117 The Great Forty

Group of Monks

117 Maha Cattarisaka Sutta

 Track 1 of the Exposition on Sutta by Ven Bodhi Maha Thero

 Track 2 of the Exposition on Sutta by Ven Bodhi Maha Thero

 Track 3  of the Exposition on Sutta by Ven Bodhi Maha Thero

§ 1. THUS HAVE I HEARD.
On one occasion the Blessed One was living 
at Savatthl in Jeta’s Grove,  Anathapindika’s Park. There he addressed the bhikkhus thus: “Bhikkhus.” – “Venerable sir,” they replied. The Blessed One said this:

§ 2. “Bhikkhus, I shall teach you noble right concentration with its supports and its requisites.1099
[Ariyam samma samadhim sa-upanisam saparikkharam.
MA 
explains “noble” here as supramundane, and says that this is the concentration pertaining to the supramundane path. Its “supports and requisites,” as will be shown, are
the other seven path factors]
Listen and attend closely to what I shall say.” –
“Yes, venerable sir,” the bhikkhus replied.

The Blessed One said this:

§ 3. “What, bhikkhus, is noble right concentration with its supports and its requisites, that is, right view, right intention, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, and right mindfulness?
Unification of mind equipped with these seven 
factors is called noble right concentration with its supports and its requisites.

(VIEW) ‘

§ 4. “Therein, bhikkhus, right view comes first.1100
[Pubbangama, lit. “the forerunner. ”
MA says that two 
kinds of right view are forerunners:
the right view of 
insight,
which investigates formations as impermanent, 
suffering, and non-self; and
the right view of the path,

which arises as a consequence of insight and effects the radical destruction of defilements.
The right view of 
insight as the forerunner seems to be shown in §§4, 10,
16, 22 and 28; the right view of the path as forerunner in §§34 and 35.]

And how does right view come first?

One understands wrong view as wrong view and right view as right view:
this is one’s right view.1101
[This statement suggests that in order to acquire right view about the nature of reality, one must first be able to distinguish between wrong and right teachings on the nature of reality. MA says that this is the right view of insight which understands wrong view as an object by penetrating its characteristics of impermanence, etc., and which understands right view by exercising the function of comprehension and by clearing away confusion.]

§ 5. “And what, bhikkhus, is wrong view?
‘There is nothing 
given, nothing offered, nothing sacrificed; no fruit or result of
good and bad actions; no this world, no other world; no mother, no father; no beings who are reborn spontaneously; no [72] good and virtuous recluses and brahmins in the world who have realised for themselves by direct knowledge and declare this world and the other world.’
This is wrong view.

§ 6. “And what, bhikkhus, is right view?
Right view, I say, is 
twofold:

  • there is right view that is affected by taints, partaking of merit, ripening on the side of attachment;1102
    [This is mundane right view, a meritorious factor that conduces to a,favourable rebirth but cannot by itself issue in a transcendence of conditioned existence.]
    and
  • there is right view that is noble, taintless, supramundane, a factor of the path.

§ 7. “And what, bhikkhus, is fight view that is affected by the taints, partaking of merit, ripening on the side of attachment?

  • ‘There is what is given and what is offered and what is sacrificed;
  • there is fruit and result of good and bad actions;
  • there is this world and the other world;
  • there is mother and father;
  • there are beings who are reborn spontaneously;
  • there are in the world good and virtuous recluses and brahmins who have realised for themselves by direct knowledge and declare this world and the
    other world.’

This is right view affected by taints, partaking of merit, ripening on the side of attachment.

§ 8. “And what, bhikkhus, is right view that is noble, taintless, supramundane, a factor of the path?

  • The wisdom,
  • the faculty of wisdom,
  • the power of wisdom,
  • the investigation-of-states enlightenment factor,
  • the path factor of right view in one whose mind is noble, whose mind is taintless, who possesses the noble path and is developing the noble path:1103
    [This definition defines supramundane right view as the wisdom (panna) found among the requisites of enlightenment as a faculty, power, enlightenment factor, and path factor.
    The definition is formulated by way of the cognitive 
    function rather than the objective content of the view. Elsewhere (MN 141.24) the right view of the path is
    defined as knowledge of the Four Noble Truths. We may understand that the conceptual comprehension of the four truths falls under mundane right view, while the direct penetration of the truths by realising Nibbana with the path constitutes supramundane right view.

this is right view that is noble, taintless, supramundane, a factor of the path.

§ 9. “One
(i). makes an effort to abandon wrong view and to enter 
upon right view:
this is one’s right effort.
(ii) Mindfully one abandons 
wrong view,
(iii) mindfully one enters upon and abides in 
right view:
this is one’s right mindfulness.

Thus these three states run and circle around right view, that is, right view, right effort, and right mindfulness.1104
[MA: They accompany right view as its co-existents and precursors. Right effort and right mindfulness are co-existent with supramundane right view; the right view of insight is the precursor of supramundane right view.]

(INTENTION)

§ 10. “Therein, bhikkhus, right view comes first.
And how does 
right view come first?
One understands wrong intention as 
wrong intention and right intention as right intention: this i’s one’s [73] right view.1105
[MA explains this as the right view of insight which understands right intention by way of its function and by clearing away confusion. It seems, though, that a more elementary discrimination of the two kinds of intention is the issue.]

§ 11. “And what, bhikkhus, is wrong intention?

  • The intention of sensual desire,
  • the intention of ill will, and
  • the intention of cruelty:

this is wrong intention.

§ 12. “And what, bhikkhus, is right intention?

Right intention, I say, is twofold:

  • there is right intention that is affected by taints, partaking of merit, ripening on the side of attachment, and
  • there is right intention that is noble, taintless, supramundane, a factor of the path.

§ 13. “And what, bhikkhus, is right intention that is affected by taints, partaking of merit, ripening on the side of attachment?

  • The intention of renunciation,
  • the intention of non-ill will, and 
  • the intention of non-cruelty:1106
    [This is the standard definition of right intention as a factor of the Noble Eightfold Path; see MN 141.25]

this is right intention that is affected by taints.. .on the side of attachment.

§ 14. “And what, bhikkhus, is right intention that is noble, taintless, supramundane, a factor of the path?

The thinking, thought, intention, mental absorption, mental fixity, directing of mind,
verbal formation in one whose mind is noble, whose mind is taintless, who possesses the noble path and is developing the noble path:1107 [In this definition, the factor of intention (sankappa) is identified with applied thought (vitakka), which is further
specified as the factor responsible for absorption by fixing and directing the mind upon its object. For applied thought as “verbal formation,” see MN 44.15]

This is right intention that is noble…a factor of the path.

§ 15. “One makes an effort to abandon wrong intention and to enter upon right intention: this is one’s right effort.
Mindfully 
one abandons wrong intention,
mindfully one enters upon and 
abides in right intention:
this is one’s right mindfulness.

Thus these three states run and circle around right intention, that is, right view, right effort, and right mindfulness.1108
[MA: This statement refers exclusively to the co-existent factors accompanying  supramundane right intention. In the preliminary phase of the practice, the three mundane right intentions arise separately, but at the moment of the supramundane path, a single right intention arises cutting off the threefold wrong intention. Thus the supramundane right intention may also be described as the intention of renunciation, non-ill will, and non-cruelty. The same method applies to right speech, etc.]

(SPEECH)

§ 16. “Therein, bhikkhus, right view comes first.
And how does 
right view come first?

  • One understands wrong speech as wrong speech and
  • right speech as right speech:

this is one’s right view.

§ 17. “And what, bhikkhus, is wrong speech?

  • .False speech,
  • malicious speech,
  • harsh speech, and
  • gossip:

this is wrong speech..

§ 18. “And what, bhikkhus, is right speech?

Right speech, I say, is twofold:

  • there is right speech that is affected by taints, partaking of merit, ripening on the side of attachment;
  • and there is [74] right speech that is noble, taintless, supramundane, a factor of
    the path.

§ 19. “And what, bhikkhus, is right speech that is affected by taints, partaking of merit, ripening on the side of attachment?

  • Abstinence from false speech,
  • abstinence from malicious speech, 
  • abstinence from harsh speech,
  • abstinence from gossip:

this is right speech that is affected by taints.. .on the side of attachment.

§ 20. “And what, bhikkhus, is right speech that is noble, taintless, supramundane, a factor of the path?

The desisting from the four kinds of verbal misconduct, the abstaining, refraining,
abstinence from them in one whose mind is noble, whose mind is taintless, who  possesses the noble path and is developing the noble path:1109
[Whereas mundane right speech is exercised in four different modes according to the type of wrong speech from which there is abstinence, on the occasion of the supramundane
path, the single factor of right speech exercises the fourfold function of cutting off the tendencies towards the four kinds of wrong speech. The same principle applies to right action]
this is right speech that is noble…a factor of the path.

§  21. “

  • One makes an effort to abandon wrong speech and to enter upon right speech: this is one’s right effort.
  • Mindfully one abandons wrong speech,
  • mindfully one enters upon and abides in right speech:

this is one’s right mindfulness.

Thus these three states run and circle around right speech, that is, right view,
right effort, and right mindfulness.

(ACTION)

§  22. “Therein, bhikkhus, right view comes first.
And how does 
right view come first?

  • One understands wrong action as wrong action and
  • right action as right action: this is one’s right view.

§ 23. “And what, bhikkhus, is wrong action? Killing living
beings, taking what is not given, and misconduct in sensual
pleasures: this is wrong action.

§ 24. “And what, bhikkhus, is right action?

Right action, I say, is twofold:

  • there is right action that is affected by taints, partaking of merit, ripening on the side of attachment; and
  • there is right action that is noble, taintless, supramundane, a factor of the path.

§ 25. “And what, bhikkhus, is right action that is affected by taints, partaking of merit, ripening on the side of attachment?

  • Abstinence from killing living beings,
  • abstinence from taking what is not given,
  • abstinence from misconduct in sensual pleasures:

this is right action that is affected by taints.. .on the side of attachment.

§ 26. “And what, bhikkhus, is right action that is noble, taintless, supramundane, a factor of the path?

The desisting from the three kinds of bodily misconduct, the abstaining, refraining, abstinence from them in one whose mind is noble, whose mind is taintless, who possesses the noble path and is developing the noble path:
this is right action [75] that is noble.. .a factor of the path.

§ 27.

  • “One makes an effort to abandon wrong action and to enter upon right action: this is one’s right effort.
  • Mindfully one abandons wrong action,
  • mindfully one enters upon right action:
    this is one’s right mindfulness.

Thus these three states run and circle around right action, that is, right view, right effort, and right mindfulness.

(LIVELIHOOD)

§ 28. “Therein, bhikkhus, right view comes first.
And how does 
right view come first?

  • One understands wrong livelihood as wrong livelihood and 
  • right livelihood as right livelihood: this is one’s right view.

§ 29. “And what, bhikkhus, is wrong livelihood?

Scheming, talking, hinting, belittling, pursuing gain with gain:
this is 
wrong livelihood.1110
[These are wrong means for bhikkhus to acquire their requisites; they are explained at Vsm I, 61-65. MA says that those mentioned in the sutta are not the only kinds of wrong livelihood, which include any mode of earning one’s living that involves transgression of the precepts. At AN 5:177 /iii.208, the Buddha mentions five kinds of wrong livelihood for lay people: dealing in arms, beings, meat, intoxicants, and poisons.]

§ 30. “And what, bhikkhus, is right livelihood?

Right livelihood, I say, is twofold:

  • there is right livelihood that is affected by taints, partaking of merit, ripening on the side of attachment; and
  • there is right livelihood that is noble, taintless, supramundane, a factor of the path.

§ 31. “And what, bhikkhus, is right livelihood that is affected by taints, partaking of merit, ripening on the side of attachment?

Here, bhikkhus, a noble disciple abandons wrong livelihood and gains his living by right livelihood: this is right livelihood that is affected by taints.. .on the side of attachment.

§ 32. “And what, bhikkhus, is right livelihood that is noble, taintless, supramundane, a factor of the path?

The desisting from wrong livelihood, the abstaining, refraining, abstinence from it in one whose mind is noble, whose mind is taintless, who possesses the noble path and is developing the noble path: this is right livelihood that is noble…a factor of the path.

§ 33. “One makes an effort to abandon wrong livelihood and to enter upon right livelihood: this is one’s right effort.
Mindfully 
one abandons wrong livelihood,
mindfully one enters upon 
right livelihood: this is one’s right mindfulness.

Thus these three states rim and circle around right livelihood, that is, right view,
right effort, and right mindfulness.

(THE GREAT FORTY)

§ 34. “Therein, bhikkhus, right view comes first.
And how does 
right view come first? [76]

  • In one of right view, right intention comes into being;1111
    [MA explains that for one having the right view of the path, the right intention of the path comes into being similarly, for one having the right view of the fruit, the right intention of the fruit comes into being. Similarly, the following factors except the last two also refer to the supramundane path.] 
  • in one of right intention, right speech comes into being; in one of right speech, right action comes into being;
  • in one of right action, right livelihood comes into being; 
  • in one of right livelihood, right effort comes into being;
  • in one of right effort, right mindfulness comes into being;
  • in one of right mindfulness, right concentration comes into being;
  • in one of right concentration, right knowledge comes into being;
  • in one of right knowledge, right deliverance comes into being.

Thusbhikkhus, the path of the disciple in higher training possesses
eight factors, the arahant possesses ten factors.1112
[The additional two factors possessed by the arahant are right knowledge, which can be identified with his reviewing knowledge that he has destroyed all the defilements, and right deliverance, which can be identified with his experience of liberation from all defilements ]

§ 35. “Therein, bhikkhus, right view comes first.
And how does 
right view come first?

  • In one of right view, wrong view is abolished, and the many evil unwholesome states that originate with wrong view as condition are also abolished, and the many wholesome states that originate with right view as condition come to fulfilment by development. 
  • “In one of right intention, wrong intention is abolished, and the many evil unwholesome states that originate with wrong intention as condition are also abolished, and the many wholesome states that originate with right intention as condition come to fulfilment by development.
  • “In one of right speech, wrong speech is abolished…
  • In one of right action, wrong action is abolished…
  • In one of right livelihood, wrong livelihood is abolished [77]…
  • In one of right effort, wrong effort is abolished…
  • In one of right mindfulness, wrong mindfulness is abolished…
  • In one of right concentration, wrong concentration is abolished…
  • In one of right knowledge, wrong knowledge is abolished…
  • In one of right deliverance, wrong deliverance is abolished, and the many evil unwholesome states that originate with wrong deliverance as condition are also abolished, and the many wholesome states that originate with right deliverance as condition come to fulfilment by development.

§ 36. “Thus, bhikkhus, there are twenty factors on the side of the wholesome, and twenty factors on the side of the unwholesome. 1113
[The twenty factors on the wholesome side are the ten right factors and the wholesome states that originate from each; the twenty factors on the unwholesome side are the ten wrong factors and the unwholesome states that originate from each. Hence the name “The Great Forty.”]

This Dhamma discourse on the Great Forty has been set rolling and cannot be stopped by any recluse or brahmin or god or Mara or Brahma or anyone in the world.

§ 37. “Bhikkhus, if any recluse or brahmin thinks that this Dhamma discourse on the Great Forty should be censured and rejected, then there are ten legitimate deductions from his assertions that would provide grounds for censuring him here and now.

  • If that worthy one censures right view, then he would honour and praise those recluses and brahmins who are of wrong view.
  • If that worthy one censures right intention, [78] then he would honour and praise those recluses and brahmins who are of wrong intention.
  • If that worthy one censures right speech…
  • If that worthy one censures right action…
  • If that worthy one censures right livelihood…
  • If that worthy one censures right effort…
  • If that worthy one censures right mindfulness. 
  • If that worthy one censures . .right concentration.. .
  • If that worthy one censures right knowledge.. .
  • If that worthy one censures right deliverance,..
    then he would honour and praise those recluses and brahmins who are of wrong deliverance.

If any recluse or brahmin thinks that this Dhamma discourse on the Great Forty should be censured and rejected, then these are ten legitimate deductions from his assertions that would provide grounds for censuring him here and now.

§ 38. “Bhikkhus, even those teachers from Okkala, Vassa and Bhanna,1114
[MA says only that these two were individuals who lived in the country of Okkala. Otherwise their identity is unknown.] 
who held the doctrine of non-causality, the doctrine of non-doing, and the doctrine of nihilism, would not think that this Dhamma discourse on the Great Forty should be censured and rejected. Why is that? For fear of blame, attack, and confutation.”

That is what the Blessed One said.
The bhikkhus were satisfied 
and delighted in the Blessed One’s words.

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