Three Questions About Nibbāna

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    • #39422

      The following question is from Dosakkhayo:

      All three following suttā ask similar questions at the end and get the same answers. I wonder how these three questions about Nibbāna differ. I also wonder why they come down to the same answer.

      1. In the “Cūḷavedalla Sutta (MN 44):

      “Nibbānassa panāyye, kiṁ paṭibhāgo”ti?

      Accayāsi, āvuso visākha, pañhaṁ, nāsakkhi pañhānaṁ pariyantaṁ gahetuṁ. Nibbānogadhañhi, āvuso visākha, brahmacariyaṁ, nibbānaparāyanaṁ nibbānapariyosānaṁ.”

      2. From the “Uṇṇābhabrāhmaṇa Sutta (SN 48.42)“:

      Nibbānassa pana, bho gotama, kiṁ paṭisaraṇan”ti?

      Accayāsi, brāhmaṇa, pañhaṁ, nāsakkhi pañhassa pariyantaṁ gahetuṁ. Nibbānogadhañhi, brāhmaṇa, brahmacariyaṁ vussati nibbānaparāyaṇaṁ nibbānapariyosānan”ti.

      3. In the “Māra Sutta (SN 23.1)“:

      Nibbānaṁ pana, bhante, kiṁ atthiyan”ti?

      Accayāsi, rādha, pañhaṁ, nāsakkhi pañhassa pariyantaṁ gahetuṁ. Nibbānogadhañhi, rādha, brahmacariyaṁ vussati, nibbānaparāyanaṁ nibbānapariyosānan”ti.

    • #39423

      Good question!

      I highlighted the three keywords that appear in the three suttas above in Dosakkhayo’s questions: paṭibhāga, paṭisaraṇa, atthiya

      The last two are easier to translate:

      paṭisaraṇa means to provide refuge/protection.
      atthiya means “(possible) benefit.”

      The first one, paṭibhāga, means something like “The presence of this can lead to that benefit.”

      One must grasp each word’s meaning in the context of the other questions (preceding the quoted questions above) in each sutta. You can go through the three suttas and ask more questions.

      P.S. You should read the English translations provided with each sutta. See whether it makes more sense if you replace their translation with the above.

    • #39435


      You said: “paṭisaraṇa means to provide refuge/protection.”

      However, in this meaning of word, I don’t understand why Buddha tell the Brahmin Uṇṇābha like this.

      Accayāsi, brāhmaṇa, pañhaṁ, nāsakkhi pañhassa pariyantaṁ gahetuṁ.
      This question goes too far, brahmin! You weren’t able to grasp the limit of questioning.

      I guess the sutta’s contents presents in this order.

      (1) panca indriya
      (2) they depend on mano, mano encompass all of them.
      (3) mano depends on sati
      (4) sati depends on vimutti
      (5) vimutti depends on nibbana
      (6) nibbana depends on?
      (7) That question is outside of the scope of answerability

      So I think from (3) to (5) is presenting the outline of way to nibbana.

      In this context, the main point is that mano is the most important thing because it plays a central role in the way to nibbana.

      But in (6), the point is changing. Because the question is basically like that. “What is the final destination’s destination?” I think that is why Buddha said: “This question goes too far, brahmin! You weren’t able to grasp the limit of questioning.”

      So in this context, paṭisaraṇa might mean “depend” or something like that. I think the saraṇa of paṭisaraṇa can be seen the Buddha “saranam” gacchami.

      If I was wrong, please tell the correct meaning of it to me.

    • #39438

      1. This is why I often say that suttas cannot be translated word-by-word. They need to be explained in detail.
      Sutta Interpretation – Uddēsa, Niddēsa, Paṭiniddēsa

      2. The “Uṇṇābhabrāhmaṇa Sutta (SN 48.42)“ is a short sutta.
      – But, it requires an understanding of 4NT/PS/Tilakkhana, at least to some extent.

      3. If I am forced to summarize the following steps:

      “manassa kho, brāhmaṇa, sati paṭisaraṇan”ti.
      Satiyā kho, brāhmaṇa, vimutti paṭisaraṇan”ti.
      Vimuttiyā kho, brāhmaṇa, nibbānaṁ paṭisaraṇan”ti.
      “Accayāsi, brāhmaṇa, pañhaṁ, nāsakkhi pañhassa pariyantaṁ gahetuṁ. Nibbānogadhañhi, brāhmaṇa, brahmacariyaṁ vussati nibbānaparāyaṇaṁ nibbānapariyosānan”ti.

      I may write:

      A cleanse a mind is the help/refuge to Sammā Sati
      To get to vimutti ñāṇa Sammā Sati helps/is required.
      Vimutti ñāṇa is the way (help/refuge) to get to Nibbāna.
      Once one reaches Nibbāna, no more progress to be made. That is the end of the effort!

      – But, it requires even more explanation, especially for someone unfamiliar with the difference between sati and Sammā Sati, etc..

      4. The verse before “Manassa pana, bho gotama, kiṁ paṭisaraṇan”ti?” is the following:
      Pañcimāni, brāhmaṇa, indriyāni nānāvisayāni nānāgocarāni na aññamaññassa gocaravisayaṁ paccanubhonti. Katamāni pañca? Cakkhundriyaṁ, sotindriyaṁ, ghānindriyaṁ, jivhindriyaṁ, kāyindriyaṁ. Imesaṁ kho, brāhmaṇa, pañcannaṁ indriyānaṁ nānāvisayānaṁ nānāgocarānaṁ na aññamaññassa gocaravisayaṁ paccanubhontānaṁ mano paṭisaraṇaṁ, manova nesaṁ gocaravisayaṁ paccanubhotī”ti.
      – That requires even more explanation.
      – It is by not letting the five sense faculties (indriya) become ayatana that one cleanses the mind. That is explained in the post, “Indriya Make Phassa and Āyatana Make Samphassa” and the in the links therein.

      5. Please don’t expect to learn Buddha Dhamma by reading suttas translated word-by-word. That is an impossibility.
      – That is why I have several posts under “Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta.” Of course, those posts also refer to many more other posts!

    • #39442

      OK. I got the point what you mean. Thank you for the answer. Now I truly feel the danger of word-by-word translation clearly.

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