The meaning of "acinteyyāni" ("inconceivable")?

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DooDoot
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The meaning of "acinteyyāni" ("inconceivable")?

Post by DooDoot » Sun Sep 02, 2018 6:48 am

AN 4.77 is a popular sutta for internet Buddhists, particularly for folks who like to avoid thinking about kamma & its results.
Mendicants, these four things are inconceivable. They should not be thought about, and anyone who tries to think about them will go mad or get frustrated.

Cattārimāni, bhikkhave, acinteyyāni, na cintetabbāni; yāni cintento ummādassa vighātassa bhāgī assa.

What four?

Katamāni cattāri?

The scope of the Buddhas …

Buddhānaṃ, bhikkhave, buddhavisayo acinteyyo, na cintetabbo;

yaṃ cintento ummādassa vighātassa bhāgī assa.

The scope of one in absorption …

Jhāyissa, bhikkhave, jhānavisayo acinteyyo, na cintetabbo;

yaṃ cintento ummādassa vighātassa bhāgī assa.

The results of deeds …

Kammavipāko, bhikkhave, acinteyyo, na cintetabbo;
yaṃ cintento ummādassa vighātassa bhāgī assa.

Speculation about the world …

Lokacintā, bhikkhave, acinteyyā, na cintetabbā;
yaṃ cintento ummādassa vighātassa bhāgī assa.

These are the four inconceivable things. They should not be thought about, and anyone who tries to think about them will go mad or get frustrated.

Imāni kho, bhikkhave, cattāri acinteyyāni, na cintetabbāni; yāni cintento ummādassa vighātassa bhāgī assā”ti.

https://suttacentral.net/an4.77/en/sujato


cinteyya
adjective
what should be considered.

New Concise Pali English Dictionary
cintā
feminine
thinking; anxious thought; worry.

Concise Pali English Dictionary
cintā
feminine
thinking; thought; consideration.

PTS Pali English Dictionary
cintā
“the act of thinking”

■ loka˚ thinking over the world, philosophy
Is AN 4.77 instructing to not think (reflect; yoniso manasikara; paṭisañcikkhato) about the above matters? Does cinta mean "speculation"? Or is AN 4.77 encouraging developing direct knowledge or insight into the above matters (rather than merely thinking about them) ?

Thanks :)

arunam
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Re: The meaning of "acinteyyāni" ("inconceivable")?

Post by arunam » Sun Sep 02, 2018 8:01 am

For myself it means "We can never think it through". This is why the Buddha taught us dependant origination.

Its like me seeing a jet engine. I can never think through every thing that goes in there. But to shut it down all i need to do is knock out the fuel line or the engine management computer or some other vital part.
A path is made by walking on it

arunam
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Re: The meaning of "acinteyyāni" ("inconceivable")?

Post by arunam » Sun Sep 02, 2018 10:25 am

[SN 12.68]
Then Ven. Pavittha said to Ven. Musila, "Musila, my friend, putting aside conviction, putting aside preference, putting aside tradition, putting aside reasoning through analogies, putting aside an agreement through pondering views: Do you have truly personal knowledge that, 'From birth as a requisite condition come aging & death'?"

"Yes, Pavittha my friend. Putting aside conviction... preference... tradition... reasoning through analogies... an agreement through pondering views, I do have truly personal knowledge that, 'From birth as a requisite condition come aging & death.'"

(Similarly with 'From becoming as a requisite condition comes birth'... 'From clinging/sustenance as a requisite condition comes becoming'... 'From craving as a requisite condition comes clinging/sustenance'... 'From feeling as a requisite condition comes craving'... 'From contact as a requisite condition comes feeling'... 'From the six sense media as a requisite condition comes contact'... 'From name-&-form as a requisite condition come the six sense media'... 'From consciousness as a requisite condition comes name-&-form'... 'From fabrications as a requisite condition comes consciousness.')

"Musila, my friend, putting aside conviction, putting aside preference, putting aside tradition, putting aside reasoning through analogies, putting aside an agreement through pondering views: Do you have truly personal knowledge that, 'From ignorance as a requisite condition come fabrications'?"

"Yes, Pavittha my friend. Putting aside conviction... preference... tradition... reasoning through analogies... an agreement through pondering views, I do have truly personal knowledge that, 'From ignorance as a requisite condition come fabrications.'"
A path is made by walking on it

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DooDoot
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Re: The meaning of "acinteyyāni" ("inconceivable")?

Post by DooDoot » Sun Sep 02, 2018 10:50 am

:goodpost: :thanks: :anjali:

SarathW
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Re: The meaning of "acinteyyāni" ("inconceivable")?

Post by SarathW » Sun Sep 02, 2018 11:04 am

But to shut it down all i need to do is knock out the fuel line or the engine management computer or some other vital part.
My analogy is that you don't have to know who, when, how built the house to break it down.
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

binocular
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Re: The meaning of "acinteyyāni" ("inconceivable")?

Post by binocular » Sun Sep 02, 2018 11:24 am

SarathW wrote:
Sun Sep 02, 2018 11:04 am
But to shut it down all i need to do is knock out the fuel line or the engine management computer or some other vital part.
My analogy is that you don't have to know who, when, how built the house to break it down.
Is there anyone who does want to know that?
IOW, is there anyone like that man in the simile of the arrow who first wants to know who shot him, what the arrow is made of etc., before letting the arrow be removed?
I don't know any. But I've seen many people be accused of being like that man.
Every person we save is one less zombie to fight. -- World War Z

SarathW
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Re: The meaning of "acinteyyāni" ("inconceivable")?

Post by SarathW » Sun Sep 02, 2018 11:33 am

binocular wrote:
Sun Sep 02, 2018 11:24 am
SarathW wrote:
Sun Sep 02, 2018 11:04 am
But to shut it down all i need to do is knock out the fuel line or the engine management computer or some other vital part.
My analogy is that you don't have to know who, when, how built the house to break it down.
Is there anyone who does want to know that?
IOW, is there anyone like that man in the simile of the arrow who first wants to know who shot him, what the arrow is made of etc., before letting the arrow be removed?
I don't know any. But I've seen many people be accused of being like that man.
Many do.
Without eliminating Dukkha many wants to know who created the world etc.
To eliminate Dukkha you don't have to know the answers to these questions.
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

binocular
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Re: The meaning of "acinteyyāni" ("inconceivable")?

Post by binocular » Sun Sep 02, 2018 11:42 am

SarathW wrote:
Sun Sep 02, 2018 11:33 am
To eliminate Dukkha you don't have to know the answers to these questions.
That's a statement of faith!
Without eliminating Dukkha many wants to know who created the world etc.
Probably because they believe answering those questions is crucial to solving the problem of suffering.
Every person we save is one less zombie to fight. -- World War Z

TRobinson465
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Re: The meaning of "acinteyyāni" ("inconceivable")?

Post by TRobinson465 » Sun Sep 09, 2018 4:38 pm

I dont think it means dont think about kamma at all. I think it means you would go insane trying to understand every single detail b4 u ever did understand. Of course u have to think about kamma, that's why the buddha taught it. Like the other 3 things it has to be realized not rationalized.
"Do not have blind faith, but also no blind criticism" - the 14th Dalai Lama

"At Varanasi, in the Deer Park at Isipatana, the Blessed One has set in motion the unexcelled Wheel of Dhamma that cannot be stopped by brahmins, devas, Maras, Brahmas or anyone in the cosmos." -Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta

"Go forth, monks, for the good of the many, for the happiness of the many, out of compassion for the world, for the welfare, the good and the happiness of gods and men. Let no two of you go in the same direction." - First Khandhaka, Chapter 11, Vinaya.

TRobinson465
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Re: The meaning of "acinteyyāni" ("inconceivable")?

Post by TRobinson465 » Sun Sep 09, 2018 4:40 pm

I would say inconceivable is a pretty close translation.
"Do not have blind faith, but also no blind criticism" - the 14th Dalai Lama

"At Varanasi, in the Deer Park at Isipatana, the Blessed One has set in motion the unexcelled Wheel of Dhamma that cannot be stopped by brahmins, devas, Maras, Brahmas or anyone in the cosmos." -Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta

"Go forth, monks, for the good of the many, for the happiness of the many, out of compassion for the world, for the welfare, the good and the happiness of gods and men. Let no two of you go in the same direction." - First Khandhaka, Chapter 11, Vinaya.

dharmacorps
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Re: The meaning of "acinteyyāni" ("inconceivable")?

Post by dharmacorps » Sun Sep 09, 2018 6:06 pm

I think another word often used here is "imponderable", by other translators.

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