Another twist on "ekayano maggo"

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cjmacie
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Another twist on "ekayano maggo"

Post by cjmacie » Mon Aug 22, 2016 1:44 pm

(This term is mentioned here and there on DhammaWheel, as I found in a quick search, but didn't readily see any place where it was discussed extensively, though it probably has been, somewhere. So asking forbearance if previous material is here duplicated -- or needs correction.)

Just back from a weekend-retreat, during which Thuzana Sayadaw gave a dhamma-talk about Satipatthana (big surprise – he's an abbot in the Mahasi-Pandita lineage). He decoded the famous first line (ekayano ayam… maggo) in an interesting new (to me) way. After mentioning it as "the only way", which is more or less Mahasi dogma, he further paraphrased it in more depth as:
"a single [eka-] way"… "a way with no branches"… "a way that assures reaching the goal".

Borders on another prominent interpretation of "ekayano maggo" (other than as "the one and only way") as meaning a way "leading only to the (one) goal". Bhikkku Bodhi mentioned this, I think, in a footnote somewhere, where he explains his choice of "the direct way"; he mentions that this doesn't fully express the way ekayano is used in the Pali Canon, but that he was under the influence of (his teacher) Nyanponika Thera's idea of using single English words to translate single Pali words.

Of course, we know that Ven. Analayo makes a big point of "ekayano maggo" as "The Direct Path…" – i.e. as the subtitle of his first book on the Satipatthana, and his giving a long justification for it. That interpretation is certainly not invalid, but seemed to me a sort of "cognitive dissonance" with the fact that the Satipatthana Sutta describes a rather long and complicated process – as witnessed in his not one, but two long and involved books. As well as the fact that he mentions frequently in those books that intensive use of many of the detailed "methods" along the way there can, by themselves, lead to full realization (as he cites in passages throughout the sutta-s).

Anyway, that explanation from Thuzana Sayadaw caught me by surprise…

Sylvester
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Re: Another twist on "ekayano maggo"

Post by Sylvester » Tue Sep 13, 2016 9:07 am

Hi CJ

I think the good Sayadaw was merely citing one of the Comy explanations that it means "na dvedhāpathabhūto" (it has not become a crossroad, ie it's not a forked path).

Perhaps the commentators were thinking of the usage of this phrase in MN 12, about the path that leads only to the cesspit etc.

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Dmytro
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Re: Another twist on "ekayano maggo"

Post by Dmytro » Tue Sep 13, 2016 3:30 pm

cjmacie wrote:Just back from a weekend-retreat, during which Thuzana Sayadaw gave a dhamma-talk about Satipatthana (big surprise – he's an abbot in the Mahasi-Pandita lineage). He decoded the famous first line (ekayano ayam… maggo) in an interesting new (to me) way. After mentioning it as "the only way", which is more or less Mahasi dogma, he further paraphrased it in more depth as:
"a single [eka-] way"… "a way with no branches"… "a way that assures reaching the goal".
Well said.

There's a thread: http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=23&t=5587

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