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Can sensual desire and ill will be included in "being restless" and can doubt be included in "being sluggish" in SN 46.53 and SA 714?


#1

Hello everyone. I was reading some of Ven Analayo’s studies, and I happened to stumble on the topic of the five hindrances and the seven factors of awakening. There, he talked about SN 46.53 and its parallels in Chinese and Tibetan.

What caught my interest was when he said that being sluggish and restless (agitated) refers to the hindrances of dullness and drowsiness, and restlessness and remorse respectively. Piya Tan also agrees in identifying being sluggish and restless with those mentioned hindrances.

In Pali, the words for being sluggish and restless are “līna” and “uddhata”; in Chinese, they are “微劣” and “掉”. So, I can’t but wonder if the hindrances of sensual desire and ill will can be included in being restless since a person will likely be restless or agitated when he or she has sensual desire or when he or she is angry or feeling annoyed by someone or something. Likewise with the hindrance of doubt for being sluggish since a doubtful person may stop doing something out of doubt. I find it really helpful that sensual desire and ill will should be dealt with by calming the mind, while doubt should be dealt with by investigation.

In other words, what I would like to know is if being sluggish and restless (“līna” and “uddhata” in Pali and “微劣” and “掉” in (Agama) Chinese) in the contexts of both SN 46.53 and SA 714 only refer to the hindrances of dullness and drowsiness, and restlessness and remorse, or if they are just general terms that can be applied to the other hindrances as well.

Any thoughts ? (any relevant opinion is welcomed, especially if such opinion is based on knowledge of either Pali or Chinese).


#2

The hindrances have some interaction with each other. In other words, one hindrance can lead to and increase another. Surely a Venn diagram could be draw.

However, Pāli and Chinese aren’t free of synonyms. Sluggishness in this case is referring to the hindrance of drowsiness. Each hindrance is referring to a distinct state.

Calming the mind for sensual desire and ill will is helpful as well as investigating doubt. The Buddha prescribed the practice of asubha for sensual desire and loving kindness for ill will. Doubt is overcome by developing faith and, as you said, dhammavicaya – investigating the Dhamma. All the hindrances are temporarily overcome upon attaining and sustaining the first jhāna.


#3

To think such would imply that non-return is impossible, since sensual desire and ill-will are lower fetters and restlessness is a higher fetter. :thinking:

How could that interpretation work?

I’d be more inclined to say that sensual desire and ill will contribute to restlessness (watch any teenager).


#4

I specifically said in the title of my topic “in SN 46.53 and SA 714”, so I only talked about being sluggish and restless in the context these two versions of the same text, not in the context of the fetters. This is precisely why I mentioned those two words both in Pali and (Agama) Chinese.

As for the five higher fetters, as far as I know, are only mentioned in Theravada EBT and Chinese DA 9 of Dharmaguptaka, and not anywhere else in the realm of EBT (conceit and ignorance are agreed among extant early Buddhist texts to be something that must be eradicated, but they don’t occur together as a set of grouping like how they appear in the grouping of the five higher fetters). So, make whatever of that.


#5

In example one can think like this;

  • when mind is with doubt it is correct time to develop investigation, this is because investigation is for penetrating with wisdom, knowledge, understanding and to that extent dispelling doubt i would assume.

  • when mind is with lust it is appropriate time to develop equanimity, this because if one develops perception of unattractiveness which is to be developed when mind is with lust then by the means of such development mind becomes established in either loathing or equanimity. AN 7 46: Second on Perceptions

the correct time to develop factor of investigation is when mind is dull/sluggish
the correct time to develop the factor of equanimity is when mind is agitated/excited/restlesss

in this way one could divide the hindrances by twofold classification; associated with sluggish and associated with excited mind. However this is not what the Aggi Sutta does, the classification therein is not a classification by the hindrances but a classification by timely development of the factors of enlightenment. Therefore it is wrong to say that one hindrance is included in the other.

That’s how i understand it.


#6

No, I didn’t say that the hindrances of sensual desire and ill will are included in the hindrances of dullness and drowsiness, and restlessness and remorse. What I said was:

In other words, what I would like to know is if being sluggish and restless (“līna” and “uddhata” in Pali and “微劣” and “掉” in (Agama) Chinese) in the contexts of both SN 46.53 and SA 714 only refer to the hindrances of dullness and drowsiness, and restlessness and remorse, or if they are just general terms that can be applied to the other hindrances as well.


#7

Ah, ok, so your inquiry is more about excess vs. insufficient energy then? SN46.53 is more or less advice about the middle way between restless and sluggish.

I think of the quality of sensual desire and ill-will as being more related to direction and focus than level of activity. For example, lazily watching porn videos alone on a couch can be seen as restlessness, but I see it as a misdirection of energy and focus. One is too lazy and sluggish to work on Right View, so one slides into Wrong View with little effort. When viewed that way, sensual desire and ill-will can be understood as lacking right effort. I.e., they tend to the sluggish level of rightness.

Higher fetter restlessness, which as you say isn’t covered in SN46.53, is different. That restlessness is agitation at the unsatisfactoriness of the world. I.e. there is a remaining conceit that identity has some purpose other than fostering craving.


#8

ok my mistake :slight_smile: i think you can infer the answer from my post affirming your proposition but idk anything about chinese so fwiw.