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The Thinker
10 Jun 12, 13:52
what is your view and understanding of Mahànidàna sutta :)

Aloka
10 Jun 12, 14:11
Could you give us a URL link to the sutta, please TheThinker ?

The Thinker
10 Jun 12, 14:15
Here is the link :) i forgot to add it in my question

http://www.metta.lk/tipitaka/2Sutta-Pitaka/1Digha-Nikaya/Digha2/15-mahanidana-e2.html

Deshy
10 Jun 12, 14:33
what is your view and understanding of Mahànidàna sutta :)

The only sutta in the sutta pitaka as far as I have seen where a womb is mentioned with reference to dependent origination. Therefore, this one sutta is somewhat contradictory to everywhere else DO is taught by the Buddha.

Element
10 Jun 12, 18:48
what is your view and understanding of Mahànidàna sutta
hi thinker

for me, this is a controversial sutta. in my opinion, it was not spoken by buddha

buddha taught the Great Standards, for scrutinising teachings, as follows:


In such a case, bhikkhus, the declaration of such a bhikkhu is neither to be received with approval nor with scorn. Without approval and without scorn, but carefully studying the sentences word by word, one should trace them in the Discourses and verify them by the Discipline. If they are neither traceable in the Discourses nor verifiable by the Discipline, one must conclude thus: 'Certainly, this is not the Blessed One's utterance; this has been misunderstood by that bhikkhu — or by that community, or by those elders, or by that elder.' In that way, bhikkhus, you should reject it. But if the sentences concerned are traceable in the Discourses and verifiable by the Discipline, then one must conclude thus: 'Certainly, this is the Blessed One's utterance; this has been well understood by that bhikkhu — or by that community, or by those elders, or by that elder.' And in that way, bhikkhus, you may accept it on the first, second, third, or fourth reference. These, bhikkhus, are the four great references for you to preserve."

Maha-parinibbana Sutta (http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/dn/dn.16.1-6.vaji.html)
in the Discourses, there are possibly hundreds of teachings about Dependent Origination and none of them have the form of the Mahanidana Sutta. the Mahanidana Sutta is definitely a 'one-off' sutta. no others like it can be found

the Mahanidana Sutta differs from the hundreds of other suttas as follows:

(1) it does not describe the six-fold consciousness, which functions in dependence on the six-fold sense base. instead, it seems to describe consciousness as something that descends into a womb

(2) it does not describe nama-rupa (name-&-form; body-&-mind) as the four great elements and mental factors of perception, feeling, contact, intention & attention. instead, it describes nama-rupa in the manner of the Hindu Vedas, namely, 'naming' & 'describing'

(3) it omits the six-fold sense base, which for a Buddha seems impossible because in many places (eg. MN 115; AN 3.61) he taught the sense bases were one of his core teachings

(4) it refers to 'birth' as the physical birth of various creatures, including quadrupeds, birds, snakes, etc. it does not refer to 'birth' as the appropriation & taking ownership of aggregates & sense objects or the making of various kammas

various scholars have commented on the Digha Nikaya, forming the opinion much of it was composed after the Buddha

i recall the monk Sujato commenting it served the purpose to propagate Buddhism to Brahmins (Hindus) for the purpose of conversion

kind regards

element ;D



Formation of the Nikayas: It seems that usually monks would specialize in studying one or the other of the four Nikayas, so the Nikayas are arranged so that key teachings are found in each Nikaya. Teachings found in only one or two Nikayas, therefore, should not be regarded as central. Each of the four Nikayas, however, has its own flavour. It seems that each was designed to fulfill a certain function within the emerging religion, and this should be seen to reflect the personalities of those who chose to specialize in a particular field. The Digha emphasizes legendary and anti-brahmanical material and was likely used for propoganda and conversion. The Majjhima contains a deep and broad doctrinal range, and probably served as the main monastic syllabus. The Samyutta is more technical and would have been the domain of the intellectuals and doctrinal specialists. The Anguttara is simpler and more lay-orientated, and would have been used for preaching. Each Nikaya also includes much material contrasting with its overall flavour.

Bhikkhu Sujato (https://sites.google.com/site/santipada/it%27stime)

Element
10 Jun 12, 19:47
The only sutta in the sutta pitaka as far as I have seen where a womb is mentioned with reference to dependent origination.
there is another, here:


Channaṃ, bhikkhave, dhātūnaṃ upādāya gabbhassāvakkanti hoti; okkantiyā sati nāmarūpaṃ

Based on the six elements there is descent into the womb. Such descent taking place, there is name-and-form.

With name-and-form as condition there are the six sense bases; with the six sense bases as condition there is contact; with contact as condition there is feeling. Now it is for one who feels that I make known: “This is suffering,” “This is the origin of suffering,” “This is the cessation of suffering,” “This is the way leading to the cessation of suffering.”

AN 3.61 (http://bps.lk/olib/wh/wh155-p.html#S29)


Upādāya (adv.) [ger. of upādiyati] -- 1. (as prep. with acc.) lit. "taking it up" (as such & such), i. e. (a) out of, as, for; in phrase anukampaŋ upādāya out of pity or mercy

Avakkanti (f.) [fr. avakkamati] entry, appearance, coming down into

Okkanti (f.) [fr. okkamati] entry (lit. descent), appearance, coming to be.
although the Pali seems difficult here, including the word 'sati', when reading it in context, it seems to refer to the appearance of the 'sentient being', i.e., a being that feels vedana, i.e., has a nervous system. for a being that feels, Buddha teaches the four noble truths, namely, the way of stopping craving arising in respect to feeling.

instead of descent 'into' a womb, probably descent 'from' a womb. 'okkanti' also means 'to enter' (used in sutta about stream-entry). so it sounds like: "taking the six elements out of the womb, body-&-mind enter [into the world]

this verse is similar to MN 38, which describes the life cycle, as follows:


Then for nine or ten months the mother shelters the embryo in her womb with great anxiety, as a heavy burden. Then, at the end of nine or ten months, she gives birth with great anxiety, as a heavy burden. Then, when the child is born, she feeds it with her own blood — for mother's milk is called blood in the discipline of the noble ones.

Then, as the child grows and his faculties mature, he plays at children's games: toy plows, stick games, somersaults, toy windmills, toy measures, toy carts, and a toy bow & arrow.

As he grows and his faculties mature, he enjoys himself provided & endowed with the five strings of sensuality: forms cognizable via the eye — agreeable, pleasing, charming, endearing, enticing, accompanied with sensual desire; sounds cognizable via the ear... aromas cognizable via the nose... flavors cognizable via the tongue... tactile sensations cognizable via the body — agreeable, pleasing, charming, endearing, enticing, accompanied with sensual desire.

On seeing a form with the eye, he is infatuated with pleasing forms, and gets upset over unpleasing forms. He dwells with body-mindfulness unestablished with limited awareness. He doesn't discern, as it has come to be, the awareness-release & discernment-release where those evil, unskillful qualities cease without remainder. Engaged thus in compliance & opposition, he relishes any feeling he feels — pleasure, pain, neither-pleasure-nor-pain — welcomes it, & remains fastened to it. As he relishes that feeling, welcomes it, & remains fastened to it, delight arises. Now, any delight in feeling is clinging/sustenance. From his clinging/sustenance as a requisite condition comes becoming. From becoming as a requisite condition comes birth. From birth as a requisite condition, then aging-&-death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, and despair come into play. Such is the origination of this entire mass of stress & suffering.

On hearing a sound with the ear...

On smelling an aroma with the nose...

On tasting a flavor with the tongue...

On sensing a tactile sensation with the body...

On cognizing an idea with the intellect, he is infatuated with pleasing ideas, and gets upset over unpleasing ideas. He dwells with body-mindfulness unestablished, with limited awareness. He doesn't discern, as it has come to be, the awareness-release & discernment-release where those evil, unskillful qualities cease without remainder. Engaged thus in compliance & opposition, he relishes any feeling he feels — pleasure, pain, neither-pleasure-nor-pain — welcomes it, & remains fastened to it. As he relishes that feeling, welcomes it, & remains fastened to it, delight arises. Now, any delight in feeling is clinging/sustenance. From his clinging/sustenance as a requisite condition comes becoming. From becoming as a requisite condition comes birth. From birth as a requisite condition, then aging-&-death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair come into play. Such is the origination of this entire mass of stress & suffering.

MN 38 (http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.038.than.html)

;D

however, despite AN 3.61 & MN 38, i still find it difficult to reconcile the Mahanidana Sutta:


If consciousness were not to descend into the mother's womb, would name-and-form take shape in the womb?

No, lord.

If, after descending into the womb, consciousness were to depart, would name-and-form be produced for this world?

No, lord.

If the consciousness of the young boy or girl were to be cut off, would name-and-form ripen, grow, and reach maturity?

No, lord.

(Thanissaro)


If consciousness were not to descend into the mother’s womb, would name-&-form take shape in the womb?

Certainly not, bhante.

If, after descending into the womb, consciousness were to depart, would name-&-form be generated into this present state of being?

Certainly not, bhante.

If the consciousness of a young boy or girl were to be cut off, would name-&-form grow up, develop, and reach maturity?

Certainly not, bhante.

(Patrick Kearney)

http://www.buddhistelibrary.org/en/albums/asst/ebook/02_mahanidana.pdf

The Thinker
10 Jun 12, 19:48
Thank you Element :)

i like your way of thinking about this Sutta :)

The thinker

Deshy
11 Jun 12, 04:55
there is another, here:

Ok thanks element :) I didn't know the sutta.




instead of descent 'into' a womb, probably descent 'from' a womb. 'okkanti' also means 'to enter' (used in sutta about stream-entry). so it sounds like: "taking the six elements out of the womb, body-&-mind enter [into the world]



Wouldn't develop be a better translation. Six sense bases surely develop in the womb.

Element
11 Jun 12, 05:46
Wouldn't develop be a better translation. Six sense bases surely develop in the womb.
it is the six elements (not six sense bases) that are in the womb. but, yes, sometimes the word 'develop' is a translation here

Deshy
11 Jun 12, 06:02
it is the six elements (not six sense bases) that are in the womb. but, yes, sometimes the word 'develop' is a translation here

Yes the six elements :Earth, Water, Fire, Air, Space, and Consciousness - the six types of consciousness (including the six sense bases) develop in the womb as an embryo develops. Not sure about seeing and smelling but I think a baby hears, feels and possibly mind consciousness arises too.

Element
11 Jun 12, 06:13
Yes six elements: Earth, Water, Fire, Air, Space and Consciousness could be in the womb (rather than an 'atman like consciousness')

Deshy
11 Jun 12, 06:30
Yes six elements: Earth, Water, Fire, Air, Space and Consciousness could be in the womb (rather than an 'atman like consciousness')

Saying six elements: Earth, Water, Fire, Air, Space and consciousness that is the six types of consciousness, so that any claims of an 'atman like consciousness' is challenged. ;)

Element
11 Jun 12, 18:00
Based on the six elements there is...body-and-mind. With body-and-mind as condition there are the six sense bases; with the six sense bases as condition there is contact; with contact as condition there is feeling. Now it is for one who feels that I make known: “This is suffering,” “This is the origin of suffering,” “This is the cessation of suffering,” “This is the way leading to the cessation of suffering.”
for me, i have always found the beauty of this teaching, the phrase: "It is for one who feels that I make known the four noble truths".

this teachings also demonstrate the neutrality of nama-&-rupa (body-&-mind) rather than making nama-&-rupa something intrinsically unwholesome (such as by regarding nama-&-rupa as 'subject-object', dividing experience into self-other, etc)

nama-&-rupa simply points out there is a body-&-mind that both facilitates & is affected by external sense experience and internal ignorance

***