0

I quote from AN 9.12 (trans. Sujato) below, with regards to stream entry.

  1. What does "sattakkhattuparama" mean literally and non-literally?
  2. What is the meaning of the phrase "sandhāvitvā saṃsaritvā" in this quote? How does it relate to "sattakkhattuparama"?
  3. Is the phrase "sandhāvitvā saṃsaritvā" used in other suttas, without being connected to "sattakkhattuparama"? What does it mean there? What is the context there?
  4. Can I say that "sandhāvitvā saṃsaritvā" supports the interpretation of "sattakkhattuparama" as "seven lifetimes" or "seven rebirths"?

With the ending of three fetters, they have at most seven rebirths. They will transmigrate at most seven times among gods and humans and then make an end of suffering.

So tiṇṇaṃ saṃyojanānaṃ parikkhayā sattakkhattuparamo hoti, sattakkhattuparamaṃ deve ca manusse ca sandhāvitvā saṃsaritvā dukkhassantaṃ karoti.

3
  1. What does "sattakkhattuparama" mean literally and non-literally?

sattakkhattuparama = not more than seven times.

Why did he include rebirth into his translation?

Because of the context below which come before "sattakkhattuparama" and being on the same topic:

There are these nine people who, dying with something left over, are exempt from hell, the animal realm, and the ghost realm. They’re exempt from places of loss, bad places, the underworld.

Navayime, sāriputta, puggalā saupādisesā kālaṃ kurumānā parimuttā nirayā parimuttā tiracchānayoniyā parimuttā pettivisayā parimuttā apāyaduggativinipātā.

...

With the ending of three fetters, and the weakening of greed, hate, and delusion, they’re a once-returner. They come back to this world once only, then make an end of suffering.

So tiṇṇaṃ saṃyojanānaṃ parikkhayā rāgadosamohānaṃ tanuttā sakadāgāmī hoti, sakideva imaṃ lokaṃ āgantvā dukkhassantaṃ karoti.

...

With the ending of three fetters, they’re a one-seeder. They will be reborn just one time in a human existence, then make an end of suffering.

So tiṇṇaṃ saṃyojanānaṃ parikkhayā ekabījī hoti, ekaṃyeva mānusakaṃ bhavaṃ nibbattetvā dukkhassantaṃ karoti.

...

With the ending of three fetters, they go family to family. They will transmigrate between two or three families and then make an end of suffering.

So tiṇṇaṃ saṃyojanānaṃ parikkhayā kolaṅkolo hoti, dve vā tīṇi vā kulāni sandhāvitvā saṃsaritvā dukkhassantaṃ karoti.

Next question:

  1. What is the meaning of the phrase "sandhāvitvā saṃsaritvā" in this quote? How does it relate to "sattakkhattuparama"?

saṃsaritvā is the synonym of sandhāvitvā. sandhāvitvā means transmigrate, transport, move next.

Translation: Person (puggalo) moves next(sandhāvitvā saṃsaritvā) not more than seven times (sattakkhattuparamaṃ) in deva [bhava] and human [bhava] (deve ca manusse ca) and then make the end of suffering (dukkhassantaṃ karoti).

  1. Is the phrase "sandhāvitvā saṃsaritvā" used in other suttas, without being connected to "sattakkhattuparama"? What does it mean there? What is the context there?

Comepare with "sandhāvitvā saṃsaritvā" in MN Sandakasutta. It's context means "move to next life (rebirth)":

There are 1.4 million main wombs, and 6,000, and 600. There are 500 deeds, and five, and three. There are deeds and half-deeds. There are 62 paths, 62 sub-eons, six classes of rebirth, and eight stages in a person’s life. There are 4,900 Ājīvaka ascetics, 4,900 wanderers, and 4,900 naked ascetics. There are 2,000 faculties, 3,000 hells, and 36 realms of dust. There are seven percipient embryos, seven non-percipient embryos, and seven embryos without attachments. There are seven gods, seven humans, and seven goblins. There are seven lakes, seven winds, seven cliffs, and 700 cliffs. There are seven dreams and 700 dreams. There are 8.4 million great eons through which the foolish and the astute transmigrate before making an end of suffering.

Cuddasa kho panimāni yonipamukhasatasahassāni saṭṭhi ca satāni cha ca satāni pañca ca kammuno satāni pañca ca kammāni tīṇi ca kammāni, kamme ca aḍḍhakamme ca, dvaṭṭhipaṭipadā, dvaṭṭhantarakappā, chaḷābhijātiyo, aṭṭha purisabhūmiyo, ekūnapaññāsa ājīvakasate, ekūnapaññāsa paribbājakasate, ekūnapaññāsa nāgāvāsasate, vīse indriyasate, tiṃse nirayasate, chattiṃsa rajodhātuyo, satta saññīgabbhā, satta asaññīgabbhā, satta nigaṇṭhigabbhā, satta devā, satta mānusā, satta pesācā, satta sarā, satta pavuṭā, satta papātā, satta papātasatāni, satta supinā, satta supinasatāni, cullāsīti mahākappino satasahassāni, yāni bāle ca paṇḍite ca sandhāvitvā saṃsaritvā dukkhassantaṃ karissanti.

Next question:

  1. Can I say that "sandhāvitvā saṃsaritvā" supports the interpretation of "sattakkhattuparama" as "seven lifetimes" or "seven rebirths"?

Actually, it is just a sign of many signs. Actually, the whole context of sutta supports the interpretation of "sattakkhattuparamo" as "person who has seven lifetimes left" or "person who has seven rebirths left". There are many signs to translate like that for the example:

With the ending of three fetters, they’re a one-seeder. They will be reborn just one time in a human existence, then make an end of suffering.

So tiṇṇaṃ saṃyojanānaṃ parikkhayā ekabījī hoti, ekaṃyeva mānusakaṃ bhavaṃ nibbattetvā dukkhassantaṃ karoti.

  1. Above quote's link is liking with many other suttas which force the translator to translate "ekaṃyeva bhavaṃ nibbattetvā" as "will be reborn just one time".
  2. When the previous context translated "ekaṃyeva bhavaṃ nibbattetvā" as "will be reborn just one time", the next context have to translate follow it, too.

Person (puggalo) moves next(sandhāvitvā saṃsaritvā) not more than seven times (sattakkhattuparamaṃ) in deva [bhava] and human [bhava] (deve ca manusse ca) and then make the end of suffering (dukkhassantaṃ karoti).

I have to add 1 more question to complete this answer:

  1. Why the buddha didn't use "nibbattetvā" with all person? Why the buddha used "sandhāvitvā saṃsaritvā" instead?

"Ekabījī (one-seeder)" will be reborn just one time (ekaṃyeva bhavaṃ nibbattetvā), but the next others will reborn multiple times. "sandhāvitvā saṃsaritvā" often use in multiple time rebirths.

Saupādisesasutta:

With the ending of three fetters, they’re a one-seeder. They will be reborn just one time in a human existence, then make an end of suffering.

So tiṇṇaṃ saṃyojanānaṃ parikkhayā ekabījī hoti, ekaṃyeva mānusakaṃ bhavaṃ nibbattetvā dukkhassantaṃ karoti.

...

With the ending of three fetters, they go family to family. They will transmigrate between two or three families and then make an end of suffering.

So tiṇṇaṃ saṃyojanānaṃ parikkhayā kolaṅkolo hoti, dve vā tīṇi vā kulāni sandhāvitvā saṃsaritvā dukkhassantaṃ karoti.

...

With the ending of three fetters, they have at most seven rebirths. They will transmigrate at most seven times among devas and humans and then make an end of suffering.

So tiṇṇaṃ saṃyojanānaṃ parikkhayā sattakkhattuparamo hoti, sattakkhattuparamaṃ deve ca manusse ca sandhāvitvā saṃsaritvā dukkhassantaṃ karoti.

MN Sandakasutta:

There are 1.4 million main wombs, and 6,000, and 600. There are 500 deeds, and five, and three. There are deeds and half-deeds. There are 62 paths, 62 sub-eons, six classes of rebirth, and eight stages in a person’s life. There are 4,900 Ājīvaka ascetics, 4,900 wanderers, and 4,900 naked ascetics. There are 2,000 faculties, 3,000 hells, and 36 realms of dust. There are seven percipient embryos, seven non-percipient embryos, and seven embryos without attachments. There are seven gods, seven humans, and seven goblins. There are seven lakes, seven winds, seven cliffs, and 700 cliffs. There are seven dreams and 700 dreams. There are 8.4 million great eons through which the foolish and the astute transmigrate before making an end of suffering.

Cuddasa kho panimāni yonipamukhasatasahassāni saṭṭhi ca satāni cha ca satāni pañca ca kammuno satāni pañca ca kammāni tīṇi ca kammāni, kamme ca aḍḍhakamme ca, dvaṭṭhipaṭipadā, dvaṭṭhantarakappā, chaḷābhijātiyo, aṭṭha purisabhūmiyo, ekūnapaññāsa ājīvakasate, ekūnapaññāsa paribbājakasate, ekūnapaññāsa nāgāvāsasate, vīse indriyasate, tiṃse nirayasate, chattiṃsa rajodhātuyo, satta saññīgabbhā, satta asaññīgabbhā, satta nigaṇṭhigabbhā, satta devā, satta mānusā, satta pesācā, satta sarā, satta pavuṭā, satta papātā, satta papātasatāni, satta supinā, satta supinasatāni, cullāsīti mahākappino satasahassāni, yāni bāle ca paṇḍite ca sandhāvitvā saṃsaritvā dukkhassantaṃ karissanti.

  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. – ChrisW Dec 12 '18 at 6:40
1

Literal meaning is rebirth. I remember in a sutta that Buddha said his teachings do not require interpretation. Buddha's words have PREDICTIVE POWER. You can have a good guess that similar should be said with Sakadagami, Anāgāmi, and Arrahat.

for Sakadagami, once rebirth, it would fail if we apply 7 fetters to this understanding because it has exact same 7 fetters as stream enterer but with only 1 rebirth.

what about 3 types of stream enterer? this too would fail predictive test if you hold 7 rebirths as 7 fetters since each types has different numbers of rebirths 1, 2-3, and 7 at the most).

some people are hell bent of changing Buddhism to fit their view. Some prominent monk event went so far as to say Buddha told some white lies so his doctrine would stick with people at the time.

very interest thing fact, why did Buddha use reappear 7 times at "the most" for stream enterer instead of exact 7 times?? I believe because not all stream enterers have same strength. Similar to non-returners, Buddha broke them down to 5 types of non-returners.

  • “for Sakadagami, once rebirth, it would fail if we apply 7 fetters to this understanding because it has exact same 7 fetters as stream enterer but with only 1 rebirth” I thought about this too – TheDBSGuy Dec 10 '18 at 17:44
  • thanks fpr the support TheDBSGuy , also for faith base stream-enterer, Buddha said nothing about them breaking fetters but only that they step out of ordinary person into a noble one. They shall not die before reaching full stream enterer, (my understanding is someone in mid-flight), none the less, Buddha called them stream enterer (tho they are not fully vested, IMO). 7 fetters dont apply to them but 7 rebirths do. I would hope that some people who couldnt accept this part would not try to twist it around. Like Sam Harris, he leaves traces everywhere that he admires Buddhism. – brody Dec 10 '18 at 17:53
  • But Sam Harris has never tried to twist the teachings to fit his views. i think that is a noble thing to do. Im here not to make a certain person to change his mind but for the benefit of other readers. – brody Dec 10 '18 at 17:55
  • Faith follower would be someone who put full faith in the Buddha, Dhamma and sangha but he is still not free of the 3 fetters. – TheDBSGuy Dec 10 '18 at 18:25
  • This is a very good point. The Buddha said at most seven lifetimes not exactly seven lifetimes. So it can't be referring to fetters. – ruben2020 Dec 10 '18 at 18:42
-2

What does "sattakkhattuparama" mean literally and non-literally?

This question is illogical unless a teaching can be found where the Buddha said he taught "non-literally". Generally, the Buddha said his teaching was plain & open, as follows:

Monks, in this Teaching that is so well proclaimed by me and is plain, open, explicit and free of patchwork

MN 22

Sattakkhattuparama means 'seven times at most'. It is found in suttas about where a stream-enterer has broken three fetters therefore logically refers to breaking seven more fetters at most.

What is the meaning of the phrase "sandhāvitvā saṃsaritvā" in this quote? How does it relate to "sattakkhattuparama"?

Sandhāvitvā & saṃsaritvā appear to be generic words; found in various forms.

Concise Pali English Dictionary

sandhāvitvā abs. of sandhāvati having run through; having transmigrated.

saṃsaritvā abs. of saṃsarati having moved about continuously; having transmigrated.

abs. = Absolute

SN 22.99 unambiguously explains they mean repeatedly clinging to the same aggregates as "self" (rather than repeatedly being reincarnated into different aggregates), as follows:

No first point is found of beings roaming and running, hindered by ignorance and fettered by craving.

Pubbā koṭi na paññāyati avijjānīvaraṇānaṃ sattānaṃ taṇhāsaṃyojanānaṃ sandhāvataṃ saṃsarataṃ.

There comes a time when the great earth is consumed with flame, is destroyed & does not exist. But for beings — as long as they are hindered by ignorance, fettered by craving, running around & wandering on — I don't say that there is an end of suffering & stress.

Just as a dog, tied by a leash to a post or stake, keeps running around and circling around that very post or stake; in the same way, an uninstructed, run-of-the-mill person — who has no regard for noble ones, is not well-versed or disciplined in their Dhamma; who has no regard for people of integrity, is not well-versed or disciplined in their Dhamma — assumes form to be the self, or the self as possessing form, or form as in the self, or the self as in form.

He assumes feeling to be the self...

He assumes perception to be the self...

He assumes (mental) fabrications to be the self...

He assumes consciousness to be the self, or the self as possessing consciousness, or consciousness as in the self, or the self as in consciousness.

He keeps running around and circling around that very form... that very feeling... that very perception... those very fabrications... that very consciousness. He is not set loose from form, not set loose from feeling... from perception... from fabrications... not set loose from consciousness. He is not set loose from birth, aging, & death; from sorrows, lamentations, pains, distresses, & despairs. He is not set loose, I tell you, from suffering & stress.



Is the phrase "sandhāvitvā saṃsaritvā" used in other suttas, without being connected to "sattakkhattuparama"? What does it mean there? What is the context there?

Yes, such as at the beginning of MN 38, where Bhikkhu Sati had the wrong view of reincarnation:

Now at that time a mendicant called Sāti, the fisherman’s son, had the following harmful misconception:

Tena kho pana samayena sātissa nāma bhikkhuno kevaṭṭaputtassa evarūpaṃ pāpakaṃ diṭṭhigataṃ uppannaṃ hoti:

As I understand the Buddha’s teachings, it is this very same consciousness that roams and transmigrates, not another.

tathāhaṃ bhagavatā dhammaṃ desitaṃ ājānāmi yathā tadevidaṃ viññāṇaṃ sandhāvati saṃsarati anaññan ti.



Can I say that "sandhāvitvā saṃsaritvā" supports the interpretation of "sattakkhattuparama" as "seven lifetimes" or "seven rebirths"?

No. They are merely generic words. SN 23.2 and SN 5.10 unambiguously say "a being" ("satta") is merely a mental state of clinging to views and SN 22.99 unambiguously says 'samsara' is the repeated cycling in ideas of "beings" and "self" born from ignorance, craving & repeated clinging to the same sets of aggregates.

For Christ's sake. The Lord Buddha taught 'anatta'. There is no 'self' and no 'beings' apart from wrong 'views'.

The Buddha also taught frantically & desperately craving for more becoming is suffering.

With the ending of three fetters, they have at most seven rebirths. They will transmigrate at most seven times among gods and humans and then make an end of suffering. So tiṇṇaṃ saṃyojanānaṃ parikkhayā sattakkhattuparamo hoti, sattakkhattuparamaṃ deve ca manusse ca sandhāvitvā saṃsaritvā dukkhassantaṃ karoti.

The above does not literally say there is reincarnation. It just says the stream-enterer in the future can cling to godly realms (such as jhana) and human realms (such as moral righteousness, per SN 56.47, which defines the human state as moral righteousness and realisation of noble truths).

Please keep in mind the higher fetters include lust for jhana (which is rebirth as a god, per AN 4.123) and conceit (which is thinking I am better than another). Thus, when the non-arahant views himself as better than the 'animals' (people engaged in immoral conduct), this is 'conceit', which is rebirth of self-view as a 'human'. Or when the non-arahant experiences the fetter of restlessness, like a Mahayana, the non-arahant has views of "self" & "beings", thinking: "What will I do with my life; now that I am enlightened? Should I try to save all sentient beings?"

"Gods" and "humans" are just "self-views" of "beings" in "groups of beings" produced by ignorance as defined as "birth" ("jati") in SN 12.2.

  • 2
    I'm not judging your answer as wrong nor right. I'm just curious about why did Buddha talked about gods and demons instead of explicitly saying "humans with such and such features..." if the Dhamma was so open and plain? If devas and asuras were just metaphor, was the Buddha not clever enough to understand that those words could cause more confusion than understanding? – Brian Díaz Flores Dec 11 '18 at 2:49
  • 1
    Thanks but your question is really logical because the word "human" in Pali does not mean "homo sapien", The word "human" or "manussaya" means "high minded" or "lofty minded". There are suttas that literally the "human state" cannot be achieved with actions of greed, hatred & delusion. Regards – Dhammadhatu Dec 11 '18 at 2:53
  • 2
    Thanks for your answer and time! I had no idea about that. But even accepting that, why did he used the term "deva" knowing what it meant for the common men and women in his contemporary India? – Brian Díaz Flores Dec 11 '18 at 2:54
  • Your ideas of "deva" are you personal ideas in the year 2018 AD and not necessarily the ideas of people in 600 BC. Regards – Dhammadhatu Dec 11 '18 at 4:57
  • Does not the same apply for you as well? How can you know for sure the difference between your own idiosyncratic interpretation and the actual author's intentions at the moment of redaction and composition? To have an approximated and educated guess about the meaning of a word in a period of time, it could be useful to compare the use of the word and its surrounding context in different authors of the same period. I have no idea about the use of the term 'deva' in the V-IV century BCE. Do you know how it was used back then? – Brian Díaz Flores Dec 11 '18 at 6:12

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.