Dhamma or dhamma in SN 55.40 & SA 885

In SA 855, a somewhat close parallel to SN 55.40, there is still some important ambiguity at the end of the sutta.
It is about the dhamma.

This is what is said in SN 55.40:

For him, living thus heedfully, joy arises. In one who has joy, contentment of mano arises. In one who has contentment of mano, the body becomes serene. When the body is serene, one feels pleasure. Feeling pleasure, the citta becomes centered. When the citta is centered, phenomena become clear (manifest) .
Tassa evaṃ appamattassa viharato pāmojjaṃ jāyati. Pamuditassa pīti jāyati. Pītimanassa kāyo passambhati. Passaddhakāyo sukhaṃ vediyati. Sukhino cittaṃ samādhiyati. Samāhite citte dhammā pātubhavanti.

In SA 885 though, it seems that the dhamma refers to the Teaching.
~A Dhamma that would not deteriorate among the Sangha, and become clear (manifest).~ ?

Could anyone proficient in Chinese settle this riddle ?

There is another occurrence to this extract at SN 35.97, with an incomplete parallel in SA 277, if that can help.

1 Like

if you DPR search for
"sukhino cittaṃ samādhiyati"
instead of
"samāhite citte dhammā pātubhavanti"

you’ll find a lot more references

from SN 42.13:
following the 7sb+ formula, is “dhamma samādhi”, which is a clearing up of perplexity and wrong views. So I’d say it has to be Dhamma, not phenomena

(bodhi trans)

59“There is, headman, concentration of the Dhamma. If you were to obtain concentration of mind in that, you might abandon this state of perplexity.363 “” And what, headman, is concentration of the Dhamma?


60“Herein, headman, having abandoned the destruction of life, the noble disciple abstains from the destruction of life. Having abandoned the taking of what is not given, he abstains from taking what is not given. Having abandoned sexual misconduct, he abstains from sexual misconduct. Having abandoned false speech, he abstains from false speech. [351] Having abandoned divisive speech, he abstains from divisive speech. Having abandoned harsh speech, he abstains from harsh speech. Having abandoned idle chatter, he abstains from idle chatter. Having abandoned covetousness, he is uncovetous. Having abandoned ill will and hatred, he has a mind without ill will. Having abandoned wrong view, he is one of right view.

61“Then, headman, that noble disciple—who is thus devoid of covetousness, devoid of ill will, unconfused, clearly comprehending, ever mindful—dwells pervading one quarter with a mind imbued with lovingkindness, likewise the second quarter, the third quarter, and the fourth quarter. Thus above, below, across, and everywhere, and to all as to himself, he dwells pervading the entire world with a mind imbued with lovingkindness, vast, exalted, measureless, without hostility, without ill will.

62“He reflects thus: ‘This teacher holds such a doctrine and view as this: “There is nothing given, nothing offered … no ascetics and brahmins faring and practising rightly in the world who, having realized this world and the other world for themselves by direct knowledge, make them known to others.” If the word of this good teacher is true, for me it yet counts as incontrovertible 364 “” that I do not oppress anyone whether frail or firm. In both respects I have made a lucky throw:365 “” since I am restrained in body, speech, and mind, and since, with the breakup of the body, after death, I shall be reborn in a good destination, in a heavenly world.’ [As he reflects thus] gladness is born. When one is gladdened, rapture is born. When the mind is elated by rapture the body becomes tranquil. One tranquil in body experiences happiness. The mind of one who is happy becomes concentrated.

63“This, headman, is concentration of the Dhamma. [352] If you were to obtain concentration of mind in that, you might abandon that state of perplexity.

in AN 5.26, liberation base (vimutti ayatana) corresponds with where “dhamma” appears. Since it’s talking about vimutti for arahantship, clearly, it must be Dhamma as liberative teaching, not just any phenomena dhamma. Also note in this passage Dhamma-vicaya sambojjhanga here again is Dhamma that was heard and memorized, a liberative teaching, not “phenomena”.

(1) First jhāna possible while hearing live dhamma talk

idha, bhikkhave, bhikkhuno
Here, monks, (for a) monk,
satthā dhammaṃ deseti
(a) teacher (of) dhamma teaches (him),
aññataro vā garuṭṭhāniyo sabrahmacārī.
{or a} certain fellow monk [teaches him],
yathā yathā, bhikkhave, tassa bhikkhuno
in whatever way , *********, (for the) monk (that)
satthā dhammaṃ deseti
(a) teacher (of) dhamma teaches (him),
aññataro vā garuṭṭhāniyo sabrahmacārī.
{or a} certain fellow monk [teaches him],

(refrain: 7sb → jhāna → arahantship)

tathā tathā so tasmiṃ
like-that, accordingly, he ******
dhamme attha-paṭisaṃvedī ca hoti
{feels [inspiration]} in Dhamma meaning and
dhamma-paṭisaṃvedī ca.
{feels [inspiration]} in Dhamma,
tassa attha-paṭisaṃvedino dhamma-paṭisaṃvedino
as he {feels [inspiration] in} Dhamma-meaning (and) Dhamma,
pāmojjaṃ jāyati.
joy arises.
pamuditassa pīti jāyati.
(When he is) joyful, rapture arises.
pīti-manassa kāyo passambhati.
(with) rapturous-mind, (the) body (becomes) tranquil.
passaddha-kāyo sukhaṃ vedeti.
(with) tranquil-body, pleasure (he) feels.
sukhino cittaṃ samādhiyati.
(For one feeling) pleasure, (the) mind (becomes) concentrated.
idaṃ, bhikkhave, paṭhamaṃ vimutt-āyatanaṃ
This, monks, (is the) first liberation-basis,
yattha bhikkhuno appamattassa
by means of which, if a monk {dwells} assiduous,
ātāpino pahitattassa viharato
ardent, resolute, ********,
a-vimuttaṃ vā cittaṃ vimuccati,
(his) un-liberated ** mind (is) liberated,
a-parik-khīṇā vā āsavā parik-khayaṃ gacchanti,
un-destroyed ** asinine-inclinations, utterly-destroyed (they) become.
An-anuppattaṃ vā an-uttaraṃ yogak-khemaṃ
(the) un-reached un-surpassed security-from-the-yoke
(he) reaches.”

AN 6.10 6 recollections (buddha, dhamma, sangha…) leads to Dhamma stream entry, not phenomenal entry

AN 6, 1. paṭhamapaṇṇāsakaṃ, 1. āhuneyyavaggo, 10. mahānāmasuttaṃ (AN 6.10), para. 2 ⇒
“yo so, mahānāma, ariyasāvako āgataphalo viññātasāsano, so iminā vihārena bahulaṃ viharati. idha, mahānāma, ariyasāvako tathāgataṃ anussarati — ‘itipi so bhagavā arahaṃ sammāsambuddho vijjācaraṇasampanno sugato lokavidū anuttaro purisadammasārathi satthā devamanussānaṃ buddho bhagavā’ti. yasmiṃ, mahānāma, samaye ariyasāvako tathāgataṃ anussarati nevassa tasmiṃ samaye rāgapariyuṭṭhitaṃ cittaṃ hoti, na dosapariyuṭṭhitaṃ cittaṃ hoti, na mohapariyuṭṭhitaṃ cittaṃ hoti; ujugatamevassa tasmiṃ samaye cittaṃ hoti tathāgataṃ ārabbha. ujugatacitto kho pana, mahānāma, ariyasāvako labhati atthavedaṃ, labhati dhammavedaṃ, labhati dhammūpasaṃhitaṃ pāmojjaṃ. pamuditassa pīti jāyati, pītimanassa kāyo passambhati, passaddhakāyo sukhaṃ vediyati, sukhino cittaṃ samādhiyati. ayaṃ vuccati, mahānāma — ‘ariyasāvako visamagatāya pajāya samappatto viharati, sabyāpajjāya pajāya abyāpajjo viharati, dhammasotaṃ samāpanno buddhānussatiṃ bhāveti”’.
“Mahānāma, when a noble disciple has reached the fruit and understood the instructions they frequently practice this kind of meditation. Firstly, a noble disciple recollects the Realized One: ‘That Blessed One is perfected, a fully awakened Buddha, accomplished in knowledge and conduct, holy, knower of the world, supreme guide for those who wish to train, teacher of gods and humans, awakened, blessed.’ When a noble disciple recollects the Realized One their mind is not full of greed, hate, and delusion. At that time their mind is unswerving, based on the Realized One. A noble disciple whose mind is unswerving finds joy in the meaning and the teaching, and finds joy connected with the teaching. When they’re joyful, rapture springs up. When the mind is full of rapture, the body becomes tranquil. When the body is tranquil, they feel bliss. And when they’re blissful, the mind becomes immersed in samādhi. This is called a noble disciple who lives in balance among people who are unbalanced, and lives untroubled among people who are troubled. They’ve entered the stream of the teaching and develop the recollection of the Buddha.
1 Like

Thanks a lot @frankk . That is really helpful. I will definitely study it closely.

1 Like

Hi @frankk

Let us examine SN 42.13 and MA 20.
Here what is called the “Dhamma meditation (samadhi) called abandoning” [Bingenheimer], is not the result of the citta “immersed in samadhi”, [Sujato - “SN 35.97]”, but instead, the way to arrive at that immersion.
In other words, it is because the monk follows the Dhamma/Teaching that he arrives at this citta samadhi.

In SN 55.40 however, we are talking of the Dhamma/dhamma? that is perceived as the result of this immersion of the citta in samadhi.

There is quite an important nuance to grasp at here, I suppose.
Idem for AN 6.10

In other words, it is because a monk follows the right Dhamma/teaching, that he reaches citta samadhi, through the different steps of piti, sukha, etc. Then he can experience the Dhamma/dhamma ??? clearly (samāhite citte dhammā pātubhavanti) .

The question then, remains the same: "is this the Dhamma/Teaching (as it seems to be in SA 855 -法、僧不壞淨,聖戒成就亦如是說 ), or is this the dhamma/phenomena, as in SN 55.40 ?

What does 法、僧不壞淨,聖戒成就亦如是說 exactly mean ?


1 Like

If even B. Bodhi has SN 55.40, that part as “teaching”, then should there be any doubt it’s Dhamma?

It’s by the Dhamma remembered with sati-sambojjhanga that ones does Dhamma-teaching/vicaya-sambojjhanga, by means of which one attains samadhi-bojjhangha, reflects upon concentrated mind and realizes the truth of Dhamma with upekkha-sambojjhanga, experiencing “Dhamma-samadhi”. Directly experience the truth of reality leading to liberation from Dukkha.

IMO, it must be that way, and not “dhamma” as phenomena. Think about the scientists with strong samadhi, non-buddhists with strong samadhi, but without the Buddha’s wisdom, their experiencing of dhamma/phenomena does not lead to nirvana, an end of rebirth in samsara.

I asked Dr. William Chu, Chinese EBT expert, he said

Yes, the Dhamma/fa in SA855 is indubitably “Teaching.” The SA formula of sequential training ends with "…with the body at ease/serene, one experiences pleasure; having experienced pleasure, the mind becomes centered. A noble disciple who is centered in the mind is called “one who is heedful (lit. not falling prey to heedlessness), and one who has incorruptible confidence in the…Buddha…Dhamma…Sangha…and the noble Precepts (the four characteristics of stream entry).”

I am not the expert you are looking for, but:

於空閑林中,樹下 露地,晝夜禪思,精勤方便,
In an empty dwelling within the woods, next to the trees, with the wet earth, day and night he contemplates, with concentrated diligence and appropriate methodology,

[I can’t follow the text here, something about “the establishment of victory, the auspicious departure of cessation;” perhaps] [and] there-follows appropriate delight; on account of [this] appropriate delight,

the body is calmed, on account of this calmed body, the heart feels comforted

若聖弟子心定者,名不放逸,法、僧不壞淨,聖戒成就 亦如是說。
If the sage’s disciple’s heart is resolute, he is called heedful of the law, the monk is unspoiled and clean, the divine precepts accomplished, also thus so said.

This isn’t really what you are looking for, but it might be all you get.

Hopefully this inspires someone to correct any errors in the Chinese above they see.

Here we go @frankk !

That is exactly what I was looking for - thanks a lot.

Indeed, SN 55.40 and SA is the only paralell where Dhamma appears at the end of the extract - as in SN 35.97, or SN 42.13 2(with no parallel on this particular matter) :

Usually, in other occurences of this extract in the Nikayas, (which don’t refer to this matter, as AN 6.10), the last part does not appear - that is to say :

It usually stops short at:
"… the mind is immersed in samādhi."
as in SN 35.97 stated above.

Dr. Chu’s translation of the corresponding part of SN 55.40, in SA 885 is therefore preponderant, for this last extract in both texts, seems to be the only parallel that adresses the issue.
For instance, SN 42.13 and MA, 20 do not have this dhamma stuff at the end. And SN 35.97 which addresses this last dhamma part, does not have a corresponding parallel in SA 227.

This translation, as well as @Coemgenu 's translation definitely prove that this “dhamma” is about the Teaching.

Note: I still find Dr. Chu’s translation a bit interptetative. Could it be possible to have a mere transliteration of the Chinese pericope?

Thanks @coemgenu !

I didn’t actually see this much better translation before I tried my amateur hand.

“The monk is unspoiled and clean” vs “buddha, dhamma sangha”. What a difference!

The Vietnamese also has “Buddha, dhamma, sangha”. How the Chinese means this I do not know.

To summarize:

SN 55.40

And when blissful, the mind becomes immersed in samādhi.
Sukhino cittaṃ samādhiyati.
When the mind is immersed in samādhi, principles (Ed., Teaching/Dhamma) become clear.
Samāhite citte dhammā pātubhavanti.
Because principles (Ed., Teaching/Dhamma) have become clear, you’re considered to live diligently.

SA 855
若聖弟子心定者,名不放逸,法、僧不壞淨,聖戒成就 亦如是說。


If the sage’s disciple’s heart (Ed., citta) is resolute, he is called heedful of the law (Ed., Teaching/Dhamma) , the monk is unspoiled and clean, the divine precepts accomplished, also thus so said.

Dr. Chu:

A noble disciple who is centered in the mind is called “one not falling prey to heedlessness", and one who has incorruptible confidence in the… Buddha (Ed., ?) … Dhamma… Sangha…and the noble Precepts (the four characteristics of stream entry).”

Somewhat literal translation from suttacentral Chinese-English lookup:

聖 If 聖弟子 the disciples of Buddha 心 mind 定者 established, 名 ? 不放逸 not negligent, 法、dharma**,** 僧 sangha 不壞 not deteriorate 淨 clear.
聖戒 Holy precepts 成就 achieved 亦如是說 also explains this way.

Sounds like in the Agama, dhamma really means the Teaching. And we could pretty much infer, that it means the same in the Nikaya.
Particularly when we read in SN 42.13 / MA 20, how the noble eightfold path (Dharma) is unfolding, to almost reach that final result.

Thanks to you all.

“Is named”, “to be named”, afaik, or “a name”.

Or substitute “named” for “called”.

Once again, afaik.

Have a look at the Portuguese, Chinese, German, & Russian translations of the Pāli here.

They all interpret “the law” as “phenomenality”. None of them listed above interpret dhamma as “Dhamma”.

Oh dear!

You’re right @coemgenu !
In the SN, dhammā are plural.
I think Chu has it a bit wrong.

There is a comma in the text after 不放逸, < (not negligent, <) that is misleading.
It should read 不放逸 not negligent (of the) 法、dharma**,** (comma), as you rightly translated it.
Dharma ( 法 fǎ: dharma), as the principles (of the dhr-man that is paticcasamupada and paticcasamuppana).

Dhammā is in the plural in the SN, anyway.

“Phenomenalism” (phenomena) is too reductive of salayatana and the following nidanas - it has too much to do with experience through sensationalism only.

I like principles.
The principles of the Law - aka, the principles of the function of the system of paticcasamuppada, in its entirety, that is to say paticcasamuppana.

Following the right eightfold path (Dharma as Teaching) , as in SN 42.13 and MA 20, brings the fulfilment of samadhi. Viz, the knowledge of the dharmas as principles.

Makes much more sense.

Thanks again to you all.
Nice shot Coemgenu. Continue the good translation work (in progress :)). Invaluable.

Dear @frankk, I still would like to rely on Dr. Chu’s translations. I have heard that the man has translated the all Madhyamāgama. Could that be possible ?
Can’t blame him for this misplaced comma.

And thanks to our most beloved Bhante @Sujato, who provides us with such good new terms - and who is going to be on the grill of potshots for quite a while.
Noblesse oblige.

He was a contributor to the Numata edition of the first volume of MA. But if he has translated more than this, it is welcome news indeed! If anyone has links to the sources I’d love to see them.

I don’t have a link, but an email on this page, where you can contact Dr. Chu.

Okay, well the bio page clears it up. It says he translated the “bulk” of the Madhyagama for Numata. In the Madhyamaga itself he is credited with preparing the initial draft of the third vagga, that is, about 5% of the text. It seems a copy writer has been a little over enthusiastic!

He might have translated more Agamas than just from the MA, but it would have the same licensing problem being with Numata.

Maybe with suttacentral becoming more widely known, we’ll get someone with time and interest to do some translation of Agama to English. There’s 1.4Billion Chinese, and more of them are becoming aware and interested in EBT.

Is it possible that in this particular context the difference may be a difference-without-difference?

For instance, if the dharma is clear to someone, then phenomenality may well be equally “clear” as a result. As in, you can describe the “clearing” either as law-understanding or phenomenality-understanding. As in, both are equally clear upon realization of one of them.

1 Like

I suppose that what is asked is to understand paticcasamuppana, through the right eightfold path.

I’m not sure I want to get into that phenomenalism rhetoric again.
Much has been said. Little has been proved.
I’ll pass, if you don’t mind.
Each one its own kamma, I suppose.