Monday, July 13, 2020

The Sutra on Grasping and Worrying

Maurice O'Connell Walshe (trans.), Upadaparitassana Sutra: "Grasping and Worrying" (SN 22.7 PTS: S iii 15 CDB i 865), 2007, Pali title based on the PTS (Feer) edition; Dhr. Seven (ed.), Wisdom Quarterly

I'm not greedy for power. I just want power.
[At Savatthi the Blessed One said:] "Meditators, I will explain to you grasping and worrying, as well as not-grasping and not-worrying [letting go and ease]...

"Here, meditators, the ordinary uninstructed worldling, with no regard for noble ones [1], unskilled and untrained in the Dharma (Doctrine/Teaching) of the noble ones... of those who are worthy [2]... regards body as the self, the self as having a body, body as being in the self, or the self as being in the body.

"Change occurs to this person's body, and it becomes different. Because of this change and alteration in this body, consciousness is preoccupied with bodily change. Due to this preoccupation with bodily change, worried thoughts arise and persist, laying a firm hold on one's mind/heart.

"Through this mental obsession one becomes fearful and distressed, and being full of desire (craving) [3] and attachment (clinging), one is worried. One regards feeling as the self... change occurs to one's feeling... one is worried.
  • [The same is then said with regard to "perception, the mental formations, and consciousness."]
Hey, this is much better: letting go and peace.
In this way, meditators, grasping and worrying arise. And how, meditators, do not-grasping and not-worrying [letting go and ease] arise?

"Here, meditators, the well-instructed noble disciple, who has regard for the noble ones, is skilled and trained in the Dharma of the noble ones... of those who are worthy, does not regard body as the self, the self as having a body, body as being in the self, or the self as being in the body.

"Change occurs to this person's body, and it becomes different. But despite this change and alteration in the body, one's consciousness is not preoccupied with bodily change... Not being full of desire and attachment (craving and clinging), one is not worried.
  • [The same is said with regard to "feeling, perception, the mental formations, and consciousness."]
"In this way, meditators, grasping and worrying do not arise."

NOTES
1. According to MA [the Commentary to the Majjhima Nikaya or Middle Length Discourses] on MN 1, the "noble ones" (ariya) are buddhas [but not] pacceka-buddhas [nonteaching buddhas] (cf. SN 12.22, n. 1) and disciples (savakas). "With no regard..." means "not seeing with knowledge" (├▒anena adassavi), i.e., seeing them with physical eye but not knowing them for what they are. See The Sutra on the Root of Existence [MN 1] translated by Bhikkhu Bodhi (BPS.lk 1980), p. 42.
2. Sappurisa: MA (as in n. 1) says these are pacceka-buddhas and disciples. Alternatively it is stated that the "noble ones" may refer to [teaching] buddhas alone, or that both terms may refer to all three classes of individuals.
3. Apekhava ca upadaya ca: KS ["The Book of the Kindred Sayings," translation of the Samyutta Nikaya, Vol. III, by F. L. Woodward, 1924, PTS] has "owing to vexation and clinging," but apekhava = "full of longing or desire" (Pali-English Dictionary [by T.W. Rhys Davids and William Stede, 1921-1925, PTS] s.v. apekhavant).

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