Saturday, September 13, 2014

《迦叶狮子吼经》Mahasihanada Suttam [6] Notes

Majjhima Nikaya No. 12: The Great Discourse on the Lion's Roar (Maha-sihanada Sutta)


[##] The page numbers enclosed in square brackets in the above text are the page numbers of the Pali Text Society edition of the Pali text.

1.The story of Sunakkhatta's defection is found in the Patika Sutta (DN 24). He became dissatisfied with the Buddha and left the Order because the Buddha would not perform miracles for him or explain to him the beginning of things. He also showed great admiration for those who engaged in self-mortification, and probably resented the Buddha for emphasizing a "middle way" that condemned such extreme austerities as unprofitable.

2.Superhuman states (uttari manussadhamma) are states, virtues or attainments higher than the ordinary human virtues comprised in the ten wholesome courses of action; they include the jhanas, direct knowledges (abhiñña), the paths and the fruits. "Distinction in knowledge and vision worthy of the noble ones"(alamariyañana-dassanavisesa), an expression frequently occurring in the suttas, signifies all higher degrees of meditative knowledge characteristic of the noble individual. In the present context, according to Comy., it means specifically the supramundane path, which Sunakkhatta is thus denying of the Buddha.

3.The thrust of his criticism is that the Buddha teaches a doctrine that he has merely worked out in thought rather than one he has realized through transcendental wisdom. Apparently, Sunakkhatta believes that being led to the complete destruction of suffering is, as a goal, inferior to the acquisition of miraculous powers.

4.All the sections to follow are intended as a rebuttal of Sunakkhatta's charge against the Buddha. Sections 6-8 cover the first three of the six direct knowledges, the last three appearing as the last of the ten powers of the Tathagata. The latter, according to Comy., are to be understood as powers of knowledge (ñanabala) that are acquired by all Buddhas as the outcome of their accumulations of merit. The Vibhanga of the Abhidhamma Pitaka provides an elaborate analysis of them, the gist of which will be discussed in subsequent notes.

5.Comy.: The Wheel of Brahma (brahmacakka) is the supreme, best, most excellent wheel, the Wheel of the Dhamma (dhammacakka). This has two aspects: the knowledge of penetration (pativedhañana) and the knowledge of teaching (desanañana). The knowledge of penetration, by which the Buddha penetrates the truth of the Dhamma, is produced from wisdom and leads to the attainment of the noble fruit for himself; the knowledge of teaching, by which the Buddha is qualified to expound the Dhamma perfectly to others, is produced from compassion and leads others to the attainment of the noble fruit.

6.Comy. glosses thana as cause or ground (karana) and explains: "Such and such dhammas are causes (hetu), conditions (paccaya), for the arising of such and such dhammas: that is thana. Such and such dhammas are not causes, not conditions, for the arising of such and such dhammas: that is atthana. Knowing that, he understands thana as thana and atthana as atthana (i.e., causal occasion as causal occasion, and non-causal occasion as non-causal occasion)." Comy. also refers to the different explanation in the Vibhanga, apparently regarding both explanations as acceptable.

Vbh. Section 809 explains this knowledge with reference to MN 115 as the Buddha's knowledge of what is possible and what is impossible, e.g., it is impossible that a person possessed of right view should regard any formations as permanent or as pleasurable, or anything whatever as self, while it is possible that a worldling will regard things in such an erroneous way. It is impossible for a person possessed of right view to commit the five heinous crimes (matricide, patricide, the murder of an arahant, the wounding of a Buddha, causing a schism in the Sangha), while it is possible for a worldling to commit such crimes, etc. etc.

7.Vbh. Section 810: "Herein, the Tathagata comprehends that there are some evil actions performed which do not mature because they are prevented from maturing by a fortunate rebirth, a fortunate body, a fortunate time, a fortunate effort, while there are some evil actions performed which mature because of an unfortunate rebirth, etc. There are some good actions which do not mature because of an unfortunate rebirth, etc., while there are some good actions which mature because of a fortunate rebirth, etc." (condensed).

8.Vbh. Section 811: "Herein, the Tathagata comprehends thus: 'This is the path, this is the practice leading to hell, to the animal realm, to the plane of ghosts, to the human realm, to the realm of the gods, to deliverance.' " This knowledge will be elaborated upon below in Sections 35-42.

9.Vbh. Section 812: "The Tathagata comprehends the different aggregates, the different sense bases, the different elements; he comprehends the different worlds that have many elements, different elements."

10.Vbh. Section 813: "The Tathagata understands that beings are of inferior inclinations and superior inclinations, and that they gravitate towards those who share their own inclinations" (condensed).

11.Vbh. Sections 814-27 gives a detailed analysis. Comy. states the meaning more concisely as the Tathagata's knowledge of the superiority and inferiority of beings' faculties of faith, energy, mindfulness, concentration and wisdom.

12.Vbh. Section 828: "The defilement (sankilesa) is a state partaking of deterioration; cleansing (vodana) is a state partaking of distinction; emergence(vutthana) is both cleansing and the rising out of an attainment. The eight liberations (vimokkha) are enumerated, e.g., at DN 15/ii,70-71, and comprise three liberations pertaining to the realm of material form, the four immaterial attainments, and the cessation of perception and feeling. The nine attainments(samapatti) are the four jhanas, the four immaterial attainments, and cessation.

13.The idiom yathabhatam nikkhitto evam niraye is knotty; the rendering here follows the gloss of Comy.: "He will be put in hell as if carried off and put there by the wardens of hell." Although such a fate may sound excessively severe merely for verbal denigration, it should be remembered that he is maligning a Fully Enlightened Buddha with a mind of hatred, and his intention in so doing is to discourage others from entering upon the path that could lead them to complete liberation from suffering.

14.The four kinds of intrepidity (vesarajja: also rendered "grounds of self-confidence") may be divided into two pairs. The first pair relates mainly to the internal qualities of the Buddha, his achievement of personal perfection, while the second pair has an outward orientation, being concerned primarily with his qualifications as a teacher. The first intrepidity confirms his attainment of supreme enlightenment and the removal of all obscuration regarding the range of what may be known; it points to the Buddha's acquisition of omniscience(sabbaññutañana). The second underlines his complete purity through the destruction of all defilements; it points to his achievement of the fruit of arahantship. The third means that the Buddha's understanding of obstructions to the goal is unimpeachable, while the fourth confirms the efficacy of the Dhamma in accomplishing its intended purpose, namely, leading the practitioner to complete release from suffering.

15.In later Buddhist tradition the asuras, titans or "anti-gods," are added as a separate realm to make the "six destinations" familiar from the Tibetan Wheel of Life.

16.Comy.: Even though the description is the same as that of the bliss of the heavenly world, the meaning is different. For the bliss of the heavenly world is not really extremely pleasant because the fevers of lust, etc. are still present there. But the bliss of Nibbana is extremely pleasant in every way through the subsiding of all fevers.

17.Comy. explains that at this juncture the Buddha related this account of his past ascetic practices because Sunakkhatta was a great admirer of extreme asceticism (as is clear from the Patika Sutta) and the Buddha wanted to make it known that there was no one who could equal him in the practice of austerities. Sections 44-56 apparently deal with the Bodhisatta's striving during the six years' period of austerities in his last existence, while Sections 57-61 refer back to his previous existences as a seeker of enlightenment.

18.The "eight-days' interval of frost" is a regular cold spell which occurs in South Asia in late December or early January.

19.That is, they hold the view that beings are purified by reducing their intake of food.

20.Rebirth into the Pure Abodes (suddhavasa) is possible only for non-returners.

21.The Pali for the four terms is: sati, gati, dhiti, paññaveyyattiya. Comy. explainssati as the ability to grasp in mind a hundred or a thousand phrases as they are being spoken; gati, the ability to bind them and retain them in the mind; dhiti,the ability to recite back what has been grasped and retained; andpaññaveyyattiya, the ability to discern the meaning and logic of those phrases.

22.The Venerable Nagasamala had been a personal attendant of the Buddha during the first twenty years of his ministry.

23.Lomahamsanapariyaya. The sutta is referred to by that name at Milindapañha,p. 398, and in the commentary to the Digha Nikaya.

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