SN 36.4: Patala Sutta — The Bottomless Pit

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SN 36.4: Patala Sutta — The Bottomless Pit

Postby mikenz66 » Tue Nov 08, 2011 7:55 pm

SN 36.4 PTS: S iv 206 CDB ii 1262
Patala Sutta: The Bottomless Pit
translated from the Pali by Nyanaponika Thera


The Buddha teaches that by meeting intense physical pain with mindfulness, we can spare ourselves from falling into a bottomless pit of anguish and suffering.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .nypo.html

"When, O monks, an untaught worldling says that in the great ocean there is a (bottomless) pit,[1] he speaks about something unreal and not factual.[2] 'The (bottomless) pit,' O monks, is rather a name for painful bodily feelings. When an untaught worldling is afflicted by painful bodily feelings, he worries and grieves, he laments, beats his breast, weeps and is distraught. He is then said to be an untaught worldling who cannot withstand the bottomless pit and cannot gain a foothold in it. But when a well-taught noble disciple[3] is afflicted by painful bodily feelings, he will not worry nor grieve and lament, he will not beat his breast and weep, nor will he be distraught. He is then said to be a noble disciple who can withstand the bottomless pit and has gained a foothold in it."
Who cannot bear the painful body-feelings that arise endangering his life, he trembles when afflicted. He wails and cries aloud, a weak and feeble man. He cannot stand against the pit, nor can a foothold he secure. But one who bears the painful body-feelings that arise, not trembling when his very life is threatened, he truly can withstand that pit and gain a foothold in its depth.

Notes

1. Patala.

2. Comy. (paraphrased): According to popular belief, there is in the ocean a very deep abyss hollowed out by the force of the water, which is the abode of aquatic animals as well as dragon deities (naga), etc. Hence, for these beings, this abyss provides a basis for their existence, a comfortable abode. Therefore, to call it a bottomless pit is unrealistic and not factual, because it gives an inadequate and non-evident meaning to the word. It is rather bodily pain, inseparable from bodily existence, which deserves to be called a "bottomless pit" of suffering, being a part of unfathomable Samsara.

3. Comy.: In this Discourse, by the words "noble disciple," it is, in the first place, a stream-winner (sotapanna) that is meant. But also a meditator with strong insight and keen intellect is capable of withstanding feelings that arise without being carried away by them. He, too, ought to be included here (because he penetrates the feelings to some extent; Sub-comy.).
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Re: SN 36.4: Patala Sutta — The Bottomless Pit

Postby mikenz66 » Tue Nov 08, 2011 7:57 pm

SN 36.4 PTS: S iv 206 CDB ii 1262
Patala Sutta: The Bottomless Chasm
translated from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu


http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

"Monks, when an uninstructed run-of-the-mill person makes the statement, 'There is a bottomless chasm in the ocean,' he is talking about something that doesn't exist, that can't be found. The word 'bottomless chasm' is actually a designation for painful bodily feeling.

"When an uninstructed run-of-the-mill person is touched by a painful bodily feeling, he sorrows, grieves, & laments, beats his breast, becomes distraught. This is called an uninstructed run-of-the-mill person who has not risen up out of the bottomless chasm, who has not gained a foothold.

"When a well-instructed disciple of the noble ones is touched by a painful bodily feeling, he does not sorrow, grieve, or lament, does not beat his breast or become distraught. This is called a well-instructed disciple of the noble ones who has risen up out of the bottomless chasm, whose foothold is gained."

Whoever can't endure them
once they've arisen —
painful bodily feelings
that could kill living beings —
who trembles at their touch,
who cries & wails,
a weakling with no resiliance:
he hasn't risen up
out of the bottomless chasm
or even gained
a foothold.

Whoever endures them
once they've arisen —
painful bodily feelings
that could kill living beings —
who doesn't tremble at their touch:
he's risen up
out of the bottomless chasm,
his foothold is gained.
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Re: SN 36.4: Patala Sutta — The Bottomless Pit

Postby retrofuturist » Wed Nov 09, 2011 4:19 am

Greetings,

I wonder if there's a double (or should that be triple) meaning intended to "bottomless chasm" in the sense that there is an insatiable preference for feelings that aren't painful, and that it's this insatiable preference (and subsequent intolerance of the painful - i.e. "a weakling with no resiliance") which results in one remaining stuck in the chasm?

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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