MN Session 6 - MN 57. Kukkuravatika Sutta

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MN Session 6 - MN 57. Kukkuravatika Sutta

Postby retrofuturist » Wed Feb 25, 2009 2:03 am

Greetings,

MN 57 - Kukkuravatika Sutta (The Dog-duty Ascetic)
Translated from the Pali by Ñanamoli Bhikkhu
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .nymo.html

1. Thus have I heard. On one occasion the Blessed One was living in the Koliyan country: there is a town of the Koliyans called Haliddavasana.

2. Then Punna, a son of the Koliyans and an ox-duty ascetic, and also Seniya a naked dog duty ascetic, went to the Blessed One, and Punna the ox duty ascetic paid homage to the Blessed One and sat down at one side, while Seniya the naked dog-duty ascetic exchanged greetings with the Blessed One, and when the courteous and amiable talk was finished, he too sat down at one side curled up like a dog. When Punna the ox-duty ascetic sat down, he asked the Blessed One: "Venerable sir, this naked dog-duty ascetic Seniya does what is hard to do: he eats his food when it is thrown on the ground. That dog duty has long been taken up and practiced by him. What will be his destination? What will be his future course?"1

"Enough, Punna, let that be. Do not ask me that."

A second time... A third time Punna the ox-duty ascetic asked the Blessed One: "Venerable sir, this naked dog-duty ascetic Seniya does what is hard to do: he eats his food when it is thrown on the ground. That dog duty has long been taken up and practiced by him. What will be his destination? What will be his future course?"

"Well, Punna, since I certainly cannot persuade you when I say 'Enough, Punna, let that be. Do not ask me that,' I shall therefore answer you.

3. "Here, Punna, someone develops the dog duty fully and unstintingly, he develops the dog-habit fully and unstintingly, he develops the dog mind fully and unstintingly, he develops dog behavior fully and unstintingly. Having done that, on the dissolution of the body, after death, he reappears in the company of dogs. But if his view is such as this: 'By this virtue or duty or asceticism or religious life I shall become a (great) god or some (lesser) god,' that is wrong view in his case. Now there are two destinations for one with wrong view, I say: hell or the animal womb. So, Punna, if his dog duty is perfected, it will lead him to the company of dogs; if it is not, it will lead him to hell."

4. When this was said, Seniya the naked dog-duty ascetic wept and shed tears. Then the Blessed One told Punna, son of the Koliyans and an ox-duty ascetic: "Punna, I could not persuade you when I said, 'Enough Punna, let that be. Do not ask me that.'"

"Venerable sir, I am not weeping that the Blessed One has spoken thus. Still, this dog duty has long been taken up and practiced by me. Venerable sir, there is this Punna, a son of the Koliyans and an ox duty ascetic: that ox duty has long been taken up and practiced by him. What will be his destination? What will be his future course?"

"Enough, Seniya, let that be. Do not ask me that." A second time... A third time Seniya the naked dog-duty ascetic asked the Blessed One: "Venerable sir, there is this Punna, a son of the Koliyans and an ox-duty ascetic; that ox duty has long been taken up and practiced by him. What will be his destination? What will be his future course?"

"Well, Seniya, since I certainly cannot persuade you when I say 'Enough, Seniya, let that be. Do not ask me that,' I shall therefore answer you."

5. "Here, Seniya, someone develops the ox duty fully and unstintingly, he develops the ox habit fully and unstintingly, he develops the ox mind fully and unstintingly, he develops the ox behavior fully and unstintingly. Having done that, on the dissolution of the body, after death, he reappears in the company of oxen. But if his view is such as this: 'By this virtue or duty or asceticism or religious like I shall become a (great) god or some (lesser) god,' that is wrong view in his case. Now there are two destinations for one with wrong view, I say: hell or the animal womb. So, Seniya, if his ox duty is perfected, it will lead him to the company of oxen; if it is not, it will lead him to hell."

6. When this was said, Punna, a son of the Koliyans and an ox-duty ascetic, wept and shed tears. Then the Blessed One told Seniya, the naked dog duty ascetic: "Seniya, I could not persuade you when I said, 'Enough, Seniya, let that be. Do not ask me that.'"

"Venerable sir, I am not weeping that the Blessed One has spoken thus. Still, this ox duty has long been taken up and practiced by me. Venerable sir, I have confidence in the Blessed One thus: 'The Blessed One is capable of teaching me the Dhamma in such a way that I may abandon this ox duty and that this naked dog-duty ascetic Seniya may abandon that dog duty.'"

7. "Then, Punna, listen and heed well what I shall say."

"Yes, venerable sir," he replied. The Blessed One said this:

8. "Punna, there are four kinds of kamma proclaimed by me after realization myself with direct knowledge. What are the four? There is dark kamma with dark ripening, there is bright kamma with bright ripening, there is dark-and-bright kamma with dark-and-bright ripening, and there is kamma that is not dark and not bright with neither-dark-nor-bright ripening that conduces to the exhaustion of kamma.

9. "What is dark kamma with dark ripening? Here someone produces a (kammic) bodily process (bound up) with affliction,2 he produces a (kammic) verbal process (bound up) with affliction, he produces a (kammic) mental process (bound up) with affliction. By so doing, he reappears in a world with affliction. When that happens, afflicting contacts3 touch him. Being touched by these, he feels afflicting feelings entirely painful as in the case of beings in hell. Thus a being's reappearance is due to a being: he reappears owing to the kammas he has performed. When he has reappeared, contacts touch him. Thus I say are beings heirs of their kammas. This is called dark kamma with dark ripening.

10. "And what is bright kamma with bright ripening? Here someone produces a (kammic) bodily process not (bound up) with affliction, he produces a (kammic) verbal process not (bound up) with affliction, he produces a (kammic) mental process not (bound up) with affliction. By doing so, he reappears in a world without affliction. When that happens, unafflicting contacts touch him. Being touched by these, he feels unafflicting feelings entirely pleasant as in the case of the Subhakinha, the gods of Refulgent Glory. Thus a being's reappearance is due to a being: he reappears owing to the kammas he has performed. When he has reappeared, contacts touch him. Thus I say are beings heirs of their kammas. This is called bright kamma with bright ripening.

11. "What is dark-and-bright kamma with dark-and-bright ripening? Here someone produces a (kammic) bodily process both (bound up) with affliction and not (bound up) with affliction... verbal process... mental process both (bound up) with affliction and not (bound up) with affliction. By doing so, he reappears in a world both with and without affliction. When that happens, both afflicting and unafflicting contacts touch him. Being touched by these, he feels afflicting and unafflicting feelings with mingled pleasure and pain as in the case of human beings and some gods and some inhabitants of the states of deprivation. Thus a being's reappearance is due to a being: he reappears owing to the kammas he has performed. When he has reappeared, contacts touch him. Thus I say are beings heirs of their kammas. This is called dark-and-bright kamma with dark-and-bright ripening.

12. "What is neither-dark-nor-bright kamma with neither-dark-nor-bright ripening that leads to the exhaustion of kamma? As to these (three kinds of kamma), any volition in abandoning the kind of kamma that is dark with dark ripening, any volition in abandoning the kind of kamma that is bright with bright ripening, and any volition in abandoning the kind of kamma that is dark-and bright with dark-and-bright ripening: this is called neither-dark-nor-bright kamma with neither-dark-nor-bright ripening.

"These are the four kinds of kamma proclaimed by me after realization myself with direct knowledge."

13. When this was said, Punna, a son of the Koliyans and an ox-duty ascetic, said to the Blessed One: "Magnificent, Master Gotama! Magnificent, Master Gotama! The Dhamma has been made clear in many ways by Master Gotama as though he were turning upright what had been overthrown, revealing the hidden, showing the way to one who is lost, holding up a lamp in the darkness for those with eyesight to see forms.

14. "I go to Master Gotama for refuge and to the Dhamma and to the Sangha of bhikkhus. From today let Master Gotama remember me as a lay follower who has gone to him for refuge for life."

15. But Seniya the naked dog-duty ascetic said: "Magnificent, Master Gotama!... The Dhamma has been made clear... for those with eyesight to see forms.

16. "I go to Master Gotama for refuge and to the Dhamma and to the Sangha of bhikkhus. I would receive the going forth under Master Gotama and the full admission."4

17. "Seniya, one who belonged formerly to another sect and wants the going forth and the full admission in this Dhamma and Discipline lives on probation for four months. At the end of the four months bhikkhus who are satisfied in their minds give him the going forth into homelessness and also the full admission to the bhikkhus' state. A difference in persons has become known to me in this (probation period)."

"Venerable sir, if those who belonged formerly to another sect and want the going forth and the full admission in this Dhamma and Discipline live on probation for four months and at the end of four months bhikkhus who are satisfied in their minds give them the going forth into homelessness and the full admission to the bhikkhus' state, I will live on probation for four years and at the end of the four years let bhikkhus who are satisfied in their minds give me the going forth into homelessness and the full admission to the bhikkhus' state."

18. Seniya the naked dog duty ascetic received the going forth under the Blessed One, and he received the full admission. And not long after his full admission, dwelling alone, withdrawn, diligent, ardent, and self-controlled, the venerable Seniya by realization himself with direct knowledge here and now entered upon and abode in that supreme goal of the holy life for the sake of which clansmen rightly go forth from the home life into homelessness. He had direct knowledge thus: "Birth is exhausted, the holy life has been lived, what had to be done has been done, there is no more of this to come."

And the venerable Seniya became one of the arahants.

Notes

1. Of births in samsara, the wandering-on in birth and death.

2. A defiled kamma expressed through the body (speech, mind).

3. Painful "touches" through eye, ear, nose, tongue, body, mind.

4. That is, the novice ordination and the full ordination as a bhikkhu or monk.


Comment from Bhikkhu Khantipalo...

There were some strange people around in the Buddha's days believing some strange things — but that is no different from our own days when people still believe the most odd off-balance ideas. In this sutta we meet some people who believed that by imitating animals they would be saved. Maybe they're still with us too!

Belief is often one thing, action another. While beliefs sometimes influence actions, for other people their beliefs are quite separate from what they do. But the Buddha says all intentional actions, whether thoughts, speech or bodily actions, however expressed, are kamma and lead the doer of them to experience a result sooner or later. In this sutta the Buddha classifies kamma into four groups:

1. dark with a dark result;
2. bright with a bright result;
3. dark and bright with a dark and bright result;
4. neither dark nor bright with a neither dark nor bright result.

Dark (evil) kamma does not give a bright (happy) result, nor does bright (beneficial) kamma lead to dark (miserable) result. Kamma can be mixed, where an action is done with a variety of motives, some good, some evil. And that kind of kamma also exists which gives up attachment to and interest in the other three and so leads beyond the range of kamma.


Study Guide from "Pressing Out Pure Honey"

SUMMARY
The Buddha meets two ascetics, one who imitates the behavior of a dog, the
other who imitates the behavior of an ox. He reveals to them the futility of their
practices and gives them a discourse on karma and its fruits.

NOTES
Four kinds of action:
1. Dark action with dark result
2. Bright action with bright result
3. Dark and bright action with dark and bright result (Note 607: a medley of
actions)
4. Action that is neither dark nor bright with neither darknorbright
results
(action that leads to the destruction of action). Note 608 explains this as
the volition of the four supramundane paths (the four stages of
enlightenment) culminating in arahantship. “Although the arahant performs
deeds, his deeds no longer have any karmic potency to generate new
existence or bring forth results even in the present existence.”
[811]
“Thus I say, beings are the heirs to their actions.” This is stated for
each kind of action. Note 602 reminds us that volition is what brings about an
action, e.g., unwholesome (or dark) volitions bring about dark actions.

PRACTICE
Think of a recent situation where a decision you made produced an unhappy or
dark result. Think of one in which the result was happy or bright. Notice how
your decisions are responsible for producing either a dark existence or a bright
existence here and now. Reflect on the importance of being mindful of the
choices you are making. Many of our choices are not very conscious. Practice
making your choices more conscious as a way to direct your actions in a more
wholesome way.


Please note: If anyone wishes to volunteer to facilitate the Study Group, prompt discussions and so forth, please drop me a PM to discuss it. Thanks.

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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Re: MN Session 6 - MN 57. Kukkuravatika Sutta

Postby mikenz66 » Wed Feb 25, 2009 2:16 am

It might be useful to compare this Sutta with these two Suttas addressed to an Actor and a Warrior repectively:
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

It's notable that having a deluded idea that what one is doing is a good thing is worse than just doing dumb stuff...

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Re: MN Session 6 - MN 57. Kukkuravatika Sutta

Postby retrofuturist » Wed Feb 25, 2009 10:37 pm

Greetings,

To quote Forrest Gump, "Stupid is as stupid does".

The section of bright and dark (or good and bad) kamma seems pretty standard.

As for sections like...

"Here, Punna, someone develops the dog duty fully and unstintingly, he develops the dog-habit fully and unstintingly, he develops the dog mind fully and unstintingly, he develops dog behavior fully and unstintingly. Having done that, on the dissolution of the body, after death, he reappears in the company of dogs. But if his view is such as this: 'By this virtue or duty or asceticism or religious life I shall become a (great) god or some (lesser) god,' that is wrong view in his case. Now there are two destinations for one with wrong view, I say: hell or the animal womb. So, Punna, if his dog duty is perfected, it will lead him to the company of dogs; if it is not, it will lead him to hell."


...and the comparable section on the ox-ascetic raises an interesting question...

Does acting like a dog lead one to animal realm or hell due to general ignorance, or does it specifically lead to rebirth as a dog?

If so, how?

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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Re: MN Session 6 - MN 57. Kukkuravatika Sutta

Postby appicchato » Thu Feb 26, 2009 1:23 am

retrofuturist wrote:Does acting like a dog lead one to animal realm or hell due to general ignorance, or does it specifically lead to rebirth as a dog?

If so, how?

I once read that King Asoke (sp.), even after all the good he did, for Buddhism, and his people, 'came back' as a snake...all I could think of was, who's going to know this?...and how?...

After reading this post, I'm wondering where the benefit is to ponder such stuff, and where the end point lies in even trying to come up with an answer...(no jibe intended towards anyone here)... :smile:
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Re: MN Session 6 - MN 57. Kukkuravatika Sutta

Postby jcsuperstar » Thu Feb 26, 2009 2:21 am

i have no idea how to answer your question retro, but once i heard robert thurman say tibetan buddhists believe that if youre someone who is say scared of things, like maybe agoraphobic, than when youre looking for your next life you end up like a beetle or clam or something cause youre looking to hide to have armor etc.

so maybe you get the rebirth as a dog because you look for traits you know?

i dont know.... if kamma is voilition it means in a way we pick our births since they are dependant on kamma. so maybe it works sort of similar to this?

i never really think about these things.. and i think any good teacher would just tell you how to do good now, because doing good now means your next birth should be fine...
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 Session 6 - MN 57. Kukkuravatika Sutta

Postby retrofuturist » Thu Feb 26, 2009 2:23 am

Greetings venerable Appicchato,

You make a good point. I think in much talk about kamma, specific examples are taken too literally as either general rules or fixed destinies, when it's more accurate to speak in terms of bright/dark or good/bad kamma and whether such kamma tend towards favourable or unfavourable destinations.

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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Re: MN Session 6 - MN 57. Kukkuravatika Sutta

Postby Lazy_eye » Thu Feb 26, 2009 12:51 pm

It would be fascinating to know more about why the dog duty/ox duty folks thought their practices were beneficial -- what the rationale was. Since the sutta seems in part to be a refutation of a particular view, knowing this context might deepen our understanding of the Buddha's teaching here.

Generally, what I take from it is the message that view, intention and effort need to be lined up correctly. Quite simply, it's a waste of time to focus one's spiritual practice on becoming more and more like an animal. If you throw some questionable intention in there too (the desire to become like a god), the situation becomes even worse. Delusion leads to more delusion and the result is mental anguish, leading to hell.

In this case, the ascetics were probably only harming themselves. As I think we can see from many contemporary examples, though, misaligned spiritual practices can have terrible consequences.
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Re: MN Session 6 - MN 57. Kukkuravatika Sutta

Postby Tex » Thu Feb 26, 2009 5:23 pm

3. "Here, Punna, someone develops the dog duty fully and unstintingly, he develops the dog-habit fully and unstintingly, he develops the dog mind fully and unstintingly, he develops dog behavior fully and unstintingly. Having done that, on the dissolution of the body, after death, he reappears in the company of dogs. But if his view is such as this: 'By this virtue or duty or asceticism or religious life I shall become a (great) god or some (lesser) god,' that is wrong view in his case. Now there are two destinations for one with wrong view, I say: hell or the animal womb. So, Punna, if his dog duty is perfected, it will lead him to the company of dogs; if it is not, it will lead him to hell."


Okay. So believing that dog duty will lead to rebirth as a god is a wrong view that will instead lead to rebirth in hell, unless the dog duty is perfected, in which case one gets a lighter sentence in the animal realm instead of hell?

This seems strange to me, as if we can lessen the impact of wrong view as long as we are really, really dedicated to a practice that is based in wrong view. Is the point that even a practice based in wrong view can be of some benefit as long as it is a sincere and accurate practice that is perfected? I would have thought that acting on wrong view would be worse than just having wrong view?

:shrug:
"The serene and peaceful mind is the true epitome of human achievement."-- Ajahn Chah, Living Dhamma

"To reach beyond fear and danger we must sharpen and widen our vision. We have to pierce through the deceptions that lull us into a comfortable complacency, to take a straight look down into the depths of our existence, without turning away uneasily or running after distractions." -- Bhikkhu Bodhi
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Re: MN Session 6 - MN 57. Kukkuravatika Sutta

Postby Dhammanando » Thu Feb 26, 2009 8:30 pm

Hi Tex,

Tex wrote:Okay. So believing that dog duty will lead to rebirth as a god is a wrong view that will instead lead to rebirth in hell, unless the dog duty is perfected, in which case one gets a lighter sentence in the animal realm instead of hell?

This seems strange to me, as if we can lessen the impact of wrong view as long as we are really, really dedicated to a practice that is based in wrong view. Is the point that even a practice based in wrong view can be of some benefit as long as it is a sincere and accurate practice that is perfected? I would have thought that acting on wrong view would be worse than just having wrong view?


The distinction is between merely being dedicated to an akusala habit and being dedicated to an akusala habit with the wrong view that it is kusala. One might, for example, be a bank robber who accepts that stealing is wrong but does it anyway out of greed for money, or one might rob banks thinking that this is ethically justified (like Lenin and his associates or the Baader-Meinhof gang, who robbed banks to finance their revolutionary activities). In the latter case the akusala kamma is weightier.

Best wishes,
Dhammanando Bhikkhu
    ...and this thought arose in the mind of the Blessed One:
    “Who lives without reverence lives miserably.”
    Uruvela Sutta, A.ii.20

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Re: MN Session 6 - MN 57. Kukkuravatika Sutta

Postby Tex » Thu Feb 26, 2009 8:53 pm

Ahhh, I think I see -- so what he's saying is that dog duty can only lead one to an animal rebirth at best, and only then if the ascetic understands that animal rebirth is all that is attainable through that practice, not a heavenly rebirth. And if one practices dog duty under the delusion that it will lead to a heavenly rebirth it's that added delusion that directs the rebirth to hell instead of to the animal realm. Is that about right?
"The serene and peaceful mind is the true epitome of human achievement."-- Ajahn Chah, Living Dhamma

"To reach beyond fear and danger we must sharpen and widen our vision. We have to pierce through the deceptions that lull us into a comfortable complacency, to take a straight look down into the depths of our existence, without turning away uneasily or running after distractions." -- Bhikkhu Bodhi
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Re: MN Session 6 - MN 57. Kukkuravatika Sutta

Postby Dhammanando » Thu Feb 26, 2009 9:33 pm

Hi Tex,

Tex wrote:Ahhh, I think I see -- so what he's saying is that dog duty can only lead one to an animal rebirth at best, and only then if the ascetic understands that animal rebirth is all that is attainable through that practice, not a heavenly rebirth.


I don't agree with the part in bold. The dog-duty ascetic obtains animal rebirth if he doesn't have wrong view about the fruit of the practice, but that doesn't necessarily mean that he will have right view about it. He might not have any view at all. E.g., it is conceivable that he may follow this deviant life-style simply because it's fashionable (like, say, a 1970's punk rocker who doesn't care tuppence about punk ideology but just likes the clothes and hairstyle). In abhidhammic terms, his taking up of the practice might be prompted by attachment-rooted cittas dissociated from wrong view.

And if one practices dog duty under the delusion that it will lead to a heavenly rebirth it's that added delusion that directs the rebirth to hell instead of to the animal realm. Is that about right?


Yes, the wrong view that what is not a path leading to the deva world is in fact a path leading to the deva world (adevalokagāmimagga-devalokagāmimagga micchādiṭṭhi) is a species of niyati-micchādiṭṭhi — wrong views that lead to hell.

Best wishes,
Dhammanando Bhikkhu
    ...and this thought arose in the mind of the Blessed One:
    “Who lives without reverence lives miserably.”
    Uruvela Sutta, A.ii.20

    It were endless to dispute upon everything that is disputable.
    — William Penn Some Fruits of Solitude,
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Re: MN Session 6 - MN 57. Kukkuravatika Sutta

Postby Tex » Thu Feb 26, 2009 9:43 pm

Makes sense, thanks for clarifying, Bhante.
"The serene and peaceful mind is the true epitome of human achievement."-- Ajahn Chah, Living Dhamma

"To reach beyond fear and danger we must sharpen and widen our vision. We have to pierce through the deceptions that lull us into a comfortable complacency, to take a straight look down into the depths of our existence, without turning away uneasily or running after distractions." -- Bhikkhu Bodhi
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Re: MN Session 6 - MN 57. Kukkuravatika Sutta

Postby jcsuperstar » Tue Mar 03, 2009 12:13 am

this sutta seems to get quoted a lot, i'm glad we got to take a look at it, clear up any misconceptions etc. :anjali:
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 Session 6 - MN 57. Kukkuravatika Sutta

Postby phil » Tue Mar 03, 2009 5:33 am

Hi all

I was a bit confused when I heard Bhikkhu Bodhi talk about this sutta in his MN series. He said the following re the way volitions accumulate: "This accumulation of mental energy, habit energy, volitional energy - this accumulation of energy - becomes a tremendous force, which at the time of death projects the stream of consciousness into a new realm of being, a new realm of existence in conformity with the ethical quality of the volitions themselves."

So in the sutta we have the Buddha telling the ascetic that if one lives as a dog, one will be reborn as a dog - the general accumulation of volition has a say. And I think this is comforting to those of us who place a lot of emphasis on watching our behaviour, behaving in a morally wholesome way in the hope of a favourable rebirth. (It seems to me that many suttas addressed to and/or concerning householders have such an emphasis.)

But having discussed from an Abhidhamma point of view with some people, it sounds like it could be any one citta that decides rebirth, from the present or any past life, and that to place hopes on the accumulated habit energy of volition bearing favourable fruit would be naive. At least this is what I have heard some people say...

Does the way I have described Bhikkhu Bodhi's comments sound technically incorrect at all, or, on the other hand, would it be technically incorrect to suggest that the general accumulated habit energy is *not* likely to have an impact at rebirth? It sounds to me that Bhikkhu Bodhi's comments are (naturally enough!) consistent with the sutta.

Metta,

Phil
I hope that every time I post it will be accompanied by a wish for the wellbeing of everyone in this sangha and all beings.
(so I don't have to write "metta" every time!)


Kammalakkhano , bhikkhave, bālo, kammalakkhano pandito, apadānasobhanī paññāti
(The fool is characterized by his/her actions/the wise one is characterized by his/her actions/Wisdom shines forth in behaviour.)
(AN 3.2 Lakkhana Sutta)
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Re: MN Session 6 - MN 57. Kukkuravatika Sutta

Postby mikenz66 » Tue Mar 03, 2009 5:58 am

Hi Phil,

I'm no expert, but I think that what you are saying may oversimplifying both the Abhidhammic interpretation and the Suttas.

See, for example, Abhidhamma in Daily Life by Nina Van Gorkom
Chapter 10, THE FIRST CITTA IN LIFE
http://www.buddhanet.net/budsas/ebud/ni ... bhi-10.htm
People want to know whether they can ensure a happy rebirth for themselves by controlling the last cittas before the dying-consciousness, by willing them to be kusala. Some people invite monks to chant in order to help a dying person to have kusala cittas. However, nobody can be sure that his rebirth will be a happy one, unless he has attained one of the stages of enlightenment. One cannot have power over one's cittas. Can we control our thoughts now, at this moment? Since we cannot do this, how could we control our thoughts at the time shortly before dying? There is no self which can decide about one's rebirth in the next life. Even if one has done many good deeds, there may be akusala kamma of a previous life which can produce an unhappy rebirth in the next life. After the last akusala cittas or kusala cittas in life have fallen away, the cuti-citta arises. The cuti-citta is succeeded by the patisandhi-citta of the next life. When the patisandhi-citta arises the new lifespan starts. As long as kamma there will be future lives.

So, it's unpredictable, but presumably the more kusla cittas the better the chance...

Actually, the Suttas say that too - that you can't tell what the results of kamma will be unless you are a Buddha.

Metta
Mike
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Re: MN Session 6 - MN 57. Kukkuravatika Sutta

Postby jcsuperstar » Tue Mar 03, 2009 6:26 am

ajahn brahm tells a story of a shop owner who learns somewhere that if only he can control his thoughts at the time of death he can guarantee himself a better rebirth

he does this by naming his kids buddha dhamma and sangha so at the time of his death he can be surounded by them and think only of buddha dhamma and sangha thus a good rebirth.

but on his death bed surounded by buddha dhamma and sangha it dawns on him that if his 3 children are there with him, just who is running his shop.. and he dies in a worried state of mind....

:jawdrop:

the moral is it's better to just lead the moral life than to hope you can wrap it all up in the end... dont know if that helps, but i like the story
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 Session 6 - MN 57. Kukkuravatika Sutta

Postby phil » Tue Mar 03, 2009 6:36 am

mikenz66 wrote:Hi Phil,

I'm no expert, but I think that what you are saying may oversimplifying both the Abhidhammic interpretation and the Suttas.

See, for example, Abhidhamma in Daily Life by Nina Van Gorkom
Chapter 10, THE FIRST CITTA IN LIFE
http://www.buddhanet.net/budsas/ebud/ni ... bhi-10.htm
People want to know whether they can ensure a happy rebirth for themselves by controlling the last cittas before the dying-consciousness, by willing them to be kusala. Some people invite monks to chant in order to help a dying person to have kusala cittas. However, nobody can be sure that his rebirth will be a happy one, unless he has attained one of the stages of enlightenment. One cannot have power over one's cittas. Can we control our thoughts now, at this moment? Since we cannot do this, how could we control our thoughts at the time shortly before dying? There is no self which can decide about one's rebirth in the next life. Even if one has done many good deeds, there may be akusala kamma of a previous life which can produce an unhappy rebirth in the next life. After the last akusala cittas or kusala cittas in life have fallen away, the cuti-citta arises. The cuti-citta is succeeded by the patisandhi-citta of the next life. When the patisandhi-citta arises the new lifespan starts. As long as kamma there will be future lives.

So, it's unpredictable, but presumably the more kusla cittas the better the chance...

Actually, the Suttas say that too - that you can't tell what the results of kamma will be unless you are a Buddha.

Metta
Mike


Thanks Mike. As you say, "the more kusala citta the better the chance" is probably what it comes down to.


Funny you mention Nina, since she is the very person I was thinking of as having dissuaded me from placing a wholehearted emphasis on the kammas of this one life time. And the quote you provide is the very one I was thinking of! She writes: "Even if one has done many good deeds, there may be akusala kamma of a previous life which can produce an unhappy rebirth in the next life." I don't doubt this is true, and it's good she points it out. I have never heard Bhikkhu Bodhi mention this in any of his MN talks and the kind of quote of his I provide in the previous post (accumulated intentions gaining power and propelling mindstream into next realm of birth according to ethical quality of the accumulated intentional energies) might lead one to hope one can completely erase one's kamma of past lives by living wholesomely in this one lifetime, which is not the case. Then again, the sutta being discussed here with its "live like a dog, be reborn like a dog" message (yes, I have simplified) *does* place a lot of emphasis on the present life kammas.

This is an important topic. Are these study thread locked down after the week is up? That seems to be the case with another I tried to add a comment to. Fair enough if they are.

Metta,

Phil
I hope that every time I post it will be accompanied by a wish for the wellbeing of everyone in this sangha and all beings.
(so I don't have to write "metta" every time!)


Kammalakkhano , bhikkhave, bālo, kammalakkhano pandito, apadānasobhanī paññāti
(The fool is characterized by his/her actions/the wise one is characterized by his/her actions/Wisdom shines forth in behaviour.)
(AN 3.2 Lakkhana Sutta)
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Re: MN Session 6 - MN 57. Kukkuravatika Sutta

Postby phil » Tue Mar 03, 2009 6:47 am

jcsuperstar wrote:ajahn brahm tells a story of a shop owner who learns somewhere that if only he can control his thoughts at the time of death he can guarantee himself a better rebirth

he does this by naming his kids buddha dhamma and sangha so at the time of his death he can be surounded by them and think only of buddha dhamma and sangha thus a good rebirth.

but on his death bed surounded by buddha dhamma and sangha it dawns on him that if his 3 children are there with him, just who is running his shop.. and he dies in a worried state of mind....

:jawdrop:

the moral is it's better to just lead the moral life than to hope you can wrap it all up in the end... dont know if that helps, but i like the story


Hi JC.

I can just hear him telling the story, he is such a delightful speaker.

But although the quote from Abhidhamma in Daily Life above talks about the deathbed cittas and attempts to control them, I'm thinking more of decades long efforts to avoid unwholesome intentions. There certainly are stories about people who were "saved" by understanding near death, but best not to count on it or seek it out by trying to control deathbed cittas.

In my case, my mother has Alzheimer's Disease and I am so much like her genetically that I assume I will get it too. That is probably why I place such an emphasis on developing wholesome habit energy because I hope it will steer me on through senility! It's interesting to observe how some senile people are very sweet and some are subject to constant bad temper and impatience - I take it that that is a carryover from the habit energy they developed when they were lucid and even if it's not true I will carry on believing so! It's a good motivator for watching one's behaviour, and as the Buddha said, the wise man is known by his behaviour in body, speech and mind. (AN 3:2) :smile:

Metta,

Phil
I hope that every time I post it will be accompanied by a wish for the wellbeing of everyone in this sangha and all beings.
(so I don't have to write "metta" every time!)


Kammalakkhano , bhikkhave, bālo, kammalakkhano pandito, apadānasobhanī paññāti
(The fool is characterized by his/her actions/the wise one is characterized by his/her actions/Wisdom shines forth in behaviour.)
(AN 3.2 Lakkhana Sutta)
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