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From the Rooted Sutta (AN 10.58) we have the following paragraph translated by Bhikkhu Sujato.

What does it mean? What are "things" or "phenomena" in this context? Please explain the whole paragraph.

‘Reverends, all things are rooted in desire. Attention produces them. Contact is their origin. Feeling is their meeting place. Immersion is their chief. Mindfulness is their ruler. Wisdom is their overseer. Freedom is their core. They culminate in the deathless. And extinguishment is their final end.’

‘chandamūlakā, āvuso, sabbe dhammā, manasikārasambhavā sabbe dhammā, phassasamudayā sabbe dhammā, vedanāsamosaraṇā sabbe dhammā, samādhippamukhā sabbe dhammā, satādhipateyyā sabbe dhammā, paññuttarā sabbe dhammā, vimuttisārā sabbe dhammā, amatogadhā sabbe dhammā, nibbānapariyosānā sabbe dhammā’ti.

The same paragraph translated by Bhikkhu Bodhi here:

“‘Friends, (1) all things are rooted in desire. (2) They come into being through attention. (3) They originate from contact. (4) They converge upon feeling. (5) They are headed by concentration. (6) Mindfulness exercises authority over them. (7) Wisdom is their supervisor. (8) Liberation is their core. (9) They culminate in the deathless. (10) Their consummation is nibbāna.’

The same paragraph translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu here:

All phenomena are rooted in desire.
All phenomena come into play through attention.
All phenomena have contact as their origination.
All phenomena have feeling as their meeting place.
All phenomena have concentration as their presiding state.
All phenomena have mindfulness as their governing principle.
All phenomena have discernment as their surpassing state.
All phenomena have release as their heartwood.
All phenomena gain their footing in the deathless.
All phenomena have Unbinding as their final end.

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NibbanaDhamma for the noble one is only for the noble one, even the Abhidhamma students also can't understand Rooted Sutta if they are never enlighten. This Sutta can't be gotten by reading exactly.

The origin of this sutta told us that the Buddha try to help the other sects to see their conceit, pride, by letting them listen to what they never heard and reached before, so when the professional Nettipakarana user read below first paragraph, he can guess the left content of the entire Sutta.

“Mendicants, if wanderers who follow other paths were to ask: ‘Reverends, all things have what as their root? What produces them? What is their origin? What is their meeting place? What is their chief? What is their ruler? What is their overseer? What is their core? What is their culmination? What is their final end?’ How would you answer them?”

If we can remember the Pali sequentially, it's easy because the previous Sutta already guided it out.

[57] Dasayima bhikkhave sanna bhavita bahulikata mahapphala Honti mahanisamsa amatogadha amatapariyosana katama dasa aniccasanna anattasanna maranasanna ahare patikkulasanna sabbaloke anabhiratasanna atthikasanna puluvakasanna 1- vinilakasanna vicchiddakasanna uddhumatakasanna ima kho bhikkhave dasa sanna bhavita bahulikata mahapphala honti mahanisamsa amatogadha amatapariyosanati.

That's why Every bold words below from Rooted Sutta (AN 10.58) refer to MaggaCitt(a)Upada, enlightening moment, when they are used together.

[58] Sace bhikkhave aññatitthiyā paribbājakā evaṃ puccheyyuṃ kiṃmūlakā āvuso sabbe dhammā kiṃsambhavā sabbe dhammā kiṃsamudayā sabbe dhammā kiṃsamosaraṇā sabbe dhammā kiṃpamukhā sabbe dhammā kiṃadhipateyyā sabbe dhammā kiṃuttarā sabbe dhammā kiṃsārā sabbe dhammā kiṃogadhā sabbe dhammā kiṃpariyosānā sabbe dhammāti evaṃ puṭṭhā tumhe bhikkhave tesaṃ aññatitthiyānaṃ paribbājakānaṃ kinti byākareyyāthāti.

What is MaggaCitt(a)Upada, enlightening moment?

The reaching moment to the perfect practice of each 8 path together in only one moment.

It's a kind of absorption, Jhana, but the way to get MaggaCitt(a)Upada must be included the insight meditation, professional seeing the Paticcasamuppada in advance.

Because it is an absorption, so every conascence condition, SahaJataPaccaya, at that moment must be perfect like this...

All phenomena are rooted in desire (DhammaChandaCetasika).

All phenomena come into play through attention (ManasikaraCetasika).

All phenomena have contact as their origination (PhassaCetasika).

All phenomena have feeling as their meeting place (VedanaCetasika).

All phenomena have concentration as their presiding state (SammaSamadhiCetasika).

All phenomena have mindfulness as their governing principle (AdhippatiCetasika).

All phenomena have discernment as their surpassing state (PannaCetasika).

All phenomena have release as their heartwood (Nibbana).

All phenomena gain their footing in the deathless (SaupadisesaNibbanaDhatu).

All phenomena have Unbinding as their final end (AnupadisesaNibbanaDhatu).

So, the "All phenomena" in this Sutta refer to every conditions relating to enlightening moment.

And that's why this sutta was answered like that.

See Abhidhamma for detail.

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  • So your answer agrees with Dhammadhatu's answer. The term "dhamma" in this sutta refers to skillful mental states or qualities leading to liberation.
    – ruben2020
    Jul 18 at 4:38
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    It's partially. Dhammadhatu doesn't trust in some possible phenomena. He don't care of some possible phenomena, such as smallest phenomena, past life's phenomena, future life's phenomena, etc. It means his term "dhamma" must cover lesser phenomena than my answer. For the example, he don't trust in Abhidhamma, so if there are some real smallest craving/pride/view-phenomena arising trillions in sec, he can't see it, left it inside, and never prepare any management for them. It's same in past life, next life. We never cease what we never see. Avijja and Tanha are hiding every where
    – Bonn
    Jul 18 at 6:03
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This is what Sujato has to say;

No, “gain a footing” is incorrect. Amatogadha is a common term, frequently used alongside amatapariyosāna and amataparāyana in the sense of ‘culminate, climax, finish’.

The basic meaning of ogadha is to be grounded or gain a footing, but here it clearly has an idiomatic sense. I think the root of the metaphor may lie with a boat crossing a river: when it reaches the far shore (parāyana) it is beached or grounded. Perhaps we could translate something like “gains a safe harbor in the deathless”.

Which is imho not much of substantiation.

As for your inquiry it is somewhat noteworthy that 8 out of 10 points from 10.58 appear in AN 8.83 (which covers the first eight of the ten questions), commentary to the Sutta has it that "all phenomena" (sabbe dhamma) there means the five aggregates. This is important because it comes into play when people express their interpretations where some might say that sabbe dhamma refers to only "wholesome qualities" for example, this has happened.

This is not the only place where this disagreement between translators plays out, there is also AN7.48 wherein the amatogadhā amatapariyosānā occurs as well as sn48.44. It is the same disagreement however if one looks at Bodhi's translations one will see that he has previously translated it as footing for sn48.44.

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  • Sabbe dhamma refers to only "wholesome qualities". Why? Because the suttas only support this interpretation; including the very AN 7.48 & SN 48.44 you posted. Also, the oldest commentary actually says it means "wholesome qualities"; which is contrary to what you wrote about commentary. Kind regards Aug 17 '19 at 21:25
  • Yes, Dhammadhatu. Firstly, it says "chandamūlakā sabbe dhammā" using "chanda" (desire - which can be positive or negative) instead of "tanha" (craving - always negative). Secondly, the most interesting phrase is "vimuttisārā sabbe dhamma". "vimuttisārā" means "core of liberation" or from this PTS dictionary page, it means "substance or essence of emancipation". How could negative things like the clinging aggregates have the "essence of emancipation"?
    – ruben2020
    Aug 18 '19 at 4:18
  • Chanda here is only positive. Please refer to the 37 Bodhipakkhiyādhammā, which includes chandha iddhipada. Learn how to discern. When you come to a fork in the road, choose the right direction. Aug 18 '19 at 5:47
  • What i wrote about commentary isn't wrong. You are making false statements. Thanissaro writes about an8.83 commentarial position in the footnotes to 10.58. If you have alternative commentary to an8.83, you can post it. Also if you have a way of dating commentary let me know.
    – user8527
    Sep 17 '19 at 2:36
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What are "things" or "phenomena" in this context?

This is all dhamma (sabbe dhammā).

Please explain the whole paragraph

mūla: Literally, "root." The fundamental conditions in the mind that determine the moral quality — skillful (kusala) or unskillful (akusala) — of one's intentional actions (see kamma). The three unskillful roots are lobha (greed), dosa (aversion), and moha (delusion); the skillful roots are their opposites. See kilesa (defilements).

A Glossary of Pali and Buddhist Terms

This says all things (dhamma) has desire (lobha) as a root (mula). The rest is self-evident from this quoted paragraphs. Explanation is as follows:

Attention produces phenomena. Contact is the origin of phenomena. Feeling is produced due to contact, which intern gives arise to rooted phenomena. Though concentration one can suppress the phenomena. Mindfulness prevent their arising. Wisdom helps to go beyond phenomena by achieving Nirvana. Nirvana is also a Dharma and is at its core. The climax of phenomena when one nears Nirvana is deathlessness. They are extinguishment by realising Nirvana which is the end and final state.

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First of all, when it is said eg 'All dhamma have feeling as their meeting place', if we assert that the meaning of 'dhamma' there is the same as 'aggregates' as comy pins it , we have to be very careful not to become confused because feeling is an aggregate and we can't say 'all feelings have feeling as their meeting place'.

As i see it, it should be read with mn22 in mind;

"Both formerly and now, monks, I declare only stress and the cessation of stress."

The Dhamma can be spoken of as that which The Buddha taught in general sense; or something particular among the Dhamma.

I will cross reference and comment.

All phenomena come into play through attention.

Attention is spoken of in the Sutta as appropriate & inappropriate.

All phenomena have contact as their origination.

These six are classes of contact: eye-contact, ear-contact, nose-contact, tongue-contact, body-contact, intellect-contact. This is called contact.

"Dependent on the ear & sounds there arises ear-consciousness. The meeting of the three is contact...

Dependent on the nose & aromas there arises nose-consciousness. The meeting of the three is contact... Dependent on the tongue & flavors there arises tongue-consciousness. The meeting of the three is contact... Dependent on the body & tactile sensations there arises body-consciousness. The meeting of the three is contact... Dependent on the intellect & mental qualities there arises intellect-consciousness. The meeting of the three is contact.

All phenomena have feeling as their meeting place.

From contact as a requisite condition comes feeling. With contact as condition, feeling comes to be;

"And which are the six feelings? A feeling born of eye-contact, a feeling born of ear-contact... nose-contact... tongue-contact... body-contact... intellect-contact. These are the six feelings.

All phenomena have concentration as their presiding state.

All states are presided over by concentration in as far as one has to concentrate on any task in order not to become distracted and to maintain the state to which attention was applied. Not everything is right-concentration but all percipience requires concentration.

All phenomena have mindfulness as their governing principle.

All states are governed by mindfulness in as far as one has to stay mindful of every task in order not to lose focus & becoming oblivious of the task & the goal.

All phenomena have discernment as their surpassing state.

This can be understood in the same way one can understand that neutral feelings are pleasant when they are connected to discernment. When the things that are present are grasped with discernment, that is in itself pleasant and then appropriate attention can be expected resulting in a surpassing state.

All phenomena have release as their heartwood.

In the sense that only suffering is taught & it's cessation. All that is not cessation in a definitive sense becomes suffering and having grasped any of these with discernment, there comes to be a directing to a surpassing state of cessation through appropriate attention. Therefore all things can be seen to have release [from them] for heartwood.

All phenomena gain their footing in the deathless.

In the Sutta gaining footing is used also in the sense of one crossing to the other shore would be gaining a footing.

Deathless is here used as a term denoting the seeing with wisdom associated with cessation of perception & feeling by which there is a destruction of taints such that is attained by Ariya attained to vision (not faith & dhamma-follower), in Mahavagga Ven. Sariputta proclaimed attainment of the Deathless as a penetrating to the asoka state.

This attainment is a release that is unsurpassed in principle and is only superseeded as to the purity of one who enters & emerges from it. One can emerge as one attained to view, once returner, Anagami or Arahant and all by attaining to the principal cessation of perception & feeling.

An Arahant can continue to enter & emerge from the cessation of perception & feeling but it is then not spoken of as a destruction of taints for him because of the purity of one who enters & emerges from it.

Therefore when it is said that all phenomena gain their footing in the deathless, it can be explained that this is something that one should see with intellect when grasping phenomena with discernment such that development can be directed to the attainment of the immediacy leading to the destruction of taints.

There is also an explaination where one would say that the unconditioned is the ground of all and not included in it. This can be disagreeable in meaning or agreeable depending on how it is interpreted.

All phenomena have Unbinding as their final end.

Final & complete extinguishment is the same extinguishment principal of release, nibbananirodhadhatu, a cessation of perception & feeling complemented by a breaking up of the body & faculties. Therefore one can't say that the Arahant is seeing with wisdom after death as if wisdom departed the Arahant.

This final end of all phenomena is something one show see with intellect when grasping signs with discernment, it's like the meaning of signs and something one should know when thinking about this or that dhamma, that one does for the giving of appropriate attention leading to an attainment of the final goal through a progressive extinguishment.

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Not to miss the forest for the trees: the sequence is saying that the natural (VERY longterm over many lifetimes perhaps) arc is toward freedom. Eventually we recognize 5, that we are focusing on that; it isn’t just happening from the environment. Then 6, that mindfulness chooses what we focus on. Then 7, 8, 9, 10.

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Each of these Western translators is certainly incorrect, here. Kaṭukurunde Ñāṇananda & Piya Tan can be added to this list of incorrect translators of AN 10.58.

The word 'dhamma' here means (supramundane) 'skilful qualities' or 'path factors'; as confirmed by many other suttas. Refer to discussion topic at Sutta Central: All things are rooted in desire, particularly posts by Deele and Piotr, who complete an extensive cross-referencing of other suttas.

Most translators appear bent by their doctrinal belief that Nibbana is the end of reincarnations, therefore they wish to impute Nibbana is the end of all things. Kaṭukurunde Ñāṇananda appears stuck in his usual 'solipsism'.

These incorrect translations show how much the belief in Hindu reincarnation and Vedanta (solipsism) pervert the True Dhamma.

The Buddha said:

Open are the doors to the Deathless to those with ears.

MN 26

The Buddha did not say: "Open are the doors to the Deathless to all things".

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    I find this answer confusing -- because it seems to say that "dhamma" means "path factors", and, to "refer to discussion topic at Sutta Central particularly posts by Deele and Piotr" -- but e.g. in this post Deele and Piotr seem to be saying that "path factors" is a modern interpretation and a wrong one, cringe-worthy.
    – ChrisW
    Aug 18 '19 at 8:49
  • Yes, you find it confusing. Also, what Piotr appears to say is "cringe-worthy" is the "modern interpretation", i.e., the interpretation of Bodhi, Sujato & co. Instead of being "confused", i suggest to think rationally. Obviously, all things are not governed by mindfulness, obviously all things do not have liberation as their heartwood, obviously all things do not culminate in the deathless, etc. Regardless, the cross-referencing with other suttas cannot be refuted. It is nonacademic to claim otherwise. Aug 18 '19 at 11:36
  • Then I guess you're saying that you agree with or reference their research (i.e. their with list of relevant suttas), but not with their conclusion (i.e. that it doesn't mean path factors).
    – ChrisW
    Aug 18 '19 at 11:41
  • My impression is you are misreading the link. what Piotr appears to say is "cringe-worthy" is the "modern interpretation", i.e., the interpretation of Bodhi, Sujato, Piya Tan & Co. To me, it means "path factors"; although "dhamma" in this context is generally translated as "skilful qualities". Aug 18 '19 at 11:41
  • Perhaps I've understood "Deele"'s argument now -- i.e. that 51.15 through SN 51.20 says that desire is the basis for psychic power (iddhipāda), and that there when this sutta talks about "sabbe dhamma" being "rooted in desire" then "sabbe dhamma" probably means 'skilful qualities' or 'path factors' i.e. something more-or-less like iddhipāda.
    – ChrisW
    Aug 18 '19 at 14:12

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