Looking for Source

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Looking for Source

Postby bodom » Mon Dec 06, 2010 11:42 pm

Once in the Buddha's time there was a monk sitting in meditation near a pond who saw a heron diving down to catch fish and eat them. He took that as his meditation subject until he succeeded in becoming an arahant. I've never seen a heron eating fish mentioned as a subject in any of the meditation manuals, but he was able to use it to meditate until he attained arahantship..


http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/thai ... uddho.html

I am wondering if anyone knows where in the Tipitaka or Commentaries this story can be found?

:anjali:
The heart of the path is SO simple. No need for long explanations. Give up clinging to love and hate, just rest with things as they are. That is all I do in my own practice. Do not try to become anything. Do not make yourself into anything. Do not be a meditator. Do not become enlightened. When you sit, let it be. When you walk, let it be. Grasp at nothing. Resist nothing. Of course, there are dozens of meditation techniques to develop samadhi and many kinds of vipassana. But it all comes back to this - just let it all be. Step over here where it is cool, out of the battle. - Ajahn Chah
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Re: Looking for Source

Postby phil » Tue Dec 07, 2010 3:31 am

Rather than starting a new thread, I'll just add my request for a source to bodom's. I'm trying to find the sutta that refers to a great sala tree choked with mustard weeds, and if one hopes for the growth of the tree, one must get rid of the weeds first. I tried the simile index of my SN and MN anthologies and googled it, but am coming up dry. Thanks.
Kammalakkhano , bhikkhave, bālo, kammalakkhano pandito, apadānasobhanī paññāti
(The fool is characterized by his/her actions/the wise one is characterized by his/her actions/Wisdom shines forth in behaviour.)
(AN 3.2 Lakkhana Sutta)
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Re: Looking for Source

Postby Hoo » Tue Dec 07, 2010 1:59 pm

Hi Bodom,

I googled and found the quote in 6 or 8 places on the internet but no source reference but this:

Buddho

by Phra Ajaan Thate Desaransi (Phra Nirodharansi Gambhirapaññacariya)
Translated from the Thai by
Thanissaro Bhikkhu
Copyright © 1994 The Abbot, Metta Forest Monastery
Metta Forest Monastery
PO Box 1409
Valley Center, CA 92082
USA

No further reference to the source of the quote itself.

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Re: Looking for Source

Postby Will » Tue Dec 07, 2010 6:02 pm

bodom wrote:
Once in the Buddha's time there was a monk sitting in meditation near a pond who saw a heron diving down to catch fish and eat them. He took that as his meditation subject until he succeeded in becoming an arahant. I've never seen a heron eating fish mentioned as a subject in any of the meditation manuals, but he was able to use it to meditate until he attained arahantship..


http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/thai ... uddho.html

I am wondering if anyone knows where in the Tipitaka or Commentaries this story can be found?

:anjali:


Maybe the Jataka Tales.
This noble eightfold path is the ancient path traveled by all the Buddhas of eons past. Nagara Sutta
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Re: Looking for Source

Postby rowyourboat » Tue Dec 07, 2010 6:32 pm

Dhammapada root stories?

http://www.tipitaka.net/tipitaka/dhp/

I don't really know- never heard of it before now..

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Re: Looking for Source

Postby yuttadhammo » Wed Dec 08, 2010 12:27 am

I wonder if it is the origin story of the Mahakaccayana Grammar? I asked about it on our pali study list some time back and got this answer from Bryan Levman:

The earliest version I know of this story is recounted in the Muulasarvaastivaadin Vinaya. It is with reference to Dhp 113:

yo ca vassasata.m jiive
apassa.m udayabbaya.m,
ekaaha.m jiivita.m seyyo
passato udayabbaya.m
and if someone were to live for 100 years
not seeing rising and cessation
it would be better he lived one day
seeing arising and cessation.

The monk learned the lines as udaka-bakam which, as you say means "water-heron". Presumably he new the rule that -k- often weakened to an intervocalic consonantal glide -y- (usually written with a dot over the y to indicate that it was barely pronounced), so he back-changed udaya > udaka, thereby changing its meaning. Also bbaya.m comes from vyaya.m (passing away, with vy > vv> bb as per Pischel 201, 286) and again the monk made the same mistake with the -y- > -k- arriving at baka.m or "heron".

The story does seem apocryphal - i. e. it must be a clumsy translator indeed who would make these mistakes (perhaps he didn't know the dialect?), but it does highlight the importance of getting the sounds right!

Best, Bryan

The story is told in Brough's Gaandhaarii Dhammapada, p. 45-47.


and from Jim Anderson:

I reproduce below the story in the Kaccāyanavaṇṇanā, p. 8:

idaṃ suttaṃ kena vuttaṃ. bhagavatā vuttaṃ. kadā vuttanti.
yama-upalanāmakā dve brāhmaṇā khayavayakammaṭṭhānaṃ gahetvā gacchantā
naditīre khayavayaṃ khayavayanti kammaṭṭhāne kayiramāne eko udake
macchaṃ gaṇhituṃ carantaṃ bakaṃ disvā udakabakoti virajjhati. eko ghaṭe
paṭaṃ disvā ghaṭapaṭoti virajjhati. tadā bhagavā obhāsaṃ muñcitvā attho
bhikkhave akkharasaññātoti vākyaṃ thapeti. tesañca kammaṭṭhānaṃ
[pa]tiṭṭhati. tasmā bhagavatā vuttanti vuccati. taṃ ñatvā mahākaccāyano
bhagavantaṃ yācitvā himavantaṃ gantvā manosilātale dakkhiṇadisābhāgaṃ
sīsaṃ katvā puratthimadisābhimukho hutvā attho akkharasaññātotyādikaṃ
kaccāyanappakaraṇaṃ racitaṃ. tasmā pubbavākyanti vuttaṃ. paribhāsāsuttaṃ.
therena thapitattā paribhāsātipi vuttaṃ. vuttañca

pubbavākyantidaṃ suttaṃ vadantācariyāpare
suttanāmānurūpena paribhāsāti no matīti.

anotattatīre sālarukkhamūle nisinnaṃ ekaṃ vuḍḍhapabbajitaṃ sandhāya
vuttantipi vadanti. ayamimassa atthuppatti.

The transcript is based on the Thai edition. The story relates to two
brahmins named Yama and Upala (Uppala in Tiwari's Indian edn.). Another
version of the story relating to an old monk seated under a Sal tree is
acknowledged at the end. The meditation subject is 'khayavayaṃ' and not
'udayavayaṃ'. I think 'racita.m' should probably be 'viraci' (he wrote) as
in Tiwari's edition.

This story is expanded in the Kaccāyanatthadīpanī, p.29 (Thai edn.) and
matches well the story you told.

aparo nayo. eko vuḍḍhapabbajito bhagavato santikā kammaṭṭhānaṃ gahetvā
anotattatīre sālarukkhamūle nisinno udayabbayakammaṭṭhānaṃ karoti. so udake
carantaṃ bakaṃ disvā udakabakanti kammaṭṭhānaṃ karoti. bhagavā vitathabhāvaṃ
disvā vuḍḍhapabbajitaṃ pakkosāpetvā attho bhikkhave akkharasaññātoti
vākyamāha. kaccāyanatherenapi bhagavato adhippāyaṃ jānitvā attho
akkharasaññātoti pubbe thapetvā idaṃ pakaraṇaṃ katanti kaccāyanena
katasuttantīpi vadanti.

I made a quick translation of the above:

Another way. A certain aged wanderer, sitting at the foot of a Sal tree
on the shore of Lake Anotatta after having acquired the meditation subject
in the presence of the Blessed One, works on the meditation subject of "rise
and fall" (udayabbayaṃ). After seeing a crane moving about in the water, he
works on the meditation subject of "water-crane" (udakabakaṃ). The Blessed
One seeing the falsity (of this), called for the old wanderer and spoke the
sentence: "Meaning, bhikkhus, is known by the letters (sounds)".

They also say the sutta was composed by Kaccāyana in that this work was
composed by the thera Kaccāyana after he had understood the intent of the
Blessed One and had put "attho akkharasaññāto" at the beginning.


Then Bryan again:

Thanks for those versions Jim. In the "original" story (preserved in the Chinese K.sudraka-vastu, plus Tibetan plus A"sokaaavadaana), the Buddha isn't involved at all. It is Aananda's last days and he overhears the monk reciting and tries to correct him. The monk reports the matter to his teacher, who tells him that "Aananda is an old fool. Go on reciting as before". Aananda realizes it was futile to attempt to convince the monk of the error since all his seniors, to whom he might have appealed, had already entered Nirvaa.na, so there was now no reason for him to delay entering Nirvaa.na. (told in Brough, the Gaandhaarii Dhp, p. 45).

It is clear that the tradition - grammarian or not - was well aware of the dangers of the Dhamma being corrupted by a misunderstanding of the sounds. Here I think akkhara must be translated - as George suggests - by "sounds" for the meaning of the story to be properly understood,


So in this story, the monk doesn't become enlightened. He's an older monk who is just dozing off, and instead of meditating on the arising and passing away, he meditates on the heron. The Buddha sees this and says, "attho akkharasaññāto" - the meaning is to be known by the letters. Mahakaccayana takes this as a impetus to write a grammar ensuring a clear understanding of the Pali language, so it is said.

Note that it is common for Thai monks to get their stories mixed up, elaborate them, stretch them to fit their purpose, etc., so I wouldn't be surprised if that is what has happened here.
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Re: Looking for Source

Postby yuttadhammo » Wed Dec 08, 2010 12:33 am

phil wrote:Rather than starting a new thread, I'll just add my request for a source to bodom's. I'm trying to find the sutta that refers to a great sala tree choked with mustard weeds, and if one hopes for the growth of the tree, one must get rid of the weeds first. I tried the simile index of my SN and MN anthologies and googled it, but am coming up dry. Thanks.


Wise men abhor the parasitic thing
That chokes the form to which it loves to cling.
The wise, suspecting danger from the weed,
Destroy the root before it comes to seed.


-- palāsa-jātaka (Jāt 370)
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Re: Looking for Source

Postby bodom » Wed Dec 08, 2010 1:07 am

I wonder if it is the origin story of the Mahakaccayana Grammar? I asked about it on our pali study list some time back and got this answer from Bryan Levman...


:bow:

Excellent Bhante thank you!

Many thanks as well to everyone else who helped!

:anjali:
The heart of the path is SO simple. No need for long explanations. Give up clinging to love and hate, just rest with things as they are. That is all I do in my own practice. Do not try to become anything. Do not make yourself into anything. Do not be a meditator. Do not become enlightened. When you sit, let it be. When you walk, let it be. Grasp at nothing. Resist nothing. Of course, there are dozens of meditation techniques to develop samadhi and many kinds of vipassana. But it all comes back to this - just let it all be. Step over here where it is cool, out of the battle. - Ajahn Chah
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Re: Looking for Source

Postby phil » Wed Dec 08, 2010 3:29 am

yuttadhammo wrote:
phil wrote:Rather than starting a new thread, I'll just add my request for a source to bodom's. I'm trying to find the sutta that refers to a great sala tree choked with mustard weeds, and if one hopes for the growth of the tree, one must get rid of the weeds first. I tried the simile index of my SN and MN anthologies and googled it, but am coming up dry. Thanks.


Wise men abhor the parasitic thing
That chokes the form to which it loves to cling.
The wise, suspecting danger from the weed,
Destroy the root before it comes to seed.


-- palāsa-jātaka (Jāt 370)


Thank you very much, Bhante. Similar in an important sense to the sutta(?) I am looking for, but different in a sense as well. The one I remember was about the importance of dealing with gross defilements before the more subtle ones can be tackled, similar to the simile of the metal craftsman who when forging must clear off the dross before he can get to the finer metal, or the simile of the heartwood, that we must clear off the brances and other foliage before we can get to the bark, let alone the heartwood. The passage you have kindly posted seems to be more about ultimate eradication, which is beyond one such as me. But thank you. Not so vitally important to find the exact source for the teaching I am thinking of since I have internalized it...but important for sharing with some friends who seems to believe in going straight to the heartwood!

Metta,

Phil
Kammalakkhano , bhikkhave, bālo, kammalakkhano pandito, apadānasobhanī paññāti
(The fool is characterized by his/her actions/the wise one is characterized by his/her actions/Wisdom shines forth in behaviour.)
(AN 3.2 Lakkhana Sutta)
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Re: Looking for Source

Postby yuttadhammo » Wed Dec 08, 2010 10:00 am

phil wrote:Thank you very much, Bhante. Similar in an important sense to the sutta(?) I am looking for, but different in a sense as well.


Maybe this one?

"Now, what is the taking on of a practice that is pleasant in the present but yields pain in the future? There are some priests & contemplatives who hold to a doctrine, a view like this: 'There is no harm in sensual pleasures.' Thus they meet with their downfall through sensual pleasures. They consort with women wanderers who wear their hair coiled in a topknot.

"The thought occurs to them: 'Now what future danger concerning sensual pleasures do those [other] priests & contemplatives foresee that they have spoken of the relinquishment of sensual pleasures and describe the full comprehension of sensual pleasures? It's pleasant, the touch of this woman wanderer's soft, tender, downy arm.'

"Thus they meet with their downfall through sensual pleasures. Then, having met with their downfall through sensual pleasures, with the break-up of the body, after death, they go to a bad bourn, destitution, the realm of the hungry shades, hell. There they experience sharp, burning pains. They say: 'This was the future danger concerning sensual pleasures those priests & contemplatives foresaw that they spoke of the relinquishment of sensual pleasures and described the full comprehension of sensual pleasures. It's because of sensual pleasures, as a result of sensual pleasures, that we're now experiencing these sharp, burning pains.'

"Just as if a maluva creeper pod were to burst open in the last month of the hot season, and a maluva creeper seed were to fall at the foot of a sala tree. The deva living in the tree would become frightened, apprehensive, & anxious. Her friends & companions, relatives & kin — garden devas, forest devas, tree devas, devas living in herbs, grass, & forest monarchs — would gather together to console her: 'Have no fear, have no fear. In all likelihood a peacock is sure to swallow this maluva creeper seed, or a deer will eat it, or a brush fire will burn it up, or woodsmen will pick it up, or termites will carry it off, and anyway it probably isn't really a seed.'

"And then no peacock swallowed it, no deer ate it, no brush fire burned it up, no woodsmen picked it up, no termites carried it off, and it really was a seed. Watered by a rain-laden cloud, it sprouted in due course and curled its soft, tender, downy tendril around the sala tree.

"The thought occurred to the deva living in the sala tree: 'Now what future danger did my friends & companions, relatives & kin — garden devas, forest devas, tree devas, devas living in herbs, grass, & forest monarchs — foresee in that maluva creeper seed that they gathered together to console me: "Have no fear, have no fear. In all likelihood a peacock is sure to swallow this maluva creeper seed, or a deer will eat it, or a brush fire will burn it up, or woodsmen will pick it up, or termites will carry it off, and anyway it probably isn't really a seed." It's pleasant, the touch of this maluva creeper's soft, tender, downy tendril.'

"Then the creeper, having enwrapped the sala tree, having made a canopy over it, & cascading down around it, caused the massive limbs of the sala tree to come crashing down. The thought occurred to the deva living in the tree: 'This was the future danger my friends... foresaw in that maluva creeper seed, that they gathered together to console me... It's because of that maluva creeper seed that I'm now experiencing sharp, burning pains.'

"In the same way, monks, there are some priests & contemplatives who hold to a doctrine, a view like this: 'There is no harm in sensual pleasures.' Thus they meet with their downfall through sensual pleasures. They consort with women wanderers who wear their hair coiled in a topknot.

"The thought occurs to them: 'Now what future danger do those [other] priests & contemplatives foresee that they teach the relinquishment & analysis of sensual pleasures? It's pleasant, the touch of this woman wanderer's soft, tender, downy arm.'

Thus they meet with their downfall through sensual pleasures. Then, having met with their downfall through sensual pleasures, with the break-up of the body, after death, they go to a bad bourn, destitution, the realm of the hungry shades, hell. There they experience sharp, burning pains. They say: 'This was the future danger concerning sensual pleasures those priests & contemplatives foresaw that they spoke of the relinquishment of sensual pleasures and described the full comprehension of sensual pleasures. It's because of sensual pleasures, as a result of sensual pleasures, that we're now experiencing these sharp, burning pains.'

"This is called the taking on of a practice that is pleasant in the present but yields pain in the future.

-- MN 45, Cula-dhammasamadana Sutta


P.S. You probably should have started another thread...
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Re: Looking for Source

Postby phil » Wed Dec 08, 2010 12:37 pm

Dear Bhante,

The sutta you have kindly referred to is certainly a good support for seeing into the danger of sensual pleasures, very good. Thank you! Not the one I was thinking of, but really, that's ok. Yes, as you say, I should have started another thread. I guess I thought I was being economical by just tacking a "looking for source" request on to bodom's, but it could only lead to confusion. Won't do so again in the future.
Kammalakkhano , bhikkhave, bālo, kammalakkhano pandito, apadānasobhanī paññāti
(The fool is characterized by his/her actions/the wise one is characterized by his/her actions/Wisdom shines forth in behaviour.)
(AN 3.2 Lakkhana Sutta)
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Re: Looking for Source

Postby phil » Thu Dec 23, 2010 11:47 pm

Hi all

I found the the exact passage I'm trying to source: "Suppose there was a big sala tree growing near a village and it was choked with castor oil weeds and some man would appear desiring its good welfare and protection...then he would cut down and throw out the crooked saplings that robbed the sap and he would clean (clear?) out the interior of the grove and tend the straight, well-formed saplings."

If I had the full context I would know for sure, but I am guessing the crooked sapling is referring to gross, transgression-level defilements that can be overcome by sila and clearing out the interior refers to arising defilements that can be caught by satipatthana. I know this is not the forum for forwarding interpretations, but lacking a source that's where I'm at. Does my interpretation sound right? Thanks.
Kammalakkhano , bhikkhave, bālo, kammalakkhano pandito, apadānasobhanī paññāti
(The fool is characterized by his/her actions/the wise one is characterized by his/her actions/Wisdom shines forth in behaviour.)
(AN 3.2 Lakkhana Sutta)
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Re: Looking for Source

Postby cooran » Fri Dec 24, 2010 5:27 am

Hello Phil,

AJahn Dhammanando discussed that passage in another thread on Dhamma Wheel:

The garden metaphor
viewtopic.php?f=13&t=1297

with metta
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Re: Looking for Source

Postby phil » Fri Dec 24, 2010 7:45 am

cooran wrote:Hello Phil,

AJahn Dhammanando discussed that passage in another thread on Dhamma Wheel:

The garden metaphor
http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=13&t=1297

with metta
Chris


Excellent Chris, thank you. Case closed.
Kammalakkhano , bhikkhave, bālo, kammalakkhano pandito, apadānasobhanī paññāti
(The fool is characterized by his/her actions/the wise one is characterized by his/her actions/Wisdom shines forth in behaviour.)
(AN 3.2 Lakkhana Sutta)
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