MN 29 Maha Saropama Sutta: The Longer Heartwood-simile

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MN 29 Maha Saropama Sutta: The Longer Heartwood-simile

Postby mikenz66 » Tue Feb 14, 2012 8:48 am

MN 29 PTS: M i 192
Maha Saropama Sutta: The Longer Heartwood-simile Discourse
translated from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu


The Buddha compares the rewards of the practice to different parts of a large tree, with total release the most valuable part of the tree: the heartwood.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html


In have heard that on one occasion the Blessed One was staying near Rājagaha on Vulture Peak mountain, not long after Devadatta had left. Referring to Devadatta, the Blessed One addressed the monks:

"Monks, there is the case where a certain son of good family, out of conviction, goes forth from the home life into homelessness, [thinking,] 'I am beset by birth, by aging-&-death, by sorrows, lamentations, pains, distresses, & despairs, beset by stress, overcome with stress. Perhaps the end of this entire mass of stress might be discerned!' Having thus gone forth, he encounters gain, offerings, & fame. He is gratified with that gain, offerings, & fame, his resolve fulfilled. Because of that gain, offerings, & fame he exalts himself and disparages others: 'I am a person with gain, offerings, & fame, but these other monks are unknown & of little influence.' He is intoxicated with that gain, offerings, & fame, heedless about it, and falls into heedlessness. Being heedless, he dwells in suffering & stress.

"Just as if a man in need of heartwood, seeking heartwood, wandering in search of heartwood — passing over the heartwood of a great standing tree possessed of heartwood, passing over the sapwood, passing over the inner bark, passing over the outer bark — cutting away the twigs & leaves, were to go off carrying them, thinking, 'heartwood.' A man with good eyesight, seeing him, would say, 'Ah, how this good man didn't know heartwood, didn't know sapwood, didn't know inner bark, didn't know outer bark, didn't know twigs & leaves! That's why he, in need of heartwood, seeking heartwood, wandering in search of heartwood — passing over the heartwood of a great standing tree possessed of heartwood, passing over the sapwood, passing over the inner bark, passing over the outer bark — cutting away the twigs & leaves, went off carrying them, thinking, "heartwood." Whatever heartwood-business he had with heartwood, his purpose won't be served.'

"In the same way, monks, there is the case where a certain son of good family, out of conviction, goes forth from the home life into homelessness, [thinking,] 'I am beset by birth, by aging-&-death, by sorrows, lamentations, pains, distresses, & despairs, beset by stress, overcome with stress. Perhaps the end of this entire mass of stress might be discerned!' Having thus gone forth, he encounters gain, offerings, & fame. He is gratified with that gain, offerings, & fame, his resolve fulfilled. Because of that gain, offerings, & fame he exalts himself and disparages others: 'I am a person with gain, offerings, & fame, but these other monks are unknown & of little influence.' He is intoxicated with that gain, offerings, & fame, heedless about it, and falls into heedlessness. Being heedless, he dwells in suffering & stress. This, monks, is called a monk who grasps the twigs & leaves of the holy life, and with that he falls short.

"Furthermore, there is the case where a certain son of good family, out of conviction, goes forth from the home life into homelessness, [thinking,] '... Perhaps the end of this entire mass of stress might be discerned!' Having thus gone forth, he encounters gain, offerings, & fame. He is not gratified with that gain, offerings, & fame, his resolve not fulfilled. He is not intoxicated with that gain, offerings, & fame, not heedless about it, and does not fall into heedlessness. Being heedful, he achieves consummation in virtue. He is gratified with that consummation in virtue, his resolve fulfilled. Because of that consummation in virtue he exalts himself and disparages others: 'I am a person of virtue, with fine qualities, but these other monks are unvirtuous, with evil qualities.' He is intoxicated with that consummation in virtue, heedless about it, and falls into heedlessness. Being heedless, he dwells in suffering & stress.

"Just as if a man in need of heartwood, seeking heartwood, wandering in search of heartwood — passing over the heartwood of a great standing tree possessed of heartwood, passing over the sapwood, passing over the inner bark — cutting away the outer bark, were to go off carrying it, thinking, 'heartwood.' A man with good eyesight, seeing him, would say, 'Ah, how this good man didn't know heartwood, didn't know sapwood, didn't know inner bark, didn't know outer bark, didn't know twigs & leaves! That's why he, in need of heartwood, seeking heartwood, wandering in search of heartwood — passing over the heartwood of a great standing tree possessed of heartwood, passing over the sapwood, passing over the inner bark — cutting away the outer bark, went off carrying it, thinking, "heartwood." Whatever heartwood-business he had with heartwood, his purpose won't be served.'

"In the same way, monks, there is the case where a certain son of good family, out of conviction, goes forth from the home life into homelessness, [thinking,] '...Perhaps the end of this entire mass of stress might be discerned!' Having thus gone forth, he encounters gain, offerings, & fame. He is not gratified with that gain, offerings, & fame, his resolve not fulfilled. He is not intoxicated with that gain, offerings, & fame, not heedless about it, and does not fall into heedlessness. Being heedful, he achieves consummation in virtue. He is gratified with that consummation in virtue, his resolve fulfilled. Because of that consummation in virtue he exalts himself and disparages others: 'I am a person of virtue, with fine qualities, but these other monks are unvirtuous, with evil qualities.' He is intoxicated with that consummation in virtue, heedless about it, and falls into heedlessness. Being heedless, he dwells in suffering & stress. This, monks, is called a monk who grasps the outer bark of the holy life, and with that he falls short.

"Furthermore, there is the case where a certain son of good family, out of conviction, goes forth from the home life into homelessness, [thinking,] '...Perhaps the end of this entire mass of stress might be discerned!' Having thus gone forth, he encounters gain, offerings, & fame. He is not gratified with that gain, offerings, & fame, his resolve not fulfilled. He is not intoxicated with that gain, offerings, & fame, not heedless about it, and does not fall into heedlessness. Being heedful, he achieves consummation in virtue. He is gratified with that consummation in virtue, but his resolve is not fulfilled. Because of that consummation in virtue he does not exalt himself or disparage others. He is not intoxicated with that consummation in virtue, not heedless about it, and does not fall into heedlessness. Being heedful, he achieves consummation in concentration. He is gratified with that consummation in concentration, his resolve fulfilled. Because of that consummation in concentration he exalts himself and disparages others: 'I am concentrated, my mind at singleness, but these other monks are unconcentrated, their minds scattered.' He is intoxicated with that consummation in concentration, heedless about it, and falls into heedlessness. Being heedless, he dwells in suffering & stress.

"Just as if a man in need of heartwood, seeking heartwood, wandering in search of heartwood — passing over the heartwood of a great standing tree possessed of heartwood, passing over the sapwood — cutting away the inner bark, were to go off carrying it, thinking, 'heartwood.' A man with good eyesight, seeing him, would say, 'Ah, how this good man didn't know heartwood, didn't know sapwood, didn't know inner bark, didn't know outer bark, didn't know twigs & leaves! That's why he, in need of heartwood, seeking heartwood, wandering in search of heartwood — passing over the heartwood of a great standing tree possessed of heartwood, passing over the sapwood — cutting away the inner bark, went off carrying it, thinking, "heartwood." Whatever heartwood-business he had with heartwood, his purpose won't be served.'

"In the same way, monks, there is the case where a certain son of good family, out of conviction, goes forth from the home life into homelessness, [thinking,] '...Perhaps the end of this entire mass of stress might be discerned!' Having thus gone forth, he encounters gain, offerings, & fame. He is not gratified with that gain, offerings, & fame, his resolve not fulfilled. He is not intoxicated with that gain, offerings, & fame, not heedless about it, and does not fall into heedlessness. Being heedful, he achieves consummation in virtue. He is gratified with that consummation in virtue, but his resolve is not fulfilled. Because of that consummation in virtue he does not exalt himself or disparage others. He is not intoxicated with that consummation in virtue, not heedless about it, and does not fall into heedlessness. Being heedful, he achieves consummation in concentration. He is gratified with that consummation in concentration, his resolve fulfilled. Because of that consummation in concentration he exalts himself and disparages others: 'I am concentrated, my mind at singleness, but these other monks are unconcentrated, their minds scattered.' He is intoxicated with that consummation in concentration, heedless about it, and falls into heedlessness. Being heedless, he dwells in suffering & stress. This, monks, is called a monk who grasps the inner bark of the holy life, and with that he falls short.

"Furthermore, there is the case where a certain son of good family, out of conviction, goes forth from the home life into homelessness, [thinking,] '...Perhaps the end of this entire mass of stress might be discerned!' Having thus gone forth, he encounters gain, offerings, & fame. He is not gratified with that gain, offerings, & fame, his resolve not fulfilled. He is not intoxicated with that gain, offerings, & fame, not heedless about it, and does not fall into heedlessness. Being heedful, he achieves consummation in virtue. He is gratified with that consummation in virtue, but his resolve is not fulfilled. Because of that consummation in virtue he does not exalt himself or disparage others. He is not intoxicated with that consummation in virtue, not heedless about it, and does not fall into heedlessness. Being heedful, he achieves consummation in concentration. He is gratified with that consummation in concentration, but his resolve is not fulfilled. He is not intoxicated with that consummation in concentration, not heedless about it, and does not fall into heedlessness. Being heedful, he achieves knowledge & vision. He is gratified with that knowledge & vision, his resolve fulfilled. Because of that knowledge & vision he exalts himself and disparages others: 'I dwell knowing & seeing, but these other monks dwell not knowing & not seeing.' He is intoxicated with that knowledge & vision, heedless about it, and falls into heedlessness. Being heedless, he dwells in suffering & stress.

"Just as if a man in need of heartwood, seeking heartwood, wandering in search of heartwood — passing over the heartwood of a great standing tree possessed of heartwood — cutting away the sapwood, were to go off carrying it, thinking, 'heartwood.' A man with good eyesight, seeing him, would say, 'Ah, how this good man didn't know heartwood, didn't know sapwood, didn't know inner bark, didn't know outer bark, didn't know twigs & leaves! That's why he, in need of heartwood, seeking heartwood, wandering in search of heartwood — passing over the heartwood of a great standing tree possessed of heartwood — cutting away the sapwood, went off carrying it, thinking, "heartwood." Whatever heartwood-business he had with heartwood, his purpose won't be served.'

"In the same way, monks, there is the case where a certain son of good family, out of conviction, goes forth from the home life into homelessness, [thinking,] '...Perhaps the end of this entire mass of stress might be discerned!' Having thus gone forth, he encounters gain, offerings, & fame. He is not gratified with that gain, offerings, & fame, his resolve not fulfilled. He is not intoxicated with that gain, offerings, & fame, not heedless about it, and does not fall into heedlessness. Being heedful, he achieves consummation in virtue. He is gratified with that consummation in virtue, but his resolve is not fulfilled. Because of that consummation in virtue he does not exalt himself or disparage others. He is not intoxicated with that consummation in virtue, not heedless about it, and does not fall into heedlessness. Being heedful, he achieves consummation in concentration. He is gratified with that consummation in concentration, but his resolve is not fulfilled. He is not intoxicated with that consummation in concentration, not heedless about it, and does not fall into heedlessness. Being heedful, he achieves knowledge & vision. He is gratified with that knowledge & vision, his resolve fulfilled. Because of that knowledge & vision he exalts himself and disparages others: 'I dwell knowing & seeing, but these other monks dwell not knowing & not seeing.' He is intoxicated with that knowledge & vision, heedless about it, and falls into heedlessness. Being heedless, he dwells in suffering & stress. This, monks, is called a monk who grasps the sapwood of the holy life, and with that he falls short.

"Furthermore, there is the case where a certain son of good family, out of conviction, goes forth from the home life into homelessness, [thinking,] 'I am beset by birth, by aging-&-death, by sorrows, lamentations, pains, distresses, & despairs, beset by stress, overcome with stress. Perhaps the end of this entire mass of stress might be discerned!' Having thus gone forth, he encounters gain, offerings, & fame. He is not gratified with that gain, offerings, & fame, his resolve not fulfilled. He is not intoxicated with that gain, offerings, & fame, not heedless about it, and does not fall into heedlessness. Being heedful, he achieves consummation in virtue. He is gratified with that consummation in virtue, but his resolve is not fulfilled. Because of that consummation in virtue he does not exalt himself or disparage others. He is not intoxicated with that consummation in virtue, not heedless about it, and does not fall into heedlessness. Being heedful, he achieves consummation in concentration. He is gratified with that consummation in concentration, but his resolve is not fulfilled. He is not intoxicated with that consummation in concentration, not heedless about it, and does not fall into heedlessness. Being heedful, he achieves knowledge & vision. He is gratified with that knowledge & vision, but his resolve is not fulfilled. Because of that knowledge & vision he does not exalt himself or disparage others. He is not intoxicated with that knowledge & vision, not heedless about it, and does not fall into heedlessness. Being heedful, he achieves a non-occasional liberation. And it is impossible, monks, there is no opportunity, for that monk to fall from that non-occasional release. [1]

"Just as if a man in need of heartwood, seeking heartwood, wandering in search of heartwood, cutting away just the heartwood of a great standing tree possessed of heartwood, were to go off carrying it, knowing, 'heartwood.' A man with good eyesight, seeing him, would say, 'Ah, how this good man did know heartwood, did know sapwood, did know inner bark, did know outer bark, did know twigs & leaves! That's why he, in need of heartwood, seeking heartwood, wandering in search of heartwood, cutting away just the heartwood of a great standing tree possessed of heartwood, were to go off carrying it, knowing, "heartwood." Whatever heartwood-business he had with heartwood, his purpose will be served.'

"In the same way, monks, there is the case where a certain son of good family, out of conviction, goes forth from the home life into homelessness, [thinking,] 'I am beset by birth, by aging-&-death, by sorrows, lamentations, pains, distresses, & despairs, beset by stress, overcome with stress. Perhaps the end of this entire mass of stress might be discerned!' Having thus gone forth, he encounters gain, offerings, & fame. He is not gratified with that gain, offerings, & fame, his resolve not fulfilled. He is not intoxicated with that gain, offerings, & fame, not heedless about it, and does not fall into heedlessness. Being heedful, he achieves consummation in virtue. He is gratified with that consummation in virtue, but his resolve is not fulfilled. Because of that consummation in virtue he does not exalt himself or disparage others. He is not intoxicated with that consummation in virtue, not heedless about it, and does not fall into heedlessness. Being heedful, he achieves consummation in concentration. He is gratified with that consummation in concentration, but his resolve is not fulfilled. Because of that consummation in concentration he does not exalt himself or disparage others. He is not intoxicated with that consummation in concentration, not heedless about it, and does not fall into heedlessness. Being heedful, he achieves knowledge & vision. He is gratified with that knowledge & vision, but his resolve is not fulfilled. Because of that knowledge & vision he does not exalt himself or disparage others. He is not intoxicated with that knowledge & vision, not heedless about it, and does not fall into heedlessness. Being heedful, he achieves a non-occasional liberation. And it is impossible, monks, there is no opportunity, for that monk to fall from that non-occasional release.

"Monks, this holy life doesn't have as its reward gain, offerings, & fame, doesn't have as its reward consummation of virtue, doesn't have as its reward consummation of concentration, doesn't have as its reward knowledge & vision, but the unprovoked [2]awareness-release: That is the purpose of this holy life, that is its heartwood, that its final end."

That is what the Blessed One said. Gratified, the monks delighted in the Blessed One's words.


Notes

1. This translation follows the Sri Lankan and Burmese editions of the Canon. The Thai and PTS editions at this point say, "Being heedful, he achieves an occasional liberation. And it is possible, monks, there is the opportunity, for that monk to fall from that occasional release." However, when the passage is repeated after the simile, the these editions read, "Being heedful, he achieves a non-occasional liberation. And it is impossible, monks, there is no opportunity, for that monk to fall from that non-occasional release." Because this inconsistency seems anomalous, the Sri Lankan/Burmese reading seems preferable.

Occasional liberation/release is the temporary release from such things as the hindrances, attained when entering right concentration, or the temporary release from some of the factors of lower states of jhāna, attained when entering higher states of jhāna. This release lasts only as long as the necessary causal factors are still in place. Non-occasional liberation/release, according to the Commentary, covers all of the transcendent attainments: the paths and fruitions of stream-entry, once-returning, non-returning, and arahantship, along with unbinding. Thus, if the Commentary is right here, non-occasional liberation/release has a broader meaning than the unprovoked release, mentioned below, as that covers only the fruition of arahantship and unbinding. Although the path factors are needed to reach these attainments, they do not cause them, just as a path to a mountain does not cause the mountain to be. This release is beyond time — and thus "non-occasional" — in that the falling away of the path factors would not end it.


2. Akuppa. This term is sometimes translated as "unshakable," but it literally means, "unprovoked." The reference is apparently to the theory of dhātu, or properties underlying physical or psychological events in nature. The physical properties according to this theory are four: earth [solidity], liquid, heat, and wind [motion]. Three of them — liquid, heat, & wind — are potentially active. When they are aggravated, agitated, or provoked — the Pali term here, 'pakuppati', is used also on the psychological level, where it means angered or upset — they act as the underlying cause for natural activity. When the provocation ends, the corresponding activity subsides.

    "Now there comes a time, friends, when the external liquid property is provoked, and at that time the external earth property vanishes...

    "There comes a time, friends, when the external liquid property is provoked and washes away village, town, city, district, & country. There comes a time when the water in the great ocean drops down one hundred leagues, two hundred... three hundred... four hundred... five hundred... six hundred... seven hundred leagues. There comes a time when the water in the great ocean stands seven palm-trees deep, six... five... four... three... two palm-trees deep, one palm-tree deep. There comes a time when the water in the great ocean stands seven fathoms deep, six... five... four... three... two fathoms deep, one fathom deep. There comes a time when the water in the great ocean stands half a fathom deep, hip-deep, knee-deep, ankle deep. There comes a time when the water in the great ocean is not even the depth of the first joint of a finger...

    "There comes a time, friends, when the external fire property is provoked and consumes village, town, city, district, & country; and then, coming to the edge of a green district, the edge of a road, the edge of a rocky district, to the water's edge, or to a lush, well-watered area, goes out from lack of sustenance. There comes a time when people try to make fire using a wing-bone & tendon parings...

    "There comes a time, friends, when the external wind property is provoked and blows away village, town, city, district, & country. There comes a time when, in the last month of the hot season, people try to start a breeze with a fan or bellows, and even the grass at the fringe of a thatch roof doesn't stir."

    — MN 28 http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

A similar theory attributes the irruption of mental states to the provocation of the properties of sensuality, form, or formlessness.

    "In dependence on the property of sensuality there occurs the perception of sensuality. In dependence on the perception of sensuality there occurs the resolve for sensuality... the desire for sensuality... the fever for sensuality... the quest for sensuality. Questing for sensuality, monks, an uninstructed, run-of-the-mill person conducts himself wrongly through three means: through body, through speech, & through mind."

    — SN 14.12
    http://www.metta.lk/tipitaka/2Sutta-Pit ... ggo-e.html
    13. 2. 2.
    (12) Sanidāna: With a Reason

Even unbinding is described as a property (Iti 44 http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/kn/iti/iti.2.028-049.than.html#iti-044). However, there is a crucial difference in how unbinding is attained, in that the unbinding property is not provoked. Any events that depend on the provocation of a property are inherently unstable and inconstant, subject to change when the provocation ends. But because true release is not caused by the provocation of anything, it is not subject to change.
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Re: MN 29 Maha Saropama Sutta: The Longer Heartwood-simile

Postby Sam Vara » Wed Feb 15, 2012 12:19 am

There is an interesting detail in this list of conditions which I find extremely arresting, but I only discovered it by reading each section very carefully. I have a tendency towards impatience with repetitions, and want to dismiss them and get to the overall sense of the Sutta.

There are four levels of attainments here:

1) Gain, offerings and fame
2) Consummation in virtue
3) Consummation in concentration
4) Knowledge and vision.

In each case, the practitioner can experience gratification and the fulfillment of resolve as a result of attaining to these things. For the first one (gain, offerings, and fame) they are both conditions for falling into suffering and stress. But for the other three, it is apparently perfectly OK to experience gratification, so long as one is not fulfilled in one's resolve. I am reminded of the Suttas in which the Buddha speaks of knowing

What is the gratification, what is the danger, what is the escape in the case of form...feeling...perception...volitional formations...consciousness?


(e.g. SN 22.26, 22.27, & 22.28) - and it looks as if the actual formula is not as straightforward as it originally seems.

But what of the relationship between the fulfillment of resolve (which is the determining factor in the continuation of suffering and stress, at least at the higher stages) and the exalting of self and disparagement of others which follows it? Would it be possible for someone to experience the gratification associated with attaining consummation of virtue, or consummation of concentration, or knowledge and vision (all of which seem perfectly OK); and to also be fulfilled in one's resolve; without falling into the error of exaltation/disparagement? And if we avoid this one thing, do we avoid suffering and stress?
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Re: MN 29 Maha Saropama Sutta: The Longer Heartwood-simile

Postby mikenz66 » Wed Feb 15, 2012 5:37 am

Hi Sam,
Sam Vega wrote:There is an interesting detail in this list of conditions which I find extremely arresting, but I only discovered it by reading each section very carefully.

Which is, of course, a very important point. Thank you for reading the sutta properly!
Sam Vega wrote:In each case, the practitioner can experience gratification and the fulfillment of resolve as a result of attaining to these things. For the first one (gain, offerings, and fame) they are both conditions for falling into suffering and stress.

Since this isn't easy to see, I'll pull out the relevant parts.

So if he:
... is gratified with that gain, offerings, & fame, his resolve fulfilled. Because of that gain, offerings, & fame he exalts himself and disparages others...

He is stuck.

He has to be:
... not gratified with that gain, offerings, & fame, his resolve not fulfilled. He is not intoxicated with that gain, offerings, & fame, not heedless about it, and does not fall into heedlessness. Being heedful, he achieves consummation in virtue. ...

Sam Vega wrote:But for the other three, it is apparently perfectly OK to experience gratification, so long as one is not fulfilled in one's resolve.

So if He:
... is gratified with that consummation in virtue, his resolve fulfilled. Because of that consummation in virtue he exalts himself and disparages others...

he fails, but if he:
...is gratified with that consummation in virtue, but his resolve is not fulfilled. Because of that consummation in virtue he does not exalt himself or disparage others. He is not intoxicated with that consummation in virtue, not heedless about it, and does not fall into heedlessness. Being heedful, he achieves consummation in concentration. ...


Very interesting...
Sam Vega wrote:But what of the relationship between the fulfillment of resolve (which is the determining factor in the continuation of suffering and stress, at least at the higher stages) and the exalting of self and disparagement of others which follows it? Would it be possible for someone to experience the gratification associated with attaining consummation of virtue, or consummation of concentration, or knowledge and vision (all of which seem perfectly OK); and to also be fulfilled in one's resolve; without falling into the error of exaltation/disparagement? And if we avoid this one thing, do we avoid suffering and stress?

I guess "be fulfilled in one's resolve", means that he feels he has finished the task. So one can get very good at concentration, for example, and think that's all there is to it...

:anjali:
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Re: MN 29 Maha Saropama Sutta: The Longer Heartwood-simile

Postby mikenz66 » Wed Feb 15, 2012 10:03 am

Here's some of the Nanamoli/Bodhi translation of one such passage.
Being diligent, he achieves the attainment of virtue. He is pleased with that attainment of virtue and his intention is fulfilled.

Is that a little clearer?

Thanissaro Bhikkhu has this refrain:
That's why he, in need of heartwood, seeking heartwood, wandering in search of heartwood — passing over the heartwood of a great standing tree possessed of heartwood, passing over the sapwood, passing over the inner bark, passing over the outer bark — cutting away the twigs & leaves, went off carrying them, thinking, "heartwood." Whatever heartwood-business he had with heartwood, his purpose won't be served.'

This sounds a little odd, but perhpas he's translating more literally than Nanamoli/Bodhi, who have:
Thus, while needing heartwood ... he cut off its twigs and leaves and took them away thinking it was heartwood. Whatever it was this good man had to make with heartwood, his purpose will not be served.

:anjali:
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Re: MN 29 Maha Saropama Sutta: The Longer Heartwood-simile

Postby Sam Vara » Wed Feb 15, 2012 1:33 pm

Hi Mike,

Thanissaro Bhikkhu has this refrain:
That's why he, in need of heartwood, seeking heartwood, wandering in search of heartwood — passing over the heartwood of a great standing tree possessed of heartwood, passing over the sapwood, passing over the inner bark, passing over the outer bark — cutting away the twigs & leaves, went off carrying them, thinking, "heartwood." Whatever heartwood-business he had with heartwood, his purpose won't be served.'

This sounds a little odd, but perhpas he's translating more literally than Nanamoli/Bodhi, who have:
Thus, while needing heartwood ... he cut off its twigs and leaves and took them away thinking it was heartwood. Whatever it was this good man had to make with heartwood, his purpose will not be served.


Exact translations aside, I like the Thanissaro version better. The Nanamoli/Bodhi version has the man setting out to make something with the heartwood, and this being a metaphor for "the unprovoked awareness-release", the image of making or construction would seem to be a bit misplaced and distracting. On the other hand, whatever the heartwood is, we can certainly have a heartwood-business with it...
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Re: MN 29 Maha Saropama Sutta: The Longer Heartwood-simile

Postby Sam Vara » Wed Feb 15, 2012 3:53 pm

Further to this, I have just checked out my only hard copy of the M.N., which is translated in (I think) the 1950s, by the Pali scholar I.B. Horner.

She translates "heartwood" as "pith", and gives this line as

So he will not get the good that could be done by the pith because it is the pith
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Re: MN 29 Maha Saropama Sutta: The Longer Heartwood-simile

Postby Cittasanto » Wed Feb 15, 2012 6:24 pm

I went through this sutta today and made some notes quite rough but hope they are of use.

Twigs & leaves = gain, honour, & renown, this seams to indicate the positive worldly conditions so they are still moved by the world and firmly within it; unlikely to have any deep attainments but have either gained some form of understanding which they may or may not use to teach and gain support, but not necessarily essential as they may just be long in the homeless life and have things offered to them others may not receive due to age?

Outer bark = Virtue. Protected from the worldly conditions effecting them to an extent of breaking the precepts.

Inner Bark - concentration. not touched directly/effected all the time by the worldly conditions/hindrances.

Sapwood = Knowledge & vision. probably indicated someone who is a stream winner (maybe higher) as the Buddha specifically told the Stream winners to not be satisfied with the bliss of that attainment and to strive on with heedfulness in DN16. and they are protected from the extreme areas of the two extremes so do not go into the lower realms.

Negligence in the refrains does not seam to indicate they fall back from the level they are at, so they are knowledgeable or trained to a reasonable degree, virtuous, good meditators, have had insight... rather they are satisfied with this level of peace brought about by this knowledge... they have reached a plateau and don't look for more as they may believe they don't need to or that they are not capable of doing it?? or they may be fooled into thinking they have attained Enlightenment??

This sutta did remind me of another sutta where the Buddha uses the phrase "they are one in training still with more to do" but I can not remember the sutta, I did think it was MN53 the Sekha Sutta but I cheched and it isn't. although MN53 did also spring to mind in this reading.
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"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
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Re: MN 29 Maha Saropama Sutta: The Longer Heartwood-simile

Postby mikenz66 » Wed Feb 15, 2012 8:25 pm

Sam Vega wrote:Exact translations aside, I like the Thanissaro version better. The Nanamoli/Bodhi version has the man setting out to make something with the heartwood, and this being a metaphor for "the unprovoked awareness-release", the image of making or construction would seem to be a bit misplaced and distracting. On the other hand, whatever the heartwood is, we can certainly have a heartwood-business with it...

That's an excellent point. Thanks for that.

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Re: MN 29 Maha Saropama Sutta: The Longer Heartwood-simile

Postby mikenz66 » Wed Feb 15, 2012 8:31 pm

Cittasanto wrote:Twigs & leaves = gain, honour, & renown, this seams to indicate the positive worldly conditions so they are still moved by the world and firmly within it; ...

Thanks for that analysis.
And one might add to:
Sapwood = Knowledge & vision.

Sapwood is where the nutrients are flowing, which allows further growth. This seems to go with the simile...

And heartwood is the unchanging core of the tree. The part that used to be sapwood but is now "unmoved".

Image

http://www.doitpoms.ac.uk/tlplib/wood/s ... od_pt2.php

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Re: MN 29 Maha Saropama Sutta: The Longer Heartwood-simile

Postby Cittasanto » Wed Feb 15, 2012 11:57 pm

To be honest I have no knowledge of trees anatomy so when I got past bark I realised I couldnt think of how these could relate as I don't know exactly what sap wood is or does :) so thank-you.

All I know about The Bo-Tree is that is has no heart wood :) Ajahn Buddhadasa points this out in the book Heart wood of the bo trea :) [edit} same for Palm trees.

oh and Maple syrup comes from the sap wood, and English long bows have both heart and sap wood, the sap wood gives it its spring! so is on the outside(?), and
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
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Upāsaka Cittasanto
Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
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Re: MN 29 Maha Saropama Sutta: The Longer Heartwood-simile

Postby mikenz66 » Thu Feb 16, 2012 12:11 am

Cittasanto wrote:All I know about The Bo-Tree is that is has no heart wood :) Ajahn Buddhadasa points this out in the book Heart wood of the bo trea :) [edit} same for Palm trees.

That's interesting. Can you give the quote? I didn't notice that.

Much of the book is online, by the way:
http://buddhasociety.com/online-books/h ... -bhikkhu-6
http://what-buddha-taught.net/Books/Bhi ... o_Tree.htm

Bodhi trees are a type of fig, and to my untrained eye they look like "normal" trees.

Unlike palms or banananas/plantains, which don't have heartwood because they don't have normal trunks. They appear in similes in other suttas...

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Re: MN 29 Maha Saropama Sutta: The Longer Heartwood-simile

Postby Cittasanto » Thu Feb 16, 2012 12:39 am

mikenz66 wrote:
Cittasanto wrote:All I know about The Bo-Tree is that is has no heart wood :) Ajahn Buddhadasa points this out in the book Heart wood of the bo trea :) [edit} same for Palm trees.

That's interesting. Can you give the quote? I didn't notice that.

Much of the book is online, by the way:
http://buddhasociety.com/online-books/h ... -bhikkhu-6
http://what-buddha-taught.net/Books/Bhi ... o_Tree.htm

Bodhi trees are a type of fig, and to my untrained eye they look like "normal" trees.

Unlike palms or banananas/plantains, which don't have heartwood because they don't have normal trunks. They appear in similes in other suttas...

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Hi Sorry
I was told it, it is apparently at the end of the book, last chapter somewhere.
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
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Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
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Re: MN 29 Maha Saropama Sutta: The Longer Heartwood-simile

Postby mikenz66 » Thu Feb 16, 2012 9:55 am

OK, there is a sort of "afterword" in Santikaro's revised translation of Heartwood of the Bodhi Tree.
http://www.liberationpark.org/about/books.htm

"Bodhi tree" is the nickname of the species of tree under which each Buddha awakens to sunnata. Each Buddha has his particular Bodhi tree. The present Buddha, Gotama, realized perfect awakening under a member of the ficus family, which, due to its association with Buddhism, has been given the scientific name ficus religosa. In India it is now known as the pipal tree. In Thailand, this tree and its close relatives are all known as poh trees. Ajahn Buddhdasa pointed out that all members of the ficus family lack "heartwood" or the hard inner pith found in most trees. The heartwood of the Bodhi tree is truly void.


See also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ficus
The wood of fig trees is often soft and the latex precludes its use for many purposes. It was used to make mummy caskets in Ancient Egypt. Certain fig species (mainly F. cotinifolia, F. insipida and F. padifolia) are traditionally used in Mesoamerica to produce papel amate (Nahuatl: āmatl). Mutuba (F. natalensis) is used to produce barkcloth in Uganda. Pou (F. religiosa) leaves' shape inspired one of the standard kbach rachana, decorative elements in Cambodian architecture. Indian Banyan (F. bengalensis) and the Indian Rubber Plant, as well as other species, have use in herbalism.

Fig trees have profoundly influenced culture through several religious traditions. Among the more famous species are the Sacred Fig tree (Pipal, Bodhi, Bo, or Po, Ficus religiosa) and the Banyan Fig (Ficus benghalensis). The oldest living plant of known planting date is a Ficus religiosa tree known as the Sri Maha Bodhi planted in the temple at Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka by King Tissa in 288 BC. The common fig is one of the two sacred trees of Islam, and there is a sura in Quran named "The Fig" or At-Tin (سوره تین), and in East Asia, figs are important in Buddhism, Hinduism and Jainism. The Buddha is traditionally held to have found bodhi (enlightenment) while meditating under a Sacred Fig (F. religiosa). The same species was Ashvattha, the "world tree" of Hinduism. The Plaksa Pra-sravana was said to be a fig tree between the roots of which the Sarasvati River sprang forth; it is usually held to be a Sacred Fig but more probably seems to be a Wavy-leaved Fig (F. infectoria). The Common Fig tree is cited in the Bible, where in Genesis 3:7, Adam and Eve cover their nakedness with fig leaves. The fig fruit is also included in the list of food found in the Promised Land, according to the Torah (Deut. 8). Jesus cursed a fig tree for bearing no fruit (Mark 11:12–14). The fig tree was sacred in ancient Cyprus where it was a symbol of fertility.

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Re: MN 29 Maha Saropama Sutta: The Longer Heartwood-simile

Postby Cittasanto » Thu Feb 16, 2012 10:04 am

at least there is some corroboration :)
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
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Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
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Re: MN 29 Maha Saropama Sutta: The Longer Heartwood-simile

Postby mikenz66 » Fri Feb 17, 2012 10:34 pm

On one occasion the Blessed One was living at Rajagaha on the mountain Vulture Peak; it was soon after Devadata had left.

BB: After Devadatta had unsuccessfully attempted to kill the Buddha and usurp control of the Sangha, he broke away from the Buddha and tried to establish his own sect with himself at the head. See Nanamoli, The Life of the Buddha, pp266-69.

See also:
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... ml#iti-089
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... #devadatta
And the long entry in the Dictionary of Proper Pali Names:
http://www.aimwell.org/DPPN/devadatta.htm
This small part of that entry is of particular relevance to the current Sutta:
During the rainy season that followed, Devadatta acquired the power of iddhi possible to those who are yet of the world (puthujja-nika-iddhi) (Vin.ii.183; for particulars see Rockhill, p.85). For some time he seems to have enjoyed great honour in the Order, and in one passage he is mentioned in a list of eleven of the chief Elders of all of whom the Buddha speaks in praise. (Ud.i.5. Again in Vin.ii.189 Sāriputta is mentioned as having gone about Rājagaha singing Devadatta’s praises; see also DhA.i.64f). Devadatta was later suspected of evil wishes (E.g., S.ii.156). About eight years before the Buddha’s death, Devadatta, eager for gain and favour and jealous of the Buddha’s fame, attempted to win over Ajātasattu.

Se he had fame and he had skill in concentration, giving him supernormal powers (iddhi).
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Re: MN 29 Maha Saropama Sutta: The Longer Heartwood-simile

Postby Sam Vara » Sat Feb 18, 2012 10:49 am

So he had fame and he had skill in concentration, giving him supernormal powers (iddhi).


But from the rest of the account, he was a bit lacking in the "consummation of virtue" and "knowledge and vision" departments!

The usefulness of such accounts is not so much related to the issue of super-normal powers themselves, but as a reminder to keep some kind of balance in my own practice.
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Re: MN 29 Maha Saropama Sutta: The Longer Heartwood-simile

Postby mikenz66 » Sat Feb 18, 2012 8:35 pm

Being diligent, he achieves knowledge and vision.

BB: "Knowledge and vision (nanadassana) here, according to MA, refers to the divine eye, the ability to see subtle forms invisible to normal vision.

Since the next step is complete liberation, it can't be referring to the knowledge and vision of an arahant at this point.

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Re: MN 29 Maha Saropama Sutta: The Longer Heartwood-simile

Postby mikenz66 » Sun Feb 19, 2012 1:50 am

Interesting discussion of this sutta by Ven Sujato here:
http://www.dhammanet.org/download.php?view.110
He reads extensively from the Vinaya account of Devadatta, which sets the scene for this sutta well. For example, it was from Vulture's Peak that Devatatta attempted to kill the Buddha with a boulder.
It includes the account of the incident with the elephant Nāḷāgiri that inspired this verse of the Buddha-jaya-maṅgala Gāthā: viewtopic.php?f=25&t=11333&p=171428#p171287

He also goes through the Pali for the key points.

[I had a nice walk on the beach today which was time to listen to the talk...]

Edit: See continued discussion at: viewtopic.php?f=29&t=11630&start=0

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Re: MN 29 Maha Saropama Sutta: The Longer Heartwood-simile

Postby mikenz66 » Sun Feb 19, 2012 5:06 am

Being diligent, he attains perpetual liberation. And it is impossible for that bhikkhu to fall away from that perpetual deliverance.

BB: MA quotes the Patisambhidamagga (ii.40) for as definition of asamayavimokkha (literally "non-temporary" or "perpetual" liberation) as the four paths, four fruits, and Nibbana, and of samayavimokkha (temporary liberation) as the four jhanas and four formless attainments.
See also MN 122 http://www.bps.lk/olib/wh/wh087-u.html
“Indeed, Ānanda, that a bhikkhu delighting in company, enjoying company, devoted to delight in company, delighting in society, enjoying society, finding satisfaction in society should enter upon and dwell in either the temporary, or the permanent and unshakeable, delectable mind deliverance, that is not possible. But when a bhikkhu lives alone, apart from society, that he may be expected to enter upon and dwell in the temporary, or the permanent and unshakeable, delectable mind deliverance, that is possible.


Ven Sujato notes that the Chinese Agama version of the sutta does not have the line:
    And it is impossible for that bhikkhu to fall away from that perpetual deliverance.
and the known Sarvastivada nikayas do not have this sutta at all.
Whether liberation is permanent or not was a point of disagreement between sects, so this line may be a late addition to the Theravada version.

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Re: MN 29 Maha Saropama Sutta: The Longer Heartwood-simile

Postby mikenz66 » Sun Feb 19, 2012 7:32 pm

mikenz66 wrote:Whether liberation is permanent or not was a point of disagreement between sects, so this line may be a late addition to the Theravada version.

No comments on this? I wasn't aware of it, and it puts some discussions about arahants in a different light...

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