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Discourse on the Five Ways of Putting an End to Anger  (Discourse on Water as an Example)

posted Sep 12, 2013, 8:41 PM by Sung Yang

             I heard these words of the Venerable Shariputra one time when he was staying in the Anathapindika Monastery in the Jeta Grove near the town of Shravasti.
            One day the Venerable Shariputra said to the monks, “Friends, today I want to share with you five ways of putting an end to anger. Please listen carefully and put into practice what I teach.”
            The bhikkhus agreed and listened carefully.
            The Venerable Shariputra said, “What are these five ways of putting an end to anger?
            “This is the first way. My friends, if there is someone whose bodily actions are not kind but his words are kind, if you feel angry with that person but you are wise, you will know how to meditate in order to put an end to your anger.
            “My friends, say there is a bhikkhu practicing asceticism who wears a patchwork robe. One day he is going past a garbage pile filled with excrement, urine, mucous, and many other filthy things, and he sees in the pile one piece of cloth still intact. Using his left hand, he picks up the piece of cloth and with his right hand he takes the other end and stretches it out. He observes that this piece of cloth is not torn, and has not been stained by excrement, urine, sputum, or other kinds of filth. So he folds it up and puts it away to take home, to wash, and sew it into his patchwork robe. My friends, if we are wise, when someone’s bodily actions are not pleasant but his words are kind, we should not pay attention to his unpleasant bodily actions, but only be attentive to his kind words. This will help us put an end to our anger.
            “My friends, this is the second method: If you become angry with someone whose words are not kind but whose bodily actions are pleasant, if you are wise, you will know how to meditate in order to put an end to your anger.
            “My friends, say that not far from the village there is a deep lake, and the surface of that lake is covered with algae and grass. There is someone who comes near that lake who is very thirsty, suffering greatly from the heat. He takes off his clothes, jumps into the water, and using his hands to clear away the algae and grass, enjoys bathing and drinking the cool water of the lake. It is the same, my friends with someone whose words are not kind but whose bodily actions are kind. Do not pay attention to that person’s words. Only be attentive to his bodily actions in order to be able to put an end to your anger. Someone who is wise should practice in this way.
            “Here is the third method, my friends: If there is someone whose bodily actions and words are not kind, but who still has a little kindness in his heart, if you feel anger toward that person and are wise, you will find a way of meditating to put an end to that anger.
            “My friends, say there is someone going to a crossroads. He is weak, thirsty, poor, hot, deprived, and filled with sorrow. When he arrives at the crossroads, he sees a buffalo’s footprint with a little stagnant rainwater in it. He thinks to himself, ‘There is very little water in this buffalo’s footprint, so if I use my hand or a leaf to scoop it up, I would stir it up and it will become muddy and undrinkable. Therefore, I will have to kneel down with my arms and knees on the earth, put my lips right up to the water, and drink it directly.’ Straight away, he does just that. My friends, when you see someone whose bodily actions and words are not kind, but where there is still a little kindness, do not pay attention to his actions and words, but to the little kindness that is in his heart in order to put an end to your anger. Someone who is wise should practice in that way.
            “This is the fourth method, my friends. If there is someone whose words and bodily actions are not kind, and in whose  heart there is nothing that can be called kindness, if you are angry with that person and you are wise, you need to find a way to meditate in order to put an end to your anger.
            “My friends, suppose there is someone on a long journey who falls sick. He is alone and completely exhausted, and not near any village. He falls into despair, knowing that he will die before completing his journey. If at that point, someone comes along and sees this man’s situation, he immediately takes the man’s hand and leads him onward to the next village, where he takes care of him, treats his illness, and makes sure he has everything he needs by way of clothes, medicine, and food. Because of this compassion and loving kindness, the man’s life is saved. Just so, my friends, when you see someone whose words and bodily actions are not kind, and in whose heart there is nothing that can be called kindness, give rise to this thought: Someone whose words and bodily actions are not kind and in whose heart is nothing that can be called kindness, is someone who is undergoing great suffering. Unless they meet a good spiritual friend, there will be no chance for them to transform and go to realms of happiness. Thinking like this, you will be able to open your heart with love and compassion toward that person. You will be able to put an end to your anger and help that person. Someone who is wise should practice like this.
            “My friends, this is the fifth method. If there is someone whose bodily actions are kind, whose words are kind, and whose mind is also kind, if you are angry with that person and you are wise, you should find a way to meditate in order to put an end to your anger.
            “My friends, suppose that not far from the village there is a very beautiful lake. The water in the lake is clear and sweet, the bed of the lake is even, the banks of the lake are lush with green grass, and all around the lake, beautiful fresh trees give shade. Someone who is thirsty, suffering from heat, whose body is covered in sweat, comes to the lake, takes off his clothes, leaves them on the shore, jumps down into the water, and finds great comfort and enjoyment in bathing and drinking the pure water. His heat, thirst and suffering disappear immediately. In the same way, my friends, when you see someone whose bodily actions are kind, whose words are kind, and whose mind is also kind, give your attention to all his kindness of body, speech and mind, and do not allow anger or jealousy to overwhelm you. If you do not know how to live happily with someone who is as fresh as that, you cannot be called someone who has wisdom.
            “My dear friends, I have shared with you the five ways of putting an end to anger.”
 
            When the bhikkhus heard the Venerable Shariputra’s words they were happy to receive them and put them into practice.
 
 
Madhyama Agama 25  (corresponds with Anguttara Nikaya III, 186)

Sn 4.8: Pasura Sutta: To Pasura

posted Aug 21, 2013, 7:56 PM by Sung Yang

"Only here is there purity"
— that's what they say —
"No other doctrines are pure"
— so they say.
Insisting that what they depend on is good,
they are deeply entrenched in their personal truths.

Seeking controversy, they plunge into an assembly,
regarding one another as fools.
Relying on others' authority,
they speak in debate.
Desiring praise, they claim to be skilled.

Engaged in disputes in the midst of the assembly,
— anxious, desiring praise —
the one defeated is
chagrined.
Shaken with criticism, he seeks for an opening.

He whose doctrine is [judged as] demolished,
defeated, by those judging the issue:
He laments, he grieves — the inferior exponent.
"He beat me," he mourns.

These disputes have arisen among contemplatives.
In them are elation,
dejection.
Seeing this, one should abstain from disputes,
for they have no other goal
than the gaining of praise.

He who is praised there
for expounding his doctrine
in the midst of the assembly,
laughs on that account & grows haughty,
attaining his heart's desire.

That haughtiness will be his grounds for vexation,
for he'll speak in pride & conceit.
Seeing this, one should abstain from debates.
No purity is attained by them, say the skilled.

Like a strong man nourished on royal food,
you go about, roaring, searching out an opponent.
Wherever the battle is,
go there, strong man.
As before, there's none here.

Those who dispute, taking hold of a view,
saying, "This, and this only, is true,"
those you can talk to.
Here there is nothing —
no confrontation
at the birth of disputes.

Among those who live above confrontation
not pitting view against view,
whom would you gain as opponent, Pasura,
among those here
who are grasping no more?

So here you come,
conjecturing,
your mind conjuring
viewpoints.
You're paired off with a pure one
and so cannot proceed.
See also: DN 16 (the Buddha's answer to Subhadda's question); MN 18; AN 3.67; AN 3.72; AN 5.159.


Translation by  Thanissaro Bhikkhu. Terms of use: You may copy, reformat, reprint, republish, and redistribute this work in any medium whatsoever, provided that: (1) you only make such copies, etc. available free of charge; (2) you clearly indicate that any derivatives of this work (including translations) are derived from this source document; and (3) you include the full text of this license in any copies or derivatives of this work.

AN 5.159 : Udayi Sutta: About Udayin

posted Aug 21, 2013, 7:53 PM by Sung Yang

I have heard that on one occasion the Blessed One was staying at Kosambi, in Ghosita's Park. Now at that time Ven. Udayin was sitting surrounded by a large assembly of householders, teaching the Dhamma. Ven. Ananda saw Ven. Udayin sitting surrounded by a large assembly of householders, teaching the Dhamma, and on seeing him went to the Blessed One. On arrival, he bowed down to the Blessed One and sat to one side. As he was sitting there he said to the Blessed One: "Ven. Udayin, lord, is sitting surrounded by a large assembly of householders, teaching the Dhamma."

"It's not easy to teach the Dhamma to others, Ananda. The Dhamma should be taught to others only when five qualities are established within the person teaching. Which five?

"[1] The Dhamma should be taught with the thought, 'I will speak step-by-step.'

"[2] The Dhamma should be taught with the thought, 'I will speak explaining the sequence [of cause & effect].'

"[3] The Dhamma should be taught with the thought, 'I will speak out of compassion.'

"[4] The Dhamma should be taught with the thought, 'I will speak not for the purpose of material reward.'

"[5] The Dhamma should be taught with the thought, 'I will speak without hurting myself or others.'[1]

"It's not easy to teach the Dhamma to others, Ananda. The Dhamma should be taught to others only when these five qualities are established within the person teaching."

Note

1.
According to the Commentary, "hurting oneself" means exalting oneself. "Hurting others" means putting other people down.
See also:Sn 4.8; AN 3.72; DN 16 (the Buddha's answer to Subhadda's question).


Translation by  Thanissaro Bhikkhu. Terms of use: You may copy, reformat, reprint, republish, and redistribute this work in any medium whatsoever, provided that: (1) you only make such copies, etc. available free of charge; (2) you clearly indicate that any derivatives of this work (including translations) are derived from this source document; and (3) you include the full text of this license in any copies or derivatives of this work.

AN 3.78 : Silabbata Sutta: Precept & Practice

posted Aug 21, 2013, 7:49 PM by Sung Yang

Then Ven. Ananda went to the Blessed One and, on arrival, having bowed down to him, sat to one side. As he was sitting there, the Blessed One said to him, "Ananda, every precept & practice, every life, every holy life that is followed as of essential worth: is every one of them fruitful?"

"Lord, that is not [to be answered] with a categorical answer."

"In that case, Ananda, give an analytical answer."

"When — by following a life of precept & practice, a life, a holy life that is followed as of essential worth — one's unskillful mental qualities increase while one's skillful mental qualities decline: that sort of precept & practice, life, holy life that is followed as of essential worth is fruitless. But when — by following a life of precept & practice, a life, a holy life that is followed as of essential worth — one's unskillful mental qualities decline while one's skillful mental qualities increase: that sort of precept & practice, life, holy life that is followed as of essential worth is fruitful."

That is what Ven. Ananda said, and the Teacher approved. Then Ven. Ananda, [realizing,] "The Teacher approves of me," got up from his seat and, having bowed down to the Blessed One and circumambulating him, left.

Then not long after Ven. Ananda had left, the Blessed One said to the monks, "Monks, Ananda is still in training, but it would not be easy to find his equal in discernment."

See also: DN 16; AN 3.72; AN 4.42; AN 4.192.


Translation by Thanissaro Bhikkhu. Terms of use: You may copy, reformat, reprint, republish, and redistribute this work in any medium whatsoever, provided that: (1) you only make such copies, etc. available free of charge; (2) you clearly indicate that any derivatives of this work (including translations) are derived from this source document; and (3) you include the full text of this license in any copies or derivatives of this work.

The Four Nutriments of Life - An Anthology of Buddhist Texts

posted Aug 21, 2013, 5:04 PM by Sung Yang

translated from the Pali, with an Introductory Essay by
Nyanaponika Thera

Introduction   


"All beings subsist on nutriment" — this, according to the Buddha, is the one single fact about life that, above all, deserves to be remembered, contemplated and understood.[1] If understood widely and deeply enough, this saying of the Buddha reveals indeed a truth that leads to the root of all existence and also to its uprooting. Here, too, the Buddha proved to be one who "saw to the root of things" (muula-dassaavii).[2] Hence, it was thought useful to collect his utterances on the subject of nutriment (aahaara), together with the instructive explanations by the teachers of old, the commentators of the Paali scriptures.

The laws of nutriment govern both biological and mental life, and this fact was expressed by the Buddha when speaking of four kinds of nutriment: edible food, sense-impressions, volitions, and consciousness. It is hunger that stands behind the entire process of nutrition, wielding its whip relentlessly. The body, from birth to death, craves ceaselessly for material food; and mind hungers as eagerly for its own kind of nourishment, for ever new sense-impressions and for an ever expanding universe of ideas.

Craving (ta.nhaa) is the principal condition of any "in-take" or "up-take" (upaadaana),[3] that is, of nutriment in its widest sense. This is the first factor common to all types of nutriment, be they physical or mental.

The second common factor is the process of the assimilation of food. In the process of eating and digesting, what was external becomes absorbed in the internal; what was foreign matter becomes "one's own" and is identified with one's personality. A German proverb says: "Der Mensch ist, was er isst" — "Man is what he eats." And this applies as well to mental nourishment. Our mind also feeds on "external" material: on sense-impressions and variegated experiences; on the contents of the store-house of knowledge accumulated by the race; and on the precipitate derived from all these sources. Also our memories, when they become objects of mind, are as "external" to the present thought-moment as the ideas read in a book. What cannot be absorbed by the system is discarded, and thus, in the body as well as in the mind, there is a constant process of grasping and rejecting, assimilating and dissimilating, identifying with oneself and alienating. When we look closely at this process of nutrition, physical and mental, we shall notice that it is not only the eater who consumes the food, but, in the course of assimilation, also the food devours the eater. There is thus mutual absorption between them. We know how much people can be changed (for better or worse) by ideas they have absorbed and which finally have absorbed and consumed them.

These laws governing nutriment (physical and mental) are indeed sufficient to convince a thoughtful observer how illusory the conception of an abiding self or substance is. This alone should be enough to vindicate the Anattaa doctrine, the Buddha's deeply revolutionizing teaching of not-self.

Individualized life is, as Paul Dahlke says, "neither a metaphysical 'I'-identity (pure spirit, pure subject, according to the soul-theory of the religions) nor a mere physical process (pure body, pure object, according to scientific materialism), but a nutrimental process and as such it is neither something which is in and by itself, nor something caused by another, but something that is maintaining itself: and all these so-called higher faculties of thinking and feeling are different forms of eating, of maintaining oneself."

But in addition to the vindication of the Anattaa doctrine (not-self), nutriment is likewise a convincing teacher of the two other characteristics of life, Impermanence and Suffering.

Change, or Impermanence (anicca), is at the very root of the nutritive process which cries for constant replenishment of the food consumed. The bottomless gaping hole has to be filled again and again as long as the being lives. And it is no different with our mental hunger that craves for change and variety.

This repetitive monotony of the process of nutrition kept going by the urge to preserve life — this is enough to reveal the dukkha-nature of life, the tiresomeness of the tedious round of eating and being hungry again. Hence a medieval Jewish sage was moved to say, "I am fed up with being hungry again and again, and I hunger after final satiety."[4]

This is the suffering inherent in the very function of eating, though mostly hidden by the habituation to this most elementary feature of routine life. The concrete suffering and pain involved in the search for food and its acquisition, is obvious enough to all and this misery was, is and will be life's constant companion. There is the mute suffering in the animal world where "devouring each other is the law" (and man joining in it by even rearing animals for food); we also know of primitive man's fight for pasture land (basically the same as modern man's wars for "world markets"); we also know of the pangs of hunger among the poor, and of starving children the world over. And though the resources for feeding humanity have grown considerably in our days, man still has not controlled famine, even where it would be in his power to do so; and all progress in the field of food-production threatens to be dwarfed by the rapid growth of world population. This problem looms large on the horizon of present-day humanity and may well become desperate if the disparity between available food and increasing population reaches a critical point. Should that critical point be reached, we do not know what dire consequences may follow from that situation, unless a united mankind can solve the problem by concerted action and peaceful means. Hence, also for mankind's future, what the Dhamma teachers of old said remains true: that the search for food (aahaara-pariye.t.thi) is an ever-present source of suffering (vattamaana dukkha) and as such it can stir man's sense of urgency (sa.mvega) when he considers, in the light of "nutriment," man's own nature, his incessant needs and his situation in the world.

This contemplation of the dukkha-aspect of nutriment leads us to a formulation of the Four Noble Truths in terms of nutriment, as given in the last text (§ 7) of this anthology. The four nutriments of life stand for the first truth of Ill; the craving for the four nutriments is the origin of Ill, the second Truth; the stopping of that craving is the cessation of the continued process of grasping for material and mental food, which is the end of Ill, the third Truth; and the Noble Eightfold Path is the way to that cessation.

It is because the process of nutrition (material and mental) demonstrates the conditioned nature of all existence that we have found it to cover those salient features of the Dhamma — the three signata (impermanence, suffering and not-self) and the Four Truths.

We shall now consider each of the four kinds of nutriments singly.

1. Edible Food   
 Simile: A couple, foodless in the midst of a desert, eat their little child, to enable them to reach their destination.
Just like the husband and wife in the Buddha's simile, mankind ever since it emerged on this planet, has traversed the desert of life where food is the most urgent concern. And again, as in that story, the stilling of man's hunger has often been a heart-rending business — if not for the sometimes quite callous "eater," then for his prey and for a sensitive observer. Often, in his search for food, man has destroyed what is commonly dearest to him, be it relatives and friends or the ideals of his youth. True, this is only one aspect of life: life is not "desert" entire; it has a goodly number of oases where travelers can rest and enjoy themselves to such an extent that they are prone to forget the surrounding desert, which often encroaches on the tiny oasis and buries it.

The couple in the Buddha's story, coming near starvation, eat their own beloved child. It is a gruesome and seemingly fantastic story indeed. But knowing from the records of history that, at times of famine, war or shipwreck, men did resort to cannibalism, we have to admit that what our story tells may have substantially happened ever so often, in one way or another. In his incessant search for food, or for better food or for control of food resources, how often has man killed, cruelly crushed or exploited his fellow creatures, even those who are close to him by common blood or common race! And is there not close kinship between all that lives? These last words are not merely a sentimental phrase (as which they are mostly used); but they are also a hard and cruel fact. Are we not akin to the voracious greed, the cruel rage and the destructive stupidity, which we encounter in life and of which we become victim or perpetrator in the struggle for food or power? If we were not akin to it, could we encounter it, in one way or another? For an unfathomable time, caught in the ever-turning Wheel of Life, we have been everything: the prey and the devourer of all, parent and child of all. This we should consider when contemplating the nutriment of edible food and the Buddha's simile for it.

If we wish to eat and live, we have to kill or tacitly accept that others do the killing for us. When speaking of the latter, we do not refer merely to the butcher or the fisherman. Also for the strict vegetarian's sake, living beings have to die under the farmer's plowshare, and his lettuce and other vegetables have to be kept free of snails and other "pests," at the expense of these living beings who, like ourselves, are in search of food. A growing population's need for more arable land deprives animals of their living space and, in the course of history, has eliminated many a species. It is a world of killing in which we live and have a part. We should face this horrible fact and remain aware of it in our Reflection on Edible Food. It will stir us to effort for getting out of this murderous world by the ending of craving for the four nutriments.

In one short lifetime, how many trainloads of food have passed in and out of our puny body! How many people have had to labor in the production, preparation, and distribution of that food, for keeping unbroken the "traffic line" that runs straight through our body! It is a grotesque picture if we visualize it.

There is yet another aspect of that "life-giving" function of eating. To illustrate it, let us think of a silo, or a storehouse or food bag: after it has been emptied, a few grains or other tiny morsels of food will mostly remain in it. Similarly there will always be left some tiny remnants of food in our body that are neither assimilated nor expelled but remain and putrefy. Some physiologists say that it is this putrefaction of residual food that ultimately brings about the aging and death of the organism if there are no other causes. If they are right, then food is not only life-giving but also death-bestowing, and it appears that we have in this life of ours the choice between death by starvation or by putrefaction. "The food devours the eater!" This close connection between nutriment and death is very poignantly expressed in Greek myth, according to which Demeter is the Goddess of corn (that is, food) and of death as well. Bachofen, that great explorer and interpreter of classic myth, has expressed the significance of it very succinctly: "She feeds man as a prey to herself."

People, as far as they give any thought to the humdrum act of eating, have taken very different attitudes towards food. Some who became tired of the dull routine of eating dull food, have made a "fine art" of it and became gourmands. To them the Buddha says: "All nutriment is miserable, even divine food." Others, keenly aware of the importance of food for good health, have devised various ideas about "pure food": we have here the dietetic rules of several religions, and the belief of ancient and modern sects in man's "purification by nutriment" (aahaara-parisuddhi), of which already the Buddha made mention (adversely, of course), down to our own days with their ersatz religions of numerous food-reformers. Others, again, have tried to solve the problem of the body's dependence on food by reducing nourishment below sustenance level and by long periods of fasting. This harsh and futile method of self-mortification the Buddha, too, had tried out and rejected before his Enlightenment, and had vividly described his experience in the Discourse on the Noble Quest (Ariya-pariyesana Sutta). Also later on, the Buddha never recommended periods of fasting beyond the abstention from solid food after noon enjoined upon bhikkhus, and in the periodic observance of the Eight or Ten Precepts. What the Buddha, as a teacher of the Middle Way, advised was moderation in eating, non-attachment to the taste of food, and wise reflection on nutriment.

2. Sense-impression   
 Simile: A skinned cow, wherever she stands, will be ceaselessly attacked by the insects and other creatures living in the vicinity.
Like a skinned cow, man is helplessly exposed to the constant excitation and irritation of the sense-impressions, crowding upon him from all sides, through all six senses.

The Paali word phassa, rendered here by sense-impression, means literally "touch" or "contact." But it is not a physical impact that is meant here, but a mental contact with the objects of all six senses, including the mind. Sense-impression, together with attention (manasikaara), is the mind's first and simplest response to the stimulus exercised by the world of material objects and ideas. According to Buddhist psychology, sense-impression is a constituent factor in each and every state of mind, the lowest and the highest, occurring also in dream and in subliminal states of consciousness.

Sense-impression is a basic nutriment, that is a sustaining condition of life, and what is nourished or conditioned by it are feelings or sensations (vedanaa) which are living on that multitude of constantly occurring sense-impressions and assimilating them as pleasant, unpleasant, or indifferent. This relationship has also a place in the formula of Dependent Origination: "Conditioned by sense-impression is feeling (phassa-paccayaa vedanaa)." As long as there is craving (ta.nhaa) for sense-impressions which arises from unguarded feelings (vedanaa-paccayaa ta.nhaa), there will be an unlimited supply of that foodstuff to be digested by feeling. In an unending stream and in rapid alternation, forms, sounds, smells, flavors, bodily impacts, and ideas impinge upon us as long as we live. It is the poignant awareness of that constant bombardment by sense-impressions that induced the Buddha to choose for the sense-impressions the simile of a skinned cow whose raw flesh is the target of swarms of insects that cause intensely painful feelings to the animal. According to the Buddha, any type of feeling is bound to cause suffering and conflict in him who has not yet freed himself from attachment. Painful feeling is suffering in itself; pleasant feeling brings suffering through its transience and its unsatisfying and unsatisfactory nature; worldly indifferent feeling produces suffering through the dullness and boredom involved in it. It is sense-impression that is the constant feeder of these feelings.

A monk of old, yearning to see still more vividly the burning and irritating nature of sense-impressions, was moved to exclaim:


When shall I with calm endowed
Wisely see as caught in raging blaze
The countless forms, sounds, scents, and tastes,
And contacts and mental things?
Theragatha v. 1099 (Taalapu.ta)[5]

Though man is amply aware of the host of impressions that cause painful sensations in him, yet he is quite willing to pay that price for his pleasurable experiences, nay, for almost any sort of "experiencing" which he prefers to no sensation at all, unless the pain it causes comes too close to tolerance level. What is at the psychological root of this situation is man's hunger for ever new experiences. If that hunger is not temporarily but regularly satisfied, it leaves him empty, starved and helpless. From that comes man's wish for change and novelty, and his longing for a close contact with life that for its own sake becomes a habituation and makes solitude unbearable for most men.

The nutriment sense-impression feeds the "World as Enjoyment" or the "World as Enjoyment of Experience." It feeds the craving for existence (bhava-ta.nhaa). This habitual craving can be broken only if one ceases to identify oneself with the stream of impressions and learns to stand back as an observer wherever one can dispense with active response. Then feeling that is nourished by sense-impression will cease to turn into craving, and the Dependent Origination of suffering has been severed at this point.[6]

3. Volitional Thought   
Volitional thought here means chiefly kamma — i.e., rebirth-producing and life-affirming action — and the Buddha has compared it with a man dragged by two others towards and into a pit of glowing embers.

The two dragging forces are man's kammic actions, good (but still deluded) and evil. It is our kammic proclivities, our life-affirming volitions, our plans and ambitions, that drag us irresistibly to that deep pit of sa.msaara with its glowing embers of intense suffering. Hence it was said that volitional thought, in the sense of kamma, is the nutriment for rebirth on the three planes of existence.

The nutriment volitional thought manifests itself in man's incessant urge to plan and to aspire, to struggle and conquer, to build and to destroy, to do and to undo, to invent and to discover, to form and to transform, to organize and to create. This urge has sent man into the depth of the ocean and into the vastness of space. It has made him the most vicious of predatory animals and also enabled him to reach the lofty heights of a genius of creative art and thought.

The restlessness that is at the root of all that lust for activity and of the creative urge, is the constant hunger for all four nutriments of life and for a variety of them on different levels of coarseness and sublimity. It is volitional thought that has to go foraging to provide man with the other kinds of nutriment he craves for. It is an incessant task, yielding a conquest of but short duration, and one that again and again ends in defeat.

In volitional thought, the world appears as will and power, and as creative force. Nourished by this powerful nutriment, the process of world-building and world-destruction will go on until sa.msaara is seen in its true nature as a pit of glowing embers, the bottomless depth of which cannot be filled by our plunging into it again and again in whatever guise we assume in our migrations.

4. Consciousness   
The nutriment consciousness has been compared with the punishment of a criminal who thrice daily is pierced with three hundred spears.

The sharp shafts of conscious awareness, the punitive results of past cravings and delusions, inflicted on us at all times of the day, pierce our protective skin and lay us open to the impact of the world of objects.

This shockingly harsh image of consciousness as a punishment reminds us of one of Franz Kafka's main motifs so often appearing in his work — the hidden, unknown, intangible, and seemingly quite amoral guilt of man inherent in his very existence, for which he is inscrutably punished and which punishment, in the depth of his being, he accepts as just (see, e.g., The Trial, The Castle, and In the Penal Colony).

The desire for conscious awareness has the same character as that for sense impressions: the craving to be alive, to feel alive in the constant encounter with the world of objects present to consciousness (or present within consciousness — as the idealists prefer to say).

But there is still more meaning than that to be derived from the description of consciousness as a nutriment if we consider that it is explained primarily as rebirth consciousness. This rebirth consciousness, which is a single moment's occurrence, feeds (or conditions) the mind-body process (naama-ruupa) of the present existence; and it is the arising of such moments of rebirth consciousness at the beginning of each successive life that continues the interminable chain of future births, deaths and sufferings. Growth or proliferation is a characteristic feature of all consciousness. Each rebirth consciousness, though its direct link is with the life immediately preceding it, has behind it the inexhaustible store-house of the beginningless past, a vast granary of potential seeds of life. Fed from the dark unfathomable recesses of the past, lurks consciousness, an octopus with not eight but a thousand arms, ready to grasp and take hold wherever it finds a chance, and there to procreate a fresh breed of beings, each with its own set of grasping tentacles.

The writer once visited large subterranean caverns which had long passages and high-roofed temple-like halls with huge stalactites and stalagmites resembling the lofty columns of a cathedral. For the convenience of the numerous visitors to the caverns, electric light was installed, and where the bulbs were low enough one could see around them a small spread of lichen, the only trace of organic life amidst the barren rocks. Life springs up wherever it gets the slightest chance through favoring conditions like warmth, moisture, and light. In the spectator's mind this little harmless proliferation of primitive plant life assumed the menacing features of a beast of prey that, having lurked long under the cover of darkness, at last got the chance for its hungry leap.

Life is always in readiness to spring up, and its most prolific manifestation is consciousness. Seen from our limited viewpoint, it is consciousness that contributes most to the "expanding universe" of sa.msaara. Hence the Enlightened One warned: "Do not be an augmenter of worlds!" (Dhp v. 167). It is by our insatiable and greedy feeding on consciousness and the other nutriments that the world "grows"; and the potentialities for its growth are endless. Also the end of the world of consciousness cannot be reached by walking. Seen from that world-wide perspective, consciousness appears as the feeder and procreator of innumerable beings all of whom undergo that daily ordeal of life's piercing spears. Such a visualization of the reach of consciousness will increasingly lead to revulsion, to turning-away and dispassion, undeceived by the magician's enchanting illusions with which the aggregate consciousness was compared by the Buddha.

* * *
Looking back to the Buddha's similes for the four nutriments, we are struck by the fact that all four evoke pictures of extreme suffering and danger. They depict quite unusual situations of greatest agony. Considering the fact that the daily process of nutrition, physical and mental, is such a very humdrum function in life, those extraordinary similes are very surprising and even deeply disturbing. And they obviously were meant to be disquieting. They are meant to break through the unthinking complacency in which these so common functions of life are performed and viewed: eating, perceiving, willing, and cognizing.

The contemplations on the four nutriments, as presented in these pages, cut at the very roots of the attachment to life. To pursue these contemplations radically and methodically will be a grave step, advisable only for those who are determined to strive for the final cessation of craving and, therefore, are willing to face all consequences which that path of practice may bring for the direction of their present life and thought.

But apart from such full commitment, also a less radical pursuit but serious and repeated thought given to this teaching of the four nutriments will be beneficial to any earnest follower of the Buddha. To those who feel it premature for themselves to aim straight at the cessation of craving, the Dhamma has enough teachings that will soothe the wounds received in the battle of life, and will encourage and help a steady progress on the Path. Though gentle guidance will often be welcome amidst the harshness of life, yet when there is only such gentleness and when, for a while, the winds of fate blow softly and pleasantly, there will be the danger that man settles to a comfortable routine and forgets his precarious situation in this world, which the Buddha so often described. Hence there is the need that man, and especially a Buddhist, should face now and again such stern teachings as those on the nutriments, which will keep him alert and will strengthen his mental fiber so that he can fearlessly meet the unveiled truth about the world in which he lives.

The contemplation on the four nutriments of life can do this for him. From that contemplation, man can learn "not to recoil from the real and not to be carried away by the unreal." He will learn from it that it is suffering which is nourished and pampered by the four nutriments. He will more deeply understand that

Only suffering arises where anything arises and only suffering ceases where anything ceases.

And another word of the Master will gain fresh significance and increasing weight:

This only do I teach: suffering and its end.

The Four Nutriments of Life


§ 1. One Thing...   
Monks, when a monk becomes entirely dispassionate towards one thing, when his lust for it entirely fades away, when he is entirely liberated from it, when he sees the complete ending of it, then he is one who, after fully comprehending the Goal, makes an end of suffering here and now.

What one thing? "All beings subsist by nutriment." When a monk becomes entirely dispassionate towards this one thing (nutriment), when his lust for it entirely fades away, when he is entirely liberated from it, and when he sees the complete ending of it, then, O monks, he is one who, after fully comprehending the Goal, makes an end of suffering here and now.

— AN 10.27

§ 2. The Discourse on "Son's Flesh", 
or The Similes for the Four Nutriments   
THE DISCOURSE
At Saavatthii.

"There are, O monks, four nutriments[7] for the sustenance of beings born, and for the support of beings seeking birth.[8] What are the four?

"Edible food, coarse and fine;[9] secondly, sense-impression;[10] thirdly, volitional thought;[11] fourthly, consciousness.[12]

"How, O monks, should the nutriment edible food be considered? Suppose a couple, husband and wife, have set out on a journey through the desert, carrying only limited provisions. They have with them their only son, dearly beloved by them. Now, while these two traveled through the desert, their limited stock of provisions ran out and came to an end, but there was still a stretch of desert not yet crossed. Then the two thought: 'Our small stock of provisions has run out, it has come to an end; and there is still a stretch of desert that is not yet crossed. Should we not kill our only son, so dearly beloved, prepare dried and roasted meat, and eating our son's flesh, we may cross in that way the remaining part of the desert, lest all three of us perish?'

"And these two, husband and wife, killed their only son, so dearly beloved by them, prepared dried and roasted meat, and, eating their son's flesh, crossed in that way the remaining part of the desert. And while eating their son's flesh, they were beating their breast and crying: 'Where are you, our only and beloved son? Where are you, our only and beloved son?'

"What do you think, O monks? Will they eat the food for the pleasure of it, for enjoyment, for comeliness' sake, for (the body's) embellishment?"[13]

"Certainly not, O Lord."

"Will they not rather eat the food merely for the sake of crossing the desert?"

"So it is, O Lord."

"In the same manner, I say, O monks, should edible food be considered. If, O monks, the nutriment edible food is comprehended, the lust for the five sense-objects is (thereby) comprehended. And if lust for the five sense-objects is comprehended, there is no fetter enchained by which a noble disciple might come to this world again.[14]

"And how, O monks, should the nutriment sense-impression be considered? Suppose, O monks, there is a skinned cow that stands close to a wall, then the creatures living in the wall will nibble at the cow; and if the skinned cow stands near a tree, then the creatures living in the tree will nibble at it; if it stands in the water, the creatures living in the water will nibble at it; if it stands in the open air, the creatures living in the air will nibble at it. Wherever that skinned cow stands, the creatures living there will nibble at it.

"In that manner, I say, O monks, should the nutriment sense-impression be considered. If the nutriment sense-impression is comprehended, the three kinds of feeling[15] are thereby comprehended. And if the three kinds of feeling are comprehended, there is, I say, no further work left to do for the noble disciple.[16]

"And how, O monks, should the nutriment volitional thought be considered? Suppose, O monks, there is a pit of glowing embers, filled to cover a man's height, with embers glowing without flames and smoke. Now a man comes that way, who loves life and does not wish to die, who wishes for happiness and detests suffering. Then two strong men would seize both his arms and drag him to the pit of glowing embers. Then, O monks, far away from it would recoil that man's will, far away from it his longing, far away his inclination. And why? Because the man knows: 'If I fall into that pit of glowing embers, I shall meet death or deadly pain.'

"In that manner, I say, O monks, should the nutriment volitional thought be considered. If the nutriment volitional thought is comprehended, the three kinds of craving[17] are thereby comprehended. And if the three kinds of craving are comprehended, there is, I say, no further work left to do for the noble disciple.

"And how, O monks, should the nutriment consciousness be considered? Suppose, O monks, people have seized a criminal, a robber, and brought him before the king saying: 'This is a criminal, a robber, O Majesty! Mete out to him the punishment you think fit!' Then the king would tell them: 'Go, and in the morning strike this man with a hundred spears!' And they strike him in the morning with a hundred spears. At noon the king would ask his men: 'How is that man?' — 'He is still alive, Your Majesty.' — 'Then go and strike him again at noontime with a hundred spears!' So they did, and in the evening the king asks them again: 'How is that man?' — 'He is still alive.' — 'Then go and in the evening strike him again with a hundred spears!' And so they did.

"What do you think, O monks? Will that man, struck with three hundred spears during a day, suffer pain and torment owing to that?"

"Even if he were to be struck only by a single spear, he would suffer pain and torment owing to that. How much more if he is being struck by three hundred spears!"

"In that manner, I say, O monks, should the nutriment consciousness be considered. If the nutriment consciousness is comprehended, mind-and-matter are thereby comprehended. And if mind and body are comprehended, there is, I say, no further work left to do for the noble disciple."

— SN 12.63

COMMENTARY ON THE DISCOURSE ON "SON'S FLESH"
(Taken from the Venerable Buddhaghosa's Saarattha-ppakaasini, the Commentary to the Sa.myutta-Nikaaya.)

In explaining the "need arisen" (atthuppatti), i.e., the particular reason for the Buddha giving this discourse, the commentator says that, at that time, the community of monks received abundant support by way of alms food and other requisites. Considering this, the Master asked himself:

"Will the bhikkhus be able, or will they not be able, to eat the alms food and still keep to that mindfulness and clear comprehension which lays hold (of the true nature) of nutriment? Will they be detached, and free of desire and greediness?" And he saw that there were some sons of good families, recently ordained, who ate the alms food without due reflection. Seeing this, he thought: "When I practiced the perfections (paarami) for four incalculable periods and a hundred thousand kalpas, I did not do so for the sake of the requisites, such as robes, alms food, etc., but for the sake of the highest fruition, of sainthood, did I practice them. Also these bhikkhus who went forth under me, did not go forth for the sake of these requisites, but for the sake of attaining sainthood did they go forth. And now they take the unessential for the essential, the worthless for what is worthy!" Such concern arose in him, and he thought further: "If it were possible to declare a fifth grave offense (paaraajika), the monks, partaking of food without due reflection should be made a fifth grave offense. It is, however, not possible to do so, because food is constantly used by beings. But I shall speak to them in such a way that they will consider (such thoughtlessness) as if it were a fifth grave offense. I shall place before them a mirror of the Dhamma for their self-control and restraint, so that, contemplating on it again and again, the bhikkhus of times to come will make use of the four requisites only after due reflection."

* * *
Nutriment (aahaara) has the meaning of "condition" (paccaya); because conditions carry (aaharan.ti) their own results.

...Here an objection may be raised: "If the meaning of nutriment is that of condition, why are only four of them mentioned here, though living beings are conditioned also in other ways?" In reply it is said: "Because these four are prominent conditions for the individual life-continuity."

For beings living on material food, "edible food" is an important condition for their physical organism (ruupa-kaaya). As to their mental organism (naama-kaaya), sense-impression is an important condition of feeling, volitional thought of consciousness, and consciousness of mind-and-body (naama-ruupa). Accordingly it was said: "Just as this body subsists on nutriment, subsists because of nutriment, does not subsist without nutriment; in the same way, O monks, are feelings conditioned by sense-impression, is consciousness conditioned by kamma-formations (sa"nkhaara-cetanaa, 'karmic volition'), is mind-and-body conditioned by consciousness."

What is it, now, that is fed (or conditioned) by each of the four nutriments? Edible food feeds and conditions the set of corporeal qualities that have nutritive essence as their eighth factor.[18] The nutriment sense-impression feeds and conditions the three kinds of feeling. The nutriment volitional thought feeds and conditions the three states of existence. The nutriment consciousness feeds and conditions mind-and-body at rebirth.

In which way does this take place? Edible food, immediately when it is placed in the mouth, produces the eight corporeal qualities.[19] And each morsel that is chewed and swallowed produces again a set of the same eight qualities. Thus it is that edible food feeds and conditions the eight corporeal qualities that have nutritive essence as their eighth factor.

The nutriment sense-impression that is liable to be felt as pleasant, immediately on its arising feeds and conditions a pleasant feeling. And it is similar with sense-impressions liable to be felt as unpleasant or neutral. So does the nutriment sense-impression in all its types (visual impression, auditory, etc.) feed and condition the three kinds of feeling.

The nutriment volitional thought when occurring as kamma leading to rebirth on the sensuous plane, feeds and conditions sensuous existence. When occurring as kamma leading to rebirth on the fine-material or immaterial plane, it feeds and conditions the corresponding existence. So does the nutriment volitional thought in all cases feed and condition the three states of existence.

The nutriment consciousness, at the moment of rebirth, feeds and conditions the three other mental groups (khandhaa), conjoined with it; and by way of conascence-condition, etc., it feeds and conditions the thirty corporeal processes that arise in a triple continuity (ti-santati).[20] So does the nutriment consciousness feed and condition mind-and-body at rebirth.

When saying that "volitional thought feeds and conditions the three states of existence," only karmically wholesome and unwholesome volition, subject to the taints (saasava-kusala-akusala) is spoken of; and when saying that "consciousness feeds and conditions mind-and-body at rebirth," only rebirth-consciousness (pa.tisandhi-viññaa.na) is meant. But in general application these four are called "nutriments" (aahaara) because they carry or feed the mental processes associated with these nutriments, and the corporeal processes produced by them (ta.m-sampayutta-ta.m-samu.t.thaana-dhammaana.m aahara.nato).

The Functions
Among these four nutriments, edible food fulfills the function of nourishing, by way of sustaining (upatthambhento); sense-impression, by touching (providing contact; phusanto); volitional thought, by accumulating (kamma; aayuuhamaano); consciousness, by cognizing (vijaananta.m). In which way?

The nutriment edible food sustaining[21] the body by fortifying it, serves for the (bodily) stability of beings. Though this body is produced by kamma, it is through being sustained by edible food that it lasts for 10 years or 100 years, until the end of a being's normal life span. This may be compared, firstly, to a child that, though brought forth by the mother, is nourished by the wet-nurse at the breast, and is nurtured in other ways; and reared thus it lives long. Secondly it is like a (dilapidated) house propped up by supports. As it was said: "Just as a house that is about to fall, will not fall when supported by timber, so, O great king, is this body sustained by nutriment and persists because of nutriment" (Milindapañhaa).

Similarly it is by sustaining that the nutriment edible food fulfills its function of nourishing. In fulfilling that function, it is a condition to two kinds of corporeal continuity: that produced by nutriment (aahaara-samu.t.thaana) and that karmically acquired (upaadi.n.naka; due to clinging in a former life). For kamma-born (kammaja-upaadi.n.naka) corporeal processes, edible food is a condition by way of being their preserver (anupaalaka); and for those produced by nutriment, by way of being their originator (janaka).

The nutriment sense-impression, by establishing contact with an object that is the basis of pleasure, etc., makes for the sustenance of beings by causing the occurrence of pleasant feelings, etc.

The nutriment volitional thought, in accumulating wholesome and unwholesome kamma makes for the sustenance of beings by generating the root of existence.

The nutriment consciousness, in its cognizing function, serves the sustenance of beings by causing the occurrence of mind-and-body.

The Dangers
In these four nutriments, thus fulfilling their respective functions of sustaining, etc., there are four kinds of danger (bhaya) which should be known.

In the nutriment edible food, desire[22] is the danger; in sense-impression, approaching (an object)[23] is the danger; in volitional thought, accumulation (of kamma and rebirths) is a danger;[24] in (rebirth) consciousness, manifestation (of a new mind-and-body) is the danger.[25]

For what reasons are they danger? Having desire for the nutriment edible food, people, taking up various crafts for the sake of food, undergo many hardships, like enduring cold, etc. Others, having become monks in this dispensation, seeking food in a way wrong for a monk, engage themselves in a physician's work, etc., and thereby incur blame in this very life; and hereafter they become hungry monk-ghosts as described in the Lakkha.na-sa.myutta: "with his robe burning and ablaze." For these reasons, it should be understood that desire is an element of danger in edible food.

Those who are fond of sense-impressions, may, in their approach to sense-impression, offend against others' property which is under their guard and protection, or they may offend against the wives of others, etc. Then the owners of that property will seize the offenders and the goods (stolen), cut those thieves into pieces and throw them on the rubbish heap; or the owners will hand them over to the king who will punish them, inflicting various tortures on them. And after the break-up of the body, a bad destiny awaits the offenders. Thus all kinds of danger occur here and hereafter, which are rooted in fondness for sense impressions. For this reason, (active) approach is the danger in sense-impression.

All danger that occurs in the three states of existence, is rooted in the accumulation of wholesome and unwholesome kamma. Hence the danger in the nutriment volitional thought is the accumulation of kamma.

In whatever place rebirth-consciousness becomes manifest, there it arises along with the mind-and-body existing at the moment of rebirth. And with the arising of that mind-and-body, all dangers have arisen because they have their roots in it. It is for this reason that manifestation (in a mind-and-body) is the danger in the nutriment consciousness. Thus it should be understood.

1. The Nutriment Edible Food
The Simile of the Son's Flesh
Based on the bare factual account (in the discourse), the meaning of the simile may in brief be explained as follows:

Once, it seems, a couple, husband and wife, together with their little son, set out for a journey through a desert of 100 yojanas extent, taking with them only few provisions. Having traversed 50 yojanas, their provisions came to an end. Feeble from hunger and thirst, they sat down in a sparse patch of shade, and the man spoke to his wife: "My dear, for 50 yojanas from here, in any direction, there is not a single village or hamlet. Therefore I cannot do now what is a man's work, like tilling a field or raising cattle, (for seeing to your needs). Hence, you had better kill me, eat half of the flesh, and taking the other half with you as provision, you can safely cross the desert, together with our child." But she said: "My lord, I too cannot do now a wife's duty towards you, like weaving and other work. So please kill me, eat half of the flesh, and with the other half as provision you can safely get through the desert, together with our boy." He replied: "My dear, if the mother dies, it means death of two. This delicate little boy cannot live without his mother. But if we two remain alive, we may get another child. Hence let us kill the child, take the flesh and thus escape from the desert." Thereupon the wife told the child: "Go, my dear, to your father!" And the child went. But the father said: "To bring up this child, I took up on me the great suffering and fatigue of a farmer's work. I cannot kill the child. You may kill it!" And he sent it back to the mother. But she said: "Longing for a son I went through much hardship by offering prayers and undertaking severe vows; to say nothing about the pains I suffered when bearing it in my womb. I cannot kill my son." And she told the child: "Go to your father, dear!" While thus being sent to and fro, the feeble child died. Seeing it dead, the parents took the flesh, ate of it and continued their trek through the desert.

This food of their son's flesh, being loathsome for nine reasons, was not eaten by them for pleasure and enjoyment, nor for comeliness' sake and for the body's embellishment, but solely to enable them to cross the desert. What are the nine reasons of its loathsomeness? Its being flesh of the same — i.e., human — species; the flesh of a relative, their own son; the flesh of a beloved son; its being tender, raw, tasteless, unsalted, unsmoked. When partaking of their son's flesh, so loathsome for those nine reasons, they did not eat it with gusto and full of greed for it, but ate it in a detached way, without lust and desire. When eating they did not leave aside what was attached to bone, sinew and skin, selecting only the choice, substantial pieces; but they ate just what came to their hands. They did not take their fill, gorging themselves, but they took only very little of it, just sufficient to sustain them for a day. They did not grudge or envy each other the food, but free from the stain of selfishness they ate it with a pure heart. They did not eat it with the illusion that it was deer's meat or peacock's meat, but they were well aware that it was the flesh of their beloved son. They did not eat it with longing, "Oh, may we again eat such flesh of our son!"; but they ate it without any such longing. They did not hoard a portion of it, thinking: "That much we shall eat in the desert, and the remainder we shall eat when we are out of the desert, adding to it salt and spices." But having reached the end of the desert and fearing that the town people would see it, they would have buried any remainder in the ground or burned it. They did not harbor any such pride and conceit as: "There is none like us who has the chance of eating such meat!"; but they rather ate it with quite the opposite of such pride (that is, with shame and humility). They did not eat it with disdain, "Oh that saltless, tasteless and evil-smelling thing!"; but they ate it without such disdain. They did not quarrel with each other, "This is your share, that is my share! It is your son! It is my son!"; but they ate in concord and harmony.

Now, the Master, considering in such food its aspect of being taken without greed and attachment, wanted also the community of monks to appreciate that aspect, and said: "What do you think, monks, will they eat the food for the pleasure of it...?"

"In the same manner," that is, similar to the flesh of a beloved son, should edible food be considered by way of its nine loathsome aspects. What nine? A monk takes edible food reflecting on the repulsiveness of having to go out (on almsround), of having to search (for the almsfood) and of the partaking of it; the repulsiveness of the bodily secretion (while ingesting), of the food's bodily receptacle, of its digested and undigested condition (in the stomach), of smearing and evacuation. These nine are explained in detail in The Path of Purification, in the section on "The Perception of the Repulsiveness in Nutriment."[26]

Hence food should be taken, after applying the Simile of the Son's Flesh by way of those nine reasons of loathsomeness.

Here follows a lengthy section in which the statements about the couple not eating their son's flesh with gusto and greed, etc., are applied to a monk's attitude towards his alms-food. This is treated in full up to the last item on "not quarreling."

Comprehension. "If the nutriment edible food is comprehended (pariññaate)..." — i.e., if comprehended by the three kinds of comprehension (pariññaa): comprehension as the known, as investigating, and abandoning.[27] In which way?

1. Herein a monk understands: What is called the "nutriment edible food" is the material group with nutritive essence as the eighth factor (i.e., nutritive essence), with (the other component factors of) its material basis.[28] This material octad, where does it impinge? At the tongue-sensitivity (jivhaa-pasaada). On what is the tongue-sensitivity based? On the four great primaries of matter (the elements). Hence (on this occasion of eating), the material octad with nutritive essence as its eighth factor, tongue-sensitivity, and the conditions of it, the four great primaries — these things constitute the aggregate of corporeality (ruupakkhandha). The group of mental factors having contact (sense-impression) as the fifth factor,[29] which takes it up (i.e., the aggregate of corporeality), these are the four mental aggregates. All these (phenomena constituting the) five aggregates are just "mind-and-matter" (naama-ruupa). Thus he understands (the ultimate facts underlying the act of eating).

Having defined these phenomena according to their individual functions and characteristics, he searches for their conditionality and finds it in the dependent origination (pa.ticca-samuppaada), in its ascending and descending order.[30]

By such correct understanding of mind-and-matter with its conditions, in the instance of the nutriment edible food, the latter has in so far been comprehended (pariññaata) "as known" (ñaata-pariññaa; i.e., as an object of knowledge in ultimate terms).

2. To that very (instance of) mind-and-matter with its conditions, he now applies the three signata — impermanence, suffering and not-self — and discerns it (sammaasati) by way of the seven contemplations.[31] Hereby the nutriment edible food has been comprehended by way of the investigating comprehension consisting in the full penetration of the three signata and the knowledge of discernment (sammasana-ñaa.na).

3. By discarding attachment and desire in regard to that very mind-and-matter, and comprehending it through the attainment of the path of non-returning, the nutriment edible food has been comprehended by comprehension as abandoning (pahaana-pariññaa).

For explaining the same statement in the discourse, that is, "If the nutriment edible food is comprehended, the lust for the five sense-objects is thereby comprehended," there is another set of three kinds of comprehension, namely: single comprehension (eka-pariññaa), total comprehension (sabba-pariññaa) and root-comprehension (muula-pariññaa).

1. What is single comprehension? If a monk fully understands the single (fact of) craving for taste occurring at the sense-door of the tongue, thereby (all) lust for the five sense-objects is comprehended. Why? Because that craving arises (on that occasion) at the five sense doors. This very craving when arising at the eye door, is called "lust for visual objects" (ruupa-raaga); when arising at the door of the ear, etc., it is called "lust for sounds," etc. It is as with a robber who does his misdeeds on five roads; if he is caught on one of these roads and subsequently beheaded, then all five roads will be safe. Similarly, if the craving for taste is comprehended at the tongue sense-door, the entire lust for the five sense-objects is thereby comprehended. This is the single comprehension.

2. What is total comprehension? In a single food morsel that has been placed into the monk's almsbowl, all fivefold sense-desire obtains. How? By first looking at the food's clean, bright appearance, there is lust for visual objects. When hot ghee is poured over it, there is a sizzling sound; or when chewing hard food, there is also a sound; and when enjoying such sounds, there is lust for sounds. When enjoying the food's smell, there is lust for odors. Through its pleasant taste there is lust for taste objects. When enjoying the softness of the food, there is lust for touch objects. When in such a way the food is considered with mindfulness and clear comprehension (sati-sampajañña), and is being eaten without greed and attachment, then there is a total comprehension of it.

3. What is root comprehension? The nutriment edible food is the root or basis of the lust for the five sense-objects. Why? Because when the former exists, the latter arises. It is told that (in Ceylon) during the famine at the time of the brahman Tissa's rebellion, for twelve years husband and wife did not even look at each other with sensuous thoughts. And why? Because of the scarcity of food. But when the famine had subsided, the whole isle of Ceylon was like a single large festival of children's birth celebrations. If nutriment is thus comprehended as being the root, also the lust for the five sense-objects is hereby comprehended. This is root comprehension.

2. The Nutriment Sense-Impression
Just as the skinned cow, exposed to the danger of being attacked by the creatures living in various places, has no wish for honor and attention paid to her, nor for bodily care given to her by cleaning her back and massaging — similarly the monk, considering that he is exposed to the danger coming from those devouring creatures, the mental defilements, that are rooted in the nutriment sense-impression, has no desire for the sense-impressions of the three planes of existence.

Here, too, there are three comprehensions:

1. In this case, sense-impression represents the formation aggregate (sankhaara-khandha); the feeling conjoined with it is the feeling aggregate; perception is the perception aggregate; consciousness (citta) is the consciousness aggregate (viññaa.na-kkhandha); the (respective) organ base and its objects are the corporeality aggregate (ruupa-kkhandha). Such correct understanding of mind-and-matter with its condition is "comprehension as the known."

2. The application to it of the three signata and the examining of it as impermanent, etc., by way of the seven contemplations — this is "comprehension as investigating."

3. The path of sainthood (arahatta-magga) that discards attachment and desire for that very (combination of) mind-and-body — this is "comprehension as abandoning."

If the nutriment sense-impression is thus comprehended in a threefold way, the three kinds of feeling are likewise comprehended thereby, because they have their root in sense-impression and are conjoined with it (sampayutta).

In such a way, the exposition of the nutriment sense-impression has been led up to the attainment of sainthood.

3. The Nutriment Volitional Thought
The application of the simile of the pit of glowing embers is as follows:

The pit of glowing embers is the round of existence in its three spheres. The man desirous to live, is a foolish worldling attaching himself to the round of existence. The two strong men are the wholesome and unwholesome kamma. Their dragging the man to the pit is the accumulation of kamma (or karmic effort; kammaayuuhana), because if kamma is accumulated it drags into rebirth. The pain inflicted by the pit of embers is the sa.msaaric suffering inflicted by kamma.

The connection with the threefold comprehension is the same as in the case of sense-impression.

"...If the nutriment volitional thought is comprehended, the three kinds of craving are thereby comprehended," i.e., the sensual craving, the craving for (eternal) existence and the craving for self-annihilation. Why is this so? Because volitional (kammic) thought has its root in craving, and if the cause is not abandoned, the result cannot be abandoned.

In such a way, the exposition of the nutriment volitional thought has been led up to the attainment of sainthood.

4. The Nutriment Consciousness
In the application of the simile of the criminal pierced by spears, the king should be understood as kamma. The criminal is the foolish worldling attaching himself to the round of existence. The 300 spears are the rebirth-consciousness. The order of the king to pierce the criminal with 300 spears, corresponds to the King of Kamma seizing the foolish worldling attached to sa.msaara, and flinging him into rebirth. Though, herein, the 300 spears have been compared to rebirth consciousness, there is no pain in the spears themselves, but the pain that originates from the wound caused by the spears' piercing. Similarly, there is no suffering in rebirth itself; but there is kamma-resultant suffering (vipaaka-dukkha) arising during the life-process in a given rebirth, as corresponding to the painful wound caused by the spears.

Here, too, the threefold comprehension should be understood as in the case of the nutriment sense-impression.

"...Mind-and-body are thereby comprehended": mind-and-body as conditioned by consciousness (according to the dependent origination). If consciousness is comprehended, also mind-and-body are comprehended, being rooted in consciousness and arising together with it.

In such a way, also the exposition of the nutriment consciousness has been led up to the attainment of sainthood.

§ 3. The Conditioned Nature of Nutriment   
THE DISCOURSE
At Saavatthii.

"There are, O monks, four nutriments for the sustenance of beings born, and for the support of beings seeking birth. What are the four?

"Edible food, coarse and fine; secondly, sense-impression; thirdly, volitional thought; fourthly, consciousness.

"Of these four nutriments, O monks, what is their source, what is their origin, from what are they born, what gives them existence?

"These four nutriments, O monks, have craving as their cause, have craving as their origin, are born of craving, and craving gives them existence.

"And this craving, O monks, what is its source, what its origin, from what is it born, what gives it existence? Craving has feeling as its source and origin, it is born of feeling, and feeling gives existence to it.

"And this feeling, O monks, what is its source and origin, from what is it born and what gives existence to it? Feeling has sense-impression as its source and origin...

"And this sense-impression, O monks, what is its source...? sense-impression has the six sense-bases as its source and origin...

"And these six sense-bases, O monks, what is their source...? The six sense-bases have mind-and-body as their source and origin...

"And this mind-and-body, O monks, what is its source...? Mind-and-body has consciousness as its source and origin...

"And this consciousness, O monks, what is its source...? Consciousness has kamma-formations as its source and origin...

"And these kamma-formations, O monks, what is their source and origin, from what are they born, what gives existence to them? Kamma-formations have ignorance as their source and origin, they are born of ignorance and ignorance gives existence to them.

"Thus, O monks, through ignorance conditioned are kamma-formations; through the kamma-formations conditioned is consciousness; through consciousness conditioned is mind-and-body; through mind-and-body conditioned are the six sense-bases; through the six sense-bases conditioned is sense-impression; through sense-impression conditioned is feeling, through feeling conditioned is craving; through craving conditioned is clinging; through clinging conditioned is becoming; through becoming conditioned is birth; through birth conditioned are decay and death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief and despair. Thus arises this whole mass of suffering."

— SN 12.11

Translator's Note

In this discourse, the origin of the four nutriments is traced to craving (ta.nhaa), and the conditioned arising is pursued further back, in terms of the dependent origination (pa.ticca-samuppaada).[32] But while, in the usual formula of the dependent origination, it is clinging (or grasping, upaadaana) that is conditioned by craving, here, in this text, nutriment (aahaara) takes the place of clinging. So it also does in the Mahaa-Ta.nhaasankhaya Sutta (MN 38), while the Cuula-Sihanaada Sutta (MN 11) has here the fourfold division of clinging, with, otherwise, the same wording as our present text.

Both Paali words, aahaara (nutriment) and upaadaana (clinging) have originally the same meaning of "taking up," "seizing," and both are also used to signify the fuel of a fire or a lamp (see SN 22.88).

COMMENTARY
Here the statement in the discourse that the four nutriments have craving as their source, should be understood to mean that cravings in a former life are the source of the nutriments; or, in other words, of the (present) individual (attabhaava), from (the moment of) rebirth (i.e., conception) onwards. How? At the moment of rebirth, there is present "nutritive essence" (ojaa) that has originated within the corporeality arisen by way of seven units of corporeal continua (satta-santati),[33] in the case of beings with complete sense faculties; or in the case of other beings,[34] with the appropriate reduction of the continua. This "nutritive essence" constitutes the karmically acquired nutriment "edible food" (upaadi.n.naka-kaba.li"nkaaraahaara) that has (past) craving as its source. The sense-impression and volition associated with the rebirth-consciousness, as well as that consciousness itself — these are the karmically acquired nutriments sense-impression, volitional thought, and consciousness which have craving as their source. This so far refers to the nutriments arising at rebirth and having as their source the craving in a former life. The same applies also to the nutriments arising later, at the first moment of bhava"nga, and so forth.

But because the Exalted One not only knows the source of the nutriments which is craving, but also the latter's source which is feeling, and so forth; therefore the discourse continues "And this craving, O monks, what is its source...?" showing by this method the sa.msaaric cycle (va.t.ta) and (implicitly) the stopping of that cycle (viva.t.ta).

Here, however, the exposition is given under the aspect of the past, and accordingly the cycle of kamma and kamma result has been described in terms of past (existence).[35] How? This (present) individual is conceived (as a product of) the four nutriments.

[Among the factors of the Dependent Origination given here], craving (ta.nhaa) is the generative kamma (janaka-kamma) for this (present) individual. "Feeling, sense-impression, sixfold sense-base, mind-and-body, and consciousness" are the factors present in the individual (of the past) that performs that (past) kamma; they have been mentioned here for indicating [this latter fact].

Thus the individual (of the present and the past) has been indicated here in two places (i.e., by mentioning the nutriments and by mentioning feeling, etc.); and in two places the generative kamma of that (past and present individual) has been indicated, (namely, by mentioning craving and by mentioning ignorance and kamma-formations). In such a way, two things have been shown here in brief, kamma and kamma result; and in doing so, the exposition has been given under the aspect of the past, and accordingly the sa.msaaric cycle has been described here in terms of past (existence).[36]

But one should not think that this exposition of the dependent origination is incomplete because it does not extend to its future part. [Though the future is not dealt with expressly] it is implied by indicating the method [applicable also to the future], and therefore it should be understood that this exposition is quite complete.

This is a simile for it: Suppose a clear-sighted man sees a crocodile lying on the water's surface. At the foremost part of it he sees the throat, further on the back and at the end the root of the tail. But when looking at the belly, he does not see the rest of the tail nor the four legs which are submerged in the water. Yet, for that reason, he does not think that the crocodile is incomplete; but by methodical inference he takes it to be complete.

The application of this simile is as follows. The crocodile lying on the surface of the water is like the sa.msaaric cycle on its three levels. The clear-sighted man standing on the shore, is the meditator. The time when the man sees the crocodile on the surface of the water, corresponds to the time when the meditator understands this individual existence by way of the nutriments. Seeing the throat as the foremost part is like seeing craving as the generative force for this individual. Seeing the crocodile's back, is like the seeing of feeling, etc., in that existence where the kamma called craving has been performed. Seeing the root of the tail is like seeing ignorance and kamma-formations being the generative factors of this individual's existence. Looking at the belly below, and, though not seeing the end of the tail and the legs, yet not assuming that the crocodile is incomplete, but taking it as complete, by methodical inference — this is like accepting the exposition to be complete and not believing it to be incomplete, if in a canonical passage this or that section of the cycle of conditions is not mentioned.

There is here one link (of fruit and cause) between nutriment and craving; one link (of cause and fruit) between craving and feeling; and one link (of fruit and cause) between consciousness and kamma-formations. Thus the cycle (of conditions) has been shown in three links (sandhi) and four sections (sa"nkhepa).[37]

§ 4. Mo.liya-Phagguna   
"There are, O monks, four nutriments...(as above, § 2)."

After these words, the venerable Mo.liya-Phagguna addressed the Exalted One as follows:

"Who, O Lord, consumes[38] the nutriment consciousness?"

"The question is not correct," said the Exalted One. "I do not say that 'he consumes.'[39] If I had said so, then the question 'Who consumes?' would be appropriate. But since I did not speak thus, the correct way to ask the question will be: 'For what is the nutriment consciousness (the condition)?'[40] And to that the correct reply is: 'The nutriment consciousness[41] is a condition for the future arising of a renewed existence;[42] when that has come into being, there is (also) the sixfold sense-base; and conditioned by the sixfold sense-base is sense-impression.'"[43]

"Who, O Lord, has a sense-impression?"

"The question is not correct," said the Exalted One.

"I do not say that 'he has a sense-impression.' Had I said so, then the question 'Who has a sense-impression?' would be appropriate. But since I did not speak thus, the correct way to ask the question will be 'What is the condition of sense-impression?' And to that the correct reply is: 'The sixfold sense-base is a condition of sense-impression, and sense-impression is the condition of feeling.'"

"Who, O Lord, feels?"

"The question is not correct," said the Exalted One. "I do not say that 'he feels.' Had I said so, then the question 'Who feels?' would be appropriate. But since I did not speak thus, the correct way to ask the question will be 'What is the condition of feeling?' And to that the correct reply is: 'sense-impression is the condition of feeling; and feeling is the condition of craving.'"

"Who, O Lord, craves?"

"The question is not correct," said the Exalted One. "I do not say that 'he craves.' Had I said so, then the question 'Who craves?' would be appropriate. But since I did not speak thus, the correct way to ask the question will be 'What is the condition of craving?' And to that the correct reply is: 'Feeling is the condition of craving, and craving is the condition of clinging.'"

"Who, O Lord, clings?"

"The question is not correct," said the Exalted One, "I do not say that 'he clings.' Had I said so, then the question 'Who clings?' would be appropriate. But since I did not speak thus, the correct way to ask the question will be 'What is the condition of clinging?' And to that the correct reply is: 'Craving is the condition of clinging; and clinging is the condition of the process of becoming.' Such is the origin of this entire mass of suffering.[44]

"Through the complete fading away and cessation of even these six bases of sense-impression, sense-impression ceases;[45] through the cessation of sense-impression, feeling ceases; through the cessation of feeling, craving ceases; through the cessation of craving, clinging ceases; through the cessation of clinging, the process of becoming ceases; through the cessation of the process of becoming, birth ceases; through the cessation of birth, old age, death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief and despair cease. Such is the cessation of this entire mass of suffering."

— SN 12.12

§ 5. If there is lust...   
At Saavatthii.

"There are, O monks, four nutriments for the sustenance of beings born, and for the support of beings seeking birth. What are the four?

"Edible food, coarse and fine; sense-impression is the second; volitional thought, the third; and consciousness, the fourth.

"If, O monks, there is lust for the nutriment edible food, if there is pleasure in it and craving for it, then consciousness[46] takes a hold[47] therein[48] and grows.[49] Where consciousness takes a hold and grows, there will be occurrence of mind-and-body.[50] Where there is occurrence of mind-and-body, there is[51] growth of kamma-formations.[52] Where there is growth of kamma-formations, there is a future arising of renewed existence.[53] Where there is a future arising of renewed existence, there is future birth, decay and death. This, I say, O monks, is laden with sorrow, burdened with anguish and despair.

"If, O monks, there is lust for the nutriment sense-impression... volitional thought... consciousness, if there is pleasure in it and craving for it, then consciousness takes a hold therein and grows. Where consciousness takes a hold and grows, there will be occurrence of mind-and-body. Where there is occurrence of mind-and-body, there is growth of kamma-formations. Where there is growth of kamma-formations, there is a future arising of renewed existence. Where there is a future arising of renewed existence, there is future birth, decay and death. This, I say, O monks, is laden with sorrow, burdened with anguish and despair.

"Suppose there is a dyer or a painter. Having some dye or lac, (yellow) turmeric, (blue) indigo or crimson, he would depict, on a well-smoothed wooden tablet, on a wall or a piece of cloth, the figure of a woman or a man, with all the major and minor features (of the body). Similarly, O monks, if there is lust for the nutriments edible food, sense-impression, volitional thought and consciousness... then consciousness takes a hold therein and grows. Where consciousness takes a hold and grows, there is occurrence of mind-and-body. Where there is occurrence of mind-and-body, there is growth of kamma-formations. Where there is growth of kamma-formations, there is a future arising of renewed existence. Where there is a future arising of renewed existence, there is future birth, decay and death. This, I say, O monks, is laden with sorrow, burdened with anguish and despair.[54]

"But if, O monks, there is no lust for the nutriments edible food, sense-impression, volitional thought and consciousness, if there is no pleasure in them and no craving for them, then consciousness does not take a hold therein and does not grow. Where consciousness does not take a hold nor grow, there will be no occurrence of mind-and-body. Where there is no occurrence of mind-and-body, there is no growth of kamma-formations. Where there is no growth of kamma-formations, there is no future arising of renewed existence. Where there is no future arising of renewed existence, there is no future birth, decay and death. This, I say, O monks, is free of sorrow, of anguish and despair.

"Suppose, O monks, there is a gabled house or a gabled hall, with windows at the northern, southern, and eastern sides. Now, when at sunrise, a ray of the sun enters through a window, where would it find hold?" — "On the western wall, O Lord." — "But if there were no western wall, O monks, where would it find a hold?" — "On the earth, O Lord." — "And if there were no earth, where would it find a hold?" — "On the water,[55] O Lord." — "And if there were no water, where would it find a hold?" — "It would not find any hold whatsoever, O Lord."

"Similarly, O monks, if there is no lust for the nutriments edible food, sense-impression, volitional thought and consciousness, if there is no pleasure in them and no craving for them, then consciousness does not take hold therein and does not grow. Where consciousness does not take a hold nor grow, there will be no occurrence of mind-and-body, there is no growth of kamma-formations. Where there is no growth of kamma-formations there is no future arising of renewed existence. Where there is no future arising of renewed existence, there is no future birth, decay and death. This, I say, O monks, is free of sorrow of anguish and despair."

— SN 12.64

§ 6. Come to be   
"'This has come to be'[56] — do you see that, Saariputta?"

"'This has come to be'[57] — that, O Lord, one sees with true wisdom,[58] as it really is. And having seen with true wisdom, as it really is, that 'this has come to be,' one is on the way[59] towards revulsion from what has come to be, towards dispassion and cessation.

"'Produced by such nutriment' — that one sees, with true wisdom, as it really is. And having seen, with true wisdom, as it really is, that 'this has been produced by such nutriment,' one is on the way towards revulsion from its production by nutriment, towards dispassion and cessation.

"'By the cessation of nutriment, that what has come to be is bound to cease'[60] — that one sees with true wisdom, as it really is. And having seen, with true wisdom, as it really is, that 'By the cessation of that nutriment, what has come to be is bound to cease,' one is on the way towards revulsion from what is liable to cease, towards dispassion and cessation. Thus, O Lord, is one in higher training."[61]

"And how, O Lord, is one a comprehender of Dhamma?[62] 'This has come to be' — that, O Lord, one sees with true wisdom, as it really is. And having seen with true wisdom, as it really is, that 'this has come to be,' then, through revulsion from what has come to be, through dispassion (concerning it) and the cessation (of it), one is liberated without any clinging.[63]

"'Produced by such nutriment' — that one sees with true wisdom, as it really is. And having seen with true wisdom, as it really is, that 'this has been produced by such nutriment,' then, through revulsion from its production by nutriment, through dispassion (concerning it) and the cessation (of it), one is liberated without any clinging.

"'By the cessation of nutriment, that what has come to be is bound to cease' — that one sees with true wisdom, as it really is. And having seen with true wisdom, as it really is, that 'by the cessation of that nutriment, what has come to be is bound to cease,' then, through revulsion from what is liable to cease, from dispassion (concerning it) and the cessation (of it), one is liberated without any clinging. Thus, O Lord, is one a comprehender of Dhamma..."

"Well spoken, Saariputta, well spoken," said the Exalted One.

...

— SN 12.31

§ 7. Nutriment as Basis of Right Understanding   
...Then the monks put another question to the venerable Saariputta: "Friend, could there be another way in which a noble disciple can be said to be one of Right Understanding, whose view is upright, who is possessed of steadfast confidence in the Dhamma, who has attained to this good teaching?"

"There could be, friends. If, friends, a noble disciple knows nutriment, knows the origin of nutriment, knows the ceasing of nutriment, and knows the way leading to the ceasing of nutriment, then he is, in so far, one of Right Understanding, whose view is upright, who is possessed of steadfast confidence in the Dhamma, who has attained to this good teaching.

"And what is nutriment? There are four nutriments for the sustenance of beings born, and for the support of beings seeking birth. What are the four? Edible food, coarse and fine; sense-impression is the second; volitional thought, the third; and consciousness, the fourth.

"Through the origin of craving, there is origin of nutriment. Through the ceasing of craving, there is ceasing of nutriment. The way leading to the ceasing of nutriment is the Noble Eightfold Path, namely, right understanding, right thought, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness and right concentration.

"Friends, if a noble disciple thus knows nutriment, knows the origin of nutriment, the ceasing of nutriment and the way leading to the ceasing of nutriment, he entirely abandons the inner tendency to lust, he casts off the inner tendency to ill-will, eliminates the inner tendency to the opinion-and-conceit of 'I am,' he discards ignorance, produces knowledge, and becomes an ender of suffering here and now."

— MN 9


Notes

1.
See § 1.
2.
Sutta-Nipaata v. 1043.
3.
See Translator's Note to § 3 (a), and The Wheel No. 17, page 19 under "Clinging."
4.
Abraham ben Chisdai, in Ben-hamelekh we-hanasir (The Prince and the Ascetic). This is an old Hebrew version of the "Barlaam and Joasaph" story which unwittingly carried the main features of the Buddha's life story through a major part of the medieval world. The Hebrew version has several distinct traces not only of the Buddha's life story, but also of Buddhist ideas, like the one quoted above. Only a comparison of the numerous versions of the "Barlaam and Joasaph" story could decide on whether these ideas were part of the tradition and common to other versions, or whether they originated in the Hebrew author's mind.
5.
Trans. by Soma Thera in His Last Performance, Verses of Taalaputa Thera (Colombo 1943; available from Buddhist Publication Society, Kandy). See also the "Fire Sermon" (The Wheel No. 17: "The eye is burning, forms are burning, eye-consciousness is burning, eye contact is burning. The ear... mind is burning, ideas are burning..."
6.
See The Wheel No. 15, Dependent Origination, p. 24 ff.
7.
Paali: aahaara; from aaharati, to take up, to take on to oneself; to bring, carry, fetch.
8.
Of beings born — bhuutaanam; lit.: of those who have come to existence. — Of beings seeking birth — bhavesinam, lit.: of these seeking existence. The latter term refers, according to the Commentary, in the case of egg-born and womb-born beings, to the period before they have emerged from the egg shell or the membranous sheath. Beings born of moisture (sedaja) or spontaneously (opapaatika) are called "seeking birth" at their first thought moment.
9.
"Edible food," kabali"nkaaro aahaaro, lit.: "morsel-made food."  Comy: "It is a term for the nutritive essence (ojaa) of which boiled rice etc., is the (coarse) basic (vatthu)."
10.
"Sense-impression" (or contact; phassa) is sixfold: through eye, ear, nose, tongue, body, and mind.
11.
"Volitional thought" mano-sancetanaa, is according to Comy. identical with cetanaa, and refers here to kammic volition.
12.
"Consciousness" (viññaa"na) refers to all types of consciousness.
13.
The same phrases occur in the monk's reflection on his alms food, e.g., at MN 2; explained in Visuddhimagga, trans. by Naa.namoli, p. 31 ff.
14.
That is he has become a non-returner (anaagaami) by eradicating the fetter of sensuous desire (kaamaraaga-samyojana) which, according to Comy. forms a unit with those other fetters which are given up (pahaanekattha) at this stage, i.e., personality belief, skeptical doubt, attachment to rites and rituals, and ill-will.
15.
Pleasant, unpleasant, and neutral feeling.
16.
This refers to the attainment of sainthood (arahatta).
17.
Sensual craving, craving for (eternal) existence, craving for self-annihilation.
18.
oja.t.thamaka-ruupaani, the "basic corporeal octad" (suddha.t.thaka-kalaapa), consisting of the four material elements, and color, smell, taste, and nutritive essence.
19.
See Note 18.
20.
At the moment of conception of a human being, three units (kalaapa) of corporeal processes arise in continuity: the body-decad, the sex-decad, and the heart-decad. These decads have in common nine factors: the basic eight (see above) and physical vitality; to these, as the varying tenth factor, is added: body (i.e., bodily sensitivity; kaaya), sex differentiation (bhaava), heart (hadaya; the physical basis of mental activity).
21.
Sub-Comy: "It is by way of sustaining (upatthambhento; lit.: propping up) that 'food' is said to be a 'producer of corporeality' (ruupam samu.t.thaapeti). Its function of sustaining consist in the production of the basic octad, with nutritive essence as its eighth factor (oja.t.thamaka-ruupa).
22.
Sub-Comy: "This is said because the craving for taste is strong when taking edible food. By being the cause of much harm, it is a danger."
23.
Sub-Comy: "'Approach' is the coming-together (sa"ngati) of object, sense-organ, and consciousness, or of object and consciousness. By being the cause of arising of feeling, etc., it is a danger."
24.
Sub-Comy: "The danger lies in its being the cause of the origination of existence."
25.
Sub-Comy: "The danger in consciousness is its being a root-cause of all those harmful phenomena which are the originators of a new existence."
26.
Trans. by Naa.naamoli, p. 372ff.
27.
Ibid., p. 704f, and Ledi Sayadaw, A Manual of Insight (The Wheel No. 31/32), pp. 52-82.
28.
savatthukavasena. Bracketed explanation, according to Sub-Comy.
29.
phassa-pancamaka-dhammaa, the pentad of sense-impression, feeling, perception, volition, and consciousness. See Nyanaponika Thera, Abhidhamma Studies, 2nd ed., Kandy 1964 (Buddhist Publication Society), p. 47ff.
30.
Sub-Comy: "The condition of the five aggregates, here defined as mind-and-matter, is consciousness; and the latter's condition is kamma-formations; and the condition of that is ignorance." See The Wheel No. 15a/b.
31.
See Path of Purification, p. 705.
32.
See The Wheel No. 15a/b, Dependent Origination, by Piyadassi Thera.
33.
This refers to seven decads of corporeal factors, consisting of nine constant factors, i.e., the basic octad (see Note 18) and vitality; as the tenth, one of the following seven is added to form seven decads of corporeal continua: eye-sensitivity, ear-, nose-, tongue-sensitivity, bodily sensitivity, sex, and heart-basis (the physical basis of mind).
34.
Those blind, deaf or sexless (Sub-Comy).
35.
Additions in round brackets ( ) are from the subcommentary.
36.
Sub-Comy: "By the mention of kamma, reference to a past birth is implied; that is, to the existence where  that kamma has been accumulated. Hereby the beginninglessness of the sa.msaaric cycle is illustrated."
37.
See Path of Purification, p. 669.
38.
Consumes or eats (aaharati) — The commentators say that this monk believed that he understood the three other kinds of nutriment but concerning consciousness he had conceived the notion that there was a "being" (satta) that takes consciousness onto himself as nutriment.
39.
Comy: "I do not say that there is any being or person that consumes (or eats)."
40.
Comy: "That means: 'For what (impersonal) state (or thing; katamassa dhammassa) is the nutriment consciousness a condition (paccaya)?'" The term dhamma, in the sense of an impersonal factor of existence, is here contrasted with the questioner's assumption of a being or person performing the respective function. By re-formulating the question, the Buddha wanted to point out that there is no reason for assuming that the nutriment consciousness "feeds" or conditions any separate person hovering behind it; but that consciousness constitutes just one link in a chain of processes indicated by the Buddha in the following.
41.
The nutriment consciousness signifies here the rebirth-consciousness.
42.
aayatim punabbhavaabhinibbatti; Comy: "This is the mind-and-body (naama-ruupa) conascent with that very (rebirth) consciousness." This refers to the third link of the dependent origination: "Through (rebirth) consciousness conditioned is mind-and-body" (viññaa.na-paccayaa naama-ruupam).
43.
Comy: "The Exalted One said this for giving to the monk an opening for a further question."
44.
Comy: "Why does not the monk continue to ask: 'Who becomes?' Because as one cherishing wrong views, he believes that 'A being has become, has come to be.' Hence he does not question further, because it would conflict with his own beliefs. And also the Master terminates here the exposition, thinking: 'However much he questions, he will not be satisfied. He is just asking empty questions.'"
45.
Comy: "Here the Master takes up that very point from where he started the exposition: 'Through the sixfold sense (organ) base conditioned is sense-impression,' and here he now turns round the exposition (to the cessation of the cycle of dependent origination).
"In this discourse, there is one link (of cause and fruit) between consciousness and mind-and-body; one link (of fruit and cause) between feeling and craving, and one link (of cause and fruit) between the process of becoming and birth."

Sub-Comy: "Since, in the words of the discourse, 'The nutriment consciousness is a condition for the future arising of a renewed existence,' (consciousness is regarded) as being a condition in a former existence for a future existence, and as being a principal cause (muula-kaarana), therefore the Commentary says that 'there is a link (of cause and fruit) between consciousness and mind-and-body.' Hence it should be understood that by the term consciousness, also the 'kamma-forming consciousness' (abhisa"nkhaara-viññaa.na) is implied" (i.e., apart from being resultant rebirth consciousness).

46.
Sub-Comy: kamma-forming consciousness.
47.
Sub-Comy: it attains to (or: can express) its own nature (laddha-sabhaava).
48.
In the nutriment, or in the cycle of rebirths.
49.
Sub-Comy: it obtains growth (or maturity) for producing its fruit. — Comy: Kamma takes a hold and comes to growth in its capacity to drag (beings) to rebirth and it thus accelerates (the process of becoming; javaapetvaa).
50.
naamaruupassa avakkanti.
51.
In the present resultant sector of the cycle (vipaaka va.t.ta).
52.
Kamma-formations causing the future cycle.
53.
See Note 41.
54.
Comy: "This is the application of the simile: the dyer or painter is the kamma with its adjuncts. The wooden tablets, the wall or the piece of cloth, correspond to the three planes of existence in the cycle of rebirths. As the painter produces a figure on a clean surface, so kamma with its adjuncts produces forms (ruupa) in various existences. If the painter is unskilled, the figures he paints will be ugly, misshapen and not pleasing; similarly, if a person performs a kamma with mind devoid of knowledge (ñaa.na-vippayuttena cittena), then that kamma will produce a (bodily) form that does not lend beauty to the eye, etc., but will be ugly, misshapen and not pleasing even to father and mother. But if the painter is skillful, the figures he produces will be beautiful, of attractive shape and pleasing; similarly if a person performs kamma in a state of mind imbued with knowledge (ñaa.nasampayutta), then the bodily form produced by that kamma, will give beauty to the eye, etc., will be attractive and well-shapen, like a finished work of art.
"Here, taking nutriment together with consciousness, there is one link (of cause and fruit) between nutriment and mind-and-body. Including mind-and-body in the section of the resultants there is one link (of fruit and cause) between mind-and-body and kamma-formations. Finally, there is one link (of cause and fruit) between kamma-formations and the future existence."

55.
According to Indian cosmology, the earth rests on water.
56.
bhuutam idan'ti.
57.
Comy: This refers to the five aggregates (pancakkhandha).
58.
Comy: This refers to the wisdom bestowed by the paths (of stream-entry, etc.) together with the insight (leading to it; saha-vipassanaaya magga-pannaaya).
59.
Comy: From the observance of morality up to the path (-moment) of sainthood (arahatta-magga) one is "on the way" (pa.tipanno).
60.
tad-aahaara-nirodhaa yam bhuutam tam nirodha-dhamman' ti.
61.
sekho, one who has attained to the four paths and three lower fruitions.
62.
sankhaata-dhammo. This is one who has attained to the fourth and highest fruition of sainthood (arahatta-phala), an arahant or asekha, "one beyond training."
63.
anupaadaa vimutto.

©1981 Buddhist Publication Society. Terms of use: You may copy, reformat, reprint, republish, and redistribute this work in any medium whatsoever, provided that: (1) you only make such copies, etc. available free of charge and, in the case of reprinting, only in quantities of no more than 50 copies; (2) you clearly indicate that any derivatives of this work (including translations) are derived from this source document; and (3) you include the full text of this license in any copies or derivatives of this work.

SN 44.6: Sariputta-Kotthita Sutta: Sariputta and Kotthita (4) translated  by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

posted Jul 30, 2013, 9:17 PM by Sung Yang

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."

(ii. Becoming)
"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."

(iii. Clinging/sustenance)
"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."

(iv. Craving)
"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."

See also: other suttas in the Avyakata Samyutta (and the translator's Introduction); AN 4.42.


©2004 Thanissaro Bhikkhu. Terms of use: You may copy, reformat, reprint, republish, and redistribute this work in any medium whatsoever, provided that: (1) you only make such copies, etc. available free of charge; (2) you clearly indicate that any derivatives of this work (including translations) are derived from this source document; and (3) you include the full text of this license in any copies or derivatives of this work.

SN 22.2:  Devadaha Sutta: At Devadaha - Thanissaro Bhikkhu {what's teaching}

posted Jul 29, 2013, 1:56 PM by Sung Yang

I have heard that on one occasion the Blessed One was staying among the Sakyans at a Sakyan town named Devadaha. Then a large number of monks headed for outlying districts went to the Blessed One and on arrival, having bowed down to him, sat to one side. As they were sitting there they said to the Blessed One, "Lord, we want to go to the countryside of the outlying districts and to take up residence there."

"Have you informed Sariputta?"

"No, lord, we haven't informed Ven. Sariputta."

"Inform Sariputta, monks. Sariputta is wise, a great help to the monks who are his fellows in the holy life."

"As you say, lord," the monks replied.

At that time Ven. Sariputta was sitting under a certain cassia tree not far from the Blessed One. Then the monks, delighting in & approving of the Blessed One's words, rose from their seats and — bowing down to the Blessed One and circumambulating him, keeping him to their right — went to Ven. Sariputta. On arrival, they exchanged courteous greetings with him. After an exchange of friendly greetings & courtesies, they sat to one side. As they were sitting there, they said to Ven. Sariputta, "Friend Sariputta, we want to go to the countryside of the outlying districts and to take up residence there. We have already informed the Teacher."

"Friends, in foreign lands there are wise nobles & brahmans, householders & contemplatives — for the people there are wise & discriminating — who will question a monk: 'What is your teacher's doctrine? What does he teach?' Have you listened well to the teachings — grasped them well, attended to them well, considered them well, penetrated them well by means of discernment — so that in answering you will speak in line with what the Blessed One has said, will not misrepresent the Blessed One with what is unfactual, will answer in line with the Dhamma, and no one whose thinking is in line with the Dhamma will have grounds for criticizing you?"

"We would come from a long way away to hear the explication of these words in Ven. Sariputta's presence. It would be good if Ven. Sariputta himself would enlighten us as to their meaning."

"Then in that case, friends, listen & pay close attention. I will speak."

"As you say, friend," the monks responded.

Ven. Sariputta said: "Friends, in foreign lands there are wise nobles & brahmans, householders & contemplatives — for the people there are wise & discriminating — who will question a monk: 'What is your teacher's doctrine? What does he teach?'

"Thus asked, you should answer, 'Our teacher teaches the subduing of passion & desire.'

"Having thus been answered, there may be wise nobles & brahmans, householders & contemplatives... who will question you further, 'And your teacher teaches the subduing of passion & desire for what?'

"Thus asked, you should answer, 'Our teacher teaches the subduing of passion & desire for form... for feeling... for perception... for fabrications. Our teacher teaches the subduing of passion & desire for consciousness.'

"Having thus been answered, there may be wise nobles & brahmans, householders & contemplatives... who will question you further, 'And seeing what danger does your teacher teach the subduing of passion & desire for form... for feeling... for perception... for fabrications. Seeing what danger does your teacher teach the subduing of passion & desire for consciousness?'

"Thus asked, you should answer, 'When one is not free from passion, desire, love, thirst, fever, & craving for form, then from any change & alteration in that form, there arises sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief, & despair. When one is not free from passion... for feeling... for perception... for fabrications... When one is not free from passion, desire, love, thirst, fever, & craving for consciousness, then from any change & alteration in that consciousness, there arise sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief, & despair. Seeing this danger, our teacher teaches the subduing of passion & desire for form... for feeling... for perception... for fabrications. Seeing this danger our teacher teaches the subduing of passion & desire for consciousness.'

"Having thus been answered, there may be wise nobles & brahmans, householders & contemplatives... who will question you further, 'And seeing what benefit does your teacher teach the subduing of passion & desire for form... for feeling... for perception... for fabrications. Seeing what benefit does your teacher teach the subduing of passion & desire for consciousness?'

"Thus asked, you should answer, 'When one is free from passion, desire, love, thirst, fever, & craving for form, then with any change & alteration in that form, there does not arise any sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief, or despair. When one is free from passion... for feeling... for perception... for fabrications... When one is free from passion, desire, love, thirst, fever, & craving for consciousness, then with any change & alteration in that consciousness, there does not arise any sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief, or despair. Seeing this benefit, our teacher teaches the subduing of passion & desire for form... for feeling... for perception... for fabrications. Seeing this benefit our teacher teaches the subduing of passion & desire for consciousness.'

"Friends, if one who entered & remained in unskillful mental qualities were to have a pleasant abiding in the here & now — unthreatened, undespairing, unfeverish — and on the break-up of the body, after death, could expect a good destination, then the Blessed One would not advocate the abandoning of unskillful mental qualities. But because one who enters & remains in unskillful mental qualities has a stressful abiding in the here & now — threatened, despairing, & feverish — and on the break-up of the body, after death, can expect a bad destination, that is why the Blessed One advocates the abandoning of unskillful mental qualities.

"If one who entered & remained in skillful mental qualities were to have a stressful abiding in the here & now — threatened, despairing, & feverish — and on the break-up of the body, after death, could expect a bad destination, then the Blessed One would not advocate entering into skillful mental qualities. But because one who enters & remains in skillful mental qualities has a pleasant abiding in the here & now — unthreatened, undespairing, unfeverish — and on the break-up of the body, after death, can expect a good destination, that is why the Blessed One advocates entering into skillful mental qualities."

That is what Ven. Sariputta said. Gratified, the monks delighted in Ven. Sariputta's words.


©1997 Thanissaro Bhikkhu. Terms of use: You may copy, reformat, reprint, republish, and redistribute this work in any medium whatsoever, provided that: (1) you only make such copies, etc. available free of charge; (2) you clearly indicate that any derivatives of this work (including translations) are derived from this source document; and (3) you include the full text of this license in any copies or derivatives of this work.

AN 3.67: Kathavatthu Sutta: Topics for Discussion translated  by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

posted Jul 28, 2013, 11:29 PM by Sung Yang

"Monks, there are these three topics for discussion. Which three?

"One may talk about the past, saying, 'Thus it was in the past.' One may talk about the future, saying, 'Thus it will be in the future.' Or one may talk about now in the present, saying, 'Thus it is now in the present.'

"Monks, it's through his way of participating in a discussion that a person can be known as fit to talk with or unfit to talk with. If a person, when asked a question, doesn't give a categorical answer to a question deserving a categorical answer, doesn't give an analytical (qualified) answer to a question deserving an analytical answer, doesn't give a counter-question to a question deserving a counter-question, doesn't put aside a question deserving to be put aside, then — that being the case — he is a person unfit to talk with. But if a person, when asked a question, gives a categorical answer to a question deserving a categorical answer, gives an analytical answer to a question deserving an analytical answer, gives a counter-question to a question deserving a counter-question, and puts aside a question deserving to be put aside, then — that being the case — he is a person fit to talk with.

"Monks, it's through his way of participating in a discussion that a person can be known as fit to talk with or unfit to talk with. If a person, when asked a question, doesn't stand by what is possible and impossible, doesn't stand by agreed-upon assumptions, doesn't stand by teachings known to be true,[1] doesn't stand by standard procedure, then — that being the case — he is a person unfit to talk with. But if a person, when asked a question, stands by what is possible and impossible, stands by agreed-upon assumptions, stands by teachings known to be true, stands by standard procedure, then — that being the case — he is a person fit to talk with.

"Monks, it's through his way of participating in a discussion that a person can be known as fit to talk with or unfit to talk with. If a person, when asked a question, wanders from one thing to another, pulls the discussion off the topic, shows anger & aversion and sulks, then — that being the case — he is a person unfit to talk with. But if a person, when asked a question, doesn't wander from one thing to another, doesn't pull the discussion off the topic, doesn't show anger or aversion or sulk, then — that being the case — he is a person fit to talk with.

"Monks, it's through his way of participating in a discussion that a person can be known as fit to talk with or unfit to talk with. If a person, when asked a question, puts down [the questioner], crushes him, ridicules him, grasps at his little mistakes, then — that being the case — he is a person unfit to talk with. But if a person, when asked a question, doesn't put down [the questioner], doesn't crush him, doesn't ridicule him, doesn't grasp at his little mistakes, then — that being the case — he is a person fit to talk with.

"Monks, it's through his way of participating in a discussion that a person can be known as drawing near or not drawing near. One who lends ear draws near; one who doesn't lend ear doesn't draw near. Drawing near, one clearly knows one quality, comprehends one quality, abandons one quality, and realizes one quality.[2] Clearly knowing one quality, comprehending one quality, abandoning one quality, and realizing one quality, one touches right release. For that's the purpose of discussion, that's the purpose of counsel, that's the purpose of drawing near, that's the purpose of lending ear: i.e., the liberation of the mind through no clinging.


Those who discuss
when angered, dogmatic, arrogant,
following what's not the noble ones' way,
seeking to expose each other's faults,
delight in each other's misspoken word,
slip, stumble, defeat.
Noble ones
don't speak in that way.

If wise people, knowing the right time,
want to speak,
then, words connected with justice,
following the ways of the noble ones:
That's what the enlightened ones speak,
without anger or arrogance,
with a mind not boiling over,
without vehemence, without spite.
Without envy
they speak from right knowledge.
They would delight in what's well-said
and not disparage what's not.
They don't study to find fault,
don't grasp at little mistakes.
don't put down, don't crush,
don't speak random words.

For the purpose of knowledge,
for the purpose of [inspiring] clear confidence,
counsel that's true:
That's how noble ones give counsel,
That's the noble ones' counsel.
Knowing this, the wise
should give counsel without arrogance."

Notes

1.
Reading aññaatavaada with the Burmese edition. An alternate translation would be, "the teachings of those who know."
2.
According to the Commentary, these qualities are, respectively, the noble truth of the path, the noble truth of stress, the noble truth of the origination of stress, and the noble truth of the cessation of stress.
See also: AN 4.42; AN 5.165; Sn 4.8


©2005 Thanissaro Bhikkhu. Terms of use: You may copy, reformat, reprint, republish, and redistribute this work in any medium whatsoever, provided that: (1) you only make such copies, etc. available free of charge; (2) you clearly indicate that any derivatives of this work (including translations) are derived from this source document; and (3) you include the full text of this license in any copies or derivatives of this work.

AN 7.56: Kimila Sutta: To Kimila - translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

posted Jul 27, 2013, 12:42 PM by Sung Yang

I have heard that on one occasion the Blessed One was staying at Kimila, in the Bamboo Grove. Then Ven. Kimila went to the Blessed One and, on arrival, having bowed down to the Blessed One, sat to one side. As he was sitting there he said to the Blessed One: "What is the cause, lord, what is the reason why, when a Tathagata has become totally unbound (has entered total Nibbana), the true Dhamma does not last a long time?"

"Kimila, there is the case where, when a Tathagata has become totally unbound, the monks, nuns, male lay followers, & female lay followers live without respect, without deference, for the Teacher; live without respect, without deference, for the Dhamma... the Sangha... the Training... concentration... heedfulness; live without respect, without deference, for hospitality. This is the cause, this is the reason why, when a Tathagata has become totally unbound, the true Dhamma does not last a long time."

"And what is the cause, what is the reason why, when a Tathagata has become totally unbound, the true Dhamma does last a long time?"

"Kimila, there is the case where, when a Tathagata has become totally unbound, the monks, nuns, male lay followers, & female lay followers live with respect, with deference, for the Teacher; live with respect, with deference, for the Dhamma... the Sangha... the Training... concentration... heedfulness; live with respect, with deference, for hospitality. This is the cause, this is the reason why, when a Tathagata has become totally unbound, the true Dhamma does last a long time."

See also: SN 16.13


©1997 Thanissaro Bhikkhu. Terms of use: You may copy, reformat, reprint, republish, and redistribute this work in any medium whatsoever, provided that: (1) you only make such copies, etc. available free of charge; (2) you clearly indicate that any derivatives of this work (including translations) are derived from this source document; and (3) you include the full text of this license in any copies or derivatives of this work.

AN 7.21: Bhikkhu-aparihaniya Sutta: Conditions for No Decline Among the Monks - translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

posted Jul 27, 2013, 12:40 PM by Sung Yang

I have heard that on one occasion the Blessed One was staying in Rajagaha, on Vulture Peak Mountain. There he addressed the monks: "Monks, I will teach you the seven conditions that lead to no decline. Listen & pay close attention. I will speak."

"Yes, lord," the monks responded.

The Blessed One said: "And which seven are the conditions that lead to no decline?

[1] "As long as the monks meet often, meet a great deal, their growth can be expected, not their decline.

[2] "As long as the monks meet in harmony, adjourn from their meetings in harmony, and conduct Sangha business in harmony, their growth can be expected, not their decline.

[3] "As long as the monks neither decree what has been undecreed nor repeal what has been decreed, but practice undertaking the training rules as they have been decreed, their growth can be expected, not their decline.

[4] "As long as the monks honor, respect, venerate, and do homage to the elder monks — those with seniority who have long been ordained, the fathers of the Sangha, leaders of the Sangha — regarding them as worth listening to, their growth can be expected, not their decline.

[5] "As long as the monks do not submit to the power of any arisen craving that leads to further becoming, their growth can be expected, not their decline.

[6] "As long as the monks see their own benefit in wilderness dwellings, their growth can be expected, not their decline.

[7] "As long as the monks each keep firmly in mind: 'If there are any well-behaved fellow followers of the chaste life who have yet to come, may they come; and may the well-behaved fellow-followers of the chaste life who have come live in comfort,' their growth can be expected, not their decline.

"As long as the monks remain steadfast in these seven conditions, and as long as these seven conditions endure among the monks, the monks' growth can be expected, not their decline."

Provenance: ©1997 Thanissaro Bhikkhu. Transcribed from a file provided by the translator. This Access to Insight edition is ©1997–2013.
Terms of use: You may copy, reformat, reprint, republish, and redistribute this work in any medium whatsoever, provided that: (1) you only make such copies, etc. available free of charge; (2) you clearly indicate that any derivatives of this work (including translations) are derived from this source document; and (3) you include the full text of this license in any copies or derivatives of this work.

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