MN 22 PTS: M i 130 Alagaddupama Sutta: The Snake Simile

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Thus have I heard. Once the Blessed One lived at Saavatthii, in Jeta’s Grove, in Anaathapindika’s monastery.

Arittha’s Wrong View
2. Now on that occasion a monk called Arittha, formerly of the vulture killers, had conceived this pernicious view: “There are things called ‘obstructions’[1] by the Blessed One. As I understand his teaching, those things are not necessarily obstructive for one who pursues them.”

notes from Nyanaponika thera

Notes
1.
Things called “obstructions” (antaraayikaa dhammaa). Comy gives here a list of ideas and actions that obstruct either heavenly rebirth or final deliverance or both. Arittha, so says Comy being a learned exponent of the Teaching, was quite familiar with most of these “obstructions”; but, being unfamiliar with the Code of Discipline (Vinaya), he conceived the view that sex indulgence was not necessarily an obstruction for a monk. Arittha is said to have used a rather sophistic argument, saying, “If some of the five sense enjoyments are permissible even for lay adherents who are stream-enterers (sotaapanna), etc., why is an exception made as to the visible shape, voice, touch, etc., of women?” According to Comy, Arittha goes so far as to charge the Buddha with exaggerating the importance of the first grave offence (paaraajikaa) for a monk (i.e., sexual intercourse), saying that the emphasis given to it is like the effort of one who tries to chain the ocean.

The similes about sense-desires, given in the following section of the discourse, seem to support the commentarial reference to sexual intercourse.

The similes about sense-desires. Of the ten similes, the first seven were explained in detail in the Potaliya Sutta, (MN 54; see The Wheel No. 79). A summary of these explanations follows here; and after each of these, and also for the remaining three similes, and expansion is given of the one-word explanation found in the Comy to our present text:

(1) Bare bones, fleshless, blood-smeared, are thrown to a starving dog but cannot satisfy the animal’s hunger. Similarly, sense-desires give no lasting satisfaction (Comy: appasaadatthena).

(2) A lump of flesh for which birds of prey fight each other; if the bird that has seized the lump of flesh, does not yield it, it may meet death or deadly pain from the beaks and claws of the other birds. Similarly, the sense-desires are common to many (bahusaadhaarana), i.e., the same sense objects may be claimed by many and may become the cause of deadly conflict.

(3) A torch of straw carried against the wind may cause severe burns to the careless man if not quickly discarded. Similarly, sense-desires will severely burn (anudahana) i.e., greatly harm him who thoughtlessly, and unaware of the great danger, partakes of them in the belief that they will bring light and joy to his life.

(4) A pit of burning coals towards which a man is dragged by others; if he cannot free himself from the grip, he will be thrown into the fire and consumed by it. Similarly, sense-desires are like a vast conflagration (maha-bhitaapa) into which the victim is dragged by bad company, or by his own deeds, causing his rebirth in miserable states of woe.

(5) A dream of a beautiful landscape that vanishes on awakening. Similarly, sense-desires are a brief illusion (ittara-paccupatthaana) like a dream, and disappointing after one awakens from infatuation to reality.

(6) Borrowed goods on which the borrower foolishly prides himself in public; but which are withdrawn by the owners when they see the boastful man. Similarly, sense-desires are temporary (taavakaalika) and not a true and lasting possession of him who enjoys them, filled with vain glory.

(7) A fruit tree climbed by one who craves for the fruits; but another man, likewise greedy for them but unable to climb, chooses another method and fells the tree; and unless the first man quickly descends, he will break his limbs. Similarly, in the blind pursuit of sense pleasures one may “break all one’s limbs” (sabbanga paccanga bhañjana), may suffer severe injury of body and mind. The Sub-Comy refers also to punishment and torture incurred by reckless deeds to which people are driven by sense infatuation.

(8) A slaughter house (or place of execution): because sense-desires are like a butcher’s (or executioner’s) block (adhikuttana). This may mean that sense-desires kill much that is noble in man and cut off his higher development.

(9) A stake of swords: sense-desires are piercing (vinivijjhana) penetrating deep within, causing wounds where there had been none. Unfulfilled or frustrated desire, or the pains of jealousy, are, indeed, like that ancient torture of the state of swords.

(10) A snake’s head: sense-desires are a grave risk and peril (sasanka-sappatibhaya) for the present and future welfare, if one walks unwarily.

This first part of the Arittha episode occurs twice in the Vinaya Pitaka. In the Cuula Vagga (Kammakkhanda) it is followed by announcing the Sangha act of suspension (ukkhepaniya-kamma) against Arittha as he did not give up his wrong views. In the Paacittiya section of the Vinaya, Arittha’s refusal to renounce his wrong view is defined as the monastic offence called “paacittiya.”
4.
…produced any spark (of understanding) in this teaching and discipline (usmiikato pi imasmi.m dhammavinaye). This is a stock phrase in similar contexts — e.g., in MN 38, where Saati’s misconceptions are rejected. Our rendering follows Comy: “This refers to one who has (not) produced the ‘warmth of understanding’ (ñaan’usmaa) that can bring the ‘seed of wisdom’ (paññaa-biijaa; Sub-Comy) to the maturity required for attaining to the paths and fruitions of sanctity.”
5.
Comy says that by questioning the other monks the Master wanted to clarify the opinion held by the community of monks; and, on the other hand, leave no doubt in Arittha that through obstinately clinging to his views, he had separated himself from the community.
6.
Can pursue sense gratification (kaame patisevissati). Kaama is here vatthukaama, the objective aspect of kaama, “sensuality,” the sense experience. Comy adds: methunasamaacaara.m samaacarissati, “It is impossible that he can commit the sexual act (without perceptions and thoughts of sense-desire).” Sub-Comy says that also other physical acts expressive of sexual desire, are to be included, as embracing, stroking, etc.
7.
Aññatra kaamehi: this refers to kilesa-kaama, “sensuality as a defilement of mind,” i.e., sense desire, the subjective aspect of kaama.
8.
Comy: After the Master had pointed out Arittha’s wrong views, he continues now by showing the grievous fault that lies in a wrong grasp of what has been learned (i.e., the serious danger inherent in misconceiving and misinterpreting the Teaching).
9.
The text inserts here the ninefold division of the codified teaching: “Discourses, mixed prose and verse, prose expositions, verses, solemn utterances, sayings, birth stories, marvels, and replies to questions.” Since this enumeration interrupts the flow of the sentence, it has been shifted from the text to the Notes.
10.
Dhammaa na ni jjhaanam khamanti. Comy: The teachings do not become clear, do not come into the range (of understanding); so that one cannot discern whether in the respective place of the exposition, morality is spoken of, or concentration, insight, the paths, the fruits, the round of existence or its ending. Sub-Comy: “That is, once cannot understand that the purpose of morality is the attaining of concentration, the purpose of concentration the winning of insight, etc.”

Nijjhaana has here the meaning of “insight” or “comprehension” (Sub-Comy: nijjhaana-pañña-kkhamaa na honti). This phrase appears with the same meaning and in the same context, in the Kiitaagiri Sutta (MN 70) and the Cankii Sutta (MN 95), that is, likewise preceded by an “examination of purpose (or meaning).” Also SN 25.1 confirms our rendering: Yassa khobhikkhave imedhammaa evam paññaaya mattaso nijjhaana.m khamanti aya.m vuccati dhammaanusaarii.

Comy: That is, the attainment of the paths and fruitions of sanctity.
12.
Comy refers this to “the noble sons” mentioned in §11.
13.
The three ways of studying the teaching. Comy: "They, the noble sons, study the Teaching for the sake of crossing (the ocean of sa.msaric suffering). There are to wit, three manners of studying the Teaching: studying it in the manner of the Snake-simile (alagadda-pariyatti); studying it for the sake of crossing over (nittharana-pariyatti); and studying in a treasurer’s (or store-keeper’s) position (bhandaa-gaarika-pariyatti).

(1) He who studies the Buddha’s word for getting robes and other requisites, or for becoming widely known; that is, he who learns for the sake of fame and gain, his study is that of the Snake-simile (i.e., the wrong grasp); but better than such a study would be for him to sleep and not to study at all.

(2) But there is one who studies the Buddha’s word, and when morality is the subject, he fulfills morality; when concentration is the subject, he lets it take deep root; when insight is the subject, he establishes himself well in insight; when the paths and fruitions are the subject, he studies with the intention, “I shall develop the path, I shall realize the fruition.” Only the studying of such a one is “studying for the sake of crossing over” (as expressed in the simile of the raft; §13).

(3) But the studying by one who (as an arahant, a saint) has extinguished the taints (khiinaasavo), is “studying in the Treasurer’s position.” For him, indeed, there remains nothing unpenetrated, nothing unrelinquished, nothing undeveloped, and nothing unrealized. [This refers to the 1st, 2nd, 4th, and 3rd Truths, respectively.] He is one who has penetrated the aggregates of existence (khandha), who has relinquished the defilements, developed the path and realized the fruition. Hence, in studying the Buddha’s Word, he studies it as a keeper of the scriptures, as a guardian of the tradition, as a preserver of the continuity. Thus his study is like (the activity of) a treasurer (or store keeper).

“Now, when those proficient in the books cannot live at one place, being afraid of starvation, etc., if (in such a situation) there is one who, while himself going the alms round with very great fatigue, as an unliberated worlding takes up studies with the thought: ‘Lest the exceedingly sweet Buddha-word may perish, I shall keep the scriptures (in mind), shall preserve the continuity and guard the tradition,’ in that case, is his study of the Treasurer’s type or is it not? — It is not. And why not? Because his study is not applied to his own situation (na attano thaane thatvaa pariyaapunattaa; Sub-Comy: that of (having to) cross over. An unliberated worldling’s study [be he a monk or a lay follower] will either be of the type of the Snake-simile, or for the sake of crossing over; while for the seven (noble persons; ariya-puggala) who have entered the higher training (sekha), the study is only for the sake of crossing over; for the saint (arahat) it is only of the Treasurer’s type.”

Comy: “The teachings” (dhammaa) are tranquility (samatha) and insight (vipassanaa). The Blessed One, indeed, enjoins us to abandon desire and attachment (chanda-raaga) concerning tranquility and insight. Where, then, has he enjoined the abandonment of desire and attachment in the case of tranquility? He did so in the following saying: “Thus, Udaayi, do I teach the abandoning even of the sphere of neither-perception-nor-non-perception. Do you see Udaayi, any fetter fine or coarse, that I did not tell you to discard?” (MN 66). And in the case of insight, the abandoning was enjoined by him as follows: “And to that view thus purified and cleansed, you should not be attached, should not be enamored of it, should not treasure it.” But here, in this present text, he enjoined the abandoning of desire and attachment concerning both (tranquility and insight), by saying: “You should let go even (good) teachings, how much more false ones!” The meaning is this: “I teach, O monks, the abandoning of desire and attachment even for such peaceful and sublime states (as tranquility and insight); how much more so in regard to that ignoble, low, contemptible, coarse and impure thing in which this foolish Arittha does not see any harm, saying that desire and attachment for the five sense-objects is not necessarily an obstruction! But you, O monks, unlike that Arittha, should not fling mud and refuse into my dispensation!” In this way, the Blessed One again rebuked Arittha by this admonition.
15.
Grounds for false views (ditthi-tthaana). Comy: By the words “There are, monks, these six grounds for false views,” the Master wishes to show this: “He who takes the five aggregates of existence as ‘I’ and ‘Mine’, by way of a threefold wrong grasp (tividha-gaaha), he flings mud and refuse into my dispensation, like this Arittha.”

Comy and Sub-Comy: False views themselves are “grounds” (or bases, starting-points) for subsequently arising false views, like personality belief, eternalism, etc. (Comy: ditthiipi ditthi-tthaana.m). Further, the “grounds” are the subject-matter (aarammana, “object”) of the views, i.e., the five aggregates, the visual objects, etc. Finally, they are also the conditioning factors (paccaya) of the false views, e.g., ignorance, sense-impression (phassa), (faulty) perceptions and thoughts, unwisely directed attention (ayoniso manasikaara), bad company, others’ speech, etc. [These, with the aggregates as the first, are the eight “grounds for false views,” as mentioned in the Patisambhidaa Magga (Ditthi-kathaa). The term ditthi-tthaana also occurs in the Brahmajaala Sutta (DN 1) and in the commentary to it.

“He considers corporeality thus: ‘This is mine’.” Comy: This is wrong grasp (or wrong approach) induced by craving (tanhaa-gaaha). “This I am”: this is wrong grasp induced by conceit (maana-gaaha). “This is my self”: this is wrong grasp induced by false views (ditthi-gaaha). Here, reference is to craving, conceit, and false views which have corporeality as object; but corporeality cannot be said to be a self. The same holds true for feeling, perception and mental formations.
17.
“What is seen”: (Comy) the visual sense-object base (ruupaayatana); “heard”: the sound-base; “sensed” (muta.m): the sense-object bases of smell, taste, and touch-sensations; “what is thought”: the remaining seven bases, i.e., the mind-object base (dhammaayatana) and the six sense-organ bases.
18.
“Encountered”: (Comy) after having been sought for, or not sought for; “sought”: encountered or not encountered (before); “mentally pursued” (anuvicarita.m manasaa): resorted to by consciousness (cittena anusañcarita.m) — what was encountered or not encountered without being sought for.

The terms “thought,” “encountered,” etc., refer to the fifth aggregate, i.e., consciousness (viññaanakkhandha), which was not mentioned in the first part of §15.

“The universe is the Self,” lit.: “This (is) the world, this (is) the self” (so loko so attaa). That, in fact, an identification of the two terms is intended here, will be shown in the following comments. The best explanation of the passage is furnished in the Brahmajaala Sutta (DN 1) where a similar phraseology is used: “There are, monks, some ascetics and brahmans who are eternalists and who proclaim self and world to be eternal” (sassatavaadaa sassata.m attañca lokañca paññapenti); subsequently the theorist is introduced as stating his view in similar terms: “Eternal are self and world… they exist as eternally the same” (sassato attaa ca loko ca… atthi iveva sassatisama.m). The last term appears likewise in our text; see Note 21. From this we may safely conclude that it is the identity, or unity, of the Self (or soul; mahaatman, paramaatman) with the universe (or the Universal Spirit, Brahman) which is conveyed by our text.

In the Commentary specific to our text, this eternalistic view is rendered and classified in the terminology of the Dhamma. The Commentary says:

“This statement (‘The universe is the Self’) refers to the (wrong) view ‘He considers corporeality, etc., as the self (ruupa.m attato samanupassatii’ ti aadinaa nayena).’”

The canonical quotation (e.g., in MN 44), included here in the Commentary, has two implications which are of importance for understanding the reason why it was cited in this context:

(1) As very often in the commentaries (e.g., to Satipatthaana Sutta), the term “world” (loko) is explained as truly referring to the five aggregates (khanda, i.e., corporeality, feeling, etc.), singly or in toto.

(2) This quotation is the formula for the first of the twenty types of personality-belief (sakkaaya-ditthi; e.g., in MN 44). In the first five of these twenty, the self is said to be identical with each of the five aggregates (as in the earlier part of §15 of our text). Hence the application of this quote to our textual passage signifies that the theorist conceives the “world” (i.e., corporeality, feeling, etc.) as identical with the self.

The double “So (loko) so (attaa)” in our text, should therefore, be taken as standing for “yo (loko) so (attaa),” lit.: what is the world that is the self. In the Comy to MN 44 we find a similar phrase: “Someone considers corporeality as self: what is corporeality that is ‘I’; what is ‘I’ that is corporeality. Thus he considers corporeality and self as non-dual’ (… ya.m ruupa.m so aha.m, yo aha.m ta.m ruupan’ ti ruupañca advaya.m samanupassati).” According to this interpretation the phrase has been translated here by “This universe is the Self.”

Mostly, the first five types of personality-belief are explained as referring to the wrong view of annihilationism (uccheda-ditthi). [See, e.g., Patisambhidaa-Magga, Ditthikathaa, Ucchedaditthi-niddesa; further Comy to MN 44.]

But their being quoted in our context, shows that they may also apply to eternalism (sassata-ditthi). We have come to this conclusion since it is improbable that, in our textual passage two mutually exclusive views should have been combined in a single statement formulating the sixth “ground for false views”; that is, in the first part of that statement, annihilationism, and in the second, eternalism.

“That I shall be after death…” (so pecca bhavissaami). Comy explains by “so aha.m,” a Paali idiom, meaning literally “this I.” Pecca: lit. having gone, i.e., to the other world.
21.
“Eternally the same” (sassati-sama.m): an Upanishadic term; see Brhadaranyaka-Upanisad, 5, 10: saasvatiih samaah.

This entire statement of the sixth ‘ground for views’ may well have been the original creed of an eternalistic doctrine. The phrasing appears rather vague in the first part, and in general it is rather loosely worded (so for so aham). To contemporaries, however, the meaning may have been quite clear since it was perhaps the stock formula for teachings that were well known. Hence, in this translation, we have left the first part of the statement in its rather cryptic and ambiguous original form, while giving the interpretations in the notes only.

He identifies himself entirely (Sub-Comy: attaana.m viya ganhaati) with that eternalistic misconception (gaaha), induced by craving (for self-perpetuation), by false views (tenaciously maintained) and by conceit (deeply ingrained ego-centricity). Here one view serves as subject-matter for another view (Comy, Sub-Comy).
23.
“He is not anxious about unrealities” (asati na paritassati); or “about the non-existing” (“I” and “Mine”). The verb paritassati has, according to Comy the twofold connotation of fear (bhaya) and craving (tanhaa). Hence this passage may also be rendered: “he has no fears nor cravings concerning the non-existent.” Comy and Sub-Comy to the Brahmaajala Sutta have a long disquisition about the corresponding noun paritassana, occurring also in MN 138, SN 22.7, SN 22.8, SN 22.53, and SN 22.55.

Comy: "By showing herewith the taint-free saint who has no anxiety at the destruction of his own (lit.: internal) aggregates, the Blessed One concludes his exposition.

“In the external” (bahiddhaa): concerning external property which includes also animate possessions, like wife and child, friends, etc.
25.
This section deals, according to Comy, with a “four-fold voidness” (catukotikaa suññataa), i.e., absence of self and mine, referring to one who, at the destruction of his own aggregates (i.e., his personality), (1) feels anguish, (2) feels none; and to one who, at the destruction of external property (3) feels anguish, (4) feels none. For another classification of the “four-fold voidness,” see Visuddhi Magga (translated by Ñanamoli), p. 762 f; and SN 22.5, where likewise reference to “anxiety” or “anguish” (taaso) is made.
26.
Pariggaha.m parigganheyyaatha. This links up with §19: the anxiety about external possessions.
27.
Attavaadupaadaanam upadiyetha. While in most translations the term upaadaana has been rendered by “clinging,” we have followed here a suggestion of the late Bhikkhu Ñanamoli, rendering it by “assumption” [see The Wheel No. 17: Three Cardinal Discourses of the Buddha, p. 19 (Buddhist Publication Society, Kandy)]. In this context, the word “assumption” should be understood: (1) in the sense of a supposition, (2) in the literal sense of its Latin source: adsumere, “to take up,” which closely parallels the derivation of our Paali term: upa-aadaana, “taking up strongly.” In this sense we have used it when translating the derivative verb upaadiyetha by “you may accept.” Attavaadupaadaana is one of the four types of clinging (see Nyanatiloka’s Buddhist Dictionary), conditioned by craving (tanhaa). This term comprises, according to Comy, the twenty types of personality-belief (sakkaaya-ditthi).

Quoting this passage of our text, the Ven. Dr. Walpola Rahula remarks: “If there had been any soul-theory which the Buddha had accepted, he would certainly have explained it here, because he asked the monks to accept that soul-theory which did not produce suffering. But in the Buddha’s view, there is no such soul-theory…” (What the Buddha Taught, London, 1959; p.58).

Ditthinissaya.m nissayetha. Nissaya, lit.: support basis. Comy explains this phrase as the sixty-two false views headed by personality-belief (see DN 1, Brahmajaala Sutta). They form the theoretical or ideological basis, or support, for the various creeds and speculative doctrines derived from them. Sub-Comy: “The view itself is a support for views; because for one with incorrect conceptions, the view will serve as a prop for his firm adherence to, and the propagation of, his ideas.” Alternative renderings: You may well place reliance on a view, or may derive conviction from it.

See Satipatthaana Sutta where, in explanation of anissito the Comy mentions tanhaanissaya and ditthi-nissaya, “dependence on craving and views.”

In this section, according to Comy, a “three-fold voidness is shown,” i.e., referring to external possessions, self-theory and reliance on speculative views.
30.
The two supplementary statements in this section suggest the following implications: The concepts of “I” and “Mine” are inseparably linked; so also, in philosophical terms, are substance and attribute. If there is personality-belief or self-theory, there will be necessarily acquisitiveness or possessiveness in some form or other; at least these views themselves will be held with strong tenacity and be regarded as an “inalienable property” (see Note 22). There is no pure, abstract self or substance without its determination, property or attribute. On the other hand, acquisitiveness and possessiveness — even if of a quite unphilosophical character — cannot be without at least a tacit assumption of a proprietary self; this applies also to materialistic doctrines (annihilationism). Since in truth and fact neither an abiding property (or attribute) can be established nor an abiding self (or substance), either of these terms is left without its essential referent. Hence the conception of individual immortality as formulated in the sixth ground for views, is found to be devoid of any basis and is, therefore, rejected by the Buddha as a fool’s doctrine, being outside of serious consideration.

Comy: Here a “two-fold voidness” is shown, that of self (atta) and of property (or properties) belonging to a self (attaniya).

“He becomes disgusted” (nibbindati). Comy: he is dissatisfied, repelled. This disgust (or “turning away,” revulsion; nibbidaa) signifies the stage of “insight leading to emergence” (vutthaanagaamini vipassanaa; Vsm, p. 722 f.), which is the culmination of insight, immediately preceding the attainment of the supramundane path (of stream-entry, etc.).
32.
“His passion fades away” (virajjati). This signifies, according to Comy, the attainment of the supramundane path (magga); that is the single “moment of entering into one of the four stages of holiness produced by intuitional insight (vipassanaa) into the impermanency, misery and impersonality of existence, flashing forth and forever transforming one’s life and nature” (Nyanatiloka, B. Dict.). It is at that moment that the fetters are finally eliminated.

notes: > 33.

“He is freed” (vimuccati). This points to the attainment of the supramundane fruition (phala), that is “those moments of consciousness which follow immediately after the path-moment as its result, and which under given circumstances may repeat for innumerable times during a life-time” (B. Dict.).
34.
“Knowledge of freedom” refers to the stage of reviewing (paccavekhana) the preceding experience of path and fruition, the defilements abandoned, etc. See Vsm p. 789.
35.
This section appears also in the Anguttara Nikaaya, The Fives, No. 71 and 72 (PTS III, 84). Comy explains the metaphorical expressions as follows:

“There are two cities: one is a city of brigands, the other a city of peace. Now to a great warrior of the city of peace (i.e., a meditator) the following thought occurs: ‘As long as this city of brigands (the self-delusion) exists, we shall never be free from danger.’ So he dons his armor (of virtue) and goes to the city of brigands. With his sword (of wisdom) he breaks the gate pillar (of craving) together with the door wings, he removes the bolt (of the five lower fetters), lifts the cross-bar (of ignorance), fills in the moat (of sa.msaara), and lowers the (enemy’s) flag (of self-conceit). Such a saint (a Noble One) has put down for good the burden of the five aggregates (khandha), of kamma-producing volitions (kammaabhisankhaara) and of the defilements (kilesa); has fully liberated himself from the round of existence.”

When searching will (not) find out (anvesa.m naadhigacchanti). The same phrase is used in the Godhika Sutta (SN 4.23; PTS I, 122) by Maara: anvesa.m naadhigacchaami, “Searching I cannot find” — i.e., the consciousness of the monk, Godhika who, at the moment of committing suicide, had attained sainthood (arahatta). About him the Buddha declares that he “has passed away finally with a consciousness that no longer gives a footing” (for a rebirth; apatitthena viññaanena parinibbuto).
37.
Ditth’ev’aaha.m bhikkhave dhamme Tathaagata.m ananuve jjo’ti vadaami. Comy: The term tathaagato (lit.: “thus-gone”) may refer either to a being (satto) or to the greatest man (uttamo puriso; the Buddha) and a taint-free saint (khiinaasavo). Ananuve jjo means either “non-existing” (asa.mvijjamaano) or “not traceable” (avindeyyo). If tathaagato is taken as “a being” (in the sense of an abiding personality), the meaning “non-existing” applies; if in the sense of a taint-free saint, the meaning “not traceable” is apt. The intention implied in the first case, is: “O bhikkhus, even of a taint-free saint during his lifetime, here and now, I do not declare that he is ‘a being, a personality’ (in the sense of an abiding entity); how, then, should I declare it of a taint-free saint who has finally passed away, without any future rebirth? One thus-gone is untraceable; because in the ultimate sense (paramatthato), there is no such thing as ‘a being’ (satto). Searching for the basis of consciousness of such a non-existing (being) how can they find it, how can they obtain it?” In the case of the second explanation, the intention is this: “I say that Indra and other gods cannot trace a taint-free saint by way of consciousness (viññaanavasena). For the gods who are with Indra and other deities, even if they make a search, cannot know about the consciousness of insight or that of the supramundane path or fruition (of sainthood; arahatta) that ‘it proceeds based on such or such an object.’ How, then, could they know it in the case of one who has finally passed away (parinibbuto), and has not been born again?” [Sub-Comy: “The consciousness of insight (vipassanaa-citta) that aims at the attainment of the highest fruition (i.e., arahatta) leaps forward to the unconditioned element (Nibbaana) in the thought: “Non-origination is safety. Non-origination is safety!”]
38.
“A nihilist” (venayiko). Comy: satta-vinaasako, “destroyer of a being’s (personality)”; a denier of individuality.
39.
“The annihilation of an existing creature” (sato sattassa ucchedam). Sub-Comy: “One who speaks of doing away with a being that has existence in the ultimate sense (paramatthato), would actually be one who teaches the destruction of a being. But I am speaking of what does not exist in the ultimate sense. I am using that (term ‘being’) only in the conventional sense as done in common parlance (yathaa loke voharati).”
40.
“For that” i.e., for proclaiming the Four Truths (Comy).
41.
Comy: “Formerly, that is when still in the environ of the Bodhi tree before turning the Wheel of the Dhamma; and also from the time of turning the Wheel when teaching Dhamma, it was only the Four Truths that I proclaimed.” In our sentence, the term ‘suffering’ includes also its roots, the origination; and the term ‘cessation’ also the path that leads to the cessation.”

Sub-Comy: “There is no teaching of the Master that is unrelated to the Four Truths. By saying, ‘What I teach now as before, is suffering and the cessation of suffering,’ the Blessed One indicates this: ‘Never do I teach a self that is annihilated or destroyed, nor do I teach that there is any kind of self’.”

Evaruupaa kaaraa kariiyanti. Some Burmese texts and the paraphrase in Comy have sakkaaraa; then to be translated: “that they pay such respect.”
43.
In the ultimate sense, praise and blame do not refer to a self or ego, but to that five-fold aggregate (pañcakkhandhaka.m) which was comprehended by the Buddha as an evanescent combination of material and mental processes, void of an ego-entity. Hence there is no reason for elation or dejection. A passage similar to Sections 38-39 is found at the beginning of DN 1.
44.
“Not yours” (na tumhaakam) is also the title of a section of suttas in the Sa.myutta Nikaaya (Khandha Sa.myutta, No. 33 ff.).
45.
Comy stresses that it is the attachment to the five aggregates, the desire for them (chanda-raaga) which should be given up; it is not so that the five aggregates themselves should be, as it were, “torn to pieces or pulled out” (na uppaatetvaa luñcitvaa vaa).
46.
Sub-Comy: “Only corporeality, feeling and the other aggregates are the basis for the wrong concept of a self, since apart from them there is nothing else to be craved for.”
47.
“This Teaching”: these words refer, according to Comy, to the entire exposition beginning with §26.
48.
“Free of patchwork” (chinna-pilotika); lit., devoid of the nature of a patched cloth. Comy: Pilotika is a torn rag cloth patched up with stitches and knots which are similar to hypocrisy and other deceptions. Sub-Comy: substituting assumed attitudes (iriyapatha-santhapana) for an actually, in that individual, non-existing practice of meditation and insight. Pilotika means also “refuse,” referring to false and unworthy monks who do not have any footing in the Buddha’s dispensation.

This phrase chinna-pilotika seems, however, to point to the inner consistency of the Teaching which, like a new cloth (Comy: ahata-saataka), is of one piece and is not in need of patching up contradictions, by artificial attempts of reconciling inconsistencies. Hence the term may freely be rendered by the single word “consistent.”

Dhammaanusaarino saddhaanusaarino. These two terms refer to those whose minds are in the process of ripening towards stream-entry (sotaapatti), either by way of strengthening the wisdom-faculty (paññindriya) through the contemplation of no-self (in the case of the dhammaanusaari); or by way of strengthening the faith-faculty (saddhindriya) through the contemplation of impermanence (in the case of the saddhaanusaari). When they actually reach the path of stream-entry (sotaapattimagga), they are called “mature in Dhamma” and “mature in faith.”
50.
Those who have simply faith in me. Comy: This refers to persons devoted to the practice of insight-meditation (vipassaka-puggalaa). When monks are seated after having got a firm footing in insight-meditation, there arises in them a unique and fully absorbing faith in, and love for, the Master of the Ten Powers (i.e., the Buddha). (Sub-Comy: because in pursuance of their insight-meditation they have received proof that “the Dhamma is well-proclaimed.”) Through that faith and love they are as if taken by the hand and transported to heaven. They are said to be of assured destiny, (niyatagatika) i.e., of the final attainment of Nibbaana. The Elder Monks of old say that such bhikkhus are lesser stream-enterers (cuula- or baala-sotaapanna; Vsm 703).