'parisuddhena cetasā pariyodātena' and 'citte parisuddhe pariyodāte'


Since no one is making that claim I wonder what you are talking about? It seems to me that you cannot have had much contact with scholars if this is how you think (and at least three of us have been involved in this thread so I’m not sure you have an excuse).

All scholars do is homework. Usually on a much broader and deeper scale and any amateur dilettante is capable of because we have much greater training and access to the necessary resources and a community of peers to sharpen our thinking.

Keep an eye out for the next issue of Contemporary Buddhism. The whole issue is devoted to the word vedanā. A mix of Buddhist and neuroscience scholars contribute a good deal of depth and breadth on the subject that I think you will find illuminating.


Oh, sorry @brahmali !
Its Brahm, not Brahmali.

Lexical (through textual references,) to the root vid, in the texts prior and after Buddha’s time (like SBr and MBh) shows that the meaning of that root conveyed across the centuries, a meaning of experience. And that abides in Brahm’s sense.

Vedana as an agent of vid has this underlying meaning of:

  • become or be acquainted with RV.
  • notice RV. AV. Br.
  • to experience , feel RV. SBr.
  • to wish to know (or learn), inquire about SBr. MBh.

In the same way, sanna (usually translated as perception) has a meaning of “inquiry with assumptions”. Which goes pretty much in hand with the “whish to know more” of vedana.
Aren’t the higher gods of the 31 planes, the gods who are not inquiring (anymore) and making assumptions; nor (yet) not inquiring.


Quite. I think it would be a bizarre and unsuitable choice for vedana!

I have not heard any good argument why the word ‘affect’ isn’t a good translation. So far as I understand, it fits quite precisely, as I have discussed above. What do you think?


I am not convinced that you can prove the meaning of a word merely by etymology. ‘Nice’ is derived from Latin nescius meaning ‘ignorant’, began life in the fourteenth century as a term for ‘foolish’ or ‘silly’, for example. And we all know about awful and gay.

But more to the point, are the 5 khandhas not all aspects of our experience? If so, how can you call them all vedana? Because if vedanā=experience, then any experience of saṅkhāra or viññāṇa or saññā is all, according to this idea, vedana. I cannot see how that makes sense.


Call it an “encounter” then.
An “undergoing” . A “go through”. An event. An experience with something, that requires more deepening - some investigation.
I think I have quite narrowed down the meaning of that “experience”, when I stated that it needs more inquiry and assumptions (sanna)_ which usually leads to choices (sankhara) [as @Sujato rightly translates it - at least when it addresses the purely sensory realm], and finally an own delibarative (and in this case subjective)
knowlege (vinnana) [right or wrong].
That is to say a “complete” subjective “upadanic” (appropiated) experience, when it comes to creature like us; and their subjective partial or complete experiences.

But narrowing “clinging” khandas to khandhas, or in the same way, vedana to a mere subjective satta kind of affect, seems a bit too reductive.
Vedana, like kaya, has a wider scope than the sal-ayatana of senses.

Buddhism is not just mere empiricism. It is not just reduced to mere sensationalism.

P. S.
Lexicography or etymology is backed up by textual references. This is where it derives its meaning.


If it is narrower than experience, doesn’t that make experience a bad word choice? Because experience is a very, very broad term. All 4 non-body khandhas are part of our experience, are they not? (I left out body, because we experience it through the other 4).

I do not understand you problem with vedana=affect. Could you elaborate?


I believe I have already answered all that.

Whose “affect”? is the real question.

We are "made to be felt, " says Buddha. SN 35.146 and particularly SN 12.37 (SA 358 & SF 164)
Are all affect sensory ?
Is our “affect” (as living sensory creatures) the only partial experience born of ignorance ?

“Experience” does not mean it has to be completed.
It can be (and vedana is) always an encounter with something unknown. An event and a partial experience.
And the last step of an experience, viz vinnana, remains also a partial knowledge, so to speak.

Now, affect as the conscious subjective aspect of feeling or emotion, requires to know who or what is affected by this affect - and then to know if the word affect can be applied outside the internal ayatanani, and the clinging khandhas.


The answer to this is the same as the answer to ‘Whose “vedana”?’ What is your point with this question?

I just checked both suttas - in both Sujato’s and Bodhi’s translations, there is no instance of even the word “made”, let alone “made to be felt”. Could you clarify what you are referring to?

I do not understand what your point is. Could you please explain? Could you quote anything from those suttas which is explaining vedana in a way which you believe is incompatible with defining it as affect?

Could you explain the reasoning of this question?

Really? DN III 141:

Six kinds of joy based on the household life: Joy arises when one regards as acquisition the acquisition of visible forms cognized by the eye that are wished for, desired, agreeable, gratifying, and associated with worldliness, or when one recalls what was formerly acquired that has passed, ceased, and changed.

How can a recollection of a memory be “an encounter with something unknown”?

Why? And do you also hold the view that to define vedana, it “requires to know who or what” experiences vedana? I really do not get your point here, or how it is connected to a rejection of the translation ‘affect’.


Ah ok !

So I am going to short this up.

First DN III is not in my scope of EBTs.
But then again, you should read what you quoted after the bolded part.

Secondly, “made to be felt” might not be the right wording. But “generated and fashioned… as something to be felt” seems pretty close to me.

Thirdly, the endless Empiricist vs. Idealist scuffle is not my cup of tea.

So, if you don’t mind, I’ll quit here.
Each one its own kamma.


Yes I did read it all. I think what I said makes sense. But if you don’t, then how about ukekkhā in the 4th jhāna. That is vedanā, right? Is you are experiencing that for the second time, it is not unknown. How do you explain that?

I do not know about that scuffle, I don’t know much about Western philosophy, sorry. I was just trying to examine your claim as it seemed unusual to me, and did not seem to stand up to reason, hence I presented my challenges to you to see if your idea would stand up. If you don’t want to engage in that, I understand.


I think this is where meditative experience becomes useful in translation. During deep states in meditation, there are experiences which are the norm, which cannot be known by non-meditators, leading to skewed interpretations. It might even be interesting to make a list of such occurrences in the suttas. The experience of the ‘bright’ or ‘white’ ‘luminous’ mind (‘odata’) is one of them (see Upakilesa sutta in MN).

Yes, maybe you are right. Its good to triangulate scholarship with practice with neuroscience with psychiatry. We may then approximate reality.

Maybe a retreat or two at Jhana grove with Ajan Sujato or other meditation teacher might be good ‘homework’!

with metta


Maybe so. However, I do not think that it is a good idea to introduce things from one sutta into another while translating, if it is not there in the words of the current sutta. Even if we think it is a related meditative phenomena.


Please may there be a jhāna retreat in England, or nearby!


I just had an idea. I was considering pabhā (light, radiance, shine), in AN 4.41:

sappabhāsaṃ cittaṃ bhāveti.
develop a mind that’s full of radiance

I also liked the choice ‘radiance’. And thought how well that term ‘radiance’ might fit as a translation for pariyodāta. It may perhaps keep the ‘cleansed’ idea, since we tend to associate radiance with spiritual cleansing, though this aspect is not highlighted perhaps - but we get enough of that aspect from parisuddhena - ‘completely pure’.

It fits well (ish) with ripe fruit! Perhaps better than ‘bright’. I’d rather a radiant mango than a bright one.

And works well with complection also. Shiny people look more ‘radiant’ than ‘bright’.

Plus it sounds good for the mind, a radiant mind. A bright mind sounds ok to me but a radiant mind sounds cooler.

So I’m thinking:

parisuddhena cetasā pariyodātena
with completely pure, radiant mind