SN 55.54: Gilana Sutta — Ill

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SN 55.54: Gilana Sutta — Ill

Postby mikenz66 » Tue Dec 27, 2011 8:52 pm

SN 55.54 PTS: S v 408 CDB ii 1834
Gilana Sutta: Ill
translated from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu


A short instruction manual on how to give comfort to a gravely ill lay follower.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

On one occasion the Blessed One was staying among the Sakyans at Kapilavatthu in the Banyan Park. Now at that time many monks were at work making robes for the Blessed One, [thinking,] "When the robes are finished, at the end of the three months, the Blessed One will set out wandering."

Mahanama the Sakyan heard that many monks were at work making robes for the Blessed One, [thinking,] "When the robes are finished, at the end of the three months, the Blessed One will set out wandering." So he approached the Blessed One and, on arrival, having bowed down, sat to one side. As he was sitting there he said to the Blessed One: "I have heard that many monks are at work making robes for the Blessed One, [thinking,] 'When the robes are finished, at the end of the three months, the Blessed One will set out wandering.' But I haven't heard in the Blessed One's presence, haven't learned in the Blessed One's presence, how a discerning lay follower who is diseased, in pain, severely ill should be instructed by [another] discerning lay follower."

"Mahanama, a discerning lay follower [1] who is diseased, in pain, severely ill should be reassured by another discerning lay follower with four reassurances: 'Be reassured, friend, that you are endowed with verified confidence in the Awakened One: "Indeed, the Blessed One is worthy & rightly self-awakened, consummate in knowledge & conduct, well-gone, an expert with regard to the world, unexcelled as a trainer for those people fit to be tamed, the Teacher of divine & human beings, awakened, blessed."

"'Be reassured, friend, that you have verified confidence in the Dhamma: "The Dhamma is well-expounded by the Blessed One, to be seen here & now, timeless, inviting verification, pertinent, to be realized by the wise for themselves."

"'Be reassured, friend, that you have verified confidence in the Sangha: "The Sangha of the Blessed One's disciples who have practiced well... who have practiced straight-forwardly... who have practiced methodically... who have practiced masterfully — in other words, the four pairs, the eight individuals — they are the Sangha of the Blessed One's disciples: worthy of gifts, worthy of hospitality, worthy of offerings, worthy of respect, the incomparable field of merit for the world."

"'Be reassured, friend, that you have virtues that are appealing to the noble ones: untorn, unbroken, unspotted, unsplattered, liberating, praised by the wise, untarnished, leading to concentration.'

"Mahanama, when a discerning lay follower who is diseased, in pain, severely ill has been reassured by another discerning lay follower with these four reassurances, he should be asked: 'Friend, are you concerned for your mother & father?' If he should say, 'I am concerned for my mother & father,' he should be told, 'You, my dear friend, are subject to death. If you feel concern for your mother & father, you're still going to die. If you don't feel concern for your mother & father, you're still going to die. It would be good if you abandoned concern for your mother & father.'

"If he should say, "My concern for my mother & father has been abandoned,' he should be asked, 'Friend, are you concerned for your wife & children?' If he should say, 'I am concerned for my wife & children,' he should be told, 'You, my dear friend, are subject to death. If you feel concern for your wife & children, you're still going to die. If you don't feel concern for your wife & children, you're still going to die. It would be good if you abandoned concern for your wife & children.'

"If he should say, "My concern for my wife & children has been abandoned,' he should be asked, 'Friend, are you concerned for the five strings of human sensuality?' If he should say, 'I am concerned for the five strings of human sensuality,' he should be told, 'Friend, divine sensual pleasures are more splendid & more refined than human sensual pleasures. It would be good if, having raised your mind above human sensual pleasures, you set it on the Devas of the Four Great Kings.'

"If he should say, 'My mind is raised above human sensual pleasures and is set on the Devas of the Four Great Kings,' he should be told, 'Friend, the Devas of the Thirty-three are more splendid & more refined than the Devas of the Four Great Kings. It would be good if, having raised your mind above the Devas of the Four Great Kings, you set it on the Devas of the Thirty-three.'

"If he should say, 'My mind is raised above the Devas of the Four Great Kings and is set on the Devas of the Thirty-three,' he should be told, 'Friend, the Devas of the Hours are more splendid & more refined than the Devas of the Thirty-three. It would be good if, having raised your mind above the Devas of the Thirty-three, you set it on the Devas of the Hours.'

"If he should say, 'My mind is raised above the Devas of the Thirty-three and is set on the Devas of the Hours,' he should be told, 'Friend, the Contented Devas are more splendid & more refined than the Devas of the Hours... the Devas Delighting in Creation are more splendid & more refined than the Contented Devas... the Devas Wielding Power over the Creations of Others are more splendid & more refined than the Devas Delighting in Creation... the Brahma world is more splendid and more refined than the Devas Wielding Power over the Creations of Others. It would be good if, having raised your mind above the Devas Wielding Power over the Creations of Others, you set it on the Brahma world.'

"If he should say, 'My mind is raised above the Devas Wielding Power over the Creations of Others and is set on the Brahma world,' he should be told, 'Friend, even the Brahma world is inconstant, impermanent, included in self-identity. It would be good if, having raised your mind above the Brahma world, you brought it to the cessation of self-identity.'

"If he should say, 'My mind is raised above the Brahma worlds and is brought to the cessation of self-identity,' then, I tell you, Mahanama, there is no difference — in terms of release — between the release of that lay follower whose mind is released and the release of a monk whose mind is released."

Note

1. These four reassurances indicate that the "discerning lay follower" is at least a stream-enterer.
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Re: SN 55.54: Gilana Sutta — Ill

Postby sattva » Wed Jan 04, 2012 12:35 am

I'm sorry Mike, I didn't respond or ask questions about this sutta. Is it too late? :anjali:
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Re: SN 55.54: Gilana Sutta — Ill

Postby mikenz66 » Wed Jan 04, 2012 7:08 am

sattva wrote:I'm sorry Mike, I didn't respond or ask questions about this sutta. Is it too late? :anjali:

Certainly not. Ask away! I've been leaving each of the threads open for two weeks, so you've got at least another week...

And, of course, you could always continue discussion in another part of the Forum...

:anjali:
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Re: SN 55.54: Gilana Sutta — Ill

Postby sattva » Wed Jan 04, 2012 2:45 pm

I guess, I am surprised that Thanissaro Bhikkhu doesn't give notes on each of the deva realms mentioned. I think it would be helpful. What would be the best source for simple, concise information on each of these deva realms or do you think it is not important to the ultimate ending of the sutta?
:anjali:
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Re: SN 55.54: Gilana Sutta — Ill

Postby mikenz66 » Wed Jan 04, 2012 7:34 pm

Hi Sattva:

The Thirty-One Planes of Existence
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/ptf/dham ... /loka.html
is a very useful summary.

:anjali:
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Re: SN 55.54: Gilana Sutta — Ill

Postby mikenz66 » Fri Jan 06, 2012 6:51 am

From Bhikku Bodhi.

"The brahma world, friend, is more excellent and sublime thatn the Paranimmitavsavatti devas. So please withdraw your mind from the Paranimmitavsavatti devas and resolve on the brahma world.'

BB: In MN 97 Dhanañjani Sutta: To Dhanañjani http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html Sariputta guides a dying brahmin through a similar sequence of reflections, but stops after directing him to the brahma world. For stopping there he is later reproached by the Buddha.
    "But why, Sariputta — when there was still more to be done, having established Dhanañjani the brahman in the inferior Brahma world — did you get up from your seat and leave?"

    "The thought occurred to me, lord, 'These brahmans are set on the Brahma worlds. What if I were to teach Dhanañjani the brahman the path to union with the Brahmas?'"

    "Sariputta, Dhanañjani the brahman has died and reappeared in the Brahma world."


"So please withdraw your mind from the brahma world and direct it to the cessation of identity"

BB: Sakkayaniroda i.e. Nibbana. This injunction is intended to turn the mind of the dying lay follower from a rebirth in the brahma world and direct it towards the attainment of Nibbana.


"If he says: 'My mind has been withdrawn from the brahma world; I have directed my mind to the cessation of identity', then, Mahanama, I say that there is no difference between a lay follower who is thus liberated in mind and a bhikkhu who has been liberated in mind for a hundred years, that is, between one liberation and the other."

BB: The phrase vimuttiya vimuttim is also found at AN iii 34, again referring to Arahantship.

Spk: When one liberation is compared with another there is no difference to be described. When the path or fruit is penetrated, there is no difference between lay followers and bhikkhus.

BB: The Buddha's statement thus indicates that the lay follower has become and arahant. Apart from the few instances of lay people who attained arahantship just before renouncing the household life (like Yasa at Vin I 17), this may be the only mention of a lay arahant in the Nikayas, and in his case the attainment occurs on the verge of death. Mil (The Questions of King Milinda) 264-265 lays down the thesis that a lay person who attains arahantship either goes forth that day (i.e. becomes a monk or nun) or passes away into final Nibbana.
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Re: SN 55.54: Gilana Sutta — Ill

Postby mikenz66 » Fri Jan 06, 2012 6:55 am

See also:
MN 143 Anathapindikovada Sutta: Instructions to Anathapindika
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

For another sutta with advice to a dying person.
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