Variant reading of 'Roots' AN10.58

I wanted to share this in response to @Sujith asking me about AN10.58. The term dhamma has many meanings and it can be dhamma= phenomena or dhamma= teachings. My understanding now is that it refers to the latter. In my notes below 1. refers to the current translations 2. refers to my preferred understanding. I have inserted comments in [ ] to explain my reasoning, as well:

Chandamūlakā, āvuso, sabbe dhammā,

  1. All things are rooted in desire. [Nibbana, isn’t rooted in anything]
  2. Teachings are rooted in wholesome desire to understand the Dhamma.

Manasikārasambhavā sabbe dhammā,

  1. They come into being through attention. [phenomena doesn’t come into being through attention, or contemplation. It comes into being from avijja, or upadana according to the DO]
  2. Contemplating teachings, the come alive to the learner.

Phassasamudayā sabbe dhammā,

  1. They originate from contact.
    [sense bases, consciousness and objects of awareness-nama-rupa, and Nibbana, doesn’t arise from contact; only feelings, perception and fabrications arise from contact].
  2. Contemplation and the teachings come under fabrications, hence arises from contact (phassa).

Vedanāsamosaraṇā sabbe dhammā,

  1. They converge upon feeling.
    [Nibbana doesn’t- it doesn’t have any feeling or perception attached to it].

  2. All teachings align to getting rid of unpleasant feelings (suffering). [not the good fit, here]

Samādhippamukhā sabbe dhammā,

  1. They are headed by concentration. [abhidhamma I think claims that all phenomena have a Samadhi component, though the concept of Samadhi is something which requires to be developed, according to EBTs.]
  2. Concentration is required to focus on and to understand and give rise to the teachings.

Satādhipateyyā sabbe dhammā,

  1. Mindfulness exercises authority over them. [defilements and hindrances can control mindfulness sometimes, as can some powerful positive emotions]

  2. The teachings can ‘arise’ only when one is intentionally mindful of it.

Paññuttarā sabbe dhammā,

  1. Wisdom is their supervisor. [reasonable, but one could say Nibbana or Vimutti is the highest Dhamma]

  2. Wisdom is the highest teaching, and not other types of teaching.

Vimuttisārā sabbe dhammā,

  1. Liberation is their core.
    [conditioned- the 3 marks is their core, nibbna- liberation is at the core]

  2. Liberation is the core purpose of the teachings.

Amatogadhā sabbe dhammā,

  1. They culminate in the deathless.
    [reasonable, but not inevitably]

  2. The teachings (when practiced) should culminate in nibbana.

Nibbānapariyosānā sabbe dhammā’ti.

  1. Their consummation is nibbāna.

  2. The consummation or perfection of the teachings is nibbana.

with metta,


I’ve become wary of over-interpreting suttas. :slight_smile:

Perhaps the Pali experts here can clarify whether the existing translations are lacking in any way.