"The Deathless" (amata)

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kirk5a
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Re: "The Deathless" (amata)

Post by kirk5a » Mon Mar 26, 2012 2:06 pm

tiltbillings wrote:And given the explanatiuons they have to go through pretty much makes my point about using "the Deathless" as a translation.
And yet, it is used, in many places. So you certainly have not made the case for using an alternative to "the deathless" wherever it appears in the sutta translations. One sutta, so far, is the only alternative translation you have presented, that I have seen.
"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

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Re: "The Deathless" (amata)

Post by Spiny O'Norman » Tue Mar 27, 2012 11:24 am

kirk5a wrote: Is there something problematic with "inclines his mind to the property [dhatu] of deathlessness" ?
If this is pointing to Nibbana, cessation of the taints, then I wonder if there is an equivalence between amata and nirodha ( cessation )? I'm thinking of particularly of cessation in the context of DO.

Spiny

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Re: "The Deathless" (amata)

Post by tiltbillings » Wed Mar 28, 2012 12:03 am

kirk5a wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:And given the explanatiuons they have to go through pretty much makes my point about using "the Deathless" as a translation.
And yet, it is used, in many places. So you certainly have not made the case for using an alternative to "the deathless" wherever it appears in the sutta translations. One sutta, so far, is the only alternative translation you have presented, that I have seen.
So, never mind my arguments and my showing the defining sutta's use of amata, you want numbers.

The defining sutta:
  • ”Then the group of five monks, being thus exhorted, thus instructed by me [the Buddha], being liable to death because of self, having known the perils in what is liable to death, seeking freedom from death, the uttermost security from the bonds -- nibbana -- won freedom from death, the uttermost security from the bonds -- nibbana...." -- MN I 173
and a couple of others:
  • At Savatthi. "Monks, remain with your minds well-established in the four establishings of mindfulness. Don't let freedom from death be lost to you. -- SN 47.41
  • "Sariputta, do you take it on conviction that the faculty of conviction, when developed & pursued, gains a footing in freedom from death, has freedom from death as its goal & consummation? -- SN v 220
  • "Monks, these seven perceptions, when developed & pursued, are of great fruit, of great benefit. They gain a footing in freedom from death, have freedom from death as their final end. -- AN iv 46
  • For knowing, the Blessed One knows; seeing, he sees. He is the Eye, he is Knowledge, he is Dhamma, he is Brahma. He is the speaker, the proclaimer, the elucidator of meaning, the giver of feedom from death, the lord of the Dhamma, the Tathagata. -- MN i 108
  • "There is the case where a monk remains focused on the body in & of itself — ardent, alert, & mindful — subduing greed & distress with reference to the world. For him, remaining focused on the body in and of itself, any desire for the body is abandoned. From the abandoning of desire, freedom from death is realized. -- SN v 181
  • "There is the case where a monk remains focused on the body in & of itself — ardent, alert, & mindful — subduing greed & distress with reference to the world. For him, remaining focused on the body in and of itself, the body is comprehended. From the comprehension of the body, freedom from death is realized. -- SN v 182
  • Throw open the door to freedom from death!
    Let them hear the Dhamma
    realized by the Stainless One!
    -- SN i 136
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723

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Re: "The Deathless" (amata)

Post by retrofuturist » Wed Mar 28, 2012 1:01 am

Greetings Tilt, Kirk, all,

I know Tilt likes the "freedom from death" translation, but it's hard to see the etmology of this translation. It's certainly not a literal one, as there doesn't seem to be anything there resembling "freedom" let alone "freedom from" in the Pali word amata.

Similarly, to pick up Tilt's point, there's no "the" in amata either, so similarly, "the deathless" is not a literal translation of the term in question either.

Both "freedom from death" and "the deathless" are interpretations of what amata might mean rather than a literal and agreed definition per se. Being interpretations they're both far more subjective than an agreed definition, and different people will have their preferred interpretation for different reasons... hence the reasons different people are presenting different suttas, and finding that neither interpretation universally applies or fits with all.

Now I'm not a Pali expert at all, but a reasonable etymology for amata seems to be...

a [not] + mara [death] + ata [ness]

It's not an interpretation - it's a deconstruction of the term into (what might be) its constituent components.

And despite all the brouhaha about how amata should be interpreted, and the fact I'm sure a hundred and one holes could be poked through my Pali tinkering, the definition "not-deathness" I propose here seems to be an amenable fit with all the suttas that have been provided by participants in the discussion.

Any thoughts on "not-deathness"? Perhaps try substituting it into the sutta extracts provided above and see how it fits.

Metta,
Retro. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

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

"One discerns wrong view as wrong view, and right view as right view. This is one's right view." (MN 117)

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Re: "The Deathless" (amata)

Post by kirk5a » Wed Mar 28, 2012 1:37 am

The etymology looks to be linked to the english "immortal"
http://dsal.uchicago.edu/cgi-bin/philol ... :2001.pali" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
"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

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Re: "The Deathless" (amata)

Post by retrofuturist » Wed Mar 28, 2012 2:57 am

Greetings,
kirk5a wrote:The etymology looks to be linked to the english "immortal"
http://dsal.uchicago.edu/cgi-bin/philol ... :2001.pali" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Via Latin: im -- mort -- a(lis)

Metta,
Retro. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

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

"One discerns wrong view as wrong view, and right view as right view. This is one's right view." (MN 117)

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Re: "The Deathless" (amata)

Post by tiltbillings » Wed Mar 28, 2012 7:10 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Tilt, Kirk, all,

I know Tilt likes the "freedom from death" translation, but it's hard to see the etmology of this translation. It's certainly not a literal one, as there doesn't seem to be anything there resembling "freedom" let alone "freedom from" in the Pali word amata.

Similarly, to pick up Tilt's point, there's no "the" in amata either, so similarly, "the deathless" is not a literal translation of the term in question either.

Both "freedom from death" and "the deathless" are interpretations of what amata might mean rather than a literal and agreed definition per se. Being interpretations they're both far more subjective than an agreed definition, and different people will have their preferred interpretation for different reasons... hence the reasons different people are presenting different suttas, and finding that neither interpretation universally applies or fits with all.

Now I'm not a Pali expert at all, but a reasonable etymology for amata seems to be...

a [not] + mara [death] + ata [ness]

It's not an interpretation - it's a deconstruction of the term into (what might be) its constituent components.

And despite all the brouhaha about how amata should be interpreted, and the fact I'm sure a hundred and one holes could be poked through my Pali tinkering, the definition "not-deathness" I propose here seems to be an amenable fit with all the suttas that have been provided by participants in the discussion.

Any thoughts on "not-deathness"? Perhaps try substituting it into the sutta extracts provided above and see how it fits.

Metta,
Retro. :)
Well, a hundered and one hole indeed. Fiirst of all, as has been pointed out to you elsewhere the suttas I quoted above use amata, a word that is not derived from a [not] + mara [death] + ata [ness]. See

http://dsal.uchicago.edu/cgi-bin/philol ... ali.867695" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; for a discussion of amata.

As for "not-deathness," it is another confusing bit that tells us nothing. Even "deathlessness" would be better, though not by much. As for how I came to "freedom from death," which of course is an interpretative translation, is carefullly illustrated above. What it comes down to is does one take the "a" in amata (a + mata) as a bahubbihi or tappurisa prefix, but also keep in mind that I am taking amata as being in line with this list of modifiers: . ajātaṃ abhūtaṃ akataṃ asaṅkhataṃ.
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723

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Re: "The Deathless" (amata)

Post by tiltbillings » Wed Mar 28, 2012 7:13 am

kirk5a wrote:The etymology looks to be linked to the english "immortal"
http://dsal.uchicago.edu/cgi-bin/philol ... :2001.pali" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
But like so many words that the Buddha adopted -- and then adapted -- from his Brahmanical milieu, the meaning, in context, is vastly different.
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723

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Re: "The Deathless" (amata)

Post by Spiny O'Norman » Wed Mar 28, 2012 9:16 am

retrofuturist wrote:Any thoughts on "not-deathness"?
It doesn't work for me. ;)

So are we any closer to establishing what amata is referring to?

The options seem to be:
1. Nibbana
2. Pari-nibbana
3. Both Nibbana and Pari-nibbana.

Thoughts?

Spiny

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Re: "The Deathless" (amata)

Post by Aloka » Wed Mar 28, 2012 10:07 am

Spiny O'Norman wrote:
Thoughts?

Spiny
No, not thoughts, lol ! Amata refers to freedom from the conditioned existence of greed, hatred and delusion, birth and death. = Nibbana, deathlessness.

:)
Last edited by Aloka on Wed Mar 28, 2012 7:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: "The Deathless" (amata)

Post by retrofuturist » Wed Mar 28, 2012 10:13 am

Greetings,
Aloka wrote:No, not thoughts, lol !
Nippapanca is cool. 8-)

Metta,
Retro. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

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

"One discerns wrong view as wrong view, and right view as right view. This is one's right view." (MN 117)

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tiltbillings
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Re: "The Deathless" (amata)

Post by tiltbillings » Wed Mar 28, 2012 3:36 pm

Aloka wrote:
Spiny O'Norman wrote:
Thoughts?

Spiny
No, not thoughts, lol ! Amata refers to freedom from the conditioned existence of greed, hatred and delusion, birth and death = Nibbana, deathlessness.

:)
Deathlessness is better than "the Deathless," which tends to suggest that there is some thing out there that does not die, but it is still not quite there.

Freedom from death gives, however, a more dynamic sense of what is being taught:
  • ”Then the group of five monks, being thus exhorted, thus instructed by me [the Buddha], being liable to death because of self, having known the perils in what is liable to death, seeking freedom from death, the uttermost security from the bonds -- nibbana -- won freedom from death, the uttermost security from the bonds -- nibbana...." -- MN I 173
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723

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tiltbillings
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Re: "The Deathless" (amata)

Post by tiltbillings » Wed Mar 28, 2012 3:37 pm

Spiny O'Norman wrote:
retrofuturist wrote:Any thoughts on "not-deathness"?
It doesn't work for me. ;)

So are we any closer to establishing what amata is referring to?

The options seem to be:
1. Nibbana
2. Pari-nibbana
3. Both Nibbana and Pari-nibbana.

Thoughts?

Spiny
Why not translate in a way that reflects exactly what it is referring to:

  • ”Then the group of five monks, being thus exhorted, thus instructed by me [the Buddha], being liable to death because of self, having known the perils in what is liable to death, seeking freedom from death, the uttermost security from the bonds -- nibbana -- won freedom from death, the uttermost security from the bonds -- nibbana...." -- MN I 173
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723

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Re: "The Deathless" (amata)

Post by nowheat » Wed Mar 28, 2012 4:41 pm

Spiny O'Norman wrote: So are we any closer to establishing what amata is referring to?
Death (and even aging-and-death) is equated with dukkha throughout the suttas. This makes amata freedom from dukkha.

:namaste:

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Re: "The Deathless" (amata)

Post by kirk5a » Wed Mar 28, 2012 5:05 pm

nowheat wrote:
Spiny O'Norman wrote: So are we any closer to establishing what amata is referring to?
Death (and even aging-and-death) is equated with dukkha throughout the suttas. This makes amata freedom from dukkha.
Ok that's great and all. But what does this "freedom from dukkha, which is the end of greed, hatred and delusion" actually amount to, as an experienced reality?

Is it just sitting down and breathing in and out and when it doesn't seem like there is any greed, hatred, or delusion going on... nibbana? Amata? Freedom from birth and death?
"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

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