Page 211

marginalia

memoriam

p. 16 p. 22

death. but we agreed that history and fact should be our sterling coins and measure, and that we should not interpret a word in the sense of later commentators, but get its unadulterated meaning, as it was in the mind of the oldest Theras and the near followers of Gotama himself: See Ariya. [We shall have a great many critics, and they will all be only too ready and glad to find fault—and they will find slips and unsolved problems—yet you and I know better, and we can feel satisfied, for we really solved a great many cruxes.]65: The reason for many mistakes is simply failure to read the context of the word. This is inexcusable carelessness. A††hamaka [Hence the eighth is he who stands on the lowest step of the Path and is called a sotåpanna]: NO. He is sotåpattiphalasacchikiriyåya pa†ipanno. Atta (1) [The Arahant … keeps an open mind on all speculative theories.]: He does nothing of the sort. The di††hi­ sampanna (sotåpanna) sees them as based on avijjå and has no more to do with them; for the arahat, who has no avijjå, they do not even present themselves. It is possible (etymologically, that is to say) that this derivation of atta/ niratta is justified, that the meaning is ‘assumed/rejected’ and not ‘self/denial of self’; nevertheless this article is unobtrusively misleading. For the ‘speculative theories’ in question are precisely the existence or non-existence of self (or the soul—see NoD, Preface (b), attå & cetanå), atthi attå ti or natthi attå ti (S. iv,400). Assumption of (the existence of) self is then attaµ (Sn. 787) whether it means ‘assumed’ or ‘self’, and likewise rejection of (the existence of of) self is nirattaµ, whether it means ‘rejected’ or ‘denial of self’. (And consequently—etymology apart—atta means both ‘assumed’ and ‘self’ and niratta means both ‘rejected’ and ‘denial of self’.) It is not possible to ‘keep an open mind’ on the existence or not of self (since the question of ‘who is it that keeps an open mind?’ incessantly undermines the stability of the neutral position), but it is possible to vacillate between the two extremes (in church on Sundays atthi attå ti; in laboratory on weekdays

65.  This section has been omitted from more recent reprintings of the Dic­tionary.

529

Early Writings (Seeking the Path - Ñāṇavīra Thera)  

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...

Early Writings (Seeking the Path - Ñāṇavīra Thera)  

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...

Advertisement