Atammayo; No Sīlamayo; Mayo

Renderings

atammayo: one who perceives that “It is void of personal qualities”

atammayataṃ: the perception that “It is void of personal qualities”

tammayo: regard as endowed with personal qualities

sīlamayo: one who regards virtue as endowed with personal qualities

sīlamayo: comprised of virtue

Introduction

Maya: meaning

Maya means

1) Made of

2) Comprised of

3) Created by

4) Brought about by

5) Aroused by

Maya: examples

1) Made of:

• Ointment-boxes made of bone
aṭṭhimayaṃ (Vin.1.203).

• With hammers made of iron
ayomayakuṭehi (Sn.v.669).

2) Comprised of:

• There are three bases for the generating of merit: the basis for the generating of merit comprised of generosity, or of virtue, or of spiritual cultivation
tīṇi puññakiriyavatthūni: dānamayaṃ puññakiriyavatthu, sīlamayaṃ puññakiriyavatthu, bhāvanāmayaṃ puññakiriyavatthu (D.3.218. It.51).

3) Created by:

• Mind-created material body
rūpiṃ manomayaṃ (D.1.77).

• Perceptions (saññā) created by the mind
manomayaṃ (S.4.70).

4) Aroused by

• Wisdom aroused by reflection, or by learning, or by spiritual development
cintāmayā paññā sutamayā paññā bhāvanāmayā paññā (D.3.219).

There are two forms of maya that cannot be rendered by this scheme: atammayo and sīlamayo.

Atammayo

Atammayo means literally ‘not made of or produced by that.’ Its actual meaning is uncertain. Horner calls atammayataṃ lack of desire (MLS.3.92). Bodhi calls it non-identification (MLDB.911). The suttas show it means freedom from ego.

Atammayo and the perception of the voidness of personal qualities in all originated phenomena: Ukkhittāsika Sutta

The Ukkhittāsika Sutta (A.3.444) (quoted next) says being atammayo regarding the whole world [of phenomena] (sabbaloke ca atammayo) is one of the benefits of establishing without limit the perception of the voidness of personal qualities in all originated phenomena.

• When a bhikkhu sees six advantages it should be enough to inspire him to establish [in himself] without limit the perception of the voidness of personal qualities in all originated phenomena. What six?
Cha bhikkhave ānisaṃse sampassamānena alameva bhikkhunā sabbasaṅkhāresu anodhiṃ karitvā anattasaññaṃ upaṭṭhāpetuṃ katame cha:

1) I will be free of the perception that “It is endowed with personal qualities” regarding the whole world [of phenomena].
Sabbaloke ca atammayo bhavissāmi (A.3.444).

Thus atammayo is linked to the perception of the voidness of personal qualities in all originated phenomena.

Atammayo and egotistical thought: Sappurisa Sutta

The Sappurisa Sutta (M.3.42) says when the common person (asappuriso) gains first jhāna, he thinks ‘I am an attainer of the first jhāna; these other bhikkhus are not.’ But when a spiritually outstanding person (sappuriso) gains jhāna, he thinks ‘atammayatā even concerning the attainment of the first jhāna has been spoken of by the Blessed One (paṭhamajjhānasamāpattiyāpi kho atammayatā vuttā bhagavatā). Here atammayatā is the opposite of the egotistical thought ‘I am an attainer of the first jhāna.’

That atammayatā is a queller of the ego is confirmed in this same passage because the sutta continues: yena yena hi maññati tato taṃ hoti aññathā. Horner renders this: ‘for whatever they imagine it to be, it is otherwise.’ Bodhi says: ‘for in whatever way they conceive, the fact is ever other than that.’

But we have shown in this Glossary that maññati is not just ‘to think,’ but ‘to think of in personal terms.’ Even the passage in hand already suggests this, where the thoughts of the asappuriso, dominated by the word ahaṃ are so obviously egotistical.

Therefore, in context, the words mean:

atammayo: one who perceives that “It is void of personal qualities.”

atammayataṃ:the perception that “It is void of personal qualities.”

Sīlamayo: ‘comprised of virtue’

Sīlamayo can mean ‘comprised of virtue.’ For example, there are three bases for the generating of merit (tīṇi puññakiriyavatthūni D.3.218. It.51).

1) The basis for the generating of merit comprised of generosity
dānamayaṃ puññakiriyavatthu

2) The basis for the generating of merit comprised of virtue
sīlamayaṃ puññakiriyavatthu

3) The basis for the generating of merit comprised of spiritual cultivation
bhāvanāmayaṃ puññakiriyavatthu (D.3.218; It.51).

No sīlamayo: ‘one who does not regard virtue as endowed with personal qualities’

However, the Samaṇamaṇḍikā Sutta gives sīlamayo a different meaning. It proclaims a bhikkhu for being virtuous (sīlavā hoti) and adds that he should also no ca sīlamayo (i.e. idha thapati bhikkhu sīlavā hoti no ca sīlamayo). Bodhi renders this ‘a bhikkhu is virtuous but he does not identify with his virtue (MLDB p.651). Horner says ‘a monk is of moral habit and has no addition to make to moral habit’ (MLS.2.226). Let us consider it in four steps:

1) if atammayo means ‘one who perceives that “It is void of personal qualities,”’ then

2) tammayo means ‘one who perceives that “It is endowed with personal qualities”’ and

3) sīlamayo means ‘one who regards virtue as endowed with personal qualities,’ and therefore

4) no sīlamayo means ‘one who does not regard virtue as endowed with personal qualities.’

Illustrations

Illustration: atammayataṃ, the perception that “It is void of personal qualities”

When the common person (asappuriso) gains first jhāna, he thinks ‘I am an attainer of the first jhāna; these other bhikkhus are not,’ thereby glorifying himself and disparaging others (attānukkaṃseti paraṃ vambheti). When a spiritually outstanding person (sappuriso) gains jhāna, he thinks:

• The perception that “It is void of personal qualities” even concerning the attainment of the first jhāna has been declared by the Blessed One.
paṭhamajjhānasamāpattiyāpi kho atammayatā vuttā bhagavatā

… Whatsoever one thinks of in personal terms, it is different than [how one thinks of it].’
yena yena hi maññanti tato taṃ hoti aññathā’ti

… Therefore having prioritised the perception that “It is void of personal qualities,” he neither glorifies himself nor disparages others concerning the attainment of first jhāna. This is the character of a spiritually outstanding person.
☸ so atammayataṃyeva antaraṃ karitvā tāya paṭhamajjhānasamāpattiyā neva attānukkaṃseti na paraṃ vambheti. Ayampi bhikkhave sappurisadhammo (M.3.42-3).

Illustration: atammayataṃ, the perception that “It is void of personal qualities”

Bhikkhus, with the help of and by means of the perception that “It is void of personal qualities” abandon and transcend the neutral attitude that is undiversified, associated with undiversity.
Atammayataṃ bhikkhave nissāya atammayataṃ āgamma yā’yaṃ upekkhā ekattā ekattasitā taṃ pajahatha taṃ samatikkamatha (M.3.220).

Illustration: atammayo, free of the perception that “It is endowed with personal qualities”

Such a person as him, one who knows the world [of phenomena] [according to reality], one of great wisdom, is free of the perception that “It is endowed with personal qualities” regarding all things, a sage.
Sa tādiso lokavidū sumedho sabbesu dhammesu atammayo munī ti (A.1.150).

Illustration: tammayo, regard as endowed with personal qualities

Purified states known through the eye or ear are found in the Perfect One. They are my path [of practice], my sphere of personal application, but I do not regard them as endowed with personal qualities.
ye vodātā cakkhusotaviññeyyā dhammā saṃvijjanti te tathāgatassa etapathohamasmi etagocaro no ca tena tammayo ti (M.1.319).

Illustration: sīlamayo, one who regards virtue as endowed with personal qualities

A bhikkhu is virtuous but does not regard virtue as endowed with personal qualities
bhikkhu sīlavā hoti no ca sīlamayo (M.2.27).