4

(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?

  • helpfully referenced question: good – M H Oct 20 at 10:48
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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
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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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Puna caparaṃ, bhikkhave, sapatto sapattassa evaṃ icchati: ‘aho vatāyaṃ na pacurattho assā’ti. Taṃ kissa hetu? Na, bhikkhave, sapatto sapattassa pacuratthatāya nandati. Kodhanoyaṃ, bhikkhave, purisapuggalo kodhābhibhūto kodhapareto, anatthampi gahetvā ‘attho me gahito’ti maññati, atthampi gahetvā ‘anattho me gahito’ti maññati. Tassime dhammā aññamaññaṃ vipaccanīkā gahitā dīgharattaṃ ahitāya dukkhāya saṃvattanti kodhābhibhūtassa. Ayaṃ, bhikkhave, tatiyo dhammo sapattakanto sapattakaraṇo kodhanaṃ āgacchati itthiṃ vā purisaṃ vā. (3)

İt is about Karma.

Dīgharattaṃ ahitāya dukkhāyā: lasting harm and suffering/ long-term suffering & loss/harm and suffering for a long time (hell realm)

AN6.18:" … This will be for their lasting harm and suffering. When their body breaks up, after death, they’re reborn in a place of loss, a bad place, the underworld, hell.”

AN6.18: "…hoti dīgharattaṃ ahitāya dukkhāya. Kāyassa bhedā paraṃ maraṇā apāyaṃ duggatiṃ vinipātaṃ nirayaṃ upapajjatī”ti.

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First, I don't think "anger" is the best translation. In my understanding kudhana/kodhana is more like "grudge-bearing", it's not the emotion of being angry at a particular moment, it's more like an attitude towards another person.

Based on this meaning as well as the clues about "mutual opposition" it seems rather clear that this passage refers to a psychological mechanism when we define our position in relation to a position of other people depending on our attitude to them.

For example, if we see the other person as a role model worthy of emulation, then if they have some notable quality, skill, or possession -- we tend to consider that worthy of having too. And if they don't have a particular item or quality - we rationalize that as due to the item being worthless (otherwise the person we admire would have it).

By the same principle, if we think someone has hurt our ego and we hold a grudge against them, we often like to convince ourselves that their life is a failure. We can't accept the thought that the person we hate can be more successful than we are, and so we invent an evaluative framework according to which whatever that person has, we consider it worthless, and what they don't have but we do - we convince ourselves that it is of a great value.

Once we convince ourselves that the person's qualities and possessions are worthless - we apply that framework to our own lives, and start judging our own qualities and possessions accordingly as a negation of theirs.

So our antipathy leads to denial and denial leads to inversion of values. It is ego's protective mechanism. Of course, it does not lead to the grudge-bearing person's benefit if the person they hate is right, especially if that person is an enlightened buddha - because then in their denial and inversion they will deny the exact qualities that are of the biggest benefit. This is the situation implied in the sutta.

So the moral of the story is that holding a grudge (due to envy, hurt ego etc.) takes away our freedom to choose our position rationally and beneficially - instead our hurt ego often forces us to take an irrational and harmful position, just to differentiate ourselves from the object of our grudge.


(btw the same exact mechanism is behind the first jhana practice. As long as our attention is hooked on the world of human affairs, we will consider ourselves unhappy because we will keep finding things normal people have that we don't. But as soon as we reevaluate things in terms of their usefulness to attaining enlightenment, then suddenly we can start congratulating ourselves on the things that matter to this path - and our desires and griefs in regards to the world are going to fade away by themselves. First, we cultivate revulsion (nibbida, viraga) towards the worldly affairs. Suddenly the magic of self-justification works in the right direction. Once our system of values detaches from the world's then we can practice true Brahmaviharas where our compassion, our sympathetic joy, and our equanimity will come from the Right View - not from the worldly standpoint. This will eventually lead to the stability of mind and the joy of the first jhana.)

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Being in hatred, people might like harmful things, such as

  • harming others,
  • destroying conditions which they hate, even though those conditions could be generally beneficial,

and so on. Because of hatred (being angry at someone or something), people lose sight of general picture and perceive beneficial as hated, and perceive harmful as desired.

That's why, satisfying their hatred, they might like to harm beings or generally beneficial conditions, though in general it would be harmful for themselves.

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hitāya sukhāyā: welfare and happiness
ahitāya dukkhāyā: harm and suffering
dīgharattaṃ hitāya sukhāyā: lasting welfare and happiness(heaven realm)
dīgharattaṃ ahitāya dukkhāyā: lasting harm and suffering(hell realm)

AN6.18:" … This will be for their lasting harm and suffering. When their body breaks up, after death, they’re reborn in a place of loss, a bad place, the underworld, hell.”

https://suttacentral.net/an6.18/en/sujato

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“Furthermore, an enemy wishes for an enemy: ‘If only they don’t get all they need!’ Why is that? Because an enemy doesn’t like to have an enemy who gets all they need. When an irritable person, overcome and overwhelmed by anger, gets what they don’t need they think ‘I’ve got what I need!’ When they get what they need they think ‘I’ve got what I don’t need.’ When an angry person gets these things that are the exact opposite of what they need, it’s for their lasting harm and suffering. This is the third thing …”

Puna caparaṃ, bhikkhave, sapatto sapattassa evaṃ icchati: ‘aho vatāyaṃ na pacurattho assā’ti. Taṃ kissa hetu? Na, bhikkhave, sapatto sapattassa pacuratthatāya nandati. Kodhanoyaṃ, bhikkhave, purisapuggalo kodhābhibhūto kodhapareto, anatthampi gahetvā ‘attho me gahito’ti maññati, atthampi gahetvā ‘anattho me gahito’ti maññati. Tassime dhammā aññamaññaṃ vipaccanīkā gahitā dīgharattaṃ ahitāya dukkhāya saṃvattanti kodhābhibhūtassa. Ayaṃ, bhikkhave, tatiyo dhammo sapattakanto sapattakaraṇo kodhanaṃ āgacchati itthiṃ vā purisaṃ vā. (3)

AN7.72: ..."that brings him lasting harm and suffering. When his body breaks up, after death, he’s reborn in a place of loss, a bad place, the underworld, hell."

https://suttacentral.net/an7.72/en/sujato

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“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."

He will never receive the correct and good things in life. He will let go of profit thinking it’s loss, and hold on to unprofitable things thinking they will bring profit.

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