A note on the idiom evaṁ sampadamidaṁ

Evaṁ sampadamidaṁ is a reasonably common idiom in the Suttas, yet many translations seem to miss the point.

It is consistently used in contexts where someone acts ill-advisedly and must face the consequences. It doesn’t mean just “so it is”, or “in such a case”. Rather, sampadā means “consequence”, and the idiom means “such is the consequence”, or more idiomatically, “that’s what you get”. IB Horner got it right, rendering it “this results thus”. And in Ven Bodhi’s more recent update of the Majjhima, he similarly uses “befall”.

For example, see the stock passage where monks don’t understand a discourse from the Buddha, then go to find some other monk to explain it to them, eg. AN 10.172:

Evaṃsampadamidaṃ āyasmantānaṃ satthari sammukhībhūte …
Such is the consequence for the venerables. Though you were face to face with the Buddha, you passed him by, imagining that you should ask me about this matter.

In other cases, it refers to the more dire consequences of slandering the Buddha (MN 12):

taṃ, sāriputta, vācaṃ appahāya taṃ cittaṃ appahāya taṃ diṭṭhiṃ appaṭinissajjitvā yathābhataṃ nikkhitto evaṃ niraye.
Unless they give up that speech and that thought, and let go of that view, they will be cast down to hell.
Seyyathāpi, sāriputta, bhikkhu sīlasampanno samādhisampanno paññāsampanno diṭṭheva dhamme aññaṃ ārādheyya, evaṃ sampadamidaṃ, sāriputta, vadāmi.
Just as a mendicant accomplished in ethics, convergence, and wisdom would reach enlightenment in this very life, such is the consequence, I say.

There’s a more complex idiom at MN 49:

Please, dear sir, do exactly what Brahmā says. Don’t go beyond the word of Brahmā. If you do, then the consequence for you will be like that of a person who’s approached by Lady Luck but wards her off with a staff, or someone who shoves away the ground as they fall down the chasm into hell.

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Ooh! What’s this -

And in Ven Bodhi’s more recent update of the Majjhima

When is this coming out? Please don’t tease, Bhante!

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Sorry, I didn’t mean to imply one was pending. I haven’t kept track of the publication history, but I do know that Ven Bodhi has made corrections and updates from time to time.

I use local digital versions of Ven Bodhi’s translations. These were prepared for use by one of the monks at Bodhinyana. But they don’t have publication metadata with them. As I was writing this essay yesterday, I noticed that this passage was quite different in the version I have on my laptop and the one on my desktop. I have no idea how I came to have two different versions, but there it is. Anyway, I also have a list of proposed corrections to the MN translation by Ven Nyanatusita, and when I consulted this I noticed that one of the versions agreed with this. So it must have been revised in accord with these notes. I don’t know when that was.

The depressing thing is that, for MN at least, I’ve been referring to the older edition. Oops!

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Does it mean I have to ordain to gain access to these?

(I hope you realise I’m joking…)

According to Wisdom it was first published in 1995, 2nd edition in 2001, 3rd edition in 2005 and 4th is 2009. But I don’t know if BB made changes in each new edition. I do recall though that when I was in a sutta study group several years ago, I discovered that the copy I have, which is the 2nd edition 2001, had differences (in terms of some translations for Pali words) compared to a copy someone else had (but I don’t recall which editon they had).

Off the subject, but for anyone who doesn’t know, his translation of the Suttanipata is due out in September of this year.

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No, you just have to keep buying new copies of the MN… :slight_smile:

Seriously, I noticed this a few years ago when I participated in a (real life!) sutta discussion series. I had a version I bought in 2007, which I presume is the 2005 (third) edition and some of the key terms were translated quite differently in earlier versions.

First Published in 1995
Second Edition 2001
Third Edition 2005
Fourth Edition 2009

Oh no, I’m out of date… :frowning:

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