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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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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 amatogadha as footing for sn48.44.

  • 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 – Dhammadhatu Aug 17 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 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. – Dhammadhatu Aug 18 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. – 1231546 Sep 17 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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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".

  • 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 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. – Dhammadhatu Aug 18 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 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". – Dhammadhatu Aug 18 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 at 14:12

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