SN 56.35: Sattisata Sutta — One Hundred Spears

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SN 56.35: Sattisata Sutta — One Hundred Spears

Postby mikenz66 » Wed Sep 04, 2013 7:27 pm

SN 56.35 PTS: S v 440 CDB ii 1606
Sattisata Sutta: One Hundred Spears
translated from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu


Life may be fraught with pain, but the breakthrough to Awakening is utterly painless.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html



"Monks, suppose there was a man whose life span was 100 years, who would live to 100. Someone would say to him, 'Look here, fellow. They will stab you at dawn with 100 spears, at noon with 100 spears, & again at evening with 100 spears. You, thus stabbed day after day with 300 spears, will have a lifespan of 100 years, will live to be 100, and at the end of 100 years you will realize the four noble truths that you have never realized before.'

"Monks, a person who desired his own true benefit would do well to take up (the offer). Why is that? From an inconceivable beginning comes transmigration. A beginning point is not evident for the (pain of) blows from spears, swords, & axes. Even if this (offer) were to occur, I tell you that the realization of the four noble truths would not be accompanied by pain & distress. Instead, I tell you, the realization of the four noble truths would be accompanied by pleasure & happiness.

"Which four? The noble truth of stress, the noble truth of the origination of stress, the noble truth of the cessation of stress, and the noble truth of the path of practice leading to the cessation of stress.

"Therefore your duty is the contemplation, 'This is stress... This is the origination of stress... This is the cessation of stress... This is the path of practice leading to the cessation of stress.'"

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Re: SN 56.35: Sattisata Sutta — One Hundred Spears

Postby mikenz66 » Wed Sep 04, 2013 7:33 pm

Bhikkhu Bodhi notes that the simile of being struck by spears also appears in SN 12.63: Puttamansa Sutta: A Son's Flesh

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .nypo.html
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

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Re: SN 56.35: Sattisata Sutta — One Hundred Spears

Postby Sylvester » Thu Sep 05, 2013 2:10 am

This is another of those suttas that draw a clear distinction between pleasure/sukha and happiness/somanassa.

It does make one wonder how Stream Entry really "feels" like, when there seems to be both a hedonic and affective component to the event.

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Re: SN 56.35: Sattisata Sutta — One Hundred Spears

Postby retrofuturist » Thu Sep 05, 2013 2:12 am

Greetings Sylvester,

Sylvester wrote:This is another of those suttas that draw a clear distinction between pleasure/sukha and happiness/somanassa.

Any chance you can elaborate a bit further on this point? I'm interested to see what you have to say in relation to it.

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


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One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: SN 56.35: Sattisata Sutta — One Hundred Spears

Postby Sylvester » Thu Sep 05, 2013 3:55 am

It was in response to the qualms expressed by some that sukha in the jhana pericopes cannot possibly be translated as "pleasure" but should be translated as "happiness". It also poses an issue on the nature of this sukha in relation to Nibbana (Nibbana is the highest sukha/nibbānaṃ paramaṃ sukhaṃ), and again we see this bifurcation of pleasure and happiness made in SN 36.19, where additionally, pleasure is used in both its literal and metaphorical senses.

It's also part of my long-running argument that there are 2 types of contact, namely (i) the bodily/kāyika (per SN 36.6) or impingement/paṭighasamphassa (per DN 15) which feels in a hedonic manner, versus (ii) its affective sequel. The mind appears to be able to feel hedonic tone, and to feel it disjointed from the affective tone (see MN 148).

The disjointing seems to me to turn on whether there is "grasping at the sign", a theme that is quite ubiquitous judging from a search on ATI for "grasp at any theme" which yielded 15 suttas. There's probably more, based on a Pali search on VRI.

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Re: SN 56.35: Sattisata Sutta — One Hundred Spears

Postby retrofuturist » Thu Sep 05, 2013 5:39 am

Greetings Sylvester,

Thanks.

Sylvester wrote:The mind appears to be able to feel hedonic tone, and to feel it disjointed from the affective tone (see MN 148).

And how would you relate the differential between these two in the context of the arahant?

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: SN 56.35: Sattisata Sutta — One Hundred Spears

Postby mikenz66 » Thu Sep 05, 2013 7:34 am

Hi Sylvester,
Sylvester wrote:This is another of those suttas that draw a clear distinction between pleasure/sukhaand happiness/somanassa.

Sorry, I'm having trouble following this. Presuming that you mean: "I tell you, the realization of the four noble truths would be accompanied by pleasure & happiness", is is possible to explain how this brief phrase draws a "clear distinction" between the terms?

:anjali:
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Re: SN 56.35: Sattisata Sutta — One Hundred Spears

Postby Sylvester » Thu Sep 05, 2013 8:37 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Sylvester,

Thanks.

Sylvester wrote:The mind appears to be able to feel hedonic tone, and to feel it disjointed from the affective tone (see MN 148).

And how would you relate the differential between these two in the context of the arahant?

Metta,
Retro. :)


This is well beyond me. I thought MN 137 might offer a clue, but after researching the terminology, I'm even more clueless. MN 137 has this -

There are three foundations of mindfulness that the Noble One cultivates, cultivating which the Noble One is a teacher fit to instruct a group.’ So it was said. And with reference to what was this said?

22. “Here, bhikkhus, compassionate and seeking their welfare, the Teacher teaches the Dhamma to the disciples out of compassion: ‘This is for your welfare; this is for your happiness.’ His disciples do not want to hear or give ear or exert their minds to understand; they err and turn aside from the Teacher’s Dispensation. With that the Tathāgata is not satisfied and feels no satisfaction; yet he dwells unmoved, mindful, and fully aware. This, bhikkhus, is called the first foundation of mindfulness that the Noble One cultivates, cultivating which the Noble One is a teacher fit to instruct a group.

23. “Furthermore, bhikkhus, compassionate and seeking their welfare, the Teacher teaches the Dhamma to the disciples out of compassion: ‘This is for your welfare; this is for your happiness.’ Some of his disciples will not hear or give ear or exert their minds to understand; they err and turn aside from the Teacher’s Dispensation. Some of his disciples will hear and give ear and exert their minds to understand; they do not err and turn aside from the Teacher’s Dispensation. With that the Tathāgata is not satisfied and feels no satisfaction, and he is not dissatisfied and feels no dissatisfaction; remaining free from both satisfaction and dissatisfaction, he dwells in equanimity, mindful, and fully aware. This, bhikkhus, is called the second foundation of mindfulness that the Noble One cultivates, cultivating which the Noble One is a teacher fit to instruct a group.

24. “Furthermore, bhikkhus, compassionate and seeking their welfare, the Teacher teaches the Dhamma to the disciples out of compassion: ‘This is for your welfare; this is for your happiness.’ His disciples will hear and give ear and exert their minds to understand; they do not err and turn aside from the Teacher’s Dispensation. With that the Tathāgata is satisfied and feels satisfaction; yet he dwells unmoved, mindful, and fully aware. This, bhikkhus, is called the third foundation of mindfulness that the Noble One cultivates, cultivating which the Noble One is a teacher fit to instruct a group.


The vexing words here are attamana (satisfied) and attamanata (satisfaction). What do they mean? Attamana seems to have a fairly even meaning of being satisfied or gratified, as evidenced in the standard pericope -

Idamavoca bhagavā. Attamanā te bhikkhū bhagavato bhāsitaṃ abhinandunti.

That is what the Blessed One said. The bhikkhus were satisfied and delighted in the Blessed One’s words.


The sense of being satiated or fulfilled to satisfaction also seems to come out in AN 5.194 -

Seyyathāpi, bho, puriso jighacchādubbalyapareto madhupiṇḍikaṃ adhigaccheyya. So yato yato sāyetha, labhateva sādurasaṃ asecanakaṃ; evamevaṃ kho, bho, yato yato tassa bhoto gotamassa dhammaṃ suṇāti – yadi suttaso, yadi geyyaso, yadi veyyākaraṇaso, yadi abbhutadhammaso – tato tato labhateva attamanataṃ, labhati cetaso pasādaṃ.

Just as a man oppressed by hunger and weakness who receives a honey cake will enjoy a sweet, delicious taste wherever he eats of it; so too, sir, whatever one hears of Master Gotama’s Dhamma—discourses, mixed prose and verse, expositions, or amazing accounts—one will obtain satisfaction and placidity of mind.


However, in SN 55.6, the anattamanata takes on a more complex emotional hue, based on BB's translation of the SN -

Yadā pana mayaṃ, bhante, bhagavantaṃ suṇāma – ‘kāsīhi māgadhe cārikaṃ pakkanto’ti, hoti anappakā no tasmiṃ samaye anattamanatā hoti anappakaṃ domanassaṃ – ‘dūre no bhagavā’’’ti.

Then when we hear that the Blessed One has set out from among the Kāsians on tour in Magadha, on that occasion there arises in us great distress and displeasure at the thought: ‘The Blessed One is far away from us.


I'm of course assuming that BB is following the Pali sequence of words "anattamanatā ...domanassaṃ" when he rendered "distress ... displeasure". If he had reversed the sequence such that he was rendering anattamanatā as displeasure and domanassa as distress, then the problem does not exist. After all, elsewhere domanassa is rather typically rendered as grief/distress, the affective sequel to pain.

Does MN 137 give a glimpse of how Arahants react to feelings?

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Re: SN 56.35: Sattisata Sutta — One Hundred Spears

Postby Sylvester » Thu Sep 05, 2013 8:50 am

mikenz66 wrote:Hi Sylvester,
Sylvester wrote:This is another of those suttas that draw a clear distinction between pleasure/sukha and happiness/somanassa.

Sorry, I'm having trouble following this. Presuming that you mean: "I tell you, the realization of the four noble truths would be accompanied by pleasure & happiness", is is possible to explain how this brief phrase draws a "clear distinction" between the terms?

:anjali:
Mike



Yes, you're correct Mike. The methodology in distinguishing these 2 aspects of feeling is employed elsewhere, eg DN 22 -

And what is pain (dukkha)? Whatever is experienced as bodily pain, bodily discomfort, pain or discomfort born of bodily contact, that is called pain.

"And what is distress (domanassa)? Whatever is experienced as mental pain, mental discomfort, pain or discomfort born of mental contact, that is called distress.


There was a much longer discussion of this here - viewtopic.php?f=23&t=13998

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Re: SN 56.35: Sattisata Sutta — One Hundred Spears

Postby retrofuturist » Thu Sep 05, 2013 9:51 am

Greetings Sylvester,

Sylvester wrote:This is well beyond me. I thought MN 137 might offer a clue, but after researching the terminology, I'm even more clueless.

Nonetheless, I appreciate you sharing your findings.

Similarly, I hope you found some benefit in the exploration.

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: SN 56.35: Sattisata Sutta — One Hundred Spears

Postby mikenz66 » Fri Sep 06, 2013 8:23 am

Stephen Batchelor quotes this sutta in this article: http://www.globalbuddhism.org/13/batchelor12.pdf where he discusses what he calls "Buddhism 2.0", which sees the four truths are tasks to be undertaken:

This process can be conveniently summarised under the acronym ELSA:

    Embrace,
    Let go,
    Stop,
    Act.
One embraces dukkha, that is whatever situation life presents, lets go of the grasping
that arises in reaction to it, stops reacting, so that one can act unconditioned by
reactivity.

SN 56:35 is discussed here:
The suttas contain a number of passages that suggest this more pragmatic and nuanced
approach. “I do not say that the breakthrough to the four is accompanied by suffering,”
declares the Buddha in the final chapter of the Samyutta Nikaya. “It is accompanied only
by happiness and joy” [S. 56:35]. To fully embrace suffering does not increase suffering,
but paradoxically enhances your sense of astonishment at being alive. By saying “yes”
to birth, sickness, aging, and death, you open your heart and mind to the sheer mystery
of being here at all: that in this moment you breathe, you hear the wind rustling the
leaves in the trees, you look up at the night sky and are lost in wonder. In another
passage, the Buddha corrects his friend the Licchavi nobleman Mahali, who holds the
mistaken belief that life is nothing but suffering: “If this life, Mahali, were exclusively
steeped in suffering,” he explains, “and if it were not also steeped in pleasure, then
beings would not become enamored of it” [S. 22:60].

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Re: SN 56.35: Sattisata Sutta — One Hundred Spears

Postby Spiny Norman » Fri Sep 06, 2013 1:39 pm

mikenz66 wrote:[b]SN 56.35 PTS: S v 440 CDB ii 1606
Sattisata Sutta: One Hundred Spears

"Monks, a person who desired his own true benefit would do well to take up (the offer). Why is that? From an inconceivable beginning comes transmigration. A beginning point is not evident for the (pain of) blows from spears, swords, & axes. Even if this (offer) were to occur, I tell you that the realization of the four noble truths would not be accompanied by pain & distress. Instead, I tell you, the realization of the four noble truths would be accompanied by pleasure & happiness."


I found this section somewhat reminiscent of the Chiggala Sutta: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
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Re: SN 56.35: Sattisata Sutta — One Hundred Spears

Postby mikenz66 » Fri Sep 06, 2013 6:52 pm

Thanks Spiney,

There are, indeed, a number of suttas that have parallels to the first part of that paragraph.

As for the second part:
I tell you that the realization of the four noble truths would not be accompanied by pain & distress. Instead, I tell you, the realization of the four noble truths would be accompanied by pleasure & happiness."

There are a number of suttas:
203. Hunger is the worst disease, conditioned things the worst suffering. Knowing this as it really is, the wise realize Nibbana, the highest bliss.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .budd.html

I have heard that on one occasion Ven. Sariputta was staying near Rajagaha in the Bamboo Grove, the Squirrels' Feeding Sanctuary. There he said to the monks, "This Unbinding is pleasant, friends. This Unbinding is pleasant."
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

368. The monk who abides in universal love and is deeply devoted to the Teaching of the Buddha attains the peace of Nibbana, the bliss of the cessation of all conditioned things.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .budd.html

Those who thus abide, ever remain invincible, in happiness established. These are the greatest blessings."
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .nara.html


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Re: SN 56.35: Sattisata Sutta — One Hundred Spears

Postby Spiny Norman » Sat Sep 07, 2013 9:33 am

mikenz66 wrote:Thanks Spiney,

There are, indeed, a number of suttas that have parallels to the first part of that paragraph.

As for the second part:
I tell you that the realization of the four noble truths would not be accompanied by pain & distress. Instead, I tell you, the realization of the four noble truths would be accompanied by pleasure & happiness."

There are a number of suttas:
203. Hunger is the worst disease, conditioned things the worst suffering. Knowing this as it really is, the wise realize Nibbana, the highest bliss.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .budd.html

I have heard that on one occasion Ven. Sariputta was staying near Rajagaha in the Bamboo Grove, the Squirrels' Feeding Sanctuary. There he said to the monks, "This Unbinding is pleasant, friends. This Unbinding is pleasant."
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

368. The monk who abides in universal love and is deeply devoted to the Teaching of the Buddha attains the peace of Nibbana, the bliss of the cessation of all conditioned things.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .budd.html

Those who thus abide, ever remain invincible, in happiness established. These are the greatest blessings."
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .nara.html


:anjali:


Yes, interesting. I tend to look at suttas in terms of their purpose. This is a type I would class as "encouragement to practice".
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Re: SN 56.35: Sattisata Sutta — One Hundred Spears

Postby mikenz66 » Sat Sep 07, 2013 9:22 pm

Spiny Norman wrote:Yes, interesting. I tend to look at suttas in terms of their purpose. This is a type I would class as "encouragement to practice".

That's a good point. Perhaps reading
I tell you, the realization of the four noble truths would be accompanied by pleasure & happiness.

and then worrying about the exact definition of "pleasure and happiness" is missing the point...

:anjali:
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Re: SN 56.35: Sattisata Sutta — One Hundred Spears

Postby Sylvester » Sun Sep 08, 2013 4:42 am

Spiny Norman wrote:Yes, interesting. I tend to look at suttas in terms of their purpose. This is a type I would class as "encouragement to practice".


Yes, and here's another lovely one from MN 139. Although it does not state it in positive terms of pleasure and happiness, I think the message still get across -

One should not pursue sensual pleasure, which is low, vulgar, coarse, ignoble, and unbeneficial; and one should not pursue self-mortification, which is painful, ignoble, and unbeneficial. ’ So it was said. And with reference to what was this said?

“The pursuit of the enjoyment of one whose pleasure is linked to sensual desires1258—low, vulgar, coarse, ignoble, and unbeneficial—is a state beset by suffering, vexation, despair, and fever, and it is the wrong way.1259 [231] Disengagement from the pursuit of the enjoyment of one whose pleasure is linked to sensual desires—low, vulgar, coarse, ignoble, and unbeneficial—is a state without suffering, vexation, despair, and fever, and it is the right way.

“The pursuit of self-mortification—painful, ignoble, and unbeneficial—is a state beset by suffering, vexation, despair, and fever, and it is the wrong way. Disengagement from the pursuit of self-mortification—painful, ignoble, and unbeneficial—is a state without suffering, vexation, despair, and fever, and it is the right way.

per BB trans


The underlined words are adukkha anupaghāta anupāyāsa apariḷāha. Ven Nyanatiloka translated the last line more lyrically as -

Free from pain and torture is this path,
free from groaning and suffering:
it is the perfect path.


For some strange reason, Ajahn Brahm prefers Ven Nyanatiloka's translation. I guess it comes from a shared understanding of the anupaghāta = without injuring/without hurting/with kindness.

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Re: SN 56.35: Sattisata Sutta — One Hundred Spears

Postby Spiny Norman » Sun Sep 08, 2013 12:24 pm

mikenz66 wrote:
Spiny Norman wrote:Yes, interesting. I tend to look at suttas in terms of their purpose. This is a type I would class as "encouragement to practice".

That's a good point. Perhaps reading
I tell you, the realization of the four noble truths would be accompanied by pleasure & happiness.

and then worrying about the exact definition of "pleasure and happiness" is missing the point...

:anjali:
Mike


I haven't looked at the suttas systematically in terms of purpose, but I think quite a lot of suttas would fall into the "encouragement to practice" classification. Other classifications of purpose might be "instructions for practice" and "explanation of doctrine" - obviously some suttas would be fulfilling more than one purpose. I think this approach can be useful in setting context - I think sometimes when looking at suttas we get bogged down in detail and miss the bigger picture.
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