Aŋguttara Nikāya


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Aŋguttara Nikāya
X. Dasaka-Nipāta
VII. Yamaka Vagga

Sutta 63

Niṭṭhaŋ-Gata Suttaɱ

Taking A Stand[1]

Translated from the Pali
by
Michael M. Olds

 


 

[1][pts] I HEAR TELL:

Once upon a time Bhagava, Sāvatthi, Jeta Grove, Anāthapiṇḍika's Park revisiting.

There then, the Lucky Man said:

2. "Whomsoever, beggars, takes a stand on me,
all these have attained to 'view' for themselves.[2]

Of those who have attained to view for themselves,
five of these take their stand here,
five of these take their stand after departing from here.

 

§

 

Which five take their stand here?

3. [1] He who comes to existence again a maximum of seven times;

[2] the clan-to-claner;

[3] the one-seeder;

[4] the Once-returner;

[5] and he who is Enobled[3] in this seen thing.

These are the five that take their stand here.

 

§

 

4. Which five take their stand after departing from here?[4]

[1] The in-between-thoroughly-cooled;[5]

[2] the cut-short-thoroughly-cooled;[6]

[3] the without-own-making-thoroughly-cooled;

[4] the with-own-making-thoroughly cooled;[7]

[5] the up-stream to Akaniṭṭha-goer.[8]

It is these five that take their stand after departing from here.

 

§

 

Whomsoever, beggars, takes a stand on me,
all these have attained to 'view' for themselves.

Of those who have attained to view for themselves,
five of these take their stand here,
five of these take their stand after departing from here."

 


[1] Niṭṭhaŋ-Gata. Ni = put down = set up; Tha = stand; Gata = got, arrived at, reached.

[2] diṭṭhi-sampannā. Here 'view' refers to 'Samma Diṭṭhi'.

[3] arahā. become Arahant.

[4] The arrangement here seems to be a strange one. Between the two sets the first is the highest and the second the lower, but within the first set the list goes from the lowest to the highest. (The criteria for low and high is the time it takes to accomplish the goal.) Whereas the usual form is for a list to go from the lowest to the highest, here, contrary to the first set, the list goes from the highest to the lowest.

[5] Antarā- tween. There is much argument about what this state may be. I translate literally, understanding the meaning to be subsequent to death but prior to taking a new birth which I believe is supported by #s 3 and 4 which point to one who has no and one who has some earlier own-making to live out in the state after death. The first of these (#3) would attain the goal swiftly, the second (#4) would, after rebirth sometimes go out quickly, sometimes flame up a little, sometimes flame up a lot and then go out. Having 'some own-making left' would require a state of existence or birth. For a state that was 'in between' it must therefore be prior to rebirth. Bhk Bodhi translated as 'in the interval' also meaning after death but prior to taking a new birth, and points out that this understanding is supported by the simile of the sparks (see AN 7.52; WP 55), where this spark is one that flys up and burns out before landing. The commentator would have this mean that this individual attains arahantship half-way through the next life in the Pure Abodes. But this is stated to be the case with all who attain rebirth in the Pure Abodes.

[6] upahacca- cut short. Bhk. Bodhi: 'upon-landing' (again relying on the simile of the sparks where, in this case the spark flys off and burns out after landing; Woodward: 'by reduction of his time.'

[7] asankhāra- and sa-sankhāra- without and with own-making.

[8] uddhaɱ sotassa Akaniṭṭha-gāmino. The Akaniṭṭha Realm is the highest of the Suddhāvasā Brahma-lokas (Pure Abodes), and the highest of the Rūpa Brahmalokas. The lifespan there is 16,000 Kalpas. This realm is reported to be the highest physical point in the universe as opposed to Avīci, the lowest. Woodward footnotes that this is the home of the Four Great Brahmās. I am not so sure of that; it would make these four Non-returners, which I do not see confirmed in the suttas. The name itself translates as 'No youngsters'. The business of 'going upstream' is said to be because the Non-returner may initially be reborn after death in some lower Brahma-loka, or one of the four other, lower Pure Abodes and migrate upward in successive 'spontaneous' rebirths to end in the Akaniṭṭha. Non-returner being understood in this light as meaning not going backwards into a lower rebirth, not meaning not returning to birth at all.

 


 

Of Related Interest:

AN 7.52; WP 55
AN 10.64


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