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Question and Answers
MAHABODHI ACADEMY FOR PALI AND BUDDHIST STUDIE (MAPBS)
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Questionnaire No 3 and Answers of Second Year Diploma Course
When was the first sermon of the Buddha delivered? Write a short essay giving details, such as, the day, month, place etc. Write also the contents of the discourse and what happened at its conclusion.
The historic sermon ‘Dhammachakkappavattana Sutta’ was delivered by the All-knowing Buddha on the full moon day of Aasalha (July), exactly two months after his Awakenment on the Vesaakha (May), in the cool evening, at the juxtaposition of the sun steeing in the west and the moon rising in the east.
The discourse “Setting in Motion the Wheel of Truth” comprises the following themes:
1) Two extremes prevalent in the world.
2) The Middle Way which avoids all extremes.
3) The Noble Eight Path being the Middle Way.
4) The Four Noble Truths in twelve modes.
5) The spiritual transformation following the discourse and the attainment of the Supermundane Path of fruition Insight-states (Lokuttara Mahaphala nana)
At the conclusion of the discourse the Venerable Kondanna, senior most of the five ascetics, became a Stream-Enterer (Sotaapanna), one who has entered the Stream that irreversibly flows into Nibbaana. He became the first awakened disciple of the Buddha. Thereafter each day another ascetic, duly instructed by the Buddha, became a Sotaapanna. Thus on the fifth day, all the five ascetics disciples became ariyas, Buddha’s awakened disciples.
2. Who is an Ariya, a Noble One? How many stages of awakenment are there? What happens when a person gains the first stage?
At the conclusion of the discourse the Venerable Kondanna, senior most of the five ascetics, became a Stream-Enterer (Sotaapanna), one who has entered the Stream that irreversibly flows into Nibbaana. He became the first awakened disciple of the Buddha. Thereafter each day another ascetic, duly instructed by the Buddha, became a Sotaapanna. Thus on the fifth day, all the five ascetics disciples became ariyas a Noble One Buddha’s awakened disciples.
To these five disciples who had received the rare “Ehi Bhikkhu” ordination, the Buddha delivered his second discourse entitled ‘Characteristics of non-self’ (Anattalakkhana Sutta), following which all the five Sotaapanna bhikkus became Arahats, Perfect Ones.
3. Which is the second discourse of the Buddha? Where was it delivered? Give a Brief account of the manner in which the five disciples attained all the stages of awakenment culminating in the state of the Perfect One.
Anattalakkhana Sutta is the second discourse of the Buddha., hearing which the first five disciple became Arahats, Perfect Ones. These five disciples had gained the first stage of supermundane path and fruition insights. This Sutta describes the nature or characteristics of non-self. Anatta is the profoundest and unique teaching of the Buddha., therefore very specific to Buddhism. All religions and philosophic systems in the world posit the concept of self, soul, ego or attaa. The Buddha unambiguously rejected this assumption as a mental construct, a concept or idea. Since Anatta, non-self, is true nature of everything, it is a reality. Unfortunately, in a world of blind beliefs and wrong views, reality is the casualty. Thus the idea of a self is taken for granted.
4. What is the subject matter of the second sutta and in what way is it the unique teaching of the Buddha?
Anattalakkhana Sutta is the second discourse of the Buddha., hearing which the first five disciple became Arahats, Perfect Ones. These five disciples had gained the first stage of supermundane path and fruition insights. This Sutta describes the nature or characteristics of non-self. Anatta is the profoundest and unique teaching of the Buddha, therefore very specific to Buddhism. All religions and philosophic systems in the world posit the concept of self, soul, ego or attaa. The Buddha unambiguously rejected this assumption as a mental construct, a concept or idea. Since Anatta, non-self, is true nature of everything, it is a reality. Unfortunately, in a world of blind beliefs and wrong views, reality is the casualty. Thus the idea of a self is taken for granted.
5. Explain the meaning of the term Anatta. Is is a concept or a reality? Give reason.
Anatta is the profoundest and unique teaching of the Buddha, therefore very specific to Buddhism. All religions and philosophic systems in the world posit the concept of self, soul, ego or attaa. The Buddha unambiguously rejected this assumption as a mental construct, a concept or idea. Since Anatta, non-self, is true nature of everything, it is a reality.
6. What does the term Atta, self, signify? Is it a concept, religious theory or reality? Explain.
All religions and philosophic systems in the world posit the concept of self, soul, ego or attaa. The Buddha unambiguously rejected this assumption as a mental construct, a concept or idea.
7. Why did the Buddha reject the idea of self, which all other religions of the world accept?
All religions and philosophic systems in the world posit the concept of self, soul, ego or attaa. The Buddha unambiguously rejected this assumption as a mental construct, a concept or idea.
8. Write an essay on Anatta, quoting the paragraph of the text of Anattalakkhana sutta, which provides the logic underlying the truth of Anatta.
Anattalakkhana Sutta is the second discourse of the Buddha., hearing which the first five disciple became Arahats, Perfect Ones. These five disciples had gained the first stage of supermundane path and fruition insights. This Sutta describes the nature or characteristics of non-self. Anatta is the profoundest and unique teaching of the Buddha, therefore very specific to Buddhism. All religions and philosophic systems in the world posit the concept of self, soul, ego or attaa. The Buddha unambiguously rejected this assumption as a mental construct, a concept or idea. Since Anatta, non-self, is true nature of everything, it is a reality. Unfortunately, in a world of blind beliefs and wrong views, reality is the casualty. Thus the idea of a self is taken for granted.
9. Write an essay on the discourse entitled Charecteristics of non-self. Give the meaning underlying each of the aggregates.
10. Write an essay on the Three Charecteristics of every thing that exists, namely, impermanence, suffering, an no-self.
The Three Signata: Anicca, Dukkha, Anattaa
The concept of the three signata (tilakkha.na) forms the essential basis for understanding the Buddha’s scheme of emancipation (vimokkha). The three signata, the three universal properties of all existing things of the phenomenal world, are anicca (impermanence, transience or transitoriness), dukkha (unsatisfactoriness, ill, suffering or painfulness), and anattaa (non-self, absence of a permanent ego, or insubstantiality). It is the contemplation of these three universal characteristics of all compounded things and processes (sa.nkhaara), or of all phenomena (dhamma), that leads to true insight (vipassanaa) and enlightenment (bodhi.taa.na). The realisation of these three fundamental truths can thus be regarded as the key to the highest spiritual perfection afforded by the Buddha Dhamma.
The first of the three signata, anicca (impermanence, transitoriness of all things in the universe), is a doctrine constantly and emphatically insisted upon in the Buddhist texts. According to the Buddha’s Teaching, the Buddha Dhamma, there is nothing divine or human, animate or inanimate, organic or inorganic, which is permanent or stable, unchanging or everlasting.
This Buddhist concept of the transitoriness of all things, the Buddhist law of impermanence, finds classic expression in the famous formula “sabbe sa.nkhaaraa aniccaa” occurring in the Cuulasaccaka Sutta (MN 35), and in the more popular statement “aniccaa vata sa.nkhaaraa.” Both these formulas amount to saying that all conditioned things or processes are transient or impermanent. This is not given as the result of metaphysical inquiry, or of any mystical intuition, but as a straightforward judgement to be arrived at by investigation and analysis. It is founded on unbiased thought and has a purely empirical basis. In the Mahaavagga of the A.nguttara Nikaaya (AN 7:62/IV 100ff.) the Master admonishes his disciples thus: “Impermanent, monks, are [all] sa.nkhaaras, unstable [not constant], monks, are [all] sa.nkhaaras, [hence] not a cause for comfort and satisfaction are [all] sa.nkhaaras, so much so that one must get tired of all these sa.nkhaaras, be disgusted with them, and be completely free of them.”
There is no doubt here as to what is meant by the term sa.nkhaara, for the Master himself continues by way of illustration:
There will come a time, monks, maybe hundreds of thousands of years hence, when no more rains will fall and consequently all plants and trees, all vegetation, will dry up and be destroyed with the scorching due to the appearance of a second sun; streams and rivulets will go dry; and with the appearance of a third sun, such large rivers as the Ganges and Yamunaa will dry up; similarly, the lakes and even the great ocean itself will dry up in course of time, and even such great mountains as Sineru, nay even this wide earth, will begin to smoke and be burnt up in a great and universal holocaust … Thus impermanent, monks, are all sa.nkhaaraa, unstable, and hardly a cause for comfort, so much so that one [contemplating their impermanent nature] must necessarily get tired of them.
It is easy to understand from this discourse in what an all-embracing sense the term sa.nkhaara is used: it includes all things, all phenomena that come into existence by natural development or evolution, being conditioned by prior causes and therefore containing within themselves the liability to come to an end, to be dissolved from the state in which they are found.
According to the Buddha, there is no “being,” but only a ceaseless “becoming” (bhava). Every thing is the product of antecedent causes, and, therefore, of dependent origination (pa.ticcasamuppanna). These causes themselves are not everlasting and static, but simply antecedent aspects of the same ceaseless becoming. Thus we may conceive everything as the result of a concatenation of dynamic processes (sa.nkhaara) and, therefore, everything created or formed is only created or formed through these processes and not by any agency outside its own nature. In Buddhism everything is regarded as compounded (sa.nkhata). Thus sa.nkhata in these contexts implies everything arisen or become (bhuuta), which depends on antecedent conditions (sahetu-sappaccaya). It is for this very reason (namely, that everything conceivable in this world has come to be or become depending on antecedent conditions or processes) that everything is to be regarded as liable to pass away. As it is declared in the Sa.myutta Nikaaya (SN < ?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags” />12:31/S II 49): “Whatever has become is of the nature of passing away (ya.m bhuuta.m ta.m nirodhadhamma.m).” This law, if one may call it so, holds in the case of the mightiest of gods, such as Mahaa-Brahmaa, as much as of the tiniest creature. In the 11th discourse of the Diigha Nikaaya it is regarded as ludicrous that even God or Brahma should imagine himself to be eternal. As Professor Rhys Davids remarked,
The state of an individual, of a thing or person, distinct from its surroundings, bounded off from them, is unstable, temporary, sure to pass away. It may last as, for instance, in the case of the gods for hundreds of thousands of years; or, as in the case of some insects, for some hours only; or as in the cause of some material things (as we should say some chemical compounds), for a few seconds only. But in every case as soon as there is a beginning, there begins also at that moment to be an ending.
The ethical significance of this law of impermanence is well brought out in the Mahaa-Sudassana Suttanta (DN 17). There the Buddha tells Aananda, his favourite disciple, about the glories of the famous king of the past, Mahaa Sudassana; about his cities, treasures, palaces, elephants, horses, carriages, women, and so on, in the possession of which he led a wonderful life; about his great regal achievements; and finally his death; only to draw the moral conclusion: “Behold, Aananda, how all these things [sa.nkhaara] are now dead and gone, have passed and vanished away. Thus, impermanent, Aananda, are the sa.nkhaaras; thus untrustworthy, Aananda, are the sa.nkhaaras. And this, Aananda, is enough to be weary of, to be disgusted with and be completely free of such sa.nkhaaras.”
When the Buddha characterized all compounded things and conditioned processes as impermanent and unstable, it must be understood that, before all else, stood out that particular heap of processes (sa.nkhaarapu.tja) that is called man; for at bottom it was with man chiefly that Buddha had to do, in so far as it was to man primarily that he showed the way to emancipation. Thus the chief problem was to find out the real nature of man, and it is precisely in this great discovery that the uniqueness of the Dhamma is visible. The Buddha’s conclusion regarding man’s nature is in perfect agreement with his general concept of impermanence: Man himself is a compound of several factors and his supposedly persistent personality is in truth nothing more than a collection of ceaselessly changing processes; in fact, a continuous becoming or bhava. The Buddha analysed man into five aggregates: ruupa, vedanaa, sa.t.taa, sa.nkhaara, and vi.t.taa.na , that is to say, material form, sensations, perceptions, dynamic processes and consciousness. In discourse after discourse, the Master has emphatically asserted that each of these aggregates is impermanent and unstable. In the famous discourse of the Diigha Nikaaya (DN 22/D II 301) entitled “The Discourse on the Establishment of Mindfulness” (Mahaa Satipa.t.thaana Sutta) the Master teaches the disciple to view all these categories as being of the nature of arising (samudayadhamma) and of passing away (vayadhamma): “Such is material form, such is its genesis, such its passing away; and so on with the other three groups: perceptions, dynamic processes and consciousness.” In fact, the highest consummation of spiritual life is said to result from the true perception of the evanescent nature of the six spheres of sense contact. The 102nd discourse of the Majjhima Nikaaya ends with the words: “This, indeed, monks, is the perfect way of utter peace into which the Tathaagata has won full Enlightenment, that is to say, the understanding, as they really are, of the six spheres of sense-contact, of their arising and passing away, their comfort and misery, and the way of escape from them free of grasping” (M II 237). It is these six spheres of sense-contact that cause the continuity of sa.msaara, in other words, bhava or becoming, and thus they are to be understood as involving the most important sa.nkhaaras. Hence the oft repeated stanza in the Pali Canon: “All compounded things indeed are subject to arising and passing away; what is born comes to an end; blessed is the end of becoming; it is peace.”
The fact of impermanence as the leading characteristic of all compounded things and processes of the phenomenal world has been dealt with above. The next, according to the concept of the three signata (tilakkha.na), is the fact of dukkha which signifies the universal characteristic of all sa.msaaric existence, viz. its general unsatisfactoriness. It must be admitted that this Pali word “dukkha” is one of the most difficult terms to translate. Writers in English very often use as its equivalent the English word “sorrow” or “ill” and some even translate it as “pain,” “suffering” and so on. But none of these English words covers the same ground as the Pali dukkha, they are too specialized, too limited and usually too strong. The difficulty is increased by the fact that the Pali word itself is used in the Canon in several senses.
There is what one may call the general philosophical sense, then a narrower psychological sense, and a still narrower physical sense. It is as indicating the general philosophical sense of dukkha that the word un-satisfactoriness has been selected. This is perhaps the best English term, at least in this particular context of the “three signata.”
Whatever some writers of Buddhism may have said, the recognition of the fact of dukkha stands out as the most essential concept of Buddhism. In the very first discourse after attaining Enlightenment the Master formulated this concept in the following terms:
This, indeed, monks, is the Noble Truth of dukkha, namely the fact that birth itself is dukkha, disease is dukkha, death is dukkha; to be joined with what is unpleasant is dukkha, to be separated from what is pleasant is dukkha, failure in getting what one wants is dukkha, in short the five groups of physical and mental qualities making up the individual due to grasping are themselves dukkha. (Vin I 10; cp. S V 421)
This observation of the universal fact of unsatisfactoriness is, as any unbiased student of Buddhism will soon realize, the central pivot of the whole system of spiritual and moral progress discovered and proclaimed by the Buddha.
According to the Buddha, the beginning, continuity and ending of all experience (i.e. the whole world [loka]) for a sentient being, are centred in its own individuality (naama-ruupa), that is to say, the five groups of grasping that constitute the individual (the pa.tcupadaanakkhandhaa viz. material form, sensations and feelings, perceptions [physical and mental], dynamic processes, and consciousness [ruupa, vedanaa sa.t.taa, sa.nkhaara and vi.t.taa.na]). Now, the physical form or the body of the individual is the visible basis of this individuality, and this body, as every one knows, is a product of material components derived from the four great elements, viz. the watery, the fiery, the airy and the earthy (aapo tejo, vayo, pa.thavii ). It is said to be built up of these four chief elements (caatummahaabhuutika) and therefore, it is conditioned by these. As was explained in the previous article, the universal characteristic of the four great elements is their impermanence (anicca), and not much science is needed to understand this fact which is self-evident to the thoughtful person. The Buddha says:
“A time will come when the watery element will rise in fury, and when that happens, the earthy element will disappear, unmistakably revealing itself as transient and subject to ruin, destruction and vicissitude… There may also come a time when the watery element will dry up and no more water is left in the great ocean than will cover one joint of a finger. On that day this great watery element will unmistakably reveal itself as transient and subject to ruin, destruction and vicissitude. A time will come when the fiery element will rage furiously and devour the whole surface of the earth, ceasing only when there is nothing more to devour. On that day this great fiery element will unmistakably reveal itself as transient and subject to destruction. A time will come when the airy element will rage in fury and carry away village and town and everything upon the earth … till it exhausts itself completely. On that day this great airy element will unmistakably reveal itself as transient and itself subject to ruin, destruction and all vicissitude.” (MN 28/M I 187)
Thus everything that is comprised within the four great elements shows itself subject to the universal law of transitoriness, and it is not a difficult inference to conclude that this fathom-long body which is a derivative of these four elements will itself go the way of its elemental source.
Now the Buddha goes on to show the impermanence or transitoriness of the remaining components of our individuality which are based upon the body and its organs:
The corporeal form, monks, is transient, and what underlies the arising of corporeal form, that too is transient. As it is arisen from what is transient, how could corporeal form be permanent? Sensations and feelings are transient; what underlies the arising of these [viz. the sense organs, depending on the body] is also transient. Arisen from what is transient, how could sensations and feelings be permanent? Similarly, perceptions, dynamic processes of the mind, and consciousness: all these, arising from the transient, cannot but be transient. (SN 22:15/S III 23)
In all these are observed arising, vicissitude and passing away. This real, impermanent nature of everything constituting the individual can only lead to one conclusion: that as they are transitory and by nature unabiding, they cannot be the basis for a satisfactory experience dependent on them. In short, whatever is transient, is (by that very fact) unsatisfactory (yad-anicca.m ta.m dukkha.m, SN 22:15). Hence is established the great Truth of Buddhism that the whole personality or individuality (wherever that may take shape, whether in this world or in another, as is possible in sa.msaara) and therefore the whole world of experience which simply depends on this individuality, all this is unsatisfactory or dukkha.
What do you think, monks; is the body permanent or is it transient?
It is transient, Sir.
Now, that which is transient: is it satisfactory or unsatisfactory?
It is unsatisfactory, Sir.
What do you think, monks, sensation, perception, mental processes and consciousness: are all these permanent or transient?
They are transient, Sir.
Now, what is transient: is it satisfactory or unsatisfactory?
It is unsatisfactory, Sir. (SN 22:57).
Thus this general unsatisfactoriness is to be regarded as the universal characteristic of all sa.msaaric experience, and this fact constitutes the Noble Truth of dukkha. To the intelligent person all this must sound axiomatic. But, then, why are the large majority of people unconvinced of, or unconcerned with, this great Truth which forms the bed-rock of the Buddha Dhamma? To answer this we have to probe into the working of man’s own mind which alone can realize this conception of the universality of dukkha.
The Master has said that the sentient being is psychologically so constituted that he seeks what is pleasurable and shuns what is non-pleasurable (sukhakaamo dukkhapa.tikkuula); to use the above employed terminology, he hankers after what is satisfactory for himself and recoils from what is unsatisfactory. Critics of Buddhism may wonder whether it is justifiable to regard the whole psychology of the sentient being as being so strongly ruled by this principle of hankering for the pleasurable and shunning what is unpleasant. That a similar conclusion was arrived at by Freud, the founder of the modem school of psychoanalysis, should cause such critics or sceptics to pause and reflect upon the scientific validity of such an observation. Freud begins his famous dissertation on “Beyond the Pleasure Principle” with the following significant words: “In the theory of psychoanalysis we have no hesitation in assuming that the course taken by mental events is automatically regulated by the pleasure principle. We believe, that is to say, that the course of those events is invariably set in motion by an unpleasurable tension, and that it takes a direction such that its final outcome coincides with a lowering of that tension, that is, with an avoidance of unpleasure or a production of pleasure.” Freud thus introduces what he calls an “economic” principle into his study of mental processes, and is it not a noteworthy fact in the history of human ideas that the Buddha had nearly twenty five centuries earlier formulated the same principle in practically the same terms? Now, if man by nature is driven by his own unconscious processes to seek for the pleasant and avoid what is unpleasant, it stands to reason that he would be unwilling to accept a philosophy whose basic idea is the characterization of all his experiences as impermanent and therefore liable to bring unhappiness or dukkha. That is why the Buddha soon after his Enlightenment considered that only a very few in the world had their vision sufficiently clear to grasp this great Truth of the universality of dukkha.
Before concluding this brief exposition of dukkha a doubt should be cleared which is often seen to cloud this conception and erroneously leads certain people to conclude that if the fact of dukkha is such a universal characteristic of experience, Buddhism must be regarded as a profession of pessimism. That such a view is totally wrong is seen clearly from certain passages of the Canon itself. According to Buddhism there is a point of view from which experiences, that is to say, sensations and feelings (vedanaa) can be considered to be threefold: they can be pleasant or happy (sukha), or they can be unpleasant or unhappy (dukkha), or they can be neutral, i.e. neither pleasant nor unpleasant (adukkhamasukha). From this lower or relative point of view which holds good for all individual experience, there is what may be called happiness in the world just as much as unhappiness, the degree of predominance of the one over the other varying according to personal and environmental conditions prevailing at a given moment. But further contemplation of such happiness and unhappiness and neutral feelings shows unmistakably that there is a common denominator between all these three types of experiences, namely, the fact that all three are subject to the universal property of impermanence or transience. Thus the Venerable Saariputta assures the Master that if questioned on the real nature of sensations and feelings, he would reply: “Threefold, indeed, friend, are those feelings and sensations: pleasant, unpleasant and neither-pleasant-nor-unpleasant; but, friend, [all] these three [experiences] are transient, and when one realizes that whatever is transient [and fleeting] must give rise to dukkha [in other words, is unsatisfactory], no hankering after them arises.”
It can easily be seen that in the last sentence, dukkha is used in the wider philosophical sense, as referred to at the beginning of this article. Hence is the Master’s joyful approval of Saariputta’s words: “Well said, well said, Saariputta, this exactly is the manner in which one should summarily dispose of such a question: Whatever experience there is, such [being transitory] must fall within the category of dukkha” (ya.m ki.tci vedayita.m tam dukkhasmi.m ; SN 12:32/S II 53). All sa.msaaric experience is in this sense vedayita and thus arises the incontrovertible proposition that all becoming in sa.msaara (bhava) is dukkha or unsatisfactory from the highest point of view (paramattha). Herein is also based that absolutely certain optimism of Buddhism, viz. that there is a way out of this sa.msaaric dukkha, a haven of utter peace and tranquillity, which is the absolute happiness of Nibbaana. Nibbaana.m parama.m sukha.m.
The above discussion of the two signata of impermanence and unsatisfactoriness naturally leads to the basic Buddhist concept of anattaa, non-self or insubstantiality.
Every student of Buddhism knows that this concept is the most controversial of all the basic ideas of the system, and that a hundred and one interpretations have been suggested by commentators, scholars and critics. To the Western student of Buddhism the so-called “anattaa-doctrine” has been the hunting-ground, not always a happy one, for the display of personal ingenuity and dialectical jumbling, and it is significant that this idea has been the cause of the most glaring contradictions among themselves, and even within the writings of the same authority. Even our own historical schools of Buddhist interpretation have found this concept the most difficult. The main difficulty confronting the interpreters has, in my opinion, been the lack of a clear definition of the term attaa. It is curious how writers, particularly those of the West, have plunged into discussions of this doctrine equipped with no other definition of it than the ideas of Soul or Ego borrowed from theistic and pantheistic systems of philosophy or religion, as they were accustomed to before taking up the study of Buddhism. It is not intended to pursue the criticism of such interpretation in this article, but to emphasize the important fact that by the word attaa or atta books of the Pali Canon refer to a number of historical concepts that prevailed in India about the sixth century before Christ, and, therefore, the term must be defined accordingly in relation to the particular context under review. Here then we shall confine ourselves to those contexts where the adjective anattaa is used as the universal characteristic of all dhammas (sabbe dhamma anattaa) which is the third of the three signata or tilakkha.na.
The two previous articles dealt with the facts of the impermanence of all compounded things and processes, and of the general unsatisfactoriness of all states derived from these, namely, the five groups of physical and mental properties dependent on grasping (pa.tcupadaanakkhandhaa); in particular those feelings and sensations that go to make up individual experience (vedanaa) which could be classified as pleasant, unpleasant, and neither-pleasant-nor-unpleasant. The relevant texts were cited to show that the latter characteristic of general unsatisfactoriness is derived directly from the first characteristic of impermanence. It is now opportune to show how as a necessary corollary of this general unsatisfactoriness of all experience arises the realization of the third and last verity included in the three signata, viz. the universal characteristic of all physical and mental states and phenomena as anattaa.
In the words of the Master himself: “Physical form, monks, is transient [anicca], and whatever is transient is unsatisfactory [dukkha] whatever is unsatisfactory, that is anattaa [non-self]; and whatever is non-self, that is not of me, that I am not, that is not my self.” This same rigorous logic is in turn applied to the four other groups constituting individuality viz. the feelings and sensations (vedanaa), perception and cognitions (sa.t.taa), mental processes and reflexes (sa.nkhaara) and finally, the individual’s consciousness itself (vi.t.taa.na). This last application of the universal characteristic of non-self to consciousness is in several ways the most significant act in this statement, and when we remind ourselves that the Pali word vi.t.taa.na includes even the innermost mental experiences of the. sentient being, we can see clearly the exact force of the anattaa characteristic as conceived by the Buddha. The most rarified concept of Self or Ego that any philosopher, before or after the Buddha, ever conceived was somehow or somewhere concerned with a state of self-consciousness, the consciousness that “I am I.”
To the Buddha, even this self-consciousness or “I-ness” is subject to the inexorable characteristics of impermanence and unsatisfactoriness, and since whatever is subject to these characteristics is non-self, this I-consciousness must be regarded as an illusion or an error. This is, in short, the significance of the adjective anattaa as used in the above mentioned doctrine. In the Cha-chakka Sutta (MN 148) a detailed analysis of this concept occurs:
“If any one regards the eye [i.e. seeing] as the self, that does not hold, for the arising and the passing away of the eye is [clear from experience]. With regard to that which arises and passes away, if anyone were to think, ‘myself is arising and passing away’ [such a thought] would be controverted by the person himself. Therefore, it does not hold to regard the eye as the self. Thus the eye [or seeing] is [proved to be] non-self. Similarly if anyone says that the forms [ruupaa or visual objects] are the self, that too does not hold.”
So both the eye and the visual objects [cognized by it] are non-self. The same argument applies to visual perception or the eye-consciousness [cakkhuvi.t.taa.na] if one were to consider this as self. Similarly, it applies to visual sense-contact [cakkhu-samphassa], so that the eye, its sense objects, visual consciousness and visual sense-contact are all four non-self [anattaa]. It applies also to feelings [that arise due to the above four], so that the eye, its sense-objects, visual consciousness, visual sense-contact, and the resultant feelings, are all five non-self. It applies lastly to the [instinctual] craving [ta.nhaa] that is associated with above five, so that the eye, its sense objects, visual consciousness, visual contact, the resultant feelings, and the craving behind them all, these six are non-self. And, what thus applies to the eye or the sense of sight, applies equally to the other five senses [the last being the mind (mano) as an organ of sense]. Thus, if it be said that the mind is self [mano attaa ’ ti ], that too does not hold. Similarly, it is inadmissible to assert that the mind, or its sense-objects [dhamma] or mental-consciousness [manovi.t.taa.na], or mental contact [manosamphassa], or the feelings [vedanaa] that result from all the craving [ta.nhaa], that is associated with all these, are the self. They are non-self, all of them. The way that leads to the origination of the [concept of] permanent individuality or personality [sakkaaya-samudaya] is to regard as mine, or as “I am this,” or as “This is my self” either the sense of seeing, or the visual data, or visual consciousness, or visual contact, its feelings or its craving or similarly, to regard hearing and the four other senses [including mind] with their adjuncts. The way that leads to the cessation of the [view of] permanent personality [sakkaaya-nirodha-gaama.ni-pa.tipadaa] is to cease regarding as mine and so forth, either [the functions of] seeing, or hearing, or smelling, or tasting, or touching, or thinking, or their adjuncts.”
Now, the Buddha goes on to discuss the ethical implications of this view of self (attaa) or permanent personality (sakkaaya):
“From sight and visual objects arises visual consciousness and the meeting of all three is contact, from which contact come feelings which may be pleasant, or unpleasant, or neither. When experiencing a pleasant feeling, a man rejoices in it, hails it and clings tight to it, and a trend to passion [attachment] ensues. When experiencing an unpleasant feeling a man sorrows, feels miserable, wails, beats his breast and goes distraught, and a trend of repugnance ensues. When experiencing a feeling that is neither pleasant nor unpleasant he has no true and causal comprehension of that feeling’s origin, disappearance, agreeableness, perils and outcome, and a trend of ignorance ensues. It can never possibly result that, without first discarding the pleasant feeling’s trend to passion, without first discarding the unpleasant feeling’s trend to repugnance, and without getting rid of the neutral feeling’s trend to ignorance, without discarding ignorance, and stopping it from arising, he will put an end, here and now, to dukkha. And what is true of sight, is equally true of the other five senses.”
Thus the Buddha admonishes his disciples to analyse the whole conception of self or abiding personality and thereby the whole of experience (loka) along with every single component of the process, whereby the fallacy of Self or abiding personality arises, viewing this whole process of the arising of individuality (naamaruupa) in a perfectly objective manner.
From all this it becomes clear that the three concepts of anicca, dukkha and anattaa, the three signata or tilakkha.na, are the three corner-stones of the whole edifice of Buddhism. To be convinced of their validity is to accept the Dhamma in its entirety and therefore there can be no half-way house in this process of conviction. It behoves each one of us, who call ourselves Buddhists, to contemplate these three permanent characteristics of the world as we experience it, both objectively and subjectively, and apply in our individual and social lives the ethical principles that, as the Master pointed out, derive from such conviction and lead us to that state free from these three signata, viz. the eternal bliss of Nibbaana.
The Three Signata
Gleanings from the Pali Scriptures
These texts have been selected by the editors of this series and partly adapted from various translations.
Whatever has origination, all that is subject to cessation. (MN 56)
“There is no materiality whatever, O monks, no feelings no perception, no formations, no consciousness whatever that is permanent, everlasting, eternal, changeless, identically abiding for ever.” Then the Blessed One took a bit of cow-dung in his hand and he spoke to the monks. ”Monks if even that much of permanent, everlasting, eternal, changeless individual Selfhood [attabhaava], identically abiding for ever, could be found, then this living of a life of purity [brahmacariya] for the complete eradication of ill [dukkhakkhaya] would not be feasible.” (SN 22:96)
Here a monk abides contemplating rise and fall in the five categories affected by clinging thus: “Such is materiality, such its origin, such its disappearance, [and so with the other four].” Cultivating this kind of concentration conduces to the eradication of taints [aasavakkhaya]. (DN 33)
Monks, formations are impermanent; they are not lasting; they provide no real comfort; so that that is enough for a man to become dispassionate, for his lust to fade out, and for him to be liberated. (AN 7:62)
Here, monks, feelings, perceptions and thoughts are known to him as they arise, known as they appear present, known as they disappear. Cultivating this kind of concentration conduces to mindfulness and full awareness. (DN 33)
When a man abides thus mindful and fully aware, diligent, ardent and self-controlled, then, if pleasant feeling arises in him, he understands, “This pleasant feeling has arisen in me; but that is dependent, not independent. Dependent on what? Dependent on this body. But this body is impermanent, formed and dependently originated. Now how could pleasant feeling, arisen dependent on an impermanent, formed, dependently arisen body, be permanent?” In the body and in feeling he abides contemplating impermanence and fall and fading and cessation and relinquishment. As he does so, his underlying tendency to lust for the body and for pleasant feeling is abandoned. Similarly when he contemplates unpleasant feeling his underlying tendency to resistance [pa.tigha] to the body and unpleasant feelings is abandoned; and when he contemplates neither-unpleasant-nor-pleasant feeling his underlying tendency to ignorance of the body and of that feeling is abandoned. (SN 36:7)
Monks, when a man sees as impermanent the eye [and the rest], which is impermanent, then he has right view. (SN 35:155)
Consciousness comes into being [sambhoti] by dependence on a duality. What is that duality? It is the eye, which is impermanent, changing, becoming-other, and visible objects, which are impermanent, changing and becoming-other; such is the transient, fugitive duality [of eye-cum-visible objects], which is impermanent, changing and becoming-other. Eye-consciousness is impermanent, changing and becoming-other; for this cause and condition [namely eye cum-visible objects] for the arising of eye-consciousness being impermanent, changing and becoming-other, how could eye-consciousness, arisen by depending on an impermanent condition, be permanent? Then the coincidence, concurrence and confluence of these three impermanent dhammas is called contact [phassa]; but eye-contact too is impermanent, changing becoming- other; for how could eye-contact arisen by depending on an impermanent condition, be permanent? It is one touched by contact who feels [vedeti], likewise who perceives [sa.tjaanaati]; so these transient, fugitive dhammas too [namely, feeling, choice and perception] are impermanent, changing and becoming, other. (And so with ear-cum-sounds, nose-cum-odours, tongue-cum-flavours, body-cum-tangibles, mind-cum-ideas.) (SN 35:93)
When a monk abides much with his mind fortified by perception of impermanence, his mind retreats, retracts and recoils from gain, honour and renown, and does not reach out to it just as a cock’s feather or a strip of sinew thrown on a fire retreats, retracts and recoils and does not reach out to it. (AN 7:46)
Perception of impermanence should be cultivated for the elimination of the conceit “I am,” since perception of not-self becomes established in one who perceives impermanence; and it is perception of not-self that arrives at the elimination of the conceit “I am,” which is extinction [nibbaana] here and now. (Ud 4.1)
Fruitful as an act of [lavish] giving is, yet it is still more fruitful to go with confident heart for refuge to the Buddha, the Dhamma and the Sangha and undertake the five precepts of virtue … Fruitful as this is, yet it is still more fruitful to cultivate even as little as a whiff of fragrance of loving-kindness. Fruitful as that is, still more fruitful it is to cultivate the perception of impermanence even for only as long as the snapping of a finger. (AN 9:20)
Better a single day of life perceiving how things rise and fall than to live out a century yet not perceive their rise and fall. (Dhp 14)
When a monk sees six rewards it should be enough for him to establish unlimitedly perception of impermanence in all formations. What six? “All formations will seem to me insubstantial. My mind will find no relish in all the world. My mind will emerge from all the world. My mind will incline towards Nibbaana. My fetters will come to be abandoned. And I shall be endowed with the highest in monkhood.” (AN 6:102)
All life and all existence here
With all its joys and all its woe,
Rests on a single state of mind,
And quick passes that moment by.
Nay, even gods whose life does last
For four and eighty thousand kalpas,
Do not remain one and the same,
Not even for two single thoughts.
Those groups that passed away just now,
Those groups that will pass later on,
Those groups just passing in between,
They’re not in nature different.
Not in the future moment does one live,
One now lives in the present moment.
”When consciousness dissolves, the world is dead“;
This utterance is true in the highest sense.
No hoarding up of things passed by,
No heaping up in future time!
And things arisen are all like
The mustard seed on pointed awl.
The groups of life that disappeared
At death, as well as during life,
Have all alike become extinct,
And never will they rise again.
Out of the unseen did they rise,
Into the unseen do they pass.
Just as the lightning flashes forth,
So do they flash and pass away.
(Vism Ch. 20)
The monk in deepest solitude,
Grown still and tranquil in his heart,
Feels superhuman happiness
Whilst clearly he perceives the truth.
Whenever he reflects upon
The rise and passing of the groups,
He’s filled with rapture and with bliss
Whilst he beholds the Deathless Realm.
Transient are formations all.
Their law it is to rise and fall.
Arisen - soon they disappear.
To make them cease is happiness.
(SN 6:15, DN 16)
Dukkha—Suffering or Unsatisfactoriness
This only do I teach: suffering, and its end. (MN 22)
Suffering only arises when anything arises; suffering only ceases when anything ceases. (SN 12:15)
Suffering is threefold: intrinsic suffering [dukkha-dukkha], suffering in change [viparinaama-dukkha] and suffering due to formations [sa.nkhaara-dukkha]. Bodily and mental painful feeling are called intrinsic suffering because suffering is their very nature, their common designation and because they are in themselves suffering… . Bodily and mental pleasant feeling are called suffering in change because they are a cause for the arising of pain when they change. Neutral feeling and the remaining formations of the three planes of existence are called suffering due to formations because they are oppressed by rise and fall. ( Vism Ch. 16)
Pleasant feeling is agreeable while it lasts and is disagreeable when it changes; painful feeling is disagreeable while it lasts and is agreeable when it changes; the neither pleasant-nor unpleasant feeling is agreeable when there is knowledge and disagreeable when there is no knowledge. (MN 44)
A heedless man is vanquished by the disagreeable in the guise of the agreeable, by the unloved in the guise of the loved, by suffering in the guise of happiness. (Ud 2.8)
In the past, sense-pleasures were a painful experience, intensely burning and searing; in the future too, sense-pleasures will be a painful experience, intensely burning and searing; and also now in the present, sense-pleasures are a painful experience, intensely burning and searing. But these beings have not yet lost their greed for sense-pleasures, are consumed by craving for sense-pleasures, burning in feverish passion for sense-pleasures; and with their faculties clouded, they have, in spite of that painful experience, the illusion of happiness. (MN 75)
Whoso delights in materiality, in feeling, in perception, in formations, and in consciousness, he delights in suffering; and whoso delights in suffering, will not be freed from suffering. Thus I say. (SN 22:29)
The arising, presence and manifestation of materiality, feeling, perception, formations, and consciousness is but the arising of suffering, the presence of maladies, the manifestation of decay and death. The cessation, the stilling, the ending of materiality, feeling, perception, formations and consciousness is but the cessation of suffering, the stilling of maladies, the ending of decay and death. (SN 22:30)
Inconceivable is the beginning of this sa.msaara; not to be discovered is a first beginning of beings who, obstructed by ignorance and ensnared by craving, are hurrying and hastening through this round of rebirths. Which do you think, O monks, is more: the flood of tears which, weeping and wailing, you have shed upon this long way, hurrying and hastening through this round of rebirths, united with the undesired, separated from the desired; this or the waters of the four great oceans? Long have you suffered the death of father and mother, of sons, daughters, brothers and sisters. And whilst you were thus suffering you have, indeed, shed more tears upon this long way than there is water in the four great oceans. And thus, O monks, have you long undergone torment, undergone misfortune, filled the graveyards full; verily, long enough to be dissatisfied with all forms of existence, long enough to turn away and free yourselves from them all. (SN 15:3 )
How can you find delight and mirth
Where there is burning without end?
In deepest darkness you are wrapped!
Why do you not aspire for light?
Look at this puppet here, well rigged,
A heap of many sores, piled up,
Diseased and full of greediness,
Unstable and impermanent!
Devoured by old age is this frame,
A prey to sickness, weak and frail;
To pieces breaks this putrid body,
All life must truly end in death!
For those who know not Ill and how Ill grows,
who neither know how Ill is stilled and quenched
nor know the Way to lay Ill to rest,
—those miss Release, alike of heart and mind;
they cannot end it all and reach the goal;
they tramp the round of birth, decay and death.
But they who know both Ill and how Ill grows,
and also know how Ill is stilled and quenched
and know the Way that lays all Ill to rest;
—these win Release of heart, Release of mind;
these surely end it all and reach the goal;
these nevermore shall know decay and birth.
When a monk sees six rewards it should be enough for him to establish unlimited perception of suffering in all formations. What six? “The thought of turning away from all formations will be established in me, like unto a murderer with drawn sword. My mind will emerge from all the world. I shall see peace in Nibbaana. The underlying [evil] tendencies will be eliminated in me. Dutiful shall I be. And l shall have well attended upon the Master, with a loving heart.” (AN 6:103)
Anattaa: Not-self or Egolessness
Give up what does not belong to you! Such giving-up will long conduce to your weal and happiness. And what is it that does not belong to you? Materiality, feelings, perception, formations and consciousness; these do not belong to you and these you should give up. Such giving-up will long conduce to your weal and happiness. (SN 22:33)
All ascetics and brahmins who conceive a self in various ways, all those conceive the five groups [as the self] or one or another of them. Which are the five? Herein an ignorant worldling conceives materiality, feeling, perception, formations or consciousness as the self; or the self as the owner of any of these groups; or that group as included in the self; or the self as included in that group. (SN 22:47)
It is impossible that anyone with right view should see anything [or idea, dhamma] as self. (MN 115)
The learned and noble disciple does not consider materiality, feeling, perception, formations, or consciousness as self; nor the self as the owner of these groups; nor these groups as included within the self; nor the self as included within the groups. Of such a learned and noble disciple it is said that he is no longer fettered by any group of existence, [his] own or external. Thus I say. (SN 22:117)
It is possible that a virtuous man while contemplating the five groups as impermanent, woeful . . , empty, not-self may realize the Fruit of Stream-entrance. (SN 22:122)
One should not imagine oneself as being identical with the eye, should not imagine oneself as being included within the eye, should not imagine oneself as being outside the eye, should not imagine: “The eye belongs to me.” And so with ear, nose, tongue, body and mind. One should not imagine oneself as being identical with visual objects, sounds, odours, tactile and mental objects. One should not imagine oneself as being included in them or outside of them; one should not imagine: “They belong to me.” One should not imagine oneself as being identical with eye-consciousness… ear-consciousness… nose-consciousness… body-consciousness… mind-consciousness; should not imagine oneself as being included within mind-consciousness; should not imagine oneself as being outside of mind-consciousness, should not imagine: “Mind-consciousness belongs to me.” One should not imagine oneself as being identical with the totality of things [the All, sabba.m] should not imagine oneself as being included in the totality of things; should not imagine oneself as being outside the totality of things; should not imagine: “The totality of things belongs to me.” Thus not imagining any more, the wise disciple clings no longer to anything in the world. Clinging no longer to anything, he trembles not. Trembling no longer, he reaches in his own person the extinction of all vanity: “Exhausted is rebirth, lived the holy life, the task is done, and nothing further remains after this.” Thus he knows. (SN 35:90)
It would be better for an untaught ordinary man to treat as self [attaa] this body, which is constructed upon the four great primaries of matter [maha-bhuuta], than mind. Why? Because the body can last one year, two years … even a hundred years: but what is called “mind” and “thinking” and “consciousness” arises and ceases differently through night and day. (SN 12:61)
Consciousness is not-self. Also the causes and conditions of the arising of consciousness, they likewise are not-self. Hence, how could it be possible that consciousness, having arisen through something which is not-self, could ever be a self? (SN 35:141)
When a monk sees six rewards it should be enough for him to establish unlimited perception of not-self concerning all things [dhamma]. What six? “I shall be aloof from all the world. No impulses of ‘I’ [egotism] will assail me. No impulses of ‘mine’ will assail me. With extraordinary insight shall I be endowed. I shall clearly see causes and the causally-arisen phenomena.” (AN 6:104)
Filed under: General
@ 12:46 pm
Online edition of India’s National Newspaper
Tuesday, Nov 27, 2007
Concern over monasteries
Jammu: Conservationists, tourism experts and political figures have demanded renewed efforts for the preservation of the monasteries in Ladakh which symbolise a unique cultural heritage.
A day-long discussion organised here by the Vijay Suri Foundation in collaboration with the Friends of Ladakh Society, witnessed concern over their state.
Mohammed Ashraf, former Director-General of Tourism, Jammu and Kashmir, said: “Monasteries are crumbling in Ladakh and a lot of efforts are needed for their preservation.
At the same time, it cannot be forgotten that they are living temples where monks live and meditate. So it is important to involve them in the conservation efforts.” Sati Sahni, vice-president, Friends of Ladakh Society, said records relating to all the monasteries should be maintained in order that they may be retained in their original form and shape. “All important monasteries should depute a monk to the National Museum so that they are trained in conservation.”
Jammu and Kashmir Minister for Power Nawang Rigzin Jora said: “Monasteries are the richest heritage resources of Ladakh which play a significant role in the socio-religious development of Ladakhis.”
U.P. intelligence set-up to be strengthened
|Mayawati retains Special Task Force
Rs.6.75 crore sanctioned for
Says more efficient and specialised unit is needed
LUCKNOW: Faced with mounting criticism from the Opposition over Friday’s serial bomb blasts, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati on Monday formed an Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS).
The decision underlined the devaluation of the Special Task Force as a unit to combat terrorism. But the STF has been retained with the government deciding to establish two zonal units — one in the west with headquarters in Meerut and the other in the east with its head office in Varanasi. These units would be headed by the DIG, STF.
Ms. Mayawati also took steps to strengthen the Intelligence set-up. She decided to create a separate cadre for Intelligence personnel and sanctioned Rs.6.75 crore for hi-tech surveillance and modern equipment.
With its headquarters in Lucknow, the ATS would function as a specialised unit to meet the militant threat. One unit each would be set up in the seven police zones of Lucknow, Varanasi, Allahabad, Meerut, Kanpur, Gorakhpur and Bareilly and the squad would be headed by an officer of the rank of IG. The IG would be assisted by one IG, SP, Additional SP, Deputy SP and other staff members.
Lucknow Zone IG Arvind Kumar Jain will head the ATS.
Ms. Mayawati told journalists here that the STF had played an important role in tracking down ultras and hardened criminals but after last Friday’s terror attack, it was felt that a more efficient and specialised unit was needed. In fact, a day after the terror strike, the STF was merged with the Law and Order wing of the police.
Filed under: General
@ 11:46 am
For The Gain of the Many and For the Welfare of the Many
Online edition of India’s National Newspaper
Monday, Nov 26, 2007
Mayawati seeks quota in private sector
|“Bringing all communities together is the only thing which will work”
— Photo: Vivek Bendre
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati being greeted by supporters at a rally at Shivaji Park in Mumbai on Sunday.
MUMBAI: Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) leader and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati on Sunday demanded concrete steps from the Centre to ensure reservation of jobs for Dalits in the private sector. The BSP was working very hard on a national basis to ensure reservation in the private sector but as yet the Centre has taken no concrete step, she said.
A mammoth crowd waited at Shivaji Park for several hours and gave Ms. Mayawati a standing ovation as she arrived. A sea of blue flags fluttered in the winter breeze and the BSP mascot, the elephant, was everywhere.
Addressing the people from a stage designed on the lines of the Sanchi Stupa, she said no party was willing to give Dalits reservation in the private sector and there is a mentality against reservation. She also expressed the fear that the policy would come to a gradual end.
Government organisations were being privatised in a big way and this also meant denial of jobs for Dalits. After she had come to power in Uttar Pradesh this time she had met the Prime Minister and also written to him on this issue. The Centre has to take a tough stand on this as the private sector was ‘dithering.’ In Uttar Pradesh, the government had already decided to reserve jobs in the private sector, she said.
The other issue she raised was reservation in jobs for the economically backward among the upper castes and religious minorities. “We want to give reservations separately for these sections,” she said. However, she promised that if her government was elected to power at the Centre, these quotas would be given automatically.
Speaking for over an hour, the Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister reiterated that the BSP design of “Sarva Samaj Bhaichara Banao” (Bringing all communities together) was the only thing which would work.
She said her Uttar Pradesh formula of aligning the upper castes with the Dalits, religious minorities and the other backward classes was the formula of the future.
Uttar Pradesh govt to set up anti-terror squads
26 Nov 2007, 1729 hrs IST,PTI
LUCKNOW: Four days after terror blasts at court compounds in three cities in Uttar Pradesh, the Mayawati government on Monday decided to set up an Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) on the lines of Maharashtra to effectively deal with terrorism.
The government also decided to strengthen the intelligence system in the state by creating a separate cadre comprising people with good knowledge of computer and experts in different languages.
Addressing a press conference here, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati said the Special Task Force (STF) had also been strengthened and two additional STF units had been created by dividing the state into east and west zones having headquarters at Varanasi, one of the sites of last week’s blasts, and Meerut.
SETTING UP OF UTTAR PRADESH PAPER MILL PROJECT, JAGDISHPUR, DISTT …
Press Information Bureau (press release) - New Delhi,India
i) Hindustan Paper Corporation Ltd. (HPC), Kolkata, a Central Public Sector Enterprise, to form a subsidiary to set up a new Paper Mill at Jagdishpur, …
Last updated: 20:21 (GMT+04) Tuesday, November 27, 2007.
Dhu l-Qa’da 17, 1428.
Mayawati eyes power at centre and states
Published: November 26, 2007, 00:34
Mumbai: Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief Mayawati yesterday declared her party’s intention to capture power in the centre with the aim of improving the lot of the poor, minorities and weaker sections of society.
An estimated 300,000 people thronged at the Shivaji Park to hear Mayawati, who was addressing a rally for the first time outside Uttar Pradesh since her surprise victory in that state in May.
Amid periodic applause, Mayawati trained guns at all other major parties including the Congress, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and their allies, saying they always came to power with the support of industrialists.
“After coming to power, they simply forget the poor, the backward sections, minorities and the downtrodden of society who continue to suffer in their misery,” Mayawati said.
Premier Uttar Pradesh News Web Channel!
Mayawati stretches arms, addresses rally in Mumbai
Mumbai, Nov 25 (ANI): Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati today addressed a rally in Mumbai in an attempt to woo voters of Maharashtra.
“Our party believes that people in Maharashtra, rather in India, should come together and join hands. People of all sections of the society should support our party so that we can come to power. It is important for us,” said Mayawati.
She further said that it was important for people to unite irrespective of their religion, caste and community.
Mumbai was painted blue with posters and banners to welcome the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) leader, who seems all set to capture a vote bank outside her state.
Mayawati commands almost total support of Dalits in Uttar Pradesh, who constitute about 21 percent of the state’s population. (ANI)
Mayawati already dreaming of BSP government in Maharashtra - plays caste card
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) President Mayawati is optimistic that the BSP will, sooner or later, form a government in Maharashtra as, according to her, the people are fed up with the anti-Original Inhabitants of Jambudvipa that is The Great Prabuddha Bharath policies of both the Congress and the BJP.
Throughout her hour-long address at Shivaji Park on Sunday, Mayawati kept harping on “when the BSP comes to power in Maharashtra” much to the amusement of the one lakh plus gathering at the venue.
Mayawati, in her first-ever visit to Mumbai after becoming the chief minister, said that once the BSP wrests power in Maharashtra the policies implemented for the welfare of Original Inhabitants of Jambudvipa that is The Great Prabuddha Bharath in Uttar Pradesh would be implemented here too as both the popular parties in the state have turned a blind eye to the issue.
The Bahujan Samaj Party which is the ruling party in Uttar Pradesh is planning to contest all the 182 Assembly seats in Gujarath. This party wants to woo Brahmins to add to its Dalit support base.
In the last assembly elections Mayawati campaigned for the BJP. But now this lady wants to capture power in Gujarath and eventually she wants to capture power in the centre.
Modi had done a good job as a chief minister during his tenure and BJP should be careful about the presence of BSP in the polls. BJP should work hard to retain Gujarath because Gujarath is one of the important states for the BJP. It should retain it.
Mayawati urges people to vote BSP in states, centre
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister and Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati Sunday exhorted people to bring the BSP to power at the centre and states to improve the lot of the poor, minorities and weaker sections of society.
Addressing a huge rally at the Shivaji Park here, Mayawati lashed out at all other parties including the Congress, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and their allies, saying these parties always came to power and ruled with the support of industrialists.
‘After coming to power, they just forget the poor, the backwards, minorities and the downtrodden of society who continue to suffer in misery,’ Mayawati said.
It has been the same story the past 60 years of Independence, rich became richer while poverty afflicting the silent masses was not eradicated, she said.
The time for change has come and people have the option of selecting the BSP in the states and the centre, said the chief minister, urging all backward sections to unite.
She appealed to the people to wholeheartedly support the BSP in its quest to provide social justice to all, irrespective of caste, community, religion or social hierarchy.
‘We shall not enrich the rich and affluent, but serve to bring a smile to the poorest of the poor in the remotest corners of India.’
Mayawati said the BSP was not against the upper castes since it would not be possible to achieve total social justice without the support and backing of the upper castes.
In Maharashtra, the Congress - part of the ruling alliance - was apprehensive of the challenges posed by the BSP in the past few years, she claimed. That was the reason why prior to the last assembly elections in 2004, the party replaced chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh with Sushilkumar Shinde, a Dalit leader.
She said that when BSP would come to power in the state, it would choose a suitable person as chief minister, irrespective of the caste factor.
Commenting on the spectre of unemployment in the country, Mayawati assured that if the BSP were voted to power at the centre, she would implement reservations in the private sector. ‘In Uttar Pradesh, we have not only filled up all the reserved posts lying vacant for years, but are also implementing reservations in the private sector,’ she said.
Filed under: General
@ 11:44 am
Noble Eightfold Path
The Discourse on Right View
1. Thus have I heard. On one occasion the Blessed One was living at Savatthi in Jeta’s Grove, Anathapindika’s Park. There the Venerable Sariputta addressed the bhikkhus thus: “Friends, bhikkhus.” — “Friend,” they replied. The Venerable Sariputta said this:
2. “‘One of right view, one of right view’ is said, friends. In what way is a noble disciple one of right view, whose view is straight, who has perfect confidence in the Dhamma, and has arrived at this true Dhamma?”
“Indeed, friend, we would come from far away to learn from the Venerable Sariputta the meaning of this statement. It would be good if the Venerable Sariputta would explain the meaning of this statement. Having heard it from him, the bhikkhus will remember it.”
“Then, friends, listen and attend closely to what I shall say.”
“Yes, friend,” the bhikkhus replied. The Venerable Sariputta said this:
The Wholesome and the Unwholesome
3. “When, friends, a noble disciple understands the unwholesome, the root of the unwholesome, the wholesome, and the root of the wholesome, in that way he is one of right view, whose view is straight, who has perfect confidence in the Dhamma, and has arrived at this true Dhamma.
4. “And what, friends, is the unwholesome, what is the root of the unwholesome, what is the wholesome, what is the root of the wholesome? Killing living beings is unwholesome; taking what is not given is unwholesome; misconduct in sensual pleasures is unwholesome; false speech is unwholesome; malicious speech is unwholesome; harsh speech is unwholesome; gossip is unwholesome; covetousness is unwholesome; ill will is unwholesome; wrong view is unwholesome. This is called the unwholesome.
5. “And what is the root of the unwholesome? Greed is a root of the unwholesome; hate is a root of the unwholesome; delusion is a root of the unwholesome. This is called the root of the unwholesome.
6. “And what is the wholesome? Abstention from killing living beings is wholesome; abstention from taking what is not given is wholesome; abstention from misconduct in sensual pleasures is wholesome; abstention from false speech is wholesome; abstention from malicious speech is wholesome; abstention from harsh speech is wholesome; abstention from gossip is wholesome; non-covetousness is wholesome; non-ill will is wholesome; right view is wholesome. This is called the wholesome.
7. “And what is the root of the wholesome? Non-greed is a root of the wholesome; non-hate is a root of the wholesome; non-delusion is a root of the wholesome. This is called the root of the wholesome.
8. “When a noble disciple has thus understood the unwholesome, the root of the unwholesome, the wholesome, and the root of the wholesome, he entirely abandons the underlying tendency to lust, he abolishes the underlying tendency to aversion, he extirpates the underlying tendency to the view and conceit ‘I am,’ and by abandoning ignorance and arousing true knowledge he here and now makes an end of suffering. In that way too a noble disciple is one of right view, whose view is straight, who has perfect confidence in the Dhamma and has arrived at this true Dhamma.”
9. Saying, “Good, friend,” the bhikkhus delighted and rejoiced in the Venerable Sariputta’s words. Then they asked him a further question: “But, friend, might there be another way in which a noble disciple is one of right view… and has arrived at this true Dhamma?” — “There might be, friends.
10. “When, friends, a noble disciple understands nutriment, the origin of nutriment, the cessation of nutriment, and the way leading to the cessation of nutriment, in that way he is one of right view… and has arrived at this true Dhamma.
11. “And what is nutriment, what is the origin of nutriment, what is the cessation of nutriment, what is the way leading to the cessation of nutriment? There are these four kinds of nutriment for the maintenance of beings that already have come to be and for the support of those seeking a new existence. What four? They are physical food as nutriment, gross or subtle; contact as the second; mental volition as the third; and consciousness as the fourth. With the arising of craving there is the arising of nutriment. With the cessation of craving there is the cessation of nutriment. The way leading to the cessation of nutriment is just this Noble Eightfold Path; that is, right view, right intention, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness and right concentration.
12. “When a noble disciple has thus understood nutriment, the origin of nutriment, the cessation of nutriment, and the way leading to the cessation of nutriment, he entirely abandons the underlying tendency to greed, he abolishes the underlying tendency to aversion, he extirpates the underlying tendency to the view and conceit ‘I am,’ and by abandoning ignorance and arousing true knowledge he here and now makes an end of suffering. In that way too a noble disciple is one of right view, whose view is straight, who has perfect confidence in the Dhamma and has arrived at this true Dhamma.”
The Four Noble Truths
13. Saying, “Good, friend,” the bhikkhus delighted and rejoiced in the Venerable Sariputta’s words. Then they asked him a further question: “But, friend, might there be another way in which a noble disciple is one of right view… and has arrived at this true Dhamma?” — “There might be, friends.
14. “When, friends, a noble disciple understands suffering, the origin of suffering, the cessation of suffering, and the way leading to the cessation of suffering, in that way he is one of right view… and has arrived at this true Dhamma.
15. “And what is suffering, what is the origin of suffering, what is the cessation of suffering, what is the way leading to the cessation of suffering? Birth is suffering; aging is suffering; sickness is suffering; death is suffering; sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief and despair are suffering; not to obtain what one wants is suffering; in short, the five aggregates affected by clinging are suffering. This is called suffering.
16. “And what is the origin of suffering? It is craving, which brings renewal of being, is accompanied by delight and lust, and delights in this and that; that is, craving for sensual pleasures, craving for being and craving for non-being. This is called the origin of suffering.
17. “And what is the cessation of suffering? It is the remainderless fading away and ceasing, the giving up, relinquishing, letting go and rejecting of that same craving. This is called the cessation of suffering.
18. “And what is the way leading to the cessation of suffering? It is just this Noble Eightfold Path; that is, right view… right concentration. This is called the way leading to the cessation of suffering.
19. “When a noble disciple has thus understood suffering, the origin of suffering, the cessation of suffering, and the way leading to the cessation of suffering… he here and now makes an end of suffering. In that way too a noble disciple is one of right view… and has arrived at this true Dhamma.”
Aging and Death
20. Saying, “Good, friend,” the bhikkhus delighted and rejoiced in the Venerable Sariputta’s words. Then they asked him a further question: “But, friend, might there be another way in which a noble disciple is one of right view… and has arrived at this true Dhamma?” — “There might be, friends.
21. “When, friends, a noble disciple understands aging and death, the origin of aging and death, the cessation of aging and death, and the way leading to the cessation of aging and death, in that way he is one of right view… and has arrived at this true Dhamma.
22. “And what is aging and death, what is the origin of aging and death, what is the cessation of aging and death, what is the way leading to the cessation of aging and death? The aging of beings in the various orders of beings, their old age, brokenness of teeth, grayness of hair, wrinkling of skin, decline of life, weakness of faculties — this is called aging. The passing of beings out of the various orders of beings, their passing away, dissolution, disappearance, dying, completion of time, dissolution of the aggregates, laying down of the body — this is called death. So this aging and this death are what is called aging and death. With the arising of birth there is the arising of aging and death. With the cessation of birth there is the cessation of aging and death. The way leading to the cessation of aging and death is just this Noble Eightfold Path; that is, right view… right concentration.
23. “When a noble disciple has thus understood aging and death, the origin of aging and death, the cessation of aging and death, and the way leading to the cessation of aging and death… he here and now makes an end of suffering. In that way too a noble disciple is one of right view… and has arrived at this true Dhamma.”
24. Saying, “Good, friend,” the bhikkhus delighted and rejoiced in the Venerable Sariputta’s words. Then they asked him a further question: “But, friend, might there be another way in which a noble disciple is one of right view… and has arrived at this true Dhamma?” — “There might be, friends.
25. “When, friends, a noble disciple understands birth, the origin of birth, the cessation of birth, and the way leading to the cessation of birth, in that way he is one of right view… and has arrived at this true Dhamma.
26. “And what is birth, what is the origin of birth, what is the cessation of birth, what is the way leading to the cessation of birth? The birth of beings into the various orders of beings, their coming to birth, precipitation [in a womb], generation, manifestation of the aggregates, obtaining the bases for contact — this is called birth. With the arising of being there is the arising of birth. With the cessation of being there is the cessation of birth. The way leading to the cessation of birth is just this Noble Eightfold Path; that is, right view… right concentration.
27. “When a noble disciple has thus understood birth, the origin of birth, the cessation of birth, and the way leading to the cessation of birth… he here and now makes an end of suffering. In that way too a noble disciple is one of right view… and has arrived at this true Dhamma.”
28. Saying, “Good, friend,” the bhikkhus delighted and rejoiced in the Venerable Sariputta’s words. Then they asked him a further question: “But, friend, might there be another way in which a noble disciple is one of right view… and has arrived at this true Dhamma?” — “There might be, friends.
29. “When, friends, a noble disciple understands being, the origin of being, the cessation of being, and the way leading to the cessation of being, in that way he is one of right view… and has arrived at this true Dhamma.
30. “And what is being, what is the origin of being, what is the cessation of being, what is the way leading to the cessation of being? There are these three kinds of being: sense-sphere being, fine-material being and immaterial being. With the arising of clinging there is the arising of being. With the cessation of clinging there is the cessation of being. The way leading to the cessation of being is just this Noble Eightfold Path; that is, right view… right concentration.
31. “When a noble disciple has thus understood being, the origin of being, the cessation of being, and the way leading to the cessation of being… he here and now makes an end of suffering. In that way too a noble disciple is one of right view… and has arrived at this true Dhamma.”
32. Saying, “Good, friend,” the bhikkhus delighted and rejoiced in the Venerable Sariputta’s words. Then they asked him a further question: “But, friend, might there be another way in which a noble disciple is one of right view… and has arrived at this true Dhamma?” — “There might be, friends.
33. “When, friends, a noble disciple understands clinging, the origin of clinging, the cessation of clinging, and the way leading to the cessation of clinging, in that way he is one of right view… and has arrived at this true Dhamma.
34. “And what is clinging, what is the origin of clinging, what is the cessation of clinging, what is the way leading to the cessation of clinging? There are these four kinds of clinging: clinging to sensual pleasures, clinging to views, clinging to rituals and observances, and clinging to a doctrine of self. With the arising of craving there is the arising of clinging. With the cessation of craving there is the cessation of clinging. The way leading to the cessation of clinging is just this Noble Eightfold Path; that is, right view… right concentration.
35. “When a noble disciple has thus understood clinging, the origin of clinging, the cessation of clinging, and the way leading to the cessation of clinging… he here and now makes an end of suffering. In that way too a noble disciple is one of right view… and has arrived at this true Dhamma.”
36. Saying, “Good, friend,” the bhikkhus delighted and rejoiced in the Venerable Sariputta’s words. Then they asked him a further question: “But, friend, might there be another way in which a noble disciple is one of right view… and has arrived at this true Dhamma?” — “There might be, friends.
37. “When, friends, a noble disciple understands craving, the origin of craving, the cessation of craving, and the way leading to the cessation of craving, in that way he is one of right view… and has arrived at this true Dhamma.
38. “And what is craving, what is the origin of craving, what is the cessation of craving, what is the way leading to the cessation of craving? There are these six classes of craving: craving for forms, craving for sounds, craving for odors, craving for flavors, craving for tangibles, craving for mind-objects. With the arising of feeling there is the arising of craving. With the cessation of feeling there is the cessation of craving. The way leading to the cessation of craving is just this Noble Eightfold Path; that is, right view… right concentration.
39. “When a noble disciple has thus understood craving, the origin of craving, the cessation of craving, and the way leading to the cessation of craving… he here and now makes an end of suffering. In that way too a noble disciple is one of right view… and has arrived at this true Dhamma.”
40. Saying, “Good, friend,” the bhikkhus delighted and rejoiced in the Venerable Sariputta’s words. Then they asked him a further question: “But, friend, might there be another way in which a noble disciple is one of right view… and has arrived at this true Dhamma?” — “There might be, friends.
41. “When, friends, a noble disciple understands feeling, the origin of feeling, the cessation of feeling, and the way leading to the cessation of feeling, in that way he is one of right view… and has arrived at this true Dhamma.
42. “And what is feeling, what is the origin of feeling, what is the cessation of feeling, what is the way leading to the cessation of feeling? There are these six classes of feeling: feeling born of eye-contact, feeling born of ear-contact, feeling born of nose-contact, feeling born of tongue-contact, feeling born of body-contact, feeling born of mind-contact. With the arising of contact there is the arising of feeling. With the cessation of contact there is the cessation of feeling. The way leading to the cessation of feeling is just this Noble Eightfold Path; that is, right view… right concentration.
43. “When a noble disciple has thus understood feeling, the origin of feeling, the cessation of feeling, and the way leading to the cessation of feeling… he here and now makes an end of suffering. In that way too a noble disciple is one of right view… and has arrived at this true Dhamma.”
44. Saying, “Good, friend,” the bhikkhus delighted and rejoiced in the Venerable Sariputta’s words. Then they asked him a further question: “But, friend, might there be another way in which a noble disciple is one of right view… and has arrived at this true Dhamma?” — “There might be, friends.
45. “When, friends, a noble disciple understands contact, the origin of contact, the cessation of contact, and the way leading to the cessation of contact, in that way he is one of right view… and has arrived at this true Dhamma.
46. “And what is contact, what is the origin of contact, what is the cessation of contact, what is the way leading to the cessation of contact? There are these six classes of contact: eye-contact, ear-contact, nose-contact, tongue-contact, body-contact, mind-contact. With the arising of the sixfold base there is the arising of contact. With the cessation of the sixfold base there is the cessation of contact. The way leading to the cessation of contact is just this Noble Eightfold Path; that is, right view… right concentration.
47. “When a noble disciple has thus understood contact, the origin of contact, the cessation of contact, and the way leading to the cessation of contact… he here and now makes an end of suffering. In that way too a noble disciple is one of right view… and has arrived at this true Dhamma.”
The Sixfold Base
48. Saying, “Good, friend,” the bhikkhus delighted and rejoiced in the Venerable Sariputta’s words. Then they asked him a further question: “But, friend, might there be another way in which a noble disciple is one of right view… and has arrived at this true Dhamma?” — “There might be, friends.
49. “When, friends, a noble disciple understands the sixfold base, the origin of the sixfold base, the cessation of the sixfold base, and the way leading to the cessation of the sixfold base, he is one of right view… and has arrived at this true Dhamma.
50. “And what is the sixfold base, what is the origin of the sixfold base, what is the cessation of the sixfold base, what is the way leading to the cessation of the sixfold base? There are these six bases: the eye-base, the ear-base, the nose-base, the tongue-base, the body-base, the mind-base. With the arising of mentality-materiality there is the arising of the sixfold base. With the cessation of mentality-materiality there is the cessation of the sixfold base. The way leading to the cessation of the sixfold base is just this Noble Eightfold Path; that is, right view… right concentration.
51. “When a noble disciple has thus understood the sixfold base, the origin of the sixfold base, the cessation of the sixfold base, and the way leading to the cessation of the sixfold base… he here and now makes an end of suffering. In that way too a noble disciple is one of right view… and has arrived at this true Dhamma.”
52. Saying, “Good, friend,” the bhikkhus delighted and rejoiced in the Venerable Sariputta’s words. Then they asked him a further question: “But, friend, might there be another way in which a noble disciple is one of right view… and has arrived at this true Dhamma?” — “There might be, friends.
53. “When, friends, a noble disciple understands mentality-materiality, the origin of mentality-materiality, the cessation of mentality-materiality, and the way leading to the cessation of mentality-materiality, in that way he is one of right view… and has arrived at this true Dhamma.
54. “And what is mentality-materiality, what is the origin of mentality-materiality, what is the cessation of mentality-materiality, what is the way leading to the cessation of mentality-materiality? Feeling, perception, volition, contact and attention — these are called mentality. The four great elements and the material form derived from the four great elements — these are called materiality. So this mentality and this materiality are what is called mentality-materiality. With the arising of consciousness there is the arising of mentality-materiality. With the cessation of consciousness there is the cessation of mentality-materiality. The way leading to the cessation of mentality-materiality is just this Noble Eightfold Path; that is, right view… right concentration.
55. “When a noble disciple has thus understood mentality-materiality, the origin of mentality-materiality, the cessation of mentality-materiality, and the way leading to the cessation of mentality-materiality… he here and now makes an end of suffering. In that way too a noble disciple is one of right view… and has arrived at this true Dhamma.”
56. Saying, “Good, friend,” the bhikkhus delighted and rejoiced in the Venerable Sariputta’s words. Then they asked him a further question: “But, friend, might there be another way in which a noble disciple is one of right view… and has arrived at this true Dhamma?” — “There might be, friends.
57. “When, friends, a noble disciple understands consciousness, the origin of consciousness, the cessation of consciousness, and the way leading to the cessation of consciousness, in that way he is one of right view… and has arrived at this true Dhamma.
58. “And what is consciousness, what is the origin of consciousness, what is the cessation of consciousness, what is the way leading to the cessation of consciousness? There are these six classes of consciousness: eye-consciousness, ear-consciousness, nose-consciousness, tongue-consciousness, body-consciousness, mind-consciousness. With the arising of formations there is the arising of consciousness. With the cessation of formations there is the cessation of consciousness. The way leading to the cessation of consciousness is just this Noble Eightfold Path; that is, right view… right concentration.
59. “When a noble disciple has thus understood consciousness, the origin of consciousness, the cessation of consciousness, and the way leading to the cessation of consciousness… he here and now makes an end of suffering. In that way too a noble disciple is one of right view… and has arrived at this true Dhamma.”
60. Saying, “Good friend,” the bhikkhus delighted and rejoiced in the Venerable Sariputta’s words. Then they asked him a further question: “But, friend, might there be another way in which a noble disciple is one of right view… and has arrived at this true Dhamma?” — “There might be, friends.
61. “When, friends, a noble disciple understands formations, the origin of formations, the cessation of formations, and the way leading to the cessation of formations, in that way he is one of right view… and has arrived at this true Dhamma.
62. “And what are formations, what is the origin of formations, what is the cessation of formations, what is the way leading to the cessation of formations? There are these three kinds of formations: the bodily formation, the verbal formation, the mental formation. With the arising of ignorance there is the arising of formations. With the cessation of ignorance there is the cessation of formations. The way leading to the cessation of formations is just this Noble Eightfold Path; that is, right view… right concentration.
63. “When a noble disciple has thus understood formations, the origin of formations, the cessation of formations, and the way leading to the cessation of formations… he here and now makes an end of suffering. In that way too a noble disciple is one of right view… and has arrived at this true Dhamma.”
64. Saying, “Good friend,” the bhikkhus delighted and rejoiced in the Venerable Sariputta’s words. Then they asked him a further question: “But, friend, might there be another way in which a noble disciple is one of right view… and has arrived at this true Dhamma?” — “There might be, friends.
65. “When, friends, a noble disciple understands ignorance, the origin of ignorance, the cessation of ignorance, and the way leading to the cessation of ignorance, in that way he is one of right view… and has arrived at this true Dhamma.
66. “And what is ignorance, what is the origin of ignorance, what is the cessation of ignorance, what is the way leading to the cessation of ignorance? Not knowing about suffering, not knowing about the origin of suffering, not knowing about the cessation of suffering, not knowing about the way leading to the cessation of suffering — this is called ignorance. With the arising of the taints there is the arising of ignorance. With the cessation of the taints there is the cessation of ignorance. The way leading to the cessation of ignorance is just this Noble Eightfold Path; that is, right view… right concentration.
67. “When a noble disciple has thus understood ignorance, the origin of ignorance, the cessation of ignorance, and the way leading to the cessation of ignorance… he here and now makes an end of suffering. In that way too a noble disciple is one of right view… and has arrived at this true Dhamma.”
68. Saying, “Good, friend,” the bhikkhus delighted and rejoiced in the Venerable Sariputta’s words. Then they asked him a further question: “But, friend, might there be another way in which a noble disciple is one of right view, whose view is straight, who has perfect confidence in the Dhamma and has arrived at this true Dhamma?” — “There might be, friends.
69. “When, friends, a noble disciple understands the taints, the origin of the taints, the cessation of the taints, and the way leading to the cessation of the taints, in that way he is one of right view, whose view is straight, who has perfect confidence in the Dhamma and has arrived at this true Dhamma.
70. “And what are the taints, what is the origin of the taints, what is the cessation of the taints, what is the way leading to the cessation of the taints? There are three taints: the taint of sensual desire, the taint of being and the taint of ignorance. With the arising of ignorance there is the arising of the taints. With the cessation of ignorance there is the cessation of the taints. The way leading to the cessation of the taints is just this Noble Eightfold Path; that is, right view, right intention, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness and right concentration.
71. “When a noble disciple has thus understood the taints, the origin of the taints, the cessation of the taints, and the way leading to the cessation of the taints, he entirely abandons the underlying tendency to lust, he abolishes the underlying tendency to aversion, he extirpates the underlying tendency to the view and conceit ‘I am,’ and by abandoning ignorance and arousing true knowledge he here and now makes an end of suffering. In that way too a noble disciple is one of right view, whose view is straight, who has perfect confidence in the Dhamma and has arrived at this true Dhamma.”
That is what the Venerable Sariputta said. The bhikkhus were satisfied and delighted in the Venerable Sariputta’s words.
The Commentary to the Discourse on Right View
1. Thus have I heard: the Sammaditthi Sutta.
2. Herein, all such questions spoken by the Elder as ” ‘One of right view, one of right view’ is said, friends. In what way is a noble disciple one of right view…?” or “And what, friends, is the unwholesome…?” — these are questions showing a desire to expound. Herein, since those who know, those who do not know, those outside the Dispensation, those within it, those who speak by hearsay, etc., and those who speak by personal knowledge, say “one of right view,” therefore, taking it as an expression (common) to the many, he touched upon it twice, saying “One of right view, one of right view” is said, friends (sammaditthi sammaditthi ti avuso vuccati). The intention here is this: “Others say ‘one of right view,’ and still others say ‘one of right view.’ Since that is said, in what way, friends, is a noble disciple one of right view in respect of meaning and characteristic?” Herein, one of right view is one possessing a lucid and praiseworthy view (sobhanaya pasatthaya ca ditthiya samannagato). But when this word “right view” is used to signify a state (rather than a person endowed with that state), it then means a lucid and praiseworthy view.1
This right view is twofold: mundane (lokiya) and supramundane (lokuttara). Herein, the knowledge of kamma as one’s own and knowledge which is in conformity with the (Four Noble) Truths are mundane right view; or, in brief, (mundane right view is) all understanding that is accompanied by the taints.2 Understanding connected with the noble paths and fruits is supramundane right view.3 The person possessing right view is of three kinds: the worldling (puthujjana), the disciple in higher training (sekha), and the one beyond training (asekha). Herein, the worldling is of two kinds: one outside the Dispensation and one within the Dispensation. Herein, one outside the Dispensation who believes in kamma is one of right view on account of the view of kamma as one’s own, but not on account of that which is in conformity with the truths, because he holds to the view of self. One within the Dispensation is of right view on account of both. The disciple in higher training is one of right view on account of fixed right view,4 the one beyond training on account of (the right view) that is beyond training.5
But here “one of right view” is intended as one possessing supramundane wholesome right view, which is fixed in destiny and emancipating. Hence he said: whose view is straight, who has perfect confidence in the Dhamma, and has arrived at this true Dhamma (ujugata’ssa ditthi dhamme aveccappasadena samannagato agato imam saddhammam). Because of its going straight without deviating to either extreme, or because of its going straight by removing all crookedness such as bodily crookedness, etc., supramundane right view is “straight.” One possessing that view also possesses perfect confidence, unshakable confidence, in the ninefold supramundane Dhamma.6 And by becoming disentangled from all the thickets of (wrong) views, by abandoning all the defilements, by departing from the round of rebirths, by bringing the practice to its consummation, he is said to have come by the noble path to this “true Dhamma” proclaimed by the Enlightened One, that is, Nibbana, the plunge into the Deathless.
The Wholesome and the Unwholesome
3. Understands the unwholesome (akusalan ca pajanati): he understands the unwholesome called the ten courses of unwholesome kamma (action), penetrating this by way of function with the understanding that has Nibbana as its object as “This is suffering.” (Understands) the root of the unwholesome (akusalamulan ca pajanati): And he understands the unwholesome root which has become the root condition of that (unwholesome), penetrating this, in the same way, as “This is the origin of suffering.” The same method applies here also in regard to “the wholesome” and “the root of the wholesome.” And, as it is here, so in all the following sections, the understanding of the subject should be understood by way of function.
In that way (ettavata pi): by this much; by this understanding of the unwholesome, etc. He is one of right view (sammaditthi hoti): he possesses supramundane right view of the kind aforesaid. Whose view is straight… and has arrived at this true Dhamma: At this point the summary version of the teaching has been expounded. And this (part of) the teaching itself was brief; but for those bhikkhus it should be understood that the penetration (of the meaning) through right attention occurred in detail.
But in the second section (Section 4) it should be understood that the teaching too, as well as the penetration through attention, is stated in detail.
Herein, the bhikkhus [at the council at the Great Monastery held to rehearse the Pitakas] said: “In the brief exposition the two lower paths are discussed, in the detailed exposition the two higher paths,” taking into account the passage at the end of the sections setting forth the detailed exposition that begins “he entirely abandons the underlying tendency to lust.” But the Elder (presiding over the council) said: “In the brief exposition the four paths are expounded as a group, and also in the detailed exposition.”7
This query into the brief and detailed expositions which has been cleared up here should be understood in all the following sections in the way stated here. From here on we shall only comment on terms that are new or obscure.
The Unwholesome Courses of Action
4. Herein, firstly, in the detailed exposition of the first section: as regards the passage beginning killing living beings is unwholesome (panatipato kho avuso akusalam), “unwholesome” should be understood by way of the occurrence of unwholesomeness, or as what is opposed to the wholesome, which is to be dealt with below (Section 6). As to characteristic, it is blameworthy and has painful result, or it is defiled. This, in the first place, is the comment upon the general terms here.
But as regards the particular terms, the phrase killing living beings means the slaughter of a living being, the destruction of a living being. And here a living being (pana) is, according to ordinary usage, a being (satta); in the ultimate sense it is the life faculty. “Killing living beings” is the volition to kill on the part of one who is aware, in respect of a living being, that it is a living being, and which (volition), manifesting itself through one or the other of the doors of body and speech, initiates activity resulting in the cutting off of the life faculty.
In relation to beings such as animals, etc., which lack moral qualities (guna), it is less blameworthy in respect of small living beings and more blameworthy in respect of beings with large bodies. Why? Because of the magnitude of the effort involved. And when the effort involved is equal, because of the magnitude of the object (the being killed). In relation to beings such as humans, etc., who possess moral qualities, it is less blameworthy in respect of beings with few good qualities and more blameworthy in respect of beings with great qualities. When the size of the body and moral qualities are equal, however, it is less blameworthy when the defilements and activity are mild, and more blameworthy when they are strong: so it should be understood.
There are five constituents for this (act of killing a living being): a living being, awareness that it is a living being, the mind to kill, activity, and the death (of the being) thereby.
There are six means: one’s own person, command, a missile, a fixed contrivance, a magical spell, supernormal power.
To explore this matter in detail, however, would involve too much diffuseness. Therefore we shall not explore it in detail, or any other subject similar in kind. Those who wish to go into the matter may do so by looking it up in the Samantapasadika, the Vinaya Commentary.8
Taking what is not given (adinnadana): the carrying off of others’ goods, stealing, robbery, is what is meant. Herein, “what is not given” is another’s possession, which the other may use as he likes without incurring penalty or blame. “Taking what is not given” is the volition to steal on the part of one who is aware, in respect of another’s possession, that it is another’s possession, and which (volition) initiates activity resulting in the taking of that thing.
That (taking of what is not given) is less blameworthy when the other’s property is of low value, and more blameworthy when it is of high value. Why? Because of the high value of the object (stolen). When the value of the objects is equal, the act is more blameworthy when the object belongs to one of outstanding qualities, and less blameworthy when the object belongs to one who, in comparison, is inferior with respect to moral qualities.
There are five constituents of this act: another’s possession, awareness that it is another’s possession, the mind to steal, the activity, and the carrying off (of the object) thereby.
There are six means: one’s own person, etc. (as for killing).
And these (acts of stealing) may be classed, according to the way in which they occur, by way of the following: taking by theft, by force, by concealment, by stratagem, by fraud. This here is in brief; the details, however, are given in the Samantapasadika.9
Misconduct in sensual pleasures (kamesu micchacara): here, “in sensual pleasures” (kamesu) means in regard to sexual intercourse. “Misconduct” is entirely reprehensible vile conduct. As to characteristic, sexual misconduct is the volition to transgress bounds occurring through the body door by way of unrighteous intent.
Herein, out of bounds for men, firstly, are the twenty kinds of women, that is, the ten beginning with those protected by the mother, namely, “protected by the mother, protected by the father, protected by the mother and father, protected by the brother, protected by the sister, protected by relatives, protected by the clan, protected by the law, under protection, entailing a penalty”; and the ten beginning with those purchased with money, namely, “one purchased with money, one who lives (with a man) by her own desire, one who lives (with a man) on account of wealth, one who lives (with a man) on account of cloth, one who is given (in marriage with the ceremony of) dipping the hand in water, one who has been (taken to wife and) relieved of her burden-carrying head-pad, one who is a slave and a wife, one who is a servant and a wife, one who is carried off in a raid, one engaged at so much a time.”10
Then, as concerns women, for the twelve kinds of women consisting of the two, namely, under protection and entailing a penalty, and the ten beginning with those purchased with money, other men are out of bounds.
This sexual misconduct is less blameworthy when (the person) out of bounds is without good qualities such as virtue, etc., and more blameworthy when (the person) possesses good qualities such as virtue, etc. There are four constituents of this act: an object which is out of bounds, the mind to engage in that, the effort to engage, and consent to the union of sexual organs.11 The means is single: one’s own person.
False speech (musavada): “false” (musa) is the verbal effort or bodily effort for destroying welfare (made) by one bent on deceiving. “False speech” is the volition initiating the verbal effort or bodily effort of deceiving another on the part of one intent on deceiving. According to another method, “false” means an unreal, untrue case, “speech” the communication of that as being real, true. As to characteristic, “false speech” is the volition of one desiring to communicate to another an untrue case as being true, which (volition) initiates such an act of communication.
This is less blameworthy when the welfare destroyed is slight, and more blameworthy when the welfare destroyed is great. Further, when it occurs on the part of householders who, not wishing to give away some belonging of theirs, say “I do not have it,” it is less blameworthy; when one who is a witness speaks (falsely) for the purpose of destroying another’s welfare, it is more blameworthy. In the case of those gone forth, when it occurs by their saying as a joke, after they have obtained just a little oil or ghee, in the manner of the Puranas, “Today the oil is flowing in the village just like a river,” then it is less blameworthy; but for those who speak (as a witness) saying that they have seen what they have not seen it is more blameworthy.
There are four constituents of this act: an untrue case, the mind to deceive, the appropriate effort, the communicating of that meaning to another. The means is single: one’s own person only. That is to be regarded as the performing of the action of deceiving another by means of the body or by means of something attached to the body or by means of speech. If, through that action, the other understands that meaning, one is bound by the kamma of false speech at the very moment of the volition initiating the action.
Malicious speech, etc.: The kind of speech that creates in the heart of the person to whom it is spoken affection for oneself and voidness (of affection) for another is malicious speech (pisuna vaca). The kind of speech by which one makes both oneself and another harsh, the kind of speech which is also itself harsh, being pleasant neither to the ear nor to the heart — that is harsh speech (pharusa vaca). That by which one gossips idly, without meaning, is gossip (samphappalapa). Also, the volition that is the root cause of these gains the name “malicious speech,” etc. And that only is intended here.
Therein, malicious speech is the volition of one with a defiled mind, which (volition) initiates an effort by body or by speech either to cause division among others or to endear oneself (to another). It is less blameworthy when the person divided has few good qualities, and more blameworthy when such a one has great qualities. Its constituents are four: another person to be divided, the intention to divide, (thinking) “Thus these will be separated and split” or the desire to endear oneself, (thinking) “Thus I shall become loved and intimate,” the appropriate effort, the communicating of that meaning to that person.
Harsh speech is the entirely harsh volition initiating an effort by body or by speech to wound another’s vital feelings. This is an example given for the purpose of making it clear: A village boy, it is said, went to the forest without heeding his mother’s words. Unable to make him turn back, she scolded him angrily, saying: “May a wild buffalo chase you!” Then a buffalo appeared before him right there in the forest. The boy made an asseveration of truth, saying: “Let it not be as my mother said but as she thought!” The buffalo stood as though tied there. Thus, although the means (employed) was that of wounding the vital feelings, because of the gentleness of her mind it was not harsh speech. For sometimes parents even say to their children, “May robbers chop you to pieces!” yet they do not even wish a lotus leaf to fall upon them. And teachers and preceptors sometimes say to their pupils, “What is the use of these shameless and heedless brats? Drive them out!” yet they wish for their success in learning and attainment.
Just as, through gentleness of mind, speech is not harsh, so through gentleness of speech, speech does not become unharsh; for the words “Let him sleep in peace” spoken by one wishing to kill are not unharsh speech. But harsh speech is such on account of harshness of mind only. It is less blameworthy when the person to whom it is spoken has few good qualities, and more blameworthy when such a one has great qualities. Its constituents are three: another to be abused, an angry mind, the abusing.
Gossip is the unwholesome volition initiating an effort by body or by speech to communicate what is purposeless. It is less blameworthy when indulged in mildly, and more blameworthy when indulged in strongly. Its constituents are two: the being intent on purposeless stories such as the Bharata war or the abduction of Sita, etc., and the telling of such stories.12
Covetousness (abhijjha): It covets, thus it is covetousness; “having become directed towards others’ goods, it occurs through inclination towards them” is the meaning. It has the characteristic of coveting others’ goods thus: “Oh, that this were mine!” It is less blameworthy and more blameworthy as in the case of taking what is not given. Its constituents are two: another’s goods, and the inclination for them to be one’s own. For even though greed has arisen based on another’s goods, it is not classed as a (completed) course of kamma so long as one does not incline to them as one’s own (with the thought), “Oh, that this were mine!”
Ill will (byapada): It injures welfare and happiness, thus it is ill will (hitasukham byapadayati ti byapado). Its characteristic is the mental defect (of wishing for) the destruction of others. It is less blameworthy and more blameworthy as in the case of harsh speech. Its constituents are two: another being, and the wish for that being’s destruction. For even though anger has arisen based on another being, there is no breach of a course of kamma so long as one does not wish, “Oh, that this being might be cut off and destroyed!”
Wrong view (micchaditthi): It sees wrongly due to the absence of a correct grasp of things, thus it is wrong view. Its characteristic is the mistaken view that “there is no (result from) giving,” etc. It is less blameworthy and more blameworthy as in the case of gossip. Moreover, it is less blameworthy when not fixed in destiny, and more blameworthy when fixed.13 Its constituents are two: a mistaken manner of grasping the basis (for the view), and the appearance of that (basis) in accordance with the manner in which it has been grasped.
Now the exposition of these ten courses of unwholesome kamma should be understood in five ways: as to mental state (dhammato), as to category (kotthasato), as to object (arammanato), as to feeling (vedanato), and as to root (mulato).
Herein, as to mental state: The first seven among these are volitional states only. The three beginning with covetousness are associated with volition.14
As to category: The eight consisting of the first seven and wrong view are courses of kamma only, not roots. Covetousness and ill will are courses of kamma and also roots; for covetousness, having arrived at the (state of) a root, is the unwholesome root greed, and ill will is the unwholesome root hate.
As to object: Killing living beings, because it has the life faculty as object, has a formation as object. Taking what is not given has beings as object or formations as object. Misconduct in sensual pleasures has formations as object by way of tangible object; but some say it also has beings as object. False speech has beings or formations as object; likewise malicious speech. Harsh speech has only beings as object. Gossip has either beings or formations as object by way of the seen, heard, sensed and cognized; likewise covetousness. Ill will has only beings as object. Wrong view has formations as object by way of the states belonging to the three planes (of being).
As to feeling: Killing living beings has painful feeling; for although kings, seeing a robber, say laughingly, “Go and execute him,” their volition consummating the action is associated only with pain. Taking what is not given has three feelings. Misconduct (in sensual pleasures) has two feelings, pleasant and neutral, but in the mind which consummates the action there is no neutral feeling. False speech has three feelings; likewise malicious speech. Harsh speech has painful feeling only. Gossip has three feelings. Covetousness has two feelings, pleasant and neutral; likewise wrong view. Ill will has painful feeling only.
As to root: Killing living beings has two roots, by way of hate and delusion; taking what is not given, by way of hate and delusion or by way of greed and delusion; misconduct, by way of greed and delusion; false speech, by way of hate and delusion or by way of greed and delusion; likewise for malicious speech and gossip; harsh speech, by way of hate and delusion. Covetousness has one root, by way of delusion; likewise ill will. Wrong view has two roots, by way of greed and delusion.
The Unwholesome Roots
5. Greed is a root of the unwholesome, etc.: It is greedy, thus it is greed (lubbhati ti lobho); it offends against (it hates), thus it is hate (dussati ti doso); it deludes, thus it is delusion (muyhati ti moho). Among these, greed is itself unwholesome in the sense that it is blameworthy and has painful results; and it is a root of these unwholesome (deeds) beginning with killing living beings, for some in the sense that it is an associated originative cause, for some in the sense that it is a decisive support condition. Thus it is an unwholesome root. This too is said: “One who is lustful, friends, overwhelmed and with mind obsessed by lust, kills a living being” (A.3:71/i,216; text slightly different). The same method applies to the state of being unwholesome roots in the cases of hate and delusion.
The Wholesome Courses of Action
6. Abstention from killing living beings is wholesome (panatipata veramani), etc.: Here “killing living beings,” etc. have the same meaning as aforesaid. It crushes the hostile, thus it is abstention (veram manati ti veramani); the meaning is that it abandons the hostile. Or: with that as the instrument one abstains (viramati), the syllable ve being substituted for the syllable vi. This here is, in the first place, the commentary on the phrasing.
But as to the meaning, abstention is refraining (virati) associated with wholesome consciousness. What is stated thus: “For one refraining from killing living beings, that which is on that occasion the leaving off, the refraining” (Vibh. 285), that is the refraining associated with wholesome consciousness. As to kind, it is threefold: refraining in the presence of opportunity, refraining because of an undertaking, and refraining because of eradication (of defilements).
Herein, refraining in the presence of an opportunity (sampattavirati) is to be understood as the refraining which occurs in those who have not undertaken any training rule but who do not transgress when an opportunity for doing so presents itself because they reflect upon their birth, age, learning, etc., like the lay follower Cakkana in the island of Sri Lanka.
When he was a boy, it is said, his mother developed an illness, and the doctor said, “Fresh hare’s flesh is needed.” Then Cakkana’s brother sent him, saying, “Go, dear, and hunt in the field.” He went there. On that occasion a hare had come to eat the young corn. On seeing him it bolted swiftly, but it got entangled in a creeper and squealed “kiri, kiri.” Guided by the sound, Cakkana went and caught it, thinking, “I will make medicine for my mother.” Then he thought again, “This is not proper for me, that I should deprive another of life for the sake of my mother’s life.” So he released it, saying “Go and enjoy the grass and the water with the other hares in the forest.” When his brother asked him, “Did you get a hare, dear?” he told him what had happened. His brother scolded him. He went to his mother and determined upon an asseveration of truth: “Since I was born I am not aware that I have ever intentionally deprived a living being of life.” Straightaway his mother became well.
Refraining because of an undertaking (samadanavirati) is to be understood as the refraining which occurs in those who do not transgress in a particular case because they have undertaken training rules, giving up even their own lives in the undertaking of the training rules and in what is superior to that, like the lay follower who dwelt at Uttaravaddhamana Mountain.
It is said that after undertaking the training rules from the Elder Pingala Buddharakkhita who lived in the Ambariya Monastery, he was plowing a field. Then his ox got lost. Searching for it, he climbed up Uttaravaddhamana Mountain. There a large serpent seized him. He thought, “Let me cut off his head with this sharp axe.” Then he thought again, “This is not proper for me, that I should break a training rule that I have undertaken in the presence of my honored teacher.” Thinking up to the third time, “I will give up my life but not the training rule,” he threw the sharp hand axe that was slung on his shoulder into the forest. Straightaway the creature released him and went away.
Refraining because of eradication (of defilements) (samucchedavirati) is to be understood as the refraining associated with the noble path. After the arising of this even the thought, “I will kill a living being,” does not occur to the noble persons.
This refraining is called “wholesome” (kusala) because of the occurrence of wholesomeness (kosalla); or because of shedding the vile (kucchitassa salanato). Also, evil conduct is commonly called “weeds” (kusa) and it mows this down (lunati), thus it is called “wholesome.”
As in the case of the unwholesome, so for these courses of wholesome kamma the exposition should be understood in five ways: as to mental state, as to category, as to object, as to feeling, and as to root.
Herein, as to mental state: The first seven among these can be both volitions and abstinences; the last three are associated with volition only.
As to category: The first seven are courses of kamma only, not roots. The last three are courses of kamma and also roots. For non-covetousness, having arrived at the (state of) a root, is the wholesome root non-greed; non-ill will is the wholesome root non-hate; and right view is the wholesome root non-delusion.
As to object: The objects of these are the same as the objects of killing living beings, etc. For abstention is spoken of in relation to something which can be transgressed. But just as the noble path, which has Nibbana as object, abandons the defilements, so too should these courses of kamma, which have the life faculty, etc., as object, be understood to abandon the kinds of evil conduct beginning with killing living beings.
As to feeling: All have pleasant feeling or neutral feeling. For there is no painful feeling which arrives at the wholesome.
As to root: The first seven courses of kamma have three roots by way of non-greed, non-hate, and non-delusion in one who abstains by means of consciousness associated with knowledge. They have two roots in one who abstains by means of consciousness dissociated from knowledge.15 Non-covetousness has two roots in one who abstains by means of consciousness associated with knowledge, one root (in one who abstains) by means of consciousness dissociated from knowledge. Non-greed, however, is not by itself its own root. The same method applies in the case of non-ill will. Right view always has two roots, by way of non-greed and non-hate.16
The Wholesome Roots
7. Non-greed is a root of the wholesome (alobho kusalamulam), etc.: Non-greed is not greed; this is a term for the state that is opposed to greed. The same method applies in the case of non-hate and non-delusion. Among these, non-greed is itself wholesome; and it is a root of these wholesome (courses of kamma) beginning with abstention from killing living beings, for some in the sense that it is an associated originative cause and for some in the sense that it is a decisive support condition. Thus it is a wholesome root. The same method applies to the state of being wholesome roots in the cases of non-hate and non-delusion.
Conclusion on the Unwholesome and the Wholesome
8. Now, summing up the meaning of all that has been set forth in brief and in detail, he states the concluding section beginning with the words when a noble disciple. Herein, has thus understood the wholesome (evam akusalam pajanati) means: has thus understood the unwholesome by way of the ten courses of unwholesome kamma as described. The same method applies in the case of the root of the unwholesome, etc.
Up to this point, by a single method, emancipation as far as arahantship has been expounded for one who has the Four Noble Truths as his meditation subject. How? Here, the ten courses of unwholesome kamma with the exception of covetousness, and the (ten) courses of wholesome kamma, are the truth of suffering. These two states — covetousness and the greed which is a root of the unwholesome — are, literally speaking, the truth of the origin. Speaking figuratively, however, all the courses of kamma are the truth of suffering, and all the wholesome and unwholesome roots are the truth of the origin.17 The non-occurrence of both is the truth of cessation. The noble path fully understanding suffering, abandoning its origin, and understanding its cessation is the truth of the path. Thus two truths are stated in their own nature and two are to be understood by way of the guideline of conversion.18
He entirely abandons the underlying tendency to lust (so sabbaso raganusayam pahaya): Understanding thus the unwholesome, etc., he abandons in all ways the underlying tendency to lust. He abolishes the underlying tendency to aversion (patighanusayam pativinodetva): and he removes in all ways too the underlying tendency to aversion, is what is meant. Up to this point the path of non-return is stated.19 He extirpates the underlying tendency to the view and conceit “I am” (asmi ti ditthimananusayam samuhanitva): he extricates the underlying tendency to the view and conceit which occurs in the mode of grasping the five aggregates as a group (with the notion) “I am,” due to failure to distinguish any state among them.
Therein, by the phrase the underlying tendency to the view and conceit “I am” (ditthimananusayam) what is meant is the underlying tendency to conceit which is similar to a view (ditthisadisam mananusayam). For this underlying tendency to conceit is similar to a view because it occurs (with the notion) “I am”; therefore it is stated thus. And one who wishes to understand this conceit “I am” in detail should look up the Khemaka Sutta in the Khandhiyavagga (S.22:89/iii,126ff.).
By abandoning ignorance (avijjam pahaya): having abandoned ignorance, the root of the round (of existence). And arousing true knowledge (vijjam uppadetva): having aroused the true knowledge of the path of arahantship which completely extricates that ignorance. At this point the path of arahantship is stated.20 He here and now makes an end of suffering (ditth’eva dhamme dukkhass’antakaro hoti): in this very existence he becomes one who cuts off the suffering of the round.
In that way too (ettavatapi kho avuso): he marks off (this first part of) the teaching; by way of the attention and penetration stated in this exposition of the courses of kamma, is what is meant. The rest is as aforesaid. Thus he concludes the exposition by means of the path of non-return and the path of arahantship.
THE FOUR NUTRIMENTS
9. Saying, “Good, friend,”… (etc.)…” and has arrived at this true Dhamma”: Thus, having heard the Venerable Sariputta’s exposition of the four truths under the heading of the wholesome and the unwholesome, the bhikkhus delighted in his words with the statement, “Good, friend,” and rejoiced with the mind that aroused that statement; what is meant is that they agreed by word and approved by mind. Now, because the Elder was competent to give an exposition on the four truths in diverse ways — as (the Blessed One) said: “Bhikkhus, Sariputta is able to propound, to teach, the Four Noble Truths in detail” (M.141/iii, 248); or because he had said “in that way too,” being desirous of giving a further exposition, the bhikkhus, being desirous of hearing the teaching of the four truths by another method, asked him a further question. By asking “But, friend, might there be another way? Would there be another case?” they asked another question additional to that question asked and answered (already) by the Venerable Sariputta himself. Or what is meant is that they asked a question subsequent to the previous one. Then, answering them, the Elder said, “There might be, friends,” and so on.
10. Herein, this is the elucidation of the terms that are not clear. Nutriment (ahara) is a condition (paccaya). For a condition nourishes its own fruit, therefore it is called nutriment.21
11. Of beings that already have come to be (bhutanam va sattanam), etc.: Here come to be (bhuta) means come to birth, reborn; seeking a new existence (sambhavesinam) means those who seek, search for, existence, birth, production. Therein, among the four kinds of generation,22 beings born from eggs and from the womb are said to be “seeking a new existence” as long as they have not broken out of the eggshell or the placenta. When they have broken out of the eggshell or the placenta and emerged outside, they are said to have “come to be.” The moisture-born and the spontaneously born are said to be “seeking a new existence” at the first moment of consciousness; from the second moment of consciousness onwards they are said to have “come to be.”
Or alternatively, “come to be” is born, reproduced; this is a term for those who have destroyed the cankers (arahants), who are reckoned thus: “They have come to be only, but they will not come to be again.” “Seeking a new existence” means they seek a new existence; this is a term for worldlings and disciples in higher training who seek a new existence in the future too, because they have not abandoned the fetter of being. Thus by these two terms he includes all beings in all ways.
For the maintenance (thitiya); for the purpose of maintaining. For the support (anuggahaya): for the purpose of supporting, for the purpose of helping. This is merely a difference of words, but the meaning of the two terms is one only. Or alternatively, “for the maintenance” is for the non-interruption of this or that being by means of the serial connection of arisen states. “For the support” is for the arising of unarisen (states). And both these expressions should be regarded as applicable in both cases thus: “For the maintenance and support of those that have come to be, and for the maintenance and support of those seeking a new existence.”
The Four Kinds of Nutriment
Physical food as nutriment (lit. “food made into a ball”) (kabalinkaro aharo) is nutriment that can be swallowed after making it into a ball; this is a term for the nutritive essence which has as its basis boiled rice, junket, etc.23 Gross or subtle (olariko va sukhumo va): it is gross because of the grossness of the basis, and subtle because of the subtlety of the basis. But because physical nutriment is included in subtle materiality, by way of its individual essence it is subtle only.24 And also that grossness and subtlety should be understood relatively in respect of the basis.
The nutriment of peacocks is subtle compared with the nutriment of crocodiles. Crocodiles, they say, swallow stones, and these dissolve on reaching their stomachs. Peacocks eat such animals as snakes, scorpions, etc. But the nutriment of hyenas is subtle compared with the nutriment of peacocks. These, they say, eat horns and bones thrown away three years before, and these become soft as yams as soon as they are moistened with their saliva. Also, the nutriment of elephants is subtle compared with the nutriment of hyenas. For these eat the branches of various trees, etc. The nutriment of the gayal buffalo, the antelope, the deer, etc., is subtler than the nutriment of elephants. These, they say, eat the sapless leaves of various kinds of trees, etc. The nutriment of cows is subtler than their nutriment; they eat fresh and dried grass. The nutriment of hares is subtler than their nutriment; that of birds is subtler than that of hares; that of barbarians is subtler than that of birds; that of village headmen is subtler than that of barbarians; that of kings and kings’ ministers is subtler than village headmens’; that of a Wheel-turning Monarch is subtler than their nutriment. The earth deities’ nutriment is subtler than that of a Wheel-turning Monarch. The nutriment of the deities of the Four Great Kings is subtler than that of the earth deities. Thus nutriment should be elaborated up to that of the deities who wield power over others’ creations.25 But saying, “Their nutriment is subtle,” the end is reached.
And here, in a basis that is gross, the nutritive essence is limited and weak; in one that is subtle, it is strong. Thus one who has drunk even a full bowl of gruel is soon hungry again and desirous of eating anything; but after drinking even a small amount of ghee, he will not want to eat for the whole day. Therein, it is the basis that dispels fatigue, but it is unable to preserve; but the nutritive essence preserves, though it cannot dispel fatigue. But when the two are combined they both dispel fatigue and preserve.
Contact as the second (phasso dutiyo): The sixfold contact beginning with eye-contact should be understood as the second of these four kinds of nutriment. And this is the method of the teaching itself; therefore it should not be inquired into here, saying “For this reason it is the second, or the third.” Mental volition (manosancetana): volition (cetana) itself is stated. Consciousness (viññanam): any kind of consciousness whatever.
It may be asked here: “If the meaning of condition is the meaning of nutriment, then, when other conditions also exist for beings, why are only these four stated?” It should be said in reply: “It is because they are the special conditions for personal continuity.” For physical nutriment is the special condition for the material body of beings that eat physical nutriment; as regards the group of mental constituents, contact is (the special condition) for feeling, mental volition for consciousness, and consciousness for mentality-materiality. As it is said: “Just as, bhikkhus, this body has nutriment for its maintenance, is maintained in dependence on nutriment, and without nutriment is not maintained” (S.46:2/v,64); and likewise: “With contact as condition, feeling;… with formations as condition, consciousness;… with consciousness as condition, mentality-materiality” (S.12:1/ii,1, etc.).
What is this nutriment, and what does it nourish? Physical nutriment nourishes the materiality with nutritive essence as eighth;26 contact as nutriment nourishes the three feelings; mental volition as nutriment nourishes the three kinds of being; consciousness as nutriment nourishes the mentality-materiality of rebirth-linking.
How? As soon as it is placed in the mouth, physical food as nutriment brings into being the eight kinds of materiality (aforesaid). Then each lump of cooked rice ground by the teeth, on being swallowed, brings into being unit after unit of the eight kinds of materiality. Thus it nourishes the materiality with nutritive essence as eighth.
But with contact as nutriment, when contact productive of pleasant feeling arises it nourishes pleasant feeling; contact productive of painful feeling nourishes painful feeling; contact productive of neither-painful-nor-pleasant feeling nourishes neither-painful-nor-pleasant feeling. Thus in all ways contact as nutriment nourishes the three kinds of feeling.
In the case of mental volition as nutriment, kamma leading to sense-sphere being nourishes sense-sphere being; kamma leading to fine-material and immaterial being nourishes its respective kind of being. Thus in all ways mental volition as nutriment nourishes the three kinds of being.
But with consciousness as nutriment, it is said that it nourishes, by way of conascence condition, etc., the three (immaterial) aggregates associated with itself at the moment of rebirth-linking and the thirty kinds of materiality that arise by way of triple continuity. Thus consciousness nourishes the mentality-materiality of rebirth-linking.27
And here, by the words “mental volition as nutriment nourishes the three kinds of being,” only the wholesome and unwholesome volition accompanied by taints is meant; by the words “consciousness nourishes the mentality-materiality of rebirth-linking,” only rebirth-linking consciousness is meant. However, these are to be understood indiscriminately as nutriments as well because they nourish the states that are associated with them and originated by them.
The Four Functions
As regards these four kinds of nutriment, physical food as nutriment accomplishes the function of nutriment by sustaining, contact by contacting (touching), mental volition by accumulating, consciousness by cognizing.
How? Physical food as nutriment, by sustaining, is for the maintenance of beings by maintaining the body. For this body, though generated by kamma, is sustained by physical food and stands for ten years or a hundred years up to the end of the life-span. Like what? Like a child which, though given birth by the mother, is nurtured by the milk, etc., given to him to drink by the wet-nurse and thus lives long. Also, as a house is supported by a prop. This too has been said (untraced): “Great king, just as, when a house is collapsing, they prop it up with other timber, and that house, being propped up by other timber, does not collapse, so too this body is supported by nutriment, persists in dependence upon nutriment.”
Thus physical food as nutriment accomplishes the function of nutriment by sustaining. Accomplishing it thus, physical food as nutriment becomes a condition for two material continuities, namely, for that originated by nutriment and that kammically acquired.28 It is a condition for the kamma-born materiality by becoming its preserver. It is a condition for that originated by nutriment by becoming its producer.
Then contact, by contacting the object which is the basis for pleasure, etc., is “for the maintenance of beings” by causing the occurrence of pleasant feeling, etc. Mental volition, accumulating by way of wholesome and unwholesome kamma, is “for the maintenance of beings” because it provides the root of existence. Consciousness, by cognizing, is “for the maintenance of beings” by causing the occurrence of mentality-materiality.
The Four Dangers
Now, while these are accomplishing their function of nutriment by sustaining, etc., four dangers are to be seen: the danger of desire in the case of physical food as nutriment; the danger of approach in the case of contact; (the danger) of accumulating in the case of mental volition; and (the danger) of launching [into a new existence here or there by way of taking rebirth-linking] in the case of consciousness.
What are the reasons (for this)? Because, having aroused desire for physical food, beings face cold, etc., to undertake such work as checking, accounting, etc., and incur not a little suffering. And some who have gone forth in this dispensation seek nutriment through such improper means as the practice of medicine, etc., and they are to be censured here and now, and hereafter they become “recluse ghosts” in the manner described thus in the Lakkhana Samyutta: “And his outer robe was burning, blazing,” etc.29 For this reason, desire itself is to be understood as the danger in physical food as nutriment.
Those who approach contact, who find gratification in contact, commit crimes in respect of others’ guarded and protected belongings, such as their wives, etc. When the owners of the goods catch them with their belongings, they cut them into pieces or throw them onto a rubbish heap, or hand them over to the king; and then the king has various tortures inflicted upon them. And with the breakup of the body, after death, a bad destination is to be expected for them. Thus this entire danger — that pertaining to the here and now and that pertaining to the afterlife — has come about rooted in contact. For this reason, approach is to be understood as the danger in the case of the nutriment contact.
The entire danger in the three realms of existence has come about by the accumulation of wholesome and unwholesome kamma and is rooted in that (accumulation). For this reason, accumulation is to be understood as the danger in the nutriment mental volition.
And in whatever place rebirth-linking consciousness launches (the new existence), in that same place it is reborn by seizing the rebirth-linking mentality-materiality. When it is produced, all dangers are produced, for they are all rooted in it. For this reason, launching is to be understood as the danger in the nutriment consciousness.
The Four Similes
In regard to these nutriments with their dangers, for the sake of eliminating desire for the nutriment physical food, the Fully Enlightened One taught the simile of son’s flesh in the passage beginning thus: “Suppose, bhikkhus, a couple, a man and his wife,…” For the sake of eliminating desire for the nutriment contact, he taught the simile of the flayed cow in the passage beginning thus: “Suppose, bhikkhus, there was a flayed cow…” For the sake of eliminating desire for the nutriment mental volition, he taught the simile of the charcoal pit in the passage beginning thus: “Suppose, bhikkhus, there was a charcoal pit…” And for the sake of eliminating desire for the nutriment consciousness, he taught the simile of the man struck with three hundred spears in the passage beginning thus: “Suppose, bhikkhus, there was a thief, a crook…”30
Therein, taking the essential meaning, there follows a brief interpretation of the meaning. A couple, it is said, a man and his wife, took their son and set out on a desert trail a hundred yojanas long,31 with only limited provisions. When they had gone fifty yojanas their provisions ran out. Exhausted by hunger and thirst, they sat down in some scanty shade. Then the man said to his wife: “My dear, for fifty yojanas on all sides there is neither a village nor a town. Therefore, though a man can do many kinds of work, such as plowing, guarding cattle, etc., it is not possible for me to do that. Come, kill me. Eat half of my flesh, and having made the other half into provisions for the journey, cross out of the desert together with our son.”
The wife said: “Dear husband, though a woman can do many kinds of work, such as spinning thread, etc., it is not possible for me to do that. Come, kill me. Eat half of my flesh, and having made the other half into provisions for the journey, cross out of the desert together with our son.”
Then the man said: “My dear, the death of the mother would mean the death of two, for a young boy cannot live without his mother. But if we both live, then we can beget another child again. Come now, let us kill our child, take his flesh, and cross out of this desert.”
Then the mother said to the son: “Dear, go to your father.” He went, but the father said: “For the sake of supporting this child I incurred much suffering through such work as plowing, guarding cattle, etc. I cannot kill the boy. You kill your son.” Then he said: “Dear, go to your mother.” But the mother said: “Longing for a son I incurred much suffering by observing the cow-observance, the dog-observance, praying to the gods, etc., not to speak of bearing him in my womb.32 It is not possible for me to kill him.” Then she said: “Dear, go to your father.”
The boy died from going back and forth between the father and the mother. Seeing him dead, they wept, and having taken the flesh as described above, they departed. Because that flesh of their son was repulsive to them for nine reasons, it was not eaten for enjoyment nor for intoxication nor for making (the body) strong and beautiful, but only for the purpose of crossing out of the desert.
For what nine reasons was it repulsive? Because it was the flesh of their own offspring, the flesh of a relative, the flesh of a son, the flesh of a dear son, the flesh of a youngster, raw flesh, not beef, unsalted, unspiced. Therefore the bhikkhu who sees the nutriment physical food thus, as similar to son’s flesh, eliminates the desire for it.33
This, in the first place, is the interpretation of the meaning of the simile of son’s flesh.
Then, as regards the simile of the flayed cow: If a cow were stripped of its skin from the neck to the hooves and then set free, whatever it would rest upon would become a basis of pain for it, since it would be bitten by the small creatures living there.34 So too, whatever physical basis or object contact stands upon as its support becomes a basis for the felt pain originating from that basis or object.35 Therefore a bhikkhu who sees the nutriment contact thus, as similar to a flayed cow, eliminates the desire for it. This is the interpretation of the meaning of the simile of the flayed cow.
Then, as regards the simile of the charcoal pit:36 The three realms of being are like a charcoal pit in the sense of a great burning heat (lit., a great fever). Like the two men who grab hold (of a weaker man) by both his arms and drag him towards it, is mental volition in the sense that it drags one towards the realms of being. Therefore a bhikkhu who sees the nutriment mental volition thus, as similar to a charcoal pit, eliminates the desire for it. This is the interpretation of the meaning of the simile of the charcoal pit.
Then, as regards the simile of the man struck with three hundred spears:37 The hundred spears that strike the man in the morning make a hundred wound openings in his body, and without remaining inside they pierce through and fall on the other side; and so with the other two hundred spears as well. Thus his whole body is cut again and again by the spears which come without piercing him in a place where another has already struck. There is no measuring the pain arisen in him from even one of the wound openings, not to speak of three hundred wound openings.
Therein, the time of the generation of the rebirth-linking consciousness is like the time of being struck by a spear. The production of the aggregates is like the production of the wound openings. The arising of the various kinds of suffering rooted in the round (of existence) once the aggregates have been born is like the arising of suffering on account of the wound openings.
Another method of interpretation (is as follows): The rebirth-linking consciousness is like the thief. His mentality-materiality conditioned by consciousness is like the wound openings created by the striking of the spears. The arising of the various kinds of suffering by way of the thirty-two types of torture and the eighty-nine types of diseases in regard to consciousness conditioned by mentality-materiality — this should be regarded as like the arising of severe pain for that man conditioned by the wound openings.
Therefore a bhikkhu who sees the nutriment consciousness thus, as similar to one struck by three hundred spears, eliminates the desire for it. This is the interpretation of the meaning of the simile of the man struck by three hundred spears.
Thus by eliminating desire in regard to these nutriments, he also fully understands these four nutriments. When these have been fully understood, the entire basis (for them) has also been fully understood. For this has been said by the Blessed One (S.12:63/ii,99-100):
Bhikkhus, when the nutriment physical food has been fully understood, lust for the five cords of sensual pleasure has been fully understood. When lust for the five cords of sensual pleasure has been fully understood, there exists no more any fetter bound by which the noble disciple might come back to this world.
Bhikkhus, when the nutriment contact has been fully understood, the three feelings have been fully understood. When the three feelings have been fully understood, there is nothing further for the noble disciple to do, I say.
Bhikkhus, when the nutriment mental volition has been fully understood, the three kinds of craving have been fully understood. When the three kinds of craving have been fully understood, there is nothing further for the noble disciple to do, I say.
Bhikkhus, when the nutriment consciousness has been fully understood, mentality-materiality has been fully understood. When mentality-materiality has been fully understood, there is nothing further for the noble disciple to do, I say.
The Arising and Cessation of Nutriment
With the arising of craving there is the arising of nutriment (tanhasamudaya aharasamudayo): This is the meaning: “With the arising of craving in the previous (existence) the arising of the nutriments occurs at rebirth-linking (in this existence).” How? Because at the moment of rebirth-linking there is the nutritive essence produced among the thirty types of materiality that have arisen by way of triple continuity.38 This is the kammically acquired physical food as nutriment produced by craving as its condition. But the contact and volition associated with the rebirth-linking consciousness, and that mind or consciousness itself — these are the kammically acquired nutriments of contact, mental volition and consciousness produced by craving as their condition. Thus, in the first place, the arising of the nutriments at rebirth-linking should be understood as occurring with the arising of craving in the previous existence.
But because the nutriments that are kammically acquired and those that are not kammically acquired have been discussed here combined, (the principle of) the arising of nutriment with the arising of craving should be understood to apply also to those that are not kammically acquired. For there is nutritive essence in the kinds of materiality that are aroused by the eight types of consciousness accompanied by greed;39 this is the nutriment physical food that is not kammically acquired yet is produced by conascent craving as its condition. But the contact and volition associated with the consciousness accompanied by greed, and that mind or consciousness itself — these are the nutriments of contact, mental volition and consciousness that are not kammically acquired yet are produced by craving as their condition.
With the cessation of craving there is cessation of nutriment (tanhanirodha aharanirodho): By this there is set forth the cessation of nutriment by the cessation of the craving that had become the condition for both nutriment that is kammically acquired and that which is not kammically acquired. The rest (should be understood) by the method stated, but there is this difference. Here the four truths are stated directly, and as here, so in all the following sections. Therefore one who is unconfused in mind can deduce the truths throughout in what follows.40
12. And in all the following sections the delimiting phrase In that way too, friends (ettavata pi kho avuso) should be construed according to the principle that has been expounded. Here, in the first place, this is the interpretation of it (in the present context). “In that way too”: what is meant is: “the attention and penetration stated by way of the teaching concerning nutriment.” The same method throughout.
The Four Noble Truths
14. Now, delighting and rejoicing in the Elder’s words, after saying as before “Good, friend,” the bhikkhus asked a further question, and the Elder answered them by another exposition. This method is found in all the following sections. Therefore, from here onwards, we shall explain the meaning only of the particular exposition he states in reply, without touching upon such words (as are already explained).
15. In the brief exposition of this teaching, in the phrase (he) understands suffering (dukkham pajanati), “suffering” is the truth of suffering. But regarding the detailed exposition, whatever needs to be said has all been said already in the Visuddhimagga in the Description of the Truths (XVI,13-104).
Aging and Death
21. From here onwards the teaching is given by way of dependent arising (paticca samuppada).
22. Therein, in the section on aging and death, firstly as to the term their (tesam tesam) — this should be understood as a collective designation in brief for the many kinds of beings. For if one were to state (the aging of individuals such as) the aging of Devadatta, the aging of Somadatta, etc., one would never come to an end of beings. But there is no being not included by this term “their.”41 Therefore it was said above: “This should be understood as a collective designation in brief for the many kinds of beings.”
In the various (tamhi tamhi): This is a collective designation for the many (different) orders by way of destiny and birth. Orders of beings (sattanikaye): an indication of the nature of what is designated by the collective designation.
Aging, old age (jara jiranata), etc.: As regards these, “aging” is the description of the nature; “old age” is the description of the aspect; “brokenness,” etc., are descriptions of the function with respect to the passage of time; and the last two terms are descriptions of the normal (process). For this is indicated as to nature by this term aging (jara); hence this is a description of its nature. It is indicated as to aspect by this term old age (jiranata); hence this is a description of its aspect. Brokenness (khandicca): by this it is indicated as to the function of causing the broken state of teeth and nails on account of the passage of time. Grayness (palicca): by this it is indicated as to the function of causing the head hairs and body hairs to turn gray. Wrinkling (valittacata): by this it is indicated as to the wrinkled state of the skin after the withering of the flesh. Hence the three terms beginning with brokenness are descriptions of function with respect to the passage of time. By these evident aging is shown, which becomes evident by the showing of these alterations. For just as the course taken by water or wind or fire is evident from the damaged and broken state, or the burnt state, of the grass and trees, etc., and yet the course that has been taken is not the water, etc., itself, so too the course taken by aging is evident through brokenness of teeth, etc., and it is apprehended by opening the eyes, but the brokenness, etc., themselves are not aging, nor is aging cognizable by the eye.
Decline of life, weakness of faculties (ayuno samhani indriyanam paripako): By these terms it is indicated by means of the normal (process) known as the exhaustion of the life-span and the weakening of the eye faculty, etc., that has become manifest with the passage of time. Hence these last two are to be understood as descriptions of its normal (process).
Therein, because the life-span of one who has reached aging is dwindling, aging is called “decline of life” as a metaphor (for the cause stated in terms) of its effect. And because the eye faculty, etc. — which at the time of youth were quite clear and could easily grasp even subtle objects — become deficient, obscure, unable to grasp even gross objects when one has reached old age, therefore it is called “weakness of faculties” also as a metaphor (for the cause stated in terms) of its effect.
This aging, thus described, is all of two kinds, evident and concealed. Therein, the aging of material phenomena, shown by brokenness, etc., is called evident aging (pakatajara). But in the case of immaterial phenomena, because their alteration in such a way is not visible, their aging is called concealed aging (paticchannajara). Therein, the brokenness that is seen is simply color (vanna) because of the ease of comprehending such things as the teeth, etc. Having seen this with the eye and reflected on it with the mind door, one knows aging thus: “These teeth have been afflicted by aging,” just as one knows the existence of water below when one has noticed the heads of cows, etc., bound to the place where the water is located.
Again, aging is twofold thus: as continuous and as discrete. Therein, continuous aging (avicijara) is the aging of such things as gems, gold, silver, coral, the sun and moon, etc.; it is so called because of the difficulty of perceiving in such things distinct changes in color, etc., at regular intervals, as we can in the case of living beings passing through the decade of childhood, etc., and in the case of vegetation (lit. non-breathing things) such as flowers, fruits, buds, etc. The meaning is: aging that progresses without interval. Discrete aging (savicijara) is the aging of the things other than those, i.e., of the aforesaid things (living beings and vegetation); it is so called because it is easy to perceive in them distinct changes in color, etc., at regular intervals. So it should be understood.
Following this (in the definition of death) the term their (tesam tesam) should be understood by the method stated above (in the definition of aging). Then, in the expression passing, passing away, etc., passing (cuti) is said by way of what has the nature to pass away; this is a collective designation (applying) to one-, four-, and five-aggregate (existence). Passing away (cavanata) is the indication of the characteristic by a word expressing the abstract state. Dissolution (bheda) is an indication of the occurrence of the breaking up of the aggregates (at the time) of passing. Disappearance (antaradhana) is an indication of the absence of any manner of persistence of the aggregates (at the time) of passing, as they are broken like a broken pot.
Dying (maccu marana): death which is called dying. By this he rejects the idea of death as complete annihilation. Completion of time (kalakiriya): time is the destroyer, and this (completion of time) is its activity. By this he explains death in conventional terminology.
Now, to explain death in (terms valid in) the ultimate sense, he next says the dissolution of the aggregates (khandhanam bhedo), etc.42 For in the ultimate sense it is only the aggregates that break up; it is not any so called being that dies. But when the aggregates are breaking up convention says “a being is dying,” and when they have broken up convention says “(he is) dead.”
Here the dissolution of the aggregates is said by way of four- [and five-] constituent being; the laying down of the body (kalevarassa nikkhepo) by way of one-constituent being.43 Or alternatively, the dissolution of the aggregates is said by way of four-constituent being; the laying down of the body should be understood by way of the other two (i.e., one- and five-constituent being). Why? Because of the existence of the body, that is, the material body, in those two realms of being. Or else, because in the realm of the Four Great Kings, etc., the aggregates simply break up and they do not lay anything down, the dissolution of the aggregates is said with reference to them.44 The laying down of the body occurs among human beings, etc. And here, because it is the cause for the laying down of the body, death is called the laying down of the body. Thus the meaning should be understood.
So this aging and this death are what is called aging and death (iti ayan ca jara idan ca maranam idam vuccat’avuso jaramaranam): this is spoken of as “aging and death” by combining the two into one.
26. In the section on birth, in regard to the phrase birth,… their coming to birth, etc., birth (jati) is in the sense of being born; this is stated with reference to those (conceived) with incomplete sense bases. Coming to birth (sanjati) is in the sense of the act of coming to birth; this is stated with reference to those (conceived) with already complete sense bases. Precipitation (or descent, okkanti) is in the sense of being precipitated (descending). This is stated with reference to those born from the egg and from the womb, for they take rebirth-linking as though descending and entering the egg shell or the placenta. Generation (abhinibbatti) is in the sense of being generated. This is stated with reference to those born from moisture or those of spontaneous birth, for these are generated as soon as they become manifest.
Now comes the exposition in (terms valid in) the ultimate sense. Manifestation (patubhava) is the arising. Of the aggregates (khandhanam) is to be understood as (the arising) of one aggregate in the one-constituent realm of being, of four aggregates in four-constituent realms, and of five aggregates in five-constituent realms. Obtaining (patilabha) is the manifestation in continuity. The bases (ayatananam) should be understood as comprising the sense bases arising (at conception) in this or that realm. For when the sense bases become manifest, then they are said to be obtained.
This is called birth (ayam vuccat’avuso jati): by this phrase he comes to the conclusion on birth taught in both conventional terms and in the ultimate sense.
With the arising of being (bhavasamudaya): but here one should understand kammically active being as the condition for birth. The rest by the method stated.
30. In the section on being, sense-sphere being (kamabhava) is kammically active being and resultant being. Therein, kammically active being (kammabhava) is kamma itself that leads to sense-sphere being. For that is called “being” as a designation of the cause in terms of its effect, because it is the cause for resultant being, as when it is said: “The arising of Buddhas is bliss” and “The accumulation of evil is painful” (Dhp. 194, 117). Resultant being (upapattibhava) is the group of kammically acquired aggregates produced by that kamma. For that is called “being” because it exists there. Thus this kamma and this result are both spoken of conjointly as “sense-sphere being.” The same method applies to fine-material being and immaterial being (ruparupabhava).
With the arising of clinging (upadanasamudaya): But here clinging is a condition for wholesome kammically active being only by way of decisive support; it is a condition for unwholesome kammically active being by way of both decisive support and conascence.45 For all resultant being it is a condition only by way of decisive support. The rest by the method stated.
34. In the section on clinging, in regard to the phrase “clinging to sense pleasures,” etc., clinging to sense pleasures (kamupadana) is analyzed thus: by this one clings to the object of sensual pleasure, or this itself clings to it. Or alternatively: that is a sensual pleasure and it is clinging, thus it is clinging to sensual pleasure. It is firm grasping (dalhagahana) that is called clinging. For here the prefix upa has the sense of firmness. This is a designation for the lust for the five cords of sensual pleasure. This is the brief account here. The detailed account should be understood by the method stated thus: “Therein, what is clinging to sensual pleasures? The sensual desire in regard to sensual pleasures,” etc. (Dhs. Section 1214).
So too, that is a view and clinging, thus it is clinging to views (ditthupadana). Or alternatively: it clings to a view, or by this they cling to a view. For the subsequent view clings to the previous view and thereby they cling to the view. As it is said: “Self and the world are eternal; only this is true, anything else is false,” etc. (M.102/ii, 233). This is a designation for the whole field of (wrong) views except clinging to rituals and observances and clinging to a doctrine of self.46 This is the brief account here. The detailed account should be understood by the method stated thus: “Therein, what is clinging to views? There is nothing given,” etc. (Dhs. Section 1215).
So too, by this they cling to rituals and observances, or this itself clings to them, or that is a ritual and observance and clinging, thus it is clinging to rituals and observances (silabbatupadana). For when one adheres to the idea that the cow ritual or cow observance brings purification, that itself is a clinging.47 This is the brief account here. The detailed account should be understood by the method stated thus: “Therein, what is clinging to rituals and observances? (The idea) of recluses and brahmans outside here (i.e., outside the Buddha’s dispensation) that purity (is achieved) by rules,” etc. (Dhs. Section 1216).
Now they assert in terms of this, thus it is a doctrine. By this they cling, thus it is clinging. What do they assert? Or what do they cling to? Self. The clinging to a doctrine about a self is the clinging to a doctrine of self (attavadupadana). Or alternatively: by this a mere doctrine of self is clung to as self, thus it is clinging to a doctrine of self. This is a designation for personality view with its twenty cases. This is the brief account here. The detailed account should be understood by the method stated thus: “Therein, what is clinging to a doctrine of self? Here, the uninstructed worldling who has no regard for noble ones,” etc. (Dhs. Section 1217).
With the arising of craving (tanhasamudaya): here, craving is a condition for clinging to sensual pleasures either by way of decisive support or by way of proximity, contiguity, absence, disappearance and repetition.48 But for the rest (it is a condition) by way of conascence, etc., too. The rest by the method stated.
38. In the section on craving, craving for forms… craving for mind-objects (rupatanha… dhammatanha): these are names for the kinds of craving which occur in the course of a javana cognitive process (javanavithi) in the eye door, etc. Like a name derived from the father, such as Setthiputta (”merchant’s son”) or Brahmanaputta (”brahman’s son”), their names are derived from the object, which is similar to the father [as being the cause (hetu) of it only, not as is the case with “eye-contact,” which is like a name derived from the mother in that (the eye like the mother in relation to her son) is a cause by its nature as a physical support (nissayabhava)].
And here, craving for forms is craving that has forms as its object, craving in regard to forms. When this occurs by finding gratification in visible forms through its nature as sensual lust, it is craving for sensual pleasure (kamatanha). When it occurs by finding gratification in visible forms, thinking “Form is permanent, lasting, eternal,” through its nature as lust accompanied by the eternalist view, then it is craving for being (bhavatanha). When it occurs by finding gratification in visible form, thinking “Form is annihilated, destroyed, and does not exist after death,” through its nature as lust accompanied by the annihilationist view, then it is craving for non-being (vibhavatanha). Thus it is threefold. And as craving for form, so too craving for sound, etc., (are each threefold too). Thus there are eighteen modes of craving. These eighteen in respect of internal visible form, etc., and in respect of external visible form, etc., come to thirty-six. So thirty-six in the past, thirty-six in the future, and thirty-six at present make up a hundred and eight.
Or there are eighteen based on internal form, etc., thus: “On account of the internal there is (the notion) ‘I am,’ there is (the notion) ‘I am such and such,’ ” and so on; and there are eighteen based on external form, etc., thus: “On account of the external there is (the notion) ‘I am,’ there is (the notion) ‘I am such and such,’ ” and so on. Thus there are thirty-six. So thirty-six in the past, thirty-six in the future, and thirty-six at present make up thus the hundred and eight modes of craving (tanhavicaritani; see A. 4:199/ii, 212).
Again, when a classification is made, they reduce to only six classes of craving — in terms of their objects, forms and the rest — and to only three types of craving — craving for sensual pleasure and the rest. Thus:
Craving should be known by the wise
Through description and when described
In detail; it (should be known) again
Through classification of the detail.
With the arising of feeling there is the arising of craving (vedanasamudaya tanhasamudayo): But here the word “feeling” is intended as resultant feeling.49 How is that the condition for craving in respect of the six sense doors? Because of its ability to produce gratification. For it is through the gratification in pleasant feeling that beings become enamored of that feeling, and after arousing craving for feeling and being seized by lust for feeling, they long only for a desirable visible form in the eye door. And on getting it, they find gratification in it, and they honor painters, etc., who provide such objects. Likewise, they long only for a desirable sound, etc., in the ear door, etc. And on getting it, they find gratification in it, and they honor musicians, perfume makers, cooks, spinners and the teachers of the various crafts. Like what? Like those who, being enamored of a child, out of love for the child honor the wet-nurse and give her suitable ghee, milk, etc., to eat and drink. The rest by the method stated.
42. In the section on feeling, classes of feeling (vedanakaya) means groups of feeling. Feeling born of eye-contact… feeling born of mind-contact (cakkhusamphassaja vedana… manosamphassaja vedana): because of what has come down in the Vibhanga thus: “There is feeling born of eye-contact that is wholesome, that is unwholesome, that is indeterminate” (Vibh. 15), the wholesome, unwholesome and indeterminate feelings that occur in the eye door, etc., are named after the physical base, which is similar to a mother, just as some are named after their mother, such as “Sariputta (Lady Sari’s son),” “Mantaniputta (Lady Mantani’s son),” etc.
But the word meaning here is this: feeling born of eye-contact (cakkhusamphassaja vedana) is feeling that is born with eye-contact as the cause. The same method throughout. This, in the first place, is the all-inclusive explanation. But by way of resultant, in the eye-door there are two eye-consciousnesses, two mind elements, three mind-consciousness elements; feeling should be understood as what is associated with these.50 This method also applies in the ear door, etc. In the mind door, (feeling) is associated only with the mind-consciousness elements.
With the arising of contact (phassasamudaya): But here the arising in the five doors of the feelings that have the five physical bases (as their support) occurs with the arising of the conascent eye-contact. For the rest, eye-contact, etc., are conditions by way of decisive support. In the mind door, the arising of feelings (on the occasion) of registration and of the doorless feelings (on the occasions) of rebirth-linking, life-continuum and death occurs with the arising of the conascent mind-contact.51 The rest by the method stated.
46. In the section on contact, eye-contact (cakkhusamphassa) is contact in the eye. The same method throughout. Eye-contact… body-contact (cakkhusamphasso… kayasamphasso): up to this point ten kinds of contact have been stated, namely, the wholesome- and unwholesome-resultants having the five physical bases (as their support). Mind-contact (manosamphassa): by this (he indicates) the remaining twenty-two kinds of contact associated with the mundane resultant (types of consciousness).52
With the arising of the sixfold base (salayatanasamudaya): The arising of this sixfold contact should be understood to occur by way of the arising of the six bases beginning with the eye-base. The rest by the method stated.
The Sixfold Base
50. In the section on the sixfold base, as regards the eye-base (cakkhayatana), etc., whatever should be said has all been said already in the Visuddhimagga in the Description of the Aggregates and in the Description of the Bases (XIV, 37-52; XV, 1-16).
With the arising of mentality-materiality (namarupasamudaya): But here the arising of the sixfold base should be understood to occur from the arising of mentality-materiality according to the method stated in the Visuddhimagga in the Description of Dependent Arising, as to which mentality, which materiality, and which mentality-materiality are a condition for which base (XVII, 206-219).
54. In the section on mentality-materiality, mentality (nama) has the characteristic of bending (namana); materiality (rupa) has the characteristic of being molested (ruppana).53 In the detailed section, however, feeling (vedana) is to be understood as the feeling aggregate, perception (sañña) as the perception aggregate, and volition, contact and attention (cetana phasso manasikaro) as the formations aggregate. While it is certainly the case that other states are included in the formations aggregate, still these three are found in all classes of consciousness, even the weakest. That is why the formations aggregate is here pointed out only by means of these three.
The four great elements (cattari mahabhutani): this is a designation for the four — earth, water, fire and air. The reason why these are called “great elements,” and other determinations concerning them, are all stated in the Visuddhimagga in the Description of the Materiality Aggregate.54
Derived from the four great elements (catunnan ca mahabhutanam upadaya): derived from (upadaya) = having clung to (upadayitva); “having grasped” is the meaning. Some also say “depending upon” (nissaya). And here the reading is completed by adding the word “existing” (vattamanam). The Pali uses the genitive (in the term for the elements) in the sense of a group. Hence the meaning here should be understood thus: the materiality that exists derived from the group of the four great elements.
Thus materiality taken altogether is to be understood as consisting of all the following: the four great elements beginning with the earth element, and the materiality that exists derived from the four great elements, stated in the canonical Abhidhamma to be of twenty-three kinds by analysis into the eye-base, etc.55
With the arising of consciousness (viññanasamudaya): But here the arising of mentality-materiality should be understood to occur with the arising of consciousness according to the method stated in the Visuddhimagga in the Description of Dependent Arising, as to which consciousness is a condition for which mentality, for which materiality, and for which mentality-materiality (XVII, 186-202). The rest by the method stated.
58. In the section on consciousness, eye-consciousness (cakkhuviññana) is consciousness in the eye or consciousness born from the eye. So also with ear-, nose-, tongue- and body-consciousness. But with the other one, i.e., mind-consciousness (manoviññana), mind itself is consciousness. This is a designation for the resultant consciousness of the three (mundane) planes of existence except for the two groups of fivefold consciousness.56
With the arising of formations (sankharasamudaya): But here the arising of consciousness should be understood to occur with the arising of formations according to the method stated in the Visuddhimagga, as to which formation is a condition for which consciousness (XVII, 175-185).
62. In the section on formations, a formation (sankhara) has the characteristic of forming (abhisankharanalakkhana). But in the detailed section, the bodily formation (kayasankhara) is a formation that proceeds from the body. This is a designation for the twenty kinds of bodily volition — the eight sense-sphere wholesome and twelve unwholesome — that occur by way of activation in the bodily door.57 The verbal formation (vacisankhara) is a formation that proceeds from speech. This is a designation for the (same) twenty kinds of verbal volition that occur by way of breaking into speech in the door of speech. The mental formation (cittasankhara) is a formation that proceeds from the mind. This is a designation for the twenty-nine kinds of mental volition — the mundane wholesome and unwholesome — that occur in one sitting alone in thought, and which do not cause activation of the bodily and verbal doors.58
With the arising of ignorance (avijjasamudaya): But here ignorance should be understood as a condition for the wholesome by way of decisive support and for the unwholesome by way of conascence as well. The rest by the method stated.
66. In the section on ignorance, not knowing about suffering (dukkhe aññanam) means not knowing about the truth of suffering. This is a designation for delusion (moha). The same method with respect to “not knowing about the origin of suffering,” and so on.
Herein, not knowing about suffering should be understood in four ways: as to containment (antogadhato), as to physical basis (vatthuto), as to object (arammanato), and as to concealment (paticchadanato). Thus, because of being included in the truth of suffering, it (”not knowing” or ignorance) is contained in suffering; and the truth of suffering is its physical basis by being its support condition; and (the truth of suffering) is its object by being its object condition; and it conceals the truth of suffering by preventing the penetration of its real characteristic and by not allowing knowledge to occur in regard to it.
Not knowing about the origin (of suffering) should be understood in three ways: as to physical basis, as to object, and as to concealment. And not knowing about cessation and the way (to cessation) should be understood in one way only: as to concealment. For non-knowledge only conceals cessation and the way by preventing the penetration of their real characteristics and by not allowing knowledge to occur in regard to them. But it is not contained in them because it is not included in this pair of truths. And these two truths are not its physical basis because they are not conascent. Nor are they its object because of its non-occurrence on account of them. For the last pair of truths are difficult to see because of their profundity, and non-knowledge, which is blind, does not occur there. But the first (pair of truths) is profound in the sense of opposition because of the difficulty in seeing the characteristic of their intrinsic nature; it occurs there by way of obsession by the perversions.
Furthermore: About suffering (dukkhe): to this extent ignorance is indicated as to inclusion, as to physical basis, as to object, and as to function. About the origin of suffering (dukkhasamudaye): to this extent, as to basis, as to object, and as to function. About the cessation of suffering (dukkhanirodhe) and about the way leading to the cessation of suffering (dukkhanirodhagaminiya patipadaya): to this extent, as to function. But without distinction, (in each instance) ignorance is described in terms of its intrinsic nature by the phrase “not knowing.”
With the arising of the taints (asavasamudaya): But here the taint of sensual desire and the taint of being are conditions for ignorance by way of conascence, etc.; the taint of ignorance, only by way of decisive support. And here the ignorance that had arisen previously should be understood as the taint of ignorance. That is a decisive support condition for the ignorance that arises subsequently. The rest by the method stated.
70. In the section on the taints, with the arising of ignorance (avijjasamudaya): Here ignorance is a condition for the taint of sensual desire and the taint of being by way of decisive support, etc.; (it is a condition) for the taint of ignorance only by way of decisive support. And here the ignorance that arises subsequently should be understood as the taint of ignorance. The previously arisen ignorance itself becomes a decisive support condition for the subsequently arisen taint of ignorance. The rest by the aforesaid method.
This section is stated by way of showing the condition for the ignorance which heads the factors of dependent arising. Stated thus, the undiscoverability (anamataggata) of any beginning of samsara is established. How? Because with the arising of the taints there is the arising of ignorance, and with the arising of ignorance there is the arising of the taints. Thus the taints are a condition for ignorance, and ignorance is a condition for the taints. Having shown this, (it follows that) no first point of ignorance is manifest, and because none is manifest the undiscoverability of any beginning of samsara is proven.59
Thus in all this sutta sixteen sections have been stated: the section on the courses of kamma, the section on nutriment, the section on suffering, and the sections on aging and death, birth, being, clinging, craving, feeling, contact, the sixfold base, mentality-materiality, consciousness, formations, ignorance and the taints.
As to these, in each individual section there is a twofold analysis — in brief and in detail — amounting to thirty-two cases. Thus in this sutta, in these thirty-two cases, the Four (Noble) Truths are expounded. Among these, in the sixteen cases stated in detail, arahantship is expounded.
But according to the opinion of the Elder, the four truths and the four paths are expounded in the thirty-two cases.60 Thus in the entire Word of the Buddha comprised in the five great Nikayas, there is no sutta except for this Discourse on Right View where the Four (Noble) Truths are explained thirty-two times and where arahantship is explained thirty-two times.
That is what the Venerable Sariputta said (idam avoc’ayasma Sariputto): The Venerable Sariputta spoke this Discourse on Right View, having adorned it with sixty-four divisions — thirty-two expositions of the four truths and thirty-two expositions of arahantship. The bhikkhus were satisfied and delighted in the Venerable Sariputta’s words.
In the Papañcasudani, the Commentary to the Majjhima Nikaya, the Explanation of the Discourse on Right View is concluded.
Filed under: General
@ 11:39 am
The second factor of the path is called in Pali samma sankappa, which we will translate as “right intention.” The term is sometimes translated as “right thought,” a rendering that can be accepted if we add the proviso that in the present context the word “thought” refers specifically to the purposive or conative aspect of mental activity, the cognitive aspect being covered by the first factor, right view. It would be artificial, however, to insist too strongly on the division between these two functions. From the Buddhist perspective, the cognitive and purposive sides of the mind do not remain isolated in separate compartments but intertwine and interact in close correlation. Emotional predilections influence views, and views determine predilections. Thus a penetrating view of the nature of existence, gained through deep reflection and validated through investigation, brings with it a restructuring of values which sets the mind moving towards goals commensurate with the new vision. The application of mind needed to achieve those goals is what is meant by right intention.
The Buddha explains right intention as threefold: the intention of renunciation, the intention of good will, and the intention of harmlessness. The three are opposed to three parallel kinds of wrong intention: intention governed by desire, intention governed by ill will, and intention governed by harmfulness. Each kind of right intention counters the corresponding kind of wrong intention. The intention of renunciation counters the intention of desire, the intention of good will counters the intention of ill will, and the intention of harmlessness counters the intention of harmfulness.
The Buddha discovered this twofold division of thought in the period prior to his Enlightenment (see MN 19). While he was striving for deliverance, meditating in the forest, he found that his thoughts could be distributed into two different classes. In one he put thoughts of desire, ill will, and harmfulness, in the other thoughts of renunciation, good will, and harmlessness. Whenever he noticed thoughts of the first kind arise in him, he understood that those thoughts lead to harm for oneself and others, obstruct wisdom, and lead away from Nibbana. Reflecting in this way he expelled such thoughts from his mind and brought them to an end. But whenever thoughts of the second kind arose, he understood those thoughts to be beneficial, conducive to the growth of wisdom, aids to the attainment of Nibbana. Thus he strengthened those thoughts and brought them to completion.
Right intention claims the second place in the path, between right view and the triad of moral factors that begins with right speech, because the mind’s intentional function forms the crucial link connecting our cognitive perspective with our modes of active engagement in the world. On the one side actions always point back to the thoughts from which they spring. Thought is the forerunner of action, directing body and speech, stirring them into activity, using them as its instruments for expressing its aims and ideals. These aims and ideals, our intentions, in turn point back a further step to the prevailing views. When wrong views prevail, the outcome is wrong intention giving rise to unwholesome actions. Thus one who denies the moral efficacy of action and measures achievement in terms of gain and status will aspire to nothing but gain and status, using whatever means he can to acquire them. When such pursuits become widespread, the result is suffering, the tremendous suffering of individuals, social groups, and nations out to gain wealth, position, and power without regard for consequences. The cause for the endless competition, conflict, injustice, and oppression does not lie outside the mind. These are all just manifestations of intentions, outcroppings of thoughts driven by greed, by hatred, by delusion.
But when the intentions are right, the actions will be right, and for the intentions to be right the surest guarantee is right views. One who recognizes the law of kamma, that actions bring retributive consequences, will frame his pursuits to accord with this law; thus his actions, expressive of his intentions, will conform to the canons of right conduct. The Buddha succinctly sums up the matter when he says that for a person who holds a wrong view, his deeds, words, plans, and purposes grounded in that view will lead to suffering, while for a person who holds right view, his deeds, words, plans, and purposes grounded in that view will lead to happiness.
Since the most important formulation of right view is the understanding of the Four Noble Truths, it follows that this view should be in some way determinative of the content of right intention. This we find to be in fact the case. Understanding the four truths in relation to one’s own life gives rise to the intention of renunciation; understanding them in relation to other beings gives rise to the other two right intentions. When we see how our own lives are pervaded by dukkha, and how this dukkha derives from craving, the mind inclines to renunciation — to abandoning craving and the objects to which it binds us. Then, when we apply the truths in an analogous way to other living beings, the contemplation nurtures the growth of good will and harmlessness. We see that, like ourselves, all other living beings want to be happy, and again that like ourselves they are subject to suffering. The consideration that all beings seek happiness causes thoughts of good will to arise — the loving wish that they be well, happy, and peaceful. The consideration that beings are exposed to suffering causes thoughts of harmlessness to arise — the compassionate wish that they be free from suffering.
The moment the cultivation of the Noble Eightfold Path begins, the factors of right view and right intention together start to counteract the three unwholesome roots. Delusion, the primary cognitive defilement, is opposed by right view, the nascent seed of wisdom. The complete eradication of delusion will only take place when right view is developed to the stage of full realization, but every flickering of correct understanding contributes to its eventual destruction. The other two roots, being emotive defilements, require opposition through the redirecting of intention, and thus meet their antidotes in thoughts of renunciation, good will, and harmlessness.
Since greed and aversion are deeply grounded, they do not yield easily; however, the work of overcoming them is not impossible if an effective strategy is employed. The path devised by the Buddha makes use of an indirect approach: it proceeds by tackling the thoughts to which these defilements give rise. Greed and aversion surface in the form of thoughts, and thus can be eroded by a process of “thought substitution,” by replacing them with the thoughts opposed to them. The intention of renunciation provides the remedy to greed. Greed comes to manifestation in thoughts of desire — as sensual, acquisitive, and possessive thoughts. Thoughts of renunciation spring from the wholesome root of non-greed, which they activate whenever they are cultivated. Since contrary thoughts cannot coexist, when thoughts of renunciation are roused, they dislodge thoughts of desire, thus causing non-greed to replace greed. Similarly, the intentions of good will and harmlessness offer the antidote to aversion. Aversion comes to manifestation either in thoughts of ill will — as angry, hostile, or resentful thoughts; or in thoughts of harming — as the impulses to cruelty, aggression, and destruction. Thoughts of good will counter the former outflow of aversion, thoughts of harmlessness the latter outflow, in this way excising the unwholesome root of aversion itself.
The Intention of Renunciation
The Buddha describes his teaching as running contrary to the way of the world. The way of the world is the way of desire, and the unenlightened who follow this way flow with the current of desire, seeking happiness by pursuing the objects in which they imagine they will find fulfilment. The Buddha’s message of renunciation states exactly the opposite: the pull of desire is to be resisted and eventually abandoned. Desire is to be abandoned not because it is morally evil but because it is a root of suffering. Thus renunciation, turning away from craving and its drive for gratification, becomes the key to happiness, to freedom from the hold of attachment.
The Buddha does not demand that everyone leave the household life for the monastery or ask his followers to discard all sense enjoyments on the spot. The degree to which a person renounces depends on his or her disposition and situation. But what remains as a guiding principle is this: that the attainment of deliverance requires the complete eradication of craving, and progress along the path is accelerated to the extent that one overcomes craving. Breaking free from domination by desire may not be easy, but the difficulty does not abrogate the necessity. Since craving is the origin of dukkha, putting an end to dukkha depends on eliminating craving, and that involves directing the mind to renunciation.
But it is just at this point, when one tries to let go of attachment, that one encounters a powerful inner resistance. The mind does not want to relinquish its hold on the objects to which it has become attached. For such a long time it has been accustomed to gaining, grasping, and holding, that it seems impossible to break these habits by an act of will. One might agree to the need for renunciation, might want to leave attachment behind, but when the call is actually sounded the mind recoils and continues to move in the grip of its desires.
So the problem arises of how to break the shackles of desire. The Buddha does not offer as a solution the method of repression — the attempt to drive desire away with a mind full of fear and loathing. This approach does not resolve the problem but only pushes it below the surface, where it continues to thrive. The tool the Buddha holds out to free the mind from desire is understanding. Real renunciation is not a matter of compelling ourselves to give up things still inwardly cherished, but of changing our perspective on them so that they no longer bind us. When we understand the nature of desire, when we investigate it closely with keen attention, desire falls away by itself, without need for struggle.
To understand desire in such a way that we can loosen its hold, we need to see that desire is invariably bound up with dukkha. The whole phenomenon of desire, with its cycle of wanting and gratification, hangs on our way of seeing things. We remain in bondage to desire because we see it as our means to happiness. If we can look at desire from a different angle, its force will be abated, resulting in the move towards renunciation. What is needed to alter perception is something called “wise consideration” (yoniso manasikara). Just as perception influences thought, so thought can influence perception. Our usual perceptions are tinged with “unwise consideration” (ayoniso manasikara). We ordinarily look only at the surfaces of things, scan them in terms of our immediate interests and wants; only rarely do we dig into the roots of our involvements or explore their long-range consequences. To set this straight calls for wise consideration: looking into the hidden undertones to our actions, exploring their results, evaluating the worthiness of our goals. In this investigation our concern must not be with what is pleasant but with what is true. We have to be prepared and willing to discover what is true even at the cost of our comfort. For real security always lies on the side of truth, not on the side of comfort.
When desire is scrutinized closely, we find that it is constantly shadowed by dukkha. Sometimes dukkha appears as pain or irritation; often it lies low as a constant strain of discontent. But the two — desire and dukkha — are inseparable concomitants. We can confirm this for ourselves by considering the whole cycle of desire. At the moment desire springs up it creates in us a sense of lack, the pain of want. To end this pain we struggle to fulfil the desire. If our effort fails, we experience frustration, disappointment, sometimes despair. But even the pleasure of success is not unqualified. We worry that we might lose the ground we have gained. We feel driven to secure our position, to safeguard our territory, to gain more, to rise higher, to establish tighter controls. The demands of desire seem endless, and each desire demands the eternal: it wants the things we get to last forever. But all the objects of desire are impermanent. Whether it be wealth, power, position, or other persons, separation is inevitable, and the pain that accompanies separation is proportional to the force of attachment: strong attachment brings much suffering; little attachment brings little suffering; no attachment brings no suffering.
Contemplating the dukkha inherent in desire is one way to incline the mind to renunciation. Another way is to contemplate directly the benefits flowing from renunciation. To move from desire to renunciation is not, as might be imagined, to move from happiness to grief, from abundance to destitution. It is to pass from gross, entangling pleasures to an exalted happiness and peace, from a condition of servitude to one of self-mastery. Desire ultimately breeds fear and sorrow, but renunciation gives fearlessness and joy. It promotes the accomplishment of all three stages of the threefold training: it purifies conduct, aids concentration, and nourishes the seed of wisdom. The entire course of practice from start to finish can in fact be seen as an evolving process of renunciation culminating in Nibbana as the ultimate stage of relinquishment, “the relinquishing of all foundations of existence” (sabb’upadhipatinissagga).
When we methodically contemplate the dangers of desire and the benefits of renunciation, gradually we steer our mind away from the domination of desire. Attachments are shed like the leaves of a tree, naturally and spontaneously. The changes do not come suddenly, but when there is persistent practice, there is no doubt that they will come. Through repeated contemplation one thought knocks away another, the intention of renunciation dislodges the intention of desire.
The Intention of Good Will
The intention of good will opposes the intention of ill will, thoughts governed by anger and aversion. As in the case of desire, there are two ineffective ways of handling ill will. One is to yield to it, to express the aversion by bodily or verbal action. This approach releases the tension, helps drive the anger “out of one’s system,” but it also poses certain dangers. It breeds resentment, provokes retaliation, creates enemies, poisons relationships, and generates unwholesome kamma; in the end, the ill will does not leave the “system” after all, but instead is driven down to a deeper level where it continues to vitiate one’s thoughts and conduct. The other approach, repression, also fails to dispel the destructive force of ill will. It merely turns that force around and pushes it inward, where it becomes transmogrified into self-contempt, chronic depression, or a tendency to irrational outbursts of violence.
The remedy the Buddha recommends to counteract ill will, especially when the object is another person, is a quality called in Pali metta. This word derives from another word meaning “friend,” but metta signifies much more than ordinary friendliness. I prefer to translate it by the compound “lovingkindness,” which best captures the intended sense: an intense feeling of selfless love for other beings radiating outwards as a heartfelt concern for their well-being and happiness. Metta is not just sentimental good will, nor is it a conscientious response to a moral imperative or divine command. It must become a deep inner feeling, characterized by spontaneous warmth rather than by a sense of obligation. At its peak metta rises to the heights of a brahmavihara, a “divine dwelling,” a total way of being centred on the radiant wish for the welfare of all living beings.
The kind of love implied by metta should be distinguished from sensual love as well as from the love involved in personal affection. The first is a form of craving, necessarily self-directed, while the second still includes a degree of attachment: we love a person because that person gives us pleasure, belongs to our family or group, or reinforces our own self-image. Only rarely does the feeling of affection transcend all traces of ego-reference, and even then its scope is limited. It applies only to a certain person or group of people while excluding others.
The love involved in metta, in contrast, does not hinge on particular relations to particular persons. Here the reference point of self is utterly omitted. We are concerned only with suffusing others with a mind of lovingkindness, which ideally is to be developed into a universal state, extended to all living beings without discriminations or reservations. The way to impart to metta this universal scope is to cultivate it as an exercise in meditation. Spontaneous feelings of good will occur too sporadically and are too limited in range to be relied on as the remedy for aversion. The idea of deliberately developing love has been criticized as contrived, mechanical, and calculated. Love, it is said, can only be genuine when it is spontaneous, arisen without inner prompting or effort. But it is a Buddhist thesis that the mind cannot be commanded to love spontaneously; it can only be shown the means to develop love and enjoined to practise accordingly. At first the means has to be employed with some deliberation, but through practice the feeling of love becomes ingrained, grafted onto the mind as a natural and spontaneous tendency.
The method of development is metta-bhavana, the meditation on lovingkindness, one of the most important kinds of Buddhist meditation. The meditation begins with the development of lovingkindness towards oneself. It is suggested that one take oneself as the first object of metta because true lovingkindness for others only becomes possible when one is able to feel genuine lovingkindness for oneself. Probably most of the anger and hostility we direct to others springs from negative attitudes we hold towards ourselves. When metta is directed inwards towards oneself, it helps to melt down the hardened crust created by these negative attitudes, permitting a fluid diffusion of kindness and sympathy outwards.
Once one has learned to kindle the feeling of metta towards oneself, the next step is to extend it to others. The extension of metta hinges on a shift in the sense of identity, on expanding the sense of identity beyond its ordinary confines and learning to identify with others. The shift is purely psychological in method, entirely free from theological and metaphysical postulates, such as that of a universal self immanent in all beings. Instead, it proceeds from a simple, straightforward course of reflection which enables us to share the subjectivity of others and experience the world (at least imaginatively) from the standpoint of their own inwardness. The procedure starts with oneself. If we look into our own mind, we find that the basic urge of our being is the wish to be happy and free from suffering. Now, as soon as we see this in ourselves, we can immediately understand that all living beings share the same basic wish. All want to be well, happy, and secure. To develop metta towards others, what is to be done is to imaginatively share their own innate wish for happiness. We use our own desire for happiness as the key, experience this desire as the basic urge of others, then come back to our own position and extend to them the wish that they may achieve their ultimate objective, that they may be well and happy.
The methodical radiation of metta is practised first by directing metta to individuals representing certain groups. These groups are set in an order of progressive remoteness from oneself. The radiation begins with a dear person, such as a parent or teacher, then moves on to a friend, then to a neutral person, then finally to a hostile person. Though the types are defined by their relation to oneself, the love to be developed is not based on that relation but on each person’s common aspiration for happiness. With each individual one has to bring his (or her) image into focus and radiate the thought: “May he (she) be well! May he (she) be happy! May he (she) be peaceful!” Only when one succeeds in generating a warm feeling of good will and kindness towards that person should one turn to the next. Once one gains some success with individuals, one can then work with larger units. One can try developing metta towards all friends, all neutral persons, all hostile persons. Then metta can be widened by directional suffusion, proceeding in the various directions — east, south, west, north, above, below — then it can be extended to all beings without distinction. In the end one suffuses the entire world with a mind of lovingkindness “vast, sublime, and immeasurable, without enmity, without aversion.”
The Intention of Harmlessness
The intention of harmlessness is thought guided by compassion (karuna), aroused in opposition to cruel, aggressive, and violent thoughts. Compassion supplies the complement to lovingkindness. Whereas lovingkindness has the characteristic of wishing for the happiness and welfare of others, compassion has the characteristic of wishing that others be free from suffering, a wish to be extended without limits to all living beings. Like metta, compassion arises by entering into the subjectivity of others, by sharing their interiority in a deep and total way. It springs up by considering that all beings, like ourselves, wish to be free from suffering, yet despite their wishes continue to be harassed by pain, fear, sorrow, and other forms of dukkha.
To develop compassion as a meditative exercise, it is most effective to start with somebody who is actually undergoing suffering, since this provides the natural object for compassion. One contemplates this person’s suffering, either directly or imaginatively, then reflects that like oneself, he (she) also wants to be free from suffering. The thought should be repeated, and contemplation continually exercised, until a strong feeling of compassion swells up in the heart. Then, using that feeling as a standard, one turns to different individuals, considers how they are each exposed to suffering, and radiates the gentle feeling of compassion out to them. To increase the breadth and intensity of compassion it is helpful to contemplate the various sufferings to which living beings are susceptible. A useful guideline to this extension is provided by the first noble truth, with its enumeration of the different aspects of dukkha. One contemplates beings as subject to old age, then as subject to sickness, then to death, then to sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief, and despair, and so forth.
When a high level of success has been achieved in generating compassion by the contemplation of beings who are directly afflicted by suffering, one can then move on to consider people who are presently enjoying happiness which they have acquired by immoral means. One might reflect that such people, despite their superficial fortune, are doubtlessly troubled deep within by the pangs of conscience. Even if they display no outward signs of inner distress, one knows that they will eventually reap the bitter fruits of their evil deeds, which will bring them intense suffering. Finally, one can widen the scope of one’s contemplation to include all living beings. One should contemplate all beings as subject to the universal suffering of samsara, driven by their greed, aversion, and delusion through the round of repeated birth and death. If compassion is initially difficult to arouse towards beings who are total strangers, one can strengthen it by reflecting on the Buddha’s dictum that in this beginningless cycle of rebirths, it is hard to find even a single being who has not at some time been one’s own mother or father, sister or brother, son or daughter.
To sum up, we see that the three kinds of right intention — of renunciation, good will, and harmlessness — counteract the three wrong intentions of desire, ill will, and harmfulness. The importance of putting into practice the contemplations leading to the arising of these thoughts cannot be overemphasized. The contemplations have been taught as methods for cultivation, not mere theoretical excursions. To develop the intention of renunciation we have to contemplate the suffering tied up with the quest for worldly enjoyment; to develop the intention of good will we have to consider how all beings desire happiness; to develop the intention of harmlessness we have to consider how all beings wish to be free from suffering. The unwholesome thought is like a rotten peg lodged in the mind; the wholesome thought is like a new peg suitable to replace it. The actual contemplation functions as the hammer used to drive out the old peg with the new one. The work of driving in the new peg is practice — practising again and again, as often as is necessary to reach success. The Buddha gives us his assurance that the victory can be achieved. He says that whatever one reflects upon frequently becomes the inclination of the mind. If one frequently thinks sensual, hostile, or harmful thoughts, desire, ill will, and harmfulness become the inclination of the mind. If one frequently thinks in the opposite way, renunciation, good will, and harmlessness become the inclination of the mind (MN 19). The direction we take always comes back to ourselves, to the intentions we generate moment by moment in the course of our lives.
Filed under: General
@ 11:33 am
As my teacher once said, “If you can’t control your mouth, there’s no way you can hope to control your mind.’ This is why right speech is so important in day-to-day practice.
Right speech, explained in negative terms, means avoiding four types of harmful speech: lies (words spoken with the intent of misrepresenting the truth); divisive speech (spoken with the intent of creating rifts between people); harsh speech (spoken with the intent of hurting another person’s feelings); and idle chatter (spoken with no purposeful intent at all).
Notice the focus on intent: this is where the practice of right speech intersects with the training of the mind. Before you speak, you focus on why you want to speak. This helps get you in touch with all the machinations taking place in the committee of voices running your mind. If you see any unskillful motives lurking behind the committee’s decisions, you veto them. As a result, you become more aware of yourself, more honest with yourself, more firm with yourself. You also save yourself from saying things that you’ll later regret. In this way you strengthen qualities of mind that will be helpful in meditation, at the same time avoiding any potentially painful memories that would get in the way of being attentive to the present moment when the time comes to meditate.
In positive terms, right speech means speaking in ways that are trustworthy, harmonious, comforting, and worth taking to heart. When you make a practice of these positive forms of right speech, your words become a gift to others. In response, other people will start listening more to what you say, and will be more likely to respond in kind. This gives you a sense of the power of your actions: the way you act in the present moment does shape the world of your experience. You don’t need to be a victim of past events.
For many of us, the most difficult part of practicing right speech lies in how we express our sense of humor. Especially here in America, we’re used to getting laughs with exaggeration, sarcasm, group stereotypes, and pure silliness — all classic examples of wrong speech. If people get used to these sorts of careless humor, they stop listening carefully to what we say. In this way, we cheapen our own discourse. Actually, there’s enough irony in the state of the world that we don’t need to exaggerate or be sarcastic. The greatest humorists are the ones who simply make us look directly at the way things are.
Expressing our humor in ways that are truthful, useful, and wise may require thought and effort, but when we master this sort of wit we find that the effort is well spent. We’ve sharpened our own minds and have improved our verbal environment. In this way, even our jokes become part of our practice: an opportunity to develop positive qualities of mind and to offer something of intelligent value to the people around us.
So pay close attention to what you say — and to why you say it. When you do, you’ll discover that an open mouth doesn’t have to be a mistake.
Filed under: General
@ 11:29 am
“And what is right action? Abstaining from taking life, abstaining from stealing, abstaining from unchastity. This is called right action.” - SN XLV 8
What is Right Action
Right Action is to abstain from killing, stealing and unlawful sexual intercourse.
The practitioner of Right Action abstains from the killing of living beings. He does not carry a stick or a sword. He is conscientious and full of sympathy. He has concern for the welfare of all living beings.
He does not steal. He does not take what belongs to another person, either in the village or in the woods with an intention to steal.
He abstains from unlawful sexual intercourse. He does not indulge in sexual intercourse with persons who are still under the protection of father, mother, brother, sister or relatives, nor with married women, nor female convicts, nor, with girls who are betrothed.
The two kinds of Right Action:
1. The Mundane Right Action: which is to refrain from killing, stealing, and unlawful sexual intercourse. This leads to worldly gains and good results.
2. The Ultra Mundane Right Action: which is to refrain from the three fold wrong actions at the mental level, keeping the mind holy, to remain other worldly and pursue the holy path in conjunction with the eight fold path. This path is not of this world but of the ultramundane.
Relationship with other aspects of the eightfold path
“And how is right view the forerunner? One discerns wrong action as wrong action, and right action as right action. And what is wrong action? Killing, taking what is not given, illicit sex. This is wrong action…
“One tries to abandon wrong action & to enter into right action: This is one’s right effort. One is mindful to abandon wrong action & to enter & remain in right action: This is one’s right mindfulness. Thus these three qualities — right view, right effort, & right mindfulness — run & circle around right action.” — MN 117
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@ 11:25 am
Right Livelihood is the fifth of the eight path factors in the Noble Eightfold Path, and belongs to the virtue division of the path.
“And what is right livelihood? There is the case where a disciple of the noble ones, having abandoned dishonest livelihood, keeps his life going with right livelihood: This is called right livelihood.”
A balanced livelihood
“Herein, Vyagghapajja, a householder knowing his income and expenses leads a balanced life, neither extravagant nor miserly, knowing that thus his income will stand in excess of his expenses, but not his expenses in excess of his income.
“Just as the goldsmith, or an apprentice of his, knows, on holding up a balance, that by so much it has dipped down, by so much it has tilted up; even so a householder, knowing his income and expenses leads a balanced life, neither extravagant nor miserly, knowing that thus his income will stand in excess of his expenses, but not his expenses in excess of his income.”
Its relation to the other factors of the path
“And how is right view the forerunner? One discerns wrong livelihood as wrong livelihood, and right livelihood as right livelihood. And what is wrong livelihood? Scheming, persuading, hinting, belittling, & pursuing gain with gain. This is wrong livelihood…
“One tries to abandon wrong livelihood & to enter into right livelihood: This is one’s right effort. One is mindful to abandon wrong livelihood & to enter & remain in right livelihood: This is one’s right mindfulness. Thus these three qualities — right view, right effort, & right mindfulness — run & circle around right livelihood.”
“A lay follower should not engage in five types of business. Which five? Business in weapons, business in human beings, business in meat, business in intoxicants, and business in poison.”
Wrong livelihood for contemplatives
… reading marks on the limbs [e.g., palmistry]; reading omens and signs; interpreting celestial events [falling stars, comets]; interpreting dreams; reading marks on the body [e.g., phrenology]; reading marks on cloth gnawed by mice; offering fire oblations, oblations from a ladle, oblations of husks, rice powder, rice grains, ghee, and oil; offering oblations from the mouth; offering blood-sacrifices; making predictions based on the fingertips; geomancy; laying demons in a cemetery; placing spells on spirits; reciting house-protection charms; snake charming, poison-lore, scorpion-lore, rat-lore, bird-lore, crow-lore; fortune-telling based on visions; giving protective charms; interpreting the calls of birds and animals … [The list goes on and on]
Considering becoming a soldier? You may want to reconsider…
Then Yodhajiva the headman went to the Blessed One and, on arrival, having bowed down to him, sat to one side. As he was sitting there he said to the Blessed One: “Lord, I have heard that it has been passed down by the ancient teaching lineage of warriors that ‘When a warrior strives & exerts himself in battle, if others then strike him down & slay him while he is striving & exerting himself in battle, then with the breakup of the body, after death, he is reborn in the company of devas slain in battle.’ What does the Blessed One have to say about that?”
“Enough, headman, put that aside. Don’t ask me that.”
A second time… A third time Yodhajiva the headman said: “Lord, I have heard that it has been passed down by the ancient teaching lineage of warriors that ‘When a warrior strives & exerts himself in battle, if others then strike him down & slay him while he is striving & exerting himself in battle, then with the breakup of the body, after death, he is reborn in the company of devas slain in battle.’ What does the Blessed One have to say about that?”
“Apparently, headman, I haven’t been able to get past you by saying, ‘Enough, headman, put that aside. Don’t ask me that.’ So I will simply answer you. When a warrior strives & exerts himself in battle, his mind is already seized, debased, & misdirected by the thought: ‘May these beings be struck down or slaughtered or annihilated or destroyed. May they not exist.’ If others then strike him down & slay him while he is thus striving & exerting himself in battle, then with the breakup of the body, after death, he is reborn in the hell called the realm of those slain in battle. But if he holds such a view as this: ‘When a warrior strives & exerts himself in battle, if others then strike him down & slay him while he is striving & exerting himself in battle, then with the breakup of the body, after death, he is reborn in the company of devas slain in battle,’ that is his wrong view. Now, there are two destinations for a person with wrong view, I tell you: either hell or the animal womb.”
When this was said, Yodhajiva the headman sobbed & burst into tears. [The Blessed One said:] “That is what I couldn’t get past you by saying, ‘Enough, headman, put that aside. Don’t ask me that.’”
“I’m not crying, lord, because of what the Blessed One said to me, but simply because I have been deceived, cheated, & fooled for a long time by that ancient teaching lineage of warriors who said: ‘When a warrior strives & exerts himself in battle, if others then strike him down & slay him while he is striving & exerting himself in battle, then with the breakup of the body, after death, he is reborn in the company of devas slain in battle.’
Considering a career in acting? You may want to reconsider…
Then Talaputa, the head of an acting troupe, went to the Blessed One and, on arrival, having bowed down to him, sat to one side. As he was sitting there he said to the Blessed One: “Lord, I have heard that it has been passed down by the ancient teaching lineage of actors that ‘When an actor on the stage, in the midst of a festival, makes people laugh & gives them delight with his imitation of reality, then with the breakup of the body, after death, he is reborn in the company of the laughing devas.’ What does the Blessed One have to say about that?”
“Enough, headman, put that aside. Don’t ask me that.”
A second time… A third time Talaputa, the head of an acting troupe, said: “Lord, I have heard that it has been passed down by the ancient teaching lineage of actors that ‘When an actor on the stage, in the midst of a festival, makes people laugh & gives them delight with his imitation of reality, then with the breakup of the body, after death, he is reborn in the company of the laughing devas.’ What does the Blessed One have to say about that?”
“Apparently, headman, I haven’t been able to get past you by saying, ‘Enough, headman, put that aside. Don’t ask me that.’ So I will simply answer you. Any beings who are not devoid of passion to begin with, who are bound by the bond of passion, focus with even more passion on things inspiring passion presented by an actor on stage in the midst of a festival. Any beings who are not devoid of aversion to begin with, who are bound by the bond of aversion, focus with even more aversion on things inspiring aversion presented by an actor on stage in the midst of a festival. Any beings who are not devoid of delusion to begin with, who are bound by the bond of delusion, focus with even more delusion on things inspiring delusion presented by an actor on stage in the midst of a festival. Thus the actor — himself intoxicated & heedless, having made others intoxicated & heedless — with the breakup of the body, after death, is reborn in what is called the hell of laughter. But if he holds such a view as this: ‘When an actor on the stage, in the midst of a festival, makes people laugh & gives them delight with his imitation of reality, then with the breakup of the body, after death, he is reborn in the company of the laughing devas,’ that is his wrong view. Now, there are two destinations for a person with wrong view, I tell you: either hell or the animal womb.”
When this was said, Talaputa, the head of an acting troupe, sobbed & burst into tears. [The Blessed One said:] “That is what I couldn’t get past you by saying, ‘Enough, headman, put that aside. Don’t ask me that.’”
“I’m not crying, lord, because of what the Blessed One said to me, but simply because I have been deceived, cheated, & fooled for a long time by that ancient teaching lineage of actors who said: ‘When an actor on the stage, in the midst of a festival, makes people laugh & gives them delight with his imitation of reality, then with the breakup of the body, after death, he is reborn in the company of the laughing devas.’
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@ 11:17 am
The Noble Eightfold Path: Right Effort
The sixth factor of the Noble Eightfold Path is Right Effort. This consists of four elements: the effort to avoid, the effort to overcome, the effort to develop and the effort to maintain.
The Effort to Avoid
The effort to avoid is to avoid the ‘arising of evil’. If unwholesome thoughts should start to enter the mind - thoughts of ill-will, for example - we can turn our attention away from them and not let them intrude. Like someone bent on trouble who knocks at your door, you keep the door shut. The Buddha advises us to keep a close guard on our senses so that thoughts of attraction or aversion do not take hold.
The Effort to Overcome
If unwholesome thoughts have taken hold of the mind, however, we can attempt to overcome them by dispelling them. A useful analogy is ejecting someone from your house bent on doing you harm.
Filed under: General
@ 11:14 am
Mindfulness is complete awareness of all the movements that happen in the present moment in ones body, mind or
consciousness and also the environment with which these constituents of the personality interact. And what is right mindfulness? According to Buddhist scriptures, it is remain focused on these things continuously. We come across the following definition in the Digha Nikaya(22)
“There is the case where a monk remains focused on the body in & of itself — ardent, alert, & mindful — putting aside greed & distress with reference to the world. He remains focused on feelings in & of themselves… the mind in & of itself… mental qualities in & of themselves — ardent, alert, & mindful — putting aside greed & distress with reference to the world. This is called right mindfulness…”
Complete mindfulness comes with practice, with the development of certain states of mind, where by an individual becomes detached from the material things he would ordinarily seek, gains control over his or her thoughts, desires and impulses and achieves a complete and continuous awareness of what is happening both in the internal world and the external world.
The benefits of right mindedness are many. With right mindedness comes the mindfulness, the complete and continuous awareness of who you are and what you are, your reactions, thoughts and feelings and your relationship with the nature of the things of the world with whom you interact. You become conscious and watchful of every moment and every movement within as well as without. This awareness and state of mind help you to develop the discretionary power to avoid the wrong movements of the body and mind or lapsing into lethargic inertia. With mindfulness you develop insight into the nature of things and learn to deal with your suffering and feelings more peacefully. You become aware of things that bind you or disturb you and through this awareness you will develop wisdom, detachment and inner stability.
“This is the direct path for the purification of beings, for the overcoming of sorrow & lamentation, for the disappearance of pain & distress, for the attainment of the right method, & for the realization of Unbinding — in other words, the four frames of reference.” Digha Nikaya 22
With the right mindfulness comes the ability to abandon the wrong view and develop the right view, abandon the wrong resolve and stay with the right resolve, abandon the wrong speech and practice right speech, abandon the wrong action and follow the right action and abandon the wrong livelihood and pursue the right livelihood. (Majjhima Nikaya 117)
This state of right mindedness does not come to us so easily. It has to be practiced with great concentration, sincerity and discipline. The Buddha gave a detailed account of how to develop right mindedness to his son Rahula, when they were staying together at Savatthi at the monastery of Anathapindaka, in the grove of Jeta. The main aspects of this discourse are:
Right mindfulness can be cultivated by concentrating on the things of the world, with the awareness that “this is not mine, this is not I and this is not my soul.’ “All material forms, past, present, or future, within or without, gross or subtle, base or fine, far or near, all should be viewed with full understanding-with the thought ‘This is not mine, this is not I, this is not my soul,” declared the Buddha.
This should be practiced in connection with not only material forms, but also sensation, perception, the psychic constructions, and consciousness. The Buddha further explained on what types of objects one should develop this kind of concentration order to develop right mindedness. They are
- Earth: as hair, nail, teeth, skin flesh, and similar things.
- Water: as bile, phlegm, pus, blood, sweat and similar things.
- Fire: as the digestive elements that help in the digestive process.
- Air: as the upward or the downward movement of breath; and
- Space: as the orifices of ears and nose, the door of the mouth, and the channels through which the food and water move in and out of the body.
These five personal elements, together with the five external elements, make up the total of the five universal elements. They should all be regarded objectively, with right understanding, thinking ‘This is not mine, this is not me, this is not my soul.’ With this understanding attitude a man develops detachment from the five elements and his mind takes no delight in them.
Contemplation of these five elements will lead to detachment and equanimity. For example, people throw all types of clean and unclean things on the earth, into the water, into the fire, into the air and into the space. But these actions do not disturb the elements, nor do they feel repelled or disgusted by the things that touch them. They remain the same all the time, irrespective of what is happening all around them. When one starts observing these things with concentration, one develops similar state of mind.
The Buddha also declared that right mindedness required a certain all round development of personality which was characterized by the development of the following exceptional qualities.
- The state of friendliness, where by ill-will would grow less,
- The state of compassion which would reduce vexation,
- the state of joy with which aversion would grow less,
- The state of equanimity which would reduce repugnance to things.
- The state of consciousness of the corruption of the body, by which passions would grow less;
- The state of the consciousness of the fleeting nature of all things, with which pride of selfhood would grow less.
- The state of mind of ordering the breath. This state is achieved by conscious breathing, continuously observing and controlling ones breathing movements and with complete control on ones thoughts. As the monk exhales and inhales consciously, he should train himself to be conscious of the whole of his body, the components of his mind, realize the impermanence of all things, or to dwell on passionlessness and renunciation. The state of controlled breathing when developed and increased, is very productive and helpful. And when the mind is thus developed a man breathes his last breath in full consciousness, and not unconsciously.
With right mindfulness comes the awareness of ones true nature and the ability to deal with the feelings and movements of the mind peacefully with detachment and right understanding. One realizes the fleeting nature of the sensory world and of things in general and there by learns to accept things with equanimity. Right mindedness is the key to follow the eightfold path diligently.
Filed under: General
@ 11:09 am
The Noble Eightfold Path: Right Concentration
The eighth and final factor of the Noble Eightfold Path is Right Concentration. This special form of ‘concentration’ - which in its perfection is known as samadhi - is when the mind achieves complete one-pointedness. In this state nothing can distract the individual from the object of contemplation, whatever that may be.
Objects for this type of meditation are various. Breathing meditation is one particular method. Another is by preparing a colored disc - about the size of a dinner plate - and concentrating on this. Another is to use a mantra, a word or phrase repeated over and over again.
Concentration leads to deeper meditative states known as jhanas. These are states of rapture and joy, deeply pleasurable experiences but beyond those of a sensory kind. The Buddha referred to them as: ‘the rapture and pleasure that are apart from sensual pleasures, apart from unwholesome states’.
The word jhana derives from the Sanskrit word dhyana meaning meditation.
According to scriptural accounts, these states are possible when the mind withdraws itself from sense-objects and when the five hindrances - sensual desire, ill will, sloth and torpor, restlessness and worry, and skeptical doubt - are absent.
The Five Hindrances
Sensual desire includes craving for what is pleasant to the five senses. Ill-will refers to feelings of irritation, anger, aggression and malice directed towards others. Sloth and torpor is when one’s practice is sluggish or half-hearted, a failure to arouse the necessary energy to concentrate the mind. Restlessness and worry refer to the inability to calm the mind, to think unduly of the past and/or future rather than staying with the moment.
When the five hindrances are present, it is difficult to see things as they really are. The mind becomes unstable, distracted and unfocused. The Buddha uses the following analogy to explain this. The mind is like a pond. The hindrances are aspects of the pond that prevent us from seeing our reflection clearly. Our sense desires are like pollutants in the pond that make it cloudy. Similarly, ill-will makes the pond cloudy because the mud at the bottom has been churned up. The weeds and grasses that may overwhelm a pond are akin to sloth and torpor The wind on the surface of the lake is like restlessness and worry. Finally, a pond filled with mud is like the mind filled with skeptical doubt.
The Four Jhanas
Once these hindrances subside, the jhanas can be realized. Although there are eight jhanas described in the scriptures, it is more usual to focus on the first four.
In the first jhana conceptual and discursive thinking are present but there is also rapture and joy. This rapture and joy ’saturates and imbues, permeates and pervades this body so that not a single spot of his entire body remains unpervaded by the rapture and joy born of detachment’. The process is likened by the Buddha to soap powder which, when mixed with water, becomes ‘a ball of soapy lather…full of moisture’.
In the second jhana conceptual and discursive thinking are no longer present but the meditator continues to be filled with rapture and joy. This is likened to a lake that has ’spring water welling up from within… so that not a single spot of the lake remains unpervaded by the cool spring water’.
In the third jhana the rapture fades to be replaced by equanimity, mindfulness and clarity of awareness. This is likened to lotuses ‘born in water, grown in water, nurtured in submersion…from the tip to the roots saturated and imbued, permeated and pervaded by the cool water’.
In the fourth jhana the meditator experiences a state beyond pleasure and pain, and the mind becomes totally pure and lucid. It is likened to a man who wraps himself from head to toe in a white cloth so that he is completely covered.
In each case the Buddha promises that he who lives ‘earnest, ardent and resolute’ will lose desire for worldly matters and will develop a mind that is ‘firm’, ‘calm’, ‘harmonious’ and ‘concentrated’.
Filed under: General
@ 11:04 am
The first rank refers to the voice-hearers who have yet to attain any of the four stages of Hinayana awakenment.
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@ 11:01 am
The second rank refers to those who have attained the first stage, that of the stream-winner (Skt srota-apanna ), or one who has entered the metaphorical river leading to nirvana; and to those the second stage, that of the once-returner (sakridagamin), or one who must undergo only one more rebirth in the human world before entering nibbana.
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@ 10:59 am
The third rank refers to those who have attained the third stage, that of non-returner (anagamin), or one who will never be reborn in this world.
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@ 10:50 am
The word is derived from the root arh, to deserve, to be worthy, to be fit, and is used to denote a person who has achieved the goal of religious life (in Theravada Buddhism). See ariya-puggala.
In its usage in early Buddhism the term denotes a person who had gained insight into the true nature of things (yathābhūtañana). In the Buddhist movement the Buddha was the first arahant. He was regarded as an arahant, along with other arahants, without any distinction. Thus, after the conversion of the group of five monks (pañcavaggiya), the first converts to the teachings of Gotama, it is stated that there were six arahants in the world at the time (Vin.I.14), the Buddha being reckoned one of them. At the outset, once an adherent realised the true nature of things, i.e., that whatever has arisen (samudaya-dhamma) naturally has a ceasing-to-be (nirodhā-dhamma), he was called an arahant, and with this realisation one is said to have put an end to repeated existence. The Buddha is said to be equal to an arahant in point of attainment, the only distinction being that the Buddha was the pioneer on the path to that attainment, while arahants are those who attain the same state having followed the path trodden by the Buddha.
The arahants are described as buddhānubuddhā, i.e., those who have attained enlightenment after the Fully Enlightened One (Thag. p.111). This is brought out very clearly by a simile in the Nidāna Samyutta (S.II.105-6). A man going about in the forest sees an old road used by the people of yore and, going along it, he sees the remains of an old kingdom. He comes back to the town and tells the people that in such and such a forest he had seen the ruins of a magnificent city, and the people, too, following the road-marks indicated by the man come to the ruined city and see it for themselves. Even so the Buddha was the pioneer on the Noble Eightfold Path (ariya-aţţhańgika-magga) and having followed this path he reached the city of Nibbāna. Later, coming amidst the people he revealed this path to them, and following this path they, too, attained the goal of Nibbāna. In this respect the Buddha as well as his disciples follow the same path and reach the same goal, and the distinction between the Buddha and the disciples who become arahants is not with regard to the attainment, but with regard to the fact that the Buddha rediscovered the age-old path (purānam añjasam) to the city of Nibbāna, while the disciples come to the same city having followed the path discovered by the Buddha. The Buddha is, therefore, called the revealer of the path (maggassa akkhātā). He is the teacher (satthā) who teaches the disciples to attain the same ideal as attained by him.
But, as time passed, the Buddha-concept developed and special attributes were assigned to the Buddha. A Buddha possesses the six fold super-knowledge (chalabhiññā); he has matured the thirty-seven limbs of enlightenment (bodhipakkhika dhamma); in him compassion (karunā) and insight (paññā) develop to their fullest; all the major and minor characteristics of a great man (mahāpurisa) appear on his body; he is possessed of the ten powers (dasa bala) and the four confidences (catu vesārajja); and he has had to practise the ten perfections (pāramitā) during a long period of time in the past.
When speaking of arahants these attributes are never mentioned together, though a particular arahant may have one, two or more of the attributes discussed in connection with the Buddha (S.II.217, 222). In the Nidāna Samyutta (S.II.120-6) a group of bhikkhus who proclaimed their attainment of arahantship, when questioned by their colleagues about it, denied that they had developed the five kinds of super-knowledge—namely, psychic power (iddhi-vidhā), divine ear (dibba-sota), knowledge of others’ minds (paracitta-vijānana), power to recall to mind past births (pubbenivāsānussati) and knowledge regarding other peoples’ rebirths (cutū-papatti)—and declared that they had attained arahantship by developing wisdom (paññā-vimutti).
An attempt is made in the Nikāyas as well as in later works to define the content of the attainment of arahantship. The commonest and one of the oldest definitions of an arahant is that he has in him the threefold knowledge (tisso vijjā), namely, knowledge of his own previous births, knowledge of the rebirths of others and knowledge regarding the utter cessation of mental intoxicants (āsavakkhayañāna). Most of the poems in the Thera-, Theri-gāthās end with the statement “The threefold knowledge have I attained and I have done the bidding of the Buddha” (tisso vijjā anuppattā katam buddhassa sāsanam : e.g., Thag. p. 9). Other definitions of arahantship are: “Arahants are those in whom the mental intoxicants (āsava) are utterly waned” (khīnāsavā arahanto: S.I.13); one becomes an arahant by the utter waning of lust, hatred and ignorance (S.IV.252); arahants are those who have cut off completely the ten fetters (samyojana) that bind a man to samsāra (Vin. I, 183); an arahant is one in whom seven things, namely, belief in a soul (sakkāya-ditthi), sceptical doubt (vicikicchā), belief in vows and ceremonies (silabbataparamasa), greed, hatred, ignorance and pride are not found (A.IV.145) ; he is one who has crossed the sea of samsāra (pāragū). The word arahant is defined in a fanciful way in some places. For instance in the Majjhima Nikāya (I.280) it is said that an arahant is so called because all sinful evil things are remote (āraka) from him. The Vimanavatthu Atthakatha (105-6) defines the term in the following words: “An arahant is so called because he is remote (ārake) from sinful things; because he has destroyed the spokes (ara) of the wheel of samsāra ; because he deserves to receive the requisites: food, clothing, etc. (paccayānam arahattā), and because he does not sin even in secret (rahābhāva).
The attainment of arahantship is expressed in several formulas of which the commonest one says ‘destroyed is rebirth, lived is the higher life, done is what had to be done, after this present life there is no beyond’ (Vin.I.14, 35, 183; D.I.84). The declaration itself is called “the declaration of knowledge” (aññā byākarana: M.III.29). The Buddha has indicated a method of verifying the truth of a disciple’s statement when he declares that he has attained arahantship. A few questions have to be posed to him and if he answers them correctly then only should he be taken at his word. The first question is with regard to the four conventions (cattāro vohārā). A true arahant does not feel attracted to or repelled, by things seen (dittha), heard (suta), sensed (muta), or cognised (viññāta) and he is independent, not infatuated, and dwells with an open mind, and thus his mind is well freed with regard to the four conventions. The next question is connected with the five aggregates of grasping (upādānakkhandha). The true arahant understands their nature as dependently originated, and he is detached from them, and all the latent biases that arise through attachment to them are destroyed in him. The third question is regarding the six elements (dhātu). A true arahant has no notions of ‘I’ or ‘mine’ with regard to these elements and all biases that crop up through attachment to them are completely eradicated in him. The fourth question is connected with the internal and external sense spheres (ajjhattika, bāhira-āyatana). The mind of a true arahant is free from attachment, desire that is born of these sense spheres, the consciousness born thereof and the things that are known through the medium of this consciousness. The fifth question relates to the vision and insight through which all latent biases such as and ‘mine’ are completely cut off. A true arahant should be able to reveal how he attained supreme knowledge that is that everything has an origin, a cause to its origination, a cessation and a way that leads to its cessation, through which his mind becomes free from thirst for sense pleasure, becoming and ignorance (M.III.29-37).
The discipline of a Buddhist monk is aimed at the attainment of arahantship. There are four distinct stages of attainment as one pursues the discipline from the beginning, namely, the states of the stream-entrant (sotāpanna), the once-returner (sakadāgāmī), the non-returner (anāgāmī) and the arahant. A disciple by attaining the state of a stream-entrant does away completely with the mental intoxicant (āsava) of false views (ditthi) and the intoxicants of lust (kāma), becoming (bhava) and ignorance (avijjā) which produce birth in low states (apāya). By attaining the state of a once-returner he does away with mental intoxicants connected with gross (olārika) sense pleasures and some more cankers of becoming and ignorance. By attaining the state of a non-returner a disciple completely puts an end to all mental intoxicants connected with sense pleasures and also further alleviates the cankers of becoming and ignorance. By becoming an arahant a disciple completely puts an end to all mental intoxicants connected with becoming and ignorance (Ps.I.94).
In the Mahālī Sutta (D.6) a clearer and more precise description of the four attainments is given. According to it one becomes a stream-entrant by overcoming three fetters (samyojana), namely, belief in an enduring entity (sakkāyaditthi), doubt regarding the Buddha; the Dhamma and the Sangha, (vicikicchā) and belief in the efficacy of mere rule and ritual (silabbataparamasa). One becomes a once-returner by diminishing lust, hatred and illusion (raga-dosa-moha) in addition to overcoming the three earlier fetters, and such a being returns to this world once only and puts an end to the process of birth and death (samsāra). One becomes a non-returner by overcoming the first five of the ten fetters which belong to the sphere of the senses (pañca orambhāgiyāni samyojanāni), i.e., sensuous desire (kāmacchanda) and ill-will (vyapada) in addition to the three fetters mentioned in connection with the stream-entrant and the once-returner. One becomes an arahant by completely doing away with all mental intoxicants (āsavānam khayā) having attained the emancipation of heart (cetovimutti) and emancipation through wisdom (paññāvimutti).
The disciple who undertakes to pursue the path to the attainment of arahantship has to follow a graduated process. Arahantship is the result of understanding the true nature of things (yathā-bhūtta) and one can see the true nature of things only through a non-prejudiced mind. To develop a non-prejudiced mind one has to develop concentration of the mind, and this is possible only by a disciplined mind. So the process starts with the practice of virtue (sila) which leads to concentration of the mind (samādhi) which ultimately results in true wisdom (paññā). In the Devata Samyutta (S.I.13) a deity asks the Buddha how a person disentangles the tangle of samsāra and the Buddha replies that a wise man, established firmly on virtue, concentrates his mind and develops true wisdom by which he disentangles the tangle of samsāra.
In several suttas we find detailed descriptions of how a disciple initiates himself into the dispensation of the Buddha and gradually follows up the path. A son of a noble family (kulaputta) listens to the Dhamma preached by the Buddha and begets confidence in him and decides to follow his teaching. He enters the Order of monks, thereby cutting himself away from all family bonds and making himself free from all activities that keep a layman occupied. He refrains from sinful activities such as harming life, stealing, uttering falsehood, back-biting, slandering etc. and cultivates positive virtues such as loving and pitying all beings, speaking gentle and kind words, speaking the truth etc. He guards the doors of his senses so that his mind is not distracted when objects of sensation come in contact with the sense faculties. He is always alert and mindful with regard to all his activities. He lives content with whatever he gets by way of food etc. When he has cultivated these virtues his mind is ready to embark on concentration. He retires to a lonely spot in the forest or near a mountain cave and sits in a befitting posture to concentrate his mind. He now surveys his mind and cleanses it of all shortcomings and sees to it that all five hindrances to mental cultivation (nīvarana), namely, covetousness (abhijjhā), ill-will (vyāpāda), sloth and torpor (thīnamiddha), worry and flurry (uddhacca-kukkucca) and doubt (vicikicchā) are completely done away with.
When he sees himself completely freed of all these hindrances, he becomes delighted (pamujja) and this in turn leads to joy (piti) and this makes his body tranquil (passaddha) and he experiences happiness and his mind becomes concentrated. Now he proceeds from the first ecstasy (jhāna) gradually up to the fourth. When the mind is brought to a high state of concentration in this manner, in it could be developed the sixfold knowledge (see abhiññā), the sixth being the knowledge of the utter destruction of mental intoxicants (āsavakkhaya-ñāna). When the disciple has developed the knowledge of the utter destruction of these cankers he has completely understood the true nature of things and for him there will be no more becoming—he is an arahant (D.I.62-84). The arahant is also called asekha because his training is complete.
It should be stated that this peak of mental culture cannot be reached quickly. One has to cultivate virtues for a considerable length of time in order to clean the mind of its latent biases. The various methods adopted to purify the mind also vary according to the character of the individual concerned. There are several types of characters discussed in this respect, namely, the passion dominated man (raga-carita), the ill-will dominated man (dosa-carita), the ignorance dominated man (moha-carita), the faith dominated man (saddha-carita), the intelligence dominated man (buddhi-carita) and the reflection dominated man (vitakka-carita). The details of the training differ according to the character of the individual (Vim. p.82).
Though it is generally accepted that the path to the attainment of arahantship is a graduated one, there are instances of people who attained arahantship without following all the details, for instance, Suddhodana, Khemā, Mahā Arittha and many others who attained arahantship even before they entered the Order of monks. There is recognised a type of arahants called the sukka-vipassaka and if we accept the view that sukka stands for Buddha (pure or mere) the term then denotes those who attain perfection without ever having attained any of the mental absorptions (jhāna). The Visuddhimagga (ch.xviii, 503) calls such persons suddha-vipassanā-yānika as distinguished from those with “tranquillity as vehicle” (samatha-yānika). The Milindapañha (trsl. 2, 254) discussing this problem says “there is no realisation of arahantship in one single life without keeping of the vows. Only on the utmost zeal and the most devoted practice of righteousness and with the aid of a suitable teacher is the realisation of arahantship attained.” It would thus not be incorrect to say that the Theravada view regarding arahantship is that the practice of virtue is essential and that even those who follow the suddha-vipassanā-yāna can do so because they have practised the virtues in previous births.
Lay life and arahantship. Though there are many instances of persons attaining spiritual development up to the third stage of non-returner, instances are not many of individuals attaining arahantship while yet being laymen. Yasa attained arahantship while being a layman, but he, too, entered the Order immediately afterwards (Vin.I.15-20). Khemā, chief of the Buddha’s women disciples, attained arahantship before she entered the Order, but she entered the Order with the consent of her husband Bimbisāra, probably on the same day (ThigA.126f). Suddhodana, the father of the Buddha, attained arahantship a little while before his death (DPPN. s.v. Suddhodana). The Mahāvamsa (chap. xvi, 10-11) records that fifty-five brothers headed by the chief minister Mahā Arittha attained arahantship in the tonsure hall, while their heads were being shaved prior to being admitted into the Order. In the Kathavatthu (157-8) the question whether a layman can become an arahant is discussed. The point maintained in it is that what matters is not the external characteristics of a recluse or a layman, and that anybody who is free from the mental fetters and lives a life of complete renunciation could attain arahantship. King Milinda, too, maintains this view and quotes the following words of the Buddha: “I would magnify, o brethren, the supreme attainment either in a layman or in a recluse. Whether he be a layman, o brethren, or a recluse, the man who has reached the supreme attainment shall overcome all the difficulties inherent therein, shall win his way even to the excellent condition of arahantship” (Man. trsl., SBE. vol.36, p.56), but so far this statement has not been traced in the Tipitaka. In the Milindapañha (ibid. p.57) again, a question is posed as to why a person should enter the Order if laymen, too, could attain arahantship. In reply it is shown that facilities and opportunities for cultivating the mind are greater if one enters the Order, since monks are not bound up with duties of laymen such as earning to maintain oneself, wife and children and looking after the needs of relatives. In the Subha Sutra (M.II.197) the Buddha says that a person, whether he be a layman or a recluse, who leads a virtuous life, ever striving to cleanse the mind of impurities, would progress in the path to liberation.
There is a current belief among the Buddhists that when a layman attains arahantship he should enter the Order the same day or else he would die before the end of that day. Nagasena, too, confirms this view. It is difficult to trace from canonical sources any evidence to substantiate this view.
Again, if we examine the connotation of the word anāgāmī (non-returner to the material world) we obtain more evidence to support the view that arahantship is attainable outside the Order of monks. If an anāgāmī does not attain arahantship in that very existence, he will pass away and will be reborn among the Suddhāvāsā deities, where he will put an end to reiterated existence (see anāgāmī).
Women and arahantship: The Buddha placed women on a par with men in the capacity of developing the mind to the highest level.. A few years after the inauguration of the Order of monks, an Order of nuns, too, was set up with Mahapajapati Gotami, the Buddha’s foster-mother, as the first recruit. The Vinaya Pitaka contains a section of special rules laid down for the guidance of bhikkhunis. As is obvious, the purpose of the religious life is to attain arahantship. Women, like men, entered the Order in order to realise this state. Nowhere in Buddhist literature do we come across statements denouncing the capacity of women to develop their minds, and in this respect no distinction is shown between men and women. The Therīgāthā is full of instances of therīs who had attained arahantship (e. g., Thig. pp. 126, 129, 131 etc.). Mara once attempted to dissuade Somā, a therī, from attaining arahantship saying that she with little brains could not aspire to attain a noble state attained by sages with high mental powers. Soma’s reply was that if the mind is properly cultivated so as to develop true know-ledge by which one understands the real state of things, womanhood is no barrier to the attainment of arahantship (Thig. 129). Mrs. Rhys Davids in the Introduction (p. xxiv) to her translation of the Therīgāthā states that the instances of therīs declaring their attainment of arahantship are more in the Therīgāthā than of monks doing so in the Theragāthā.
Arahants and Society. When we study the life-history of the Buddha as well as those of his chief disciples who were arahants, it becomes abundantly clear that the Buddha did not expect his disciples to forsake society altogether, before or after the attainment of arahantship. During a period of forty-five years the Buddha was busy doing missionary work among the people. The better part of his day was spent in going about and meeting people and teaching them how to lead better lives. When he met people he did not always speak to them about the misery of life. When he met ordinary people he admonished them to refrain from anti-social activities and to do things which are for the benefit of the many (D. III, 180-93). When he met kings and higher ministers he spoke to them of ways and means of good government which would result in the happiness of all concerned. When he came across people who were grieved by various misfortunes, he spoke words of comfort to them (ThigA. 108-17). When he came across criminals he preached to reform them for the benefit of the criminals as well as for the benefit of society (ThagA. III, 54-64). He spoke of the duties of children towards their parents and vice versa, of the duties of a wife towards her husband and those of a husband towards his wife, and he also spoke of the mutual duties of all people for the better and smoother running of society. When he gathered round him his first group of disciples, sixty in number and all of them arahants, he dispersed them in all directions asking them to preach the Dhamma for the welfare of the many (Vin.I.21). Chief disciples like Sāriputta, Moggallāna, Kaccayana and others, following the example of the Buddha, spent all their lives in working for the spiritual upliftment of the masses. The Buddha as well as his disciples lived in society, but they were not of society. They lived lives of complete renunciation, though they depended on the generosity of the public for their sustenance, and worked for their spiritual upliftment. Theirs was a disinterested service. The life of a true disciple of the Buddha is compared to a lotus in the pond (A.II.39; Sn. p.101). The lotus bud grows in the mud in the pond, is nourished in it, but it grows through the water, comes above the surface, blossoms out, and is untouched by the water. Likewise the disciple develops into a fully-awakened man, while being in society, but he is not bound by the fetters of social life. He is not carried away by what takes place in it. In the Mahamangala Sutta (Sn.46-7) it is said that if one can stand unmoved (cittam yassa na kampati) when affected by the things of the world (phutthassa lokadhammehi) it would be a great blessing.
Though such is the general attitude of a disciple towards society, we see a parallel development in some texts admonishing the true sage (muni=arahant) to steer clear of society and make a quick escape from samsāra. Society is depicted as a very evil place, full of vicious people, the haunt of all viles, and hence the muni should have nothing to do with it. He should wander about all alone, far away from society, like the rhinoceros (Sn. pp.6-12).
The Mahayanists put forward the ideal of the bodhisattva - a being dedicated to the services of humanity, probably as a protest against this development.
The Mahayanists accuse the arahat of selfishness because he strives only for his own liberation from sorrow instead of working for the liberation and happiness of all beings. They exert themselves only for their own complete Nirvana (ātma-parinirvana-hetoh: Sdmp. p.75). The sravakas (arahat) think only of their own good (svartha: Mahayanasutralankara, 53.4). The arahat saves no one but him-self. He is like one confined in a dungeon, who, having found a way of escape, hastens to set him-self at liberty, while callously leaving his fellow-prisoners in darkness and captivity.
The bodhisattva, on the other hand, is the embodiment of supreme unselfishness. He solemnly dedicates himself to the service of all beings who stand in need of succour, suffering the most atrocious tortures, if necessary, if thereby he may save others from pain and sorrow.
It must be stated, however, that this charge of selfishness made against the arahat, in contrast with the unselfishness of the bodhisattva, is not in accordance with fact. In the first place, the concept of the bodhisattva is not peculiar to Mahayana. In the second place, it would be quite incorrect to say that the arahat, as depicted in Hinayana, is entirely occupied with his own salvation and is callous of the salvation and sufferings of others.
As has been stated earlier, the word arahat means ‘one who is worthy’ and his worthiness is of a kind that cannot be reconciled with any form of selfishness. “Even as a mother watches over her only begotten child,” says the Sutta Nipata, one of the oldest texts of the Theravada, “so let his heart and mind be filled with boundless love for all creatures, great and small, let him practise benevolence towards the whole world, above, below, across, without exception, and let him set himself utterly free from all ill-will and enmity.” And, another text, the Itivuttaka (19), says “all the means that can be used as bases for doing right are not worth one-sixteenth part of the emancipation of the heart through love. That takes all those up unto itself, outshining them in radiance and glory.”
No selfish being could, therefore, become an arahat. Arahatship consists in a spiritual exaltation that transcends the limitations of temporal individuality. No system which aims at the elimination of the phenomenal ego can be accused of egoism or selfishness. Arahatship is the full realisation of the transcendental self and such self-realisation is far removed from selfishness and, indeed, involves self-sacrifice.
In charging the arahat, therefore, with being over-mindful of his own development and salvation and with ignoring the moral and spiritual well-being of his fellow-men, the Mahayanists were. hardly fair. The arahat, on the other hand, is one who acts in accordance with the principle that each man forms part of a spiritual whole of which all his fellow-men are also parts and that to serve them is to enrich and ennoble his own higher self, while to neglect them would be to impoverish it. Even at the lowest estimate, the arahat is one who seeks and attains an enlightenment for himself so that he might subtract at least himself from the vast burden of sorrow and pain that weighs upon the world. Having done this, he continues the good life for the gain and the welfare of the many, in benevolent activity, although it could add nothing to the reward which he has already won.
After he has won Arahatship, up to the time of his death, the arahat lives wishlessly, happy and con-tented, because his supreme achievement leaves no room for wishes of any kind. According to the Milindapañha (pp. 134 IT., 253) he is liable to suffer bodily pain, however, because he cannot control his body. But such pain he bears with equanimity which nothing can disturb.
According to the Theravadins, the acquisition of Nirvana is final and definite and can never again be lost. The Sammitiyas, Vajjiputtiyas, Sabbatthivadins and some Mahasanghikas, however, held that the arahat is liable to fall away. The Saddharmapundarika (v, 59—83) speaks of the nirvana of the arahats as a temporary repose and distinguishes it from the final Nirvana of the Buddha. The Theravadins regard the arahat as being of almost god-like stature but the Mahasanghikas maintained that he was human and he had many imperfections, e.g., that he could still be troubled by demons, have various doubts and be ignorant of many things. The Andhakas said that the arahat could be surpassed in knowledge by others, in opposition to the Vibhajjavadins in whose view the arahat has complete knowledge.
Filed under: General
@ 9:15 am
MAHABODHI ACADEMY FOR PALI AND BUDDHIST STUDIE (MAPBS)
Questionnaire No 2 and Answers of Second Year Diploma Course
1. Write a brief essay on the advent of the Tathaagata, the bearer of truth. What are the terms used to describe the nature and attainment of Buddhahood? Give brief explanation of each term
Tathāgata (Pali and Sanskrit. “one who has thus gone” - tathā-gata; “one who has thus come” - tathā-āgata; or ” one who has gone to That“, Tat-āgata; pron: taaht-āhgatah) (ch.如來）(jp. 如来）is the name which the historical Buddha Gautama used when referring to himself. The term is deliberately ambiguous, reflecting the ineffable ontological status of a fully liberated human being transcending categories of being and non-being. Thus tathāgata reflects these ambiguities. Gautama Buddha used this word as his preferred personal appellation. In the scriptures instead of saying ‘me’ or ‘myself’ he says, “The tathagata is such and such…” emphasising that as an enlightened being he has gone beyond human personality - the absence of self being a central doctrine of Gautama Buddha’s teaching.
On one occasion Ven. Sariputta and Ven. Maha Kotthita were staying near Varanasi in the Game Refuge at Isipatana. Then in the evening, Ven. Sariputta emerged from his seclusion and went to Ven. Maha Kotthita and exchanged courteous greetings with him. After an exchange of friendly greetings & courtesies, he sat to one side. As he was sitting there, he said to Ven. Maha Kotthita, “Now then, friend Kotthita, does the Tathagata exist after death?”
“That, friend, has not been declared by the Blessed One: ‘The Tathagata exists after death.’”
“Well then, friend Kotthita, does the Tathagata not exist after death?”
“Friend, that too has not been declared by the Blessed One: ‘The Tathagata does not exist after death.’”
“Then does the Tathagata both exist and not exist after death?”
“That has not been declared by the Blessed One: ‘The Tathagata both exists and does not exist after death.’”
“Well then, does the Tathagata neither exist nor not exist after death?”
“That too has not been declared by the Blessed One: ‘The Tathagata neither exists nor does not exist after death.’”
“Now, friend Kotthita, when asked if the Tathagata exists after death, you say, ‘That has not been declared by the Blessed One: “The Tathagata exists after death.”‘ When asked if the Tathagata does not exist after death… both exists and does not exist after death… neither exists nor does not exist after death, you say, ‘That too has not been declared by the Blessed One: “The Tathagata neither exists nor does not exist after death.”‘ Now, what is the cause, what is the reason, why that has not been declared by the Blessed One?”
(i. The aggregates)
“For one who loves form, who is fond of form, who cherishes form, who does not know or see, as it actually is present, the cessation of form, there occurs the thought, ‘The Tathagata exists after death’ or ‘The Tathagata does not exist after death’ or ‘The Tathagata both exists and does not exist after death’ or ‘The Tathagata neither exists nor does not exist after death.’
“For one who loves feeling…
“For one who loves perception…
“For one who loves fabrications…
“For one who loves consciousness, who is fond of consciousness, who cherishes consciousness, who does not know or see, as it actually is present, the cessation of consciousness, there occurs the thought, ‘The Tathagata exists after death’ or ‘The Tathagata does not exist after death’ or ‘The Tathagata both exists and does not exist after death’ or ‘The Tathagata neither exists nor does not exist after death.’
“But for one who doesn’t love form, who isn’t fond of form, who doesn’t cherish form, who knows & sees, as it actually is present, the cessation of form, the thought, ‘The Tathagata exists after death’ or ‘The Tathagata does not exist after death’ or ‘The Tathagata both exists and does not exist after death’ or ‘The Tathagata neither exists nor does not exist after death’ doesn’t occur.
“For one who doesn’t love feeling…
“For one who doesn’t love perception…
“For one who doesn’t love fabrication…
“For one who doesn’t love consciousness, who isn’t fond of consciousness, who doesn’t cherish consciousness, who knows & sees, as it actually is present, the cessation of consciousness, the thought, ‘The Tathagata exists after death’ or ‘The Tathagata does not exist after death’ or ‘The Tathagata both exists and does not exist after death’ or ‘The Tathagata neither exists nor does not exist after death’ doesn’t occur.
“This is the cause, this is the reason, why that has not been declared by the Blessed One.”
“But, my friend, would there another line of reasoning, in line with which that has not been declared by the Blessed One?”
“There would, my friend. “For one who loves becoming, who is fond of becoming, who cherishes becoming, who does not know or see, as it actually is present, the cessation of becoming, there occurs the thought, ‘The Tathagata exists after death’ or ‘The Tathagata does not exist after death’ or ‘The Tathagata both exists and does not exist after death’ or ‘The Tathagata neither exists nor does not exist after death.’
“But for one who doesn’t love becoming, who isn’t fond of becoming, who doesn’t cherish becoming, who knows & sees, as it actually is present, the cessation of becoming, the thought, ‘The Tathagata exists after death’ or ‘The Tathagata does not exist after death’ or ‘The Tathagata both exists and does not exist after death’ or ‘The Tathagata neither exists nor does not exist after death’ doesn’t occur.
“This, too, is a line of reasoning in line with which that has not been declared by the Blessed One.”
“But, my friend, would there another line of reasoning, in line with which that has not been declared by the Blessed One?”
“There would, my friend. “For one who loves clinging/sustenance, who is fond of clinging/sustenance, who cherishes clinging/sustenance, who does not know or see, as it actually is present, the cessation of clinging/sustenance, there occurs the thought, ‘The Tathagata exists after death’ or ‘The Tathagata does not exist after death’ or ‘The Tathagata both exists and does not exist after death’ or ‘The Tathagata neither exists nor does not exist after death.’
“But for one who doesn’t love clinging/sustenance, who isn’t fond of clinging/sustenance, who doesn’t cherish clinging/sustenance, who knows & sees, as it actually is present, the cessation of clinging/sustenance, the thought, ‘The Tathagata exists after death’ or ‘The Tathagata does not exist after death’ or ‘The Tathagata both exists and does not exist after death’ or ‘The Tathagata neither exists nor does not exist after death’ doesn’t occur.
“This, too, is a line of reasoning in line with which that has not been declared by the Blessed One.”
“But, my friend, would there another line of reasoning, in line with which that has not been declared by the Blessed One?”
“There would, my friend. “For one who loves craving, who is fond of craving, who cherishes craving, who does not know or see, as it actually is present, the cessation of craving, there occurs the thought, ‘The Tathagata exists after death’ or ‘The Tathagata does not exist after death’ or ‘The Tathagata both exists and does not exist after death’ or ‘The Tathagata neither exists nor does not exist after death.’
“But for one who doesn’t love craving, who isn’t fond of craving, who doesn’t cherish craving, who knows & sees, as it actually is present, the cessation of craving, the thought, ‘The Tathagata exists after death’ or ‘The Tathagata does not exist after death’ or ‘The Tathagata both exists and does not exist after death’ or ‘The Tathagata neither exists nor does not exist after death’ doesn’t occur.
“This, too, is a line of reasoning in line with which that has not been declared by the Blessed One.”
“But, my friend, would there another line of reasoning, in line with which that has not been declared by the Blessed One?”
“Now, what more do you want, friend Kotthita? When a monk has been freed from the classification of craving, there exists no cycle for describing him.”
The Mind of Purity
1. Among humans there are many kinds and degrees of mentality; some are wise, some are foolish, some are good-natured, some are bad-tempered, some are easily led, some are difficult to lead, some possess pure minds and some have minds that are defiled; but these differences are negligible when it comes to the attainment of Awakenment. The world is like a lotus pond filled with many varieties of the plant; there are blossoms of many different tints. Some are white, some pink, some blue, some yellow; some grow under water, some spread their leaves on the water, and some raise their leaves above the water. Mankind has many more differences. There is the difference of sex, but it is not an essential difference, for, with proper training, both men and women may attain Awakenment.
To be a trainer of elephants, one must possess five qualifications: good health, confidence, diligence, sincerity of purpose, and wisdom. to follow the Buddha’s Noble Path to Awakenment, one must have the same five good qualities. If one has these qualities, then regardless of gender, it is possible to attain Awakenment. It need not take long to learn Buddha’s teaching for all humans possess a nature that has an affinity for Awakenment.
2. In the practice of the way to Awakenment, people see the Buddha with their own eyes and believe in Buddha with their own minds. The eyes that see Buddha and the mind that believes in Buddha are the same eyes and the same mind that, until that day, had wandered about in the world of birth and death.
If a king is plagued by bandits, he must find out where their camp is before he can attack them. so, when a man is best by worldly passions, he should first ascertain their origins.
When a man is in a house and opens his eyes he will first notice the interior of the room and only later will he see the view outside the windows. In like manner we cannot have the eyes notice external things before there is recognition by the eyes of the things in the house.
If there is a mind within the body, it ought first to know the things inside the body; but generally people are interested in external things and seem to know or care little the things within the body.
If the mind is located outside the body, it should not be in contrast with the needs of the body. But, in fact, the body feels what the mind knows, and the mind knows what the body feels. Therefore, it cannot be said that the human mind is outside the body. Where, then, does the substance of the mind exist?
3. From the unknown past, being conditioned by their own deeds and deluded by two fundamental misconceptions, people have wandered about in ignorance.
First, they believed that the discriminating mind, which lies at the root of this life of birth and death, was their real nature; and, second, they did not know that hidden behind this discriminating mind, they possessed a pure mind of Enlightenment which is their true nature.
The discriminating mind is only a mind for the discrimination of imagined differences that greed and other moods relating to the self have created. The discriminating mind is subject to cause and conditions, it is empty of any self-substance, and it is constantly changing. But, since people believe that this mind is their real mind, the delusion enters into the causes and conditions that produce suffering.
A man opens his hands and the minds perceives it; but what is it that moves? Is it the mind, or is it the hand? Or is it neither of them? If the hand moves, then the mind moves accordingly, and vice versa; but the moving mind is only a superficial appearance of mind; it is not the true and fundamental mind.
4. Fundamentally, everyone has a pure clean mind, but it is usually covered by the defilement and dust of worldly desires which have arisen from one’s circumstances. This defiled mind is not of the essence of one’s nature: something has been added, like an intruder or even a guest in a home, but not its host.
The moon is often hidden by clouds, but it is ot moved by them and its purity remains untarnished. Therefore, people must not deluded into thinking that this defiled mind is their own true mind.
They must continually remind themselves of this fact by striving to awaken within themselves the pure and unchanging fundamental of mind of Awakenment. Being caught by a changing, defiled mind and being deluded by their own perverted ideas, they wander about in a world of delusion.
The disturbances and defilement of the human minds are aroused by greed as well as by its reactions to the changing circumstances.
The mind that is not disturbed by things as they occur, that remains pure and tranquil under all circumstances, is the true mind and should be the master.
We cannot say that an inn disappears just because the guest is out of sight; neither can we say that the true self has disappeared when the defiled mind which has been aroused by the changing circumstances of life has disappeared. That which changes with changing conditions is not the true nature of mind.
5. Let us think of a lecture hall that is bright while the sun is shining but is dark after the sun goes down.
We can think of the light departing with the sun and the dark coming with the night, but we cannot so think of the mind that perceives lightness and darkness. The mind that is susceptible to lightness and darkness cannot be given back to anybody; it can only revert to a truer nature which is its fundamental nature.
It is only a “temporary” mind that momentarily notes changes of lightness and darkness as the sun rises and sets.
It is only a “temporary” mind that has different feelings from moment to moment with the changing circumstances of life; it is not the real and true mind. The fundamental and true mind which realizes the lightness and the darkness is the true nature of man.
The temporary feelings of good and evil, love and hatred, that have been aroused by surroundings and changing external conditions, are only momentary reactions that have their cause in the defilement accumulated by the human mind.
Water is round in a round receptacle and square in a square one, but water itself has no particular shape. People often forget this fact.
People see this good and that bad, they like this and dislike that, and they discriminate existence from non-existence; and then, being in these entanglements and becoming attached to them, they suffer.
If people would only give up their attachments to these imaginary and false discriminations, and restore they purity of their original minds, then both their mind and their body would be free from defilement and suffering; they would know the peacefulness that comes with that freedom.
1. We have spoken of the pure and true mind as being fundamental; it is the Buddha-nature, that is, the seed of Buddhahood.
One can get fire if one holds a lens between the sun and moxa, but where does the fire come from? The lens is at an enormous distance from the sun, but the fire certainly appears upon the moxa by means of the lens. But if the moxa would not have the nature to kindle; there would be no fire.
In like manner, if the light of Buddha’s Wisdom is concentrated upon the human mind, its true nature, which is Buddhahood, will be enkindled, and its light will illuminate the minds of the people with its brightness, and will awaken faith in Buddha. He holds the lens of Wisdom before all human minds and thus their faith my be quickened.
2. Often people disregard the affinity of their true minds for Buddha’s awakened wisdom, and, because of it, are caught by the entanglement of worldly passions, becoming attached to the discrimination of good and evil, and then lament over their bondage and suffering.
Why is it that people, possessing this fundamental and pure mind, should still cling to illusions and doom themselves to wander about in a world of delusion and suffering, covering their own Buddha-nature while all about them is the light of Buddha’s Wisdom?
Once upon a time a man looked into the reverse side of a mirror and, not seeing his face and head, he became insane. How unnecessary it is for man to become insane because he carelessly looks into the reverse side of a mirror!
It is just as foolish and unnecessary for a person to go on suffering because he does not attain Awakenment where he expects to find it. There is no failure in Awakenment; the failure lies in those people who, for a long time, have sought Awakenmentin their discriminating minds, not realizing that theirs are not true minds but are imaginary minds that have been caused by the accumulation of greed and illusion covering and hiding their true mind.
If the accumulation of false beliefs is cleared away, Awakenment will appear. But, strange enough, when people attain Awakenment, they will realize that without false beliefs there could be no Awakenment.
3. Buddha-nature is not something that comes to an end. Though wicked men should be born beasts or hungry demons, or fall into hell, they never lose their Buddha-nature.
However buried in the defilement of flesh or concealed at the root of worldly desires and forgotten it may be, the human affinity for Buddhahood is never completely extinguished.
4. There is an old story told of a man who fell into a drunken sleep. His friend stayed by him as long as he could but, being compelled to go and fearing that he might be in want, the friend hid a jewel in the drunken man’s garment. When the drunken man recovered, not knowing that his friend has hid a jewel in his garment, he wandered about in poverty and hunger. A long time afterwards the two men met again and the friend told the poor man about the jewel and advised him to look for it.
Like the drunken man of the story, people wander about suffering in this life of birth and death, unconscious of what is hidden away in their nature, pure and untarnished, the priceless treasure of Buddha-nature.
However unconscious people may be of the fact that everyone has within his possession this supreme nature, and however degraded and ignorant they may be, Buddha never loses faith in them because He knows that even in the least of them there are, potentially, all the virtues of Buddhahood.
So Buddha awakens faith in them who are deceived by ignorance and cannot see their own Buddha-nature, lead them away from their illusions and teaches them that originally there is no difference between themselves and Buddhahood.
5. Budhha is one who has attained Buddhahood and people are those who are capable of attaining Buddhahood; that is all the difference lies between them.
But if a man thinks that he has attained Enlightenment, he is deceiving himself, for, although he may be moving in that direction, he has not yet reached Buddhahood.
Buddha-nature does not appear without diligent and faithful effort, nor is the task finished until Buddhahood is attained.
6. One upon a time a king gathered some blind men about an elephant and asked them to tell him what an elephant was like. The first man felt a tusk and said an elephant was like a giant carrot; another happen to touch a ear and said it was like a big fan; another touched its trunk and said it was like a pestle; still another, who happened to feel its leg, said it was like a mortar; and another, who grasped its tail said it was like a rope. Not one of them was able to tell the king the elephant’s real form.
In like manner, one might partially describe the nature of man but would not be able to describe the true nature of a human being, the Buddha-nature.
There is only one possible way by which the everlasting nature of man, his Buddha-nature, that cannot be disturbed by worldly desires or destroyed by death, can be realized, and that is by the Buddha and the Buddha’s noble teaching.
1. We have been speaking of Buddha-nature as though it were something that could be described, as though it were similar to the “soul” of other teachings, but it is not.
The concept of an “ego-personality” is something that has been imagined by a discriminating mind which first grasped it and then become attached to it, but which must abandon it. On the contrary, Buddha-nature is something indescribable that must first be discovered. In one sense, it resembles an “ego-personality” but it is not the “ego” in the sense of “I am” or “mine.”
To believe in the existence of an ego is an erroneous belief that supposes the existence of non-existence; to deny Buddha-nature is wrong, for it supposes that existence is non-existence.
This can be explained in a parable. A mother took her sick child to a doctor. The doctor gave the child medicine and instructed the mother not to nurse the child until the medicine was digested.
The mother anointed her breast with something bitter so that the child would keep away from her of his own volition. After the medicine had time enough to be digested, the mother cleansed her breast and let the child suck her. The mother took this method of saving her child out of kindness because she loved the child. Like the mother in the parable, Buddha, in order to remove misunderstanding and to break up attachments to an ego-personality, denies the existence of an ego; and when the misunderstanding and attachments are done away with, then He explains the reality of the true mind that is the Buddha-nature.
Attachment to an ego-personality leads people into delusions, but faith in their Buddha-nature leads them to .Awakenment
It is like the woman in a story to whom a chest was bequeathed. Not knowing the chest contained gold, she continued to live in poverty until another person opened it and showed her the gold. Buddha opens the minds of people and shows them the purity of their Buddha-nature.
2. If everyone has this Buddha-nature, why is there so much suffering from people cheating one another or killing one another? And why are there so many distinctions of rank and wealth, rich and poor?
There is a story of a wrestler who used to wear an ornament on his forehead of a precious stone. One time when he was wrestling the stone was crushed into the flesh of his forehead. He thought he had lost the gem and went to a surgeon to have the wound dressed. When the surgeon came to dress the wound he found the gem embedded in the flesh and covered over with blood and dirt. He held up a mirror and showed the stone to the wrestler.
Buddha-nature is like the precious stone of this story: it becomes covered over by the dirt and dust of other interests and people think that they have lost it, but a good teacher recovers it again for them.
Buddha-nature exists in everyone no matter how deeply it may be covered over by greed, anger and foolishness, or buried by his own deeds and retribution. Buddha-nature cannot be lost or destroyed; and when defilements are removed, sooner or later it will reappear.
Like the wrestler in the story who was shown the gem buried in his flesh and blood by means of a mirror, so people are shown their Buddha-nature, buried beneath their worldly desires and passions, by means of the light of Buddha.
3. Buddha-nature is always pure and tranquil no matter how varied the conditions and surroundings of people may be. Just as milk is always white regardless of the color of the cow’s hide, either red, white, or black, so it does not matter how differently their deeds may condition people’s life or what different effects may follow their acts and thoughts.
There is a fable told in India of a mysterious medical herb that was hidden under the tall grasses of the Himalayas. For a long time men sought for it in vain, but at last a wise man located it by its sweetness. As long as the wise man lived he collected this medical herb in a tub, but after his death, the sweet elixir remained hidden in some far-off spring in the mountains, and the water in the tub turned sour and harmful and of a different taste.
In like manner Buddha-nature is hidden away beneath the wild growth of worldly passions and can rarely be discovered, but Buddha found it and revealed it to the people, and as they receive it by their varying faculties it tastes differently to each person.
4. The diamond, the hardest of known substances, cannot be crushed. Sand and stones can be ground to powder but diamonds remain unscathed. Buddha-nature is like the diamond, and thus cannot be broken.
Human nature, both its body and mind, will wear away, but the nature of Buddhahood cannot be destroyed.
Buddha-nature is, indeed, the most excellent characteristic of human nature. Buddha teaches that, although in human nature there may be endless varieties such as men and women, there is no discrimination with regard to Buddha-nature.
Pure gold is procured by melting ore and removing all impure substances. If people would melt the ore of their minds and remove all the impurities of worldly passion and egoism, they would all recover the same pure Buddha-nature.
Buddha nature. The essential nature of all sentient beings. The potential for awakenment.
Buddhahood.The perfect and complete awakenment of dwelling in neither samsara nor nibbana. Expression of the realization of perfect awakenment, which characterizes a Buddha. The attainment of Buddhahood is the birthright of all beings. According to the teachings of Buddha, every sentient being has, or better is already, Buddha nature; thus Buddhahood cannot be “attained.” It is much more a matter of experiencing the primordial perfection and realizing it in everyday life.
2. What happened immediately after the Bodhisatta became a Buddha? Give a clear narration of the weeklong meditative absorption in the first week under the Bodhi tree.
VAJRASANA (THE DIAMOND THRONE) First Week
The Vajrasana or the Diamond Throne is the seat of Awakenment which was made in the 3rd century B.C. by King Asoka the Great. It lies between the Temple and the Bodhi Tree. The Vajrasana is made of red sand stone which is 7 feet 6 inches long, 4 feet 10 inches broad and three feet height where Prince Siddhartha sat to become the Buddha and which is the Holiest of Holy places to the Buddhist of the world. Venerable Ashwaghosa in the Buddhacharita reveals that this place is the Navel of the Earth and the Chinese pilgrim, Fa-Hien’s travellogue also notes that it was this place where all the past Buddhas had attained Enlightenment and where all the future Buddhas must go there in order to achieve the same goal.
3. Describe the events of the second week when he remain gazing at the Mahabodhi tree.
ANIMESHA LOCHANA CHAITYA Second Week
After attaining Awakenment the Buddha spent the second week in meditation in standing posture gazing at the Bodhi Tree with motionless eyes for one whole week. There is one chaitya (shrine) dedicated to this event and it is located north- east of the Mahabodhi Temple.
4. Describe the weeklong walking meditation on the third week.
CHANKRAMANA Third Week
walking up and down in meditation. On the platform lotuses indicate the places the Buddhas feet rested while walking. It is located adjacent to the north of the Mahabodhi Stupa where a long platform has been constructed to commemorate the great event.
5. Describe the weeklong contemplation in the Jewel Pavilion on the fourth week.
RATANAGHARA Fourth Week
This is a small roofless shrine which is situated in the north-west corner of the Maha Bodhi Temple and is known as Ratanaghara or the Jewel House. The Buddha spent the fourth week here in meditation reflecting on the Patthana or the Law of Dependent Origination. While He sat here in deep contemplation the six rays of blue, yellow, red, white, orange and a combination of all these colours together forming the sixth colour emanated from His body. The Buddhist flag used in all Buddhist countries is designed with these colours.
6. Narrate the weeklong contemplation under the Ajapaala Banyan , on the fifth week.
AJAPALA NIGRODHA TREE Fifth Week
The Buddha spent the fifth week in meditation under this tree. The site is situated in front of the Mahabodhi Temple, just a little away from the last step of the eastern gate. Here the Buddha replied to a Brahamana that only by one’s deeds one becomes a perfect Brahmana, and not by birth.
7. Describe the encounter he had with Maara and Huhunhaara Brahmin.
8. How did Maara recall the Buddha’s attainment? Explain each one vis-avis his own, which was nil. Briefly write on the incident with Maara’s daughters.
Siddhartha’s five peers abandoned him in disgust for giving up the austere practices. In the days that followed, Siddhartha returned to his former life as a wandering ascetic. He regained his health and strength. He was preparing himself for the final struggle to attain the supreme truth.
|Choosing the famous Bodhi tree close to the river, Siddhartha undertook to meditate until he attained the knowledge he sought. A local grasscutter offered him some soft green kusha grass for a cushion. Siddhartha walked around the tree seven times and then he prepared his seat. Sitting down facing eastwards, he began to meditate, vowing that he would not get up from that spot until he had attained enlightenment.
As Siddhartha sat deep in meditation, Mara (the Lord of Delusion who personifies the obscurations of our own mind) was unable to bear the sight of Siddhartha’s inevitable realization of ultimate truth. Mara came with his army to distract Siddhartha from his contemplation. They came in the form of beautiful maidens, and then in the form of fearful demons. They tried to break Siddhartha’s concentration through temptations and then through fear. The arrows sent by the demons only turned into flowers, and the torrential storms merely dispearsed. The Buddha-to-be remained impervious to the illusions and spells with which Mara tried to
undermine his efforts.
Mara then taunted Siddhartha, claiming that Siddhartha had not produced any good merit in the past.
Siddhartha stretched down his hand and touched the earth, calling it to bear witness to his eons of striving for virtuous ends. The earth quaked in all directions and miraculously testified that over countless lifetimes Siddhartha had practiced the perfections of generosity, discipline, patience, effort, concentration and wisdom. Mara and his army fled at the sight of defeat, each demon fleeing in a different direction.
During that night, Siddhartha entered into deeper and deeper states of meditative absorption. He realized the interdependence of all phenomena and directly perceived that nowhere was there even one atom that had even the slightest independent existence. He saw that every instant of suffering stemmed from the inability to understand the way in which all things exist.
The very subtle layers of obscuration that veiled the pure clear light nature of Siddhartha’s mind were removed and at dawn he arose as a fully awakened one, a Buddha. He had conquered sorrow and attained supreme bliss.
Sitting under that pipal tree Siddhartha had finally accomplished his goal by demonstrating to the world the path and attainment of Buddhahood. In this way, the Buddha was born in order to show that an ordinary man can become a Buddha.
9. Narrate the events of the sixth week under Mucalinda tree and seventh week under Rajayatana tree.
MUCHALINDA LAKE (LOTUS TANK) Sixth Week
The Buddha spent the sixth week in this place in meditation. This place is situated to the South of the Mahabodhi Temple. While the Buddha was meditating near the lake, there broke out a severe thunder storm. Seeing that the Lord was getting drenched the snake king of the lake called ‘Muchalinda’ came out of his abode and encircling the body of the Lord several times, held his hood over Him as a protection against the violent wind and rain.
RAJAYATANA TREE Seventh Week
It is under this tree that the Buddha spent the seventh week in meditation. The place is situated in the south - east of the Mahabodhi Temple. It is said that two merchants from Burma, Tapassu and Bhallika, while passing that way, offered rice cake and honey to the Lord, and took refuge in the Buddha and the Law ‘Buddham Saranam Gachhami Dhammam Saranam Gachhami’ (they could not take refuge as Sangham Saranam Gachhami, because, Sangha was not founded then).They were the first lay devotees in the Buddhist world. They took some hairs from the Buddha to be worshipped in their country. According to the Burmese tradition the hairs are preserved in the famous Shwedagon Pagoda of Burma and they worship that Pagoda with great reverence and devotion.
10. Write a brief account of-
i. Brahma’s request to teach the Dhamma.
I have heard that on one occasion, when the Blessed One was newly Self-awakened, he was staying at Uruvela on the bank of the Nerañjara River, at the foot of the Goatherd’s Banyan Tree. Then, while he was alone and in seclusion, this line of thinking arose in his awareness: “This Dhamma that I have attained is deep, hard to see, hard to realize, peaceful, refined, beyond the scope of conjecture, subtle, to-be-experienced by the wise. But this generation delights in attachment, is excited by attachment, enjoys attachment. For a generation delighting in attachment, excited by attachment, enjoying attachment, this/that conditionality and dependent co-arising are hard to see. This state, too, is hard to see: the resolution of all fabrications, the relinquishment of all acquisitions, the ending of craving; dispassion; cessation; Unbinding. And if I were to teach the Dhamma and if others would not understand me, that would be tiresome for me, troublesome for me.”
Just then these verses, unspoken in the past, unheard before, occurred to the Blessed One:
Enough now with teaching
only with difficulty
This Dhamma is not easily realized
by those overcome
with aversion & passion.
What is abstruse, subtle,
hard to see,
going against the flow —
those delighting in passion,
cloaked in the mass of darkness,
As the Blessed One reflected thus, his mind inclined to dwelling at ease, not to teaching the Dhamma.
Then Brahma Sahampati, having known with his own awareness the line of thinking in the Blessed One’s awareness, thought: “The world is lost! The world is destroyed! The mind of the Tathagata, the Arahant, the Rightly Self-awakened One inclines to dwelling at ease, not to teaching the Dhamma!” Then, just as a strong man might extend his flexed arm or flex his extended arm, Brahma Sahampati disappeared from the Brahma-world and reappeared in front of the Blessed One. Arranging his upper robe over one shoulder, he knelt down with his right knee on the ground, saluted the Blessed One with his hands before his heart, and said to him: “Lord, let the Blessed One teach the Dhamma! Let the One-Well-Gone teach the Dhamma! There are beings with little dust in their eyes who are falling away because they do not hear the Dhamma. There will be those who will understand the Dhamma.”
That is what Brahma Sahampati said. Having said that, he further said this:
In the past
there appeared among the Magadhans
an impure Dhamma
devised by the stained.
Throw open the door to the Deathless!
Let them hear the Dhamma
realized by the Stainless One!
Just as one standing on a rocky crag
might see people
all around below,
So, O wise one, with all-around vision,
ascend the palace
fashioned of the Dhamma.
Free from sorrow, behold the people
submerged in sorrow,
oppressed by birth & aging.
Rise up, hero, victor in battle!
O Teacher, wander without debt in the world.
Teach the Dhamma, O Blessed One:
There will be those who will understand.
Then the Blessed One, having understood Brahma’s invitation, out of compassion for beings, surveyed the world with the eye of an Awakened One. As he did so, he saw beings with little dust in their eyes and those with much, those with keen faculties and those with dull, those with good attributes and those with bad, those easy to teach and those hard, some of them seeing disgrace and danger in the other world. Just as in a pond of blue or red or white lotuses, some lotuses — born and growing in the water — might flourish while immersed in the water, without rising up from the water; some might stand at an even level with the water; while some might rise up from the water and stand without being smeared by the water — so too, surveying the world with the eye of an Awakened One, the Blessed One saw beings with little dust in their eyes and those with much, those with keen faculties and those with dull, those with good attributes and those with bad, those easy to teach and those hard, some of them seeing disgrace and danger in the other world.
Having seen this, he answered Brahma Sahampati in verse:
Open are the doors to the Deathless
to those with ears.
Let them show their conviction.
Perceiving trouble, O Brahma,
I did not tell people the refined,
Then Brahma Sahampati, thinking, “The Blessed One has given his consent to teach the Dhamma,” bowed down to the Blessed One and, circling him on the right, disappeared right there.