How to translate: eko'haṃ jhāyaṃ sukham-anu-bodhiṃ, (SN 4.25, AN 10.26)

(daughters ask buddha why is is forest doing jhāna)

♦ atha kho taṇhā ca arati ca ragā ca māradhītaro
Then Māra’s daughters—Taṇhā, Aratī, and Ragā—
yena bhagavā tenupasaṅkamiṃsu; upasaṅkamitvā ekamantaṃ aṭṭhaṃsu.
approached the Blessed One and stood to one side.
ekamantaṃ ṭhitā kho taṇhā māradhītā bhagavantaṃ gāthāya ajjhabhāsi —
Standing to one side, Māra’s daughter Taṇhā addressed the Blessed One in verse:
♦ “sokā-vatiṇṇo nu vanamhi jhāyasi,
“(Is it because you are) sunk in sorrow, (that you are in the) woods doing-jhāna?
♦ vittaṃ nu jīno uda patthayāno.
{is it Because} wealth ** (you’ve) lost or (you) pine (for it)?
♦ āguṃ nu gāmasmimakāsi kiñci,
{are you} guilty [of crime committed] (in the) village?
♦ kasmā janena na karosi sakkhiṃ.
Why don’t you make friends with people?
♦ sakkhī na sampajjati kenaci te”ti.
Why don’t you form any intimate ties?”
[The Blessed One:]
[The Blessed One:]
♦ “atthassa pattiṃ hadayassa santiṃ,
Goal's-attainment (and the) heart's peace,
♦ jetvāna senaṃ piya-sāta-rūpaṃ.
(having) conquered (the) army (of the) agreeable-&-satisfactory-forms.
♦ eko'haṃ jhāyaṃ sukham-anu-bodhiṃ,
alone,-I (do) jhāna, [and discover] pleasure-of-awakening,
♦ tasmā janena na karomi sakkhiṃ.
Therefore I don’t make friends with people,
♦ sakkhī na sampajjati kenaci me”ti.
Nor will I form any intimate ties.”

for the relevant line, bodhi has:

“‘Having conquered the army of the pleasant and agreeable,
meditating alone, I discovered bliss,
the attainment of the goal, the peace of the heart. [48]
Therefore I don’t form intimate ties with people,
nor does intimacy with anyone succeed in my case.’”

I have:

alone,-I (do) jhāna, [and discover] pleasure-of-awakening,
eko’haṃ jhāyaṃ sukham-anu-bodhiṃ

where is “discover” coming from? should it just be,

alone,-I (am in) jhāna, (in) pleasure-of-awakening,

does “bodhi” or anu-bodhi imply one is an arahant or stream enterer, or can it be in a relative sense of, for example someone practicing 7sb (awakening factors) contemplating something with relative bodhi value, not yet fully awakened?

Yes, I also don’t know. Anubodha is quite commonly used in the simple sense of “understand, wake up to”, as for example:

There are other principles—deep, hard to see, hard to understand (duranubodha), peaceful, sublime, beyond the scope of reason, subtle, comprehensible to the astute—which the Realized One makes known after realizing them with his own insight.

It doesn’t mean “discover” in the sense of being the first person to find out about something.

No, here bodhi is not the noun “awakening”, but the aorist first person singular, “I awakened” or “I understood”, i.e. “I awakened to bliss”, or less literally “I understood the true meaning of happiness”.

I don’t know if it’s firmly established enough as a technical term to draw definitive conclusions. In this context, it seems to mean becoming a Buddha. However, at MN 95 it is described as stream-entry:

Persevering, they directly realize the ultimate truth, and see it with penetrating wisdom. That’s how the awakening to truth is defined, Bhāradvāja. I describe the awakening to truth as defined in this way. But this is not yet the arrival at the truth.”


Hi Bhante

Looking at the verse, it has a strict 11 syllable structure (Tuṭṭhubha metre perhaps?).

Perhaps anubodhi was used for metri causa, when what was intended was abujjhi.

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I wouldn’t know; but I did notice that the line is quite similar to the infamous Yo jhānamabujjhi buddho. That line would make a lot more sense if we had a reading Yo jhāyamabujjhi buddho.

I was in fact thinking of that line.

What does it mean? (and why is it infamous…?)

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Well, it’s not really infamous, but Sylvester knows what I mean! Ajahn Brahm has used it, mistakenly I believe, to claim that the Buddha “discovered” jhana in the sense that no-one practiced it before him. But that’s clearly not what the verb “understands” means; but Ven Bodhi translated it as “discover”, even though I’m sure he didn’t mean it in that sense.

It would fit a normal sutta idiom more easily if it said something like “the Buddha became awakened by means of jhana” or “the Buddha, practicing jhana, became awakened”. Unfortunately it seems hard to construe such readings from the line as it stands. “Jhana” is the direct object of the verb “awaken” so it reads something like “the Buddha became awakened to jhana”, i.e. he fully understood the true significance of jhana. There’s nothing wrong with such a reading, but it’s awkward.


Bodhi” literally means “Comprehension”, and “Buddha” - “One Who Comprehended”:

It’s not intellectual, - it’s experiential Comprehension of the Four Actualities for the Noble Ones (ariya-sacca).

Similarly, “anubodhiṃ” means “I have comprehended (experientially)”, which Bhikkhu Bodhi renders as “I discovered”.

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so an accurate translation would be:
:diamonds: eko’haṃ jhāyaṃ sukham-anu-bodhiṃ,

alone, I, doing-jhāna, pleasure-(has been)-experientially-comprehended .

or more compactly,
alone, jhāna-tating, pleasure-comprehended.

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Hi Bhante

Was wondering if I could check further on this.

CPD gives 2 entries for anubodhi. The first is in common with your explanation, ie it is the aorist of anubujjhati.

The 2nd parses it as a tatsama noun meaning enlightenment/understanding.

I’m just a little perplexed by the ṃ at the tail of anubodhi. Could verbs be conjugated as such? It makes more sense as a declension, in which case the 2nd meaning should be preferred.

Thanks in advance.

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Yes, this is the i-aorist aka “type 4”, which in 1st singular takes the form iṁ, isaṁ, issa, or rarely issaṁ.

Just in case you’re wondering, no I don’t know all this by heart, I had to check a chart! Aorist forms are drunk, they seriously need to sober up.


Thanks so much!

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Hi @frankk,

I had this topic saved offline to read later, and just did, so sorry for being late! I also typed this offline before I could read all replies.

This is how I understand it:

  • eko – literally “one”, nominative.
  • ahaṃ – “I”, nominative. (junction drops the a)
  • jhāyaṃ – “meditating”, pretty sure it is an uncommon form of a present particle, nominative. It is from the verb jhāyati which has a wider meaning than “doing jhāna”, as you have it.
  • sukhaṃ – “pleasure”, accusative. Not part of a compound verb as you seem to interpret it, but a junction turned the into m. So this is a separate word.
  • anubodhiṃ – “I woke up (to)”, 1st person sg. past tense (aorist) of anubujjhati, as Ven. Sujato said. Anubodh-iṃ equals anubujjh-iṃ through some sort of assimilation, which I’m not an expert in. See AK Warder L23.

So if you put it together: "one I, meditating, to pleasure woke up."
Or: “meditating alone, I woke up to pleasure.”

The meaning seems to be that the Buddha realized what real pleasure is, “the attainment of the goal, the peace of the heart”, i.e. the extinguishment of the defilements, nibbāna. Bhikkhu Bodhi translates it as “discovered”, which makes it a bit more fluent. In a sense this discovery is made by every enlightened being, so I don’t mind his translation.

This enlightenment happens outside of jhānas (I know this is a bit controversial, but that’s how I see it) so it’s best not to translate jhāyati as “do jhāna”, which, as I said, it doesn’t really mean, anyway. The sukha quite obviously also doesn’t mean the pleasure of jhāna, but the ‘pleasure’ of (pari)nibbana.

Whether the Buddha discovered the jhānas is another matter. I don’t know. But he surely discovered their importance.

Hope this helps!


:penguin: :cactus:


No pali scholar but could this mean ‘I practice alone, having discovered the bliss of awakening’?
Saccānubodhoda is from MN95, reminded me of sattya avabodha in sinhalese meaning realization or attainment of Nibbana. I suppose it could mean stream entry or higher attainment.

We know the Buddha preferred solitude and I suspect so would any awakened individual. He does this because his bliss is greater than that derived from sensory pleasures. People are a ‘thorn’ as would be a loud commotion (that sutta).

with metta

it can’t mean that literally

I suppose meditating alone refers to the fact the Buddha had no teacher who taught him how to become enlightened and “discover pleasure”.


:penguin: :cactus:

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