thomaslaw wrote: ↑
Tue Feb 12, 2019 1:45 am
Choong Mun-keat in his book The Fundamental Teachings of Early Buddhism pp. 202-204
discusses a few SN and SA discourses on the concept of ahara "nutriment".
I agree that we should study the following texts with parallels.
That is to say SN 12.11/SA 371; SN 12.12/SA 372; SN 12.63/SA 373 & SN 12.64/SA 374.
SA 371 & 374 have been translated.
And I agree that Choong Mun-keat has done a wonderful and helpful job with his book.
Yet, there are sometimes some flaws, as we will see.
Anyway, SN 12.63/SA 373 are great parallels to be studied, when it comes to āhāra.
Āhāra (nutriment) - 食 (shí: to eat) is obviously a figure of speech in most of the suttas/sutras; a trope to convey an underlying meaning.
You don't eat consciousness - Consciousness is not food to eat proper.
And that underlying meaning is to be taken from the pre-Buddhist literature (and from the context of the suttas with parallels).
आहार āhāra [ā-hāra] - fr. √ हृ hṛ
- fetching , bringing near (KātyŚr.)
- bringing near , procuring, being about to fetch , going to fetch (MBh.)
- food ( e.g. ā-hāraṃ √ kṛ , to take food , eat MBh.)
√ हृ hṛ
- fetch , bring RV.
- to take to one's self , appropriate, come into possession of ŚBr. GṛŚrS.
- to be taken or seized AV.
- to wish to take to one's self or appropriate , covet , desire , long for AV.
My favorite meanings from the above - just because the significations span pre and post Buddha's era - are:
- bringing near (KātyŚr. Mbh.)
- "To wish to take to one's self (appropriate)" (AV), +
- "Being about to fetch" (Mbh.)
Note that I still consider valid, the trope "nutriment" as plain "food" (Mbh.), when that applies.
SN 12. 63 = SA 373, provides a detailed explanation of each item. Briefly, the relevant teachings are as follows.
This is what Choong Mun-keat says:
1. In material (kabaḷīkāro?) nutriment, one should know the desire (raga) - [SA mentions desire and craving] for the five gunas of sensuality.
2. In contact nutriment, one should know the three feelings.
3. In volition nutriment, one should know the three cravings.
4. In consciousness nutriment, one should know name-and-mater"
But this is not what is said in SN 12.63.
Choong Mun-keat seems to put the cart before the ox.
Let's see "contact" (phasso) in SN 12.63, for instance.
Choong Mun-keat says:
"In contact nutriment, one should know the three feelings"
but SN 12.63 says:
"When the nutriment contact is fully understood, the three kinds of feeling are fully understood"
Not the same !
“And how, bhikkhus, should the nutriment contact be seen? Suppose there is a flayed cow. If she stands exposed to a wall, the creatures dwelling in the wall would nibble at her. If she stands exposed to a tree, the creatures dwelling in the tree would nibble at her. If she stands exposed to water, the creatures dwelling in the water would nibble at her. If she stands exposed to the open air, the creatures dwelling in the open air would nibble at her. Whatever that flayed cow stands exposed to, the creatures dwelling there would nibble at her.
“It is in such a way, bhikkhus, that I say the nutriment contact should be seen. When the nutriment contact is fully understood, the three kinds of feeling are fully understood. When the three kinds of feeling are fully understood, I say, there is nothing further that a noble disciple needs to do.
Here the meaning of āhāra has a lot to do with the meaning of आहार āhāra in KātyŚr and Mbh. (as seen above).
That is to say, "bringing near".
I let you play with the three others.
- kabaḷīkāro (kabaḷa (morsel) + kāro)
- manosañcetanā (viz. cetanā with mano).
your definition of "ahara" was alien to the Pali suttas
I do'nt think it is (they are) alien
Anyway, I don't know what "alien" is.
I know brahmas, maras, and humans; but not aliens.
I am myself "born of Manu" (SN 2.12) - Namely human.