Soul split into multiple mosquitoes?

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Re: Soul split into multiple mosquitoes?

Postby Yudron » Mon Mar 11, 2013 5:21 pm

Aemilius wrote:
Yudron wrote:
So, you are calling one's karmic trajectory "Atman, [soul]"?

If I were to accept this POV of your tradition, the Chinese Dharma teacher above goes one to say that one's atman can be split into numerous atmans. Do you concur with him on this as well? I have never read this in the sutrayana.


Please consider the koan: " A woman split her soul, which one is the real one?" You could apply this same question to Venerable Shuan Hua's story about multiple mosquitoes: Which one of the mosquitoes is the real You?
Do You see the point?

There is a Rddhi or magic power of multiplying one's body (or one's self), it exists in the Mahayana and in the Sravakayana too, it is explained in Buddhaghosha's Path of Purification. There are other Rddhis like transforming oneself into water and fire etc,.. Are we now quilty of the atman view because of these Rddhis in the sutras? Rddhis in the Mahayana are explained in Har Dayal's Boddhisattva Doctrine in Buddhist Sanskrit Literature, it is interesting reading.

It is a negative tendency to latch onto one greatly dreaded word Atman/soul or self. This word acts like trigger for immature behaviour, and I don't call one's karmic trajectory "Atman". We can express the same thing by saying that one identifies with the earlier moments in one's karmic continuum, one feels that "they are my past", or "my present existence is produced by the earlier moments in a consciousness series (citta-santana)", and in a common parlance: "I was this and that in a previous life". Buddha himself uses this last mode of expression. Is He also quilty of the atman view?

The concept of mere I or nominal self doesn't exist in the sutras, but the Buddha speaks in the mode of mere I or nominal self for example when He is telling about His past ascetic practices, his youth, about his self and his life in general. Buddha isn't afraid of this much dreaded word.

There is a sutrayana teaching of creating multiple manifestations of oneself on the bodhisattva bhumis.


I'm really trying your POV, but I'm just not getting it.

If one enters the Bodhisattva bhumis, there are many emanations for the benefit of beings--that is the point of Mahayana practice. I have never heard of ordinary beings sentient beings having multiple rebirths concurrently. It doesn't sound like you have heard and scriptural evidence for this either.

I honestly don't know--when the Buddha talked about his past deeds, did he refer to himself as Atman? That would be different than my understanding of the word. It sounds like you are using atman to describe this nominal self, and you view this nominal self also as being well described by the English word "soul." Am I understanding you correctly?
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Re: Soul split into multiple mosquitoes?

Postby Indrajala » Mon Mar 11, 2013 5:55 pm

Sexual misconduct: In terms of causes and effects, sexual misconduct is the most serious offense. It’s punishment is the most severe.


Not really. Killing an arhat is far worse than getting divorced and remarried.

I don't know where these ideas come from. It sounds like conjecture and popular myth to me. Like this:

If a married couple gets divorced and each one remarries, then according to the law of cause and effect, their bodies will be cut in half after they die.



If one enters the Bodhisattva bhumis, there are many emanations for the benefit of beings--that is the point of Mahayana practice. I have never heard of ordinary beings sentient beings having multiple rebirths concurrently.


As far as I know, this isn't possible or ever alluded to in the canon. As an ordinary being you are, conventionally speaking, the five aggregates and nothing more. The five aggregates do not constitute ātman either individually or collectively, nor can an ātman be conceived apart from the aggregates. We might provisionally say there is person that is neither the aggregates nor apart from them, but this is just an appellation whose function is based on the aggregates collectively.
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Re: Soul split into multiple mosquitoes?

Postby remm » Tue Mar 12, 2013 7:54 am

I hope this is a sufficient answer to your question.

Answered by Dharma Master Heng Yuan:

Daniel,

I have not encountered this para before, but it points out the seriousness of sexual desire in humans as well as animals of all forms. It is sexual desire that cause us to be reborn, regardless of humans or other beings. Sexual desire is the greatest vice of all, and it is the last vice to be eliminated on the journey towards enlightenment. It is easy to be kind, generous, compassionate, etc., but it is only when sexual desire is completely eliminated that one can attain to the fourth stage arahant to exit samsara.

The difficulty of being born human is illustrated by the Buddha, using analogy of the turtle surfacing the sea ...... Shifu was pointing at the seriousness, not only of sexual desire as I elaborated above, but the cunning tricks humans use to commit adultery is worse than in breaking the other precepts. He also described fragmenting of human consciousness and mosquitoes at the Buddha Root Farm Retreat. Try to read that book. Many good questions from American college students. I am not an expert in psychology, but when you hear of the many weird types of abnormal human mind-set, it underlies what Shifu was trying to warn regarding the “scattered” consciousness upon death and the shocking kinds of multiple rebirth from one human to many forms.

He used sawing of the body as an analogy for fragmentation; otherwise the average person would never grasp it. 84,000 is used by the Buddha to mean numerous, as in “Mikey, I told you a million times to clean your shoes before entering the house.”
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Re: Soul split into multiple mosquitoes?

Postby Anders » Tue Mar 12, 2013 8:54 am

Yudron wrote:I honestly don't know--when the Buddha talked about his past deeds, did he refer to himself as Atman? That would be different than my understanding of the word. It sounds like you are using atman to describe this nominal self, and you view this nominal self also as being well described by the English word "soul." Am I understanding you correctly?


When a person was reborn, he spoke of 'a person' taking rebirth. He had no problems using conventionalities of this kind. Elsewhere, he'd clarify that what he meant by such a word is simply the five skandhas. But to go the route you are going and say "aha! Used the word 'I'! Implies you believe in the Atman (capital 'A'!)" is just silly. Atman just means self. 'myself', 'I', 'this person', 'soul' all suggest the same thing. We'd be screwing up the intelligibility cleaning all out referencing to selfhood.

And frankly, I don't see what the problem is with the problem sentient beings splitting their consciousness. "the scriptures don't mention it" is tame when they mention aplenty how Bodhisattvas do it wilfully as proof of concept. There are loads and loads and more loads of stuff going on in this world that is never mentioned in the scriptures. If we simply go on omission from that to build a view of reality, it will be a very limited one that has mount meru somewhere in the centre.
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Re: Soul split into multiple mosquitoes?

Postby Sherab Dorje » Tue Mar 12, 2013 9:25 am

Anders wrote:Mahasattvas do it quite intentionally when they emanate many bodies in many realms.
Yes, but Mahasattvas have the advantage of realising that this self is not a self at all. From that point forth I imagine that it would be quite easy to emanate more than one body, for us though it is hard enough trying to maintain this one body that we so desperately cling to. This clinging to a sense of self continues (we are told) after death so again we do not have the requisites for splitting consciousness, on the contrary. Now if it happens mistakenly or not on a daily basis, I don't know. But most of the opinions here are based on conjecture, I would like to see a Canonical reference saying that the consciousness of a sentient being is split into many consciousness's due to this or that action.
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Re: Soul split into multiple mosquitoes?

Postby Anders » Tue Mar 12, 2013 10:42 am

gregkavarnos wrote:Yes, but Mahasattvas have the advantage of realising that this self is not a self at all. From that point forth I imagine that it would be quite easy to emanate more than one body, for us though it is hard enough trying to maintain this one body that we so desperately cling to. This clinging to a sense of self continues (we are told) after death so again we do not have the requisites for splitting consciousness, on the contrary. Now if it happens mistakenly or not on a daily basis, I don't know. But most of the opinions here are based on conjecture, I would like to see a Canonical reference saying that the consciousness of a sentient being is split into many consciousness's due to this or that action.


How do you explain the consciousness of earthworms that can survive as two beings after being split in half?

Or for that matter, identical twins? In Buddhism, conception requires the presence of the gandharva (rebirth consciousness) - yet the splitting of the egg happens later in the process. If we want to stick rigidly to scriptural interpretation and equally acknowledge the rather certain findings of science, such twins must be a product of a consciousness split in two.

The scriptures to my knowledge also do not mention that multiple beings can co-exist in one body, but biology shows this can happen. Biology has shown itself incredibly diverse - why should the morphology of consciousness be any different? Especially given that the scriptures say that bodhisattvas do this all the time.

To be honest, I don't really follow your reasoning. Bodhisattvas can choose to incarnate despite having conquered samsara because they understand the processes at work. They then emanate as multiple beings because such a thing is actually possible. Sentient beings do not understand the process of rebirth yet are perpetually reborn not in spite of their lack of understanding, but because of it. Maintaining a body is not hard at all for sentient beings. They have no choice in the matter really - a body will be provided by their own karma. That consciousness should be split by gross karma seems perfectly possible to me. I don't see why not clinging to self should be a requisite for the splitting of consciousness. It's not like it would be a choice for such sentient beings. They'd be almost entirely at the mercy of their karma.

If we were hindus I could understand the reluctance to accept such a possibility, but given that all this is just consciousness, I don't see what should be so improbable about it. I am not sure if people are arguing against it because the scriptures simply do not mention it or because they find something fundamentally contrary to dependent origination in it.
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Re: Soul split into multiple mosquitoes?

Postby Sherab Dorje » Tue Mar 12, 2013 11:26 am

Anders wrote:How do you explain the consciousness of earthworms that can survive as two beings after being split in half?
Good point, can't say I have ever considered it! :smile:
To be honest, I don't really follow your reasoning. Bodhisattvas can choose to incarnate despite having conquered samsara because they understand the processes at work. They then emanate as multiple beings because such a thing is actually possible. Sentient beings do not understand the process of rebirth yet are perpetually reborn not in spite of their lack of understanding, but because of it.
This is exactly what I mean. Sentient beings are propelled by habit and thus are trapped by it whereas Mahasattvas can consciously guide the process. This is why it seems strange for me that sentient beings, habituated to clinging and defending this (supposed) self by any means necessary would "allow" it to be split. We would have enough difficulty trying to convince ourselves to part with our little finger.
Maintaining a body is not hard at all for sentient beings. They have no choice in the matter really - a body will be provided by their own karma.
Actually, maintaining a body is anything but simple. It has to be born, fed, kept free from illness, protected from danger... Sure, ignorance and clinging to a sense of self ensures that we acquire form but I wouldn't say it is simple to maintain it. Quite the opposite really.
That consciousness should be split by gross karma seems perfectly possible to me. I don't see why not clinging to self should be a requisite for the splitting of consciousness. It's not like it would be a choice for such sentient beings. They'd be almost entirely at the mercy of their karma.
Quite true.
I am not sure if people are arguing against it because the scriptures simply do not mention it or because they find something fundamentally contrary to dependent origination in it.
Not arguing against it on this basis, just asking if there is a Canonical reference to something like this? Again, your position is based on (logical) conjecture but not on scripture. This does not mean that I cannot agree with you on some of your points.
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Re: Soul split into multiple mosquitoes?

Postby Parasamgate » Tue Mar 12, 2013 4:24 pm

Anders wrote:How do you explain the consciousness of earthworms that can survive as two beings after being split in half?

Or for that matter, identical twins? In Buddhism, conception requires the presence of the gandharva (rebirth consciousness) - yet the splitting of the egg happens later in the process. If we want to stick rigidly to scriptural interpretation and equally acknowledge the rather certain findings of science, such twins must be a product of a consciousness split in two.


Wow, I had never thought of the earth worm!

I wonder if you would be interested in weighing in with your opinion on this topic on split/brain research and what this would mean for the teachings under the assumption that the research is true? You seem to have no problem with the idea of mind stream's splitting and do not see this as discordant with the dharma. I have been struggling with this so I would really appreciate if you can give some insight that I have failed to see.

BTW, it occurs to me that these examples you provide can be explained without splitting of the consciousness. It could be theorized that when the earth worm splits another consciousness not related to the first is 'reborn' in one half of the body. Similarly, when twinning takes place with the splitting of the zygote another consciousness could be 'reborn' into one half.

I'm also very curious about what you meant when you said that biology has shown two consciousness can inhabit the same body. What example did you have in mind here?

Thanks!
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Re: Soul split into multiple mosquitoes?

Postby Andrew108 » Tue Mar 12, 2013 5:34 pm

Earthworms don't self-regenerate but some flatworms do. So you don't get two earthworms when one is cut in two but with some flatworms this is the case. However the flatworm example is often used as an example by those who think consciousness has a biological basis.
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Re: Soul split into multiple mosquitoes?

Postby vinodh » Tue Mar 12, 2013 6:26 pm

Parasamgate wrote:
BTW, it occurs to me that these examples you provide can be explained without splitting of the consciousness. It could be theorized that when the earth worm splits another consciousness not related to the first is 'reborn' in one half of the body. Similarly, when twinning takes place with the splitting of the zygote another consciousness could be 'reborn' into one half.


:good:

The above seems most plausible.

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Re: Soul split into multiple mosquitoes?

Postby Yudron » Tue Mar 12, 2013 11:28 pm

Anders wrote:
Yudron wrote:I honestly don't know--when the Buddha talked about his past deeds, did he refer to himself as Atman? That would be different than my understanding of the word. It sounds like you are using atman to describe this nominal self, and you view this nominal self also as being well described by the English word "soul." Am I understanding you correctly?


When a person was reborn, he spoke of 'a person' taking rebirth. He had no problems using conventionalities of this kind. Elsewhere, he'd clarify that what he meant by such a word is simply the five skandhas. But to go the route you are going and say "aha! Used the word 'I'! Implies you believe in the Atman (capital 'A'!)" is just silly. Atman just means self. 'myself', 'I', 'this person', 'soul' all suggest the same thing. We'd be screwing up the intelligibility cleaning all out referencing to selfhood.

And frankly, I don't see what the problem is with the problem sentient beings splitting their consciousness. "the scriptures don't mention it" is tame when they mention aplenty how Bodhisattvas do it wilfully as proof of concept. There are loads and loads and more loads of stuff going on in this world that is never mentioned in the scriptures. If we simply go on omission from that to build a view of reality, it will be a very limited one that has mount meru somewhere in the centre.


Well, here is the definition of Atman -- with a capital A -- from a Hindu website.

http://hinduism.iskcon.org/concepts/101.htm
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Re: Soul split into multiple mosquitoes?

Postby andyn » Wed Mar 13, 2013 4:24 am

Per the excerpt below, divorce and remarriage is allowed in Buddhism, so how is that considered as "the most serious offense"?

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... el280.html
Women whose marriages break up were free to remarry with no stigma attached,..."But if they chance to mislike one another and part asunder... then she is fit for another man, being as they account never the worse for wearing."[27] Even the Lakrajalosirita, which gives an orthodox Buddhist view, permits the remarriage of women after separation from their spouses. It was common even in the highest rungs of society. In Burma and Thailand too women had the right to remarry after divorce. As far back as 1687 La Loubere the French envoy noticed that in Thailand, "After the Divorce both can remarry and the woman can remarry on the very day of the Divorce."
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Re: Soul split into multiple mosquitoes?

Postby Aemilius » Thu Mar 14, 2013 3:06 pm

Yudron wrote:
I'm really trying your POV, but I'm just not getting it.

If one enters the Bodhisattva bhumis, there are many emanations for the benefit of beings--that is the point of Mahayana practice. I have never heard of ordinary beings sentient beings having multiple rebirths concurrently. It doesn't sound like you have heard and scriptural evidence for this either.

I honestly don't know--when the Buddha talked about his past deeds, did he refer to himself as Atman? That would be different than my understanding of the word. It sounds like you are using atman to describe this nominal self, and you view this nominal self also as being well described by the English word "soul." Am I understanding you correctly?


I think at the time of Buddha the word Atman (Atta in pali) meant just self in the ordinary sense, besides being the thing that reincarnates, the existence of which Buddha refuted. There is the XII Chapter of Dhammapada callad Atta (Self), which is Atman in the sanskrit versions, like the Agamas of the Sarvastivada. This means that atman was used just for self, (in any and all of its meanings?).
There is no absolute difference between going to the supermarket and dying and going to a new life. How does this sound to You: the Person at Home ceases, and through an event series designated as "going" a Person at the Supermarket arises?
The thing is about memory and identification: if the person at the supermarket remembers being at home earlier and feels that he is the same person, that creates an identity, (which in yogacara terminology is the imaginary nature or an imaginary self). That is similar to remembering past lives and identifying with them, which creates an identity with a longer scope, which again is an imaginary nature. The point is that imaginary nature has a kind of true existence (svabhava), though it is merely imaginary. Imaginary nature is Parikalpita Svabhava in sanskrit.

The Nagarjuna translator and commentator Jay L. Garfield has pointed out that the Conventional Truth (Samvriti Satya) is also a truth, according to him this is said by the indian Madhyamikas. In Mulamadhyamaka karika Nagarjuna says there is no self in the skandhas in the fivefold way, but neither is there no self.

The meaning of the Koan is that if a self can be split there is no self (in the absolute sense). Because there is no self even an ordinary self can be split.
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Re: Soul split into multiple mosquitoes?

Postby Yudron » Thu Mar 14, 2013 3:47 pm

Aemilius wrote:
Yudron wrote:
I'm really trying your POV, but I'm just not getting it.

If one enters the Bodhisattva bhumis, there are many emanations for the benefit of beings--that is the point of Mahayana practice. I have never heard of ordinary beings sentient beings having multiple rebirths concurrently. It doesn't sound like you have heard and scriptural evidence for this either.

I honestly don't know--when the Buddha talked about his past deeds, did he refer to himself as Atman? That would be different than my understanding of the word. It sounds like you are using atman to describe this nominal self, and you view this nominal self also as being well described by the English word "soul." Am I understanding you correctly?


I think at the time of Buddha the word Atman (Atta in pali) meant just self in the ordinary sense, besides being the thing that reincarnates, the existence of which Buddha refuted. There is the XII Chapter of Dhammapada callad Atta (Self), which is Atman in the sanskrit versions, like the Agamas of the Sarvastivada. This means that atman was used just for self, (in any and all of its meanings?).
There is no absolute difference between going to the supermarket and dying and going to a new life. How does this sound to You: the Person at Home ceases, and through an event series designated as "going" a Person at the Supermarket arises?
The thing is about memory and identification: if the person at the supermarket remembers being at home earlier and feels that he is the same person, that creates an identity, (which in yogacara terminology is the imaginary nature or an imaginary self). That is similar to remembering past lives and identifying with them, which creates an identity with a longer scope, which again is an imaginary nature. The point is that imaginary nature has a kind of true existence (svabhava), though it is merely imaginary. Imaginary nature is Parikalpita Svabhava in sanskrit.

The Nagarjuna translator and commentator Jay L. Garfield has pointed out that the Conventional Truth (Samvriti Satya) is also a truth, according to him this is said by the indian Madhyamikas. In Mulamadhyamaka karika Nagarjuna says there is no self in the skandhas in the fivefold way, but neither is there no self.

The meaning of the Koan is that if a self can be split there is no self (in the absolute sense). Because there is no self even an ordinary self can be split.


I will contemplate what you have said.
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Re: Soul split into multiple mosquitoes?

Postby Aemilius » Thu Mar 14, 2013 5:00 pm

I finally remembered there is a sutta in Anguttara Nikaya where a disciple of Buddha dies and is reborn in a heaven in the form of two or three Magadhan farmers in a field.
Sutta number ten, Kakudhathera sutta, in Kakudhavaggo -To Kakudha http://mahindaramatemple.com/e-tipitaka/Anguttara-Nikaya/an5-91-100.htm
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Re: Soul split into multiple mosquitoes?

Postby Yudron » Thu Mar 14, 2013 5:59 pm

Aemilius wrote:I finally remembered there is a sutta in Anguttara Nikaya where a disciple of Buddha dies and is reborn in a heaven in the form of two or three Magadhan farmers in a field.
Sutta number ten, Kakudhathera sutta, in Kakudhavaggo -To Kakudha http://mahindaramatemple.com/e-tipitaka/Anguttara-Nikaya/an5-91-100.htm


Good find!

Here is the quote:

100. I heard thus. At one time The Blessed One was living in Gosita's monastery in Kosambi. At that time a son of the Koliyas named Kakudha attended on venerable Mahamoggallana and he had passed away recently. He was reborn as a spiritual being in the form of two or three Magadhan farmers in a field. With that spiritual form he does not trouble himself or others.

The this sutra goes on to talk about Devadatta's downfall, in a seemingly unrelated way. Kakudha seems to have gotten a positive rebirth because he served an Arhat. Magadhan was a kingdom with Bihar as it's center. "Spiritual being" is a vague term, do you know they are referring to?

I'll look for another translation.
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Re: Soul split into multiple mosquitoes?

Postby Sherab Dorje » Thu Mar 14, 2013 8:54 pm

I cannot find it in the Nyanaponika Thera and Bhikkhu Bodhi translation, nor in Woodard, it's not at Access to Insight, nor in the Thanissaro translation.
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: Soul split into multiple mosquitoes?

Postby Yudron » Thu Mar 14, 2013 9:03 pm

Access to Insight says:

"The exact count of suttas in the Anguttara depends on the particular edition (Sri Lankan, Thai, or Burmese) and on the way the suttas are enumerated. Jayawardhana says: "Although the text tells us that it consists of 9,557 suttas, the present edition [the modern Sri Lankan Tipitaka] has only 8,777 suttas. Most of these suttas are mere repetitions with a new word added here and there. Therefore, the number of suttas distinctive in character could be brought down to a little over one thousand" [Somapala Jayawardhana, Handbook of Pali Literature (Colombo: Karunaratne, 1993), p. 12]. Bhikkhu Bodhi counts 2,344 suttas [Nyanaponika & Bodhi, Numerical Discourses of the Buddha, p. xv], while Webb counts 2,308 [Russell Webb, An Analysis of the Pali Canon, (Kandy: Buddhist Publication Society, 1975), p. 26]."

Sheesh. It's amazing anyone can find anything in there!
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Re: Soul split into multiple mosquitoes?

Postby andyn » Fri Mar 15, 2013 4:27 am

Aemilius wrote:I finally remembered there is a sutta in Anguttara Nikaya where a disciple of Buddha dies and is reborn in a heaven in the form of two or three Magadhan farmers in a field.
Sutta number ten, Kakudhathera sutta, in Kakudhavaggo -To Kakudha http://mahindaramatemple.com/e-tipitaka/Anguttara-Nikaya/an5-91-100.htm


I think this is a mistranslation, the one I found below has a totally different meaning, that is it describes his form as extensive as two or three common rice fields in Magadha village, so is the translation into Vietnamese language.

3. Kakudha.-Probably identical with Kakudha (2). He was an inhabitant of Koliya and was an attendant of Moggallāna. Having died, he was reborn among the mind-born (Manomaya) devas and his form was so great that it was as extensive as "two of three common rice-fields in a Magadha village, and yet so constituted that he was in the way neither of himself nor of others."

Becoming aware of Devadatta's plans for obtaining possession of the leadership of the Sangha, Kakudha reported the news to Moggallāna, who passed it on to the Buddha. The Buddha asked Moggallāna to keep the matter secret. Moggallāna informed the Buddha that he knew from experience that Kakudha's predictions proved true (Vin.ii.185f).
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Re: Soul split into multiple mosquitoes?

Postby Aemilius » Sat Mar 16, 2013 11:38 am

gregkavarnos wrote:I cannot find it in the Nyanaponika Thera and Bhikkhu Bodhi translation, nor in Woodard, it's not at Access to Insight, nor in the Thanissaro translation.


It is with same meaning in Bhikkhuni Utpalavanna's translations that are in Fodian.net http://www.fodian.net/world/
It is in the Book of Fives, the Access to Insight translations contain only a small part of the whole Anguttara Nikaya. Look again in the Woodward, I'd like to know what it says there.
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