The Satipatthana Sutta a forgery?

Textual analysis and comparative discussion on early Buddhist sects and texts.

Re: The Satipatthana Sutta a forgery?

Postby ancientbuddhism » Fri Jul 27, 2012 9:12 am

Sylvester wrote:Thanks AB!

The pericopes in question, as you helpfully point out, speak of -

nikāmalābhī akicchalābhī akasiralābhī

The first, nikāmalābhī, is variously translated as "attains ... as he wishes", or "attains ... as he wills" or "attains ... as he desires".

Does nikāma mean "will"? In MN 4, we hear of meditators who are -

... lābhasakkārasilokaṃ nikāmayamānā...

desirous of gains, offerings and fame

I've not surveyed all the compounds where nikāma occurs, but the general sense from the dictionary seems to be that it only means desire or wish, but not will or intention.

In fact, I wonder if the 3 words in sequence might not be a set of synonyms arranged according to the waxing syllable principle?


nikāma may simply depend on context. nikāma in the context of desirous of gains, offerings and fame (... lābhasakkārasilokaṃ nikāmayamānā...) indicates the intention or will of what is desired (lābha)

In the AN. 4.35 pericope:

    nikāma + lābhī = ‘one who receives (attains)’ (lābhī) + ‘(the object of) desire’ (ni (na^1 emph. part.) + kāma), or 'attains ... as one wishes'

    akiccha + lābhi = ‘one who receives’ (lābhi) + (the condition where there is) ‘no distress’ (akiccha), with reference to the object one wishes.

    akasira + lābhi = ‘one who receives’ (lābhi) + (the condition where there is) ‘no difficulty’ (akasira), with reference to the object one wishes.

Redundant as they seem, the use of waxing syllables relates again to the bhāṇaka system we have discussed in the EB sub-forum from time to time. This device – combined with stock repetitions and pericopes – is found throughout early Buddhist literature, even up to chanting rituals used today which were composed only 150 years ago.

Anālayo presents a nice discussion of this in Oral Dimensions of Pāli Discourses: Pericopes, other Mnemonic Techniques and the Oral Performance Context.
Anuvicca papañca nāmarūpaṃ
ajjhattaṃ bahiddhā ca rogamūlaṃ,
sabbarogamūlabandhanā pamutto
anuvidito tādi pavuccate tathattā

“Having known the naming of objects,
With its proliferation, its root in illness – within and without;
One is released from bondage to the root of all illness.
And thus is called the Knowing One – the Such.

– Sn. 3.6 (Sabhiyasuttaṃ)

Secure your own mask before assisting others. – NORTHWEST AIRLINES (Pre-Flight Instruction)

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Re: The Satipatthana Sutta a forgery?

Postby Sylvester » Sun Jul 29, 2012 4:10 am

Thanks! Illuminating, as always.
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