Majjhima Nikaya


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Majjhima Nikāya
III. Upari Paṇṇāsa
2. Anupada Vagga

The Middle Length Sayings
III. The Final Fifty Discourses
2. The Division of the Uninterrupted

Sutta 112

Chabbisodhana Sutta

Discourse on the Sixfold Cleansing

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

Copyright The Pali Text Society
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[25] [1][chlm][ntbb][upal][olds] THUS have I heard:

At one time the Lord was staying near Sāvatthī in the Jeta Grove in Anāthapiṇḍika's monastery.

While he was there the Lord addressed the monks, saying: "Monks."

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

The Lord spoke thus:

"Monks, a monk here declares profound knowledge, saying:

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

Monks, the words of this monk are to be neither rejoiced in nor protested against.[1] Without (your) rejoicing or protesting, the question might be asked:

"Your reverence, these four modes of statement[2] have been rightly pointed out by that Lord who knows and sees perfected one, fully Self-Awakened One.

What four?

That which when seen is spoken of as seen,
that which when heard is spoken of as heard,
that which when sensed is spoken of as sensed,
that which when cognised is spoken of as cognised.[3]

Your reverence, these four modes of statement have been rightly pointed out by that Lord who knows and sees, perfected one, fully Self-Awakened One.

But knowing what, seeing what in respect of these four modes of statement can your reverence say that his mind is freed from the cankers with no grasping (remaining)?'

Monks, the explanation of the monk in whom the cankers are destroyed,
who has lived the life,
done what was to be done,
laid down the burden,
attained his own welfare,
in whom the fetters of becoming are utterly destroyed and
who is freed by right profound knowledge,
would be in accordance with dhamma were he to say:

'I, your reverences, not feeling attracted[4] to things seen ... heard ... sensed ... cognised,
not feeling repelled by them,
independent,
not infatuated,
freed,
released,
dwell with a mind that is unconfined.

So, your reverenoes, as I know thus, see thus, in respect of these four modes of statement, I can say that my mind is freed from the cankers with no grasping (remaining).'

Monks, that monk's words should be rejoiced in and approved of by the monks, saying:

'It is good.'

When they have rejoiced in and approved of his words, saying, 'It is good,' a further question might be asked:[5]

'Your reverence, these five groups of grasping have been rightly pointed out by that Lord who knows and sees, perfected one, fully Self-Awakened One.

What five?

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.

Your reverence, these five groups of grasping have been rightly pointed out by that Lord who knows and sees, perfected one, fully Self-Awakened One.

But knowing what, seeing what in respect of these five groups of grasping can your reverence say that his mind is freed from the cankers with no grasping (remaining)?'

Monks, the explanation of the monk in whom the cankers are destroyed, who has lived the life ... and who is freed by right profound knowledge, would be in accordance with dhamma were he to say:

'I, your reverences, having known that material shape ... feeling ... perrception ... the habitual tendencies ... consciousness
is of little strength,
fading away,[6]
comfortless;
by the destruction,
fading away,
stopping,
giving up and casting out
of grasping after and hankering after[7]
material shape ... feeling ... perception ... the habitual tendencies ... consciousness
which are mental dogmas,
biases and tendencies,[8]
I comprehend that my mind is freed.

So, your reverences, as I know thus, see thus in respect of these five groups of grasping, I can say that my mind is freed from the cankers with no grasping (remaining).'

Monks, that monk's words should be rejoiced in and approved of by the monks, saying:

'It is good.'

When they have rejoiced in and approved of his words, saying: 'It is good,' a further question might be asked:

Your reverence, these six elements have been rightly pointed out by that Lord who knows and sees, perfected one, fully Self-Awakened One.

What six?

The element of extension,
the element of coohesion,
the element of radiation,
the element of motion,[9]
the element of space,[10] the element of consoiousness.[11]

Your reverence, these six elements have been rightly pointed out by that Lord who knows and sees, perfected one, fully Self-Awakened One.

But knowing what, seeing what in respect of these six elements can your reverence say that his mind is freed from the cankers with no grasping (remaining)?'

Monks, the explanation of that monk in whom the cankers are destroyed, who has lived the life ... and who is freed by right profound knowledge would be in accordance with dhamma were he to say:

'I, your reverences, went to the element of extension as not-self and to self as not dependent on the element of extension ...
went-to the element of cohesion ... radiation ... motion ... space ...
consciousness as not-self and to self as not dependent on the element of consciousness;
by the destruction, fading away, stopping, giving up and casting out of grasping after and hankering after these things which are dependent on the element of extension . . . cohesion ... radiation ... motion ... space ... consciousness which are mental dogmas, biases and tendencies,
I comprehend that my mind is freed.

So, your reverences, as I know thus, see thus in respect of these six elements, I can say that my mind is freed from the cankers with no grasping (remaining).'

Monks, that monk's words should be rejoiced in and approved of by the monks, saying:

'It is good.'

When they have rejoiced in and appproved of his words, saying: 'It is good,' a further question might be asked:

Your reverence, these six internal and external (sense-)fields have been rightly pointed out by that Lord who knows and sees, perfected one, fully Self-Awakened One.

What six?

The eye as well as material shapes,
the ear as well as sounds,
the nose as well as smells,
the tongue as well as tastes,
the body as well as tactile objects,
the mind as well as mental states.

Your reverence, these six internal and external (sense-)fields have been rightly pointed out by that Lord who knows and sees, perfected one, fully SelffAwakened One.

But knowing what, seeing what in respect of these six internal and external (sense-)fields can your reverence say that his mind is freed from the cankers with no grasping (remaining)?'

Monks, the explanation of that monk in whom the cankers are desstroyed, who has lived the life, done what was to be done, laid down the burden, attained his own welfare, in whom the fetters of becomming are utterly destroyed and who is freed by right profound knowwledge, would be in accordance with dhamma were he to say:

'Your reverences,
whatever is desire,
whatever is attachment,
whatever is delight,
whatever is craving for eye, material shape,
visual consciousness and for things cognisable through visual consciousness,[12]
by the destruction,
fading away,
stopping,
giving up and
casting out
of grasping after and hankering after these things
which are mental dogmas, biases and tendencies,
I comprehend that my mmd is freed.

Your reverences, so it is with the ear, sounds, auditory consoiousness ...
the nose, smells, olfactory consciousness ...
the tongue, tastes, gustatory consciousness ...
the body, tactile objects, bodily connsciousness ...
the mind, mental states, mental consciousness,
with mental states cognisable through mental consciousness.

So, your reverences, as I know thus, see thus in respect of these six internal-external (sense-)fields, I can say that my mind is freed from the cankers with no grasping (remaining).'

Monks, that monk's words should be rejoiced in and approved of by the monks, saying:

'It is good.'

When they have rejoiced in and approved of his words, saying: 'It is good,' a further question might be asked:

'But knowing what, seeing what in respect of this oonsoiousness-informed body and all external phenomena can your reverence say that his tendency to pride that "I am the doer, mine is the doer" is properly extirpated?'

Monks, the explanation of that monk in whom the cankers are destroyed, who has lived the life, done what was to be done, laid down the burden, attained his own welfare, in whom the fetters of becoming are utterly destroyed and who is freed by right profound knowledge, would be in accordance with dhamma were he to say:

'Formerly, your reverences, when I was a householder, I was ignorant. The Tathāgata or a disciple of the Tathāgata taught me dhamma. When I had heard that dhamma I gained faith in the Tathāgata; being possessed of that faith I had gained in him, I reflected thus:

"The household life is confined and dusty,[13] going forth is in the open; it is not easy for one who lives in a house to fare the Brahma-faring wholly fulfilled, wholly pure, polished like a conch-shell. Suppose now that I, having cut off my hair and beard, having put on saffron robes, should go forth from home into homelessness?"

So I, your reverences, after a time, getting rid of my wealth, whether small or great, getting rid of my circle of relations, whether small or great, having cut off my hair and beard, having put on saffron robes, went forth from home into homelessness.

I, being gone forth thus, endowed with the training and the way of living of monks, abandoning onslaught on creatures, abstained from onslaught on creatures; the stick laid aside, the sword laid aside, I lived scrupulous, kindly, friendly and compassionnate towards all living things and creatures.

Abandoning the taking of what had not been given, I abstained from taking what had not been given;
taking (only) what was given, waiting for what was given, without stealing I lived with self become pure.

Abandoning unnchastity, I was one that was chaste, keeping remote (from unnchastity), refraining from dealings with women.

Abandoning lying speech, I was one who abstained from lying speech, I was a truth-speaker, a bondsman to truth, trustworthy, dependable, no deceiver of the world.

Abandoning slanderous speech, I abstained from slanderous specch;
having heard something here I was not one to repeat it elsewhere for causing variance among these (people);
or, having heard something elsewhere I was not one to repeat it here for causing variance among these (people).
In this way I was a reconciler of those who were at variance and one who combined those who were friends. Concord was my pleasure, concord my delight, concord my joy, concord the motive of my speech.

Abanndoning harsh speech, I abstained from harsh speech. Whatever speech was gentle, pleasing to the ear, [34] affectionate, going to the heart, urbane, pleasant to the manyfolk, agreeable to the many folk — I was one who uttered speech like that.

Abandoning frivolous chatter, I abstained from frivolous chatter. I was a speaker at the right time, a speaker of fact, a speaker on the goal, a speaker on dhamma, a speaker on discipline, I spoke words that were worth treasuring, with opportune similes, purposeful, connected with the goal.

I abstained from destruction to seed-growth and vegetable growth.

I was one who ate one meal a day, desisting at night, refraining from eating at a wrong time.

I abstained from watching shows of dancing, singing and music.

I abstained from using garlands, scents, unguents, adornments, finery.

I abstained from using high beds, large beds ...
from accepting gold and silver ...
from accepting raw grain ...
raw meat ...
women and girls ...
women slaves and men slaves ...
goats and sheep ...
fowl and swine ...
elephants, cows, horses, mares ...
fields and sites.

I was one that abstained from the practice of sending or going on messages.

I abstained from buying and selling ...
from cheating with weights, bronzes and measures.

I abstained from the crooked ways of bribery, fraud and deceit ...
from maiming, murdering, manacling, highway robbery.

I was contented with the robes for protecting my body, with the almsfood for sustaining my stomach.

Wherever I went I took these things with me as I went. As a bird on the wing takes its wings with it wherever it flies, even so did I, your reverences, contented with the robes for protecting my body and with the alms-food for sustaining my stomach, take these things with me wherever I went.

I, possessed of this body of ariyan moral habit, inwardly experienced the bliss of blamelessness.

If I saw a material shape with the eye
I was not entranced by the general appearance,
I was not entranced by the detail.

If I dwelt with this organ of sight uncontrolled, covetousness and dejection, evil unskilled states, might flow in.

So I fared along controlling it, I guarded the organ of sight, I achieved control over the organ of sight.

If I heard a sound with the car ...
If I smelt a smell with the nose ...
If I savoured a taste with the tongue ...
If I felt a touch with the body ...
If I cognised a mental state with the mind
I was not entranced by the general appearance, I was not entranced by the detail ...
I achieved control over the organ of mind.

I, posaessed of this ariyan control over the sense-organs, inwardly experienced the bliss of being "unaffected."[14]

Whether I was setting out or returning,
I was one who comported myself properly;
whether I was looking down or looking round ...
bending back or stretching out (my arm) ...
carrying my outer cloak, bowl or robe ...
munching, drinking, eating, savouring ...
obeying the calls of nature ...
walking, standing, sitting, asleep, awake, talking or silent,
I was one who comported myself properly.

Possessed of this ariyan body of moral habit and
possessed of this ariyan control over the sense-organs and
possessed of this ariyan mindfulness and clear consciousness,
I chose a remote lodging in a forest,
at the root of a tree,
on a mountain slope,
in a wilderness,
a hill-cave,
a cemetery,
a forest haunt,
in the open or on a heap of straw.

Returning from alms-gathering after the meal,
I sat down cross-legged,
holding the back erect,
having made mindfulness rise up in front of me.

By getting rid of covetousness for the world,
I dwelt with a mind devoid of coveting,
I purified the mmd of covetting.

By getting rid of the taint of ill-will,
I dwelt benevolent in mind;
and compassionate for the welfare of all creatures and beings,
I purified the mind of the taint of ill-will.

By getting rid of sloth and torpor,
I dwelt devoid of sloth and torpor;
perceiving the light,
mindful and clearly conscious,
I purified the mind of sloth and torpor.

By getting rid of restlessness and worry, I dwelt calmly,
the mind subjectively tranquilliscd,
I purified the mind of restlesssness and worry.

By getting rid of doubt,
I dwelt doubt-crossed,
unperplexed as to the states that are skilled,
I purified the mind of doubt.

By getting rid of these five hindrances —
defilements of the mind and weakening to intuitive wisdom —
aloof from pleasures of the senses,
aloof from unskilled states of mind,
I entered on and abided in the first meditation
which is ... joyful.

By allaying initial thought and discursive thought
I entered on and abided in the second meditation
which is joyful.

By the fading out of rapture,
I dwelt with equanimity and
I entered on and abided in the third meditation.

By getting rid of joy and by getting rid of anguish ...
I entered on and abided in the fourth meditation
which ... is entirely purified by equanimity and mindfulness.

Thus with the mind composed,
quite purified,
quite clarified,
without blemish,
without defilement,
grown soft and workable,
stable,
immovable,
I directed my mind to the knowledge of the destruction of the cankers.[15]

I understood as it really is:

This is anguish ...
this the arising of anguish ...
this the stopping of anguish ...
this the course leading to the stopping of anguish.

I understood as it really is:

These are the cankers ...
this is the arising of the cankers ...
this the stopping of the cankers ...
this the course leading to the stopping of the cankers.

When I knew and saw this thus,
my mind was freed from the canker of the sense-pleasures and
my mind was freed from the canker of becoming and
my mind was freed from the canker of ignorance.

In freedom
the knowledge came to be that
I was freed and
I comprehended:

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

So, your reverences, as I know thus, see thus,
in respect of this consciousness-informed body
and all external phenomena,
I can say that my tendency to pride that
"I am the doer, mine is the doer"
has been properly extirpated.'

Monks, that monk's words should be rejoiced in and approved of by the monks, saying:

'It is good.'

When they have rejoiced in and approved of his words, saying: 'It is good,' he should be innformed thus:

'It is a gain for you, your reverence,
it is well gotten by you, your reverence,
that we see a Brahma-farer in one such as is the venerable one.'"

Thus spoke the Lord.

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

 


[1] Or, "neither approved of nor scorned." Cf. M. iii. 207, D. ii. 124.

[2]vohhāra.

[3] On diṭṭha suta muta viññāta See B.D. ii, 166, n. 3; and cf. Vin. iv. 2, A. ii, 246, iv. 307, D. iii. 232, Vbh.376.

[4] "Attracted, repelled, independent," etc., as at M. iii. 25.

[5] That is, if the monks are not satisfied with his explanation.

[6] virāga, explained at MA. iv. 92 as vigacchanasabhāva, "of the nature to disappear."

[7] upāyupādāna, a synonym for wrong views and craving, MA. iv, 92.

[8] Cf. S. ii. 17, iii. 10.

[9] The first four as in M. Sta. 1. On the five see M. i. 423 f.; and on the six see M. iii. 62, 240, D. iii. 247, S. ii. 248, A. i. 176, VbhA. 82 ff., and cf. VbhA.55

[10] ākāsadhātu, or possibly the element of the intangible. Ākāsa is explained as asamphuṭṭha, not filled with, not contacted (or untouched). C.P.D., s.v. a-samphuṭt, gives "not filled (with: instr.)"; cf. Asl. 325-326 which says it is imposaible to plough, cut or break ākāsa, sky, space, ether. See Dhs. 638: ākāso ... asamphuṭṭhaɱ catūhi mahābhūtehi, not filled with the four great elementals. Bud. Psych. Ethics, p. 194, notes 1, 2, refers to M. i. 423 and points out that ākāsadhātu appears to occur as a fifth element there. See Miln. 271 where of ākāsa and nibbāna it is said that neither is born of deeds, cause or the creative power of nature. The question of "space" is discussed by A. B. Keith in Bud. Philosophy, pp. 168-169.

[11] viññāṇadhātu, called at MA. iv. 93 = VbhA. 55 vijānadhātu, element of discrimination.

[12] Whether past, future or present, MA: iv. 93 ff. where reference is also made to the Channovādasutta (M. Sta. 144).

[13] For the following passage cf. M. i. 179 ff. (M.L.S. i. 224 ff.).

[14] 1 See note at M.L.S. ii, 11 (on M. i. 346).

[15] Bu. at MA. iv. 94 is rather hard put to it to explain the six ways of cleansing, and says the name of this Discourse is also Ekavisajjaka sutta, the Discourse on Adhering to one (thing). Here the six to be purified arc the four statements, the five groups, the six clements, the six internal-external sense-fields, one's own conscioueness-informed body, and that of others. But Theras living overseas reduce the conciousness-informed body of oneself and of others to one (category) and speak of the six parts together with the four kinds of nutriment. But these six parts: Of what, how then, when, where have you possession, which defilements have you destroyed, how many things have you acquired? — should be corrected by the Vinaya exegesis.

Bu. also says, loc. cit., that former habitations and deva-like vision were not spoken of because monks do not ask about a mundane state but only about a supermundane one.


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