MN 117. Mahācattārīsaka Sutta

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MN 117. Mahācattārīsaka Sutta

Postby jcsuperstar » Tue Jul 14, 2009 7:50 pm

MN 117 PTS: M iii 71
Maha-cattarisaka Sutta: The Great Forty
translated from the Pali by
Thanissaro Bhikkhu

I have heard that on one occasion the Blessed One was staying at Savatthi, in Jeta's Grove, Anathapindika's monastery. There he addressed the monks: "Monks!"

"Yes, lord," the monks replied.

The Blessed One said, "Monks, I will teach you noble right concentration with its supports and requisite conditions. Listen, and pay close attention. I will speak."

"Yes, lord," the monks replied.

The Blessed One said: "Now what, monks, is noble right concentration with its supports & requisite conditions? Any singleness of mind equipped with these seven factors — right view, right resolve, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, & right mindfulness — is called noble right concentration with its supports & requisite conditions.

[1] "Of those, right view is the forerunner. And how is right view the forerunner? One discerns wrong view as wrong view, and right view as right view. This is one's right view. And what is wrong view? 'There is nothing given, nothing offered, nothing sacrificed. There is no fruit or result of good or bad actions. There is no this world, no next world, no mother, no father, no spontaneously reborn beings; no priests or contemplatives who, faring rightly & practicing rightly, proclaim this world & the next after having directly known & realized it for themselves.' This is wrong view.

"And what is right view? Right view, I tell you, is of two sorts: There is right view with effluents [asava], siding with merit, resulting in the acquisitions [of becoming]; and there is noble right view, without effluents, transcendent, a factor of the path.

"And what is the right view that has effluents, sides with merit, & results in acquisitions? 'There is what is given, what is offered, what is sacrificed. There are fruits & results of good & bad actions. There is this world & the next world. There is mother & father. There are spontaneously reborn beings; there are priests & contemplatives who, faring rightly & practicing rightly, proclaim this world & the next after having directly known & realized it for themselves.' This is the right view that has effluents, sides with merit, & results in acquisitions.

"And what is the right view that is without effluents, transcendent, a factor of the path? The discernment, the faculty of discernment, the strength of discernment, analysis of qualities as a factor for Awakening, the path factor of right view of one developing the noble path whose mind is noble, whose mind is free from effluents, who is fully possessed of the noble path. This is the right view that is without effluents, transcendent, a factor of the path.

"One tries to abandon wrong view & to enter into right view: This is one's right effort. One is mindful to abandon wrong view & to enter & remain in right view: This is one's right mindfulness. Thus these three qualities — right view, right effort, & right mindfulness — run & circle around right view.

[2] "Of those, right view is the forerunner. And how is right view the forerunner? One discerns wrong resolve as wrong resolve, and right resolve as right resolve. And what is wrong resolve? Being resolved on sensuality, on ill will, on harmfulness. This is wrong resolve.

"And what is right resolve? Right resolve, I tell you, is of two sorts: There is right resolve with effluents, siding with merit, resulting in the acquisitions [of becoming]; and there is noble right resolve, without effluents, transcendent, a factor of the path.

"And what is the right resolve that has effluents, sides with merit, & results in acquisitions? Being resolved on renunciation, on freedom from ill will, on harmlessness. This is the right resolve that has effluents, sides with merit, & results in acquisitions.

And what is the right resolve that is without effluents, transcendent, a factor of the path? The thinking, directed thinking, resolve, (mental) fixity, transfixion, focused awareness, & verbal fabrications of one developing the noble path whose mind is noble, whose mind is without effluents, who is fully possessed of the noble path. This is the right resolve that is without effluents, transcendent, a factor of the path.

"One tries to abandon wrong resolve & to enter into right resolve: This is one's right effort. One is mindful to abandon wrong resolve & to enter & remain in right resolve: This is one's right mindfulness. Thus these three qualities — right view, right effort, & right mindfulness — run & circle around right resolve.

[3] "Of those, right view is the forerunner. And how is right view the forerunner? One discerns wrong speech as wrong speech, and right speech as right speech. And what is wrong speech? Lying, divisive tale-bearing, abusive speech, & idle chatter. This is wrong speech.

"And what is right speech? Right speech, I tell you, is of two sorts: There is right speech with effluents, siding with merit, resulting in the acquisitions [of becoming]; and there is noble right speech, without effluents, transcendent, a factor of the path.

"And what is the right speech that has effluents, sides with merit, & results in acquisitions? Abstaining from lying, from divisive tale-bearing, from abusive speech, & from idle chatter. This is the right speech that has effluents, sides with merit, & results in acquisitions.

"And what is the right speech that is without effluents, transcendent, a factor of the path? The abstaining, desisting, abstinence, avoidance of the four forms of verbal misconduct of one developing the noble path whose mind is noble, whose mind is without effluents, who is fully possessed of the noble path. This is the right speech that is without effluents, transcendent, a factor of the path.

"One tries to abandon wrong speech & to enter into right speech: This is one's right effort. One is mindful to abandon wrong speech & to enter & remain in right speech: This is one's right mindfulness. Thus these three qualities — right view, right effort, & right mindfulness — run & circle around right speech.

[4] "Of those, right view is the forerunner. And how is right view the forerunner? One discerns wrong action as wrong action, and right action as right action. And what is wrong action? Killing, taking what is not given, illicit sex. This is wrong action.

"And what is right action? Right action, I tell you, is of two sorts: There is right action with effluents, siding with merit, resulting in the acquisitions [of becoming]; and there is noble right action, without effluents, transcendent, a factor of the path.

"And what is the right action that has effluents, sides with merit, & results in acquisitions? Abstaining from killing, from taking what is not given, & from illicit sex. This is the right action that has effluents, sides with merit, & results in acquisitions.

"And what is the right action that is without effluents, transcendent, a factor of the path? The abstaining, desisting, abstinence, avoidance of the three forms of bodily misconduct of one developing the noble path whose mind is noble, whose mind is without effluents, who is fully possessed of the noble path. This is the right action that is without effluents, transcendent, a factor of the path.

"One tries to abandon wrong action & to enter into right action: This is one's right effort. One is mindful to abandon wrong action & to enter & remain in right action: This is one's right mindfulness. Thus these three qualities — right view, right effort, & right mindfulness — run & circle around right action.

[5] "Of those, right view is the forerunner. And how is right view the forerunner? One discerns wrong livelihood as wrong livelihood, and right livelihood as right livelihood. And what is wrong livelihood? Scheming, persuading, hinting, belittling, & pursuing gain with gain. This is wrong livelihood.

"And what is right livelihood? Right livelihood, I tell you, is of two sorts: There is right livelihood with effluents, siding with merit, resulting in the acquisitions [of becoming]; and there is noble right livelihood, without effluents, transcendent, a factor of the path.

"And what is the right livelihood that has effluents, sides with merit, & results in acquisitions? There is the case where a disciple of the noble ones abandons wrong livelihood and maintains his life with right livelihood. This is the right livelihood that has effluents, sides with merit, & results in acquisitions.

"And what is the right livelihood that is without effluents, transcendent, a factor of the path? The abstaining, desisting, abstinence, avoidance of wrong livelihood of one developing the noble path whose mind is noble, whose mind is without effluents, who is fully possessed of the noble path. This is the right livelihood that is without effluents, transcendent, a factor of the path.

"One tries to abandon wrong livelihood & to enter into right livelihood: This is one's right effort. One is mindful to abandon wrong livelihood & to enter & remain in right livelihood: This is one's right mindfulness. Thus these three qualities — right view, right effort, & right mindfulness — run & circle around right livelihood.

"Of those, right view is the forerunner. And how is right view the forerunner? In one of right view, right resolve comes into being. In one of right resolve, right speech comes into being. In one of right speech, right action... In one of right action, right livelihood... In one of right livelihood, right effort... In one of right effort, right mindfulness... In one of right mindfulness, right concentration... In one of right concentration, right knowledge... In one of right knowledge, right release comes into being. Thus the learner is endowed with eight factors, and the arahant with ten.

"Of those, right view is the forerunner. And how is right view the forerunner? In one of right view, wrong view is abolished. The many evil, unskillful qualities that come into play with wrong view as their condition are also abolished, while the many skillful qualities that have right view as their condition go to the culmination of their development. In one of right resolve, wrong resolve is abolished... In one of right speech, wrong speech is abolished... In one of right action, wrong action is abolished... In one of right livelihood, wrong livelihood is abolished... In one of right effort, wrong effort is abolished... In one of right mindfulness, wrong mindfulness is abolished... In one of right concentration, wrong concentration is abolished... In one of right knowledge, wrong knowledge is abolished... In one of right release, wrong release is abolished. The many evil, unskillful qualities that come into play with wrong release as their condition are also abolished, while the many skillful qualities that have right release as their condition go to the culmination of their development.

"Thus, monks, there are twenty factors siding with skillfulness, and twenty with unskillfulness.

"This Dhamma discourse on the Great Forty has been set rolling and cannot be stopped by any contemplative or priest or deva or Mara and Brahma or anyone at all in the world.

"If any priest or contemplative might think that this Great Forty Dhamma discourse should be censured & rejected, there are ten legitimate implications of his statement that would form grounds for censuring him here & now. If he censures right view, then he would honor any priests and contemplatives who are of wrong view; he would praise them. If he censures right resolve... right speech... right action... right livelihood... right effort... right mindfulness... right concentration... right knowledge... If he censures right release, then he would honor any priests and contemplatives who are of wrong release; he would praise them. If any priest or contemplative might think that this Great Forty Dhamma discourse should be censured & rejected, there are these ten legitimate implications of his statement that would form grounds for censuring him here & now.

"Even Vassa & Bhañña — those teachers from Okkala who were proponents of no-causality, no-action, & no-existence — would not think that this Dhamma discourse on the Great Forty should be censured & rejected. Why is that? For fear of criticism, opposition, & reproach."

That is what the Blessed One said. Gratified, the monks delighted in the Blessed One's words.


study guide
117 Mahācattārīsaka Sutta The Great Forty
SUMMARY
The Buddha defines the factors of the Noble Eightfold Path and explains their
interrelationships. One interesting aspect of this discourse is that it clearly
shows the Noble Eightfold Path as a way to practice not only for ordinary
persons, but also for those who have already entered the stream.
NOT ES
The mundane path describes practice up to the point where it turns into the
supramundane path, which is what takes one to streamentry
and beyond.
The Buddha begins the discourse by saying, “Unification of mind equipped
with these seven factors is called noble right concentration with its supports and
its requisites.” The Buddha then describes each other factor on the path, but
does not refer back to the factor of concentration. He rather highlights the
importance of right view.
[49]
Right view comes first. One must know the difference between right
view and wrong view.
Mundane right view: There is fruit and result of good and bad actions; there is
this world and the other world; there are enlightened beings.
Path (or supramundane) right view: the faculty of wisdom and its power (Note
1103: Elsewhere noble right view would be the direct penetration of the noble
truths by realizing Nibbāna with the path.)
[9] QUOTE: “One makes an effort to abandon wrong view and to enter upon
right view: this is one’s right effort. Mindfully one abandons wrong view,
mindfully one enters upon and abides in right view: this is one’s right
mindfulness. Thus these three states run and circle around right view, that is,
right view, right effort, and right mindfulness.”
In the sections that follow, at the end of each path factor, this emphasis on
right view, right effort and right mindfulness is repeated.
[1015]
Right intention:
Mundane: intention of renunciation, nonill
will, noncruelty
(standard
definition).
Path: thinking, intention, mental absorption (jhāna), mental fixity, directing of
mind, verbal formation [toward absorption]. “One makes an effort to abandon
wrong intention…” With right view, one makes an effort to abandon wrong
intention with mindfulness. (Note 1107: Right intention is identified with applied
thought (vitakka) responsible for absorption by fixing and directing the mind
upon its object.)
[1621]
Right speech:
Mundane: abstinence from four kinds of wrong speech.
Path: Same as mundane, “One makes an effort to abandon wrong speech…”
(Note 1109 indicates the difference between mundane and path is that the path
factor cuts through the underlying tendencies toward these four kinds of
speech.)
[2227]
Right action:
Mundane: abstinence from killing, from taking what is not given, from sexual
misconduct [Ed: “Sensual” in the text. In many other definitions of right action, the
third factor is abstinence from sexual intercourse, rather than sensual
misconduct. For more clarification, I received this note from a Pali student, John
Kelly in Australia: “The Pali phrase that Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi translates here as
‘sensual misconduct’ is ‘kāmesu micchācāra,’ which literally means, ‘misconduct
in sensual pleasures.’ Note that the word ‘kāma’ that is used here, while meaning
sensual, has strong connotations of ‘sexual.’ And in all the places in the canon
where this phrase is used and where the sutta goes on to describe in detail what
this precept means, the description is about sexual misconduct (see MN41.8, for
example). Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi is entirely consistent in translating this particular
Pali phrase as ‘sensual misconduct’ or ‘misconduct in sensual pleasures’
throughout the Majjhima wherever the Buddha is talking about morality for lay
people. In places where the Buddha talks about morality for bhikkhus, then
‘abrahmacariya’ is used, which means ‘uncelibacy.’”]
Path: Same as mundane, “One makes an effort to abandon wrong action…”
[2833]
Right livelihood:
Mundane: abandons wrong livelihood, gains right livelihood.
Path: Same as mundane, “One makes an effort to abandon wrong livelihood…”
[34] There are two additional factors possessed by the arahant: right
knowledge, whereby one knows one has destroyed all the defilements, and
right deliverance, the direct experience of this.
[34, 35] When the wrong view of each path factor has been abolished, the states
originating from that wrong view are also abolished. When one has right view,
the states originating from that view come into being.
[36] “The Great Forty” are the twenty factors on the wholesome side (ten right
factors and the states that originate from each) and the twenty factors on the
unwholesome side (ten wrong factors and the states that originate from each).
PRACT ICE
Take one particular action (for example, harsh speech or wrong livelihood) and
apply each of the factors from the Noble Eightfold Path to bring about a
wholesome change in that action. Understand how all the factors are
interconnected.

:buddha1:
สัพเพ สัตตา สุขีตา โหนตุ

the mountain may be heavy in and of itself, but if you're not trying to carry it it's not heavy to you- Ajaan Suwat
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Re: MN 117. Mahācattārīsaka Sutta

Postby mikenz66 » Tue Jul 14, 2009 8:31 pm

This is a great Sutta.

We discussed elsewhere that this seems to be the only Sutta with the Abhidhammic mundane/trancendent right view. I'll see if I can find it...

The talks by Bhikkhu Bodhi and Bhikkhu Brahmali (at BSWA) discuss the Abhidhamma connection in some detail.

Mike
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Re: MN 117. Mahācattārīsaka Sutta

Postby jcsuperstar » Tue Jul 14, 2009 8:33 pm

yeah the next few weeks we'll be getting into some of the more popular suttas!
สัพเพ สัตตา สุขีตา โหนตุ

the mountain may be heavy in and of itself, but if you're not trying to carry it it's not heavy to you- Ajaan Suwat
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Re: MN 117. Mahācattārīsaka Sutta

Postby mikenz66 » Tue Jul 14, 2009 10:53 pm

OK, here's Ven Dhammanado's comment:
viewtopic.php?f=16&t=1341#p16848
Dhammanando wrote:Hi Mike,

mikenz66 wrote:As I said over here: http://dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=16&t=1255 the idea of mundane/supermundane right view there seems to be directly from the Abhidhamma, and is the only Sutta I've read where that sort of exposition is presented. Are there others?


No, the Mahacattarisaka Sutta is unique.

I should note that the designations 'mundane' and 'supramundane' for these two right view are actually from the Petakopadesa and Nettipakarana, two early treatises on hermeneutics. At MN. 117 the distinction is expressed with the words 'sāsava' and 'anāsava', "accompanied by cankers" and "free of cankers" respectively.

Best wishes,
Dhammanando Bhikkhu

Metta
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Re: MN 117. Mahācattārīsaka Sutta

Postby rowyourboat » Wed Jul 15, 2009 8:44 am

its interesting to consider what constitutes mundane right view in the modern world. Or to put it in another way what would lead a person to practice the buddhist path (the rest of the noble eightfold path)- keep sila, strive towards more wholesome behaviour, practice mindfulness/meditation. When considering mundane right view we can see that a belief in kamma and other realms would encourage a person to keep to ethical behaviour. Belief in that there is salvation through meditation and that there are beings who do it can motivate someone to practice. Equally the belief that there is rebirth and continued rounds of samsara might motivate someone to put an end to samsara. However all this is based on a certain degree of faith. In these 'scientific' times what motivates us?
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Re: MN 117. Mahācattārīsaka Sutta

Postby Sher » Fri Jul 17, 2009 2:00 am

mikenz66 wrote:OK, here's Ven Dhammanado's comment:
http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.ph ... 341#p16848
Dhammanando wrote:Hi Mike,

mikenz66 wrote:As I said over here: viewtopic.php?f=16&t=1255 the idea of mundane/supermundane right view there seems to be directly from the Abhidhamma, and is the only Sutta I've read where that sort of exposition is presented. Are there others?


No, the Mahacattarisaka Sutta is unique.

I should note that the designations 'mundane' and 'supramundane' for these two right view are actually from the Petakopadesa and Nettipakarana, two early treatises on hermeneutics. At MN. 117 the distinction is expressed with the words 'sāsava' and 'anāsava', "accompanied by cankers" and "free of cankers" respectively.

Best wishes,
Dhammanando Bhikkhu

Metta
Mike


Mike
are you able to repost these links? They are not working for me. It says there are no posts within the time frame, which I set at one year. It seems like this is brought over from another thread. I'm interested though, if you could repost ...thanks, Sher
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Re: MN 117. Mahācattārīsaka Sutta

Postby mikenz66 » Fri Jul 17, 2009 2:21 am

Hi Sher,

I'm confused. You mean you can't follow the links in the above? They take me here:
viewtopic.php?f=16&t=1341#p16848
http://dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=16&t=1255

Metta
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Re: MN 117. Mahācattārīsaka Sutta

Postby Sher » Fri Jul 17, 2009 5:27 am

mikenz66 wrote:Hi Sher,

I'm confused. You mean you can't follow the links in the above? They take me here:
http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.ph ... 341#p16848
viewtopic.php?f=16&t=1255

Metta
Mike

Hi Mike:
Yes, when I click on the link, I get a message saying the topic does not exist any longer. And, if I copy nd past the link into the browser the same thing happens. It look like you are posting a link to another dhammawheel thread, and for some reason I can't follow it. hmmm, let me go and see if I can make a change in the user control panel. Sher
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Re: MN 117. Mahācattārīsaka Sutta

Postby Sher » Fri Jul 17, 2009 5:31 am

Sher wrote:
mikenz66 wrote:Hi Sher,

I'm confused. You mean you can't follow the links in the above? They take me here:
http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.ph ... 341#p16848
viewtopic.php?f=16&t=1255

Metta
Mike

Hi Mike:
Yes, when I click on the link, I get a message saying the topic does not exist any longer. And, if I copy nd past the link into the browser the same thing happens. It look like you are posting a link to another dhammawheel thread, and for some reason I can't follow it. hmmm, let me go and see if I can make a change in the user control panel. Sher



Mike
Excuse me for the confusion. I had my user control panel set to show messages from the past 7 days only, so anything beyond that was getting an error message. As we talked, I realized maybe it was a problem with the user control panel. Now I am able to get the links.! Thanks for your patience. Sher
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Re: MN 117. Mahācattārīsaka Sutta

Postby nathan » Fri Jul 17, 2009 6:00 am

rowyourboat wrote:However all this is based on a certain degree of faith. In these 'scientific' times what motivates us?
It needn't be. I didn't come to the Buddhadhamma as a faith follower. I am an inquirer after truth. I simply inquired, within and without. After many years I had many firm conclusions, based on direct examination and investigation of the actualities. That's what I still do. It's just that at a certain point, I noted that I was in complete agreement with the Buddha on a great many key things, so it seemed like a great avenue to pursue further investigation and so far the Dhamma has been batting 100. Never drops the ball once. So, who needs faith? The scientific method works fine. Confirms the whole works.

:anjali:
But whoever walking, standing, sitting, or lying down overcomes thought, delighting in the stilling of thought: he's capable, a monk like this, of touching superlative self-awakening. § 110. {Iti 4.11; Iti 115}
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Re: MN 117. Mahācattārīsaka Sutta

Postby rowyourboat » Fri Jul 17, 2009 8:28 am

Hi Nathan,
I was thinking about this today and felt there maybe other avenues into the dhamma
-experiencing suffering (the good horse sutta for example)-->hearing the dhamma (about the cessation of suffering)-->pondering and accepting (faith) because it makes sense-->practice

another path might be interest and/or initial faith-->trying some of the practices-->experiencing something positive (maybe tinged with craving)--> further practice and exploration of the dhamma

I often hear that in the west the path is wisdom (hearing an explanation of the dhamma)-->concentration (practising meditation)-->morality (with further deepening of the dhamma the practitioner becomes more morally inclined).

None of these paths necessarily require faith in kamma or rebirth. I'm not trying to go against the orthodoxy but rather trying to understand what happens in the real world- mind you, the dhamma is complex enough to accommodate all these paths and more. I am reminded of a story where the Buddha promised a relative, 'pink footed' heavenly nymphs if he came and practised! (he ended up as an arahanth). I think the end result is that as the path is an upward spiral- we do end up with right view as the practice deepens.

Having said all of this, there is a part of me which says that the degree of motivation required to practice to achieve anything solid (uttari manussa dhamma -peak/superior human states-jhana, magga phala, arahanth) is such that some degree of faith in the danger of repeated birth must be accepted at some level, otherwise if the aim is only for some blissful states and it all ends in death anyway- what is there to try so hard?

Here is an amazing sutta from DN on a debate on rebirth- you could see the lengths the monk goes to attempt to get his listners to be convinced about it.

http://tipitaka.wikia.com/wiki/Payasi_Sutta

with metta
With Metta

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Re: MN 117. Mahācattārīsaka Sutta

Postby Samantha Noelle Golt » Sun Jul 19, 2009 11:50 am

I think that all ways are correct. All paths lead to Rome. In the infinite knowledge of Truth the more restrictive the path followed the less the chance of success. This is statistical. A combination of all possibilities can be applied, as a systems theorist would apply them and has inmense benefits. For example, you can apply faith at one level, logic at another, feeling at yet another, hope at another, mathematics, physics, religious dogma, with masters, without them, your chosen dogma, the method is infinite but can be finite.

We are all One and so are the paths. There is no division.

Peace to you all and thank you.

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Re: MN 117. Mahācattārīsaka Sutta

Postby nathan » Sun Jul 19, 2009 5:38 pm

Samantha Noelle Golt wrote:I think that all ways are correct. All paths lead to Rome. In the infinite knowledge of Truth the more restrictive the path followed the less the chance of success. This is statistical. A combination of all possibilities can be applied, as a systems theorist would apply them and has inmense benefits. For example, you can apply faith at one level, logic at another, feeling at yet another, hope at another, mathematics, physics, religious dogma, with masters, without them, your chosen dogma, the method is infinite but can be finite.

We are all One and so are the paths. There is no division.

Peace to you all and thank you.

Samantha
Really? Because I live on an island in the pacific and although it has a great many roads on it not a single one of them has ever conveyed me to Rome.

Suppose I selected no dogma and no preconception whatsoever and simply made a direct inquiry. Suppose after doing so I found that not all Rome's are created equal. Should I keep that to myself? Suppose I found a doctrine that matched what I had found to be the actualities in my case, would it be acceptable to accept it and to reject the others that clearly differed from both that doctrine and those findings? Or would I have to move to some other universe where that would be possible? A universe other than this one where it is said people can drive down any given road to any particular place and yet rather than arriving at the given destination they always end up in Rome?
:anjali:
peace to you too
But whoever walking, standing, sitting, or lying down overcomes thought, delighting in the stilling of thought: he's capable, a monk like this, of touching superlative self-awakening. § 110. {Iti 4.11; Iti 115}
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Re: MN 117. Mahācattārīsaka Sutta

Postby nathan » Sun Jul 19, 2009 7:02 pm

rowyourboat wrote:Hi Nathan,
I was thinking about this today and felt there maybe other avenues into the dhamma
-experiencing suffering (the good horse sutta for example)-->hearing the dhamma (about the cessation of suffering)-->pondering and accepting (faith) because it makes sense-->practice

another path might be interest and/or initial faith-->trying some of the practices-->experiencing something positive (maybe tinged with craving)--> further practice and exploration of the dhamma

I often hear that in the west the path is wisdom (hearing an explanation of the dhamma)-->concentration (practising meditation)-->morality (with further deepening of the dhamma the practitioner becomes more morally inclined).

None of these paths necessarily require faith in kamma or rebirth. I'm not trying to go against the orthodoxy but rather trying to understand what happens in the real world- mind you, the dhamma is complex enough to accommodate all these paths and more. I am reminded of a story where the Buddha promised a relative, 'pink footed' heavenly nymphs if he came and practised! (he ended up as an arahanth). I think the end result is that as the path is an upward spiral- we do end up with right view as the practice deepens.

Having said all of this, there is a part of me which says that the degree of motivation required to practice to achieve anything solid (uttari manussa dhamma -peak/superior human states-jhana, magga phala, arahanth) is such that some degree of faith in the danger of repeated birth must be accepted at some level, otherwise if the aim is only for some blissful states and it all ends in death anyway- what is there to try so hard?

Here is an amazing sutta from DN on a debate on rebirth- you could see the lengths the monk goes to attempt to get his listners to be convinced about it.

http://tipitaka.wikia.com/wiki/Payasi_Sutta

with metta
hi rowyourboat
Man that sounds like a lot of work and anyways why would those who are having a great time in this world be the least bit concerned about anything but continuing to have their portable feast. The forms of amusement available nowadays are seemingly endless. It has become somewhat obvious to me that people are largely occupied, full time, with either 'well earned digressions from working their "butts off"' or 'being really, really busy attempting to do more each day than humanly possible in a day'. That would sum up about 99.99% of the activity I find people engaged in through every hour of every day that I encounter people anywhere in this world these days. To which they seem fully intent on simply adding more of the same to each and every day. It would seem, until they explode. So its hard to imagine how the typical person today would even have a moment to consider your questions.

Fortunately, I'm one of the odd men out, as I have long been a quitter. I quit the human 'race' for quite a long time just so I could have a good long sit and think. So my head is a lot more clear now and checking in to this mess now and then it would be a question of deciding whether to laugh or cry about it except that no one particularly cares if I would or not, including me, so I just smile at people and wish them well, mostly.

I think there is probably a lot of ways that one might 'run into the Dhamma'. I would say my path was initially profound anxiety. A specific form of very, very profound and chronic stress.

I was raised to be a Christian and it was impressed upon me many times each day that my chief concern 'must be' 'the fate of my eternal soul' and that in conjunction with that nothing was more important than my 'personal relationship with Jesus'. So, I did my best to conform to those expectations. It was within that context that the anxiety arose and deepened into a condition of profound concern. My father, being himself a preacher, would speak forcefully each Sunday morning and evening and at every opportunity in between of his continual concern for the fate of our eternal souls, and of the damnation that awaited those who did not have this personal relationship with Jesus.

So this was my youth. If you look at pictures of my childhood, I look like a skeletal raccoon. I rarely slept much at night, frequently not at all. I would lie awake in fear wondering when Jesus would ever speak to me. I would wonder if I had a soul or not and what a soul was. As I worried I also noted that I couldn't even find anything that stuck around long enough to make a person out of for Jesus to have a personal relationship with. So I was very concerned about all of this. I also did my best to 'be a good christian pastors son and always do the right thing' and the people at church would frequently point at me and tell their children to be like me. I found this even more upsetting as I was apparently, thus far unbeknownst to everyone else, a complete fraud. Every weekday I would get the tar beat out of me in school in the morning, and at recess I would turn the other cheek and they would beat the tar out of me again, and at noon, and at afternoon recess and then after school and then I would go to the library and go home. That was my life, growing up.

Later in high school, having already read every book that was already present and available in our city, I was always on the lookout for something new to read. If something new showed up I would read it. One day a thin book, about 100 pages, showed up in the high school library. A book called "How to Meditate". It made no reference to buddhism except to say that some buddhists meditated, among other people, which I knew to be a commonly referenced fact. The book explained in simple terms how to focus on the sensation of breathing and in closing suggested simply becoming comfortable with focusing on the breathing for a while and then to simply 'inquire within' regarding any outstanding self referential questions. So I did.

I had a lovely half hour or so of breathing in really long and slow and it was very nice and relaxing and then my breath grew very shallow and tranquil and it seemed like a good time to investigate what I was. Naturally, all things considered, it seemed an opportune time to track down my deadbeat soul. Clearly my soul was not in my senses as these merely registered whatever was sensed outside of the body. So I searched inside my body, top to bottom, and couldn't find anything soul-like. So I stopped paying attention to my body altogether and it just slipped away. As it was all that was apparently left to do, I searched my mind and exhausted the mind of all hiding places as well. I didn't find any of that particularly surprising as I had been told, authoritatively, and in no uncertain terms, that my body and my mind were NOT my soul and indeed, I could find no soul therein. But this meditation stuff was proving very handy in a reductive sort of a way in that I could just search a whole aspect of that body and mind and then set it aside entirely. So, to make a long story slightly shorter, by the end of searching the mind I was left with a completely empty mind that was simply conscious but had nothing to pay attention to whatsoever. Since the soul had still not shown up I figured that maybe it was this last, almost imperceptible thing that was, for all it's slightness, somehow obscuring my soul. So, I let it go too.

And that's when I realized...
that without a body or a mind, there was nothing left at all.

And it was awesome. Way better than having a mind and body and senses. But it wasn't a soul. In fact it wasn't anything, not even nothing, not even emptiness.

So, things changed quite a lot after that and as you can see, I have come to see things the Buddha's way and that is because he also sees things my way. So we are copacetic regarding what's what. While many or even most people might disagree with our assessment, it is clear, at least to me, that if they actually looked, they would also find themselves compelled to agree with us. Yet everyone is free to not look into themselves for just as long as they like, for ever and ever and ever, should they so choose and they can believe whatever they like and they can do whatever they will, as they so clearly do.

What I found, not by faith, or by great skill, but as a simple kid and in the space of about half an hour was that the Buddha was right about what mattered most, and so when I did ultimately discover the Buddha's teachings I recognized our mutual comprehension of the circumstances immediately. I noted also that the Buddha had made quite a number of other very, very interesting observations as well and I have been very much enjoying looking into all of that also.

So, I suppose if my story is anything to go on, you should probably go get the crap scared out you until you are so freaked out about it that you have no choice but to do what needs to be done and then you will do it.
:anjali:
upekkha
nathan
But whoever walking, standing, sitting, or lying down overcomes thought, delighting in the stilling of thought: he's capable, a monk like this, of touching superlative self-awakening. § 110. {Iti 4.11; Iti 115}
nathan
 
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Re: MN 117. Mahācattārīsaka Sutta

Postby rowyourboat » Mon Jul 20, 2009 8:54 am

thanks Nathan for sharing that.

I liked your- 'the buddha was right about what mattered most' sentence. I am planning to do a talk on 'understanding buddhism' and I think I might use that line -as long as you dont cling to it as mine or myself :D

there is something about a Truth that wise people are drawn to..to hear it verbalized..and then that 'ah yes' moment
With Metta

Karuna
Mudita
& Upekkha
rowyourboat
 
Posts: 1949
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Location: London, UK

Re: MN 117. Mahācattārīsaka Sutta

Postby nathan » Mon Jul 20, 2009 5:08 pm

rowyourboat wrote:thanks Nathan for sharing that.

I liked your- 'the buddha was right about what mattered most' sentence. I am planning to do a talk on 'understanding buddhism' and I think I might use that line -as long as you dont cling to it as mine or myself :D

there is something about a Truth that wise people are drawn to..to hear it verbalized..and then that 'ah yes' moment
Use anything you find useful. I do.
:anjali:
upekkha
But whoever walking, standing, sitting, or lying down overcomes thought, delighting in the stilling of thought: he's capable, a monk like this, of touching superlative self-awakening. § 110. {Iti 4.11; Iti 115}
nathan
 
Posts: 692
Joined: Sat Feb 07, 2009 3:11 am

Re: MN 117. Mahācattārīsaka Sutta

Postby rowyourboat » Tue Jul 21, 2009 1:08 pm

this sutta repeats many times that 'right view' is the forerunner. This does not mean that we need massive periods of study before we begin practice. It is a organic development with many factors interacting. we will pick up mundane right view as long as we are in touch with kalyanamittas.
With Metta

Karuna
Mudita
& Upekkha
rowyourboat
 
Posts: 1949
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