rightviewftw wrote: ↑
Wed Jul 18, 2018 5:45 pm
How i understand the meaning of Deathless? I understand the term to essentially have the Non-made as it's referrent but being used differently than the term non-made. Used differently because it seems that the term was around before the Buddha used it but it's meaning was unclear since it remained unattained. However it's existence was being postulated as a persistently Deathless element of reality. What makes me believe that the term was around is that when Sariputta attained it and met Moggalanna prior to their ordination and before Moggalanna had heard the Dhamma he asked Sariputta whether he had attained it, also the nature of the discourse of AN10.58 which is given as an answer to questions of people from other sects suggests that the term was around outside of Buddhist circles.
My interest in this Sutta stems from disagreement with views expressed by Bhikkhu Bodhi on several points and pertaining to the attainment of the path and in particular. Also "All dhammas culminate in the Deathless" it just seems non-sensical to me, i would go along with discernment culminating in the Deathless but all Dhammas, that just doesn't make sense.
Thank you rigthviewftw
. Sorry for the delayed reply.
As I mentioned earlier, in my opinion, the translation of amatogadhā
(amata-ogadhā) as 'footing in the deathless' is not correct and doesn't make sense in this or other suttas where it appears. The translation 'footing' would necessitate the Pali term being gādha
which is derived from the verbal root gādh
, meaning 'to stand on firm ground' etc.
is derived from the verbal root gāh
which means plunge, immerse. When combined with o (= ava), it means 'plunge into'. In the other sutta you reference, SN 48.44, Ven. Sariputta says that the development and cultivation of the five faculties culminate (plunge into) in the deathless.
I have known, seen, understood, realized, and experienced this with wisdom. I have no doubts or uncertainties that the faculties of faith, energy, mindfulness, immersion, and wisdom, when developed and cultivated, culminate
, finish, and end in the deathless
Mayhañca kho etaṃ, bhante, ñātaṃ diṭṭhaṃ viditaṃ sacchikataṃ phassitaṃ paññāya. Nikkaṅkhvāhaṃ tattha nibbicikiccho saddhindriyaṃ, viriyindriyam, satindriyam, samadhindriyam, paññindriyaṃ bhāvitaṃ bahulīkataṃ amatogadhaṃ hoti amataparāyaṇaṃ amatapariyosānan”ti.
SN 48.44 points to a way to understand AN 10:58. Buddha instructs the monks that if other sectarians should ask kim ogadhā sabbe dhammā
'What do all dhammas plunge into (culminate in)?', they should answer amatogadhā sabbe dhammā
, 'All dhammas plunge into (culminate in) the deathess'. I would suggest that all dhammas here means cultivated awakening factors (Buddha's Dhamma) which plunge into the deathless, just as the cultivated five faculties plunge into the deathless in SN 48:44.
There is a similar theme in some of the earlier questions in AN 10:58, e.g. kimogadhā sabbe dhammā
, 'What is the essence of all dhammas?' which should be answered vimuttisārā sabbe dhammā
, 'Freedom is the essence of all dhammas' (= cultivated awakening factors).
As you say, the deathless was talked about before Buddha, and in SN 48:44 Ven. Sāriputta testifies that the deathless has been plunged into through cultivating the five faculties. He experiences the deathless, here and now. Asmimāna
has been dispelled and there is longer any notion of an 'I' in the past, present or future, in short there is 'no one' to die. In the Ratanasutta, Sn 2,1, Buddha talks about the joy and freedom of the deathless
With steadfast mind, applying themselves thoroughly in the Dispensation of Gotama, free of passion, they have attained to that which should be attained. And plunging into deathlessness
, they enjoyed the Peace (Nibbāna) in absolute freedom.
Ye suppayuttā manasā daḷhena,
Te pattipattā amataṃ vigayha,
Laddhā mudhā nibbutiṃ bhuñjamānā
It should be noted that the verbal form vigayha
'plunging into' in the Ratana Sutta shares the same verbal root, gāh
, as ogadha
In effect, the 'deathless' equates to 'nibbana with residue'. The last Q & A in AN 10:58 kimpariyosanā sabbe dhammā
, 'What is the final end of all dhammas (cultivated awakening factors)?' to be answered with nibbānapariyosanā sabbe dhammā
, 'The complete ending of all dhammas (cultivated awakening factors) is nibbāna'. It can be surmised this answer refers to 'nibbana without residue'.
To be honest, I don't see AN 10:58 as an especially important sutta, unless one is likely to meet followers of other sects who ask these particular questions. If so, you have the ready made answers. There are many suttas like this which may be interesting, but not are readily applicable to practice or are even inspiring.
In contrast, I find the series of short suttas in the Amata Vagga of the Anguttara, which point to the practice of kāyagatāsati
as essential to realizing the deathless, very useful
Mendicants, those who haven’t cultivated mindfulness of the body haven’t cultivated the deathless.
Amataṃ tesaṃ, bhikkhave, anāsevitaṃ yesaṃ kāyagatāsati anāsevitā.