Anaññaposin

Renderings

• anaññaposin: not supported by a patron

Introduction

Comprehending anaññaposin

Anaññaposin occurs five times in the scriptures, and always in verse. It is associated with bhikkhus who walk on uninterrupted almsround (called sapadānacārī, M.1.30). This is an austere practice (dhutaguṇa, Vin.3.15) according to which a bhikkhu visits all houses on an almsroute, and therefore does not cultivate special supporters.

Comprehending anaññaposin is confounded by the other meanings of poseti and its derivatives. The PED, for example, suggests anaññaposino means ‘not nourished by another’ (see under posin). Norman calls it ‘not supporting others’ (Sn.v.65). From this, we see the extent of the puzzle:

1) Question: Is anaññaposino passive or active?

2) Question: Are bhikkhus on almsround not nourished by others?

3) Question: Do good bhikkhus not support others?

Objectives

In considering this issue, we will accomplish the following objectives:

1) We will review the meanings of poseti, and will show it means either to nourish or take care of.

2) We will confirm that bhikkhus are supported by others.

3) We will confirm that it is meritorious to take care of others by sharing one’s almsfood with them.

4) We will show that anaññaposin is a synonym of attabhara (‘self-reliant’), and is therefore passive in meaning.

5) We will show that anaññaposin is a synonym of kule kule appaṭibaddhacitto, which means ‘not emotionally bound to any particular family.’

6) In conclusion, we will show that anaññaposin means that a bhikkhu who collects food on uninterrupted house-to-house almsround is not supported by a patron, and has many admirable qualities. Even the devas envy such a bhikkhu.

Puṭṭha: nourished

Puṭṭha is the past participle of poseti. Here it means ‘to nourish’:

• Like a hero nourished on royal food
Sūro yathā rājakhādāya puṭṭho (Sn.v.831).

Posakā: feeding

Posakā means ‘feeding’:

• Parents are of great help to their children, in nursing them, feeding them, and showing them the world.
bahukārā bhikkhave mātāpitaro puttānaṃ āpādakā posakā imassa lokassa dassetāro (A.1.62).

Posa: support

Posa is the absolutive of poseti. In the following passage it means ‘to support,’ where ‘difficult to support’ could mean either financially difficult to support, or emotionally difficult to support:

• Formerly, the bhikkhus lived happily, the disciples of Gotama. They sought their almsfood without desire. They used their abodes without desire. Knowing the world’s unlastingness [according to reality], they put an end to suffering.
Sukhajivino pure āsuṃ bhikkhū gotamasāvakā
Anicchā piṇḍamesanā anicchā sayanāsanaṃ
Loke aniccataṃ ñatvā dukkhassantaṃ akaṃsu te.

… But now, like headmen in a village, they make themselves difficult to support. They eat and eat, and then lie down, infatuated with other people’s homes.
Dupposaṃ katvā attānaṃ gāme gāmaṇikā viya
Bhūtvā bhutvā nipajjanti parāgāresu mucchitā
(S.1.61).

Poseti: to take care of

Poseti means ‘to take care of’:

• Then the brahman who took care of his mother said to the Blessed One
mātuposako brāhmaṇo bhagavantaṃ etadavoca.

―Master Gotama, I seek almsfood righteously and thereby take care of my parents. In doing so, am I doing my duty?
☸ Ahaṃ hi bho gotama dhammena bhikkhaṃ pariyesāmi. Dhammena bhikkhaṃ pariyesitvā mātāpitaro posemi. Kaccāhaṃ bho gotama evaṃkārī kiccakārī homī ti?

―Certainly, brahman, in doing so you are doing your duty. One who seeks almsfood righteously and thereby takes care of his parents begets much merit.
Taggha tvaṃ brāhmaṇa evaṃkārī kiccakārī hosi. Yo kho brāhmaṇa dhammena bhikkhaṃ pariyesati. Dhammena bhikkhaṃ pariyesitvā mātāpitaro poseti. Bahuṃ so puññaṃ pasavatī ti (S.1.181-2).

Poseti: to take care of

Jīvaka, as a newborn baby, was discovered on a rubbish heap by Prince Abhaya, who told his men:

―Well, sirs, take that boy to our women’s quarters and give him to nurses to be taken care of (posetuṃ).
Tena hi bhaṇe taṃ dārakaṃ amhākaṃ antepuraṃ netvā dhātīnaṃ detha posetun ti.

… The men took the boy to Prince Abhaya’s women’s quarters and gave him to nurses saying, ‘Take care of him’ (posethā)
☸ taṃ dārakaṃ abhayassa rājakumārassa antepuraṃ netvā dhātīnaṃ adaṃsu posethā ti.

… Because it was said of him ‘He’s alive,’ they named him Jīvaka.
☸ Tassa jīvatī ti jīvako ti nāmaṃ akaṃsu
.

… Because the Prince had him taken care of (posāpito), they called him Komārabhacca.
☸ Kumārena posāpito ti komārabhacco ti nāmaṃ akaṃsu

In due course, Jīvaka Komārabhacca approached Prince Abhaya, and asked:

―Who, sire, is my mother? Who is my father?
☸ kā me deva mātā? Ko pitā ti.

―Not even I, good Jīvaka, know your mother, but I am your father, for I had you taken care of (posāpito).
☸ Ahampi kho te bhaṇe jīvaka mātaraṃ na jānāmi. Apicāhaṃ te pitā. Mayāsi posāpito ti
(Vin.1.269).

COMMENT

Apicāhaṃ te pitā. Mayāsi posāpito ti. Word play.

Synonym: attabharassa

Anaññaposino is a synonym of attabharassa (‘self-reliant’), so it is passive not active:

• The devas envy the bhikkhu who collects his food on almsround, who is self-reliant, not supported by a patron, inwardly at peace, and continuously mindful.
Piṇḍapātikassa bhikkhuno attabharassa anaññaposino.
Devā pihayanti tādino upasantassa sadā satimato ti
(Ud.30).

Context: Venerable MahāKassapa walking on uninterrupted house-to-house almsround in Rājagaha.

Not supported by a patron: not emotionally bound to any particular family

The following verse from the Khagaggavisāṇa Sutta repeatedly shows that a bhikkhu who is anaññaposī has no patron. Of particular interest is the link to kule kule appaṭibaddhacitto. The verse could be cynically interpreted as saying that patrons are for greedy, self-indulgent bhikkhus who do not walk on uninterrupted house-to-house almsround, and who are emotionally attached to particular supporters:

• Having no greed for flavours, not self-indulgent, not supported by a patron, walking on uninterrupted house-to-house almsround, not emotionally bound to any particular family, one should live the religious life as solitarily as a rhinoceros horn.
Rasesu gedhaṃ akaraṃ alolo anaññaposī sapadānacārī
Kule kule appaṭibaddhacitto eko care khaggavisāṇakappo
(Sn.v.65).

Conclusion

1) We have reviewed the possible meanings of poseti, and shown it means either to nourish or to take care of.

2) We have confirmed that bhikkhus are supported by others.

3) We have confirmed that it is meritorious to take care of others by sharing one’s almsfood with them.

4) We have showed that anaññaposin is a synonym of attabhara (‘self-reliant’), and is therefore passive in meaning.

5) We have shown that anaññaposin is a synonym of kule kule appaṭibaddhacitto, which means ‘not emotionally bound to any particular family.’

6) In conclusion, we have shown that anaññaposin means that bhikkhu who collects food on uninterrupted house-to-house almsround is not supported by a patron, and has many admirable qualities. Even the devas envy such a bhikkhu.

Illustrations

Illustration: not supported by a patron

This bhikkhu Brahmadeva, madam, free of attachment has surpassed the devas. Liberated from the perception of existence, not supported by a patron, this very bhikkhu has entered your house for alms.
Eso hi te brāhmaṇī brahmadevo nirupadhiko atidevappatto
Akiñcano bhikkhu anaññaposī yo te so piṇḍāya gharaṃ paviṭṭho
(S.1.141).

Context: Venerable Brahmadeva walking on uninterrupted almsround in Sāvatthī.

Illustration: not supported by a patron

One who is not supported by a patron, not well-known, inwardly tamed, established in excellent qualities, whose āsavas are destroyed, and who is free of spiritual flaws, he is what I call a Brahman.
Anaññaposiṃ aññātaṃ dantaṃ sāre patiṭṭhitaṃ
Khīṇāsavaṃ vantadosaṃ tamahaṃ brūmi brāhmaṇan ti
(Ud.4).

Context: Venerable MahāKassapa (‘not well-known’!) walking on almsround in the poor district of Rājagaha.

Illustration: not supported by a patron

The devas envy the bhikkhu who collects his food on almsround, who is self-reliant, not supported by a patron, but not if it is based on desire for praise and fame.
Piṇḍapātikassa bhikkhuno attabharassa anaññaposino
Devā pihayanti tādino no ce saddasilokanissito ti
(Ud.31).

Context: Bhikkhus walking on almsround for selfish reasons.