IQ according to Theravada?

What are the measures of Intelligence according to Theravada? (Excluding the wisdoms in Dhamma).

Feel free to post your ideas.

I would mention some clues from the commentaries here for your convenience.

(The following translations are mine and not one-to-one translations)

Dhammapada Commentary:
Ṭhapetvā kira sammāsambuddhaṃ añño sāriputtattherassa paññaṃ pāpuṇituṃ samattho nāma natthi. Teneva kira thero satthu purato ṭhatvā sīhanādaṃ nadi – “Ahaṃ, bhante, sakalakappampi deve vuṭṭhe ‘Ettakāni bindūni mahāsamudde patitāni, ettakāni bhūmiyaṃ, ettakāni pabbate’ti gaṇetvā lekhaṃ āropetuṃ samattho”ti. Satthāpi naṃ “Jānāmi, sāriputta, gaṇetuṃ samatthabhāva”nti āha. Tassa āyasmato paññāya upamā nāma natthi. Tenevāha –
“Gaṅgāya vālukā khīye, udakaṃ khīye mahaṇṇave;
Mahiyā mattikā khīye, na khīye mama buddhiyā”ti.

Excluding the SammasamBuddha, there is no one who can reach the wisdom of Sariputta Thera. Therefore the Thera, standing before the Teacher, uttered a lion’s roar. “Bhante, when the gods made a rain fallen for an eon, I’m able to count and document, how many drops were fallen into the great ocean, how many drops were fallen into the earth and how many drops were fallen into the rock”. “I know, Sariputta, your ability of counting” the Teacher said. There is no analogy for this venerable’s wisdom. Therefore it is said that,
“Sand in Ganges would decay ,
Water in great ocean would decay,
Clay in earth would decay,
My intelligence would not decay”.

Mahavamsa:
16.Vīmaṃsaṃso mahāpañño, kaṇhaṃ pañhamapucchitaṃ;
Puṭṭho puṭṭho viyākāsi, taṃtaṃ pañhaṃ mahīpati.
17.Rukkhoyaṃ rājakinnāmo, añño nāma ayaṃ taru;
Imaṃ muñciya attha’mbo, santi ambatarū bahuṃ.
18.Imañca ambaṃ teca’mbe, muñciyatthi mahīruhā;
Santi bhante bahu rukkhā, anambāpana te taru.
19.Aññe ambe anambe ca, muñciya’tthi mahīruhā;
Ayaṃ bhante ambarukkho, paṇḍito’si narissara.
20.Santi te ñātakā rāja, santi bhante bahujjanā;
Santi aññātakā rāja, santi te ñātito bahū.
21.Ñātake te ca aññe ca, muñciya’ññopi atthi nu;
“Bhante” hameva sādhu tvaṃ, paṇḍito’si narissara.
22.Paṇḍito’ti viditvāna, cūḷahatthipadopamaṃ;
Suttantaṃ desayī thero, mahīpassa mahāmatī.
23.Desanāpariyosāne, saddhiṃ tehi narehi so;
Cattālīsasahassehi, saraṇesu patiṭṭhahi.

Puzzles were asked (by the Mahinda Thera) to test if he (king Devanampiyatissa) is a great wiseman. Whatever puzzle asked were solved by the king.

What is this tree?
Mango-tree.
Are there any other mango-trees?
Yes, many other mango-trees.
Are there any other trees except mango-trees?
Yes, many non-mangotrees.
Are there any other trees except other mango-trees and non-mango-trees?
Yes, it is this mango-tree.
The king was wise.

Are there any relatives of you?
Yes, many relatives.
Are there any other people except you and your relatives?
Yes, many non-relatives.
Are there any other people except your relatives and non-relatives?
Yes, it is myself.
The king was wise.

Having known the king was wise, the Thera preached Cullahatthipadopama Sutta, to the wise king.
At the end of the sermon, the king established on refuges with fourty thousand men.

Ummagga Jataka Commentary:
athekadivasaṃ rājā “Paṇḍitaṃ vīmaṃsissāmā”ti khadiradaṇḍaṃ āharāpetvā tato vidatthiṃ gahetvā cundakāre pakkosāpetvā suṭṭhu likhāpetvā pācīnayavamajjhakagāmaṃ pesesi “Pācīnayavamajjhakagāmavāsino kira paṇḍitā, ‘Imassa khadiradaṇḍassa idaṃ aggaṃ, idaṃ mūla’nti jānantu, ajānantānaṃ sahassadaṇḍo”ti. Gāmavāsino sannipatitvā jānituṃ asakkontā seṭṭhino kathayiṃsu “Kadāci mahosadhapaṇḍito jāneyya, pakkosāpetvā taṃ pucchathā”ti. Seṭṭhi paṇḍitaṃ kīḷāmaṇḍalā pakkosāpetvā tamatthaṃ ārocetvā “Tāta, mayaṃ jānituṃ na sakkoma, api nu tvaṃ sakkhissasī”ti pucchi. Taṃ sutvā paṇḍito cintesi “Rañño imassa aggena vā mūlena vā payojanaṃ natthi, mama vīmaṃsanatthāya pesitaṃ bhavissatī”ti. Cintetvā ca pana “Āharatha, tāta, jānissāmī”ti āharāpetvā hatthena gahetvāva “Idaṃ aggaṃ idaṃ mūla”nti ñatvāpi mahājanassa hadayaggahaṇatthaṃ udakapātiṃ āharāpetvā khadiradaṇḍakassa majjhe suttena bandhitvā suttakoṭiyaṃ gahetvā khadiradaṇḍakaṃ udakapiṭṭhe ṭhapesi. Mūlaṃ bhāriyatāya paṭhamaṃ udake nimujji. Tato mahājanaṃ pucchi “Rukkhassa nāma mūlaṃ bhāriyaṃ hoti, udāhu agga”nti? “Mūlaṃ paṇḍitā”ti. Tena hi imassa paṭhamaṃ nimuggaṃ passatha, etaṃ mūlanti imāya saññāya aggañca mūlañca ācikkhi.

One day the king with the intention of testing the pundit (Mohosadha), sent a wooden stick of span lenghth to his village, with a message saying “If you villagers couldn’t know what is the root-end and top-end of this stick, I’ll fine you thousand coins”. The villagers, having unknown a way to solve this, asked Pundit Mahosadha to solve it. Even though he knew the answer just by taking the stick with hand, he ordered villagers to bring a basin with water and tie a thread to the middle of the stick. Then he took the other end of the thread with hand and put the stick slowly into the water in the basin. Since the root-end of the stick is heavier, that end sinked first. Then the pundit asked villagers “What is heavier of a tree? root or top?”. “Root, sir”, the villagers replied. “Then observe what end sinked first . It is the root-end and the other is the top-end” the pundit said.

2 Likes

Let’s just be based on this.

  1. Literal counting would require attention unrelenting, untiring, for an eon to directly count, and divine eye to see the whole area. Likely this is not what Ven. Sariputta had in mind.

  2. Estimation counting would be taking a sample size of rain drop, having climate models/whether model on the area size of ocean vs earth vs rock and some assumptions on the uniformity of rain to drop on them being even. Just sampling for an hour or so would be sufficient to extrapolate for an eon. This is regularly done as back of letter calculation.

3 Likes

Okasa bhante,

Given that venerable Sariputta is praised in many places in Commentaries saying that the venerable’s skill in Naya (inference, method, formulae) is grater and even come close to the Blessed Ones wisdom,
could we say that the skill of extrapolation is a/the major part of intelligence?

And also looking at the other two examples of the OP, it seems solving puzzles, math, logic and physics sort of skills are also count as intelligence, just like modern measures.

3 Likes

here is a topic with some information on the omniscience of the Buddha.

Sariputta’s wisdom is a mere tiny fraction of the Buddha yet he was, as ekocare noted, the bhikkhu with the most wisdom

2 Likes

True. It is considered that the guna of the Omniscient One is greater than Trillions of Pacceka Buddhas and the guna of a Pacceka Buddha is greater than Trillions of Venerable Sariputta’s guna. It is considered that Venerable Sariputta is far far away from a Sammasambuddha. The wisdom considered here is the Paccakkha (evident, realized) wisdom.

At the same time, Sampasādanīyasutta Commentary says, the Anumana (Nayaggaha, Inferential) wisdom of Venerable Sariputta is like Sabbannutanana, because the venerable inferred that “the Buddha’s gunas are infinite” using the tiny part of Buddhaguna he could see.

Sampasādanīyasuttavaṇṇanā
Sāriputtasīhanādavaṇṇanā:

Evaṃ thero attano guṇe anussaramāno guṇānaṃ pamāṇaṃ vā paricchedaṃ vā daṭṭhuṃ nāsakkhi. So cintesi – “Mayhaṃ tāva padesañāṇe ṭhitassa sāvakassa guṇānaṃ pamāṇaṃ vā paricchedo vā natthi. Ahaṃ pana yaṃ satthāraṃ uddissa pabbajito, kīdisā nu kho tassa guṇā”ti dasabalassa guṇe anussarituṃ āraddho.

Thero attanopi tāva guṇānaṃ antaṃ vā pamāṇaṃ vā nāddasa, bhagavato guṇānaṃ kiṃ passissati? Yassa yassa hi paññā mahatī ñāṇaṃ visadaṃ, so so buddhaguṇe mahantato saddahati.

Tattha yathā so puriso mahāsamudde udakaṃ nāma na ettakaṃyeva, anantamaparimāṇanti gaṇhāti, evameva āyasmā sāriputto dhammanvayena anvayabuddhiyā anumānena nayaggāhena sāvakapāramīñāṇe ṭhatvā dasabalassa guṇe anussaranto “Buddhaguṇā anantā aparimāṇā”ti saddahi.
Therena hi diṭṭhabuddhaguṇehi dhammanvayena gahetabbabuddhaguṇāyeva bahutarā.

Evaṃ therena diṭṭhabuddhaguṇehi adiṭṭhā guṇāva bahūti veditabbā.

dhammanvayoti dhammassa paccakkhato ñāṇassa anuyogaṃ anugantvā uppannaṃ anumānañāṇaṃ nayaggāho vidito. Sāvakapāramīñāṇe ṭhatvāva imināva ākārena jānāmi bhagavāti vadati. Therassa hi nayaggāho appamāṇo apariyanto. Yathā sabbaññutaññāṇassa pamāṇaṃ vā pariyanto vā natthi, evaṃ dhammasenāpatino nayaggāhassa. Tena so “Iminā evaṃvidho, iminā anuttaro satthā”ti jānāti. Therassa hi nayaggāho sabbaññutaññāṇagatiko eva.

Sāriputtattheragāthāvaṇṇanā:

Dhammanvayaveditā panassa sampasādanīyasuttena (dī· ni· 3.141 ādayo) dīpetabbā. Tattha hi sabbaññutaññāṇasadiso therassa nayaggāho vutto.

Another important observation:

The upāyapariggahañāṇa (apprehension of means/ tactical, strategical wisdom) of a Animal Sabbannu-Bodhisatta is considered to be greater than of Pacceka Buddha.

In the following Jataka, a Peacock (Our Bodhisatta) teaches a suddenly enlightened Pacceka Buddha how to rescue animals caged in his lay home. That is also not a simple tactic. The peacock advices the Pacceka Buddha to “do a
saccakiriya using paccekabodhiñāṇa”.

Mahāmorajātakavaṇṇanā:

*So pana pūritapāramī paccekabodhisatto sūriyarasmisamphassaṃ oloketvā ṭhitaṃ pariṇatapadumaṃ viya paripākagatañāṇo vicarati. So tassa dhammakathaṃ suṇanto ṭhitapadeneva ṭhito saṅkhāre pariggaṇhitvā tilakkhaṇaṃ sammasanto paccekabodhiñāṇaṃ paṭivijjhi. Tassa paṭivedho ca mahāsattassa pāsato mokkho ca ekakkhaṇeyeva ahosi. Paccekabuddho sabbakilese padāletvā bhavapariyante ṭhitova udānaṃ udānanto gāthamāha – *

So imaṃ udānaṃ udānetvā “Ahaṃ tāva sabbakilesabandhanehi mutto, nivesane pana me bandhitvā ṭhapitā bahū sakuṇā atthi, te kathaṃ mocessāmī”ti cintetvā mahāsattaṃ pucchi – “Morarāja, nivesane me bahū sakuṇā baddhā atthi, te kathaṃ mocessāmī”ti? Paccekabuddhatopi sabbaññubodhisattānaññeva upāyapariggahañāṇaṃ mahantataraṃ hoti, tena naṃ āha “Yaṃ vo maggena kilese khaṇḍetvā paccekabodhiñāṇaṃ paṭividdhaṃ, taṃ ārabbha saccakiriyaṃ karotha, sakalajambudīpe bandhanagato satto nāma na bhavissatī”ti. So bodhisattena dinnanayadvāre ṭhatvā saccakiriyaṃ karonto gāthamāha –

3 Likes

Are you just able to read pāḷi directly that you don’t bother to give a translation for them? Wow.

1 Like