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[ Beginner's Questions ]

Stumbling Block

K2: What follows is a big stumbling block for me: It seems to me that sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, despair, aging and death, while no fun, are part of life, and could be thought of as a small price to pay (or maybe a fair price, or a necessary price, or an inevitable price) to live in the world and enjoy its bounty and pleasures. Aging and death come soon enough. Didn't the Buddha develop the idea of Dukkha after he left the palace grounds, where his father had created the illusion that time could stand still, and saw for the first time the ravages of time — age, disease, death? What I cannot understand is why the two cannot stand side by side: the pleasures of the world; the pain of aging sickness and death. Why does one have to be renounced to prepare for the other? Why cannot one be enjoyed and the other endured?

 


 

Were you aware that "Stumbling Block" is exactly the term used for enjoying the pleasures of the senses?

I will answer this question directly, but I would also suggest reading the long discussion with Aldo[1] and see if you can see that this is the same question as he asked from another point of view.

 


 

K2: About the term "stumbling block" — no I did not know, at least not consciously. Who know what lurks below. Has the term appeared in BuddhaDust before? If so, then I probably did read it, and that might account for it re-emerging in my question.

Yes, I do remember reading the long discussion with Aldo and Veronica way back when, and also being intrigued by it. I just glanced at it again now with your link.I think the questions posed then were (or became) more complex than mine. Maybe the head/heart problem is similar. For me, I would put it: why do I have to embrace this view that the world is so dukkhy, so unrelentingly duckkhy? So what if all pleasure ultimately is impermanent, well so is dukkha impermanent, so I say, give them equal status, why not? Why all this renunciation?

So ask I.

 


 

Read. Not "glance". Try to understand, study, see if you can see. You think you are asking a simple question. You are not. You are asking the question all of America is asking about Buddhism. Aldo is asking the same question in a different way. It will help you if you are able to understand your question stated in a different way. If you only want a simple answer to a simple question, the answer is: "Who's stopping you?"

 


 

Stumbling Blocks

The Parable of the Water-Snake[2]

Here is a case where pleasures of the senses were called "stumbling blocks." This is the most unequivocal statement about this issue that I can recall.

In it, a Beggar named "Arittha Once-a Falconer" holds that in indulging in sense pleasures there is no stumbling block, and further holds that this is what the Buddha is teaching. He is questioned by the other Beggars and then he is summoned before the Buddha who asks him if it is true he holds such a view and attributes it to the Buddha. He replies that it is true. The Buddha replies:

"To whom then do you, foolish man, understand that dhamma was taught thus by me?

Have not things that are stumbling-blocks been spoken of by me in many a figure, and in following these is there not a veritable stumbling-block?

Sense-pleasures are said by me to be of little satisfaction, of much pain, of much tribulation, wherein is more peril.

Goya: Esto es peor

Sense-pleasures are likened by me to a skeleton ...
to a lump of meat ...
to a torch of dry grass ...
to a pit of glowing embers ...
to a dream ...
to something borrowed ...
to the fruits of a tree ...
to a slaughter-house ...
to an impaling stake ...
Sense-pleasures are likened by me to a snake's head, of much pain, of much tribulation, wherein is more peril.

And yet you, foolish man, not only misrepresent me because of your own wrong grasp, but also injure yourself and give rise to much demerit which will be for a long time, foolish man, for your woe and sorrow."

and

"Indeed, monks, this situation does not occur when one could follow sense-pleasures apart from sense-pleasures themselves, apart from perceptions of sense-pleasures, apart from thoughts of sense-pleasures."

There are a couple of sources for the opinion that there is no problem in indulging in sense pleasures — that is, within the suttas, I am not here dealing with ideas such as tantric yoga and so forth.

The first is the fact that the Buddha recommends that once one has attained Arahantship then there is no problem living in town and that this even may be encouraged because it will be of great advantage to the people to see Arahants.

But the subsequent formation of the opinion that therefore it is ok or possible to live in the world and progress in the Dhamma is not warranted as this is a case that applies only to one who has already accomplished what was needed to be accomplished.[3]

Second is the case where the fact that in the case of a Beggar who is absolutely and strictly the passive recipient of a pleasurable sense experience incurs no fault.

This might happen when some pleasant item of food is placed in the bowl. This was also the case in a case in the Vinaya where an Arahant, asleep, was mounted by a woman and brought to orgasm in the sleep state. And again similarly, an orgasm occurring in sleep is not a fault. The point here is to note that it is necessary to understand that there is absolutely no intention on the part of the beggar in these cases to "get" these pleasures ... there is no telling some woman..."well, I'm going to sleep now, whatever happens, happens".

The third case is the case where a beggar has made some advancement in jhana but not enough advancement in wisdom.[4]

Here the perception can be reached that there is absolutely no substantive reality to anything at all in the world and that anything that happens in the world is of no significance whatsoever ... it is mere ripples in a reflection, like the wind passing over an oil slick.

What this view misses is that subjective reality is experienced as real by those bound to subjective reality and that therefore the conclusion that there is no consequence of actions is incorrect: subjective reality is a real part of the world.

Additionally, the individual who has come to such a conclusion has not yet escaped subjective reality and will himself find himself subject to the consequences of his actions, however unreal they may appear from one point of view.

I have found that it is always necessary to take what the Buddha says at both face value and as having a deep significance. To hold that he is speaking only on one or the other level usually results in misunderstanding.

Additionally, the Buddha speaks "In Brief". This means that, like a trained witness on the witness stand, he almost always only answers the question that is asked.

If the questioner fails to perceive the deeper implications of an answer, and does not ask the necessary follow-up questions, the matter is left at the level of the questioner. As readers of the discussions after the fact we must make sure we do not fall into the same error.

Now as a matter of procedure for those of us in training: the point is that we are following a hypothetical position that the source of pain is desire, wanting, hungar/thirst tanha. It is a simple matter of logical deduction to see that any going after getting of any kind of sense pleasure whatsoever is necessarily based on desire, wanting, etcetera. So, following our hypothesis, adhering to our principles, we necessarily must let go of our pursuit of sense pleasures.

Insofar as we do indulge in the pleasures of the senses, we should put aside any tendancy to guilt, and simply acknowledge our weakness and resolve to improve.

Repeat: In this system Nobody is telling Anybody what to do; and that means no God is laying down rules that one needs to feel guilty about breaking. We are being told this is for our own good:
Do this to rid yourself of Pain.
Don't do this because it is dangerous.

 


 

You have asked: "Why do the pleasures of the world need to be renounced in order to prepare for the pain of the world."

We have, in the use of the words "pleasures need to be renounced" and "prepare for the pain" some clues about what may be confusing to you about the dhamma.

This dhamma is not intended to prepare one to deal with pain.

This dhamma is intended to eradicate pain altogether.

And the teaching here is not as simple as just renouncing the pleasures of the senses, it is best understood as teaching that the whole phenomena of sense experience must be understood thoroughly; it teaches that the attachment to, aversion to, and ignorance of sense experience must be let go in order to prevent the experience of pain.

Understanding the problem to be "dealing" with pain and hearing that the solution is the renunciation of pleasure, naturally leaves you with the unsatisfying prospect of a life spent in pleasureless coping with pain. Not exactly inspiring to effort.

So the Very First Issue that should be understood is that what is being proposed by this system is a Solution to the Problem of Pain. Emphasis on the word Solution.

This system, if followed, is not going to leave you with an unsatisfying answer.

Guaranteed: One step on this path is one step better than what came before. And the final step, Nibbana, is a state that is utterly devoid of pain in any category of pain you can conceive.

Ordinary pleasure, the pleasures of the senses, require that something be attained: a beautiful sight, sound, scent, taste, or touch.

There is a different sort of pleasure: there is the pleasure of being free from debt, free of illness, free from enslavement, of having emerged from the wilderness, of being free from pain.[5]

If you need to conceive of Nibbana in terms of what it might be like, as opposed to what it is not, think of it in terms of this kind of happiness; the kind that is the result of freedom from something, not dependant on the getting of something.

The getting of something we can never guarantee, and we can know for certain will not last.

The Buddha is saying that the type of happiness that is the result of being free of pain is within our power to bring about and that because it is not dependant on "getting", once brought about (by the elimination of what is preventing it), it cannot come to an end[6].

Really; are you suggesting that there is any sight, sound, scent, taste, or touch out there that could promise to compare with such an offer?

For me, I look at the people and I say: How can they live like this? Never asking themselves "Why?" They madly rush after every pleasure and right before our eyes it can be seen that they are enjoying less and less and less with every effort. Yet they rush headlong into life, declaring in complete ignorance (how could it be anything else, they never gave it a thought?) that just this is the right thing, just that is the wrong thing. The arrogance is stupendous!

Well, there is no convincing anyone of this. Some people just need to experience a little disappointment to see the sense of never experiencing pain again, some people need to have their world destroyed, some people need to have the gates of hell open up for a tour (your's truly, for one! Work'n at it best I can down here boss!), some people need to stare Death in the face, some people need to see the problem of rebirth before they get serious. Who knows what will bring it about for different individuals? This is a system for those who have already decided to take a chance on the proposition.

Nobody in this system should be out there trying to persuade anyone of anything. I have a Website here. I'm not telling anyone they must pay attention; I am giving opportunity; going any further is not something you will find here. If I tell you "you should do this," this should be understood to mean: "if you wish to understand how this is in your own best interests, you should do this." OK?

So if you want to Understand the relationship of enjoying pleasures of the senses to the problem of ending pain, this is for you:

The instruction here is that sense experience needs to be understood;
that the satisfaction in sense experience,
the danger in sense experience, and
the escape from the danger of sense experience needs to be understood.

These are the senses: Sight, Sound, Smell, Taste, Touch and Mentation
These are the objects of sense: Sights, Sounds, Scents, Tastes, Touches, and Mental Objects

Sense experience results when an object of sense comes into contact with an organ of sense.

This is the satisfaction of the experience of sense:

Sense experiences are of three sorts: pleasant, unpleasant, and neither pleasant nor unpleasant.[7]

For one downbound to the world, any sort of sense experience is to be considered as a pleasant experience.[8]

For one not downbound to the world, pleasant sense experience is to experience pleasant sense experience and remember that this is temporary and to let go of any attachment to it; unpleasant sense experience is to recollect the non-attaining of a sense experience and to yearn for the Freedom of Nibbana which has not yet been attained; sense experience that is neither pleasant nor unpleasant is to be seen as the experience of Nibbana in the here and now.

This is the danger of the experience of sense:

Based on sense experience is Perception.
Based on perception is Conscious Awareness.
Based on conscious Awareness is Wanting or Disliking.
Based on Wanting or Disliking is Going After Getting.
Based on Going After Getting is Getting
Based on Getting is Starting to Lose and, losing always ending in ending; grief and lamentation, pain and misery, and despair.

This is the escape of the experience of sense:

You can see, if you look, that the place the chain can be broken is between where that which is out of one's control (the conscious experience of pleasure or pain or neither pleasure nor pain at the senses) is followed by that which is under one's control (going after getting). And that further, if we could eliminate the Wanting and Disliking, we would have a much better chance of handling the going after getting.

What could we eliminate in order not to experience the wanting or disliking?

If we eliminated our conscious awareness of sense experiences we could eliminate the wanting and disliking.

What could we eliminate in order not to experience the conscious awareness of sense experiences?

Perception.

What could we eliminate in order not to experience Perception?

The experience of sense.

What could we eliminate in order not to experience the experience of sense?

The conscious awareness that is the result of getting what we go after getting (bringing our eye, so to speak, into contact with what we want to see), so Going After Getting.

So there, by not reacting to sense stimulations by going after getting the repetition of a pleasant sense experience, or getting away from an unpleasant sense experience, we eliminate the future recurrence of pain dependant on the result of that going after getting.

The process (what not to go after getting and how to not go after getting it), broken down into the various ways it applies to life, is called The Magga. The Way. The Noble Eightfold Path.

High View: accepting as a hypothetical position the idea that The All is In Pain; That the Origin of that Pain is in Wanting (hungar/thirst; desire); that the ending of that pain is to be had by the ending of that wanting; and that this is the way.[9]

High Principles: based on our hypothetical position we conclude that our highest principles should be: letting go; non cruelty and non harm

High Talk: talk not reflecting wanting or going after getting; no lies, slander, abusive and idle talk

High Works: works not reflecting wanting or going after getting; no lies, taking other people's things; inflicting pain; or forgetting our principles under the influence of sense desire

High Lifestyle: Letting Go of what we can see for ourselves is a low element of our lifestyle: after all; we cannot have a process of living that is based on getting when we have a goal of letting go. This is "Walking it like you talk it."

High Self Control: Controlling bad conditions that are present, keeping bad conditions that are not present away; keeping good conditions and getting good conditions that are not present ... do we have a contradiction? No: good conditions are defined as the absence of bad conditions

High Satisfaction Pastures: Deep Penetrating Knowledge of and release from that which heretofore has been the subject of the idea "Me" or "Mine": body, sense experience, emotions, and the world as seen through this system (the dhamma)

High Getting High: We all try to get high. This way is based on letting go of more and more.

High Vision: seeing our High View as it really is, seeing the truth of it and seeing it as it works

High Detachment: the letting go resulting from High Vision that ends in absolute, timeless freedom from Pain; the knowledge when free that in freedom one is free, and the realization and the knowledge that left behind is rebirth, done is duty's doing, the best life has been lived, no more of this side or that side, no more being any kind of it at any place of atness left for me!

And this is the experience of the escape from the danger of sense experiences of which there is no further escape needed.

 


 

K2: I came across this in "Encounters with Qi" by David Eisenberg:
A teacher for a day is to be respected like a father for a lifetime"
— Chinese proverb

 


 

An excellent sentiment, but of course the Pali one-ups it, for a father, is, after all, even if for a lifetime, just a passing phenomena, a mere finger-snap; while the dhamma serves he who understands and lives by it for ever after.

 


 

Undertaking the Religious Life[10]

There is, Beggars, an undertaking of the religious life which is pleasant in the here and now, but which brings pain in the future.

What, Beggars, is the undertaking of the religious life which is pleasant in the here and now, but which brings pain in the future?

There are, Beggars, some Beggars and Sorcerers who are of this view:

'There is no problem with enjoying the pleasures of the senses. So long as one remains detached one can lead the religious life and enjoy the pleasures of the senses as well.'

These indulge themselves in the pleasures of the senses, gratifying themselves with girl-wanderers who tie their hair up in top-knots. And they say: 'How can those worthy students of the Aristocrats say that seeing the future danger of indulging in sense pleasures one should let go of sense pleasures! What could they know of sense pleasures! Happiness is in the young, soft, downy arms of this girl-wanderer!'

In the same way, Beggars, as in the last month of the hot dry season, a creeper's seed-pod should release and spew forth it's seed. And a seed of that creeper might fall at the root [mula] of the Ol'Sal Willow.

Then, Beggars, the Little Tree-Deva residing in that Sal Willow, might start to experience fear and trembling and agitation and worry.

But then, Beggars, the friends of that Little Tree-Deva; the Little Devas who are his kith and kin, and the Little Devas of Parks, Little Devas of Gardens, Little Devas of Trees, the Little Devas of Medicinal Herbs, Grasses, and Aromatic woods might gather together to council that Little Tree-Deva residing in that Sal Willow.

They might say: 'Fear Not friend Little Tree-Deva of the Sal Willow! Some Peacock might come along and swallow that creeper's seed. Some young buck might come along and consume it. A forest fire might burn it. Some worker in the woods might remove it or white ants might eat it. Or it might not even germinate.

But, Beggars, if no peacock came along, no young buck, no forest fire to burn it, no worker in the woods to remove it or white ants to eat it, it might germinate.

With the monsoon rain comm'n down heavily from above, it might thrive and grow, and before you can snap your fingers [SNAP FINGERS], there's a young, soft, downy creeper clinging to that Ol'Sal Willow.

Then it might happen that that Little Tree-Deva of the Sal Willow asks himself: 'I wonder why, then, those friends of mine, the Little Devas who are my kith and kin, and the Little Devas of Parks, Little Devas of Gardens, Little Devas of Trees, the Little Devas of Medicinal Herbs, Grasses, and Aromatic woods gathered together to council me, saying: 'Fear Not friend Little Tree-Deva of the Sal Willow!' What could they know! Pleasant is the touch of this young, soft, downy clinging creeper.

But that creeper might come to cover that Sal Willow, Trunk (khandha) and Limbs (angha), and when it had covered that Sal Willow it might form a dense canopy on it's crown that blocked out all the light, and it might form a dense fabric of roots below and it might come to choke off all nourishment to that Ol'Sal Willow; and then it might happen that that Little Tree-Deva of the Sal Willow would know: "Ah! It was seeing this future danger in the creeper seed, that those friends of mine tried to comfort me saying: 'Fear not friend Little Tree-Deva of the Sal Willow!'"

In the same way, Beggars, it is because the nature of indulgence in sense pleasures is fully understood by The Teacher that he cautions against indulgence in sense pleasures and the taking up of the religious life that is pleasant in the here and now but which results in future pain.

 


 

Ways of Undertaking Dhamma[11]

Beggars, to take up the religious life and cling to the enjoyment of sense pleasures is to take up the religious life in a way that is pleasant in the Here and Now but brings Pain in the future.

In the same way, Beggars, as if there were a drinking bowl filled with a pleasant colored, pleasant smelling, pleasant tasting liquid, but into which poison had been infused.

Then a Beggar might come along, one who loved life, feared death, wishing for happiness, wishing to avoid pain, and A Certain Beggar speaks to him This Way:

"Friend Beggar! This here drinking bowl filled with a pleasant colored, pleasant smelling, pleasant tasting liquid has had poison infused into it. If you drink of such, you will enjoy the look, enjoy the scent, enjoy the taste, but when you have drunk of it, you will die or suffer deadly pains."

But that Beggar might drink that liquid in spite of that warning and he would enjoy the appearance, enjoy the scent, enjoy the taste, and come to death or deadly pain as a consequence.

In the same way, Beggars, to take up the religious life and cling to the enjoyment of sense pleasures is to take up the religious life in a way that is pleasant in the here and now, but which brings pain in the future.

 


 

The similes[12]

Love
In the beginning it looks like a garden;
In the end it feels like an oven.

— Ven Mew Fung Chen

You always wish you were the one and only,
But always end as only one of many.

— mo

A Bone Tossed to a Dog

In the same way as if a tired, starving Dog were to find a slaughter house and there the cattle butcher or his skillful apprentice were to throw him a bone ... cleaned of flesh, well cleaned of flesh, but with yet a smear of blood.
What do you think? Would that Dog, feeding on that bone find there the satisfaction of his hunger and exhaustion?
Of course not.
How come?
Because that bone has been cleaned of flesh, well cleaned of flesh, and even though it had a smearing of blood on it, that dog would be plumb worn out before he got Satisfaction from that bone.

In the same way, beggars, A well trained student of the Aristocrats thinks: "Pleasures of the senses have been compared to a Bone by the Tathagata, of much pain, of much trouble and hidden therein still more danger. And so seeing, he sees things as they really are and using his wisdom he develops that detachment which is bound up, bound up in nothing at all in the world.

Carrion

In the same way as if a vulture or hawk were to seize a lump of carrion and fly off with it and other vultures and hawks, seeing the prospect of tearing off a piece of meat, were to give chase, tearing at it, pecking at it, pulling at it, ripping it to pieces.
What do you think? If that vulture or hawk were not to quickly drop of that piece of meat, would it come to death or deadly pains?

In the same way, beggars, A well trained student of the Aristocrats thinks: "Pleasures of the senses have been compared to a Piece of Meat by the Tathagata, of much pain, of much trouble and hidden therein still more danger. And so seeing, he sees things as they really are and using his wisdom he develops that detachment which is bound up, bound up in nothing at all in the world.

Carrying a Torch

In the same way as if a man might carry a torch against the wind.
What do you think? If that man were not to quickly let go of that torch would he not come to death or deadly pains?

In the same way, beggars, A well trained student of the Aristocrats thinks: "Pleasures of the senses have been compared to a Torch by the Tathagata, of much pain, of much trouble and hidden therein still more danger. And so seeing, he sees things as they really are and using his wisdom he develops that detachment which is bound up, bound up in nothing at all in the world.

A Pit of Glowing Charcoal

In the same way as if there were a pit of glowing charcoal, deeper than a man is tall, neither flaming nor smoking, and a man might come along who loved life, feared death, wanting happiness, not wanting unhappiness, and two strong men were to grab him by his arms and drag him, towards that pit of glowing charcoal by The One Sure Way.
What do you think? Would that man not twist This Way and that in a desperate effort to escape?
And how come?
Because he knows: "If I slip'n sly innit ta thapt it, mon, it's death or deadly pains for me! Fo shu!

In the same way, beggars, A well trained student of the Aristocrats thinks: "Pleasures of the senses have been compared to a Pit of Glowing Charcoal by the Tathagata, of much pain, of much trouble and hidden therein still more danger. And so seeing, he sees things as they really are and using his wisdom he develops that detachment which is bound up, bound up in nothing at all in the world.

A Dream

In the same way as if a man were to have a dream, and in it see beautiful parks and lovely cool woods and peaceful green meadows and bountiful rolling plains and pure flowing streams and clear placid lakes, and then were to wake up to reality.

In the same way, beggars, A well trained student of the Aristocrats thinks: "Pleasures of the senses have been compared to a Dream by the Tathagata, of much pain, of much trouble and hidden therein still more danger. And so seeing, he sees things as they really are and using his wisdom he develops that detachment which is bound up, bound up in nothing at all in the world.

Borrowed Time

Red Zoot

In the same way as a man might go out and borrow a sum of money to flash around, buy a big ol'classy gold Cadillac convertible with huge blinker headlites and fir trim, gold chains and medallions, gold piercings all ova, exotic yellow Zoot Suit[13] and fancy yellow shirt, yellow socks and shoes and a big broad brimmed yellow hat witha yella fetha and might go to town and there enjoy the show of envy, admiration and respect of those in the crowd who think "Wow, this fellow has The Big Bucks! How do I know? Because he's walk'n round with a big wad, has a classy car, expensive jewelry and fancy clothes and those are the signs of The Big Bucks, or so I hear." But the real owner might catch up with him and maybe even right in front of that crowd take back what was his.
And then what do you think? Would that man have found Satisfaction with his pretense?

In the same way, beggars, A well trained student of the Aristocrats thinks: "Pleasures of the senses have been compaired to a loan by the Tathagata, of much pain, of much trouble and hidden therein still more danger. And so seeing, he sees things as they really are and using his wisdom he develops that detachment which is bound up, bound up in nothing at all in the world.

Fruit of the Tree

In the same way as if deep in some cool woods near a city or village there were a tree heavily laden with ripe fruit for the picking, and no fruit yet having fallen to the ground.

Then some Beggar comes along looking for fruit, seeking fruit, gonna find soma fruit for a pluck'n, an e' plunga deep innita fores an fine him sucha tree as such as such as that.
And he thinks to himself:
Well now here's a tree with ripe fruit for the plucking, but no fruit has yet fallen to the ground, but I know how to climb a tree;
how about if I were to climb that tree and pluck'n as much as I wish were to fill my pocket's for soma a take-home ting?

And he does just that.

But before he has a chance to come down from that tree a younger man comes along, looking for fruit, seeking fruit, gonnna find some sweet fruit for a pluck'n, and this kid's got some Axe!
And that kid thinks to himself:
"Well, well, lookie here! Ain't that Jusa Sweetis Tree I Eva did see! Laden there with fruit ripe for the pluck'n, but no fruit fallen to the ground and though I don't know how to climb a tree, here I have my trusty Axe. Suppose I axe this tree at the Root [mula], and pluck'n and eat'n as much as I'd wish, were to fill my pocket's for a little taste for laata?

What do you think? If that first man up that Tree were not to make haste to come down from there before that tree falls and crushes his hands or feet or another part of his body, would he not come to death or deadly pain?

In the same way, beggars, A well trained student of the Aristocrats thinks: "Pleasures of the senses have been compared to Fruit of the Tree by the Tathagata, of much pain, of much trouble and hidden therein still more danger. And so seeing, he sees things as they really are and using his wisdom he develops that detachment which is bound up, bound up in nothing at all in the world.[14]

 


 

Does the Arahant enjoy kama?[15]

These are the five things that cannot be done by an Arahant:

1. An Arahant cannot intentionally kill a living creature.
2. An Arahant cannot intentionally take something belonging to another that has not been given to him.
3. An Arahant cannot indulge in sexual intercourse
4. An Arahant cannot intentionally speak falsely
5. An Arahant cannot store up for later enjoyment of sense pleasures

There is no problem for the Arahant in the experience of pleasant sensation that comes to him; attachment to such experience and the danger of desire for recreation of that experience has been overcome by him.

 


[1] Aldo on (Understanding Understanding)

[2] The Middle Length Sayings, I, #22: Discourse on the Parable of the Water-Snake; PTS, Horner trans, pp 167.

[3] "Indeed there is a quality in you, Mahanama not got rid of subjectively, on account of which at times things belonging to greed, taking hold of your mind, persist, and things belonging to aversion ... and things belonging to confusion, taking hold of your mind, persist. But this quality could be got rid of subjectively by you, Mahanama, if you would not dwell in a house, if you would not enjoy pleasures of the senses."
PTS: MLS #14: The Stems of Anguish, pp 91

[4] See: Linked Suttas on Burning

[5] In the same way, Beggars, as a man, after taking out a loan and setting up a business, and after a time that business becomes successful and he should pay off that loan and have a little left over with which to support a wife, he would feel relief because of this, he would be happy because of this.
In the same way, Beggars, as a man might have fallen sick from some disease, be in pain, in critical condition, unable to eat and without strength in his body, but after a time he were to recover, be free of pain, out of danger from that disease, able to eat, and feeling the strength return to his body, he would feel relief because of this, he would be happy because of this.
In the same way, Beggars, as a man who had been thrown in prison might be freed from bondage, safe and secure, with no loss of property, he would feel relief because of this, he would be happy because of this.
In the same way, Beggars, as a man who had been a slave, not his own man, subject to another, not free to go where he wanted and who, after a time was freed, made his own man, not subject to another, free to go where he wanted, he would feel relief because of this, he would be happy because of this.
In the same way, Beggars, as a wealthy merchant traveling on the highway through the wilderness filled with robbers, murderers, and kidnappers, and, after a time he were to emerge from that wilderness safe and sound, with no loss of property, he would feel relief because of this, he would be happy because of this.
See freedom from the Nivaranas.

[6] Because what is obstructing it is something that must be gone after and got, it can be said that freedom from it is within one's control: we are able to guarantee the results of "not-doing" — it will not produce any results.

[7] For more detail on sense experience see: The Third Lesson; The Satisfaction of Sense Experience, and Glossology: Vedana

[8] Meaning, including painful sense experience, no matter how bad. This is because for one who is faced with non-existance, as at death, life in any form whatsoever is preferable to the alternative. For more on this idea see Pajapati's Problem

[9] AKA: The Four Noble Truths, The Cattari Ariya Saccani

[10] Creatively Adapted From: Middle Length Sayings, I, #45, PTS ed. Horner trans, pp368ff

[11] Loosely adapted from Middle Length Sayings I, #46: The (Ways of) undertaking Dhamma (Greater), PTS ed, Horner trans., pp 377:

[12] The Middle Length Sayings II, #54: To Potaliya;
PTS, Horner, trans, pp28ff;
Wisdom, Nanamoli/Bodhi, trans, pp.469ff;
and other places.

[13] See: Suavecito's Zoot Suits, The Zoot Suit Riots and, especially, pachuquismos.

[14] This reminds me of a story I heard in my youth, told by Dwight Fisk about the Club of Ancient English Peers.

The Club of Ancient English Peers used to meet in London once a year to discuss the events that had occurred in the previous twelve months. The club had 24 members, seven were over seventy, eight were over eighty, and nine were over ninety, and at this time, after having heard many stories, a certain English Peer who was over ninety asked for the attention of the group in order to make an important announcement.

"Gentlemen!" he said, "I have wonderful news! My young bride, the fairest lass in the land, has given birth to a son and heir!

Well, for the most part there was congratulations, much cheering and toasting, but way back in a back corner one Ol'Peer was heard to say: "It all reminds me of Africa."

"Africa?" they said.

"Yes Africa.
One time there, not too long ago, I was on Safari and had wandered away from the camp when I found myself face-to-face with a female lion on the prowl and too late I realized that my rifle had no ammunition.
Well; making the best of a bad situation, I raised up my gun, aimed at the lioness, and shouted 'BANG! BANG! BANG!' and what to my great surprise and astonishment but that lion fell over dead right there!
But as I turned to rush back to camp to tell my traveling companions of my great feat, I saw that standing behind me was a much younger man, holding a smoking rifle in his hands."

[15] See: Majjhima Nikaya I, #76: Sandakasutta;
PTS, Middle Length Sayings, II: Discourse to Sandaka, Horner, trans, pp 192;
WP, Middle Length Discourses of the Buddha, #76: To Sandaka, Nanamoli/Bodhi, trans., pp. 618.
For discussion of this sutta see:
Teachers Worth Following

 

§

 

How Come?

Friends!

What is the difference between the untamed, untrained, uneducated common man and the Man of Power?

It is in the fact that in the common man the idea of not-doing makes sense but does not penetrate through to, resonate in, and liberate the heart giving him ease and peace of mind; while in the Man of Power the idea of not-doing makes sense, penetrates through to, resonates in and liberates the heart, giving him ease and Peace of mind.

So how come ... what is the basic reason ... that for the common man, although the idea of not-doing makes sense, it does not penetrate through to, resonate in, and liberate the heart, giving him ease and peace of mind?

It is because the danger in the pleasures of the senses is not seen by the common man, he has not made it an important thing and consequently the advantages of not-doing have not been experienced, and because the advantages have not been experienced they have not been appreciated; whereas the danger in the pleasures of the senses is seen by the Man of Power, he has made it an important thing and consequently the advantages of not-doing have been experienced, and because the advantages have been experienced, they have been appreciated.
That's how come ... that is the basic reason.

—based on: [AN 9 41]Anguttara-Nikaya, IV: Nines, 41: Tapusa


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