Study and Research Section

Commentary on the Mahaaraahulovaadasutta

Part VI : Section A

Relevant sutta passage: "Katamaa ca, Raahula, aakaasadhaatu? Aakaasadhaatu siyaa ajjhattikaa, siyaa baahiraa. Katamaa ca, Raahula, ajjhattikaa aakaasadhaatu? Ya.m ajjhatta.m paccatta.m aakaasa.m aakaasagata.m upaadinna.m, seyyathida.m - ka.n.nacchidda.m naasacchidda.m mukhadvaara.m, yena ca asitapiitakhaayitasaayita.m ajjhoharati, yattha ca asitapiitakhaayitasaayita.m santi.t.thati, yena ca asitapiitakhaayitasaayita.m adhobhaaga.m nikkhamati, ya.m vaa pana˝˝ampi ki˝ci ajjhatta.m paccatta.m aakaasa.m aakaasagata.m, agha.m aghagata.m, vivara.m vivaragata.m, asamphu.t.tha.m, ma.msalohitehi upaadinna.m - aya.m vuccati, Raahula, ajjhattikaa aakaasadhaatu. Yaa ceva kho pana ajjhattikaa aakaasadhaatu yaa ca baahiraa aakaasadhaatu aakaasadhaaturevesaa. Ta.m 'neta.m mama, nesohamasmi, na meso attaa'ti - evameta.m yathaabhuuta.m sammappa˝˝aaya da.t.thabba.m. Evameta.m yathaabhuuta.m sammappa˝˝aaya disvaa aakaasadhaatuyaa citta.m nibbindati, aakaasadhaatuyaa citta.m viraajeti.

"And what, Rahula, is the space element? The space element may be internal or external. And what, Rahula, is the internal space element? That, internally, and individually, is space, void, and clung to, namely: the cavity of the ear, the orifice of the nose, the opening of the mouth, and whereby (one) swallows what is tasted, chewed, drunk and eaten, and where (food) being tasted, chewed, drunk and eaten remains, and whereby (food) being tasted, chewed, drunk and eaten passes out of the body lower down, or whatever else internally, and individually is space, void, sky, empty, an opening, hollow, untouched by flesh and blood, and clung to. This, Rahula, is called the internal space element. But that very internal space element and that external space element are simply space element. Thus "this is not mine, this I am not, this is not myself" is to be seen with right wisdom just as it is. Having seen this with right wisdom just as it is, the mind becomes dispassionate towards (and) detaches (itself) from the space element.


1. Words:

  • paraama.t.tha: clung to (paraamasati).
  • sariira (n): body.
  • a.t.thi (n): bone.
  • ka.n.na (n): ear.
  • chidda (n): cavity, hole.
  • chidda.t.thaana: hollow place, hollow tract.
  • ma.msa (n): flesh.
  • lohita (n): blood.
  • samphu.t.tha: touched (samphusati).
  • vivara (n): cavity.
  • ajjhoharati: he swallows.
  • anto: inside.
  • bandhana (n): connection, union, ligature.
  • udara (n): stomach, belly.
  • pa.talaa (f):membrane, lining (mucous membrane of stomach).
  • angula (n): inch, finger.
  • vidatthi (f): a span, cube, 12 angulas or fingers.
  • vidatthicatura`ngula: one cube and four fingers.
  • okaasa (m): open space, room, occasion.
  • pati.t.thaati: stand up against, be established.
  • parissaavana (n): filter.
  • pa.ta (m): cloth.
  • matta: consisting of, just like.
  • adho: under.
  • adhobhaaga (m): lower part.
  • anta (n): intestines.
  • vanka: bent.
  • sukhuma: subtle, refined.
  • camma (n): hide, membrane, skin.
  • loma (n): hair of body.
  • kuupa (m): cavity.
  • lomakuupa: pore of skin.

Commentary:
aakaasadhaatuya.m aakaasagatanti aakaasabhaava.m gata.m.
With regard to the element of space, the expression, "connected with space" means: having the characteristic of emptiness.

upaadinnanti aadinna.m gahita.m paraama.t.tha.m, sariira.t.thakanti attho.
As to the expression, clung to, this means, clung to, grasped and misapprehended. The meaning is that it refers to the bodily frame*.

ka.n.nacchiddanti ma.msalohitaadiihi asamphu.t.thaka.n.navivara.m.
As to the expression, cavity in the ear, this means, an opening in the ear, not touched by flesh and blood, etc.

naasacchiddaadiisupi eseva nayo.
With regard to cavity in the nose etc. this is also according to the same system of teaching.

yena caati yena chiddena.
As to the words "and that by which" , this means: by which cavity.

ajjhoharatiiti anto paveseti,
As to the words, "he swallows", this means, he makes it go inside.

jivhaabandhanato hi yaava udarapa.talaa manussaana.m vidatthicatura`ngula.m chidda.t.thaana.m hoti.
From the base of the tongue as far as the mucous membrane of the intestines of humans there is a hollow tract of one cube and four fingers length.

ta.m sandhaayeta.m vutta.m.
Now, this is said in this connection.

yattha caati yasmi.m okaase.
As to the words, "And where", this means: at whichever occasion.

santi.t.thatiiti pati.t.thaati. 
As to the expression, it remains, this means: it is established.

manussaana~nhi mahanta.m pa.taparissaavanamatta~nca udarapa.tala.m naama hoti.
What is like a large filter for humans is called intestines.

ta.m sandhaayeta.m vutta.m.
Now, this is said in this connection.

adhobhaaga.m nikkhamatiiti yena he.t.thaa nikkhamati.
As to the words, it comes out at the lower part, this means: where it comes out underneath.

dvatti.msahatthamatta.m ekaviisatiyaa .thaanesu va`nka.m anta.m naama hoti.
Here, the intestines have been referred to that are thirty two cubits (a cubit being half a yard) in length and coiled in twenty one places**.

ta.m sandhaayeta.m vutta.m.
Now, this is said in this connection.

ya.m vaa pana~n~nampiiti
As to the words, or whatever else,

iminaa sukhumasukhuma.m cammama.msaadiantaragata~nceva lomakuupabhaavena ca .thita.m aakaasa.m dasseti.
this means: by this he explains the very subtle space situated between the inner skin and flesh and so on, which is like skin pores***.

sesametthaapi pathaviidhaatuaadiisu vuttanayeneva veditabba.m.
Here, the other words should be understood in the same way as what is said with reference to the element of earth and so on****.

English:
With regard to the element of space, the expression, "connected with space" means: having the characteristic of emptiness. As to the expression, clung to, this means, clung to, grasped and misapprehended. The meaning is that it refers to the bodily frame*. As to the expression, cavity in the ear, this means, an opening in the ear, not touched by flesh and blood, etc. With regard to cavity in the nose etc. this is also according to the same system of teaching. As to the words "and that by which", this means: by which cavity. As to the words, "he swallows", this means, he makes it go inside. From the base of the tongue as far as the mucous membrane of the intestines of humans there is a hollow tract of one cube and four fingers length. Now, this is said in this connection. As to the words, "And where", this means: at whichever occasion. As to the expression, it remains, this means: it is established. What is like a large filter for humans is called intestines. Now, this is said in this connection. As to the words, it comes out at the lower part, this means: where it comes out underneath. Here, the intestines have been referred to that are thirty two cubits (a cubit being half a yard) in length and coiled in twenty one places**. Now, this is said in this connection. As to the words, or whatever else, this means: by this he explains the very subtle space situated between the inner skin and flesh and so on, which is like skin pores***. Here, the other words should be understood in the same way as what is said with reference to the element of earth and so on****.

* The subcommentary states: clung to by carving (tanhaa) and wrong view (di.t.thi).

** See also Visuddhimagga VIII, 118-120, for the intestines, etc.

*** The Visuddhimagga VI, 89, states that there are ninety-nine thousand pores.

**** The subcommentary refers to the "Discourse on the Elephant's footprint".

In this book

Introduction

Part 1:
Section a
Section b
Section c
Section d
Section e
Part 2:
Section a
Part 6:
Section a
Part 7:
Section a
Part 11:
Section a
Part 12:
Section a
Part 13:
Section a

Conclusion