Digha Nikaya


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Dīgha Nikāya

The Longs Basket

Sutta 33

Saṅgīti Suttanta

The Compilation

Nines

Translated from the Pali by Michael Olds

 


 

There are, friends, nine-part Dhammas consummately taught by the Bhagava, that #1-Consummately-Awakened-One, an Arahant who knows and sees. In this situation, let us all gather together as one, undivided, so that this Best of Lives will stay on track and stand for a long time as a benefit to the many, as a pleasure for the many, out of compassion for the world, for the benefit and pleasure of gods and man.
What are these nines?

[9.01][pts][wp] Nine foundations of aggression:[1]
Thinking: 'Disservice has been done to me' he becomes bound up in aggression.
Thinking: 'Disservice is being done to me' he becomes bound up in aggression.
Thinking: 'Disservice will be done to me' he becomes bound up in aggression.
Thinking: 'Disservice has been done to one who is pleasing and loved by me' he becomes bound up in aggression.
Thinking: 'Disservice is being done to one who is pleasing and loved by me' he becomes bound up in aggression.
Thinking: 'Disservice will be done to one who is pleasing and loved by me' he becomes bound up in aggression.
Thinking: 'Service has been done to one who is neither pleasing nor loved by me' he becomes bound up in aggression.
Thinking: 'Service is being done to one who is neither pleasing nor loved by me' he becomes bound up in aggression.
Thinking: 'Service will be done toone who is neither pleasing nor loved by me' he becomes bound up in aggression.

[9.02][pts][wp] Nine ways of controlling aggression:[2]
Thinking: 'Disservice has been done to me; what can be gained from this situation?'[3] he controls aggression.
Thinking: 'Disservice is being done to me; what can be gained from this situation?' he controls aggression.
Thinking: 'Disservice will be done to me; what can be gained from this situation?' he controls aggression.
Thinking: 'Disservice has been done to one who is pleasing and loved by me; what can be gained from this situation?' he controls aggression.
Thinking: 'Disservice is being done to one who is pleasing and loved by me; what can be gained from this situation?' he controls aggression.
Thinking: 'Disservice will be done to one who is pleasing and loved by me; what can be gained from this situation?' he controls aggression.
Thinking: 'Service has been done to one who is neither pleasing nor loved by me; what can be gained from this situation?' he controls aggression.
Thinking: 'Service is being done to one who is neither pleasing nor loved by me; what can be gained from this situation?' he controls aggression.
Thinking: 'Service will be done to one who is neither pleasing nor loved by me; what can be gained from this situation?' he controls aggression.

[9.03][pts][wp] Nine Habits of Beings:[4]

There are beings, friends, diverse in body, diverse in perception suchas man, some gods and some on the path to ruin.

This is the first habit of beings.

There are beings, friends, diverse in body, similar in perception, such as the gods in the Brahma group.

This is the second habit of beings.

There are beings, friends, similar in body, diverse in perception, suchas the gods of the Abhassara.

This is the third habit of beings.

There are beings, friends, similar in body and similar in perception, such as the gods of the Subhakiṇhā.

This is the fourth habit of beings.

There are beings, friends, without perception, having no personal sense reactions, such as the gods of No-Perception.

This is the fifth habit of beings.

There are beings, friends that, passing past all perception of materiality, leaving behind perception of reaction, averting the mind from perception of diversity, thinking 'Unending is space,' experience the Realm of Space.

This is the sixth habit of beings.

There are beings, friends that, wholly passing past the Realm of Space, thinking "Unending is Consciousness,' experience the Realm of Consciousness.

This is the seventh habit of beings.

There are beings, friends that, wholly passing past the Realm of Consciousness, thinking 'There are No Things There,' experience the Realm Where There is No Thing There.

This is the eighth habit of beings.

There are beings, friends that, wholly passing past the Realm of No Things There experience the Realm of Neither-Perception-nor-Non-Perception.

This is the Ninth Habit of beings.

[9.04][pts][wp] Nine unlucky situations when it comes to taking on the Brahma-life:[5]
Here friends, a Tathagata arises in the world, an Arahant #1 High Awakened One, and Dhamma is taught leading to calm, leading to complete putting down of bondage[6], to the self-awakening proclaimed by the Welcome One; and a being is at this time reborn in Niraya. This is the first unlucky situation when it comes to taking on the Brahma-life.
Again, additionally friends, a Tathagata arises in the world, an Arahant #1 High Awakened One, and Dhamma is taught leading to calm, leading to complete putting down of bondage, to the self-awakening proclaimed by the Welcome One; and a being is at this time reborn in an animal birth. This is the second unlucky situation when it comes to taking on the Brahma-life.
Again, additionally friends, a Tathagata arises in the world, an Arahant #1 High Awakened One, and Dhamma is taught leading to calm, leading to complete putting down of bondage, to the self-awakening proclaimed by the Welcome One; and a being is at this time reborn in the Ghostly Garb. This is the third unlucky situation when it comes to taking on the Brahma-life.
Again, additionally friends, a Tathagata arises in the world, an Arahant #1 High Awakened One, and Dhamma is taught leading to calm, leading to complete putting down of bondage, to the self-awakening proclaimed by the Welcome One; and a being is at this time reborn among the Deamonic Beings. This is the fourth unlucky situation when it comes to taking on the Brahma-life.
Again, additionally friends, a Tathagata arises in the world, an Arahant #1 High Awakened One, and Dhamma is taught leading to calm, leading to complete putting down of bondage, to the self-awakening proclaimed by the Welcome One; and a being is at this time reborn among long-lived gods[7]. This is the fifth unlucky situation when it comes to taking on the Brahma-life.
Again, additionally friends, a Tathagata arises in the world, an Arahant #1 High Awakened One, and Dhamma is taught leading to calm, leading to complete putting down of bondage, to the self-awakening proclaimed by the Welcome One; and a being has at this time got rebirth in the incomprehensible foreign-tongued frontier provinces where there is no finding either male or female Bhikkhus or Layman. This is the sixth unlucky situation when it comes to taking on the Brahma-life.
Again, additionally friends, a Tathagata arises in the world, an Arahant #1 High Awakened One, and Dhamma is taught leading to calm, leading to complete putting down of bondage, to the self-awakening proclaimed by the Welcome One; and a being has at this time got rebirth in the centeral provences, but he is of mistaken views, his seeing warped, thinking: 'There is no giving; there is no making of offerings,[8] there is no having paid homage, there is no pleasant or painful fruition of or consequence from deeds, there is not "This world," there is not "A world herafter," there is not mother, there is not father, there are no spontaneously arising beings, there is no Shaman or Brahman who has got the Highest, who having attained the highest can explain this world and the world beyond from personal experience of super-powers.' This is the seventh unlucky situation when it comes to taking on the Brahma-life.
Again, additionally friends, a Tathagata arises in the world, an Arahant #1 High Awakened One, and Dhamma is taught leading to calm, leading to complete putting down of bondage, to the self-awakening proclaimed by the Welcome One; and a being has at this time got rebirth in the centeral provences, but he is a stupid, slack-jaw'd, driveler, without ability to recognize the well- from the badly said. This is the eighth unlucky situation when it comes to taking on the Brahma-life.
Again, additionally friends, a being is born in the central provences, and he is smart, no slack-jaw'd driveler, able to recognize the well- from the badly said, but at this time no Tathagata has arisen in the world, no Arahant #1 High Awakened One, and no Dhamma is taught leading to calm, leading to complete putting down of bondage, to the self-awakening proclaimed by the Welcome One. This is the ninth unlucky situation when it comes to taking on the Brahma-life.

[9.05][pts][wp] Nine habitats, one-after-the-other:[9]
Here friends a bhikkhu, separating himself from sense pleasures, separating himself from unskillful things, still thinking andreacting with the pleasurable enthusiasm born of detachment enters into and makes a habitat of the First Burning,
Then, with thinking and reacting having calmed down, attaining tranquillity, becoming single-minded, without thinking and reacting, with the pleasurable enthusiasm born of Highgetting he enters into and makes a habitat of the Second Burning,
then, dispassionate and detached from enthusiasm, living conscious and aware of bodily sense-reactions suchas those described by the aristocrats when they say 'Detached, with satisfied mind, he lives pleasantly,' he enters into and makes a habitat of the Third Burning
Then, letting go of his former experiences of pleasure and pain, allowing his experience of mental ease and discomfort to subside on their own, without pleasure or pain, with utterly pure detachment of mind, he enters into and mades a habitat of the Fourth Burning.
elevating himself above all perceptions of materiality, allowing perceptions of resistance to subside, and not scrutinizing perceptions of diversity, thinking: 'Un-ending is space.' enters into and makes a habitat of the Space-dimension.
Then, elevating himself completely above the Space-dimension, thinking: 'Un-ending is consciousness.' he enters into and makes a habitat of the Consciousness-dimension.
Then, elevating himself completely above the Consciousness-dimension, thinking: 'There is nothing.' he enters into and makes a habitat of the No-thing-there dimension.
Then, elevating himself completely above the No-thing-there-dimension he enters into and makes a habitat of the Dimension of Neither-perception-nor-non-perception.
Then, elevating himself completely above the Dimension of Neither-perception-nor-non-perception, he enters into and makes a habitat of the ending of perception and sense experience.

[9.06][pts][wp] Nine endings, one after the other:[10]
The First Burning being attained, perception of sensuality comes to an end.
The Second Burning being attained, thinking and reacting come to an end.
The Third Burning being attained, enthusiasm comes to an end.
The Fourth Burning being attained, in-and-out breathing comes to an end.
The Realm of Space being attained, perception of materiality comes to an end.
The Realm of Consciousness being attained, perception of the Realm of Space comes to an end.
The Realm of No Thing There being attained, perception of the Realm of Consciousness comes to an end.
The Realm of Neither Perception Nor Non Perception being attained, perception of the Realm of No Thing There comes to an end.
The Realm of the Ending of Perception and Sense Experience being attained, the Realm of Neither Perception Nor Non Perception comes to an end.

These then, friends, are those nine-part Dhammas consummately taught by the Bhagava, that #1-Consummately-Awakened-One, an Arahant who knows and sees. In this situation, let us all gather to gether as one, undivided, so that this Best of Lives will stay on track and stand for a long time as a benefit to the many, as a pleasure for the many, out of compassion for the world, for the benefit and pleasure of gods and man.

 


[1] Nava āghāta-vatthūni.

[2] Nava āghāta-paṭivinayā.

[3] Taɱ kut'ettha labbhā: "that what this-here gain?"
Walshe: What good would it do (to harbour malice)?"
Rhys Davids: "But what gain would there be to either of us if I quarrelled about it" (citing the commentators).
The over-all idea is how do we control our own aggressive impulses. Both Walshe and Rhys Davids, interpreting from their understanding of the system, hear "We control our aggression by seeing it's futility," (essentially "suppression") but need to add words not found in the Pali to make this work. On the other hand reading this as "looking for the good to be gained from the situation" (essentially redirection) works both for the idea of controlling aggression and fits the Pali. Then this can also be heard as "But what good would that do him." Elsewhere we understand that anger is the consequence of not having paid sufficient attention when in contact with an unpleasant sense experience, it is a reaction to an unpleasant sense experience, and that the "avoidance" of this situation is to be had by cultivation of friendly vibrations. In any case, the way I have worded it, it can be heard in the flexible way I believe was intended by the original.

 

Asava Samudaya Nirodha
No Good Depends On Ends with
Lust Paying attention to the pleasing feature of a thing Paying attention to the unpleasing feature of a thing
Anger Paying attention to the unpleasant feature of a thing. Liberation of the Heart through friendly vibrations.
Blindness Not tracing things back to their points of origin Tracing things back to their points of origin

 

[4] Nava sattāvāsā.
See also: The 9th Lesson: The Nine Habits of Beings
Glossology: Jhana
And above: 8s11; 4s#4; 4s#7; 7s#10 (stations of consciousness) and related: 4s#36 (kinds of generation); 4s#37 (ways of experiencing birth); 6s#21 (conditions within births).

[5] Nava akkhaṇā asamayā brahmacariya-vāsāya.
Rhys Davids translates: "Nine untimely unseasonable, intervals for life in a religious order."
Walshe has: "Nine unfortunate, inopportune times for leading the holy life."
The problem is that this construction looks like it is saying that living the Brahma-life during such "intervals" or " ti.es" is unlucky; but the meaning must be that it is not possible to lead the Brahma-life if reborn in these situations; one cannot live the Brahma Life reborn in Hell; one has been unlucky in one's birth in that one is reborn when a Buddha has come to be, but is in some way unable to hear/follow his teachings, or one has been reborn at a time when no Buddha is present in the world and his Dhamma is not being taught at that time. These are not situations like our current time, when, although the Buddha is not visibly present, he is present in the form of the Dhamma.

[6] pari-nibbāniko: aka "Final Nibbāna", but here it appealed to me more to give the more literal meaning of Nibbāna as I think it has more meaning here that way.

[7] Since it is a very long time between the appearances of Buddhas, most likely this refers only to the gods at the level of the Abhassara Realm and above. See also Lifespan.

[8] PED: Yiṭṭha having sacrificed D I.138 ... sacrificed ... sacrifice D I.55 ... duyyiṭṭha not properly sacrificed, a sacrifice not according to rites. In specific Buddhistic sense "given, offered as alms, spent as liberal gift" ... suyiṭṭha well given or spent A II.44.

[9] Nava anupubba-vihārā.
Anupubba-vihāra: (after-previous livings) Walshe has "successive abidings;" Rhys Davids has "successional states;" PED states: "a state of gradually ascending stages, by means of which the highest aim of meditation and trance is attained, viz. complete cessation of all consciousness." But this is neither correct on the face of it, nor correct in spirit. The so called "trance of succession" is not the goal, is not Nibbana, is itself constructed, and is to be let go. Sāriputta describes this state as the experience of being conscious of one state passing away and another arising. It is simply that this is the highest refinement of consciousness that one in this system is to strive after. At this state of consciousness one should have been able to see the constructed nature of all the previous states as well as this state, and should see the benefit of letting go of all confounded (sankaramed) states, but, again, it is not, itself, the state of having completely let go or of having attained Nibbāna.
See also 4s#4; 4s#7; 8s#11

[10] Nava anupubba-nirodhā.


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