MN 21 Kakacūpamasutta, Bhante Sujato's trans., should be variations on a theme?

Let me first express my continued gratitude for this site. You all have done amazing work! It’s been years since I’ve explored Pali (outside daily puja) and I knew returning here would be a wonderful way to return home.

As it is, I started with MN 21, The Parable of the Saw. (Perhaps I’ve been identifying with housewife Vedehik too much lately?). There are so many engaging things in this translation, such as translating Phagguna’s clan name, Moliya, as “Top-Knot”; “adhikaraṇampi” as “disciplinary proceedings”; and, Vedehikā’s admonition as, “‘What the hell, Kāḷī!’” Innovative, descriptive, provocative and delightful :slight_smile:

I noticed though something curious in the repeated refrains which is first stated (and nicely translated) fully at SC 11.13-11.14:

‘Our minds will remain unaffected. We will blurt out no bad words. We will remain full of compassion, with a heart of love and no secret hate. We will meditate spreading a heart of love to that person. And with them as a basis, we will meditate spreading a heart full of love to everyone in the world—abundant, expansive, limitless, free of enmity and ill will.’

When this refrain arises again at SC 13.13-13.14, the same exact translation is used. But this, to me at least, appears to miss a key difference between these verses. In SC 11.14, the Pali phrase, “mettāsahagatena,” is used. In SC 13.14, this phrase is replaced with, “pathavisamena” (which Bhikkhu Bodhi translates as, “with a mind similar to the earth”). After all, this Pali phrase echos the immediately preceding metaphor about trying to make the earth be without earth. Similarly, in SC 15.2, 17.2 and 19.2, the English translation is elided, implying an exactc repetition of the earlier text, but here too “mettāsahagatena” is replaced, with “ākāsasamena ,” “gaṅgāsamena” and “biḷārabhastāsamena,” respectively; again, echoing the immediately preceding metaphors in each case.

(As an aside, if I may, I don’t readily recall other times when the suttas suggest one think like a mountain, the sky, the ocean [Ganges], etc. Brings to mind some Zen practices, perhaps?)

Just thought I’d mention. I apologize if in some way I err and thus am wasting your time. Thank you all again for such a wonderful resource.