MN 23 Vammika Sutta. The Ant Hill

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MN 23 Vammika Sutta. The Ant Hill

Postby mikenz66 » Tue Sep 13, 2011 9:30 am

Majjhima Nikaya (23) The Simile of the Ant Hill
Translated by Sister Uppalavanna

http://www.metta.lk/tipitaka/2Sutta-Pit ... ta-e1.html

I heard thus.

At one time the Blessed One was living in the monastery offered by Anàthapiïóika in Jeta's grove in Sàvatthi. At that time venerable Kumàrakassapa lived in the Dark forest. When the night was waning a certain deity illuminated the whole of the Dark forest and approached venerable Kumàrakassapa stood on a side, and said, Bhikkhu, this ant hill smokes in the night and blazes in the day. The brahmin said

Wise one, take a tool and dig. When digging with the tool he saw an obstacle; Good one, an obstacle. The brahmin said remove the obstacle wise one, and dig with the tool. Digging with the tool he saw a swollen dead body. Good one a swollen dead body. The brahmin said, wise one remove the swollen dead body and dig with the tool. Digging with the tool he saw a forked path. Good one a forked path. The brahmin said, remove the forked path and dig with the tool. Good one a casket. The brahmin said, wise one remove the casket and dig with the tool. Digging with the tool he saw a tortoise. Good one, a tortoise. The brahmin said remove the tortoise and dig with the tool. Digging with the tool he saw a slaughter house. Good one a slaughter house. The brahmin said, wise one remove the slaughter house and dig with the tool. Digging with the tool he saw a tendon of flesh. Good one a tendon of flesh. The brahmin said, wise one remove the tendon of flesh and dig with the tool. Digging with the tool, he saw a snake. Good one a snake. The brahmin said, wise one, stop do not hurt the snake, worship the snake. Bhikkhu, approach the Blessed One and ask this question and as he explains it bear it in mind. In this world of gods and men, together with its Màras, Brahmàs and the community of recluses and brahmins I do not see anyone who could answer this question and convince the mind except the Thus Gone One, a disciple of the Thus Gone One or one who has heard it. Saying that the deity vanished from there.

Venerable Kumàrakassapa at the end of that night approached the Blessed One, worshipped and sat on a side. Sitting venerable Kumàrakassapa said thus to the Blessed One. Venerable sir, last night, a certain deity illuminated the whole of Dark the forest and approached me and stood on a side, and said, Bhikkhu, this ant hill smokes in the night and blazes in the day. The brahmin said Wise one, take a tool and dig. When digging with the tool he saw an obstacle; Good one, an obstacle. The brahmin said remove the obstacle wise one, and dig with the tool. Digging with the tool he saw a swollen dead body. Good one a swollen dead body. The brahmin said, wise one remove the swollen dead body and dig with the tool. Digging with the tool he saw a forked path. Good one a forked path. The brahmin said, remove the forked path and dig with the tool. Good one a casket. The brahmin said, wise one remove the casket and dig with the tool. Digging with the tool he saw a tortoise. Good one a tortoise. The brahmin said, wise one remove the tortoise and dig with the tool Digging with the tool he saw a slaughter house. Good one a slaughter house. The brahmin said, wise one remove the slaughter house and dig with the tool. Digging with the tool he saw a tendon of flesh. Good one a tendon of flesh. The brahmin said, wise one remove the tendon of flesh and dig with the tool. Digging with the tool, he saw a snake. Good one a snake. The brahmin said, wise one, stop do not hurt the snake, worship the snake. Bhikkhu, approach the Blessed One and ask this question and as he explains it bear it in mind. In this world of gods and men, together with its Màras, Brahmàs and the community of recluses and brahmins I do not see anyone who could answer this question and convince the mind except the Thus Gone One, a disciple of the Thus Gone One or one who has heard it. Saying that the deity vanished from there.

Venerable sir, what is an ant hill, what is to smoke in the night. What is to blaze in the day. Who is the brahmin and who is the wise one, what is the tool, what is to dig, what is an obstacle, what is a swollen dead body, what is the forked path, what is a casket, what is a tortise, what is a slaughter house, what is a tendon of flesh, and who is the snake.

Bhikkhu, ant hill is a synonym for this four elemental body brought forth by mother and father, supported on rice and bread and subject to impermanence, brushing, breaking and destruction. Whatever work done during the day, is thought and discursively thought in the night, this is to smoke during the night. What is thought and discursively thought during the night is put into action through body, words and mind during the day, that is to blaze in the day Brahmin is a synonym for the Thus Gone One, worthy and righhtfully enlightened. The wise one is a synonym for the trainer. The tool is a synonym for the noble one's wisdom.

Dig is a synonym for aroused effort. Obstacle is a synonym for ignorance. Remove the obstacle is dispel ignorance Its meaning is wise one take a tool and dig. Bhikkhu, a swollen dead body is a synonym for anger and restlessness. Take the tool dig and remove the swollen dead body is dispel anger and restlesssness. A forked path is a synonym for doubts. Take the tool, dig and remove the forked path is its meaning. The casket is a synonym for the five hindrances;; sensual interest, aversion, sloth and torpor, restlessness and worry, and doubts. Dispel the five hindrances is. wise one take a tool dig and remove the casket is its meaning. Tortoise is a synonym for the five holding masses. Such as the holding mass of matter, the holding mass of feelings, the holding mass of perceptions, the holding mass of determinations, and the holding mass of consciousness. Remove the tortoise is give up the five holding masses. Wise one take a tool, dig and remove the tortoise is its meaning. Slaughter house is a synonym for the five strands of sensual pleasures. Such as pleasing agreeable forms arousing fondness cognizable by eye consciousness. Pleasing agreeable sounds arousing fondness cognizable by ear consciousness. Pleasing agreeable smells arousing fondness cognizable by nose consciousness. Pleasing agreeable tastes arousing fondness cognizable by tongue consciousness and pleasing agreeabale touches arousing fondness cognizable by body consciousness. Remove the slaughter house is dispel the five strands of sensual desires. Wise one take the tool dig and remove the slaughter house is its meaning. A tendon of flesh is a synonym for interest and greed. Wise one take the tool and dig is its meaning. The snake is a synonym for the bhikkhu with desires destroyed. Wait! Do not hurt the snake, worship the snake, is its meaning.

The Blssed One said thus and venerable Kumàrakassapa delighted in the words of the Blessed One.
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Re: MN 23 Vammika Sutta. The Ant Hill

Postby mikenz66 » Tue Sep 13, 2011 9:38 am

Vammika Sutta
The Discourse on the Ant-hill
[Similes for the spiritual training]
(Majjhima Nikya 23/1:142-145)
Translated by Piya Tan

http://dharmafarer.org/wordpress/wp-con ... 3-piya.pdf
[See the PDF for various notes and footnotes.]

Thus have I heard.
At one time the Blessed One was staying in Anātha,piṇḍika’s park in Jeta’s grove near Sāvatthī.

2 Now at that time, the venerable Kumāra Kassapa was staying in Andha,vana [Blind Men’s Forest].
Then, when the night was far advanced, a certain deity [devata] of great beauty, illuminating the
whole of Andha,vana, approached the venerable Kumāra Kassapa.
Having approached the venerable Kumāra Kassapa, he stood at one side.
Standing thus at one side, he said this to the venerable Kumāra Kassapa:

4 “Bhikshu, bhikshu!
(1) ‘This ant-hill (vammika) fumes by night and burns by day.’
5 (2) Thus spoke the brahmin, ‘Taking a knife (sattha), wise one, dig it up!’
(3) The wise one (sumedha), digging with the knife he had taken, saw a door-bar [bolt] (laṅgī),
‘A door-bar, sir!’
6 Thus spoke the brahmin, ‘Throw away the bar! Dig on with the knife you have taken, wise one!’
(4) The wise one, digging with the knife he had taken, saw a toad (uddhu,māyikā),
‘A toad, sir!’
7 Thus spoke the brahmin, ‘Throw away the toad! Dig on with the knife you have taken, wise one!’
(5) The wise one, digging with the knife he had taken, saw a forked path (dvidhā,patha),
‘A forked path, sir!’
8 Thus spoke the brahmin, ‘Avoid the forked path! Dig on with the knife you have taken, wise
one!’
(6) The wise one, digging with the knife he had taken, saw a sieve (caṅga,vāra),
‘A sieve, sir!’
9 Thus spoke the brahmin, ‘Throw away the sieve! Dig on with the knife you have taken,
wise one!’
(7) The wise one, digging with the knife he had taken, saw a tortoise (kumma),
‘A tortoise, sir!’
10 Thus spoke the brahmin, ‘Throw away the tortoise! Dig on with the knife you have taken, wise
one!’
(8) The wise one, digging with the knife he had taken, saw a butcher’s knife and chopping block
(asi,sūnā),
‘A butcher’s knife and chopping block, sir!’
11 Thus spoke the brahmin, ‘Throw away the butcher’s knife and chopping block! Dig on with the
knife you have taken, wise one!’
(9) The wise one, digging with the knife he had taken, saw a piece of meat (maṁsa,pesi),
‘A piece of meat, sir!’
12 Thus spoke the brahmin, ‘Throw away the piece of meat! Dig on with the knife you have taken,
wise one!’
(10) The wise one, digging with the knife he had taken, saw a naga serpent [cobra] (nāga),
‘A naga serpent, sir!’
13 Thus spoke the brahmin, ‘Let the naga be! Spite not the naga! Pay homage to the naga!’
14 These are the questions [riddles] for you, bhikshu. Approach the Blessed One and ask him. As the
Blessed One explains, so should you remember it.
I see no one in this world with its devas, its maras [archetypaql evil ones], its brahmas, its ascetics
and brahmins, this generation with its rulers and people, who would, resorting the mind, be able to answer
these riddles-except for the Tathagata or a Tathagata’s disciples or from having heard from either of
them.”
The deity said this. Having said this, he vanished right there.

15 Then, when the night has passed, the venerable Kumāra Kassapa approached the Blessed One,
saluted him, and sat down at one side.
Seated thus at one side, the venerable Kumāra Kassapa said this to the Blessed One:
16 “Bhante, in the night, a certain deity [devata] of great beauty, illuminating the whole of Andha,-
vana, approached me.
Having approached me, he stood at one side, and said this to me:

17 (1) “Bhikshu, bhikshu! ‘This ant-hill fumes by night and burns by day.’
18 (2) Thus spoke the brahmin, ‘Having taken a knife, wise one, dig it up!’
(3) The wise one, digging with the knife he had taken, saw a door-bar [bolt],
‘A door-bar, sir!’
19 Thus spoke the brahmin, ‘Throw away the bar! Dig on with the knife you have taken, wise one!’
(4) The wise one, digging with the knife he had taken, saw a toad (uddhumāyika),
‘A toad, sir!’
20 Thus spoke the brahmin, ‘Throw away the toad! Dig on with the knife you have taken, wise one!’
(5) The wise one, digging with the knife he had taken, saw a forked path (dvidhā,patha),
‘A forked path, sir!’
21 Thus spoke the brahmin, “Avoid the forked path! Dig on with the knife you have taken, wise
one!’
(6) The wise one, digging with the knife he had taken, saw a sieve (caṅga,vāra),
‘A sieve, sir!’
22 Thus spoke the brahmin, ‘Throw away the sieve! Dig on with the knife you have taken,
wise one!’
(7) The wise one, digging with the knife he had taken, saw a tortoise (kumma),
‘A tortoise, sir!’
23 Thus spoke the brahmin, ‘Throw away the tortoise! Dig on with the knife you have taken, wise
one!’
(8) The wise one, digging with the knife he had taken, saw a butcher’s knife and chopping block
(asisūna),
‘A butcher’s knife and chopping block, sir!’
24 Thus spoke the brahmin, ‘Throw away the butcher’s knife and chopping block! Dig on with the
knife you have taken, wise one!’
(9) The wise one, digging with the knife he had taken, saw a piece of meat (maṁsa,pesi),
‘A piece of meat, sir!’
25 Thus spoke the brahmin, ‘Throw away the piece of meat! Dig on with the knife you have taken,
wise one!’
(10) The wise one, digging with the knife he had taken, saw a naga serpent [cobra] (nāga),
‘A naga serpent, sir!’
26 Thus spoke the brahmin, ‘Let the naga be! Spite not the naga! Pay homage to the naga!’
27 These are the questions [riddles] for you, bhikshu. Approach the Blessed One and ask him. As the
Blessed One explains, so should you remember it.”
The deity said this; having said this, he disappeared right there.

28 (1) What now, bhante, is the ant-hill?
(2) What is the knife?
(3) What is the door-bar?
(4) What is the toad?
(5) What is the forked path?
(6) What is the sieve?
(7) What is the tortoise?
(8) What is the butcher’s knife and chopping block?
(9) What is the piece of meat?
(10) What is the naga serpent?”

29 (1) “‘The ant-hill’ (vammika)—bhikshu, this is a term for this body, composed of the four great
elements, born from mother and father, nourished with rice and porridge, subject to inconstancy, rubbing,
pressing, dissolution, and dispersion.
30 Bhikshu, what one thinks and ponders over by night on account of the day’s actions—this is the
‘fuming by night.’
31 Bhikshu, what one undertakes in the day by body, speech and mind after thinking and pondering
in the night—this is the ‘burning by day.’
32 ‘The brahmin’ (brāhmaṇa)—bhikshu, this is a term for the Tathāgata [thus-come], the arhat
[worthy], fully self-awakened.
33 ‘Wise one’ (sumedha)—bhikshu, this is a term for a monk who is a learner.
34 (2) ‘The knife’ (sattha)—bhikshu, this is a term for wisdom.
35 ‘Digging (abhikkhaṇa)’—bhikshu, this is a term for the assertion of effort.
36 (3) ‘Door-bar’ (laṅgī)—bhikshu, this is a term for ignorance.
37 ‘Throw away the door-bar! Abandon ignorance! Dig on with the knife that you have taken’—
this is its meaning.
38 (4) ‘The toad’ (uddhumāyika)—bhikshu, this is a term for anger and despair.
39 ‘Throw away the toad! Abandon anger and despair! Dig on with the knife that you have
taken’—this is its meaning.
40 (5) ‘The forked path’ (dvidhā,patha)—bhikshu, this is a term for doubt.
41 ‘Avoid the forked path! Abandon doubt! Dig on with the knife that you have taken’—this is its
meaning.
42 (6) ‘The sieve’ (caṅga,vāra)—bhikshus, this is a term for the five hindrances, that is to say:
1. the mental hindrance of sense-desire (kāma-c,chanda);
2. the mental hindrance of ill will (vyāpādā);
3. the mental hindrance of sloth and torpor (kāma-c,chanda);
4. the mental hindrance of restlessness and remorse (uddhacca-kukkucca); and
5. the mental hindrance of doubt (vicikicchā).
43 ‘Throw away the sieve! Abandon the five hindrances! Dig on with the knife that you have
taken’—this is its meaning.
44 (7) ‘The tortoise’ (kummāsa)—bhikshu, this is a term for the five aggregates of clinging, that is
to say:
1. the aggregate of clinging that is form (rūp’upādāna-k,khandha);
2. the aggregate of clinging that is feeling (vedan’upādāna-k,khandha);
3. the aggregate of clinging that is perception (saññ’upādāna-k,khandha);
4. the aggregate of clinging that is formations (saṅkhār’upādāna-k,khandha); and
5. the aggregate of clinging that is consciousness (viññāṇ’upādāna-k,khandha).
45 ‘Throw away the tortoise! Abandon the five aggregates of clinging! Dig on with the knife that
you have taken’—this is its meaning.
46 (8) ‘The butcher’s knife and chopping block’ (asi,sūnā)—bhikshu, this is a term for the five
cords of sense-pleasures, namely,
1. forms cognizable by the eye that are wished for, cakkhu,viññeyyānaṁ rūpānaṁ iṭṭhānaṁ
desirable, agreeable and pleasing, kantānaṁ manāpānaṁ piya,rūpānaṁ
connected with sense-desire, arousing lust; kāmûpasaṁhitānaṁ rajanīyānaṁ.
2. sounds cognizable by the ear that are wished for, sota,viññeyyānaṁ saddānaṁ iṭṭhānaṁ
desirable, agreeable and pleasing, kantānaṁ manāpānaṁ piya,rūpānaṁ
connected with sense-desire, arousing lust; kāmûpasaṁhitānaṁ rajanīyānaṁ.
3. smells cognizable by the nose that are wished for, ghāna,viññeyyānaṁ gandhānaṁ iṭṭhānaṁ
desirable, agreeable and pleasing, kantānaṁ manāpānaṁ piya,rūpānaṁ
connected with sense-desire, arousing lust; kāmûpasaṁhitānaṁ rajanīyānaṁ.
4. tastes cognizable by the tongue that are wished for, jivhā,viññeyyānaṁ rasānaṁ iṭṭhānaṁ
desirable, agreeable and pleasing, kantānaṁ manāpānaṁ piya,rūpānaṁ
connected with sense-desire, arousing lust; and kāmûpasaṁhitānaṁ rajanīyānaṁ.
5. touches cognizable by the body that are wished for, kāya,viññeyyānaṁ phoṭṭhabbānaṁ iṭṭhānaṁ
desirable, agreeable and pleasing, kantānaṁ manāpānaṁ piya,rūpānaṁ
connected with sensual desire, arousing lust. kāmûpasaṁhitānaṁ rajanīyānaṁ.
47 ‘Throw away the butcher’s knife and chopping block! Abandon the five cords of sense-pleasures!
Dig on with the knife that you have taken’—this is its meaning.
48 (9) ‘The piece of meat’ (maṁsa,pesi)—bhikshus, this is a term for delight and lust.
49 ‘Throw away the piece of meat! Abandon delight and lust! Dig on with the knife that you have
taken’—this is its meaning.
50 (10) ‘The naga serpent’ (nāga)—bhikshu, this is a term for the monk who is one with mental
influxes destroyed.
51 ‘Let the naga be! Spite not the naga! Pay homage to the naga!’—this is its meaning.”

The Blessed One said this. The venerable Kumāra Kassapa, with a joyful mind, approved of the word
of the Blessed One.
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Re: MN 23 Vammika Sutta. The Ant Hill

Postby mikenz66 » Fri Sep 16, 2011 7:30 am

Notes from Bhikkhu Bodhi.

BB: Ven Kumara Kassapa was an adopted son of Kong Pasenadi of Kosala, born of a woman who, not knowing she was pregnant, had gone forth as a bhikkhuni after having conceived him. At the time this sutta was delivered he was still a sekha; he attained arahantship using this sutta as his subject of meditation.

BB: According to MA the deity was a non-returner living in the Pure Abodes. he and Kumara Kassapa had been members of a group of five fellow monks who, in the Dispensation of the previous Buddha Kassapa had practised meditation together on a mountain-top. It was this same deity who spurred Bahiya Daruciriya, another former member of the group, to visit the Buddha.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .irel.html

The various members of this group are mentioned in the Canon, and several met sticky ends at the hoofs of a cow. See the discussion on Killer cows of the Pali Canon
http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.ph ... 96&start=0
and this thread: viewtopic.php?f=25&t=2350#p32931

:anjali:
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Re: MN 23 Vammika Sutta. The Ant Hill

Postby mikenz66 » Sun Sep 18, 2011 5:39 am

Similes:

Ant Hill: Body

Fuming by night: What one thinks and ponders on by night based on one's actions during the day.

Flaming by day: The actions one undertakes during the day by body, speech, and mind after thinking and pondering by night.

Brahmin: The Tathagata.

Wise one: Bhikkhu in higher training (past stream entry).

Knife: Noble wisdom.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
"Just as if a skilled butcher or butcher's apprentice, having killed a cow, were to carve it up with a sharp carving knife so that — without damaging the substance of the inner flesh, without damaging the substance of the outer hide — he would cut, sever, & detach only the skin muscles, connective tissues, & attachments in between. Having cut, severed, & detached the outer skin, and then covering the cow again with that very skin, if he were to say that the cow was joined to the skin just as it had been: would he be speaking rightly?"


Delving: Arousing energy.

Bar: Symbol for ignorance.
MA: Just as a bar across the entrance to a city prevents people from entering it, so ignorance prevents people from attaining Nibbana.
A "lifting of the crossbar" appears in a number of suttas:
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .piya.html
3. "Having cut off the stake, having dug up the cross-bar (of lust, hate, and delusion), devoid of desire, they go their way, pure, stainless, with vision clear, and well tamed, these young arahants move about like elephants."

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
"This, monks, is called a monk whose cross-bar is thrown off, whose moat is filled in, whose pillar is pulled out, whose bolt is withdrawn, a noble one with banner lowered, burden placed down, unfettered.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .budd.html
398. He who has cut off the thong (of hatred), the band (of craving), and the rope (of false views), together with the appurtenances (latent evil tendencies), he who has removed the crossbar (of ignorance) and is enlightened — him do I call a holy man.


Toad: Anger and irritation.

Fork: Symbol for doubt.
BB: Dvedhapatha might also have been rendered "a forked path", an obvious symbol for doubt.

Sieve: Five hindrances: sensual desire, ill will, sloth and torpor, restlessness and remorse, doubt.

Tortoise: Five aggregates.
BB: MA states that the four feet and head of the tortoise are similar to the five aggregates.
Other tortoise imagery seems to be to to with the senses:
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .wlsh.html
As the tortoise draws into his shell Each limb, the monk, withdrawn, with mind applied, Unattached, and doing harm to none, Passions wholly stilled, dwells blaming none.[1]
Cf. Bhagavadgiitaa ii, 58: "He who withdraws his senses on all sides from sense-objects as the tortoise draws in his limbs, is firmly established in wisdom." The same image occurs in SN 35.199 http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html


Butcher's knife and block. Five cords of sensual pleasure.
MA: Beings desiring sensual enjoyments are chopped up by the butchers knife of sensual desires upon the block of sense objects.

Piece of meat: Delight and lust.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.054x.than.html
"Now suppose a vulture, a kite, or a hawk, seizing a lump of flesh, were to take off, and other vultures, kites, or hawks — following right after it — were to tear at it with their beaks & pull at it with their claws. What do you think: If that vulture, kite, or hawk were not quickly to drop that lump of flesh, would it meet with death from that cause, or with death-like pain?"

"Yes, lord."

"In the same way, householder, a disciple of the noble ones considers this point: 'The Blessed One has compared sensuality to a lump of flesh, of much stress, much despair, & greater drawbacks.' Seeing this with right discernment, as it actually is, then avoiding the equanimity coming from multiplicity, dependent on multiplicity, he develops the equanimity coming from singleness, dependent on singleness, where sustenance/clinging for the baits of the world ceases without trace.


Naga serpent: The bhikkhu who has destroyed the taints.
BB: The nagas are a class of dragonlike beings in Indian mythology believed to inhabit the nether regions of the earth, and to be the guardians of hidden treasures. The word comes to represent any gigantic or powerful creature, such as a tusker elephant, or a cobra, and, by extension, an arahant bhikkhu. See Dhammpapda Chapter 23: Nagavagga
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .budd.html
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Re: MN 23 Vammika Sutta. The Ant Hill

Postby mikenz66 » Wed Mar 07, 2012 7:38 pm

See this "new" talk by Mahasi Sayadaw, translation re-edited by Bhikkhu Pesala:
http://www.aimwell.org/Books/Mahasi/Vam ... mmika.html

viewtopic.php?f=24&t=6531&view=unread#p177388

:namaste:
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