SN 14.31 Pubba Sutta. Before My Enlightenment.

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SN 14.31 Pubba Sutta. Before My Enlightenment.

Post by mikenz66 » Sat Nov 05, 2016 3:55 am

SN 14.31 Pubba Sutta. Before My Enlightenment.
Translated by Piya Tan.


http://dharmafarer.org/wordpress/wp-con ... 1-piya.pdf

1 [The Blessed One was] staying at Sāvatthī.

The questions
2 “Bhikshus, before my self-awakening, when I was still a bodhisattva, it occurred to me:
3 ‘Now what is the gratification regarding the earth element, what is its danger, what is the escape?
What is the gratification regarding the water element, what is its danger, what is the escape?
What is the gratification regarding the fire element, what is its danger, what is the escape?
What is the gratification regarding the wind element, what is its danger, what is the escape?’

The knowing
4 Then, bhikshus, this occurred to me:
5 (1) THE EARTH ELEMENT. ‘The pleasure and joy [2]
that depending on the earth element—this is the
gratification in the earth element.
That the earth element is impermanent, unsatisfactory, subject to change—this is the danger in the
earth element.
The removal of desire and lust, the abandoning of desire and lust, for the earth element—that is the
escape from the earth elements. [3]
6 (2) THE WATER ELEMENT. ‘The pleasure and joy that depending on the water element—this is the gratification in the earth element.
That the water element is impermanent, unsatisfactory, subject to change—this is the danger in the
eater element.
The removal of desire and lust, the abandoning of desire and lust, for the water element—that is the escape from the water elements.
7 (3) THE FIRE ELEMENT. ‘The pleasure and joy that depending on the fire element—this is the gratification in the fire element.
That the fire element is impermanent, unsatisfactory, subject to change—this is the danger in the fire element.
The removal of desire and lust, the abandoning of desire and lust, for the fire element—that is the
escape from the fire elements.
8 (4) THE WIND ELEMENT. ‘The pleasure and joy that depending on the wind element—this is the
gratification in the wind element.
That the wind element is impermanent, unsatisfactory, subject to change—this is the danger in the
wind element.
The removal of desire and lust, the abandoning of desire and lust, for the wind element—that is the
escape from the wind elements.[4]

The awakening
9 Bhikshus, so long as I did not directly know these four elements as they really are, regarding the
gratification as gratification, and the danger as danger, and the escape as escape,
for that long I did not claim that I had awakened to the supreme full self-awakening in this world with
its devas, Mara and Brahma, in this generation with its ascetics and brahmins, its devas and humans.
10 But, bhikshus, when I directly knew, as they really are, thus—the world’s gratification as gratification,
and the danger as danger, and the escape as escape—
then I claimed that I had awakened to the supreme full self-awakening in this world with its devas,
Mara and Brahma, in this generation with its ascetics and brahmins, its devas and humans.
11 The knowledge and vision arose in me:
‘Unshakable is my liberation [5]—this is my last birth. There is now no more rebirth!’”

Notes

[2] That is, bodily pleasure and mental joy.
[3] Comy: Since nirvana entails (nibbānaṁ āgamma) that desire and lust are removed and abandoned, nirvana is the escape from it. (SA 2:152)
[4] Comy: This discourse discusses the four noble truths. The gratification (assāda) is the noble truth that is the arising of suffering. The danger (ādīnava) is the noble truth that is suffering;. The escape (nissaraṇa) is the noble truth that is the ending of suffering. The path that understands the ending (nirodha-p,pajānano maggo) is the noble truth that is the path. (SA 2:154)
[5] Ee ceto,vimutti, which is clearly a wr. Following WT and all other texts (see Intro 1). Comy: The knowledge arose, “This liberation of mine by the fruit of arhathood is unshakable.” Its unshakability can be understood through cause and through object. It is unshakable “through cause” (karaṇato) because there the defilements eradicated by the four paths cannot return. It is unshakable “through object” (ārammaṇato) because it occurs with nirvana, the unshakable state, as object. (SA 2:154)

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Re: SN 14.31 Pubba Sutta. Before My Enlightenment.

Post by mikenz66 » Sat Nov 05, 2016 9:01 pm

Compare with SN 12.65:
http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?t=12133
https://suttacentral.net/en/sn12.65
At Savatthī. “Bhikkhus, before my enlightenment, while I was still a bodhisatta, not yet fully enlightened, it occurred to me: ‘Alas, this world has fallen into trouble, in that it is born, ages, and dies, it passes away and is reborn, yet it does not understand the escape from this suffering headed by aging-and-death. When now will an escape be discerned from this suffering headed by aging-and-death?’
:anjali:
Mike


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Re: SN 14.31 Pubba Sutta. Before My Enlightenment.

Post by ihrjordan » Sun Nov 06, 2016 12:28 am

What a coincidence! as I was actually thinking about Buddhism and it's relation to the elements last night. For the past 8 or 9 months I've studied ayurveda and by so doing I've been made aware of the intimate connection between the elements of the physical world(wind, water, fire, earth and space) and the world as we experience it (perception, thought, anger, greed, depression etc)

Now it occurred to me that a lot of the precepts are put in place to serve the function either directly or indirectly of freeing us of the influence of the internal elements and their sway over the mind. What do i mean by this? Well the elements according to ayurveda, buddhism, yoga etc play the roles of metabolic function and waste.

Air/space is responsible for movement within the bodily channels , cognition, pain, burping, flatulence, worry.

Fire/water responsible for digestion, light of complexion, internal warmth, bile, stomach acid, anger.

Earth/water for solidity of body, mucus, phlegm, cholesterol, greed etc.

Now if we take the precepts that the Buddha gave his followers we notice that they serve the function of keeping these 5 elements in check so as to not cause physical or mental diseases. Eating throughout the day (according to elemental theory) raises the earth and water elements of the mind and body this Provokes states of greed, envy, jealousy, lust. Thus 1 meal a day checks greedy mental states directly by way of body. I recall a study done on mice which found a direct correlation between biological perceptions of food scarcity and lowered sexual fecundity of the mice. When one eats more, the energy from that perceived food surplus will eventually go out by way of the genitalia, whether voluntarily or involuntarily. This is why a yogi always must be moderate in eating.

To give another example, the hindrance of worry and remorse are directly correlated to the air and space elements within the body. Observance of disciplinary rules is meant to check to these elements by way of pleasure and stability. Worry in most if not all of its forms arises due to a biological perception of danger and uneasiness. When one watches entertainment it has a direct effect on the body by way of over excitement, this provokes internal air to a large degree, thus "pushing against the other elements of the body. And this is what worry feels like if you really think about it, like compressed air as if your mind will soon explode from mental pressure. But what happens is that the internal bodily feeling from the air element first arises and THEN the mind attributes the discomfort to a mental perception. (Example: Worrisome bodily feeling arises due to air element, and then mind jumps into initial worry about some past misdeed or future consequence. It essentially LOOKS for something to worry about) Notice the feelings of excitement and restlessness when listening to a favorite song as it's incredibly similar to a stress response. Sex provokes the air and space elements to the largest degree as according to ayurveda and really most of Indian philosophy, the shukra dhatu or ovum and semen are the last and most refined product of digestion. Wastage of this increases air significantly within the body, eventually Provoking worry, fear, remorse. The fatigue after this act should not be taken lightly it is a biological mechanism put in place to conserve strength. A celibate faces few worry as he has eliminated the primary cause of it.

What I've essentially come to realize is that a lot of, if not every mental hindrance has its basis in the physical body. The mind is so reliant on it to interact with the world that it mistakenly perceives bodily issues with those in the mental realm, when it was never really a mental issue to begin with. And as such the body has so much sway over the mind, the only control the mind has over the body is its delusional view that the body is self rather than the body being composed of the five elements. THIS deluded view that the mind has some control over these 5 elements of nature is what paradoxically grants it any sort of control in the first place. It is through the the 5 elements that we experience pleasure and pain but it is also through the 5 elements that we experience anger, worry, greed, jealousy.



This is why they are called hindrances, because they are inexplicably tied up with the body. This is why pleasure and pain are two sides of the same evil, because they are inherently tied to the body. On the flip side you have the noble qualities of generosity, virtue, compassion, wisdom, faith. These are noble because they are not reliant on the body, they in fact GO AGAINST the body's natural inclinations toward greed, malice, worry, etc. Thus they lead to disenchantment with the body (the 5 elements ) this practice is really one of separating ourselves from what we've called ourselves for aeons and aeons. The five elements have never been and cannot be ourselves as they are merely parts of nature that the mind assembles over and over, but to the earth they ever return.

Sorry for typos on mobile, understanding of the elements bring great fruit and great benefit.

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Re: SN 14.31 Pubba Sutta. Before My Enlightenment.

Post by ihrjordan » Sun Nov 06, 2016 12:41 am

To add to the above, even the pleasure that arises due to jhana absorption seems to be reliant upon the five elements as well. It isnt that the mind is creating its own pleasure in jhana but rather that the mind is more aware of the subtle pleasure already present within the 5 elements. This is why the Buddha praises the 4th jhana which has neither pleasure nor pain because it is not tied up with the elements. One will ALWAYS bring on the other sadly, yet it is he who dwells equanomous that lives blissfully.

I remember a day after a session of walking mediation feeling incredible residual pleasure from the previous nights meditation yet when it wore off I was struck with a subtle sense of longing and sadness, the same experience youd get engaging in sense pleasures just more refined so as to not cause as much damage. This is another reason why sense pleasures cannot coexist with jhana, because the mind needs to be still in order to perceive the subtle pleasure already available in the 5 elements and sense pleasures destroy that stillness and thus destroy that pleasure.

Pleasure brings pain and pain brings pleasure. We chase after pleasure only to find pain. We suffer over pain only to find pleasure once the pain is gone. What a mess we've all gotten ourselves into huh?

Think about when you give a gift of ghee, oil, sugar or butter. The mind perceives earth, water, fire or air being given away. It is being let go of. In the same way, the mind starts to question the value of the earth, water, fire and air of its own perceived physical being. On the flip side, a stingy person is ever tied up with the body since it attaches so heavily to the 5 elements which are clearly external to itself, it then places more value on the elements internally, the stingy mind is one tied up with its body...it is a mind which is closed and narrow...limited. I remember hearing somewhere that this practice starts with giving...and it ends with giving up everything.

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Re: SN 14.31 Pubba Sutta. Before My Enlightenment.

Post by Mkoll » Sun Nov 06, 2016 1:59 am

Here's another "before my enlightenment" sutta that also features gratification, danger, and escape:

http://tipitaka.wikia.com/wiki/101.1-2. ... Escape_-_I

And here are 2 more about gratification, danger, and escape.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .nypo.html
http://www.wisdompubs.org/book/middle-l ... ndha-sutta

It's interesting to note that gratification (assāda) literally means "sweet taste" in the Pali, according to Venerable Bodhi. This is such an excellent word for it because it's so visceral and identifiable in our own experience of delighting in sweet things, literally and figuratively.

:anjali:
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa

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Re: SN 14.31 Pubba Sutta. Before My Enlightenment.

Post by Pondera » Sun Nov 06, 2016 2:15 am

Is the Buddha refering to the elements, as they exist, internally or externally?
A wise man once asked an audience, "why do the ignorant shrug their shoulders?"

No one in the audience knew. They shrugged their shoulders, however the wise man only laughed and shook his head. He didn't explain any further.

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Re: SN 14.31 Pubba Sutta. Before My Enlightenment.

Post by Mkoll » Sun Nov 06, 2016 2:32 am

Pondera wrote:Is the Buddha refering to the elements, as they exist, internally or externally?
I think he's referring to both the internal and external elements.

:anjali:
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa

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Re: SN 14.31 Pubba Sutta. Before My Enlightenment.

Post by Pondera » Sun Nov 06, 2016 3:23 am

Mkoll wrote:
Pondera wrote:Is the Buddha refering to the elements, as they exist, internally or externally?
I think he's referring to both the internal and external elements.

:anjali:
Sounds about right. But say we're considering the internal air element - what is, for example, the "sweet taste" of belly air or the air in the sinuses?

I think you're right. I think the Buddha wants to escape the elements internaly and externally. But I think the source of the elements is different from how they appear - if you gather my gist ...
A wise man once asked an audience, "why do the ignorant shrug their shoulders?"

No one in the audience knew. They shrugged their shoulders, however the wise man only laughed and shook his head. He didn't explain any further.

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Re: SN 14.31 Pubba Sutta. Before My Enlightenment.

Post by mikenz66 » Sun Nov 06, 2016 3:32 am

Mkoll wrote: Here's another "before my enlightenment" sutta that also features gratification, danger, and escape:
...
Thanks!

It's interesting piecing together the suttas that describe the Buddha's awakening. Obvious ones that are quoted a lot are, f rom this thread: http://dhammawheel.com/posting.php?mode ... 5&p=279487:
  • (1) Seeking the Supreme State of Sublime Peace (from MN 26) SC
    (2) The Realization of the Three True Knowledges (from MN 36) SC
    (3) The Ancient City (SN 12.65) SC
The first two talk about his quest, with the second talking about jhana and the three knowledges.
The third talks about understanding dependent origination.
The current sutta, and the others mentioned so far in this thread, are of the same sort of pattern as SN 12.65: "Before my enlightenment I saw this problem, and this is the solution...".

:anjali:
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Re: SN 14.31 Pubba Sutta. Before My Enlightenment.

Post by Mkoll » Sun Nov 06, 2016 3:48 am

Pondera wrote:
Mkoll wrote:
Pondera wrote:Is the Buddha refering to the elements, as they exist, internally or externally?
I think he's referring to both the internal and external elements.

:anjali:
Sounds about right. But say we're considering the internal air element - what is, for example, the "sweet taste" of belly air or the air in the sinuses?
I recall Venerable Bodhi saying that is the literal meaning of assāda. It's used figuratively in all the discourses I've come across, meaning it's that delighting in something. Sweet taste is just a great way of putting it because it's so direct: who hasn't tasted something sweet and delighted in that? And we delight similarly in many things. But if one is not delighting in the belly air or air of the sinuses, I don't see assāda there at that time.
I think you're right. I think the Buddha wants to escape the elements internaly and externally. But I think the source of the elements is different from how they appear - if you gather my gist ...
I don't. Could you explain, please?

:anjali:
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa

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Re: SN 14.31 Pubba Sutta. Before My Enlightenment.

Post by Pondera » Sun Nov 06, 2016 4:14 am

Mkoll:

Please don't get me wrong :) I like the translation as well. Rhys Davids uses it in the Brahmajala sutta and when I read other translations where it's not included, something is lost.

The point I was trying to make is that the Buddha wishes to escape the earth kasina; the earth totality - as well as the other totalities.

So wind in the bowels is not what he wants to escape, as much as he'd rather escape the all encompassing totality of wind which gives rise to things like fresh and foul air.

That is also the gist of my earlier post :)

:namaste:
A wise man once asked an audience, "why do the ignorant shrug their shoulders?"

No one in the audience knew. They shrugged their shoulders, however the wise man only laughed and shook his head. He didn't explain any further.

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Re: SN 14.31 Pubba Sutta. Before My Enlightenment.

Post by mikenz66 » Tue Nov 15, 2016 6:20 pm

Here's a list of "Before my Enlightenment" suttas:
https://discourse.suttacentral.net/t/be ... nment/3592

:anjali:
Mike

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