(pali + english, derived from b. Sujato trans.) http://lucid24.org/an/an07/an07-v05/index.html#s64

(b. thanissaro eng. trans) https://www.dhammatalks.org/suttas/AN/AN7_60.html

The passage in question:

“And further, an enemy wishes of an enemy, ‘O, may this person not profit!’ Why is that? An enemy is not pleased with an enemy’s profits. Now, when a person is angry—overcome with anger, oppressed with anger—then even when he suffers a loss, he thinks, ‘I’ve gained a profit’; and even when he gains a profit, he thinks, ‘I’ve suffered a loss.’ When he has grabbed hold of these ideas that work in mutual opposition (to the truth), they lead to his long-term suffering & loss, all because he is overcome with anger. This is the third thing pleasing to an enemy, bringing about an enemy’s aim, that comes to a man or woman who is angry.

b.bodhi has:

(3) “Again, an enemy wishes for an enemy: ‘May he not succeed!’ For what reason? An enemy does not delight in the success of an enemy. [95] When an angry person is overcome and oppressed by anger, if he gets what is harmful, he thinks: ‘I have gotten what is beneficial,’ and if he gets what is beneficial, he thinks: ‘I have gotten what is harmful.’ When, overcome by anger, he gets these things that are diametrically opposed, they lead to his harm and suffering for a long time. This is the third thing gratifying and advantageous to an enemy that comes upon an angry man or woman.

In the other 7 cases in the sutta, specifics are given so it's clear what the person who wants the enemy to suffer, how their anger sabotages their desire and tends to get the opposite result. In the case # 3 above however, it's not clear what the Buddha had in mind for specific examples. I can think of some hypothetical situations that would meet that criteria, but they would just be guesses.

Anyone think they know exactly what is meant here?

  • A fool usually seeks for approve of his foolishness, usually approaches there where to find, and gains it, good householder. Answers are all found in ones mind, once trained to look into it without turning outard to nurish ones ill will. May it not be taken as lose. Harmfull or benefical? The fool would think, "die off with what is for your harm", or? – Samana Johann Jun 10 at 12:02

As i understand it,

The angry person has ill-will, if ge gets the willed ill he might think "this is great/i am good because i got what i wanted". As it actually is tho, the ill will is to his own detriment, it is actually a loss where he sees victory.

When there is ill-will it is going to do harm to the foolish person who has it. An enemy can not destroy the good qualities of another, therefore the one who has ill-will destroys only his own virtue and destiny.

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  • I think it's not about "getting the willed ill", is it? The willed ill is, "I hope my enemy suffers a loss". But the sutta doesn't say that's what happens, what the sutta does say is that when the angry person himself suffers a profit or loss then he doesn't accurately recognise it as such. – ChrisW Jun 10 at 17:43
  • I think what meant is that 'the loss of my enemy is my gain', that's the thinking of an enemy. So when this occurs he is taking a loss thinking it's profit. – deadmanposting Jun 10 at 17:45
  • "The gain of my enemy is my loss" would be the other end, instead of seeing ground for sympathetic joy one sees a cause for despair. – deadmanposting Jun 10 at 17:56
  • I get the impression the sutta is talking about two people, i.e. 1) the angry person and 2) their enemy. The enemy presumably (by definition) has ill-will; the angry person suffers losses (because they're crazy with anger, and so they can't tell good from bad, as you wrote), and their enemy is pleased by those losses. – ChrisW Jun 11 at 18:29
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    I think it's the angry person who conceives himself and the other as an enemy of his. An Arahant would never think of others as his enemies but it can happen that another could perceive an Arahant to be his enemy, so it's a one way street in that it is the angry person himself who conceives of an enemy where there may be none, one is angry [displeased] by what one considers to be an enemy. I think this whole passage is about the thinking of an angry person and how he is essentially his own enemy doing what an enemy wishes upon an enemy. – deadmanposting Jun 11 at 19:59

In AN 4.55 for example there is:

When both are faithful and kind,
Ubho saddhā vadaññū ca,

disciplined, living properly,
saññatā dhammajīvino;

then wife and husband
Te honti jānipatayo,

say nice things to each other.
aññamaññaṃ piyaṃvadā.

They get all the things they need,
Atthāsaṃ pacurā honti,

so they live at ease.
phāsukaṃ upajāyati;

Their enemies are downhearted,
Amittā dummanā honti,

when both are equal in ethics.
ubhinnaṃ samasīlinaṃ.

Having practiced the teaching here,
Idha dhammaṃ caritvāna,

both equal in precepts and observances,
samasīlabbatā ubho;

they delight in the heavenly realm,
Nandino devalokasmiṃ,

enjoying all the pleasures they desire.”
modanti kāmakāmino”ti.

The word in AN 7.64 is pacurattho which suttacentral's dictionary says is a compound:

pacura (abundant; various; many) + attha (aim, purpose, goal; advantage, profit, benefit)

The translation as "profit" appears to have come from picking one of the meanings of the latter word.

I too can only guess at specific examples. From AN 4.55 I'd guess it includes all the requisites at least, and what they have to live at ease (phāsuka -- pleasant, convenient.), maybe heavenly pleasures too.

Reading the rest of AN 7.64, I think the whole sutta is a polemic against anger -- not a detailed explanation of how specific types of wealth are gained or lost. Looking through the verse at the end, anger seems to cause the loss of everything -- sleep, wealth, friends, reputation, conscience, life, etc.

So becoming angry may cause a person to lose anything and everything. And perhaps it's easy to see why such a loss might please an angry person's enemy.

But I'm not sure why it points out that it would please an enemy ("what would please an enemy" doesn't seem to me a usual or recommended view-point of the suttas) -- maybe it's just meant as a synonym of "misfortune".

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  • Curiously, AN 4.55 also mentions whether what the sutta is talking about about will make an enemy happy or unhappy. – ChrisW Jun 11 at 10:38

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