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Title: Atthinukhopariyaayo Sutta: Is There a Criterion?
PTS: S iv 138
CDB ii 1214 (corresponds to CDB 35.153)
Atthinukhopariyaayo Sutta: Is There a Criterion?
translated from the Pali by
The Pali title of this sutta is based on the PTS (Feer) edition.
(1) “Is there, monks, any criterion whereby a monk, apart from faith, apart from persuasion,(2) apart from inclination, apart from rational speculation, apart from delight in views and theories, could affirm the attainment of enlightenment:(3) 'Birth is destroyed, the holy life has been accomplished, what was to be done is done, there is no further living in this world'?”
“For us, Lord, all things have the Blessed One as their root, their guide, their refuge. It would be well, Lord, if the meaning of these words were to be made clear by the Blessed One.(4) Hearing it from the Blessed One, the monks will remember it.”
“There is such a criterion, monks, whereby a monk… could affirm the attainment of enlightenment… What is that method?
“In this, monks, a monk seeing an object with the eye recognizes within himself the presence of lust, hatred or delusion, knowing 'Lust, hatred or delusion is present in me,' or he recognizes the absence of these things, knowing 'There is no lust, hatred or delusion present in me.' Now, monks, as regards that recognition of the presence or absence of these things within him, are these matters to be perceived by faith, by persuasion, by inclination, by rational speculation, by delight in views and theories?”
“No, indeed, Lord.”
“Are not these matters to be perceived by the eye of wisdom?”(5)
“Then, monks, this is the criterion whereby a monk, apart from faith, apart from persuasion, apart from inclination, apart from rational speculation, apart from delight in views and theories, could affirm the attainment of enlightenment: 'Birth is destroyed, the holy life has been accomplished, what was to be done is done, there is no further living in this world.'”
[Similarly for ear, nose, tongue, body (touch), mind.]
Pariyaaya: a word with several meanings, lit. “going around,” hence “succession,” “mode,” “procedure,” etc. This short sutta deals with the very basic question of how, objectively, one can be sure that the declared goal of the Buddha's practice has been achieved: thus the rendering “criterion” is appropriate. It may be compared with the frequently-quoted Kaalaama Sutta (AN 3.65: translated in WH 8).
Not influenced by anybody else.
Añña.m vyaakareyya. Woodward's rendering “could affirm insight” is inadequate, because aññaa definitely means the highest insight of enlightenment. The declaration takes the form shown below: “Birth is destroyed… etc.”
The formula is abbreviated in the text here. It is found in full elsewhere.
I follow Woodward's rendering for paññaaya (lit. “with wisdom”). The actual expression paññaacakkhu “eye of wisdom” occurs elsewhere.