SN 12.11: Ahara Sutta

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SN 12.11: Ahara Sutta

Postby mikenz66 » Tue Dec 20, 2011 9:03 am

SN 12.11 PTS: S ii 11 CDB i 540
Ahara Sutta: Nutriment
translated from the Pali by Nyanaponika Thera

The Buddha explains how the teachings on the four nutriments (ahara) fits in with dependent co-arising.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .nypo.html

At Savatthi.

"There are, O monks, four nutriments for the sustenance of beings born, and for the support of beings seeking birth. What are the four?

"Edible food, coarse and fine; secondly, sense-impression; thirdly, volitional thought; fourthly, consciousness.

"Of these four nutriments, O monks, what is their source, what is their origin, from what are they born, what gives them existence?

"These four nutriments, O monks, have craving as their cause, have craving as their origin, are born of craving, and craving gives them existence.

"And this craving, O monks, what is its source, what its origin, from what is it born, what gives it existence? Craving has feeling as its source and origin, it is born of feeling, and feeling gives existence to it.

"And this feeling, O monks, what is its source and origin, from what is it born and what gives existence to it? Feeling has sense-impression as its source and origin...

"And this sense-impression, O monks, what is its source...? sense-impression has the six sense-bases as its source and origin...

"And these six sense-bases, O monks, what is their source...? The six sense-bases have mind-and-body as their source and origin...

"And this mind-and-body, O monks, what is its source...? Mind-and-body has consciousness as its source and origin...

"And this consciousness, O monks, what is its source...? Consciousness has kamma-formations as its source and origin...

"And these kamma-formations, O monks, what is their source and origin, from what are they born, what gives existence to them? Kamma-formations have ignorance as their source and origin, they are born of ignorance and ignorance gives existence to them.

"Thus, O monks, through ignorance conditioned are kamma-formations; through the kamma-formations conditioned is consciousness; through consciousness conditioned is mind-and-body; through mind-and-body conditioned are the six sense-bases; through the six sense-bases conditioned is sense-impression; through sense-impression conditioned is feeling, through feeling conditioned is craving; through craving conditioned is clinging; through clinging conditioned is becoming; through becoming conditioned is birth; through birth conditioned are decay and death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief and despair. Thus arises this whole mass of suffering."

See also: SN 12.12 http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn12/sn12.012.nypo.html; SN 12.31 http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn12/sn12.012.nypo.html; SN 12.63 http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn12/sn12.012.nypo.html; SN 12.64 [url][/url]; AN 10.27 [url][/url];
The Four Nutriments of Life by Nyanaponika Thera. http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... el105.html
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Re: SN 12.11: Ahara Sutta

Postby mikenz66 » Tue Dec 20, 2011 9:05 am

SN 12.11 PTS: S ii 11 CDB i 540
Ahara Sutta: Nutriment
translated from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu


Translator's Note

    This discourse incorporates the teaching on the four nutriments (see SN 12.63-64) into the pattern for dependent co-arising, placing them in the position usually occupied by clinging: after craving and before becoming. Putting nutriment in this position highlights one of the connotations of the Pali word for clinging, upadana, which can also mean "sustenance." It also highlights one of the connotations of the Pali word for craving, tanha, which can also mean "thirst."

    The Commentary to this discourse tries to fit this teaching into the three-lifetime interpretation of dependent co-arising, emphasizing the role of the four nutriments in the mechanics of death and rebirth, but there is no need to limit the teaching to this interpretation. The teachings both in this discourse and in the following one show the complex interactions and feedback loops among the different factors of dependent co-arising, both between lifetimes and within a single lifetime — even a single moment. Craving is what takes material form, contact, intention, and consciousness — all of which precede it in the chain of dependent co-arising — and turns them into food for further becoming: continued becoming in this lifetime, and future becoming in the next.


I have heard that on one occasion the Blessed One was staying near Savatthi in Jeta's Grove, Anathapindika's monastery. There he addressed the monks, "Monks, there are these four nutriments for the maintenance of beings who have come into being or for the support of those in search of a place to be born. Which four? Physical food, gross or refined; contact as the second; intellectual intention the third; and consciousness the fourth. These are the four nutriments for the maintenance of beings who have come into being or for the support of those in search of a place to be born.

"Now, these four nutriments have what as their cause, what as their origination, what as their source, what as that which brings them into play? These four nutriments have craving as their cause, craving as their origination, craving as their source, craving as that which brings them into play.

"And this craving has what as its cause, what as its origination, what as its source, what as that which brings it into play?... Feeling...

"And this feeling has what as its cause...? ...Contact...

"And this contact has what as its cause...? ...The six sense media...

"And these six sense media have what as their cause...? ...Name-&-form...

"And this name-&-form has what as its cause...? ...Consciousness...

"And this consciousness has what as its cause...? ...Fabrication...

"And this fabrication has what as its cause, what as its origination, what as its source, what as that which brings it into play? Fabrication has ignorance as its cause, ignorance as its origination, ignorance as its source, ignorance as that which brings it into play.

"Thus, from ignorance as a requisite condition come fabrications.

"From fabrications as a requisite condition comes consciousness.

"From consciousness as a requisite condition comes name-&-form.

"From name-&-form as a requisite condition come the six sense media.

"From the six sense media as a requisite condition comes contact.

"From contact as a requisite condition comes feeling.

"From feeling as a requisite condition comes craving.

"From craving as a requisite condition comes clinging/sustenance.

"From clinging/sustenance as a requisite condition comes becoming.

"From becoming as a requisite condition comes birth.

"From birth as a requisite condition, then aging & death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair come into play. Such is the origination of this entire mass of stress & suffering.

"Now from the remainderless fading & cessation of that very ignorance comes the cessation of fabrications. From the cessation of fabrications comes the cessation of consciousness. From the cessation of consciousness comes the cessation of name-&-form. From the cessation of name-&-form comes the cessation of the six sense media. From the cessation of the six sense media comes the cessation of contact. From the cessation of contact comes the cessation of feeling. From the cessation of feeling comes the cessation of craving. From the cessation of craving comes the cessation of clinging/ sustenance. From the cessation of clinging/sustenance comes the cessation of becoming. From the cessation of becoming comes the cessation of birth. From the cessation of birth, then aging & death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair all cease. Such is the cessation of this entire mass of stress & suffering."
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Re: SN 12.11: Ahara Sutta

Postby mikenz66 » Wed Dec 21, 2011 9:52 am

Some commentary.

"there are these four kinds of nutriment for the maintenance of beings that have already come to be and for the assistance of those about to come to be."

BB: [makes some technical comments about the commentators having difficulty with the unusual grammatical idiom...]
... Spk comments on the above line: "Beings who have already come to be are those who have been born, been produced. Those about to come to be (or, in Spk's interpretation 'seekers of a new existence') are those seeking, searching for, a new existence, birth, production."


"... nudriment edible food, gross or subtle ... contact ... mental volition ... conciousness. These are the four kinds of nutriments ..."

Spk: The nutriments are conditions (paccaya), for conditions are called nutrients (ahara) because they nouriseh (or bring forth, aharanti) their own effects. Although there are other conditions for beings, these four alone are called nutrients because they serve as special conditions for the personal life-continuity. For edible food is a special condition for the physical body of those beings who subsist on edible food. In the mental body, contact is the special condition for feeling, mental volition for conciousness, and consciousness for name-and-form. As to what they bring forth (or nourish): Edible food, as soon as it is placed in the mouth, brings forth the groups of form with nutrient essence as the eighth (an Abhidhamma term for the simplest cluster of material phenomena); the nutriment contact brings forth the three kinds of feeling; the nutriment mental volition brings forth the three kinds of existence; and the nutriment conciousness brings forth name-and-form on the occasion of rebirth.

In SN nutriment is further discussed at
SN12.12 http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .nypo.html
SN 12.31 http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
SN 12.63 http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .nypo.html
SN 12.64 http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .nypo.html
See also Visuddhimagga 11.1-3 http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... index.html
[For the extensive footnotes see the PDF above.]
1. Now comes the description of the development of the perception of
repulsiveness in nutriment, which was listed as the “one perception”1 next to
the immaterial states (III.105).

Herein, it nourishes (áharati, lit. “brings on”), thus it is nutriment (áhára, lit.
“bringing on”). That is of four kinds as: physical nutriment, nutriment consisting
of contact, nutriment consisting of mental volition, and nutriment consisting of
consciousness. [2]

2. But what is it here that nourishes (brings on) what? Physical nutriment
(kabaliòkáráhára) nourishes (brings on) the materiality of the octad that has
nutritive essence as eighth:[3] contact as nutriment nourishes (brings on) the
three kinds of feeling; mental volition as nutriment nourishes (brings on) rebirth-
linking in the three kinds of becoming; consciousness as nutriment nourishes
(brings on) mentality-materiality at the moment of rebirth-linking.

3. Now, when there is physical nutriment there is attachment, which brings
peril; when there is nutriment as contact there is approaching, which brings
peril; when there is nutriment as mental volition there is rebirth-linking, which
brings peril.[4] And to show how they bring fear thus, physical nutriment should
be illustrated by the simile of the child’s flesh (S II 98), contact as nutriment by
the simile of the hideless cow (S II 99), mental volition as nutriment by the simile
of the pit of live coals (S II 99), and consciousness as nutriment by the simile of
the hundred spears (S II 100).
[SN 12.63 http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn12/sn12.063.nypo.html]

See also the Nyanaponika Thera collection, "The four nutrients of life" referred to in a previous post.

Ahara is also used is a broader sense of "special condition" without reference to the four nutrients at
SN 46.51 http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
SN 55.31 http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
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Re: SN 12.11: Ahara Sutta

Postby mikenz66 » Thu Dec 22, 2011 8:07 am

"These four kinds of nutriment have carving as their source, craving as their origin; they are born and produced from craving."

Spk: Beginning with the moment of rebirth, these kinds of nutriment comprised in the individual existence (attabhava, the sentient organism) should be understood to originate by way of prior craving (purimatanha; the craving of the previous life that generated rebirth). How? At the moment of rebirth, firstly, there exists nutritive essence (oja) produced within the (bodily) form; this is the kammically acquired edible food originating from prior craving. Then the contact and volition associated with the rebirth-consciousness, and that consciousness itself, are respectively the kammically acquired nutriments of contact, mental volition, and conciousness originating from (prior) craving. thus at rebirth the nutriments have their source in prior craving. And as at rebirth, so those produced subsequently at the moment of the first bhavangacitta should be similarly understood.

BB: On the conditioning role or the nutriments see CMA 8:23 (page 319).
http://books.google.com.au/books?id=hxo ... ma&f=false

BB: The commentarial explanation of how craving is the cause of the four nutriments seems roundabout.
A simpler explanation, more consonant with the spirit of the suttas, might be that it is craving which impels beings into the perpetual struggle to obtain physical and mental nutriment, both in the present life and future lives.
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Re: SN 12.11: Ahara Sutta

Postby mikenz66 » Sat Dec 24, 2011 3:39 am

Note that this sutta, and a number of suttas in the Nidana-samyutta (and elsewhere) does not contain all of the 12 links of SN 12.1 and 12.2 http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

Furthermore, in this case the causal chain veers off into what appears to be a different direction from the normal 12-link story. One could say the same about MN 18 Madhupindika Sutta: The Ball of Honey http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
"Dependent on eye & forms, eye-consciousness arises. The meeting of the three is contact. With contact as a requisite condition, there is feeling. What one feels, one perceives (labels in the mind). What one perceives, one thinks about. What one thinks about, one objectifies. Based on what a person objectifies [papanca-izes], the perceptions & categories of objectification assail him/her with regard to past, present, & future forms cognizable via the eye.


Presumably, this means that one should not place too much importance on the particular details of the links, the point being the overall theme of causes and conditions.

Any thoughts?

:anjali:
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Re: SN 12.11: Ahara Sutta

Postby Gena1480 » Sat Dec 24, 2011 11:18 pm

Hello Mike
i just want to point out
noble truth of suffering is to be understood
noble truth of origin of suffering is to be abandon (eradicated)
noble truth of cessation of suffering is to be realized
noble truth of path to cessation of suffering is to be developed
what ever subject to origination is subject to cessation.
what ever is subject to production, is subject to unproduction.
ignorance is subject to production
since it is subject to production
it is subject to unproduction.
metta mitta
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