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The Great Causes Discourse

Posted on October 31, 2011 at 10:30 AM Comments comments (0)
មហានិទានសូត្រនេះ មានសំដែងក្នុងសុត្តន្តបិដក ភាគទី១៦ ទីឃនិកាយ តតិយភាគ មហាវគ្គ ត្រង់មហានិទានសូត្រទី២ ពីទំព័រទី១១៧ ដល់១៥៣ សូមចុចទីនេះដើម្បីទាញយក


Maha-nidana Sutta: The Great Causes Discourse
translated from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

Translator's IntroductionThis is one of the most profound discourses in the Pali canon. It gives an extended treatment of the teachings of dependent co-arising (paticca samuppada) and not-self (anatta) in an outlined context of how these teachings function in practice.

The first part of the discourse takes the factors of dependent co-arising in sequence from effect to cause, tracing them down to the mutual dependency of name-and-form (mental and physical activity) on the one hand, and consciousness on the other. In connection with this point, it is worth noting that the word "great" in the title of the discourse may have a double meaning: modifying the word "discourse" — it's a long discourse — and modifying "causes," referring to the fact that name-and-form and consciousness as causal factors can account for everything describable in the cosmos.

After tracing the basic sequence of factors in the causal pattern, the discourse then reviews their inter-relationships, showing how they can explain stress and suffering both on the individual and on the social level.

The second part of the discourse, taking up the teaching of not-self, shows how dependent co-arising gives focus to this teaching in practice. It begins with a section on Delineations of a Self, classifying the various ways in which a sense of "self" might be defined in terms of form. The scheme of analysis introduced in this section — classifying views of the self according to the variables of form and formless; finite and infinite; already existing, naturally developing in the future, and alterable through human effort — covers all the theories of the self proposed in the classical Upanisads, as well as all theories of self or soul proposed in more recent times. The inclusion of an infinite self in this list gives the lie to the belief that the Buddha's teachings on not-self were denying nothing more than a sense of "separate" or "limited" self. The discourse points out that even a limitless, infinite, all-embracing sense of self is based on an obsession in the mind that has to be abandoned.

The following section, on Non-delineations of a Self, shows that it is possible for the mind to function without reading a "self" into experience. The remaining sections focus on ways in which this can be done by treating the sense of self as it relates to different aspects of name-and-form. The first of these sections — Assumptions of a Self — focuses on the sense of self as it relates to feeling, one of the "name" factors in name-and-form. The next section — Seven Stations of Consciousness — focuses on form, formlessness, and perception, which is another one of the "name" factors that allows a place for consciousness to land and grow on the "macro" level in the cycle of death and rebirth. The last section — Eight Emancipations — focuses on form, formlessness, and perception on the "micro" level in the practice of meditative absorption (jhana).

In each of these cases, once the sense of attachment and identification with name-and-form can be broken, the mutual dependency between consciousness and name-and-form is broken as well. This brings about total freedom from the limits of "the extent to which there are means of designation, expression, and delineation... the extent to which the sphere of discernment extends, the extent to which the cycle revolves for the manifesting (discernibility) of this world — i.e., name-and-form together with consciousness." This is the release at which the Buddha's teachings are aimed.


Dependent Co-arising
I have heard that on one occasion the Blessed One was living among the Kurus. Now, the Kurus have a town named Kammasadhamma. There Ven. Ananda approached the Blessed One and, on arrival, having bowed down to the Blessed One, sat to one side. As he was sitting there he said to the Blessed One: "It's amazing, lord, it's astounding, how deep this dependent co-arising is, and how deep its appearance, and yet to me it seems as clear as clear can be."


[The Buddha:] "Don't say that, Ananda. Don't say that. Deep is this dependent co-arising, and deep its appearance. It's because of not understanding and not penetrating this Dhamma that this generation is like a tangled skein, a knotted ball of string, like matted rushes and reeds, and does not go beyond transmigration, beyond the planes of deprivation, woe, and bad destinations.


"If one is asked, 'Is there a demonstrable requisite condition for aging and death?' one should answer, 'There is.'


"If one is asked, 'From what requisite condition do aging and death come?' one should say, 'Aging and death come from birth as their requisite condition.'

"If one is asked, 'Is there a demonstrable requisite condition for birth?' one should answer, 'There is.'


"If one is asked, 'From what requisite condition does birth come?' one should say, 'Birth comes from becoming as its requisite condition.'


"If one is asked, 'Is there a demonstrable requisite condition for becoming?' one should answer, 'There is.'


"If one is asked, 'From what requisite condition does becoming come?' one should say, 'Becoming comes from clinging as its requisite condition.'


"If one is asked, 'Is there a demonstrable requisite condition for clinging?' one should answer, 'There is.'


"If one is asked, 'From what requisite condition does clinging come?' one should say, 'Clinging comes from craving as its requisite condition.'


"If one is asked, 'Is there a demonstrable requisite condition for craving?' one should answer, 'There is.'

"If one is asked, 'From what requisite condition does craving come?' one should say, 'Craving comes from feeling as its requisite condition.'


"If one is asked, 'Is there a demonstrable requisite condition for feeling?' one should answer, 'There is.'


"If one is asked, 'From what requisite condition does feeling come?' one should say, 'Feeling comes from contact as its requisite condition.'


"If one is asked, 'Is there a demonstrable requisite condition for contact?' one should answer, 'There is.'


"If one is asked, 'From what requisite condition does contact come?' one should say, 'Contact comes from name-and-form as its requisite condition.'

"If one is asked, 'Is there a demonstrable requisite condition for name-and-form?' one should answer, 'There is.'


"If one is asked, 'From what requisite condition does name-and-form come?' one should say, 'Name-and-form comes from consciousness as its requisite condition.'


"If one is asked, 'Is there a demonstrable requisite condition for consciousness?' one should answer, 'There is.'


"If one is asked, 'From what requisite condition does consciousness come?' one should say, 'Consciousness comes from name-and-form as its requisite condition.'


"Thus, Ananda, from name-and-form as a requisite condition comes consciousness. From consciousness as a requisite condition comes name-and-form. From name-and-form as a requisite condition comes contact. From contact as a requisite condition comes feeling. From feeling as a requisite condition comes craving. From craving as a requisite condition comes clinging. From clinging as a requisite condition comes becoming. From becoming as a requisite condition comes birth. From birth as a requisite condition, aging, death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, and despair come into play. Such is the origination of this entire mass of stress.


Aging and Death
"'From birth as a requisite condition come aging and death.' Thus it has been said. And this is the way to understand how from birth as a requisite condition come aging and death. If there were no birth at all, in any way, of anything anywhere — i.e., of devas in the state of devas, of celestials in the state of celestials, of spirits in the state of spirits, of demons in the state of demons, of human beings in the human state, of quadrupeds in the state of quadrupeds, of birds in the state of birds, of snakes in the state of snakes, or of any being in its own state — in the utter absence of birth, from the cessation of birth, would aging and death be discerned?"


"No, lord."

"Thus this is a cause, this is a reason, this is an origination, this is a requisite condition for aging and death, i.e., birth.


Birth
"'From becoming as a requisite condition comes birth.' Thus it has been said. And this is the way to understand how from becoming as a requisite condition comes birth. If there were no becoming at all, in any way, of anything anywhere — i.e., sensual becoming, form becoming, or formless becoming — in the utter absence of becoming, from the cessation of becoming, would birth be discerned?"


"No, lord."


"Thus this is a cause, this is a reason, this is an origination, this is a requisite condition for birth, i.e., becoming.


Becoming
"'From clinging as a requisite condition comes becoming.' Thus it has been said. And this is the way to understand how from clinging as a requisite condition comes becoming. If there were no clinging at all, in any way, of anything anywhere — i.e., clinging to sensuality, clinging to precepts and practices, clinging to views, or clinging to doctrines of the self — in the utter absence of clinging, from the cessation of clinging, would becoming be discerned?"


"No, lord."


"Thus this is a cause, this is a reason, this is an origination, this is a requisite condition for becoming, i.e., clinging.


Clinging
"'From craving as a requisite condition comes clinging.' Thus it has been said. And this is the way to understand how from craving as a requisite condition comes clinging. If there were no craving at all, in any way, of anything anywhere — i.e., craving for sensuality, craving for becoming, craving for no becoming — in the utter absence of craving, from the cessation of craving, would clinging be discerned?"


"No, lord."


"Thus this is a cause, this is a reason, this is an origination, this is a requisite condition for clinging, i.e., craving.


Craving
"'From feeling as a requisite condition comes craving.' Thus it has been said. And this is the way to understand how from feeling as a requisite condition comes craving. If there were no feeling at all, in any way, of anything anywhere — i.e., feeling born of contact at the eye, feeling born of contact at the ear, feeling born of contact at the nose, feeling born of contact at the tongue, feeling born of contact at the body, or feeling born of contact at the intellect — in the utter absence of feeling, from the cessation of feeling, would craving be discerned?"


"No, lord."


"Thus this is a cause, this is a reason, this is an origination, this is a requisite condition for craving, i.e., feeling.


Dependent on Craving"Now, craving is dependent on feeling, seeking is dependent on craving, acquisition is dependent on seeking, ascertainment is dependent on acquisition, desire and passion is dependent on ascertainment, attachment is dependent on desire and passion, possessiveness is dependent on attachment, stinginess is dependent on possessiveness, defensiveness is dependent on stinginess, and because of defensiveness, dependent on defensiveness, various evil, unskillful phenomena come into play: the taking up of sticks and knives; conflicts, quarrels, and disputes; accusations, divisive speech, and lies.


"And this is the way to understand how it is that because of defensiveness various evil, unskillful phenomena come into play: the taking up of sticks and knives; conflicts, quarrels, and disputes; accusations, divisive speech, and lies. If there were no defensiveness at all, in any way, of anything anywhere, in the utter absence of defensiveness, from the cessation of defensiveness, would various evil, unskillful phenomena — the taking up of sticks and knives; conflicts, quarrels, and disputes; accusations, divisive speech, and lies — come into play?"


"No, lord."


"Thus this is a cause, this is a reason, this is an origination, this is a requisite condition for the coming-into-play of various evil, unskillful phenomena — the taking up of sticks and knives; conflicts, quarrels, and disputes; accusations, divisive speech, and lies — i.e., defensiveness.


"'Defensiveness is dependent on stinginess.' Thus it has been said. And this is the way to understand how defensiveness is dependent on stinginess. If there were no stinginess at all, in any way, of anything anywhere, in the utter absence of stinginess, from the cessation of stinginess, would defensiveness be discerned?"


"No, lord."


"Thus this is a cause, this is a reason, this is an origination, this is a requisite condition for defensiveness, i.e., stinginess.


(Similarly back through the chain of conditions: stinginess, attachment, possessiveness, desire and passion, ascertainment, acquisition, and seeking.)


"'Seeking is dependent on craving.' Thus it has been said. And this is the way to understand how seeking is dependent on craving. If there were no craving at all, in any way, of anything anywhere — i.e., craving for sensuality, craving for becoming, craving for no becoming — in the utter absence of craving, from the cessation of craving, would seeking be discerned?"


"No, lord."


"Thus this is a cause, this is a reason, this is an origination, this is a requisite condition for seeking, i.e., craving. Thus, Ananda, these two phenomena [the chain of conditions leading from craving to birth, aging, and death, and the chain of conditions leading from craving to quarrels, etc.], as a duality, flow back into one place at feeling.


Feeling
"'From contact as a requisite condition comes feeling.' Thus it has been said. And this is the way to understand how from contact as a requisite condition comes feeling. If there were no contact at all, in any way, of anything anywhere — i.e., contact at the eye, contact at the ear, contact at the nose, contact at the tongue, contact at the body, or contact at the intellect — in the utter absence of contact, from the cessation of contact, would feeling be discerned?"


"No, lord."

"Thus this is a cause, this is a reason, this is an origination, this is a requisite condition for feeling, i.e., contact.


Contact
"'From name-&-form as a requisite condition comes contact. Thus it has been said. And this is the way to understand how, from name-&-form as a requisite condition comes contact. If the qualities, traits, themes, & indicators by which there is a description of name-group (mental activity) were all absent, would designation-contact with regard to the form-group (the physical properties) be discerned?"


"No, lord."


"If the permutations, signs, themes, and indicators by which there is a description of form-group were all absent, would resistance-contact with regard to the name-group be discerned?"


"No, lord."


"If the permutations, signs, themes, and indicators by which there is a description of name-group and form-group were all absent, would designation-contact or resistance-contact be discerned?"


"No, lord."


"Thus this is a cause, this is a reason, this is an origination, this is a requisite condition for contact, i.e., name-and-form.


Name-and-form
"'From consciousness as a requisite condition comes name-and-form.' Thus it has been said. And this is the way to understand how from consciousness as a requisite condition comes name-and-form. If consciousness were not to descend into the mother's womb, would name-and-form take shape in the womb?"


"No, lord."


"If, after descending into the womb, consciousness were to depart, would name-and-form be produced for this world?"


"No, lord."


"If the consciousness of the young boy or girl were to be cut off, would name-and-form ripen, grow, and reach maturity?"


"No, lord."


"Thus this is a cause, this is a reason, this is an origination, this is a requisite condition for name-and-form, i.e., consciousness."


Consciousness
"'From name-and-form as a requisite condition comes consciousness.' Thus it has been said. And this is the way to understand how from name-and-form as a requisite condition comes consciousness. If consciousness were not to gain a foothold in name-and-form, would a coming-into-play of the origination of birth, aging, death, and stress in the future be discerned?


"No, lord."


"Thus this is a cause, this is a reason, this is an origination, this is a requisite condition for consciousness, i.e., name-and-form.


"This is the extent to which there is birth, aging, death, passing away, and re-arising. This is the extent to which there are means of designation, expression, and delineation. This is the extent to which the sphere of discernment extends, the extent to which the cycle revolves for the manifesting (discernibility) of this world — i.e., name-and-form together with consciousness.


Delineations of a Self
"To what extent, Ananda, does one delineate when delineating a self? Either delineating a self possessed of form and finite, one delineates that 'My self is possessed of form and finite.' Or, delineating a self possessed of form and infinite, one delineates that 'My self is possessed of form and infinite.' Or, delineating a self formless and finite, one delineates that 'My self is formless and finite.' Or, delineating a self formless and infinite, one delineates that 'My self is formless and infinite.'


"Now, the one who, when delineating a self, delineates it as possessed of form and finite, either delineates it as possessed of form and finite in the present, or of such a nature that it will [naturally] become possessed of form and finite [in the future/after death], or he believes that 'Although it is not yet that way, I will convert it into being that way.' This being the case, it is proper to say that a fixed view of a self possessed of form and finite obsesses him.


"The one who, when delineating a self, delineates it as possessed of form and infinite, either delineates it as possessed of form and infinite in the present, or of such a nature that it will [naturally] become possessed of form and infinite [in the future/after death], or he believes that 'Although it is not yet that way, I will convert it into being that way.' This being the case, it is proper to say that a fixed view of a self possessed of form and infinite obsesses him.


"The one who, when delineating a self, delineates it as formless and finite, either delineates it as formless and finite in the present, or of such a nature that it will [naturally] become formless and finite [in the future/after death], or he believes that 'Although it is not yet that way, I will convert it into being that way.' This being the case, it is proper to say that a fixed view of a self formless and finite obsesses him.


"The one who, when delineating a self, delineates it as formless and infinite, either delineates it as formless and infinite in the present, or of such a nature that it will [naturally] become formless and infinite [in the future/after death], or he believes that 'Although it is not yet that way, I will convert it into being that way.' This being the case, it is proper to say that a fixed view of a self formless and infinite obsesses him.


Non-Delineations of a Self
"To what extent, Ananda, does one not delineate when not delineating a self? Either not delineating a self possessed of form and finite, one does not delineate that 'My self is possessed of form and finite.' Or, not delineating a self possessed of form and infinite, one does not delineate that 'My self is possessed of form and infinite.' Or, not delineating a self formless and finite, one does not delineate that 'My self is formless and finite.' Or, not delineating a self formless and infinite, one does not delineate that 'My self is formless and infinite.'


"Now, the one who, when not delineating a self, does not delineate it as possessed of form and finite, does not delineate it as possessed of form and finite in the present, nor does he delineate it as of such a nature that it will [naturally] become possessed of form and finite [in the future/after death], nor does he believe that 'Although it is not yet that way, I will convert it into being that way.' This being the case, it is proper to say that a fixed view of a self possessed of form and finite does not obsess him.


"The one who, when not delineating a self, does not delineate it as possessed of form and infinite, does not delineate it as possessed of form and infinite in the present, nor does he delineate it as of such a nature that it will [naturally] become possessed of form and infinite [in the future/after death], nor does he believe that 'Although it is not yet that way, I will convert it into being that way.' This being the case, it is proper to say that a fixed view of a self possessed of form and infinite does not obsess him.


"The one who, when not delineating a self, does not delineate it as formless and finite, does not delineate it as formless and finite in the present, nor does he delineate it as of such a nature that it will [naturally] become formless and finite [in the future/after death], nor does he believe that 'Although it is not yet that way, I will convert it into being that way.' This being the case, it is proper to say that a fixed view of a self formless and finite does not obsess him.


"The one who, when not delineating a self, does not delineate it as formless and infinite, does not delineate it as formless and infinite in the present, nor does he delineate it as of such a nature that it will [naturally] become formless and infinite [in the future/after death], nor does he believe that 'Although it is not yet that way, I will convert it into being that way.' This being the case, it is proper to say that a fixed view of a self formless and infinite does not obsess him.


Assumptions of a Self
"To what extent, Ananda, does one assume when assuming a self? Assuming feeling to be the self, one assumes that 'Feeling is my self' [or] 'Feeling is not my self: My self is oblivious [to feeling]' [or] 'Neither is feeling my self, nor is my self oblivious to feeling, but rather my self feels, in that my self is subject to feeling.'


"Now, one who says, 'Feeling is my self,' should be addressed as follows: 'There are these three feelings, my friend — feelings of pleasure, feelings of pain, and feelings of neither pleasure nor pain. Which of these three feelings do you assume to be the self?' At a moment when a feeling of pleasure is sensed, no feeling of pain or of neither pleasure nor pain is sensed. Only a feeling of pleasure is sensed at that moment. At a moment when a feeling of pain is sensed, no feeling of pleasure or of neither pleasure nor pain is sensed. Only a feeling of pain is sensed at that moment. At a moment when a feeling of neither pleasure nor pain is sensed, no feeling of pleasure or of pain is sensed. Only a feeling of neither pleasure nor pain is sensed at that moment.


"Now, a feeling of pleasure is inconstant, fabricated, dependent on conditions, subject to passing away, dissolution, fading, and cessation. A feeling of pain is inconstant, fabricated, dependent on conditions, subject to passing away, dissolution, fading, and cessation. A feeling of neither pleasure nor pain is inconstant, fabricated, dependent on conditions, subject to passing away, dissolution, fading, and cessation. Having sensed a feeling of pleasure as 'my self,' then with the cessation of one's very own feeling of pleasure, 'my self' has perished. Having sensed a feeling of pain as 'my self,' then with the cessation of one's very own feeling of pain, 'my self' has perished. Having sensed a feeling of neither pleasure nor pain as 'my self,' then with the cessation of one's very own feeling of neither pleasure nor pain, 'my self' has perished.


"Thus he assumes, assuming in the immediate present a self inconstant, entangled in pleasure and pain, subject to arising and passing away, he who says, 'Feeling is my self.' Thus in this manner, Ananda, one does not see fit to assume feeling to be the self.


"As for the person who says, 'Feeling is not the self: My self is oblivious [to feeling],' he should be addressed as follows: 'My friend, where nothing whatsoever is sensed (experienced) at all, would there be the thought, "I am"?'"


"No, lord."


"Thus in this manner, Ananda, one does not see fit to assume that 'Feeling is not my self: My self is oblivious [to feeling].'


"As for the person who says, 'Neither is feeling my self, nor is my self oblivious [to feeling], but rather my self feels, in that my self is subject to feeling,' he should be addressed as follows: 'My friend, should feelings altogether and every way stop without remainder, then with feeling completely not existing, owing to the cessation of feeling, would there be the thought, "I am"?'"


"No, lord."


"Thus in this manner, Ananda, one does not see fit to assume that 'Neither is feeling my self, nor is my self oblivious [to feeling], but rather my self feels, in that my self is subject to feeling.'


"Now, Ananda, in as far as a monk does not assume feeling to be the self, nor the self as oblivious, nor that 'My self feels, in that my self is subject to feeling,' then, not assuming in this way, he is not sustained by anything (does not cling to anything) in the world. Unsustained, he is not agitated. Unagitated, he is totally unbound right within. He discerns that 'Birth is ended, the holy life fulfilled, the task done. There is nothing further for this world.'


"If anyone were to say with regard to a monk whose mind is thus released that 'The Tathagata exists after death,' is his view, that would be mistaken; that 'The Tathagata does not exist after death'... that 'The Tathagata both exists and does not exist after death'... that 'The Tathagata neither exists nor does not exist after death' is his view, that would be mistaken. Why? Having directly known the extent of designation and the extent of the objects of designation, the extent of expression and the extent of the objects of expression, the extent of description and the extent of the objects of description, the extent of discernment and the extent of the objects of discernment, the extent to which the cycle revolves: Having directly known that, the monk is released. [To say that,] 'The monk released, having directly known that, does not see, does not know is his opinion,' that would be mistaken. [1]


Seven Stations of Consciousness"Ananda, there are these seven stations of consciousness and two spheres. Which seven?


"There are beings with diversity of body and diversity of perception, such as human beings, some devas, and some beings in the lower realms. This is the first station of consciousness.


"There are beings with diversity of body and singularity of perception, such as the devas of the Brahma hosts generated by the first [jhana] and some beings in the four realms of deprivation. This is the second station of consciousness. [2]


"There are beings with singularity of body and diversity of perception, such as the Radiant Devas. This is the third station of consciousness.


"There are beings with singularity of body and singularity of perception, such as the Beautifully Lustrous Devas. This is the fourth station of consciousness.


"There are beings who,with the complete transcending of perceptions of [physical] form, with the disappearance of perceptions of resistance, and not heeding perceptions of diversity, [perceiving,] 'Infinite space,' arrive at the dimension of the infinitude of space. This is the fifth station of consciousness.


"There are beings who, with the complete transcending of the dimension of the infinitude of space, [perceiving,] 'Infinite consciousness,' arrive at the dimension of the infinitude of consciousness. This is the sixth station of consciousness.


"There are beings who, with the complete transcending of the dimension of the infinitude of consciousness, [perceiving,] 'There is nothing,' arrive at the dimension of nothingness. This is the seventh station of consciousness.


"The dimension of non-percipient beings and, second, the dimension of neither perception nor non-perception. [These are the two spheres.]


"Now, as for the first station of consciousness — beings with diversity of body and diversity of perception, such as human beings, some devas, and some beings in the lower realms: If one discerns that [station of consciousness], discerns its origination, discerns its passing away, discerns its allure, discerns its drawbacks, discerns the escape from it, would it be proper, by means of that [discernment] to take delight there?"


"No, lord."


(Similarly with each of the remaining stations of consciousness and two spheres.)

"Ananda, when knowing — as they actually are — the origination, passing away, allure, drawbacks of — and escape from — these seven stations of consciousness and two spheres, a monk is released through lack of clinging, he is said to be a monk released through discernment.


Eight Emancipations"Ananda, there are these eight emancipations. Which eight?


"Possessed of form, one sees forms. This is the first emancipation.


"Not percipient of form internally, one sees forms externally. This is the second emancipation.


"One is intent only on the beautiful. This is the third emancipation.


"With the complete transcending of perceptions of [physical] form, with the disappearance of perceptions of resistance, and not heeding perceptions of diversity, [perceiving,] 'Infinite space,' one enters and remains in the dimension of the infinitude of space. This is the fourth emancipation.


"With the complete transcending of the dimension of the infinitude of space, [perceiving,] 'Infinite consciousness,' one enters and remains in the dimension of the infinitude of consciousness. This is the fifth emancipation.


"With the complete transcending of the dimension of the infinitude of consciousness, [perceiving,] 'There is nothing,' one enters and remains in the dimension of nothingness. This is the sixth emancipation.


"With the complete transcending of the dimension of nothingness, one enters and remains in the dimension of neither perception nor non-perception. This is the seventh emancipation.


"With the complete transcending of the dimension of neither perception nor non-perception, one enters and remains in the cessation of perception and feeling. This is the eighth emancipation.


"Now, when a monk attains these eight emancipations in forward order, in reverse order, in forward and reverse order, when he attains them and emerges from them wherever he wants, however he wants, and for as long as he wants, when through the ending of the mental fermentations he enters and remains in the fermentation-free awareness-release and discernment-release, having directly known it and realized it in the here and now, he is said to be a monk released in both ways. And as for another release in both ways, higher or more sublime than this, there is none."


That is what the Blessed One said. Gratified, Ven. Ananda delighted in the Blessed One's words.


Notes1.The various readings for this sentence all seem to be corrupt. The sense of the paragraph, read in light of AN 10.96, demands that the view expressed in the last sentence be about the monk released, unlike the four earlier views, which are wrongly attributed to the monk released. In other words, the monk released has no opinion on the question of whether the Tathagata does, doesn't, etc., exist after death. This might lead to the supposition that his lack of opinion comes from a lack of knowledge or vision. The description of what he comes to know in the course of gaining release shows that this supposition is inappropriate. He does know, he does see, and what he knows and sees about the limitations of language and concepts shows him that the question of the existence of the Tathagata after death should be set aside. Thus I would reconstruct the Pali of the final sentence in this paragraph as: Tadabhiññaa vimutto bhikkhu na jaanaati na passati iti saa ditthi tadakallam.

2.This reading follows the Thai edition of the Pali canon. Other editions omit the statement, "and some beings in the four realms of deprivation." However, something like the Thai reading seems called for, inasmuch as the first station of consciousness covers only some of the beings in the lower realms.  Source

The Wheel of Law (Life)

Posted on July 30, 2011 at 10:52 AM Comments comments (0)

Dependent Origination (paticca-samuppada) -The Wheel of Law (Life)

According to Buddhism, nothing can exist by itself except, but only in relation to other causally-related events: a particular result always has a cause. For example, cause A results in B, and B then acts as a cause for another result C. The patticca-samuppada is an important discourse on the process of birth and death of beings that operates within the above law. It deals with the cause of rebirth and suffering with the purpose of releasing beings from the cycle of life(samsara). It should be noted that it is not a theory of the evolution of the world.


This doctrine of Conditioned Genesis or Dependent Origination is unique to Buddhism.


1.Ignorance (avijja) of the truth of dukkha, its cause, its end and the way to its end is the chief cause that sets the wheel of life in motion. In other words, it is the lack of understanding of things* as they really are which makes us cling onto these very things that result in being trapped in the cycle of birth, death and re-birth (samsara). It should be noted that understanding here is not mere book knowledge, but a true intuitive realisation of the processes of life as they really are.


2.As a result of this lack of understanding, there arises samkhara. The Pali word samkhara has many meanings and does not translate directly into English. But in the context of Dependent Origination, it may be termed mental formations which generate kamma.


In general, Samkhara has a much broader and deep meaning than above. It is defined as "things that have come into existence due to causes and conditions that are subject to continuous change". It includes such factors as skillful and unskillful intentional actions, memory, habit formations set up in the past. All skillful and unskillful thoughts, words and actions are also included in this category. It could be said that samkhara is the momentum generated by the above factors that propels a being through samsara.


3.Dependent on past conditioning activities (samkhara) arises re-linking or re-birth consciousness (patisandhi-vinnana) in a subsequent birth. It is so called because it links the past life with the next one.


4.Simultaneously with the arising of the re-birth consciousness, there is the formation of mind and matter (nama-rupa). This interdependent combination is what constitutes a sentient living being. It follows that in order for a fertilized egg to develop into a living being, an essential factor is the re-birth consciousness. In this consciousness are latent all the past impressions and characteristics of that particular life-stream.


5.The mind-matter combination then goes on to develop the six senses (salayatana), comprising eye, ear, nose, tongue, touch and mind. In this context, mind is included as the sixth sense organ as it a receptor for thoughts and functions as a co-ordinater of the information received from other five senses.


6.Each of these senses gives rise to contact (phassa). Contact is the interaction of the particular sense organ with a corresponding external objects. For example, when the eye sees an object, its image falls on the retina, which produces visual stimulation. This is visual contact **. Similarly, when a sound falls on the ear, auditory contact takes place. It should be noted that no identification of the object takes place at this stage: it is simply an awareness of the presence of the object.


7.Dependent on contact, sensation or feeling (vedana) arises. The feeling can be pleasant, unpleasant or neutral.


8.Dependent on feelings, craving (tanha) arises. Cravings or desires take three forms: craving for sensual pleasures (kama-tanha), craving for continuation (bhava-tanha) and craving for self-destruction (vibhava-tanha). It is this craving which is deep rooted in all sentient beings that conditions the future.


9.As a result of craving, attachment (upadana) arises, which takes form of sensuality, false views, attachment to rites and ceremonies, and belief in a permanent soul.


10.Attachment results in bhava, which literally means becoming (the drive for a life to come into being).


11.Dependent on becoming, birth (jati) takes place in a subsequent life. This is essentially the formation of the mind and matter (nama-rupa) combination.

12.The being so formed will be subject to change, undergo old age and eventually end in death (jara-marana).


Death is followed by re-becoming (rebirth) and the above process is repeated indefinitely until such time that we are able to develop the penetrating wisdom (sati panna) that dispel our lack of understanding* of the true nature of things, leading to the complete liberation from the cycle of existence (samsara) and attaining the state of Nibbana.


This cyclic process is often symbolically depicted as a wheel in Buddhist art - the Wheel of Law or the Wheel of Life (Dhammacakka). This appears in the famous pillars of Emperor Ashoka.

Source

 

The Defenation of "Vassa"

Posted on July 7, 2011 at 2:40 PM Comments comments (0)


Vassa is a three-month annual retreat observed by Theravada monks and nuns. It begins on the day after the full moon day of the eighth lunar month of the common Buddhist calendar, which usually falls in July. The retreat ends on the 15th day of the waxing moon of the eleventh lunar month, usually in October.


During Vassa, monks and nuns remain inside monasteries and temple grounds, devoting their time to intensive meditation and study. Laypeople support the monastic sangha by bringing food, candles and other offerings to temples.


Laypeople also often observe Vassa by giving up something, such as smoking or eating meat. For this reason, westerners sometimes call Vassa the "Buddhist Lent."


The tradition of Vassa began during the life of the Buddha. Most of the time, the first Buddhist monks who followed the Buddha did not stay in one place, but walked from village to village to teach. They begged for their food and often slept outdoors, sheltered only by trees.


But during India’s summer rainy season living as homeless ascetics became difficult. So, groups of monks would find a place to stay together until the rain stopped, forming a temporary community. Wealthy laypeople sometimes sheltered monks on their estates. Eventually a few of these patrons built permanent houses for monks, which amounted to an early form of monastery.


[Source: buddhism.about.com  by Barbara O'Brien]

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The 2011 Khmer New Year Angel is KirineyTevy

Posted on April 5, 2011 at 1:45 PM Comments comments (0)

This year's Khmer New Year angel is the fifth youngest in the family of seven and her name is KirineyTevy. She'll come riding on an elephant joined by a cast of thousands of angels. At the lead of the procession is the guide angel riding a rabbit, this being the year of the rabbit and therefore her knowing the way.


You can see this year's angel, KirineyTevy, on the cover of the book, Maha Songkran, published each year to guide the Khmer on how to celebrate this new year. The offerings are clearly stated there and the time when the angel arrives.She'll come 13:12 minutes on the 14th of April, a Thursday. You can see the angel wearing green, the color that Khmer wear when they go to the temple on a Thursday.


The coming of the angel will be announced by drums and gongs in the temples. At home, the Khmer watch the television to wait for the signal that the angel has come. It's the same guys that do the Santa radar watch. Once the signal has been aired, the family gathers around the table prepared specially for this occasion and pray to the angel to give them the blessing.

Read full article...        អានអត្ថបទជាភាសាខ្មែរ..