Anguttara Nikaya


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Aŋguttara Nikāya
Tika-Nipātā
III. Puggala Vagga

The Numbers Bag
The Book of Threes

III. People

Sutta 21

Kāyasakkhī Suttaṃ

The Body-Knower

Translated from the Pali by Michael Olds

Translator's Introduction

This sutta deals with three sorts of attainments: Kāya-sakkhī, the 'body-with-eyes' one who has seen the true nature of body with his own eyes, so at least provisionally: 'body-knower'; Diṭṭha-ppatto, the 'view-secured' (bowled, in-the-bowl, bagged); and Saddhā-vimutto, the 'faith-freed'. The Buddha makes it clear that these are modes or types of practice that have lead to stream-entry, they are not levels in a heierarchy. Any one of the three may be working for arahantship, or non-returning or once-returning. The body witness is one who has made jhāna practice his main focus. The view-attainer has made perception of the truth of the teachings the main focus of his practice. The faith-freed has made faith in the Buddha, Dhamma, and Sangha the main focus of his practice.

 


 

[21][pts][bodh][upal] I hear tell:

Once upon a time Bhagava, Sāvatthī-town residing,
Anathapindika's Jeta Grove.

There then Old Man Savittho and Old Man Maha Kotthito
came up to Old Man Sariputta.
Having come up to Old Man Sariputta
they greeted each other.

Having exchanged greetings and polite talk
they took seats to one side.

Having taken seats to one side,
Old Man Sariputta said this:

Three, me friend Savittha,
are men to be found in the world.

What three?

Body-knowers[1],
the Attained-to-Seeing[2],
and the Faith-freed[3]

These are those three men
to be found in the world.

Of these three types of men, friend,
which would you say is the furthest ahead,
the most advanced?

Three, me friend Sariputta,
are men to be found in the world.

What three?

Body-knowers,
the Attained-to-Seeing,
and the Faith-freed.

These are those three men
to be found in the world.

Of these three types of men, friend,
the Faith-freed is for me
the most appealing,
of these three men the furthest ahead,
the most advanced.

How come?

Of these men, friend,
in him the force of faith is highly evolved.

Then Old Man Sariputta said this
to Old Man Maha Kotthita:

Three, me friend Kotthita,
are men to be found in the world.

What three?

Body-knowers,
the Attained-to-Seeing,
and the Faith-freed.

These are those three men
to be found in the world.

Of these three types of men, friend,
which would you say is the furthest ahead,
the most advanced?

Three, me friend Sariputta,
are men to be found in the world.

What three?

Body-knowers,
the Attained-to-Seeing,
and the Faith-freed.

These are those three men
to be found in the world.

Of these three types of men, friend,
the Body-knower is for me
the most appealing,
of these three men the furthest ahead,
the most advanced.

How come?

Of these men, friend,
in him the force of serenity is highly evolved.

Then Old Man Maha Kotthita said this
to Old Man Sariputta:

Three, me friend Sariputta,
are men to be found in the world.

What three?

Body-knowers,
the Attained-to-Seeing,
and the Faith-freed.

These are those three men
to be found in the world.

Of these three types of men, friend,
which would you say is the furthest ahead,
the most advanced?

Three, me friend Kotthita,
are men to be found in the world.

What three?

Body-knowers,
the Attained-to-Seeing,
and the Faith-freed.

These are those three men
to be found in the world.

Of these three types of men, friend,
the Attained-to-Seeing is for me
the most appealing,
of these three men the furthest ahead,
the most advanced.

How come?

Of these men, friend,
in him the force of wisdom is highly evolved.

Then Old Man Sariputta said this
to Old Man Savittha and Old Man Maha Kotthita:

We have all responded, friends,
according to what agrees with our understanding.

How about if we approach Bhagava
and having approached
we lay this matter before him?

In such manner as Bhavaga explains it
such is how we will take it.

Even so, friend,
said Old Man Savittha and Old Man Maha Kotthito
to Old Man Sariputta in response.

Then Old Man Sariputta
and Old Man Savittha
and Old Man Maha Kotthita
approached Bhagava.

Having approached and saluted Bhagava
they took seats to one side.

Having taken seats to one side,
Old Man Sariputta faithfully repeated to Bhagava
the conversation he had had
with Old Man Savittha
and Old Man Kotthita.[4]

In this case Sariputta,
it is no easy thing to answer definitively
as to which of these three men
is the furthest ahead,
the most advanced.[5]

As it stands, Sariputta,
it might be found
that that man who was faith-freed
was on his way to attaining arahantship;
that that man who was a body-knower
was on his way to attaining once-returning
or non-returning;
that that man who was attained-to-seeing
was on his way to once-returning
or non returning.

In this case Sariputta,
it is no easy thing to answer definitively
as to which of these three men
is the furthest ahead,
the most advanced.

As it stands, Sariputta,
it might be found
that that man who was a body-knower
was on his way to attaining arahantship;
that that man who was faith-freed
was on his way to attaining once-returning
or non-returning; that that man who was attained-to-seeing
was on his way to once-returning
or non returning.

In this case Sariputta,
it is no easy thing to answer definitively
as to which of these three men
is the furthest ahead,
the most advanced.

As it stands, Sariputta,
it might be found that that man
who was attained-to-seeing
was on his way to attaining arahantship;
that that man who was faith-freed
was on his way to attaining once-returning
or non-returning; that that man who was a body-knower
was on his way to once-returning
or non returning.

 


[1] Kāyasakkhī. PED: -sakkhin he who has realized and gained the final truth concerning the body. Woodward: One who has testified to the truth with body.
According to "Designation of Human Types," [DHT] pp6 n.3: "There are six cases of kāyasakkhī" The list of six goes from one who meditates on the first jhana through to one who meditates on the ending of perception and sensation. Before the list is given it is explained that the term implies Stream-entry. So the idea is one who has attained Stream-entry by way of the jhanas or by perception of the ending of perception and sensation.
PED: Sakkhi1 [sa3+akkhin; cp. Sanskrit sāks.in] an eyewitness D II.237 (nom. sg. sakkhī = with his own eyes, as an eyewitness); Sn 479, 921, 934 (sakkhi dhammaṃ adassi, where the corresponds Sanskrit form would be sāk.ād); J I.74. - kāya-sakkhī a bodily witness, i. e. one who has bodily experienced the 8 vimokkhas A IV.451; Vism 93, 387, 659. - sakkhiṃ karoti [Sanskrit sākṣī karoti] (1) to see with one's own eyes S II.255;

[2] Diṭṭhappatto. [DHT]: "According to the Commentary, he who thoroughly knows that this is suffering, this is the cause of suffering, this is the cessation of suffering, this is the path leading to the cessation of suffering, is one who has won vision.
Again, this is Stream-entry.
The distinction here is between diṭṭhi and diṭṭha. When one has adopted 'sammā diṭṭhi' as a working hypothesis, the goal is to see it at work as it actually is, which is diṭṭha.

[3] Saddhāvimutto. [DHT] does not discuss 'freed by faith,' although it is listed; it does discuss 'saddhānusārī', one conforming by faith: It applies to one who has reached the first state of sanctification, [stream-entry] because he moves by saddhā or faith.

[4] This is one of a very few times in the suttas where the conversation was not actually repeated in full or indicated by "pe" that it should be repeated in full.

[5] The key to this sutta is, of course, in the response of the Lucky Man, that is, that these are three different types of persons on the Path (or, of ways or modes of travelling the Path) as opposed to being three different stages of attainment.

 


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