Iti 32 and 33 - "in this lifetime"

The descriptions given for Iti 32 and Iti 33 refer to being ‘as if’ in hell or heaven ‘in this lifetime’

However, when looking at the sutta I see:

“If a person possesses
“Pāpakena ca sīlena,
these two qualities—
pāpikāya ca diṭṭhiyā;
bad conduct
Etehi dvīhi dhammehi,
and bad views—
yo samannāgato naro;
when their body breaks up, that witless person
Kāyassa bhedā duppañño,
is reborn in hell.”
nirayaṁ sopapajjatī”ti.

Iti 32

It is similar for Iti 33. I assume ‘when their body breaks up’ is referring to the physical death and thus when it is said ‘reborn’ it means following this physical death.

Having trouble reconciling this with the descriptions given. Any ideas? :pray:


Perhaps report it in this thread? It’s probably a mistake.


Oh, that is strange. Ireland translates the sutta this way:

a person is placed in hell as if carried there.

Bhante @Sujato?

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I think you are referimg to Irelands translation of the prose part rather than the verse part.

I am. But neither the verse nor prose of either translation supports the blurb “A person of evil habits and evil views is as if in hell in this lifetime.”

I just quoted that bit as the major difference between the two translations.

My issue with the blurb, if it wasn’t already clear, is that it promotes the idea that hell and heaven are merely mental states, not places of actual rebirth. I know the blurb isn’t stating that explicitly, however the sutta doesn’t support that at all, so it’s confusing why it would be there in the blurb.

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Venerable Yeshe. I at times find the suttas confusing. These verses confused me when I read them. The first verse says the body breaks up but the corpse remains. This reads as though the body is not the corpse because the corpse is not broken up.

‘With the break-up of the body, after the termination of life, all that is experienced, not being relished, will grow cold right here, while the corpse will remain.’ Parivīmaṁsa Sutta

It becomes more unusual when the breathing is called a body.

I tell you, monks, that this — the in-&-out breath — is classed as a body among bodies Anapanasati Sutta

It is more usual in this verse I cannot fully understand about singular and diverse bodies and perceptions of forms.

"There are beings with diversity of body and diversity of perception, such as human beings, some devas, and some beings in the lower realms. This is the first station of consciousness.

"There are beings with diversity of body and singularity of perception, such as the devas of the Brahma hosts generated by the first [jhana] and some beings in the four realms of deprivation. This is the second station of consciousness. [2]

"There are beings with singularity of body and diversity of perception, such as the Radiant Devas. This is the third station of consciousness.

"There are beings with singularity of body and singularity of perception, such as the Beautifully Lustrous Devas. This is the fourth station of consciousness.

"There are beings who,with the complete transcending of perceptions of [physical] form, with the disappearance of perceptions of resistance, and not heeding perceptions of diversity, [perceiving,] ‘Infinite space,’ arrive at the dimension of the infinitude of space. This is the fifth station of consciousness. Maha-nidana Sutta

How precious would it be it there was a Holy Teacher who could clearly explain these confusings uses of words?

I am pretty sure that it “promotes” nothing and is probably just an error, but even taking your argument as plausible of @sujato 's view about rebirth, which I don’t, they say “as if” in hell in this lifetime, which clearly conceptually depends on thier being an actual, well, hell, that is the usual place to experience hellish things and in no way suggests that “in this lifetime” is the only place we experience the “hellish”.

Christianity was confusing like this, with statement like The Kingdom Of God Is Within You. Some Gnostic Gospels were even less ambiguous. I read a sutta about hell called The Opportunity, which was difficult to forget.

I have seen a hell named ‘Six Spheres of Contact.’ Whatever form one sees there with the eye is undesirable, never desirable; displeasing, never pleasing; disagreeable, never agreeable. Whatever sound one hears there with the ear… Whatever aroma one smells there with the nose… Whatever flavor one tastes there with the tongue… Whatever tactile sensation one touches there with the body… Whatever idea one cognizes there with the intellect is undesirable, never desirable; displeasing, never pleasing; disagreeable, never agreeable.

Yes @Dunlop !! SN35.135 (and I am pretty sure others) make exactly this “as if” point, but need not be read as denying Hell as an actual place either.

I don’t disagree with you. I just don’t think I have expressed my thoughts well. I’m not accusing anyone of anything. I’ll wait to see if Bhante Sujato has an explanation of the blurb. It doesn’t seem like it could be a typo, but he may also not be the one who wrote it.


I would assume the “body breaks up” and “break-up of the body” refer to the decomposition of a corpse. It can take a very long time for a decomposing corpse to crumble to dust, but I imagine the experience of life is extinguished swiftly. :pray:

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Venerable Tenley. I think most would assume this however the text does not read as though this assumption is the case. Regards. :slightly_smiling_face: