The Lord said to Sariputta: “Tell me, Sariputta, could a noble disciple who is fully devoted to and has perfect faith in the Tathagata have any doubt or uncertainty about the Tathagata or the Tathagata’s teachings?”
“No, Lord, he could not. It may be expected that the noble disciple with faith and energy will live resolute in energy, always striving to abandon bad qualities and develop good ones. He will be stout and strong in exerting himself, not throwing off the burden of good qualities. His energy is the controlling faculty of energy. It may be expected that the noble disciple with faith will be mindful, possessed of good discrimination, one who calls to mind and remembers things done long ago. His mindfulness is the controlling faculty of mindfulness. It may be expected that the noble disciple with faith, energy and mindfulness will make self-surrender the object of his thought; he will develop concentration and one-pointedness of mind. His concentration is the controlling factor of concentration. Again, it may be expected that the noble disciple with faith, energy, mindfulness and with thoughts stilled, will understand: ‘Samsara is endless. The beginning of beings hindered by ignorance, bound by craving, who run on, fare on through samsara, cannot be known. The utterly passionless cessation of ignorance, of this state of darkness is this happy, excellent state; the calming of all constructs, the giving up of all bases of rebirth, the destruction of craving, dispassion, cessation, Nirvana.’ This wisdom is the controlling faculty of wisdom. That noble disciple with faith, striving again and again, being mindful again and again, concentrating the mind again and again, clearly understanding again and again, gains great confidence and he thinks: ‘Before I had only heard of these things, now I live experiencing them personally.’ This faith is the controlling faculty of faith.”
A tree makes no distinction in the shade it gives. Even so, the earnest student of meditation must make no distinction between any beings, but must develop love quite equally towards thieves, murderers, enemies and towards himself, thinking: ‘How may these beings be without enmity and without harm, how may they be at peace, secure and happy; how may they look after themselves?’
Venerable Tissa, the nephew of the Lord’s father, came to the Lord crying. Then the Lord said to him: “What is wrong, Tissa? Why do you sit beside me sad, downcast and with tears running down your face?”
“Lord, it is because all the monks have been jeering at and mocking me.”
“Tissa, that is because while you do not speak gentle words towards others, you are unable to endure it when they do not use gentle words towards you. It is not fitting that you who have given up the household life to become a monk should speak harsh words. But if you do you may have to endure the hard harsh words of others.”
Thus said the Lord, and he added this verse:
“Why are you angry Tissa?
Meekness is best for you,
To restrain anger, pride and hypocrisy is best.
It is for this that we live the holy life.”
How does one practice contemplation on feelings? When experiencing a pleasant feeling, one knows: ‘I am experiencing a pleasant feeling.’ When experiencing a painful feeling, one knows: ‘I am experiencing a painful feeling,’ and when experiencing a neutral feeling, one knows: ‘I am experiencing a neutral feeling.’ When experiencing pleasant, painful or neutral feelings that are worldly, one knows they are worldly, and when experiencing pleasant, painful or neutral feelings that are unworldly, one knows they are unworldly. Thus one dwells contemplating feelings internally and externally. One dwells contemplating the origination factors and the dissolution factors in feelings, or one’s mindfulness that ‘there are feelings’ is established to the extent necessary for knowledge and mindfulness. Independent one dwells, clinging to nothing in the world.
When one has freed the mind, the gods cannot trace him, even though they think: ‘This is the consciousness attached to the Tathagata.’ And why? It is because the Tathagata is untraceable. Although I say this, there are some monks and brahmins who misrepresent me falsely, contrary to fact, saying: ‘The monk Gotama is an annihilationist because he teaches the cutting off, the destruction, the disappearance of the existing entity.’ But this is exactly what I do not teach. Both now and in the past, I simply teach suffering and the overcoming of suffering.
There is one person who is born into the world for the welfare of the many, for the happiness of the many, out of compassion for the world, for the welfare and happiness of both gods and humans. Who is that person? It is the Tathagata, the Noble One, the fully enlightened Buddha.
An ordinary person experiences pleasant, painful and neutral feelings, and so does the instructed noble disciple. So, what is the distinction, the division, the difference between them? When an ordinary person is touched by a painful feeling he worries and grieves, laments, beats his breast, weeps and is distraught. Therefore he experiences a bodily feeling and a mental feeling. It is as if a man was pierced by a dart, and following the first piercing, he was hit by a second dart. He would experience the feelings caused by both darts. And so it is with the ordinary man. Having been touched by a painful feeling, he resists and resents it and so a deep tendency of resistance and resentment comes into being. Feeling painful feeling he then tries to enjoy sensual happiness. And why? Because the ordinary person knows no other escape from painful feelings except by enjoying of sensual happiness. Then in enjoying sensual happiness a deep tendency to lust for pleasant feelings comes into being. He does not know as it really is the arising and ending of those feelings, their satisfaction, their danger or the escape from them. In lacking this knowledge, the deep tendency to ignorance about neutral feelings comes into being. So whether he feels a pleasant, painful, or neutral feeling, he feels it as one fettered by it. He is fettered to birth, old age and death, to sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief and despair. He is fettered to suffering, I declare.
But when the instructed noble disciple is touched by a painful feeling, he does not worry, grieve or lament, he does not beat his breast or weep, nor is he distraught. It is one feeling only that he experiences, a bodily one and not a mental one. It is as if a man were pierced by a dart but was not pierced by another dart following the first one. And so it is with the instructed noble disciple. Having been touched by that painful feeling, he neither resists nor resents it, and so no deep tendency for resistance or resentment comes into being. Hence, in consequence of the painful feeling he does not crave for sensual happiness. And why not? Because he knows of an escape from painful feeling other than by enjoying sensual happiness. Then, in not enjoying sensual happiness, no deep tendency to lust for a pleasant feeling comes into being. He knows as it really is the arising and ending of those feelings, their satisfaction, their danger and the escape from them. Knowing this, no deep tendency to ignorance as to neutral feelings comes into being. So whether he feels a pleasant, painful or neutral feeling, he feels it as one free from it. He is free from birth, old age and death, from sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief and despair. He is free from suffering, I declare.
What is a monk’s wealth? Concerning this, one abides with the mind filled with love, compassion, sympathetic joy and equanimity, suffusing the first, second, third and fourth quarters of the world. One abides suffusing the whole world, upwards, downwards, across, everywhere, with a mind filled with love, compassion, sympathetic joy and equanimity, abundant, unbounded, without hatred, without ill-will. This is a monk’s wealth.
Sariputta said to the Lord: “I believe that there has never been, there will not be in the future, nor is there now a monk or brahmin who is better or more enlightened than the Lord.”
The Lord replied: “Sariputta, you have boldly spoken, you have roared with the confidence of a lion. But why? Do you know the minds of the noble Buddhas of the past, their virtue, their teaching, their wisdom or their liberation?”
“Do you know the minds of all the noble Buddhas in the future?”
“Then what of me? Do you know even my mind, my virtue, my teaching, my wisdom or my liberation?”
“So, Sariputta, you do not know the minds of the Buddhas of the past, the future or even the present. Why then have you spoken so boldly? Why have you roared with the confidence of a lion?”
“Lord, I know not the minds of the Buddhas of the past, the future or the present. But the ways of the Dharma, that I do know. Imagine a walled town with strong foundation and towers and a single gate. At the gate a watcher who is clever and alert lets in known people and keeps out strangers. As he patrols the walls he would not see a hole in the wall big enough for even a cat to slip through. And therefore he would know that whatever creatures big or small enter or leave the town, they all do so by the gate. And it seems to me that the Dhamma is the same. All those noble Buddhas of the past who attained full enlightenment did so by abandoning the five hindrances, defilements that weaken understanding, by firmly establishing the four foundations of mindfulness, and by realizing the seven factors of enlightenment as they really are. All the noble Buddhas of the future will do the same, and you, Lord, who are now a Noble One, a fully enlightened Buddha, have done the same.”
How is one concerned with his own good and the good of others? Concerning this, a certain person is quick, he grasps teachings that are profitable, he has learned by heart and by understanding both the letter and spirit of the Dhamma and walks in accordance with it. He also has a beautiful voice and delivery, possesses urbane speech, distinctly and clearly enunciated so as to make his meaning clear. He teaches, urges incites and gladdens his companions in holy life.
There are these gross impurities of gold; dust, sand, gravel and grit. The dirt washer or his apprentice heaps the gold into a trough and washes it up and down and flushes the dirt out. When this process is finished there are still moderate impurities in the gold such as fine grit and sand. So the dirt washer repeats the process. When this is finished there still remain minute impurities such as fine sand and dust. So the dirt washer repeats the process again, after which only the gold dust remains. Then the goldsmith or his apprentice puts the gold into a crucible. It is molten but not flawless, it is not yet finished, all the impurities are not yet strained off. It is not yet pliable, workable or glistening, being still brittle and incapable of being perfectly worked. But in time, the goldsmith melts the gold so that it runs from the crucible with all the impurities strained off. Then it is pliable, workable, glistening, no longer brittle, is capable of being perfectly worked. It can be used for whatever purpose one wishes, to make a gold plate, a ring, a necklace or a chain.
It is just the same for one who is trying to develop the higher mind. Gross impurities of body, speech and mind, the thoughtful, careful one abandons, keeps in check or makes an end of so that they do not recur. When these faults are finished there are still minute impurities which cling to him such as sensual, malicious and cruel thoughts. Again, these he abandons. When these faults are finished there are still minute impurities which cling to him, such as thinking about his relatives, his country or his reputation. Once again the thoughtful, careful one abandons them, keeps them in check, or makes an end of them so that they do not recur. When this is done, there still remain thoughts about Dhamma. At this stage, concentration is neither calm nor lofty, it is not tranquil nor has it reached one-pointedness, it is dependent on habitual restraint. But there comes a time when the mind is inwardly stable, still, one-pointed and concentrated. Such concentration is calm and lofty, it is tranquil and has reached one-pointedness; it is not dependent on habitual restraint. Whatever knowledge one directs his mind to, one can realize it.
It is just as if a man traveling in a forest should come across an ancient road, an ancient path, traversed by people in former times. Proceeding along it, he comes to an ancient city, an old royal citadel, lived in by people in former times, with parks and groves, water tanks and walls; a truly delightful place. Then, suppose that this man should tell of his discovery to the king or a royal minister, saying: ‘Sire, you should know that I have discovered an ancient city. You should restore that place.’ Then, suppose that ancient city was restored, so that it became prosperous, flourishing, populous and was filled with folk, and it grew and expanded. In the same way, I have seen an ancient road, an ancient path, traversed by the fully enlightened Buddhas of former times. And what is that path? It is the Noble Eightfold Path.
How does one live practicing contemplation of mind? Concerning this, one knows a mind with greed as a mind with greed, and a mind without greed as a mind without greed. One knows a mind with hatred as a mind with hatred, and a mind without hatred as a mind without hatred. One knows a mind with delusion as a mind with delusion, and a mind without delusion as a mind without delusion. One knows the contracted mind as contracted and the distracted mind as distracted, the developed mind as developed and the undeveloped mind as undeveloped. One knows the mind with some mental state superior to it as the mind with some mental state superior to it, and the mind with no mental state superior to it as the mind with no mental state superior to it. One knows the concentrated mind as concentrated and the unconcentrated mind as unconcentrated, the mind that is freed as freed and the mind that is not freed as not freed.
Thus one dwells contemplating mind internally and externally. One dwells contemplating the origination factors and the dissolution factors in the mind, or one’s mindfulness that “there is mind” is established to the extent necessary for knowledge and mindfulness. Independent one dwells, clinging to nothing in the world.
There are these five limbs of striving. What five? One has faith in the enlightenment of the Buddha. One has health and well-being, a good digestion, not over-hot or over-cool, but even and suitable for striving. One is not deceitful or dishonest, but reveals oneself to the Teacher or one’s companions in the holy life as one really is. One lives striving hard to give up evil things and to develop the good, staunch and strong in effort, not shirking the burden of the Dhamma. One also has wisdom into the way of the rise and fall of things with noble perception into the complete overcoming of suffering.
Whoever is easy to speak to because of respecting, revering and honouring the Dhamma, his speech is gracious and I call him easy to speak to.
The Tathagata lives free, detached and released from the body, from feelings, perception, mental constructs, consciousness, rebirth, decay, death and free from the passions. Just as a blue, red or white lotus, born in water, grown up in water, on reaching the surface rests there untouched by the water, even so the Tathagata, being free, detached and released from these things, lives with a mind whose barriers are broken down.
The Lord said: “I will teach you something, the parable of the raft, which is for crossing over, not for holding on to. Listen carefully, pay attention and I will speak. Say a man going along a highway might see a great stretch of water, this bank dangerous and frightening and the further bank safe and secure. Being no boat or bridge for crossing over, that man might think: ‘This bank is dangerous and frightening, while the further bank is safe and secure. But there is neither boat nor bridge for crossing over. What if I collect grass and sticks, branches and leaves, make a raft and by sitting on it and paddling with my hands and feet, I were to cross over to the safe side?’ Say man makes the raft and crosses to the safe side, but then he thinks: ‘By using this raft I have crossed over to the safe side. Why don’t I put this raft on my head or shoulder and continue on my way?’ What do you think monks? If he did this, would he be doing what should be done with that raft?”
“So what should be done with that raft? That man should think: ‘Although this raft has been useful to me in that I used it to crossed over to the safe side, I should leave it on the bank and continue on my way.’ In doing this, the man would be doing what should be done with that raft. Understanding this parable, you should give up even good things, how much more bad things?”
One day as the Lord was seated in the Gandhakuti at the Jeta Grove, he surveyed the world at dawn, and he saw a certain poor man at Alavi. Perceiving that he possessed the faculties needed for attaining the fruit of Stream-Winning, he took a company of five hundred monks and went to Alavi, where the inhabitants invited them to stay. The poor man heard that the Lord had arrived, and decided to go and hear him teach the Dhamma. But that very day his ox strayed off, and he thought: “Shall I go and find my ox or shall I go to hear the Dhamma?” and he decided to find his ox first, setting out early to do so. The people of Alavi gave seats to the monks, with the Buddha at their head, served them food, and when finished, took the Lord’s bowl while he gave thanks. Then the Lord thought to himself: “He for whose sake I came thirty miles has gone to the forest to seek his ox. When he returns, then I will teach the Dhamma.” So, he sat in silence. Before the day was out, the man found his ox and straight away led it back to the herd. Then he thought: “If nothing else, I can go and pay my respects to the Lord,” and thought oppressed by hunger he did not go home, but rather he went quickly to the Lord, and having paid homage, sat respectfully at one side. When the man came close, the Lord said to the steward in charge of food: “Is there any food left over?”
“Reverend Sir, some food remains untouched.”
“Then serve this man.”
After the steward had provided the man with a seat in a place indicated by the Lord, he served him rice gruel and other food both hard and soft, and after the man had eaten, he rinsed his mouth. As soon as the man’s suffering had been relieved, his mind became calm, and then the Lord taught the Dhamma in gradual order, expounding one after the other the Four Noble Truths. When he had finished, that man attained the fruit of Stream-Winning.
There are six things that foster love and respect, helpfulness and agreement, harmony and unity. What six? When one acts with love towards one’s companions in the holy life, both in public and in private; when one speaks with love towards them both in public and in private; when one thinks with love towards them both in public and in private; when one shares with them, without reservations, whatever one has acquired justly, even if it be no more than the food from one’s alms bowl; when one possesses together with them virtues that are complete, unbroken and freedom-giving, praised by the wise and conducive to concentration; and when one possesses with one’s companions in the holy life, both in public and in private, the understanding that is noble, leading to freedom and which conduces to the complete destruction of suffering; then will there be love and respect, helpfulness and agreement, harmony and unity.
Apply yourself to solitude. One who is given to solitude knows things as they really are.
And the Lord said: “Ananda, prepare a couch between these two sal trees, for I am tired and wish to lie down.” So Ananda did as the Lord asked, and then the Lord lay down on his right side, resting one foot on the other in the posture of the lion, mindful and clearly conscious. Then suddenly, the two sal trees burst into full bloom out of season and the flowers rained down out of respect for the Tathagata. Celestial blossoms and heavenly sandalwood powder rained down, and heavenly music and voices could be heard, all out of respect for the Tathagata.
Then the Lord addressed Ananda and said: “Behold these sal blossoms and heavenly flowers, sandalwood powder, music and voices. Yet, it is not like this that the Tathagata is respected, venerated, esteemed, worshipped and honoured with the highest respect. But the monk and the nun, the layman and the laywoman, who abide by the Dhamma, walk the way of Dhamma and who practice the Dhamma, it is they who respect, venerate, esteem, worship and honour the Tathagata with the highest respect. Therefore, abide by the Dhamma, walk the way of the Dhamma and practice the Dhamma. This is how you should train yourself.”
With the fading away of joy one remains equinimous, mindful and clearly conscious, and experiences within oneself that happiness of which the Noble Ones say: ‘Happy indeed is he who abides equinimous and mindful.’ Thus one enters and abides in the third jhana. And with that happiness free from joy one suffuses, drenches, fills and permeates the whole body so that there is no spot in the entire body that is untouched by that happiness.
Just as in pond of blue, red or white lotuses, the flowers are born in the water, grow in the water and are nourished by the water but do not emerge from the water and thus are thus suffused, drenched, filled and permeated with cool water, in the same way, one suffuses, drenches, fills and permeates the whole body so that there is no spot untouched.
Just as water cools both good and bad,
And washes away all impurity and dust,
In the same way you should develop thoughts of love
To friend and foe alike,
And having reached perfection in love,
You will attain enlightenment.
Where do earth, water, fire and air find no foothold? Where do long and short, small and great, pure and impure, name and form all finally cease? The answer is:
It is in the consciousness of the Noble One –
Invisible, boundless and all-luminous.
There it is that earth, water, fire and air
No footing find.
There it is that long and short, small and great,
Pure and impure, name and form
When consciousness ceases, so does all this.
For the mindful one, there is always good;
For the mindful one, happiness increases;
For the mindful one, things go better,
Yet he may not be freed from hate.
But one who both day and night
Takes delight in harmlessness,
Sharing love with all that lives –
That one has hate for no one.
I will show you grasping and worry and I will show you the letting go of and freedom from grasping and worry. And what is grasping and worry? Concerning this, ordinary folk have this view: ‘This body is mine, I am this, this is myself.’ For one like this, the body alters and changes, and owing to this alteration and change, grief, sorrow, suffering, lamentation and despair arise in him. And it is the same with his feelings, perception, mental constructs and consciousness.
And what is letting go of and freedom from worry? Concerning this, the well taught noble disciple has this view: ‘This body is not mine. I am not this, this is not myself.’ For one like this, the body alters and changes, but in spite of alteration and change, grief, sorrow, suffering, lamentation and despair do not arise in him. And it is the same with feeling perception, mental constructs and consciousness. Thus, there is letting go of and freedom from grasping and worry.
Suppose a king or royal minister has never heard lute music before. But one day he does hear it and he says: ‘Good man, tell me, what is that enchanting and delightful, intoxicating, ravishing and enthralling sound?’ Then they say to him: ‘That Sir, is the music of the lute.’ So he says: ‘Go, bring me that lute.’ So they bring it to him but he says: ‘Enough of this lute. Bring me the music.’ Then they say to him: ‘Sir, this lute consists of many parts; the belly, the skin, the handle, the frame, the string, the bridge and the effort of the player. And it makes the sound because of them. The sound is because of these various and many parts.’ Then the king breaks the lute into a hundred pieces, splinters it again, burns it, puts the ashes in a heap and winnows them in the wind or washes them away in water in order to find the music. Having done this he finds no music and says: ‘A poor thing indeed is a lute; whatever a lute may be. The world is deceived by such things.’ In the same way, one investigating the body as far as the body goes, investigating feeling, perception, mental constructs and consciousness as far as they go, finds no ‘I’ , no ‘I am’, no ‘Mine.’
Whoever was greedy and is now free from greed, whoever was hating and is now free from hating, whoever was grudging, hypocritical, spiteful, jealous, mean, untrustworthy, cunning, with evil desires, with wrong views and is now free from greed, hate, grudge, hypocrisy, spite, jealousy, meanness, untrustworthiness, cunning, evil desires and wrong views; then he undertakes the practice worthy of monks. In getting rid of these stains, faults and defects of monks he is free from things that lead to a bad rebrith. When he sees himself freed from these things that lead to sorrow, rebirth in a bad place, gladness arises in him, from gladness comes joy, because of joy the body is tranquil, with a tranquil body he is happy, and the mind of one who is happy is concentrated. He abides with a mind filled with love, compassion, sympathetic joy and equanimity, suffusing the first, second, third and fourth quarters of the world. He abides suffusing the whole world – upwards, downwards, across, everywhere – with a mind filled with love, compassion, sympathetic joy and equanimity, abundant, unbounded, without hatred or ill-will.
Venerable Tissa, the nephew of the Lord’s father, spoke to a number of monks and said: “Friends, my body is as if drugged, things have become dim to my eyes, and the Dhamma is no longer clear to me. Sloth and laziness possess my mind and I live the holy life without joy. I waver in the teachings.” So, those monks went to the Lord and told him what Tissa had said, and the Lord addressed one monk saying: “Go, monk, and in my name tell Tissa to come and speak to me.” So that monk did as he was asked and when Tissa came, the Lord said to him: “Is it true as they say that your body is as if drugged, that things have become dim to your eyes, that the Dhamma is no longer clear to you, that sloth and laziness possess your mind, that you live the holy life without joy, and that you waver in the teachings?”
“That is true, Lord.”
“Now concerning this, what do you think, Tissa? If one is not free from lust, desire, affection, thirst, fever and craving, then when the body alters and changes do not grief, sorrow, suffering, lamentation and despair arise?”
“And is it not the same with feeling, perception, mental constructs and consciousness?”
“Well said, Tissa! Well said! Now what do you think? If one is free from lust, desire, affection, thirst, fever and craving, then when the body alters and changes then do grief, sorrow, suffering, lamentation and despair arise?”
“And is it the same with feeling, perception, mental constructs and consciousness?”
“It is, Lord.”
“Well said, Tissa! Well said! Now, what do you think? Are the body, feeling, perception, mental constructs and consciousness permanent or impermanent?”
“They are impermanent, Lord.”
“So, seeing this, the instructed noble disciple turns away from these five aggregates. Turning away from them, passions fade, and with the fading of passions, he is free and he knows: ‘Rebirth is destroyed, the holy life has been lived, what has had to be done is done; there is no more of this.’ Suppose there are two men, one a skilled traveller and the other not. And the unskilled traveller asks the way from the skilled one. He replies: ‘Yes, my good man, this is the way. Continue for a while and you will see a fork in the road. Take the right hand path. Go on a little, and you will come to a forest. Continue for a while more, and you will come to a marshy swamp. Go a little further, and you will see a great cliff. Go further still and you will see a beautiful stretch of open ground.’ I use this parable to illustrate my meaning, and this is the meaning. The man unskilled in travel represents ordinary people, and the man skilled in travel represents the Tathagata, the Noble One, the fully enlightened Buddha. The fork in the road is the state of wavering, the left fork being the false eightfold path and the right fork being the Noble Eightfold Path. The thick forest is ignorance, the marshy swamp is desires, and the great cliff is irritation and despair. The delightful stretch of open ground is Nirvana. So be of good cheer, Tissa! Be of good cheer! I will counsel you, I will support you, I will instruct you.”
The Lord said to the monks: “Body is not self. If it were, it would not be liable to affliction, and one could say: ‘Let my body be like this. Let not my body be like that.’ But since the body is not the self, it is liable to affliction, and one cannot say: ‘Let my body be like this. Let not my body be like that.’ And it is the same with feeling, perception, mental constructs and consciousness. What do you think? Is body permanent or impermanent?”
“Now, is what is impermanent painful or pleasant?”
“Now, is it fit to regard what is impermanent and painful like this: ‘This is mine, this is I, this is my self?’”
“And it is the same with feeling, perception, mental constructs and consciousness. So, any kind of body, feeling, perception, mental constructs or consciousness, whether past, present or future, whether gross or subtle, whether internal or external, whether inferior or superior, whether far or near, must with right understanding be regarded thus: ‘This is not mine, this is not I, this is not my self.’ When a noble disciple has heard this and sees this, he becomes detached from body, feeling, perception, mental constructs and consciousness. Being detached, passions fade, with the fading of passions he is free, and when he is free he knows he is free. He knows: ‘Birth is ended, the holy life has been lived, what has had to be done is done, there is no more of this.’”