Dighanaka sutta mn 74

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#544

Im looking at your recent posts to me and also at the Dighanakha Sutta as
I write. I hope it’s not too confusing for everyone.

Im glad to return to this sutta after not having read it for a long time.
As Christine said, it is the same sutta in which Sariputta becomes an
arahant whilst fanning the Buddha and attending to the Buddhas words.

Here is your four line signature sign off which had me rather puzzled:
……
“The view of those ascetics and brahmins who are of this
persuasion, of this view: ‘everything is not pleasing to me’ is
close to non-attachment, close to non-bondage, close to
non-delighting, close to non-cleaving, close to non-grasping”.
(Dighanakha Sutta)
…..
The Nanamoli/Bodhi translation gives a note about the commentary
explanation of Dighanakhas view (nothing is acceptable to me or as you
translate ‘everything is not pleasing to me’), saying it is an
annihilationist (ucchedavaadin) view and that it explains this assertion
to mean: No [mode of] rebirth is acceptable to me.
……
I see no reason at all not to accept the commentary interpretation, though
B.Bodhi adds his own further interpretation that Dighanakha is a ‘radical
sceptic of the class satirically characterised at MN 76.30 as
‘eel-wrigglers’!.
…..
When the Buddha questions whether the view itself is acceptable to
Dighanakha (called Aggivessana by him), the latter agrees it would be the
same. More notes from the commentary as paraphrased say: the Buddha
suggests, by his question, that Dighankakhas assertion involves an
inherent contradiction, for he cannot reject everything without also
rejecting his own view, and this would entail the opposite position,
namely that something is acceptable to him. However, though Dighankha
recognises the implication of the Buddhas question, he continues to
insist on his view that nothing is acceptable to him.
…..
As the notes also point out, having clearly identified the view above with
annihilationism, annihilationism is close to non-lust,etc, because,
though involving a wrong conception of self, it leads to disenchantment
with existence.
…..
B.Bodhi again suggests that most sceptics, while professing a rejection
of all views, surreptitiously adopt some definite view, while a few
abandon their scepticism to seek a path to personal knowledge. He also
suggests that if [this view] is understood as radical scepticism, it
could also be seen as close to non-lust in that it expresses
disillusionment with the attempt to buttress the attachment to existence
with a theoretical foundation and thus represents a tentative, though
mistaken, step in the direction of dispassion.
…..
Hmm, interesting. What are your comments on these comments? It may be a
little simpler for those of us who just follow the ancient commentary with
confidence in its value;-).

It seems like Im getting carried away with the sutta and commentary notes
at the expense of your posts, but Ill come back to them, I promise.
…..
In brief, Dighanakha is shown the danger of his view. From the sutta:

A wise man among those recluses and brahmins who holds the doctrine and
view Nothing is acceptable to me considers thus: If I obstinately
adhere to my view Nothing is acceptable to me and declare: Only this is
true, anything else is wrong, then I may clash with the two others: with
a recluse or brahmin who holds the doctrine and view Everything is
acceptable to me and with a recluse or brhamin who holds the doctrine and
view something is acceptable to me, something is not acceptable to me.
[i.e eternalist and partial eternalist views accord. to the comy].

So, Foreseeing for himself clashes, disputes, quarrels, and vexation, he
abandons that view and does not take up some other view.
…..
At this point, D., Im rather perplexed. Usually people use a signature
line or lines because they include useful reminders or a particular
message. I assume that by identifying with these lines and the name too,
that you see value in this particular view. Is this right? Surely, we are
none of us interested in views that just lead to clashes, disputes etc?
…..
How does Dighanakha abandon his wrong view in the sutta? He listens to the
Buddhas teaching about how the body consists of impermanent elements
only, which are not self.

It should be regarded as impermanent, as suffering, as a disease, as a
tumour, as a dart, as a calmity, as an affliction, as alien, as
disintegrating, as void, as not self. when one regards this body thus,
one abandons desire for the body, affection for the body, subservience to
the body.

Feelings too are impermanent, conditioned, dependently arisen, subject to
destruction, vanishing, fading away, and ceasing. Only one feeling arises
as a time, experiences its object and falls away.
…..
By understanding the nature of these realities for what they are, there is
dispassion and the well-taught noble disciple becomes liberated.

A bhikkhu whose mind is liberated thus, Aggivessana, sides with none and
disputes with none; he employs the speech currently used in the world
without adhering to it.
…..
Now you mentioned in one of your posts that it is only from the
commentators that we get the idea that the Buddhas Dhamma has to do with
paramatha dhammas and citta-khanas. These terms are not found in the
Tipitaka……

Whilst Im sure youre right about the actual terms (for dhammas/ultimate
realities and momentary cittas), we can see that even in this sutta of
your choice presumably, that:

a) Dighanakha becomes a sotapanna (and Sariputta an arahant) whilst
listening to the Buddha explain the danger of wrong views and the
impermanence and so on of elements, of dhammas, which are conditioned and
devoid of self.

Quoting again from the sutta, he employs the speech currently used in
the world without adhering to it. This means we shouldnt get hung up on
the language or terminology thats used as I understand it. For those
brought up or trained in Pali, this is their natural language and the wise
will understand the deep meanings when they hear it. For others of us,
this will be in English, or Thai or any other language.

Many of the terms used by the ancient commentators may be different from
those used in the suttas, but it is the underlying meaning that is
important and for this we need to read a sutta, a Jataka tale or an
Abhidhamma extract, for example, in the light of the essence of the
Buddhas teaching: the development of satipatthana and the Four Noble
Truths.
…..
In yet another note to these lines about the speech currently used…,
we read:

MA quotes a verse that says that an arahant may use the words I and
mine without giving rise to conceit or misconceiving them as referring
to a self or ego (SN 1:5/i.14). See too DN 9.53/i.202, where the Buddha
says of expressions employing the word self: These are merely names,
expressions, turns of speech, designations in common use in the world,
which the Tathagata uses without misapprehending them.”
…..
This post is already long and Ive only touched on a few of your comments.
One last one on the meaning of independence which you raised, with a
suggestion that some of us are more/less independently-minded.

We read in the sutta at the end:
But in the wanderer Dighanakha the spotless immaculate vision of the
Dhamma arose: All that is subject to arising is subject to cessation.
The wanderer Dighankha saw the Dhamma, attained the Dhamma, understood the
Dhamma, fathomed the Dhamma; he crossed beyond doubt, did away with
perplexity, gained intrepidity, and *became independent of others in the
Teachers Dispensation*.

Aparapaccayo – independent, not relying on others, as a result of giving
up wrong views of self, of annihilationism, eternalism etc.
…..
Another note to a similar passage to the one quoted above in MN56:
MA: Vision of Dhamma (dhammacakkhu) is the path of stream-entry. the
phrase All that is subject to arising is subject to cessation shows the
mode in which the path arises. The path takes cessation (Nibbana) as its
object, but its function is to penetrate all conditioned states as subject
to arising and cessation
…..
Let us hope we all learn to become independent by penetrating all
conditioned states as subject to arising and cessation and relinquishing
any wrong views that our worlds consist of anything other than paramatha
dhammas or impermanent elements without self or core.

This is the way that panna (wisdom) can really understand and eradicate
our own kilesa (defilements), including any present ignorance, rather than
being over-concerned about others lack of wisdom or independence;-).
…..
One more note: The Dhamma referred to here is the Four Noble Truths.
Having seen these truths for himself, he has cut off the fetter of doubt
and now possesses the view that is noble and emancipating and (which)
leads the one who practises in accordance with it to the complete
destruction of suffering (MN 48.7)
…..
Im sure youre far more familiar with most of this sutta than I am, so I
thank you for your patience in following this post as I reflect on it and
share extracts with others less familiar with it.

Of course Ill welcome any comments or feedback or healthy criticism
even;-)

Metta,

Sarah

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