starts delivering his desana, the self-consuming and self-decay process has already begun. The more the bhante speaks, the more his desana is nearing the end. Seeing the arising and perishing of all phenomena this way, we can see that there is no external agent that is controlling the mechanics of causes and conditions. Whatever phenomena we cognised via our 6 senses are as such – it’s only the decaying process of dhammā that has already arisen. There is nothing enduring enough to be truly called a self.

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