"The Deathless" (amata)

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism

Re: "The Deathless" (amata)

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Apr 23, 2013 9:08 pm

polarbuddha101 wrote:. . .
. . . First, it assumes that unbinding is here being contrasted with transmigration, even though the passage simply contrasts it with the fabricated. . . .
Interestingly, the Buddha does directly contrast samsara with nibbana:

    ”Then the group of five monks, being thus exhorted, thus instructed by me [the Buddha], being liable to birth because of self, having known the perils in what is liable to birth, seeking freedom from birth, the uttermost security from the bonds -- nibbana -- won freedom from birth, the uttermost security from the bonds -- nibbana...." -- Majjhima Nikaya I 173
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: "The Deathless" (amata)

Postby polarbuddha101 » Tue Apr 23, 2013 11:42 pm

Thanks Tilt.

:anjali:
"I don't envision a single thing that, when developed & cultivated, leads to such great benefit as the mind. The mind, when developed & cultivated, leads to great benefit."

"I don't envision a single thing that, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about such suffering & stress as the mind. The mind, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about suffering & stress."
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Re: "The Deathless" (amata)

Postby mogg » Wed Apr 24, 2013 4:10 pm

tiltbillings wrote:The core idea that I have trying to get at with all this is the Dhamma is not about things, objects, substances, identities. When one talks about "the Deathless" something is seriously lost. It suggests, intentionally or not, that there is some substantial, objective "Truth" out there that we can get. The Buddha suggests something radically different from that in terms of seeing what we are in terms of experiential process. There is a reason why the Buddha said: Who sees paticcasamuppada sees Dhamma, who sees Dhamma sees paticcasamuppda. - MN 1 190-1. Truth/Dhamma is to be seen/known/experienced in terms of the experiential process that we are, and nowhere else.

    SN 2.26: It is in this very fathom-long physical frame with its perceptions and mind, that, I declare, lies the world, and the arising of the world, and the cessation of the world, and the path leading to the cessation of the world. [26]

      26.The import of this significant declaration can be understood in the context of those suttas in which the Buddha defines the concept of the world. The 'world,' for the Buddha, arises in the six sense-spheres (See above Note 21). Hence its cessation too, is to be experienced there, in the cessation of the six sense-spheres (salaayatananirodha). "I will teach you, monks, how the world comes to be and passes away... What monks, is the arising of the world? Dependent on eye and forms, arises visual consciousness. The concurrence of the three is contact. Conditioned by contact is feeling. Conditioned by feeling, craving. Conditioned by craving, grasping. Conditioned by grasping, becoming. Conditioned by becoming, birth. And conditioned by birth, arise decay, death, grief lamentation, suffering, despair. This is the arising of the world.
      And what, monks, is the passing away of the world? Dependent on the eye and forms arise visual consciousness. The concurrence of the three is contact. Conditioned by contact is feeling. Conditioned by feeling is craving. By the utter fading away and cessation of that craving, grasping ceases, by the ceasing of grasping, becoming ceases, by the ceasing of becoming birth ceases, by the ceasing of birth, decay-and-death, grief, lamentation, suffering, despair, cease. Such is the ceasing of this entire man
      [sic; should be 'mass'] of Ill." -- SN ii 73 CDB i 581
      http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... passage-10" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
      http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... tml#fnt-26" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

      "Monks, I will teach you the all. And what is the all? The eye and forms, the ear and sounds the nose and odors, the tongue and tastes, the body and touch, the mind and mental phenomena. This is called the all. If anyone, monks, should speak thus: ' Having rejected this all, I shall make known another all' - that would be a mere empty boast." SN IV 15.

This is an outstanding post :clap:

Tilt, I agree with your interpretive translation of amata. It makes perfect sense to me and is accordance with the dhamma as I understand it. Thanks for the great posts in this thread.
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Re: "The Deathless" (amata)

Postby male_robin » Thu May 16, 2013 1:23 am

Sylvester wrote:I agree with Tilt’s analysis that the string of epithets “ajātaṃ abhūtaṃ akataṃ asaṅkhataṃ” are modifiers, rather than nouns.

Here’s a boring grammatical analysis.

Let’s take a look at Ajahn Thanissaro’s translation of Ud 8.3, which is pretty representative of the translators who render the epithets as nouns –

I have heard that on one occasion the Blessed One was staying near Savatthi, in Jeta's Grove, Anathapindika's monastery. Now at that time the Blessed One was instructing urging, rousing, and encouraging the monks with Dhamma-talk concerned with Unbinding. The monks — receptive, attentive, focusing their entire awareness, lending ear — listened to the Dhamma.
Then, on realizing the significance of that, the Blessed One on that occasion exclaimed:
There is, monks, an unborn — unbecome — unmade — unfabricated. If there were not that unborn — unbecome — unmade — unfabricated, there would not be the case that emancipation from the born — become — made — fabricated would be discerned. But precisely because there is an unborn — unbecome — unmade — unfabricated, emancipation from the born — become — made — fabricated is discerned.


It will be obvious that these translations rely on the presence of the antonyms to the epithet, ie “the born, the become, the made, the fabricated” to furnish a basis to treat both sets (ie the ajāta and jāta sets) as referring to nouns, instead of predicates.

The Pali for Ud 8.3 is –

669Evaṃ me sutaṃ— ekaṃ samayaṃ bhagavā sāvatthiyaṃ viharati jetavane anāthapiṇḍikassa ārāme. Tena kho pana samayena bhagavā bhikkhū nibbānapaṭisaṃyuttāya dhammiyā kathāya sandasseti samādapeti samuttejeti sampahaṃseti. Tedha bhikkhū aṭṭhiṃ katvā, manasi katvā, sabbaṃ cetaso samannāharitvā, ohitasotā dhammaṃ suṇanti.
670Atha kho bhagavā etamatthaṃ viditvā tāyaṃ velāyaṃ imaṃ udānaṃ udānesi—
671“Atthi, bhikkhave, ajātaṃ abhūtaṃ akataṃ asaṅkhataṃ. No cetaṃ, bhikkhave, abhavissa ajātaṃ abhūtaṃ akataṃ asaṅkhataṃ, nayidha jātassa bhūtassa katassa saṅkhatassa nissaraṇaṃ paññāyetha. Yasmā ca kho, bhikkhave, atthi ajātaṃ abhūtaṃ akataṃ asaṅkhataṃ, tasmā jātassa bhūtassa katassa saṅkhatassa nissaraṇaṃ paññāyatī”ti.


The issue is this – are the translators justified in translating the antonyms jāta bhūta kata saṅkhata as nouns, instead of being predicates?


Can someone explain how we know these are in the genitive case? Is it because the words are transliterated as, for example, akataṃ rather than akata? I have seen the sanskrit word for this translated as akṛta or akṛtaṃ, or in Indic script as अकृत अकृता अकृतम् . I have wondered if there is some distinction there.

अ negative prefix a- अ-. Similar to the Greek a-/an. English: un- (Merriam Webster sense 1)
कृ Verbal root kṛ cognate of Lain creō / crescere. English: To make, to create, to do, to put, to place.
त suffix -ta -त. Appears to function much like -ed in English. Forms a passive past participle; which can be used an adjective, possibly sometimes as an adjective noun with the modified noun implied, or even as a noun to express an abstract concept?
म् ???

I have some thoughts on, and a lot of questions about asaṅkhata if anyone is interested.

Sanskrit equivalent: asamskrita असंस्कृत. It breaks down just like akrita, except for:

Prefix sam- सं, cognate of sim-, similar in function to the English com-/ con- / co-. Senses: with, together, together with.

*Verbal Root skr स्कृ, veriant of kr

Does saṅkhata (compounded, constructed, conditioned, fabricated, put together) dhamma(s) (phenomena) refer only to human mental states; pertaining to epistemology, or is it inclusive of biological and / or purely physical processes?

How is kata (created, made) different from saṅkhata?
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Re: "The Deathless" (amata)

Postby tiltbillings » Thu May 16, 2013 4:30 am

male_robin wrote:Can someone explain how we know these are in the genitive case?
I did the basic work that is reflected above back in mid to late 80's when I was studying Pali at the University of Wisconsin, Madison in their South Asian/BuddhistStudies program. It was in Rune Johansson's book, The Psychology of Nirvana (pages 54-5) that I came across the idea that the four words -- atthi ajātaṃ abhūtaṃ akataṃ asaṅkhataṃ -- are adjectives and that in the sentence -- atthi ajātaṃ abhūtaṃ akataṃ asaṅkhataṃ -- the subject is implied, which opened up this text, Udana 80, for me. Heretofore it had been a mysterious concatenation of words, and now it is something that makes sense. I have subsequently seen a very detailed discussion of this subject by K.R. Norman, which supports this sort of reading I suggest in this thread, but, alas, I do not have a copy of that article, so I cannot give a citation for it. It has been tens of years since I seriously studied Pali and I am no longer in a position to discuss the grammatical and philological mechanics of all this beyond what I have offered in this thread.

Does saṅkhata (compounded, constructed, conditioned, fabricated, put together) dhamma(s) (phenomena) refer only to human mental states; pertaining to epistemology, or is it inclusive of biological and / or purely physical processes?
I suspect, taking all the uses of this word in the suttas that has to do with the teachings of awakening, it has to do with the conditioned nature of the mind/body experience.

How is kata (created, made) different from saṅkhata?
Obviously the words overlap, but as to how they are to be understood is dependent upon how they are used throughout the suttas.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: "The Deathless" (amata)

Postby Sylvester » Thu May 16, 2013 6:50 am

male_robin wrote:
Sylvester wrote:I agree with Tilt’s analysis that the string of epithets “ajātaṃ abhūtaṃ akataṃ asaṅkhataṃ” are modifiers, rather than nouns.

Here’s a boring grammatical analysis.

Let’s take a look at Ajahn Thanissaro’s translation of Ud 8.3, which is pretty representative of the translators who render the epithets as nouns –

I have heard that on one occasion the Blessed One was staying near Savatthi, in Jeta's Grove, Anathapindika's monastery. Now at that time the Blessed One was instructing urging, rousing, and encouraging the monks with Dhamma-talk concerned with Unbinding. The monks — receptive, attentive, focusing their entire awareness, lending ear — listened to the Dhamma.
Then, on realizing the significance of that, the Blessed One on that occasion exclaimed:
There is, monks, an unborn — unbecome — unmade — unfabricated. If there were not that unborn — unbecome — unmade — unfabricated, there would not be the case that emancipation from the born — become — made — fabricated would be discerned. But precisely because there is an unborn — unbecome — unmade — unfabricated, emancipation from the born — become — made — fabricated is discerned.


It will be obvious that these translations rely on the presence of the antonyms to the epithet, ie “the born, the become, the made, the fabricated” to furnish a basis to treat both sets (ie the ajāta and jāta sets) as referring to nouns, instead of predicates.

The Pali for Ud 8.3 is –

669Evaṃ me sutaṃ— ekaṃ samayaṃ bhagavā sāvatthiyaṃ viharati jetavane anāthapiṇḍikassa ārāme. Tena kho pana samayena bhagavā bhikkhū nibbānapaṭisaṃyuttāya dhammiyā kathāya sandasseti samādapeti samuttejeti sampahaṃseti. Tedha bhikkhū aṭṭhiṃ katvā, manasi katvā, sabbaṃ cetaso samannāharitvā, ohitasotā dhammaṃ suṇanti.
670Atha kho bhagavā etamatthaṃ viditvā tāyaṃ velāyaṃ imaṃ udānaṃ udānesi—
671“Atthi, bhikkhave, ajātaṃ abhūtaṃ akataṃ asaṅkhataṃ. No cetaṃ, bhikkhave, abhavissa ajātaṃ abhūtaṃ akataṃ asaṅkhataṃ, nayidha jātassa bhūtassa katassa saṅkhatassa nissaraṇaṃ paññāyetha. Yasmā ca kho, bhikkhave, atthi ajātaṃ abhūtaṃ akataṃ asaṅkhataṃ, tasmā jātassa bhūtassa katassa saṅkhatassa nissaraṇaṃ paññāyatī”ti.


The issue is this – are the translators justified in translating the antonyms jāta bhūta kata saṅkhata as nouns, instead of being predicates?


Can someone explain how we know these are in the genitive case?


Hello

In my post, I'd said -

Note, that the “jāta bhūta kata saṅkhata” are all inflected in the genitive case.


You can see this in the -ssa declension highlighted in red above. This form principally functions in the genitive case, although it is also used for the dative.
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Re: "The Deathless" (amata)

Postby male_robin » Thu May 16, 2013 10:44 am

How is kata (created, made) different from saṅkhata?


Obviously the words overlap, but as to how they are to be understood is dependent upon how they are used throughout the suttas.


Thank you for the reply.

One of my hypotheses or hunches is that jata refers to rupa-khanda, bhuta to vedana-khanda, kata to sanna-khanda, and samkhata to sankhara-khanda.

The common translation of samkhata as conditioned is confusing, because condition has so many different meanings, both as a noun and verb. Also, the noun paccaya is translated as condition. As you may know, condition was originally a noun, actually a noun form of a verb meaning to agree. Condition as meant agreement. As a noun it can refer to the stipulations or terms of an agreement, contingent stipulations, contingencies in general, requisites, prerequisites, states of being, or circumstances. Paccaya appears to refer to conditions in the sense of requisite circumstances.

The verbed form generally means to bring about certain conditions, to train, to habituate, or to modify -- such as by psychological conditioning. The verbing of nouns, in this case re-verbing, might weird language, but I think the sense of the verb condition, as used in psychology, works here. Sankharas would be what conditions us, and samkhata would be the result of conditioning.

Those are just some tentative musings.
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Re: "The Deathless" (amata)

Postby male_robin » Thu May 16, 2013 10:53 am

You can see this in the -ssa declension highlighted in red above. This form principally functions in the genitive case, although it is also used for the dative


Thank you. Any idea what adding म् (m sound I think) to the -त / -ta does, if anything?
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Re: "The Deathless" (amata)

Postby Sylvester » Fri May 17, 2013 9:18 am

Sorry, I'm unfamiliar with that alphabet. Is it an m or an ṃ? If the latter, it should be showing the accusative case.

Oddly enough, sentences of this kind (where the atthi is placed to the fore for emphasis) should decline the nouns in the nominative, instead of the accusative. If in the accusative, it typically indicates that ajāta abhūta akata asaṅkhata are nouns/objects of a verb performed by the subject in nominative. But where is the subject in Ud 8.3? Maybe the normal grammatical rules don't apply in Udānas?

Here's another interesting word āyatana in the accusative in Ud 8.1-

Atti bhikkave, tadāyatanaṃ, yattha neva paṭhavi, na āpo, na tejo, na vāyo, na ākāsānañcāyatanaṃ, na viññānañcāyatanaṃ, na ākiñcaññāyatanaṃ, na nevasaññānāsaññāyatanaṃ, nāyaṃ loko, na paraloko, na ubho candimasuriyā. Tatrāpāhaṃ bhikkhave, neva āgatiṃ vadāmi, na gatiṃ, na ṭhitiṃ, na cutiṃ, na upapattiṃ. Appatiṭṭhaṃ appavattaṃ anārammaṇamevetaṃ. Esevanto dukkhassā"ti.


Unsurprisingly, the nouns in the first sentence are in the nominative, save for the formless bases, which take the same inflection as "that base"/tadāyatanaṃ. The "base" is rendered in the accusative, given that the next sentence describes it as here/tatra and gives a list of the qualities that defines that base in negatives, also expressed in the accusative. It therefore seems clear to me that the "base" in the accusative is tied back to the negative qualities in the 2nd sentence.

Re your query on the -ta ending, ajāta abhūta akata asaṅkhata are all negative past participles of their respective verbs. In Pali, these participles can function as either nouns or as adjectives. Since it does not make much sense to translate the atthi sentence as being composed of nouns in the accusative case, it probably makes more sense (following the Ud 8.1 structure) to read the 4 words as adjectives which are defined by the following sentence. In the following sentence, we have a noun in the accusative - escape/nissaraṇaṃ. Not just any escape, but escape from jāta bhūta kata saṅkhata.

Tilt's reading is probably the most sensible way to render this set of past participles.
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Re: "The Deathless" (amata)

Postby male_robin » Fri May 17, 2013 4:59 pm

Sorry, I'm unfamiliar with that alphabet. Is it an m or an ṃ? If the latter, it should be showing the accusative case


I suspect that म् would be ṃ -- the letter m with a dot under it.

I think asaṅkhata would be the same as asaṃskṛta in Sanskrit. I am seeing this written असंस्कृत. I gather that is an Indic script.

In the passages cited, it is written asaṅkhataṃ. I gather, in Sanskrit, that would be asaṃskṛtaṃ असंस्कृतम्.

I had to review accusative versus nominative. I now recall we distinguish that when we use pronouns in proper English. I, who, he would be nominative; me, him, whom, would be accusative. I see some parallel there. An m or m like sound seems to mark the accusative. In the passages cited, the 4 negative past participles are written with ṃ at the end. I just wondered about that. It would seem to make them objects rather than subjects?

But where is the subject in Ud 8.3? Maybe the normal grammatical rules don't apply in Udānas?


In translation, it's what is called an expletive construction. The word 'there' looks like the subject. Just in terms of English, the sentence 'there is, monks, an unborn — unbecome — unmade — unfabricated' ought to be something like:

'An unborn, an unbecome, an unmade, an unfabricated are present.' Or,
'An unborn, unbecome, unmade, and unfabricated is present.' Or,
'An unborn, unbecome, unmade, unfabricated state is present.'

The first sentence treats the 4 negative past participles as distinct adjectival nouns expressing abstractions. In the second sentence, they are adjectives with an unknown noun implied. The last treats them as adjectives modifying the word 'state.' None solve the problem that they are apparently given in the accusative case.

You can see this in the -ssa declension highlighted in red above. This form principally functions in the genitive case, although it is also used for the dative


And a few other ways too?

I sort of see what is being said about the ssa ending, marking the genitive case of the positive past participles, as in saṅkhatassa I had wondered about that as well. I read somewhere a while back that ssa marks the genitive (possessive?) case of masculine singular nouns in Pali. Example: Buddhassa dhammo = the Buddha's Dharma. In English, possessive pronouns as examples of genitive case -- my, his, whose.

Now, I shall go and ruminate on the rest.

Thank you for your patience.
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Re: "The Deathless" (amata)

Postby Sylvester » Sat May 18, 2013 4:18 am

male_robin wrote:
In translation, it's what is called an expletive construction. The word 'there' looks like the subject. Just in terms of English, the sentence 'there is, monks, an unborn — unbecome — unmade — unfabricated' ought to be something like:

'An unborn, an unbecome, an unmade, an unfabricated are present.' Or,
'An unborn, unbecome, unmade, and unfabricated is present.' Or,
'An unborn, unbecome, unmade, unfabricated state is present.'

The first sentence treats the 4 negative past participles as distinct adjectival nouns expressing abstractions. In the second sentence, they are adjectives with an unknown noun implied. The last treats them as adjectives modifying the word 'state.' None solve the problem that they are apparently given in the accusative case.



I prefer to think of it as an elliptical construction, where what is elided is a noun. I'm not familiar with every form of MIA, but from what I know of Pali and the Upanisadic Vedic, the word atthi/asti is a purely existential qualifier, and does not furnish any noun. From what little I've read of the Upanisads, the Vedic appears to agree with Pali in constructing existential propositions as follows -

asti noun (nom).

Perhaps you could check on the rule in Skt to see if this is also the case in that language.
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Re: "The Deathless" (amata)

Postby male_robin » Sat May 18, 2013 6:22 am

Sylvester wrote:
I prefer to think of it as an elliptical construction, where what is elided is a noun. I'm not familiar with every form of MIA, but from what I know of Pali and the Upanisadic Vedic, the word atthi/asti is a purely existential qualifier, and does not furnish any noun. From what little I've read of the Upanisads, the Vedic appears to agree with Pali in constructing existential propositions as follows -

asti noun (nom).

Perhaps you could check on the rule in Skt to see if this is also the case in that language.


Maybe I'll get an opportunity to ask someone who knows. I got interested in Sanskrit as a means of ferreting out cognates of Buddhist terms, in search of meanings. I just started looking a little bit at IAST and Devangari script. It has been almost 40 years since I did any formal language studies. I have done enough casual study over the decades to sort of follow conversations like this.

I think in the end, we know what words like amata mean through the direct experience of doing the practices. Still, I place a lot value in a disciplined academic approach to guide one's discovery through experience.
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Re: "The Deathless" (amata)

Postby tiltbillings » Sat May 18, 2013 7:53 am

male_robin wrote:
I think in the end, we know what words like amata mean through the direct experience of doing the practices.
Yes and no.
Still, I place a lot value in a disciplined academic approach to guide one's discovery through experience.
Practice alone will not elucidate the meaning of the word (or any word), given that words are used very specifically within contexts that can be, need to be, carefully looked at. The one thing that direct experience from practice may show in the contexts of the suttas is that what is being talked about in the suttas is a matter of experiential process, not reified things.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: "The Deathless" (amata)

Postby male_robin » Sun May 19, 2013 3:56 am

tiltbillings wrote:
male_robin wrote:
I think in the end, we know what words like amata mean through the direct experience of doing the practices.
Yes and no.
Still, I place a lot value in a disciplined academic approach to guide one's discovery through experience.
Practice alone will not elucidate the meaning of the word (or any word), given that words are used very specifically within contexts that can be, need to be, carefully looked at. The one thing that direct experience from practice may show in the contexts of the suttas is that what is being talked about in the suttas is a matter of experiential process, not reified things.


Personally, I suspect might be something affirmative one 'wakes up to'. I think that is implied by sabbe sankhara anicca. That might imply an asamkhata something; which is nicca -- constant. I can see where my stating this might lead. I can not say what that is, other than unbinding. I agree it is free from avarice, hostility, and nescience. I'd guess it also free from other unwholesome mental states. It's also free from dukkha. I am not yet convinced that unbinding can be fully defined by negation.
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Re: "The Deathless" (amata)

Postby male_robin » Sun May 19, 2013 5:07 am

Sylvester wrote:I agree with Tilt’s analysis that the string of epithets “ajātaṃ abhūtaṃ akataṃ asaṅkhataṃ” are modifiers, rather than nouns.


It will be obvious that these translations rely on the presence of the antonyms to the epithet, ie “the born, the become, the made, the fabricated” to furnish a basis to treat both sets (ie the ajāta and jāta sets) as [b]referring to nouns, instead of predicates.[/b]

The Pali for Ud 8.3 is –

669Evaṃ me sutaṃ— ekaṃ samayaṃ bhagavā sāvatthiyaṃ viharati jetavane anāthapiṇḍikassa ārāme. Tena kho pana samayena bhagavā bhikkhū nibbānapaṭisaṃyuttāya dhammiyā kathāya sandasseti samādapeti samuttejeti sampahaṃseti. Tedha bhikkhū aṭṭhiṃ katvā, manasi katvā, sabbaṃ cetaso samannāharitvā, ohitasotā dhammaṃ suṇanti.
670Atha kho bhagavā etamatthaṃ viditvā tāyaṃ velāyaṃ imaṃ udānaṃ udānesi—
671“Atthi, bhikkhave, ajātaṃ abhūtaṃ akataṃ asaṅkhataṃ. No cetaṃ, bhikkhave, abhavissa ajātaṃ abhūtaṃ akataṃ asaṅkhataṃ, nayidha jātassa bhūtassa katassa saṅkhatassa nissaraṇaṃ paññāyetha. Yasmā ca kho, bhikkhave, atthi ajātaṃ abhūtaṃ akataṃ asaṅkhataṃ, tasmā jātassa bhūtassa katassa saṅkhatassa nissaraṇaṃ paññāyatī”ti.


The issue is this – are the translators justified in translating the antonyms jāta bhūta kata saṅkhata as nouns, instead of being predicates?


I am puzzled by this. A noun could be a subject, or the object part of the predicate. As has been discussed, the way the negations are marked in the accusative case (ṃ) seems to suggest they are nouns and objects. This pagehttp://www.vipassana.info/lesson25.htm suggests that the genitive denotes the object, but there are exceptions ( "Sometimes the Accusative is used in the sense of the (a) Ablative of agent, (b) Dative, (c) Genitive, and (d) Locative").

I thought the question was whether they are adjectives or nouns. I can also see that the affirmatives are marked in the genitive. The same link indicates The Genitive Case is generally used to denote the possessor, but mentions the same sort of general exception ( "Sometimes the Genitive is used in the sense of the (a) Accusative, (b) Auxiliary, (c) Instrumental, (d) Ablative, (e) Locative")

Anyway, "there is freedom from birth, freedom from becoming, freedom from making, freedom from conditioning", and "escape from that which is birth, becoming, making, conditioning is known." strike me as two ways of saying pretty much the same thing. To say escape from jail is or can be known, is the same as saying there is freedom from jail. Neither would indicate that the free world outside of jail can fully explained by or understood as the absence of incarceration -- just as kindness can not be fully understood as the absence of enmity. The problem of irregular use of cases aside, the Buddha seems to saying there is something affirmative to be experienced. Maybe not, but I am open to the idea. I am also open to the alternative.

Right now, the 4-fold struggle to block and let go of unwholesome and counterproductive mental states; while cultivating and maintaining wholesome and productive mental states, is enough on my table. In other words, I am struggling with destroying avarice, hostility, and delusion -- as well as enmity, lust, sloth, foggy thinking, ego-conceit, arrogance and so on -- while also trying to arouse and maintain kindness, tolerance, compassion, equanimity, mindfulness, discernment, virya, and so on. I see no immediate need to either resolve or ignore the deeper questions. Plus, I presently lack the technical skills to do so via comprehending the nuances of Pali grammar, even if it is possible to figure it out that way. I still place a lot of value in these kinds of Dhamma discussions, in asking and discussing the deeper questions.
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Re: "The Deathless" (amata)

Postby tiltbillings » Sun May 19, 2013 6:23 am

male_robin wrote:
Personally, I suspect might be something affirmative one 'wakes up to'. I think that is implied by sabbe sankhara anicca. That might imply an asamkhata something; which is nicca -- constant. I can see where my stating this might lead. I can not say what that is, other than unbinding. I agree it is free from avarice, hostility, and nescience. I'd guess it also free from other unwholesome mental states. It's also free from dukkha. I am not yet convinced that unbinding can be fully defined by negation.
Well, one "wakes up to" freedom from, which is an utter transformation. The arahant is one who is nibbana-ized, which is not an issue of negation or affirmation, and this can be be supported by the suttas, as this thread shows. Otherwise, if we are "waking up to" something, we can reasonably ask: "So, where is nibbana when there are no arahants?" -- a question that suggests nibbana is a self-existent thing that exists independently of awakened individuals, a thing we "awaken to."

The most basic and clear definitions given in the suttas:


    "Bhikkhus, I will teach you freedom from the conditioned [asankhata] and the path leading to freedom from the conditioned. Listen to that....
    "And what, bhikkhus, is freedom from the conditioned [asankhata]? The destruction of greed, the destruction of hatred, the destruction of delusion: this is called freedom from the conditioned.
    "And what, bhikkhus, is the path leading to freedom from the conditioned? Mindfulness directed to the body: this is called the path leading to freedom from the conditioned."
    -- SN IV 359

    "That which is the destruction of greed, hatred and delusion is nibbana." -- S.N. IV 251 and IV 321
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: "The Deathless" (amata)

Postby Sylvester » Sun May 19, 2013 6:40 am

male_robin wrote:Anyway, "there is freedom from birth, freedom from becoming, freedom from making, freedom from conditioning", and "escape from that which is birth, becoming, making, conditioning is known." strike me as two ways of saying pretty much the same thing. To say escape from jail is or can be known, is the same as saying there is freedom from jail. Neither would indicate that the free world outside of jail can fully explained by or understood as the absence of incarceration -- just as kindness can not be fully understood as the absence of enmity. The problem of irregular use of cases aside, the Buddha seems to saying there is something affirmative to be experienced. Maybe not, but I am open to the idea. I am also open to the alternative.


I think I now see where the confusion might come in. Are the words in question denotations for concrete nouns or abstract nouns?

Duroiselle suggests that the -ta suffix is used in secondary derivation to indicate "state of, quality, abstract idea" (at para 585). So, yes, the existential quantifier explicitly affirms the existence of the state, but what I argue is that this is merely an abstraction, in which case it would be better to regard the words as adjectival, rather than nominal.

Interestingly, Warder (pp 252 - 253) gives examples of such abstract nouns that have a stem form ending with the niggahita. So, perhaps where existential propositions are framed as "atthi noun", the noun need not be in the nominative if it were an abstract noun.
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Re: "The Deathless" (amata)

Postby kirk5a » Sun May 19, 2013 1:06 pm

tiltbillings wrote:Otherwise, if we are "waking up to" something, we can reasonably ask: "So, where is nibbana when there are no arahants?" -- a question that suggests nibbana is a self-existent thing that exists independently of awakened individuals, a thing we "awaken to."

So then it would seem, going by your reasoning, that when the arahant dies, nibbana ends along with the arahant.
"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230
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Re: "The Deathless" (amata)

Postby tiltbillings » Sun May 19, 2013 4:13 pm

kirk5a wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:Otherwise, if we are "waking up to" something, we can reasonably ask: "So, where is nibbana when there are no arahants?" -- a question that suggests nibbana is a self-existent thing that exists independently of awakened individuals, a thing we "awaken to."

So then it would seem, going by your reasoning, that when the arahant dies, nibbana ends along with the arahant.
The problem with your assumption is that I am not making an is/is not characterization, which is what is implied in your statement. But if one is "awakening to something," it does seem to be implied that nibbana is an independent existing something or other that is awakened to, thus my question: where is nibbana if there are no arahants?

    That which is the destruction of greed, hatred and delusion is asankhata, free from putting to gether [based on greed, hatred, and delusion]." SN IV 359 and SN IV 362

    That which is the destruction of greed, hatred and delusion is nibbana. SN IV 251 and IV 321

    The destruction of greed, hatred, and delusion is arahantship. SN IV 252.

    "Whoever frees himself from the passions of greed, hatred, and ignorance, they call him, one who is self developed, made divine, thus-gone (tathagata), awake (buddha), one who has left fear and hatred, and one who has let go of all." Itivuttaka 57

    Since a tathagata, even when actually present, is incomprehensible, it is inept to say of him – of the Uttermost Person, the Supernal Person, the Attainer of the Supernal – that after death the tathagata is, or is not, or both is and is not, or neither is nor is not SN III 118-9
There is no is, is not, both is and is not, or neither is nor is not to nibbana, to asankhata, to bodhi -- awakening.

    [At Saavatthii the Ven. Kaccaayana asked the Blessed One:] "'Right view, right view,' it is said, Lord. In what way, Lord, is there right view?'

    "The world in general, Kaccaayana, inclines to two views, to existence or to non-existence. But for him who, with the highest wisdom, sees the uprising of the world as it really is, 'non-existence of the world' does not apply, and for him who, with highest wisdom, sees the passing away of the world as it really is, 'existence of the world' does not apply.

    "The world in general, Kaccaayana, grasps after systems and is imprisoned by dogmas. But he does not go along with that system-grasping, that mental obstinacy and dogmatic bias, does not grasp at it, does not affirm: 'This is my self.'[7] He knows without doubt or hesitation that whatever arises is merely dukkha[8] that what passes away is merely dukkha and such knowledge is his own, not depending on anyone else. This, Kaccaayana, is what constitutes right view.

    "'Everything exists,' this is one extreme [view]; 'nothing exists,' this is the other extreme. Avoiding both extremes the Tathaagata teaches a doctrine of the middle: Conditioned by ignorance are the formations... [as SN 12.10]... So there comes about the arising of this entire mass of suffering. But from the complete fading away and cessation of ignorance there comes the cessation of the formations, from the cessation of the formations comes the cessation of consciousness... So there comes about the complete cessation of this entire mass of suffering."
    -- SN 12.15 PTS: S ii 16 CDB i 544

    "When for you there will be only the seen in the seen, only the heard in the
    heard, only the sensed in the sensed, only the cognized in the cognized,
    then, Bahiya, there is no you in terms of that. When there is no you in terms
    of that, there is no you there. When there is no you there, you are neither
    here nor yonder nor between the two. This, just this, is the end of suffering."
    -- Ud I 10

    Who sees paticcasamuppada sees Dhamma, who sees Dhamma sees paticcasamuppda. - MN 1 190-1

    My friend, I do proclaim that in this very fathom-long body, with its feelings and mind, is the world, the world's arising, the world's ceasing and the path leading to the world's ceasing.' -- AN II 48
In other words, nibbana-dhatu -- experience of unbinding -- is not about awakening to or from something. So, your accusation -- "So then it would seem, going by your reasoning, that when the arahant dies, nibbana ends along with the arahant" -- carries no weight.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: "The Deathless" (amata)

Postby fivebells » Sun May 19, 2013 4:18 pm

I thought that nibbana has no identification with what's dying. I.e., from an interpersonal perspective, the arahant is dying, but the internal perspective doesn't see it that way. </speculation>
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