seeking the path
dhammå anattå. Why not simply sabbe saπkhårå aniccå, dukkhå and anattå? In the absence of an explanation by the Buddha, all that we can hope for, and, indeed, all that we can really want, is a simple interpretation that should not conflict with the Suttas and should be in conformity with the general intention of the Buddha’s teaching. What follows does not pretend to be more than a tentative opinion: it is a suggestion rather than an assertion. Like the colours of the rainbow, the meanings of saπkhåra and dhamma are many and various; and just as the blue merges into the green, and the green into the yellow, without any abrupt change, so each meaning of these two words merges into another, and that into a third, without our ever being able to say where one ends and the next begins: under these circumstances, exact definition is impossible, and formal logic, as we have seen, misleading. Some of these meanings—kåyasaπkhåra, ‘in and out breaths’, for example, and dhamma and adhamma, ‘right’ and ‘wrong’—are clearly irrelevant to the problem; others, just as clearly, are essential to it. The task is to decide where the dividing line shall be drawn. Quotations from the Suttas are here chosen according as they seem to illustrate various relevant meanings of saπkhårå and dhammå (in their plural form); and their general sense, indicated by these quotations, which cover for each word a certain limited range of meanings, will be found to give a reasonable interpretation of the three statements under discussion. Four texts will be enough to show that saπkhårå—at least within the range that is taken here—has a threefold aspect. Katamañca bhikkhave r¨paµ… Katamå ca bhikkhave vedanå… Katamå ca bhikkhave saññå… Katame ca bhikkhave saπkhårå. Chayime bhikkhave cetanåkåyå, r¨pasañcetanå saddasañcetanå gandhasañcetanå rasasañcetanå pho††habbasañcetanå dhammasañcetanå. Ime vuccanti bhikkhave saπkhårå… Katamañca bhikkhave viññå~aµ… (Khandha Saµyutta, 56) And which, monks, is matter?… And which, monks, is feeling?… And which, monks, is perception?… And which, monks, are formations? There are, monks, these six groups of volition: volition regarding forms, volition regarding
Published on Jun 26, 2013
Part B includes two early essays (Nibbana and Anatta and Sketch for a Proof of Rebirth) as well as notes from a Commonplace Book and Margina...