Month: April 2014

“That Is Not My Self”

Evaṃ me sutaṃ — ekaṃ samayaṃ bhagavā sāvatthiyaṃ viharati jetavane anāthapiṇḍikassa ārāme.  Atha kho bhagavā pubbaṇhasamayaṃ nivāsetvā pattacīvaramādāya sāvatthiṃ piṇḍāya pāvisi. Āyasmāpi kho rāhulo pubbaṇhasamayaṃ nivāsetvā pattacīvaramādāya bhagavantaṃ piṭṭhito piṭṭhito anubandhi. atha kho bhagavā apaloketvā āyasmantaṃ rāhulaṃ āmantesi — “yaṃ kiñci, rāhula, rūpaṃ — atītānāgatapaccuppannaṃ ajjhattaṃ vā bahiddhā vā oḷārikaṃ vā sukhumaṃ vā hīnaṃ vā paṇītaṃ vā yaṃ dūre santike vā — sabbaṃ rūpaṃ ‘netaṃ mama, nesohamasmi, na meso attā’ti evametaṃ yathābhūtaṃ sammappaññāya daṭṭhabban”ti. “rūpameva nu kho, bhagavā, rūpameva nu kho, sugatā”ti? “rūpampi, rāhula, vedanāpi, rāhula, saññāpi, rāhula, saṅkhārāpi, rāhula, viññāṇampi, rāhulā”ti.

Here’s how I heard it:  One time the Blessed One was living in Sāvatthi, at Jeta’s Park in the monastery built for him by Anāthapiṇḍika. In the morning the Blessed One got dressed in yellow monks robes, took his bowl and went to Sāvatthi for alms. The Venerable Rahula  got dressed in his robes, got his bowl and ran off to follow the Blessed One.  And the Blessed One looked back at the Ven. Rahula  and called to him:

“Rahula, whatever has form – past, future or present, internal or external, obvious or subtle, despicable or excellent, far or near – all forms should truly be  fully seen and understood  in this way: ‘That is not me, that is not mine, that is not my self.’ ”

“Really, just forms, Blessed One?  Really, just forms, Happy One?”

“Forms, Rahula; and sensations, Rahula; and perceptions, Rahula; and mental formations, Rahula; and consciousness, Rahula.”

Maharahulovada Sutta, MN 62 v. 113111117_two-monks-and-a-woman

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Like a Rhino

In this stanza from the Sutta Nipata, the Buddha proclaims that through the vulnerability of the Brahma Viharas, one gains the ultimate protection:

Mettaṃ upekkhaṃ karuṇaṃ vimuttiṃ, āsevamāno muditañca kale
Sabbena lokena avirujjhamāno, eko care khaggavisāṇakappo.

Frequenting in due time the release of metta, upekkha, karuna and mudita,
One wanders the whole world unopposed, like a rhinoceros.

Khaggavisana Sutta, Sutta Nipata 1:3

In today's Pali Exercise from the Sutta Nipata, the Buddha proclaims that through the vulnerability of the Brahma Viharas, one gains the ultimate protection:

Mettaṃ upekkhaṃ karuṇaṃ vimuttiṃ, āsevamāno muditañca kale
Sabbena lokena avirujjhamāno, eko care khaggavisāṇakappo. 

Frequenting in due time the release of metta, upekkha, karuna and mudita,
One wanders the whole world unopposed, like a rhinoceros.

Khaggavisana Sutta, Sutta Nipata 1:3

Staying On-Message

The Buddha stays “on message” in this passage from the Majjhima Nikaya:

Kiñca, mālukyaputta, mayā byākataṃ? ‘idaṃ dukkhan’ti, mālukyaputta, mayā byākataṃ; ‘ayaṃ dukkhasamudayo’ti — mayā byākataṃ; ‘ayaṃ dukkhanirodho’ti — mayā byākataṃ; ‘ayaṃ dukkhanirodhagāminī paṭipadā’ti — mayā byākataṃ. kasmā cetaṃ, mālukyaputta, mayā byākataṃ? etañhi, mālukyaputta, atthasaṃhitaṃ etaṃ ādibrahmacariyakaṃ nibbidāya virāgāya nirodhāya upasamāya abhiññāya sambodhāya nibbānāya saṃvattati. tasmā taṃ mayā byākataṃ. tasmātiha, mālukyaputta, abyākatañca me abyākatato dhāretha; byākatañca me byākatato dhārethā”ti.

What have I taught, Malukyaputta? I’ve taught “there is suffering,” I’ve taught “here is the cause of suffering,” I’ve taught, “here is the cessation of suffering,” I’ve taught “here is the mode of conduct that leads to the cessation of suffering.”  What is my intention for teaching these things, Malukyaputta?  Because they are beneficial; they are the starting point of the most excellent life; they lead to disenchantment, the end of desire, calmness, total understanding, awakening and liberation. That’s why I have taught them. And so, Malukyaputta, I have been silent on those things not fitting to teach; I have taught those things that are fitting to teach.

Cūḷamālukya Sutta, Majjhima Nikaya  63 v. 128

One of many passages in the Canon in which the Buddha refuses to answer ontological, cosmological and metaphysical questions. As this verse makes clear, the Dhamma is not a set of doctrines to be accepted and believed, but a path to be followed.