SN 20.7 Āṇi Sutta. The Drum Peg.

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SN 20.7 Āṇi Sutta. The Drum Peg.

Post by mikenz66 » Thu Aug 09, 2018 9:30 am

SN 20.7 Āṇi Sutta. The Drum Peg.
Translated by Bhikkhu Sujato


As an ancient drum has disintegrated, so too will the true teachings disappear.
https://suttacentral.net/sn20.7/

At Sāvatthī. “Once upon a time, mendicants, the Dasārahas had a clay drum called the Commander. Each time the Commander split they repaired it by inserting another peg. But there came a time when the clay drum Commander’s original wooden rim disappeared and only a mass of pegs remained. In the same way, in a future time there will be mendicants who won’t want to listen when discourses spoken by the Realized One—deep, profound, transcendent, dealing with emptiness—are being recited. They won’t pay attention or apply their minds to understand them, nor will they think those teachings are worth learning and memorizing.

But when discourses composed by poets—poetry, with fancy words and phrases, composed by outsiders or spoken by disciples—are being recited they will want to listen. They’ll pay attention and apply their minds to understand them, and they’ll think those teachings are worth learning and memorizing. And that is how the discourses spoken by the Realized One—deep, profound, transcendent, dealing with emptiness—will disappear. So you should train like this: ‘When discourses spoken by the Realized One—deep, profound, transcendent, dealing with emptiness—are being recited we will want to listen. We will pay attention and apply our minds to understand them, and we will think those teachings are worth learning and memorizing.’ That’s how you should train.”

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Re: SN 20.7 Āṇi Sutta. The Drum Peg.

Post by mikenz66 » Thu Aug 09, 2018 9:53 am

Notes from Bhikkhu Bodhi's translation:
  • Bhikkhus, once in the past the Dasārahas had a kettle drum called the Summoner.
    • Spk: The Dasārahas were a khattiya clan, so called because they took a tenth portion from a hundred (satato dasabhāgaṃ gaṇhiṃsu—reference not clear). The Summoner (ānaka) was the name of a drum, made from the claw of a giant crab. It gave off a sound that could be heard for twelve yojanas all around and was therefore used to summon the people to assembly on festival days.
  • When those discourses spoken by the Tathāgata that are deep, deep in meaning, supramundane, dealing with emptiness, are being recited, ...
    • Spk: Deep (gambhīra) by way of the text (pāḷivasena), like the Salla Sutta (Snp 3.8; Se: Sallekha Sutta = MN 8); deep in meaning (gambhīrattha), like the Mahāvedalla Sutta (MN 43); supramundane (lokuttara), i.e., pointing to the supramundane goal; dealing with emptiness (suññatāpaṭisaṃyutta ), explaining mere phenomena devoid of a being (sattasuññata-dhammamattam eva pakāsakā), like the Saṅkhittasaṃyutta (?).
      This passage recurs at SN 55.53, in commenting on which Spk cites as examples texts that sometimes differ from those cited here. See V, n. 366.
      • Spk: “Deep (gambhīra), like the Salla Sutta (Snp 3.8); deep in meaning (gambhīrattha), like the Cetanā Sutta (SN 12.38, SN 12.39, SN 12.40, ); supramundane (lokuttara), like the Asaṅkhatasaṃyutta (SN 43); dealing with emptiness (suññatāpaṭisaṃyutta), that is, explaining the emptiness of beings, like the Khajjaniya Sutta (SN 22.79). It is in such a way that you should train yourselves : ‘You should train by fulfilling the practice of the moon simile (SN 16.3), the practice of the relay of chariots (MN 24), the practice of sagehood (moneyyapaṭipadā, Snp 1.12), the practice of the great noble lineage (mahā-ariyavaṃsa , AN 4.28).’ (These all allude to suttas that advocate a strict ascetic life; the identity of some of the allusions is uncertain.)
  • ... they will not be eager to listen to them, nor lend an ear to them, nor apply their minds to understand them; and they will not think those teachings should be studied and mastered. But when those discourses that are mere poetry composed by poets, beautiful in words and phrases, created by outsiders, spoken by [their] disciples, ...
    • Spk glosses sāvakabhāsitā as tesaṃ tesaṃ sāvakehi bhāsitā, referring back to the outsiders (bāhiraka). Spk-pṭ clarifies: “By the disciples of any of those who were not known as the Buddha’s disciples.”
    ... are being recited, they will be eager to listen to them, will lend an ear to them, will apply their minds to understand them; and they will think those teachings should be studied and mastered. In this way, bhikkhus, those discourses spoken by the Tathāgata that are deep, deep in meaning, supramundane, dealing with emptiness, will disappear.

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Re: SN 20.7 Āṇi Sutta. The Drum Peg.

Post by mikenz66 » Thu Aug 09, 2018 7:28 pm

For a discussion of the Pali syntax see: viewtopic.php?f=23&p=483619

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Re: SN 20.7 Āṇi Sutta. The Drum Peg.

Post by mikenz66 » Thu Aug 09, 2018 7:52 pm

Here's another sutta with a related message: AN 5.79
https://www.dhammatalks.org/suttas/AN/AN5_79.html
https://suttacentral.net/an5.79

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Re: SN 20.7 Āṇi Sutta. The Drum Peg.

Post by mikenz66 » Thu Aug 09, 2018 8:01 pm

Analysis by Piya Tan: http://www.themindingcentre.org/dharmaf ... 7-piya.pdf

“Thinkers [poets and scholars],” kavi, usu tr as “poets”, but here has a general connotation of worldly thinkers and writers, incl academic scholars. The Kavi S (A 4.230) speaks of four kinds of kavi: the poet who composes after thinking (cinta,kavi), the poet who composes after listening (to legends, myths, etc) (suta,kavi), the poet who writes relying on the meanings of things (attha,kavi), and the poet who uses his own creative ideas like the elder Vangisa (patibhana,kavi)

In Bhikkhu Bodhi's numbering of the AN it is: AN 2.31 Kavi Sutta: https://suttacentral.net/an4.231

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Re: SN 20.7 Āṇi Sutta. The Drum Peg.

Post by DooDoot » Thu Aug 09, 2018 9:00 pm

mikenz66 wrote:
Thu Aug 09, 2018 9:53 am
created by outsiders, spoken by [their] disciples, ...
  • Spk glosses sāvakabhāsitā as tesaṃ tesaṃ sāvakehi bhāsitā, referring back to the outsiders (bāhiraka). Spk-pṭ clarifies: “By the disciples of any of those who were not known as the Buddha’s disciples.”
There is obviously a self-affirming conflict of interest above; which negates the negation of Buddhist commentators that a literal reading of Āṇi Sutta would provide. This sounds unconvincing, unless there is more evidence to support the claim. The phrase: "spoken by disciples" appears, at first glance, to be about Commentaries; Buddhaghosa, any contemporary scholar, etc.

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Re: SN 20.7 Āṇi Sutta. The Drum Peg.

Post by JohnK » Thu Aug 09, 2018 9:08 pm

Interesting that I just now read reference to a related sutta (AN 5:79) in Thanissaro Bhikkhu's Introduction to his anthology of poems from the Theragatha and Therigatha (I have boldfaced that part below; the rest is for some context).
https://www.dhammatalks.org/Archive/Wri ... 180108.pdf
Some scholars have proposed that the Theragāthā and Therīgāthā were compiled as part
of the movement to provide early Buddhism with dramatic stage pieces as a way of making
the teaching attractive to the masses: a trend that culminated in later centuries in a thriving
Buddhist theatre as Buddhism became an established, wealthy religion. In formal terms, many
of the poems in the Theragāthā and Therīgāthā would seem to bear this theory out.
He then goes on to point out some specifics of how there is "drama over Dhamma" in many of the poems, foillowed by:
Now, if these poems were intended for dramatic presentation, it’s easy to understand why
they give such a compressed account of how awakening is achieved: More detailed accounts
would deprive the poems of their dramatic effect. But the effect has its price, in giving a
distorted sense of the practice.

For these reasons, it is possible that the existence of the Theragāthā and Therīgāthā is
related to a complaint, voiced in some of the other suttas, that with the passage of time people
will become less interested in the Buddha’s teachings and instead will pay more attention to
“literary works—the works of poets, artful in sound, artful in rhetoric... words of disciples”
(AN 5:79). Many of the poems in the Theragāthā and Therīgāthā fit this latter description
precisely.


All of this means that for a person interested in the practice of the Dhamma, the
Theragāthā and Therīgāthā should be read with caution and care. The stories told in their
poems, and the people they portray, are inspiring and attractive, but their example may not be
the best to follow in every respect, and the Dhamma they teach has to be checked against
more reliable sources.
He concludes the Introduction by saying where he thinks the real value lies:
The best way to use these poems is to read them as aids in the meditative exercise called
recollection of the Saṅgha (saṅghānussati). And they aid in this exercise in two ways.

The first way relates to the fact that, elsewhere in the Canon, the description of this
practice is fairly abstract and dry...The narratives in both the Theragāthā and Therīgāthā add flesh and blood to this
contemplation, giving graphic examples of what it means to practice well and why those who
practice well are worthy of respect...Seeing the difficulties that others have overcome before reaching awakening makes it
easier to imagine that you, too, can overcome your personal difficulties and reach awakening as well. If they can do it, why not you?

The second way in which the poems of the Theragāthā and Therīgāthā aid in the practice
of recollecting the Saṅgha comes in their own examples of monks and nuns who engage in
this practice themselves, showing the purposes for which it’s useful.

Elsewhere in the suttas, the recollection of the Saṅgha is said to serve three purposes: AN
3:71 says that it cleanses the mind, gives rise to joy, and helps one to abandon defilements. SN
11:3 says that it helps to overcome fear when one is practicing alone in an empty dwelling or
in the wilderness. SN 47:10 points out that if one has trouble staying with any of the four
establishings of mindfulness, one can focus on an inspiring theme—and the recollection of the
Saṅgha counts as an inspiring theme—to wake up the sluggish mind, gather the scattered
mind, and give rise to rapture and calm...

Reflecting on those who are resolute,
their persistence aroused,
constantly firm in their effort,
united in concord,
I’ll stay in the grove.
Although much of the initial appeal of the Theragāthā and Therīgāthā lies in the artistry
of the poems, it’s when they yield this sort of reflection that they prove most useful in the
long run.
"...the practice is essentially a practice, and not a theory to be idly discussed...right view leaves unanswered many questions about the cosmos and the self, and directs your attention to what needs to be done to escape from the ravages of suffering." Thanissaro Bhikkhu, On The Path.

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Re: SN 20.7 Āṇi Sutta. The Drum Peg.

Post by JohnK » Thu Aug 09, 2018 9:20 pm

"...the practice is essentially a practice, and not a theory to be idly discussed...right view leaves unanswered many questions about the cosmos and the self, and directs your attention to what needs to be done to escape from the ravages of suffering." Thanissaro Bhikkhu, On The Path.

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Re: SN 20.7 Āṇi Sutta. The Drum Peg.

Post by DooDoot » Thu Aug 09, 2018 9:25 pm

:goodpost: JohnK

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Re: SN 20.7 Āṇi Sutta. The Drum Peg.

Post by Dhammanando » Fri Aug 10, 2018 12:11 am

DooDoot wrote:
Thu Aug 09, 2018 9:00 pm
There is obviously a self-affirming conflict of interest above; which negates the negation of Buddhist commentators that a literal reading of Āṇi Sutta would provide. This sounds unconvincing, unless there is more evidence to support the claim. The phrase: "spoken by disciples" appears, at first glance, to be about Commentaries; Buddhaghosa, any contemporary scholar, etc.
That doesn't seem to be the commentators' intention, for in contexts where the sāvaka in sāvakabhāsita plainly refers to Buddhists, they limit the term to the Buddha's personal disciples, giving the example of the speakers in the Mahā- and Culla-vedalla Suttas. And so in the eyes of the commentators an opinion voiced by Buddhaghosa or by you or me wouldn't count as sāvakabhāsita.

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Re: SN 20.7 Āṇi Sutta. The Drum Peg.

Post by DooDoot » Sun Aug 12, 2018 10:35 am

Dhammanando wrote:
Fri Aug 10, 2018 12:11 am
...in contexts where the sāvaka in sāvakabhāsita plainly refers to Buddhists, they limit the term to the Buddha's personal disciples, giving the example of the speakers in the Mahā- and Culla-vedalla Suttas. And so in the eyes of the commentators an opinion voiced by Buddhaghosa or by you or me wouldn't count as sāvakabhāsita.
OK Venerable Dhammanando. Thank you. However, regarding MN 43 & MN 44, I assume both speakers were arahants and the PTS dictionary says: "sāvaka: a hearer, disciple (never an Arahant)". Do you agree with this. Thanks

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Re: SN 20.7 Āṇi Sutta. The Drum Peg.

Post by Dhammanando » Sun Aug 12, 2018 11:12 am

DooDoot wrote:
Sun Aug 12, 2018 10:35 am
Do you agree with this. Thanks
No, it's a bizarre mistake by the PED compilers, given that the "four pairs of persons, eight kinds of individuals" who make up the sāvaka-saṅgha include arahants and that certain persons known to have been arahants (e.g. Kumārakassapa in the Payasisutta) are called "sāvaka". Perhaps the compilers were confusing sāvaka and sekha.

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