'nivarana' as 'covering'

Explore the ancient language of the Tipitaka and Theravāda commentaries

Moderator: Mahavihara moderator

Post Reply
Posts: 16
Joined: Thu Jul 07, 2011 7:15 pm

'nivarana' as 'covering'

Post by buddhajunkie » Mon Aug 22, 2011 9:32 am

I heard one teacher say that the literal Pali for the Five Hindrances is 'five coverings'.

How correct or plausible is this? Is 'cover' or 'covering' (or anything aside from 'hindrance') the likely intended usage?

I am interested in this because I feel my practice has been greatly aided by conceptualizing the hindrances (as well as distractions in general) as something covering the meditation object (as a layer of cloud might). The word 'hindrance' is just too vague for me, perhaps.

User avatar
Posts: 8504
Joined: Tue Jan 06, 2009 11:32 pm
Location: Queensland, Australia

Re: 'nivarana' as 'covering'

Post by cooran » Mon Aug 22, 2011 9:46 am

Hello buddhajunkie,

He may have referred to them in that way because they ‘are obstacles to the mind and blind our mental vision. In the presence of them we cannot reach neighbourhood-concentration upacāra-samādhi and full concentration appanā-samādhi, and are unable to discern clearly the truth.’
http://what-buddha-said.net/library/Bud ... c3_n.htm#n" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;īvarana

This also may be of interest:

The Five Mental Hindrances and Their Conquest
Selected Texts from the Pali Canon and the Commentaries
Compiled and translated by Nyanaponika Thera
http://what-buddha-said.net/library/Wheels/wh026.pdf" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

with metta
---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---

User avatar
Site Admin
Posts: 10950
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 4:15 am
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada

Re: 'nivarana' as 'covering'

Post by DNS » Mon Aug 22, 2011 5:51 pm

I am used to 'hindrances' as the English translation, but if coverings is helpful for you, then that is good. :thumbsup:

User avatar
Posts: 1959
Joined: Thu Sep 23, 2010 1:51 pm

Re: 'nivarana' as 'covering'

Post by kirk5a » Mon Aug 22, 2011 6:07 pm

There appears to be something in the etymology to support this.

Nīvaraṇa (nt. occasionally m.) [Sk. *nivāraṇa, nis+ varaṇa of vṛ (vṛṇoti), see nibbuta & cp. nivāraṇa]

Nibbuta (adj.) [Nibbuta represents Sk. nirvṛta (e. g. AvŚ i.48) as well as nivṛta, both pp. of vṛ, which in itself combines two meanings, as exhibited in cognate languages and in Sk. itself: (a) Idg. ṷer to cover, cover up (Lat. aperio=*apa -- veri̯o to cover up, Sk. varutram upper garment, "cover") and (b) *ṷel to resolve, roll, move (Lat. volvo=revolve; Gr. e(/lic, e)lu/w; Sk. vāṇa reed=Lat. ulva; Sk. ūrmi wave; P. valli creeper, valita wrinkled). *ṷer is represented in P. by e. g. vivarati to open, nivāreti to cover, obstruct, nīvaraṇa, nivāraṇa obstruction;

http://dsal.uchicago.edu/cgi-bin/philol ... 1:350.pali" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

So it looks like there could be a sense of nivarana as something that "covers" or obscures something else.
"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 15 guests