SN 35.95: Malunkyaputta Sutta

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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, [http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/kn/ud/ud.1.10.than.html] where the Buddha gives these same instructions to Bahiya of the Bark-cloth.

See also: MN 18 [http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.018.than.html]; SN 23.2 [http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn23/sn23.002.than.html].
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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."
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Re: SN 35.95: Malunkyaputta Sutta

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

The passage from Ud 1.10 for comparison http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
"Then, Bahiya, you should train yourself thus: 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, Bahiya, there is no you in terms of that. When there is no you in terms of 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."

Through hearing this brief explanation of the Dhamma from the Blessed One, the mind of Bahiya of the Bark-cloth right then and there was released from the effluents through lack of clinging/sustenance. Having exhorted Bahiya of the Bark-cloth with this brief explanation of the Dhamma, the Blessed One left.
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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."
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Re: SN 35.95: Malunkyaputta Sutta

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

Thanks Pulga,

My Latin is not so hot, but I guess you're talking about Berkeley: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Ber ... philosophy
Berkeley's contribution to philosophy is his thorough substantiation of the so-called "new principle"[6] esse est percipi (to be is to be perceived).
    “ This is the claim, most often presented negatively,[7] as the thesis that matter does not exist, with which Berkeley is most closely associated.[8] ”

According to the "esse is percipi" thesis, all the things surrounding us are nothing but our ideas. Sensible things have no other existence distinct from their being perceived by us. This also applies to human bodies. When we see our bodies or move our limbs, we perceive only certain sensations in our consciousness.

:anjali:
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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.
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Re: SN 35.95: Malunkyaputta Sutta

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

Hi Pulga,
SN 14.94, i.e. "...the diversity of elements do not arise dependent upon the diversity of perceptions."

I can't find a 14.94. Can you check the reference?

And if you have time, perhaps expand on your statement? I'm afraid it's a little too cryptic for me.
Might one interpret it along the lines of esse est percipi [to be is to be perceived], only with the stipulation that rúpa is independent of náma, i.e. it appears through náma when we are conscious of it?

:anjali:
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Re: SN 35.95: Malunkyaputta Sutta

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

OK, I think the Sutta you're referring to is SN 14.8 in Bhikkhu Bodhi's translation.

Bhikkhus, it is in dependence on the diversity of elements that there arises the diversity of perceptions
... intentions ... desires ... passions ...
in dependence on the diversity of passions that there arises the diversity of quests.
The diversity of passions does not arise in dependence on the diversity of quests
... desires ... intentions ... perceptions ...
the diversity of elements does not arise in dependence on the diversity of perceptions.

And what, Bhikkhus, is the diversity of elements? The form element, ... sound ... odour ... taste ... tactile-object ... mental-phenomena element. This, bhikkhus, is the diversity of elements.

:anjali:
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Re: SN 35.95: Malunkyaputta Sutta

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

mikenz66 wrote:SN 14.94, i.e. "...the diversity of elements do not arise dependent upon the diversity of perceptions."

I can't find a 14.94. Can you check the reference?

And if you have time, perhaps expand on your statement? I'm afraid it's a little too cryptic for me.


Hi Mike,

The reference number comes from the CSCD Tipitaka website. The Dutiyabāhiraphassanānattasutta is in the 14th samyutta, the 94th section; the Málukyaputtasutta is in the 35th samyutta, the 95th section. But if my sutta referencing is out of the ordinary, please let me know. I'll make a point to reference the name of the sutta in the future, as well.

Ven. Ñanavira explains it nicely in one of his letters to Sister Vajira:

I do not say that rúpa is appearance. I say, rather, that rúpa is what appears. Rúpa, on its own, cannot appear (and therefore does not exist): in order to appear (or to exist) rúpa requires náma; that is to say, it requires feeling and perception. Similarly, rúpa, on its own, is not significant; for a thing is significant, has an intention, only when it appears from a certain point of view; and without náma (and viññána) rúpa is without a point of view (or orientation). Thus cetaná (intention) is náma (see M. 9: i,53, where náma is defined as vedaná saññá cetaná phassa manasikára [attention = point of view; my present point of view is what I am at present attending to]). Without náma we cannot speak of rúpa: there is no adhivacana. But without rúpa there is nothing to speak of: there is no patigha.

This accounts for the world's facticity. The Buddha never denied the existence of the world, but rather the existence of the self. The world is real, but in order for it to exist we must experience it.
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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 [http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.063.than.html, where he demands to know whether the cosmos is eternal or not, etc....] and MN 64 [http://awake.kiev.ua/dhamma/tipitaka/2Sutta-Pitaka/2Majjhima-Nikaya/Majjhima2/064-maha-malunkhyaputta-e1.html, 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(http://dhammawiki.com/index.php?title=Javana)], 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 http://awake.kiev.ua/dhamma/tipitaka/2Sutta-Pitaka/3Samyutta-Nikaya/Samyutta4/34-Salayatana-Samyutta/09-Channavaggo-e.html)]
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: ]
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Re: SN 35.95: Malunkyaputta Sutta

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

Some more Commentary on instructions to Malunkyaputta and Bahiya.

From Ajahn Amaro
http://www.forestsangha.org/index.php?o ... jahn-amaro
Upon hearing these words, Bahiya was immediately enlightened. Moments later, he was killed by a runaway cow. So he was right: life is uncertain. Later Bahiya was awarded the title of "The disciple who understood the teaching most quickly."

This principle of non-abiding is incredibly frustrating to the conceptual/thinking mind because the conceptual mind has built such an edifice of "me" around here, around there, around the past, around present, around future, around you, and around this and that. It is tied up with the phenomenal, dualistic world. In order to discover the place of non\ufdd3abiding, we have to see that identification. We have to see what's happening. Then we need to find the way to let go. The first part, seeing the identification, is mainly what we need to do. We don't realize that we are identified. It seems the most normal thing. I am Joe Schmoe, I was born in this place. This is my age, and this is who I am. It seems so reasonable. But when we identify with that, there is no freedom. When we believe these attributes to be an absolute truth, then there is no freedom. It is a matter of recognizing how absolutely we take this identity to be true and real. Its like tasting the sense of self and feeling how gritty that is and how real it seems to be. In recognizing the feeling of it, we are able to know, This is just a feeling. The feelings of I-ness and my-ness (ahamkara and mamamkara in Pali) are as transparent as any other feelings.


Thanissaro Bhikkhu
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... averb.html
The essential step toward this non-localized, undefined realization is to cut back on the proliferations of consciousness. This first involves contemplating the drawbacks of keeping consciousness trapped in the process of feeding. This contemplation gives urgency to the next steps: bringing the mind to oneness in concentration, gradually refining that oneness, and then dropping it to zero. The drawbacks of feeding are most graphically described in SN 12.63 [http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn12/sn12.063.than.html], A Son's Flesh. The process of gradually refining oneness is probably best described in MN 121 [http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.121.than.html], The Lesser Discourse on Emptiness, while the drop to zero is best described in the Buddha's famous instructions to Bahiya: "'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, Bahiya, 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."


http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... rtbook.pdf
The move from equanimity to non-fashioning is briefly described in a famous
passage:

    “Then, Bahiya, you should train yourself thus: ...

On the surface, these instructions might seem to be describing bare attention, but
a closer look shows that something more is going on. To begin with, the instructions
come in two parts: advice on how to train attention, and a promise of the results that
will come from training attention in that way. In other words, the training is still
operating on the conditioned level of cause and effect. It’s something to be done.
This means it’s shaped by an intention, which in turn is shaped by a view. The
intention and view are informed by the “result” part of the passage: The meditator
wants to attain the end of stress and suffering, and so is willing to follow the path to
that end. Thus, as with every other level of appropriate attention, the attention
developed here is conditioned by right view—the knowledge that your present
intentions are ultimately the source of stress—and motivated by the desire to put an
end to that stress. This is why you make the effort not to add anything at all to the
potentials coming from the past.

The need for right view would seem to be belied by the circumstances
surrounding these instructions. After all, these are the first instructions Bahiya
receives from the Buddha, and he attains Awakening immediately afterward, so
they would appear to be complete in and of themselves. However, in the lead-up to
this passage, Bahiya is portrayed as unusually heedful and motivated to practice.
He already knows that Awakening is attained by doing, and the instructions come
in response to his request for a teaching that will show him what to do now for his
long-term welfare and happiness—a question that MN 135 identifies as the
foundation for wisdom and discernment. So his attitude contains all the seeds for
right view and right intention. Because he was wise—the Buddha later praised him
as the foremost of his disciples in terms of the quickness of his discernment—he was
able to bring those seeds to fruition immediately.

A verse from SN 35.95—which the Buddha says expresses the meaning of the
instructions to Bahiya—throws light on how Bahiya may have developed those
seeds.

    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.

Notice two words in this verse: mindfulness and dispassioned. The reference to
mindfulness underlines the need to continually remind oneself of the intention not
to add anything to any potentials from the past. This again points to the willed
nature of the attention being developed here.


Mahasi Sayadaw
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... el298.html
Mindful Perception Leads to Detachment

    "In the seen there should be only the seen; in the heard only the heard; in the sensed only the sensed; in the cognized only the cognized." This was the Buddha's instruction to Malunkyaputta and Bahiya.

— Salayatana Samyutta, Sutta 95; Udana I, 10.

One must note what is seen as seen and no more. That is the general idea. For meditational practice, however, one must note the beginning of any object or sense as it is in the process of happening. If one could concentrate on each phenomenon distinctly and separately, one would not feel any attachment or desire, and thus craving (tanha) is gotten rid of.

— Discourse on the Hemavata Sutta

The Unseen and the Seen

When the Buddha was about to give instructions to Malunkyaputta Bhikkhu, he asked:

    "Malunkyaputta, do you have any desire for the appearances that you have never seen, or those that you are not in the act of seeing, or those that you never expect to see?"

    "No, sir, that is impossible," replied the bhikkhu.

— Salayatana Samyutta, No. 95

Now if I were to ask you the same question as the Buddha put to Malunkyaputta Bhikkhu, you would give the same answer as he did. You would not have any feeling of love or hatred for a person whom you never expect to see, would you? Now there are many such people in so many villages, towns, cities, and countries, and you would never have any feeling of love or of hatred for them. You wouldn't have any attachment desire or lust for them.

Defilements do not arise from the unperceived. This point should be noted.

As for the things seen, however, defilements arise both in the act of seeing and after having seen because a mental picture is retained in the memory and on reflection or recall, defilements would recur. These cherished memories are stored up in the archives of the latent tendencies (anusaya), as deeply rooted memories. It is necessary to root these out by means of Vipassana.

— Discourse on the Hemavata Sutta
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Re: SN 35.95: Malunkyaputta Sutta

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

Any more comments?

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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...
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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

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Re: SN 35.95: Malunkyaputta Sutta

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

It's interesting that there is only one SN 14 Sutta at Access to Insight: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .html#sn14
There is a whole series of Suttas there with discussing this issue of diversity, with the same pattern as the one I summarized part of above:
viewtopic.php?f=25&t=8361&p=131929#p130941

They are here: http://awake.kiev.ua/dhamma/tipitaka/2S ... ggo-e.html but those translations are not easy to follow...

But note that these Sutta I quoted is about the 18 elements not the four "physical" elements:
“Bhikkhus, what is the diversity of elements?
“There are the elements, of the eye, forms and eye-consciousness.
“There are the elements of the ear, sounds and ear-consciousness.
“There are the elements of the nose, scents and nose-consciousness.
“There are the elements of the tongue, tastes and tongue-consciousness.
“There are the elements of the body, touches and body-consciousness.
“And there are the elements of the mind, ideas and mind-consciousness.
“Bhikkhus, this is the diversity of elements.”


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Re: SN 35.95: Malunkyaputta Sutta

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

mikenz66 wrote: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:

I think there is a bit of a tendency in meditative circles to start forming metaphysics on the basis of meditation experience, and it often seems to be in the mode of saying something about the world as illusion. It goes too far, it goes beyond "just the seen in the seen" off into views about "what exists," tilting towards non-existence. To the point of saying, maybe not in so many words, but basically, "nothing does exist." Which I enjoy sparring with, because then why do they keep getting up in the morning to feed the supposedly "illusory" body?
"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
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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...

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Re: SN 35.95: Malunkyaputta Sutta

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

mikenz66 wrote: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:
http://dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f= ... =0#p131514

:anjali:
Mike


Sorry, Mike. Not much more to offer, other than to note that without some "reality" to the external ayatanas, the nidanas of salayatana-phassa and phassa-vedana become totally irrelevant and a sham. DO would then become an unconvincing explanation of Dukkha, and we may as well find another Dependant Cessation schema to escape Dukkha.

Psst, psst - if you're looking for a discussion of the 4 dhatus in SN 14, pop over to SN 14.30 - 39. There, the suttas extend the discussion of desire for the 18 dhatus to these 4 dhatus, but instead of desire/chanda, the suttas discuss in terms of delight/nandi.
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Re: SN 35.95: Malunkyaputta Sutta

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

Sylvester wrote: without some "reality" to the external ayatanas, the nidanas of salayatana-phassa and phassa-vedana become totally irrelevant and a sham.


I don't follow the chain of reasoning here.
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
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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.
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