Kappaṃ n’eti


kappaṃ n’eti: he is not caught up in egocentric conception


Kappaṃ n’eti: Sn.v.521, Sn.v.535, and Sn.v.860

Kappaṃ n’eti occurs thrice in the scriptures: Sn.v.521, Sn.v.535, and Sn.v.860. Kappaṃ occurs with the same meaning a further five times at Sn.v.373, Sn.v.517, Sn.v.911, Sn.v.914, and Sn.v.1101, but these do not much help with the meaning of kappaṃ n’eti:

• He is not caught up in egocentric conception.
na kappiyo (Sn.v.914).

• The one who has abandoned egocentric conception
Kappaṃ jahaṃ (Sn.v.1101).

In Sn.v.911 kappaṃ is almost synonymous with saṅkhā:

• The Brahman is beyond the limits of conception and egocentric conception.
Na brāhmaṇo kappamupeti saṅkhā (Sn.v.911).

Sn.v.373 and Sn.v.517 are in the illustrations.

Kappa: meaning

Kappa means ‘a (false) supposition, imagining; a theory; a figment,’ says DOP. These words concur with our rendering, except for being countable nouns.

PED says kappa means ‘anything made with a definite object in view, prepared, arranged,’ and says that ‘as a cycle of time=saṃsāra at Sn 521, 535, 860,’ which is wrong.

Eti: meaning

Eti means:

• ‘to go, go to, reach’ (PED).

‘goes; goes towards; reaches, obtains; reaches (a state); is involved (in)’ (DOP).

Norman: come to/submit to figments

Norman translates the three references as follows:

• He comes to no figment among devas and men who are subject to figments.
Devamanussesu kappiyesu kappaṃ n’eti (Sn.v.521).

• Having thrust away the triple perception, the mud, he does not come to figments.
Saññaṃ tividhaṃ panujja paṅkaṃ kappaṃ n’eti (Sn.v.535).

• He does not submit to figments, being without figments.
kappaṃ n’eti akappiyo (Sn.v.860).

Norman does not always follow the singular cases, for which an uncountable noun would be suitable.

Sn.v.860: not caught up in egocentric conception

In Sn.v.860 kappaṃ n’eti is associated with not comparing oneself with others:

• The sage, free of greed and stinginess, does not proclaim himself as being amongst the superior, equal, or inferior. He is not caught up in egocentric conception. He is free of egocentric conception.
Vītagedho amaccharī na ussesu vadate muni
Na samesu na omesu kappaṃ n’eti akappiyo

Sn.v.535: the three modes (of self-centredness) abandoned

In Sn.v.535 kappaṃ n’eti is associated with abandoning the three modes of self-centredness:

• One who has thrust away the three grubby modes of perception, and who is not caught up in egocentric conception: they call him ‘noble.’
Saññaṃ tividhaṃ panujja paṅkaṃ kappaṃ n’eti tamāhu ariyo ti (Sn.v.535).

Because Sn.v.860 (in paragraph above) involves comparison of oneself with others, we regard saññaṃ tividhaṃ… paṅkaṃ (‘the three grubby modes of perception’) in Sn.v.535 as likewise implying comparison of oneself with others, and therefore meaning tisso vidhā (‘the three modes (of self-centredness)’). The three modes of self-centredness are:

• ‘I am better’ mode (of self-centredness)
seyyo’hamasmī ti vidhā

• ‘I am equal’ mode (of self-centredness)
sadiso’hamasmī ti vidhā

• ‘I am worse’ mode (of self-centredness)
hīno’hamasmī ti vidhā (S.5.56).


Sn.v.521 is illustrated below.


Kappaṃ n’eti is associated with terms that imply arahantship:

1) Not comparing oneself with others

2) Thrusting away the three modes of self-centredness

Although kappaṃ is close in meaning to the widely supported ‘figment,’ this term is problematic for two reasons:

1) Firstly, our findings show that the specific figment involved is egocentric conception.’

2) Secondly, egocentric conception is an uncountable noun, and therefore better than ‘figment’ because pluralising is then unnecessary.


Illustration: kappaṃ n’eti, he is not caught up in egocentric conception

Amidst devas and men caught up in egocentric conception, he is not caught up in egocentric conception. They call him spiritually cleansed.
Devamanussesu kappiyesu kappaṃ n’eti tamāhu nahātako ti (Sn.v.521).

Illustration: kappāni, modes of egocentric conception

‘One who has investigated all modes of egocentric conception, the round of birth and death, and both the passing away and rebirth (of beings); one who is free of spiritual defilement, spiritually unblemished, spiritually purified, who has realised the destruction of birth: they call him enlightened.’
Kappāni viceyya kevalāni saṃsāraṃ dubhayaṃ cutūpapātaṃ
Vigatarajamanaṅgaṇaṃ visuddhaṃ pattaṃ jātikhayaṃ tamāhu buddhan ti


Kappāni: ‘modes of egocentric conception.’ Egocentric conception is linked to the three modes of self-centredness in Sn.v.535. It likely has that meaning here.

Illustration: kappa, egocentric conception

‘One of purified wisdom who has utterly transcended egocentric conception in regards to things of the past and future, who is free of (bondage to) the six senses and their objects: he would properly fulfil the ideals of religious asceticism in the world.
Atītesu anāgatesu cā pi kappātīto aticca suddhipañño
Sabbāyatanehi vippamutto sammā so loke paribbajeyya