SN 35.23 Sabba Sutta: The All

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SN 35.23 Sabba Sutta: The All

Post by mikenz66 » Wed Feb 23, 2011 6:54 am

SN 35.23 PTS: S iv 15 CDB ii 1140
Sabba Sutta: The All
translated from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

"Monks, I will teach you the All. Listen & pay close attention. I will speak."

"As you say, lord," the monks responded.

The Blessed One said, "What is the All? Simply the eye & forms, ear & sounds, nose & aromas, tongue & flavors, body & tactile sensations, intellect & ideas. This, monks, is called the All. [1] Anyone who would say, 'Repudiating this All, I will describe another,' if questioned on what exactly might be the grounds for his statement, would be unable to explain, and furthermore, would be put to grief. Why? Because it lies beyond range."

Note

1. The Commentary's treatment of this discourse is very peculiar. To begin with, it delineates three other "All's" in addition to the one defined here, one of them supposedly larger in scope than the one defined here: the Allness of the Buddha's omniscience (literally, All-knowingness). This, despite the fact that the discourse says that the description of such an all lies beyond the range of explanation.

Secondly, the Commentary includes nibbana (unbinding) within the scope of the All described here — as a dhamma, or object of the intellect — even though there are many other discourses in the Canon specifically stating that nibbana lies beyond the range of the six senses and their objects. Sn 5.6, [http://dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=25&t=6481] for instance, indicates that a person who has attained nibbana has gone beyond all phenomena (sabbe dhamma), and therefore cannot be described. MN 49 [http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html] discusses a "consciousness without feature" (viññanam anidassanam) that does not partake of the "Allness of the All." Furthermore, the following discourse (SN 35.24) says that the "All" is to be abandoned. At no point does the Canon say that nibbana is to be abandoned. Nibbana follows on cessation (nirodha), which is to be realized. Once nibbana is realized, there are no further tasks to be done.

Thus it seems more this discourse's discussion of "All" is meant to limit the use of the word "all" throughout the Buddha's teachings to the six sense spheres and their objects. As the following discourse shows, this would also include the consciousness, contact, and feelings connected with the sense spheres and their objects. Nibbana would lie outside of the word, "all." This would fit in with another point made several times in the Canon: that dispassion is the highest of all dhammas (Iti 90 [http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... ml#iti-090]), while the arahant has gone beyond even dispassion (Sn 4.6[http://dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=25&t=4667] ; Sn 4.10 [http://dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=25&t=4962]).

This raises the question, if the word "all" does not include nibbana, does that mean that one may infer from the statement, "all phenomena are not-self" that nibbana is self? The answer is no. As AN 4.174 [http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html] states, to even ask if there is anything remaining or not remaining (or both, or neither) after the cessation of the six sense spheres is to differentiate what is by nature undifferentiated (or to objectify the unobjectified — see the Introduction to MN 18 [http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html]). The range of differentiation goes only as far as the "All." Perceptions of self or not-self, which would count as differentiation, would not apply beyond the "All." When the cessation of the "All" is experienced, all differentiation is allayed.

See also: SN 35.24 [See below].

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Re: SN 35.23 Sabba Sutta: The All

Post by mikenz66 » Wed Feb 23, 2011 6:55 am

SN 35.23 Sabba Sutta: The All
Translated by John D. Ireland

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... passage-51" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

"Bhikkhus, I will teach you the All. [69] Listen, attend carefully to it and I will speak.

"Now what, bhikkhus, is the All? It is just the eye and visible objects, the ear and sounds, the nose and odors, the tongue and tastes, the body and tangible objects, the mind and objects of mind.[70] This, bhikkhus, is called the All.

"Now whoever should speak thus: 'Setting aside this All I will proclaim another All,' it would be mere talk on his part and on being questioned he would be unable to proceed and in addition, vexation will befall him. For what reason? It would not be within his scope, bhikkhus.

Notes:

[69] Sabba.m: the whole, everything that is, the totality of experience.

[70] There are the twelve sense-bases (aayatana), six internal (subjective), the sense organs; and six external (objective), the corresponding sense objects. These present an analysis of experience complementary to that of the aggregates.

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Re: SN 35.23 Sabba Sutta: The All

Post by mikenz66 » Wed Feb 23, 2011 6:57 am

SN 35.24 PTS: S iv 15 CDB ii 1140
Pahanaya Sutta: To Be Abandoned
translated from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu


"Monks, I will teach you the All as a phenomenon to be abandoned. Listen & pay close attention. I will speak."

"As you say, lord," the monks responded.

The Blessed One said, "And which All is a phenomenon to be abandoned? The eye is to be abandoned. [1] Forms are to be abandoned. Consciousness at the eye is to be abandoned. Contact at the eye is to be abandoned. And whatever there is that arises in dependence on contact at the eye — experienced as pleasure, pain or neither-pleasure-nor-pain — that too is to be abandoned.

"The ear is to be abandoned. Sounds are to be abandoned...

"The nose is to be abandoned. Aromas are to be abandoned...

"The tongue is to be abandoned. Flavors are to be abandoned...

"The body is to be abandoned. Tactile sensations are to be abandoned...

"The intellect is to be abandoned. Ideas are to be abandoned. Consciousness at the intellect is to be abandoned. Contact at the intellect is to be abandoned. And whatever there is that arises in dependence on contact at the intellect — experienced as pleasure, pain or neither-pleasure-nor-pain — that too is to be abandoned.

"This is called the All as a phenomenon to be abandoned."

Note

1. To abandon the eye, etc., here means to abandon passion and desire for these things.

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Re: SN 35.23 Sabba Sutta: The All

Post by retrofuturist » Wed Feb 23, 2011 7:11 am

Greetings Mike,

Excellent sutta. :thumbsup:

I like this sutta because it depicts the "all" of experience.

Sometimes I like to think of a tree, and ask "how can you know a tree"? You can see it, you can touch it, sometimes you can hear it, sometimes you can smell it, you can think about it and if you're really keen you can taste it. There is no other experience of a tree outside the six-sense-bases and their corresponding data/objects.

In the final part of Bhikkhu Yogananda's interview series with Venerable Nanananda

The Heretic Sage (Part 5)
http://nidahas.com/2010/11/nanananda-heretic-sage-5/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

... there's a charming story about a bird singing that explains the point well.
Bhante falls silent, and looks on with a smile.

After a few moments, he asks: “What do you hear?”

There is a bird singing in the distance.

“Did it start singing only now?”

It prob­a­bly had started ear­lier (and now that I am lis­ten­ing to the tapes as I tran­scribe this, I know that it had started many min­utes earlier).

“It must have been singing all this while, but only now…” I say.

“Only now…?”

“Only now did the atten­tion went there.”

“There you have tajjo saman­nāhāra! So is it only because of the sound of the bird that you heard it? Didn’t you hear it only after I stopped talk­ing? There could be other rea­sons too: had there been louder noises, you may not have heard it. So we see that it is cir­cum­stan­tial. That is why we men­tioned in our writ­ings: every­thing is cir­cum­stan­tial; noth­ing is sub­stan­tial
Metta,
Retro. :)
"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"It is natural that one who knows and sees things as they really are is disenchanted and dispassionate." (AN 10.2)

“Truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it.” (Flannery O'Connor)

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Re: SN 35.23 Sabba Sutta: The All

Post by Sherab » Wed Feb 23, 2011 7:40 am

Mike's posts seemed to suggest that the meaning of "the All" very much depends on the context in which it is used.

In this verse,

23. "Here, I see no ground on which any recluse or brahman or god or Mara or Brahma or anyone at all in the world could, in accordance with the Dhamma, accuse me thus: 'While you claim full enlightenment, you are not fully enlightened in regard to certain things.' [72] And seeing no ground for that, I abide in safety, fearlessness and intrepidity.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .ntbb.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

.... "the All" is indirectly implied.

What would be the applicable meaning of "the All" in this context?

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Re: SN 35.23 Sabba Sutta: The All

Post by retrofuturist » Wed Feb 23, 2011 7:46 am

Greetings Sherab,
Sherab wrote:.... "the All" is indirectly implied.
Is it? I don't see it.

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

"It is natural that one who knows and sees things as they really are is disenchanted and dispassionate." (AN 10.2)

“Truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it.” (Flannery O'Connor)

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Re: SN 35.23 Sabba Sutta: The All

Post by Sherab » Wed Feb 23, 2011 8:04 am

Retro,

In the cited sutra, the Buddha was refuting the accusation that while he claimed full enlightenment, he was in fact not fully enlightened in regard to certain things. In other words, the Buddha was indirectly claiming that he was enlightened in regard to all things.

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Re: SN 35.23 Sabba Sutta: The All

Post by retrofuturist » Wed Feb 23, 2011 8:17 am

Greetings Sherab,

Well by his definition he was, wasn't he?

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

"It is natural that one who knows and sees things as they really are is disenchanted and dispassionate." (AN 10.2)

“Truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it.” (Flannery O'Connor)

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Re: SN 35.23 Sabba Sutta: The All

Post by Sherab » Wed Feb 23, 2011 8:28 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Sherab,

Well by his definition he was, wasn't he?

Metta,
Retro. :)
All Buddhists would agree with that. But that is not the topic of discussion.

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Re: SN 35.23 Sabba Sutta: The All

Post by retrofuturist » Wed Feb 23, 2011 9:07 am

Greetings,
Sherab wrote:All Buddhists would agree with that. But that is not the topic of discussion.
Actually, that's precisely the discussion. He knew the nature of all that could be experienced. As the sutta says...
"Now whoever should speak thus: 'Setting aside this All I will proclaim another All,' it would be mere talk on his part and on being questioned he would be unable to proceed and in addition, vexation will befall him. For what reason? It would not be within his scope, bhikkhus.
What's more interesting is whether either nibbana (as discussed in the OP notes) or "consciousness without feature" is part of the all, or some kind of negation/absence with regards to The All.

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

"It is natural that one who knows and sees things as they really are is disenchanted and dispassionate." (AN 10.2)

“Truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it.” (Flannery O'Connor)

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Re: SN 35.23 Sabba Sutta: The All

Post by Sherab » Wed Feb 23, 2011 9:22 am

Retro,

I was trying to understand "the All" that was indirectly implied in the context of this:

23. "Here, I see no ground on which any recluse or brahman or god or Mara or Brahma or anyone at all in the world could, in accordance with the Dhamma, accuse me thus: 'While you claim full enlightenment, you are not fully enlightened in regard to certain things.' [72] And seeing no ground for that, I abide in safety, fearlessness and intrepidity.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .ntbb.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

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Re: SN 35.23 Sabba Sutta: The All

Post by retrofuturist » Wed Feb 23, 2011 9:30 am

Greetings Sherab,

But the above explains why the Buddha could "see no ground for that".

See also Thanissaro Bhikkhu's notes in the opening post.

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

"It is natural that one who knows and sees things as they really are is disenchanted and dispassionate." (AN 10.2)

“Truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it.” (Flannery O'Connor)

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Re: SN 35.23 Sabba Sutta: The All

Post by Sherab » Wed Feb 23, 2011 9:45 am

Humour me Retro,

how do you see "the All" implied in this:

23. "Here, I see no ground on which any recluse or brahman or god or Mara or Brahma or anyone at all in the world could, in accordance with the Dhamma, accuse me thus: 'While you claim full enlightenment, you are not fully enlightened in regard to certain things.' [72] And seeing no ground for that, I abide in safety, fearlessness and intrepidity.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .ntbb.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

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Re: SN 35.23 Sabba Sutta: The All

Post by retrofuturist » Wed Feb 23, 2011 9:50 am

Greeting Sherab,

As I said before... no, I don't see it.

The closest I see is the brahmans and recluses saying "While you claim full enlightenment, you are not fully enlightened in regard to certain things."

... and in SN 35.23 the Buddha saying "Anyone who would say, 'Repudiating this All, I will describe another,' if questioned on what exactly might be the grounds for his statement, would be unable to explain, and furthermore, would be put to grief. Why? Because it lies beyond range."

In other words, the brahmans and recluses would not be able to detail any "certain things" that fall outside of "the all", as defined in SN 35.23. Therefore the Buddha knows there is no ground for these accusations, and thus he "abide[s] in safety, fearlessness and intrepidity"

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

"It is natural that one who knows and sees things as they really are is disenchanted and dispassionate." (AN 10.2)

“Truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it.” (Flannery O'Connor)

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Re: SN 35.23 Sabba Sutta: The All

Post by mikenz66 » Wed Feb 23, 2011 9:52 am

Hi Sherab,

I'm afraid I don't quite understand what you are getting at. But it seems to be something important to you so perhaps you could try to explain it in a slightly different way and I might get it...

:anjali:
Mike

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