The arrow and poison similies

A forum for members who wish to develop a deeper understanding of the Pali Canon and associated Commentaries, which for discussion purposes are both treated as authoritative.

Moderator: Mahavihara moderator

The arrow and poison similies

Postby gavesako » Thu May 12, 2011 2:16 pm

"Now it is in this world of name-and-form that suffering is found. According to the Buddha, suffering is not out there in the conventional world of worldly philosophers. It is to be found in this very name-and-form world. So the ultimate aim of a meditator is to cut off the craving in this name-and-form. As it is said: acchecchi taṇhaṃ idha nāmarūpe.[11]

Now if we are to bring in a simile to clarify this point, the Buddha is called the incomparable surgeon, sallakatto anuttaro.[12] Also he is sometimes called taṇhāsallassa hantāraṃ, one who removes the dart of craving.[13] So the Buddha is the incomparable surgeon who pulls out the poison-tipped arrow of craving.

We may say therefore that, according to the Dhamma, nāma-rūpa, or name-and-form, is like the wound in which the arrow is embedded. When one is wounded by a poison-tipped arrow, the bandage has to be put, not on the archer or on his bow-string, but on the wound itself. First of all the wound has to be well located and cleaned up. Similarly, the comprehension of name-and-form is the preliminary step in the treatment of the wound caused by the poison-tipped arrow of craving.

And it is for that purpose that a meditator has to pay special attention to those basic components of 'name' - feeling, perception, intention, contact and attention - however much he may be proficient in words found in worldly usage. It may even appear as a process of unlearning down to childlike simplicity. But of course, the equanimity implied there, is not based on ignorance but on knowledge."

THE MIND STILLED –
33 Sermons on Nibbāna
Bhikkhu K. Ñāṇananda

http://www.seeingthroughthenet.net/file ... tilled.htm

* * * * *

Sunakkhatta Sutta (MN 105): "Suppose, Sunakkhatta, a man were wounded by an arrow thickly smeared with poison, and his friends and companions, his kinsmen and relatives, brought a surgeon. The surgeon would cut around the opening of the wou...nd with a knife, then he would probe for the arrow with a probe, then he would pull out the arrow and would expel the poisonous humour, leaving a trace of it behind. Thinking that no trace was left behind, he would say: 'Good man, the arrow has been pulled out from you; the poisonous humour has been expelled with no trace left behind, and it is incapable of harming you. Eat only suitable food; do not eat unsuitable food or else the wound may suppurate. From time to time wash the wound and from time to time anoint its opening, so that pus and blood do not cover the opening of the wound. Do not walk around in the wind and sun or else dust and dirt may infect the opening of the wound. Take care of your wound, good man, and see to it that the wound heals.'
"The man would think: 'The arrow has been pulled out from me; the poisonous humour has been expelled with no trace left behind, and it is incapable of harming me.' He would eat unsuitable food, and the wound would suppurate. He would not wash the wound from time to time nor would he anoint its opening from time to time, and pus and blood would cover the opening of the wound. He would walk around in the wind and sun, and dust and dirt would infect the opening of the wound. He would not take care of his wound, nor would he see to it that the wound heals. Then, both because he does what is unsuitable and because a trace was left behind when the foul poisonous humour was expelled, the wound would swell, and with its swelling he would incur death or deadly suffering. So too, Sunakkhatta, it is possible that some bhikkhu here might think thus: 'Craving has been called an arrow by the Recluse; the poisonous humour of ignorance is spread about by desire, lust, and ill will. That arrow of craving has been removed from me; the poisonous humour of ignorance has been expelled. I am one who is completely intent upon Nibbāna.' Because he conceives himself thus, though it is contrary to fact, he might pursue those things that are unsuitable for one completely intent on Nibbāna. .... BUT: "So too, Sunakkhatta, it is possible that some bhikkhus here might think thus: 'Craving has been called an arrow by the Recluse; [260] the poisonous humour of ignorance is spread about by desire, lust, and ill will. That arrow of craving has been pulled out from me; the poisonous humour of ignorance has been expelled. I am one who is completely intent on Nibbāna. 'Being one who really is completely intent on Nibbāna, he would not pursue those things unsuitable for one completely intent on Nibbāna...(as above)...Because his mind is not invaded by lust, he would not incur death or deadly suffering.
"Sunakkhatta, I have given this simile in order to convey a meaning. This is the meaning here: 'Wound' is a term for the six internal bases. 'Poisonous humour' is a term for ignorance. 'Arrow' is a term for craving. 'Probe' is a term for mindfulness. 'Knife' is a term for noble wisdom. 'Surgeon' is a term for the Tathāgata, the Accomplished One, the Fully Enlightened One.
"That bhikkhu, Sunakkhatta, is one who practises restraint in the six bases of contact. Having understood that acquisition is the root of suffering, being acquisitionless, liberated in the destruction of the acquisitions, it is not possible that he would direct his body or arouse his mind towards any acquisition. "Suppose, Sunakkhatta, there were a deadly poisonous snake, and a man came who wanted to live, not to die, who wanted pleasure and recoiled from pain. What do you think, Sunakkhatta, would that man give that deadly poisonous snake his hand or his thumb, knowing: 'If I am bitten by him I will incur death or deadly suffering'?"—"No, venerable sir."—"So too, when a bhikkhu practises restraint in the six bases of contact, and having understood that attachment is the root of suffering, is without attachment, liberated by the destruction of attachment, it is not possible that he would direct his body or arouse his mind towards any object of attachment."
Attachments
Giant-killed-by-Hercules-small.jpg
giant killed by Hercules
Giant-killed-by-Hercules-small.jpg (405.39 KiB) Viewed 630 times
Bhikkhu Gavesako
Kiṃkusalagavesī anuttaraṃ santivarapadaṃ pariyesamāno... (MN 26)

ajahnchah.org - Teachings of Ajahn Chah in many languages
Dhammatube - Videos on Buddhist practice
Ancient Buddhist Texts - Translations and history of Pali texts
User avatar
gavesako
 
Posts: 1326
Joined: Sun Jan 04, 2009 5:16 pm
Location: England

Re: The arrow and poison similies

Postby rowyourboat » Sat May 21, 2011 3:48 pm

Thank you Bhanthe, reading that was helpful for me. :bow:
With Metta

Karuna
Mudita
& Upekkha
rowyourboat
 
Posts: 1949
Joined: Sat Jan 03, 2009 5:29 pm
Location: London, UK


Return to Classical Theravāda

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: cooran and 1 guest