Sannidhikārakaṃ kāme paribhuñjituṃ

The expression ‘sannidhikārakaṃ kāme paribhuñjituṃ’ comes up for example in AN 9.7

Bhante Bodhi:
storing things up in order to enjoy sensual pleasures

Bhante Thanissaro:
consume stored-up sensual things

Bhante Sujato:
store up goods for their own enjoyment

Why is Bhante Thanissaro wrong on this?

abhabbo khīṇāsavo bhikkhu sampajānamusā bhāsituṃ, abhabbo khīṇāsavo bhikkhu sannidhikārakaṃ kāme paribhuñjituṃ seyyathāpi pubbe agāriyabhūto’ti.

Bodhi: he is incapable of storing things up in order to enjoy sensual pleasures as he did in the past when alayman.’

Thanissaro: It is impossible for a monk whose mental fermentations are ended to consume stored-up sensual things as he did before, when he was a householder.’

Sujato: A mendicant with defilements ended can’t… store up goods for their own enjoyment like they did as a lay person.’

Okay, so it’s a bit tricky grammatically. Let’s break it down:

  • sannidhi: a store (eg a cupboard or storeroom)
  • kārakaṁ: The common usage of kāraka is “doer”, but that’s not what it means here. It’s an absolutive of karoti, i.e. “having made”.
  • sannidhikārakaṃ: “having made a store”, i.e. “having stored up”.
  • kāme: accusative plural, here meaning “material goods, pleasurable things”.
  • paribhuñjituṃ: paribhuñjti is to use or enjoy, here it is infinitive, so “to use, in order to enjoy”.

Literal translation:

Having stored up material goods in order to make use/enjoy them.

Ven Bodhi reads kāme in its more common or generic sense of “sensual pleasures”. But if you look at how this idiom is used the acusative in the sentence always stands for some specific material object that is enjoyed, eg:

*Sannidhikārakaṃ khādanīyaṃ vā bhojanīyaṃ vā bhuñjantassa
For one who enjoys/uses (i.e. eats) soft or hard food having stored it …

Thus I think kāme here means “sensual goods”, as Ven Thanissaro has it. But it need not be rendered so literally, the sentence converys the sense.

So the renderings are not that different. The problem is that the verb bhunjati is ambiguous between “use”, “eat”, and “enjoy”, as in the English idiom, “he enjoyed a good meal”. So you want to convey both the sense of usage of the thing, as well as pleasure or delight. Ven Thanissaro treats bhunjati more neutrally, but indicates “pleasure” in his rendering of kāme as “sensual things”. In the translations by Ven Bodhi and myself, we capture the idea of pleasure more in the verb itself.

The only thing I would note is that the sense requires that the issue is whether the arahant themselves does the storing; for it is of course normal to consume things that have been stored by others.


Thank you Bhante

Apologies if this is too tangential…

Wouldn’t this distinction be critical with regards to the storage of food ie to store some food for bare survival being acceptable, as opposed to storing food for pleasure or preference?

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Definitely. And this kind of exception is discussed in the Vinaya. The so-called Mendaka allowance makes provision for monastics to keep provisions in certain difficult circumstances.


As an addendum to this, I happened to mention it to Ven Brahmali this morning, and it turns out there’s a whole controversy about this, which I had been unaware of. Apparently Ven Thanissaro, alone among scholars, rejects the identification of the kārakaṁ here as a (very rare) namul absolutive and says it is a regular accusative. (This is, so it seems, tied up with a strange Vinaya argument that he makes, whereby food once offered to the Sangha can never again be offered. I believe this view stems from the Thai Pubbasikkha.)

Regardless of that, the current context shows that this reading must be wrong, as kāme is accusative plural, which should agree with kārakaṁ if it were accusative; however, aṁ in accusative is of course singular. Thus it must be an absolutive.