Question on MN114 sec 3.19

Sec 3.19 of MN114 is the relevant passage.
Bhante Sujato’s translation is:

I say that there are two ways of reincarnating.

Bhikkhu Bodhi / Bhikkhu Nanamoli translate it as:

The acquisition of individuality is of two kinds.

Do they mean the same thing, i.e., rebirth as spoken of by the Buddha?

Short answer - Yes.

Long answer - when in doubt, examine the underlying pali key word and consult the SC online dictionary by highlighting and clicking on the pali (you will need to enable ‘view root text with translation’ and ‘activate pali word lookup’ under the views icon).


  1. masc.incarnation; existence; personal existence; lit. obtaining self existence [attabhāva + paṭilābha]
  • masc.way of acquiring incarnation; acquisition of individual identity[attabhāva + paṭilābha]

Excellent @faujidoc1 … “Activate Pali word lookup” was a feature that I didn’t realise existed :slight_smile:
This makes my life easier. I was struggling with cross-referencing against the usual PTS dictionary or the concise PED.
Thanks for pointing this out. I learnt something useful today.


As it happens, i wrote a note on this the other day:

“Reincarnation” is attabhāva, literally the “state of the self”, where the “self” comes close in meaning to “body”, which is a secondary sense of ātman in the Upaniṣads. In the 20th century, Buddhist writers shied away from using “reincarnation”, which they associated with the Hindu idea of a transmigrating soul. But there is nothing in the word “reincarnation” that implies a soul. Rather, it simply refers to going into another body, which is precisely what is meant by attabhāva. It is unwise to hang a heavy philosophical cloak upon the feeble hook of a single word.