More about Ananda’s Intoxication.

I’ve been exploring DN 10. “To Subha”. A Brahmin named Subha wants to see Ananda. Buddha just died. Ananda is old. There is a passage that seems to imply that Ananda was taking some sort of intoxicant. That is interesting! What was it?

I am no Pali expert! I’m trying to understand it, though. An intelligent facebooker has provided some correction and it has helped clear up my Pali confusion. I am grateful!

Buuut, there is still the implication that whatever medicine Ananda was taking was incapacitating. He is unable to visit Subha because of this ‘dose of medicine’.

Why does this matter?

It doesn’t ‘matter’! 😂

It is interesting! It is interesting to read that Ananda rejected the invitation because he had taken a dose of medicine. The medicine was cause for the unsuitability of the occasion.

What am I talking about?

Before I start (or, continue) rambling, I just want to say that is a very nice looking website!

Here is the Pali:

And, here is a nice translation of the piece from DN 10 I am talking about:

… the Venerable Ānanda said to him [a messenger boy that asked him to go visit Subha]:

‘It is not just now, young man, convenient, for I have just taken medicine. But perhaps I may be able to go on the morrow, if so be that conditions and opportunity seem fit.’

In two other posts:

  1. Ananda was Intoxicated.
  2. What Drug was Ananda Taking?

I explored the relevant Pali terms. For some reason, I had equated Matta and Majja. I thought they were the same! But, Maraṇa Dhammomhi helped me out 🙂 He also suggested that I find the commentary for this Sutta. So, I’ve begun to seek that out. I’ll probably share that later.

But, now I’m stuck with the same problem…

  • What kind of medicine was Ananda taking that resulted in his rejection of this invitation?
  • Why did he mention the medicine in relation to the unsuitability of the occasion?

This seems to (pretty clearly) imply that he was incapacitated/intoxicated by the medicine.

How many angels are dancing on the tip of this insulin syringe?

In the end, this doesn’t matter and it is an exploration driven by playfulness 😉

I’ve had a few interesting conversations around intoxication in a Buddhist context and some people have suggested that we are seeing the “Middle Way” in action.

Intention is important! What is a medicine to some can be a ‘drug’ to others. What is ‘intoxication’ to some is just another state of consciousness to others.

Final Conclusion

Ananda was incapacitated by the ‘medicine’. He wouldn’t visit Subha because of the effect of the medicine! That’s all…


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