SN 47.6: Sakunagghi Sutta — The Hawk

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SN 47.6: Sakunagghi Sutta — The Hawk

Postby mikenz66 » Tue Nov 27, 2012 7:42 pm

SN 47.6 PTS: S v 146
CDB ii 1632
Sakunagghi Sutta: The Hawk
translated from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu


    The Buddha uses a lovely parable — that of a hawk catching a quail far outside the quail's familiar hunting ground — to reveal the need for keeping the mind in its proper territory: the four frames of reference.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html



"Once a hawk suddenly swooped down on a quail and seized it. Then the quail, as it was being carried off by the hawk, lamented, 'O, just my bad luck and lack of merit that I was wandering out of my proper range and into the territory of others! If only I had kept to my proper range today, to my own ancestral territory, this hawk would have been no match for me in battle.'

"'But what is your proper range?' the hawk asked. 'What is your own ancestral territory?'

"'A newly plowed field with clumps of earth all turned up.'

"So the hawk, without bragging about its own strength, without mentioning its own strength, let go of the quail. 'Go, quail, but even when you have gone there you won't escape me.'

"Then the quail, having gone to a newly plowed field with clumps of earth all turned up and climbing up on top of a large clump of earth, stood taunting the hawk, 'Now come and get me, you hawk! Now come and get me, you hawk!'

"So the hawk, without bragging about its own strength, without mentioning its own strength, folded its two wings and suddenly swooped down toward the quail. When the quail knew, 'The hawk is coming at me full speed,' it slipped behind the clump of earth, and right there the hawk shattered its own breast.

"This is what happens to anyone who wanders into what is not his proper range and is the territory of others.

"For this reason, you should not wander into what is not your proper range and is the territory of others. In one who wanders into what is not his proper range and is the territory of others, Mara gains an opening, Mara gains a foothold. And what, for a monk, is not his proper range and is the territory of others? The five strands of sensuality. Which five? Forms cognizable by the eye — agreeable, pleasing, charming, endearing, fostering desire, enticing. Sounds cognizable by the ear... Aromas cognizable by the nose... Flavors cognizable by the tongue... Tactile sensations cognizable by the body — agreeable, pleasing, charming, endearing, fostering desire, enticing. These, for a monk, are not his proper range and are the territory of others.

"Wander, monks, in what is your proper range, your own ancestral territory. In one who wanders in what is his proper range, his own ancestral territory, Mara gains no opening, Mara gains no foothold. And what, for a monk, is his proper range, his own ancestral territory? The four frames of reference. Which four? There is the case where a monk remains focused on the body in & of itself — ardent, alert, & mindful — putting aside greed & distress with reference to the world. He remains focused on feelings in & of themselves... mind in & of itself... mental qualities in & of themselves — ardent, alert, & mindful — putting aside greed & distress with reference to the world. This, for a monk, is his proper range, his own ancestral territory."

See also SN 47.7: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
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Re: SN 47.6: Sakunagghi Sutta — The Hawk

Postby mikenz66 » Tue Nov 27, 2012 7:49 pm

SN 47.6: Sakunagghi Sutta, The She-falcon
Translated by Bhikkhu Nanananda

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... passage-25

"Once upon a time, monks, a she-falcon suddenly swooped down and seized a quail. Then, monks, the quail, while it was being carried away by the she-falcon, thus lamented: 'Just my bad luck and lack of merit! [It serves me right] for trespassing outside my own pasture into others' property. If I had kept my own ancestral beat today, this she-falcon would have been no match for me, if it came to a fight.'

"'But what is that pasture, quail, which is your own ancestral beat?'

"'It is a field turned up by the plowshare, a place all covered with clods.'

"Then, monks, the she-falcon, without being stiff in her assertion of strength, not caring to argue with the quail on her own strength,[75] released the quail saying, 'Off with you, quail, but even by going there you will not escape me.'

"So monks, the quail went off to a plowed field, to a place all covered with clods, perched on a great clod and stood challenging the she-falcon, thus: 'Now come on, you falcon! Now come on, you falcon!'

"Then, monks, the she-falcon, without being stiff in her assertion of strength, not caring to argue with the quail on her own strength, poising both her wings, swooped down upon the quail.

"But, monks, as soon as the quail knew that the she-falcon had come too close to her, she slipped inside that very clod. And then, monks, the falcon shattered her breast thereon.

"So it is, monks, with one who goes roaming out of his own pasture, in others' property. Wherefore, monks, roam ye not outside your own pasture, in others' property. To those who so roam, monks, Maara will get access. In them, Maara will find a support.

"And what, monks, is not one's own pasture, but others' property. It is the five kinds of sense-pleasure. What five?

"Forms cognizable by the eye, desirable, charming, pleasant, delightful, passion-fraught and alluring. Sounds cognizable by the ear... scents cognizable by the nose... savors cognizable by the tongue... tangibles cognizable by the body, desirable, charming, pleasant, delightful, passion-fraught and alluring. This, monks, is not one's own pasture but other's property, in the case of a monk.

"Monks, do ye range in your own pasture, keep to your ancestral beat. To those who range their own pasture, who keep to their ancestral beat, Maara will get no access. In them Maara will find no support.

"And what, monks, is a monk's own pasture? What is his ancestral beat? It is the Four Foundations of Mindfulness. What four?

"Herein, monks, a monk dwells, as regards body, contemplating body, ardent, fully aware and mindful, having overcome covetousness and grief concerning the world. He dwells, as regards feeling, contemplating feeling, ardent, fully aware... He dwells, as regards mind, contemplating mind... He dwells, as regards mind-objects, contemplating mind-objects, ardent, fully aware and mindful, having overcome covetousness and grief concerning the world. This, monks, is a monk's own pasture; this is his ancestral beat."[76]

NOTES

[75] The phrases 'sake bale apatthaddha,' 'sake bale asa.mvadamaanaa' have created some difficulty (see K.S. IV. 125. [SN 35.134 Devadaha Sutta]) They occur twice and the meaning in both contexts should be the same, though K.S. gives 'relaxed her efforts, did not increase her grip' in the first instance and, 'putting forth her effort, not relaxing her effort,' in the second. The 'relaxation' meant by the word 'apatthaddha' ('not-rigid') is psychological rather than physical. It was born of excessive self-confidence, due to which the she-falcon, not being 'stiff' in her ways, first imposed on herself a handicap, and then swooped down unwarily on the quail. 'Asa.mvadamaana' is probably suggestive of her disdainful attitude towards the quail in not caring to give merely verbal rejoinders to its challenges in both instances.

[76] The Four Foundations of Mindfulness form the ground-plan for the development of the 'Knowledge and Vision of things as they are.' Within its range, awareness is focused directly on experience as such, reducing the tendency towards diffusion and proliferation in thought-currents. This insulation stems the tide of influxes which entices one into the 'others' territory' — the five-fold sense-pleasure.
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Re: SN 47.6: Sakunagghi Sutta — The Hawk

Postby Sam Vara » Tue Nov 27, 2012 8:02 pm

Another favourite of mine. I find something very touching about the Quail getting a "second chance", so to speak, when she recalls and declares her proper range and territory. The story would make the same point had the Quail been killed and eaten despite her recollection, but would have lacked compassion. Everyone who practices and can understand this story has been given that second chance, haven't they?
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Re: SN 47.6: Sakunagghi Sutta — The Hawk

Postby gavesako » Tue Nov 27, 2012 9:03 pm

This is a good Sutta which shows that mindfulness practice is based on sense restraint and the 4 satipatthanas are a kind of framework to keep the mind in. This should be enough to correct the blurred understanding of "sati" in McMindfulness and Mindful Binge Drinking:

http://www.buddhistgeeks.com/2012/11/vi ... blobology/

:rolleye:
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Re: SN 47.6: Sakunagghi Sutta — The Hawk

Postby mikenz66 » Thu Nov 29, 2012 12:23 am

Hi Sam,
Sam Vara wrote:Another favourite of mine. I find something very touching about the Quail getting a "second chance", so to speak, when she recalls and declares her proper range and territory. The story would make the same point had the Quail been killed and eaten despite her recollection, but would have lacked compassion. Everyone who practices and can understand this story has been given that second chance, haven't they?


Yes, in the following Sutta: SN 47.7 Makkata Sutta: The Monkey there are no second chances:
"There are in the Himalayas, the king of mountains, difficult, uneven areas where neither monkeys nor human beings wander. There are difficult, uneven areas where monkeys wander, but not human beings. There are level stretches of land, delightful, where both monkeys and human beings wander. In such spots hunters set a tar trap in the monkeys' tracks, in order to catch some monkeys. Those monkeys who are not foolish or careless by nature, when they see the tar trap, avoid it from afar. But any monkey who is foolish & careless by nature comes up to the tar trap and grabs it with its paw. He gets stuck there. Thinking, 'I'll free my paw,' he grabs it with his other paw. He gets stuck there. Thinking, 'I'll free both of my paws,' he grabs it with his foot. He gets stuck there. Thinking, 'I'll free both of my paws and my foot,' he grabs it with his other foot. He gets stuck there. Thinking, 'I'll free both of my paws and my feet as well,' he grabs it with his mouth. He gets stuck there. So the monkey, snared in five ways, lies there whimpering, having fallen on misfortune, fallen on ruin, a prey to whatever the hunter wants to do with him. Then the hunter, without releasing the monkey, skewers him right there, picks him up, and goes off as he likes.

:anjali:
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Re: SN 47.6: Sakunagghi Sutta — The Hawk

Postby alan » Fri Nov 30, 2012 1:08 am

I've never understood the motivation of the hawk, or what it is meant to symbolize.
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Re: SN 47.6: Sakunagghi Sutta — The Hawk

Postby mikenz66 » Fri Nov 30, 2012 1:14 am

Hi Alan,

I took the hawk to be a simile for Mara:
"For this reason, you should not wander into what is not your proper range and is the territory of others. In one who wanders into what is not his proper range and is the territory of others, Mara gains an opening, Mara gains a foothold. And what, for a monk, is not his proper range and is the territory of others? The five strands of sensuality....


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Re: SN 47.6: Sakunagghi Sutta — The Hawk

Postby alan » Fri Nov 30, 2012 1:18 am

But why does Mara show compassion?
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Re: SN 47.6: Sakunagghi Sutta — The Hawk

Postby alan » Fri Nov 30, 2012 1:22 am

Most of these parables end with an explanation of the terms, but we don't get that here.
The other weird thing, if you want to see the hawk as Mara, is that it dies so easily.
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Re: SN 47.6: Sakunagghi Sutta — The Hawk

Postby mikenz66 » Fri Nov 30, 2012 1:34 am

It dies easily if one is in one's correct domain (which not so easy...).

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Re: SN 47.6: Sakunagghi Sutta — The Hawk

Postby alan » Fri Nov 30, 2012 1:40 am

But I don't see that in other suttas. Mara is usually represented as insidious, and not capable of compassion.
For instance, MN 45.
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Re: SN 47.6: Sakunagghi Sutta — The Hawk

Postby alan » Fri Nov 30, 2012 1:57 am

Tried to edit that post to make it clear without asking everyone to go read MN 45, but it read better as is.
The overall point is that Mara is shown in the suttas as a creeping up, deceiving, not easily recognized, and surely never compassionate. I haven't found an example of Mara getting hold and then letting go.
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Re: SN 47.6: Sakunagghi Sutta — The Hawk

Postby mikenz66 » Fri Nov 30, 2012 2:33 am

Hi Alan,

That's a good point, but there are many suttas where mara goes away discouraged:
Then Mara the Evil One — sad & dejected at realizing, "The Blessed One knows me; the One Well-gone knows me" — vanished right there.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .html#mara
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... #bhikkhuni

And, actually, in those suttas Mara is not evil in the classic western sense of attacking and maiming... He's evil in terms of scheming to keep beings in Samsara by showing them a good time...
"Lord, the Blessed One has developed the four bases of power, pursued them, handed them the reins and taken them as a basis, given them a grounding, steadied them, consolidated them, and undertaken them well. If he wanted to, he could resolve on the Himalayas, king of mountains, as gold, and it would become a mountain of gold."
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html


Then Mara the Evil One, desiring to arouse fear, trepidation, and terror in the bhikkhuni Vijaya,
desiring to make her fall away from concentration, approached her and addressed her in verse:

You are so young and beautiful,
And I too am in the bloom of youth.
Come, noble lady, let us rejoice
With the music of a fivefold ensemble.

Then it occurred to the bhikkhuni Vijaya: "Now who is this...? This is Mara the Evil One... desiring to make me fall away from concentration."
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .bodh.html


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Re: SN 47.6: Sakunagghi Sutta — The Hawk

Postby alan » Fri Nov 30, 2012 2:46 am

The first described the Buddha's victory over Mara. The others are from a collection of verses about nuns, and their victory. But these stories describe rare states of awakening, and the difficulty that preceded it. They don't get to my question about the meaning of that sutta.
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Re: SN 47.6: Sakunagghi Sutta — The Hawk

Postby polarbuddha101 » Fri Nov 30, 2012 4:54 am

The hawk isn't compassionate, it's arrogant. If I challenged someone I thought was much much weaker than me to a fight to the death and they challenged me back and said, "if I had a stick I could win" and I gave them the stick to prove the point that I am far superior that wouldn't be compassion, it would be arrogance.

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"I don't envision a single thing that, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about such suffering & stress as the mind. The mind, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about suffering & stress."
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Re: SN 47.6: Sakunagghi Sutta — The Hawk

Postby mikenz66 » Fri Nov 30, 2012 9:05 am

Some of Bhikkhu Bodhi's comments.

“Bhikkhus, once in the past a hawk suddenly swooped down and seized a quail.
    BB: The parable of the hawk and the quail is also related in the Sakuṇagghi Jātaka (No. 168; Jā II 58-59), with the Bodhisatta as the quail and Devadatta as the hawk. For additional references, see KS 5:125, n. 1. Though sakuṇagghi is a feminine, this need not imply the hawk is female.

“Then the hawk, confident of her own strength, not boasting of her own strength[*] released the quail, saying: ‘Go now, quail, but even there you won’t escape me.’
    * BB: [Some technical discussion about the translation...] Spk explains it as though it were not a negation: “boasting: speaking fully, thoroughly praising her own strength.”

“Therefore, bhikkhus, do not stray outside your own resort into the domain of others. Māra will gain access to those who stray outside their own resort into the domain of others; Māra will get a hold on them.
    BB: Comare SN 35.243 http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
      "And how is one soggy ["corrupted" in Bhikkhu Bodhi's translation]? There is the case where a monk, when seeing a form via the eye, is, in the case of pleasing forms, committed to forms and, in the case of displeasing forms, afflicted by forms. He remains with body-mindfulness not present, and with limited awareness. And he does not discern, as it actually is present, the awareness-release & discernment-release where those evil, unskillful qualities that have arisen cease without trace.
      ...
      "This is called a monk who is soggy with [corrupted amidst] forms cognizable via the eye,
      ...
      "When a monk dwells in this way, then if Mara comes to him via the eye, Mara gains entry, Mara gains a foothold [gains access to him, gets a hold on him].
      ...
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Re: SN 47.6: Sakunagghi Sutta — The Hawk

Postby Sam Vara » Fri Nov 30, 2012 11:19 am

Isn't seeing the hawk as a simile for Mara asking us to use a simile for a simile?

No real hawk, and no real Mara.

Either or both can remind us of what we have to do, though.
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Re: SN 47.6: Sakunagghi Sutta — The Hawk

Postby daverupa » Fri Nov 30, 2012 5:51 pm

Sam Vara wrote:Isn't seeing the hawk as a simile for Mara asking us to use a simile for a simile?

No real hawk, and no real Mara.

Either or both can remind us of what we have to do, though.


It's a good point; often I see people trying to develop similes for nibbana, when it's already a simile. Same beat here, it would seem.

I do see the hawk as arrogant, rather than compassionate; the quail gives me more of a Br'er Rabbit feeling than anything else:
"Then the quail, having gone to a newly plowed field with clumps of earth all turned up and climbing up on top of a large clump of earth, stood taunting the hawk, 'Now come and get me, you hawk! Now come and get me, you hawk!'


Then Brer Fox heard someone calling his name. He turned around and looked up the hill. Brer Rabbit was sitting on a log combing the tar out of his fur with a wood chip and looking smug.

"I was bred and born in the briar patch, Brer Fox," he called. "Born and bred in the briar patch."

And Brer Rabbit skipped away as merry as a cricket while Brer Fox ground his teeth in rage and went home.
    "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 47.6: Sakunagghi Sutta — The Hawk

Postby alan » Sat Dec 01, 2012 2:38 am

Always thought of this sutta as something more along the lines of something that would be told to children. The moralism is obvious but it doesn't seem to fit in with others from SN.
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Re: SN 47.6: Sakunagghi Sutta — The Hawk

Postby santa100 » Sat Dec 01, 2012 6:57 pm

From Ven. Nanananda's note mikenz66 provided above:
[76] The Four Foundations of Mindfulness form the ground-plan for the development of the 'Knowledge and Vision of things as they are.' Within its range, awareness is focused directly on experience as such, reducing the tendency towards diffusion and proliferation in thought-currents. This insulation stems the tide of influxes which entices one into the 'others' territory' — the five-fold sense-pleasure.


This sutta belongs to the Satipatthana-samyutta (chapter on the Foundations of Mindfulness), part of the Maha-Vagga (Great section). The message is clear and simple, but it's extremely important for it's really is the ground-plan for any further development on the path. Thank you mikenz66.. :anjali:
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