Archive for June, 2010

The Ariyan Silence
June 29, 2010

 

SILENCE

Once the Exalted One, Siddharta Gautama, the Buddha, was dwelling at Savatthi in East Park, at the storeyed house of Migara’s mother.  Then on that occasion Gautama Buddha, the Exalted One, was sitting surrounded by the Sangha of Bhikkhus, and it was the Uposatha.  Then the Exalted One, Siddharta Gautama, the Buddha, scanning the Sangha of Bhikkhus as they sat there in perfect silence, thus addressed the Bhikkhus:

   ‘Bhikkhus!  This Sangha is established in the Truth, in utter purity, with all idle chatter laid aside.  Such a Sangha of Bhikkhus as this, and such a company as this, Bhikkhus, is hard to come to behold in all the world.

   Such a Sangha of Bhikkhus, such a company as this is worthy of honour, worthy of reverence, worthy of gifts, worthy of hands lifted in worship, a field of merit unsurpassed in all the world.

   To such a Sangha of Bhikkhus, to such a company as this, even a slight gift is great, and a great gift is greater still.

   To behold such a Sangha of Bhikkhus, to behold such a company as this, Bhikkhus, one might well start off on a journey of many a long mile, with a satchel on one’s back to carry one’s food.

   Of such a sort, Bhikkhus, is this Sangha of Bhikkhus.’

                                                                              [Anguttara Nikaya, ii., 190].

 

THE ARIYAN SILENCE

   Thus have I heard.  On a certain occasion the Exalted One, Gautama Buddha was staying near Savatthi at Jeta Grove in Anathapindika’s Park.

   Then the Venerable Arhat Moggallana, the Great, said to the Bhikkhus:

   ‘Bhikkhus!’

   ‘Yes, friend,’ replied those Bhikkhus to the Venerable Arhat Moggallana, the Great.

   Then said the Venerable Arhat Moggallana the Great:

   ‘Here, friends Bhikkhus, when I was secluded and living all alone, this discursive thought occurred to me:

   ‘The Ariyan silence!  The Ariyan silence! they say.  Now what means this Ariyan silence?’

   Then, friends Bhikkhus, I thus thought:

   ‘Herein a brother Bhikkhu, by the suppression of discursive thought and investigation, enters on and abides in the Second Trance, a state of internal calm of heart concentrated on its object, free from discursive thought and investigation, born of mental balance, a state of zest and ease.  This is called the Ariyan silence.’

   So I, friends Bhikkhus by the suppression of discursive thought and investigation, entered on and abode in the Second Trance, a state of internal calm of heart, concentrated on its object, free from discursive thought and investigation, born of mental balance, a state of zest and ease: and, friends Bhikkhus, as I was abiding in that state, there came to me ideas, workings of mind, accompanied by discursive thought.

   There upon, friends Bhikkhus, the Exalted One, Gautama Buddha, by magic power [maha-iddhi] came to me and thus spake:

   “Moggallana, Moggallana! Desert not the Ariyan silence!  In the Ariyan silence establish thy mind!  In the Ariyan silence make thy mind sole arbiter!  In the Ariyan silence balance thy mind!”
                                                                                                                   [S.N. ii. 273]

   ……..

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[‘Some Sayings of the Buddha – According to the Pali Canon’, translated from the Pali by F. L. Woodward, Pages 93, 94, 95, Oxford University Press, London, 1925].

 

The Mahavagga – I –
June 19, 2010

 

REVERENCE TO THE BLESSED ONE BUDDHA

THE HOLY ONE BUDDHA

THE FULLY ENLIGHTENED ONE BUDDHA

 

FIRST KHANDHAKA

 The Admission to the Sangha of Bhikkhus

    At that time the Blessed Buddha dwelt at Uruvela, on the bank of the river Nerangara at the foot of the Bodhi tree [tree of wisdom],  just after he had become Sambuddha.  And the Blessed Buddha sat cross-legged at the foot of the Bodhi tree uninterruptedly during seven days, enjoying the bliss of emancipation. [1]

    Then the Blessed One [at the end of these seven days] during the first watch of the night fixed his mind upon the Chain of Causation [2], in direct and in reverse order:

    ‘From Ignorance [3] spring the shamkharas [4], from the shamkharas springs Consciousness, from Consciousness spring Name-and-Form, from Name-and-Form spring the six Provinces – of the six senses – [5], from the six Provinces springs Contact, from Contact springs Sensation, from Sensation springs Thirst (or Desire), from Thirst springs Attachment, from Attachment springs Existence, from Existence springs Birth, from Birth spring Old Age and Death, grief, lamentation, suffering, dejection and despair.  Such is the origination of this whole mass of suffering. 

    Again, by the destruction of Ignorance, which consists in the complete absence of lust, the shamkharas are destroyed, by the destruction of the shamkharas,  Consciousness is destroyed, by the destruction of Consciousness, Name-and-Form are destroyed, by the destruction of Name-and-Form the six Provinces are destroyed, by the destruction of the six Provinces, Contact is destroyed, by the destruction of Contact, Sensation is destroyed, by the destruction of Sensation, Thirst is destroyed, by the destruction of Thirst, Attachment is destroyed, by the destruction of Attachment, Existence is destroyed, by the destruction of Existence, Birth is destroyed, by the destruction of Birth, Old Age and Death, grief, lamentation, suffering, dejection, and despair are destroyed.  Such is the cessation of this whole mass of suffering.’

   Knowing this the Blessed One then on that occasion pronounced this solemn utterance: 

    ‘When the real nature of things becomes clear to the ardent, meditating Arhat, then all his doubts face away, since he realises what is that nature and what its cause.’

    Then the Blessed One during the middle watch of the night fixed his mind upon the Chain of ‘Causation, in direct and reverse order:

    ‘From Ignorance spring the shamkharas, from the shamkharas springs Consciousness, from Consciousness spring Name-and-Form, from Name-and-Form spring the six Provinces (of the six senses), from the six Provinces springs Contact, from Contact springs Sensation, from Sensation springs Thirst (or Desire), from Thirst springs Attachment, from Attachment springs Existence, from Existence springs Birth, from Birth springs Old Age and Death, grief, lamentation, suffering, dejection and despair.  Such is the origination of this whole mass of suffering.

   Again, by the destruction of Ignorance, which consists in the complete absence of lust, the shamkharas are destroyed, by the destruction of the shamkharas Consciousness is destroyed, by the destruction of Consciousness Name-and-Form are destroyed, by the destruction of Name-and-Form the six Provinces are destroyed, by the destruction of the six Provinces, Contact is destroyed, by the destruction of Contact, Sensation is destroyed, by the destruction of Sensation, Thirst is destroyed, by the destruction of Thirst, Attachment is destroyed, by the destruction of Attachment, Existence is destroyed, by the destruction of Existence, Birth is destroyed, by the destruction of Birth, Old Age and Death, grief, lamentation, suffering, dejection, and despair are destroyed.  Such is the cessation of this whole mass of suffering.’

    Knowing this the Blessed One then on that occasion pronounced this solemn utterance: 

    ‘When the real nature of things becomes clear to the ardent, meditating Arhat, then all his doubts fade away, since he has understood the cessation of causation.’

    Then the Blessed One during the third watch of the night fixed his mind fixed upon the Chain of Causation, in direct and reverse order:   

    ‘From Ignorance spring the shamkharas, from the shamkharas springs Consciousness, from Consciousness spring Name-and-Form, from Name-and-Form spring the six Provinces (of the six senses), from the six Provinces springs Contact, from Contact springs Sensation, from Sensation springs Thirst (or Desire), from Thirst springs Attachment, from Attachment springs Existence, from Existence springs Birth, from Birth springs Old Age and Death, grief, lamentation, suffering, dejection and despair.  Such is the origination of this whole mass of suffering.

    Again, by the destruction of Ignorance, which consists in the complete absence of lust, the shamkharas are destroyed, by the destruction of the shamkharas Consciousness is destroyed, by the destruction of Consciousness Name-and-Form are destroyed, by the destruction of Name-and-Form the six Provinces are destroyed, by the destruction of the six Provinces, Contact is destroyed, by the destruction of Contact, Sensation is destroyed, by the destruction of Sensation, Thirst is destroyed, by the destruction of Thirst, Attachment is destroyed, by the destruction of Attachment, Existence is destroyed, by the destruction of Existence, Birth is destroyed, by the destruction of Birth, Old Age and Death, grief, lamentation, suffering, dejection, and despair are destroyed.  Such is the cessation of this whole mass of suffering.’

    Knowing this the Blessed One then on that occasion pronounced this solemn utterance:  

    ‘When the real nature of things becomes clear to the ardent, meditating Arhat, he stands, dispelling the hosts of Mara, like the sun that illuminates the sky.’

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Foot Notes

[1] – After having reached the sambodhi and before teaching to the world the truth He has acquired, Gautama Buddha remains, according to the tradition, during some weeks at Uruvela, ‘enjoying the bliss of emancipation.’  The Mahavagga, which contains these facts in their oldest forms, assigns to this stay a period of four times seven days; the later tradition is unanimous in extending it to seven times seven days.

 [2] – The Chain of Causation, or the doctrine of the twelve nidanas (causes of existence), contains, as has often been observed, in a more developed form an answer to the same problem to which the second and third of the four Noble Truths (Ariyasakka) also try to give a solution, viz., the problem of the origin and destruction of suffering.  The Noble Truths simply reduce the origin of suffering to Thirst, or Desire (Tanha), in its threefold form, thirst for pleasure, thirst for existence, thirst for prosperity.  In the system of the twelve nidanas Thirst also has found its place among the causes of suffering, but it is not considered as the immediate cause.  A concatenation of other categories is inserted between tanha and its ultima effet; and on the other hand, the investigation of causes is carried on further beyond tanha.  The question is here asked, Where does tanha come from?  And thus the series of causes and effects is led back to Avigga – Avijja – Ignorance, as its deepest root.  We may add that the redactors of the Pitakas, who of course could not but observe this parallelity between the second and third ariyasakkas and the system of the twelve nidanas, go so far, in one instance (Anguttara-Nikaya, Tika-Nipata) as to directly replace, in giving the text of the four Ariyasakkas,the second and third of them by the twelve nidanas, in direct and reverse order respectively. 

[3] – In the Sammaditthi-suttanta  (Majjhima-Nikaya) we find the following explanation of what Ignorance is: 

‘Not to know Suffering; not to know the Cause of Suffering; not to know the Cessation of Suffering;  not to know the Ariyas Eight-folded Path which leads to the Cessation of Suffering; this is called Ignorance.’  The same is repeated in the explanation of the nidana formula, which is given in the Vibhanga (Abhidhamma-Pitaka, Patikkasamuppada- Vibhanga), and we must accept it, therefore, as the authentic expression of Buddhistical belief.  Ignorance, we are told, is the source of all evil and of all suffering, and the subject ignored is stated to be the four Truths. 

[4] – It is very frequently stated that there are three shamkharas, or productions:  kayashamkhara, vakishamkhara, and kittashamkhara, or, productions of body, of speech, and of thought (see, for instance, the Sammaditthi-suttanta, Majjhima-Nikaya).  The kayashamkhara consists, according to the Shamkhara-Yamaka (Abhidhamma-Pitaka), in inhalation and expiration (assasapassasa); the vakishamkhara in attention and investigation (vitakkavikara);  the kittashamkhara in ideas, sensations, and all attributes of mind except attention and investigation (sanna ka vedana ka thapetva vitakkavikare sabbe pi kittasampayuttaka dhamma).  The Vibhanga (Abhidhamma-Pitaka, Patikkasamuppadavibhanga) gives, when discussing the shamkharas, six categories instead of the three:  ‘Now which are the shamkharas that are produced by Ignorance?  Shamkharas (or productions) that lead to righteousness, shamkharas that lead to sinfulness, shakharas that lead to immovability, productions of body, of speech, and of thought.’  The Pali words are:  ‘Tattha katama aviggapakkaya shamkhara?  Punnabhishamkaro apunnabhishakharo anangabhishamkharo kayashamkharo vakishamakaro kittashamkaro.’  The list of fifty-five categories belonging to the shamkhara-khanda, is not founded, on the authority of the Pitakas themselves, but on later compendia and commentaries.

[5] – I.e., eye, ear, nose, tongue, body (or the faculty of touch), and mind.

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[“Vinaya Texts”, translated from the Pali by T.W. Rhys Davids and Hermann Oldenberg, Part I, The Patimokkha, The Mahavagga, I-IV, Part II, The Mahavagga, V-X, The Kullavagga, I-III, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1899].

 

The Uncompounded
June 11, 2010

  

 ‘I will teach you, Bhikkhus, the Uncompounded and the way going to the Uncompounded.  Do ye listen to it.

   Now what, Bhikkhus, is the Uncompounded?  The destruction of lust, of hatred, of delusion, Bhikkhus, is called the Uncompounded.

   And what, Bhikkhus, is the way going to the Uncompounded?  It is mindfulness relating to the sphere of body that is so called.  Thus, Bhikkhus, have I shown ye the Uncompounded and the way going to it.

   Whatever can be done by a teacher desirous of the welfare of his disciples, out of compassion for them, that have I done for you, Bhikkhus.

   Here, Bhikkhus, are the roots of trees, here are lonely dwelling-places.  Do ye keep pondering, be ye not remiss, be not remorseful hereafter.  This is my instruction unto you.’ [1]

S.N. iv. 359

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Foot Notes

[1] – “The section following of this sutta adds the other factors, viz: calm, thought, concentration of mind without object, the establishing of mindfulness, the four best efforts, the four bases of power, the five controlling faculties, the five powers, the seven factors of wisdom, and the Path.”

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[‘Some Sayings of the Buddha – According to the Pali Canon”, translated from the Pali by F.L. Woodward, Page 322, Oxford University Press, Madras, 1925].

 

WESAK – ‘He who seeth the Dhamma, he seeth me; he who seeth me, Vakkali, seeth the Dhamma. Verily, seeing the Dhamma, Vakkali, one sees me; seeing me, one sees the Dhamma.’
June 1, 2010

 

‘AND THEN THE EXALTED ONE,  GAUTAMA BUDDHA,  DISCOURSED ON THE IMPERMANENCE OF ALL THINGS.’  [S.N.iii, 20].

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[Some Sayings of the Buddha, According to the Pali Canon, translated from the Pali by F.L. Woodward, pages 129/130, Oxford University Press, Madras, 1925].