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beneficial in the beginning...

Posted: Wed Apr 03, 2019 10:57 pm
by sunnat
Teach, oh monks, the Dhamma, which is beneficial in the beginning, in the middle, and at the end - both the spirit and the letter of it.
says the Buddha.

What does this mean?

I take it to mean that practicing the path as taught by him as understood by a novice, even though that understanding is very basic, is beneficial and leads to a deeper understanding which when practiced is beneficial and leads to a deeper understanding which when practiced is beneficial and so on.

Re: beneficial in the beginning...

Posted: Thu Apr 04, 2019 1:12 am
by santa100
sunnat wrote:What does this mean?
A common stock phrase in many suttas. Ex:
SN 4.5 wrote:Let not two go the same way. Teach, O bhikkhus, the Dhamma that is good in the beginning, good in the middle, good in the end, with the right meaning and phrasing."
And Ven. Bodhi's note citing Comy's explanation:
Spk explains the threefold goodness of the Dhamma in various ways pertaining both to practice and doctrine. For example, virtue is the beginning; serenity, insight, and the path are the middle; the fruits and Nibbana are the end; or the opening of a sutta is good, and so too the middle portion and the conclusion. When the Buddha went to Uruvela he converted the thousand jatila ascetics, which culminated in the Fire Sermon (35:28).

Re: beneficial in the beginning...

Posted: Thu Apr 04, 2019 2:06 am
by JamesTheGiant
My understanding of that phrase, is that at the beginning of practising Buddhism, you maybe meditate a little bit and try to follow the 5 precepts. And that's beneficial.
Brings a bit of calm and feeling good because you're more honest.

Then in the middle after you've gotten serious about it, maybe you're ordained, or you meditate a lot and follow 8 precepts and read suttas and spend lots of time at monasteries, and it's very beneficial, Bliss, happiness, insights, etc

Etc etc

Re: beneficial in the beginning...

Posted: Mon Apr 08, 2019 2:12 pm
by sunnat
An example of the beginning-middle-end (as I understand it) meaning. :

Impermanence, anicca, is often discussed.

Everything that has a beginning has an end. I get born I die. A tree germinates, grows, falls over, rots... etc.
Simple. Beginning.

The electric light I see by, the screen that I look at looks like a continuous on thing. I can know that it is flickering on and off fast. eg 60Hz. I take a dip in a river, I take a second dip in the same river. Is it the same? It has flowed by and the second dip is in another river. Similarly the me that took the first dip is changed.
More complex. Middle.

All the above and everything that is composed, ie every thing, flickers on and off continually. A stream of Kalapas constantly rising and passing away. The End.

All beneficial at the level it's understood. ?

Re: beneficial in the beginning...

Posted: Mon Apr 08, 2019 4:17 pm
by budo
It means you don't have to have wait for rebirth to reap the words.

Re: beneficial in the beginning...

Posted: Sun May 12, 2019 12:36 pm
by sunnat
Ch V wrote. “A thick cloud spreads out, covering the three thousand great thousand worlds, raining on them equally everywhere at the same time, its moisture reaching every part. The grasses, trees, forests and medicinal herbs - those of small roots, small stalks, small branches and small leaves, those of medium-sized roots, medium-sized stalks, medium-sized branches, medium-sized leaves or those of large roots, large stalks, large branches, and large leaves and also all the trees, whether great or small according to their size, small, medium, or large, all receive a portion of it. From the rain of the one cloud each according to its nature grows, blossoms, and bears fruit.”


“It is proper for you, Kalamas, to doubt, to be uncertain; uncertainty has arisen in you about what is doubtful.
Come, Kalamas. Do not go upon what has been acquired by repeated hearing; nor upon tradition; nor upon rumor; nor upon what is in a scripture; nor upon surmise; nor upon an axiom; nor upon specious reasoning; nor upon a bias towards a notion that has been pondered over; nor upon another's seeming ability; nor upon the consideration, 'The monk is our teacher.'
Kalamas, when you yourselves know: 'These things are bad; these things are blamable; these things are censured by the wise; undertaken and observed, these things lead to harm and ill,' abandon them.”

(The knowing that Buddha speaks of here ‘when you yourselves know’ is the knowing that arises as a result of direct experience of truth as it is moment to moment. Walk the path as suggested and from that you will come to know whether or not the path as suggested is correct. - beneficial in the beginning, middle and end.)

Re: beneficial in the beginning...

Posted: Sun May 12, 2019 2:17 pm
by cappuccino
Better it is to live one day seeing the rise and fall of things than to live a hundred years without ever seeing the rise and fall of things.

Better it is to live one day seeing the Deathless than to live a hundred years without ever seeing the Deathless.

Better it is to live one day seeing the Supreme Truth than to live a hundred years without ever seeing the Supreme Truth.


Sahassavagga: The Thousands

Re: beneficial in the beginning...

Posted: Mon May 13, 2019 11:24 am
by Dhammanando
sunnat wrote:
Wed Apr 03, 2019 10:57 pm
What does this mean?
The phrase isn't explained in the Suttas. The Visuddhimagga's account of dhammānussati (recollection of the special qualities of the Dhamma) gives eight explanations:
Herein, the Dhamma of the scriptures is well proclaimed because it is good in the beginning, the middle, and the end, and because it announces the life of purity that is utterly perfect and pure with meaning and with detail.

Even a single stanza of the Blessed One’s teaching is good in the beginning with the first word, good in the middle with the second, third, etc., and good in the end with the last word, because the Dhamma is altogether admirable. A sutta with a single sequence of meaning is good in the beginning with the introduction, good in the end with the conclusion, and good in the middle with what is in between.

A sutta with several sequences of meaning is good in the beginning with the first sequence of meaning, good in the end with the last sequence of meaning, and good in the middle with the sequences of meaning in between.

Furthermore, it is good in the beginning with the introduction [giving the place of] and the origin [giving the reason for] its utterance. It is good in the middle because it suits those susceptible of being taught since it is unequivocal in meaning and reasoned with cause and example. It is good in the end with its conclusion that inspires faith in the hearers.

Also the entire Dhamma of the Dispensation is good in the beginning with virtue as one’s own well-being. It is good in the middle with serenity and insight and with path and fruition. It is good in the end with Nibbāna.

Or alternatively, it is good in the beginning with virtue and concentration. It is good in the middle with insight and the path. It is good in the end with fruition and Nibbāna.

Or alternatively, it is good in the beginning because it is the good discovery made by the Buddha. It is good in the middle because it is the well-regulatedness of the Dhamma. It is good in the end because it is the good way entered upon by the Saṅgha.

Or alternatively, it is good in the beginning as the discovery of what can be attained by one who enters upon the way of practice in conformity after hearing about it. It is good in the middle as the unproclaimed enlightenment [of Paccekabuddhas]. It is good in the end as the enlightenment of disciples.

And when listened to, it does good through hearing it because it suppresses the hindrances, thus it is good in the beginning. And when made the way of
practice it does good through the way being entered upon because it brings the bliss of serenity and insight, thus it is good in the middle. And when it has thus been made the way of practice and the fruit of the way is ready, it does good through the fruit of the way because it brings [unshakable] equipoise, thus it is good in the end.

So it is “well proclaimed” because of being good in the beginning, the middle
and the end.

Re: beneficial in the beginning...

Posted: Mon May 13, 2019 8:50 pm
by SarathW
:anjali:
Anumodana!
Good question and good answers!

Re: beneficial in the beginning...

Posted: Wed May 15, 2019 1:08 pm
by Jerafreyr
It means freedom from past, present and future.

Edit:
https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html

"So, monks, I have taught you new & old kamma, the cessation of kamma, and the path of practice leading to the cessation of kamma. Whatever a teacher should do — seeking the welfare of his disciples, out of sympathy for them — that have I done for you. Over there are the roots of trees; over there, empty dwellings. Practice jhana, monks. Don't be heedless. Don't later fall into regret. This is our message to you."