The Patthanuddesa Dipani

The Buddhist Philosophy of Relations

by Mahathera Ledi Sayadaw | 1935 | 21,602 words

The Patthanuddesa Dipani The Buddhist Philosophy of Relations By Mahathera Ledi Sayadaw, Aggamahapandita, D.Litt. Translated into English by Sayadaw U Nyana, Patamagyaw of Masoeyein Monastery Mandalay. Edited by The English Editorial Board Note to the electronic version: This electronic version is reproduced directly from the printed version the...


To The Published Book Now Out Of Print

Buddhism views the world, with the exception of Nibbána and pannatti, to be impermanent, liable to suffering, and without soul-essence. So Buddhist philosophy, to elaborate the impermanency as applied to the Law of Perpetual Change, has from the outset dissolved all things, all phenomena both psychical and physical, into a continuous succession of happenings, of states (svabhava) of mind and matter, under the Fivefold Law of Cosmic Order (niyama). And the happenings are determined and determining, both as to their constituent states and as to other happenings, in a variety of ways, which Buddhist Philosophy expresses by the term 'paccaya' or 'relations.'

One complex happening of mental and material states, with its three phases of time--genesis or birth, cessation or death and a static interval between--is followed by another happening, wherein there is always a causal series of relations. Nothing is casual and fortuitous. When one happening by its arising, persisting, cessation, priority, and posterity, is determined by and determining another happening by means of producing (janaka), supporting (upathambhaka), and maintaining (anupalana), the former is called the relating thing (paccaya-Dhamma), the latter the related thing (paccayuppanna-dhamma), and the determination or the influence or the specific function is called the correlativity (paccayasatti). As the various kinds of influence are apparently known, the relations are classified into the following 24 species:

  1. Hetu--condition or root
  2. Arammana--object
  3. Adhipati--dominance
  4. Anantara--contiguity
  5. Samanantara--immediate contiguity
  6. Sahajali--coexistence
  7. Annamanna--reciprocity
  8. Nissaya--dependence
  9. Upanissaya--sufficing condition
  10. Purejata--pre-existence
  11. Pacchajata--causal relation of posterity in time
  12. Asevana--habitual recurrence
  13. Kamma--kamma or action
  14. Vipaka--effect
  15. Ahara/--food
  16. Indriya--control
  17. Jhana--jhana or ecstasy
  18. Magga--path
  19. Sampayutta--association
  20. Vippayutta--dissociation
  21. Atthi--presence
  22. Natthi/--absence
  23. Vigata--abeyance
  24. Avigata--continuance

These 24 species of relations are extensively and fully expounded in the seventh and last of the analytical works in the Abhidhamma Pitaka of the Buddhist Canon, called the Patthana ('The Eminence'), or the Maha-Pakarana ('The Great Book').

The well-known Ledi Sayadaw Mahathera, D. Litt., Aggamahapandita, has written in Pali a concise exposition of these relations known as Patthanudesa-dipani, in order to help those who wish to study the Buddhist philosophy of relations expounded in that Great Book. In introducing these relations to the student of philosophical research before he takes the opportunity of making himself acquainted with the methodological elaboration of correlations in the Patthana, the Eminent the Eminent Great Book, the Mahathera deals with the subject under three heads:

  1. The Paccayattha-dipana or the Analytical Exposition of Relations with their denotations and connotations
  2. The Paccaya-sabhagasangaho or the Synthesis of Relations
  3. The Paccaya-ghatana-nayo or the Synchrony of Relations.

The following translation has been undertaken with the hope of rendering the Ledi Sayadaw's work intelligible to the English student. If the present translation makes any contribution to the advancement of learning and knowledge in the matter of apprehending the general scheme of causal laws in terms of 'relations' in the field of Buddhist philosophy, the translator will deem himself well rewarded for his labor. It may, however, be necessary to mention here that the original form, sense, and meaning of the Venerable Author are, as far as possible, cautiously preserved; hence the literal character of the translation--If it appears so--in some places. Nevertheless ' the translator ventures to hope that any discrepancy that may have crept in, will be accordingly overlooked.

In conclusion, it is with great pleasure that I express my indebtedness to U Aung Hla, M.A. (Cantab.), Barrister-at-Law who has very kindly, amidst his own many duties, taken the trouble of revising the manuscript, and has also helped me in getting it through the press and in the correction of the proofs; my thanks are also due to Saya U Ba, M.A., A.T.M., for his valuable assistance, and to the printers for their courtesy and cooperation.

Last, but not least, I must gratefully acknowledge the timely help from U Ba Than and Daw Tin Tin, of Rangoon, who have voluntarily and so generously undertaken to meet the cost of publication of one thousand copies of the book, which but for their kind suggestion, would not have materialized in this form.

Masoyein Monastery,
Mandalay West,
February 1935


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