SuttaCentral

'parisuddhena cetasā pariyodātena' and 'citte parisuddhe pariyodāte'


#21

Thanks for your views on brightness. Yes I also remain as yet unconvinced that it is better to translate it as ‘bright’ here.

So for reference, your translation was:

And my last proposed translation was:

They seem to be very similar in meaning. I could change it to ‘having pervaded’ - I wonder why the other translators have chosen ‘pervading’. About this, you wrote:

What do you (or anyone else) think in this case? Is there any good argument for choosing one over the other?


#22

The thing is that the gerund is used in Pāli to indicate an action that precedes the main action of the sentence. As long as you convey this in English then it doesn’t matter which you use: gerund or present particle. Sometimes the gerund is clunky in English and best avoided.

The thing to avoid is forcing English into Pāli syntactical patterns. The final product of translation should be English, and it should be good English. So don’t be tempted to use the English gerund just because the Pāli uses a gerund. Chose the expression which best captures your understanding and is consistent with the conventions and idioms of English.


#23

Cool, thanks @Jayarava. And the main verb is apphuṭaṁ, right? I had forgotten to alter that verb in my version above. I do not like Bodhi’s choice of ‘not pervaded’ for that, as if it is the same word as he has for pharitvā. And the reason for that is as I have discussed above, it not making any sense for the white cloth simile, whereas ‘untouched’ does make perfect sense for that simile.

I have to say, I still find ‘this body’ quite weird. How do people feel about changing it to ‘his body’? It would seem better English to me and still have the same meaning, even if different individual word meaning. Bodhi uses both ‘his body’ and ‘this body’ in the passage. I have now changed them both to ‘his body’ for an attempt at better English.

Also, it makes total sense that ‘pervading’ should be complete, not in progress, by the time the whole body is ‘untouched’ (or pervaded or whatever word is chosen). So it seems very fair for the action to be complete, though, a continous pervading would not be ruled out of course.

So now have this, which feels quote satisfactory, unless anyone has anything to change? Again I use bold to show where I am differing from Bodhi:

“He sits having pervading his body with a completely pure clear mind, so that there is no part of his whole body that is untouched by the completely pure clear mind. Just as a man might be sitting covered from the head down with a white cloth, so that there would be no part of his whole body that is not untouched by the white cloth; so too, the bhikkhu sits having pervaded his body with a completely pure bright mind, so that there is no part of his whole body that is untouched by the pure clear mind.


#24

@Senryu Can you cite the whole passage in Pāli? The sentence you’re talking about is different to the one I was looking at a couple of days ago. Cheers.


#25

Another thing to note, as well as being ‘pervaded’ by a white cloth not making sense, lotuses are not really ‘pervaded’ with water either - they are not sponges, or otherwise so permeable. Bodhi:

so that there would be no part of those lotuses that would not be pervaded by cool water

However, translating apphuṭaṃ as ‘untouched’ again makes snese of this:
so that there would be no part of those lotuses that would be untouched by cool water


#26

From AN 5.28:

Puna caparaṃ, bhikkhave, bhikkhu sukhassa ca pahānā … pe … catutthaṃ jhānaṃ upasampajja viharati. So imameva kāyaṃ parisuddhena cetasā pariyodātena pharitvā nisinno hoti; nāssa kiñci sabbāvato kāyassa parisuddhena cetasā pariyodātena apphuṭaṃ hoti. Seyyathāpi, bhikkhave, puriso odātena vatthena sasīsaṃ pārupitvā nisinno assa; nāssa kiñci sabbāvato kāyassa odātena vatthena apphuṭaṃ assa. Evamevaṃ kho, bhikkhave, bhikkhu imameva kāyaṃ parisuddhena cetasā pariyodātena pharitvā nisinno hoti; nāssa kiñci sabbāvato kāyassa parisuddhena cetasā pariyodātena apphuṭaṃ hoti. Ariyassa, bhikkhave, pañcaṅgikassa sammāsamādhissa ayaṃ catutthā bhāvanā.


#27

Here is Bhikkhu Bodhi’s explanation in his introduction to the Connected Discourses of the function of the prefix pari:

Long ago E.J. Thomas pointed out (possibly on the basis of a suggestion by E. Kuhn)
that the prefix pari- converts a verb from the expression of a state into the expression of the achievement of an action, so that the corresponding noun nibbāna becomes the state of release, parinibbāna the attaining of that state.

Here is an example of the use of pari from a standard sutta passage:

Kevalaparipuṇṇaṃ parisuddhaṃ brahmacariyaṃ pakāseti.

He lays out the entirely complete and pure spiritual life.

Here kevala means “entirely/completely” and so pari is not required for this purpose. In this case the pari is used, I think, simply because the Indian idiom requires it. In other words, you don’t find puṇṇa and suddha on their own in this kind of context.

One possible translation of the kāya is “person.” Person includes the body, but is obviously broader than this, including all mental content. This works much better in context where kāya clearly refers to the mind or in such compound as sakkāya, for which “the exting person” is a much more accurate translation than “the existing body.” However, in context where kāya is singled out as one of the six senses, “person” is not ideal.

The problem is that it is often difficult to find a perfect semantic overlap between words from different languages, which means that you are unlikely to find a single English word that perfectly matches all nuances of kāya. For this reason I often prefer to translate individual Pali words with several different English ones, all dependent on the context.

In a number of instances, for example, kāyena is used in a sense of “direct,” for example in the third jhāna formula or in places where one is said to “touch” the immaterial attainments kāyena. In these instances the word points to the immediacy of the experience, that it is not “contaminated” by anything that might distort it.

In the context you are discussing here “person” might work. As for “affect,” I would say this is what is experienced by the kāya, it is not the kāya itself.


#28

I’ll mark the main verbs for you.

Puna caparaṃ, bhikkhave, bhikkhu sukhassa ca pahānā … pe … catutthaṃ jhānaṃ upasampajja viharati.

So imameva kāyaṃ parisuddhena cetasā pariyodātena pharitvā nisinno hoti;

nāssa kiñci sabbāvato kāyassa parisuddhena cetasā pariyodātena apphuṭaṃ hoti.

Seyyathāpi, bhikkhave, puriso odātena vatthena sasīsaṃ pārupitvā nisinno assa;

nāssa kiñci sabbāvato kāyassa odātena vatthena apphuṭaṃ assa.

Evamevaṃ kho, bhikkhave, bhikkhu imameva kāyaṃ parisuddhena cetasā pariyodātena pharitvā nisinno hoti;

nāssa kiñci sabbāvato kāyassa parisuddhena cetasā pariyodātena apphuṭaṃ hoti.

Ariyassa, bhikkhave, pañcaṅgikassa sammāsamādhissa ayaṃ catutthā bhāvanā. [implied hoti]


#29

Etymologically, pari- is cognate with Greek peri (as in perimeter “measuring around”; peripatetic “wandering around”; periphery “carry around”; period, literally “a way around”, by figurative “a [full] cycle” ).

It loosely refers to circles, circling, around, encompassing, completeness. With respect to verbs it can give a sense of action completed or done to the nth degree.

A word like “pure” doesn’t really admit to degrees. Pure is a binary proposition - the slightest impurity means that something is impure. So “completely pure” doesn’t really give us new information, it is a form of literary emphasis to mark this experience as out of the ordinary.

In the case of pariyodāta and parisuddha I would have thought that pari has a superlative sense.

Re: kāya, the basic meaning of the word is “group”. Most authorities take it to come from √ci “to heap up”. It means “body” in the sense of a heap of the four elements. And I think this reminds us of how very alien is the Iron Age worldview in the Pāli texts. One to one correlations with modern ideas about bodies and minds are rare.

My impression is that kāya and cetas are usually distinguished. Except that a term, which seems to be quite late nāma-kāya where kāya takes it’s literal meaning of “group” and refers to the non-rūpa khandhas.

I’m not sure I have come across a context in which kāya could mean “person”. My view is that sakkāya, literally “a group that is existent” is a very strange expression and that semantic approaches to understanding how Buddhists use it are unlikely to be fruitful. When I look at the Pāḷi explanations, they are not semantic explanations, they are just assertions. X means Y, for no reason other than that we say it.

This is true of many technical terms. And it means that taking a semantic approach to translating leads to ambiguity at best. We’re still arguing over how to translate these words after 200 years of Buddhism Studies, which suggests we’re using the wrong methods.

However, look at PTSD p.207. The “psychological” meaning of kāya is that it is the “seat of feeling”. In other words it is where we experience vedanā. This would seem to be related to the idea of withdrawing from contact, because contact is one of the conditions for the arising of vedanā.

I see Buddhists wanting to drag in this concept of “direct” in all kinds of ways. I’m less and less convinced that this works. "So imameva kāyaṃ parisuddhena cetasā pariyodātena pharitvā nisinno hoti;

Kāya doesn’t seem mean “direct” or “person” in this sentence, why should it change to mean that in other sentences in the same context?

What does it mean to kāyaṃ cetasā pharati “Pervade the kāya with the cetas”? It clearly meant something in 400 BC but I don’t have any clear sense of what this means looking back.

Pāli has no category of experience that corresponds to affect or emotion. It has words for emotions, but they are not different from thoughts or feelings. It’s a very different worldview we are dealing with.


#30

A possible meaning of kaya:

https://dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=23&t=30315#p438849

https://dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=23&t=30315#p438971


#31

@Jayarava thanks for your comments, I will have to read them later as a bit busy just now… but I noticed on the forum people mentioning problems with the new site and the Pāli. There was mention of missing diacritic marks… Did this Pāli look ok? Dangerous for my research if the Pāli is messed up, so, hoping it is ok on my system!


#32

It seemed fine to me.


#33

In early Theravada, prior to Vism. Abhidhamma period, kāya in the context of jhāna, 16 APS (anapana), means the physical body. As the Theravada commentary says, “skin, flesh, and blood”, obviously is the physical body, not the person.

In other EBT schools, such as the Sarvastivada preserved in the Agamas, and the Sarvastivada Abhidharma, kāya also means the physical body in the context of jhana.

In Vism., you’ll notice Buddhaghosa deliberately avoids mentioning these famous 4 jhana similes. The Theravada subcommentary (composed later than the commentary), contradicts the Theravada commentary, redefining kāya as a body of mental aggregates.

So if you want to side with the EBT, all the evidence we have points to a straightforward meaning of kāya in the jhāna meditative context. see MN 119, and the EA and MA parallels for the satipatthana (MN 10) sutta, for kāya to make sense in those jhāna and meditative contexts, it must be the physical body, as this Theravada commentary authoratitively states.

Theravada aṭṭhakathā (commentaries)

AN 5.28, DN 2, MN 39, jhāna simile commentary – physical!

AN-a 5, 1. paṭhamapaṇṇāsakaṃ, 3. pañcaṅgikavaggo, 8. pañcaṅgikasuttavaṇṇanā, para. 1 ⇒
(geoff shatz trans.)
imameva kāyan-ti imaṃ karajakāyaṃ.
“This very body:” this body born of action [i.e. born of kamma].
Abhisandetī-ti temeti sneheti,
“He drenches:” he moistens,
sabbattha pavatta-pīti-sukhaṃ karoti.
he extends joy and pleasure everywhere.
Parisandetī-ti samantato sandeti.
“Steeps:” to flow all over.
Paripūretī-ti vāyunā bhastaṃ viya pūreti.
“Fills:” like filling a bellows with air.
Parippharatī-ti samantato phusati.
“Permeates:” to touch all over.
sabbāvato kāyassāti assa bhikkhuno
“His whole body:” in this monk’s body,
sabbakoṭṭhāsavato kāyassa kiñci upādinnakasantatipavattiṭṭhāne
with all its parts, in the place where acquired [material] continuity occurs there is not even the smallest part consisting of
Chavi-maṃsa-lohit-ānugataṃ
skin, flesh, and blood
aṇumattampi ṭhānaṃ paṭhamaj-jhāna-sukhena a-phuṭaṃ nāma na hoti.
that is not-permeated with the pleasure of the first-jhāna.

#34

Did you perhaps mean to say the “auxillary verbs”? The governing “verbs” in these examples (save for the last) are the participles that precede the auxillary verbs in the periphrasis.

I agree that the silent copula in the final example is a main verb.


#35

I agree that in this context, the concept of “direct” does not work. But the point about directness was made by Bhante @brahmali regarding the instrumental kāyena. If we take up Wijesekara’s point about such instrumentals largely functioning as adverbs, rather than adnominally, it seems difficult to square the kāyena actions as meaning “done with the corpus”, when what is being experienced are the nine attainments (AN 9.43) or the highest truth (kāyena paramasaccaṃ sacchikaroti : AN 4.113). See another adverbial usage of kāyena in SN 48.53.


#36

There is a helpful resource on kāya here -

Some findings -

  1. While DN 9 uses attapaṭilābha, its parallel DA28 consistently uses 身 (body). This reading corroborates the idiomatic usage of kāya in other Pali suttas as being either -
    (a) rūpī cātumahābhūtiko; or
    (b) of the manomaya variety being merely rūpin.

Thankfully, DA28 preserves for us the formless kāya s (eg 有想無想處天身 at the end of the standard listing of 4 formless attainments) corresponding to DN 9’s arūpa attapaṭilābha.

  1. Even within the Pali texts, traces of the older (and probably pre-Buddhist) idiom of the kāya as a form of Being can be found in the DN 1 passages on the Annihilationists’ proposition regarding kāyassa bhedā of someone who’s being born into the Formless Attainments, eg -

Tamañño evamāha: ‘atthi kho, bho, eso attā, yaṃ tvaṃ vadesi, neso natthīti vadāmi; no ca kho, bho, ayaṃ attā ettāvatā sammā samucchinno hoti. Atthi kho, bho, añño attā sabbaso ākiñcaññāyatanaṃ samatikkamma “santametaṃ paṇītametan”ti nevasaññānāsaññāyatanūpago. Taṃ tvaṃ na jānāsi na passasi. Tamahaṃ jānāmi passāmi. So kho, bho, attā yato kāyassa bhedā ucchijjati vinassati, na hoti paraṃ maraṇā, ettāvatā kho, bho, ayaṃ attā sammā samucchinno hotī’ti. Ittheke sato sattassa ucchedaṃ vināsaṃ vibhavaṃ paññapenti.

  1. Which leads to SN 12.2 which uses khandhānaṃ bheda
    in lieu of kāyassa bheda.

#37

I am happy with most of this, but I have never been convinced of the usefulness of etymology. The etymology of words and their meaning in actual usage often varies significantly. For this reason I try to tease out the meaning from context, if at all possible. This is largely the approach used by the CPD. Of course, this takes a lot of Pali reading, in addition to research of individual words. But it is really worth it, since etymology often can leads us seriously astray. In cases where we have little or no context for a particular word, etymology may be used as a fall-back position.

As for kāya, the word is used in contexts where it can only refer to the mind, thus my attempt to bridge the physical and the mental by using “person”.

It could well mean “person” in this sentence. Whatever is still present of the five aggregates is what is pervaded. As for “direct” or “immediate”, I would reserve this for the instrumental case of kāya, kāyena, and even then not in all contexts.


#38

This body makes sense if there was no ‘self’ or ownership in the worldview of the narrator. It then just becomes an objective description of the body. Otherwise this translation seems fine.

See AN3.101 dirtwasher sutta- purity can take place in stages or this being a ‘gradual path’, progressively. ‘Black or white thinking’ is cognitive distortion ie. doesn’t represent how reality is organised and the Buddha’s training is a practical one. Alternatively in ancient India purity was viewed differently?

A skilled meditator, one who has developed a very refined second jhana, without any disturbances of initial thought and sustained thought, can if she wishes, use his or her mindfulness to ‘spread’ the rapture and bliss throughout the physical body (by physical it is the ‘fine material’ body) just like ‘spreading’ metta when practicing meditation on the divine abodes… Then the body feel ‘suffused’ and ‘glowing’ as a purified mind is inherently seen in the mind’s eye as glowing white.

Ajhan Brahmali is correct in the fact that the body, when experienced, is experienced with all of the aggregates ie. there is a nama overlay on the experience of the physical. The mistake is to project the mental portion to the physical portion, and assume it is entirely the physical that is being experienced, when a larger chunk of the experience is mentally fabricated. This is how it is possible to permeate etc the body without actually doing anything to it!

The word kāyena seems pretty broad and therefore flexible, especially if the listeners were illiterate, yet wise. I suspect the main usage was for the physical body but had other uses as well, as mentioned above. In terms of purely the meaning, its easy to see how it could have been used in the way it is used now in a broader sense : ‘body of text’, ‘the faculty body’ and ‘body of water’.

I also agree that we shouldn’t get too bogged down in the etymology- the next level of clarifying meanings can only come from directly experiencing what is being said.

with metta


#39

Likewise. I think it’s about time studies in Buddhist philology should get past its fascination with nirukta (etymology) and recognise that Buddhists texts were never clients or pawns in the nirukta v grammar debate; that was a Vedic project.


#40

I’m not sure it is even necessary to reserve any space for the “physical” at all.

If, friends, internally the mind is intact but no external mind-objects come into its range, and there is no corresponding conscious engagement, then there is no manifestation of the corresponding section of consciousness. If internally the mind is intact and external mind-objects come into its range, but there is no corresponding conscious engagement, then there is no manifestation of the corresponding section of consciousness. But when internally the mind is intact and external mind-objects come into its range and there is the corresponding conscious engagement, then there is the manifestation of the corresponding section of consciousness.

The rūpa in what has thus come to be is included in the form aggregate affected by clinging.
MN 28

It’s one of the great tragedies in Buddhist studies that we are still using dictionaries guided by the Abhidhammic description of derived form as pertaining to the 5 senses and their external bases…