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MN 109/SN 22.82 Maha-punnama Sutta:The Great Full-moon Night - Dhamma Wheel

MN 109/SN 22.82 Maha-punnama Sutta:The Great Full-moon Night

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MN 109/SN 22.82 Maha-punnama Sutta:The Great Full-moon Night

Postby mikenz66 » Wed Jun 01, 2011 8:20 am

MN 109 PTS: M iii 15
Maha-punnama Sutta: The Great Full-moon Night Discourse
translated from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu


A thorough discussion of issues related to the five aggregates. Toward the end of the discussion, a monk thinks that he has found a loophole in the teaching. The way the Buddha handles this incident shows the proper use of the teachings on the aggregates: not as a metaphysical theory, but as a tool for questioning clinging and so gaining release.

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

I have heard that on one occasion the Blessed One was staying near Savatthi in the Eastern Monastery, the palace of Migara's mother. And on that occasion — the uposatha of the fifteenth, the night of a very full moon — he was sitting out in the open with the community of monks.

Then a certain monk, rising from his seat, arranging his robe over one shoulder, and placing his hands palm-to-palm over the heart, said to the Blessed One: "Lord, there is an area where, if the Blessed One would give me leave, I would like the answer to a question."

"Very well, then, monk. Sit back down in your seat and ask whatever you want."

Responding to the Blessed One, "Yes, lord," the monk sat back down in his seat and said to the Blessed One, "Aren't these the five clinging-aggregates, i.e., form as a clinging-aggregate, feeling... perception... fabrications... consciousness as a clinging-aggregate."

"Monk, these are the five clinging-aggregates, i.e., form as a clinging-aggregate, feeling... perception... fabrications... consciousness as a clinging-aggregate."

Saying, "Very good, lord," the monk delighted & approved of the Blessed One's words and then asked him a further question: "But in what, lord, are these five clinging-aggregates rooted?"

"Monk, these five clinging-aggregates are rooted in desire."

Saying, "Very good, lord," the monk... asked him a further question: "Is clinging the same thing as the five clinging-aggregates, or is clinging separate from the five clinging-aggregates?"

"Monk, clinging is neither the same thing as the five clinging-aggregates, nor is it separate from the five clinging-aggregates. Just that whatever passion & delight is there, that's the clinging there."

Saying, "Very good, lord," the monk... asked him a further question: "Might there be diversity in the desire & passion for the five clinging-aggregates?"

"There might, monk. There is the case where the thought occurs to someone, 'May I be one with such a form in the future. May I be one with such a feeling... perception... fabrications... such a consciousness in the future. This is how there would be diversity in the desire & passion for the five clinging-aggregates."

Saying, "Very good, lord," the monk... asked him a further question: "To what extent does the designation 'aggregate' apply to the aggregates?"

"Monk, whatever form is past, future, or present; internal or external; blatant or subtle; common or sublime; far or near: that is called the aggregate of form. Whatever feeling is past, future, or present; internal or external; blatant or subtle; common or sublime; far or near: that is called the aggregate of feeling. Whatever perception is past, future, or present; internal or external; blatant or subtle; common or sublime; far or near: that is called the aggregate of perception. Whatever fabrications are past, future, or present; internal or external; blatant or subtle; common or sublime; far or near: those are called the aggregate of fabrication. Whatever consciousness is past, future, or present; internal or external; blatant or subtle; common or sublime; far or near: that is called the aggregate of consciousness.[1] This is the extent to which the term 'aggregate' applies to the aggregates."

Saying, "Very good, lord," the monk... asked him a further question: "Lord, what is the cause, what the condition, for the delineation[2] of the aggregate of form? What is the cause, what the condition, for the delineation of the aggregate of feeling... perception... fabrications... consciousness?"

"Monk, the four great existents (earth, water, fire, & wind) are the cause, the four great existents the condition, for the delineation of the aggregate of form. Contact is the cause, contact the condition, for the delineation of the aggregate of feeling. Contact is the cause, contact the condition, for the delineation of the aggregate of perception. Contact is the cause, contact the condition, for the delineation of the aggregate of fabrications. Name-&-form is the cause, name-&-form the condition, for the delineation of the aggregate of consciousness."

Saying, "Very good, lord," the monk... asked him a further question: "Lord, how does self-identity view come about?"

"There is the case, monk, where an uninstructed, run-of-the-mill person — who has no regard for noble ones, is not well-versed or disciplined in their Dhamma; who has no regard for men of integrity, is not well-versed or disciplined in their Dhamma — assumes form to be the self, or the self as possessing form, or form as in the self, or the self as in form.

"He assumes feeling to be the self, or the self as possessing feeling, or feeling as in the self, or the self as in feeling. He assumes perception to be the self, or the self as possessing perception, or perception as in the self, or the self as in perception. He assumes fabrications to be the self, or the self as possessing fabrications, or fabrications as in the self, or the self as in fabrications. He assumes consciousness to be the self, or the self as possessing consciousness, or consciousness as in the self, or the self as in consciousness.

"This, monk, is how self-identity view comes about."

Saying, "Very good, lord," the monk... asked him a further question: "Lord, how does self-identity view no longer come about?"

"There is the case, monk, where a well-instructed disciple of the noble ones — who has regard for nobles ones, is well-versed & disciplined in their Dhamma; who has regard for men of integrity, is well-versed & disciplined in their Dhamma — does not assume form to be the self, or the self as possessing form, or form as in the self, or the self as in form. He does not assume feeling to be the self... does not assume perception to be the self... does not assume fabrications to be the self... He does not assume consciousness to be the self, or the self as possessing consciousness, or consciousness as in the self, or the self as in consciousness.

"This, monk, is how self-identity view no longer comes about."

Saying, "Very good, lord," the monk... asked him a further question: "What, lord, is the allure of form? What is its drawback? What is the escape from it? What is the allure of feeling... perception... fabrications... consciousness? What is its drawback? What is the escape from it?"

"Monk, whatever pleasure & joy arises dependent on form: that is the allure of form. The fact that form is inconstant, stressful, subject to change: that is the drawback of form. The subduing of desire & passion, the abandoning of desire & passion for form: that is the escape from form.

"Whatever pleasure & joy arises dependent on feeling: that is the allure of feeling...

"Whatever pleasure & joy arises dependent on perception: that is the allure of perception...

"Whatever pleasure & joy arises dependent on fabrications: that is the allure of fabrications...

"Whatever pleasure & joy arises dependent on consciousness: that is the allure of consciousness. The fact that consciousness is inconstant, stressful, subject to change: that is the drawback of consciousness. The subduing of desire & passion, the abandoning of desire & passion for consciousness: that is the escape from consciousness."

Saying, "Very good, lord," the monk... asked him a further question: "Knowing in what way, seeing in what way, is there — with regard to this body endowed with consciousness, and with regard to all external signs — no longer any I-making, or my-making, or obsession with conceit?"

"Monk, one sees any form whatsoever — past, future, or present; internal or external; blatant or subtle; common or sublime; far or near — every form, as it actually is with right discernment: 'This is not mine. This is not my self. This is not what I am.'

"One sees any feeling whatsoever... any perception whatsoever... any fabrications whatsoever...

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

"Monk, knowing in this way, seeing in this way, there is — with regard to this body endowed with consciousness, and with regard to all external signs — no longer any I-making, or my-making, or obsession with conceit."

Now at that moment this line of thinking appeared in the awareness of a certain monk: "So — form is not-self, feeling is not-self, perception is not-self, fabrications are not-self, consciousness is not-self. Then what self will be touched by the actions done by what is not-self?"

Then the Blessed One, realizing with his awareness the line of thinking in that monk's awareness, addressed the monks: "It's possible that a senseless person — immersed in ignorance, overcome with craving — might think that he could outsmart the Teacher's message in this way: 'So — form is not-self, feeling is not-self, perception is not-self, fabrications are not-self, consciousness is not-self. Then what self will be touched by the actions done by what is not-self?' Now, monks, haven't I trained you in counter-questioning with regard to this & that topic here & there? What do you think — Is form 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, monks — 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, monks, 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 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.'"

That is what the Blessed One said. Gratified, the monks delighted in the Blessed One's words. And while this explanation was being given, the minds of sixty monks, through no clinging (not being sustained), were fully released from fermentations.
Notes

1. One form of consciousness apparently does not come under the aggregate of consciousness. This is termed viññanam anidassanam — consciousness without a surface, or consciousness without feature. MN 49 says specifically that this consciousness does not partake of the "allness of the all," the "all" being conterminous with the five aggregates. The standard definition of the aggregate of consciousness states that this aggregate includes all consciousness, "past, present, or future... near or far." However, because viññanam anidassanam stands outside of space and time it would not be covered by these terms. Similarly, where SN 22.97 [] says that no consciousness is eternal, "eternal" is a concept that applies only within the dimension of time, and thus would not apply to this form of consciousness.

2. Delineation (paññapana) literally means, "making discernible." This apparently refers to the intentional aspect of perception, which takes the objective side of experience and fabricates it into discernible objects. In the case of the aggregates, the four great existents, contact, and name-&-form provide the objective basis for discerning them, while the process of fabrication takes the raw material provided by the objective basis and turns it into discernible instances of the aggregates. This process is described in slightly different terms in SN 22.79. []

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SN 22.8 Maha-punnama Sutta: The Great Full-moon Night

Postby mikenz66 » Wed Jun 01, 2011 8:39 am


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Re: MN 109/SN 22.8 Maha-punnama Sutta: The Great Full-moon Night

Postby mikenz66 » Wed Jun 01, 2011 8:42 am

Thanks to acinteyyo for suggesting this Sutta. Interesting how many of these Suttas appear in more than one place...

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Re: MN 109/SN 22.8 Maha-punnama Sutta: The Great Full-moon Night

Postby daverupa » Wed Jun 01, 2011 11:23 am


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Re: MN 109/SN 22.8 Maha-punnama Sutta: The Great Full-moon Night

Postby ancientbuddhism » Wed Jun 01, 2011 9:01 pm

I like this sutta, how it ties off any attempt to reach for a self outside of the khandhas. Also the reference to Phagguna's question "Who feeds on the consciousness nutriment?" , is a helpful reminder of this.
I say, beware of all enterprises that require new clothes, and not rather a new wearer of clothes.” – Henry David Thoreau, Walden, 1854

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Re: MN 109/SN 22.8 Maha-punnama Sutta: The Great Full-moon Night

Postby kirk5a » Wed Jun 01, 2011 11:40 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

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Re: MN 109/SN 22.8 Maha-punnama Sutta: The Great Full-moon Night

Postby ancientbuddhism » Thu Jun 02, 2011 3:04 pm

I say, beware of all enterprises that require new clothes, and not rather a new wearer of clothes.” – Henry David Thoreau, Walden, 1854

Secure your own mask before assisting others. – NORTHWEST AIRLINES (Pre-Flight Instruction)


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Re: MN 109/SN 22.8 Maha-punnama Sutta: The Great Full-moon Night

Postby mikenz66 » Thu Jun 02, 2011 8:43 pm

Thanks ancientbuddhism for pointing that out.

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Re: MN 109/SN 22.8 Maha-punnama Sutta: The Great Full-moon Night

Postby paul » Sun Jun 05, 2011 11:22 pm

The crucial point of the sutta is the question "Then what self will the actions of the non-self touch?" which is an attempt to transpose something directly from one reality to another (ultimate to conventional), which cannot be done, consequently the Buddha does not answer the question directly. The monk's question seems typical of a simple view which cannot countenance the existence of two simultaneous realities, also seen today.
Of further interest is that the Buddha brings up the four elements (as the basis for form) because Nibbana is sometimes referred to as the unconditioned element (asankhata-dhatu, Vism. XV 42), ie. something outside the four elements,yet within the same "element" context.

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Re: MN 109/SN 22.8 Maha-punnama Sutta: The Great Full-moon Night

Postby mikenz66 » Mon Jun 06, 2011 9:44 am

Hi Paul, I'm sorry, I can't follow your comment about two simultaneous realities. Perhaps you could expand a little.

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Re: MN 109/SN 22.8 Maha-punnama Sutta: The Great Full-moon Night

Postby mikenz66 » Mon Jun 06, 2011 10:14 am

Some comments and Commentary (MA, Spk) from Bhikkhu Bodhi's MN and SN notes.

The Uposotha day of the fifteenth.

BB MN: The fifteenth day of the fortnight. [Which sounds silly, but the full moon can be on the fourteenth for fifteenth day of a lunar month...]


Then a certain bhikkhu rose from his seat...

BB MN: MA explains that the bhikkhu was himself an arahant and the teacher of sixty other bhikkhus who lived with him in the forest, striving in meditation. With their teacher's guidance they had developed various insight knowledges but could not attain the paths and fruits. Therefore their teacher brought them to see the Buddha in the hope that he could guide them to the supramundane attainments. The teacher asks the questions, not because he doubts, but in order to dispel the doubts of his disciples.


The five aggregates affected by clinging, bhikkhu, are rooted in desire.

BB MN: Chandamulaka. MA glosses chanda by tanha, craving which is the origin of the suffering comprised by the five aggregates.
Note that in the SN BB translates "five aggregate subject to clinging".


Venerable sir, in that clinging the same as these five aggregates affected by clinging, or is the clinging something apart from the five aggregates affected by clinging?

BB MN: See also MN 44.6 http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html


Bhikkhus, that clinging is nether the same as these five aggregates subject to clinging, nor is the clinging something apart from the five aggregates subject to clinging. But rather, the desire and lust for them, that is the clinging there.

BB SN: See MN 44 and SN 22.121 http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

Spk: "Clinging is neither the same as the five aggregates subject to clinging" because the aggregates are not reducible simply to desire and lust; "nor is the clinging something apart from the five aggregates subject to clinging" because there is no clinging apart from the aggregates either as conascent factors or as object. For when a citta associated with craving occurs, the form produced by that citta belongs to the form aggregate, and the remaining mental states except craving belong to the other four aggregates: thus there is no clinging apart from the aggregates as conascent factors. (Craving is excepted because craving is what clings to the aggregates, and a mental factor cannot cling to itself.) Then, too, there is no clinging apart from the aggregates as object, because when clinging arises it takes as object one of the aggregates such as form.

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Re: MN 109/SN 22.8 Maha-punnama Sutta: The Great Full-moon Night

Postby mikenz66 » Wed Jun 08, 2011 7:07 am

MA on MN 44 [Which has the same question.]
Because clinging is only one part of the aggregate of formations (as defined here, greed), it is not the same as the five aggregates; and because clinging cannot be altogether disconnected from the aggregates, there is no clinging apart from the aggregates.

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Re: MN 109/SN 22.8 Maha-punnama Sutta: The Great Full-moon Night

Postby paul » Thu Jun 09, 2011 11:22 pm

Hi mike,
It is evident the two realities exist simultaneously for example when the Buddha says, "These are merely names, expressions, turns of speech, designations in common use in the world, which the Perfect One uses without misapprehending them " (D.9): i.e. he uses the names but is aware they are for practical purposes only and implicit is the broader perspective of non-self. There may be a tendency for religious zealots to promulgate doctrine that conventional reality doesn't exist at all, but as the Buddha shows, that would be a mistake, not the middle way, which is always a path between two simultaneous realities. Although things have a present temporary reality, impermanence dictates that is not their ultimate condition, so present reality is an illusion.
The understanding of two realities is prominent in Mahayana and also in Christianity under the terminology of immanent and transcendent. The mystic William Blake said, "God keep us from single vision": the foolish monk in the sutta was arguing for single vision.

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Re: MN 109/SN 22.8 Maha-punnama Sutta: The Great Full-moon Night

Postby beeblebrox » Fri Jun 10, 2011 3:13 am

This idea: "What self, then, will be touched by the actions done by what is not-self?" is a wrong view of this: "Form is not-self, feeling is not-self, perception is not-self, fabrications are not-self, and consciousness is not-self."

It should be viewed only in this way: "These aggregates are impermanent; impermanence is dukkha; and therefore these shouldn't be seen as self." That's it... no implications beyond this.

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Re: MN 109/SN 22.8 Maha-punnama Sutta: The Great Full-moon Night

Postby mikenz66 » Fri Jun 10, 2011 8:03 am


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Re: MN 109/SN 22.8 Maha-punnama Sutta: The Great Full-moon Night

Postby beeblebrox » Fri Jun 10, 2011 2:35 pm


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Re: MN 109/SN 22.8 Maha-punnama Sutta: The Great Full-moon Night

Postby mikenz66 » Fri Jun 10, 2011 8:27 pm


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Re: MN 109/SN 22.8 Maha-punnama Sutta: The Great Full-moon Night

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