Some statements in Ud 6.5

In Ud 6.5 there is an interesting difference in how some of the statements are resolved by English translators and by German ones.

It’s the statements starting from segment 10.2 onward, starting with

sassataṁ sukhadukkhaṁ attā ca loko ca

The English have:

  • Sujato: “Pleasure and pain are eternal, and the self and the cosmos.”

  • Anandajoti: “Pleasure and pain, the self and the world are eternal"

    So pleasure and pain are just in the same list with the self and the cosmos, and “eternal” relates to all of them in the same way.

By contrast, the Germans have:

  • Seidenstücker (on SC): “Ein ewiges Glück und Leid ist das Ich und die Welt” (“Eternal pleasure and pain are the I and the world”)
  • Schäfer/Beyerlein (only in print): “Ewig, wohl und weh sind Ich und Welt” (“Eternal, pleasant and painful are the I and the world”)

So Seidenstücker relates the adjective “eternal” to “pleasure and pain” which then are a characteristic of the I and the world; Schäfer and Beyerlein have it again different in that they take “eternal”, “pleasant”, and “painful” as three characteristics attributed to the I and the world.

Considering that all statements in the Sutta have attā ca loko ca in the same way, taking everything else as a characteristic of these two seems to make sense to me (I am currently going with Seidenstücker).


Could it be “Eternalists believe that pleasure and pain associated with the self and the world are eternal”
With Metta

1 Like

I understand it as a continuation of the before mentioned statements.

It has been said by different groups that self and cosmos are eternal, not eternal, both, or neither, or they are created by oneself, by someone else, by both, or neither.

Now it seems to continue that they are the product of—or perhaps rather consisting of—eternal pleasure and pain, non-eternal pleasure and pain, both, or neither, of pleasure and pain created by oneself, by someone else, by both, or by neither.

The versions of the English translators would include a repetition of the former statements in the new statements, which I am not sure how plausible that is.

1 Like

To my knowledge Venerable Anandajoti is not on this forum, but I’d be interested in Bhante @sujato’s thoughts on the topic. Just as the thoughts of any other Pali experts. :pray:

The passage in question occurs three times, in Ud 6.5, Ud.6.6, and in a variation at DN 29.

Now, the series of items begins straightforwardly:

sassato attā ca loko ca
The self and the cosmos [are] eternal.

No worries. But then we get:

sassataṁ sukhadukkhaṁ attā ca loko ca

(The compound sukhadukkha is nominative neuter, not accusative.)

DN 26 helps out here. Instead of the Udana reading above, we have:

sassataṁ sukhadukkhaṁ …

So attā ca loko ca are not included in the same sentence. Is this just because it’s been abbreviated? It turns out, no, because the final term in the sequence is stated in full and it too lacks the attā ca loko ca.

DN 29: asayaṅkāraṁ aparaṅkāraṁ adhiccasamuppannaṁ sukhadukkhaṁ, idameva saccaṁ moghamaññan’ti
Ud 6.5 & 6.6: asayaṅkāraṁ aparaṅkāraṁ adhiccasamuppannaṁ sukhadukkhaṁ attā ca loko ca, idameva saccaṁ moghamaññan”ti

It looks very much like attā ca loko ca was mistakenly inserted via editorial error. So I translated it in a deliberately clumsy manner to echo the clumsiness of the text.


Thank you so much for this, Bhante. Yes, what you say does indeed make sense. The statements in DN 29 are so much more straightforward (if you can call this sort of statement by the wanderers straightforward), I didn’t think twice about them when I translated them. Here, it was exactly the clumsiness in your translation that made me stop and compare other translations …

I should perhaps invest more time in studying Pali grammar. But when starting this project, the situation with my mother was rather difficult and emotionally demanding, I needed something to brighten my heart—which wasn’t exactly fulfilled by grammar studies. Which is why I decided to instead rely on the work of others for that. And I don’t think I have enough life time left to do both … :person_shrugging:

So thanks for your explanations, they are most valuable to me!


And therein lies the true motivation for all students of the Dhamma! Our work should be joyful and fulfilling, else the point is lost.

You’re doing the right thing, you have helped me improve my work immensely, so we all lift each other up.

I think it’s important to remember that the “best” translation is not purely a subjective choice, nor is it to be gained by averaging out the work of others. Sometimes choices are indeed subjective, but sometimes people make mistakes, even the best scholars. We can’t improve unless we are prepared to look carefully and critically and re-evaluate our choices.