Majjhima Nikaya


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Majjhima Nikāya
III. Upari-Paṇṇāsa
1. Devadaha Vagga

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

Further Dialogues of the Buddha
Volume II

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

London
Humphrey Milford
Oxford University Press
1927
Public Domain

Sutta 102

Pañcattaya Suttaɱ

Warring Schools

 


[228] [131]

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

Once when the Lord was staying at Sāvatthī in Jeta's grove in Anāthapiṇḍika's pleasaunce,
he addressed the Almsmen as follows:-

Some recluses and brahmins there are who,
busying themselves about ages to come and theorizing about the future,
have advanced a variety of assertions about futurity,
(i) Some assert that the Self is conscious and hale after death,
(ii) Some assert that it,
though hale,
is unconscious after death,
(iii) Some assert that,
though hale,
it is neither conscious nor uncon- [229] scious after death,
(iv) Or they affirm the break-up,
destruction and annihilation of the existent creature,
(v) Some again assert Nirvana here and now.

Thus either (a) they affirm a Self after death;
or (b) they affirm the break-up,
destruction and annihilation of the existent creature;
or (c) they affirm Nirvana here and now.

So what were five theories become three,
and what were three become five.

This is the 'Five and Three' proposition.

Herein, Almsmen, those recluses and brahmins
who assert that the Self is conscious [229] and hale after death,
affirm either that this conscious self has visible shape,
or that it has no visible shape,
or that it has both,
or that it has neither;
they affirm that its consciousness
is either unimodal or multimodal,
either limited or boundless.

Or else they assert an intellection
- boundless and permanent -
which goes far beyond all this.

With each and every one
of these various theories about consciousness after death
the Truth-finder is familiar,
as he is familiar too
with what some assert to stand out
as the pure and paramount,
chief and utter,
form of consciousness -
[280] whether with or without form,
whether unimodal or multimodal -,
namely,
the Realm of Naught,
boundless and permanent.

Realizing that all this is composite and material,
and that components can in very truth be laid to rest,
the Truth-finder discerns an escape from the composite
and leaves it all behind.

When we come to those recluses and brahmins
who affirm an unconscious but hale Self after death -
with or without form,
or with both or with neither -,
here some exponents of the conscious Self after death
are shocked to hear
that consciousness is a disease,
a pustulence,
a pang
and that unconsciousness alone
is good and excellent.

The Truth-finder knows
that these several assertions of a hale but unconscious Self after death
are impossible in themselves;
no recluse or brahmin can possibly pretend
to explain either a return hither
or a going hence,
departure from one existence
[133] and reappearance in another,
or growth increase and development, -
apart from all form,
feeling,
perception,
the plastic forces,
and consciousness.

Seeing that all this is composite and material,
and that components can in very truth be laid to rest,
the Truth-finder discerns an escape from the composite
and leaves it all behind.

When we come to those recluses and brahmins
who affirm a hale Self
with neither-consciousness-nor-unconsciousness after death -
with or without form,
or with both or with neither -,
here some exponents of the unconscious Self after death
are shocked to hear
not only that consciousness is a disease,
a pustulence,
a pang,
but also that unconsciousness is a delusion
and a snare,
and that only Neither-consciousness-nor-un-consciousness is good and excellent.

With each and every one of these various theories
of the hale Self that is neither-conscious-nor-unconscious after death,
the Truth-finder is familiar.

If recluses and brahmins affirm
that this stage can be attained
by mere components of sight hearing and thought,
it is recognized as fatal to its attainment;
[232] for this is a stage
which is recognized as attainable
not by stages of rapt meditation
in which such components are present
but by stages where they are absent and gone.

Seeing that all this is composite and material,
and that components can in very truth be laid to rest,
the Truth-finder discerns an escape from the composite
and leaves it all behind.

When we come to those recluses and brahmins
who affirm the break-up and destruction
and annihilation of the existent creature,
apostles alike of consciousness,
of unconsciousness
and of neither-consciousness-nor-unconsciousness after death
are all shocked together,
- because the other good people
loudly assert their craving for existence
by insisting again and again
on the hereafter in store for them.

Just as a huckster
in the course of trade
reckons that he will make so much out of this
and get so much by that, -
just in the same way
these recluses and brahmins, methinks,
show up like hucksters,
with their reiterated insistence
on the hereafter in store for them.

The Truth-finder knows that,
for all their dread and loathing of personality,
these believers in annihilation
still keep circling and revolving round this selfsame personality -
just as a dog,
tied by a strap to a stout pillar or post,
[233] runs in circles round [134] and round that selfsame pillar or post.

Seeing that all this is composite and material,
and that components can in very truth be laid to rest,
the Truth-finder discerns an escape from the composite
and leaves it all behind.

As regards all recluses or brahmins who,
busying themselves with the ages to come
and theorizing about the future,
advance a variety of assertions about futurity,
all of them
without exception
posit these five stages or one of them.

Other recluses and brahmins there are
who, busying themselves with past ages
and theorizing about the past,
advance a variety of assertions about the past, -
each maintaining that naught but his assertion is true,
all else being empty and vain.

They severally assert that
(i) Self and the world are eternal,
(ii) are not eternal,
(iii) are both eternal and not eternal,
(iv) are neither eternal nor not-eternal,
(v) have an appointed end,
(vi) are endless,
(vii) have an end and are endless,
(viii) neither end nor are endless,
(ix) have unimodal consciousness,
(x) have multimodal consciousness,
(xi) have restricted consciousness,
(xii) have boundless consciousness,
(xiii) are very pleasant,
(xiv) are very unpleasant,
[284] (xv) are both pleasant and unpleasant, or
(xvi) are neither pleasant nor unpleasant.

Each maintains his own assertions as the sole truth,
all else being scouted as empty and vain.

Now, to begin with those
who assert that Self and the world are eternal,
it is impossible that,
without faith,
inclination,
authority,
appreciation
and intellectual enthusiasm,
clean and pure and true vision
should individually emerge purified and cleansed;
and if there be no purified and cleansed vision for an individual,
then it is only a fraction of true vision
which these recluses and brahmins do purify,
and that is pronounced
(not true vision but)
a mere aspiration.

Seeing that all this is composite and material,
and that components can in very truth be laid to rest,
the Truth-finder discerns an escape from the composite
and leaves it all behind.

And the same holds good of the other views, - that Self and the world are not eternal,
are both eternal and not eternal,
are neither eternal nor not-eternal,
have an appointed end,
are endless,
have an end and are endless,
neither end nor are endless,
have unimodal consciousness,
have multimodal consciousness,
have restricted consciousness,
have boundless consciousness,
are very pleasant,
are very unpleasant,
are both pleasant and unpleasant, or
are neither pleasant nor unpleasant.

[235] Now we will take a recluse or a brahmin
who - quit of all views about past and future,
and unbiassed by the bondage of pleasures of sense -
develops and enters on the joy of solitude,
feeling it [135] to be excellent and good.

When this joy of solitude dies away,
distress arises;
when distress dies away,
there arises the joy of solitude once again.

Just as shade passes off
and leaves the place to the blazing heat,
or as the blazing heat passes off
and leaves it in the shade,
so when the joy of solitude dies away,
distress arises,
and when distress dies away
the joy of solitude arises once again;
and the Truth-finder knows well
the ebb and flow.

Seeing that all this is composite and material,
and that components can in very truth be laid to rest,
the Truth-finder discerns an escape from the composite
and leaves it all behind.

Next we take another recluse or brahmin
who - quit of all views about past and future,
unbiassed by the bondage of pleasures of sense,
and passing beyond solitude's joys -
develops and dwells in bliss immaterial,
feeling this to be excellent and good.

When this immaterial bliss dies away,
solitude's joys arise;
when they die away,
[236] there arises the immaterial bliss once more, -
again like the alternation of shade and blazing heat;
and the Truth-finder knows well
the ebb and flow.

Seeing that all this is composite and material,
and that components can in very truth be laid to rest,
the Truth-finder discerns an escape from the composite
and leaves it all behind.

Next, take another recluse or brahmin
who - quit of all views about past and future,
unbiassed by the bondage of pleasures of sense,
passing beyond solitude's joys
and bliss immaterial -
develops and dwells in the poise
which knows neither pleasure nor pain,
and feels this to be excellent and good.

When tnis poise dies away,
immaterial bliss arises;
when this bliss dies away,
poise arises once more, -
again like the alternation of shade and blazing heat;
and the Truth-finder knows well
[237] the ebb and flow.

Seeing that all this is composite and material,
and that components can in very truth be laid to rest,
the Truth-finder discerns an escape from the composite
and leaves it all behind.

Next, we come to another recluse or brahmin
who - quit of all views about past or future,
unbiassed by the bondage of pleasures of sense,
passing alike beyond solitude's joys,
immaterial bliss
and the poise that knows neither pleasure nor pain -
comes to the vision that he has found Peace,
is dead to the world
and grasps at nothing.

Knowing well what his vision is,
the Truth-finder observes
that this reverend Almsman [136] conceives
that Nirvana is only a salutary path to tread;
he grasps either at views about the past or the future,
or at bondage to pleasures of sense,
or at the joys of solitude,
or at immaterial bliss,
or at the poise that knows neither pleasure nor pain;
and that, though he thinks he has found Peace,
and is dead to the world,
and grasps at nothing,
yet grasping is alive within him.

Seeing that all this is composite and material,
and that components can in very truth be laid to rest,
the Truth-finder discerns an escape from the composite
and leaves it all behind.

It is into the perfect way of utter Peace
that the Truth-finder has won full Enlightenment,
to wit into the Deliverance
that knows no grasping
and has thought out the true nature
of the rise,
the fall,
the satisfactions,
the perils and
the outcome of the six organs of sense;
this is the Truth-finder's perfect way of utter Peace
[288] and his Deliverance.

Thus spoke the Lord.

Glad at heart,
those Almsmen rejoiced in what the Lord had said.


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