AN 4.25 Brahmacariya Sutta: The Spiritual Life

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AN 4.25 Brahmacariya Sutta: The Spiritual Life

Post by mikenz66 » Fri Jul 25, 2014 7:06 pm

AN 4.25 [AN ii 26] Brahmacariya Sutta: The Spiritual Life
Translated by Bhikkhu Bodhi


http://suttacentral.net/en/an4.25

Bhikkhus, this spiritual life is not lived for the sake of deceiving people and cajoling them; nor for the benefit of gain, honor, and praise; nor for the benefit of winning in debates; nor with the thought: ‘Let the people know me thus.’ But rather, this spiritual life is lived for the sake of restraint, abandoning, dispassion, and cessation.” [670]
  • The Blessed One taught the spiritual life,
    not based on tradition, culminating in nibbāna,
    lived for the sake of
    restraint and abandoning. [671]

    This is the path of the great beings, [672]
    the path followed by the great seers.
    Those who practice it
    as taught by the Buddha,
    acting upon the Teacher’s guidance,
    will make an end of suffering.
Notes

[670] Saṃvaratthaṃ pahānatthaṃ virāgatthaṃ nirodhatthaṃ. These four aims of the spiritual life, it seems, are the reason for including this sutta in the Fours.

[671] Mp glosses nibbānogadhagāminaṃ with nibbānassa antogāminaṃ, “leading into nibbāna.”

[672] All three editions that I consulted have mahantehi, but I prefer the reading in It §35, 28,17, mahattehi, glossed by It-a I 112,25, mahāātumehi uḷārajjhāsayehi, “by the great spirits, by those of lofty disposition.”

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Sam Vara
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Re: AN 4.25 Brahmacariya Sutta: The Spiritual Life

Post by Sam Vara » Fri Jul 25, 2014 7:42 pm

Many thanks, Mike.

This list of what the spiritual life is not, reminds me of the list given in the Ratha-vinita Sutta (The Relay-Chariots).
"My friend, is the holy life lived under the Blessed One?"

"Yes, my friend."

"And is the holy life lived under the Blessed One for the sake of purity in terms of virtue?"[2]

"No, my friend."

"Then is the holy life lived under the Blessed One for the sake of purity in terms of mind [concentration]?"

"No, my friend."

"Then is the holy life lived under the Blessed One for the sake of purity in terms of view?"

"No, my friend."

"Then is the holy life lived under the Blessed One for the sake of purity in terms of the overcoming of perplexity?"

"No, my friend."

"Then is the holy life lived under the Blessed One for the sake of purity in terms of knowledge & vision of what is & is not the path?"

"No, my friend."

"Then is the holy life lived under the Blessed One for the sake of purity in terms of knowledge & vision of the way?"

"No, my friend."

"Then is the holy life lived under the Blessed One for the sake of purity in terms of knowledge & vision?"

"No, my friend."

"When asked if the holy life is lived under the Blessed One for the sake of purity in terms of virtue, you say, 'No, my friend.' When asked if the holy life is lived under the Blessed One for the sake of purity in terms of mind... view... the overcoming of perplexity... knowledge & vision of what is & is not the path... knowledge & vision of the way... knowledge & vision, you say, 'No, my friend.' For the sake of what, then, my friend, is the holy life lived under the Blessed One?"

"The holy life is lived under the Blessed One, my friend, for the sake of total Unbinding through lack of clinging."[3]
I suppose that there are many different ways of explaining what the spiritual life is not, depending on context. The difference here seems to be that the two highly advanced practitioners in dialogue in the Ratha-vinita Sutta (Sariputta and Mantaniputta) were warning about taking aspects or way-stations of the path for the entire path and goal, whereas the Brahmacariya Sutta seems much more black and white. Maybe it was delivered to those who had recently become monks. Or as a comment on some monks who had fallen short, perhaps.

I like the sequence of "restraint, abandoning, dispassion, and cessation", and can't find it repeated elsewhere. The final two of dispassion and cessation are often cited as supports for the seven enlightenment factors, along with seclusion, which does not feature here.

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