A Sutta Reference Question

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A Sutta Reference Question

Postby Dharmajim » Thu Apr 16, 2009 12:39 am

Good Friends:

A friend of mine asked me the Pali source for the tradition of the Buddha having four encounters (a sick man, an old man, a funeral, and an ascetic). At first I thought it was the Airyapariyesana Sutta, MN 26, but that's not it. I'm fairly certain it's in the Jataka-Nidana, but she wants a Sutta citation and for some reason my brain isn't coming up with the proper reference. Your help is requested.

Thanks,

Dharmajim
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Re: A Sutta Reference Question

Postby retrofuturist » Thu Apr 16, 2009 12:57 am

Greetings Jim,

Is it DN14: Mahapadana Sutta?

EDIT: Nope, doesn't look like it is.

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: A Sutta Reference Question

Postby David N. Snyder » Thu Apr 16, 2009 1:20 am

It is considered a legend, no direct reference in the Pali Canon. But there is some indication that it might have happened that way. See:

http://www.dhammawiki.com/index.php?title=4_Sights

Majjhima Nikaya I. 163
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Re: A Sutta Reference Question

Postby mikenz66 » Thu Apr 16, 2009 1:32 am

The particulars of the story is, I believe, only in the commentaries, but this Sutta has the basic ideas spelled out:

AN 3.38 Sukhamala Sutta
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
"Monks, I lived in refinement, utmost refinement, total refinement. My father even had lotus ponds made in our palace: one where red-lotuses bloomed, one where white lotuses bloomed, one where blue lotuses bloomed, all for my sake. I used no sandalwood that was not from Varanasi. My turban was from Varanasi, as were my tunic, my lower garments, & my outer cloak. A white sunshade was held over me day & night to protect me from cold, heat, dust, dirt, & dew.

"I had three palaces: one for the cold season, one for the hot season, one for the rainy season. During the four months of the rainy season I was entertained in the rainy-season palace by minstrels without a single man among them, and I did not once come down from the palace. Whereas the servants, workers, & retainers in other people's homes are fed meals of lentil soup & broken rice, in my father's home the servants, workers, & retainers were fed wheat, rice, and meat.
"Even though I was endowed with such fortune, such total refinement, the thought occurred to me: 'When an untaught, run-of-the-mill person, himself subject to aging, not beyond aging, sees another who is aged, he is horrified, humiliated, & disgusted, oblivious to himself that he too is subject to aging, not beyond aging. If I — who am subject to aging, not beyond aging — were to be horrified, humiliated, & disgusted on seeing another person who is aged, that would not be fitting for me.' As I noticed this, the [typical] young person's intoxication with youth entirely dropped away.

"Even though I was endowed with such fortune, such total refinement, the thought occurred to me: 'When an untaught, run-of-the-mill person, himself subject to illness, not beyond illness, sees another who is ill, he is horrified, humiliated, & disgusted, oblivious to himself that he too is subject to illness, not beyond illness. And if I — who am subject to illness, not beyond illness — were to be horrified, humiliated, & disgusted on seeing another person who is ill, that would not be fitting for me.' As I noticed this, the healthy person's intoxication with health entirely dropped away.

"Even though I was endowed with such fortune, such total refinement, the thought occurred to me: 'When an untaught, run-of-the-mill person, himself subject to death, not beyond death, sees another who is dead, he is horrified, humiliated, & disgusted, oblivious to himself that he too is subject to death, not beyond death. And if I — who am subject to death, not beyond death — were to be horrified, humiliated, & disgusted on seeing another person who is dead, that would not be fitting for me.' As I noticed this, the living person's intoxication with life entirely dropped away.

Metta
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Re: A Sutta Reference Question

Postby Dharmajim » Thu Apr 16, 2009 5:42 pm

That was fast, and informative. No wonder I couldn't find the reference.

Here's a followup that's a little obscure; does anyone know if the Four Sights are explicitly mentioned in the Sarvastivada Canon as it survives in Chinese translation?

Thanks again for your attention,

Jim

P.S. The story of the Four Sights appears in the Digha Nikaya discourse on the Lineage, but it refers to the previous Buddha Vipassi.
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