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SN 16.12 Tathāgata parammaraṇa sutta. After Death.

Posted: Tue Nov 21, 2017 6:08 am
by mikenz66
SN 16.12 Tathāgata parammaraṇa sutta. After Death.
Translated by Bhikkhu Bodhi

https://suttacentral.net/sn16.12

On one occasion the Venerable Mahakassapa and the Venerable Sāriputta were dwelling at Baraṇasī in the Deer Park at Isipatana. Then, in the evening, the Venerable Sāriputta emerged from seclusion and approached the Venerable Mahakassapa. He exchanged greetings with the Venerable Mahakassapa and, when they had concluded their greetings and cordial talk, he sat down to one side and said to him:

“How is it, friend Kassapa, does the Tathagata exist after death?” [310]

“The Blessed One, friend, has not declared this: ‘The Tathagata exists after death.’”

“Then, friend, does the Tathagata not exist after death?”

“The Blessed One, friend, has not declared this either: ‘The Tathagata does not exist after death.’”

“How is it then, friend, does the Tathagata both exist and not exist after death?”

“The Blessed One, friend, has not declared this: ‘The Tathagata both exists and does not exist after death.’”

“Then, friend, does the Tathagata neither exist nor not exist after death?”

“The Blessed One, friend, has not declared this either: ‘The Tathagata neither exists nor does not exist after death.’”

“Why hasn’t the Blessed One declared this, friend?”

“Because this is unbeneficial, irrelevant to the fundamentals of the holy life, and does not lead to revulsion, to dispassion, to cessation, to peace, to direct knowledge, to enlightenment, to Nibbāna. Therefore the Blessed One has not declared this.”

“And what, friend, has the Blessed One declared?”

“The Blessed One, friend, has declared: ‘This is suffering,’ and ‘This is the origin of suffering,’ and ‘This is the cessation of suffering, ’ and ‘This is the way leading to the cessation of suffering.’”

“And why, friend, has the Blessed One declared this?”

“Because, friend, this is beneficial, relevant to the fundamentals of the holy life, and leads to revulsion, to dispassion, to cessation, to peace, to direct knowledge, to enlightenment, to Nibbāna. Therefore the Blessed One has declared this.”

Note

[310] Spk glosses “Tathāgata” here as satta, a being, on which Spk-pṭ comments: “As in past aeons, in past births, one has come into being by way of kamma and defilements, so one has also come now (tathā etarahi pi āgato); hence it is said ‘tathāgata.’ Or else, according to the kamma one has done and accumulated, just so has one come, arrived, been reborn in this or that form of individual existence (tathā taṃ taṃ attabhāvaṃ āgato upagato upapanno).”

This explanation seems implausible, especially when other texts clearly show that the philosophical problem over the Tathāgata’s post-mortem state concerns “the Tathāgata, the highest type of person, the supreme person, the one who has attained the supreme attainment (tathāgato uttamapuriso paramapuriso paramapattipatto)” (22:86 (III 116,13-14) = 44:2 (IV 380,14-15)).

Re: SN 16.12 Tathāgata parammaraṇa sutta. After Death.

Posted: Tue Nov 21, 2017 6:36 am
by L.N.
The teachings are essential. The rest is chatter.

Re: SN 16.12 Tathāgata parammaraṇa sutta. After Death.

Posted: Wed Nov 22, 2017 6:11 am
by L.N.
mikenz66 wrote:
Tue Nov 21, 2017 6:08 am
“The Blessed One, friend, has declared: ‘This is suffering,’ and ‘This is the origin of suffering,’ and ‘This is the cessation of suffering, ’ and ‘This is the way leading to the cessation of suffering.’”

“And why, friend, has the Blessed One declared this?”

“Because, friend, this is beneficial, relevant to the fundamentals of the holy life, and leads to revulsion, to dispassion, to cessation, to peace, to direct knowledge, to enlightenment, to Nibbāna. Therefore the Blessed One has declared this.”
Here is the real emphasis. I love this sutta because there's really nothing to say. We can try to squeeze the concept of the Tathagata into our limited perceptions of past and future, near and far, but ultimately what is important is that there is a way leading to the cessation of suffering. Mind-boggling. Much more so than mundane questions such as what happens after death.

Re: SN 16.12 Tathāgata parammaraṇa sutta. After Death.

Posted: Fri Dec 22, 2017 2:29 am
by unveiledartist
Wow. Nice. I was just trying to wrap my head around rebirth and mind stream. This sutta is a good wake up call. Thanks for posting. Good timing. :woohoo:

Re: SN 16.12 Tathāgata parammaraṇa sutta. After Death.

Posted: Fri Dec 22, 2017 9:29 am
by Dinsdale
I would have preferred a straight answer to the question. :stirthepot:

Re: SN 16.12 Tathāgata parammaraṇa sutta. After Death.

Posted: Fri Dec 22, 2017 12:20 pm
by seeker242
Dinsdale wrote:
Fri Dec 22, 2017 9:29 am
I would have preferred a straight answer to the question. :stirthepot:
"does the Tathagata exist after death?"

But what if both yes and no, are both wrong answers? :smile:

Re: SN 16.12 Tathāgata parammaraṇa sutta. After Death.

Posted: Fri Dec 22, 2017 1:06 pm
by DooDoot
seeker242 wrote:
Fri Dec 22, 2017 12:20 pm
But what if both yes and no, are both wrong answers?
Explain why "no" is a wrong answer? Thanks :mrgreen:

Re: SN 16.12 Tathāgata parammaraṇa sutta. After Death.

Posted: Fri Dec 22, 2017 3:21 pm
by cookiemonster
DooDoot wrote:
Fri Dec 22, 2017 1:06 pm
seeker242 wrote:
Fri Dec 22, 2017 12:20 pm
But what if both yes and no, are both wrong answers?
Explain why "no" is a wrong answer? Thanks :mrgreen:
Because "no" is a view that involves attachment?

Re: SN 16.12 Tathāgata parammaraṇa sutta. After Death.

Posted: Fri Dec 22, 2017 4:26 pm
by seeker242
DooDoot wrote:
Fri Dec 22, 2017 1:06 pm
seeker242 wrote:
Fri Dec 22, 2017 12:20 pm
But what if both yes and no, are both wrong answers?
Explain why "no" is a wrong answer? Thanks :mrgreen:
I think that was already addressed. :smile:

“Because this is unbeneficial, irrelevant to the fundamentals of the holy life, and does not lead to revulsion, to dispassion, to cessation, to peace, to direct knowledge, to enlightenment, to Nibbāna."

Re: SN 16.12 Tathāgata parammaraṇa sutta. After Death.

Posted: Fri Dec 22, 2017 8:05 pm
by SarathW
“Then, friend, does the Tathagata neither exist nor not exist after death?”
Can you give a "yes" or "no" answer to this question?
If you say "yes" what it means?

Re: SN 16.12 Tathāgata parammaraṇa sutta. After Death.

Posted: Fri Dec 22, 2017 8:08 pm
by SarathW
Then, in the evening, the Venerable Sāriputta emerged from seclusion and approached the Venerable Mahakassapa
Wasn't Sariputta an Arahant?
Why did he ask this question?
I expect only someone like Vattcagota to ask this sort of question.

Re: SN 16.12 Tathāgata parammaraṇa sutta. After Death.

Posted: Fri Dec 22, 2017 8:21 pm
by JohnK
I did not read anything in this sutta about "wrong" answers (or "yes" or "no" answers), just that the Buddha "has not declared..."

It seems closer perhaps to consider the questions "wrong," but that was not exactly said either -- just that the whole Q&A is not what was taught to end suffering through knowledge, dispassion and nibbana, the goal of the teachings. (And what was taught for this is the 4 Noble Truths.)
It seems to say that worrying about right or wrong answers or wanting more direct answers to these questions is not productive in the context of the path, that's all.

Re: SN 16.12 Tathāgata parammaraṇa sutta. After Death.

Posted: Sat Dec 23, 2017 1:43 am
by SarathW
SarathW wrote:
Fri Dec 22, 2017 8:08 pm
Then, in the evening, the Venerable Sāriputta emerged from seclusion and approached the Venerable Mahakassapa
Wasn't Sariputta an Arahant?
Why did he ask this question?
I expect only someone like Vattcagota to ask this sort of question.
This is to support that Sariputta is an Arahant.
https://ia800405.us.archive.org/15/item ... rdrfrn.mp3

Re: SN 16.12 Tathāgata parammaraṇa sutta. After Death.

Posted: Sat Dec 23, 2017 2:14 am
by JohnK
SarathW wrote:
Sat Dec 23, 2017 1:43 am
Wasn't Sariputta an Arahant?
From the book Great Disciples of the Buddha, p.126 (Nyanaponika Thera & Hellmuth Hecker):
We have no explanation why Sariputta posed these questions, which for an arahant should be fully clear. It is, however, no impossible that this conversation took place immediately after Kassapa's ordination and before his attainment of arahantship, and that Sariputta wanted to test his understanding; or perhaps the questions were asked for the sake of other monks who may have been present.
(FWIW, I like the second possibility -- the sutta being a co-teaching from them both.)
http://www.wisdompubs.org/sites/default ... review.pdf
(This link is just to the book's Introduction.)

Re: SN 16.12 Tathāgata parammaraṇa sutta. After Death.

Posted: Sat Dec 23, 2017 2:30 am
by SarathW
perhaps the questions were asked for the sake of other monks who may have been present.
Thanks, John.
Yes, I think the same.
Perhaps this is a catechism style teaching.