Guhatthaka Sutta

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Guhatthaka Sutta

Postby jcsuperstar » Tue May 18, 2010 1:50 pm

Snp 4.2 PTS: Sn 772-779
Guhatthaka Sutta: The Cave of the Body
translated from the Pali by
Thanissaro Bhikkhu

Staying attached to the cave,
covered heavily over, [1]a person sunk in confusion
is far from seclusion —
for sensual pleasures
sensual desires [2]in the world
are not lightly let go.

Those chained by desire,
bound by becoming's allure,
aren't easily released
for there's no liberation by others.
Intent, in front or behind, [3]on hunger for sensual pleasures
here or before —
greedy
for sensual pleasures,
busy, deluded, ungenerous,
entrenched in the out-of-tune way, [4]they — impelled into pain — lament:
"What will we be
when we pass on from here?"

So a person should train
right here & now.
Whatever you know
as out-of-tune in the world,
don't, for its sake, act out-of-tune,
for that life, the enlightened say,
is short.

I see them,
in the world, floundering around,
people immersed in craving
for states of becoming.
Base people moan in the mouth of death,
their craving, for states of becoming & not-, [5] unallayed.

See them,
floundering in their sense of mine,
like fish in the puddles
of a dried-up stream —
and, seeing this,
live with no mine,
not forming attachment
for states of becoming.
Subdue desire
for both sides, [6]comprehending [7] sensory contact,
with no greed.

Doing nothing for which
he himself
would rebuke himself,
the enlightened person doesn't adhere
to what's seen,
to what's heard.
Comprehending perception,
he'd cross over the flood —
the sage not stuck
on possessions.
Then, with arrow removed,
living heedfully, he longs for neither —
this world,
the next.




Notes
1.Nd.I: "Covered heavily over" with defilements and unskillful mental qualities.
2."Sensual desires/sensual pleasures": two possible meanings of kama. According to Nd.I, both meanings are intended here.
3.Nd.I: "In front" means experienced in the past (as does "before" two lines down); "behind" means to-be-experienced in the future.
4.Nd.I: "The out-of-tune way" means the ten types of unskillful action (see AN 10.176).
5.States of not-becoming are oblivious states of becoming that people can get themselves into through a desire for annihilation, either after death or as a goal of their religious striving (see Iti 49). As with all states of becoming, these states are impermanent and stressful.
6.According to Nd.I, "both sides" here has several possible meanings: sensory contact and the origination of sensory contact; past and future; name and form; internal and external sense media; self-identity and the origination of self-identity. It also might mean states of becoming and not-becoming, mentioned in the previous verse and below, in Sn 4.5.
7.Nd.I: Comprehending sensory contact has three aspects: being able to identify and distinguish types of sensory contact; contemplating the true nature of sensory contact (e.g., inconstant, stressful, and not-self); and abandoning attachment to sensory contact. The same three aspects would apply to comprehending perception, as mentioned in the following verse.

See also: AN 4.184.
สัพเพ สัตตา สุขีตา โหนตุ

the mountain may be heavy in and of itself, but if you're not trying to carry it it's not heavy to you- Ajaan Suwat
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Re: Guhatthaka Sutta

Postby Richard » Sat May 22, 2010 12:50 am

I am surprised there has been no comment on this sutta for the whole past week. Are we having trouble with its attitude toward all those who are "floundering around, immersed in craving"? I live in a city where it's not hard to see people whose lives are wrecked by drug and alcohol addiction. I can't do anything for them directly, but try not to feel too superior because I am far from being free of craving in other forms. This sutta seems to say that we should take the sight of others as a spur to our own practice--but is that all we should do?
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Re: Guhatthaka Sutta

Postby Anicca » Sat May 22, 2010 2:38 am

Richard wrote:I am surprised there has been no comment on this sutta for the whole past week.

Howdy Richard!

I've been ambling around Dhamma Wheel, taking a look in all the nooks and crannies - and i too was surprised how many times suttas here got zilch, nada and/or nothing in response. jcsuperstar is surely to be commended, none the less!

Richard wrote: Are we having trouble with its attitude toward all those who are "floundering around, immersed in craving"?

What is its attitude?

Richard wrote:I live in a city where it's not hard to see people whose lives are wrecked by drug and alcohol addiction.

There is a mirror in the bathroom that shows all the wrecked life i need/care to see.

Richard wrote:I can't do anything for them directly, but try not to feel too superior because I am far from being free of craving in other forms.

Trying not to feel *too* superior? How much superior is "too superior"?

Is it like Goldilocks & the Three Bears - "Nope - too superior.." "Nope - not enough superior..." "Ahhh! Just the right amount of superior!"

Adding one to make a 9 Fold Path - "Right Superiority" :tongue:

You can do something for them indirectly - grow greater compassion, better yourself and share it all around - but you know this already...

Richard wrote:This sutta seems to say that we should take the sight of others as a spur to our own practice--but is that all we should do?


What else do you think we should do?

Seems that "comprehending perception and crossing over the flood " is no small feat - but upon reaching that far shore we are then in the best position to do more - whatever that more should be. What do you think?

Metta to all everywhere (but to me first :) )
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Re: Guhatthaka Sutta

Postby Yllyrryon » Sat May 22, 2010 9:14 pm

Offering another “thank you” to jcsuperstar for the efforts with this study group.

I have been at a loss as to where to begin in discussing this sutta. So I’ll dive in with a few observations and remarks.

The imagery is potent, using metaphors for the body as a cave and comparing people floundering around, lost in sense craving, to fish flopping about in puddles. In doing this, the sutta succinctly shows us what not to do. Then it concludes by offering the example of how an enlightened person relates to sensual experience. The arrow of craving is removed; life is lived heedfully without clinging or craving.

To what extent does seeing things as they really are help correct wrong attitudes and behavior?

Right view reveals the body to be like a cave; and a life spent pursing sense experience is like living in that dark and damp cave all tied up. So as right view emerges, an epiphany dawns in the mind: “I cannot believe I was living life like that! I would never want to go back to such a way of living!” Among other things, right views provides motivation to make changes and avoid going back to patterns of conduct that perpetuated suffering.

So these are a few things that have come to mind in reading this sutta.

Thanks again for offering this! Happiness, peace, health, and safety to all. And may all find freedom from suffering!
"The Buddha is rightly self-awakened - the Dhamma, well taught - and the Noble Sangha, worthy of honor." Translation by Ven. Thanissaro
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Re: Guhatthaka Sutta

Postby jcsuperstar » Sat May 22, 2010 9:23 pm

sometimes it is just hard to see what's wrong in yourself. however we usually are easily able to find fault in others. also it has been said before and if i pay attention to my mind i notice that, we usually pick out the faults of others that we most strongly identify with ourselves (even if we are not conscious that that is in fact what we are doing), so if it is easy for us to see the 'sins" of others and those sins we so easily see are really just our own, then it is a good first step to get us to move from just seeing the problems to moving on to doing something about them. :shrug:
สัพเพ สัตตา สุขีตา โหนตุ

the mountain may be heavy in and of itself, but if you're not trying to carry it it's not heavy to you- Ajaan Suwat
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Re: Guhatthaka Sutta

Postby Anicca » Sun May 23, 2010 12:08 am

jcsuperstar wrote:sometimes it is just hard to see what's wrong in yourself. however we usually are easily able to find fault in others. also it has been said before and if i pay attention to my mind i notice that, we usually pick out the faults of others that we most strongly identify with ourselves (even if we are not conscious that that is in fact what we are doing), so if it is easy for us to see the 'sins" of others and those sins we so easily see are really just our own, then it is a good first step to get us to move from just seeing the problems to moving on to doing something about them. :shrug:


in others and our own - watching my first born's undesirable behavior - where'd he learn that? --- gulp....

Oh how that truth can hurt... and help!

thanks for sharing :thumbsup:

Metta
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Re: Guhatthaka Sutta

Postby Anicca » Sun May 23, 2010 12:30 am

jcsuperstar wrote:Snp 4.2 PTS: Sn 772-779
Guhatthaka Sutta: The Cave of the Body
translated from the Pali by
Thanissaro Bhikkhu

....
for sensual pleasures
sensual desires in the world
are not lightly let go.

Those chained by desire,
bound by becoming's allure,
aren't easily released
...


It is easy to look at the hedonists - the abusers - the addicts and aptly apply the sutta - but
for well over twenty years, my wife and i have lived next door to a widower - she's lived alone the whole of our aquaintance - 93 years old - taking care of herself and volunteering time to others. What an inspiration she is. She moved out today - her house is empty - for sale sign in the front yard - and i am shattered. Some desires and pleasures are so subtle and can seem so right and yet ... :weep:
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