022 Simile of The Water Snake

MN 01-03-02
Alagaddupama Sutta

cibo00_Ancient_Mexico_Motif_11

This sutta with a fine introduction and detailed notes is available in a translation by Nyanaponika Thera,The Discourse on the Snake Simile

 

Talk 1
Talk 2
Talk 3
Talk 4
Talk 5
SETTING

§  1. THUS HAVE I HEARD.
On one occasion the Blessed One was living at Savatthi in Jeta’s Grove, Anathapindika’s Park.

§ 2. Now on that occasion a pernicious view had arisen in a bhikkhu named Arittha, formerly of the vulture killers, thus:
“As I understand the Dhamma taught by the Blessed One, those things called obstructions by the Blessed One are not able to obstruct one who engages in them.”249

[249: In making this assertion he directly contradicts the third of the four intrepidities of the Tathagata – see MN 12.25.
According to MA, while reflecting in seclusion he came to the conclusion that there would be no harm if bhikkhus were to engage in sexual relations with women and he  maintained that this should not be prohibited by the monastic rules. Though his statement does not expressly mention the sexual issue, the similes about sensual pleasures brought forth by the bhikkhus lend credence to the commentary.]

§ 3. Several bhikkhus, having heard about this, went to the bhikkhu Arittha and asked him: “Friend Arittha, is it true that such a pernicious view has arisen in you?”
“Exactly so, friends. As I understand the Dhamma taught by the Blessed One, those things called obstructions by the Blessed One are not able to obstruct one who engages in them.”
Then these bhikkhus, desiring to detach him from that pernicious view, pressed and questioned and cross-questioned him thus:
“Friend Arittha, do not say so. Do not misrepresent the Blessed One; it is not good to misrepresent the Blessed One. The Blessed One would not speak thus. For in many discourses the Blessed One has stated how obstructive filings are obstructions, and how they are able to obstruct one who engages in them.
The Blessed One has stated how sensual pleasures provide little gratification, much suffering, and much despair, and how great is the danger in them.
With the simile of the skeleton…
with the simile of the piece of meat…
with the simile of the grass torch.. .
with the simile of the pit of coals.. .
with the simile of the dream.. .
with the simile of the borrowed goods.. .
with the simile of the tree laden with fruit…
with the simile of the slaughterhouse…

with the simile of the sword stake…
with the simile of the snake’s head,
the Blessed One has stated how sensual pleasures provide little gratification, much suffering, and much despair, and how great is the danger in them.”250

[250:- The first seven similes for sense pleasures are expanded upon at MN 54.15-21]

Yet although pressed and questioned and cross-questioned by them in this way, the bhikkhu Arittha, formerly of the vulture killers, still obstinately adhered to that pernicious view and continued to insist upon it.

§ 4. Since the bhikkhus were unable to detach him [131] from that pernicious view, they went to the Blessed One, and after paying homage to him, they sat down at one side and told him all that had occurred, adding:
“Venerable sir, since we could not detach the bhikkhu Arittha, formerly of the vulture killers, from this pernicious view, we have reported this matter to the Blessed One.”

§ 5. Then the Blessed One addressed a certain bhikkhu thus:
“Come, bhikkhu, tell the bhikkhu Arittha, formerly of the vulture killers, in my name that the Teacher calls him.” – [132] “Yes, venerable sir,” he replied, and he went to the bhikkhu Arittha and told him: “The Teacher calls you, friend Arittha.”
“Yes, friend,” he replied, and he went to the Blessed One, and after paying homage to him, sat down at one side. The Blessed One then asked him: “Arittha, is it true that the following pernicious view has arisen in you:
‘As I understand the Dhamma taught by the Blessed One, those things called obstructions by the Blessed One are not able to obstruct one who engages in them’?”

“Exactly so, venerable sir. As I understand the Dhamma taught by the Blessed One, those things called obstructions by the Blessed One are not able to obstruct one who engages in them.”

§ 6. “Misguided man, to whom have you ever known me to teach the Dhamma in that way? Misguided man, in many discourses have I not stated how obstructive things are obstructions, and how they are able to obstruct one who engages in them?

I have stated how sensual pleasures provide little gratification, much suffering, and much despair, and how great is the danger in them.
With the simile of the skeleton.-.
with the simile of the piece of meat.. .
with the simile of the grass torch.. .
with the simile of the pit of coals.. .
with the simile of the dream.. .
with the simile of the borrowed goods…
with the simile of the tree laden with fruit.. .
with the simile of the slaughterhouse.. .
with the simile of the sword stake…
with the simile of the snake’s head,
I have stated how sensual pleasures provide little gratification, much suffering, and much despair, and how great is the danger in them. But you, misguided man, have misrepresented us by your wrong grasp and injured yourself and stored up much demerit; for this will lead to your harm and suffering for a long time.”251

[251:- This first part of the Arittha episode occurs twice in the Vinaya Pitaka.
At Vin ii.25 it leads to the Sangha announcing an act of suspension (ukkhepaniya-kamma) against Ari!tha for refusing to give up his wrong view.

At Vin iv.133-34 his refusal to give up his wrong view after repeated admonitions is defined as a monastic offence of the Pacittiya class.]

§  7. Then the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus thus:
“Bhikkhus, what do you think? Has this bhikkhu Arittha, formerly of the vulture killers, kindled even a spark of wisdom in this Dhamma and Discipline?”
“How could he, venerable sir? No, venerable sir.”
When this was said, the bhikkhu Arittha, formerly of the vulture killers, sat silent, dismayed, with shoulders drooping and head down, glum, and without response. Then, knowing this, the Blessed One told him:
“Misguided man, you will be recognised by your own pernicious view. I shall question the bhikkhus on this matter.”

§. 8. Then the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus thus:
“Bhikkhus, [133] do you understand the Dhamma taught by me as this bhikkhu Arittha, formerly of the vulture killers, does when he misrepresents us by his wrong grasp and injures himself and stores up much demerit?”
“No, venerable sir. For in many discourses the Blessed One has stated how obstructive things are obstructions, and how they are able to obstruct one who engages in them. The Blessed One has stated how sensual pleasures provide little gratification, much suffering, and much despair, and how great is the danger in them.  With the simile of the skeleton…with the simile of the snake’s head, the blessed One has stated…how great is the danger in them.”

“Good, bhikkhus. It is good that you understand the Dhamma taught by me thus. For in many discourses I have stated how obstructive things are obstructions, and how they are able to obstruct one who engages in them.

I have stated how sensual pleasures provide little gratification, much suffering, and much despair, and how great is the danger in them. With the simile of the skeleton…with the simile of the snake’s head, I have stated…how great is the danger in them. But this bhikkhu Arittha, formerly of the vulture killers, misrepresents us by his wrong grasp and injures himself and stores up much demerit; for this will lead to this misguided man’s harm and suffering for a long time.

§ 9. “Bhikkhus, that one can engage in sensual pleasures without sensual desires, without perceptions of sensual desire, without thoughts of sensual desire – that is impossible.252

[252:- Though the Pali uses the one word kiima in all four cases, from the context the first phrase must be understood to refer to objective sensual pleasures, i.e., sensually enjoyable objects, the other phrases to refer to subjective defilements connected with sensuality, i .e., sensual desire. MA glosses “that one can engage in sensual pleasures”
with “that one can indulge in sexual intercourse.”
MT says that other physical acts expressive of sexual desire such as hugging and stroking should be included]

snake-5

THE SIMILE OF THE SNAKE

§ 10. “Here, bhikkhus, some misguided men learn the Dhamma -discourses, stanzas, expositions, verses, exclamations, sayings, birth stories, marvels, and answers to questions –
but having learned the Dhamma, they do not examine the meaning of those teachings with wisdom.

Not examining the meaning of those teachings with wisdom, they do not gain a reflective acceptance of them. Instead they learn the Dhamma only for the sake of criticising others and for winning in debates, and they do not experience the good for the sake of which they learned the Dhamma. Those teachings, being wrongly grasped by them, conduce to their harm and suffering for a long time.253


[253-MA explains that this passage is stated in order to show the fault in wrongly motivated acquisition of intellectual knowledge of the Dharnma – apparently the pitfall into which AriHha fell. The “good (attha) for the sake of which they learned the Dhamma” is the paths and fruits]

“Suppose a man needing a snake, seeking a snake, wandering in search of a snake, saw a large snake and grasped its coils or its tail. It would turn back on him and bite his hand or his arm or one of his limbs, [134] and because of that he would come to death or deadly suffering.
Why is that?

Because of his wrong   grasp of the snake. So too, here some misguided men learn the Dhamma…

Those teachings, being wrongly grasped by them, conduce to their harm and suffering for a long time.

§ 11. “Here, bhikkhus, some clansmen learn the Dhamma -discourses…answers to questions – and having learned the Dhamma, they examine the meaning of those teachings with wisdom.

Examining the meaning of those teachings with wisdom, they gain a reflective acceptance of them. They do not learn the Dhamma for the sake of criticising others and for winning in debates, and they experience the good for the sake of which they learned the Dhamma. Those teachings, being rightly grasped by them, conduce to their welfare and happiness for a long time.

“Suppose a man needing a snake, seeking a snake, wandering in search of a snake, saw a large snake and caught it rightly with a cleft stick, and having done so, grasped it rightly by the neck. Then although the snake might wrap its coils round his hand or his arm or his limbs, still he would not come to death or deadly suffering because of that. Why is that? Because of his right grasp of the snake. So too, here some clansmen learn the Dhamma…
Those teachings, being rightly grasped by them, conduce to their welfare and happiness for a long time.

§  12. “Therefore, bhikkhus, when you understand the meaning of my statements, remember it accordingly; and when you do not understand the meaning of my statements, then ask either me about it or those bhikkhus who are wise.

THE SIMILE OF THE RAFT
Raft

§  13. “Bhikkhus, I shall show you how the Dhamma is similar to a raft, being for the purpose of crossing over, not for the purpose of grasping.254

[254:- This famous “simile of the raft” continues the same argument against misuse of learning introduced by the simile of the snake. One who is preoccupied with using the Dhamma to stir up controversy and win debates carries the Dhamma around on his head instead of using it to cross the flood.]

Listen and attend closely to what I shall say.” –
“Yes, venerable sir,” the bhikkhus replied.
The Blessed One said this:

“Bhikkhus, suppose a man in the course of a journey saw a great expanse of water, whose near shore was dangerous and fearful and whose further shore was safe and free from fear, but there was no ferryboat or bridge going to the far shore. [135]

Then he thought: ‘There is this great expanse of water, whose near shore is dangerous and fearful and whose further shore is safe and free from fear, but there is no ferryboat or bridge going to the far shore. Suppose I collect grass, twigs, branches, and leaves and bind them together into a raft, and supported by the raft and making an effort with my hands and feet, I got safely across to the far shore.’

And then the man collected grass, twigs, branches, and leaves and bound them together into a raft, and supported by the raft and making an effort with his hands and feet, he got safely across to the far shore. Then, when he had got across and had arrived at the far shore, he might think thus:
This raft has been very helpful to me, since supported by it and making an effort with my hands and feet, I got safely across to the far shore. Suppose I were to hoist it on my head or load it on my shoulder, and then go wherever I want.

Now, bhikkhus, 
what do you think? By doing so, would that man be doing what should be done with that raft?”
“No, venerable sir.”
“By doing what would that man be doing what should be done with that raft?

Here, bhikkhus,
when that man got across and had arrived at the far shore, he might think thus:
‘This raft has been very helpful to me, since supported by it and making an effort with my hands and feet, I got safely across to the far shore. Suppose I were to haul it onto the dry land or set it adrift in the water, and then go wherever I want.’

Now, bhikkhus, it is by so doing that that man would be doing what should be done
with that raft. So I have shown you how the Dhamma is similar to a raft, being for the purpose of crossing over, not for the purpose of grasping.

§ 14. “Bhikkhus, when you know the Dhamma to be similar to a raft, you should abandon even good states, how much more so bad states.255 ,

[255:- Dhamma pi vo pahatabba pageva adhamma.
The word dhammā is ambiguous here.
MA identifies the good states with serenity and insight (samatha-vipassana), and paraphrases the meaning: “I teach, bhikkhus, even the abandoning of desire and attachment to such peaceful and sublime states as serenity and insight, how much more so to that low, vulgar, contemptible, coarse, and impure thing that this foolish Arittha sees as harmless when he says that there is no obstruction in desire and lust for the five cords of sensual pleasure.”
The commentator cites MN 66.26-33 as an example of the Buddha teaching the abandonment of attachment to serenity, MN 38.14 as an example of his teaching the abandonment of attachment to insight. Note that it is in each case the attachment to the good states that ·should be abandoned, not the good states themselves. The Buddha’s injunction is not an invitation to moral nihilism or a proposal that the enlightened person has gone beyond good and evil. In this connection see MN 76.51.]

STANDPOINTS FOR VIEWS

§ 15. “Bhikkhus, there are these six standpoints for views 256

[256:- This section evidently has the purpose of forestalling another type of misconception and misrepresentation of the Dharnma, i.e., the introduction of a view of self into the teaching. According to MA, standpoints for views (ditthit thaana) are wrong views themselves as grounds for other more elaborate wrong views; the objects of views,
i.e., the five aggregates; and the conditions for views, i.e., such factors as ignorance, perverted perception, and false thoughts, etc]

What are the six?
Here, bhikkhus, an untaught ordinary person, who has no regard for noble ones and is unskilled and undisciplined in their Dhamma, who has no regard for true men and is unskilled and undisciplined in their Dhamma, regards material form thus:

‘This is mine, this I am, this is my self.’257

[257:- MA states that the notion “this is mine” is induced by craving, the notion “this I am” by conceit, and the notion “this is my self” by wrong views. These three – craving, conceit, and views – are called the three obsessions (gaaha). They are also the mainsprings behind conceiving (MN 1) and mental proliferation (MN 18).]

He regards feeling thus: ‘This is mine, this I am, this is my self.’
He regards perception thus: ‘This is mine, this I am, this is my self.’
He regards formations thus: ‘This is mine, this I am, this is my self.’

He regards what is seen, heard, sensed, cognized, encountered, sought, mentally pondered thus: “This is mine, this I am, this is my self.’258

[258:-This series of terms shows the aggregate of consciousness indirectly, by way of its object. The “seen” points to eye-consciousness, the “heard” to ear-consciousness, the “sensed” to the other three kinds of sense consciousness, and the remaining terms to mind-consciousness.]

And this standpoint for views, namely, ‘This is self, this the world; after death I shall be permanent, everlasting, eternal, not subject to change; [136] I shall endure as long as eternity’ – this too he regards thus: ‘This is mine, this I am, this is my self.’259


[259:- This is a full-fledged eternalist view arisen on the basis of one of the earlier, more rudimentary types of personality view; here it becomes itself an object of craving, conceit, and the false view of self. Ven. Nyanaponika contends that this view expresses the identity of the self with the universe, though this interpretation is purely hypothetical as the Pali is ambiguous and could just as well be pointing to a fundamental dualism of self and world along the lines of Sankhya philosophy with its distinction between changeable Nature (prak. ti) and changeless Spirit (puru”a)]

§ 16. “Bhikkhus, a well-taught noble disciple who has regard for noble ones and is skilled and disciplined in their Dhamma, who has regard for true men and is skilled and disciplined in their Dhamma, regards material form thus:
‘This is not mine, this I am not, this is not my self.’
He regards feeling thus: ‘This is not mine, this I am not, this is not my self.’
He regards perception thus: ‘This is not mine, this I am not, this is not my self.’
He regards formations thus: ‘This is not mine, this I am not, this is not my self.’
He regards what is seen, heard, sensed, cognized encountered, sought, mentally pondered thus: ‘This is not mine, this I am not, this is not my self.’
And this standpoint for views, namely,
‘This is self, this the world; after death I shall be permanent, everlasting, eternal, not subject to change; I shall endure as long as eternity’ – this too he regards thus: “This is not mine, this I am not, this is not my self.’

§ 17. “Since he regards them thus, he is not agitated about what is non-existent.”260

[260:- Asati na paritassati. The noun form paritassanii, according to MA, has the twofold connotation of fear and craving, thus “agitation” was chosen as comprehending both. Agitation about what is non-existent externally (§18) refers to the worldling’s despair over the loss or nonacquisition of possessions; agitation about what is nonexistent internally (§20) to the etemalist’s despair when he misinterprets the Buddha’s teaching on Nibbana as a doctrine of annihilation]
 

AGITATION

§18. When this was said, a certain bhikkhu asked the Blessed One:
“Venerable sir, can there be agitation about what is nonexistent externally?”

“There can be, bhikkhu,” the Blessed One said.
“Here, bhikkhu, someone thinks thus:
‘Alas, I had it! Alas, I have it no longer! Alas, may I have it! Alas, I do not get it!’ Then he sorrows, grieves, and laments, he weeps beating his breast and becomes distraught. That is how there is agitation about what is non-existent externally.”

§ 19. “Venerable sir, can there be no agitation about what is non-existent externally?”
“There can be, bhikkhu,” the Blessed One said.
“Here, bhikkhu, someone does not think thus: ‘Alas I had it! Alas, I have it no longer! Alas, may I have it! Alas, I do not get it!’

Then he does not sorrow, grieve, and lament, he does not weep beating his breast and become distraught. That is how there is no agitation about what is non-existent externally.”

§ 20. “Venerable sir, can there be agitation about what is nonexistent internally?”
“There can be, bhikkhu,” the Blessed One said.

“Here, bhikkhu, someone has the view: ‘This is self, this the world; after death I shall be permanent, everlasting, eternal, not subject to change; I shall endure as long as eternity.’ He hears the Tathagata or a disciple of the Tathagata teaching the Dhamma for the elimination of all standpoints, decisions, obsessions, adherences, and underlying tendencies, for the stilling of all formations, for the relinquishing of all attachments, for the destruction of craving, for dispassion, for cessation, for Nibbana.

He [137] thinks thus: ‘So I shall be annihilated! So I shall perish! So I shall be no more!’ Then he sorrows, grieves, and laments, he weeps beating his breast and becomes distraught. That is how there is agitation about what is non-existent internally.”

§ 21. “Venerable sir, can there be no agitation about what is non-existent internally?”
“There can be, bhikkhu,” the Blessed One said.
“Here, bhikkhu, someone does not have the view:

‘This is self…I shall endure as long as eternity.’ He hears the Tathagata or a disciple of the Tathagata teaching the Dhamma for the elimination of all standpoints, decisions, obsessions, adherences, and underlying tendencies, for the stilling of all formations, for the relinquishing of all attachments, for the destruction of craving, for dispassion, for cessation, for Nibbana.

He does not think thus: ‘So I shall be annihilated! So. I shall perish! So I shall be no more!’ Then he does not sorrow, grieve, and lament, he does not weep beating his breast and become distraught. That is how there is no agitation about what is non-existent internally.

IMPERMANENCE AND NOT SELF

§ 22. “Bhikkhus, you may well acquire that possession that is permanent, everlasting, eternal, not subject to change, and that might endure as long as eternity.261

[261:-Pariggaham parigm;heyyatha, lit. “you may possess that possession.” This links up with §18 on agitation about external possessions]

But do you see any such possession, bhikkhus?” –
“No, venerable sir.” –
“Good, bhikkhus. I too do not see any possession that is permanent, everlasting, eternal, not subject to change, and that might endure as long as eternity.

§ 23. “Bhikkhus, you may well cling to that doctrine of self that Would not arouse sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief, and despair in one who clings to it 262

[Attavtidupiidanam upadiyetha, lit. “you may cling to that clinging to a doctrine of self.” On the problem this idiom involves for translation, see n.176.
176 The Pali idiom, n’eva kamupadanarh upadiyati, would have to be rendered literally as “he does not cling to the clinging to sense pleasures,” which may obscure the sense rather than convey it. Upadana in Pali is the object of its own verb form, while “clinging” in English is not. At one stage in his translation Nm tried to circumvent this problem by borrowing the word upadana’s other meaning of “fuel” and translating: “he no longer clings to sensual desires [as fuel for] clinging.” This, however, also border? on obscurity, and I have therefore attempted to cut through the difficulty by translating directly in accordance with the sense rather than in conformity with the literal idiom.

This passage links up with §20 on agitation arising from a view of self]

But do you see any such doctrine of self, bhikkhus?” –
“No, venerable sir.” –
“Good, bhikkhus. I too do not see any doctrine of self that would not arouse sorrow,

lamentation, pain, grief, and despair in one who clings to it.

§ 24. “Bhikkhus, you may well take as a support that view that would not arouse sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief, and despair in one who takes it as a support.263

[263:-The support of views (ditthinissaya), according to MA, is the sixty-two views mentioned in the Brahmajala Sutta (DN 1), which emerge from personality view or “doctrine of a self.” It might also include the pernicious view adopted by Arittha at the beginning of the sutta]

But do you see any such support of views, bhikkhus?” –
“No, venerable sir.” –
“Good, bhikkhus. I too do not see any support of views [138] that would  not arouse sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief, and despair in one who takes it as a support.

§ 25. “Bhikkhus, there being a self, would there be what belongs to my self?”264

[264 :- The notion “what belongs to self” or “self’s property” (attaniya) is ascribed to whichever among the five aggregates are not identified as self, as well as to all the individual’s external possessions. This passage shows the mutual dependence, and thus the equal untenability, of the twin notions “I” and “mine.”]

“Yes, venerable sir.” – “Or, there being what belongs to a self, would there be my self?” –
“Yes, venerable sir.” –
“Bhikkhus, since a self and what belongs to a self are not apprehended as true and established, then this standpoint for views, namely, ‘This is self, this the world; after death I shall be permanent, everlasting, eternal, not subject to change; I shall
endure as long as eternity’ – would it not be an utterly and completely foolish teaching?”
“What else could it be, venerable sir? It would be an utterly and completely foolish teaching.”

§ 26. “Bhikkhus, what do you think? Is material form permanent or impermanent?” –
“Impermanent, venerable sir.” –
“Is what is impermanent suffering or happiness?” –

“Suffering, venerable sir.” –
“Is what is impermanent, suffering, and subject to change, fit to be regarded thus: ‘This is mine, this I am, this is my self?” –

“No, venerable sir.”

“Bhikkhus, what do you think?
Is feeling…
Is perception…
Are formations…
Is consciousness permanent or impermanent?”
– “Impermanent, venerable sir.” –

“Is what is impermanent suffering or happiness?” –
“Suffering, venerable sir.” –
“Is what is impermanent, suffering, and subject to change, fit to be regarded thus: ‘This is mine, this I am, this is my self’?” –

“No, venerable sir.”

§ 27. “Therefore, bhikkhus, any kind of material form whatever, whether past, future, or present, internal or external, [139] gross or subtle, inferior or superior, far or near, all material form should be seen as it actually is with proper wisdom thus:

This is not mine, this I am not, this is not my self.’
Any kind of feeling whatever…Any kind of perception whatever…Any kind of formations whatever…Any kind of consciousness whatever, whether past, future, or present, internal or external, gross or subtle, inferior or superior, far or near, all consciousness should be seen as it actually is with proper wisdom thus: ‘This is not mine, this I am not, this is not my self.’

§ 28. “Seeing thus, bhikkhus, a well-taught noble disciple becomes disenchanted with material form, disenchanted with feeling, disenchanted with perception, disenchanted with formations, disenchanted with consciousness.

§ 29. “Being disenchanted, he becomes dispassionate. Through dispassion [his mind] is liberated.265

[265:-According to the commentaries, disenchantment (nibbid̄ā, also rendered “revulsion” or “disgust”) signifies the culminating stages of insight, dispassion (virāga) the attainment of the supramundane path, and liberation (vimutti) the
fruit. The arahant’s reviewing knowledge (paccavekkhaṇañāṇa ) is shown by the phrase “there comes the knowledge” and “he understands: ‘Birth is destroyed…’.”
]

When it is liberated there comes the knowledge: ‘It is liberated.’
He understands: ‘Birth is destroyed, the holy life has been lived, what had to be done has been done, there is no more coming to any state of being.’

THE ARAHANT

§ 30. “Bhikkhus, this bhikkhu is called one whose shaft has been lifted, whose trench has been filled in, whose pillar has been uprooted, one who has no bar, a noble one whose banner is lowered, whose burden is lowered, who is unfettered.

§ 31. “And how is the bhikkhu one whose shaft has been lifted?
Here the bhikkhu has abandoned ignorance, has cut it off at the root, made it like a palm stump, done away with it, so that it is no longer subject to future arising. That is how the bhikkhu is one whose shaft has been lifted.

§ 32. “And how is the bhikkhu one whose trench has been filled in?

Here the bhikkhu has abandoned the round of births that brings renewed being, has cut it off at the root…so that it is no longer subject to future arising. That is how the bhikkhu is one whose trench has been filled in.

§ 33. “And how is the bhikkhu one whose pillar has been uprooted?

Here the bhikkhu has abandoned craving, has cut it off at the root…so that it is no longer subject to future arising.
That is how the bhikkhu is one whose pillar has been uprooted.

§ 34. “And how is the bhikkhu one who has no bar?

Here the bhikkhu has abandoned the five lower fetters, has cut them off at the root…so that they are no longer subject to future arising.
That is how the bhikkhu is one who has no bar.

§ 35. “And how is the bhikkhu a noble one whose banner is lowered, whose burden is lowered, who is unfettered?

Here a bhikkhu has abandoned the conceit ‘I am,’ has cut it off at the root [140]…so that it is no longer subject to future arising. That is how the bhikkhu is a noble one whose banner is lowered, whose burden is lowered, who is unfettered.

§ 36. “Bhikkhus, when the gods with Indra, with Brahma and with Pajapati seek a bhikkhu who is thus liberated in mind, they do not find [anything of which they could say]: “The consciousness of one thus gone is supported by this.’ Why is that? One thus
gone, I say, is untraceable here and now.266

[266:- “Thus gone” is, in Pali, tathagata, the usual epithet of the Buddha, but here applied more broadly to the arahant.  MA interprets this passage in two alternative ways thus:
(1) The arahant even while alive is here and now untraceable as a being or individual (in the sense of an abiding self) because in the ultimate sense there is no being (as self).
(2) The arahant is untraceable here and now because it is impossible for the gods, etc., to find the support for his insight-mind, path-mind, or fruition-mind (vipassanacitta, maggacitta, phalacitta); that is, the object being Nibbana, his mind cannot. b e known by the worldling. ·]

MISREPRESENTATION OF THE TATHAGATA

§ 37. “So saying, bhikkhus, so proclaiming, I have been baselessly, vainly, falsely, and wrongly misrepresented by some recluses and brahmins thus:
‘The recluse Gotama is one who leads astray; he teaches the annihilation, the destruction, the extermination of an existing being.’267

[267:-This refers back to §20, where the eternalist misunderstands the Buddha’s teaching on Nibbana, the cessation of being, to involve the annihilation of an existing being considered as self]

As I am not, as I do not proclaim, so have I been baselessly, vainly, falsely, and wrongly misrepresented by some recluses and brahmins thus:
‘The recluse Gotama is one who leads astray; he teaches the annihilation, the destruction, the extermination of an existing being.’

§ 38. “Bhikkhus, both formerly and now what I teach is suffering and the cessation of suffering.268

[268:- The import of this statement is deeper than appears on the surface. In the context of the false accusations of §37, the Buddha is stating that he teaches that a living being is not a self but a mere conglomeration of factors, material and mental events, linked together in a process that is inherently dukkha, and that Nibbana, the cessation of suffering, is not the annihilation of a being but the termination of that same unsatisfactory process. This statement should be read in conjunction with SN 12:15/ii.17, where the Buddha says that one with right view, who has discarded all doctrines of a self, sees that whatever arises is only dukkha arising, and whatever ceases is only dukkha ceasing]

If others abuse, revile, scold, and harass the Tathagata for that, the Tathagata on that account feels no annoyance, bitterness, or dejection of the heart. And if others honour, respect, revere, and venerate the Tathagata for that, the Tathagata on that account feels no delight, joy, or elation of the heart. If others honour, respect, revere, and venerate the Tathagata for that, the Tathagata on that account thinks thus: ‘They perform such services as these for the sake of what had earlier come to be fully understood.’269

[“What had earlier come to be fully understood” (pubbe parifinatani) are the five aggregates. Since it is only these to which honour. and abuse are shown, not an “I” or self, there is no reason for elation or dejection]

§ 39. “Therefore, bhikkhus, if others abuse, revile, scold, and harass you, on that account you should not entertain any annoyance, bitterness, or dejection of the heart.

And if others honour, respect, revere, and venerate you, on that account you should not entertain any delight, joy, or elation of the heart.

If others honour, respect, revere, and venerate you, on that account you should think thus: ‘They perform such services as these for the sake of what had earlier come to be fully understood.’

NOT YOURS

§ 40. “Therefore, bhikkhus, whatever is not yours, abandon it;
when you have abandoned it, that will lead to your welfare and happiness for a long time. What is it that is not yours?

Material form is not yours. Abandon it. When you have abandoned it, that will lead to your welfare and happiness for a long time.
Feeling is not yours. [141] Abandon it. When you have abandoned it, that will lead to your welfare and happiness for a long time.
Perception is not yours. Abandon it. When you have abandoned it, that will lead to your welfare and happiness for a long time.
Formations are not yours. Abandon them. When you have abandoned them, that will lead to your welfare and happiness for a long time.
Consciousness is not yours. Abandon it. When you have abandoned it, that will lead to your welfare and happiness for a long time.270

[270:- MA points out that it is the attachment to the five aggregates that should be abandoned; the aggregates themselves cannot be torn apart or pulled out.]

§ 41. “Bhikkhus, what do you think? If people carried off the grass, sticks, branches, and leaves in this Jeta Grove, or burned them, or did what they liked with them, would you think:
‘People are carrying us off or burning us or doing what they like with us’?” –
“No, venerable sir.

Why not?
Because that is neither our self nor what belongs to our self.” –
“So too, bhikkhus,  whatever is not yours, abandon it; when you have abandoned it, that will lead to your welfare and happiness for a long time.
What is it that is not yours?

Material form is not yours.. .
Feeling is not yours…
Perception is not yours…
Formations are not yours…
Consciousness is not yours.
Abandon it. When you have abandoned it, that will lead to your welfare and happiness for a long time.

IN THIS DHAMMA

§ 42. “Bhikkhus, the Dhamma well proclaimed by me thus is clear, open, evident, and free of patchwork.271

[271: MA: “Chinna-pilotika: pilotika is a torn and worn-out rag stitched and knotted here and there; there is nothing (in the Dhamma) like this – torn, worn-out, stitched and knotted by way of hypocrisy and other deceptions.”]

In the Dhamma well proclaimed by me thus, which is clear, open, evident, and free of patchwork, there is no [future] round for manifestation in the case of those bhikkhus who are arahants with taints destroyed, who have lived the holy life, done what had to be done, laid down the burden, reached the true goal, destroyed the fetters of being, and are completely liberated through final knowledge.272

[272:- That is, as the arahants have achieved deliverance from the entire round of existence, it is impossible to point to any plane within the round where they might be reborn]

§ 43. “Bhikkhus, the Dhamma well proclaimed by me thus is clear…free of patchwork. In the Dhamma well proclaimed by me thus, which is clear.. .free of patchwork, those bhikkhus who have abandoned the five lower fetters are all due to reappear spontaneously [in the Pure Abodes] and there attain final Nibbana, without ever returning from that world.

§ 44. “Bhikkhus, the Dhamma well proclaimed by me thus is clear…free of patchwork. In the Dhamma well proclaimed by me thus, which is clear…free of patchwork, those bhikkhus who have abandoned the three lower fetters and attenuated lust, hate, and delusion are all once-returners, returning once to this world to make an end of suffering.

§ 45. “Bhikkhus, the Dhamma well proclaimed by me thus is clear…free of patchwork. In the Dhamma well proclaimed by me thus, which is clear.. .free of patchwork, those bhikkhus who have abandoned three fetters are all stream-enterers, no longer subject to perdition, [142] bound [for deliverance] and headed for enlightenment.

§ 46. “Bhikkhus, the Dhamma well proclaimed by me thus is clear…free of patchwork. In the Dhamma well proclaimed by me thus, which is clear…free of patchwork, those bhikkhus who are Dhamma-followers or faith-followers are all headed for enlightenment.273

[273:-These are two classes of individuals standing on the path of stream-entry. “Dhamma-followers” (dhammanusarin) are disciples in whom the faculty of wisdom (pafiiiindriya) is predominant and who develop the noble path with wisdom in the lead; when they attain the fruit they are called “attained-to-view” (ditthipatta). “Faith-followers” (saddhanusarin) are disciples in whom the faculty of faith (saddhindriya) is predominant and who develop the noble path with faith in the lead; when they attain the fruit they are called “liberated-by-faith” ( sa dd havimutta ) . See MN 70.20, 21; also Pug 1:35-36/15 and Vsm XXI, 75.]

§ 47. “Bhikkhus, the Dhamma well proclaimed by me thus is clear, open, evident, and free of patchwork. In the Dhamma well proclaimed by me thus, which is clear, open, evident, and free of patchwork, those bhikkhus who have sufficient faith in me, sufficient love for me, are all headed for heaven.”274

[ 274 MA says that this refers to persons devoted to the practice of insight meditation who have not reached any supramundane attainment. Note that they are headed only for heaven, not for enlightenment, though if their practice matures they can attain the path of stream-entry and thus gain assurance of enlightenment. The expression saddhamattani pemamattani might be rendered “simply faith, simply love” or “mere faith, mere love” (as it sometimes is), but this could not explain the guarantee of rebirth in heaven. It therefore seems obligatory to take the suffix matta here as implying a requisite amount of faith and love, not simple possession of these qualities.]

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

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