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Samyutta Nikaya

An Anthology: Part II

by

Bhikkhu Ñanananda

Buddhist Publication Society
Kandy • Sri Lanka

The Wheel Publication No. 183–185

Copyright © Kandy; Buddhist Publication Society (1983)
BPS Online Edition © (2008)

Digital Transcription Source: BPS Transcription Project

For free distribution. This work may be republished, reformatted, reprinted and redistributed in any medium. However, any such republication and redistribution is to be made available to the public on a free and unrestricted basis, and translations and other derivative works are to be clearly marked as such.


Contents

Preface
Abbreviations
Part One: The Book of the Sayings with Stanzas (Sagatha Vagga)

1. The Flood (S 1:1)
2. Deliverance (S 1:2)
3. They Are Not (S 1:34)
4. With-but-one-root (S 1:44)
5. Name (S 1:61)
6. The Mind (S 1:62)
7. The World (S 1:70)
8. Damali (S 2:5)
9. Kakudha (S 2:18)
10. Rohitassa (S 2:26)
11. The Ploughman (S 4:19)
12. Sela (S 5:9)
13. Suciloma (S 10:3)
14. Phagguna (S 12:12)
15. Bhumija (S 12:25 (i-ii))
16. Nakulapita (S 22:1)
17. Approaching (S 22:53)
18. The Seven Points (S 22:57)
19. Full-Moon (S 22:82)
20. Upasena (S 35:69)
21. Dyad (S 35:93)
22. Not-including (S 35:136)
23. Isidatta (S 41:3)
24. Bhadragaka (S 42:11)
25. The She-falcon (S 47:6)
26. Sedaka (S 47:19)
27. The Province (S 47:20)

Notes


Preface

An anthology of the Samyutta Nikaya, prepared by Mr. John D Ireland, has already appeared in the Wheel series (No. 107–109). It contained selections from all the five books of this large collection of the Buddha’s discourses which are grouped according to subject. The present volume supplements it with a further selection from the same books.

As this Discourse Collection is representative of all the basic teachings of the Buddha, it places at the disposal of the anthologist an array of suttas (discourses), rich both in variety and in excellence. I can do justice to them within limits, choosing texts which bring out the salient features of those teachings in the most appealing way. Naturally, I have had a preference for pithy discourses and those well illustrated by scintillating similes and metaphors.

The present anthology, while drawing from the existing translations and the commentaries, attempts to repay a part of this “debt” to these authors in the form of suggested improvements on both. In the Notes, the discussion of certain doctrinal points has entailed the inclusion of many parallel texts which are likely to elucidate the meanings of the selected Discourses.

Bhikkhu Ñanananda
Island Hermitage
Dodanduwa
February 1972


Abbreviations

M Majjhima Nikaya
S Samyutta Nikaya
A Anguttara Nikaya
Dhp Dhammapada
Ud Udana
It Itivuttaka
Sn Sutta Nipata
Th Theragatha
Vin Vinaya Mahavagga
S-a S Commentary (Saratthappakasini)
Sn-a Sn Commentary (Paramatthajotika)
M.L.S. Middle Length Sayings
K.S. Kindred Sayings 
 

Translations: Pali Text Society Translation Series
References are to page numbers in P.T.S. editions


Namo tassa bhagavato arahato sammasambuddhassa

Part One: The Book of the Sayings with Stanzas
(Sagatha Vagga)

1. The Flood (S 1:1)

Thus have I heard. The Exalted One was once staying near Savatthi at Jeta Grove, in Anathapindika’s Park. Now, a certain deity, when the night was far spent, shedding radiance with his effulgent beauty over the whole Jeta Grove, came into the presence of the Exalted One, and coming, saluted him and stood at one side. So standing, he spoke thus to the Exalted One:

“How did you, dear sir, cross the flood?” [1]

“Without tarrying, friend, and without hurrying did I cross the flood.” [2]

“But how did you, dear sir, without tarrying, without hurrying, cross the flood?”

“When I friend, tarried, then verily I sank; [3] when I friend, hurried, then verily I was swept away. And so, friend, untarrying, unhurrying, did I cross the flood.”

[The deity]

“Lo! Now what length of time since I beheld
A saint [4] with all his passions quelled; [5]
One who, neither tarrying not yet hurrying.
Has got past the world’s viscosity [6] —craving.”

Thus spoke the deity, and the Teacher approved. And then the deity, noting that approval, saluted the Lord, and having circumambulated him by the right, vanished there and then.

2. Deliverance (S 1:2)

Near Savatthi. Now, a certain deity, when the night was far spent, came into the presence of the Exalted One, and coming, saluted him and stood at one side. So standing, he spoke thus to the Exalted One:

“Do you, dear sir, know for them that live, deliverance, freedom, detachment?” [7]

“I do know, O friend, for them that live deliverance, freedom, detachment.”

“In what manner and how, dear sir, do you know for them that live deliverance, freedom, detachment?”

“When delight and existence [8] are exhausted
When perception and consciousness [9] are both destroyed
When feelings cease and are appeased [10] —thus, O friend,
Do I know for them that live
Deliverance, freedom, detachment.”

3. They Are Not (S 1:34)

The Exalted One was once staying near Savatthi, at the Jeta Grove in Anathapindika’s Park. And a great number of the Satullapa company of deities, when the night was far spent, came into the presence of the Exalted One and so standing, one of the deities uttered this verse before the Exalted One:

“No permanent pleasures of sense are there among human-beings;
Here are charming things enmeshed in which a man dallies,
And thus from realms of death doth never come to that
Wherefrom there is no coming back again. [11]
Desire-born misery, desire-born pain
Desire disciplined is misery quelled.”

[The Buddha]

“When misery is quelled, pain too is quelled.
They are not the sense-pleasures—those beautiful things in the world
Lustful intention is man’s sense-pleasure
They endure as before those beautiful things in the world
But the will thereto, ’tis, that the wise discipline.
Let one put wrath away and conceit abandon
And get well beyond the fetters all [12]
That one, by name-and-form untrammelled [13]
And possessionless [14] —no pains befall.

“He cast off reckoning, no conceit assumed
Craving he cut off in this name-and-form
That bond-free one—from blemish and longing free
Him no gods nor men, in their search could find
Searching here and beyond—in heavens and in all abodes.” [15]

“If him, they find not thus released,”
[thus said the reverend Mogharaja],
“Gods and men, here or beyond,
Him best of men that brings weal for men [16]
They that revere him—are they worthy of praise?”

Yes, they become praiseworthy also,
[O monk, Mogharaja,” said the Exalted One],
“They that revere him thus released
Yes, if knowing the Dhamma they give up all doubt
They too become bond-liberated, O monk!”

4. With-but-one-root (S 1:44)

“With but one root and turning twice
With triple stain and arenas five
The ocean with its eddies twelve
The quaking abyss—the sage has crossed.” [17]

5. Name (S 1:61)

“What is it that overwhelmed [18] everything?
What is it that nought else excels?
What is it that to which one thing
Everything else its course does bend?”

“’Tis name that has overwhelmed everything
Nought else exists that excels name
And name itself is that one thing
Beneath whose sway all others came.” [19]

6. The Mind (S 1:62)

“What is it that whereby the world is led?
What is it that whereby ’tis being dragged?
And what is it that in whose sole sway
One and all have come to stay?”

“By mind [20] is it that the world is led.
By mind is it that the world is dragged
And mind is it in whose sole sway
One and all have come to stay.”

7. The World (S 1:70)

“In what has this world arisen?
In what does it hold concourse?
On what depending—in what respect —
Does this world get oppressed?”

“In the six the world arose [21]
In the six it holds concourse
On the six themselves depending
In the six it gets oppressed.”

8. Damali (S 2:5)

Near Savatthi in the Jeta Grove… Now, Damali son of the gods, when the night was far spent… came into the presence of the Exalted One, and coming, saluted him and stood at one side. So standing he spoke thus to the Exalted One:

“Endeavour must herein be made
By that saint who knows no fatigue
That by abandoning sense-desires
He may not hanker for existence.”

“There is naught left to do, O Damali,
For the saint”—so said the Exalted one.
“The saint is one whose task is done
So long as he no footing finds,
A creature swept by river-currents
Toils with all his limbs;
But finding a footing, when on dry ground he stands
He toils no more; passed over, indeed, is he.

“A parable this, Damali, is for
The saint whose cankers are extinct,
Ripe in wisdom, given to Jhana,
On reaching the end of birth and death
He toils no more: passed over, indeed is he.” [22]

9. Kakudha (S 2:18)

Thus I have heard: The Exalted One was once staying at Saketa, in the Añjana Grove, in the deer Park. Now, Kakudha, son of the gods, when the night was far spent came into the presence of the Exalted One and stood at one side. So standing, Kakudha spoke thus to the Exalted One:

“Do you rejoice, recluse?”
“On getting what, friend?”
“Then do you grieve, recluse?”
“What is lost, friend?”
“Well, then, recluse, you neither rejoice nor grieve?”
“That is so, friend.” [23]

[Kakudha]

“How now, O monk! You are not depressed
And yet you seem to have no joy?
How now are you, seated, so lovely there
Not overwhelmed by discontent?”

[The Exalted One]

“Yes, I, O fairy, am no wise depressed,
And yet no joy arises in me;
Nor yet, though I am seated lonely here,
Am I overwhelmed by discontent.

“Joy is verily for him who is sad
Sadness is verily for the joyous one. [24]
But as for the monk—know this, O friend
He is neither joyful nor is he sad.”

[Kakudha]

“Long time it is since I beheld,
As now, a saint with his passions quelled.
This monk who, being neither glad nor yet sad,
Has got past the viscosity in the world.”

10. Rohitassa (S 2:26)

At Savatthi… Standing at one side, Rohitassa, son of the gods, spoke thus to the Exalted One:

“Where, lord, one does not get born, nor grow old, nor die, nor pass away, nor get reborn, is one able, lord, by walking, to come to know that end of the world, or to see it, or to get there?”

“Where, friend, one does not get born, nor grow old, nor die, nor pass away, nor get reborn, that end of the world, I say, you are not able by walking, to come to know, or to see, or to arrive at.”

“Wonderful is it, lord. Marvellous it is, lord, how well it is said by the Exalted One: ’Where, friend, one does not get born… or to arrive at.’

“In times past, lord, I was a seer, Rohitassa by name, son of Bhoja, gifted so that I could fly through the air. And so swift, lord, was my speed that I could fly just as quickly as a master of archery, well-trained, expert, proficient, a past-master in his art, armed with a strong bow could, without difficulty, send a light shaft far past the area covered by a palm-tree’s shadow. And so great, lord, was my stride that I could step from the eastern to the western sea.

“In me, lord, arose such a wish as this: ’I will arrive at the end of the world by walking.’ And though such, lord, was my speed, and such my stride, and though, with a life-span of a century, living for hundred years I walked continuously for a hundred years, save the while I spent in eating, drinking, chewing or tasting, or in answering calls of nature, save the while I gave way to sleep or fatigue, [25] yet I died on the way without reaching the end of the world. Wonderful is it, lord, marvellous is it, lord, how well it is said by the Exalted One: ’Where, friend, one does not get born… or to arrive at.’”

“But neither do I say, friend, that without having reached the end of the world there could be an ending of ill. It is in this very fathom-long physical frame with its perceptions and mind, that, I declare, lies the world, and the arising of the world, and the cessation of the world, and the path leading to the cessation of the world. [26]

“Ne’er may world’s end be reached by walking.
No release is there from ill till that end is reached.
Therefore that wise one, the knower of the world,
Is the one who has reached the end of the world. [27]
Consummate in him is the holy life.
Knowing the world’s end that sage serene
Yearns not for this world nor for the other.”

11. The Ploughman (S 4:19)

At Savatthi… On one occasion, the Exalted One was instructing, enlightening, inspiring and gladdening the monks by a sermon relating to Nibbana. And the monks, with their whole minds applied, attentive and intent, were listening to the Dhamma.

Then it occurred to Mara, the evil one: “This recluse Gotama is instructing, enlightening, inspiring and gladdening the monks by a sermon relating to Nibbana. What if I were now to approach the recluse Gotama in order to blindfold him?” [28] So Mara, the evil one, assuming the guise of a ploughman, bearing a mighty plough on his shoulder, and holding an ox-goad in his hand, his hair dishevelled, his raiment hempen, his feet spattered with mud, drew near to the Exalted One and said:

“Have you seen my oxen, O recluse?”

“But what have you, evil one, to do with oxen?”

“Mine only, recluse, is the eye; mine are the visible forms; mine is the sphere of consciousness of the eye’s contact. Where, recluse, will you go to escape from me? Mine, only, recluse, is the ear… the nose… the tongue… the body… the mind; mine are the mental objects; mine is the sphere of consciousness of mental contact. Where, recluse, will you go to escape from me?” [29]

“Thine only, evil one, is the eye; thine are the visible forms; and thine is the sphere of consciousness of the eye’s contact. But where, O evil one, eye is not, visible forms are not, the sphere of consciousness of the eye’s contact is not, there O evil one, is no access for you. Thine only, O evil one, is the ear… the nose… the tongue… the body… the mind… But where, O evil one, mind is not, mental objects are not, the sphere of consciousness of mental contact is not, there, O evil one, is no access for you.” [30]

[Mara]

“Things of which they say: ’This is mine!’
And those folk who say: ’This is mine!’
If you mind those things and them
You will not, O recluse, escape from me.”

[The Exalted One]

“That of which they speak, that’s not for me
The folk who speak so, one of them I am not.
Thus should you know, O evil one,
You will not see even the way I go.”

Then Mara, the evil one, thought: The Exalted One knows me! The Blessed One knows me!” And sad and sorrowful he vanished there and then.

12. Sela (S 5:9)

At Savatthi… Sister Sela, dressed herself in the forenoon and taking bowl and robe, entered Savatthi for alms. And when she had gone about Savatthi for it, and had returned after the meal, she seated herself at the foot of a certain tree for noon-day rest. The Mara, the evil one, desirous of arousing fear, trepidation and horripilation in her, desirous of making her lose her concentration, went up to her and addressed her in verse:

“By whom was this image [31] wrought?
And where can its maker be?
Where has this image arisen?
And where does it come to cease?”

Now, it occurred to Sister Sela: “Who now is this, human or non-human, that utters this verse?” And then it occurred to her: “Surely it is Mara, the evil one, who utters this verse, desirous of arousing in me fear, trepidation and horripilation, desirous of making me lose my concentration.” Then the Sister Sela, knowing it was Mara, the evil one, answered him with verses:

“Neither self-wrought is this image
Nor yet other-wrought is this misery [32]
By reason of a cause, [33] it came to be
By breaking up the cause, it ceases to be.

“Even as in the case of a certain seed,
Which, when sown on the field, doth feed
On the taste of the earth and moisture
And by these twain doth grow, [34] even so
All these, the aggregates, the elements and the six-spheres
By reason of a cause have come to be;
By breaking up the cause they cease to be.”

Then Mara, the evil one, thought: “Sister Sela knows me,” and sad and sorrowful, he vanished there and then.

13. Suciloma (S 10:3)

The Exalted One was once dwelling near Gaya, on the Stone Couch, at the haunt of the Yakkha [35] Suciloma. Now, at that time Khara (’Shaggy’), the yakkha and Suciloma (’Needle-hair’), the yakkha, were passing by, not far from the Exalted One. And Khara said to Suciloma: “That’s a recluse.”

“No, that’s not a recluse, that’s a mere shaveling; but let me first ascertain whether he is a recluse or a mere shaveling.”

Then Suciloma came up to the Exalted One and bent his body up against him. And the Exalted One bent his body away. Then Suciloma said: “Do you fear me, recluse?”

“It is not that I fear you, friend, but contact with you is an evil thing.”

“Recluse, I will ask you a question. If you do not answer me, I will either derange your mind, or split your heart, or I will take you by the feet and throw you over the Ganges.”

“I see no one, friend, in the whole world, with its gods, Maras and Brahmas; with its progeny of recluses and Brahmans, gods and men; who is able to derange my mind, or split my heart, or take me by the feet and throw me over the Ganges. Nevertheless, friend, ask whatever question you like.”

[The Yakkha]

“Lust and hate —whence caused are they?
Whence spring dislike, delight and terror?
Whence arising do thoughts disperse
Like children that leave their mother’s lap?” [36]

[The Exalted One]

“’Tis hence that lust and hate are caused
Hence spring dislike, delight and terror
Arising hence do thoughts disperse,
Like children that leave their mother’s lap.
“Moisture-born and self-begotten [37]
Like the banyan’s trunk-born runners
They cleave to divers things of sense
Like the Maluva creeper entwining the forest.

“And they that know wherefrom it rises
They dispel it. Listen! O Yakkha
They cross this flood so hard to cross,
Never crossed by them—re-becoming no more.”


Part Two: The Book on Causes (Nidana Vagga)

14. Phagguna (S 12:12)

Thus have I heard. The Exalted One was once staying near Savatthi, at Jeta Grove, in Anathapindika’s Park, [and addressed the monks thus:]

“There are these four nutriments, monks, for the maintenance of beings that have come to birth or for the assistance of them that seek to become. Which are the four? Material food, coarse or fine; secondly contact; thirdly volition; fourthly consciousness. These four are nutriments, for maintenance of beings that have come to birth or for the assistance of them that seek to become.”

When this had been said, the venerable Moliya Phagguna said to the Exalted One:

“Who now is it, lord, who feeds on the consciousness nutriment?”

“Not a fit question,” said the Exalted One. “I am not saying (someone) feeds on. If I were saying so, to that the question would be a fit one. But I am not saying so. And I not saying so, if anyone were to ask me, ’Of what now, lord, is consciousness the nutriment?’ this would be a fit question. And the fit answer to it is: ’The consciousness nutriment is condition for renewed becoming, of rebirth in the future. [38] When that has come to pass, the sixfold sense-sphere contact comes to be.’”

“Who now, lord, exercises contact?”

“Not a fit question,” said the Exalted One. “I am not saying (someone) exercises contact. If I were saying so, the question would be a fit one. But I am not saying so. And I not saying so, if anyone were to ask thus: ’Conditioned, now, by what, lord, is contact?’ this would be a fit question. And the fit answer there would be: ’Conditioned by the sixfold sense-sphere, is contact, conditioned by contact is feeling.’”

“Who now, lord, is it who feels?”

“Not a fit question,” said the Exalted One. “I am not saying (someone) feels. If I were saying so, the question would be a fit one. But I am not saying so. And I not saying so, if anyone were to ask thus: ’Conditioned now by what, lord, is feeling?’ this would be a fit question. And the fit answer there would be: ’Conditioned by contact is feeling, conditioned by feeling is craving.’”

“Who now, lord, is it who craves?”

“Not a fit question,” said the Exalted One. “I am not saying (someone) craves. If I were saying so, the question would be a fit one. But I am not saying so. And I not saying so, if anyone were to ask thus: ’Conditioned now by what, lord, is craving?’ this would be a fit question. And the fit answer there would be: ’Conditioned by feeling is craving, conditioned by craving is grasping.’”

“Who now, lord, is it who grasps?”

“Not a fit question,” said the Exalted One. “I am not saying (someone) grasps. If I were saying so, the question would be a fit one. But I am not saying so. And I not saying so, if anyone were to ask thus: ’Conditioned now by what, lord, is grasping?’ this would be a fit question. And the fit answer there would be: ’Conditioned by craving is grasping. Conditioned by grasping is becoming. Conditioned by becoming, birth; and conditioned by birth, decay-and-death, grief, lamenting, suffering, unhappiness, despair come to pass. Such is the uprising of this entire mass of ill.’

“But from the utter fading away and cessation of the sixfold sphere of sense-contact, [39] Phagguna, comes cessation of contact, cessation of feeling, from cessation of feeling cessation of craving, from cessation of craving cessation of grasping, from cessation of grasping cessation of becoming, from cessation of becoming cessation of birth, of decay-and-death, of grief, lamenting, suffering, unhappiness, despair. Such is the cessation of this entire mass of ill.”

15. Bhumija (S 12:25 (i-ii))

At Savatthi…

(i) Now, the venerable Bhumija, arising at eventide from solitary meditation, came into the presence of the venerable Sariputta, and exchanging greetings with him and compliments of friendship and courtesy, sat down at one side. And so seated the venerable Bhumija spoke thus to the venerable Sariputta.

“There are, friend Sariputta, certain recluses and brahmans, believers in kamma, who declare that happiness and ill have been wrought by oneself. There are, friend Sariputta, certain other recluses and brahmans, believers in kamma, who declare that happiness and ill have been wrought by another. There are, friend Sariputta, yet other recluses and brahmans, believers in kamma, who declare that happiness and ill have been wrought by oneself as well as by another. And there are, friend Sariputta, still other recluses and brahmans, believers in kamma, who declare that happiness and ill have been wrought neither by oneself nor by another but they have arisen by chance.

“Herein, friend Sariputta, of what view is the Exalted One? What has he declared? And how, if we were answering, should we be repeating his views correctly without misrepresenting him, and be explaining in accordance with he Dhamma so that no blame, with justification, can come upon us?”

“The Exalted One has said, friend, that happiness and ill have arisen through a cause. And because of what? Because of contact. [40] Thus speaking, one will be repeating the views of the Exalted One correctly, without misrepresenting him and one will be explaining in accordance with the Dhamma, and no blame, with justification, can come upon him.

“Therein, friend, those recluses and brahmans, believers in kamma, who declare that happiness and ill have been wrought by oneself—even that they do because of contact. Whatever recluses and brahmans, believers in kamma, who declare that happiness and ill have been wrought by another—even that they do because of contact. Whatever recluses and brahmans, believers in kamma, who declare that happiness and ill have been wrought by oneself as well as by another—even that they do because of contact. And whatever recluses and brahmans, believers in kamma, who declare that happiness and ill have been wrought neither by oneself nor by another but have arisen by chance—even that they do because of contact.

“Therein, friend, recluses and brahman, believers in kamma, who declare that happiness and ill have been wrought by oneself—that they will experience without contact is verily an impossibility… And whatever recluses and brahmans, believers in kamma, who declare that happiness and ill have been wrought either by oneself nor by another but have arisen by chance—that they will experience without contact is verily an impossibility.”

(ii) The venerable Ananda was listening to this conversation between the venerable Sariputta and the venerable Bhumija. Then the venerable Ananda went into the presence of the Exalted One, saluted him and sat on one side. Thus seated, the venerable Ananda told the Exalted One all what the venerable Sariputta had conversed with the venerable Bhumija.

“Well said! Well said! Ananda. Well might Sariputta explain as he has done. Indeed, Ananda, I have said that happiness and ill have arisen through a cause. And because of what? Because of contact. Thus speaking, one will be repeating my views correctly without misrepresenting me, and be explaining in accordance with the Dhamma, and no blame, with justification, can come upon him.

“Therein, Ananda, those recluses and brahmans, believers in kamma, who declare that happiness and ill have been wrought by oneself—even that they do because of contact… [as above].

“Therein, Ananda, those recluses and brahmans, believers in kamma, who declare that happiness and ill have been wrought by oneself—that they will experience without contact is verily an impossibility… [as above].

“When body is there, Ananda, due to bodily-intention there arises internally pleasure and pain. When speech is there, Ananda, due to verbal-intention there arises internally pleasure and pain. When mind is there, Ananda, due to mental-intention there arises internally, pleasure and pain. [41]

“Conditioned by ignorance, Ananda, either one by oneself concocts a bodily formation, owing to which there arises for him that internal pleasure and pain; or others concoct for him that bodily formation owing to which there arises for him that internal pleasure and pain. [42] And, Ananda, either he deliberately concocts that bodily formation or he does it unwittingly.

“Either, one by oneself, Ananda, concocts that verbal-formation, owing to which there arises for him that internal pleasure and pain; or others concoct it for him. And, Ananda, either he deliberately concocts it or he does it unwittingly. [43]

“Either one by oneself, Ananda, concocts that mental-formation, owing to which there arises for him that internal pleasure and pain; or others concoct it for him. And, Ananda, either he deliberately concocts that mental-formation or he does it unwittingly.

“These items, Ananda, are affected with ignorance. But from the utter fading away and cessation of ignorance, Ananda, that body is not, whence arises for him that internal pleasure and pain. That speech is not, whence arises for him that internal pleasure and pain. That mind is not, whence arises for him that internal pleasure and pain. That field is not, that ground is not, that sphere is not, that occasion is not, conditioned by which there arises for him internal pleasure and pain.” [44]


Part Three: The Book on Aggregates (Khandha Vagga)

16. Nakulapita (S 22:1)

Thus have I heard. The Exalted One was once staying in the territory of the Bhaggas, at Crocodile-haunt in Bhesakala Grove in the Deer Park. Then the householder Nakulapita came to the Exalted One, saluted him and sat down at one side.

Seated at one side, the householder Nakulapita said thus to the Exalted One: “Lord I am a decrepit old-man, aged, far gone in years. I have reached the last stage of my life. I am sick in body and always ailing. It is rarely that I get the opportunity to see the Exalted One and those monks whose very sight is edifying. Let the Exalted One admonish and instruct me, so that it will conduce to my weal and happiness for a long time to come.”

“True it is, true it is householder, that your body is sickly, soiled and cumbered. For, householder, who would claim even a moment’s health, carrying this body about, except through sheer foolishness? Wherefore, householder, thus you should train yourself: “Though my body is sick, my mind shall not be sick.” Thus, householder, must you train yourself.”

Then Nakulapita, the householder, rejoiced in and appreciated the words of the Exalted one, and rising from his seat he saluted the lord, circumambulated him by the right, and then approached the venerable Sariputta. Having approached and saluted him, he sat down at one side. And the Venerable Sariputta said thus to the householder Nakulapita who was seated at one side: “Clear are your faculties, householder; pure and clean is the complexion of your face. Have you had the opportunity today to listen to a talk of Dhamma from the very presence of the Exalted One?”

“How could it be otherwise, venerable sir? I have just been sprinkled with the nectar of a talk of Dhamma by the Exalted One.”

“And in what way, householder, were you sprinkled with the nectar of a talk of Dhamma by the Exalted One?”

“Well Venerable Sir, I went to the Exalted One, saluted him and sat down at one side. As I sat thus, Venerable Sir, I said to the Exalted One: ’Lord, I am a decrepit old-man, aged, far gone in years. I have reached the last stage of my life. I am sick in body and always ailing. It is rarely that I get the opportunity to see the Exalted One and those monks whose very sight is edifying. Let the Exalted One admonish and instruct me, so that it will conduce to my weal and happiness for a long time to come.’

“When I spoke thus, Venerable Sir, the Exalted One said to me: ’True it is, true it is householder, that your body is sickly, soiled and cumbered. For, householder, who would claim even a moment’s health, carrying this body about, except through sheer foolishness? Wherefore, householder, thus you should train yourself: “Though my body is sick, my mind shall not be sick.” Thus, householder, must you train yourself.’”

“Thus it was, Venerable Sir, that I have been sprinkled with the nectar of a talk of Dhamma by the Exalted One.”

“But did it not occur to you, householder to question the Exalted One further? Thus: ’Pray, how far, Lord, is body sick and mind is sick too? And how far is body sick and mind not sick?’”

“I would travel far indeed, Venerable Sir, to learn the meaning of this saying from the presence of the Venerable Sariputta. It is good if the Venerable Sariputta should think it fit to expound to me the meaning of this saying.”

“Well then, listen, householder; apply your mind thoroughly and I will speak.”

“Even so, Venerable Sir,” said householder Nakulapita in response to the Venerable Sariputta.

The Venerable Sariputta thus spoke: “And how is body sick, householder, and mind sick too?

“Herein, householder, the untaught average person, taking no account of the noble ones, unskilled in the doctrine of the noble ones, untrained in the doctrine of the noble ones, taking no account of the good men, unskilled in the doctrine of the good men, regards form as self, or self as having form, or form as being in self or self as being in form. ’I am form’ says he; ’form is mine’; and is obsessed with that idea. Even as he is so obsessed, that form changes, becomes otherwise, and owing to the change and transformation of form, there arise in him sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief and despair.

“He regards feeling as self, or self as having feeling, or feeling as being in self, or self as being in feeling. ’I am the feeling’ says he; ’feeling is mine’; and is obsessed with that idea. Even as he is so obsessed, that feeling changes, becomes otherwise, and owing to the change and transformation of feeling, there arise in him sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief and despair.

“He regards perception as self, or self as having perception, or perception as being in self, or self as being in perception. ’I am perception’ says he; ’perception is mine’; and is obsessed with that idea. Even as he is so obsessed, those formations change, become otherwise, and owing to the change and transformation of formations, there arise in him sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief and despair.

“He regards formations as self, or self as having formations, or formations as being in self, or self as being in formations. ’I am the formations’ says he; ’formations are mine’; and is obsessed with that idea. Even as he is so obsessed, those formations changes, become otherwise, and owing to the change and transformation of formations, there arise in him sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief and despair.

“He regards consciousness as self, or self as having consciousness, or consciousness as being in self, or self as being in consciousness. ’I am consciousness’ says he; ’consciousness is mine’; and is obsessed with that idea. Even as he is so obsessed, that consciousness changes, becomes otherwise, and owing to the change and transformation of consciousness, there arise in him sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief and despair. [45]

“That, householder, is how body is sick and mind is sick too.

“And, householder, how is body sick, but mind not sick?

“Herein, householder, the well-taught noble disciple, who discerns the noble ones, who is skilled in the doctrine of the noble ones, well-trained in the doctrine of the noble ones, who discerns the good men, who is skilled in the doctrine of the good men, well trained in the doctrine of the good men, regards not form as self, nor self as having form, nor form as being in self, nor self as being in form. He says not ’I am form’; he says not ’form is mine’; nor is he obsessed with that idea. That form of him who is not so obsessed changes, becomes otherwise, but owing to the change and transformation of form there do not arise in him sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief and despair.

“He regards not feeling as self, nor self as having feeling, nor feeling as being in self, nor self as being in feeling. He says not ’I am the feeling; feeling is mine’; nor is he obsessed with that idea. That feeling of him who is not so obsessed changes, becomes otherwise, but owing to the change and transformation of feeling there do not arise in him, sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief and despair.

“He regards not perception as self, nor self as having perception, nor perception as being in self, nor self as being in perception. He says not ’I am perception; perception is mine’; nor is he obsessed with that idea. That perception of him who is not so obsessed changes, becomes otherwise, but owing to the change and transformation of perception there do not arise in him, sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief and despair.

“He regards not formations as self, nor self as having formations, nor formations as being in self, nor self as being in formations. He says not ’I am the formations; formations are mine’; nor is he obsessed with that idea. Those formations of him who is not so obsessed changes, becomes otherwise, but owing to the change and transformation of formations there do not arise in him, sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief and despair.

“He regards not consciousness as self, nor self as having consciousness, nor consciousness as being in self, nor self as being in consciousness. He says not ’I am consciousness; consciousness is mine’; nor is he obsessed with that idea. That consciousness of him who is not so obsessed changes, becomes otherwise, but owing to the change and transformation of consciousness there do not arise in him, sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief and despair. Thus householder, body is sick but mind is not sick.”

Thus spoke the Venerable Sariputta, and the householder Nakulapita rejoiced in the words of the Venerable Sariputta.

17. Approaching (S 22:53)

At Savatthi… Then the Exalted One said:

“The one who approaches is not released; the one who does not approach is released.

“Approaching [46] form, monks, consciousness, in persisting, would persist. With form as its support, with form as its foothold, sprinkled over with delight, [47] it may come by growth, increase, abundance. Approaching feeling… Approaching perception… Approaching formations, monks, consciousness in persisting, would persist. With formations as its support, with formations as its foothold, sprinkled over with delight, it may come by growth, increase, abundance. [48]

“Were a man, monks, to declare thus: ’Apart from form, apart from feeling, apart from perception, apart from formations, I will show forth the coming or the going or the decease or the rebirth or the growth or the increase or the abundance of consciousness’—to do that were impossible. [49]

“If lust for the form-mode, monks, is abandoned by a monk, by that abandonment of lust the support is cut off and there is no establishment of consciousness. If lust for the feeling-mode… If lust for the perception-mode… If lust for the formations-mode… If lust for the consciousness-mode, monks, is abandoned in a monk, by the abandonment the support is cut off and there is no establishment of consciousness. [50]

“That unestablished consciousness, not growing and not concocting, [51] is freed: due to its freedom, it is steady: by its steadiness, it is contented: owing to its contentment, he is not troubled. Being untroubled, of himself he is perfectly tranquillised, and he knows: “Exhausted is birth, lived is the holy life, done is the task, there is nothing beyond this for (a designation of) the conditions of this existence.” [52]

18. The Seven Points (S 22:57)

At Savatthi… Then the Exalted One said:

“A monk who is skilled in the seven points, monks, who is an investigator in three ways, is called ’accomplished’ [53] in this Dhamma and Discipline, one who has reached mastership, superman.

“And how, monks, is a monk skilled in the seven points?

“Herein, monks, a monk fully understands form, the arising of form, the ceasing of form, and the path leading to the ceasing of form. He fully understands the satisfaction there is in form, the misery that is in form, the escape from form.

“He fully understands feeling…

“He fully understands perception…

“He fully understands formations…

“He fully understands consciousness, the arising of consciousness, the ceasing of consciousness, and the path leading to the ceasing of consciousness. He fully understands the satisfaction there is in consciousness, the misery that is in consciousness, the escape from consciousness.

“And what, monks, is form? It is the four great elements, and that form which is dependent on the four great elements. From the arising of nutriment comes the arising of form; from the ceasing of nutriment is the ceasing of form; and the path leading to the ceasing of form is this Noble Eightfold Path, to wit: Right View, Right Thoughts, Right Speech, Right Action, Right Livelihood, Right Effort, Right Mindfulness, Right Concentration.

“That pleasure, that happiness, which arises because of form, that is the satisfaction that is in form. In so far as form is impermanent, is fraught with suffering and is liable to change, that is the misery that is in form. That restraint, of desire and lust, that putting away of desire and lust which are in form, that is the escape from form.

“Whatsoever recluses and brahmans, monks, by thus fully understanding form, its arising, its ceasing and the path leading to its ceasing, by thus fully understanding the satisfaction that is in form, the misery that is in form, and escape from form, are treading towards the disgust for, the detachment from, and the cessation of, form, they are rightly treading. They that are rightly treading are firm grounded in this Dhamma and Discipline.

“And whatever recluses or brahmans, monks, by thus fully understanding form, its arising, its ceasing, and the path leading to its ceasing, by thus fully understanding the satisfaction, the misery and the escape from form, are liberated without grasping, due to their disgust for, detachment from and cessation of form—they are truly liberated. They that are truly liberated, are ’accomplished,’ and to them that are ’accomplished’ there is no whirling round for purposes of designation. [54]

“And what, monks, is feeling?

“Monks, there are these six classes of feeling, to wit: feeling that is born of contact with eye, feeling that is born of contact with ear… nose… tongue… body… mind. This, monks, is called feeling. From the arising of contact comes the arising of feeling; from the ceasing of contact is the ceasing of feeling; and the path leading to the ceasing of feeling is this Noble Eightfold Path, to wit: Right View, … Right Concentration.

“That pleasure, that happiness, which arises because of feeling—that is the satisfaction that is in feeling. In so far as feeling is impermanent, fraught with suffering, and liable to change, this is the misery that is in feeling. That restraint of desire and lust, that putting away of desire and lust which are in feeling, that is the escape from feeling.

“Now, whatsoever recluses or brahmans, monks, by thus fully understanding feeling, its arising, its ceasing, and the path leading to its ceasing; by thus fully understanding the satisfaction, the misery, that is in feeling and the escape from feeling, are treading towards the disgust for, the detachment from, and the cessation of, feeling, they are rightly treading. They that are rightly treading are firm grounded in this Dhamma and Discipline.

“And whatsoever recluses and brahmans, monks, by thus fully understanding feeling… are liberated without grasping, due to their disgust for, detachment from, and cessation of, feeling—they are truly liberated. They that are truly liberated, are ’accomplished,’ and for them that are ’accomplished,’ there is no whirling round for purposes of designation.

“And what, monks, is perception?

“Monks, there are these six classes of perception: perception of form, perception of sound, of smell, taste, tangibles and ideas; that, monks, is called perception. From the arising of contact, comes the arising of perception; from the ceasing of contact, is the ceasing of perception; and the path leading to the ceasing of perception is this Noble Eightfold Path, to wit: Right View… Right Concentration… [as above]… there is no whirling round for purposes of designation.

“And what, monks, are the formations?

“Monks, there are these six classes of intentions: the intention of forms, the intention of sounds, of smells, of tastes, of tangibles and of ideas. These, monks, are called formations. From the arising of contact, comes the arising of formations; from the ceasing of contact, is the ceasing of formations; and the path leading to the ceasing of formations is this Noble Eightfold Path, to wit: Right View… Right Concentration… [as above]… there is no whirling round for purposes of designation.

“And what, monks, is consciousness?

“Monks, there are these six classes of consciousness: eye-consciousness, ear-consciousness, nose-consciousness, tongue-consciousness, body-consciousness, and mind-consciousness. From the arising of ’name-and-form’ comes the arising of consciousness; from the ceasing of name-and-form, is the ceasing of consciousness; and the path leading to the ceasing of consciousness is this Noble Eightfold Path, to wit: Right View, … Right Concentration.

“That pleasure, that happiness which arises because of consciousness—that is the satisfaction which is in consciousness. In so far as consciousness is impermanent, fraught with suffering, and liable to change, this is the misery that is in consciousness. That restraint of desire and lust, that putting away of desire and lust which are in consciousness, that is the escape from consciousness.

“Now, whatsoever recluses or brahmans, monks, by thus fully understanding consciousness, its arising, its ceasing, and the path leading to its ceasing; by thus fully understanding the satisfaction, the misery, that is in consciousness and the escape from consciousness, are treading towards the disgust for, the detachment from and the cessation of consciousness, they are rightly treading. They that are rightly treading are firm grounded in this Dhamma and Discipline.

“And whatsoever recluses and brahmans, monks, by thus fully understanding consciousness, its arising, its ceasing, and the path leading to its ceasing, by thus fully understanding the satisfaction, the misery and the escape from consciousness are liberated without grasping, due to their disgust for, detachment from, and cessation of, consciousness—they are truly liberated. They that are truly liberated, are ’accomplished,’ and to them that are ’accomplished,’ there is no whirling round for purposes of designation.

“In this way, monks, is a monk skilled in the seven points.

“And how, monks, is a monk an investigator of the three ways?

“As to that, monks, a monk investigates things by way of the elements, [55] by way of sense-spheres, [56] by way of Dependent Arising. [57]

“That is how, monks, a monk becomes an investigator of the three ways.

“A monk who is skilled in the seven points, monks, who is an investigator of the three ways—he is called ’accomplished’ in this Dhamma and Discipline, one who has reached mastership, superman.”

19. Full-Moon (S 22:82)

Once the Exalted One was staying near Savatthi in East Park at the palace of Migara’s mother, with a great gathering of monks.

Now, on that occasion—it was the Uposatha day of the fifteenth on the night when the moon was full—the Exalted One was seated in the open air surrounded by the community of monks.

Then a certain monk rose from his seat, and arranging his robe on one shoulder, bowed before the Exalted One with folded hands and thus addressed the Exalted One: “Lord, I would fain question the Exalted One on a certain point, if the Exalted One would grant me an answer to the question.”

“Then sit in your own seat, monk, and ask what you like.”

“Even so lord,” replied that monk to the Exalted One, and having sat down in his own seat, thus addressed the Exalted One: “Are these the five aggregates of grasping, lord, to wit: the form-aggregate of grasping, the feeling-aggregate of grasping, the perception-aggregate of grasping, the formations-aggregate of grasping and the consciousness-aggregate of grasping?”

“That is so, monk. Those are the five aggregates of grasping, as you say.”

“It is well, lord,” said that monk rejoicing in and appreciating the words of the Exalted One, and put another question: “But these five aggregates of grasping, lord, in what are they rooted?”

“These five aggregates of grasping, monk, have their root in desire.”

“It is well, lord,” said that monk… and put another question: “Lord, are just these five aggregates of grasping the whole of grasping or is there any grasping apart from these five aggregates of grasping?”

“No indeed, monk, these five aggregates of grasping are not the whole of grasping, and yet there is no grasping apart from those five aggregates of grasping. But it is the desire and lust in these five aggregates of grasping that is the grasping therein. [58]

“It is well, lord,” said that monk… and put another question:

“Might there be, lord, a variety of desire and lust in the five aggregates of grasping?”

“There might be, monk,” replied the Exalted One. “Herein, monks, one thinks thus: ’May I be of such a form in the future. May I be of such a feeling in the future. May I be of such a perception in the future. May I be of such a formation in the future.’ In this way, monk, there might be a variety of desire and lust in the five aggregates of grasping.”

“It is well, lord,” said that monk… and put another question:

“Pray, lord, how far does the definition of the term ’aggregate’ go, in the case of the aggregates?”

“Any kind of form, whatever, whether past, future or present, in oneself or external, gross or subtle, inferior or superior, far or near—this is called the aggregate of form.

“Any kind of feeling…

“Any kind of perception…

“Any kind of formations…

“Any kind of consciousness, whatever, whether past, future or present, in oneself or external, gross or subtle, inferior or superior, far or near—this is called the aggregate of consciousness.

“Thus far, monk, does the definition of ’aggregate’ go, in the case of aggregates.” [59]

“It is well, lord,” said that monk… and put another question:

“What, lord, is the reason, what is the condition, for designating the form-aggregate? What is the reason, what is the condition, for designating the feeling-aggregate? What is the reason, what is the condition for designating the formations-aggregate? What is the reason, what is the condition, for designating the consciousness aggregate?”

“The four great elements, [60] monk, are the reason, the four great elements are the condition for designating the form-aggregate. Contact is the reason, contact is the condition for designating the feeling-aggregate. Contact is the reason, contact is the condition for designating the perception-aggregate. Contact is the reason, contact is the condition for designating the formations-aggregate. Name-and-form is the reason, name-and-form is the condition, for designating the consciousness-aggregate.”

“It is well, lord,” said that monk… and put another question:

“Pray, lord, how does there come to be the personality-view?”

“Herein, monk, the untaught average person, taking no account of the noble ones, unskilled in the doctrine of the noble ones, untrained in the doctrine of the noble ones, taking no account of the good men, unskilled in the doctrine of the good men, untrained in the doctrine of the good men, regards form as self or self as having form, or form as being in self, or self as being in form (and so with feeling, perception, the formations and consciousness)… he regards consciousness as self, or self as having consciousness, or consciousness as being in self, or self as being in consciousness. That is how, monk, there comes to be the personality-view.”

“It is well, lord,” said that monk… and he put another question:

“But, lord, how does there not come to be the personality-view?”

“Herein, monk, the well-taught noble disciple who discerns the noble ones, who is skilled in the doctrine of the noble ones, well-trained in the doctrine of the noble ones, who discerns the good men, who is skilled in the doctrine of the good men, well-trained in the doctrine of the good men, does not regard form as self,… does not regard consciousness as self, or self as having consciousness, or consciousness as being in self, or self as being in consciousness. That is how, monk, there does not come to be the personality-view.”

“It is well, lord,” said that monk… and put another question:

“Pray, lord, what is the satisfaction, what is the misery, and what is the escape in the case of form? What is the satisfaction, what is the misery, what is the escape, in the case of feeling? What is the satisfaction, what is the misery, what is the escape, in the case of perception? What is the satisfaction, what is the misery, what is the escape in the case of formations? What is the satisfaction, what is the misery, what is the escape in the case of consciousness?”

“The pleasure and happiness, monk, that arises in dependence on form—this is the satisfaction in the case of form. Form is impermanent, painful and subject to change—this is the misery in the case of form. The restraint of desire and lust, the abandonment of desire and lust, for form—this is the escape in the case of form.

“The pleasure and happiness, monk, that arises in dependence on feeling… in dependence on perception… in dependence on formations… in dependence on consciousness… this is the escape in the case of consciousness.”

“It is well, lord,” said that monk… and put another question.

“How, lord, should one know, how should one see, so that in this body with its consciousness and in all external signs, there be no idea of ’I’ or ’mine,’ no latent conceits therein?”

“Any kind of form, monk, whatever, whether past, future or present, in oneself or external, gross or subtle, inferior or superior, far or near, he sees all of it with right understanding, thus: ’This is not mine; this is not I am; this is not my self.’

“Any kind of feeling…

“Any kind of perception…

“Any kind of formations…

“Any kind of consciousness whatever… ’..this is not my self.’

“It is when one knows thus, monk, and sees thus, that there come to be in him no idea of ’I’ or ’mine’ and no latent conceits, in this body with its consciousness and in all external signs.”

At that moment there arose in a certain monk this train of thought:

“So, it seems, form is not self, feeling is not self, perception is not self, formations are not self, consciousness is not self. Then what self will the actions done by the not self touch?”

Then the Exalted One knew with his mind the thought in that monk’s mind, and he addresses the monks thus:

“It is possible, monks, that some foolish man, unknowing and ignorant, with his mind dominated by craving, might fancy that he could by-pass the Master’s teaching thus: ’So, it seems, form is not self… Then what self will the actions done by the not-self touch?’ But, monks, you have been trained by me by the counter-question method [61] on certain occasions, in regard to certain teachings. Now, what do you think, monks? Is form permanent or impermanent?”

“Impermanent, lord.”

“That which is impermanent, is it painful or pleasant?”

“Painful, lord.”

“That which is impermanent, painful and subject to change, is it fit to be regarded thus: ’This is mine, this am I, this is my self?”

“Surely not, lord.”

“What do you think, monks? Is feeling permanent… perception… formations… consciousness…?”

“Surely not, lord.”

“Therefore, monks, any kind of form, whatever, whether past, future or present, in oneself or external, gross or subtle, inferior or superior, far or near, all form should be seen as it is with right understanding, thus: ’This is not mine, this is not I am, this is not my self.’ Any kind of feeling… perception… formations… consciousness… ’… not my self.

“Thus seeing, the well-taught noble disciple becomes dispassionate towards form, becomes dispassionate towards feeling, becomes dispassionate towards perception, becomes dispassionate towards formations, becomes dispassionate towards consciousness. Being dispassionate he lusts not for it; not lusting, he is liberated; when he is liberated, there comes the knowledge: ’liberated.’ And he understands: ’Exhausted is birth, lived is the holy life, done is the task, there is nothing beyond this for (a designation of) the conditions of this existence.’”


Part Four: The Book on the Sixfold Sphere of Sense (Salayatana Vagga)

20. Upasena (S 35:69)

Once the Venerable Sariputta and the Venerable Upasena were staying near Rajagaha in Cool Grove, at Snakeshood Grotto.

Now, at that time a snake had fallen on the venerable Upasena’s body. Then the venerable Upasena addressed the monks, saying: “Come hither, friends, lift this body of mine on to a couch and take it outside before it be scattered here, just like a handful of chaff.” [62]

At these words the venerable Sariputta said to the venerable Upasena: “We see no change in the venerable Upasena’s body, no change for the worse in his faculties. Yet the venerable Upasena says: ’Come hither friends,… just like a handful of chaff.’” [63]

“Indeed, friend Sariputta, it is to him who thinks: ’I am the eye, the eye is mine’; or ’I am the ear, the ear is mine’; or ’I am the nose, the nose is mine’; or ’I am the tongue, the tongue is mine’; or ’I am the body, the body is mine’; or ’I am the mind, the mind is mine’; that there would be any change in the body, any change for the worse in the faculties. But as for me, friend, I do not think: ’I am the eye, the eye is mine… or ’I am the mind, the mind is mine.’ How then, friend Sariputta, could there be for me any change in the body, any change for the worse in the faculties?”

“So then, it seems the venerable Upasena has long since eradicated the latent conceits of ’I’ and ’mine.’ Hence it is that it occurs not thus to the venerable Upasena: ’I am the eye, the eye is mine… [64] or ’I am the mind, the mind is mine.’”

Then those monks put the venerable Upasena’s body on a couch and bore it outside.

And the venerable Upasena’s body there and then was scattered just like a handful of chaff.

21. Dyad (S 35:93)

“Owing to a dyad, monks, consciousness comes into being. And how, monks, does consciousness come into being owing to a dyad?

“Owing to the eye and forms arises eye-consciousness. The eye is impermanent, changing, ’becoming-otherwise.’ Forms are impermanent, changing, ’becoming-otherwise.’ Thus this dyad is fleeting and transient; impermanent, changing and ’becoming-otherwise.’ That cause, that condition, that gives rise to eye-consciousness—that also is impermanent, changing, ’becoming-otherwise.’ And how, monks, could eye consciousness, having arisen dependent on an impermanent condition, become permanent? Now, the coming-together, the falling together, the meeting-together, of these three things: this, monks, is called ’eye-contact.’ Eye-contact, too, is impermanent, changing, ’becoming-otherwise.’ And how, monks, could eye-contact, having arisen dependent on an impermanent condition, become permanent?

Contacted, monks, one feels. Contacted, one intends. Contacted, one perceives. Thus these states also are fleeting and transient; impermanent, changing, ’becoming-otherwise.’

“Owing to the ear and sounds arises ear-consciousness. The ear is impermanent…

“Owing to the nose and scents arises nose-consciousness. The nose is impermanent…

“Owing to the tongue and savours arises tongue-consciousness. The tongue is impermanent…

“Owing to the body and tangibles arises body-consciousness. The body is impermanent…

“Owing to the mind and ideas arises mind-consciousness. The mind is impermanent…contacted, monks, one feels. Contacted, one intends. Contacted, one perceives. Thus these states also are fleeting and transient; impermanent, changing, ’becoming-otherwise.’

“Thus, monks, consciousness comes into being owing to a dyad.” [65]

22. Not-including (5:136) [66]

“Gods and men, monks, delight in forms, they are excited by forms. Owing to the change, the fading away and the cessation of forms, woefully, monks, dwell gods and men. They delight in sounds, scents, savours, tangibles and ideas, and are excited by them… Owing to the change, the fading away and the cessation of ideas, woefully, monks, do gods and men dwell.

“But the Tathagatha, monks, the Arahant, the Fully-Awakened One, having understood, as they really are, the arising, the passing away, the satisfaction, the misery and the escape from forms; he delights not in forms, is not attached to forms, is not excited by forms. By the change, the fading away, and the cessation of forms, blissfully, monks, dwells the Tathagata.

“So also of sounds, and the rest… blissfully, monks, dwells the Tathagata.”

Thus spoke the Exalted One. So saying, the Well-farer, the Teacher, added this further: [67]

Forms, sounds, smells, savours, touches, ideas,
All that’s deemed desirable, charming and pleasant,
Of which they claim: “It is”—and as far as their claim extends,
The world with its gods, holds all these as bliss,
And wherein they cease:
“That’s the pain in them”—say they.

As bliss the Ariyans saw, the curb on the self-hood bias [68]
In contrast with the whole world is this vision of theirs.
What others spoke of in terms of bliss,
That—as woe the saints declared,
What others spoke of in terms of woe,
That—as bliss the saints have known. [69]
Behold a Dhamma that’s hard to comprehend
Baffled herein are the ignorant ones.

Murk it is to those enveloped, as darkness unto the discerning.
But to the good, wide open it is, as light is unto those discerning.
So near! And yet they know not—fools, unskilled in the Dhamma!
By those who are given to lust for becoming
By those who are swept by the current of becoming
By those who have slipped into Mara’s realm
Not easily comprehended is this Dhamma.  [70]

Who but the noble ones deserve—To ’waken fully unto that state,
By knowing which, being influx-free
Tranquil Nibbana they attain.
Gods and men, monks, delight in forms… woefully, monks do gods and men live.
But the Tathagata, monks… blissfully, monks, dwells the Tathagata.

23. Isidatta (S 41:3)

Once a number of elder-monks were dwelling at Macchikasanda in Wild Mango Grove. Then Citta, the householder, approached those elder-monks. Having approached them, he saluted them and sat down at one side. So seated, Citta, the house-holder, said to those elder-monks: “Let the venerable sirs, the elders, accept of me tomorrow’s meal.”

And those elder-monks accepted by silence.

Thereupon Citta, the householder, understanding the acceptance of those elder-monks, rose from his seat, saluted them and having circumambulated them by the right, went away.

Now, the elder-monks, when the night was gone, robed themselves in the forenoon, and taking bowl and robe, went to the dwelling of Citta, the householder, and on reaching it, sat down on seats prepared.

Then Citta, the householder, came to those elder-monks and saluting them, sat down at one side. So seated, Citta, the householder, said to the venerable (chief) elder:

“As to these divers views that arise in the world, Venerable Sir, such as: ’Eternal is the world; not eternal is the world, finite is the world, infinite is the world, soul and body are the same, soul and body are different, the Tathagata exists after death, he exists not after death, he both exists and exists not after death, he neither exists nor exists not after death’; also as to the sixty-two views set forth in the Brahmajala, [71] —owing to the existence of what, Venerable Sir, do these views prevail: owing to the non-existence of what do these views not prevail?”

At these words the venerable chief-elder was silent.

Then Citta, the householder, put the same question for a second and a third time… but the venerable chief-elder was silent.

Now, on that occasion the Venerable Isidatta was the junior of that company of monks.

Then the Venerable Isidatta said to the venerable chief elder: “Venerable Sir, may I reply to this question of Citta, the householder?”

“You may reply to it, Isidatta.”

“Now, householder, your question was this, was it not?” (and he repeated the question).

“Yes, Venerable Sir.”

“Now, householder, as to those divers views that arise in the world, such as: ’Eternal is the world…’ and as to these sixty-two views set forth in the Brahmajala, it is owing to the ’personality-view’ [72] that they arise, and if the personality-view exists not, they do not exist.”

“But, Venerable Sir, how comes to be the personality-view?”

“Herein, householder, the untaught average man, taking no account of the noble ones, unskilled in the doctrine of the noble ones, untrained in the doctrine of the noble ones, taking no account of the good men, unskilled in the doctrine of the good men, untrained in the doctrine of the good men, regards form as self or self as having form, or form as being in self, or self as being in form (and so with feeling, perception, the formations and consciousness)… he regards consciousness as self, or self as having consciousness, or consciousness as being in self, or self as being in consciousness. That is how, householder, there comes to be the personality-view.”

“But, Venerable Sir, how does there not come to be the personality-view?”

“Herein, householder, the well-taught noble disciple who discerns the noble ones, who is skilled in the doctrine of the noble ones, well-trained in the doctrine of the noble ones, who discerns the good men, who is skilled in the doctrine of the good men, well-trained in the doctrine of the good men, does not regard form as self,… does not regard consciousness as self, or self as having consciousness, or consciousness as being in self, or self as being in consciousness. That is how, householder, there does not come to be a personality-view.

“Whence comes the Venerable Isidatta, my lord?”

“I come from Avanti, householder.”

“There is at Avanti, Venerable Sir, a clansman named Isidatta, an unseen friend of ours, who has gone forth. Has your reverence seen him?”

“I have, householder.”

“Pray, Venerable Sir, where does that venerable one now dwell?”

At these words, the Venerable Isidatta was silent.

“Is your reverence the worthy Isidatta?”

“I am, householder.”

“Then may the worthy Isidatta take his pleasure at Macchikasanda. Lovely is wild Mango Grove! I will do my best to supply the worthy Isidatta with the requisites of robes, alms, lodgings, and medicaments.

“That is kindly said, householder.”

Thereupon, Citta, the householder, was delighted with the words of the Venerable Isidatta, and rejoicing in them, with his own hand he served the elder monks with choice food both hard and soft until they had eaten their fill.

Then the elder-monks, having had their fill and withdrawn hand from bowl, rose up and went away.

Then said the venerable chief elder to the Venerable Isidatta:

“It was good, friend Isidatta, the way that question occurred to you. That question did not occur to me. Therefore, friend Isidatta, if on another occasion such a question arises, you may reply in like manner.”

Then the Venerable Isidatta, having set his lodgings in order, took bowl and robe, and departed from Macchikasanda. And in thus departing from Macchikasanda, he was gone for good and came not back any more. [73]

24. Bhadragaka (S 42:11)

Once the Exalted One was staying among the Mallas at Uruvelakappa, a township of the Mallas.

Then Bhadragaka, the headman, approached the Exalted One. Having drawn near, he saluted him and sat down at one side. So seated, Bhadragaka, the headman, said to the Exalted One:

“Well for me, lord, if the Exalted One would teach me the arising and passing away of ill.”

“If I were to teach you, headman, the arising and the passing away of ill, with reference to past time, saying, ’Thus it was in the past,’ you would have doubt and perplexity. And if, headman, I were to teach you the arising and the passing away of ill, with reference to future time, saying, ’So will it be in the future,’ you would likewise have doubt and perplexity. But seated here as I am, headman, I will teach you, even as you are sitting there, the arising and the passing away of ill. Do you listen attentively. Apply your mind and I will speak.”

“Even so, lord,” replied Bhadragaka, the headman, to the Exalted One.

The Exalted One said:

“Now, what think you, headman? Are there any people in Uruvelakappa, owing to whose death or imprisonment or loss or blame there would come upon you sorrow and lamentation, pain, grief and despair?”

“There are such people in Uruvelakappa, lord.”

“But headman, are there any people in Uruvelakappa owing to whose death or imprisonment or loss or blame no sorrow and lamentation, pain, grief and despair would come upon you?”

“There are such people in Uruvelakappa, lord.”

“Now, headman, what is the reason, what is the cause why sorrow and lamentation, pain, grief and despair would come upon you in respect of some, but not of others?”

“In the case of those, lord, owing to whose death or imprisonment or loss or blame there would come upon me sorrow… I have desire and attachment. And as for the others, lord, I do not have such desire and attachment in their case.”

“You say, ’I do not have such desire and attachment in their case.’ Now, headman, by this Dhamma thus seen and known, attained and plumbed into without any time-lag, [74] you draw an inference in regard to the past and future, thus: ’Whatsoever ill has arisen in the past [75] —all that is rooted in desire, caused by desire. Desire, indeed, is the root of ill.’”

“Wonderful, lord! Marvellous, lord, how well said is the saying of the Exalted One: ’Whatsoever ill that arises, all that is rooted in desire, caused by desire. Desire indeed, is the root of ill.’

“Now, lord, there is my boy—Ciravasi is his name. He lodges away from here. Rising up betimes, lord, I send off a man, saying: ’Go my man, inquire of Ciravasi.’ Then, lord, till that man comes back again, I am in an anxious state, lest some sickness may have befallen Ciravasi.”

“Now, what think you, headman? Would sorrow and lamentation, pain, grief and despair come upon you if your boy Ciravasi were slain, imprisoned or suffered loss or blame?”

“Lord, if such were to befall my boy Ciravasi, even my life will be at stake; how should I not have sorrow and lamentation, pain, grief and despair?”

“In this manner too, you must know this fact: ’whatsoever ill that arises, all that is rooted in desire, caused by desire. Desire is indeed the root of ill.”

“Now, what think you, headman? When you had not seen, had not heard about Ciravasi’s mother, did you then have any desire or longing or love for her?”

“No indeed, lord.”

“But headman, when you got sight of her, heard about her, did you then have desire or longing or love for her?”

“Yes, lord.”

“Now, what think you headman? Would sorrow and lamentation… come upon you if Ciravasi’s mother were slain or imprisoned or had any loss or blame?”

“Lord if such were to befall Ciravasi’s mother even my life itself will be at stake; how should I not have sorrow… and despair.”

“So in this manner too, headman, you must know this fact: ’Whatsoever ill that arises, all that is rooted in desire, caused by desire. Desire indeed is the root of ill.’”


Part Five: The Great Chapter (Maha Vagga)

25. The She-falcon (S 47:6)

“Once upon a time, monks, a she-falcon suddenly swooped down and seized a quail. Then, monks, the quail, while it was being carried away by the she-falcon, thus lamented: ’Just my bad luck and lack of merit! [It serves me right] for trespassing outside my own pasture into others’ property. If I had kept my own ancestral beat today, this she-falcon would have been no match for me, if it came to a fight.’

“’But what is that pasture, quail, which is your own ancestral beat?’

“’It is a field turned up by the ploughshare, a place all covered with clods.’

“Then, monks, the she-falcon, without being stiff in her assertion of strength, not caring to argue with the quail on her own strength, [76] released the quail saying, ’Off with you, quail, but even by going there you will not escape me.’

“So monks, the quail went off to a ploughed field, to a place all covered with clods, perched on a great clod and stood challenging the she-falcon, thus: ’Now come on, you falcon! Now come on, you falcon!’

“Then, monks, the she-falcon, without being stiff in her assertion of strength, not caring to argue with the quail on her own strength, poising both her wings, swooped down upon the quail.

“But, monks, as soon as the quail knew that the she-falcon had come too close to her, she slipped inside that very clod. And then, monks, the falcon shattered her breast thereon.

“So it is, monks, with one who goes roaming out of his own pasture, in others’ property. Therefore, monks, don’t roam outside your own pasture, in others’ property. To those who so roam, monks, Mara will get access. In them, Mara will find a support.

“And what, monks, is not one’s own pasture, but others’ property. It is the five kinds of sense-pleasure. What five?

“Forms cognizable by the eye, desirable, charming, pleasant, delightful, passion-fraught and alluring. Sounds cognizable by the ear… scents cognizable by the nose… savours cognizable by the tongue… tangibles cognizable by the body, desirable, charming, pleasant, delightful, passion-fraught and alluring. This, monks, is not one’s own pasture but other’s property, in the case of a monk.

“Monks, do ye range in your own pasture, keep to your ancestral beat. To those who range their own pasture, who keep to their ancestral beat, Mara will get no access. In them Mara will find no support.

“And what, monks, is a monk’s own pasture? What is his ancestral beat? It is the Four Foundations of Mindfulness. What four?

“Herein, monks, a monk dwells, as regards body, contemplating body, ardent, fully aware and mindful, having overcome covetousness and grief concerning the world. He dwells, as regards feeling, contemplating feeling, ardent, fully aware… He dwells, as regards mind, contemplating mind… He dwells, as regards mind-objects, contemplating mind-objects, ardent, fully aware and mindful, having overcome covetousness and grief concerning the world. This, monks, is a monk’s own pasture; this is his ancestral beat.” [77]

26. Sedaka (S 47:19)

On a certain occasion, the Exalted One was dwelling in the Sumbha country, in a township of the Sumbhas called Sedaka. There the Exalted One addressed the monks:

“Once upon a time, monks, a bamboo-acrobat set up his pole and called to his pupil, Medakathalika, saying: ’Come, my lad, Medakathalika, climb the pole and stand on my shoulders!’

“’All right, master,’ replied the pupil to the bamboo-acrobat, climbed the pole and stood on his master’s shoulders. Then, monks, the bamboo-acrobat said to his pupil: ’Now, Medakathalika, my lad, you protect me well and I shall protect you. Thus warded and watched by each other, we will show our tricks, get a good fee and come down safe from the bamboo-pole.’

“At these words Medakathalika the pupil said to the bamboo-acrobat: ’No, no! That won’t do, master! You look after yourself, master, and I’ll look after myself. Thus warded and watched each by himself, we’ll show our tricks, get a good fee and come down safe from the bamboo-pole.’

“Therein that is the right way,”—said the Exalted One. “Just as Medakathalika the pupil said to his master: ’I’ll protect myself’: so, monks, should the Foundations of Mindfulness be practised. ’I’ll protect others’: so should the Foundations of Mindfulness be practised. Protecting oneself, monks, one protects others; protecting others, one protects oneself. [78]

“And how, monks, does one, in protecting oneself, protect others? By frequent practise, development and making-much-of [the Foundations of Mindfulness]. Thus, monks, in protecting oneself one protects others. [79]

“And how, monks, does one, in protecting others, protect oneself? By forbearance, by non-violence, by loving kindness, by compassion. Thus, monks, in protecting others, one protects oneself. [80]

“’I shall protect myself’: with this intention, monks, the Foundations of Mindfulness should be practised. ’I shall protect others’: with this intention the Foundations of Mindfulness should be practised. Protecting oneself, one protects others: protecting others, one protects oneself.”

27. The Province (S 47:20)

Once the Exalted One was dwelling in the Sumbha country at Sedaka, a township of the Sumbha people. There the Exalted One addressed the monks:

“Suppose, monks, a large crowd of people flock together, crying: ’The beauty-queen! The beauty-queen!’ And if that beauty-queen is also a highly gifted performer as to dancing and singing, a still larger crowd would flock together, crying: ’The beauty-queen is dancing, she is singing!’

“Then comes a man, who wishes to live and does not wish to die, who desires happiness and abhors suffering. The people say to him: ’Look here, man! Here’s a bowl filled to the brim with oil. You must carry it round between the large crowd and the beauty-queen. A man with uplifted sword will follow behind your back, and wherever you spill even a little drop of the oil, there itself he will chop off your head!’

“Now, what do you think, monks? Would that man, without paying attention to that bowl of oil, solicit heedlessness from outside?”

“Surely not, lord.”

“Well, monks, this parable I have given to make the meaning clear. And its significance is this: ’The bowl filled to the brim with oil,’ monks, is a term for mindfulness relating to body.

“Wherefore, monks, thus must you train yourselves: ’Mindfulness relating to body shall be cultivated by us, shall be made much of, made a vehicle, a ground-plan. It shall be made effective, well-acquainted, and consummate in us.’ Thus, monks, must you train yourselves.” [81]


Notes

  1. Four types of ’flood’ (ogha) are distinguished: (i) sense-desires (kama); (ii) becoming (bhava); (iii) views (ditthi); (iv) ignorance (avijja). [Back]
  2. The two words appatittham and anayuham point to the Middle Path (majjhima patipada) in its broadest sense.

    In the case of the first flood (i.e., sense-desires), they bring out the ethical significance of the Noble Eightfold Path in the avoidance of the two extremes of self-indulgence and self-mortification. The former extreme tends to moral stagnation while the latter leads to extreme forms of asceticism which are not conducive to a healthy development of the mind. Since both attitudes of ’stagnation’ and ’struggling’ are ineffective against the flood of sense-desires, the Buddha’s Middle Path advocates sanity and moderation.

    Extreme reactions to the second flood (i.e., becoming), took the form of eternalism and annihilationism, which again reflect attitudes of attachment and aversion. The eternalist ’leaned back’ while annihilationist ’over-reached’ himself in the face of the problem of existence.

    “… Delighting in the existence, monks, are gods and men; they are attached to existence and rejoice in it. When Dhamma is being preached (to them) their minds do not leap towards it, do not become pleased, established or released therein. Thus, monks, do some lean back. And how, monks, do some others over-reach themselves? Being afflicted by and loathing this very existence, some others delight in non-existence, thus: ’Inasmuch as this being, when the body breaks up, after death, gets annihilated, will be destroyed and be no more after death, this is peace, this is excellent, this is the true state.’ Thus, monks, some others over-reach themselves…” (It 43f).

    The former ran after his shadow, while the latter tried in vain to outstrip it, both being equally obsessed, taking it to be real. Here the Buddha’s solution was to recognise the shadow for what it is by ’seeing-things-as-they-are’ (yathabhuta-ñanadassana), as dependently arisen, thus dispelling both Narcissistic love and morbid hate for it and ushering in equanimity in the light of wisdom.

    “… and how, monks, do those who have eyes, see? Herein, a monk sees the ’become’ (bhutam) as ’become.’ Having seen the ’become’ as ’become,’ he treads the path towards the disenchantment, dispassion and cessation with regard to the ’become.’ Thus it is monks, that those who have eyes see…” (ibid.).

    The third flood (i.e., views) brought forth the dichotomy between the extreme views of absolute existence (sabbam atthi—everything exists) and absolute non-existence (sabbam natthi—nothing exists). Avoiding these two extremes runs the Middle Path of Dependent Arising: ’He who with right insight sees the arising of the world as it really is, does not hold with the non-existence of the world. And he who with right insight sees the passing away of the world as it really is, does not hold with the existence of the world.’ (Kaccayana Sutta S 12:15). In place of the static world-view of the metaphysicians and the nihilists we have here a dynamic vision of the rise and fall of phenomena.

    The fourth flood (i.e., ignorance) resulted in the polarisation of the extreme attitudes of extraversion and introversion, both of which spelt delusion (moha). This is the paradox of consciousness (viññana), inter-dependent as it is on name-and-form (namarupa), each providing a footing or support (patittha) for the other. The deepest riddle of existence (bhava) lay between them as they doted upon each other forming the whirlpool of samsara. (See below, Notes 38, 51). ’The consciousness turns back from name-and-form, it does not go beyond’ (D II 32). However much it tried to dart out of the vicious cycle with the force of samkharas or formations, it found itself confronted by name-and-form. Epistemologically, all views—even those based on jhanic experience—stood condemned, since they all centred around some aspect or other of name-and-form, which in its turn implicated consciousness itself. ’A seeing man will see name-and-form, and having seen, he will understand just those things. Verily, let him see much or little, yet the experts do not speak of purity thereby.’ (Sn 909). Similarly, the almost refrain-like pronouncement running through the concluding sections of the Brahmajala Sutta (D I 41–44): ’even that is due to contact’ (tadapi phassapaccaya), is a disqualification of the whole range of sixty-two views, since ’contact’ comes under ’name-and-form’ (See below, Note 13).

    The Buddha discovered a way out of this impasse in a unique realm of meditation in which the consciousness neither partakes of extraversion nor of introversion and is free from the samkharas that keep one leashed to existence (bhava). It is the ’Deliverance-through-knowledge’ (aññavimokha—Sn 1107), having as its Fruit, the Knowledge of Nibbanic freedom (aññaphala—A IV 428.) The consciousness, now, is ’non-manifestative’ (anidassana D I 213), providing no footing for name-and-form, and it is neither distracted or diffuse without (bahiddha c’assa viññanam avikkhittam avisatam—M III 223) nor established within (ajjhattamasanthitam—ibid.); neither ’approaching’ (anupayo—M III 25), nor ’receding’ (anapayo-ibid.); neither ’turned-towards’ (nacabhinato—A IV 428, S I 28), nor ’turned-outwards’ (nacapanato—ibid.); neither ’focused’ (asamhiram—M III 187) nor ’excitable’ (asamkuppam—ibid.). Having no object (anarammañam—Ud 80), it is ’unestablished’ (appatittham—ibid.) and non-continuing’ (appavattam—ibid.). It is not a state of pent up tension, forcibly held in check by formations (na sasankhara-niggayha-varita-vato—A IV 428). This level of transcendental experience was so subtle and refractory to definition, that the Buddha declared: “This too were a state very difficult to see, that is to say the calming of all formations, the renunciation of all assets, the destruction of craving, dispassion, cessation, Nibbana” (idampi kno thanam sududdasam yadidam sabbasankharasamatho sabbupadhipatinissaggo tanhakkhayo virago nirodho nibbanam—S I 136, Vin I 5).

    The two words, appatittham and anayuham can thus be interpreted with reference to the four floods in their ethical, existential, metaphysical and epistemological aspects. [Back]

  3. ’It is he in whom delight and existence are extinct, that does not sink in the deep’ (nandibhava-parikkhino—so gambhire na sidati—Sn 175). [Back]
  4. The term brahmana is often used as an epithet of the perfect saint, the arahat. [Back]
  5. Here the text has parinibbutam in the sense of complete extinction of the three ’fires’ of lust, hatred and delusion. Though in later usage there arose a tendency to associate this word frequently with the death of an arahat, suttas frequently apply it even to the living arahat experiencing the bliss of complete emancipation. A similar tendency is evident in the usage of the term nirupadhi ’without possessions or assets.’ (Cf. It 46: ’Having touched with his body the Deathless-element, the ’Asset-less’ One realised the abandonment of all assets, the Perfectly Awakened One, the Cankerless, proclaims the sorrowless, Dustless state.’) [Back]
  6. Visattika—a synonym for craving (tanha) in its agglutinative aspect, which is also implicit in such expressions as sibbani (seamstress—Sn 1040, 1042), lippati (to be smeared or soiled—ibid.) and tatratatrabhinandini (finding delight now here, now there—Vin I 10). [Back]
  7. nimokkham pamokkham vivekam: These three terms are explained in the comy (S-a) in two ways. Firstly, they are said to refer to the Path, the Fruit and Nibbana respectively. Secondly, as an alternative interpretation, all of them are treated as synonyms for Nibbana. It is only the latter interpretation that appears to be valid according to the context. [Back]
  8. Delight (nandi) is said to be the root of existence (bhava), and hence the fading away of the former results in the cessation of the latter. It amounts to a realisation, here and now, of the fact that one has crossed over all forms of existence (bhavassa paragu—Dhp V 348). This experience that the consciousness is not established anywhere—neither here (neva idha), nor beyond (na huram) nor in between (na ubhayamantare)—Ud 81)—provides for the arahat certitude often expressed in the words: ’Extinct is birth, lived is the holy life, done is the task, and there is nothing beyond this for (a designation of) the conditions of this existence.’ [Back]
  9. This refers to the experience of the cessation of consciousness (viññananirodha—D I 213) with the removal of its support name-and-form. The experience is described in the suttas as a very unusual kind of jhana or samadhi, since it does not partake of any perceptual data (A IV 427, V 7, 8, 318, 319, 321, 324f, 353ff.) [Back]
  10. The cessation and appeasement of feelings is yet another aspect of this experience. Thereby the arahat realises the extinction of all suffering mental as well as physical (see Sakalika Sutta S 1:38/S I 27), which in effect is the bliss of Nibbana as the deliverance from all samsaric suffering. What is most significant about this paradoxical jhana is that, despite the extinction of all what constitutes our waking experience, the arahat is still said to be mindful and aware. It is sometimes referred to as ’the sphere’ (ayatana) in which the six sense-spheres have totally ceased (see M III 218; S 35:117/S IV 98). [Back]
  11. Nibbana is called apunagamana (’from which there is no coming back again’) as it is an irreversible attainment. This transcendence of the world is often compared to a ’crossing-over to the further shore.’ ’The saint having crossed over and gone beyond, stands on dry ground’ (tinno paramgato thale titthati brahmano—S 35:197/S IV 175). ’Once he has crossed over, the such-like one comes not back’ (paramgato na paceti tadi—Sn 803). ’To the further shore they go not twice’ (na param digunam yanti—Sn 714). The sense of irreversibility is also conveyed by the term, akuppa-cetovimutti (’unshakeable deliverance of the mind’), signifying arahatship. [Back]
  12. The ten fetters that are to be abandoned in the course of one’s progress towards arahatship. They are: (i) personality-view; (ii) uncertainty; (iii) adherence to rites and rituals; (iv) greed for sense-desires; (v) resentment; (vi) attachment to Realms of Form; (vii) attachment to Formless Realms; (viii) conceit; (ix) agitation; and (x) ignorance. [Back]
  13. ’Name-and-form’ (namarupa): “Feeling, perception, conation, contact, attention—these, friends, are called ’name.’ The four great elements and form dependent on them—these, friends, are called ’form’”—Sammaditthi Sutta M I 53. As the object and support of consciousness, name-and-form is sometimes conceived as a net in which consciousness is enmeshed. Thoughts and intentions have, as their object, some aspect or other of this name-and-form (A IV 385). So long as the agglutinative tendency of craving is not eliminated, consciousness is unable to transcend name-and-form, and is perpetually caught in a vicious circle. The Buddha and the arahats succeeded in escaping the net by giving up all attachment. Their consciousness, now illumined by wisdom, penetrated it, and soared untrammelled and unrestricted, out into an infinitude (D I 223), by way of the three deliverances—the ’signless’ (animitta), the ’undirected’ (appanihita), and the ’void’ (suññata). [Back]
  14. akiñcana: (’possessing-nothing’) An epithet of the arahat, connoting the absence of lust, hatred and delusion. “Lust, friend, is a something (kiñcano). Hatred is a something, delusion is a something. In a monk whose influxes are extinct, they are abandoned, cut-off at the root, rendered groundless, made extinct and are incapable of arising again.”—Maha Vedalla Sutta M I 298. [Back]
  15. When the subtle conceit ’I am’ (asmimana) is eradicated and the attachment to name-and-form is given up, consciousness loses its support and becomes unestablished (appatitthita viññana— S 4:23/S I 122). It does not stand in any realm of existence (viññanam bhave na titthe—Sn 1055). [Back]
  16. Here, the reference is to the Buddha. [Back]
  17. This is a riddle verse, the clue to which lies in the identification of the metaphors used. According to the comy, the root is craving; the two whirlpools (i.e., dviravattam: rendered here as ’turning-twice’) are the eternalist and annihilationist views; the three stains are lust, hatred and delusion; the five arenas are the five types of sense-pleasure; the ocean is craving itself in its insatiable aspect; the twelve eddies are the internal and external spheres (of sense) and the abyss is craving in its ’bottomless’ aspect. (Note that craving plays a triple role in this interpretation).

    The validity of the interpretation is doubtful as there is Canonical evidence to show that some of the metaphors are suggestive of a different order of facts. To begin with, the ’abyss’ (patala) is clearly defined in the eponymous sutta at S 36:4/S IV 206 in terms of physical pains. “A synonym, monks, is this for painful feelings of the body, namely, the ’abyss.’” Similarly, ’the ocean’ (samuddo) is defined for us in the Ocean Sutta at S 35:187/S IV 157 in words which are in full accord with the imagery of the verse: “The eye, monks, is the ocean for a man. It has the ’force’ of visual forms. Whoever withstands that force of visual forms, he, O monks, is called ’one who has crossed the ocean of eye with its waves, eddies, seizures and demons.’ Having crossed over and gone beyond, the saint stands on dry ground… The ear… The nose… The tongue… The body… The mind, monks, is the ocean… stands on dry ground.” This quotation itself provides the clue to the twelve eddies, which, as the comy also suggests, are the internal and external spheres of sense. The five arenas are, indeed, the five types of sense-pleasures, for, at S 4:25/S I 126 the arahat is called ’one who has crossed the five floods.’ It is the floods or currents that provide the sphere of action for the eddies and the abyss. The three stains can also be interpreted, in accordance with the comy, as lust (raga), hatred (dosa) and ignorance (avijja), on the strength of the following reference at S 35:189/S IV 158 (cf. It 57): “He in whom lust, hatred and ignorance have faded away, is the one who has crossed this ocean so hard to cross, with its seizures, demons, and the danger of waves.” The ’turning-twice’ most probably refers to the painful feeling and the pleasant feeling which form the counterparts in the ’see-saw’ experience of the worldling. (See below Note 24). That it is a kind of blind alley for him is clearly stated at S 36:6/S IV 208: “He, on being touched (phuttho samano) by painful feeling, delights in sense-pleasures. And why is this? Because the uninstructed worldling, O monks, knows no way out of painful feeling other than the sense-pleasures…” Lastly, as for the significance of that ’one root’, the following citation from Phassamulaka Sutta (Rooted-in-Contact) at S 36:10/S IV 215 should suffice: “Monks, there are these three feelings which are born of contact, rooted in contact, originating from contact and which depend on contact. Which are the three? Pleasant feeling, unpleasant feeling and neither-pleasant-nor-unpleasant feeling.”

    It is the painful bodily feeling that constitutes the most immediate and palpable aspect of suffering. The arahat’s claim to have transcended all suffering will not be fully valid unless he has ’crossed over’ this ’quaking abyss’ as well. That paradoxical samadhi of the arahat is just the ’refuge’ (or ’island’) from the ’floods,’ the ’eddies’ and the ’abyss.’ The most emphatic illustration of this fact is perhaps the Sakalika Sutta at S 1:38/S I 27, where the Buddha, being mindful and aware, is seen bearing up with an unruffled brow, the bodily pains which are painful, sharp, acute, distressing and unwelcome, while gods draw near and express wonder and admiration at this remarkable feat of endurance. (See above, Note 10). This aspect of Nibbanic bliss is summed up in a verse at S 36:1/S IV 204: “Concentrated, mindful and aware, the disciple of the Buddha, understands feelings, the origin of feelings, the state wherein they are destroyed and the path leading thereto. By the destruction of feelings, the monk is devoid of hankering and is fully appeased (parinibbuta).”

    The significance of the metaphor used with reference to painful bodily feelings can also be appreciated in the context of the Buddha’s definition of the ’development of the body’ (kayabhavana) and the ’development of the mind’ (cittabhavana) in the Maha Saccaka Sutta (M I 239). “In whomsoever, Aggivessana, in this manner and on either side, the pleasant feelings that are arisen do not obsess the mind due to the development of his body, and the painful feelings that are arisen do not obsess the mind due to the development of his mind, it is thus, Aggivessana, that he becomes one who is developed as to body (bhavitakayo) and as to mind, too (bhavitacitto).” The arahat, in attaining to the ’Influx-free Deliverance of the Mind and the Deliverance through Wisdom’ (…anasavam cetovimuttim paññavimuttim…—D I 156) reaches the perfection of these two ideals. As the ’unshakeable deliverance of the mind’ (akuppa cetovimutti), arahatship is the unfailing refuge and shelter even from the quaking abyss of bodily feelings. While the ’Influx-free Deliverance of the Mind’ provides him with an inner retreat from painful bodily feelings, the ’Deliverance through Wisdom’ serves as a permanent safeguard against the seductive and deluding character of pleasant feeling. (Cf. “Experiencing taste, the revered Gotama partakes of food, but not experiencing an attachment to taste”—Brahmayu Sutta, M II 138). The arahat ’freed-in-both-ways’ (ubhatobhagavimutta) can, therefore, disengage himself from all perceptions in addition to remaining undeluded in the face of experience.

    Saññavirattassa na santi gantha
    paññavimuttassa na santi moha…” (Sn 847)

    “Unto him who is detached from perceptions, there are no fetters,
    and to him who is emancipated through wisdom there are no delusions.” [Back]

  18. addhabhavi, v.l. anvabhavi: The verb being in the active voice, is probably a derivation from adhi + √ bhu (Cf. ma vo kodho ajjhabhavi; ’Let no anger overwhelm you’—S I 240). The other possible derivation, addha + bhu yielding the meaning, ’soiled or wet,’ is less plausible in this context. [Back]
  19. The Sutta highlights the power of ’name.’ Everything comes under its sway. The Comy observes: ’There is no being or formation without a name, whether this be attached primordially or by convention. Even when people do not know a particular tree or stone by this or that name, it will still be called a ’no-namer’ (anamako).’ This over-riding power of name has been recognised by Lao-tse too, when he calls it the ’mother of all things.’ In magic, one’s knowledge of the secret names of spirits is deemed a weapon effective in itself against their evil influence. In panegyric, the ability to muster a wide range of epithets is considered a rewarding skill.

    Everything comes under the sway of name as a result of man’s urge to familiarise himself with the world. Sorting out, naming and defining things, are practical necessities in ordinary life, since they help us avoid ’tripping-over,’ just as in the case of one groping in the dark. There is a constant need to re-cognize things and the easiest way of doing it is by putting a sign on them. While the five senses have their own separate modes of identification, mind largely relies on the labelling-mode of attaching a name, in the course of its own groping. Since mind partakes of the ’range’ (visaya) and ’pasture’ (gocara) of the other five senses as well (M I 295), its own mode of identification has a predominating influence over the rest. Thus, perceptual data of the five external senses, in all their permutations and combinations, finally come to be assigned names and pigeon-holed as ’things.’ This convenient but superficial identification beclouds the mind and prevents the immediate understanding of sense-contact (phassa). Its mode of apperception, therefore, is largely a process of ’imagining’ and ’figuring-out’ of objects located in the darkness of ignorance, and in its blind groping, the phenomenon of sense-contact as such, hardly receives any serious attention.

    The over-riding power of name could only be nullified by the process of ’attending-by-way-of-matrix’ (yoniso manasikara [usually translated as “wise attention,” Ed.]) in order to understand the very structure of sense-experience. By comprehending the phenomenon of sense-contact for what it is, the imaginary world of ’things’ will cease to obsess the mind. When the light of wisdom is turned on, there will be no ’groping-in-the-dark,’ and consequently, no necessity to imagine or ’figure-out’ things, for one now ’knows and sees’ for oneself that there is ’No-thing’ (janato passato natthi kiñcanam—Ud 80: ’Naught for him who knows and sees’). [Back]

  20. This assertion of the primacy of mind (citta) is a distinctive feature in the teachings of the Buddha. The declaration in this sutta is reinforced by the opening verse of the Dhammapada: ’Mind is the forerunner of all phenomena. Mind is their chief; they are mind-made…’ In this sutta the term citta is used whereas the Dhammapada verse has mano. Though for all practical purposes both may be rendered by ’mind,’ the former term may be said to emphasise the impulsive and emotional aspects often associated with the word ’thought,’ while the latter, as the sixth sense-faculty proper (manindriya), is perhaps less vivid, as far as the nuances are concerned. [Back]
  21. ’World’ is defined in Buddhism directly with reference to the six senses: “That by which one is conscious of the world, by which one has conceit of the world—that is called ’world’ in the Noble One’s discipline. And through what is one conscious of the world? Through what has one conceit of the world? Through the eye, friends, through the ear, the nose, the tongue, the body and the mind…” (S 35:116/S IV 95). [Back]
  22. See above: Note 11. [Back]
  23. This lively dialogue clearly brings out the supreme equanimity of emancipated ones. They have given up attachment to all ’possessions’ or ’assets’ (akincana, nirupadhi) whereby one becomes subject to the polarisation between joy and grief. ’There is nothing grasped or rejected by him’ (attam nirattam na hi tassa atthi —Sn 787). ’He is neither attached nor is he averse’ (na hi so raj jati na viraj jati)—Sn 813). [Back]
  24. The worldling is on a see-saw, experiencing the alternation of pleasant and unpleasant feelings. (See above, Note 17). He rarely finds himself balanced in the neutral position of ’neither pleasant-nor-unpleasant’ feeling. As the arahat-nun, Dhammadina explains in the Cula Vedalla Sutta (M I 303.) the pleasant and the unpleasant feelings are mutual counterparts. It is the neither-pleasant-nor-unpleasant feeling that provides a way out of this polarisation, since its counterpart is ignorance, which in turn has as its counterpart, knowledge. The counterpart of knowledge is release and that of release is Nibbana. [Back]
  25. Here the P.T.S. translation runs: ’… and though I waited not to eat or drink or rest…’ (K. S. I 86). The text and the comy, however, make allowance for Rohitassa’s physical needs, which must have been the only interruptions to his otherwise continuous journey. [Back]
  26. The import of this significant declaration can be understood in the context of those suttas in which the Buddha defines the concept of the world. The ’world,’ for the Buddha, arises in the six sense-spheres (See above Note 21). Hence its cessation too, is to be experienced there, in the cessation of the six sense-spheres (salayatananirodha).

    “I will teach you, monks, how the world comes to be and passes away… What monks, is the arising of the world? Dependent on eye and forms, arises visual consciousness. The concurrence of the three is contact. Conditioned by contact is feeling. Conditioned by feeling, craving. Conditioned by craving, grasping. Conditioned by grasping, becoming. Conditioned by becoming, birth. And conditioned by birth, arise decay, death, grief lamentation, suffering, despair. This is the arising of the world.

    “And what, monks, is the passing away of the world? Dependent on the eye and forms arise visual consciousness. The concurrence of the three is contact. Conditioned by contact is feeling. Conditioned by feeling is craving. By the utter fading away and cessation of that craving, grasping ceases, by the ceasing of grasping, becoming ceases, by the ceasing of becoming, birth ceases, by the ceasing of birth, decay-and-death, grief, lamentation, suffering, despair, cease. Such is the ceasing of this entire mass of suffering.

    “This, monks, is the passing away of the world.” (Such it is also in the case of the other senses) (S 12:44/S II 73).

    The same sermon is introduced in the preceding sutta (S 12:43/S II 72) with the words: “I will teach you monks, the arising and passing away of suffering…” [Back]

  27. According to the Buddha, that end of the world where there is no birth, decay or death, in search of which Rohitassa walked for a hundred years, is not somewhere in outer space, but within this very fathom-long body. The cessation of the six sense-spheres constitutes, for the arahat, a transcendental sphere (ayatana) of experience in which he realises, here and now, that he is free from all suffering connected with birth, decay and death, and indeed from all forms of existence (bhavanirodho). These aspects of Nibbanic bliss find expression in such epithets as ajatam (’non-born’), abhutam (’non-become’), ajaram (’non-decaying’) and amatam (’deathless’).

    “…With the utter fading away of ignorance, even that body is not there, dependent on which there arises for him inwardly happiness and unhappiness; that speech is not there… that mind is not there, dependent on which there arises for him inwardly happiness and unhappiness. That field does not exist, that ground does not exist, that sphere does not exist, that reason does not exist, dependent on which arises inwardly happiness and unhappiness.” (A II 158f).

    When body, speech and mind, which are at the root of all discrimination and conceit, fade away in the jhanic experience of the arahat, he finds himself free from all suffering, mental as well as physical. (See above, Notes 17, 24). Such epithets of Nibbana as khemam (security), dipam (island), tanam (protection), lenam (cave), saranam (refuge) and parayanam (resort) suggest this transcendence of worldly imperfections.

    The culmination of the not-self attitude is the eradication of the conceit, ’(I) am’: “the percipient of ’not-self’ attains to the eradication of the conceit ’I am,’ which is Nibbana here and now” (A V 358). The removal of the subtle conceit, ’I am’ (asmimana) is tantamount to a destruction of that delusive superimposed ’frame’ from which all measurings and reckonings of the world were directed through the instrumentality of the sense-faculties, and by which the mass of relative concepts in the form of sense-data was so organised as to give a picture of ’the world’ with ’self’ mirrored on it. What we call the normal functioning of the five external senses is but the outward manifestation of the notion ’I am’: “Given the notion ’I am,’ monks there arise then the five sense-faculties.” (S 22:47/S III 46). * (q.v. at end of this note).

    When this ’frame’ is dismantled, the conveyors—the senses— losing their provenance and sanction, become ineffective, and their usual objects too fade away into insignificance: “Wherefore, monks, that sphere should be known wherein the eye ceases and the perception of forms fades away… wherein the ear ceases and the perception of sounds fades away… the nose ceases and the perception of smell fades away… the tongue ceases and the perception of tastes fades away… the body ceases and the perception of touch fades away… the mind ceases and the perception of ideas fades away. That sphere should be known; that sphere should be known.” (S 35:117/S IV 98).

    All perceptions are ’signs’ (rupanimitta, saddanimitta, etc.), and when signs cease to be ’significant,’ they are as good as non-existent. The ’signless deliverance of the mind’ (animitta cetovimutti) as one of the doorways-to-deliverance (vimokkha-mukha), points to this re-orientation of the arahat’s mental life. Thus, although he is wide awake when he is in this paradoxical samadhi (D II 132; S 4:25/S I 126), although his sense-organs appear to be all intact, yet he is free form normal sense-experience. “That very eye will be there, those very visible forms will be there, yet one will not experience the corresponding sphere of sense… that same body will be there, those very tactile objects will be there, yet one will not experience the corresponding sphere of sense.” (A IV 426f). “He is not one with the normal perception, nor is his perception abnormal. He is not non-percipient, nor has he put an end to perception.” (na saññasaññi na visaññasaññi—no pi asaññi na vibhutasaññi—Sn 874). “In the case of a monk who is fully emancipated in mind, friends, though many forms cognizable by the eye may come within the range of the eye, they never obsess his mind, unalloyed is his mind, steady and become imperturbable and he sees its passing away. Though many sounds cognizable by the ear may come… many smells cognizable by the nose… many tastes cognizable by the tongue… many tangibles cognizable by the body… many ideas cognizable by the mind may come within the range of the mind, they never obsess his mind, unalloyed is his mind, steady and become imperturbable and he sees its passing away…” (A IV 404).

    This ’non-manifestative consciousness’ (amidassana viññana) of the arahat, which is uninfluenced by extraneous forces and is steady and imperturbable, is, perhaps, the ’Inertial Frame’ in search of which Relativity Physics has, in modern times, set out. As the scientist gradually awoke to the truths of relativity, he too longed for a ’state-of-rest’ from the ever-deepening conflict of view-points. But his search for this imaginary laboratory was unsuccessful for, like Rohitassa, he searched it outside, relying on the demonstrative apparatus known to science. The Buddha’s exhortation to Rohitassa is, therefore, of refreshing relevance to the modern age, in that it implies that the sphere (ayatana) wherein one transcends the labyrinths of relativity is not somewhere in outer space but within this very fathom-long physical frame.

    As an interesting sidelight, it may be mentioned that according to the Theory of Relativity, light is the top-velocity in the universe, it propagates even in vacuum, its velocity is constant and it propagates in all directions. Now, that non-manifestative consciousness of the arahat is described in the suttas as infinite and ’lustrous all-around’ (viññanam anidassanam anantam sabbato pabham—D I 213; M I 329). The arahat’s consciousness is untrammelled by name-and-form (Dhp 221), and has no object as its point of focus (anarammanam—Ud 80). Hence it is infinite, and he is one of infinite range (anantagocara—Dhp 179, 180) as regards his mental compass. Wisdom (pañña), according to the Buddha, is a light which excels all other forms of light known to the world (natthi paññasama abha—’no lustre like unto that of wisdom’—S I 6; A II 139f). It has the property of penetration (paññapativedha; nibbedhikapañña) and its function is comprehension of the consciousness, which is called an illusion (maya—S III 142). Hence in that illumination through wisdom, consciousness becomes infinite and ’lustrous-all-round.’ The mind, thus ’lustre-become and gone to the Fruit of Arahantship’ (obhasajatam phalagam cittam—Th 25), lights up, in its turn, the five external senses. The sense-objects, which are but the denizens of the dark world of ignorance, fade away before the penetrative all-encompassing lustre. The illusion of consciousness—the magic of the senses—thereby becomes fully exposed to the light of wisdom. The six spheres of sense cease altogether (salayatananirodha) and the arahat is now conscious merely of the cessation of existence which is Nibbana itself (bhavanirodho nibbanam—A V 9). He is conscious, in other words, of the voidness of the world (suñño loko— S 35:85/S IV 54) which the scientist might prefer to call the ’vacuum’ which this light-of-wisdom now pervades. **

    The scientist, however, might hesitate to grant the possibility of a ’light-of-wisdom’ which is not amenable to any demonstrative apparatus. He has recognised only the purely physical notions of light, and has already set a limit to this ’top-velocity’—300,000 km per second. He considers that ’the discovery of the existence in the Universe of the top velocity is one of the greatest triumphs of human genius and of the experimental capacity of mankind.’*** On the basis of the foregoing observations, it can be said that this ’greatest triumph’ was made by the Buddha more than 2,500 years ago, when he discovered by means of his ’noble experiment’ (ariya pariyesana), that the mind is intrinsically luminous (pabhassaramidam bhikkhave cittam: ’This mind, monks, is luminous’—A I 10) and that, when cleansed of all extraneous taints, it develops that penetrative, all-pervasive lustre of wisdom which liberates one from the labyrinths of the world of relativity. It is a penetration into the truth of impermanence (aniccata) by thorough reflection on the rise-and-fall of phenomena, and the deeper it proceeds, the more one becomes aware of the conflict (dukkha).

    For Buddhism, the conflict of view-points is a far more intricate affair than what the scientist would make it out to be. It is not simply a question of a spectator’s physical presence at a point in time and space, but one that deeply involves such facets of psychological life as interest and attention. “Rooted in desire, friends, are all phenomena; originating in attention, are all phenomena; …” (chandamulaka avuso sabbe dhamma, manasikarasambhava sabbe dhamma …—A V 106). The result is an awareness of a conflict that affects life as a whole (dukkhasañña). This awareness, naturally enough, is the springboard for utter detachment through the ’perception of not-self’ (anatta-sañña), the culmination of which, as stated above, is the eradication of the most subtle conceit of all—the conceit ’I am’ (asmimana). The Buddha has pointed out that the liberation from the world of sense-experience is not possible until the influxes (asava) are made extinct, and the influx of the notion of existence (bhavasava) can only be destroyed by means of a penetrative perception of cessation (nirodha) focused on sense-experience itself. ’As far as is the range of attainments to levels of perception, so far is there a penetration into Knowledge’ (yavata sañña-samapatti tavata aññapativedho—A IV 426).

    The ’habit-energy’ we have acquired, in the course of our blind groping in Samsara impelled by craving, readily flows in, in our ordinary sense experience, and, with its agglutinative effect, creates before us a world of ’things’ that we can ’grasp.’ Hence nothing short of an inner illumination could fully penetrate this façade and liberate us from the bondage of the senses. It is noteworthy that the paradoxical samadhi of the arahats is also called anantarika (’immediacy’) in the sense that in it the extinction of the influxes is immediate (anantara asavanam khayo hoyi A III 202; cf. Sn 226). In the arahat’s infinite and all-lustrous consciousness where view-points have been displaced by an all encompassing vision of truth, the ’signal-transmission’ as to the impermanence of the senses and their objects occurs at such an infinite velocity that it prevents the most elementary coagulation or compounding which accounts for the six spheres of sense.

    Rohitassa’s fantastic journey, which was perhaps the prototype of modern space-travel, was undertaken for the purpose of ’coming to know and to see and reach that end of the world where there is no birth or death. According to the Buddha, everything could not be verified in this manner. “Monks, there are these four realisable things. What four? There are things, monks, that are realisable through the body. There are things, monks, that are realisable through memory. There are things, monks, that are realisable through the eye. There are things, monks, that are realisable through wisdom. And what, monks, are the things that are realisable through the body? The eight deliverances, monks, are realisable through the body. And what… through memory? One’s former habitations, monks, are realisable through memory. And what… through the eye? The death and rebirth of beings, monks, is realisable through the eye. And what, monks, are the things realisable through wisdom? The extinction of influxes, monks, is realisable through wisdom. These, monks, are the four realisable things.” (A II 182f). Just as one cannot board a time-machine and race back into the Past in order to verify the fact of one’s former lives, even so it is inherently impossible for one to take a leap into the Future in order to ascertain whether one has actually destroyed all influxes that make for rebirth. The verification can only be made through the penetrative faculty of wisdom—the ’eye of wisdom’ (paññacakkhu)—which gives one the certitude, here and now, that all influxes of existence as well as the impediments of speech associated with them, ’are burnt out and are no more’ (bhavasava yassa vacikhara ca—vidhupita atthagata na santi—Sn 472.). That his cycle of Samsara is breached at its vortex (consciousness <name-and-form>) is vouched for the arahat by the breached epicycle that he sees and experiences in his paradoxical samadhi. “The whirlpool cut-off, whirls no more—this, even this, is the end of Ill” (chinnam vattam na vattati-esevanto dukkhassa—Ud 75).

    The end of the world is thus seen and realised in this very life in one’s own immediate experience, avoiding all pit-falls of speculative logic—a fact which accounts for such epithets of the Dhamma as sanditthiko (’visible in this very life’), akaliko (’not involving time’), ehipassiko (’inviting every one to come and see for himself’), opanayiko (’leading one onwards’), paccatam veditabbo viññuhi (’to be understood by the wise, each by himself’), and, above all, atakkavacaro (’not moving in the sphere of logic’). The ensemble of this realisation is presented in that stereotyped sentence in the suttas which announces a new arahat: “And he understood: ’Extinct is birth, lived is the holy life, done is the task, and there is nothing beyond this for (a designation of) the conditions of this existence.’” (Khina jati, vusitam brahmacariyam, katam karaniyam, naparam itthattayati, abbhaññasi—See below Note 51).

    The fact that the arahat has transcended the relativity of space, mass, motion and time with which the scientist is still grappling, is clear enough from certain Canonical statements. It is said that in his ’non-manifestative consciousness,’ the concepts of earth (pathavi), water (apo), fire (tejo) and air (vayo) find no footing and that the relative concepts of long (digham) and short (rassam) are cut off altogether (D I 213, M I 329). Likewise, the concepts of ’here,’ ’there’ and ’between-the-two,’ have lost their significance for him (neva idha na huram na ubhayamantare—Ud 8). He does not consider himself to be anywhere (na kuhiñci maññati—M III 45), nor can any god or man trace him as to where he ’stands’ (See above Note 15). He has done away with the ’abode of the mind’ (nivesanam yo manaso abasi—Sn 470) and is ’abodeless’ (anoko—S I 126) in the fullest sense of the term. The distinctions between ’subtle’ (anum) and ’gross’ (thulam), which may well be a reference to the relativity of mass, have also faded away (D I 213). So too, the concepts suggestive of the relativity of motion, such as ’coming’ ’going’ and ’standing’ (agati gati thiti—Ud 80). Relativity of time which the modern world regards as the ’brain-child’ of Einstein, was not only discovered but transcended by the Buddha in that extra-ordinary dimension of the mind. ’Death-and-birth’ (cutupapata)—the most formidable dichotomy of all—has no sway at all in that jhanic consciousness of the emancipated one. The elusive phenomenon of time, is hypostatised in Buddhist usage in that multiple personality of Marathe god of Death. As his epithet, ’kinsman of the indolent’ (pamattabandhu) ironically suggests, he has the vicious trait of lying low in order to take his victims unawares. He is also very aptly called ’the Ender’ (antaka). Mara as the symbol of death, is indeed ’the curfew’ that ’tolls the knell of parting day.’

    Now, the Buddha and the arahats are those who have outwitted Mara, blinded him, put him off the track and attained the Deathless (M I 160; Dhp V 274; Ud 46; It 50, 53, etc). This feat was made possible by a recognition of the principle of the relativity of time. The Buddha discovered that the concepts of birth and death are correlative—the one being given, the other follows (D I 55). And the concept of birth itself is born in the matrix of the notion of becoming or existence (bhava). The ’becoming,’ the existence, is an attempt to ’stand-forth’—that is, to stand forth in defiance of the universal law of impermanence. It is an ever-failing struggle, but the struggle (i.e., dukkha) itself continues depending on the supply of fuel, which is upadana (’grasping’). ’Dependent on grasping is becoming; having become one undergoes suffering; unto the born there is death; this is the origin of suffering.’ (Sn 742).

    The Buddha realised that Mara’s tragic drama of birth-decay-and-death, is staged on this supply of fuel itself: ’Whatever they grasp in the world, by that itself does Mara pursue a man’ (yam yam hi lokasmim upadiyanti-teneva maro anveti jantum—Sn 1103). “Whatever they egotistically conceive of, ipso facto it becomes otherwise” (yena yena hi maññanti tato tam hoti aññatha Sn 757). The only escape from Mara’s strategy, therefore, lay in the complete giving-up of all supplies of fuel which grasping implies (anupada parinibbana). “Save by their giving up all—no weal for beings do I behold” (nannatara sabbanissaga—sotthim passami paninam—S I 53). With the cessation of the process of grasping and becoming (i.e., upadananirodha and bhavaninirodha) consequent on destruction of craving or ’thirst’ (tanhakkhaya), all ’assets’**** are abandoned (nirupadhi), thus depriving Mara of the basic wherewithal for his drama. Once Mara, in his role as Tempter, declared in the presence of the Buddha, that such assets like sons and cattle are a source of joy to a man, but the Buddha’s reprisal was that, on the contrary, they are a source of grief (S I 107). All assets, in the long run, turn out to be liabilities. By giving them up, the arahat has transcended time; and the concepts of existence, birth, decay and death have lost their significance for him. (See A V 152; S IV 207; Sn 467, 500, 743, 902, 1048, 1056, 1057). Nibbana is not only the Deathless (amatam) it is also the Birthless (ajatam). Epithets of Nibbana such as the ’not-become,’ (abhutam), the ’not-made’ (akatam) and ’not compounded’ (asankhatam) suggest the absence of that fundamental notion of existence which gives rise to the relative distinctions of birth, decay and death. “Monks, there are these three compound-characteristics of the compounded. Which are the three? An arising is manifest, a passing away is manifest, a change in persistence is manifest… Monks, there are these three uncompounded characteristics of the uncompounded. Which are the three? No arising is manifest, no passing away is manifest, no change in persistence is manifest…” (A I 152).

    The emancipated-one is ’in the world’ but not ’of the world.’ For him, the world is no longer the arena of a life-and-death struggle in which he is sorely involved, but one vast illustration of the first principles of impermanence, suffering and not-self—of the separative (nanabhavo), privative (vinabhavo) and transformative (aññathabhavo) nature of all existence. He experiences the ambrosial Deathlessness in the very destruction of craving and consequent detachment characteristic of that unique samadhi (khayam viragam amatam panitamyadajjhaga sakyamuni samahito: ’That destruction (of craving), that detachment, that excellent deathless state which the Sakyan sage attained to, being concentrated.’—Sn 225). His contemplative gaze is now fixed, not on the ’things’ (dhamma) with their fluid, superficial boundaries, but on that nature of things (dhammata, dhammadhatu)—that causal-status (dhammatthitata), that causal orderliness (dhammaniyamata), namely, the ’relatedness-of-this-to-that’ (idappaccayata—S II 25). ’This being, that becomes: from the arising of this, that arises. This not being, that becomes not: from the ceasing of this, that ceases’ (M III 63). ’Whatever is of a nature to arise, all that has a nature to cease’ (S IV 192). This law of Dependent Arising itself being always ’such,’ invariable and not-otherwise (tathata avitathata, anaññathata idappaccayata—S II 26), in its contemplation the arahat’s mind too is firm and steady. ’Mind is steady and well-freed, and he sees its passing away’ (thitam cittam vippamuttamvayañcassanupassati—A III 379). Hence he is ’such’ (tadi) in his adaptability and resilience, having understood the suchness (tathata) of all conditioned phenomena. It is to one who takes his stand upon the concepts of existence and birth that the fear of decay and death can occur. To the emancipated one who is fully attuned to the reality of impermanence by giving up all standpoints, there can be no fear at all. And when ’Death’ does come, as surely it must, he is no more shocked at it than at the crash of an extremely brittle jar, ascertained well in advance to be perforated-beyond-use—a ’jar’ not-worth-its-name.

    The prospect of eluding death by travelling into outer space has kindled the imagination of the modern scientist also, though, unlike Rohitassa, he did not take it up in all seriousness. He has, however, speculated on the possibility of prolonging human life by flying to a distant star many light-years away in an Einstein rocket. ’Theoretically, travelling at a sufficiently high speed we can reach the star and return to the Earth within a minute! But on the Earth 80 years will have passed just the same. To all appearances, we thus possess a way of prolonging human life, though only from the point of view of other people, since man ages according to “his” own time. To our regret, however, this prospect is illusory if we take a closer look at it…’ (op. cit. ** below). No wonder that the prospect is illusory, particularly when it is examined in the context of the Buddha’s teachings. Indeed, ’man ages according to “his” own time,’ and this, as shown above, was precisely the point of divergence for the Buddha.

    That end of the world where one does not get born, nor die, nor pass away, nor get reborn, is therefore within this very fathom-long physical frame with its perceptions and mind. This momentous declaration is quite popular with writers on Buddhism, and perhaps for that very reason, it has rarely enjoyed the privilege of a long annotation. Traditionally too, it does not seem to have been much favoured in this respect, if Buddhaghosa’s commentary to the sutta is any indication. As Mrs. Rhys Davids remarks, ’It was a great opportunity for exegesis, but Buddhaghosa makes no use of it.’ (K. S. I 86 fn. 3).

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    *This quotation provides the clue to that much-disputed passage in It (38f.) which defines the two ’Nibbana-Elements’—the one with residual assets or appendages (saupadisesa Nibbanadhatu’) and the one without them (anupadidesa Nibbanadhatu).

    “… And what, monks, is the Nibbana Element with residual assets? Herein, monks, a monk is an arahat whose influxes are extinct, who has lived the Holy Life, accomplished the task, laid down the burden, reached his Goal, whose fetters of existence are fully extinct, and who is freed through right knowledge. His five sense-faculties still remain, which being undestroyed, he partakes of the pleasant and the unpleasant, and experiences the pleasurable and the painful. The extinction of lust, hatred and delusion in him—this, monks, is called the Nibbana-Element with residual assets. And what, monks, is the Nibbana-Element without residual assets? Herein, monks, a monk is an arahat whose influxes are extinct… and is freed through right knowledge. All his feelings, monks, will, even here, cool down, not having been delighted in. This, monks, is called the Nibbana Element without residual assets.”

    Once he has experienced within his own sensorium that transcendence which results from the removal of the latest conceit ’I am,’ all his influxes are extinguished and he gains mastery over the ’mechanism’ of the sixfold sense-sphere in its five aspects—the arising, the passing away, the satisfaction, the misery and the escape. For him, the sense-spheres become detachable, since he now knows the principle on which they function—the law of Dependent Arising in its direct and indirect order, which pivots upon Ignorance, involving the notion ’I am.’ While saupadidesa Nibbanadhatu enables the Arahant to live ’in the world,’ anupadidesa Nibbanadhatu ensures that he is ’not of the world.’ Once crossed over, the such-like One comes not back.’ ’To the further shore they go not twice.’ (See above Notes: 11 and 17).

    ** Ñanananda, Concept and Reality in Early Buddhist Thought. Buddhist Publication Society, Kandy, 1971, pp. 52–66.

    *** L. Landau, Y. Rumer; What is the Theory of Relativity. Peace Publishers, Moscow. 1965, p. 41.

    ****Upadhi: The word has two distinct shades of meaning. Primarily, in accordance with its etymology (upa+√dh—’putting under or near’) it means ’foundation,’ ’basis,’ ’ground,’ ’substratum’ or ’support’ (cf. upadhana—pillow or bolster). Secondarily, in its Canonical usage it often stands for one’s possessions (’wife and children,’ flocks and herds, silver and gold, etc. (M I 162; Sn 33 = S I 6 = S I 107). Translators who stressed the former sense preferred ’substratum’ ’support’ ’basis’ or ’ground,’ while those who went in for the latter, used such terms as ’possession,’ ’attachment’ and ’clinging.’ Perhaps ’asset’ will do justice to both senses, since assets are ’things laid-by’ which one ’relies on’ as ’supports.’ (Cf. upadhisu tanam na karonti buddha—S I 107: ’Buddhas do not seek refuge in assets’; sammaditthi sasava puññabhagiya upadhivepakka—M III 72: ’Right view associated with influxes, on the side of merits and ripening into assets’). Being less impersonal than ’substratum,’ it captures the nuances of the secondary sense as well. Being less trenchant than ’clinging’ or ’attachment,’ it is better suited in references to the arahat’s saupadisesa-Nibbana-dhatu, since he is no longer attached to the assets, which are now, for him mere appendages (though upadi is of different derivation than upadhi). [Back]

  28. In the suttas of this chapter, Mara as the tempter, appears in various guises trying to terrify, distract or mislead the Buddha and the monks by his actions and words. When he is recognised, he gives up his attempts in despair and ’vanishes there and then.’ By representing the opposite view-point, he often provides a lively setting for an emphatic enunciation of doctrinal points. [Back]
  29. The senses, their objects and spheres of sense-contact, are all undermined by impermanence and whoever grasps them comes under the sway of Mara. ’Whatever they grasp in the world, by that itself does Mara pursue a man’ (see above Note 27). [Back]
  30. The sphere to which Mara has no access is that samadhi peculiar to arahats, in which they experience the relinquishment of all ’assets’ (sabbu padhipatinissagga), which is Nibbana (A I 132f, V 355f). [Back]
  31. The Pali word is bimba, which means an image or reflection. The word has some pejorative associations (see Ratthapala Sutta, M II 64), in that it views individuality as a mere semblance or appearance—as a mere product of imagination. Mrs. Rhys Davids renders it by ’puppet’ and ’human doll’ which brings out only its objective aspect. Though Mara’s question stresses this aspect (i.e., an individual’s appearance), Sela’s reply seems to imply rather the subjective aspect, namely, the concept of individuality or an individual’s image of himself—the ’self-image’—which is none other than ’name-and-form’ (namarupa). [Back]
  32. The words ’image’ (bimba) and ’misery’ (agha) are used here synonymously in full agreement with the doctrine of anatta which sums up existence by the single term ’suffering’ (dukkha). The idea expressed by Sela in the first two lines is supported by the Buddha’s declaration at S II 19 that suffering is neither self-made (sayam katam) nor created by another (param katam) but is conditionally arisen (paticca-samuppannam). That the word ’image’ refers to ’name-and-form’ may also be inferred from the dialogue between the venerables Sariputta and Mahakotthita at S II 112f:

    “What now, friend Sariputta, is name-and-form self-wrought or other-wrought or both self-wrought and other-wrought, or else is it neither self-wrought nor other-wrought but arisen by chance?”

    “No indeed, friend Kotthita, name-and-form is neither self-wrought nor other-wrought nor both self-wrought and other-wrought and arisen by chance, but, on the other hand, conditioned by consciousness is name-and-form.” [Back]

  33. The cause (hetu) is consciousness, as far as the aggregates, the elements and the six spheres of sense are concerned. With the cessation of consciousness (viññanassa nirodhena—D I 223) name-and-form and its outgrowth, the six sense-spheres, cease to exist. The breaking-up of this cause results in a consciousness which is infertile (viññane avirulhe—S II 66) and hence the arahats are referred to as ’those of extinct seed whose desires do not sprout forth.’ (te khinabija avirulhicchanda—Sn 235). [Back]
  34. It appears that this simile is not one chosen at random. It can lend itself to a deeper appreciation in the context of the relevant suttas. ’Action is the field, consciousness the seed and craving the moisture’ (kammam khettam viññanam bijam tanha sineho—A I 224). The arahat is ’one who, having destroyed what has sprung up, plants no more and waters not the growing’ (yo jatamucchijja na ropayeyyajayantamassa nanuppavecche—Sn 208). ’Having reckoned the fields and surveyed the seed, he sprinkles no water on it’ (samkhaya vatthum pamaya bijam—sinehamossa nanuppavecche Sn 209).

    The clue to the riddle of life-and-death, in its macrocosmic form, is found in the ’consciousness-seed’ in a microcosmic form.* (See also Note 27, ’cycle’ and ’epicycle’). While action which is ethically significant (kamma) is the field for the ’consciousness-seed’ in the case of rebirth, the very concepts of body, speech and mind constitute its field in its microcosmic aspect. ’Action’ is but an affirmation of the existence of these three concepts in the case of the worldling. For him, the test of a thing’s existence is the fact that ’it works’—hence the relation between ignorance (avijja) and formations (sankhara) in the formula of Dependent Arising. Body, speech and mind have merely a functional unity but he ignores this fact and clings to the wrong assumption that they are full-fledged units, structurally and organically. Now, the arahat in his unique jhanic experience of the cessation of consciousness (viññananirodha), ascertains that the ’field,’ the ’seed’ and the ’moisture’ pertaining to his existence are no more (i.e., bhavanirodha—cessation of existence). He is, therefore, ’in full view of the end of birth’—which, at the same time, is the end of ’death’—’and having given up logic,’ which as a rule, sits pretty on relative concepts and is largely a transaction in worldly coinage, ’he comes not within reckoning’ (sa ve muni jatikhayantadassi—takkam pahaya na upeti sankham—Sn 209).

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    * Here the words ’macrocosmic’ and ’microcosmic’ should be understood strictly according to the context. [Back]

  35. A demon. [Back]
  36. This stanza does not construe well if the simile given in the commentaries is applied to the last line. The commentarial simile centres round the doubtful reading dhanka (’crow’) in the last line, and runs as follows: ’Just as village lads playfully tie a string to the leg of a crow and release it and fling it, even so arising from where do evil thoughts fling the mind which is bent on good?’ (S-a I 302ff).* The sutta does not lend support to this alleged allusion to a particular kind of sport among children. Moreover, the compound manovitakka in the third line is split up and commented on separately—as mano (i.e., as the object—manoti kusala cittam: ’mind, that is, the wholesome mind’—Sn-a) and vitakka (i.e., as the subject—vitakkati abhayasute nava kamavitakkadayo: ’thoughts, such as the nine sensuous thoughts mentioned in Abhaya Sutta’—Sn-a)—in order to convey the idea that ’evil thoughts fling the mind which is bent on good.’ It seems more natural to take the compound as it is, i.e., as the subject: ’thoughts-in-the-mind;’ (as it is thus considered in S-a I 36: manovitakketi manamhi uppannavitakke) and so to the meaning that ’thoughts-in-the-mind disperse.’

    The emphasis, all along, is on the source and origin of thoughts—’Whence arising do thoughts disperse?’ The simile of the village lads playing with the crow seems to miss this point of emphasis. The one suggested in the present translation (’Like children leaving their mother’s lap’) would perhaps be more relevant to the theme here. The variant reading vamkam adopted by the editors of the Sutta Nipata (P.T.S. 1965) on the strength of five manuscripts collated by them can clear up the initial obstacles to such an interpretation. The letter ’v’ can well be a ’hiatus-filler’ (agama) inserted between the two words kumaraka and amkam, and it might have got changed into dha in course of time as a result of graphic corruption.

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    * The sutta is found also in the Sutta Nipata. Its commentary (Sn-a) shows some modifications when compared with S-a. [Back]

  37. The similes of the banyan-tree and the Maluva creeper further illustrate how thoughts which originate from within disperse and get attached to external sense-objects. There seems to be a play upon the words snehaja and attasambhuta. Firstly, they refer to the trunk-born runners of the banyan-tree which are ’moisture-born’ and are, in a sense, ’self-begotten.’ Secondly, they refer to thoughts which are born of craving (sneha being a synonym for craving—see Note 34) and originate from within. A third order of reference may also be postulated if the simile suggested above is recognised. Sneha also means ’affection,’ and the two expressions can thus refer to the children who quit their mother’s lap. They too are ’affection-born’ and ’self-begotten’—from a mother’s point of view!

    The banyan tree runners and the Maluva creeper depict a significant feature of thought processes. Once those thoughts connected with love, hate, dislike, delight and terror, which originate from within, get attached to sense-objects, their true source tends to be forgotten and the sense-objects themselves begin to dominate the scene. Just as the banyan-tree runners, having ’grown up’ (down?), conceal the original trunk, and even as the parasite Maluva creeper literally ’throws into shade’ the trees which gave it nourishment, thoughts too, once they get ’rooted’ in sense-objects, bring about an obsession, in which their original source is completely ignored. And, as it is said at S 3.2/S I 70:

    ’Greed and hate and dullness of mind
    Sprung from within bring harm on him
    Of evil heart, as does its fruit
    The reed—for which the bark is pith.’ [Back]

Part Two

  1. Ayatim punabbhavabhinibbatti: ’Name-and-form’ which is the reciprocal condition for consciousness, is already implicit in this expression. Except in the case of the arahats ’who have no vortex whereby to designate’ (see below, Note 51), the concepts of birth, decay, death and re-birth of all beings are necessarily dependent on this vortex between consciousness and name-and-form. The consciousness of the individual is always an ’established-consciousness’ (patitthitaviññana), that is to say, established on name-and-form. Samsaric existence is a constant oscillation between two. When the body breaks up at death, consciousness gravitates towards a fresh foot-hold, resulting in a crystallisation of ’name-and-form’ into the form of a new individual existence. “If, Ananda, consciousness were not to descend into the mother’s womb, would ’name-and-form’ be left remaining* inside the mother’s womb?” “No, lord…” “If, Ananda, consciousness were not to get a foothold in name-and-form, would there be manifest any arising or origination of birth, decay, death and suffering?” “No, lord” (D II 63). The six-fold sense-sphere, contact, feeling, etc. represent the growth of name-and-form supported as it is by consciousness. “And, Ananda, if the consciousness of a boy or a girl comes to be cut-off at childhood itself, would name-and-form attain development, growth and plenitude?” “No, lord.” (ibid.).

    Phagguna’s question—“Who feeds on the consciousness nutriment?”—is not a fit question because the very concept of an individual implies both consciousness and name-and-form, bound in a reciprocal relationship. The passage of consciousness at death is merely a gravitation towards its object name-and-form implicit in the last thought moment, which thereby crystallises into a new existence. The vortex has shifted, consciousness has changed its station and a new world of experience has unfolded itself. This is the polarisation between ’this-ness’ (itthabhava) and ’otherwise-ness’ (aññathabhava) in samsaric existence (cf. Sn 752). The other questions of Phagguna concerning contact, feeling, grasping and craving were similarly disallowed since they all fall within the orbit of the vortical interplay between consciousness and name-and-form. 

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    * samucchissatha: (P.E.D.: derivation and meaning uncertain). Probably from sam + ud + √ sish—to remain. Without the support of consciousness, name-and-form cannot remain within the mother’s womb, nor can it result in rebirth. “If, Ananda, consciousness, having descended into the mother’s womb, were to slip out, would name-and-form be reborn into this state of existence?” “No, lord.” (ibid.).[Back]

  2. With his ability to see the arising and cessation of his six sense-spheres, the arahat tests the principle of Dependent Arising (paticca samuppada) in the crucible of his own experience. Thus for him, the reflection on paticca samuppada in its direct and indirect order (see Udana, Bodhivagga, Suttas 1–3) is not a mere verbal or intellectual affair, but a thing of immediate experience. [Back]
  3. This statement brings out the significance of paticca samuppada in the context of the theories of kamma. It is in contrast with the views put forward by other recluses who theorised in terms of agency. Contact (phassa), as a condition, is pivotal to the Buddha’s mode of exposition by way of Dependent Arising, as may be seen from the concluding sections of the Brahmajala Sutta (D I 41–44; see above Note 2). [Back]
  4. By postulating the existence of the ’three doors of action’—body, speech and mind—there occurs the possibility of any bodily, verbal or mental ’intention.’ In fact, it is the very intention or purpose which prompts one to posit their existence. The former tendency is rooted in ignorance (avijja) while the latter reflects the motive force of craving (tanha)—the one being the raison d’etre for the other. Between them, they create the conditions necessary for the birth of formations (sankhara). “Monks, to the uninstructed average person touched by a sensation born of ’ignorance-contact,’ there arises craving. Born thereof is that formation” (S III 96). Sankharas, too, fundamentally manifest themselves as affirmations of self. “Herein, monks the uninstructed average person… looks upon form as self. And that looking upon, O monks, is a formation” (ibid.). It is only under these circumstances that pleasure-and-pain is experienced subjectively (ajjhattam). [Back]
  5. Patterns of behaviour whether bodily, verbal or mental—productive of a person’s pleasure or pain, are either evolved by oneself or fashioned by others. The difference is that between ’setting’ a fashion and following it. [Back]
  6. Bodily, verbal and mental formations become manifest in deliberate as well as reflex actions. They all take for granted the existence of body, speech and mind, and thus perpetuate ignorance (see above Note 34). The difference, then, is that between ’commission’ and ’connivance.’ [Back]
  7. When ignorance fades away, body, speech and mind cease to be the matrices for the arising of formations. Thereby the ’field,’ the ’ground,’ the ’base’ or the ’occasion’ for the most basic value-judgment—that between pleasure and pain as subjective experiences—also disappears. [Back]

Part Three

  1. These are the twenty types of ’personality-view’ (sakkayaditthi: lit. ’the body-in-being view’) which comprise all possible annihilationist and eternalist views. Sakkaya is the notion that ’body’ exists—’body’ here referring to that vaguely conceived pattern into which a living organism bundles up the totality of his experiences. This basic assumption that one is an organic whole becomes articulate in the twenty types of ’personality-views.’ There the pattern seeks justification and recognition through the a priori category of self (atta), which delegates to itself the exhaustive task of ’sorting-out’ the elusive bundle. Though the attempt is unsuccessful, the prospect of success sustains the unending process of sorting out. The twenty types depict the ingenuity of the mind in its resolve to sustain that process. [Back]
  2. Upaya as ’approaching’ marks the incipient stage in the long psychological process implied by the string of terms: upayupadana cetaso adhitthanabhinivesanusaya, (S III 10), which depicts, with a shade of a metaphor, the stages in an ascending order, thus: ’approaching—grasping—mental-standpoint—entering into—lying dormant.’ The metaphorical associations are quite in place, as they are suggestive of the ’abodes of the mind’ (S III 9ff; also see above Note 27). The process covers the entire range of ’ignorance-cum-craving.’ The initial ’approach’ is prompted as much by intellect as by emotion, in so far as curiosity and interest give rise to attention. The stages that follow, graphically depict the consummation of ignorance—crystallised into views (ditthi)—and craving. Consciousness, having ’approached’ its object, grasps it, acquires it, occupies it and is finally obsessed by it, which obsession is then carried over in the form of a seed-plot of latencies for the recurrence of the same process—ad infinitum. [Back]
  3. Delight (nandi) is figuratively conceived as the water that is sprinkled to make the consciousness seed grow (nandupasecanam). The metaphor appears in full in the very next sutta (22.54. ’Seed’): “As the earth-element, monks, so should the four stations of consciousness be considered. As the water-element, monks, so should delight-and-lust (nandiraga) be considered. As the five sorts of seed, monks, so should ’consciousness-with-nutriment’ be considered.”

    (The P.T.S. edition follows the variant reading, nandupasevanam, translated as ’seeking means of enjoyment’—K.S. III 45ff). [Back]

  4. Each of the first four aggregates acts as a ’support’ or a ’foothold’ for consciousness. They are sometimes called ’abodes for consciousness’ (S III 9ff). [Back]
  5. This declaration disposes of the possibility of regarding consciousness as an entity that transmigrates by itself. In the Mahatanhasankhaya Sutta (M I 258) we find the Buddha rebuking the monk Sati for misrepresenting him with the statement: “This self-same consciousness fares on and transmigrates and no other* (anaññam)—thus do I understand the Dhamma as preached by the Exalted One.” The Buddha in repudiating it, says: “Foolish man, have I not, in many a figure spoken of consciousness as something dependently arisen (thus): ’There is no origination of consciousness except in relation to conditions.’ The role of consciousness, as a dependently arisen phenomenon in the context of rebirth, has always to be understood with reference to one or more of the other aggregates.

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    * For this sense of the word anaññam, (cf. Mahapurisassa dve’va gatiyo bhavanti anañña (Sn p. 106). ’To a Superman … there are only two careers and no other (i.e., no more).’ [Back]

  6. The ’lust’ (raga) here referred to is but another shade of ’delight’ (nandi), as shown above in Note 47. ’By the destruction of delight comes the destruction of lust. By the destruction of lust comes the destruction of delight. And by the destruction of delight-and-lust the mind comes to be called ’freed,’ ’well-freed’ (S III 51). The lusting for consciousness is itself said to be a support for the establishment of consciousness. Consciousness is so ’parasitic’ that in the absence of a more palpable support, it gets established on the very latency to attachment. “Even if, monks, one neither wills, nor mentally concocts, but still has a latency—that becomes an object for the persistence of consciousness…” (S 12:38–40/S II 67f). [Back]
  7. Consciousness, not having been concocted (anabhisankhacca), is set free. The same idea is conveyed by the phrase visamkharagatam cittam (Dhp 154)—’the mind gone to the state of non-concoction.’ The appeasement of formations (sankharupasama) is meant thereby. [Back]
  8. The phrase naparam itthattaya is here rendered as ’There is nothing beyond this for (a designation of) the conditions of this existence.’

    This phrase has been variously rendered (e.g., ’for life in these conditions there is no hereafter’—K.S. I 177; ’there is no more of being such or so’—M.L.S. 70, etc.). The commentary gives more than one interpretation. For instance at S-a I 205 (VI.I.3), it is explained, with particular reference to the preceding phrase, thus: ’Done is the task’. The meaning is that the sixteenfold task (viz. comprehension, abandonment, realisation and development of the Four Truths by means of the Four Paths) has been accomplished. ’No-more-for-thisness’: now there is no more Path-development to be done for this state, that is, as regards this sixteenfold task or the destruction of defilements. Or else, ’for-thisness’ means beyond this present process of aggregates of such a type, there is no other process of aggregates. ’And he knew that these five aggregates on being comprehended, just stand like a tree cut off at the root.’

    Perhaps the meaning of naparam itthattaya can best be elicited from the following two Canonical passages:

    1. “This consciousness turns back from name-and-form, it does not go beyond (naparam gacchati). In so far can one be born, or grow old, or die, or pass away, or reappear, in so far as this is, to wit: consciousness is dependent on name-and-form, name-and-form on consciousness, the six sense-spheres on name-and-form, contact on the six sense-spheres, feeling on contact, craving on feeling, grasping on craving, becoming on grasping, birth on becoming, and old age, death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief and despair are dependent on birth. Thus is the arising of this entire mass of suffering”—D II 32f., Mahapadana Sutta.
    2. “In so far only, Ananda, can one be born, or grow old, or die or pass away or reappear, in so far only is there any pathway for verbal expression, in so far only is there any pathway for terminology, in so far only is there any pathway for designations, in so far only is there a whirling round for a designation of ’this-ness’ (ettavata vattam vattati itthattam paññapanaya) that is to say, as far as name-and-form together with consciousness.—D II 63f., Mahanidana Sutta.

    The very understanding that ’consciousness turns back from name-and-form and that it does not go beyond, is the saving-wisdom which amounts to a full comprehension of the illusion (Maya) that is consciousness. Between these two links of the paticca samuppada there is a vortex or a whirling-round for a designation of ’this-ness’ (i.e., ’the conditions of this existence’). Now, a vortex or an eddy is ’a current running back, contrary to the main stream, thus causing a circular motion,’ (Chambers’ Twentieth Century Dictionary) and this samsaric vortex too is the outcome of defying the flux of nature with its three characteristics of impermanence (anicca), suffering (dukkha) and not-self (anatta). When the reflex-mechanism of the consciousness is discovered, the motive force for this whirling round will lose its sanction. The nutriment-of-consciousness (viññanahara) will expose itself to be a vicious ’feed-back system,’ even as in the case of a vortex. ’Name-and-form’ will be seen as a mere product of proliferation (papañcanamarupam Sn 530)—a Narcissistic image doted upon due to delusion. With this vision ’of-things-as-they-are’ (yathabhutañanadassana), there comes disgust (nibbida) for this interplay which is nothing but a secondary manifestation of a conflict (dukkha) with the ’main stream’ of Nature. This disgust gives rise to a ’turning-away’ (viraga), which leads to the Freedom (vimutti) from the conflict that characterises samsaric existence as a whole. There can be a designation or a ’pointing-out’ (paññapana) as a ’this-ness’ (itthatta) only as long as the vortex of individual existence is kept going. When the vortex ceases, all pathways of designation lose their point of reference, since where there was an itthatta, now tathata (thus-ness or such-ness) prevails. The Tathagata, the Transcendent One thus truly becomes ’deep, immeasurable, unfathomable, as is the great ocean’ (M I 488), and the five aggregates which he has abandoned, have only a semblance of connection with him now, like the stirred up surface waters which still betoken a vortex long since ceased at its depths.

    Naparam itthattaya is the guarantee of this freedom from the samsaric vortex. It conveys the arahat’s conviction that ’in so far only’—that as far as name-and-form together with consciousness—’can one be born, or grow old or die or pass away or reappear,’ and that there is nothing beyond this for the designation of these conditions of samsaric existence. [Back]

  9. Kevali is ’one who lives by oneself, alone.’ The sense of completeness, of being fully integrated and accomplished, is also implicit. The primary sense seems to emerge for instance at Sn 490: ’Those who wander in the world unattached, possessionless, alone, and self-controlled’ (ye ve asatta vicaranti loke—akincana kevalino yatatta). This ’being alone,’ however, has a deeper significance for the arahat, even as his being possessionless (See above Note 14). It refers to the arahat’s non-entanglement in name-and-form. (See above Note 13). He has put an end to name-and-form (pariyantam akasi namarupam—Sn 537) and it is no longer reflected or manifest in his consciousness. At S III 105 it is said that the notion ’I am’ occurs when one reflects upon the five aggregates, just as in the case of one looking at his own image reflected in a mirror or in a bowl of water. Thus the very conceit ’I am’ (asmimana), being a form of measuring, is essentially dependent and relative. Paradoxically enough, it reveals a split in living experience, since all identification presupposes a duality. The arahat who is free from that conceit does not rely on standards of judgment (See e.g. Sn 842, 894), and is therefore truly alone, fully integrated and accomplished. His is a completeness born of inner concord due to the fact that his consciousness does not ’dwell’ anywhere. ’They say it is a concord* for a monk who, completely withdrawn from the world, resorts to a secluded spot, in that he does not show himself in existence:’

    Patilinacarassa bhikkhuno
    bhajamanassa vivittamasanam
    samaggiyamahu tassa tam
    yo attanam bhavane na dassaye
    (Sn 810)

    ————————

    * The word samaggiyam, though explained by the comy (Sn-a) to mean ’fit and proper’ (patirupam), seems to have a significance of its own, as suggested by the context. (Note: ’They say it is a samaggiya for him.’) It connotes the inner concord of the fully-integrated arahat, its primary sense being ’concord’ or ’unanimity,’ in a social context. [Back]

  10. ye kevalino vattam tesam natthi paññapanaya: (See above Note 52). The ’whirling-round’ is no more for the arahats since the counterpart of consciousness—’name-and-form’—is no longer ’present.’ This too is suggestive of the solitude meant by the term kevali. [Back]
  11. The eighteen elements are: eye, visual object, eye-consciousness; ear, sound, ear-consciousness; nose, odour, nose-consciousness; tongue, taste, tongue-consciousness; body, tangibles, body-consciousness; mind, ideas, mind-consciousness. [Back]
  12. The twelve spheres of sense: eye, visual object; ear, sound; nose, odour; tongue, taste; body, tangible object; mind, idea. These are usually divided into two groups as ’inner’ (ajjhattika) and ’outer’ (bahira), the former comprising the six senses, and the latter, their respective objects. [Back]
  13. This refers to the ’contemplation of the rise-and-fall’ (udayabbayanupassana) of the Five Aggregates of Grasping (pancupadanakkhandha) in accordance with the principle of paticca samuppada, as, for instance, set forth at S II 28:

    ’Thus is form; thus is its arising; thus is its passing away.

    ’Thus is feeling; thus is its arising; thus is its passing away.

    ’Thus is perception; thus is its arising; thus is its passing away.

    ’Thus is formations; thus is their arising; thus is their passing away.

    ’Thus is consciousness; thus is its arising; thus is its passing away.

    Thus: ’this’ being, ’that’ becomes; from the arising of this, that arises; this not being, that becomes not; from the ceasing of this, that ceases.

    That is to say, conditioned by ignorance, formations come to pass; conditioned by formations, consciousness comes to pass; conditioned by consciousness, name-and-form; conditioned by name-and-form, the sixfold sense-sphere; conditioned by the sixfold sense-sphere, contact; conditioned by contact, feeling; conditioned by feeling, craving; conditioned by craving, grasping; conditioned by grasping, becoming; conditioned by becoming, birth; conditioned by birth, old-age and death, sorrow, lamentation, suffering, grief and despair come to pass. Such is the arising of this entire mass of suffering. But from the utter fading away and cessation of that very ignorance comes the cessation of formations; from the cessation of formations, the cessation of consciousness… from the cessation of birth, old-age and death, sorrow, lamentation, suffering, grief and despair cease. Such is the cessation of this entire mass of suffering.’

    This ’investigation by way of Dependent Arising’ is an illustration of the practical application of that law in order to understand the structure of experience. By tracing experience to its very source—ignorance—one understands the cumulative process (upacaya—M III 287) whereby the Five Aggregates of Grasping come into existence. ’Attention-by-way-of-matrix’ (yonisomanasikara) is an integral element in the law of Dependent Arising, as the Mahapadana Sutta (D II 31ff) clearly reveals. Ignorance, when discovered, is transmuted into Knowledge, and as such, the outcome of this yonisomanasikara is the destruction of that foundation on which the structure of sense-experience rests precariously balanced.

    The three ways of investigation would thus lead to a comprehension of the three basic categories, khandha (aggregates), ayatanani (spheres) and dhatuyo (elements). [Back]

  14. The point of this discussion is the determination whether the Five Aggregates of Grasping comprehend the entire concept of grasping or whether there is a mode of grasping outside of them. Both propositions are negated because the former does not take into account the ’desire-and-lust’ (chandaraga), while the latter overlooks the fact that his ’desire-and-lust’ which is called a grasping, is still something that has to do with the Five Aggregates of Grasping.

    Here the question concerns not so much the simple identity or difference between the two terms as the delimitation of their meaning and applicability. The usual Pali idiom for expressing identity and difference runs something like this: tam jivam tam sariram, aññam jivam aññam sariram S IV 392. (’Is body the same as soul, or is body one thing and soul another’). In contrast with it is the idiom used in the present context: taññeva nu kho bhante upadanakkhandha, udahu aññatra pancupadanakkhandehi upadananti (’No indeed, monk, these five aggregates of grasping are not the whole of grasping, and yet there is no grasping apart from those five aggregates of grasping’). Hence the rendering of this sentence at M.L.S. III 66 is preferred to the one given at K.S. III 85. [Back]

  15. The definition explains why the ’Aggregates’ are so called. It gives the justification for the nomenclature by showing how comprehensively each aggregate is conceived. [Back]
  16. On the four elemental-nodes, earth, water, fire and air (pathavi, apo, tejo, vayo), depends the concept of form. The former themselves are abstractions from the experience of solidity, cohesion, heat and motion. [Back]
  17. The correct reading should be: pati puccha vinita kho me tumhe bhikkhave tatra tatra tesu tesu dhammesu. The variant reading paticcavinita which some texts (see M III 19) have adopted, hardly makes sense, and at best it could only be rendered within the given context, as follows: (i) ’trained to look for causality’—P.E.D.; (ii) ’You, monks, have been trained by me (to look for) conditions now here, now there, in these things and in those.’—M.L.S. III 69; and (iii) ’Now, bhikkhus you have been trained by me in dependent conditionality in various instances’—Ven. Ñanamoli’s transl. of M (unpublished). Though the P.T.S. edition reads patipuccha vinita, its translation fails to bring out the significance of this key-word: ’That question, brethren, I have already answered thus and thus in those teachings that I have given you’ (K.S. III 88).

    At A I 285 we get a classification of three types of assemblies according to the modes of training adopted, one of them being ’the assembly trained by the counter-question method’ (patipuccha vinitaparisa). Moreover, at A II 46 where four types of questions are mentioned, it is said that some questions have to be dealt with by a counter-question (patipuccha vyakaraniyo). That one has to be skilled enough to use one’s discretion in determining to which category a question belongs, is also clearly stated there:

    ekamsavacanam ekam—vibhaja vacana param
    tatiyam patipuccheyya—catittham pana thapaye
    yo ca nesam tattha tattha—janati anydhammatam
    catupanhassa kusalo—ahu bhikkhum tathavidham

    ’One (type of question) is that which admits of a categorical reply, another requires an analytical statement, the third type should be questioned-in-return, while the fourth should be set aside.

    That monk who knows what type is applicable here and there, according to circumstances, such a one, they say, is an expert in the tetrad of questions.’

    The latter half of that sentence in the sutta with its clumsy-looking iteratives (tatra tatra tesu tesu dhammesu…) can be better explained in the context of the above two verses. Its import is exactly the same as that of the second verse. The prefix anu in anudhammatam fulfils the same distributive function as does the phrase tesu tesu dhammesu. Hence it is clear that the Buddha is here reminding the monks that he has, upon occasion, trained them by the counter-question method, and this is just the method he proposes to employ on the present occasion too, in order to dispel the wrong view of that monk. The catechism on the three signata with its arrestive ’what-do-you-think?’ is, in fact, a kind of counter-question by which the questioner’s false assumptions are gradually exposed, layer by layer. The final rhetoric question: ’That which is impermanent, painful and liable to change, is fit to be regarded thus: ’This is mine, this am I, this is my self?’—goes to the root of the matter, in its appeal to common sense. On the whole, this catechism serves the very practical purpose of disabusing the questioner’s mind of his prejudices, thus shattering the very basis of his question (See above Note 38).

    Some critics who have failed to appreciate the cathartic significance of this catechism in the present context, seem to have interpreted it as some sort of a cavalier escapade from the point at issue. When the full import of the expression patipucchavinita is understood, there can be no provocation for such an attitude, the less so since here the Buddha himself has taken the trouble to probe into the mind of that monk and bring out a question which, otherwise, might well have remained unasked. Equally unjustified is the attempt to find in this type of catechism, an excuse for ’a self outside-the-five-aggregates.’ [Back]

Part Four

  1. The unruffled manner in which the venerable Upasena announces his impending death, is typical of an arahat. There is a tone of detachment in his words as he requests the monks to take ’this body’ outside before ’it be scattered here, just like a handful of chaff’—chaff signifying the value he attached to his body. [Back]
  2. This sentence which should form part of the venerable Sariputta’s comment has been misconstrued at K.S. IV 20 as an actual repetition of the request already made by the venerable Upasena. [Back]
  3. Probably due to the peculiar use of the third person as a polite form of address, K.S. treats these remarks of the venerable Sariputta as a mere matter-of-fact observation and not as an inference on his part. [Back]
  4. The doctrinal importance of this ’dyad’ may well be gauged by the Buddha’s declaration with reference to it in the preceding sutta (35:92): “Whoever, monks, should say—’Rejecting this dyad, I will proclaim another dyad’—it would be mere talk on his part, and when questioned, he would not make good his boast, and further, would come to an ill pass. Why so? Because, monks, it would be beyond his scope.”

    Now, the following verse of the Dhammapada has a reference to dyads:

    yada dvayesu dhammesu—paragu hoti brahmano
    athassa sabbe samyoga—attham gacchanti janato
    (Dhp 384)

    ’When the arahat becomes
    “one who has gone beyond” (paragu)
    with regard to the things forming the dyads,
    then all fetters of the knowing-one pass away.’

    The Dhammapada commentary takes the dyads in this verse to mean ’calm-and-insight’ (dvayesuti dvidha thitesu samatha-vipassana dhammesu…). However, on the strength of the Buddha’s declaration cited above, it is more reasonable to interpret it in the light of the present sutta. Further, the word paragu (lit. ’crossed to the further shore’) in the verse may be taken as an illusion to the ’Ocean-sutta’ at S IV 157 (see above Note 17), which compares each of the six senses to an ocean with its respective object as its ’force’ (of waves), and speaks of the arahat as one who has ’crossed over and gone beyond.’

    A distinction has to be made between this ’dyad’ (dvayam) and the ’dichotomy’ (dvayata) which is the theme in the Dvayatanupassana Sutta of the Sutta Nipata, since the latter is set out in the form of contrasts (e.g., “’Whatever suffering arises, all that is due to ignorance’—this is one mode of contemplation: ’from the utter fading away and cessation of that very ignorance, there is no arising of suffering’—this is the second mode of contemplation”—( Sn 3:12, vv 724–765). [Back]

  5. This sutta is titled agayha (’not-including’) in contrast with the one preceding it, which is called sangayha (’including’). The theme of the sangayha sutta is the sixfold sphere of sense-contact as it is experienced in hells and heavens, whereas in this sutta the theme is that transcendental ’sphere’ (ayatana) in which one realises the cessation of the sixfold sense-sphere (salayatananirodha). [Back]
  6. These verses are found also in the Dvayatanupassana Sutta (Sn 759–65). They seem to have undergone much textual corruption. On the whole, the readings adopted by the Sn (P.T.S. ed.) are preferable to those in the S (P.T.S. ed.). [Back]
  7. This translation follows the reading sakkayassuparodhanam (Sn). With the cessation of the six sense spheres, the arahat becomes aware of the cessation of his existence (bhavanirodho) as an individual—the conceit ’I am’ having been removed. [Back]
  8. ’Extinction,’ which is much dreaded by the world, is the highest bliss for the arahat inasmuch as it is the destruction of the delusion of self and a blissful realisation, here and now, of the truth of not-self. As Adhimutta Thera, an arahat, puts it: “He who understands it as it was taught by the Awakened One, does not grasp at any existence whatsoever, regarding all existence as a red-hot iron ball. It does not occur to me: ’I will be.’ (Mere) formations will be destroyed. What is there to lament? To one who sees as they truly are, the pure arising of phenomena and the pure process of formations, there is no dread, O headman. When, with wisdom, one sees the world to be comparable to straw and twigs, then one laments not, saying ’I have nothing,’ since he does not entertain any egoism.”—Th 714–7. [Back]
  9. Ignorance and craving are essentially restrictive in character, the former being called a hindrance (nivarana) and the latter, a fetter (saññojana). Hence the corresponding notions of ’I’ and ’mine’—paradoxically enough—are privative rather than acquisitive, because ’to possess’ is ’to-be-possessed-by.’ The consequent ’ignoring’ is the darkness that forms the background to this ’possession.’ It is the insight into the law of Dependent Arising that lights up the ignored background. The distinctions between an ’internal’ (ajjhattika) and an ’external’ (bahira) sense-sphere (or ’base’) with its concomitant ’here’-and-’there’ dichotomy (idha, huram) can exist only so long as the sense-faculties function within the narrow confines staked out for them by the conceit, ’I am.’ Once the consciousness has burst all these artificial bounds and become ’infinite’ (anantam) and ’luminous-on-all-sides’ (sabbato-pabham), those distinctions and dichotomies will no longer be manifest in it (viññanam anidassanam). The ray of view-point fades away in the glare of an all-comprehending vision. Thus to the emancipated ones—’wide ope’ it is, as light is unto those discerning.

    Nibbana, as the ’Unshakable Deliverance of the Mind’ (akuppa cetovimutti), is given four epithets in the Maha Vedalla Sutta (M I 298). It is called the highest form of ’Boundless Deliverance of the Mind’ (appamana cetovimutti) since the limitative tendencies of lust, hatred and delusion are abandoned in the arahat. It is also the highest form of ’Possessionless (i.e., Nothingness) Deliverance of the Mind’ (akiñcañña cetovimutti), as it is devoid of those three taints each of which is a ’something’ (kiñcano). For the same reason it is, at the same time, the highest ’Voidness Deliverance of the Mind’ (suññata cetovimutti). In so far as lust, hatred and delusion are ’significant’ (nimittakarano), their absence in Nibbana makes it the supreme ’Signless Deliverance of the Mind’ (animitta cetovimutti). These four aspects of that Unshakable Deliverance of the Mind—the ’Boundless,’ the ’Possessionless,’ the ’Void’ and the ’Signless’—are also suggestive of the infinite and non-manifestative nature of the arahat’s consciousness. [Back]

  10. This reference to the first discourse of the Digha Nikaya, the Brahmajala Sutta, is rather in favour of that sutta’s authenticity. [Back]
  11. The ten Unexplained Points (avyakatavatthuni) and the sixty-two views set forth in the Brahmajala Sutta, are all of them manifestations of the ’personality-view’ which, in its twenty modes (see Note 45 above), reflects a desperate attempt to justify and render articulate the self-bias. As such, it must not be reckoned as a separate view in itself—as the sixty third implied by the controversial reference to sixty-three views in the Sabhiya Sutta (Sn 538). The commentary, however, takes it to be so, presumably relying on Venerable Isidatta’s reply for support. There is reason to believe that those ’three and sixty views’ (yani ca tini yani ca satthi) referred to in that verse include samma ditthi (Right View) as the sixty-third.

    They are collectively called ’resorts’ (osaranani) ’dependent on talks of recluses’ (samanappavadasitani) with perceptions as their syllables and supported by perceptions (saññakkharasaññanissitani) —all of which the Buddha is said to have dispelled when he reached the ’Flood’s End’ (vineyya oghantam aga). In this connection, the summing-up occurring at the end of the Brahmajala Sutta is particularly significant. After setting forth the types of speculative views falling under each sub-heading, the following declaration is made: “And this, monks, the Tathagata knows—’These view-points thus taken up, thus taken hold of, lead to such and such bourns, to such and such states after death.’ That the Tathagata knows, and he also knows something higher than that, and even that knowledge he does not take hold of, and not taking hold of it, within himself appeasement (nibbuti) has been understood. Having known the arising, the passing away, the satisfaction, the misery and the escape in regard to feelings, and not grasping, liberated, monks, is the Tathagata” (D I 39). Towards the end of the sutta where the final summary of all the sixty-two views comes, it is clearly stated that this ’higher knowledge’ is the understanding, as they truly are, the arising, the passing away, the satisfaction, the misery and the escape in regard to the six spheres of sense-contact (D I 45).

    The very synoptic nature of this higher knowledge, comprehending all the five aspects of the spheres of sense-contact, gives rise to detachment. It is the kind of mastery which an expert physician is endowed with, and the Buddha, as a matter of fact, claimed himself to be one (Sn 560). The Four Noble Truths can be resolved, respectively, into the Malady, its Cause, Health and the Remedy, the mastery of all four being the sine qua non for emancipation. To the emancipated one, all dogmatic views appear as symptoms of a malady—as ’twitchings’ and ’writhings’ (ditthivisukham, ditthivipphanditam), fraught with ’pain, vexation, despair and fever’ (sadukkham savighatam saupayasam saparilaham—M I 485), and through them he diagnoses the malady. Hence he is not in conflict with them, and like a kind physician, with perfect equanimity, he understands the law of Dependent Arising implicit in that situation:

    1. ’Given the malady—symptoms arise
    Given the remedy—symptoms cease.’

    And his relations with the ’patient’ will be purely on therapeutic lines.

    Likewise the above-mentioned synoptic understanding of the spheres of sense-contact gives rise to detachment and equanimity. It signifies the Middle Path underlying the Law of Dependent Arising. At S II 17, Right View is defined as the Law of Dependent Arising which avoids the two extreme views of absolute existence and absolute non-existence. Thus, to the questions: ’Does it exist?’ ’Does it not exist?’ (and, likewise, to the questions: ’Is it one? Is it many?’—S II 77, the reply is: ’It depends,’ and this dependence takes the form of the twelve-linked formula in its direct and reverse order. The theme, in brief is:

    2. ’When ignorance arises, the world arises
    When ignorance ceases, the world ceases.

    Seeing the arising of the world within one’s own sixfold sense-sphere, one does not entertain the dogmatic view: ’Nothing exists’; and seeing the cessation of the world therein one does not incline to the other extreme view: ’Everything exists.’

    This samma ditthi (Right View) as the understanding of the principle of Dependent Arising has an essentially disengaging quality. It is ’in the proximity of non-attachment, disengagement, non-delighting, non-entanglement and non-grasping’ (Apaññaka Sutta—M I 411). Its counterpart is ’disenchantment’ (nibbida) which in its turn leads to detachment, cessation, Nibbana. Rather in keeping with the pragmatic concept of truth, the ’knowledge-and-vision-of-things-as-they-really-are’ (yathabhutañanadassana) merely serves the practical purpose of ’leading onwards’ (opanayiko) without inviting dogmatic involvement (see S II 60). Hence, when Anathapindika, a ’Stream-winner’ (sotapanna) was questioned by the ascetics of other sects as to whether he is not himself attached to his view: ’Whatever is become, compounded, thought out and impermanent, that is suffering and whatever is suffering that is not mine, that I am not, that is not my self,’ he silenced them with the reply that he knew a higher ’stepping-out’ (nissarana) even from that Right View (A V 188). Because all views couched in perceptions and syllables have a centripetal tendency as the word osaranani suggests, the Noble Disciple does not cling even to the Right View, but, on the other hand, developing the centrifugal force implied by nissarana, he attains Nibbana. [Back]

  12. The importance of this sutta lies not only in the philosophical problem which the Venerable Isidatta explained but also in the psychological problem which he left unexplained. On the whole, the sutta is a character-portrait of him in bare outline. Here was a situation where patronage was forthcoming both from his erstwhile friend and his chief-elder. And yet, despite all those prospects, we see him departing from Macchikasanda ’for good.’ A detailed analysis of the relevant words and phrases with a view to introducing colour into this character-portrait, might sometimes spoil the wholesome effect of the modest reticence of the sutta. Hence, let the thoughtful reader re-read the sutta and try to understand the psychological problem which—for us—the Venerable Isidatta left unsolved, and, perhaps—to solve he left. [Back]
  13. A clear illustration of the significance of the term akaliko (lit: ’not involving time’—see Note 27 above) as an epithet of the Dhamma. Here the principle of Dependent Arising finds quite a practical application. Its validity can be tested in one’s own immediate experience (see e.g., Cula Sakukudayi Sutta—M II 32) since the arising and cessation of suffering hinges on the fact of ’desire.’ The Five Aggregates of Grasping which ’in brief’ (sankhittena) constitute suffering, are rooted in desire. The entire process of their accumulation is understood when the basic principle is applied to one’s own immediate experience. It leaves no room for speculation as regards the past and the future, as the other significant epithet, atakkavacaro (’not moving in the sphere of logic’) implies. That this was a remarkable feature of the Buddha’s teaching, which marked it off from all other contemporary religious systems, is well expressed by Hemaka in the Parayana Vagga of the Sutta Nipata:

    “Those who explained to me before (so said the venerable Hemaka)—outside the dispensation of Gotama—all of them said: ’So it was’ and ’so it will be.’ But all that is ’so-and-so’ talk; all that is productive of logic. I did not delight therein.

    But as for you, O sage, you have taught me the Dhamma that is destructive of craving, by knowing which, and mindfully faring along, one might get beyond the world’s viscosity.” (Sn 1084-5). [Back]

  14. K.S. (IV 233) seems to go off at a tangent here. It has: ’Now, headman, do you shape your course by this Dhamma, when you have seen and known it, when you have reached it without loss of time, plunged into it both in respect of the past and the future…’ [Back]
  15. The phrases sake bale apatthaddha, sake bale asamvadamana have created some difficulty (see K.S. IV 125). They occur twice, and the meaning in both contexts should be the same, though K.S. gives ’relaxed her efforts, did not increase her grip’ in the first instance and, ’putting forth her effort, not relaxing her effort,’ in the second. The ’relaxation’ meant by the word apatthaddha (’not-rigid’) is psychological rather than physical. It was born of excessive self-confidence, due to which the she-falcon, not being ’stiff’ in her ways, first imposed on herself a handicap, and then swooped down unwarily on the quail. Asamvadamana is probably suggestive of her disdainful attitude towards the quail in not caring to give merely verbal rejoinders to its challenges in both instances. [Back]
  16. The Four Foundations of Mindfulness form the ground-plan for the development of the ’Knowledge and Vision of things as they are.’ Within its range, awareness is focused directly on experience as such, reducing the tendency towards diffusion and proliferation in thought-currents. This insulation stems the tide of influxes which entices one into the ’others’ territory’—the five-fold sense-pleasure. [Back]
  17. It is noteworthy that the parable in this sutta has some peculiarity in that it is not on all fours with the doctrinal points discussed in relation to it. The maxims presented in connection with the practise of Mindfulness (“I’ll protect myself”; “I’ll protect others”) are an improvement on that recommended by the acrobat’s pupil (’You look after yourself, master, and I’ll look after myself”). This is the significance of the Buddha’s remark: “Therein, that is the right way.” This point seems to have been overlooked when the P.T.S. edition and translation attribute these words to the acrobat’s pupil, breaking up and distributing the sentence between two paragraphs (The sentence should read: so tattha ñayo ti bhagava avoca, yatha medakathalika antevasi acariyam avoca). The sentence thus wrongly broken up, is then taken to mean that the Buddha here recommends the same acrobatic principle to the monks. (’… Then said the Exalted One: “Now, monks, just as Medhakathalika, the pupil said to his master, “I’ll look after myself,” so ought ye to observe the station of mindfulness…’ etc.) That principle, striking as it is, is less broad-based than the twin-principle recommended by the Buddha himself: “Protecting oneself, one protects others; protecting others, one protects oneself.” As clearly expounded in the Ambalatthika Rahulovada Sutta (M I 415ff), the way to purify one’s bodily, verbal and mental actions is by constant reflection on their repercussions on oneself as well as on others. Mindfulness, then, is that benign agent of transmutation which preserves the inner consistency and harmony of this twin-principle. [Back]
  18. ’…in protecting oneself one protects others’: The principle indicated here in brief can be appreciated the better with the aid of the following exhortation by the Buddha at S II 29:

    “Wherefore, monks, you stir up energy that you may reach what is still unreached, that you may attain what is still unattained, that you may realise what is still unrealized. ’Thus will this going-forth of ours not be barren, but fruitful and of consequence. And those offerings of them whose requisites of robes, almsfood, lodgings and medicaments we enjoy, shall, on our part, be of great fruit, of great consequence for them.’ Verily, it is thus, monks, that you should train yourselves. For one who discerns his own good, this is enough to call up diligent effort. For one who discerns another’s good, this is enough to call up diligent effort. For one who discerns the good of both, this is enough to call up diligent effort.”

    ’The frequent practise, development and making much of mindfulness’ recommended by the present sutta, is one that is conducive to the good of both oneself and others. As the commentary observes, even the mere appreciation of a monk who, by his diligent practise, attains to arahatship, will be a thought productive of great merit. Besides, one’s devotion to the practise and exemplary life can be a source of inspiration to others. Since greed, hatred and delusion are the mainsprings of all evil intentions resulting in harm to oneself and others, in protecting one’s mind from them, one is at the same time, protecting others as well. [Back]

  19. ’…in protecting others, one protects oneself:’ Forbearance, non-violence, loving kindness and compassion, being positive altruistic attitudes, directly concern one’s relations with the outside world. Yet, on the mental side too, they exercise a wholesome influence conducive to one’s own spiritual growth. They are all ’object-lessons’ in the practise of mindfulness. [Back]
  20. This sutta presents one of the most impressive enunciations of the standard of mindfulness advocated by the Buddha. The parable is highly significant in that it depicts the hazards in the worldly environment in regard to the practise of mindfulness. The beauty-queen with all her charms probably symbolises those allurements of sense which evoke covetousness (abhijja). The restless crowd of people represents the other source of distraction—grief or mental uneasiness (domanassa). The bowl brimful of oil symbolising the ’mindfulness-relating-to-body’ (kayagatasati) is always in danger of being ’spilt’ amidst these distractions. Hence, the most effective impetus for the diligent practise of mindfulness is the constant awareness of impending death. [Back]