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 109

Mahā Puṇṇama Suttaɱ

Greater Discourse (at the Time) of a Full Moon[1]

Translated from the Pali by I.B. Horner.
For free distribution only.
From Taming the Mind: Discourses of the Buddha (WH 51),
edited by the Buddhist Publication Society,
(Kandy: Buddhist Publication Society, 1983).
Copyright ©1983 Buddhist Publication Society.
Used with permission.

 


 

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

At one time the Lord was staying near Sāvatthī
in the palace of Migāra's mother in the Eastern Monastery.

Now at that time the Lord was sitting down in the open air
on the night of a full moon
on an Observance day,
the fifteenth,[2]
surrounded by an Order of monks.

Then a certain monk,
rising from his seat,
arranging his upper robe over one shoulder,
having saluted the Lord with joined palms,
spoke thus to the Lord:

"I, revered sir, would ask the Lord about a particular matter
if the Lord grants me the opportunity[3]
to set forth a question."

"Well then, monk, you,
having sat down on your own seat,[4]
ask what you desire."

Then that monk, having sat down on his own seat,
spoke thus to the Lord:

[66] "Are there not, revered sir,
these five groups of grasping,
that is to say,
the group of grasping after material shape,
the group of grasping after feeling,
the group of grasping after perception,
the group of grasping after the habitual tendencies,
the group of grasping after consciousness?"

"These, monk, are the five groups of grasping,
that is to say,
the group of grasping after material shape,
the group of grasping after feeling,
the group of grasping after perception,
the group of grasping after the habitual tendencies,
the group of grasping after consciousness."

"It is good, revered sir,"

and this monk,
having rejoiced in what the Lord had said,
having given thanks,
asked the Lord a further question:

 


 

"But what, revered sir, is the root
of these five groups of grasping?"

"These five groups of grasping, monk,
have desire for root."

 


 

"Are just these five groups of grasping
the whole of grasping, revered sir?

Or is there grasping
apart from these five groups of grasping?"

"Indeed, monk, these five groups of grasping
are not the whole of grasping,
and yet there is no grasping
apart from the five groups of grasping.

Whatever, monks, is attachment to
and desire for
the five groups of grasping,
then that is grasping."

 


 

"Might it be, revered sir,
that there is diversity
in the attachment to
and desire for
the five groups of grasping?"

"It might be, monk,"

the Lord said.

"It occurs to someone here, monk:

'May material shape be thus in the distant future,
may feeling be thus in the distant future,
may perception be thus in the distant future,
may the habitual tendencies be thus in the distant future,
may consciousness be such in the distant future.'

Even so, monk, is there diversity
in the attachment to
and desire for
the five groups of grasping."

 


 

"But to what extent, revered sir,
is there a group-designation for the groups?"

"Whatever, monk, is material shape,
past, future or present,
internal or external,
gross or subtle,
mean or excellent,
or whatever is far or near,
this is the group of material shape.

Whatever is feeling,
past, future or present,
internal or external,
gross or subtle,
mean or excellent,
or whatever is far or near,
this is the group of feeling.

Whatever is perception,
past, future or present,
internal or external,
gross or subtle,
mean or excellent,
or whatever is far or near,
this is the group of perception.

Whatever are the habitual tendencies,
past, future or present,
internal or external,
gross or subtle,
mean or excellent,
or whatever is far or near,
this is the group of habitual tendencies.

Whatever is consciousness,
past, future or present,
internal or external,
gross or subtle,
mean or excellent,
or whatever is far or near,
this is the group of consciousness.

To this extent, monk,
is there a group-designation for the groups."

 


 

"What is the cause, revered sir,
what the reason
enabling a definition to be made
of a group of material shape?

What is the cause,
what the reason enabling a definition to be made
of the group [67] of feeling?

What is the cause,
what the reason enabling a definition to be made
of the group of perception?

What is the cause,
what the reason enabling a definition to be made
of the group of the habitual tendencies?

What is the cause,
what the reason enabling a definition to be made
of the group of consciousness?"

"The four great elementals, monk,
are the cause,
the four great elementals are the reason
enabling a definition to be made
of the group of material shape.

(Sensory) impingement[5] is the cause,
(sensory) impingement is the reason
enabling a definition to be made
of the group of feeling.

(Sensory) impingement is the cause,
(sensory) impingement is the reason
enabling a definition to be made
of the group of perception.

(Sensory) impingement is the cause,
(sensory) impingement is the reason
enabling a definition to be made
of the group of the habitual tendencies.

Name-and-shape is the cause,
name-and-shape is the reason
enabling a definition to be made
of the group of consciousness."[6]

 


 

"But how, revered sir, is there (wrong) view as to 'own body'[7]?"

"As to this, monk, an uninstructed average person,
taking no count of the pure ones,
unskilled in the dhamma of the pure ones,
untrained in the dhamma of the pure ones,
taking no count of the true men,
unskilled in the dhamma of the true men,
untrained in the dhamma of the true men,
regards material shape as self,
or self as having material shape,
or material shape as in self,
or self as in material shape.

He regards feeling as self,
or self as having feeling,
or feeling as in self,
or self as in feeling.

He regards perception as self,
or self as having perception,
or perception as in self,
or self as in perception.

He regards the habitual tendencies as self,
or self as having habitual tendencies,
or habitual tendencies as in self,
or self as in habitual tendencies.

He regards consciousness as self,
or self as having consciousness,
or consciousness as in self,
or self as in consciousness.

Thus, monk, is there (wrong) view as to 'own body.'"

 


 

"But how, revered sir, is there not (wrong) view as to 'own body'?"

"As to this, monk, the instructed disciple of the pure ones,
taking count of the dhamma of the pure ones,
skilled in the dhamma of the pure ones,
well trained in the dhamma of the pure ones,
taking count of the true men,
skilled in the dhamma of the true men,
well trained in the dhamma of the true men,
,
does not regard material shape as self,
or self as having material shape,
or material shape as in self,
or self as in material shape.

He does not regard feeling as self,
or self as having feeling,
or feeling as in self,
or self as in feeling.

He does not regard perception as self,
or self as having perception,
or perception as in self,
or self as in perception.

He does not regard the habitual tendencies as self,
or self as having habitual tendencies,
or habitual tendencies as in self,
or self as in habitual tendencies.

He does not regard consciousness as self,
or self as having consciousness,
or consciousness as in self,
or self as in consciousness.

Thus, monk, is there not (wrong) view as to 'own body.'"

 


 

"And what, revered sir,
is the satisfaction in material shape,
what the peril,
what is the escape from it?

What is the satisfaction in feeling,
what the peril,
what is the escape from it?

What is the satisfaction in perception,
what the peril,
what is the escape from it?

What is the satisfaction in the habitual tendencies,
what the peril,
what is the escape from it?

What is the satisfaction in consciousness,
what the peril,
what is the escape from it?"

[68] "Monk, whatever happiness and bliss arise
on account of material shape,
this constitutes the satisfaction in material shape.

Whatever impermanence,
suffering,
liability to change
are in material shape,
this constitutes the peril in material shape.

Whatever the control of attachment to
and desire for material shape,
the getting rid of the attachment and desire,
this constitutes the escape from material shape.

"Whatever happiness and bliss arise
on account of feeling,
this constitutes the satisfaction in feeling.

Whatever impermanence,
suffering,
liability to change
are in feeling,
this constitutes the peril in feeling.

Whatever the control of attachment to
and desire for feeling,
the getting rid of the attachment and desire,
this constitutes the escape from feeling.

"Whatever happiness and bliss arise
on account of perception,
this constitutes the satisfaction in perception.

Whatever impermanence,
suffering,
liability to change
are in perception,
this constitutes the peril in perception.

Whatever the control of attachment to
and desire for perception,
the getting rid of the attachment and desire,
this constitutes the escape from perception.

"Whatever happiness and bliss arise
on account of the habitual tendencies,
this constitutes the satisfaction in the habitual tendencies.

Whatever impermanence,
suffering,
liability to change
are in the habitual tendencies,
this constitutes the peril in the habitual tendencies.

Whatever the control of attachment to
and desire for the habitual tendencies,
the getting rid of the attachment and desire,
this constitutes the escape from the habitual tendencies.

"Whatever happiness and bliss arise
on account of consciousness,
this constitutes the satisfaction in consciousness.

Whatever impermanence,
suffering,
liability to change
are in consciousness,
this constitutes the peril in consciousness.

Whatever the control of attachment to
and desire for consciousness,
the getting rid of the attachment and desire,
this constitutes the escape from consciousness.

 


 

"But, revered sir, (for a man) knowing what,
seeing what,
are there no latent conceits that

'I am the doer,
mine is the doer'

in regard to this consciousness-informed body
and all the phenomena external to it?"

"Whatever, monk, is material shape,
past, future or present,
internal or external,
gross or subtle,
mean or excellent,
or whatever is far or near,
he, thinking of all this material shape as

'This is not mine,
this am I not,
this is not my self,'

sees it thus
as it really is
by means of perfect wisdom.

"Whatever, monk, is feeling[8],
past, future or present,
internal or external,
gross or subtle,
mean or excellent,
or whatever is far or near,
he, thinking of all this feeling as

'This is not mine,
this am I not,
this is not my self,'

sees it thus
as it really is
by means of perfect wisdom.

"Whatever, monk, is perception,
past, future or present,
internal or external,
gross or subtle,
mean or excellent,
or whatever is far or near,
he, thinking of all this perception as

'This is not mine,
this am I not,
this is not my self,'

sees it thus
as it really is
by means of perfect wisdom.

"Whatever, monk, are the habitual tendencies,
past, future or present,
internal or external,
gross or subtle,
mean or excellent,
or whatever is far or near,
he, thinking of all these habitual tendencies as

'This is not mine,
this am I not,
this is not my self,'

sees it thus
as it really is
by means of perfect wisdom.

"Whatever, monk, is consciousness,
past, future or present,
internal or external,
gross or subtle,
mean or excellent,
or whatever is far or near,
he, thinking of all this consciousness as

'This is not mine,
this am I not,
this is not my self,'

sees it thus
as it really is
by means of perfect wisdom.

Monk, (for a man) knowing thus,
seeing thus,
there are no latent conceits that

'I am the doer,
mine is the doer'

in regard to this consciousness-informed body
and all the phenomena external to it."

 


 

Then a reasoning arose in the mind of a certain monk thus:

"It is said, sir,[9]
that material shape is not self,
feeling is not self,
perception is not self,
the habitual tendencies are not self,
consciousness is not self.

Then what self
do deeds affect
that are done by not-self?"[10]

Then the Lord, knowing by mind
the reasoning in the mind of this monk,
addressed the monks,
saying:

"This situation exists, monks,
[69] when some foolish man here,
not knowing,
ignorant,
with his mind in the grip of craving,
may deem to go beyond[11] the Teacher's instruction thus:

"It is said, sir,
that material shape is not self,
feeling is not self,
perception is not self,
the habitual tendencies are not self,
consciousness is not self.

Then what self
do deeds affect
that are done by not-self?"

You, monks, have been trained by me
(to look for) conditions[12]
now here,
now there,
in these things
and in those.

What do you think about this, monks?

Is material shape permanent or impermanent?"

"Impermanent, revered sir."

"But is what is impermanent
painful or is it pleasant?"

"Painful, revered sir."

"And is it right to regard that which is impermanent,
suffering,
liable to change, as,

'This is mine,
this am I,
this is my self'?"

"No, revered sir."

What do you think about this, monks?

Is feeling permanent or impermanent?"

"Impermanent, revered sir."

"But is what is impermanent
painful or is it pleasant?"

"Painful, revered sir."

"And is it right to regard that which is impermanent,
suffering,
liable to change, as,

'This is mine,
this am I,
this is my self'?"

"No, revered sir."

What do you think about this, monks?

Is perception permanent or impermanent?"

"Impermanent, revered sir."

"But is what is impermanent
painful or is it pleasant?"

"Painful, revered sir."

"And is it right to regard that which is impermanent,
suffering,
liable to change, as,

'This is mine,
this am I,
this is my self'?"

"No, revered sir."

What do you think about this, monks?

Are the habitual tendencies permanent or impermanent?"

"Impermanent, revered sir."

"But is what is impermanent
painful or is it pleasant?"

"Painful, revered sir."

"And is it right to regard that which is impermanent,
suffering,
liable to change, as,

'This is mine,
this am I,
this is my self'?"

"No, revered sir."

What do you think about this, monks?

Is consciousness permanent or impermanent?"

"Impermanent, revered sir."

"But is what is impermanent
painful or is it pleasant?"

"Painful, revered sir."

"And is it right to regard that which is impermanent,
suffering,
liable to change, as,

'This is mine,
this am I,
this is my self'?"

"No, revered sir."

"Wherefore, monks,
whatever is material shape,
past, future or present,
internal or external,
gross or subtle,
mean or excellent,
or whatever is far or near,
thinking of all this material shape as

'This is not mine,
this am I not,
this is not my self,'

he should see it thus
as it really is
by means of perfect wisdom.

"Wherefore, monks,
whatever is feeling,
past, future or present,
internal or external,
gross or subtle,
mean or excellent,
or whatever is far or near,
thinking of all this feeling as

'This is not mine,
this am I not,
this is not my self,'

he should see it thus
as it really is
by means of perfect wisdom.

"Wherefore, monks,
whatever is perception,
past, future or present,
internal or external,
gross or subtle,
mean or excellent,
or whatever is far or near,
thinking of all this perception as

'This is not mine,
this am I not,
this is not my self,'

he should see it thus
as it really is
by means of perfect wisdom.

"Wherefore, monks,
whatever are the habitual tendencies,
past, future or present,
internal or external,
gross or subtle,
mean or excellent,
or whatever is far or near,
thinking of all these habitual tendencies as

'This is not mine,
this am I not,
this is not my self,'

he should see it thus
as it really is
by means of perfect wisdom.

"Wherefore, monks,
whatever is consciousness,
past, future or present,
internal or external,
gross or subtle,
mean or excellent,
or whatever is far or near,
thinking of all this consciousness as

'This is not mine,
this am I not,
this is not my self,'

he should see it thus
as it really is
by means of perfect wisdom.

Seeing it thus, monks,
the instructed disciple of the pure ones
turns away from material shape,
he turns away from feeling,
turns away from perception,
turns away from the habitual tendencies,
turns away from consciousness;
turning away he is detached;
by his detachment he is freed;
in freedom there is the knowledge that he is freed
and he comprehends:

Destroyed is birth,
brought to a close [70] the Brahma-faring,
done is what was to be done,
there is no more of being such or so."

Thus spoke the Lord.

Delighted, these monks rejoiced in what the Lord had said.

And while this exposition was being spoken
the minds of as many as sixty monks[13]
were freed from the cankers
with no grasping (remaining).

Greater Discourse (at the Time) of a Full Moon:
The Ninth

 


[1] As at S. iii. 100 ff.

[2] The fifteenth day of the lunar month. Cf. S. iii. 100, Vin. i. 104.

[3] okāsaṁ karoti; cf. Vin. i. 114, iv. 344.

[4] MA. iv. 75 f. explains that this monk was the Elder in an Order of sixty who were staying in a forest. If he stood, they would stand, thereby showing disrespect to the Tathāgata; but if they sat while their teacher was speaking they would be showing disrespect to him. But if the teacher sat they too would sit and so, all being tranquil, they would be able to receive the teaching on dhamma.

[5] phassa. MA. iv. 78 says that if one is impinged upon then one feels, perceives, wills.

[6] Cf. D. ii. 62-63 where name-and-shape and consciousness are mutually dependent. Here re-linking consciousness is meant, MA. iv. 78.

[7] Cf. M. i. 300.

[8] vedanā, feeling, is omitted in the text, no doubt in error.

[9] iti kira bho. This looks like a case where a monk, in thought, applies bho to himself. Or else he is thinking (as translated at K.S. iii. 88) "so then you say."

[10] "In what self do these results appear? Speaking thus, he fell into the view of eternalism," MA. iv. 79.

[11] atidhāvati; cf. M. iii. 230, S. iii. 103, iv. 230, Iti. p. 43, Ud. 64. Explained at UdA. 352. It means to by-pass, deviate from, outstrip, run ahead of, "go one better than," "improve upon."

[12] paṭicca-vinītā, trained in conditions. S. iii. 104 reads paṭipucchā vinītā.

[13] Those referred to in MA. on this Sta. as having lived in the forest learning meditation under a teacher who, not satisfied with their progress, brought them to the Lord and himself questioned Him. MA. iv. 79 says that they had meditated on the usual subjects of meditation but now, mastering a new one and not moving from their cross-legged positions, they attained arahantship on the very seats on which they were sitting.


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