Majjhima Nikaya


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Majjhima Nikāya
III. Upari Paṇṇāsa
1. Devadaha Vagga

The Middle Length Sayings
III. The Final Fifty Discourses
1. The Devadaha Division

Sutta 106

Āṇañjasappāya Suttaɱ[1]

Discourse on Beneficial Imperturbability

Translated from the Pali by I.B. Horner, M.A.
Associate of Newham College, Cambridge
First Published in 1954

Copyright The Pali Text Society
Commercial Rights Reserved
Creative Commons Licence
For details see Terms of Use.

 


 

[1][chlm][than][upal] THUS have I heard:

At one time the Lord was staying among the Kuru people
in the township of the Kurus called Kammāssadhamma.

While he was there the Lord addressed the monks, saying:

"Monks."

"Revered One," these monks answered the Lord in assent.

The Lord spoke thus:

"Impermanent,[2] monks, are pleasures of the senses,
hollow,[3]
lying,[4]
of the nature of falsehood;[5]
this chatter of fools, monks,
is made of illusion.

Those pleasures of the senses
that are here and now[6]
and those pleasures of the senses
that are hereafter,[7] and those
perceptions of pleasures of the senses
that are here and now
and those perceptions of pleasures of the senses
that are hereafter -
both[8] are of Māra's realm;
this is Māra's sphere,
this is Māra's crop,[9]
this is Māra's pasturage.[10]

Here these evil unskilled intentions[11]
conduce to covetousness
and ill-will
and destruction,
and these create a stumbling-block here
in the training of an ariyan disciple.

As to this, monks,
an ariyan disciple reflects thus:

'Those pleasures of the senses
that are here and now
and those pleasures of the senses
that are hereafter, and those
perceptions of pleasures of the senses
that are here and now
and those perceptions of pleasures of the senses
that are hereafter -
both are of Māra's realm;
this is Māra's sphere,
this is Māra's crop,
this is Māra's pasturage.

Here these evil unskilled intentions
conduce to covetousness
and ill-will
and destruction,
and these create a stumbling-block here
in the training of an ariyan disciple.

Suppose I were to abide
with thought that is far-reaching,
wide-spread,
with a determined[12] mind,
having overcome the world.[13]

For if I abide with my thought far-reaching,
wide-spread,
with my mind determined,
having over- [47] come the world,
these that are unskilled evil intentions:
covetousness,
ill-will
and destruction,
will not come to be;
and by my getting rid of these
my thought[14] will not be limited[15]
(but) immeasurable,[16]
well-developed.'[17]

While he is faring along thus,
abiding given over to this,
his thought is peaceful in its sphere;[18]
if he is serene
either he comes to imperturbability now
or he is intent on wisdom.[19]

At the breaking up of the body after dying
this situation exists,
that that evolving consciousness[20]
may accordingly[21] reach imperturbability.

This, monks, is pointed to
as the first course in beneficial imperturbability.

 


 

And again, monks, an ariyan disciple reflects thus:[22]

'There are those pleasures of the senses
that are here and now
and those pleasures of the senses
that are hereafter,
and there are those perceptions
of pleasures of the senses that are here and now
and those perceptions
of pleasures of the senses that are hereafter,
and whatever is material shape
is material shape (consisting of) the four great elementals
and derived from them.'

While he is faring along thus,
abiding given over to this,
his thought is peaceful in its sphere;
if he is serene
either he comes to imperturbability now[23]
or he is intent on wisdom.

At the breaking up of the body after dying
this situation exists,
that that evolving consciousness
may accordingly reach imperturbability.

This, monks, is pointed to
as the second course in beneficial imperturbability.

 


 

And again, monks, an ariyan disciple reflects thus:[24]

There [48] are those pleasures of the senses
that are here and now
and those pleasures of the senses that are hereafter,
and there are those perceptions of pleasures of the senses
that are here and now
and those perceptions of pleasures of the senses
that are hereafter,
and there are those material shapes
that are here and now
and those material shapes
that are hereafter,
and there are those perceptions of material shapes
that are here and now
and those perceptions of material shapes
that are hereafter;

and those perceptions of material shapes that are here and now[25]
and those perceptions of material shapes that are hereafter -
both are impermanent.

What is impermanent
is not worth rejoicing over
nor worth approval
nor worth cleaving to.'

While he is faring along thus,
abiding given over to this,
his thought is peaceful in its sphere;
if he is serene
either he comes to imperturbability now[26]
or he is intent on wisdom.

At the breaking up of the body after dying
this situation exists,
that that evolving consciousness
may accordingly reach imperturbability.

This, monks, is pointed to
as the third course in beneficial imperturbability.

 


 

And again, monks, an ariyan disciple reflects thus:[27]

There are those pleasures of the senses
that are here and now
and those pleasures of the senses that are hereafter,
and there are those perceptions of pleasures of the senses
that are here and now
and those perceptions of pleasures of the senses
that are hereafter,
and there are those material shapes
that are here and now
and those material shapes
that are hereafter,
and there are those perceptions of material shapes
that are here and now
and those perceptions of material shapes
that are hereafter,
and there are those perceptions of imperturbability -
where all those perceptions are stopped without remainder,
that is the real,
that the excellent,[28]
that is to say the plane of no-thing.'

While he is faring along thus,
abiding given over to this,
his thought is peaceful in its sphere;
if he is serene
either he comes to the plane of no-thing now
or he is intent on wisdom.

At the breaking up of the body after dying
this situation exists,
that that evolving consciousness
may accordingly reach the plane of no-thing.

This, monks, is pointed to
as the first course for the beneficial plane of no-thing.

 


 

And again, monks, an ariyan disciple,
forest-gone
or gone to the root of a tree,
reflects thus:[29]

'Empty[30] is this of self
or of what belongs to self.'[31]

While he is faring along thus,
abiding given over to this,
his thought is peaceful in its sphere;
if he is serene
either he comes to the plane of no-thing now
or he is intent on wisdom.

At the break- [49] ing up of the body after dying
this situation exists,
that that evolving consciousness
may accordingly reach the plane of no-thing.

This, monks, is pointed to
as the second course for the beneficial plane of no-thing.

 


 

And again, monks, an ariyan disciple reflects thus:[32]

'I am naught of anyone
anywhere
nor is there anywhere
aught of mine.'[33]

While he is faring along thus,
abiding given over to this,
his thought is peaceful in its sphere;
if he is serene
either he comes to the plane of no-thing now
or he is intent on wisdom.

At the breaking up of the body after dying
this situation exists,
that that evolving consciousness
may accordingly reach the plane of no-thing.

This, monks, is pointed to
as the third course for the beneficial plane of no-thing.

 


 

And again, monks, an ariyan disciple reflects thus :[34]

There are those pleasures of the senses
that are here and now
and those pleasures of the senses that are hereafter,
and there are those perceptions of pleasures of the senses
that are here and now
and those perceptions of pleasures of the senses
that are hereafter,
and there are those material shapes
that are here and now
and those material shapes
that are hereafter,
and there are those perceptions of material shapes
that are here and now
and those perceptions of material shapes
that are hereafter,
and there are those perceptions of imperturbability,
and there are those perceptions of the plane of no-thing -
where all those perceptions are stopped without remainder,
that is the real,
that the excellent,
that is to say the plane of neither-perception-nor-non-perception.'

While he is faring along thus,
abiding given over to this,
his thought is peaceful in its sphere;
if he is serene
either he comes to the plane of neither-percep-tion-nor-non-pereeption now
or he is intent on wisdom.

At the breaking up of the body after dying
this situation exists,
that that evolving consciousness
may accordingly reach the plane of neither-perception-nor-non-perception.

This; monks, is pointed to
as the course for the beneficial plane of neither-perception-nor-non-perception."

 


 

When this had been said
the venerable Ānanda, spoke thus to the Lord:

"Revered sir, if a monk is here faring along thus and thinks:

'Had it not been
it would not be mine;
if it be not
it will not be mine;[35]
I am getting rid of what is,
of what has come to be' -

he is [50] thus acquiring equanimity.[36]

Has not this monk, revered sir,
attained final nibbāna?"

"It may be, Ānanda, that some monk here
attains final nibbāna.

It may be that another monk here
does not attain final nibbāna."

"What is the cause, revered sir,
what the reason
that some monk here
may attain final nibbāna,
but that some other monk here
may not attain final nibbāna?"[37]

"As to this, Ānanda,
if a monk is here
faring along thus
and thinks:

'Had it not been
it would not be mine;
if it be not
it will not be mine;
I am getting rid of what is,
of what has come to be'-

he is thus acquiring equanimity.

He rejoices in this equanimity,
approves of it
and cleaves to it.

While he rejoices in this equanimity,
approves of it
and cleaves to it,
consciousness is dependent on it,
grasping after it.

A monk who has grasping, Ānanda,
does not attain final nibbāna."[38]

"But where,[39] revered sir,
does a monk grasp
who is grasping?"[40]

"The plane of neither-perception-nor-non-perception, Ānanda."

"Indeed, revered sir,
the monk who is grasping
grasps after the best of graspings."[41]

"That monk who is grasping
grasps after the best of graspings,
Ānanda.

For this is the best of graspings, Ānanda,
that is to say
the plane of neither-perception-nor-non-perception.

Ānanda, if a monk is here faring along thus[42]
and thinks:

'Had it not been
it would not be mine;
if it be not
it will not be mine;
I am getting rid of what is,
of what has come to be' -

he is thus acquiring equanimity.

He does not rejoice in that equanimity,
does not approve of it
or cleave to it.

Not rejoicing in that equanimity,
not approving of it
or cleaving to it,
consciousness is not dependent on it,
not grasping after it.

A monk who is without grasping, Ānanda,
attains final nibbāna."

"It is wonderful, revered sir,
it is marvellous, revered sir.

Indeed it is by means of this and that,[43] revered sir,
that the crossing of the [51] flood
has been pointed out to us by the Lord.[44]

But which, revered sir, is the ariyan Deliverance?"

"As to this, Ānanda,
an ariyan disciple[45] reflects thus:

There are those pleasures of the senses
that are here and now
and those pleasures of the senses that are hereafter,
and there are those perceptions of pleasures of the senses
that are here and now
and those perceptions of pleasures of the senses
that are hereafter,
and there are those material shapes
that are here and now
and those material shapes
that are hereafter,
and there are those perceptions of material shapes
that are here and now
and those perceptions of material shapes
that are hereafter,
and there are those perceptions of imperturbability,
and there are those perceptions of the plane of no-thing,
and there are those perceptions of the plane of neither-perception-nor-non-perception -
whatever is 'own body'
this is 'own-body.'[46]

But this is deathlessness,[47]
that is to say the deliverance of thought without grasping.[48]

So, Ānanda,
taught by me has been the course for beneficial imperturbability,
taught the course for the beneficial plane of no-thing,
taught the course for the beneficial plane of neither-perception-nor-non-perception,
taught by means of this and that
has been the crossing of the flood,
taught the ariyan Deliverance.

Whatever, Ānanda, is to be done from compassion by a Teacher
seeking the welfare of disciples,
this has been done by me
out of compassion for you.

These, Ānanda,
are the roots of trees,
these are empty places.

Meditate, Ānanda,
be not slothful,
be not remorseful later.

This is our instruction to you."[49]

Thus spoke the Lord.

Delighted, the venerable Ānanda rejoiced in what the Lord had said.

Discourse on Beneficial Imperturbability:
The Sixth[50]

 


[1] This "peculiarity of ... spelling" (āṇañja) with v.ll. is noticed in P.E.D., s.v. ānejja; cf. M. ii. 229, 253.

[2] As at A. v. 84.

[3] tuccha, empty of the essence of permanence, of stability, of self, MA. iv. 56.

[4] musa, which MA. iv. 56 explains by nassanaka, perishable.

[5] moghadhamma, v.l. mosadhamma, which is also the reading at A. v. 84 and MA. iv. 56.

[6] The five strands of human sense-pleasures, MA. iv. 57.

[7] Referring to those that are not "here and now."

[8] The sense-pleasures and the perceptions of them, MA. iv. 57.

[9] nivāpa; cf. Nivāpa-sutta, M. Sta. No. 26.

[10] Cf. S. v. 218 and v. 148-149.

[11] mānasā; see P.E.D.

[12] Having determined on jhāna.

[13] The world of the five senses, MA. iv. 58.

[14] In jhāna.

[15] aparitta. The mind that is small, limited, pamāṇa or paritta, has to do with pleasures of the senses. Cf. A. i. 249, paritto appātumo appadukkhavihārī ... aparitto mahattā appamāṇavihārī.

[16] Having to do with the spheres of form (or fine-materiality) and formlessness (or immateriality).

[17] subhāvita, having to do with what is transcendental, supermundane.

[18] āyatana, which is arahantship or the vision of arahantship or the fourth jhāna or access to it, MA. iv. 59. Āyatana can also mean performance, doing, kāraṇa.

[19] This may lead to arahantship or cultivating the way to it or to the fourth or third jhāna. If he fails to win arahantship, then the next sentence applies.

Saŋvattanika viññāṇa, Own-rolling-on consciousness. Consciousness, springing from named-form and giving rise to named-form, unless arrested rolls on not limited by the death of the body.

p.p. explains it all — p.p.

[20] saṁvattanika viññāṇa, or conducive consciousness. MA. iv. 61 says "that monk tends, arises, because of that consciousness of (good) result."

[21] yaṁ. MA. iv. 61 gives yena kāraṇena, for this reason.

[22] I.e. when he has attained the fourth jhāna, MA. iv. 62.

[23] The imperturbability of the plane of infinite ākāsa, MA. iv. 62.

[24] I.e. when he has attained the plane of infinite ākāsa, MA. iv. 63. He has greater wisdom than have the two former monks.

[25] These two clauses are in Chalmers's text.

[26] In the plane of infinite consciousness.

[27] I.e. when he has attained the plane of infinite consciousness, MA. iv. 63.

[28] As at M. i. 436, ii. 235, A. iv. 423, v. 8, 110, 320, etc.

[29] While he is still at the plane of infinite consciousness.

[30] The text's saññaṁ should be corrected to suññaṁ.

[31] Of thoughts of "I" and "mine," thus the emptiness is twofold, MA. iv. 64.

[32] While he is still at the plane of infinite consciousness. But he is wiser than the five monks already referred to.

[33] This is the fourth "brahman truth" made known by Gotama at A. ii. 177. See also A. i. 206 and cf. Ud. 79, Dhp. 421. The emptiness is here fourfold, MA. iv. 64-65.

[34] I.e. when he has attained the plane of no thing.

[35] As at S. iii. 55, 99, 183. MA. iv. 65 explains: had it not been for my past fivefold circle of deeds (referring to the khandha) this present fivefold circle of results would not be for me; if this present fivefold circle of effects did not come to be, there would therefore be no fivefold circle of results for me in the future.

[36] Due to insight, vipasaanā.

[37] Cf. M. iii. 4-6.

[38] Cf. S. iv. 168, anupādiyam ... parinibbāyati.

[39] kahaṁ, explained by kattha at MA. iv. 66, both meaning where, where to, where unto, whither.

[40] Grasping after paṭisandhi, re-linking, re-instatement, MA. iv. 67.

[41] He tries for re-instatement in the best state.

[42] Now speaking of a monk's arahantship.

[43] nissāya nissāya, on account of this attainment and that, MA. iv. 67.

[44] MA. iv. 67, 68 makes the point that in this Sta. "dry-visioned arahantship" is being spoken of.

[45] Again, a "dry-visioned" ariyan disciple.

[46] In the three spheres of kāma, rūpa, arūpa; beyond these there is no "own-body," MA. iv. 67.

[47] MA. iv. 67, "this is the real, this the excellent."

[48] Elsewhere called nibbāna (e.g. Vin. v. 164, Pṭs. ii. 46; cf. A. v. 64). But here the arahantship of the "dry-visioned" one is meant, MA. iv. 68.

[49] As at M. i. 46, etc.

[50] Here ends Chalmers's Majjhima-Nikāya, vol. II.


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