Thursday, July 28, 2022

AN 5.30 Fame and fortune: the Buddha literally called it a 'shitty pleasure'. Don't undermine the power of 'shit' with 'filthy' or 'vile'



 

From PED: Mīḷha = "shit", not "filthy", not "vile"

: Mīḷha [past participle of mih, Vedic mehati to excrete water, i.e. urine, only with reference to the liquid; Sanskrit mīḍha = Latin mictus, past participle of mingo, to urinate. Cf. Avesta maezaiti to urinate, mez urine; Greek ὀμιχεῖν and ὄμιχμα the same; Anglo-Saxon mīgan to ur̥; in Old High German mist and Anglo-Saxon miox the notion refers more to the solid excrement, as in Pāli. — A related root °meigh to shed water is found in megha, cloud (watershedder), q.v. for further cognates] excrement M I 454 = III 236 (°sukhaṃ vile pleasure); A III 241, 242; Thag 1152; Ja II 11; VI 112; Vv 5211 (with reference to the gūtha-Niraya); Pv III 45 (= gūtha Pv-a 194); Dhp-a II 53 (°ṃ khādituṃ).

-kāsu cesspool Pañca-g 23;
-kūpa pit of excrement, cesspool Pañca-g 22.


Mīḷhakā = "cesspool full of shit", not "pile of vile filth"

: Mīḷhakā (feminine) [from mīḷha; cf. BHS mīḍha-ghaṭa] cesspool S II 228 (so read for Text piḷhakā; v.l. miḷhakā). See also piḷhakā. The translation (K.S. II 155) gives "dung beetle."



Thanissaro, correct translation

“May I have nothing to do with honor, Nāgita, and honor nothing to do with me. Whoever cannot obtain at will—without difficulty, without trouble—as I do, the pleasure of renunciation, the pleasure of seclusion, the pleasure of peace, the pleasure of self-awakening, let him consent to this slimy-excrement-pleasure, this torpor-pleasure, this pleasure of gains, offerings, & fame.”

  1. waste matter discharged from the bowels; feces.


Bodhi: wrong translation

“Let me never come upon fame, Nāgita, and may fame never catch up with me. One who does not gain at will, without trouble or difficulty, this bliss of renunciation, bliss of solitude, bliss of peace, bliss of enlightenment that I gain at will, without trouble or difficulty, might accept that vile pleasure, that slothful pleasure, the pleasure of gain, honor, and praise.”

adjective: vile; 

    extremely unpleasant.
    "he has a vile temper"
 
    morally bad; wicked.
    "as vile a rogue as ever lived"


Sujato: wrong translation


Let them enjoy the filthy, lazy pleasure of possessions, honor, and popularity.”


adjective
  1. disgustingly dirty.
    "a filthy hospital with no sanitation"



Frankk: correct translations



option 1: elegant concise word, but uses colloquial slang

So taṃ mīḷhasukhaṃ middhasukhaṃ lābhasakkārasilokasukhaṃ sādiyeyya.
Let them enjoy the shitty pleasure, lazy pleasure of possessions, honor, and popularity.

option 2: avoids slang, but translation less concise

So taṃ mīḷhasukhaṃ middhasukhaṃ lābhasakkārasilokasukhaṃ sādiyeyya.
Let them enjoy the pleasure of possessions, honor, and popularity. That is a lazy pleasure, a pleasure that is a  steaming pile of slimy feces.  




Why is important to respect the power of 'shit'?

It's an important part of the 31 body parts, the 31 perceptions that helps one develop asubha perceptions that lead to disintegration of our illusions of self and beauty of self and others. 

Shit is easily accessible (unlike most of the other 31 body parts), visceral, smelly. A daily reminder, if we are dedicated to practicing the Buddha's teaching sincerely, to give our asubha practice a healthy boost. I recommend staying at least an extra minute or two after you excrete feces daily, to really revel in the experience and develop the asubha perception. We are all literally bags of smelly shit, and the smell is barely hidden by our filthy skin. When the cat gets out of the bag, we're exposed for the pile of shit that we truly smell like. 

The other 31 body parts are not so easily accessible (unless you have powerful samādhi and psychic powers).


In AN 5.30, look at how the sutta ends. 
So taṃ mīḷha-sukhaṃ middhasukhaṃ lābhasakkārasilokasukhaṃ sādiyeyya.
Let them enjoy the pleasure of possessions, honor, and popularity. That is a lazy pleasure, a pleasure that is a  steaming pile of slimy feces.  
Asitapītakhāyitasāyitassa kho, nāgita, uccāra-passāvo—
What you eat, drink, chew, and taste ends up as excrement (uccāra) and urine.
eso tassa nissando.
This is its outcome.
Piyānaṃ kho, nāgita, vipariṇāmaññathābhāvā uppajjanti sokaparidevadukkhadomanassupāyāsā—
When loved ones decay and perish, sorrow, lamentation, pain, sadness, and distress arise.
eso tassa nissando.
This is its outcome.
Asubhanimittānuyogaṃ anuyuttassa kho, nāgita, subhanimitte pāṭikulyatā saṇṭhāti—
When you pursue meditation on the aspect of ugliness, revulsion at the aspect of beauty becomes stabilized.
eso tassa nissando.
This is its outcome.
Chasu kho, nāgita, phassāyatanesu aniccānupassino viharato phasse pāṭikulyatā saṇṭhāti—
When you meditate observing impermanence in the six fields of contact, revulsion at contact becomes stabilized.
eso tassa nissando.
This is its outcome.
Pañcasu kho, nāgita, upādānakkhandhesu udayabbayānupassino viharato upādāne pāṭikulyatā saṇṭhāti—
When you meditate observing rise and fall in the five grasping aggregates, revulsion at grasping becomes stabilized.
This is its outcome.”
This is its outcome.”
eso tassa nissando”ti.
eso tassa nissando”ti.


The Buddha was deliberate and specific in using 'shit' to refer to 31 body parts practice, and associate that visceral sight, sound, smell of dropping shit with the pleasure of seeking fame and fortune and reputation.


Conclusion

Translators: Do not undermine the power of feces with concerns of offending polite society with strong language. Your job is to translate and convey the Buddha's words and meaning, not to pander to the public's insecurities and inability to deal with the truth of reality;  that we are literally bags of smelly feces. 



Forum dicussion



Johann wrote: Tue Aug 02, 2022 5:21 amWhat a fermentation (fart)... to tell other people public to be just like that. Yet, does he get the smell here, the good householder? The rejoicing with what, sharing of what, in his poems up and on? Yet then even a google piece, well formed, to shy to take on own asubha imagination.

(btw.: Of couse, the Buddha, as well his disciples, do not make use of vulgar words, speech and there are better words as the last suggested, transporting the message clear while not using the language of the dirty streets and common low folk)

Anyway, Mudita.


Re: powerful and visceral daily asubha that anyone and everyone can do

Post by frank k » Sat Aug 06, 2022 2:18 am
Reference and proof please?
You're assuming many things there.
1. Maybe not every culture has hangups about natural bodily functions.
2. Maybe there are slang and colloquial terms in common use not considered improper language for everyday use.
3. I've seen no evidence in the suttas of the Buddha being elitist and shunning certain castes, professions, or "vulgar" words in his language.
4. Even if we assume there are 'vulgar' words avoided, what evidence do you have that the equivalent of 'shit' is one of those?
5. Even if we assume there are 'vulgar' words avoided, and that pali for 'shit' is one of them, what's to prevent the Buddha from using a vulgar word deliberately for dramatic effect? There's the sutta where the Buddha picks up a piece of dry cow shit to point out something in a talk with the bhikkhus, is that not vulgar? Is that something you would do in polite society?


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