The five strings of lavish sensuality

Might someone be able to clarify what is meant by “the five strings of lavish sensuality” in AN5.148 (paragraph 5) for me? On face value the paragraph seems a bit counter-intuitive.

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That phrase refers to the “five cords of sensual pleasure”, I thought.

That whole sutta looks suspicious, to me.

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Bhikkhu Bodhi has “the five kinds of fine sensual pleasures”.

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It’s just the usual phrase with the additional adjective uḷāra. This means “fine, excellent, magnificent”, etc. You may be familiar with it from the Dhammacakka, where it appears right near the end, as a description of the “magnificent” light of the gods.

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and some clue can be gotten from the context of AN 9.20, where uḷāra it’s translated as splendid

Api nu te, gahapati, kule dānaṃ dīyatī”ti? “Dīyati me, bhante, kule dānaṃ; tañca kho lūkhaṃ kaṇājakaṃ biḷaṅgadutiyan”ti. “Lūkhañcepi
, gahapati, dānaṃ deti paṇītaṃ vā; tañca asakkaccaṃ deti, acittīkatvā deti, asahatthā deti, apaviddhaṃ deti, anāgama­na­diṭṭhiko deti. Yattha yattha tassa tassa dānassa vipāko nibbattati, na uḷārāya bhattabhogāya cittaṃ namati, na uḷārāya vatthabhogāya cittaṃ namati, na uḷārāya yānabhogāya cittaṃ namati, na uḷāresu pañcasu kāmaguṇesu bhogāya cittaṃ namati.

Householder, regardless of whether a gift is coarse or refined, if it is given inattentively, disrespectfully, not with one’s own hand, as if throwing it away, with the view that nothing will come of it: Wherever the result of that gift comes to fruition, one’s mind will not incline to the enjoyment of splendid food, will not incline to the enjoyment of splendid clothing, will not incline to the enjoyment of splendid vehicles, will not incline to the enjoyment of the splendid five strings of sensuality.

the last phrase Ven Bodhi translates as enjoyment of whatever is superb among the five objects of sensual pleasure

so it appears to be the usual 5 strings of sensuality, as already said, but refined, exquisite, high quality, maybe even closer to those experienced by the devas

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Much thanks all!

LXNDR, framing it in terms of deva-like pleasure makes it a bit more understandable for me. I couldn’t quite get why enjoyment (rather than restraint of) the senses seems to be promoted here, but this gives me an avenue to think of it along the lines of being born in a good destination.

and such understanding is kind of congruent with the nature of generosity as a vehicle for rebirth in a happy destination and in AN 9.20 the message itself is congruent with the audience who is a lay person, Anathapindika, not a usual audience for sermons on sense restraint

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For me this kind of points to the whole “if you give but give wrongly, you will still receive the reward, but you won’t be able to enjoy it” concept mentioned in SN 3.20 for example.

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Again, much thanks LXNDR & ravio. Both suttas really help to clarify the original question and stimulate reflection over the point. It’s also interesting to read Thanissaro Bhikkhu’s introductory comment to SN 3.20 which picks up my initial point of surprise and takes it in a much more interesting direction.

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