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 [Dhamma Talk]


MN 70

Two bhikkhus are taken to task for disparaging the rule about eating at improper times. Includes a description of seven sorts of persons pointing out which have nothing more to do and which have something more to do.

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Index to available translations: MN 70



A very informative sutta.

It opens with the Buddha introducing the practice of abstaining from food after noon to the bhikkhus. When this is met with resistance by two of the 'Group of Six' bhikkhus (whose story runs through the Suttas and Vinaya as being a group of bhikkhus who manage to find the loophole in every new rule) Gotama then delivers a scathing rebuke.

Adapted from Discourse at Kitagiri, Horner, trans.:

"... even a teacher who sets store on material things, is an heir to material things, and lives in association with material things — why, even to him, this kind of higgling and haggling does not apply, that his followers will or will not do this or that according as they like it or not.

... For a disciple who has faith in the Teacher's instruction and lives in unison with it, monks, it is a principle that:

'The Teacher is the Bhagava, a disciple am I; the Bhagava knows, I do not know.'

For a disciple who has faith in the Teacher's instruction and lives in unison with it, monks, the Teacher's instruction is a furthering in growth, giving strength.

For a disciple who has faith in the Teacher's instruction and lives in unison with it, monks, it is principle that:

'Gladly would I be reduced to skin and sinews and bone and let my body's flesh and blood dry up if there came to be a vortex of energy so that which is not yet won might be won by human strength, by human energy, by human striving.'

Before this Gotama has brought out the reasoning that should be followed in the case of a case where the training initially produces unpleasant sensation, that is, that there are two modes of experiencing sensation, whether pleasant, unpleasant, or not-unpleasant-but-not-pleasant:

That which is experienced by the one who is attached to worldly gains,
and that which is experienced by the one who is striving after letting the world go.

The criteria for judgment is not whether one likes or dislikes the sensation, but whether or not good conditions are increasing and bad conditions are decreasing.

(So much for 'if it feels good its ok' the creed of the common man of the 60's in the USA.)

Then he mentions the seven states of liberation attainable by one who follows his methods:

Pāḷi Horner Woodward Thanissaro Ñāṇamoli/Bodhi
ubhato-bhāga-vimutto freed-both-ways freed-both-ways released-both-ways liberated-in-both-ways
paññā-vimutto freed-by-wisdom wisdom-freed released-through-discernment liberated-by-wisdom
kāya-sakkhī mental-realizer seer-in-body bodily-witness body-witness
diṭṭha-p-patto won-to-view view-winner attained-to-view attained-to-view
saddhā-vimutto freed-by-faith faith-freed released-through-conviction liberated-by-faith
dhammānusārī striver-after-Dhamma Dhamma-follower Dhamma-follower Dhamma-follwer
saddhānusārī striver-after-faith faith-follower conviction-follower faith-follower

He gives a definition of each.

Following this he gives the proper method for careful striving, also known as The Gradual Course:

As to this, monks,
one who has faith draws close;
drawing close, he sits down near by;
sitting down near by, he lends ear;
lending ear, he hears Dhamma;
having heard Dhamma, he remembers it;
he tests the meaning
of the things he has borne in mind;
while testing the meaning
the things are approved of;
there being approval of the things
desire is born;
with desire born
he makes an effort;
having made the effort
he weighs it up;
having weighed it up
he strives;
being self-resolute
he realizes with his person
the highest truth itself and,
penetrating it by means of wisdom,
he sees.

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