SN 35.88 Punna Sutta

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SN 35.88 Punna Sutta

Postby mikenz66 » Sun Apr 10, 2011 9:34 am

SN 35.88 PTS: S iv 60 CDB ii 1167 Punna Sutta: To Punna
translated from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu


What would you do with your mind while you're being beaten and stabbed? Consider the Buddha's advice to Punna.

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

Translator's note: In the following translation, the passage in braces { } is contained in the Thai edition of the Pali canon, but not in the PTS edition.


Then Ven. Punna went to the Blessed One and on arrival, having bowed down to the Blessed One, sat to one side. As he was sitting there he said to the Blessed One, "It would be good 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."

"There are, Punna, forms cognizable via the eye — agreeable, pleasing, charming, endearing, fostering desire, enticing. If a monk relishes them, welcomes them, and remains fastened to them, then in him — relishing them, welcoming them, and remaining fastened to them — there arises delight. From the origination of delight, I tell you, comes the origination of suffering and stress.

"There are sounds cognizable via the ear... aromas cognizable by the nose... flavors cognizable via the tongue... tactile sensations cognizable via the body...

"There are ideas cognizable via the intellect — agreeable, pleasing, charming, endearing, fostering desire, enticing. If a monk relishes them, welcomes them, and remains fastened to them, then in him — relishing them, welcoming them, and remaining fastened to them — there arises delight. From the origination of delight, I tell you, comes the origination of suffering and stress.

"There are forms cognizable via the eye — agreeable, pleasing, charming, endearing, fostering desire, enticing. If a monk does not relish them, welcome them, or remain fastened to them, then in him — not relishing them, not welcoming them, not remaining fastened to them — there arises no delight. From the cessation of delight, I tell you, comes the cessation of suffering and stress.

"There are sounds cognizable via the ear... aromas cognizable by the nose... flavors cognizable via the tongue... tactile sensations cognizable via the body...

"There are ideas cognizable via the intellect — agreeable, pleasing, charming, endearing, fostering desire, enticing. If a monk does not relish them, welcome them, or remain fastened to them, then in him — not relishing them, not welcoming them, not remaining fastened to them — there arises no delight. From the cessation of delight, I tell you, comes the cessation of suffering and stress. {By this means, Punna, you are not far from this doctrine and discipline."

When this was said, a certain monk said to the Blessed One, "Here is where I am ill at ease, lord, for I don't discern, as they actually are present, the origination, the passing away, the allure, the drawback, and the escape from the six spheres of contact."

"Then what do you think, monk. Do you regard that 'The eye is not mine. It is not my self. It is not what I am'?"

"Yes, lord."

"Very good, monk. When it is well-seen by you with right discernment that 'The eye is not mine. It is not my self. It is not what I am,' then the first sphere of contact will be abandoned by you, for the sake of no further becoming in the future.

"Do you regard that 'The ear is not mine... The nose is not mine... The tongue is not mine... The body is not mine...

"Do you regard that 'The intellect is not mine. It is not my self. It is not what I am'?"

"Yes, lord."

"Very good, monk. When it is well-seen by you with right discernment that 'The intellect is not mine. It is not my self. It is not what I am,' then the sixth sphere of contact will be abandoned by you, for the sake of no further becoming in the future.}

"Well then, Punna. Now that I have instructed you with a brief instruction, in which country are you going to live?"

"Lord, there is a country called Sunaparanta. I am going to live there."

"Punna, the Sunaparanta people are fierce. They are rough. If they insult and ridicule you, what will you think?"

"If they insult and ridicule me, I will think, 'These Sunaparanta people are civilized, very civilized, in that they don't hit me with their hands.' That is what I will think, O Blessed One. That is what I will think, O One Well-gone."

"But if they hit you with their hands, what will you think?"

"...I will think, 'These Sunaparanta people are civilized, very civilized, in that they don't hit me with a clod.'..."

"But if they hit you with a clod...?"

"...I will think, 'These Sunaparanta people are civilized, very civilized, in that they don't hit me with a stick.'..."

"But if they hit you with a stick...?"

"...I will think, 'These Sunaparanta people are civilized, very civilized, in that they don't hit me with a knife.'..."

"But if they hit you with a knife...?"

"...I will think, 'These Sunaparanta people are civilized, very civilized, in that they don't take my life with a sharp knife.'..."

"But if they take your life with a sharp knife...?"

"If they take my life with a sharp knife, I will think, 'There are disciples of the Blessed One who — horrified, humiliated, and disgusted by the body and by life — have sought for an assassin, but here I have met my assassin without searching for him.' [1] That is what I will think, O Blessed One. That is what I will think, O One Well-gone."

"Good, Punna, very good. Possessing such calm and self-control you are fit to dwell among the Sunaparantans. Now it is time to do as you see fit."

Then Ven. Punna, delighting and rejoicing in the Blessed One's words, rising from his seat, bowed down to the Blessed One and left, keeping him on his right side. Setting his dwelling in order and taking his robe and bowl, he set out for the Sunaparanta country and, after wandering stage by stage, he arrived there. There he lived. During that Rains retreat he established 500 male and 500 female lay followers in the practice, while he realized the three knowledges and then attained total (final) Unbinding.

Then a large number of monks went to the Blessed One and on arrival, having bowed down to him, sat to one side. As they were sitting there, they said to him, "Lord, the clansman named Punna, whom the Blessed One instructed with a brief instruction, has died. What is his destination? What is his future state?"

"Monks, the clansman Punna was wise. He practiced the Dhamma in accordance with the Dhamma and did not pester me with issues related to the Dhamma. The clansman Punna is totally unbound."

Note

1. In the origin story to Parajika 3, [http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/thanissaro/bmc1/bmc1.ch04.html#Pr3] a group of monks search for an assassin after becoming disgusted with their bodies when taking the unattractiveness of the body as their meditation theme. The Buddha, on learning of this, convenes the remaining monks and recommends that if they find such unskillful, aversive attitudes arising in their meditation, they should switch to the breath as their theme. Thus — contrary to some interpretations of this discourse — it seems unlikely that Punna is here extolling the act of searching for an assassin as a skillful approach toward death. Instead, the gist of his statement is that if he died under the circumstances described here, death would have found him without his having sought for it through aversion. This would parallel the attitude toward death that the Theragatha frequently attributes to arahants:
I don't delight in death,
don't delight in living.
I await my time like a worker his wage.
I don't delight in death,
don't delight in living.
I await my time
mindful, alert.

—Thag 14.1 http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... 4.html#Pr3

This may not be life affirming in the American sense of the word, but it does affirm that the arahants have awakened to a release that transcends life and death. And that is the whole point of Dhamma practice. If there were nothing more important than life, then life itself would be pointless.
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Re: SN 35.88 Punna Sutta

Postby mikenz66 » Sun Apr 10, 2011 9:39 am

SN 35.88 Punna Sutta
Translation by John D. Ireland


Once the venerable Pu.n.na approached the Lord... sat down to one side... and said:

"It would be good, Sir, were the Lord to teach me the Dhamma briefly. On hearing that Dhamma from the Lord I might live alone, secluded, diligent, ardent and resolute."

"There are, Pu.n.na, visible objects cognized by the eye... sounds cognized by the ear... odors cognized by the nose... flavors cognized by the tongue... tangible objects cognized by the body... mind-objects cognized by the mind, pleasing, agreeable, charming, endearing, desirable, arousing the passions. If a bhikkhu delights in them, welcomes them, cleaves to them... enjoyment [of them] arises. The origin of enjoyment is [also] the origin of suffering, I say, Pu.n.na.

"...but if a bhikkhu does not delight in them, does not welcome them, does not cleave to them... enjoyment ceases. The cessation of enjoyment is the cessation [also] of suffering, I say.

"Now that you have been instructed by me, Pu.n.na, with this brief instruction in what country will you live?"

"There is, Sir, a country called Sunaaparanta, I will live there."

"The men of Sunaaparanta are violent and cruel, Pu.n.na. If they were to insult and abuse you, how would it be with you?"

"If, Sir, the men of Sunaaparanta were to insult and abuse me it would be thus with me: [I should think,] 'Good are these men of Sunaaparanta, very good are these men of Sunaaparanta, in that they do not strike me with their hands.' It would be thus with me, Lord. It would be thus with me, Happy One."

"But if the men of Sunaaparanta were to strike you with their hands, how would it be with you?"

"... it would be thus with me: 'Good are these men of Sunaaparanta, very good are these men of Sunaaparanta, in that they do not strike me with clods of earth'..."

"But if the men of Sunaaparanta were to strike you with clods of earth, how would it be with you?"

"... it would be thus with me: 'Good are these men of Sunaaparanta, very good are these men of Sunaaparanta, in that they do not strike me with a stick'..."

"But if the men of Sunaaparanta were to strike you with a stick, how would it be with you?"

"... it would be thus with me: 'Good are these men of Sunaaparanta very good are these men of Sunaaparanta, in that they do not strike me with a weapon'..."

"But if the men of Sunaaparanta were to deprive you of your life, how would it be with you?"

"... it would be thus with me: 'There are disciples of the Lord who, being vexed, ashamed and disgusted with body and life, seek a weapon [to commit suicide with], but I come by [my death from] a weapon that was unsought.' It would be thus with me, Lord. It would be thus with me, Happy One."

"It is good, it is good Pu.n.na. Being endowed with this self-mastery and composure you will be able to settle in the country of the Sunaaparanta people. Do now, Pu.n.na, whatever you consider it the time for."

Then the venerable Pu.n.na, pleased and appreciative of the Lord's utterance, arose from his seat, prostrated himself before the Lord and, keeping his right side towards him, departed. And having put away his bed and seat and taking his bowl and robe he set off for the country of Sunaaparanta. And walking, journeying by stages, the venerable Pu.n.na arrived in the country of Sunaaparanta and dwelt there.

Now the venerable Pu.n.na during that rainy season, brought in [converted] as many as five hundred lay followers. During that rainy season he established himself in the three knowledges.[71] And during that rainy season he attained final release.[72]

Then a large number of bhikkhus approached the Lord... and said: "The clansman Pu.n.na, Sir, who was instructed by the Lord with a brief instruction has died. What is his destiny? What is his future state?"

"A wise man, bhikkhus was the clansman Pu.n.na. He practiced according to Dhamma and did not trouble me with queries about Dhamma. The clansman Pu.n.na, bhikkhus, has attained final release."

Notes

[71] The three knowledges (te vijjaa) are: i) recollection of former existences; (ii) divine vision (dibba cakkhu) or seeing other beings arising and passing away according to their deeds, good or bad; and (iii) knowledge of the extinction of the aasavas or taints. The possession of these three knowledges means one is an Arahant or Perfected One.

[72] The attainment of final release (parinibbuta) is a term for the death of a Perfected One, who does not grasp at another birth. Ordinarily death is merely the prelude to another birth.
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Re: SN 35.88 Punna Sutta

Postby mikenz66 » Sun Apr 10, 2011 9:46 am

I'm currently on vacation, and won't have very good access to Internet, or my books over the next three weeks.
If someone would like to post some of Bhikkhu Bodhi's comments on this Sutta, that might help the discussion along.

:anjali:
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Re: SN 35.88 Punna Sutta

Postby Kori » Mon Apr 11, 2011 9:48 pm

The meaning I got from this Sutta is simply to not dwell on death when it comes, but to also not be obsessed with living (ie the middle path between the two). When Punna has realized this, he is able to accept what ever form of death that will arise him because he understands that it is simply his time, there is no clinging to the self or a desire to end the self.

Would you agree, or disagree?
"All that we are is the result of what we have thought: it is founded on our thoughts, it is made up of our thoughts. If a man speaks or acts with a pure thought, happiness follows him, like a shadow that never leaves him."

Dhammapada, Ch. 1, Verse 2.
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Re: SN 35.88 Punna Sutta

Postby mikenz66 » Tue Apr 12, 2011 5:02 am

Hi Kori,

I agree, but don't you think it also applies to being equanimous about all aspects of life, not just about death?

It seems to be that there is a certain amount of "dry humour" in this sutta:
"But if the men of Sunaaparanta were to strike you with a stick, how would it be with you?"

"... it would be thus with me: 'Good are these men of Sunaaparanta very good are these men of Sunaaparanta, in that they do not strike me with a weapon'..."

:anjali:
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Re: SN 35.88 Punna Sutta

Postby Kori » Tue Apr 12, 2011 5:44 am

You make a good point. But I was narrowly looking at it in terms of death as that is inevitably what happens to poor Punna. :tongue: I guess it's just another way of looking at the middle path as a whole, being neither in pleasure nor in pain with all circumstances, as we see here:

"...but if a bhikkhu does not delight in them (phassa, contact), does not welcome them, does not cleave to them... enjoyment ceases. The cessation of enjoyment is the cessation [also] of suffering, I say. "
"All that we are is the result of what we have thought: it is founded on our thoughts, it is made up of our thoughts. If a man speaks or acts with a pure thought, happiness follows him, like a shadow that never leaves him."

Dhammapada, Ch. 1, Verse 2.
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Re: SN 35.88 Punna Sutta

Postby Ben » Tue Apr 12, 2011 6:30 am

mikenz66 wrote:I'm currently on vacation, and won't have very good access to Internet, or my books over the next three weeks.
If someone would like to post some of Bhikkhu Bodhi's comments on this Sutta, that might help the discussion along.

:anjali:
Mike


Mike, for brevity I have just included the statement from the sutta and its accompanying note. If you require Bhikkhu Bodhi's translation - please let me know.
kind regards

Ben



88 (5) Punna

Then the Venerable Punna approached the Blessed One ... and said to him: [58]

[58]Also at MN No 145 entitled Punnovada Sutta: the opening and closing paragraphs of the two versions are slightly different. According to Spk, Punna had been a merchant from the Sunaparanta Country who came to Savatthi on business. Hearing the Buddha preach, he decided to become a bhikkhu. After his ordination he found the area around Savatthi uncongenial to his meditation and wished to return to his home country to continue his practice. He approached the Buddha to obtain guidance before departing. For biographical details, see DPPN 2:220-21. Sunaparanta was on the west coast of India. Its capital was Supparaka, modern Sopara in the district of Thana near modern Mumbai.

There have been disciples of the Blessed One who, being repelled, humiliated, and disgusted by the body and by life, sought for an assailant [59]

[59]See 54.9

Now Punna, you may go at your own convenience [60]

[60]See I, n.650

And during that same rains he attained final Nibbana [61]

[61]Ee omits ten' ev' antaravassena pancamattani upasikasatani patipadesi, found in Be and Se (but in the latter with the verb pativedesi). At MN III 269, (28-29) it is said that he attains final Nibbana "at a later time" (aparena samayena), without specifying that this occurred during the same rains.

-- A translation of the Samyutta Nikaya, by Bhikkhu Bodhi, Wisdom Publications, p1167-1169, and 1408
"One cannot step twice into the same river, nor can one grasp any mortal substance in a stable condition, but it scatters and again gathers; it forms and dissolves, and approaches and departs."

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Re: SN 35.88 Punna Sutta

Postby mikenz66 » Tue Apr 12, 2011 7:06 am

Thanks Ben, That's very helpful. No need to type the entire Sutta!

The almost identical Sutta, MN 145 Advice to Venerable Punna, is here: http://awake.kiev.ua/dhamma/tipitaka/2S ... ada-e.html

SN 54.9, where the monks seek an assailant to end their lives, or do it themselves, is here: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

Would it be possible to tell us what "I, n.650" says?

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Re: SN 35.88 Punna Sutta

Postby Ben » Tue Apr 12, 2011 7:45 am

sure, I'll be right back with it!
"One cannot step twice into the same river, nor can one grasp any mortal substance in a stable condition, but it scatters and again gathers; it forms and dissolves, and approaches and departs."

- Hereclitus


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Re: SN 35.88 Punna Sutta

Postby Ben » Tue Apr 12, 2011 7:51 am

I. n. 650 (p 498) reads:
Yassa dani kalam mannasi, See Manne, "On a Departure Formula and its Translation". The expression also occurs at 35:88 (IV 62,31), 35:243 (IV 183, 15, 30), 44:1 (IV 379, 29), 54.:9 (V 321, 16-17), and 55:6 (V 348,27); I have varied the rendering slightly to fit the context.
"One cannot step twice into the same river, nor can one grasp any mortal substance in a stable condition, but it scatters and again gathers; it forms and dissolves, and approaches and departs."

- Hereclitus


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Re: SN 35.88 Punna Sutta

Postby mikenz66 » Tue Apr 12, 2011 8:53 am

Thanks Ben, it's useful to have those comments.

:anjali:
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Re: SN 35.88 Punna Sutta

Postby Ben » Tue Apr 12, 2011 8:58 am

As always, its a pleasure to help!
"One cannot step twice into the same river, nor can one grasp any mortal substance in a stable condition, but it scatters and again gathers; it forms and dissolves, and approaches and departs."

- Hereclitus


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Re: SN 35.88 Punna Sutta

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Apr 12, 2011 9:20 am

Greetings,

It reminds me to the simile of the saw in terms of generating loving-kindness towards one's potential assailants.

In practical terms, it may also serve as encouragement in dealing patiently with those who might regard you poorly on account of your Dhammic beliefs.

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: SN 35.88 Punna Sutta

Postby Kori » Wed Apr 13, 2011 12:34 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings,

It reminds me to the simile of the saw in terms of generating loving-kindness towards one's potential assailants.

In practical terms, it may also serve as encouragement in dealing patiently with those who might regard you poorly on account of your Dhammic beliefs.

Metta,
Retro. :)


Hi Retro,

By "potential assailants" do you mean anyone who can cause suffering, or somebody who is actually trying to kill you? If the former, perhaps this Sutta can teach us to deal with people who cause us suffering in our day to day lives, whether because of our beliefs or for other reasons, by holding a stance of equanimity.

- Leah
"All that we are is the result of what we have thought: it is founded on our thoughts, it is made up of our thoughts. If a man speaks or acts with a pure thought, happiness follows him, like a shadow that never leaves him."

Dhammapada, Ch. 1, Verse 2.
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Re: SN 35.88 Punna Sutta

Postby retrofuturist » Wed Apr 13, 2011 12:37 am

Greetings Leah,
Kori wrote:By "potential assailants" do you mean anyone who can cause suffering, or somebody who is actually trying to kill you? If the former, perhaps this Sutta can teach us to deal with people who cause us suffering in our day to day lives, whether because of our beliefs or for other reasons, by holding a stance of equanimity.

Well, the sutta (before escalating through increasing degrees of violence) starts with "the men of Sunaaparanta are violent and cruel, Pu.n.na. If they were to insult and abuse you, how would it be with you?", so intent to murder is not necessarily involved.

So yes, the former, and yes, I agree.

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: SN 35.88 Punna Sutta

Postby pulga » Thu Apr 14, 2011 4:33 am

It reminds me of the passage from the Theragáthá:

‘‘Nābhinandāmi maraṇaṃ, nābhinandāmi jīvitaṃ;
Kālañca paṭikaṅkhāmi, nibbisaṃ bhatako yathā..

‘‘Nābhinandāmi maraṇaṃ, nābhinandāmi jīvitaṃ;
Kālañca paṭikaṅkhāmi, sampajāno patissato’’ti.
Theragáthá 606 & 607

"I delight not in death, I delight not in life,
I await my time, like a hireling his wage;

I delight not in death, I delight not in life,
I await my time, mindful and fully aware."

It reflects the freedom from fear when one's life becomes utterly impersonal.
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Re: SN 35.88 Punna Sutta

Postby Kori » Thu Apr 14, 2011 9:07 am

Pulga,

Sadhu to that! I whole-heartedly agree. :lol:

Mettā pāramī,
Leah
"All that we are is the result of what we have thought: it is founded on our thoughts, it is made up of our thoughts. If a man speaks or acts with a pure thought, happiness follows him, like a shadow that never leaves him."

Dhammapada, Ch. 1, Verse 2.
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