Phrases Meanings MN126

Hi everyone,

May all of you be happy.

In MN126 there is:

regardless of whether they made a wish, didn’t make a wish, both did and did not make a wish, or neither did nor did not make a wish

What are the meanings of “both did and did not make a wish” and “neither did nor did not make a wish”?

Thank you in advance.


Just a personal opinion -
First one - he has had changed his mind between two choices, one or multiple times.
The later phase means - the choice to make a wish or not, never occurs.


It’s common in the suttas for all logical combinations of two things to be listed in this way. It’s basically a truth table, which most engineers will be familiar with. In a truth table with two variables (A and B), you have

A and B,
A and NOT B,
NOT A and B,
NOT A and NOT B.

I have a feeling the Buddha didn’t actually use this technique every time he spoke, or possibly at all, and that it was added later. It feels very abidhamma-ish to me, but I could be wrong.

First one could also be partly supporting both options like in sutta MN 74 in context of what’s pleasing, not pleasing and partly pleasing and partly not pleasing.
I agree the later probably choice never occurs, probably due to not taking up either view.

The meaning is probably just to cover the whole difference between wishing for fruits vs taking the steps for reaching the fruits. Regardless of whether I made a wish, didn’t make a wish, both did and did not make a wish, or neither did nor did not make a wish if I take rational steps towards the park I should arrive there (going to the park similie SN 51.15). I supposed I’d be a bit confused why I’m at the park if I made no wish to go there…

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“These brahmans & contemplatives (in MN 126) are probably the proponents of non-action, annihilation, and non-relatedness as presented in DN 2.”—Thanissaro

Thank you all for your responses.

wish = intention

That sutta specifically is saying that your intention is irrelevant if you don’t have the right methodology, hence someone churning water will never get butter, no matter how much they churn the water and wish for butter.

Likewise, someone indulging in sensual desires will never cure dukkha no matter how much they indulge in sensual desires.

Intentions are also connected to rebirth destinations see SuttaCentral

yes. the first covers all ground in sliding scale between two extremities.

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Well… I landed up here on this thread, despite having no wish! Just random clicking… :joy: :joy: :joy:

IMO, this might refer to the faith follower who does what the Buddha suggests (viz. give up lust, hate and delusion) purely out of faith and not because of an active wish for nibbana. :thinking:

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