What is the meaning of ekarattiparivāsena?

Hi, I want to ask something … “ekarattiparivāsena”, what is the meaning of this word? I found it in Ud 1.10

It difficult for me to translate it… :frowning_face:


I think it means “stopping in each place only for one night”. Like he remains focused on meeting the Buddha and makes it his number one priority whatever may happen on the way.

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Thanissaro Bhikkhu translates it (in “Udāna: Exclamations – A Translation”, 2012) as:

“Then Bahiya … left right then and, in the space of one night, went all the way to where the Buddha was staying …”

But he footnotes that with:

Eka-ratti-parivāsena: this phrase can also mean, ‘taking one-night sojourns’ (i.e. resting no more than one night in any one spot); or ‘with a one-night sojourn.’ The Commentary prefers the meaning used in the translation, noting that the distance between Suppāraka and Sāvatthi amount to 120 leagues, or approximately 1,200 miles. In its version of Bahyia’s story, Bahiya had no meditative attainments at all, and so the miraculous speed of his journey had to be attributed either to the power of the deva or the power of the Buddha. However, he may actually have had strong powers of concentration with some attendant psychic powers of his own.”

So translation (interpretation) may depend on how one interprets the context.

(A bit surprising that Thanissaro B agrees with a commentary here, as he generally favors sutta
texts over the commentarial or abhidhamma traditions.)

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Hmm… :confused:

This is just my guess, I’m not speaking for Ven. T., but I think when he translates a word or phrase, he probably does what everyone else does in due diligence in terms of examining and considering all options, including cmy and Abhi. That you find it surprising in this case is showing that the Cmy. and Abh. tradition often contradicts the EBT, not that Ven. T is purposely taking the sutta position dogmatically over the cmy. and Abhi. interpretation.

True, but on the other hand the venerable does entertain a fondness for Buddhism’s thaumaturgical side, to an extent that’s rather unusual in a western bhikkhu but quite normal in the Ajahn Lee branch of the Thai forest tradition.

Yes, he does show deep respect for his A.Fuang – A. Lee – A. Mun lineage.

I’ve heard him relate anecdotes from his training days, when A. Fuang seemed to read Than-Geoff’s mind. With some 10 years of living with A. Fuang, TG no doubt has some empirical data to go by, or perhaps something rubbed-off on him, the way one learns from 1st-person “presence” about living the dhamma. In his public writings and oral teaching, however, there’s little indication that he himself is using such powers.

Also, in TG’s many translations (from the Thai) of writings from that lineage, and/or his introductions to them, I recall running across more than one instance (it would take a couple of hours of research to track it down) where one or more individual in the lineage remarked on the psychic powers of his teacher.

I found it noteworthy, in reading “Keeping the Breath in Mind” (TG translation of A. Lee), the last section “Jhana”, that:
a: it’s a rather straight-forward Visuddhimagga-like (derived from there? or do both derive from deeper tradition?) description of the 4 jhana-s (whereas TG himself shy’s away from “jhana by the numbers” in his own teaching); and
b: in a concluding list of eight skills that become available with mastering the 4th jhana, the 1st and 8th relate to the further path to release, but the rest (2nd to 7th) all have to do with special powers.

The photo of A. Lee at the beginning of TG’s book also strikes me as s/w eerie – in a non-derogatory sense.

(All this s/w off-topic, but IMO touching on subtleties of intra-Theravada lineage variations that are useful to be aware of, to avoid getting swept-up in the occasional quasi-sectarian squabbles that arise in discussions – e.g. Thai vs Burmese, this Thai vs that Thai, this Burmese vs that Burmese, or this or that Western derivative of any of the above vs some other Western derivative,…)

This opinion appears to reflect more your own predilections than the sense of my statement (and experience).

A popular view today is a rather modernist literalist interpretation of the EBT vs (“contradicting”) texts in the commentaries and Abhidhamma (by no means ascribing this attitude to all approaches to the EBT). A more traditional view is that the commentarial and abhidhamma writers were interpreting, refining understanding of (a thorough knowledge of) the sutta-s according to the cultural evolution of their times, which at times gets into seeming mis-interpretations (plus simple instances of human fallibility), as seen from other viewpoints. As one teacher puts it, one masters the sutta-s, then builds on that with the insight provided by succeeding generations of analysis (abhidhamma) and commentary, across successive lineages of “Thera”, through to our own present-day interpretation (commentary) on it all.

In this latter perspective, the modernist focus on the primacy of the EBT, especially when combined with a lack of patience with (and likely lack of understanding of) “traditional” views, s/t appears itself a culture-bound phenomenon, and at times rather provincial. Perhaps it should be admitted that there’s the making of a new tradition here, which is distinct from “Theravada.”

Secondly, I believe Than-Geoff focuses on the sutta-s from a pragmatic rationale to provide more accessibility for his audience (Western lay students); less a matter of dogma. He demonstrates familiarity with commentaries and abhidhamma, but (a) those are not emphasized as much in his lineage (Thai Wilderness Tradition, e.g. in contrast with the pronounced Burmese specialty in those areas), and (b), even in Burmese circles, study of abhidhamma and commentaries is less for the purpose of explicitly teaching that level of understanding to lay students, but rather for the purpose of deepening insight and precision in the ability to teach basic dhamma (e.g. the sutta-s).

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Yes, it is just my opinion, as I stated clearly up front, and I’m not trying to invalidate your experience. Your opinion seemed to imply Ven. T (Thanissaro) was being dogmatic, my opinion is that he’s favoring views which make sense and are coherent with EBT core principles.

I actually like early Abhidhamma works, one example being MN 148. In the early period, they were collating, synthesizing core EBT principles and trying to see how all the pieces fit together. I don’t like the later periods when later Abhidhamma flat out contradicts EBT core principles, and when they add IMO unnecessary complexity and too many new moving parts that doesn’t add any new important insight over plainly stated EBT.

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Me too. This was somehow discussed here:

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I think all of Ajahn Mun’s disciples will to some extent use some Vism. terminology like appana samadhi, upacara samadhi, and a more Vism. style presentation of the four jhana definition.

However, as for the meaning of their four jhana definitions, the interpretation of the actual four jhanas, the disciples can vary quite a lot.

Ajahn Lee, while his definition may superficially resemble Vism. definition in style, I guarantee his interpretation is worlds apart. Vitakka and Vicara in first jhana, in “Keeping the breath in mind”, is clearly “thinking and evaluation”, not one pointedly gluing the mind to a white light nimitta and “sustaining attention” on it. He defines the vitakka as taking the breath as the meditation object, and vicara as evaluating how the breath feels in all parts of your anatomical body, such as heat, comfortable, uncomfortable, “breath energy” flowing throughout the anatomical body to borrow a Ven T (Thanissaro) phrase.

There is also no mention of a type of samadhi where one resolves to enter an attainment for an exact speicified amount of time, enter a frozen state where one can not will or do any kind of investigation, and emerge at the exact time from that attainment that they resolved. So you can see he’s using “appana samadhi” in his book in a different sense than Vism.

He mentions the visible luminosity being prominent in 3rd jhana instead of 4th, which is an agreement with EBT AN 6.29 and AN 5.28.
In Vism. 16APS (anapanasati), it’s a drastically different story. They take visible luminosity as a prerequisite before one can enter FIRST jhana, or even access concentration.

Ajahn Lee looking unworldly in the photo is a good indicator he meditated a lot. People like that, if you see them in person, their eyes might glow like something you’ve never seen, their skin all over their body might glow. I ran into an advanced meditator friend recently who I hadn’t seen in over 7 years. He was glowing with subtle white light, looked 20 years younger than his age, and before we even spoke a word I could tell his practice was going well. You could feel metta emanating like a tangible magnetic force field, a very comfortable nest that you just want to curl up in and bask in it. I could just picture him in the forest and wild animals gravitating towards that metta bubble energetic field that you can tangible feel.

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