112 The Sixfold Purity

MN 03-02-02 Chabbisodhana Sutta

Those who practice on the eightfold path as well as those who associate with them are sometime faced with the question is one is completely liberated (enlightened) or not. The blessed one gives sixfold queries to arrive at the correct answer.

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

§2 . “Here, bhikkhus, a bhikkhu makes a declaration of final knowledge thus: ‘I understand: 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.’

§3 . “That bhikkhu’s words should neither be approved nor disapproved. Without approving or disapproving, a question should be put thus:

‘Friend, there are four kinds of expression rightly proclaimed by the Blessed One who knows and sees, accomplished and fully enlightened.
What four?

(i) Telling the seen as it is seen;
(ii) telling the heard as it is heard;
(iii) telling the sensed as it is sensed;
(iv) telling the cognized as it is cognized.1056

[1056:- In these four sections the phenomena comprising personality are considered as objects of perception classified into the four categories of the seen, heard, sensed, and cognized. Here, sensed (muta) signifies the data of smell, taste, and touch, cognized (vinnata) the data of introspection, abstract thought, and imagination. The objects of perception are “conceived” when they are cognized in terms of “mine,” “I,” and “self,” or in ways that generate craving, conceit, and views]

[30] These, friend, are the four kinds of expression rightly proclaimed by the Blessed One who knows and sees, accomplished and fully enlightened.

(Qi) How does the venerable one know, how does he see, regarding these four kinds of expression, so that through not clinging his mind is liberated from the taints?’

§4 . “Bhikkhus, when a bhikkhu is one with taints destroyed’, who has lived the holy life, done what had to be done, laid down the burden, reached the true goal, destroyed the fetters of being, and is completely liberated through final knowledge, this is the nature of his answer:
‘”Friends, regarding the seen I abide unattracted, unrepelled, independent, detached, free, dissociated, with a mind rid of barriers. 1057

[1057:- As at MN 111.4, Anupada Sutta but here these terms are intended to express the complete eradication of defilements by the path of arahantship.]

Regarding the heard…Regarding the sensed…Regarding the cognized I abide unattracted, unrepelled, independent, detached, free, dissociated, with a mind rid of barriers. It is by knowing thus, seeing thus, regarding these four kinds of expression, that through not clinging my mind is liberated from the taints.’

§ 5. “Saying ‘good,’ one may delight and rejoice in that bhikkhu’s words. Having done so, a further question may be put thus:
‘”Friend, there are these five aggregates affected by clinging, rightly proclaimed by the Blessed One who knows and sees, accomplished and fully enlightened.
What five?

They are the material form aggregate affected by clinging,
the feeling aggregate affected by clinging,
the perception aggregate affected by clinging,
the formations aggregate affected by clinging, and the
consciousness aggregate affected by clinging.

These, friend, are the five aggregates affected by clinging, rightly proclaimed by the Blessed One who knows and sees, accomplished and fully enlightened.

[Q2] How does the venerable one know, how does he see, regarding these five aggregates affected by clinging, so that through not clinging his mind is liberated from the taints?

“Bhikkhus, when a bhikkhu is one with taints destroyed… and is completely liberated through final knowledge, this is the nature of his answer:
‘”Friends, having known material form to be feeble, fading away, and comfortless, [31] with the destruction, fading away, cessation, giving up, and relinquishing of attraction and clinging regarding material form, of mental standpoints, adherences, and underlying tendencies regarding material form, 1058 I have understood that my mind is liberated.

[1058:-MA: All these terms signify craving and views]

“‘Friends, having known feeling…Having known perception… Having known formations…Having known consciousness to be feeble, fading away, and comfortless, with the destruction, fading away, cessation, giving up, and relinquishing of attraction and clinging regarding consciousness, of mental standpoints, adherences, and underlying tendencies regarding consciousness, I have understood that my mind is liberated.
‘”It is by knowing thus, seeing thus, regarding these five aggregates affected by clinging, that through not clinging my mind is liberated from the taints.’

“Saying ‘good,’ one may delight and rejoice in that bhikkhu’s words. Having done so, a further question may be put thus:

“‘Friend, there are these six elements rightly proclaimed by the Blessed One who knows and sees, accomplished and fully enlightened.
What six?

They are the earth element, the water element, the fire element, the air element, the space element, and the consciousness element. These, friend, are the six elements rightly proclaimed by the Blessed One who knows and sees, accomplished and fully enlightened.

[Q3] How does the venerable one know, how does he see, regarding these six elements, so that through not clinging his mind is liberated from the taints?’

§8. “Bhikkhus, when a bhikkhu is one with taints destroyed… and is completely liberated through final knowledge, this is the nature of his answer:
‘”Friends, I have treated the earth element as not self, with no self based on the earth element.1059

[1059:- MA: The first phrase negates the consideration of the earth element as self, the second negates the consideration of the material and mental factors other than the earth element as self. The same method applies to the other elements]

And with the destruction, fading away, cessation, giving up, and relinquishing of attraction and clinging based on the earth element, of mental standpoints, adherences, and underlying tendencies based on the earth element, I have understood that my mind is liberated.

‘”Friends, I have treated the water element…the fire element… the air element…the space element…the consciousness element as not self, with no self based on the consciousness element.
And with the destruction, fading away, cessation, giving up, and relinquishing of attraction and clinging based on the consciousness element, of mental standpoints, adherences, and underlying tendencies based on the consciousness element, I have understood that my mind is liberated.
“‘It is by knowing thus, seeing thus, regarding these six elements, that through not clinging my mind is liberated from the taints.’

“Saying ‘good,’ [32] one may delight and rejoice in that bhikkhu’s words. Having done so, a further question may be put thus:

‘”But, friend, there are these six internal and external bases rightly proclaimed by the Blessed One who knows and sees, accomplished and fully enlightened. What six? They are the eye and forms, the ear and sounds, the nose and odours, the tongue and flavours, the body and tangibles, the mind and mind-objects.
These, friend, are the six internal and external bases rightly proclaimed by the Blessed One who knows and sees, accomplished and fully enlightened.

[Q3] How does the venerable one know, how does he see, regarding these six internal and external bases, so that through not clinging his mind is liberated from the taints?’

§10 “Bhikkhus, when a bhikkhu is one with taints destroyed… and is completely liberated through final knowledge, this is the nature of his answer:
‘”Friends, with the destruction, fading away, cessation, giving up, and relinquishing of desire, lust, delight, craving, attraction, and clinging, and of mental standpoints, adherences, and underlying
tendencies regarding the eye, forms, eye-consciousness, and things cognizable [by the mind] through eye-consciousness, I have understood that my mind is liberated.1060

[1060:- The text appears redundant in mentioning both forms (rupa) and things cognizable (by the mind) through eye-consciousness (cakkhuvihnana-vinnatabba dhamma). MA mentions two opinions proposed to resolve this problem One holds that “forms” refers to visible things that actually enter into cognition, “things cognizable…” to visible things that cease without being cognized.
The second holds that the former term signifies all form without distinction, the latter term the three mental aggregates that function in association with eye-consciousness]

‘”With the destruction, fading away, cessation, giving up, and relinquishing of desire, lust, delight, craving, attraction, and clinging, and of mental standpoints, adherences, and underlying
tendencies regarding the ear, sounds, ear-consciousness, and things cognizable [by the mind] through ear-consciousness… regarding the nose, odours, nose-consciousness, and things cognizable [by the mind] through nose-consciousness…regarding the tongue, flavours, tongue-consciousness, and things cognizable [by the mind] through tongue consciousness…regarding the body, tangibles, body-consciousness, and things cognizable [by the mind] through body-consciousness…regarding the mind, mind-objects, mind-consciousness, and things cognizable
[by the mind] through mind-consciousness, I have understood that my mind is liberated.’
“It is by knowing thus, seeing thus, regarding these six internal and external bases, that through not clinging my mind is liberated from the taints.’

“Saying ‘good,’ one may delight and rejoice in that bhikkhu’s words. Having done so, a further question may be put thus:

‘”But, friend, how does the venerable one know, how does he see, so that in regard to this body with its consciousness and all external signs, I-making, mine-making, and the underlying tendency to conceit have been eradicated in him?’1061

[1061:- MA explains “I-making” (ahankara) as conceit and “minemaking” (mamankara) as craving. “All external signs” (nimitta) are external objects]

“Bhikkhus, when a bhikkhu is one with taints destroyed…and is completely liberated through final knowledge, this is the nature of his answer:

‘”Friends, formerly when I lived the home life I was ignorant. Then the Tathagata or his disciple taught me the Dhamma. On hearing the Dhamma I acquired faith in the Tathagata. Possessing that faith, I considered thus: “Household life is crowded and dusty; life gone forth is wide open. It is not easy while living in a home to lead the holy life utterly perfect and pure as a polished shell. Suppose I shave off my hair and beard, put on the yellow robe, and go forth from the home life into homelessness.” On a later occasion, abandoning a small or a large fortune, abandoning a small or a large circle of relations, I shaved off my hair and beard, put on the yellow robe, and went forth from the home life into homelessness.

§13- A householder or a householder’s son or born in other clan hears that Dhamma. On hearing the Dhamma he acquires faith in the Tathagata. Possessing that faith, he considers thus: ‘Household life is crowded and dusty; life gone forth is wide open. It is not easy, while living in a home, to lead the holy life utterly perfect and pure as a polished shell. Suppose I shave off my hair and beard, put on the yellow robe, and go forth from the home life into homelessness.’ On a later occasion, abandoning a small or a large fortune, [345] abandoning a small or a large circle of relatives, he shaves off his hair and beard, puts on the yellow robe, and goes forth from the home life into homelessness.

§ 14 “Having thus gone forth and possessing the bhikkhus training and way of life,
abandoning the killing of living beings, he abstains from killing living beings; with rod and weapon laid aside, gentle and kindly, he abides compassionate to all living beings.
Abandoning the taking of what is not given, he abstains from taking what is not given; taking only what is given, expecting only what is given, by not stealing he abides in purity.
Abandoning incelibacy, he observes celibacy, living apart, abstaining from the vulgar practice of sexual intercourse.
“Abandoning false speech, he abstains from false speech; he speaks truth, adheres to truth, is trustworthy and reliable, one who is no deceiver of the world.
Abandoning malicious speech, he abstains from malicious speech; he does not repeat elsewhere
what he has heard here in order to divide [those people] from these, nor does he repeat to these people what he has heard elsewhere in order to divide [these people] from those; thus he is one who reunites those who are divided, a promoter of friendships, who enjoys concord, rejoices in concord, delights in concord, a speaker of words that promote concord.
Abandoning harsh speech, he abstains from harsh speech; he speaks such words as are gentle, pleasing to the ear, and loveable, as go to the heart, are courteous, desired by many and agreeable to many. Abandoning gossip, he abstains from gossip; he speaks at the right time, speaks what is fact, speaks on what is good, speaks on the Dhamma and the Discipline; at the right time he speaks such words as are worth recording, reasonable, moderate, and beneficial.

“He abstains from injuring seeds and plants. He practises eating only in one part of the day, abstaining from eating at night and outside the proper time. He abstains from dancing, singing,
music, and theatrical shows. He abstains from wearing garlands, smartening himself with scent, and embellishing himself with unguents. He abstains from high and large couches. He abstains from accepting gold and silver. He abstains from accepting raw grain. He abstains from accepting raw meat. He abstains from accepting women and girls. He abstains from accepting men and women slaves. He abstains from accepting goats and sheep. He abstains from accepting fowl and pigs. He abstains from accepting elephants, cattle, horses, and mares. He abstains from accepting fields and land. He abstains from going on errands and running messages. He abstains from buying and selling. He abstains from false weights, false metals, and false measures. [346] He abstains from cheating, deceiving, defrauding, and trickery. He abstains from wounding, murdering, binding, brigandage, plunder, and violence.

§ “He becomes content with robes to protect his body and with almsfood to maintain his stomach, and wherever he goes he sets out taking only these with him. Just as a bird, wherever it goes, flies with its wings as its only burden, so too, the bhikkhu becomes content with robes to protect his body and with almsfood to maintain his stomach, and wherever he goes he sets out taking only these with him. Possessing this aggregate of noble virtue, he experiences within himself a bliss that is blameless.

§ . “On seeing a form with the eye, he does not grasp at its signs and features. Since, if he left the eye faculty unguarded, evil unwholesome states of covetousness and grief might invade him, he practises the way of its restraint, he guards the eye faculty, he undertakes the restraint of the eye faculty. On hearing a sound with the ear…On smelling an odour with the nose…On tasting a flavour with the tongue…On touching a tangible with the body…On cognizing a mind-object with the mind, he does not grasp at its signs and features. Since, if he left the mind faculty unguarded, evil unwholesome states of covetousness and grief might invade him, he practises the way of its restraint, he guards the mind faculty, he undertakes the restraint of the mind faculty. Possessing this noble restraint of the faculties, he experiences within himself a bliss that is unsullied.

§ 17. “He becomes one who acts in full awareness when going forward and returning; who acts in full awareness when looking ahead and looking away; who acts in full awareness when flexing and extending his limbs; who acts in full awareness when wearing his robes and carrying his outer robe and bowl; who acts in full awareness when eating, drinking, consuming food, and tasting; who acts in full awareness when defecating and urinating; who acts in full awareness when walking, standing, sitting, falling asleep, waking up, talking, and keeping silent.

§ “Possessing this aggregate of noble virtue, and this noble restraint of the faculties, and possessing this noble mindfulness and full awareness, he resorts to a secluded resting place: the
forest, the root of a tree, a mountain, a ravine, a hillside cave, a charnel ground, a jungle thicket, an open space, a heap of straw.

§ “On returning from his almsround, after his meal he sits down, folding his legs crosswise, setting his body erect, and establishing mindfulness before him. [347] Abandoning covetousness
for the world, he abides with a mind free from covetousness; he purifies his mind from covetousness. Abandoning ill will and hatred, he abides with a mind free from ill will, compassionate for the welfare of all living beings; he purifies his mind from ill will and hatred. Abandoning sloth and torpor, he abides free from sloth and torpor, percipient of light, mindful and fully aware; he purifies his mind from sloth and torpor. Abandoning restlessness and remorse, he abides unagitated with a mind inwardly peaceful; he purifies his mind from restlessness and remorse. Abandoning doubt, he abides having gone beyond doubt, unperplexed about wholesome.

§18 .'”Having thus abandoned these five hindrances, imperfections of the mind that weaken wisdom, quite secluded from sensual pleasures, secluded from unwholesome states, I entered upon and abided in the first jhana, which is accompanied by applied and sustained thought, with rapture and pleasure born of seclusion.
With the stilling of applied and sustained thought, I entered upon and abided in the second jhana.. .
With the fading away as well of rapture.. .I entered upon and abided in the third jhana…
With the abandoning of pleasure and pain…I entered upon and abided in the fourth jhana, which has neither-pain nor-pleasure and purity of mindfulness due to equanimity.

‘”When my concentrated mind was thus purified, bright, unblemished, rid of imperfections, malleable, wieldy, steady, and attained to imperturbability, I directed it to knowledge of the destruction of the taints.1062 I directly knew as it actually is:

1062:- MA: The recollection of past lives and the knowledge of the passing away and reappearance of beings (usually
included in this type of exposition) are here omitted because the original question at §11 concerned the attainment
of arahantship, not mundane attainments

“This is suffering”…”This is the origin of suffering”…”This is the cessation of suffering”…”This is the way leading to the cessation of suffering.” I directly knew as it actually is: “These are the taints “…”This is the origin of the taints”… “This is the cessation of the taints”…”This is the way leading to the cessation of the taints.”

‘”When I knew and saw thus, my mind was liberated from the taint of sensual desire, from the taint of being, and from the taint of ignorance. When it was liberated there came the knowledge:
“It is liberated.” I directly knew: “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.”
“‘It is by knowing thus, seeing thus, friends, that in regard to this body with’its consciousness and all external signs, I-making, mine-making, and the underlying tendency to conceit have been
eradicated in me.’

§ 21 “Saying ‘good,’ bhikkhus, one may delight and rejoice in that bhikkhu’s words. Having done so, one should say to him: ‘It is a gain for us, friend, [37] it is a great gain for us, friend, that we see such a companion in the holy life as the venerable one.'”1063

1063:- MA says that this sutta is also called the Ekavissajjita Sutta (The Single Answer Discourse). MA finds it difficult to account for the “sixfold” mentioned in the original title, since only five questions and answers have come down in the discourse. It suggests dividing the last item into two – one’s own body with its consciousness and the conscious bodies of others – and also mentions another opinion that the four nutriments should be brought in as the sixth. Neither of these suggestions, however, appears cogent, and it seems likely that a section has been lost.

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

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s