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dhp 352
A master is one who has let go
of all craving and clinging to the world;
who has seen
the truth beyond forms,
yet is possessed of
a profound knowledge of words.
Such a great being can be said
to have finished the task.

Sujato Translation, with pāḷi: Rid of craving, free of grasping, Vītataṇho anādāno, expert in the interpretation of terms, Niruttipadakovido; knowing the correct Akkharānaṁ sannipātaṁ, structure and sequence of syllables, Jaññā pubbāparāni ca; they are said to be one who bears their final body, Sa ve “antimasārīro, one of great wisdom, a great person. Mahāpañño mahāpuriso”ti vuccati.

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3 Answers 3

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truth beyond forms... yet ... a profound knowledge of words

is a feature of the enlightened mind: to have such a complete and perfect understanding of the principles by which the concepts and categories are delineated as to be free from them and see reality underlying said concepts and yet at the same time to be able to use them to construct precise verbal and conceptual models.

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  • Thank you for your assistance.
    – Newton
    Dec 4, 2022 at 1:54
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niruttipadakovida adj. skilled in language; (comm) accomplished in the grammar and the verse [nirutti + pada + kovida] ●

the first part of Dhp 352 is a coded way of saying they are an arahant, fully englightened. The second part is saying they are also expert in language and communication skills, able to teach others and lead them to awakening.

This echoes other suttas in the canon where the Buddha praises those who are fully enlightened who also possess excellent teaching skills as the best and most praiseworthy of his disciples.

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  • Thank you frankk. I don't see how you get to the words "communication" or "teach" from the text. I only see "master" and "knowledge", and get from that, possibly, deep understanding. Isn't it true that an arahant can't necessarily "teach" his wisdom?
    – Newton
    Dec 3, 2022 at 19:18
  • I see the phrase "astute in expression" in one translation. Seems to fit nicely with your answer.
    – Newton
    Dec 3, 2022 at 22:46
  • An arahant who is thoroughly familiar with the suttas, memorized the core teachings accurately, and can transmit accurate reproduction of the Buddha's words, is a lot more valuable to spreading Dharma widely than an arahant who is illiterate, has poor communication skills and has memorized very little of the Buddha's words.
    – frankk
    Dec 4, 2022 at 15:16
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When I was a small child, my father gave me an FM radio. It totally fascinated me that I could hear other people from far away. When I looked at the radio dial, it said 88 Mhz to 108 Mhz. Being the curious child I was, I wanted to know what could be beneath 88 Mhz and also above 108 Mhz. Later in life I developed somewhat of a hobby with the radio spectrum, which I accessed using radios of various types. It turns out the 88-108 Mhz was only a very small portion of the radio spectrum, which starts to taper off at 3 gigahertz, thus becoming part of the light spectrum. I've recently started studying short wave, as these signals bounce off the ionosphere, giving them the ability to circumnavigate the globe. Recently, I've been listening to the new BBC short wave station setup for the Ukrainians on short wave 15735 kHz and 5875 kHz and various amateur radio enthusiasts.

With regard to the typical six sense experience, it seems to have a limited scope - like the FM radio - that can only receive a very small portion of the reality spectrum, and to become curious about the boundaries of that scope is to inquire into the nature of all things. When that task has been complete, the entire spectrum of reality is laid bare. I often try to relay this understanding in words, both verbally and written. Like Andriy says, it's a feature of the enlightened mind, and if one has a particular skill with words, then the expression will take that form. Here is a particular perspective that I often enjoy and one that I try to convey verbally in other creative ways to people...

  1. The Equanimous Smile

Through a mind saturated with equanimity, one turns towards humanity and harbours only love and understanding.

It is love because the equanimous mind does not lean to any extremes, views, judgements or beliefs, thus giving rise to a clarity that is not polluted by the conditions of the world. From that clarity, what one sees in humanity is pure innocence in all behaviours. The people of the world become like children playing in a sandpit, learning how to grow out of materialistic immaturity.

It is an understanding because the equanimous mind sees the innocence of the six-sense experience to be secondary to our primary nature, and from this wider perspective the flesh experience is not taken too seriously. As such, a new kind of smile arises - one that is not of this world, but has an influence in the world.

That is understanding, and together they are love and understanding born of equanimity.

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    As a medium-sized child I went behind the Iron Curtain, with my father. Now in a hotel room in Budapest after dark, there was a receiver, and when I tuned it to an amateur band I heard, "CQ".
    – ChrisW
    Dec 3, 2022 at 9:44
  • @ChrisW - Isn't the radio a beautiful thing, so many connections, so many stories - ;-)
    – Max
    Dec 3, 2022 at 11:58
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    I appreciated the technology, physics and culture, in that I had borrowed the ARRL's 1972 Handbook from the library. But when I heard that, it seemed to me that all that was being used a carrier, for something in the human spirit: reaching out, seeking to harmonize, transcending geography and national boundaries, including "native language".
    – ChrisW
    Dec 3, 2022 at 19:09
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    Thank you for your assistance.
    – Newton
    Dec 4, 2022 at 1:55

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