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Sutta Nipata IV.11

Kalaha-vivada Sutta

Quarrels & Disputes

Read an alternate translation


"From where have there arisen
quarrels, disputes,
lamentation, sorrows, along with selfishness,
conceit & pride, along with divisiveness?
From where have they arisen?
    Please tell me."

"From what is dear
there have arisen
quarrels, disputes,
lamentation, sorrows, along with selfishness,
conceit & pride, along with divisiveness.
Tied up with selfishness
are quarrels & disputes.
In the arising of disputes
is divisiveness."

"Where is the cause
of things dear in the world,
along with the greeds that go about in the world?
And where is the cause
of the hopes & fulfillments
for the sake of a person's next life?"

"Desires are the cause
of things dear in the world,
along with the greeds that go about in the world.
And it too is the cause
of the hopes & fulfillments
for the sake of a person's next life."

"Now where is the cause
of desire in the world?
And from where have there arisen
decisions, anger, lies, & perplexity,
and all the qualities
described by the Contemplative?"

"What they call
'appealing' &
'unappealing'
in the world:
in dependence on that
    desire arises.
Having seen becoming & not-
with regard to forms,
a person gives rise to decisions in the world;
anger, lies, & perplexity:
these qualities, too, when that pair exists.
A person perplexed
should train for the path of knowledge,
for it's in having known
that the Contemplative has spoken
    of qualities/dhammas."[1]

"Where is the cause
of appealing & un-?
When what isn't
do they not exist?
And whatever is meant
by becoming & not- :
    tell me,
    Where is its cause?"

"Contact is the cause
of appealing & un-.
When contact isn't
they do not exist.
And whatever is meant
by becoming & not- :
    this too is its cause."

"Now where is the cause
of contact in the world,
and from where have graspings,
            possessions, arisen?
When what isn't
does mine-ness not exist.
When what has disappeared
do contacts not touch?"

"Conditioned by name & form
        is contact.
In longing do graspings,
        possessions have their cause.
When longing isn't
mine-ness does not exist.
When forms have disappeared
contacts don't touch."

"For one arriving at what
does form disappear?
How do pleasure & pain disappear?
    Tell me this.
        My heart is set
        on knowing how
        they disappear."

"One not percipient of perceptions
not percipient of aberrant perceptions,
not unpercipient,
nor percipient of what's disappeared:[2]
    for one arriving at this,
        form disappears --
    for complication-classifications[3]
    have their cause in perception."

"What we have asked, you have told us.
We ask one more thing.
Please tell it.
Do some of the wise
say that just this much is the utmost,
the purity of the spirit[4] is here?
Or do they say
that it's other than this?"

"Some of the wise
say that just this much is the utmost,
the purity of the spirit is here.
But some of them,
who say they are skilled,
say it's the moment
with no clinging remaining.

    Knowing,
'Having known, they still are dependent,'[5]
the sage, ponders dependencies.
On knowing them, released,
he doesn't get into disputes,
doesn't meet with becoming & not-
        : he's enlightened."


Notes

1. As other passages in this poem indicate (see note 5, below), the goal is not measured in terms of knowledge, but as this passage points out, knowledge is a necessary part of the path to the goal. [Go back]

2. According to Nd.I, this passage is describing the four formless jhanas, but as the first three of the formless jhanas involve perception (of infinite space, infinite consciousness, and nothingness), only the fourth of the formless jhanas -- the sphere of neither perception nor non-perception -- would fit this description. [Go back]

3. Complication-classifications (papañca-sankha): The mind's tendency to read distinctions and differentiations even into the simplest experience of the present, thus giving rise to views that can issue in conflict. As Sn IV.14 points out, the root of these classifications is the perception, "I am the thinker." For further discussion of this point, see note 1 to that discourse and the introduction to MN 18. [Go back]

4. "Spirit" is the usual rendering of the Pali word, yakkha. According to Nd.I, however, in this context the word yakkha means person, individual, human being, or living being. [Go back]

5. In other words, the sage knows that both groups in the previous stanza fall back on their knowledge as a measure of the goal, without comprehending the dependency still latent in their knowledge. The sages in the first group are mistaking the experience of neither perception nor non-perception as the goal, and so they are still dependent on that state of concentration. The sages in the second group, by the fact that they claim to be skilled, show that there is still a latent conceit in their awakening-like experience, and thus it is not totally independent of clinging. (For more on this point, see MN 102, quoted in The Mind Like Fire Unbound, pp. 81-82.) Both groups still maintain the concept of a "spirit" that is purified in the realization of purity. Once these dependencies are comprehended, one gains release from disputes and from states of becoming and not-becoming. It is in this way that knowledge is a means to the goal, but the goal itself is not measured or defined in terms of knowledge. [Go back]


See also: DN 21; MN 18; Sn V.14
Source: ATI - For Free Distribution Only, as a Gift of Dhamma.

Dhamma Essay:
Aims of Buddhist Education by Bhikkhu Bodhi


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