SN 35.95: Malunkyaputta Sutta

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

Moderator: mikenz66

User avatar
mikenz66
Posts: 14947
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:37 am
Location: New Zealand

SN 35.95: Malunkyaputta Sutta

Postby mikenz66 » Thu May 12, 2011 10:07 am

SN 35.95 PTS: S iv 72 CDB ii 1175
Malunkyaputta Sutta: To Malunkyaputta
translated from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu


An aging Ven. Malunkyaputta receives from the Buddha a short teaching regarding dispassion towards the senses ("In reference to the seen, there will be only the seen..."), and soon thereafter becomes an arahant.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

Then Ven. Malunkyaputta, who was ardent & resolute, went to the Blessed One and, on arrival, having bowed down to him, sat to one side. As he was sitting there, he said to the Blessed One: "It would be good, lord, if the Blessed One would teach me the Dhamma in brief so that, having heard the Dhamma from the Blessed One, I might dwell alone in seclusion: heedful, ardent, & resolute."

"Here now, Malunkyaputta: What will I say to the young monks when you — aged, old, elderly, along in years, come to the last stage of life — ask for an admonition in brief?"

"Lord, even though I'm aged, old, elderly, along in years, come to the last stage of life, may the Blessed One teach me the Dhamma in brief! May the One Well-gone teach me the Dhamma in brief! It may well be that I'll understand the Blessed One's words. It may well be that I'll become an heir to the Blessed One's words."

"What do you think, Malunkyaputta: the forms cognizable via the eye that are unseen by you — that you have never before seen, that you don't see, and that are not to be seen by you: Do you have any desire or passion or love there?"

"No, lord."[1]

"The sounds cognizable via the ear...

"The aromas cognizable via the nose...

"The flavors cognizable via the tongue...

"The tactile sensations cognizable via the body...

"The ideas cognizable via the intellect that are uncognized by you — that you have never before cognized, that you don't cognize, and that are not to be cognized by you: Do you have any desire or passion or love there?"

"No, lord."

"Then, Malunkyaputta, with regard to phenomena to be seen, heard, sensed, or cognized: In reference to the seen, there will be only the seen. In reference to the heard, only the heard. In reference to the sensed, only the sensed. In reference to the cognized, only the cognized. That is how you should train yourself. When for you there will be only the seen in reference to the seen, only the heard in reference to the heard, only the sensed in reference to the sensed, only the cognized in reference to the cognized, then, Malunkyaputta, there is no you in connection with that. When there is no you in connection with that, there is no you there. When there is no you there, you are neither here nor yonder nor between the two. This, just this, is the end of stress."[2]

"I understand in detail, lord, the meaning of what the Blessed One has said in brief:

Seeing a form
— mindfulness lapsed —
attending
to the theme of 'endearing,'
impassioned in mind,
one feels
and remains fastened there.
One's feelings, born of the form,
grow numerous,
Greed & annoyance
injure one's mind.
Thus amassing stress,
one is said to be far from Unbinding.

Hearing a sound...
Smelling an aroma...
Tasting a flavor...
Touching a tactile sensation...

Knowing an idea
— mindfulness lapsed —
attending
to the theme of 'endearing,'
impassioned in mind,
one feels
and remains fastened there.
One's feelings, born of the idea,
grow numerous,
Greed & annoyance
injure one's mind.
Thus amassing stress,
one is said to be far from Unbinding.

Not impassioned with forms
— seeing a form with mindfulness firm —
dispassioned in mind,
one knows
and doesn't remain fastened there.
While one is seeing a form
— and even experiencing feeling —
it falls away and doesn't accumulate.
Thus one fares mindfully.
Thus not amassing stress,
one is said to be
in the presence of Unbinding.

Not impassioned with sounds...
Not impassioned with aromas...
Not impassioned with flavors...
Not impassioned with tactile sensations...

Not impassioned with ideas
— knowing an idea with mindfulness firm —
dispassioned in mind,
one knows
and doesn't remain fastened there.
While one is knowing an idea
— and even experiencing feeling —
it falls away and doesn't accumulate.
Thus one fares mindfully.
Thus not amassing stress,
one is said to be
in the presence of Unbinding.

"It's in this way, lord, that I understand in detail the meaning of what the Blessed One said in brief."

"Good, Malunkyaputta. Very good. It's good that you understand in detail this way the meaning of what I said in brief."

[The Buddha then repeats the verses.]

"It's in this way, Malunkyaputta, that the meaning of what I said in brief should be regarded in detail."

Then Ven. Malunkyaputta, having been admonished by the admonishment from the Blessed One, got up from his seat and bowed down to the Blessed One, circled around him, keeping the Blessed One to his right side, and left. Then, dwelling alone, secluded, heedful, ardent, & resolute, he in no long time reached & remained in the supreme goal of the holy life for which clansmen rightly go forth from home into homelessness, knowing & realizing it for himself in the here & now. He knew: "Birth is ended, the holy life fulfilled, the task done. There is nothing further for the sake of this world." And thus Ven. Malunkyaputta became another one of the arahants.


Notes

1. It is possible, of course, to have desire for a sight that one has not seen. Strictly speaking, however, the desire is not "there" at the unseen sight. Rather, it's there at the present idea of the unseen sight. This distinction is important for the purpose of the practice.

2. See Ud 1.10, [] where the Buddha gives these same instructions to Bahiya of the Bark-cloth.

See also: MN 18 []; SN 23.2 [].

User avatar
mikenz66
Posts: 14947
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:37 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: SN 35.95: Malunkyaputta Sutta

Postby mikenz66 » Thu May 12, 2011 10:10 am

SN 35.95 PTS: S iv 72 CDB ii 1175
Maalunkyaputta Sutta: Maalunkyaputta
translated from the Pali by
Maurice O'Connell Walshe


[The Ven. Maalu"nkyaputta said:] "It would be well for me, Lord, if the Blessed One would teach me briefly a doctrine so that having heard it I might dwell alone, in seclusion, unwearied, ardent and resolute."

"Well now, Maalu"nkyaputta, what am I to say to the younger monks if you, a frail, aged, venerable man, far gone in years, at the end of your life, ask for instruction in brief?"

"What do you think, Maalu"nkyaputta? Objects cognizable by the eye, not seen, which you have not seen before, which you do not see now and do not wish to see — have you any desire, lust and fondness for them?"

"No indeed, Lord."

[Similarly for sounds, scents, flavors, tangible things, mental objects.]

"Well then, Maalu"nkyaputta, in things seen, heard, sensed,[1] cognized: in the seen there will only be the seen, in the heard only the heard, in the sensed only the sensed, in the cognized only the cognized... Then, Maalu"nkyaputta, there will be no 'thereby' for you.[2] Having no 'thereby' you have no 'there.'[3] Having no 'there,' Maalu"nkyaputta, there is for you neither this world, nor the next, nor anywhere in between.[4] That in itself is the end of suffering."

"Indeed, Lord, I understand in full the meaning of what the Blessed One has stated in brief."

Forms perceived cause loss of mindfulness,
If we dwell on their endearing charms,
Passion grips the heart,
and feeling flows,
Clinging has us firmly in its grip:
So emotions rise and grow in strength,
Of divers kinds, all based on what was seen.
Some of greed and some of hatred born —
Grievously they all afflict the heart of man,
Heaping up his store of pain and woe: Thus for him Nibbaana's far away.

[Similarly for sounds, scents, tastes, tangibles, thoughts.]

He who's not inflamed by things he sees,
Seeing forms retains his mindfulness,
Not in passion's grip, simply feels,
On him clinging cannot get a hold.
If he just observes the things he sees,
Not reacting to their shape or form,
He'll pull down the pile, not build it up.
Mindfully proceeding on his way,
Heaping up no store of pain and woe:
Then for him Nibbaana's very near.

[Similarly for sounds, scents, tastes, tangibles, thoughts.]

"Indeed, Lord, I understand in full the meaning of what the Blessed One has stated in brief."

[The Buddha confirms Maalu"nkyaputta's words; in due course Maalu"nkyaputta becomes an Arahant.]

Notes

1. Muta: i.e., smelt, tasted or touched.

2. This is almost impossible to translate adequately. There is no agent, i.e., no "seer," "feeler," "knower." "There will be no 'thereby' whereby one will be lustful, hating or deluded (SA [SN commentary])."

3. If there is no agent (i.e., "self"), then there is nowhere such an agent can be located. "You will have no 'there'": you will not be bound "there" or attached "there," i.e., with regard to the seen, heard, sensed and cognized (SA).

4. "You will realize that nothing is really reborn."

User avatar
mikenz66
Posts: 14947
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:37 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: SN 35.95: Malunkyaputta Sutta

Postby mikenz66 » Thu May 12, 2011 10:01 pm


pulga
Posts: 1189
Joined: Sun Nov 14, 2010 3:02 pm

Re: SN 35.95: Malunkyaputta Sutta

Postby pulga » Fri May 13, 2011 2:47 am

Hello Mike,

Might one interpret it along the lines of esse est percipi, only with the stipulation that rúpa is independent of náma, i.e. it appears through náma when we are conscious of it?

I don't know whether there's a translation that I can readily copy and paste, but in the Dhátusamyutta of the SN, there's the passage:

‘‘Evaṃ kho, bhikkhave, dhātunānattaṃ paṭicca uppajjati saññānānattaṃ, saññānānattaṃ paṭicca uppajjati…pe… saṅkappa… phassa… vedanā… chanda… pariḷāha… pariyesanā… lābha… no lābhanānattaṃ paṭicca uppajjati pariyesanānānattaṃ, no pariyesanānānattaṃ paṭicca uppajjati pariḷāhanānattaṃ, no pariḷāhanānattaṃ paṭicca uppajjati chandanānattaṃ, no chandanānattaṃ paṭicca uppajjati vedanānānattaṃ, no vedanānānattaṃ paṭicca uppajjati phassanānattaṃ, no phassanānattaṃ paṭicca uppajjati saṅkappanānattaṃ, no saṅkappanānattaṃ paṭicca uppajjati saññānānattaṃ, no saññānānattaṃ paṭicca uppajjati dhātunānatta’’nti. SN 14.94, i.e. "...the diversity of elements do not arise dependent upon the diversity of perceptions."

User avatar
mikenz66
Posts: 14947
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:37 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: SN 35.95: Malunkyaputta Sutta

Postby mikenz66 » Fri May 13, 2011 2:54 am


pulga
Posts: 1189
Joined: Sun Nov 14, 2010 3:02 pm

Re: SN 35.95: Malunkyaputta Sutta

Postby pulga » Fri May 13, 2011 3:15 am

Hi Mike,

I was thinking more of the principle itself -- to be is to be perceived -- rather than the specifics of Berkeley's philosophy.

Anyway, the passage I quoted seems to show that the relationship between náma and rúpa isn't a direct codependency.

User avatar
mikenz66
Posts: 14947
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:37 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: SN 35.95: Malunkyaputta Sutta

Postby mikenz66 » Fri May 13, 2011 9:38 am


User avatar
mikenz66
Posts: 14947
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:37 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: SN 35.95: Malunkyaputta Sutta

Postby mikenz66 » Fri May 13, 2011 10:02 am


pulga
Posts: 1189
Joined: Sun Nov 14, 2010 3:02 pm

Re: SN 35.95: Malunkyaputta Sutta

Postby pulga » Fri May 13, 2011 1:48 pm


User avatar
mikenz66
Posts: 14947
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:37 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: SN 35.95: Malunkyaputta Sutta

Postby mikenz66 » Sat May 14, 2011 9:11 am

Some Commentary from Bhikkhu Bodhi's translation.

BB: Malunkyaputta appear at MN 63 [, where he demands to know whether the cosmos is eternal or not, etc....] and MN 64 [, where he gives what the Buddha does not consider to be a good enough answer to a question about fetter, though the error seems rather subtle]. His verses are also at Th 794-817. See also AN II 248-49, where he again requests a teaching in his old age. Spk explains that in his youth he had been negligent and had dallied with sensual pleasures; now in his old age he wanted to dwell in the forest and practise meditation.

See also this reference: http://www.wisdomlib.org/definition/mal ... index.html

"Here, now Malunkyaputta, what should I say to the young bhikkhus..."

Spk: The Blessed One speaks thus both to reproach him and to extol him. He reproaches him for putting off the work of an ascetic until old age, and extols him in order to set an example for the younger monks.


"... do you have any desire, lust or affection for those forms cognizable by the eye that you have not seen and never saw before, that you do not see and whould not think might be seen?"

BB: Spk explains adittha aditthapubba as respectively," not seen in this existence" and "never seen before" in the past. An illustration may be found in SN 42.11. http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html


"When, Malunkyaputta, regarding things seen, heard, sensed, and cognized by you, in the seen will be merely the seen, in the heard there will be merely the heard, in the sensed there will be merely the sensed, in the cognized there will be merely the cognized, then Malunkyaputta, you will not be 'by that.' When, Malukyaputta, you are not 'by that', then you will not be 'therein'. When, Malunkyaputta, you are not 'therein', then you will be neither here nor beyond nor between the two. This itself is the end of suffering."

BB: The same advice is given to the ascetic Bhiya at Ud 8,5-12 http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

The meaning is extremely compressed and in places the passage seems to defy standard grammar (e.g. by treating na tena and na tattha as nominative predicates). Spk gives a long explanation, which I translate here, partially abridged.

In the form base, i.e., in what is seen by eye conciousness, "there will be merely the seen". For eye-conciousness sees only form in form, not some essence that is permanent, etc. So too for the remaining types of consciousness [Spk-pt: i.e. for the javanas()], there will be merely the seen. Or, alternatively: What is called "the seen in the seen" is eye-conciousness, which means the cognizing of form, in form. "Merely" indicates the limit (matta ti pamanam). It has merely been seen; thus "merely the seen", (an attribute of) the mind. The meaning is: "My mind will be just a mere eye-conciousness." This is what is meant. As eye-conciousness is not affected by lust, hatred, or delusion in relation to form that has some into range, so the javana will be just like a mere eye-consciousness by being destitute of lust, etc. I will set up the javana with just eye-consciousness as the limit. It will not go beyond the limit and allow the mind to arise by way of lust, etc. So too for the heard and the sensed. The "cognized" is the object congnized by mind-door adverting (manodvaravajjana). In that cognized, "merely the cognized" is the adverting (consciousness) as the limit. As one does not beome lustful, etc., by adverting, so I will set up my mind with adverting as the limit, not allowing it to arise by way of lust, etc.

You will not be "by that" (na tena): you will not be aroused by that lust, or irritated by that hatred, or deluded by that delusion.

Then you will not be "therein" (na tattha): When you are not aroused by that lust, etc., then "you will not be therein" --- bound, attached, established in what is seen, heard, sensed and cognized.

Spk's explanation of "neither here not beyond nor in between the two" is the same as that summed up in Note 53 above.
[ Channa Sutta: 35.87 (Here: 34. 9. 4. (87) Channo - Venerable Channa )]
again proposed to avoid having to admit an intermediate state [between death and birth].
[This, Spk says, cannot be correct as it would contradict the Abhidhamma. Therefore the meaning is: "Neither here, not there, nor both---the other alternative".]

The verses that follow are intended to explicate the Buddha's brief dictum. From these, it seems that to go beyong "merely the seen" is to ascribe a pleasing sign (piyanimmitta) --- and attractive attribute --- to the objects seen, heard, etc., and from this such defilements as attraction and annoyance result.


"One fares mindfully in such a way
That even as one sees the form,
And while one undergoes a feeling,
[Suffering] is exhausted, not built up."


BB: Khiyati no paciyati. No subject is provided, but Spk suggests both suffering and the various defilements would be appropriate.

[Mike: Hmm, after typing all that I'm not sure if I'm any less confused... :tongue: ]

User avatar
mikenz66
Posts: 14947
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:37 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: SN 35.95: Malunkyaputta Sutta

Postby mikenz66 » Sat May 14, 2011 9:48 am


User avatar
mikenz66
Posts: 14947
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:37 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: SN 35.95: Malunkyaputta Sutta

Postby mikenz66 » Tue May 17, 2011 10:18 am

Any more comments?

:anjali:
Mike

Sylvester
Posts: 2205
Joined: Tue Mar 10, 2009 9:57 am

Re: SN 35.95: Malunkyaputta Sutta

Postby Sylvester » Fri May 20, 2011 9:28 am

I realise that the "in the seen, there will only be the seen" passage has been canvassed sometimes by the "emptiness" camps, but I think Mike's citation of SN 14.8 is a useful reminder that the Buddha's approach to the "external" world has a rather solid and grounded "Realism" to it, in contrast to those who argue for perhaps a more Idealist perspective of the world.

It looks like the elements/dhatus are "out there", whether or not we contact them. The whole point of SN 35.95 is an admonition, IMHO, against appropriation of the states that arise from contact. This sutta and the Bahiya Sutta have sometimes been pressed into service to extend Dependant Origination beyond phassa/contact into every constituent of phassa, including the external ayatanas. I don't think these 2 suttas offer any basis for the development of any form of Buddhist "emptiness" metaphysics for the external world...

User avatar
mikenz66
Posts: 14947
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:37 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: SN 35.95: Malunkyaputta Sutta

Postby mikenz66 » Fri May 20, 2011 10:00 am

Hi Sylvester,

Could you elaborate on that interesting observation? Certainly I don't find the argument that because our experience is deluded there is no external reality convincing. As I said here, it doesn't seem logical:
viewtopic.php?f=16&t=8139&start=0#p131514

:anjali:
Mike

User avatar
mikenz66
Posts: 14947
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:37 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: SN 35.95: Malunkyaputta Sutta

Postby mikenz66 » Fri May 20, 2011 10:19 am


User avatar
kirk5a
Posts: 1959
Joined: Thu Sep 23, 2010 1:51 pm

Re: SN 35.95: Malunkyaputta Sutta

Postby kirk5a » Fri May 20, 2011 1:01 pm

"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230

User avatar
mikenz66
Posts: 14947
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:37 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: SN 35.95: Malunkyaputta Sutta

Postby mikenz66 » Fri May 20, 2011 8:31 pm

Hmmm "Tilting towards non-existence"... Hopefully not a reference to a certain member of this forum... :tongue:

Seriously, I certainly agree that sometimes too much emphasis is often put on the "all exists" extreme...

:anjali:
Mike

Sylvester
Posts: 2205
Joined: Tue Mar 10, 2009 9:57 am

Re: SN 35.95: Malunkyaputta Sutta

Postby Sylvester » Sat May 21, 2011 8:39 am


User avatar
daverupa
Posts: 5980
Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2011 6:58 pm

Re: SN 35.95: Malunkyaputta Sutta

Postby daverupa » Sat May 21, 2011 7:05 pm


Sylvester
Posts: 2205
Joined: Tue Mar 10, 2009 9:57 am

Re: SN 35.95: Malunkyaputta Sutta

Postby Sylvester » Sun May 22, 2011 4:51 am

Hi dave.

Phassa is common to both nidanas. I take the plain sutta reading of phassa as being the conjunction of indriya, ayatana and the corresponding vinnana.

Now, if the ayatana were illusory or mind-made, could there be such an event as phassa? Possibly, if one were to argue that in all unenlightened beings, such beings "manufacture" the external reality through some process.

But this does not account for how the nidanas still operate for enlightened beings - to the extent that buddhas continue to feel after sambodhi. I don't think there's any unenlightened process in a buddha that continues to manufacture the external reality that is a sliver of rock that cuts and hurts.

The hypothetical "manufacturing" of the external reality, in my view, is discounted by the explanation of the process of cognition in MN 28. What accounts for contact is tajja samannahara, plus the indriya and ayatana. Whether or not tajja samannahara is in place, MN 28 posits that the ayatana can "be"; this independance of the ayatana from tajja samannahara is what gives the external some objective reality, and not an exclusively subjective one.

Hope this makes sense.


Return to “Study Group”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests

Google Saffron, Theravada Search Engine