The principal aim of these Notes on Dhamma is to point out certain current misinterpretations, mostly traditional, of the Pali Suttas, and to offer in their place something certainly less easy but perhaps also less inadequate. These Notes assume, therefore, that the reader is (or is prepared to become) familiar with the original texts, and in Pali (for even the most competent translations sacrifice some essential accuracy to style, and the rest are seriously misleading). They assume, also, that the reader s sole interest in the Pali Suttas is a concern for his own welfare. The reader is presumed to be subjectively engaged with an anxious problem, the problem of his existence, which is also the problem of his suffering. There is therefore nothing in these pages to interest the professional scholar, for whom the question of personal existence does not arise; for the scholar s whole concern is to eliminate or ignore the individual point of view in an effort to establish the objective truth a would-be impersonal synthesis of public facts. The scholar s essentially horizontal view of things, seeking connexions in space and time, and his historical approach to the texts, disqualify him from any possibility of understanding a Dhamma that the Buddha himself has called akalika, timeless . Only in a vertical view, straight down into the abyss of his own personal existence, is a man capable of apprehending the perilous insecurity of his situation; and only a man who does apprehend this is prepared to listen to the Buddha s Teaching. But human kind, it seems, cannot bear very much reality: men, for the most part, draw back in alarm and dismay from this vertiginous direct view of being and seek refuge in distractions.
Errata to NoD Sotāpatti Edition 2009
Anonymous Mahāthera bhikkhu who knew Ven. Ñāṇasumana personally pointed to Path Press editor that that the addition to SAKKĀYA (b) of Notes on Dhamma is Ven. Ñāṇasumana’s work and not Ven, Ñāṇavīra’s as had been assumed (cf. ‘Editor’s Foreword’, 2nd para.). That the addition of a text was from a loose slip of paper which was inserted into the manuscript believed to have written by Ven. Ñāṇavīra, confirmed from his marginal notes to Kierkegaard’s Concluding Unscientific Postscript (See the note here). Now it is known to us that Ven. Ñāṇasumana intended to make ‘extra notes’ to complement Ven. Ñāṇavīra’s according to his understanding and practice (he was inclined to samatha bhāvanā). Also just by considering the change of style one can see it is not longer Ven. Ñāṇavīra. Besides, as the Venerable Mahāthera pointed to us, from a Dhamma point of view it is wrong: anulomikāya khantiyā samannāgato need not be dependent upon “initiation of samatha bhāvanā”.
Therefore, please, cross out from your copy of Note on Dhamma the passage on pp. 84-5, note (b) from “I.e., by falling away from this samatha bhāvanā practice…” to the end of the note.
Our sincere apology for the mistake.
Print the Erratum for your copy of Notes on Dhamma