• ahaṅkāramamaṅkāra mānānusayā: the illusion of personal identity, the illusion of personal ownership, and the proclivity to self-centredness
Ahaṅkāramamaṅkāramānānusayā: others’ translations
Ahaṅkāramamaṅkāramānānusayā has been rendered as follows:
• Horner: ‘the tendency to pride that “I am the doer, mine is the doer”’ (MLS Vol.3, p39).
• Bodhi: ‘I-making, mine-making, and the underlying tendency to conceit’ (MLDB p.908).
• PED: ahaṅkāra selfishness, egotism, arrogance; mamaṅkāra, selfish attachment, self-interest, selfishness; mān’ānusaya bias of conceit.
Horner uses inverted commas, but there is no support for inverted commas either in the phrase itself, or even when it is divided up, as at (A.3.444 (ahaṅkārā ca me uparujjhissanti; mamaṅkārā ca me uparujjhissanti).
The suffix -kara
The suffix –kāra has three possible meanings, says PED (sv –kāra):
1) ‘Doer or maker of’: for example, owl uhuṅkāra is the maker of the ‘uhu’ sound; fletcher usukāra the maker of arrows (usu).
2) ‘Production or application of’: for example, sakkāra, application of honour i.e. the act of honouring. Bodhi chooses this meaning, but with an unnatural form: ‘I-making, mine-making.’
3) ‘State of’:for example, darkness or blindness andhakāra. Darkness is the ‘state of being dark’, or the ‘state of what is dark’. Blindness is the ‘state of being blind’, or the ‘state of one who is blind’.
Renderings for ahaṅkāra and mamaṅkāra
Various ways of rendering ahaṅkāra and mamaṅkāra could be extracted from this.
1) ‘The doer or maker of me and of mine’: this is unlikely because ahaṅkāra and mamaṅkāra need to be uprooted (ahaṅkārā ca me uparujjhissanti; mamaṅkārā ca me uparujjhissanti). So, if anything, it would be ‘the assumption that there is a doer or maker’ that would be uprooted.
2) ‘The production of me or mine’ (e.g. I-making, mine-making): But this would similarly lead to the problematic idea of ‘uprooting production.’
3) ‘The state of what is me or what belongs to me’: this option has most potential. But ahaṅkāra and mamaṅkāra would be better as:
• Ahaṅkāra, the state of what is me: ‘personal identity.’
• Mamaṅkāra, the state of what belongs to me: ‘personal ownership.’
But because ahaṅkāra and mamaṅkāra need to be uprooted (ahaṅkārā ca me uparujjhissanti; mamaṅkārā ca me uparujjhissanti) these would work better as:
• Ahaṅkāra, ‘the illusion of personal identity.’
• Mamaṅkāra, ‘the illusion of personal ownership.’
Finally, mānānusayo is ‘the proclivity to self-centredness.’ See Glossary sv Anusaya.
Link to the three reflections on the voidness of personal qualities (in the five aggregates)
Our rendering is supported by the following quote, in which:
1) ‘The illusion of personal identity does not exist’ (ahaṅkāra na hoti)corresponds to ‘perceiving the five aggregates as “not (in reality) what I am”’ (n’eso’hamasmi).
2) ‘The illusion of personal ownership does not exist’ (mamaṅkāra na hoti)corresponds to ‘perceiving the five aggregates as “not (in reality) mine”’ (n’etaṃ mama).
3) ‘The proclivity to self-centredness does not exist’ (mānānusayā na hoti) corresponds to ‘perceiving the five aggregates as “not my (absolute) Selfhood”’ (na me so attā).
The quote is this:
• Knowing and seeing what in this (wretched
human) body together with its consciousness and all external phenomena, do the
illusion of personal identity, the illusion of personal ownership, and the
proclivity to self-centredness not exist?
Kathaṃ pana bhante jānato kathaṃ passato imasmiñca saviññāṇake kāye bahiddhā ca sabbanimittesu ahaṅkāramamaṅkāramānānusayā na hontī ti?
… Whatever bodily form… spheres of
sensation, past, future, or present, internal or external, gross or subtle, inferior
or sublime, far or near, one perceives all spheres of sensation according to
reality with perfect penetrative discernment as “not (in reality) mine,” “not (in
reality) what I am,” “not my (absolute) Selfhood.”
Yaṃ kiñci viññāṇaṃ atītānāgatapaccuppannaṃ ajjhattaṃ vā bahiddhā vā oḷārikaṃ vā sukhumaṃ vā hīnaṃ vā paṇītaṃ vā yaṃ dūre santike vā sabbaṃ viññāṇaṃ n’etaṃ mama n’eso’hamasmi na me so attā ti (M.3.18-9).
Illustration: the illusion of personal identity, the illusion of personal ownership, and the proclivity to self-centredness
Therefore I say with the destruction, fading
away, ending, giving up, and relinquishment of all thinking in personal terms, of
all states of inward distraction, all illusions of personal identity, all
illusions of personal ownership, and of the proclivity to self-centredness, the
Perfect One is liberated (from perceptually obscuring states) through being
☸ Tasmā tathāgato sabbamaññitānaṃ sabbamathitānaṃ sabbaahaṅkāramamaṅkāramānānusayānaṃ khayā virāgā nirodhā cāgā paṭinissaggā anupādā vimutto ti vadāmī ti (M.1.486).