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Saŋyutta Nikāya,
V: MahāVagga
54 Ānāpāna Saŋyutta

The Aspiration Collection

1. Ekadhammavaggo

Book 1: One Thing

Sutta 8

The Light

Translated from the Pali by Michael Olds

 


 

[1][pts][wp] I HEAR TELL:

Once upon a time Bhagava, Savatthi-town revisiting, Anathapindika's Jeta-forest park.

Then The Lucky Man addressed the Beggars there: "Bhikkhus!"

"Bhadante!" the beggars responded to Bhagava.

Bhagava said this to them:

Recollecting aspiration-high-getting beggars, developed, made much of, makes for great fruit, great benefit.

And how, beggars, is recollecting aspiration high-getting, developed, made much of, such as makes for great fruit, great benefit?

Here beggars, a beggar
having gotten himself off to the forest
or to the root of some tree,
or to some empty hut,
and having taken up his seat there
sitting down,
setting the body upright,
legs bent-across-lapwise,
recollecting he attends to the face,
just so he recollects inspiration,
just so he recollects expiration.

If he inspires deeply, he knows:
'I am inspiring deeply.'
If he breaths out deeply, he knows:
'I am expiring deeply.'

If he inspires shallowly, he knows:
'I am inspiring shallowly.'
If he exspires shallowly, he knows:
'I am expiring shallowly.'

'Reflecting on the totality of bodily experience,
I will inspire,'
this is the way he trains.
'Reflecting on the totality of bodily experience,
I will expire,'
this is the way he trains.

'Pacifying own-body-making,
I will inspire,'
this is the way he trains.
'Pacifying own-body-making,
I will expire,'
this is the way he trains.

'Reflecting on enthusiasm,
I will inspire,'
this is the way he trains.
'Reflecting on enthusiasm,
I will expire,'
this is the way he trains.

'Observing pleasure,
I will inspire,'
this is the way he trains.
'Observing pleasure,
I will expire,'
this is the way he trains.

'Reflecting on the own-making of the heart,
I will inspire,'
this is the way he trains.
'Reflecting on the own-making of the heart,
I will expire,'
this is the way he trains.

'Pacifying the own-making of the heart,
I will inspire,'
this is the way he trains.
'Pacifying the own-making of the heart,
I will expire,'
this is the way he trains.

'Reflecting on the heart,
I will inspire,'
this is the way he trains.
'Reflecting on the heart,
I will expire,'
this is the way he trains.

'Abundantly content in heart,
I will inspire,'
this is the way he trains.
'Abundantly content in heart,
I will expire,'
this is the way he trains.

'Composing the heart,
I will inspire,'
this is the way he trains.
'Composing the heart,
I will expire,'
this is the way he trains.

'Liberating the heart,
I will inspire,'
this is the way he trains.
'Liberating the heart,
I will expire,'
this is the way he trains.

'On the look-out for inconsistancy,
I will inspire,'
this is the way he trains.
'On the look-out for inconsistancy,
I will expire,'
this is the way he trains.

'On the look-out for the end of lust,
I will inspire,'
this is the way he trains.
'On the look-out for the end of lust,
I will expire,'
this is the way he trains.

'On the look-out for ending,
I will inspire,'
this is the way he trains.
'On the look-out for ending,
I will expire,'
this is the way he trains.

'On the look-out for opportunities to let go,
I will inspire,'
this is the way he trains.
'On the look-out for opportunities to let go,
I will expire,'
this is the way he trains.

Suchwise 'developed', beggars, suchwise 'made much of' recollecting aspiration high-getting makes for great fruit, great benefit.

I too beggars, before my awakening, not yet awakened, a bodhisattva, used to live in this same way, making much of this way of living.

While I lived this way, bhikkhus, making much of this way of living,
there was neither bodily fatigue nor eyestrain[1]
and through not getting involved, my heart was freed from the corruptions.[2].

Therefore beggars, if a beggar would determine:[3]:

"There shall be neither bodily fatigue nor eyestrain for me
and through not getting involved,
my heart will be freed from the corruptions,"

it would be well to keep in mind this remembering the respiration serinity.

Therefore beggars, if a beggar would determine:

"Let go shall be the rememberings and principles associated with household life."

it would be well to keep in mind this remembering the respiration serinity.

Therefore beggars, if a beggar would determine:

"I shall live perceiving the disadvantageous in the advantageous"

it would be well to keep in mind this remembering the respiration serinity.

Therefore beggars, if a beggar would determine:

"I shall live perceiving the advantageous in the disadvantageous"

it would be well to keep in mind this remembering the respiration serinity.

Therefore beggars, if a beggar would determine:

"I shall live perceiving the disadvantageous in the advantageous and the disadvantageous"

it would be well to keep in mind this remembering the respiration serinity.

Therefore beggars, if a beggar would determine:

"I shall live perceiving the advantageous in the disadvantageous and the advantageous"

it would be well to keep in mind this remembering the respiration serinity.

Therefore beggars, if a beggar would determine:

"I shall live avoiding both the disadvantageous and the advantageous — detached, remembering, self-aware."

it would be well to keep in mind this remembering the respiration serinity.

Therefore beggars, if a beggar would determine:

"I shall, while still rethinking, while still reminiscing[4],
enter into and live in the attainment of the first 'knowing'[5],
that solitude-born pleasant enthusiasm
separate from sense pleasures,
separate from unskillful things"
it would be well to keep in mind this remembering the respiration serinity.

Therefore beggars, if a beggar would determine:

"I shall, subduing rethinking and reminiscing,
enter into and live in the attainment of the second 'knowing',
that internal happiness,
that unified state of mind
that is without rethinking,
without reminiscing,
a pleasant enthusiasm born of serinity"

it would be well to keep in mind this remembering the respiration serinity.

Therefore beggars, if a beggar would determine:

"I shall, with the phasing out of enthusiasm,
enter into and live in the attainment of the third 'knowing',
detached,
remembering and self-aware,
experiencing that bodily ease
the aristocrats describe saying

'Detached, recollected, he lives happily.'"

it would be well to keep in mind this remembering the respiration serinity.

Therefore beggars, if a beggar would determine:

"I shall, letting go pleasure,
letting go pain,
their precursers in bodily ease and discomfort resolved,
enter into and live in the fourth 'knowing',
without pain,
without pleasure,
in the all-round purity of the detached mind."

it would be well to keep in mind this remembering the respiration serinity.

Therefore beggars, if a beggar would determine:

"I shall, with the surpassing of all perception of shapes,
with the resolution of perception of reaction,
not paying attention to perception of diversity,
thinking:
'Without end is Space,'
enter into and live in the Sphere of Space"

it would be well to keep in mind this remembering the respiration serinity.

Therefore beggars, if a beggar would determine:

"I shall, with the surpassing of all perception of the Sphere of Space,
thinking:
'Without end is Consciousness,'
enter into and live in the Sphere of Consciousness"

it would be well to keep in mind this remembering the respiration serinity.

Therefore beggars, if a beggar would determine:

"I shall, with the surpassing of the Sphere of Consciousness,
thinking:
'There is no 'what-have-you,'
enter into and live in the Sphere of Nothing to be Had,[6]

it would be well to keep in mind this remembering the respiration serinity.

Therefore beggars, if a beggar would determine:

"I shall, with the surpassing of the Sphere of Nothing to be Had,
enter into and live in the Sphere of Neither-Perceiving-nor-Non-Perceiving,"

it would be well to keep in mind this remembering the respiration serinity.

When this remembering the respiration serinity is thus developed, beggars,
thus made much of,
if there is the experience of a pleasant sensation,
it is known as: 'Inconsistent,'
it is known as: 'Don't get involved with it,'
it is known as: 'Don't get worked up about it.'

Experiencing an unpleasant sensation,
it is known as: 'Inconsistent,'
it is known as: 'Don't get involved with it,'
it is known as: 'Don't get worked up about it.'

Experiencing a sensation which is not unpleasant but not pleasant,
it is known as: 'Inconsistent,'
it is known as: 'Don't get involved with it,'
it is known as: 'Don't get worked up about it.'

If a pleasant sensation is experienced,
it is experienced without bonds.
If an unpleasant sensation is experienced,
it is experienced without bonds.
If a sensation which is not unpleasant but not pleasant is experienced,
it is experienced without bonds.

If there is the experience of the sense that the body is reaching it's end,
he knows: 'I am experiencing the sense that the body is reaching it's end.'
If there is the experience of the sense that life is reaching it's end,
he knows: 'I am experiencing the sense that life is reaching it's end.'
He knows: "At the break-up of the body
as life reaches it's end,
even here,
not getting worked up about any sensation,
one can become cool.'

In the same way, beggars,
as an oil-lamp burns because of oil
and because of a wick,
but with the consumption of it's fuel,
with the drying up of the oil and the wick,
it goes out,
even so, beggars,
a beggar experiencing the sense that the body is reaching it's end,
knows: 'I am experiencing the sense that the body is reaching it's end,'
experiencing the sense that life is reaching it's end,
knows: 'I am experiencing the sense that life is reaching it's end',
And he knows: "At the break-up of the body
as life reaches it's end,
even here,
not getting worked up about any sensation,
one can become cool.'

 


[1] A thing that can happen using kasinas. At one time I was practicing the water kasina so intently that I actually got a black eye!

[2] Asava. I usually use 'no-goods'; yielding to a more common translation here.

[3] ākankheyya. Woodward and Bhk. Bodhi and others see this as a matter of wishing/wanting. I suggest that this is not something subject to doubt (kanka), that is, it is the perception of technique made possible by the sharpness of mind developed in the practice of recollecting aspiration. It is not a 'wish' or 'desire' or simply a thought or plan (where there is doubt as to the outcome)...it is no more a matter of 'wishing' than is making a choice between two paths, one which leads to one's destination and the other which does not. The meaning is 'intend' in the sense used by Castenada's Don Juan. It is a combination of the 'will' and the 'know-how' (especially the ability to 'perceive' or 'see' 'how') to have something happen. For the sourcerer this is the deliberate identification with an act of body, speech or mind that is understood to produce certain results.
The first 'akanka' to be practiced can be seen by the reader for himself if he puts into practice the idea of 'see the good in people' or 'turn every adversity into a lesson,' where the choice of what to perceive and how to act to gain the desired outcome is deliberate, not a matter of hope (a source of doubt). PED: Ākankhati (asp: Ākaŋkhati Ākaṅkhati) [ā + kānks., cp. kankhati] to wish for, think of, desire; intend, plan, design Vin II.244 (?amāna); D I.78, 176; S I.46; Sn 569 (?amāna); Sn p. 102 ( = icchati SnA 436); DhA I.29; SnA 229; VvA 149; PvA 229.
Ākankhā (asp: Ākaŋkhā Ākaṅkhā) f. [fr. ā + kānks.] longing, wish; as adj. at Th 1, 1030.

On this subject see also: MN:I:6

[4]See: DhammaTalk, Give Ear, Rethinking Vitakka for some rethinking on these terms.

[5]Jhana. I have changed my translation for this term from 'burning' to 'knowing'.

[6] Kiñcī 'A little something what-have-you' and ākiñcañña 'having nothing'. This is a radically new translation for me. I have usually followed the others as one time I nearly got there. Where? To the sphere that wasn't there. But I think this term carries the implication that there is no ownership there, no possessing of anything. Nothing to possess or possible to possess.
Hare: 'nothing' and 'sphere of nothingness'; Bhk. Thanissaro: 'nothing' and 'dimension of nothingness.'

 


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