SN 45.159: Agantuka Sutta — For All Comers

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SN 45.159: Agantuka Sutta — For All Comers

Postby mikenz66 » Tue Aug 21, 2012 9:50 am

SN 45.159 PTS: S v 51 CDB ii 1557
Agantuka Sutta: For All Comers
translated from the Pali by Maurice O'Connell Walshe


The states that are to be comprehended, abandoned, experienced, and cultivated through the practice of the Eightfold Path.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .wlsh.html


"Suppose, monks, there is a guest-house. Travelers come from the east, the west, the north, the south to lodge here: nobles and Brahmans, merchants and serfs.[1] In the same way, monks, a monk who cultivates the Noble Eightfold Path, who assiduously practices the Noble Eightfold Path, comprehends with higher knowledge those states that are to be so comprehended, abandons with higher knowledge those states that are to be so abandoned, comes to experience with higher knowledge those states that are to be so experienced, and cultivates with higher knowledge those states that are to be so cultivated.

"What, monks, are the states to be comprehended with higher knowledge?[2]

"They are the five groups of clinging. Which five? The body-group, the feeling-group, the perception-group, the mental-formation group, the consciousness-group...

"What, monks, are the states to be abandoned with higher knowledge?

"They are ignorance and the desire for [further] becoming.

"And what, monks, are the states to be experienced with higher knowledge?

"They are knowledge and liberation.

"And what, monk, are the states to be cultivated with higher knowledge?

"They are calm and insight.[3]

"And how does a monk who cultivates the Noble Eightfold Path, who assiduously practices the Noble Eightfold Path, comprehend... abandon... come to experience... cultivate with higher knowledge those states that are to be so comprehended, abandoned, experienced, cultivated?

"In this, monks, a monk cultivates Right View... Right Concentration that is based on detachment, dispassion, leading to maturity of surrender.[4] In this way he comprehends... abandons... comes to experience... cultivates with higher knowledge those states that are to be so comprehended, abandoned, experienced, cultivated."

Notes

1. The four "colors" from which the later caste system developed: the khattiyas (Sanskrit ksatriya) or nobles, the group to which Gotama himself belonged; the braahm.anas or Brahmans, the "priestly" caste (see SN 35.187, n. 1 http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn35/sn35.187.wlsh.html#fn-1); the vessas (Sanskrit vaisya) or merchant class, and the suddas (Sanskrit suudra), the lowest class. For these, the term "serfs" in the text is not entirely appropriate, but it is hard to find an equivalent. See EB [Encyclopaedia of Buddhism, Colombo 1961] s.v. Caste.

2. Abhiññaa.

3. Samatha, vipassanaa: see SN 35.204, n. 9. http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .html#fn-9

4. Vossaggapari.naami. In a note to SN 3.18 (not included in this Anthology),
Mrs Rhys Davids quotes SA [SN Commentary] on this term: "Surrender... is twofold: the ejection of all lower passions (kilesas) and the forward leap, or elan, to Nibbaana."
[ It is not clear what part of SN 3.18 is being referred to. SN 3.18 is here: http://www.metta.lk/tipitaka/2Sutta-Pitaka/3Samyutta-Nikaya/Samyutta1/03-Kosala-Samyutta/02-Aputtakavaggo-e.html
3. 2. 8. (18) Appamada II Diligence II, and I have also looked at Bhikkhu Bodhi's translation. Perhaps the numbering has been modified.]

See also: SN 36.14. http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .nypo.html

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Re: SN 45.159: Agantuka Sutta — For All Comers

Postby Sam Vara » Tue Aug 21, 2012 9:44 pm

I find the "guest-house" analogy a bit perplexing here, and I wonder whether it has been grafted on later in order to provide an introduction to the sutta. The main point about a guest house is that the guests will soon be departing, and it is worthwhile just keeping an eye on them rather than getting involved at a deeper level. The other "guest-house" example in SN is 36.14,http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn36/sn36.014.nypo.html
where the "guests" are the various types of feelings. Just as the different types of people come to lodge at the guest-house, so different types of feeling arise: and it is left at that.

45.159, however, recommends understanding/comprehension (relevant towards guests: especially the understanding that they will pass away); abandonment (only relevant in so far as the guests are temporary - we wouldn't want to eject guests as readily as we would want to rid ourselves of ignorance and craving for existence); experience (not relevant towards guests); and cultivation/development (again, highly unlikely!).

Perhaps there is a deeper meaning in the different castes that makes the four appropriate activities more relevant, but I can't see it.

On a different note, the formula

based on detachment, dispassion, leading to maturity of surrender


is common in the SN, being applied to the Indriyas and Bojjhanga among others. Bhikkhu Bodhi translates the formula as

based upon seclusion, dispassion, and cessation, maturing in release


I like this better, primarily because of its poetic effect like a refrain in reading through the SN. But what has happened to nirodha in Ireland's version?

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Re: SN 45.159: Agantuka Sutta — For All Comers

Postby daverupa » Tue Aug 21, 2012 9:58 pm

Giving a shot at the analogy...

north - understanding/comprehension
south - abandonment
east - experience
west - cultivation/development

The directions are meaningless; rather, the important thing to me is that there are four of each. Therefore, just as a guest house is constructed for the sake of engaging with travelers from these four directions, so too the eightfold path is constructed for the sake of engaging with these four activities.
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]

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Re: SN 45.159: Agantuka Sutta — For All Comers

Postby Sam Vara » Tue Aug 21, 2012 10:16 pm

daverupa wrote:Giving a shot at the analogy...

north - understanding/comprehension
south - abandonment
east - experience
west - cultivation/development

The directions are meaningless; rather, the important thing to me is that there are four of each. Therefore, just as a guest house is constructed for the sake of engaging with travelers from these four directions, so too the eightfold path is constructed for the sake of engaging with these four activities.


Yes, you could well be right Dave, but I find the analogy less convincing when the type of engagement is so different in each case. I'm probably wanting the analogy to bear a bit more weight (as indeed it seems to in 36.14 - they are guests pure and simple) but unless there is some meaning I am missing, I am asking for what is not there...

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Re: SN 45.159: Agantuka Sutta — For All Comers

Postby vinasp » Tue Aug 21, 2012 10:30 pm

Hi Sam Vega,

... sammāsamādhiṃ bhāveti vivekanissitaṃ virāganissitaṃ nirodhanissitaṃ vossaggapariṇāmiṃ ...
[DPR SN 45.93 agantukasuttam]

" ... a bhikkhu develops right view ... right concentration which is based on
seclusion, dispassion, and cessation, maturing in release." [BB, CD, page 1558]

It is possible that Walshe has omitted cessation, or that nirodha was not in the
text which he was using.

I agree with you about the "guest-house" analogy, it's meaning here is obscure.

Regards, Vincent.

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Re: SN 45.159: Agantuka Sutta — For All Comers

Postby Ytrog » Wed Aug 22, 2012 8:59 pm

I have a difficulty understanding the analogy of the guest house too. The only thing I can come up is:
Travelers come from the east, the west, the north, the south to lodge here: nobles and Brahmans, merchants and serfs.[1] In the same way, monks, a monk who cultivates the Noble Eightfold Path ...

It doesn't matter from which background you come the Noble Eightfold Path leads to the same goal for all. :thinking:

Just my thought on the matter, but maybe I'm oversimplifying things.
Suffering is asking from life what it can never give you.


mindfulness, bliss and beyond (page 8) wrote:Do not linger on the past. Do not keep carrying around coffins full of dead moments


If you see any unskillful speech (or other action) from me let me know, so I can learn from it.

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Re: SN 45.159: Agantuka Sutta — For All Comers

Postby Caraka » Mon Aug 27, 2012 9:16 am

Suppose, monks, there is a guest-house. Travelers come from the east, the west, the north, the south to lodge here: nobles and Brahmans, merchants and serfs.


And what can be analogue to a guest house with visitors arriving, regardless from where they come from and of whom they are? For this analogue I would prefer to look into this as I look into what happens when a state (guest?) arrives to mind, rather than something is departing.

...The body-group, the feeling-group, the perception-group, the mental-formation group, the consciousness-group...

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Re: SN 45.159: Agantuka Sutta — For All Comers

Postby equilibrium » Mon Aug 27, 2012 1:43 pm

Guest house is your head!

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Re: SN 45.159: Agantuka Sutta — For All Comers

Postby daverupa » Mon Aug 27, 2012 2:47 pm

Hmm.

The guest house is cultivated for the sake of "those travelers who are to be so lodged" just as the N8P is cultivated in order to "experience with higher knowledge those states that are to be so experienced."
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]

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Re: SN 45.159: Agantuka Sutta — For All Comers

Postby Ytrog » Mon Aug 27, 2012 6:36 pm

Haven't thought of that. Thanks :embarassed:
Suffering is asking from life what it can never give you.


mindfulness, bliss and beyond (page 8) wrote:Do not linger on the past. Do not keep carrying around coffins full of dead moments


If you see any unskillful speech (or other action) from me let me know, so I can learn from it.


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