Archive for November, 2010

Tathagata
November 17, 2010

 

“The Tathagata, Bhikkhus, who, being the Perfect Arhat is fully enlightened, He it is who doth cause a way to arise which had not arisen before; who doth bring about a way not brought about before; who doth proclaim a way not proclaimed before; who is the knower of a way, who understandeth a way, who is skilled in a way.

And now, Bhikkhus, His disciples are wayfarers who follow after Him. That, Bhikkhus, is the distinction, the specific feature which distinguishes the Tathagata who, being the Perfect Arhat, is Fully Enlightened, from the Bhikkhu who is freed by insight.”

 

 

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Consciousness
November 14, 2010

 

Gautama Buddha, the Exalted One uttered these blessed words:

“Owing to two things, Bhikkhus, consciousness comes to pass. What two things? Owing to eye and shape arises eye-consciousness. Eye is transient, changeable, becoming other; shapes are transient, changeable, becoming other. So this duality is mobile and transitory, transient, changeable, becoming other, and eye-consciousness is of a like nature.

Whatsoever the condition and whatsoever the relation of the arising of eye-consciousness, that condition and that relation are transient, changeable, becoming other. Thus, happening because of a transient relation, is eye-consciousness. How, then, can it be enduring?

Now, Bhikkhus, that collision, coincidence, encounter of these three things (eye, shape, eye-consciousness) is called visual contact.

Visual contact also is transient, changeable, becoming other. Whatsoever the condition and whatsoever the relation of the arising of visual contact, that condition and relation are transient, changeable, becoming other. Thus, happening because of a transient relation is visual contact. How, then, can it be enduring?

Contacted, Bhikkhus, one feels, contacted one is aware, contacted one perceives. So these things also are mobile and transitory, transient, changeable, becoming other.

And the same may be said of ear, nose, tongue, body, and mind.

Thus owing to two things consciousness comes to pass.”

– II –

“Thus have I heard. Once Gautama Buddha was dwelling near Savatthi, in Jeta Grove, in Anathapindika’s Park. Then on that occasion in the mind of a certain Bhikhu Sati, Fisher’s Son, there had arisen such a wrong perverted view as this:

‘As I understand the Dhamma taught by Gautama Buddha, this same consciousness it is that goes travelling through the round of births and deaths, this and none other.’

Now a number of Bhikkhus heard of this wrong perverted view held by the Bhikkhu Sati, Fisher’s Son, and they went to him and asked him, saying: ‘Is it true, Bhikkhu Sati, as we hear, that you hold such a wrong perverted view as this: “As I understand the Dhamma taught by Gautama Buddha, this same consciousness it is that goes travelling through the round of births and deaths – this and none other?”

And the Bhikkhu Sati, Fisher’s Son, replied, ‘It is so.’

Then those Bhikkhus, desirous of converting the Bhikkhu Sati, Fisher’s Son, from that wrong perverted view, entered on a talk with him, questioned him closely, and remonstrated with him, saying: ‘Say not so, Bhikkhu Sati! Do not misrepresent Gautama Buddha! It is ill done to misrepresent Gautama Buddha! Surely Gautama Buddha would never say such a thing! Surely in divers ways Gautama Buddha has taught that consciousness is a thing that arises by way of occasion. Without an occasion there can be no coming-to-be of consciousness.’

But Bhikkhu Sati, Fisher’s Son, though thus argued with and questioned and reasoned with by those Bhikkhus, stubbornly persisted in that wrong perverted view, to wit: ‘As I understand the doctrine…’ and so forth.

Now when those Bhikkhus could not convert the Bhikkhu Sati, Fisher’s Son, from his wrong perverted view, they went to Gautama Buddha, saluted Him, and sat down at one side. So seated those Bhikkhus told Gautama Buddha the whole matter, of their ill-success and of the cause of their coming thither.

Then Gautama Buddha called to a certain Bhikkhu, ‘Come thou, Bhikkhu! In my name bid hither Bhikkhu Sati, Fisher’s Son, saying: “Bhikkhu Sati, the Buddha calls for you.”

So the Bhikkhu Sati, Fisher’s Son, came to Gautama Buddha, saluted Him, and sat down at one side. Thus seated, Gautama Buddha questioned him about what had been said of him, saying: “Is it true, Sati, as I hear, that you do hold this wrong perverted view…?

‘It is true, Lord, that I hold it.’

‘Now what is consciousness, Sati?’

‘Lord, it is that speaker, that feeler who experiences the fruit of deeds done here and there, of deeds both good and bad.’

‘What, misguided man! Whence heard you that such a doctrine was taught by me? Have I not declared in divers ways that consciousness arises by occasion; that without occasion there is no coming-to-be of consciousness? But you, misguided man, through wrongly grasping my teaching do thus misrepresent me and dig a pit for yourself, and have wrought demerit that shall be to your loss and suffering for many a long day.’

Then Gautama Buddha called to the Bhikkhus, and said: ‘Now what think ye, Bhikkhus? Has this Bhikkhu Sati, Fisher’s Son, been warmed* in this Dhamma-Vinaya?’

‘Not so, Lord.’

Then at these words the Bhikkhu Sati, Fisher’s Son, sat in silence, confused, huddled up, and hung his head and sat downcast, unable to reply.

Thereupon Gautama Buddha, seeing his dejected condition, thus addressed Sati, Fisher’s Son:

‘You shall be shown up, misguided man, by this same wrong perverted view of yours. Herein I will question the Bhikkhus.’

Then Gautama Buddha addressed the Bhikkhus, saying:

‘And have ye, Bhikkhus, thus understood the Dhamma taught by me as this Bhikkhu Sati, Fisher’s Son, by wrongly grasping it, has done, and thus misrepresents me and digs a pit for himself to fall into, and works demerit thereby, which shall be to him loss and suffering for many a long day?’

‘Surely not, Lord. For in divers ways it has been said by the Exalted One that owing to occasion arises consciousness, and that without occasion is there no coming-to-be of consciousness.’

‘Well said, Bhikkhus! Well do ye understand the Dhamma taught by me! But this Bhikkhu Sati, by so wrongly grasping my teaching, misrepresents me and digs a pit for himself, and has wrought demerit that shall be to his loss and suffering for many a long day.

Now, Bhikkhus, consciousness arises in dependence on a condition, and is reckoned just according to that condition. Thus, dependent on eye and object arises consciousness, and is reckoned as eye-consciousness. And so on with ear-consciousness, tongue-consciousness, body-tangibles-consciousness, and mind-consciousness, which arises conditioned by mind and ideas.

Now, just as fire blazes up conditioned by whatever cause (as fuel), it is reckoned thereby. Thus we have wood-fire, stick-fire, grass-fire, cowdung-fire, chaff-fire, and rubbish-heap fire. Just so, Bhikkhus, is a name given to consciousness.

This has become, do ye see, Bhikkhus?’

‘Yes, Lord.’

‘By ceasing of that nutriment, what has become is of nature to cease. Do ye see, Bhikkhus?’

‘Yes, Lord.’

‘When one doubts whether ‘this has become,’ Bhikkhus, wavering arises, does it not?’

‘Yes, Lord.’

‘When one doubts whether ‘it has become owing to that nutriment,’ wavering arises, does it not?’

‘Yes, Lord.’

‘But you may say, ‘perhaps it has not become,’ or ‘it has not become owing to that nutriment,’ or ‘it does not cease with the ceasing of that nutriment,’ then wavering arises, does it not?’

‘Yes, Lord.’

‘But when one sees, as it really is, by the perfect wisdom, ‘this has become. It originated owing to that nutriment. It ceases with the ceasing of that nutriment,’ – then there is no more wavering.’

‘It is so, Lord.’

‘Now, Bhikkhus, are ye sure ‘this has become; it became through that nutriment; it ceases with the ceasing of that nutriment’? Do ye clearly understand, as it really is, by perfect wisdom, that these things are so?’

‘Surely, Lord.’

‘Then, Bhikkhus, if this view, perfectly purified and made clear, is yours; if ye cleave to it, treasure it up, value it as a possession, call it yours, would ye then be understanding it according to my Parable of the Raft, by which I taught ye the Dhamma, as something to be left behind and not to be retained?’

‘Surely not, Lord.”

‘But if ye do not so cleave to this view, perfectly purified and made clear, then would ye rightly understand it, as it really is, according to my Parable of the Raft, as something to be left behind and not to be retained.’

‘Surely we should, Lord.’

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Foot Notes

(*) – Usmi-kato, used only here. It seems to refer to the action of a hen hatching eggs.

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[‘Some Sayings of the Buddha According to the Pali Canon’ translated from the Pali by the Buddhist scholar F.L. Woodward, Oxford University Press, Madras/London, 1925].