1

In this question, we found the metaphorical use of the term "the world", different from its ordinary everyday meaning.

Similarly, the sutta SN 35.151 below talks about living the holy life without students and teachers, as well as living the holy life with students and teachers. A deeper look into the elaboration by the Buddha seems to indicate that "has students" and "has teacher" are metaphors.

What do these metaphors mean?

And what is the difference between "has students" and "has teacher" in this case? Why are they differentiated into two different things?

“Bhikkhus, this holy life is lived without students and without a teacher. A bhikkhu who has students and a teacher dwells in suffering, not in comfort. A bhikkhu who has no students and no teacher dwells happily, in comfort.

“And how, bhikkhus, does a bhikkhu who has students and a teacher dwell in suffering, not in comfort? Here, bhikkhus, when a bhikkhu has seen a form with the eye, there arise in him evil unwholesome states, memories and intentions connected with the fetters. They dwell within him. Since those evil unwholesome states dwell within him, he is called ‘one who has students.’ They assail him. Since evil unwholesome states assail him, he is called ‘one who has a teacher.’

“Further, when a bhikkhu has heard a sound with the ear … cognized a mental phenomenon with the mind … he is called ‘one who has a teacher.’

“It is in this way that a bhikkhu who has students and a teacher dwells in suffering, not in comfort.

“And how, bhikkhus, does a bhikkhu who has no students and no teacher dwell happily, in comfort? Here, bhikkhus, when a bhikkhu has seen a form with the eye, there do not arise in him evil unwholesome states, memories and intentions connected with the fetters. They do not dwell within him. Since those evil unwholesome states do not dwell within him, he is called ‘one who has no students.’ They do not assail him. Since evil unwholesome states do not assail him, he is called ‘one who has no teacher.’

“Further, when a bhikkhu has heard a sound with the ear … cognized a mental phenomenon with the mind … he is called ‘one who has no teacher.’

“It is in this way, bhikkhus, that a bhikkhu who has no students and no teacher dwells happily, in comfort.
SN 35.151

1

Apparently for Pali word for having a teacher there is sācariyaka:

  1. together with one’s teacher

... and for not having a teacher it is anācariyaka for which the dictionary gives two definitions:

  1. not having a teacher; not dependent on an instructor
  2. free from bad influences

"cariyaka" isn't defined in the PTS dictionary. There's cariya which seems to mean "conduct" or "state of life"

Cariya Cariya (nt.) & cariyā (f.) [from car, carati] (mostly -˚) conduct, behaviour, state of, life of. Three cariyās at Ps i.79; six at Vism 101; eight at Ps ii.19 sq., 225 & four sets of eight in detail at Nd2 237b. Very freq. in dhamma˚ & brahma˚, a good walk of life, proper conduct, chastity — eka˚ living alone Sn 820; unchā˚ begging J ii.272; iii.37; bhikkhā˚ a life of begging Sn 700; nagga˚ nakedness Dh 141.

... plus the suffix "-aka":

-aka: is said to denote the property of: manussa, a man+a=manussakaṃ, that which belongs to man, the property of man, human (see -ka).

It also forms a numerous class of action-nouns and adjectives: √kar, to make, do+aka=karaka, making, causing or maker, doer; √gah, to take, receive+aha=gahaka, taking, receiving, a receiver: sometimes a -y is inserted between aka and a root ending in a vowel, especially long ā: √dā, to give +aka=dāyaka, a giver.

So "cariyaka" might mean literally something like "maker or causer of behaviour" -- which may be good or bad behaviour; and, more importantly, the "causer" might be a person (i.e. a teacher) or something more impersonal (e.g. a good or a bad habit).

So perhaps it isn't a "metaphor", but the English language (not always being steeped in anatta) might tend to imply strong distinctions between people and impersonal causes -- a distinction which doesn't clearly exist in Pali.


The word for resident student is santevāsika:

  1. with resident pupils, i.e. with internal impurities

There's a non-canonical explanation here, The Disciple Within, by Bhikkhu Revata:

So, we have to find out exactly what our Buddha meant by the 'disciple within' and the 'master within'. We have to find out and to see what sort of lives we are living in. It is time for us to re-examine how we are living and what sort of mind-set we have. As tonight happens to be the eve of the New Year 2008, I feel that this is a most appropriate time to reflect deeply upon this matter. That is why I wanted to deliver this talk tonight.

Now, in every living being's mind there are the defilements of greed (lobha), the defilements of hatred (dosa), and the defilements of ignorance (moha). Also, we have within us envy, stinginess (issamicchaya) and conceit (màna). Each one of us, we all have these defilements. Whenever we see something that we think is very desirable or undesirable, there arise in us evil unwholesome states that bind us up like fetters. Our senses, our memories, our perceptions and our feelings become very busy and active in arousing the unwholesome defilements (akusala). These defilements dwell within us. Since they dwell within us, they are called the `disciples within.'

By analogy with the previous answer -- that "teacher" should be understood as "cause" -- I presume that "disciple" should be understood as an "effect" or "result".

21
  • There is Ācariya and Ācariyaka both of which are defined as "teacher". It gives the etymology of "acariya" as "ā + car]" -- with the Ā prefix meaning "to" or "from" -- so perhaps that doesn't change the answer really.
    – ChrisW
    Sep 26 at 10:40
  • Thanks i appreciate the analysis. I can't really say much because unlearned.
    – user8527
    Sep 26 at 10:55
  • It's not that I'm learned, just trying to make sense of the dictionaries in this context. I mean, I guess the word "Ācariya" literally says "what leads a person to behaviour" or "that from which behaviour comes" -- and one of the ways in which it's used sometimes is to describe a teacher, and "teacher" is one of the translations -- but a teacher/person isn't the only source of behaviour (especially bad behaviours and consequences).
    – ChrisW
    Sep 26 at 16:39
  • Fwiw i know as a bhikkhu one asks 'upajjayo me bhante hohi' when asking one to be one's preceptor and one asks 'acariyo me bhante hohi' asking one to teach the dhamma and to interrogate making sure one has understood correctly. It is said that a bhikkhu can dwell alone until a suitable acariya comes along. The meaning of Acariya can also be drawn out from sigalovada sutta
    – user8527
    Sep 26 at 17:30
  • 1
    It's said that one who has craving is never alone, craving is his companion, in as far as one has craving one has unwholesome states and on that account one is said not to be without teachers & students. Having gotten rid of craving one is truly alone and without the unwholesome states, without students & teachers. I am quite confifent that this is how it is to be drawn out.
    – user8527
    Sep 26 at 19:14
0

Looks like a sort of admirable respectful for the kleshas that they are being given the title teacher, and the result student. Makes sense as a metaphor as dukkha is the first of the four noble truths, the kleshas cause dukkha so in turn are "teaching" us [part of] the meaning of the first noble truth.

0

Since those evil unwholesome states dwell within him, he is called ‘one who has students.’ They assail him. Since evil unwholesome states assail him, he is called ‘one who has a teacher.’

They are unskilled, unlearned, ignorant and are misbehaving. Therefore they are called students.

They assail him. Since evil unwholesome states assail him, he is called ‘one who has a teacher.’

A teacher is assailed & pestered by his students. Therefore being assailed by the unskillful students one is called a teacher.

It isn't that the unwholesome states are the bhikkhu's students nor is he the teacher of the unwholesome states but that bhikkhu is not without a student-teacher dynamic, therefore he is said to be with students & teachers rather than alone. In other words he does have the suffering that is characteristic to a student and he has the suffering characteristic to a teacher.

This expression draws from sn21.10

The Blessed One said: “And how is living alone perfected in its details? There is the case where whatever is past is abandoned, whatever is future is relinquished, and any passion & desire with regard to states of being attained in the present is well subdued.1 That is how living alone is perfected in its details.”

Also iti15

With craving his companion, a man wanders on a long, long time. Neither in this state here nor anywhere else does he go beyond the wandering-on. Knowing this drawback– that craving brings stress into play– free from craving, devoid of clinging, mindful, the monk lives the mendicant life.

Also sn35.63

A person living in this way—even if he frequents isolated forest & wilderness dwellings, with an unpopulated atmosphere, lying far from humanity, appropriate for seclusion—is still said to be living with a companion. Why is that? Because the craving that is his companion has not been abandoned by him. Thus he is said to be a person who is living with a companion.

These sutta are aimed at straightening people who have an inadequate take on dwelling alone, having teachers & students, they do not understand the definitive meaning of these terms in the training of the Noble One's.

This is a good teaching to give to people who might be neglecting their training because they crave students or are upset about not having a teacher

These aren't metaphors but how Ariyans use these words.

That in the world by which one is a perceiver of the world, a conceiver of the world—this is called the world in the Noble One’s Discipline.

It's never anywhere explained to be a metaphor.

It is the unlearned people who due to their stupidity can't conceive the meaning of those words as ariyans use them (i mean no offense to op and am myself learning this). Ordinary people can only use colloquial & qualified meanings whereas Ariyans have beginninglessly been arriving at & explaining the definitive meaning because great minds think alike.

3
  • I think "it's so advanced, that you need to be enlightened to understand it" shouldn't qualify as an answer on StackExchange.
    – ruben2020
    Sep 26 at 11:43
  • I tried to explain it, whether one understands it or not is not something i can control. You are very rude in distilling my answer down to "it's so advanced, that you need to be enlightened to understand " because i think it's a misrepresentation but you are free to do so if that is how you take it.
    – user8527
    Sep 26 at 12:00
  • To me it's very clear and this is how i understand it, what will you have me do? Buddha explained it and you are not understanding it, here you ask questions about it and are complaining that the answer isn't good enough. Cry me a river. Perhaps you should make a time machine and go see the Buddha about it, complain that his teachings are obscure and only understood by Ariya..
    – user8527
    Sep 26 at 12:09

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.