AN 8.19 Pahārāda Sutta

Each week we study and discuss a different sutta or Dhamma text

Moderator: mikenz66

AN 8.19 Pahārāda Sutta

Postby mikenz66 » Tue Aug 19, 2014 9:08 am

AN 8.19 [AN iv 197] Pahārāda Sutta
Translated by Bhikkhu Bodhi


http://suttacentral.net/en/an8.19

On one occasion the Blessed One was dwelling at Verañjā at the foot of Naḷeru’s neem tree. Then Pahārāda, ruler of the asuras, approached the Blessed One, paid homage to him, and stood to one side. The Blessed One then said to him:

“Pahārāda, do the asuras take delight in the great ocean?”

“Bhante, the asuras do take delight in the great ocean.”

“But, Pahārāda, how many astounding and amazing qualities do the asuras see in the great ocean because of which they take delight in it?”

“The asuras see eight astounding and amazing qualities in the great ocean because of which they take delight in it. What eight?

(1) “The great ocean, Bhante, slants, slopes, and inclines gradually, not dropping off abruptly. [1671] This is the first astounding and amazing quality that the asuras see in the great ocean because of which they take delight in it.

(2) “Again, the great ocean is stable and does not overflow its boundaries. This is the second astounding and amazing quality that the asuras see in the great ocean….

(3) “Again, the great ocean does not associate with a corpse, but quickly carries it to the coast and washes it ashore. This is the third astounding and amazing quality that the asuras see in the great ocean….

(4) “Again, when the great rivers—the Ganges, the Yamunā, the Aciravatī, the Sarabhū, and the Mahī—reach the great ocean, they give up their former names and designations and are simply called the great ocean. This is the fourth astounding and amazing quality that the asuras see in the great ocean….

(5) “Again, whatever streams in the world flow into the great ocean and however much rain falls into it from the sky, neither a decrease nor a filling up can be seen in the great ocean. This is the fifth astounding and amazing quality that the asuras see in the great ocean….

(6) “Again, the great ocean has but one taste, the taste of salt. This is the sixth astounding and amazing quality that the asuras see in the great ocean….

(7) “Again, the great ocean contains many precious substances, numerous precious substances such as pearls, gems, lapis lazuli, conch, quartz, coral, silver, gold, rubies, and cats-eye. This is the seventh astounding and amazing quality that the asuras see in the great ocean….

(8) “Again, the great ocean is the abode of great beings such as timis, timiṅgalas, timirapiṅgalas, asuras, nāgas, and gandhabbas. [1672] There are in the great ocean beings with bodies one hundred yojanas long, two hundred, three hundred, four hundred, and five hundred yojanas long. This is the eighth astounding and amazing quality that the asuras see in the great ocean because of which they take delight in it.

“These, Bhante, are the eight astounding and amazing qualities that the asuras see in the great ocean because of which they take delight in it. But do the bhikkhus take delight in this Dhamma and discipline?”

“Pahārāda, the bhikkhus do take delight in this Dhamma and discipline.”

“But, Bhante, how many astounding and amazing qualities do the bhikkhus see in this Dhamma and discipline because of which they take delight in it?”

“The bhikkhus see eight astounding and amazing qualities in this Dhamma and discipline because of which they take delight in it. What eight?

(1) “Just as, Pahārāda, the great ocean slants, slopes, and inclines gradually, not dropping off abruptly, so too, in this Dhamma and discipline penetration to final knowledge occurs by gradual training, gradual activity, and gradual practice, not abruptly. [1673] This is the first astounding and amazing quality that the bhikkhus see in this Dhamma and discipline because of which they take delight in it.

(2) “Just as the great ocean is stable and does not overflow its boundaries, so too, when I have prescribed a training rule for my disciples, they will not transgress it even for life’s sake. This is the second astounding and amazing quality that the bhikkhus see in this Dhamma and discipline….

(3) “Just as the great ocean does not associate with a corpse, but quickly carries it to the coast and washes it ashore, so too, the Saṅgha does not associate with a person who is immoral, of bad character, impure, of suspect behavior, secretive in his actions, not an ascetic though claiming to be one, not a celibate though claiming to be one, inwardly rotten, corrupt, depraved; rather, it quickly assembles and expels him. Even though he is seated in the midst of the Saṅgha of bhikkhus, yet he is far from the Saṅgha and the Saṅgha is far from him. This is the third astounding and amazing quality that the bhikkhus see in this Dhamma and discipline….

(4) “Just as, when the great rivers … reach the great ocean, they give up their former names and designations and are simply called the great ocean, so too, when members of the four social classes—khattiyas, brahmins, vessas, and suddas—go forth from the household life into homelessness in the Dhamma and discipline proclaimed by the Tathāgata, they give up their former names and clans and are simply called ascetics following the Sakyan son. This is the fourth astounding and amazing quality that the bhikkhus see in this Dhamma and discipline….

(5) “Just as, whatever streams in the world flow into the great ocean and however much rain falls into it from the sky, neither a decrease nor a filling up can be seen in the great ocean, so too, even if many bhikkhus attain final nibbāna by way of the nibbāna element [1674] without residue remaining, neither a decrease nor a filling up can be seen in the nibbāna element. This is the fifth astounding and amazing quality that the bhikkhus see in this Dhamma and discipline….

(6) “Just as the great ocean has but one taste, the taste of salt, so too, this Dhamma and discipline has but one taste, the taste of liberation. This is the sixth astounding and amazing quality that the bhikkhus see in this Dhamma and discipline….

(7) “Just as the great ocean contains many precious substances, numerous precious substances such as pearls … cats-eye, so too, this Dhamma and discipline contains many precious substances, numerous precious substances: the four establishments of mindfulness, the four right strivings, the four bases for psychic potency, the five spiritual faculties, the five powers, the seven factors of enlightenment, the noble eightfold path. This is the seventh astounding and amazing quality that the bhikkhus see in this Dhamma and discipline….

(8) “Just as the great ocean is the abode of great beings such as timis … … gandhabbas; and as there are in the great ocean beings with bodies one hundred yojanas long … five hundred yojanas long, so too this Dhamma and discipline is the abode of great beings: the stream-enterer, the one practicing for realization of the fruit of stream-entry; the once-returner, the one practicing for realization of the fruit of once-returning; the non-returner, the one practicing for realization of the fruit of non-returning; the arahant, the one practicing for arahantship. This is the eighth astounding and amazing quality that the bhikkhus see in this Dhamma and discipline because of which they take delight in it.

“These, Pahārāda, are the eight astounding and amazing qualities that the bhikkhus see in this Dhamma and discipline because of which they take delight in it.”

Notes

[1671] This last phrase is commonly rendered “with a sudden drop-off only after a long stretch.” But the Pāli na āyataken’eva papāto, with the negative particle na, actually means the opposite: that there is no sudden drop-off. See DOP sv āyataka, instr. āyatakena, “suddenly, abruptly; of a sudden.” Mp explains: “It doesn’t drop off at once like a steep precipice or deep pit. Beginning at the shore, it grows deeper by inches, feet, yards, [and successively longer measures] until it is 84,000 yojanas deep at the base of Mount Sineru.”

[1672] The first three are legendary fish of gigantic size.

[1673] Anupubbasikkhā, anupubbakiriyā, anupubbapaṭipadā. I take these to be truncated instrumentals relative to aññāpaṭivedho. Mp glosses them with anupubbasikkhāya, etc. Mp correlates each term with a set of training factors: “By gradual training the three trainings are included (see AN 3:89); by gradual activity, the thirteen ascetic practices (see Vism chap. 2); and by gradual practice, the seven contemplations, the eighteen great insights (see Vism 694,3–27, Ppn 22.113),
Visuddhimagga: http://www.bps.lk/library_books.php (Path of Purification)
22.113. And also in the case of the eighteen principal insights the abandoning
by substitution of opposites is: (1) the abandoning of the perception of the
perception of permanence, through the means of the contemplation of
impermanence; (2) of the perception of pleasure, through the means of the
contemplation of pain; (3) of the perception of self, through the means of the
contemplation of not-self; (4) of delight, through the means of the contemplation
of dispassion (revulsion); (5) of greed, through the means of the contemplation
of fading away; (6) of originating, through the means of the contemplation of
cessation; (7) of grasping, through the means of the contemplation of
relinquishment; (8) of the perception of compactness, through the means of the
contemplation of destruction; (9) of accumulation, through the means of the
contemplation of fall; (10) of the perception of lastingness, through the means of
the contemplation of change; (11) of the sign, through the means of the
contemplation of the signless; (12) of desire, through the means of the
contemplation of the desireless; (13) of misinterpreting (insisting), through the
means of the contemplation of voidness; (14) of misinterpreting (insisting) due
to grasping at a core, through the means of insight into states that is higher
understanding; (15) of misinterpreting (insisting) due to confusion, through
the means of correct knowledge and vision; (16) of misinterpreting (insisting)
due to reliance [on formations], through the means of the contemplation of danger
[in them]; (17) of non-reflection, through the means of the contemplation of
reflection; (18) of misinterpreting (insisting) due to bondage, through means of
contemplation of turning away (cf. Paþis I 47).

the thirty-eight meditation objects, and the thirty-seven aids to enlightenment. Penetration to final knowledge occurs … not abruptly (na āyataken’eva aññāpaṭivedho): there is no penetration to arahantship all at once (ādito va) like the hopping of a frog, without having fulfilled virtuous behavior and so forth. One is able to attain arahantship only after having fulfilled in due order (paṭipātiyā) virtuous behavior, concentration, and wisdom.” See too MN I 479. [MN 70].

[1674] Na tena nibbānadhātuyā ūnattaṃ vā purattaṃ vā paññāyati. Mp: “When no Buddhas have arisen in countless eons, it is not possible for even one being to attain nibbāna. Yet one cannot say, ‘The nibbāna element is empty.’ And during the time of a Buddha, when countless beings attain the deathless at a single assembly, one cannot say, ‘The nibbāna element has become full.’”
User avatar
mikenz66
 
Posts: 10379
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:37 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: AN 8.19 Pahārāda Sutta

Postby SarathW » Tue Aug 19, 2014 9:30 am

Good analogy.
I am not sure that the great ocean is a thing to take delight in it or all the qualities described there.
But I have no doubt about the Dhamma and Sangha.
By the way it is interesting to note the comment on the sudden drop of the ocean vs gradual sloping.

:thinking:
SarathW
 
Posts: 2196
Joined: Mon Sep 10, 2012 2:49 am

Re: AN 8.19 Pahārāda Sutta

Postby Kim OHara » Tue Aug 19, 2014 12:05 pm

SarathW wrote:By the way it is interesting to note the comment on the sudden drop of the ocean vs gradual sloping.

:thinking:

Hello, Sarath,
The wording isn't very clear but, as Note 1671 makes says, it isn't that the water level changes but that the depth gradually increases.

:namaste:
Kim
User avatar
Kim OHara
 
Posts: 3064
Joined: Wed Dec 09, 2009 5:47 am
Location: North Queensland, Australia

Re: AN 8.19 Pahārāda Sutta

Postby mikenz66 » Tue Aug 19, 2014 7:41 pm

There are some powerful, and famous, similes here. The "drop off" simile has already been mentioned:
(1) “Just as, Pahārāda, the great ocean slants, slopes, and inclines gradually, not dropping off abruptly, so too, in this Dhamma and discipline penetration to final knowledge occurs by gradual training, gradual activity, and gradual practice, not abruptly.

This one is also widely quoted:
(6) “Just as the great ocean has but one taste, the taste of salt, so too, this Dhamma and discipline has but one taste, the taste of liberation.


Note that these similes also occur in Udana 5.5 which we discussed here:
http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=25&t=16509

Note that Ven Thanissaro disagrees with Bhikkhu Bodhi (and the Commentary) on the interpretation of the "drop off" passage. See the footnote at the end of the second post on that thread:
1. The Pali here reads, na āyataken'eva papāto. The Commentary insists that this phrase means, "with no abrupt drop-off." There are three reasons for not accepting the Commentary's interpretation here. (a) The first is grammatical. The word āyataka means "long, drawn out; lasting a long time." To interpret āyatakena, the instrumental of a word meaning "long, drawn out," to mean "abrupt" makes little sense. (b) The second reason is geographical. The continental shelf off the east coast of India does have a sudden drop-off after a long gradual slope. (c) The third reason is doctrinal. As noted in the interpretation of the simile, the shape of the ocean floor corresponds to the course of the practice. If there were no sudden drop-off, there would be no sudden penetration to awakening. However, there are many cases of sudden penetration in the Canon, Exhibit A being Bāhiya's attainment of arahantship in Ud 1.10. http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html"


:anjali:
Mike
User avatar
mikenz66
 
Posts: 10379
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:37 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: AN 8.19 Pahārāda Sutta

Postby SarathW » Tue Aug 19, 2014 10:29 pm

a sudden drop-off after a long gradual slope used as an example to show the attainment of four fruits. (Sotapanna, Anagami etc.)
SarathW
 
Posts: 2196
Joined: Mon Sep 10, 2012 2:49 am


Return to Study Group

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests