SN 12.70: Susima Sutta — About Susima

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SN 12.70: Susima Sutta — About Susima

Postby mikenz66 » Tue May 29, 2012 4:49 am

SN 12.70 PTS: S ii 119 CDB i 612
Susima Sutta: About Susima
translated from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu


The Buddha explains to Susima that development of psychic powers is not a prerequisite for enlightenment.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

    Translator's note: This discourse is sometimes cited as proof that a meditator can attain Awakening (final gnosis) without having practiced the jhanas, but a close reading shows that it does not support this assertion at all. The new arahants mentioned here do not deny that they have attained any of the four "form" jhanas that make up the definition of right concentration. Instead, they simply deny that they have acquired any psychic powers or that they remain in physical contact with the higher levels of concentration, "the formless states beyond forms." In this, their definition of "discernment-release" is no different from that given in AN 9.44 (compare this with the definitions for "bodily witness" and "released in both ways" given in AN 9.43 and AN 9.45). Taken in the context of the Buddha's many other teachings on right concentration, there's every reason to believe that the new arahants mentioned in this discourse had reached at least the first jhana before attaining Awakening.


I have heard that on one occasion the Blessed One was staying near Rajagaha in the Bamboo Grove, the squirrels' sanctuary. Now at that time the Blessed One was worshipped, revered, honored, venerated, given homage — a recipient of robes, almsfood, lodgings, & medical requisites for the sick. The community of monks was also worshipped, revered, honored, venerated, given homage — a recipient of robes, almsfood, lodgings, & medical requisites for the sick. But the wanderers of other sects were not worshipped, revered, honored, venerated, or given homage, nor were they recipients of robes, almsfood, lodgings, or medical requisites for the sick.

Now at that time Susima the wanderer was living in Rajagaha with a large following of wanderers. And so Susima's following of wanderers said to him, "Come now, friend Susima. Go live the holy life under Gotama the contemplative. When you have completely mastered the Dhamma, tell it to us; when we have completely mastered it, we will teach it to householders and then we, too, will be worshipped, revered, honored, venerated, given homage; we too will become recipients of robes, almsfood, lodgings, & medical requisites for the sick."

Responding, "As you say, friends," to his own following, Susima the wanderer went to Ven. Ananda and, on arrival, exchanged courteous greetings with him. After an exchange of friendly greetings & courtesies, he sat to one side. As he was sitting there, he said to Ven. Ananda, "Friend Ananda, I want to live the holy life in this Dhamma & Discipline."

Then Ven. Ananda took Susima the wanderer to 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, "Lord, this wanderer, Susima, has said, 'Friend Ananda, I want to live the holy life in this Dhamma & Discipline.'"

"Then in that case, Ananda, give him the Going Forth." So Susima the wanderer gained the Going Forth in the presence of the Blessed One, he gained the Acceptance (into the community of monks).

Now at that time a large number of monks had declared final gnosis in the Blessed One's presence: "We discern that 'Birth is ended, the holy life fulfilled, the task done. There is nothing further for the sake of this world.'"

Ven. Susima heard that "A large number of monks, it seems, have declared final gnosis in the Blessed One's presence: 'We discern that "Birth is ended, the holy life fulfilled, the task done. There is nothing further for the sake of this world."'" Then Ven. Susima went to those monks and, on arrival, exchanged courteous greetings with them. After an exchange of friendly greetings & courtesies, he sat to one side. As he was sitting there, he said to them, "Is it true, as they say, that you have declared final gnosis in the Blessed One's presence: 'We discern that "Birth is ended, the holy life fulfilled, the task done. There is nothing further for the sake of this world"'?"

"Yes, friend."

"Then, having known thus, having seen thus, do you wield manifold supranormal powers? Having been one you become many; having been many you become one? You appear? You vanish? You go unimpeded through walls, ramparts, & mountains as if through space? You dive in & out of the earth as if it were water? You walk on water without sinking as if it were dry land? Sitting crosslegged you fly through the air like a winged bird? With your hand you touch and stroke even the sun & moon, so mighty & powerful? You exercise influence with your body even as far as the Brahma worlds?"

"No, friend."

"Then, having known thus, having seen thus, do you hear — by means of the divine ear-element, purified & surpassing the human — both kinds of sounds: divine & human, whether near or far?"

"No, friend."

"Then, having known thus, having seen thus, do you know the awareness of other beings, other individuals, having encompassed it with your own awareness? Do you discern a mind with passion as a mind with passion, and a mind without passion as a mind without passion; a mind with aversion as a mind with aversion, and a mind without aversion as a mind without aversion; a mind with delusion as a mind with delusion, and a mind without delusion as a mind without delusion; a restricted mind as a restricted mind, and a scattered mind as a scattered mind; an enlarged mind as an enlarged mind, and an unenlarged mind as an unenlarged mind;an excelled mind [one that is not on the most excellent level] as an excelled mind, and an unexcelled mind as an unexcelled mind; a concentrated mind as a concentrated mind, and an unconcentrated mind as an unconcentrated mind; a released mind as a released mind, and an unreleased mind as an unreleased mind?"

"No, friend."

"Then, having known thus, having seen thus, do you recollect your manifold past lives (lit: previous homes), i.e., one birth, two births, three births, four, five, ten, twenty, thirty, forty, fifty, one hundred, one thousand, one hundred thousand births, many aeons of cosmic contraction, many aeons of cosmic expansion, many aeons of cosmic contraction & expansion, [recollecting], 'There I had such a name, belonged to such a clan, had such an appearance. Such was my food, such my experience of pleasure & pain, such the end of my life. Passing away from that state, I re-arose there. There too I had such a name, belonged to such a clan, had such an appearance. Such was my food, such my experience of pleasure & pain, such the end of my life. Passing away from that state, I re-arose here'?"

"No, friend."

"Then, having known thus, having seen thus, do you see — by means of the divine eye, purified & surpassing the human — beings passing away and re-appearing, and do you discern how they are inferior & superior, beautiful & ugly, fortunate & unfortunate in accordance with their kamma: 'These beings — who were endowed with bad conduct of body, speech, & mind, who reviled the noble ones, held wrong views and undertook actions under the influence of wrong views — with the break-up of the body, after death, have re-appeared in the plane of deprivation, the bad destination, the lower realms, in hell. But these beings — who were endowed with good conduct of body, speech, & mind, who did not revile the noble ones, who held right views and undertook actions under the influence of right views — with the break-up of the body, after death, have re-appeared in the good destinations, in the heavenly world'?"

"No, friend."

"Then, having known thus, having seen thus, do you dwell touching with your body the peaceful emancipations, the formless states beyond form [the formless jhanas]?"

"No, friend."

"So just now, friends, didn't you make that declaration without having attained any of these Dhammas?"

"We're released through discernment, friend Susima."

"I don't understand the detailed meaning of your brief statement. It would be good if you would speak in such a way that I would understand its detailed meaning."

"Whether or not you understand, friend Susima, we are still released through discernment."

So Ven. Susima got up from his seat and went to the Blessed One. On arrival, having bowed down to the Blessed One, he sat to one side. As he was sitting there, he told the Blessed One the entire conversation he had had with those monks.

[The Blessed One said:] "First, Susima, there is the knowledge of the regularity of the Dhamma [dependent co-arising], after which there is the knowledge of Unbinding."

"I don't understand the detailed meaning of the Blessed One's brief statement. It would be good if the Blessed One would speak in such a way that I would understand its detailed meaning."

"Whether or not you understand, Susima, it is still the case that first there is the knowledge of the regularity of the Dhamma, after which there is the knowledge of Unbinding.

"What do you think, Susima: Is form [any physical phenomenon] constant or inconstant?" — "Inconstant, lord." — "And is that which is inconstant easeful or stressful?" — "Stressful, lord." — "And is it fitting to regard what is inconstant, stressful, subject to change as: 'This is mine. This is my self. This is what I am'?"

"No, lord."

"...Is feeling constant or inconstant?" — "Inconstant, lord."...

"...Is perception constant or inconstant?" — "Inconstant, lord."...

"...Are fabrications constant or inconstant?" — "Inconstant, lord."...

"What do you think, Susima: Is consciousness constant or inconstant?" — "Inconstant, lord." — "And is that which is inconstant easeful or stressful?" — "Stressful, lord." — "And is it fitting to regard what is inconstant, stressful, subject to change as: 'This is mine. This is my self. This is what I am'?"

"No, lord."

"Thus, Susima, any form whatsoever that is past, future, or present; internal or external; blatant or subtle; common or sublime; far or near: every form is to be seen as it actually is with right discernment as: 'This is not mine. This is not my self. This is not what I am.'

"Any feeling whatsoever...

"Any perception whatsoever...

"Any fabrications whatsoever...

"Any consciousness whatsoever that is past, future, or present; internal or external; blatant or subtle; common or sublime; far or near: every consciousness is to be seen as it actually is with right discernment as: 'This is not mine. This is not my self. This is not what I am.'

"Seeing thus, the well-instructed disciple of the noble ones grows disenchanted with form, disenchanted with feeling, disenchanted with perception, disenchanted with fabrications, disenchanted with consciousness. Disenchanted, he becomes dispassionate. Through dispassion, he is fully released. With full release, there is the knowledge, 'Fully released.' He discerns that 'Birth is ended, the holy life fulfilled, the task done. There is nothing further for this world.'"

"Susima, do you see that from birth as a requisite condition there is aging & death?"

"Yes, lord."

"Do you see that from becoming as a requisite condition there is birth?"

"Yes, lord."

"Do you see that from clinging/sustenance as a requisite condition there is becoming?"

"Yes, lord."

"Do you see that from craving as a requisite condition there is clinging/sustenance?"

"Yes, lord."

"Do you see that from feeling as a requisite condition there is craving?"

"Yes, lord."

"Do you see that from contact as a requisite condition there is feeling?"

"Yes, lord."

"Do you see that from the six sense media as a requisite condition there is contact?"

"Yes, lord."

"Do you see that from name-&-form as a requisite condition there are the six sense media?"

"Yes, lord."

"Do you see that from consciousness as a requisite condition there is name-&-form?"

"Yes, lord."

"Do you see that from fabrications as a requisite condition there is consciousness?"

"Yes, lord."

"Do you see that from ignorance as a requisite condition there are fabrications?"

"Yes, lord."

"Now, Susima, do you see that from the cessation of birth there is the cessation of aging & death?"

"Yes, lord."

"Do you see that from the cessation of becoming there is the cessation of birth?"

"Yes, lord."

"Do you see that from the cessation of clinging/sustenance there is the cessation of becoming?"

"Yes, lord."

"Do you see that from the cessation of craving there is the cessation of clinging/sustenance?"

"Yes, lord."

"Do you see that from the cessation of feeling there is the cessation of craving?"

"Yes, lord."

"Do you see that from the cessation of contact there is the cessation of feeling?"

"Yes, lord."

"Do you see that from the cessation of the six sense media there is the cessation of contact?"

"Yes, lord."

"Do you see that from the cessation of name-&-form there is the cessation of the six sense media?"

"Yes, lord."

"Do you see that from the cessation of consciousness there is the cessation of name-&-form?"

"Yes, lord."

"Do you see that from the cessation of fabrications there is the cessation of consciousness?"

"Yes, lord."

"Do you see that from the cessation of ignorance there is the cessation of fabrications?"

"Yes, lord."

"Then, having known thus, having seen thus, Susima, do you wield manifold supranormal powers? Having been one you become many; having been many you become one? You appear? You vanish? You go unimpeded through walls, ramparts, & mountains as if through space? You dive in & out of the earth as if it were water? You walk on water without sinking as if it were dry land? Sitting crosslegged you fly through the air like a winged bird? With your hand you touch and stroke even the sun & moon, so mighty & powerful? You exercise influence with your body even as far as the Brahma worlds?"

"No, lord."

"Then, having known thus, having seen thus, Susima, do you hear — by means of the divine ear-element, purified & surpassing the human — both kinds of sounds: divine & human, whether near or far?"

"No, lord."

"Then, having known thus, having seen thus, Susima, do you know the awareness of other beings, other individuals, having encompassed it with your own awareness? Do you discern a mind with passion as a mind with passion, and a mind without passion as a mind without passion; a mind with aversion as a mind with aversion, and a mind without aversion as a mind without aversion; a mind with delusion as a mind with delusion, and a mind without delusion as a mind without delusion; a restricted mind as a restricted mind, and a scattered mind as a scattered mind; an enlarged mind as an enlarged mind, and an unenlarged mind as an unenlarged mind;an excelled mind [one that is not on the most excellent level] as an excelled mind, and an unexcelled mind as an unexcelled mind; a concentrated mind as a concentrated mind, and an unconcentrated mind as an unconcentrated mind; a released mind as a released mind, and an unreleased mind as an unreleased mind?"

"No, lord."

"Then, having known thus, having seen thus, Susima, do you recollect your manifold past lives, i.e., one birth, two births, three births, four, five, ten, twenty, thirty, forty, fifty, one hundred, one thousand, one hundred thousand births, many aeons of cosmic contraction, many aeons of cosmic expansion, many aeons of cosmic contraction & expansion, [recollecting], 'There I had such a name, belonged to such a clan, had such an appearance. Such was my food, such my experience of pleasure & pain, such the end of my life. Passing away from that state, I re-arose there. There too I had such a name, belonged to such a clan, had such an appearance. Such was my food, such my experience of pleasure & pain, such the end of my life. Passing away from that state, I re-arose here'?"

"No, lord."

"Then, having known thus, having seen thus, Susima, do you see — by means of the divine eye, purified & surpassing the human — beings passing away and re-appearing, and do you discern how they are inferior & superior, beautiful & ugly, fortunate & unfortunate in accordance with their kamma: 'These beings — who were endowed with bad conduct of body, speech, & mind, who reviled the noble ones, held wrong views and undertook actions under the influence of wrong views — with the break-up of the body, after death, have re-appeared in the plane of deprivation, the bad destination, the lower realms, in hell. But these beings — who were endowed with good conduct of body, speech, & mind, who did not revile the noble ones, who held right views and undertook actions under the influence of right views — with the break-up of the body, after death, have re-appeared in the good destinations, in the heavenly world'?"

"No, lord."

"Then, having known thus, having seen thus, Susima, do you dwell touching with your body the peaceful emancipations, the formless states beyond form?"

"No, lord."

"So just now, Susima, didn't you make that declaration without having attained any of these Dhammas?"

Then, throwing himself down with his head at the Blessed One's feet, Ven. Susima said to the Blessed One, "A transgression has overcome me, lord, in that I was so foolish, so muddle-headed, & so unskilled as to go forth as a thief of the Dhamma in this well-taught Dhamma & Discipline! May the Blessed One please accept this confession of my transgression as such, so that I may restrain myself in the future."

"Yes, Susima, a transgression overcame you in that you were so foolish, so muddle-headed, & so unskilled as to go forth as a thief of the Dhamma in this well-taught Dhamma & Discipline. Suppose, Susima, that a robber, an evil-doer, having been caught, were shown to a king: 'This, your majesty, is a robber, an evil-doer. Decree what punishment you want for him.' And so the king would say, 'Go and — having bound him with a stout rope with his arms pinned tightly against his back, having shaved him bald — march him to a harsh-sounding drum from street to street, crossroads to crossroads; evict him out the south gate of the city and there, to the south of the city, cut off his head.' Then the king's men, having bound the man with a stout rope with his arms pinned tightly against his back, would march him to a harsh-sounding drum from street to street, crossroads to crossroads, evict him out the south gate of the city and there, to the south of the city, cut off his head. What do you think, Susima? Wouldn't that man, for that reason, experience pain & distress?"

"Yes, lord."

"However much the pain & distress that man would experience for that reason, Susima, the Going Forth of a thief of the Dhamma in this well-taught Dhamma & Discipline is still more painful in its result, more bitter in its result, in that it leads even to the lower realms. But because you see your transgression as such and make amends in accordance with the Dhamma, we accept your confession. For, Susima, it is a cause of growth in the Dhamma & Discipline of the noble ones when, seeing a transgression as such, one makes amends in accordance with the Dhamma and exercises restraint in the future."



See also:

AN 9.43; Kayasakkhi Sutta: Bodily Witness
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

AN 9.44; Paññavimutti Sutta: Released Through Discernment
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

AN 9.45. Ubhatobhaga Sutta: (Released) Both Ways
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
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Re: SN 12.70: Susima Sutta — About Susima

Postby robertk » Tue May 29, 2012 8:06 am

Translator's note: This discourse is sometimes cited as proof that a meditator can attain Awakening (final gnosis) without having practiced the jhanas, but a close reading shows that it does not support this assertion at all


The people who sometimes assert this- see underline- happen to be the whole Theravada tradition since two millennia plus. They apparently got it wrong and our intrepid translator was able to discern the right meaning.. or...did he get it wrong...
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Re: SN 12.70: Susima Sutta — About Susima

Postby Sam Vara » Tue May 29, 2012 8:45 am

Hi Mike,

Many thanks for this one. I'm trying to work out what it means. First, I am OK with Thanissaro's point about this sutta not being evidence that Jhanas are superfluous for release. Only a superficial reading would suggest that. But conversely, if there is evidence that Jhanas are necessary prerequisites for release, then it does not seem to be here, or indeed even in the Pannavimutti Sutta. The latter strongly links Jhanas and Vimutti, but only contingently and without logical or causal necessity. Ananda's response in the Pannavimutti Sutta begins

There is the case...


rather than in all cases. Probably Thanissaro has that evidence from elsewhere, and unless it impacts directly upon my understanding of this sutta, I'm OK to leave it there.

In this sutta, do you think Susima's impure intention impeded his understanding? this seems to be a major theme, but how is this shown?

It might be that the impure intention led him to believe that release was accompanied or preceded by the spectacular "supernatural" aspects which he lists. The Buddha's point

First, Susima, there is the knowledge of the regularity of the Dhamma, after which there is the knowledge of unbinding


might just be a simple factual correction of this wrong view. As in "You were thinking that these Arahants required special powers to be released; whereas in reality, all they needed was an understanding of dependent co-arising".

If so, then what is the purpose of the Buddha walking him through the Khandas and dependent co-arising? He certainly seems to have understood it. He "gets" dependent co-arising. Is his minor "breakdown" his acknowledgement that he merely understands intellectually? Or is it that at this moment he gains a glimpse of the deeper truth, and sees the shame of his earlier intention?

On this matter, we might profitably ask ourselves what it is, by the end of the sutta, that the new Arahants understand and Susima doesn't. It is implied that they have achieved knowledge of the regularity of the Dhamma (dependent co-arising), and Susima understands it in the sense that he assents to all the links when led by the Blessed One. Neither the Arahants nor Susima have gained the supernatural powers he mistakenly associates with their state. So how are they different?
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Re: SN 12.70: Susima Sutta — About Susima

Postby polarbuddha101 » Tue May 29, 2012 8:52 am

Now at that time a large number of monks had declared final gnosis in the Blessed One's presence: "We discern that 'Birth is ended, the holy life fulfilled, the task done. There is nothing further for the sake of this world.'"


After Susima goes to the Blessed One and is led through the teaching on anatta and paticcasamuppada, does he become an arahant through discernment?

"So just now, Susima, didn't you make that declaration without having attained any of these Dhammas?


The quote above seems to imply it to me but Susima doesn't declare the holy life to be fulfilled so I'm a bit confused. The sutta also makes no mention of Susima having entered any jhanas so I could see how one might interpret this passage to mean that jhana is unnecessary at least for some people. Another reason jhana may be unnecessary comes from this quote...

Then when he saw that Suppabuddha the leper's mind was ready, malleable, free from hindrances, elated, & bright, he then gave the Dhamma-talk peculiar to Awakened Ones, i.e., stress, origination, cessation, & path. And just as a clean cloth, free of stains, would properly absorb a dye, in the same way, as Suppabuddha the leper was sitting in that very seat, the dustless, stainless Dhamma eye arose within him, "Whatever is subject to origination is all subject to cessation."


however, notice that the leper is free from the hindrances and that his mind is elated, malleable and bright which seem to be describing a possible jhanic state, certainly it's describing symptoms of jhana.

Did Susima enter a jhanic state when the Buddha was giving him the teaching and it just wasn't written down, did Susima gain release through discernment?

Why would someone who just gained release through discernment talk about restraining himself in the future or throw themselves at someone's feet?

Anyone want to clarify?

:namaste:
"I don't envision a single thing that, when developed & cultivated, leads to such great benefit as the mind. The mind, when developed & cultivated, leads to great benefit."

"I don't envision a single thing that, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about such suffering & stress as the mind. The mind, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about suffering & stress."
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Re: SN 12.70: Susima Sutta — About Susima

Postby mikenz66 » Tue May 29, 2012 9:57 am

Good comments above.

Somewhat realated to the theme of this sutta, Sunakkhatta left the order because the Buddha would not perform miracles.

See: MN 12 Maha-sihanada Sutta: The Great Discourse on the Lion's Roar
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .ntbb.html
Now on that occasion Sunakkhatta, son of the Licchavis, had recently left this Dhamma and Discipline.[1] He was making this statement before the Vesali assembly: "The recluse Gotama does not have any superhuman states, any distinction in knowledge and vision worthy of the noble ones.[2] The recluse Gotama teaches a Dhamma (merely) hammered out by reasoning, following his own line of inquiry as it occurs to him, and when he teaches the Dhamma to anyone, it leads him when he practices it to the complete destruction of suffering."[3]

    [1] The story of Sunakkhatta's defection is found in the Patika Sutta (DN 24). He became dissatisfied with the Buddha and left the Order because the Buddha would not perform miracles for him or explain to him the beginning of things. He also showed great admiration for those who engaged in self-mortification, and probably resented the Buddha for emphasizing a "middle way" that condemned such extreme austerities as unprofitable.
      DN 24
      1.4. “‘Well, Lord, you have not performed any miracles.”
      “And did I ever say to you: ‘Come under my rule, Sunakkhatta, and I will perform miracles for you’?”
      “No, Lord.”
      “Or did you ever say to me: ‘Lord, I will be under your rule if you will perform miracles for me’?”
      “No, Lord.”
      “Then it appears, Sunakkhatta, that I made no such promises, and you made no such conditions. Such being the case, you foolish man, who are you and what are you giving up?

    [2] Superhuman states (uttari manussadhamma) are states, virtues or attainments higher than the ordinary human virtues comprised in the ten wholesome courses of action; they include the jhanas, direct knowledges (abhiñña), the paths and the fruits. "Distinction in knowledge and vision worthy of the noble ones" (alamariyañana-dassanavisesa), an expression frequently occurring in the suttas, signifies all higher degrees of meditative knowledge characteristic of the noble individual. In the present context, according to Comy., it means specifically the supramundane path, which Sunakkhatta is thus denying of the Buddha.
    [3] The thrust of his criticism is that the Buddha teaches a doctrine that he has merely worked out in thought rather than one he has realized through transcendental wisdom. Apparently, Sunakkhatta believes that being led to the complete destruction of suffering is, as a goal, inferior to the acquisition of miraculous powers.

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Re: SN 12.70: Susima Sutta — About Susima

Postby robertk » Tue May 29, 2012 10:11 am

From the Theravada Commentary (as compiled by Buddhaghosa) plus tika on the Susima sutta:

Saratthappakasini (Atthakatha) :


Why is this said? For the purpose
of showing the arising of
knowledge thus even without concentration.
This is meant: "Susima, the path and fruit are not the issue of
concentration (samadhinissanda), nor the advantage brought about by
concentration (samadhi-anisamsa), nor the outcome of concentration
(samadhinipphatti). They are the issue of insight (vipassana), the
advantage brought about by insight, the outcome of insight.
Therefore, whether you understand or not, first comes knowledge of
the stability of the Dhamma, afterwards knowledge of Nibbana.

Spk-pt (tika): 'Even without concentration' (vina pi samadhim): even
without
previously established (concentration) that has acquired the
characteristic of serenity (samatha-lakkhanappattam); this is said
referring to one who takes the vehicle of insight
(vipassanayanika)...
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Re: SN 12.70: Susima Sutta — About Susima

Postby Sam Vara » Tue May 29, 2012 10:13 am

The recluse Gotama teaches a Dhamma (merely) hammered out by reasoning, following his own line of inquiry as it occurs to him, and when he teaches the Dhamma to anyone, it leads him when he practices it to the complete destruction of suffering


Interesting that this is not too far from what some modern "secular Buddhists" believe. In itself, I would have thought it a point of view that could be efficacious in a pragmatic sense, providing one keeps an open mind. The problem here seems to be the insistence that the destruction of suffering is somehow inferior to the attainment of superhuman states. I wonder whether it would be possible to practice for the destruction of suffering while believing that there is a higher goal or purpose to life? Again, not too dissimilar to the views of those people who adopt selected practices in order to help them with their life-project or even their theistic faith.
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Re: SN 12.70: Susima Sutta — About Susima

Postby Sam Vara » Tue May 29, 2012 10:35 am

robertk

From the Theravada Commentary (as compiled by Buddhaghosa) plus tika on the Susima sutta:

Saratthappakasini (Atthakatha) :


Why is this said? For the purpose
of showing the arising of
knowledge thus even without concentration.
This is meant: "Susima, the path and fruit are not the issue of
concentration (samadhinissanda), nor the advantage brought about by
concentration (samadhi-anisamsa), nor the outcome of concentration
(samadhinipphatti). They are the issue of insight (vipassana), the
advantage brought about by insight, the outcome of insight.
Therefore, whether you understand or not, first comes knowledge of
the stability of the Dhamma, afterwards knowledge of Nibbana.

Spk-pt (tika): 'Even without concentration' (vina pi samadhim): even
without
previously established (concentration) that has acquired the
characteristic of serenity (samatha-lakkhanappattam); this is said
referring to one who takes the vehicle of insight
(vipassanayanika)...


Many thanks for this - it is really useful. Again, just like Thanissaro's point, I am happy to take it as a working hypothesis for uncovering the meaning of the Sutta.

polarbuddha101 and I raised a similar point, I think. What is the status of Susima's understanding in this Sutta? Has he realised the knowledge of the regularity of the Dhamma, or is it more the case that such knowledge is shown (from the outside, so to speak) to be a sole condition for the knowledge of unbinding?
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Re: SN 12.70: Susima Sutta — About Susima

Postby robertk » Tue May 29, 2012 3:06 pm

Understanding develops gradually. I would guess in Susimas case he had the parami from past lives that allowed him to penetrate the meaning of the sutta deeply.
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Re: SN 12.70: Susima Sutta — About Susima

Postby mikenz66 » Wed May 30, 2012 9:06 am

Then the Venerable Ānanda took the wanderer Susı̄ma and approached the Blessed One. He paid homage to the Blessed One, and then he sat down to one side and said to him: “Venerable sir, this wanderer Susı̄ma says that he wishes to lead the holy life in this Dhamma and Discipline.”

“Well then, Ānanda, give him the going forth.” The wanderer Susı̄ma then received the going forth and the higher ordination under the Blessed One.

This sutta is discussed in relation to its Chinese counterpart by Gombrich, How Buddhism Began, pp. 123 http://books.google.co.nz/books?id=aIOY5g9npMEC&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_atb#v=onepage&q=Susima&f=false-27.

    The gist of this is that in the Chinese version the other monks claim that they are awakened, by when they are cross-examined by Susima they turn out to be lying...

Spk: Susīma had approached the Venerable Ānanda, thinking, “He is the most learned disciple, and also the Teacher frequently reports to him the Dhamma he has spoken on various occasions; under him I will be able to learn the Dhamma quickly.” Ānanda brought him to the Buddha because he knew that Susīma had been a teacher in his own right and he was apprehensive that after going forth he might try to bring discredit to the Dispensation. The Buddha understood that Susīma’s motive in taking ordination was “theft of the Dhamma,” which made his entry into the Dispensation impure, but he foresaw that Susīma would shortly undergo a change of heart and attain arahantship. Hence he instructed Ānanda to give him the going forth.

It is puzzling that here, when it was most necessary to do so, the Buddha makes no mention of the probationary period normally imposed on wanderers of other sects who wish to enter the Buddhist order; perhaps the Buddha had foreseen that Susīma would have been discouraged by such a stipulation and would not have applied for admission, thus losing the chance to gain liberation.
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Re: SN 12.70: Susima Sutta — About Susima

Postby Sam Vara » Wed May 30, 2012 9:43 am

Susima's "theft of the Dhamma" is interesting in that he initially requests the going forth in order to receive the homage and respect and material requisites from the houeholders. But if he were really that cynical, it would have made more sense for him to keep quiet when ordained, and not take an interest in the attainments of the advanced practitioners.

Perhaps Susima thought that a bit of levitation and sun-stroking would have gone down well with the villagers, who would have given him more offerings. Or perhaps he actually thought that the path led somewhere, and his mistake was in underestimating the destination.
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Re: SN 12.70: Susima Sutta — About Susima

Postby robertk » Wed May 30, 2012 9:47 am

Notice how we have a comparative sutta from the chinese agamas thAT is utterly different, Dhammawise, from the original pali. And yet so often we hear claims of " the suttas are true (but not Abhidhamma) because they are the same as the agamas( "Abhidhamma is different")
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Re: SN 12.70: Susima Sutta — About Susima

Postby robertk » Wed May 30, 2012 10:42 am

Sam Vega wrote:Susima's "theft of the Dhamma" is interesting in that he initially requests the going forth in order to receive the homage and respect and material requisites from the houeholders. But if he were really that cynical, it would have made more sense for him to keep quiet when ordained, and not take an interest in the attainments of the advanced practitioners.

Perhaps Susima thought that a bit of levitation and sun-stroking would have gone down well with the villagers, who would have given him more offerings. Or perhaps he actually thought that the path led somewhere, and his mistake was in underestimating the destination.

When someone has parami nothing can stop them becoming enlightened once they hear appropriate true Dhamma.

Like the queen who didn't want to meet the Buddha because she heard he spoke of the transience of beauty (she was so beautiful). The King made her come to a Dhamma talk and even then she stayed at the back of the crowd. But she couldn't stop herself from attaining- the parami were ripe.
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Re: SN 12.70: Susima Sutta — About Susima

Postby Sam Vara » Wed May 30, 2012 12:57 pm

robertk

When someone has parami nothing can stop them becoming enlightened once they hear appropriate true Dhamma.


This may well be the case, but this reading of the Sutta is dependent upon Susima actually gaining the "knowledge of the regularity of the Dhamma" which the Buddha speaks of. At best, we can only infer that this is so from what other people say to him. Does Susima see anatta and dependent origination, or is he intellectually assenting to what the Buddha walks him through?
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Re: SN 12.70: Susima Sutta — About Susima

Postby robertk » Wed May 30, 2012 2:06 pm

There are three levels of understanding, right..
Sacca nana is when there is genuine and clear understanding at the intellectual level.
But there is no penetration of Dhamma until kicca nana and finally kata nana
Susima was able to attain all three levels, step by step, fairly quickly.

This is unlike this time where even sacca nana eludes most of us.
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Re: SN 12.70: Susima Sutta — About Susima

Postby Sam Vara » Wed May 30, 2012 2:12 pm

Susima was able to attain all three levels, step by step, fairly quickly.


I wouldn't dispute that he did, but how do we know this? Is there evidence in the Sutta, or is it from elsewhere?
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Re: SN 12.70: Susima Sutta — About Susima

Postby mikenz66 » Wed May 30, 2012 7:25 pm

robertk wrote:Notice how we have a comparative sutta from the chinese agamas thAT is utterly different, Dhammawise, from the original pali. And yet so often we hear claims of " the suttas are true (but not Abhidhamma) because they are the same as the agamas( "Abhidhamma is different")

Yes, I pointed out in these threads another case where there is a rather important difference, to do with the permanence (or not) of liberation of an Arahant:
http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=29&t=11630
viewtopic.php?f=25&t=11481#p174483

And there is MN 117 Maha-cattarisaka Sutta: The Great Forty
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
which seems to be the only sutta where the idea of mundane and supramundane right view is expressed:
viewtopic.php?f=16&t=1255#p15705

:anjali:
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Re: SN 12.70: Susima Sutta — About Susima

Postby mikenz66 » Thu May 31, 2012 7:36 am

Now on that occasion a number of bhikkhus had declared final knowledge in the presence of the Blessed One, saying: “We understand: Destroyed is birth, the holy life has been lived, what had to be done has been done, there is no more for this state of being.” The Venerable Susı̄ma heard about this, [121] so he approached those bhikkhus, exchanged greetings with them, and then sat down to one side and said to them: “Is it true that you venerable ones have declared final knowledge in the presence of the Blessed One, saying: ‘We understand: Destroyed is birth, the holy life has been lived, what had to be done has been done, there is no more for this state of being’?”

Spk: Those bhikkhus, having received a meditation subject from the Teacher, entered upon the three-month rains residence, and during the rains, striving and struggling, they attained arahantship. At the end of the rains they went to the Teacher and informed him of their attainment. When Susīma heard about this he thought: “Final knowledge (aññā) must be the supreme standard in this Dispensation, the essential personal transmission of the teacher (paramappamāṇaṃ sārabhūtā ācariyamuṭṭhi, lit. ‘teacher’s fist’). Let me inquire and find out about it.” Therefore he approached those bhikkhus.

The stock description of the five abhiññās that follows is commented upon in detail in the Visuddhimagga, chaps. 12 and 13.
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Re: SN 12.70: Susima Sutta — About Susima

Postby mikenz66 » Thu May 31, 2012 7:48 am

... Thus with the divine eye, which is purified and surpasses the human, do you see beings passing away and being reborn, inferior and superior, beautiful and ugly, fortunate and unfortunate, and understand how beings fare on in accordance with their kamma?”

“No, friend.”

“Then knowing and seeing thus, do you venerable ones dwell in those peaceful deliverances that transcend forms, the formless attainments, having touched them with the body?”
Spk-pṭ: The formless jhānas and deliverance from perception (āruppajjhāna-saññāvimokkhā).


“No, friend.”

“Here now, venerable ones: this answer and the nonattainment of those states, how could this be, friends?”

“We are liberated by wisdom, friend Susı̄ma.”
BB: Paññāvimuttā kho mayaṃ āvuso Susīma.

Spk: He shows: “Friend, we are without jhāna, dry-insighters, liberated simply by wisdom” (āvuso mayaṃ nijjhānakā sukkhavipassakā paññāmatten’ eva vimuttā). Spk-pṭ: Liberated simply by wisdom: not both-ways-liberated (na ubhatobhāgavimuttā).

BB: While Spk seems to be saying that those bhikkhus did not have any jhānas, the sutta itself establishes only that they lacked the abhiññās and āruppas; nothing is said about whether or not they had achieved the four jhānas. It is significant that Susīma’s questions do not extend to the jhānas, and it is even possible (though contrary to the commentaries) that nijjhānaka should be understood, not as the deprivative “without jhāna,” but as an agent noun from nijjhāna, pondering, hence “ponderers.” In any case, the sutta goes no further than to distinguish the paññāvimutta arahant from other arahants who have the six abhiññās and the formless attainments, and thus it offers nothing radically different from the Nikāyas as a whole.

BB: The commentaries explain the paññāvimutta arahant to be of five kinds: those who attain one or another of the four jhānas, and the “dry-insighter” (sukkhavipassaka) who lacks mundane jhāna but still has the supramundane jhāna inseparable from the noble path (see Sv II 512,19-28). On the contrast between paññāvimutta and ubhatobhāgavimutta arahants, see MN I 477-78; Pp 14, 190-91.
MN 70 Kitagiri Sutta
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
    "Monks, there are these seven individuals to be found in the world. Which seven? One [released] both ways, one released through discernment, a bodily witness, one attained to view, one released through conviction, a Dhamma-follower, and a conviction-follower. ...
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Re: SN 12.70: Susima Sutta — About Susima

Postby mikenz66 » Fri Jun 01, 2012 10:24 am

Then the Venerable Susı̄ma rose from his seat and approached the Blessed One. Having approached, he paid homage to the Blessed One, sat down to one side, and reported to the Blessed One the entire conversation he had had with those bhikkhus. [The Blessed One said:]

“First, Susı̄ma, comes knowledge of the stability of the Dhamma, afterwards knowledge of Nibbāna.”
Pubbe kho Susīma dhammaṭṭhitiñāṇaṃ, pacchā nibbāne ñāṇaṃ.

Spk: Insight knowledge is “knowledge of the stability of the Dhamma,” which arises first. At the end of the course of insight, path knowledge arises; that is “knowledge of Nibbāna,” which arises later.
    Spk-pṭ: The “stability of the Dhamma” is the stableness of phenomena, their intrinsic nature (dhammānaṃ ṭhitatā taṃsabhāvatā): namely, impermanence, suffering, nonself. Knowledge of that is “knowledge of the stability of the Dhamma.”
BB: See too n. 51 n. 105.
    Note 105: Spk: The knowledge of the stability of the Dhamma (dhammaṭṭhitiñāṇa ) is the knowledge of the principle of conditionality. For the principle of conditionality is called “the stability of the Dhamma” because it is the cause for the continued occurrence of phenomena (pavattiṭṭhitikāraṇattā); the knowledge of it is “the knowledge of the stability of the Dhamma.” This is a designation for just this sixfold knowledge.
BB: A chapter on dhammaṭṭhitiñāṇa is at Paṭis I 50-52, where it is explained as the knowledge of the relations between each pair of factors in paṭicca-samuppāda.


“What do you think, Susı̄ma, is form permanent or impermanent?”
–“Impermanent, venerable sir.”
–“Is what is impermanent suffering or happiness?”
–“Suffering, venerable sir.”
–“Is what is impermanent, suffering, and subject to change fit to be regarded thus: ‘This is mine, this I am, this is my self’?”
–“No, venerable sir.”
Spk: Having known him to be capable of penetration, the Buddha speaks thus giving a Dhamma teaching with three turns, at the conclusion of which the elder attained arahantship. Spk-pṭ: The “three turns” (teparivaṭṭaṃ) are by way of the turning over of the three characteristics in relation to the five aggregates.

BB: The catechism on the three characteristics recurs throughout the Khandha-saṃyutta, as at 22:49, 59, 79, 80, 82, etc.
e.g. the second discourse:
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .nymo.html
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