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I have not read 100% of the Pali suttas. I am only aware of the term "saupādisesā" in the following sutta:

“Bhikkhus, there are these two Nibbāna-elements. What are the two? The Nibbāna-element with residue left and the Nibbāna-element with no residue left.

“What, bhikkhus, is the Nibbāna-element with residue/fuel (saupādisesā) left? Here a bhikkhu is an arahant, one whose taints are destroyed, the holy life fulfilled, who has done what had to be done, laid down the burden, attained the goal, destroyed the fetters of being, completely released through final knowledge. However, his five sense faculties remain unimpaired, by which he still experiences what is agreeable and disagreeable and feels pleasure and pain. It is the extinction of attachment, hate, and delusion in him that is called the Nibbāna-element with residue left.

*“Now what, bhikkhus, is the Nibbāna-element with no residue left? Here a bhikkhu is an arahant … completely released through final knowledge. For him, here in this very life, all that is felt/experienced (sabbavedayitāni), not being delighted in, will be become cold (siti). That, bhikkhus, is called the Nibbāna-element with no residue left.*

Iti 44

Based on the Pali suttas - without quoting any views of commentaries or scholars - what teachings exist in the Pali suttas that might explain the meaning of "Nibbāna-element with residue (saupādisesā) left"?

  • Isn't the answer in your quotation? "It is the extinction of attachment, hate, and delusion in him that is called the Nibbāna-element with residue left". – Val Oct 13 '18 at 10:21
  • Yes, it is, sort of. But what remains are feelings (vedana). – Dhammadhatu Oct 13 '18 at 11:01
  • Outside of the Pali suttas, in Mahayana, I heard these two explained as "nirvana with attachment to the raft of teaching" vs. the "non-abiding nirvana". – Andrei Volkov Oct 13 '18 at 14:46
  • Don Dhammadhatu seeks a non-commentarial, that is, genuine Dhamma sutta that explains this, as mentioned in his question above ;) – Val Oct 13 '18 at 15:23
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The Suttas isn't a comprehensive system in the sense that it does not provide exhaustive definitions/explanations to every single term/concept. That's why we have the "TiPitaka", the "Three Baskets" instead of "Single Basket" of Suttas. Therefore one will have to rely on a "view" nevertheless (whether one's own view, others' view, or the Commentary's view, etc...) until attaining arahantship to verify things for oneself. Here's Ven. Bodhi's note from "Connected Discourse" citing Comy's explanation:

in relation to Nibbana, it denotes the five aggregates, which persist until the arahant expires. Nibbana as experienced by the arahant during life is called the saupadisesanibbanadhatu , "the Nibbana element with a residue (= the five aggregates) remaining"; as attained at his death it is the anupadisesanibbanadhatu, "the Nibbana element without residue remaining."

  • I marked this answer down because it is unrelated to the question. The question asks for sutta references and not for us to lazily regurgitate the views of scholars; in the manner of what the Buddha called "a line of blind men". – Dhammadhatu Oct 13 '18 at 19:57
  • @Dhammadhatu, that's exactly why I didn't immediately start with the Comy's explanation. Instead I began with the reasoning about why we should include Comy's explanation simply because SuttaPitaka alone is not a comprehensive system. – santa100 Oct 13 '18 at 22:54
  • I think you didn't give the suttas a chance. I have posted two quotes from the suttas (from MN 140 and AN 7.56) to support an interpretation of Iti 44 and will look for more later. Regards – Dhammadhatu Oct 13 '18 at 23:49
  • Actually you've just proven my point that relying solely on the suttas make your understanding incomplete. You cited AN 7.56 and Iti 44, thinking that they refer to the same concept, but they do not. The Anupadisesa in AN 7.56 is not the same as the one referred to in Iti 44. As such, your "research" into AN 7.56 in hope to find some support for some interpretation is futile. – santa100 Oct 14 '18 at 0:36
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    @Dhammadhatu said: "Your head will be set on fire and you will vomit blood from to your own volition". Wow, Isn't it an irony that someone who's inquiring about the Nibbana element without residue and yet, full of defilement of all kinds from crude to subtle? Only 1 word would fit the description: hypocrisy. – santa100 Oct 14 '18 at 1:30
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This answer to my question is "work-in-progress". In other words, I will do more research at a later time. However, my first two contributions are as follows:


Possible explanation #1

Iti 44 distinguishes between two types of Nibbana: (i) still experiencing what is agreeable and disagreeable/ still feeling pleasant and painful feelings (vedana); and (ii) where all that is felt (sabbavedayitāni) grows cold (sīti/sīta). Similar phrases are found in MN 140, which usefully includes a metaphor for explanation but does not include the word "upādisesā", which says:

If he feels a pleasant feeling, he feels it detached; if he feels a painful feeling, he feels it detached; if he feels a neither-painful-nor-pleasant feeling, he feels it detached. When he feels a feeling terminating with the body, he understands: ‘I feel a feeling terminating with the body.’ When he feels a feeling terminating with life, he understands: ‘I feel a feeling terminating with life.’ He understands: ‘On the dissolution of the body, with the ending of life, all that is felt, not being delighted in, will become cool right here.’

Bhikkhu, just as an oil-lamp burns in dependence on oil and a wick, and when the oil and wick are used up, if it does not get any more fuel, it is extinguished from lack of fuel; so too when he feels a feeling terminating with the body… a feeling terminating with life, he understands: ‘I feel a feeling terminating with life.’ He understands: ‘On the dissolution of the body, with the ending of life, all that is felt (sabbavedayitāni), not being delighted in, will become cold (siti) right here.’

MN 140

Both Iti 44 and particularly MN 140 focus on feelings (vedana). MN 140 uses the literal metaphor of an oil lamp with fuel. In the metaphor, it appears "feeling" is the "burning" of the lamp (rather than the "fuel"). It appears the "fuel" is what is/the things that are felt. In fact, the translation above by Bhikkhu Bodhi appears illogical in terms of the English language. Bhikkhu Sujato's translation appears logical, as follows:

Suppose an oil lamp depended on oil and a wick to burn. As the oil and the wick are used up, it would be extinguished due to lack of fuel. In the same way, feeling the end of the body approaching, they understand: ‘I feel the end of the body approaching.’ Feeling the end of life approaching, they understand: ‘I feel the end of life approaching.’ They understand: ‘When my body breaks up and my life has come to an end, everything that’s felt, since I no longer take pleasure in it, will become cool right here.’

Therefore, the impression from both Iti 44 and MN 140 is "saupādisesā" (fuel/residue remaining) refers to all/the things that are felt, which would be the five aggregates and anything else that are felt.



Possible explanation #2

In AN 7.56, a Brahma God uses the term "saupādisesā" in an explanation to Moggallāna, to which both Moggallāna and the Buddha appear to agree:

But when their body breaks up gods and men will see them no more.’

Kāyassa bhedā na naṃ dakkhanti devamanussā’ti.

This too is how those gods know whether a person has anything left over or not.

Evampi kho, mārisa moggallāna, tesaṃ devānaṃ ñāṇaṃ hoti: ‘saupādisese vā saupādisesoti, anupādisese vā anupādiseso’ti

Here, it appears "saupādisesā" refers to the five aggregates or the "collection" or "group" ("kaya") that is visible and knowable.


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