New Text & Translation: Analysis of Conditional Origination

Discussion of Abhidhamma and related Commentaries

Moderator: Mahavihara moderator

Post Reply
User avatar
Site Admin
Posts: 19065
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 9:52 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia

New Text & Translation: Analysis of Conditional Origination

Post by retrofuturist » Sun Apr 27, 2014 1:54 am


Hot off the electronic press...

New Text and Translation: The Analysis of Conditional Origination ... rigination

Retro. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"One discerns wrong view as wrong view, and right view as right view. This is one's right view." (MN 117)

User avatar
Posts: 15332
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:37 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: New Text & Translation: Analysis of Conditional Originat

Post by mikenz66 » Sun Apr 27, 2014 3:40 am

Thanks Retro, this clarifies such statements as: ... 20#p163428
Ajahn Payutto wrote:Those who do not agree with this interpretation, or who would prefer something more immediate, can find alternatives not only in the Abhidhamma Pitaka, where the principle of Dependent Origination is shown occurring in its entirety in one mind moment, but can also interpret the very same words of the Buddha used to support the standard model in a different light, giving a very different picture of the principle of Dependent Origination, one which is supported by teachings and scriptural references from other sources. ... 69#p192717 ... 42#p146710
Footnote to Visuddhimagga XV11.309, page 607-608 of the PDF from Access to Insight.
Nanamoli wrote:In this work, for convenience because of the special importance attached here to the
aspect of the death-rebirth link, the dependent origination is considered from only
one standpoint, namely, as applicable to a period embracing a minimum of three lives.
But this is not the only application. With suitable modifications it is also used in the
Vibhaòga to describe the structure of the complex in each one of the 89 single type-
consciousnesses laid down in the Dhammasaògaóì; and Bhadantácariya Buddhaghosa
says: “This structure of conditions is present not only in (a continuity period consisting
of) multiple consciousnesses but also in each single consciousness as well” (Vibh-a
199–200). Also the Paþisambhidámagga gives five expositions, four describing
dependent origination in one life, the fifth being made to present a special inductive
generalization to extend what is observable in this life (the fact that consciousness is
always preceded by consciousness, cf. this Ch. §83f.—i.e. that it always has a past and
is inconceivable without one) back beyond birth, and (since craving and ignorance
ensure its expected continuance) on after death. There are, besides, various other,
differing applications indicated by the variant forms given in the suttas themselves.

Posts: 2205
Joined: Tue Mar 10, 2009 9:57 am

Re: New Text & Translation: Analysis of Conditional Originat

Post by Sylvester » Sat May 17, 2014 4:24 am

Hee, hee, I wonder if anyone has noticed how this early Abhidhamma text appears to be contradicted by the later Dhammasangani -
Tattha katamaṁ ‘viññāṇapaccayā nāmarūpaṁ?’
Herein, what is ‘with consciousness as condition: mind and bodily form?’

Atthi nāmaṁ, atthi rūpaṁ.
There is mind, there is bodily form.

Tattha katamaṁ ‘nāmaṁ?’
Herein, what is ‘mind?’

Vedanākkhandho, saññākkhandho, saṅkhārakkhandho:
(There is) the feeling constituent, the perception constituent, the (volitional) processes constituent: 10

Idaṁ vuccati ‘nāmaṁ.’
this is said to be ‘mind.’

Tattha katamaṁ ‘rūpaṁ?’
Herein, what is ‘bodily form?’

Cattāro mahābhūtā, catunnañ-ca mahābhūtānaṁ upādāya rūpaṁ,
(There are) the four great entities, and the bodily form attached to the four great entities,

idaṁ vuccati ‘rūpaṁ.’
this is said to be ‘bodily form.’

Iti idañ-ca nāmaṁ, idañ-ca rūpaṁ.
Thus, this is mind and this is bodily form.

Idaṁ vuccati ‘viññāṇapaccayā nāmarūpaṁ.’
This is said to be ‘with consciousness as condition: mind and bodily form.’

Vbh "Analysis of nāmarūpa", trans per Ven Anandajoti
versus what appears to be a different and more well-known definition from the Dhammasangani-
1316. Tattha katamaṃ nāmaṃ? Vedanākkhandho, saññākkhandho, saṅkhārakkhandho, viññāṇakkhandho, asaṅkhatā ca dhātu – idaṃ vuccati nāmaṃ.
Herein, what is name? The feeling aggregate, the perception aggregate, the formations aggregate, the consciousness aggregate and the unconditioned element - this is called name.

1317. Tattha katamaṃ rūpaṃ? Cattāro ca mahābhūtā, catunnañca mahābhūtānaṃ upādāya rūpaṃ – idaṃ vuccati rūpaṃ. under the Suttantikadukanikkhepaṃ section

User avatar
Posts: 15332
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:37 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: New Text & Translation: Analysis of Conditional Originat

Post by mikenz66 » Sat May 17, 2014 4:47 am

Hi Sylvester,

Is you point that the Vibhanga follows the suttas in non including consciousness in nama? And the counting of consciousness in nama in the Dhammasangani is a later development?

I didn't realise that the Vibhanga was considered earlier, since the traditional order of the books is:
  • Dhammasangani
I wonder if there are any comments on this in the Abhidhamma commentaries...


Posts: 2205
Joined: Tue Mar 10, 2009 9:57 am

Re: New Text & Translation: Analysis of Conditional Originat

Post by Sylvester » Sat May 17, 2014 5:10 am

Naughty Mike!

You know I'm constrained from answering your query, given the terms of use of this section. :tongue:

The ordering was probably not of any dating significance to the reciters, since it's accepted that the Kathavatthu was delivered during the Third Council, long, long after the Buddha's sojourn in Tavatimsa during His 7th vassa...

User avatar
Posts: 15332
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:37 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: New Text & Translation: Analysis of Conditional Originat

Post by mikenz66 » Sat May 17, 2014 5:25 am

Hi Sylvester,
I don't see how the:
Classical Guidelines wrote:Within these forums the Pali Tipitaka and its commentaries are for discussion purposes treated as authoritative.
prevents us from discussing real or apparent contradictions between those texts, as long as the purpose is to understand the meaning of those texts. Commentaries often discuss and attempt to resolve contradictions...


Posts: 2205
Joined: Tue Mar 10, 2009 9:57 am

Re: New Text & Translation: Analysis of Conditional Originat

Post by Sylvester » Sat May 17, 2014 6:57 am

Well, I'll take the Immunity Idol offered, but one is hard pressed not to question the provenance of that Dhs passage. It's in the "Analysis of Pairs according to the Suttas" (Suttantikadukanikkhepaṃ) but do we have any suttas that support the inclusion of consciousness under Name?

Certainly not in the Pali suttas, but this idea may have infiltrated from another school, alluded to here - ... 51#p262068.

Posts: 112
Joined: Fri Jan 24, 2014 3:13 pm

Re: New Text & Translation: Analysis of Conditional Originat

Post by randall » Fri Jun 06, 2014 8:23 pm

Sylvester wrote:I wonder if anyone has noticed how the Vibhangha text appears to be contradicted by the Dhammasangani -
HI Sylvester I edited your question slightly, hope that's ok...

I'm not too sure there really is a contradiction between the two? One is explaining nama-rupa in dependent origination, and the other is giving a list/analysis of nama in the "namarupa duka". I'm definitely not at any level to debate but I can try to explain the way I see it presented in the books.

first, here's the text from the Dhammasangani, PTS ed:
In this connection,
[1309] What is name?

The four skandhas and unconditioned element.

here's the translation from U Kyaw Khine:
1316, What, in that connection, is mental phenomenon?

There are: the aggregate of Sensation, the aggregate of Perception, the aggregate of Volitional Activities and the aggregate of Consciousness; and also the Unconditioned Element(Nibbana).

This is called mental phenomenon.

something that should be included before going into the note's and commentary is the three dukas before the the question of "what is nama?". The commentary states that all three of these dukas are the same and therefore all have the same answer to the question. Basically these three describe different ways of describing names:

1313) Adhivacana Duka
What are the dhamma which are nomenclatures?

1314) Nirutti Duka
What are the dhamma which are specific names?

1315) Pannatti Duka
What are the dhamma which are conventional designations?

and the answer to all three names are:
There are things which are well denoted by a name, well conveyed by a name, conventionally designated by a name, called by a name, known by a significant name, known by a given name, bearing a givin name, expressed by a specific name, connotated by a name, refereed to by a name.

These are the dhamma that are nomenclatures, specific names, conventional designations.

the commentary goes into details about being named when your a baby, etc to describe what's above. The reason I posted these three dukas prior to the answer to "what is name?" becomes relevant below.


the commentary to the Vhibanga(Expositor, ,pg.69) explains nama as:
In the mind and matter group, the term 'mind' (nama) is applied to mental properties, because 'names' once given to them are fixed, or because they bend (namanti) objects, or because as objects they bend the mind unto themselves...This herein is the abstract; the detailed account will appear in the chapter summary.

the chapter summary (Expositor, pg.500) says:
[392] In the couplet of 'name-and-form', 'name' (mind) has the sense of name-making, of bending, of causing to bend. Four of the aggregates are 'name' in the sense of name-making.

this part of the commentary is leading off ("in that connection") from the descriptions for the three prior dukas detailing names etc, and continues with:
For whereas, from being named by the people, and whereas parents by acclamation make a name for their son, and whereas the name comes in virtue a quality of "such and such"

so they described the names as names like the three prior dukas, now they go into detail how perception, feeling, volitional activities and consciousness are names, bringing all four aggregates under the umbrella of "name-making".
such names as 'feeling' come quite otherwise. Feeling and the other [elements of consciouness], like the great earth and other elements, make their own name arise. When they arise their name also arises. For no one, when feeling arises, says: 'Be thou called feeling'; there is no function of name-taking. As when the earth appears there is no function of name-taking;---'Be thou called the Earth;' and similarly with the world-systems, the moon, sun, stars, --the name is just as it arises, answering to the spontaneously arising concept. So when it arises the name 'feeling' just arises, answering to the spontaneously arising concept. The same is true for perceptions and the rest [of mind]. For feeling, whether it be in the past, future, or present, is [after all and always] just feeling. And so is perception, so are mental activities, so is consciousness. But Nibbana, though it be for all time, is always Nibbana. Such is 'name' in the sense of name-making.

then finishes off with the explanations of of "bending" and "causes to bend":
The four aggregates are 'name' in the sense of bending, for they bend toward the object [of thought]. In the sense of causing to bend, all [of the foregoing] are 'name.' For the four aggregates cause one another to bend on to the object; and Nibbana bends faultless states on to itself by means of the causal relation of the dominant influence of object.

*In my understanding* this last part does mention dependent origination but not in the context of just nama-rupa alone, but still includes the aggregate of consciousness because that too is in dependent-origination as a condition for nama-rupa. The reason why it's not included with nama-rupa is explained in the commentary of the Vhibanga(The Dispeller of Delusion pg.207):
777. But are only these three aggregates mentality and is consciousness not called mentality? Not that it is not. But if it is included, there comes to be the co-presence of the two kinds of consciousness, namely, consciousness as mentality and consciousness as condition. Therefore, leaving consciousness in its place as condition, the three aggregates only are stated in order to show the mentality which is produced by the condition.


going back to the question "what is nama?" the one thing to take note of importance in both translations is the couple words prior to it. "In this connexion" and "what, in that connection":
In this connection,
[1309] What is name?

1316, What, in that connection, is mental phenomenon?

the notes from the PTS translation explain what was already talked about above plus they also give a little info on how to read the questions starting from nama, as well as the questions that follow up until line 1373 with the keeping in mind the words "what,in that connection?".

The notes says:
Here the Cy. makes use of it's foregoing classification of name-kinds to show under which head to rank nama when distinguished from rupa. Nama must, namely, be understood as opapatika-name(born spontaneously), that is all its constituents must be understood. Feeling, eg. when it arises, is not named on the grounds on which a new individual, or an 'artificial kind' -table, etc.-might be named.

this next note gives more detail on how this "connection" leads into the following questions and so on.

note 2 says:
The more concise question: tattha now sustained till the end. Up until now it has only been used to cross-question the student on the details of a given answer, on "name", for instance, as part of the contents of the preceding answer. Hence the translation of tattha by "in this connexion"(whatever the term in question may mean elsewhere).It is not clear, however, what is the force of tattha in these last fifty-seven questions, the greater part of the subjects not having occurred in the foregoing part of the manual

*the way I understand* note 2 saying "It is not clear, however what the force of tattha in these last fifty-seven questions is", is that the "force" of the questions are asked in this fashion to create a flow perhaps making it easier to recite or memorize or even to listen too! Keep in mind this is the end of the matika.

the outline of the questions that are "in connection" are:

nama, rupa, ignorance, craving for ignorance, wrong view about existence, wrong view about eternalism, .....not being ashamed of doing evil, importance of Vinaya rules...right speech...guarding sense faculties...mindfulness,tranquility of mind...purity of view and so on...

The connections starts with nama and stops at 'purity of view', and then the last Duka of this section finishes with:
1383, Awareness of complete extinction of defilements means the Fruits of the Path with which an ariya person is endowed.

overall giving a overview of the path to one's practice with the teachings the Buddha taught. This is only my view, Caroline A.F Rhys Davids doesn't really see why the Sutta Section was included...
The last thirty-seven pairs of questions and answers on the other hand, are entitled "Suttantika-Dukam". They are of a miscellaneous character, and are in many cases not logically opposed. Buddhagosa has nothing to say by way of explaining theier inclusion, nor the principle determining their choice or number. Nor is it easy to deduce any explanation from the nature or the treatment of them. The name Suttantika means that they are pairs of terms met with in the suttas. This is true and verifiable. But I, for one, cannot venture to predicate anything further respecting them.

I guess I'd feel that way too if had to translate something like the Dhammasangani :tongue:



perhaps the mods will want to post this and the few posts above separate from this thread if the conversation continues, so as not to derail too far from the original?
Last edited by randall on Tue Oct 14, 2014 3:17 am, edited 1 time in total.

Posts: 2205
Joined: Tue Mar 10, 2009 9:57 am

Re: New Text & Translation: Analysis of Conditional Originat

Post by Sylvester » Fri Jun 13, 2014 8:19 am

Hi randall

Just very belatedly saw your post. As it's lengthy, pls give me some time to digest it.

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 5 guests