AN 4.85 Tamotamaparāyana [Tamotama] Sutta. Darkness.

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mikenz66
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AN 4.85 Tamotamaparāyana [Tamotama] Sutta. Darkness.

Post by mikenz66 » Sat Sep 10, 2016 7:24 am

AN 4.85 Tamotamaparāyana [Tamotama] Sutta.
Translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

https://suttacentral.net/an4.85

“There are these four types of people to be found existing in the world. Which four? One in darkness who is headed for darkness, one in darkness who is headed for light, one in light who is headed for darkness, and one in light who is headed for light.

“And how is one the type of person in darkness who is headed for darkness? There is the case where a person is born into a lowly family—the family of a scavenger, a hunter, a basket-weaver, a wheelwright, or a sweeper—a family that is poor, with little food or drink, living in hardship, where food & clothing are hard to come by. And he is ugly, misshapen, stunted, & sickly: half-blind or deformed or lame or crippled. He doesn’t receive any [gifts of] food, drink, clothing, or vehicles; garlands, perfumes, or ointments; bedding, shelter, or lamps. He engages in bodily misconduct, verbal misconduct, & mental misconduct. Having engaged in bodily misconduct, verbal misconduct, & mental misconduct, he—on the break-up of the body, after death—reappears in the plane of deprivation, the bad destination, the lower realms, in hell. This is the type of person in darkness who is headed for darkness.

“And how is one the type of person in darkness who is headed for light? There is the case where a person is born into a lower class family—the family of a scavenger, a hunter, a basket-weaver, a wheelwright, or a sweeper—a family that is poor, with little food or drink, living in hardship, where food & clothing are hard to come by. And he is ugly, misshapen, stunted, & sickly: half-blind or deformed or lame or crippled. He doesn’t receive any [gifts of] food, drink, clothing, or vehicles; garlands, perfumes, or ointments; bedding, shelter, or lamps. He engages in good bodily conduct, good verbal conduct, & good mental conduct. Having engaged in good bodily conduct, good verbal conduct, & good mental conduct, he—on the break-up of the body, after death—reappears in the good destination, the heavenly world. This is the type of person in darkness who is headed for light.

“And how is one the type of person in light who is headed for darkness? There is the case where a person is born into an upper class family—a noble warrior family, a priestly family, a prosperous householder family—a family that is rich, with much wealth, with many possessions, with a great deal of money, a great many accoutrements of wealth, a great many commodities. And he is well-built, handsome, extremely inspiring, endowed with a lotus-like complexion. He receives [gifts of] food, drink, clothing, & vehicles; garlands, perfumes, & ointments; bedding, shelter, & lamps. He engages in bodily misconduct, verbal misconduct, & mental misconduct. Having engaged in bodily misconduct, verbal misconduct, & mental misconduct, he—on the break-up of the body, after death—reappears in the plane of deprivation, the bad destination, the lower realms, in hell. This is the type of person in light who is headed for darkness.

“And how is one the type of person in light who is headed for light? There is the case where a person is born into an upper class family—a noble warrior family, a priestly family, a prosperous householder family—a family that is rich, with much wealth, with many possessions, with a great deal of money, a great many accoutrements of wealth, a great many commodities. And he is well-built, handsome, extremely inspiring, endowed with a lotus-like complexion. He receives [gifts of] food, drink, clothing, & vehicles; garlands, perfumes, & ointments; bedding, shelter, & lamps. He engages in good bodily conduct, good verbal conduct, & good mental conduct. Having engaged in good bodily conduct, good verbal conduct, & good mental conduct, he—on the break-up of the body, after death—reappears in the good destination, the heavenly world. This is the type of person in light who is headed for light.

“These are the four types of people to be found existing in the world.”

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Re: AN 4.85 Tamotamaparāyana [Tamotama] Sutta. Darkness.

Post by mikenz66 » Sat Sep 10, 2016 7:38 am

Notes from Bhikkhu Bodhi.

“Bhikkhus, there are these four kinds of persons found exist-
ing in the world. What four? The one heading from darkness
to darkness, the one heading from darkness to light, the one
heading from light to darkness, and the one heading from light
to light.
  • The sutta, accompanied by similes and verses, is at SN 3.21, I93–96; see too Pp 51–52.
    Mp: “One is in darkness (tamo) because
    one is conjoined with darkness by being reborn in a low family,
    and one is heading toward darkness (tamoparāyaṇa) because one is
    approaching the darkness of hell through bodily misconduct,
    etc. One is in light (joti) because one is conjoined with light by
    being reborn in a high family, and one is heading toward light
    (jotiparāyaṇa) because one is approaching the light of a heavenly
    rebirth through bodily good conduct, etc.”
(1) “And how, bhikkhus, is a person heading from darkness to
darkness? Here, some person has been reborn in a low family—
­a family of caṇḍālas, bamboo workers, hunters, cart makers,
or flower scavengers
  • See AN 3.13.
    I read with Ce and Be veṇakule vā nesādakule, as against Ee nesādakule vā veṇakule.
—one that is poor, with little food and
drink, that subsists with difficulty, where food and clothing are
obtained with difficulty; and he is ugly, unsightly, dwarfish,
with much illness—blind, crippled, lame, or paralyzed.
  • [From SN translation] The caṇḍālas were the most despised of the outcasts; see Singh, Life in North-Eastern India, pp. 16-20. Spk glosses venakula as vilīvakārakula, family of basket weavers; the two occupations are listed separately at Mil 331. Rathakārakula is glossed as cammakārakula, family of leather workers [Spk-pṭ: because the straps of carts are made of leather]; and pukkusakula as pupphachaḍḍakakula, family of those who throw away wilted flowers. Perhaps the latter more generally included all sweepers and refuse removers.
He does not obtain food, drink, clothing, and vehicles; garlands, scents,
and unguents; bedding, housing, and lighting. He engages in
misconduct by body, speech, and mind. In consequence, with
the breakup of the body, after death, he is reborn in the plane of
misery, in a bad destination, in the lower world, in hell. It is in
this way that a person is heading from darkness to darkness.

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Re: AN 4.85 Tamotamaparāyana [Tamotama] Sutta. Darkness.

Post by mikenz66 » Sat Sep 10, 2016 7:45 am

A discussion of the parallel SN3.21 by Piya Tan is here:
http://dharmafarer.org/wordpress/wp-con ... 1-piya.pdf
The Sutta lists the following four types of persons in terms of karmic progress, thus:
  • (1) One in darkness faring into darkness, or, from darkness to darkness (karmic stagnation);
    (2) One in darkness faring into light, or, from darkness to light (karmic progress);
    (3) One in light faring into darkness, or, from light to darkness (karmic descent); and
    (4) One in light faring into light, or, from light to light (karmic ascent).
According to the Commentary, we are moving “into darkness” (tamo) because we are “yoked to darkness”
(tamena yutto) by being reborn into a low family, and we are “faring into darkness” (tama,parāya-
no) because we are heading for the darkness of hell. We are “in light” (joti) because we are yoked to light
by being reborn into a high family, and “faring into light” (joti,parāyano) because we are heading for the
light of heavenly rebirth. (SA 1:162)

It is important to understand that this Sutta is not an explanation of or justification for our current
fortune and status, but is a reminder of the following realities:
  • (1) When we are facing misfortune and difficulties, there is a tendency that they would overwhelm
    us, so that it is not easy to get out of such a rut. In such a situation, we should not be defeatist but
    ask ourselves, “What do I do next?” (see Ṭhāna Sutta, A 5.48.6/3:56). Understanding this, too,
    we should show compassion towards such suffering beings, as this attitude can be help them
    realize their own inner goodness and so emerge from their predicament.
    (2) For some of us, misfortune and difficulties are great learning situation, and we become like diamonds
    created from fire and pressure, if we refuse to regress but move on to good fortune.
    (3) When we are enjoying good fortune and status, it is easy to think that we are in control and that
    we can change things in any way we wish. The truth is that the only thing we can and should
    change is the self first, then the world. We are often living on the momentum of our past good
    karma—eating stale food, as it were4—and when that momentum dies, we plummet into difficulties
    and misfortune.
    (4) The wise, seeing their good fortune and blessings, know that these are all impermanent, but are an
    excellent opportunity to invest in new efforts of spiritual progress.
    Our actions may change the world, but it is our spirituality (inner goodness) that brings true and lasting
    happiness into it.

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Re: AN 4.85 Tamotamaparāyana [Tamotama] Sutta. Darkness.

Post by L.N. » Thu Sep 15, 2016 5:48 am

We are often living on the momentum of our past good karma—eating stale food, as it were—and when that momentum dies, we plummet into difficulties and misfortune.
I am not sure "momentum" is the right word, but I find the idea behind this sentence to be very helpful. Maybe heading out of darkness would be overcoming "inertia"?
Sire patitthitā Buddhā
Dhammo ca tava locane
Sangho patitthitō tuiham
uresabba gunākaro


愿众佛坐在我的头顶, 佛法在我的眼中, 僧伽,功德的根源, 端坐在我的肩上。

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