Majjhima Nikaya


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Majjhima Nikāya
I. Mūlapaṇṇāsa
5. Cūḷa Yamaka Vagga

Sacred Books of the Buddhists
Volume V
Dialogues of the Buddha
Part IV

Further Dialogues of the Buddha
Volume I

Translated from the Pali
by Lord Chalmers
G.C.B.
Sometime Governor of Ceylon

London
Humphrey Milford
Oxford University Press
1926
Public Domain

Sutta 44

Cūḷa Vedalla Suttaɱ

The Short Miscellany

 


[213]

[1][wrrn][pts][than][upal] THUS have I heard:

Once when the Lord was staying at Rājagaha in the Bamboo grove where the squirrels were fed,
the lay-disciple Visākha came to the Alms woman Dhammadinna[1] -
and after salutations
took his seat to one side, saying:

As regards what is known as personality (sakkāya), madam,
how has the Lord described its nature?

[214] He has described it, sir,
as the Five Attachments to existence, - namely,
visible shape,
feeling,
perception,
plastic forces,

After thanking her, Visākha put to her this further question:

And what, madam, does the Lord say
of the origin of personality?

He says, sir, that the origin of personality is from cravings, -
craving for pleasures of sense,
craving for continued existence,
craving for annihilation, -
all entailing re-birth,
all imbued with passion's delights,
all seeking pleasure here or there.

And what, madam, does the Lord say
of the cessation of personality?

He says, sir, that its cessation
is the complete and passionless cessation
of just this selfsame craving, -
its discarding,
its abandonment,
its dismissal,
and its ejection.

And what does he say
about the way that leads to such cessation of personality?

He says, sir, that the way is the Noble Eightfold Path, - namely,
right outlook,
right aims,
right speech,
right action,
right means of livelihood,
right effort,
right mindfulness,
and right rapture of concentration.

Does attachment consist
of just the Five Attachments you have particularized, madam?

Or is there attachment apart from them?

Attachment, sir, does not consist
solely of those five;
nor yet is there attachment
wholly apart from them; -
the desire and passion
that dwells in the Five Attachments
is attachment.

How, madam, does the personality theory arise?

Take, sir, the case
of an uninstructed everyday man,
who has no regard for the Noble
and is unversed and untrained in their Doctrine,
and who pays no regard to the Excellent
and is unversed and untrained in their Doctrine; -
he views material Form as Self,
or Self as having Form,
or Form as in Self,
or Self as in Form.

And these views concerning Form
he extends equally to feelings,
perceptions,
the plastic forces,
and consciousness.

That is how the personality theory arises.

[215] And how, madam, does the personality theory not arise?

Take, sir, the case
of an instructed disciple
who has got regard for the Noble
and is versed and trained in their Doctrine,
and who has got regard for the Excellent
and is versed and trained in their Doctrine; -
he does not view material Form as Self,
or Self as having Form,
or Form as in Self,
or Self as in Form;
nor does he so view feelings,
perceptions,
and the like.

That is how the personality theory does not arise.

What, madam, is the Noble Eightfold Path?

Just this, sir, -
right outlook,
right aims,
right speech,
right action,
right means of livelihood,
right effort,
right mindfulness,
and right rapture of concentration.

Is the Noble Eightfold Path
create
or uncreate?

It is create.

Are three groups included in the Noble Eightfold Path,
or is the Path included in the groups?

They are not included in it;
it is included in them.

Right speech,
right action,
and right means of livelihood
are included in the virtue-group;

right effort,
right mindfulness,
and right rapture of concentration
are included in the concentration-group;

while right outlook
and right aims
are included in the knowledge-group.

What is rapt concentration?

What are its phenomena?

What are its requisites?

What cultivates it?

Rapt concentration
is the focussing of the heart;
its phenomena
are the fourfold mustering of mindfulness;
its requisites
are the four right exertions;
and the practice and cultivation and increase of these states of consciousness
cultivate rapt concentration.

How many plastic forces are there?

Three, -
those of the body,
of speech,
and of the mind.

What are these, severally?

Respiration in the case of the body,
observation and reflection for speech,
and for the mind perception and feeling.

How is this,
in each of the three cases?

[216] Respiration is a bodily thing
bound up with the body
and therefore is the plastic force for the body.

It is because observation and reflection
precede subsequent utterance
that they are the plastic forces of speech.

Perception and feeling
are mental things
bound up with the mind
and therefore are the plastic forces of the mind.

How comes the ecstatic state
wherein perception and feeling cease?

It is not while an Almsman is passing into this ecstatic state
that the thought comes to him
that he will pass into it,
or that he is passing into it,
or that he has passed into it.

No; ere that,
he has so cultivated his mind
that it leads him to this result.

While he is passing into this ecstatic state,
what plastic forces cease first, -
those of the body
or of speech
or of mind?

Those of speech first,
then those of the body,
and lastly those of the mind.

How does he emerge from this ecstatic state?

It is not while he is emerging therefrom
that the thought comes to him
that he will emerge,
or is emerging,
or has emerged
from this ecstatic state.

No; ere that,
he has so cultivated his mind
that it leads him to this result.

While he is so emerging,
what plastic forces revive first?

Those of the mind first,
then those of the body,
and lastly those of speech.

When he has emerged from this ecstatic state,
how many Contacts affect him?

Three, -
the emptied,
the non-characterized,
and the unsought (appaṇihita).

When he has emerged,
towards what is the inclination,
bent
and trend of his mind?

Towards inward aloofness.

How many kinds of feelings are there?

Three, -
pleasant,
unpleasant,
and neutral.

What are they, respectively?

Whatever either mind or body has felt as pleasant [217] and agreeable,
is a pleasant feeling;
whatever either mind or body has felt as unpleasant and disagreeable,
is an unpleasant feeling;
and whatever either mind or body has felt as neither pleasant nor unpleasant,
neither agreeable nor disagreeable,
is neutral feeling.

What kind of pleasantness or unpleasantness
is there in each of the three?

A pleasant feeling
is pleasant while it lasts
and unpleasant when it passes.

An unpleasant feeling
is unpleasant while it lasts
and pleasant when it passes.

A neutral feeling
is pleasant if comprehended,
unpleasant if not comprehended.

What propensity lurks
in each of the three kinds of feeling?

Passion in pleasant feelings,
repugnance in unpleasant feelings,
and ignorance in neutral feelings.

Do these several propensities
always lurk
in every instance of their respective feelings?

No.

In these several feelings,
what should be shed,
respectively?

In pleasant feelings,
the propensity to passion;
in unpleasant feelings,
the propensity to repugnance;
and in neutral feelings,
the propensity to ignorance.

Have these several propensities
always to be shed
in every instance of their respective feelings?

Not in every instance.

Take the case of an Almsman
who, divested of pleasures of sense
and divested of wrong states of consciousness,
has entered on,
and abides in,
the First Ecstasy
with all its zest and satisfaction, -
a state bred of inward aloofness
but not divorced from Observation and reflection.

Thereby he sheds passion;
and here there exists no lurking propensity to passion.

When, oh when, asks he of himself,
shall I enter on,
and abide in,
that region where the Noble[2]
are even now abiding?

He develops such a yearning for utter Deliverance
that by reason thereof
he is distressed.

Thereby he [218] sheds repugnance;
and here there exists no lurking propensity to repugnance.

Or, take the case of an Almsman
who, by putting from him
both satisfaction and dissatisfaction,
and by shedding the joys and sorrows he used to feel,
has entered on,
and abides in,
the Fourth Ecstasy, -
the state that,
knowing neither satisfaction nor dissatisfaction,
is the consummate purity
of poised equanimity and mindfulness.

Thereby he sheds ignorance;
and here there exists no lurking propensity to ignorance.

What is the counterpart to pleasant feelings?

Unpleasant feelings.

What is the counterpart to unpleasant feelings?

Pleasant feelings.

What is the counterpart to neutral feelings?

Ignorance.

What is the counterpart to ignorance?

Knowledge.

What is the counterpart to knowledge?

Deliverance.

What is the counterpart to Deliverance?

Nirvana.

What is the counterpart to Nirvana, madam?

You push your question too far, sir;
you can never get to an end of your questionings.

For, in Nirvana the higher life merges
to find its goal
and its consummation.

If you so desire, sir,
seek out the Lord and ask him,
treasuring up the answer he gives.

With grateful thanks to the Almswoman Dhammadinna,
Visākha, the lay-disciple, rose up,
took his leave of her
with salutations
and profound homage.

Coming to the Lord
and taking his seat to one side
after due salutation,
he related the whole of the talk he had had
with the Almswoman Dhammadinna.

Hereupon, the Lord said to him:

Learning and great knowledge dwell in Dhammadinna.

Had you asked me,
I should make answer precisely as she did.

Her answer was correct,
and you should treasure it up accordingly.

Thus spoke the Lord.

Glad at heart, Visākha, the lay-disciple,
rejoiced in what the Lord had said.

 


[1] They had been husband and wife before his conversion, which was followed by hers. For her story see Psalms of the Sisters, p. 16.

[2] I.e. Arahats. See p. 1, n. 1


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