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). It uses a simile to compare the rare occasion of a blind turtle lifting its head up through a yoke floating in a vast ocean with the even rarer occasion of the Dhamma being available. Along with the first text, the Paṭhamachiggaḷayugasuttaṃ, the Buddha points out the rare occasion that one may be fortunate enough to attain a human birth.
In the Paṭhamachiggaḷayugasutta the Buddha compares the lesser likelihood that a foolish person gone to the lower fields may get a human birth to the possibility that the turtle may raise its head through the floating 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 derived from ñāṇa (i.e., 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’ and ‘maññita’ means ‘illusion, imagination’.
The word bhante is used by monks to address seniors. Before he passed away the Buddha instructed the Venerable Ānanda4 that from then onwards a senior Bhikkhu should be addressed 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) meaning ‘may you be successful in your strivings’. When contracted to bhadaṃ + te it mean ‘hail to thee’ then becomes the respectful address of 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 mainly grouped together according to the subjects they deal with. This course will present various examples in future suttas (e.g., from the Vedanāsaṃyuttaṃ).6
The final exhortation appears at the end of many suttas of the Buddha where he stirs his listeners to proceed on the path.
Tasmātiha, bhikkhave, ‘idaṃ dukkhan’ti yogo karaṇīyo, ‘ayaṃ dukkhasamudayo’ti yogo karaṇīyo, ‘ayaṃ dukkhanirodho’ti yogo karaṇīyo, ‘ayaṃ dukkhanirodhagāminī paṭipadā’ti yogo karaṇīyo’ti.
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 the wellbeing of 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.