Majjhima Nikaya


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Majjhima Nikaaya
III. Upari Pa.n.naasa
4. Vibha'nga Vagga

The Middle Length Discourses of the Buddha

Sutta 131

Bhadd'Eka-Ratta Sutta.m

One Fortunate Attachment

Translated from the Pali by Ñanamoli Thera.
edited and revised by Bhikkhu Bodhi.

© 1995 Bhikkhu Bodhi
Published by
Wisdom Publications
Boston, MA 02115

Reprinted with permission

 


 

[1][chlm][pts][nana][than][olds][upal] THUS HAVE I HEARD.[1209] On one occasion the Blessed One was living at Saavatthii in Jeta's Grove, Anaathapi.n.dika's Park. There he addressed the bhikkhus thus:

"Bhikkhus."

"Venerable sir," they replied.

The Blessed One said this:

[2][pts][nana][than] "Bhikkhus, I shall teach you the summary and exposition of 'One Who Has One Fortunate Attachment.'[1210] Listen and attend closely to what I shall say."

"Yes, venerable sir," the bhikkhus replied.

[3][pts][nana][than] The Blessed One said this:

"Let not a person revive the past Or on the future build his hopes;[1211] For the past has been left behind And the future has not been reached. Instead with insight let him see Each presently arisen state[1212] Let him know that and be sure of it, Invincibly, unshakeably.[1213] Today the effort must be made; Tomorrow Death may come, who knows? No bargain with Mortality Can keep him and his hordes away, But one who dwells thus ardently, Relentlessly, by day, by night- It is he, the Peaceful Sage has said,[1214] Who has one fortunate attachment. [188]

[4][pts][nana][than] "How, bhikkhus, does one revive the past? Thinking, 'I had such material form in the past,' one finds delight in that.[1215] Thinking, 'I had such feeling in the past,' ... 'I had such perception in the past,' ... 'I had such formations in the past,' ... 'I had [1039] such consciousness in the past,' one finds delight in that. That is how one revives the past.

[5][pts][nana][than] "And how, bhikkhus, does one not revive the past? Thinking, 'I had such material form in the past,' one does not find delight in that.[1216] Thinking, 'I had such feeling in the past,' ... 'I had such perception in the past,' ... 'I had such formations in the past,' ... 'I had such consciousness in the past,' one does not find delight in that. That is how one does not revive the past.

[6][pts][nana][than] "And how, bhikkhus, does one build up hope upon the future? Thinking, 'I may have such material form in the future,'[1217] one finds delight in that. Thinking, 'I may have such feeling in the future,' ... 'I may have such perception in the future,' ... 'I may have such formations in the future,' ... 'I may have such consciousness in the future,' one finds delight in that. That is how one builds up hope upon the future.

[7][pts][nana][than] "And how, bhikkhus, does one not build up hope upon the future? Thinking, 'I may have such material form in the future,' one does not find delight in that. Thinking, 'I may have such feeling in the future,' ... 'I may have such perception in the future,' ... 'I may have such formations in the future,' ... 'I may have such consciousness in the future,' one does not find delight in that. That is how one does not build up hope upon the future.

[8][pts][nana][than] "And how, bhikkhus, is one vanquished in regard to presently arisen states?[1218] Here, bhikkhus, an untaught ordinary person, who has no regard for noble ones and is unskilled and undisciplined in their Dhamma, who has no regard for true men and is unskilled and undisciplined in their Dhamma, regards material form as self, or self as possessed of material form, or material form as in self, or self as in material form. He regards feeling as self ... perception as self ... formations as self [189] ... consciousness as self, or self as possessed of consciousness, or consciousness as in self, or self as in consciousness. That is how one is vanquished in regard to presently arisen states.

[9][pts][nana][than] "And how, bhikkhus, is one invincible in regard to presently arisen states? Here, bhikkhus, a well-taught noble disciple, who has regard for noble ones and is skilled and disciplined in their Dhamma, who has regard for true men and is skilled and disciplined in their Dhamma, does not regard material form as self, or self as possessed of material form, or material form as in self, or self as in material form. He does not regard feeling as [1041] self ... perception as self ... formations as self ... consciousness as self, or self as possessed of consciousness, or consciousness as in self, or self as in consciousness. That is how one is invincible in regard to presently arisen states.

[10][pts][nana][than] "Let not a person revive the past... Who has one fortunate attachment.

[11][pts][nana][than] "So it was with reference to this that it was said: 'Bhikkhus, I shall teach you the summary and exposition of "One Who Has One Fortunate Attachment."'"

That is what the Blessed One said. The bhikkhus were satisfied and delighted in the Blessed One's words.

 


[1209]This discourse with a lengthy introduction and notes is available separately in a translation by Bhikkhu ~Naa.nananda under the title Ideal Solitude.

[1210]Ms contains the following note by ~Nm on this expression, which accounts for the title of this and the following three suttas:

This term has elsewhere been translated by "true saint" and like phrases, which, however, quite miss the point. The commentary says only this:

"Bhaddekarattassa means 'of one who is fortunate (bhadda) in having one (eka) attachment (ratta or ratti)'; this is because of his possessing application to insight." The subcommentary resolves the compound ekaratta (one-attachment) into ekaa ratti, and says only that "bhaddekaratta means one who has a fortunate single attachment (bhaddo ekaratto etassa); it is a term for a person who is cultivating insight." There appears to be no other mention of this term elsewhere in the Canon and its commentaries.

The Pali word ratta (adj.) or ratti (n.) in this instance is from the root raj, "to take pleasure in." So the "bhaddekaratta" appears to be the one who is applying himself invincibly, unshakeably, to know and to study the present state as it occurs (see "#3"). This application of attachment is auspicious or fortunate because it leads to liberation ... It might be supposed that the expression "bhaddekaratta" was a popular phrase taken over by the Buddha and given a special sense by him, as was not infrequently done, but there seems to be no reason to do so and there is no evidence for it in this case. It is more likely to be a term coined by the Buddha himself to describe a certain aspect of development.

Ven. ~Naa.nananda,link in the introduction to his translation, offers an argument for rendering the term "the ideal lover of solitude." Horner renders it link simply as "the Auspicious."

[1211]More literally the first two lines would be translated:

"Let not a person run back to the past or live in expectation of the future." The meaning will be elucidated in the expository passage of the sutta.

[1212]MA: He should contemplate each presently arisen state, just where it has arisen, with insight into its impermanence, etc.

[1213]Asa'nhiira.m asankuppa.m. MA explains that this is said for the purpose of showing insight and repeated insight; for insight is "invincible, unshakeable" because it is not vanquished or shaken by lust and other defilements. Elsewhere the expression "the invincible, the unshakeable" is used as a description of Nibbaana (e.g., Sn v.1149) or of the liberated mind (e.g., Thag v.649), but here it seems to refer to a stage in the development of insight. The recurrence of the verb form sa'nhiirati in Ii8 and Ii9 suggests that the intended meaning is contemplation of the present moment without being misled into the adoption of a personality view.

[1214]The "Peaceful Sage" (santo muni) is the Buddha.

[1215]MA: One "finds delight" by bringing to bear upon the past either craving or a view associated with craving. It should be noted that it is not the mere recollection of the past through memory that causes bondage, but the reliving of past experiences with thoughts of craving. In this respect the Buddha's teaching differs significantly from that of Krishnamurti, who seems to regard memory itself as the villain behind the scene.[see]

[1216]Perhaps this sentence, and all the parallel sentences to follow, should be translated: "One does not find delight there thinking, 'I had such material form in the past.'" The translation as it stands suggests that such thoughts arise but without the accompaniment of delight, while the alternative proposed here suggests that these thoughts do not arise at all. The same alternative construction can also be applied to thoughts about the future in Ii7. The Pali can admit either rendering.

[1217]Perhaps this phrase should be taken as an exclamation:

"May I have such material form in the future!"

[1218]The verb here and in the next paragraph, sa'nhiirati, refers back to the line in the verse, "invincibly, unshakeably." MA glosses: "One is dragged in by craving and views because of the lack of insight."


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