What’s your interpretation of the Mucalinda Sutta (Ud 2.1)?

Textual analysis and comparative discussion on early Buddhist sects and texts.
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mettafuture
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What’s your interpretation of the Mucalinda Sutta (Ud 2.1)?

Post by mettafuture » Mon Jun 11, 2018 6:40 pm

It’s been said that a lesson can be learned from every sutta. I’ve been reading the Udāna after mostly overlooking it—believing that it, like much of Khuddaka Nikāya, was inessential; I was sorely mistaken.

The other day, I came across the Muccalinda Sutta (translations: Ṭhānissaro / Anandajoti / Ireland), and I was wondering how the community would interpret it, particularly the events leading up to the closing verse.

While the Buddha was in deep meditation, a strong out-of-season storm comes. Muccalinda, the naga king, appears and protects him. When the storm finally subsides, the naga king assumes the appearance of a young man. He pays homage to the Buddha, who replies with the following realization:
Blissful is solitude
for one who’s content,
....who has heard the Dhamma,
....who sees.
Blissful is non-affliction
with regard for the world,
....restraint for living beings.
Blissful is dispassion
with regard for the world,
....the overcoming of sensuality.
But the subduing of the conceit “I am”
....That is truly
....the ultimate bliss.

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DooDoot
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Re: What’s your interpretation of the Mucalinda Sutta (Ud 2.1)?

Post by DooDoot » Mon Jun 11, 2018 7:37 pm

mettafuture wrote:
Mon Jun 11, 2018 6:40 pm
much of Khuddaka Nikāya, was inessential
Mucalinda Sutta appears to be Heartwood. The Udana is often very deep. Most of the Digha Nikaya is unessential, imo. :smile:

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mettafuture
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Re: What’s your interpretation of the Mucalinda Sutta (Ud 2.1)?

Post by mettafuture » Fri Jun 15, 2018 5:19 pm

DooDoot wrote:
Mon Jun 11, 2018 7:37 pm
mettafuture wrote:
Mon Jun 11, 2018 6:40 pm
much of Khuddaka Nikāya, was inessential
Mucalinda Sutta appears to be Heartwood. The Udana is often very deep.
Thank you for your reply.
Most of the Digha Nikaya is unessential, imo. :smile:
Why do you say that? :D

JohnK
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Re: What’s your interpretation of the Mucalinda Sutta (Ud 2.1)?

Post by JohnK » Fri Jun 15, 2018 8:40 pm

mettafuture wrote:
Mon Jun 11, 2018 6:40 pm
I was wondering how the community would interpret it, particularly the events leading up to the closing verse.
I'm not sure the newly awakened Buddha really needed the protection from disturbance offered by the naga king (he withstood the armies of MARA, so what's some nasty weather?), but it was minimally a sweet gesture of high regard -- in case any listeners to the sutta were wondering where the naga king stood on the matter!
"...the practice is essentially a practice, and not a theory to be idly discussed...right view leaves unanswered many questions about the cosmos and the self, and directs your attention to what needs to be done to escape from the ravages of suffering." Thanissaro Bhikkhu, On The Path.

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Wizard in the Forest
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Re: What’s your interpretation of the Mucalinda Sutta (Ud 2.1)?

Post by Wizard in the Forest » Fri Jun 15, 2018 9:59 pm

The Naga King Mucalinda wanted to do a selfless act of kindness for the Buddha, and did so by bodily sheilding him from the elements, and he also by paying homage, and here is offering encouragement to the Buddha by praising the life of solitude and the removal of the afflictions. Just like Brahma Sahampati encouraged the Buddha to teach, the Naga King Mucalinda encouraged the Buddha to strive, and it's a meritorious act.
"One is not born a woman, but becomes one."- Simone de Beauvoir

JohnK
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Re: What’s your interpretation of the Mucalinda Sutta (Ud 2.1)?

Post by JohnK » Sat Jun 16, 2018 1:21 am

Wizard in the Forest wrote:
Fri Jun 15, 2018 9:59 pm
The Naga King Mucalinda ...praising the life of solitude and the removal of the afflictions...
My understanding (from the Thanissaro translation) is that the Buddha praised solitude etc. in the exclamation/verse:
...the Blessed One on that occasion exclaimed:

Blissful is solitude
for one who’s content,
who has heard the Dhamma,
who sees.

Blissful is non-affliction
with regard for the world,
restraint for living beings.

Blissful is dispassion
with regard for the world,
the overcoming of sensuality.

But the subduing of the conceit “I am”–
That is truly
the ultimate bliss.
"...the practice is essentially a practice, and not a theory to be idly discussed...right view leaves unanswered many questions about the cosmos and the self, and directs your attention to what needs to be done to escape from the ravages of suffering." Thanissaro Bhikkhu, On The Path.

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