52- Atthakanagara Sutta

The householder Dasama of Attahaka wanted to know if there was a single dhamma which could cause liberation and realization of Nibbana. The Venerable Ananda informed him there was a group of dhammas,eleven in number, namely, the four jhanas, the four Brahmavihara practices and Akasanankayatana, Vinnanancayatana, Akincannayatana. Contemplating the impermanent nature of each of those dhammas would lead one to Nibbana.

§1. THUS HAVE I HEARD.
On one occasion the Venerable Ananda was living at Beluvagamaka near Vesali.

§2. Now on that occasion the householder Dasama of Atthakanagara had arrived at Pataliputta for some business or other. Then he went to a certain bhikkhu in Kukkuta’s Park, and after paying homage to him, he sat down at one side and asked him: “Where does the venerable Ananda live now, venerable sir? I wish to see the venerable Ananda.”

“The venerable Ananda is living at Beluva gama near Vesali, householder.”

§3. When the householder Dasama had completed his business at Pataliputta, he went to the venerable Ananda at Beluvagamaka near Vesall. After paying homage to him, he sat down at one side and asked him:

“Venerable Ananda, has any one thing been proclaimed by the Blessed One who knows and sees, accomplished and fully enlightened, wherein if a bhikkhu abides diligent, ardent, and resolute, his unliberated mind comes to be liberated, his undestroyed taints come to be destroyed, and he attains the supreme security from bondage that he had not attained before?”550

[550:- All these expressions are descriptive of arahantship]

“Yes, householder, one such thing has been proclaimed by the Blessed One.” [350]

“What is that one thing, venerable Ananda?”

§4. “Here, householder, quite secluded from sensual pleasures, secluded from unwholesome states, a bhikkhu enters upon and abides in the first jhana, which is accompanied by applied and sustained thought, with rapture and pleasure born of seclusion-

He considers this and understands it thus: ‘This first jhana is conditioned and volitionally produced.551

[551:- Abhisankhatam abhi-sancetayitam. The two terms are frequently used in conjunction and indicate a conditioned state in which volition (cetana) is the most prominent conditioning factor.]

But whatever is conditioned and volitionally produced is impermanent, subject to cessation.’ Standing upon that, he attains the destruction of the taints.552

[552:- This passage explains a method for developing “insight preceded by serenity” (samatha-pubbangama vipassana; see AN 4:1 70/ ii.157). Having first attained a jhana, the meditator emerges from it and contemplates that state as brought into being by conditions, particularly volition. On the basis of this, he ascertains its impermanence, and then contemplates the jhana with insight into the three marks of impermanence, suffering, and non-self. See also MN 64.9-1 5 for a somewhat different approach to developing insight on the basis of the jhanas.]

But if he does not attain the destruction of the taints, then because of that desire for the Dhamma, that delight in the Dhamma,553 with the destruction of the five lower fetters he becomes one due to reappear spontaneously [in the Pure Abodes] and there attain final Nibbana without ever returning from that world.

[553:- Dhammaragena dhamma-nandiya. MA: These two terms signify desire and attachment (chanda-raga) with respect to serenity and insight. If one is able to discard all desire and attachment concerning serenity and insight, one becomes an arahant; if one cannot discard them, one becomes a non-returner and is reborn in the Pure Abodes.] 

“This is one thing proclaimed by the Blessed One who knows and sees, accomplished and fully enlightened, wherein if a bhikkhu abides diligent, ardent, and resolute, his unliberated mind comes to be liberated, his undestroyed taints come to be destroyed, and he attains the supreme security from bondage that he had not attained before.

§ 5. “Again, with the stilling of applied and sustained thought, a bhikkhu enters and abides in the second jhana…He considers this and understands it thus: ‘This second jhana is conditioned and volitionally produced. But whatever is conditioned and volitionally produced is impermanent, subject to cessation.’

Standing upon that, he attains the destruction of the taints. But if he does not attain the destruction of the taints…without ever returning from that world.

“This too is one thing proclaimed by the Blessed One [351]… wherein if a bhikkhu abides diligent, ardent, and resolute…he attains the supreme security from bondage that he had not attained before.

§6. “Again, with the fading away as well of rapture, a bhikkhu… enters upon and abides in the third jhana…He considers this and understands it thus: ‘This third jhana is conditioned and volitionally produced. But whatever is conditioned and volitionally produced is-impermanent, subject to cessation.’

Standing upon that, he attains the destruction of the taints. But if he does not attain the destruction of the taints…without ever returning from that world.

“This too is one thing proclaimed by the Blessed One…

Wherein if a bhikkhu abides diligent, ardent, and resolute…he attains the supreme security from bondage that he had not attained before.

§7. “Again, with the abandoning of pleasure and pain…a bhikkhu enters upon and abides in the fourth jhana.. .He considers this and understands it thus: ‘This fourth jhana is conditioned and volitionally produced. But whatever is conditioned and volitionally produced is impermanent, subject to cessation.’ Standing upon that, he attains the destruction of the taints. But if he does not attain the destruction of the taints…without ever returning from that world.

“This too is one thing proclaimed by the Blessed One… wherein if a bhikkhu abides diligent, ardent, and resolute…he attains the supreme security from bondage that he had not attained before.

§8. “Again, a bhikkhu abides pervading one quarter with a mind imbued with loving-kindness, likewise the second, likewise the third, likewise the fourth; so above, below, around, and everywhere, and to all as to himself, he abides pervading the all encompassing world with a mind imbued with loving-kindness, abundant, exalted, immeasurable, without hostility and without ill will. He considers this and understands it thus: ‘This deliverance of mind through loving-kindness is conditioned and volitionally produced. But whatever is conditioned and volitionally produced is impermanent, subject to cessation.’ Standing upon that, he attains the destruction of the taints. But if he does not attain the destruction of the taints.. .without ever returning from that world.

“This too is one thing proclaimed by the Blessed One… wherein if a bhikkhu abides diligent, ardent, and resolute…he attains the supreme security from bondage that he had not attained before.

§ 9. “Again, a bhikkhu abides pervading one quarter with a mind imbued with compassion…without ill will. He considers this and understands it thus: This deliverance of mind through compassion is conditioned and volitionally produced. But whatever is conditioned and volitionally produced is impermanent, subject to cessation.’ Standing upon that, he attains the destruction of the taints. But if he does not attain the destruction of the taints.. .without ever returning from that world.

“This too is one thing proclaimed by the Blessed One.- wherein if a bhikkhu abides diligent, ardent, and resolute..-he attains the supreme security from bondage that he had not attained before.

§ 10. “Again, a bhikkhu abides pervading one quarter with a mind imbued with appreciative joy…without ill will He considers this and understands it thus: ‘This deliverance of mind through appreciative joy is conditioned and volitionally produced. But whatever is conditioned and volitionally produced is impermanent, subject to cessation.’ Standing upon that, he attains the destruction of the taints. But if he does not attain the destruction of the taints.. .without ever returning from that world.

“This too is one thing proclaimed by the Blessed One… wherein if a bhikkhu abides diligent, ardent, and resolute…he attains the supreme security from bondage that he had not attained before.

§ 11. “Again, a bhikkhu abides pervading one quarter with a mind imbued with equanimity…without ill will. He considers this and understands it thus: ‘This deliverance of mind through equanimity is conditioned and volitionally produced. But whatever is conditioned and volitionally produced is impermanent, [352] subject to cessation.’ Standing upon that, he attains the destruction of the taints. But if he does not attain the destruction of the taints.. .without ever returning from that world.

“This too is one thing proclaimed by the Blessed One… wherein if a bhikkhu abides diligent, ardent, and resolute…he attains the supreme security from bondage that he had not attained before.

§ 12. “Again, with the complete surmounting of perceptions of form, with the disappearance of perceptions of sensory impact, with non-attention to perceptions of diversity, aware that ‘space is infinite,’ a bhikkhu enters upon and abides in the base of infinite space. He considers this and understands it thus: ‘This attainment of the base of infinite space is conditioned and volitionally produced. But whatever is conditioned and volitionally produced is impermanent, subject to cessation.’ Standing upon that, he attains the destruction of the taints. But if he does not attain the destruction of the taints.. .without ever returning from that world.

“This too is one thing proclaimed by the Blessed One… Wherein if a bhikkhu abides diligent, ardent, and resolute…he attains the supreme security from bondage that he had not attained before.

§ 13. “Again, by completely surmounting the base of infinite space, aware that ‘consciousness is infinite,’ a bhikkhu enters upon and abides in the base of infinite consciousness. He considers this and understands it thus: “This attainment of the base of infinite consciousness is conditioned and volitionally produced. But whatever is conditioned and volitionally produced is impermanent, subject to cessation.’ Standing upon that, he attains the destruction of the taints. But if he does not attain the destruction of the taints.. .without ever returning from that world.

“This too is one thing proclaimed by the Blessed One., wherein if a bhikkhu abides diligent, ardent, and resolute…he attains the supreme security from bondage that he had not attained before.

§ 14. “Again, by completely surmounting the base of infinite consciousness, aware that ‘there is nothing,’ a bhikkhu enters upon and abides in the base of nothingness. He considers this and understands it thus: ‘This attainment of the base of nothingness is conditioned and volitionally produced. But whatever is conditioned and volitionally produced is impermanent, subject to cessation.’ Standing upon that, he attains the destruction of the taints. But if he does not attain the destruction of the taints, then because of that desire for the Dhamma, that delight in the Dhamma, with the destruction of the five lower fetters he becomes one due to reappear spontaneously [in the Pure Abodes] and there attain final Nibbana without ever returning from that world.

“This too is one thing proclaimed by the Blessed One who knows and Sees, accomplished and fully enlightened, wherein if a bhikkhu abides diligent, ardent, and resolute, his unliberated mind comes to be liberated, his undestroyed taints come to be destroyed, and he attains the supreme security from bondage that he had not attained before.”554

[554.The base of neither-perception-nor-non-perception is not mentioned because it is too subtle a state for its constituent factors to be used as objects of insight contemplation.]

§ 15. When venerable Ananda had spoken, the householder Dasama of Atthakanagara said to him: “Venerable Ananda, just as if a man seeking one entrance to a hidden treasure came all at once upon eleven [353] entrances to a hidden treasure, so too, while I was seeking one door to the Deathless, I have come all at once to hear of eleven doors to the Deathless.555

[555:-The eleven “doors to the Deathless” are the four jhanas, the four brahmaviharas, and the first three immaterial attainments used as bases for the development of insight and attainment of arahantship]

Just as if a man had a house with eleven doors and when that house caught on fire, he could flee to safety by any one of these eleven doors, so I can flee to safety by any one of these eleven doors to the Deathless. Venerable sir, these sectarians will even seek a teacher’s fee for their teachers; why shouldn’t I make an offering to the venerable Ananda?” built for the venerable Ananda.

§ 16. Then the householder Dasama of Atthakanagara assembled the Sangha of bhikkhus from Pataliputta and Vesali, and with his own hands he served and satisfied them with various kinds of good food. He presented a pair of cloths to each bhikkhu, and he presented a triple robe to the venerable Ananda, and he had a dwelling worth five hundred556

[556 This would be five hundred kahapanas, (Kahawanu)  the latter being  the standard monetary  unit of the time]   

KSRIDHAMM

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