Uraga Sutta

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Uraga Sutta

Postby Ben » Tue Jan 06, 2009 11:29 am

Hi all

While packing today, I discovered an old Wheel Publication of The Worn Out Skin by Nyaniponika Thera. I love the publication for the directness and sense of samvega that is conveyed by the verses but also for Venerable's gentle expression and sublime insights. I thought I would share with you the Uraga Sutta and perhaps in subesquent nights I might be able to add some of Venerable's observations. I hope it will prove a source of inspiration and reflection.
Kind regards

Ben

The Serpent

He who can curb his wrath
as soon as it arises,
as a timely antidote will check
snake's venom that so quickly spreads
- such a monk gives up the here and the beyond,
just as a serpent sheds its worn out skin

He who entirely cuts off his lust
as entering a pond one uproots lotus plants.
- such a monk gives up the here and the beyond,
just as a serpent sheds its worn out skin

He who entirely cuts off his craving
by drying up its fierce and rapid flow,
- such a monk gives up the here and the beyond,
just as a serpent sheds its worn out skin

He who entirely blots out conceit
as the wind demolishes a fragile bamboo bridge,
- such a monk gives up the here and the beyond,
just as a serpent sheds its worn out skin

He who does not find core or substance
in any of the realms of being,
like flowers which are vainly sought
in fig trees that bear none,
- such a monk gives up the here and the beyond,
just as a serpent sheds its worn out skin

He who bears no grudges in his heart,
transcending all this "thus" and "otherwise"
- such a monk gives up the here and the beyond,
just as a serpent sheds its worn out skin

He who has burned out his evil thoughts,
entirely cut them off within his heart,
- such a monk gives up the here and the beyond,
just as a serpent sheds its worn out skin

He who neither goes too far nor lags behind,
entirely transcending the diffuseness of the world,
- such a monk gives up the here and the beyond,
just as a serpent sheds its worn out skin

He who neither goes too far nor lags behind
and knows about the world: "This is all unreal',
- such a monk gives up the here and the beyond,
just as a serpent sheds its worn out skin

He who neither goes too far nor lags behind,
greedless he knows, "This is all unreal',
- such a monk gives up the here and the beyond,
just as a serpent sheds its worn out skin

He who neither goes too far nor lags behind,
lust-free he knows: "This is all unreal",
- such a monk gives up the here and the beyond,
just as a serpent sheds its worn out skin

He who neither goes too far nor lags behind,
hate-free he knows: "This is all unreal",
- such a monk gives up the here and the beyond,
just as a serpent sheds its worn out skin

He who neither goes too far nor lags behind,
delusion-free he knows: "this is all unreal,"
- such a monk gives up the here and the beyond,
just as a serpent sheds its worn out skin

He who has no dormant tendancies whatever,
whose unwholesome roots have been expunged,
- such a monk gives up the here and the beyond,
just as a serpent sheds its worn out skin

States born of anxiety he harbours none
which may condition his return to earth,
- such a monk gives up the here and the beyond,
just as a serpent sheds its worn out skin

States born of attachment he harbours none
which cause his bondage to existence
- such a monk gives up the here and the beyond,
just as a serpent sheds its worn out skin

He who has the five hindrances discarded,
doubt-free and serene, and free of inner barbs,
- such a monk gives up the here and the beyond,
just as a serpent sheds its worn out skin
"Only those who take to meditation with good intentions can be assured of success. With the development of the purity and the power of the mind backed by the insight into the ultimate truth of nature, one might be able to do a lot of things in the right direction for the benefit of mankind."

Sayagyi U Ba Khin


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Re: Uraga Sutta

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Jan 06, 2009 10:43 pm

Greetings Ben,

I love these "how and why" suttas on renunciation, addressing the dangers of samsara and the means of escape. I find them really calming, illuminating and conducive to maintaining the seven factors of enlightenment (as much as is reasonably possible) during daily life.

No need to type out Nyanaponika Thera's thoughts... they're now online courtesy of BPS.

The Worn-out Skin - Reflections on the Uraga Sutta by Nyanaponika Thera
http://www.bps.lk/wheels_library/wh_241_242.html

Thanks for sharing.

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: Uraga Sutta

Postby zamis » Wed Jan 07, 2009 4:07 pm

Foraging though ATI, I came across the commentary by Nyanaponika Thera a couple of days ago. Having befriended many snakes, I was taken aback with the use of the term "disgust". Biologically speaking humidity has everything to do with a proper shedding. When the humidity is low, the shed is hard to take off and hence the constant rubbing. The snake rubs and rubs, as a person might scratch and scratch his or her dry skin. Correct the humidity for a person or a snake and the situation resolves itself. The heightened activity of the snake can hardly be described as disgust. If anything it would be a state of anxiety.
"You're almost at the end of your lease in this burning house and yet you continue latching onto it as your self. It tricks you into feeling fear and love, and when you fall for it, what path will you practice? " Upasika Kee Nanayon

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Re: Uraga Sutta

Postby retrofuturist » Thu Jan 15, 2009 8:41 am

Greetings,

I'm curious... are verses of this nature generally attributed to the Buddha, a certain bhikkhu, or is their authorship anonymous?

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: Uraga Sutta

Postby Dhammanando » Thu Jan 15, 2009 8:50 am

Hi Retro,

retrofuturist wrote:I'm curious... are verses of this nature generally attributed to the Buddha, a certain bhikkhu, or is their authorship anonymous?


They are all deemed to be the 'Buddha-word' in the sense that "Whatsoever is well-spoken, all that is the speech of the Blessed One," (Uttaravipatti Sutta). But which person actually spoke each verse varies from sutta to sutta. Usually it's the Buddha; in the Khaggavisana Sutta it's paccekabuddhas remembered by the Buddha; in the Turaga Sutta it's partly the Buddha and partly a mind-created body of his. And of course in the Thera- and Therīgāthā it's the Buddha's arahant monk and nun disciples, though their verses too are reckoned as the Buddha-word.

Best wishes,
Dhammanando Bhikkhu
    ...and this thought arose in the mind of the Blessed One:
    “Who lives without reverence lives miserably.”
    Uruvela Sutta, A.ii.20

    It were endless to dispute upon everything that is disputable.
    — William Penn Some Fruits of Solitude,
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Re: Uraga Sutta

Postby Ben » Thu Jan 15, 2009 8:55 am

Hi Ajahn

I found this curious...
Dhammanando wrote:the Thera- and Therīgāthā it's the Buddha's arahant monk and nun disciples, though their verses too are reckoned as the Buddha-word.


Could you please explain how the words of another can be considered Buddhavacana?
Many thanks

Ben
"Only those who take to meditation with good intentions can be assured of success. With the development of the purity and the power of the mind backed by the insight into the ultimate truth of nature, one might be able to do a lot of things in the right direction for the benefit of mankind."

Sayagyi U Ba Khin


Compassionate Hands Foundation (Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • Buddhist Global Relief
UNHCR Syria Emergency Relief AppealTyphoon Haiyan Relief AppealKiva: (person to person micro-finance)

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Re: Uraga Sutta

Postby jcsuperstar » Thu Jan 15, 2009 9:31 am

i think this covers that

They are all deemed to be the 'Buddha-word' in the sense that "Whatsoever is well-spoken, all that is the speech of the Blessed One," (Uttaravipatti Sutta).
สัพเพ สัตตา สุขีตา โหนตุ

the mountain may be heavy in and of itself, but if you're not trying to carry it it's not heavy to you- Ajaan Suwat
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Re: Uraga Sutta

Postby Dhammanando » Thu Jan 15, 2009 10:15 am

Hi Ben,

Ben wrote:Could you please explain how the words of another can be considered Buddhavacana?


In the Uttaravipatti Sutta (AN. iv. 161-6. Not available from ATI) Ven. Uttara, an arahant, delivers a brief talk on Dhamma to a group of bhikkhus. The talk is overheard by Vessavana, the guardian deva of the northern quarter, who then reports it to Sakka, chief of the Heaven of the Thirty-three. Sakka has never heard a talk like it before, so he wants to check whether it should be accepted as genuine Dhamma. He then pays Uttara a visit and asks him whether the teaching he gave was the word of the Blessed One or something he’d improvised himself. Uttara replies:

    yaṃ kiñci subhāsitaṃ sabbaṃ taṃ tassa bhagavato vacanaṃ arahato sammāsambuddhassa.

    “Whatsoever is well-spoken, all that is the speech of the Blessed One, the Arahant and Perfectly Awakened One.”

Sakka then visits the Buddha who confirms this.

So, the verses of the Theragāthā and Therīgāthā, having been spoken by arahants, and vetted and approved by the arahants of the First Council, must be taken as having been well-spoken and so have honorary status as buddhavacana.

Best wishes,
Dhammanando Bhikkhu
    ...and this thought arose in the mind of the Blessed One:
    “Who lives without reverence lives miserably.”
    Uruvela Sutta, A.ii.20

    It were endless to dispute upon everything that is disputable.
    — William Penn Some Fruits of Solitude,
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Re: Uraga Sutta

Postby retrofuturist » Thu Jan 15, 2009 10:20 am

Greetings bhante,

Thank you for that interesting information.

Do we know then, specifically regarding the Uraga Sutta, who is said to have composed it?

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: Uraga Sutta

Postby Dhammanando » Thu Jan 15, 2009 10:53 am

retrofuturist wrote:Do we know then, specifically regarding the Uraga Sutta, who is said to have composed it?


According to the commentary all the verses were spoken by the Buddha, but not all at once. Rather, each verse was prompted by some incident or other like the verses of the Dhammapada. The first verse, for example, was spoken to a tree devatā whose home had been cut down by some bhikkhus, but who had resisted the temptation to kill them. This story is reported in the Vinaya Pitaka's origin story for the rule against damaging plants.

I don't know if there's any report of who decided to combine the verses into a single sutta, but it seems a pretty logical thing to do since each verse ends in the same refrain.

Best wishes,
Dhammanando Bhikkhu
    ...and this thought arose in the mind of the Blessed One:
    “Who lives without reverence lives miserably.”
    Uruvela Sutta, A.ii.20

    It were endless to dispute upon everything that is disputable.
    — William Penn Some Fruits of Solitude,
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Re: Uraga Sutta

Postby gavesako » Thu Jan 15, 2009 12:45 pm

Dhammanando wrote:So, the verses of the Theragāthā and Therīgāthā, having been spoken by arahants, and vetted and approved by the arahants of the First Council, must be taken as having been well-spoken and so have honorary status as buddhavacana.


There are even some verses and some Suttas which (according to the commentary or internal evidence) have been added after the First Council, and are still regarded as authoritavive by the tradition.
Bhikkhu Gavesako
Kiṃkusalagavesī anuttaraṃ santivarapadaṃ pariyesamāno... (MN 26)

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