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[ Ethical Culture and Self Discipline ]

Defeat

or

Vesali

An amalgamation of suttas anchored to

Saŋyutta Nikāya V
MahaVagga X
Anapanasamyutta ix
Vesali

[SN 5 54 9]

and

Vinaya-Piṭaka I
SuttaVibhaŋgha
Pārājika III

 


 

I HEAR TELL:

Once upon a time Bhagava, near Vesāli-town, in the Hall in The Great Wood, came a revisit'n.

There to the Beggars gathered round he said:

This Meditation on the Foul[1], Beggars, if concentrated on, made a big thing of, made a vehicle for progress, is of great fruit, of great profit. What Meditation on the Foul?

Swollen Corpse

Here, Beggars, a beggar, in the same way as if he had seen a body thrown out in the charnel field, dead for [1,sign 1 2,sign 2 3sign 3] One, Two, Three days, swollen up and bloated, lets go of the wanting and anger associated with the world, concentrates his mind, and reflects on his own body, thinking: "This body too, is just like that, is confounded just like that, has not risen above just such an end as that.", and, taking refuge in the peace and calm of solitude, enters the first burning and makes a habitat of that.

And again, Beggars, a beggar, in the same way as if he had seen a body thrown out in the charnel field, swollen, black and blue, lets go of the wanting and anger associated with the world, concentrates his mind, and reflects on his own body, thinking: "This body too, is just like that, is confounded just like that, has not risen above just such an end as that.", and, taking refuge in the peace and calm of solitude, enters the first burning and makes a habitat of that.

And again, Beggars, a beggar, in the same way as if he had seen a body thrown out in the charnel field, swollen, black and blue, rotting, lets go of the wanting and anger associated with the world, concentrates his mind, and reflects on his own body, thinking: "This body too, is just like that, is confounded just like that, has not risen above just such an end as that.", and, taking refuge in the peace and calm of solitude, enters the first burning and makes a habitat of that.

And again, Beggars, a beggar, in the same way as if he had seen a body thrown out in the charnel field, swollen, black and blue, rotting, splitting open, lets go of the wanting and anger associated with the world, concentrates his mind, and reflects on his own body, thinking: "This body too, is just like that, is confounded just like that, has not risen above just such an end as that.", and, taking refuge in the peace and calm of solitude, enters the first burning and makes a habitat of that.

And again, Beggars, a beggar, in the same way as if he had seen a body thrown out in the charnel field, swollen, black and blue, rotting, being pecked at by Vultures, Crows, Ravens, gnawed on by Dogs and Jackals and Various Small Creatures, lets go of the wanting and anger associated with the world, concentrates his mind, and reflects on his own body, thinking: "This body too, is just like that, is confounded just like that, has not risen above just such an end as that.", and, taking refuge in the peace and calm of solitude, enters the first burning and makes a habitat of that.

And again, Beggars, a beggar, in the same way as if he had seen a body thrown out in the charnel field, broken into pieces, lets go of the wanting and anger associated with the world, concentrates his mind, and reflects on his own body, thinking: "This body too, is just like that, is confounded just like that, has not risen above just such an end as that.", and, taking refuge in the peace and calm of solitude, enters the first burning and makes a habitat of that.

And again, Beggars, a beggar, in the same way as if he had seen a body thrown out in the charnel field, mutilated and broken into pieces, lets go of the wanting and anger associated with the world, concentrates his mind, and reflects on his own body, thinking: "This body too, is just like that, is confounded just like that, has not risen above just such an end as that.", and, taking refuge in the peace and calm of solitude, enters the first burning and makes a habitat of that.

And again, Beggars, a beggar, in the same way as if he had seen a bloody Body Thrown Out in the Charnel Field, lets go of the wanting and anger associated with the world, concentrates his mind, and reflects on his own body, thinking: "This body too, is just like that, is confounded just like that, has not risen above just such an end as that.", and, taking refuge in the peace and calm of solitude, enters the first burning and makes a habitat of that.

And again, Beggars, a beggar, in the same way as if he had seen a corpse infested with worms, lets go of the wanting and anger associated with the world, concentrates his mind, and reflects on his own body, thinking: "This body too, is just like that, is confounded just like that, has not risen above just such an end as that.", and, taking refuge in the peace and calm of solitude, enters the first burning and makes a habitat of that.

And again, Beggars, a beggar, in the same way as if he had seen a skeleton, lets go of the wanting and anger associated with the world, concentrates his mind, and reflects on his own body, thinking: "This body too, is just like that, is confounded just like that, has not risen above just such an end as that.", and, taking refuge in the peace and calm of solitude, enters the first burning and makes a habitat of that.

Then at this point the Buddha said this to those beggars:

"I beggars will now go into solitary retreat for the fortnight: Let no one approach me with the exception of the one who brings my meal."

Then those beggars spent their time developing the meditation on the foul, saying: "The Bhagava has spoken in many a phrase concerning the advantages of Meditation on the Foul, of making it a big thing, developing it, and making it a vehicle."

And these beggars, taking on the Meditation on the Foul, making it a big thing, developing it, and making it a vehicle became greatly troubled and ashamed of their bodies, coming to loathing of their bodies in the same way as a young woman or man in the first flower of youth, greatly concerned with appearances and delighted by ornimentation, having bathed and shampooed would be greatly troubled and ashamed and come to loathing at the discovery that hanging round their neck was the dead carcas of some snake, or dog, or man.

Greatly troubled, ashamed and come to loathing of their bodies, they approached the pretend-seeker,[3] Migalaṇḍika saying:

"Be a good fellow, Broke-Tooth, and take our lives, we will leave you our bowls and robes."[2]

And Migalaṇḍika, hired for bowl and robe, slaughtered those beggars with a long knife.

But as he was washing his knife in the waters of the Vaggumudā, he became overcome with guilt and regret, thinking: "This was not good, what I did, this was not something well done. This was a misconceived thing done by me that will produce much bad kamma, killing these virtuous, good Beggars as I did."

But just then, approaching as if walking on the water, one of Mara's minions came up to Migalaṇḍika and said:

"Well done, O Good Man! Well done! This was well done, what you did, this was a well conceived thing done by you that will produce much good kamma, liberating those Bhikkhus from Samsara, bringing across the waters those who had not crossed the waters."

Then Migalaṇḍika, thinking: The Devata from across the waters has spoken to me. The Devata from across the waters has said: "Well done! Well done! Saying that this will produce much good kamma, that is, liberating Bhikkhus from Samsara," went from residence to residence, from room to room saying:

"Who seeks Nibbana? Who has not crossed the waters? Who wishes to have me bring them across?"

It was enough to raise the hair on the backs of the necks of those whose passions were not destroyed, but those whose passions were destroyed were not impressed.

And Migalaṇḍika, went about and on a sigle day he slaughtered 1,sign 1 2,sign 2 3sign 3...5...ten, twenty, thirty...fifty, sixty bhikkhus.

Then, at the end of the fortnight, the Buddha emerged from his solitary retreat. Looking around at the company of Beggars, he remarked to Ananda:

"Ananda, how is it that the company of Bhikkhus seems somewhat diminished?"

And Ananda responded by telling him of all that had traspired.

"Please, Bhagava, it would be good if the Bhagava were to speak in many ways in praise of some other meditation practice that the Sangha would prosper and many Beggars would find the goal."

And this is what the Bhavava said:

"Attention to in- and out-breathing, beggars, if concentrated on, made a big thing of, made a vehicle for progress, is of great fruit, of great profit. Such a meditation practice is conducive to pleasant living and quickly results in the destruction of low, unskillful states that have arisen, in the same way as in the last month of the hot season, an unseasonable storm settles the dust.

What Meditation on in- and out-breathing?

In the case of this case, let a beggar find some place to be alone...deep in some forest pasture, at the root of some tree, on a heap of straw in an open field, or in some empty hut. There let him sit down sitting up straight, bringing his mind on the area around the mouth.

Satisfied in mind let him breath in a long breath.
Satisfied in mind let him breath out a long breath.

Breathing in a long breath let him be aware of it thinking: "I am breathing in a long breath."

Breathing out a long breath let him be aware of it thinking: "I am breathing out a long breath."

Breathing in a short breath let him be aware of it thinking: "I am breathing in a short breath."

Breathing out a short breath let him be aware of it thinking: "I am breathing out a short breath."

This is the way he trains himself.

"Breathing in I am conscious of the body's breathing."

This is the way he trains himself.

"Breathing out I am conscious of the body's breathing."
This is the way he trains himself.

"Breathing in I still the components of body."
This is the way he trains himself.

"Breathing out I still the components of body."
This is the way he trains himself.

"Breathing in I calm the components of body."
This is the way he trains himself.

"Breathing out I calm the components of the body."
This is the way he trains himself.

"Breathing in I tranquillize the components of body."
This is the way he trains himself.

"Breathing out I tranquillize the components of body."
This is the way he trains himself.

He trains himself thinking:
"I will breath in and out bringing enthusiasm to mind."

He trains himself thinking:
"I will breath in and out bringing ease to mind."

He trains himself thinking:
"I will breath in and out stilling, calming, tranquillizing the mind."

He trains himself thinking:
"I will breath in and out bringing satisfaction to mind."

He trains himself thinking:
"I will breath in and out bringing impassivity to mind."

He trains himself thinking:
"I will breath in and out bringing detachment to mind."

He trains himself thinking:
"I will breath in and out understanding impermanance."

He trains himself thinking:
"I will breath in and out without passion."

He trains himself thinking:
"I will breath in and out bringing things to an end."

He trains himself thinking:
"I will breath in and out making letting go become a real thing."

This is the way, beggars, a beggar concentrates on, makes a big thing of, makes a vehicle for progress of attention to in- and out-breathing.[4]

Then, having in this way stirred up, roused up and encited to progress those Beggars gathered round, the Buddha asked:

"Is it true, beggars, what I hear? That Beggars went around slaying themselves and each other and also saught out the pretend-seeker Migalaṇḍika, saying: "Be a good fellow, Broke-Tooth, and take our lives, we will leave you our bowls and robes."?

Yes, Bhagava, this is true.

Beggars! This is not fitting, this is not proper and it is something that should not be done. Beggars should not go around slaying themselves and each other or seek out some hired killer to do themselves in.

On account of this, beggars, I will lay down a training rule based on ten factors:

For the bringing to excellence of the Sangha,
For the comfort and ease of the Sangha,
For the restraint of contrary individuals,.
For the peace of mind of well-behaved Beggars,
For the control of bad conditions present in the here and now,
For the prevention of future bad conditions,
For the benefit of non-believers,
For the increase of those who do believe,
For the establishment of the true dhamma,
For self discipline,

Whatever Bhikkhu should intentionally deprive a human being of life is one who is defeated. He is no longer at one with the Sangha.[5]

 


[1] Asubhabhāvanā. Unlovely, repellant. See also: the Satipatthana reflections on the parts of the body and the cemetary meditations. In other meditations on the foul concentration is made of the repulsiveness of food, and of their being nothing at all in the world not accompanied by pain. See: Extreme Satisfaction.
This meditation practice is especially beneficial to "...such as were proved to be passionately affected by the beauty of the body — of the figure, skin, odour, firmness or continuity, plumpness, limbs and extremities, symmetry, adornment, identifying self with the body, or complacency in the possession of it..." [Buddhist Psychological Ethics, pp 64]
The commentary [paraphrased in note 301 to The Connected Discourses of the Buddha 2, pp 1951] in states that the Buddha foresaw that these beggars had some bad kamma coming their way as a consequence of their previous lives as hunters and that he gave them this meditation to assist them in the detachment from body that would be needed to maintain their concentration during this trial. This note also states that some of these were ordinary common men, some Streamwinners, some once returners, some non-returners and some arahants. Some of this does not hang together very well. Arahants would neither kill themselves nor seek another to do the deed for them (which would equal to them the act of instigating the killing of another) so could not be included in the group. Bhikkhu Bodhi objects on the grounds that suicide is a volitional act and that that idea does not square with a kammic destiny. This could be resolved by putting aside the idea of suicide: they were hunters, they had some violent, bloody ends to meet, being deluded they took part in the execution of those ends.
I like the idea that this whole thing was foreseen by the Buddha, but I find the tendancy in the commentaries to make sure that the Buddha looks like he always knows what is going on not consistant with the idea of aññā — One with aññā does not go around knowing all things at all times; such a one knows what he wants to know whenever he wants to know it; it is entirely reasonable for such a one to be completely unaware that such a scene as this is about to occur. See: DhammaTalk: On Omniscience and Outlining the Mahavedalla Sutta The motivation for attempting to make it look like this teaching was deliberately done here is in the idea that if it was not done with this foresight, it was a mistake. It is not necessary to see it this way. The teaching would have just "occured" to the Buddha, and it would be the correct teaching in the situation, and after this incident it would also be the basis for changing the emphasis in meditation technique to that of breathing practice. Needs have nothing to do with "The Buddha" as an individual at all.

[2] Bhk. Bodhi notes and I also read that the bhikkhus killed themselves, they killed each other upon being requested to do so, and they bargained with a certain "Sham Ascetic" for their bowls and robes in exchange for being killed.

[3] Samaṇakuttaka [samaṇa + kuttaka: knitted, made up] Horner [Vin.I.iii pp117] says, VA says = samaṇavesadhāraka, one who wears a recluse's dress. "Having shaved his head and put on one yellow robe and another over his shoulder, depending on the vihara, he lived on a substance of broken-meats."

[4] Please, my friends! Take a look! Can you not see that this is saying that it is not the paying attention to the breathing that is making this practice a beneficial thing, that it is the making use of the paying attention to breathing to accomplish these various purposes that is making paying attention to breathing a valuable thing?

[5] Horner's Vinaya also includes: "...or should look about so as to be his knife-bringer...";
Bhikkhu Thanissaro's translation of this rule reads: "Should any bhikkhu intentionally deprive a human being of life, or search for an assassin for him, or praise the advantages of death, or incite him to die (thus): "My good man, what use is this wretched, miserable life to you? Death would be better for you than life," or with such an idea in mind, such a purpose in mind, should in various ways praise the advantages of death or incite him to die, he also is defeated and no longer in communion.";
the Norman/Pruitt translation reads: "Whatever bhikkhu should intentionally deprive a human being of life, or seek a [life-] taking weapon for him, or should utter praise of death, or should urge him towards death [saying], "Good man, what use to you is this miserable life? Death is better for you than life," having such thoughts in mind and such intentions in mind, in many ways should utter praise of death, or should urge him towards death, he too becomes defeated, not in communion.
See also: DhammaTalk: Suicide

 


 

References:

PTS: The Book of the Kindred Sayings V, Woodward, trans., pp 283
WP: The Connected Discourses of the Buddha, II, Bhikkhu Bodhi, trans., pp 1773
PTS: The Path of Purity, II: Concentration, VI: Exposition of the Subject of Meditation on the Foul, Pe Maung Ten, trans., pp 205
PTS: Buddhist Psychological Ethics, C.A.F. Rhys Davids, pp 63

Samyutta Nikaya, Anapana Samyutta, Suttas 1-10, Olds Translation


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