Anīgha

Renderings

anīgha (adj): rid of spiritual defilement

anīgha: one who is rid of spiritual defilement

nīgha: spiritual defilement

Introduction

The derivation of anīgha

DOP says the etymology of anīgha is uncertain, but suggests it means either niddukkha or a+īgha (without evil). But the scriptures do not support this.

Etymology: a+nīgha not a+īgha

The scriptures show that anīgha is a+nīgha not a+īgha. For example, the Kāmabhu Sutta (S.4.292) says the arahant is called anīgho because he has abandoned rāgo nīgho, doso nīgho, moho nīgho:

• Attachment, hatred, and undiscernment of reality are spiritual defilements
☸ rāgo kho bhante nīgho doso nīgho moho nīgho

… The arahant has abandoned them, chopped them down at the root, completely and irreversibly destroyed them, so they will never arise again in future, therefore the arahant is called ‘one who is rid of spiritual defilement’
☸ te khīṇāsavassa bhikkhuno pahīnā ucchinnamūlā tālāvatthukatā anabhāvakatā āyatiṃ anuppādadhammā tasmā khīṇāsavo bhikkhu anīgho ti vuccati
(S.4.292).

Nīgha means rāgo, doso and moho

The Kāmabhu Sutta also therefore shows that nīgha means rāgo, doso, and moho.

Nīgha means spiritual defilement

Other suttas show the meaning of anīgha is broader than that, showing that nīgha means spiritual defilement.

1) The Uraga Sutta, quoted more fully below, links itto the abandonment ofthe five hindrances (yo nīvaraṇe pahāya pañca anīgho).

2) Other suttas associate anīgha with freedom from, for example, longing (nirāsaṃ), doubt (saṃsayaṃ) and attachment (asitaṃ; chinnaganthaṃ; saṃyojanabandhanacchidā). See Illustrations.

Therefore nīgha means any kind of spiritual defilement.

Anīgha means ‘rid of spiritual defilement’

If anīgha means freedom from a broad range of spiritual defilements through their being abandoned, chopped down at the root, completely and irreversibly destroyed, so they will never arise again in future, it is properly represented by the phrase ‘rid of spiritual defilement.’

Spellings, anīgha and anigha

There are two spellings: anīgha and anigha, but anīgha seems more orthodox. Anigha occurs only in verse, suggesting that anīgha becomes anigha for metrical purposes. Indeed, DOP says anīgha is ‘usually unmetrical.’

Illustrations

Illustration: anigho, rid of spiritual defilement

(The Blessed One:)

‘Indeed, I am rid of spiritual defilement, deity;
anigho ve ahaṃ yakkha

and no spiritually fettering delight is found in me;
atho nandi na vijjati

And when I am sitting alone, disgruntlement (with the celibate life) does not overwhelm me.
Atho maṃ ekamāsīnaṃ arati nābhikīratīti.

Then the Buddha explained:

Spiritually fettering delight is for one with spiritual defilement;
aghajātassa ve nandi

Spiritual defilement is for one with spiritually fettering delight;
nandijātassa ve aghaṃ

Thus know me friend as a bhikkhu free of spiritually fettering delight and rid of spiritual defilement.
Anandi anigho bhikkhu evaṃ jānāhi āvuso ti (S.1.54).

Comment:

I accept PTS spellings here. I take anigha as standing for anīgha because DOP says anīgha is usually unmetrical. I take aghaṃ to mean nigha because the passage itself does so.

Although these readings are unsettled, other readings do no better in explaining the nature of the conversation here. Bodhi renders the word as ‘untroubled’ throughout.

Illustration: anīghaṃ, rid of spiritual defilement

One whose spiritual shackles are destroyed, one rid of spiritual defilement, free of expectations
taṃ chinnaganthaṃ anīghaṃ nirāsaṃ (S.1.12).

Illustration: anīghā, rid of spiritual defilement

He has a benevolent mind and unhateful thoughts. He thinks ‘May these creatures sustain themselves happily, and be rid of unfriendliness, hostility, and spiritual defilement.’
☸ ime sattā averā avyāpajjhā anīghā sukhī attānaṃ pariharantū ti
(M.3.55).

Illustration: anīghaṃ, rid of spiritual defilement

Rid of spiritual defilement, free of doubt (about the excellence of the teaching), unattached to anything in the whole world (of phenomena)
☸ anīghaṃ chinnasaṃsayaṃ asitaṃ sabbalokassa (It.97).

Illustration: anīgho, rid of spiritual defilement

He who has abandoned the five hindrances, who is rid of spiritual defilement, who has overcome uncertainty (about the excellence of the teaching), who is free of the arrow (of doubt and uncertainty about the excellence of the teaching),
yo nīvaraṇe pahāya pañca anīgho tiṇṇakathaṅkatho visallo (Sn.v.17).

Comment:

Because of its proximity to tiṇṇakathaṅkatho we take visallo to mean free of vicikicchākathaṅkathāsallaṃ, a term which occurs at D.3.250 and A.3.292.

Illustration: anīghā, rid of spiritual defilement

Those who have severed every tie and bond (to individual existence), inwardly tamed, liberated (from perceptually obscuring states), rid of spiritual defilement, free of expectations,
Ye sabbasaṃyojanabandhanacchidā dantā vimuttā anīghā nirāsā; (Sn.v.491).

Illustration: anīgho, rid of spiritual defilement

And whatever man here is wise, one who is blessed with profound knowledge, who has freed himself from this (wretched) bondage to all states of individual existence, he is free of craving, rid of spiritual defilement, and free of expectations (in regard to both this world and the world beyond). He has overcome birth and old age, I declare.
☸ Vidvā ca yo vedagū naro idha bhavābhave saṅgamimaṃ visajja
So vitataṇho anīgho nirāso atāri so jāti jaranti brūmiti
(Sn.v.1060).

Illustration: nīghā, spiritual defilement

Bhikkhus, there are these three kinds of spiritual defilement. What three?
Tayome bhikkhave nīghā. Katame tayo?

• the spiritual defilement of attachment
rāgo nīgho

• the spiritual defilement of hatred
doso nīgho

• the spiritual defilement of undiscernment of reality
moho nīgho (S.5.57).