Namo tassa bhagavato arahato sammāsambuddhassa
Introduction to 1.2.6
Dutiyachiggaḷayugasuttaṃ - The Second Simile of the Turtle
This Dutiyachiggaḷayugasutta is the second –‘dutiya’– sutta about a ‘chiggaḷa’, a ‘hole’, and compares by simile the rare occasion of a blind turtle that may ever enter a yoke thrown in a vast ocean, with the even rarer occasion, that Dhamma may be available. Along with the first text, the Paṭhamachiggaḷayugasuttaṃ, the Buddha points to the rare occasion that one may be fortunate of attaining a human birth.
In the Paṭhamachiggaḷayugasutta the Buddha compares the lesser likelihood that a foolish person, once gone to the lower fields may get human birth with the possibility, that that turtle may enter the yoke:
… “na tvevāhaṃ, bhikkhave, sakiṃ vinipātagatena bālena manussattaṃ vadāmi.”
He also describes the reason for this fact:
… “Na hettha,1 bhikkhave, atthi dhammacariyā, samacariyā, kusalakiriyā, puññakiriyā. Aññamaññakhādikā2 ettha, bhikkhave, vattati dubbalakhādikā.3 Taṃ kissa hetu? Adiṭṭhattā, bhikkhave, catunnaṃ ariyasaccānaṃ.”
… “ because, Bhikkhus, these worlds are lacking Dhamma, lacking right conduct, there is no doing of wholesomeness or of merits. These beings are mutually devouring themselves, devouring predominantly the weak. And why is this so? They have not seen and are lacking the four noble truths.”
When the Buddha addresses the monks with the question: “Taṃ kiṃ maññatha, bhikkhave…” it should be noted that ‘maññati’ means ‘having an opinion, thinking, imagining’ but not ‘knowledge’. Whenever the talk is about knowledge the terminations are derivations from ‘ñāṇa’ from the root ‘ñā’—‘know’— with prefixes signifying different stages of knowledge: ‘jānāti, pajānāti, sampajānāti, parijānāti, abhijānāti’ … ‘pañña, sampajañña, pariñña, abhiñña’. The verb ‘maññati’ from the root ‘man’—‘think’, ‘be of a certain opinion’— is used to express ‘imagination’ or ‘belief’. Thus ‘maññanā’ means ‘conceit’, ‘maññita’ ‘illusion, imagination’.
The expression ‘bhante’ is used by monks to address seniors. Before his passing away the Buddha instructed the Venerable Ānanda4 that from then onwards a senior Bhikkhu should be addressed accordingly as ‘bhante’, while the elder Bhikkhus should continue to address the junior ones by the term ‘avuso’—‘friend’ as was customary. Traditionally it was also used by householders to address Bhikkhus in the literal sense of the word: ‘bhaddaṃ’ + ‘anta’—‘good, lucky’ + ‘ending’: ‘may you be successful in your strivings’. When contracted to ‘bhadaṃ + te’—‘hail to thee’ in further contracted form it turns to the respectful address: ‘bhante’—‘Venerable Sir’.
The Dutiyachiggaḷayugasutta5 is selected here to introduce the collection of texts in the Pāli canon that precedes the Aṅguttaranikāyo, the collection of ‘Connected Discourses’: the Saṃyuttanikāyo.
The Saṃyuttanikāyo consists of five divisions —‘vaggā’— where mostly shorter expositions are grouped mainly according to the subjects they deal with. ETP will present various examples in future suttas, so for example from the Vedanāsaṃyuttaṃ.6
The final exhortation:
“Tasmātiha, bhikkhave, ‘idaṃ dukkhan’ti yogo karaṇīyo, ‘ayaṃ dukkhasamudayo’ti yogo karaṇīyo, ‘ayaṃ dukkhanirodho’ti yogo karaṇīyo, ‘ayaṃ dukkhanirodhagāminī paṭipadā’ti yogo karaṇīyo”ti.
appears at the end of many suttas of the Buddha where he stirs his listeners to proceed on the path. May this concluding example of this section titled ‘dullabho’—‘difficult, rare to encounter, attain’ inspire all who read it to work with full zeal for one’s own wellbeing and those of many others!
1. hettha: hi + ettha: because + here, in this place
2. aññamaññakhādikā: añña + m + añña + khādikā: one +one (the other) + eating
3. dubbalakhādikā: du + b + bala + khādikā: bad, poor + strength + eating
4. Mahāparinibbānasutta, Mahāvaggapāḷi, Dīghanikāyo
5. referred to in long courses by S.N. Goenka
6. see 3.8.8 Paṭhamaākāsasuttaṃ & Agārasuttaṃ – Realizing vedanā results in Going Beyond: Saṅkhyaṃ nopeti vedagū; 3.8.9 Pahānasuttaṃ – How are the Sensations related to rāga, paṭighā and avijjā?; 3.8.10 Pātālasuttaṃ – How to Endure Negative Experiences and Realize Proper Comprehension of Dukkha?; 3.8.11 Sallasuttaṃ – The Distinction, the Contrast and the Difference between a puthujjano and an ariyasāvako