Author Topic: MN 98: Birth, verbal designation & conventions: what is meant here?  (Read 182 times)

Offline VisuddhiRaptor

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Dhamma-friends & truth-freedom-seekers

The Vāseṭṭha Sutta (Majjhima Nikaya 98) includes the following translations:

Quote
I shall analyse for you,
in order due and as they are,
the types of “birth” among living things,
for many are the sorts of birth.

First, there’s grasses and the trees,
though of themselves they nothing know,
each species possessing its own marks,
for many are the sorts of birth.

Next come beetles, butterflies,
and so on to the termites, ants,
each species possessing its own marks,
for many are the sorts of birth.

Then, know of those four-footed kinds,
both the tiny and the huge,
each species possessing its own marks
for many are the sorts of birth.

Know those whose bellies are their feet,
that is, the long-backed group of snakes,
each species possessing its own marks,
for many are the sorts of birth.

Know too the many kinds of fish,
living in their watery world,
each species possessing its own marks,
for many are the sorts of birth.

Then know the varied winged ones,
the birds that range the open skies,
each species possessing its own marks,
for many are the sorts of birth.

While in those births are differences,
each having their own distinctive marks,
among humanity such differences
of species—no such marks are found
.

In human bodies as they are,
such differences cannot be found:
the only human differences
are those in names alone
. (Khantipalo)

Distinction among human beings is purely verbal designation
For name & clan are assigned, originating in conventions. (Bhikkhu Bodhi)

Whoever makes his living among men by agriculture is called a ‘farmer’…

Whoever makes his living among men by merchandise is called a ‘merchant’…

That is how the wise truly see…seers of dependent origination.

MN 98 & Snp 3.9

https://suttacentral.net/en/snp3.9

What do we think here about how the matter of "verbal designation" & "conventions" is related to the matter of "birth"?

 :namaste:

Offline Solodris

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Re: MN 98: Birth, verbal designation & conventions: what is meant here?
« Reply #1 on: June 18, 2017, 01:22:26 pm »
There is no verbal designation in relation to birth.

There are no conventions in relation to birth.

Only by conduct there is relation to birth.

Offline Spiny Norman

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Re: MN 98: Birth, verbal designation & conventions: what is meant here?
« Reply #2 on: June 19, 2017, 01:10:54 am »
There seems to be some confusion in the passage between genus and species.  So for example there are are many species of fish with different physical characteristics, but this diversity is compared to the singular human species with uniform physical characteristics.  So we can tell fish apart because of the many different species, with humans it is more difficult because they are a single species - one way of distinguishing them is by their name, or by the role they play. 
« Last Edit: June 20, 2017, 05:29:01 am by Spiny Norman »

Offline stillpointdancer

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Re: MN 98: Birth, verbal designation & conventions: what is meant here?
« Reply #3 on: June 19, 2017, 01:54:22 am »
It's about whether a Brahmin is born or made by what he does. A talk about the caste system in India at the time, so was quite revolutionary and probably made him more than a few enemies.
“You do not need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. Do not even listen, simply wait, be quiet, still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked, it has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet.” Franz Kafka

Offline Pixie

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Re: MN 98: Birth, verbal designation & conventions: what is meant here?
« Reply #4 on: June 19, 2017, 02:21:29 am »
Deleted.
May all beings have happiness and the causes of happiness.
May they all be free from suffering and the causes of suffering.
May they never be deprived of true happiness devoid of any suffering.
May they abide in great impartiality, free from attachment to loved ones and aversion to others.

 


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