Anusaya; Anuseti

Renderings

anusaya: proclivity (to something)

anusaya: unwholesome proclivity

anusaya: identification

anuseti: to lurk within

anuseti: to identify with

anuseti: to linger

Introduction

Anusaya: ‘proclivity’

Anusaya means tendency, but ‘always in a bad sense,’ says PED. The Madhupiṇḍika Sutta appropriately calls the anusayas ‘unvirtuous, spiritually unwholesome factors’ (pāpakā akusalā dhammā M.1.109). Accordingly, we call anusayas ‘proclivities’ which means ‘a strong natural proneness, usually to something objectionable or evil’ (Webster’s).

Anuseti: ‘lurk within’ and ‘linger’

Anuseti means ‘to lie down with.’ Illustrations below show it can be called ‘to lurk within’ or ‘to linger.’ Relevant quotes are presented below.

Anuseti: ‘identify with.’

In some circumstances anuseti means ‘to identify with.’ This needs a substantial explanation because it is unnoted by translators and lexicographers alike.

‘To identify with’: explanation

To show that anuseti means ‘to identify with,’ we will use an argument that includes the concept of ‘being measured,’ as follows:

1) Firstly, when we say ‘to identify with’ we mean ‘to see things as “(in reality) mine,” or “(in reality) what I am,” “my (absolute) Selfhood.”’
etaṃ mama eso’hamasmi eso me attā ti.

2) Secondly, when the Dutiya Bhikkhu Sutta says ‘one is measured because of anuseti’ (yaṃ kho bhikkhu anuseti taṃ anumīyati, S.3.36-7) we take ‘measured’ to mean ‘measured against others via the three modes of self-centredness.’ These are the tisso vidhā, namely: ‘I am better,’ ‘I am equal,’ ‘I am worse’ (S.5.56).

3) That ‘being measured’ comes from ‘identifying with’ is shown in the Surādha Sutta, which says that transcending the modes (of self-centredness) (vidhā samatikkantaṃ) is attained by not identifying with the five aggregates, as follows:

• One perceives all bodily form… sphere of sensation according to reality with perfect penetrative discernment as “not (in reality) mine,” “not (in reality) what I am,” “not my (absolute) Selfhood”’
sabbaṃ rūpaṃ… sabbaṃ viññāṇaṃ n’etaṃ mama n’eso’hamasmi na me so attā ti.

… Thus knowing, thus seeing, in regard to this (wretched human) body together with its consciousness and all external phenomena, the mind is rid of the illusions of personal identity and personal ownership and self-centredness, it has transcended the modes (of self-centredness), and is peaceful and liberated (from perceptually obscuring states).
Evaṃ kho surādha jānato evaṃ passato imasmiñca saviññāṇake kāye bahiddhā ca sabbanimittesu ahaṅkāramamaṅkāramānāpagataṃ mānasaṃ hoti vidhā samatikkantaṃ santaṃ suvimuttanti (S.3.80-1).

4) We have seen that the Surādha Sutta says ‘being measured’ comes from ‘identifying with,’ and the Dutiya Bhikkhu Sutta says being measured (anumīyati) comes from anuseti. Therefore anuseti means ‘to identify with.’

6) Accordingly, the Dutiya Bhikkhu Sutta can be translated as follows:

‘What one identifies with, by that one is measured.’
yaṃ kho bhikkhu anuseti taṃ anumīyati (S.3.36-7).

This makes perfect sense, and validates our argument.

Advantage: rational

Rendering anuseti as ‘to identify with’ has two advantages. Firstly, translations are rational, as for example here:

• Whatever one identifies with, one is reckoned in terms of.
yaṃ kho bhikkhu anuseti tena saṅkhaṃ gacchati (S.3.35).

Advantage: congruous

The second advantage of translating anuseti as ‘to identify with’ is that it avoids the incongrous idea of ‘having a tendency to the five aggregates.’ For example Bodhi says:

• If, venerable sir, one has an underlying tendency towards form, then one is measured in accordance with it
Rūpaṃ ce bhante anuseti taṃ anumīyati (translation of S.3.36).

This is incongruous, for the following reasons:

1) ‘Tendency’ goes with verbs and mental states, but not other nouns. For example, a tendency to argue, to doubt, to anger etc.

2) Webster’s dictionary accordingly says tendency means ‘a proneness to a particular kind of thought or action.’

3) The seven anusaya’s themselves follow this principle, with a list that includes the proclivity to repugnance, to self-centredness etc. But no ‘tendency to the five aggregates.’

Therefore when anuseti is applied to nouns that are not mental states, we use the verb ‘to identify with,’ and our comparable rendering for S.3.36 is:

• If, bhante, one identifies with bodily form, by that one is measured.
Rūpaṃ ce bhante anuseti taṃ anumīyati (S.3.36).

Anusaya: same principle

The same principle holds for the noun anusaya. Rendering it ‘proclivity’ makes good sense when it is linked to verbs and mental states. But when linked to other types of nouns, we call it ‘identification.’ This avoids the obvious problems of Bodhi’s translations, where anuseti is always ‘underlying tendency.’ Let us compare translations of two quotes:

Quote 1)

Bodhi says:
• the underlying tendency to lust lies within one.
Tassa rāgānusayo anuseti (Bodhi, M.3.285).

This translation is satisfactory because lust is a mental state. Our translation of the quote is comparable:

• The proclivity to attachment lurks within him.
Tassa rāgānusayo anuseti (M.3.285).

Quote 2)

Bodhi says:

• The desire, lust, delight, and craving, the engagement and clinging, the mental standpoints, adherences, and underlying tendencies regarding the form element: these have been abandoned by the Tathāgata.
rūpadhātuyā kho gahapati yo chando yo rāgo yā nandi yā taṇhā ye upayupādānā cetaso adhiṭṭhānābhinivesānusayā te tathāgatassa pahīnā (Bodhi, S.3.10).

This quote involves a noun that is not a mental state (‘underlying tendencies regarding the form element’). We translate the passage with ‘identification’ (‘identification in regards to bodily form’) as follows:

• The fondness, attachment, spiritually fettering delight, craving, clinging, grasping, obstinate adherence, stubborn attachment, and identification in regards to bodily form have been abandoned by the Perfect One
rūpadhātuyā kho gahapati yo chando yo rāgo yā nandi yā taṇhā ye upayupādānā cetaso adhiṭṭhānābhinivesānusayā te tathāgatassa pahīnā (S.3.10).

Conclusion

In conclusion, where they involve nouns that are not mental states, anusaya and anuseti mean ’identification’ and ‘to identify with.’

Illustrations

Illustration: anusaya, proclivity

Discard the proclivity to self-centredness
mānānusayamujjaha (S.1.188).

Illustration: anusaya, proclivity

The illusion of personal identity, the illusion of personal ownership, and the proclivity to self-centredness
ahaṅkāramamaṅkāramānānusayā (S.2.275).

Illustration: anusaya, proclivity

The proclivity to attachment should be abandoned in regard to pleasant sense impression
sukhāya vedanāya rāgānusayo pahātabbo

The proclivity to repugnance should be abandoned in regard to unpleasant sense impression
dukkhāya vedanāya paṭighānusayo pahātabbo

The proclivity to uninsightfulness into reality should be abandoned in regard to neutral sense impression
adukkhamasukhāya vedanāya avijjānusayo pahātabbo (S.4.205).

Illustration: anusaya, proclivity

• For whatever the reason that entrenched perception and conception assail a man
☸ yatonidānaṃ purisaṃ papañcasaññāsaṅkhā samudācaranti

… if there is found nothing there to be delighted in, welcomed, or clung to
☸ ettha ce natthi abhinanditabbaṃ abhivaditabbaṃ ajjhositabbaṃ

… this is the end of the proclivity to attachment
esevanto rāgānusayānaṃ

this is the end of the proclivity to repugnance
esevanto paṭighānusayānaṃ

this is the end of the proclivity to dogmatism
esevanto diṭṭhānusayānaṃ

this is the end of the proclivity to doubt (about the excellence of the teaching)
esevanto vicikicchānusayānaṃ (M.1.109).

Illustration: anusayā, unwholesome proclivities

He in whom there are no unwholesome proclivities, in whom the origins of whatever is spiritually unwholesome are abolished,
Yassānusayā na santi keci mūlā akusalā samūhatāse (Sn.v.14).

Illustration: anusayā, unwholesome proclivities

Seven unwholesome proclivities
Sattannaṃ bhikkhave anusayānaṃ

• proclivity to attachment to sensuous pleasure
kāmarāgānusayassa

• proclivity to repugnance
paṭighānusayassa

• proclivity to dogmatism
diṭṭhānusayassa

• proclivity to doubt (about the excellence of the teaching)
vicikicchānusayassa

• proclivity to self-centredness
mānānusayassa

• proclivity to attachment to individual existence
bhavarāgānusayassa

• proclivity to uninsightfulness into reality
avijjānusayassa (A.4.9).

Illustration: anusayā, identification

The fondness, attachment, spiritually fettering delight, craving, clinging, grasping, obstinate adherence, stubborn attachment, and identification in regards to bodily form have been abandoned by the Perfect One
rūpadhātuyā kho gahapati yo chando yo rāgo yā nandi yā taṇhā ye upayupādānā cetaso adhiṭṭhānābhinivesānusayā te tathāgatassa pahīnā (S.3.10).

Illustration: anuseti, identify with

Whatever one is intent upon, conceives of, and identifies with, this becomes the basis for the establishment of one’s stream of consciousness.
bhikkhave ceteti yañca pakappeti yañca anuseti ārammaṇametaṃ hoti viññāṇassa ṭhitiyā

When there is the basis, there is the establishment of one’s stream of consciousness.
Yañca ārammaṇe sati patiṭṭhā viññāṇassa hoti.

When one’s stream of consciousness is established and has (egoistically) matured, there is the appearance of denomination-and-bodily-form.
Tasmiṃ patiṭṭhite viññāṇe virūḷhe nāmarūpassa avakkanti hoti (S.2.66).

Illustration: anuseti, identify with

Even if one is not intent upon something, and does not conceive of it, but nonetheless one identifies with it, this becomes the basis for the establishment of one’s stream of consciousness.
no ce bhikkhave ceteti no ce pakappeti atha ce anuseti ārammaṇametaṃ hoti viññāṇassa ṭhitiyā (S.2.67).

Illustration: anuseti, identify with

Whatever one identifies with, one is reckoned in terms of.
yaṃ kho bhikkhu anuseti tena saṅkhaṃ gacchati;

Whatever one does not identify with, one is not reckoned in terms of.
☸ yaṃ nānuseti na tena saṅkhaṃ gacchatī ti.

If one identifies with bodily form… spheres of sensation, then one is reckoned in terms of it.
Rūpaṃ… viññāṇaṃ ce anuseti tena saṅkhaṃ gacchati.

If one does not identify with bodily form… spheres of sensation, then one is not reckoned in terms of it.
Rūpaṃ… viññāṇaṃ ce nānuseti na tena saṅkhaṃ gacchati (S.3.35).

Illustration: anuseti, identify with

What one identifies with, by that one is measured. By what one is measured, one is reckoned.
Yaṃ kho bhikkhu anuseti taṃ anumīyati. Yaṃ anumīyati tena saṅkhaṃ gacchati

What one does not identify with, by that one is not measured. By what one is not measured, one is not reckoned.
☸ yaṃ nānuseti na taṃ anumīyati yaṃ nānumīyati na tena saṅkhaṃ gacchatīti.

If one identifies with the five aggregates, by that one is measured. By what one is measured, one is reckoned.
☸ Rūpaṃ… viññāṇaṃ ce anuseti taṃ anumīyati yaṃ anumīyati tena saṅkhaṃ gacchati.

If one does not identify with the five aggregates, by that one is not measured. By what one is not measured, one is not reckoned.
☸ Rūpaṃ… viññāṇaṃ ce nānuseti na taṃ anumīyati yaṃ nānumīyati na tena saṅkhaṃ gacchati (S.3.36-7).

Illustration: anuseti, lurk within

Wrong view (of reality) has lurked within the ignorant for a long time
☸ Dīgharattamanusayitaṃ diṭṭhigatamajānataṃ

The ignorant indeed say one is a Brahman on account of birth.
☸ Ajānantā no pabruvanti jātiyā hoti brāhmano
(Sn.v.649).

Illustration: anuseti, lurk within

The Blessed One has through his explanations removed the arrow of doubt and uncertainty (about the way of spiritual fulfilment, and of unfulfilment) long lurking in me.
bhagavatā vyākatā dīgharattānusayitañca pana me vicikicchākathaṅkathāsallaṃ tañca bhagavatā abbūḷhanti (D.2.283).

Illustration: anuseti, lurk within

When affected by a pleasant sense impression, he takes delight in it, he welcomes it, and persists in cleaving to it.
so sukhāya vedanāya phuṭṭho samāno abhinandati abhivadati ajjhosāya tiṭṭhati.

The proclivity to attachment lurks within him.
☸ Tassa rāgānusayo anuseti (M.3.286).

Illustration: anuseti, lurk within one

The proclivity to attachment lurks within one in relation to pleasant sense impression.
sukhāya kho āvuso visākha vedanāya rāgānusayo anuseti

The proclivity to repugnance lurks within one in relation to unpleasant sense impression.
dukkhāya vedanāya paṭighānusayo anuseti

The proclivity to uninsightfulness into reality lurks within one in relation to neutral sense impression.
adukkhamasukhāya vedanāya avijjānusayo anusetīti (M.1.302).

Illustration: anuseti, linger within

And of what sort is he who is like carving on a rock? In this regard, some person is frequently angry (abhiṇhaṃ kujjhati). Moreover that anger lingers within him for a long time
so ca khvassa kodho dīgharattaṃ anuseti

And of what sort is he who is like carving on the ground? In this regard, some person is frequently angry (abhiṇhaṃ kujjhati), but his anger does not linger within him for a long time
so ca khvassa kodho na dīgharattaṃ anuseti (A.1.284).