Chāndogyopaniṣad and MN 18

I was reading the Chāndogyopaniṣad today and I came across an interesting passage.

cittaṃ vāva saṃ kalpādbhūyo yadā vai cetayate’tha saṃkalpayate’tha manasyatyatha vācamīrayati tāmu nāmnīrayati nāmni mantrā ekaṃ bhavanti mantreṣu karmāṇi || 7.5.1 ||

  1. Intelligence is certainly superior to will-power. A person first comprehends, and then he wills. Next he thinks it over again and again, and then he directs the organ of speech. Finally he makes the organ of speech utter the name. All the mantras then merge in the names, and all the actions merge in the mantras.

Word-for-word explanation:
Cittam vāva saṅkalpāt bhūyaḥ, intelligence is certainly higher than saṅkalpa [will-power]; yadā vai cetayate, when one comprehends; atha saṅkalpayate, then one wills; atha, then; manasyati, he thinks; atha, then; vācam īrayati, he directs the organ of speech; tām u nāmni īrayati, he makes speech utter the name; nāmni, in the names; mantrāḥ, all the mantras; ekam bhavanti, are united; mantreṣu karmāṇi, the actions [are united] in the mantras.

Do you think MN 18 has in mind the Chāndogyopaniṣad?

Eye consciousness arises dependent on the eye and sights. The meeting of the three is contact. Contact is a condition for feeling. What you feel, you perceive. What you perceive, you think about. What you think about, you proliferate. What you proliferate about is the source from which a person is beset by concepts of identity that emerge from the proliferation of perceptions. This occurs with respect to sights known by the eye in the past, future, and present.


Do you mean in the sense that it starts off in a similar way, but the Buddha’s version of the process winds up in a negative, rather than positive, outcome?

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Yes that is what I had in mind. MN 18 seems to be rephrasing the passage from the Upanishad.

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The Buddha was a salesman:

" The Buddha used numerous religious terms which are also used in Hinduism, though he often used them in different and novel ways. Many terms which Buddhism shares with Hinduism carry a different meaning in the Buddhist tradition. For example, in the Samaññaphala Sutta, the Buddha is depicted presenting a notion of the “three knowledges” (tevijja) – a term also used in the Vedic tradition to describe knowledge of the Vedas – as being not texts, but things that he had experienced.[44]

Of the three knowledges, only the final ‘extinction of cankers’ (the vipassana process) is necessary for awakening, and is a feature unique to Buddhism.