Sam Vara wrote:These suttas have a strong sense of the sublime, in the literal sense of being disturbed by the greatness of things. There is not much to be said about them intellectually (one either believes it or one does not) but there is much to be felt about them emotionally.
Moreover, the process is not only beginningless but is also potentially endless. As long as ignorance and craving remain intact, the process will continue indefinitely into the future with no end in sight. For the Buddha and Early Buddhism, this is above all the defining crisis at the heart of the human condition: we are bound to a chain of rebirths, and bound to it by nothing other than our own ignorance and craving. The pointless wandering on in saṃsāra occurs against a cosmic background of inconceivably vast dimensions.
Having used the phenomenological mode to solve the problem of kamma and reach Unbinding, however, the Buddha was not limited to that mode. After his Awakening, he was free to return at will to the narrative and cosmological modes of thought and speech, without being caught up in their presuppositions [DN 9]. For most people, he found, even the four noble truths were too alien to form an entry point into the teaching. Thus he had to use the narrative and cosmological modes of discourse to bring such people, step by step, to the point where they were ready to comprehend those truths.
mikenz66 wrote:SN 56.102-113 PTS: S v 474 CDB ii 1885
Pansu Suttas: Dust
translated from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu
Then the Blessed One, picking up a little bit of dust with the tip of his fingernail, said to the monks, "What do you think, monks? Which is greater: the little bit of dust I have picked up with the tip of my fingernail, or the great earth?"
"The great earth is far greater, lord. The little bit of dust the Blessed One has picked up with the tip of his fingernail is next to nothing. It doesn't even count. It's no comparison. It's not even a fraction, this little bit of dust the Blessed One has picked up with the tip of his fingernail, when compared with the great earth.
"In the same way, monks, few are the beings who, on passing away from the human realm, are reborn among human beings. Far more are the beings who, on passing away from the human realm, are reborn in hell.
"Therefore your duty is the contemplation, 'This is stress... This is the origination of stress... This is the cessation of stress.' Your duty is the contemplation, 'This is the path of practice leading to the cessation of stress.'"
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