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The Way You Should Practice

atha kho bāhiyo dārucīriyo taramānarūpo jetavanā nikkhamitvā sāvatthiṃ pavisitvā addasa bhagavantaṃ sāvatthiyaṃ piṇḍāya carantaṃ pāsādikaṃ pasādanīyaṃ santindriyaṃ santamānasaṃ uttamadamathasamathamanuppattaṃ dantaṃ guttaṃ yatindriyaṃ nāgaṃ. disvāna yena bhagavā tenupasaṅkami; upasaṅkamitvā bhagavato pāde sirasā nipatitvā bhagavantaṃ etadavoca — “desetu me, bhante bhagavā, dhammaṃ; desetu, sugato, dhammaṃ, yaṃ mamassa dīgharattaṃ hitāya sukhāyā”ti. evaṃ vutte, bhagavā bāhiyaṃ dārucīriyaṃ etadavoca — “akālo kho tāva, bāhiya, antaragharaṃ paviṭṭhamhā piṇḍāyā”ti.

dutiyampi kho bāhiyo dārucīriyo bhagavantaṃ etadavoca — “dujjānaṃ kho panetaṃ, bhante, bhagavato vā jīvitantarāyānaṃ, mayhaṃ vā jīvitantarāyānaṃ. desetu me, bhante bhagavā, dhammaṃ; desetu, sugato, dhammaṃ, yaṃ mamassa dīgharattaṃ hitāya sukhāyā”ti. dutiyampi kho bhagavā bāhiyaṃ dārucīriyaṃ etadavoca — “akālo kho tāva, bāhiya, antaragharaṃ paviṭṭhamhā piṇḍāyā”ti. …

“tasmātiha te, bāhiya, evaṃ sikkhitabbaṃ — ‘diṭṭhe diṭṭhamattaṃ bhavissati, sute sutamattaṃ bhavissati, mute mutamattaṃ bhavissati, viññāte viññātamattaṃ bhavissatī’ti. evañhi te, bāhiya, sikkhitabbaṃ. yato kho te, bāhiya, diṭṭhe diṭṭhamattaṃ bhavissati, sute sutamattaṃ bhavissati, mute mutamattaṃ bhavissati, viññāte viññātamattaṃ bhavissati, tato tvaṃ, bāhiya, na tena; yato tvaṃ, bāhiya, na tena tato tvaṃ, bāhiya, na tattha; yato tvaṃ, bāhiya, na tattha, tato tvaṃ, bāhiya, nevidha na huraṃ na ubhayamantarena. esevanto dukkhassā”ti.

Then indeed Bahiya the bark-clothed left Jetavana, and having gone into Sāvatthi he saw the Blessed One in Sāvatthi walking on alms round, looking pleasant, happy, calmed in senses and tranquil in mind, having attained the highest mastery and greatest serenity, trained, mindful, controlled in senses, stately as an elephant. Seeing him, he approached the Blessed One, and having come up to him, he fell down at his feet and said this: “Teach me, venerable and blessed one, the Dhamma; teach the Dhamma well-gone one, for my enduring benefit and happiness!” When he had said this, the Blessed One replied to Bahiya the bark-clothed, “This isn’t a good time, Bahiya; we have entered the village on alms round.”

Then a second time Bahiya the bark-clothed said to the Blessed One, “But it’s hard to know what may cut short the life of the Blessed One, or what will cut short my own life!  Teach me, venerable and blessed one, the Dhamma; teach the Dhamma well-gone one, for my enduring benefit and happiness…”

[After the third request the Blessed One replies:] “Well, then, Bahiya, you should practice in this way: ‘Sights are just sights; sounds are just sounds; sensations are just sensations; thoughts are just thoughts.’ That’s the way you should practice, Bahiya. When sights are just sights, sounds are just sounds, sensations are just sensations, and thoughts are just thoughts, then there is no you, and because there is no you, there is no you there, and because there is no you and there is no you there, you are neither in this world nor the next world nor in between. Right there, suffering ends.”

Bāhiya Sutta, KN 3.10

Like a Pillar

Ye suppayuttā manasā daḷhena, nikkāmino gotamasāsanamhi.
Te pattipattā amataṃ vigayha, laddhā mudhā nibbutiṃ bhuñjamānā.
Idampi saṅghe ratanaṃ paṇītaṃ, etena saccena suvatthi hotu.

Yathindakhīlo pathavissito var siyā, catubbhi vātehi asampakampiyo.
Tathūpamaṃ sappurisaṃ vadāmi, yo ariyasaccāni avecca passati.
Idampi saṅghe ratanaṃ paṇītaṃ, etena saccena suvatthi hotu.

Ye ariyasaccāni vibhāvayanti, gambhīrapaññena sudesitāni.
Kiñcāpi te honti bhusaṃ pamattā, na te bhavaṃ aṭṭhamamādiyanti.
Idampi saṅghe ratanaṃ paṇītaṃ, etena saccena suvatthi hotu.

Those who apply themselves with firm, non-craving mind, to Gotama’s teachings
They plunge into the deathless, enjoying the freedom of liberation.
This is the priceless gem of the Sangha; hail to this truth!

Just like a pillar at the city gate, planted alongside the roadway
Unshaken by the four winds:
I say a wise one is like that, one who knows the Noble Truths with certainty.
This is the priceless gem of the Sangha; hail to this truth!

Those who to dwell in the Noble Truths, that well-expounded, profound wisdom,
Though they may often be heedless, will not be reborn an eighth time.
This is the priceless gem of the Sangha; hail to this truth!

Ratana Sutta (KN 1.6)

Like Your Head Is On Fire

Evaṃ me sutaṃ — ekaṃ samayaṃ bhagavā rājagahe viharati veḷuvane kalandakanivāpe. Tatra kho bhagavā bhikkhū āmantesi — “bhikkhavo”ti. “bhadante”ti te bhikkhū bhagavato paccassosuṃ. Bhagavā etadavoca —

“Appamidaṃ, bhikkhave, manussānaṃ āyu. Gamanīyo samparāyo, kattabbaṃ kusalaṃ, caritabbaṃ brahmacariyaṃ. Natthi jātassa amaraṇaṃ. Yo, bhikkhave, ciraṃ jīvati, so vassasataṃ appaṃ vā bhiyyo”ti.

Atha kho māro pāpimā yena bhagavā tenupasaṅkami; upasaṅkamitvā bhagavantaṃ gāthāya ajjhabhāsi —

“Dīghamāyu manussānaṃ, na naṃ hīḷe suporiso.
Careyya khīramattova, natthi maccussa āgamo”ti.

“Appamāyu manussānaṃ, hīḷeyya naṃ suporiso.
Careyyādittasīsova, natthi maccussa nāgamo”ti.

Atha kho māro … Pe … Tatthevantaradhāyīti.

I have heard this: one time the Blessed One was living at Rajagaha, in Veluvana, where they feed the squirrels. There the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus: “Bhikkhus!”

“Yes, Bhanante,” they replied. Then the Blessed One said this:

“Bhikkhus, a human life is very short. One moves on to future states, so one should do what is virtuous, and live a life of goodness. Nothing that is born avoids death.  The longer one has lived, the fewer years one has left.”

Then Mara the Sinner approached the Blessed One; having come near to the Blessed One he said this:

“Long is human life; a wise one doesn’t scorn it.
Live complacently as a suckling baby,
As if death isn’t drawing near.”

[The Blessed One replied]
“Short is human life; a wise one scorns it.
Practice like your head is on fire,
Not as if death isn’t drawing near.”

Then Mara the Sinner, thinking “The Blessed One has recognized me; the Well-Come One has recognized me,” sad and dejected, disappeared on the spot.

Paṭhamāayu Sutta, SN 4.9

Like a Pile of Froth

“Pheṇapiṇḍūpamaṃ rūpaṃ, vedanā bubbuḷūpamā .
Marīcikūpamā saññā, saṅkhārā kadalūpamā.
Māyūpamañca viññāṇaṃ, desitādiccabandhunā.
“Yathā yathā nijjhāyati, yoniso upaparikkhati.
Rittakaṃ tucchakaṃ hoti, yo naṃ passati yoniso.
“Imañca kāyaṃ ārabbha, bhūripaññena desitaṃ.
Pahānaṃ tiṇṇaṃ dhammānaṃ, rūpaṃ passatha var chaḍḍitaṃ.
“Āyu usmā ca viññāṇaṃ, yadā kāyaṃ jahantimaṃ.
Apaviddho var tadā seti, parabhattaṃ acetanaṃ.
“Etādisāyaṃ santāno, māyāyaṃ bālalāpinī.
Vadhako esa akkhāto, sāro ettha na vijjati.
“Evaṃ khandhe avekkheyya, bhikkhu āraddhavīriyo.
Divā vā yadi vā rattiṃ, sampajāno paṭissato.
“Jaheyya sabbasaṃyogaṃ, kareyya saraṇattano.
Careyyādittasīsova, patthayaṃ accutaṃ padan”ti.

Like a pile of froth is Form; Feeling-tone is like a bubble.
Like a mirage is Perception; Mental constructions are like a banana tree.
Like a conjurer’s trick is Awareness: This has been taught by the kinsman of the Sun.
Just so, just so – when one meditates and investigates with wisdom
They are void and empty to one who properly understands.
The one of great wisdom taught this regarding the body.
When the three dhammas leave, one understands and rejects Form.
Life, warmth and animation abandoning the body
As if asleep, it is cast away; senseless, it becomes food for another.
It goes on this way:  illusion, childish babble.
It’s called “the executioner;” no essence is found here.
Thus the firmly-established bhikkhu considers the Aggregates
By day and by night, thoughtfully recollecting.
Abandoning all bonds, he makes himself a refuge.
He acts as if his head were blazing, heading for a place of lasting peace.

Pheṇapiṇḍūpama Sutta, SN 22.95

What Makes The World Go ‘Round

Here’s a translation of one of the Buddha’s most famous teachings; perhaps you’ve even read or heard this sutta. The word “dhamma” almost never appears in English translations, although as you’ll see, it’s actually used no fewer than eight times!

“Aṭṭhime, bhikkhave, lokadhammā lokaṃ anuparivattanti, loko ca aṭṭha lokadhamme anuparivattati. Katame aṭṭha? Lābho ca, alābho ca, yaso ca, ayaso ca, nindā ca, pasaṃsā ca, sukhañca, dukkhañca. Ime kho, bhikkhave, aṭṭha lokadhammā lokaṃ anuparivattanti, loko ca ime aṭṭha lokadhamme anuparivattatī”ti.

“lābho alābho ca yasāyaso ca,
nindā pasaṃsā ca sukhaṃ dukhañca.
Ete aniccā manujesu dhammā,
asassatā vipariṇāmadhammā.
“Ete ca ñatvā satimā sumedho,
avekkhati vipariṇāmadhamme.
Iṭṭhassa dhammā na mathenti cittaṃ,
aniṭṭhato no paṭighātameti.
“Tassānurodhā atha vā virodhā,
vidhūpitā atthaṅgatā na santi.
Padañca ñatvā virajaṃ asokaṃ,
sammappajānāti bhavassa pāragū”ti.

Bhikkhus, There are eight worldly things that make the world go ‘round, eight worldly things that keep people on the move. What are the eight? Gain and loss, fame and disgrace, insult and praise, ease and difficulty. Indeed, bhikkhus, those are the eight worldly things that make the world go round, that keep people one the move.

Gain/Loss and Fame/Disgrace,
Insult/Praise and Ease/Difficulty:
These impermanent human things,
Inconstant, changing things.
When the wise one carefully knows
And considers these changing things
Pleasing things won’t disturb the heart and mind
Displeasure won’t cause resentment.
Cooperation nor obstruction,
Scattering nor gathering bring peace.
Having found this place, free from defilement, free from sorrow
The one having seen all these things has gone beyond this world.

AN 8.5

Abandoning the Conceit of Self

In today’s Pali exercise, the Buddha points out that longing for anything — even for the spiritual life — merely reinforces the delusion of self:
“Kathañca, bhikkhave, bhikkhu patilīno hoti? Idha, bhikkhave, bhikkhuno asmimāno pahīno hoti ucchinnamūlo tālāvatthukato anabhāvaṃkato āyatiṃ anuppādadhammo. Evaṃ kho, bhikkhave, bhikkhu patilīno hoti. Panuṇṇapaccekasacco, bhikkhave, bhikkhu ‘samavayasaṭṭhesano passaddhakāyasaṅkhāro patilīno’ti vuccatī”ti.
Kāmesanā bhavesanā, brahmacariyesanā saha.
Iti saccaparāmāso, diṭṭhiṭṭhānā samussayā.
Sabbarāgavirattassa, taṇhakkhayavimuttino.
Sanā paṭinissaṭṭhā, diṭṭhiṭṭhānā samūhatā.
Sa ve santo sato bhikkhu, passaddho aparājito.
Mānābhisamayā buddho, patilīnoti vuccatī”ti
Bhikkhus, how is a bhikkhu withdrawn? When a bhikkhu has abandoned the conceit of self, destroyed it at its root, uprooted it, caused it to utterly cease so that it cannot arise again; indeed, in this way a bhikkhu is withdrawn. A bhikkhu who has driven away clinging to truths and calmed bodily fabrications is called “withdrawn.”
When there is longing for pleasure, longing to be, longing for the spiritual life,
Attachment to truths and reliance on the appearance of forms endures.
Detaching from all desires, released from bodily cravings
Abandoning longing, uprooting reliance on the appearance of forms,
That indeed is a mindful bhikkhu, calmed, unconquered.
Fully understanding the evil of comparison, one who is awake is called “withdrawn.”
Patilīna Sutta, AN 4.38

“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