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The Pali term "Arati" is defined in Sutta Central as

https://suttacentral.net/define/arati

dislike, discontent, aversion

Others translate it differently, however. Thanissaro Bhikkhu, for example, translates it as "resentment." What textual evidence is there from the Pali Suttas, as well as the parallels, that supports one or the other of these translations?

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  • when i lived in Thailand, i recall "envy" was the opposite of "mudita". Possibly Thanissaro was influenced by Thai teachings. Commented Mar 19, 2022 at 3:42
  • do you have resentment towards my answer? did you give it a tick out of gratitude or even choose it as the most useful answer? thanks Commented Sep 12, 2023 at 4:09
  • @DhammaDhatu I had neither upvoted nor downvoted your answer; however, looking at it now, it seems like a well researched answer, and so I gave it an upvote. I would still be interested to know if there are any suttas which fit “resentment” better than “discontentment.”
    – Jbag1212
    Commented Sep 12, 2023 at 6:11

2 Answers 2

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You can only search the suttas (here) until you find an unambiguous contextual example.

For example, AN 6.133 Arati Sutta is not unambiguous but points to 'resentment' inciting revenge:

Mendicants, there are these three things. What three? arati, cruelty (vihiṁsā) and unprincipled conduct (adhammacariyā). These are the three things. To give up these three things you should develop three things. What three? You should develop rejoicing to give up arati, harmlessness to give up cruelty and principled conduct to give up unprincipled conduct. These are the three things you should develop to give up those three things.

SN 9.4 appears more clear and points to "dissatisfaction":

Seeing so many vacated seats today, Arati viya mejja khāyati, it seems to me that they must have become dissatisfied. Bahuke disvāna vivitte āsane; They were so learned, such brilliant speakers! Te cittakathā bahussutā, Where have these disciples of Gotama gone?” Kome gotamasāvakā gatā”ti

You keep examining suttas as above until conclusive (if possible). In fact, the above method is the only method of understanding the True Dhamma.

SN 5.1 below is clearer:

Sensual pleasures are like swords and stakes; Sattisūlūpamā kāmā, the aggregates are their chopping block. khandhāsaṁ adhikuṭṭanā; What you call sensual delight Yaṁ tvaṁ kāmaratiṁ brūsi, has become no delight for me.” arati mayha sā ahū”ti.

Based on the above, it appears "discontentment" is the most general meaning.

Again, Snp 3.2 below supports "discontent":

Sensual pleasures are your first army, Kāmā te paṭhamā senā, the second is called discontent, Dutiyā arati vuccati; hunger and thirst are the third, Tatiyā khuppipāsā te, and the fourth is said to be craving. Catutthī taṇhā pavuccati. Your fifth is dullness and drowsiness, Pañcamaṁ thinamiddhaṁ te, the sixth is said to be cowardice, Chaṭṭhā bhīrū pavuccati; your seventh is doubt, Sattamī vicikicchā te, contempt and obstinacy are your eighth. Makkho thambho te aṭṭhamo.

Again, AN 1.13 below clearly points to "discontentment" or "lack of joy":

Mendicants, I do not see a single thing that gives rise to dullness and drowsiness, or, when they have arisen, makes them increase and grow like discontent, sloth, yawning, sleepiness after eating, and mental sluggishness. “Nāhaṁ, bhikkhave, aññaṁ ekadhammampi samanupassāmi yena anuppannaṁ vā thinamiddhaṁ uppajjati uppannaṁ vā thinamiddhaṁ bhiyyobhāvāya vepullāya saṁvattati yathayidaṁ, bhikkhave, arati tandī vijambhitā bhattasammado cetaso ca līnattaṁ.

The above sutta concludes my search.

In summary, while resentment can be a form of discontentment, it appears the general meaning of 'arati' is 'discontentment' or 'lack of joy/appreciation'.

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I assume it's the same root as in 'ratana' which means 'a gem', 'precious', 'jewel', 'treasure' and with a negative prefix for 'not-precious' with semantic properties of 'disliked', 'unwanted' etc as aratana. The ratana to rati is as aratana to arati.

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