[Buddha-l] Ariyapariyesana

L.S. Cousins selwyn at ntlworld.com
Wed Nov 9 11:46:55 MST 2011


Five messages is a bit more than I have time for. So I'll just make a 
few points.

> Hi Lance,
> Lots of things packed in, so it may take a few messages to respond to all of
> it.
> First:
>> I don't think there is much doubt that the account in the
>> Ariyapariyesana and several other suttas is much older than the version
>> of Aśvaghoṣa.
> No one said otherwise.
Someone did take you as saying that, although I didn't take you that way.

> You will notice that my
> comments were largely in defense of the plausibility and soundness of the
> mainstream story, since the Ariyapariyesana has a number of features that
> suggest its lateness, features which I did not specify in detail, but only
> gave some brief examples.
That is what I am not particularly convinced of.
>> Forms of kilesa
>> occur some 250 times in the Majjhimanikāya alone. I don't think it is at
>> all rare.
> I trust your computation (not being able to check that at the moment), but
> would suggest that number is misleading, since it gives the impression that
> the term is widely used and dispersed throughout the Nikayas. It is not
> absent from the Nikayas, but tends to occur in abhidhammic-type clusters,
> which rapidly elevate the total count. For instance, the Vatthūpama sutta
> (MN 7):
That's true, but it is still found in a lot of different suttas.
> As we know, the preferred term in non-Theravada works became (skt)
> āgantuka-kleśa, typically translated "adventitious defilements."

Actually, that is quite rare. Plain kleśa is quite common in the 
abhidharma works.

> Just taking a single example from the PTS Dict. citation, "S v.92 sq. (pañca
> cittassa upakkilesā)" refers to a Samyutta N. sutta appropriately enough
> called the Kilesa sutta. It consists of two paragraphs: The first asks and
> answers What are the five "corruptions" (upakkilesa) of gold -- the answer
> being a foreign intrusion, viz. iron, copper, tin, lead, or silver,
> "corrupted by which gold is neither malleable nore wieldy nor radiant, but
> brittle and not properly fit for work." The second paragraph asks the same
> re: five corruptions of mind. They turn out to be sensual desire
> (kāmacchanda), ill-will (vyāpāda), sloth and torpor (thīna-middha),
> restlessness and remorse (uddhacca-kukkucca), and doubt (vicikicchā),
> "corrupted by which the mind is neither malleable nore wieldy nor radiant,
> but brittle and not properly fit for work."
> Nevermind that this is seven, not five items (at least when transferred into
> English, which forces one to look at semantic considerations -- thīna-middha
> are a related pair perhaps, and frequently conjoined in this way, but
> uddhacca-kukkucca are not semantic near-synomyms, their similarity merely a
> superficial resemblance of endings, uddhaca involving being agitated,
> distracted, fluttery focus, i.e., the MTV generation, and kukkucca meaning
> "remorse, worry"),
I understand that the intention is to refer to the tendency of the mind 
to cycle  between excitement and depression.

>   and nevermind that the five things actually are better
> known by another label, the five nīvaraṇas, "five obstructions" (labelling
> them five mental upakkilesas is not the usual nomenclature), more
> interesting for our purposes is that most editions omit the passages listing
> and describing the latter four. In their Eng. tr., Nanamoli and Bhikkhu
> Bodhi insert the omitted portion in square brackets, and offer a note that
> begins "The bracketed passage is in Se only, but is clearly necessary..." Se
> is the Sinhala-script edition of SN. The note ends by requesting that we
> look at "the following two notes for a similar case in which certain textual
> traditions have preserved the unity" (vol 2, p. 1905). One could equally
> claim the notes show where "helpful" redactors added in what they thought
> belonged in missing texts, and also could be a sign of some textual problems
> that, presupposing the integrity of the sinhala emendations, etc., get
> ignored and swept under the rug.
Scribes often omit repetitive passages which the reader is expected to 
fill in for himself.


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