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 [Dhamma Talk]


MN 79

In an encounter with the Wanderer Sakuludayi, the Buddha explains what it is in his system that constitutes perfection and which is the state beyond bliss that his followers attain.

Read the Sutta

Index to available translations: MN 79



Ms. Horner has messed up in this translation a few of the most essential points, and better solutions have been noted.

The wanderer Sakuludayin is visited by Gotama. He first asks for an explanation as to why Nataputta the Jain faultered when asked a question. Gotama answers with the statement that those who know and see the past and the future would not falter and then he teaches Udayin the paticca samuppada in brief:

If this is,
that comes to be;
from the arising of this,
that arises;
if this is not,
that does not come to be;
from the stopping of this,
that is stopped.

This is not understood by Sakuludayin, who states that he would be better able to discuss a teaching of his own teachers, namely:

'This is the highest lustre,
this is the highest lustre.'

Gotama points out that this does not reveal much, and when Sakuludayin, does finally get around to explaining what 'this' is, he does so with a simile.

Gotama then in a towering series of comparisons forces Sakuludayin, to realize that he has, as well as having said that this 'this' he is speaking of has less lustre than a glow worm, has still not actually pointed out what that 'this' is. And Sakuludayin, admits to being completely defeated.

Again when questioned about another doctrine of his teachers' - that of a world exclusively pleasureable and a path for attaining that world - his teacher's doctrine is shown to be incapable of realizing that world.

Then, shown the real path to that world, and asking if this is the goal for which people follow him, Gotama explains the real goal for which people follow him. A condition beyond sense pleasures.

[It is interesting to note here that Sakuludayin's followers raise a ruckus at the point where this path is given. This path consists of the first three of the four jhanas, and Sakuludayin's followers say that they do not have any experience of anything beyond this. Since what is being spoken of is their ancient tradition, the implication is that at least these three jhanas were known prior to the Buddha's enlightenment. But apparently the commentary goes even further and suggests that at one time the attainment of this world (which is via the fourth jhana) was once known by this group but had been forgotten. So all four jhanas were apparently known before Gotama. One wonders then what it was that was special about the use of jhana by Gotama that lead him to awakening.]

Sakuludayin, is convinced, but is disuaded from entering the order by his followers.

See also: MN 80

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