SN 47.19: Sedaka Sutta — The Bamboo Acrobat

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SN 47.19: Sedaka Sutta — The Bamboo Acrobat

Postby mikenz66 » Tue Dec 25, 2012 7:54 am

SN 47.19 PTS: S v 168CDB ii 1648
Sedaka Sutta
Translated by Bhikkhu Ñanananda


http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... passage-26

On a certain occasion, the Exalted One was dwelling in the Sumbha country, in a township of the Sumbhas, called Sedaka. There the Exalted One addressed the monks:

"Once upon a time, monks, a bamboo-acrobat set up his pole and called to his pupil, Medakathaalika, saying: 'Come, my lad, Medakathaalika, climb the pole and stand on my shoulders!'

"'All right, master,' replied the pupil to the bamboo-acrobat, climbed the pole and stood on his master's shoulder. Then, monks, the bamboo-acrobat said to his pupil: 'Now, Medakathaalika, my lad, you protect me well and I shall protect you. Thus warded and watched by each other, we will show our tricks, get a good fee and come down safe from the bamboo-pole.'

"At these words Medakathaalika the pupil said to the bamboo-acrobat: 'No, no! That won't do, master! You look after yourself, master, and I'll look after myself. Thus warded and watched each by himself, we'll show our tricks, get a good fee and come down safe from the bamboo-pole.'

"Therein that is the right way," — said the Exalted One. "Just as Medakathaalika the pupil said to his master: 'I'll protect myself': so, monks, should the Foundations of Mindfulness be practiced. 'I'll protect others': so should the Foundations of Mindfulness be practiced. Protecting oneself, monks, one protects others; protecting others, one protects oneself. [77]

"And how, monks, does one, in protecting oneself, protect others? By frequent practice, development and making-much-of (the Foundations of Mindfulness). Thus, monks, in protecting oneself one protects others.[78]

"And how, monks, does one, in protecting others, protect oneself? By forbearance, by non-violence, by loving-kindness, by compassion. Thus, monks, in protecting others, one protects oneself.[79]

"'I shall protect myself': with this intention, monks, the Foundations of Mindfulness should be practiced. 'I shall protect others': with this intention the Foundations of Mindfulness should be practiced. Protecting oneself, one protects others: protecting others, one protects oneself."

Notes

[77] It is noteworthy that the parable in this sutta has some peculiarity in that it is not on all fours with the doctrinal points discussed in relation to it. The maxims presented in connection with the practice of Mindfulness ("I'll protect myself"; "I'll protect others,") are an improvement on that recommended by the acrobat's pupil ('You look after yourself, master, and I'll look after myself"). This is the significance of the Buddha's remark: "Therein, that is the right way." This point seems to have been overlooked when the P.T.S. edition and translation attribute these words to the acrobat's pupil, breaking up and distributing the sentence between two paragraphs (The sentence should read:'So tattha ~naayoti bhagavaa avoca, yathaa medakathaalika antevaasii aacariya.m avoca'). The sentence thus wrongly broken up, is then taken to mean that the Buddha here recommends the same acrobatic principle to the monks. ('... Then said the Exalted One: "Now, monks, just as Medhakathaalika, the pupil said to his master, "I'll look after myself," so ought ye to observe the station of mindfulness...' etc.) That principle, striking as it is, is less broad-based than the twin-principle recommended by the Buddha himself: "Protecting oneself, one protects others; protecting others, one protects oneself." As clearly expounded in the Ambala.t.thika Raahulovaada sutta (M. I 415ff) [MN 61], the way to purify one's bodily, verbal and mental actions is by constant reflection on their repercussions on oneself as well as on others. Mindfulness, then, is that benign agent of transmutation which preserves the inner consistency and harmony of this twin-principle.

[78] '...in protecting oneself one protects others': The principle indicated here in brief can be appreciated the better with the aid of the following exhortation by the Buddha at S. II 29 SN 12.23:

"Wherefore, monks, you stir up energy that you may reach what is still unreached, that you may attain what is still unattained, that you may realize what is still unrealized. 'Thus will this going-forth of ours not be barren, but fruitful and of consequence. And those offerings of them whose requisites of robes, almsfood, lodgings and medicaments we enjoy, shall, on our part, be of great fruit, of great consequence for them.' Verily, it is thus, monks, that you should train yourselves. For one who discerns his own good, this is enough to call up diligent effort. For one who discerns another's good, this is enough to call up diligent effort. For one who discerns the good of both, this is enough to call up diligent effort."

'The frequent practice, development and making much of mindfulness' recommended by our sutta, is one that is conducive to the good of both oneself and others. As the commentary observes, even the mere appreciation of a monk who, by his diligent practice, attains to arahantship, will be a thought productive of great merit. Besides, one's devotion to the practice and exemplary life can be a source of inspiration to others. Since greed, hatred and delusion are the mainsprings of all evil intentions resulting in harm to oneself and others, in protecting one's mind from them, one is at the same time, protecting others as well.

[79] '...in protecting others, one protects oneself:'

Forbearance, non-violence, loving-kindness and compassion, being positive altruistic attitudes, directly concern one's relations with the outside world. Yet, on the mental side too, they exercise a wholesome influence conducive to one's own spiritual growth. They are all 'object-lessons' in the practice of mindfulness.
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Re: SN 47.19: Sedaka Sutta — The Bamboo Acrobat

Postby mikenz66 » Tue Dec 25, 2012 7:56 am

SN 47.19 PTS: S v 168 CDB ii 1648
Sedaka Sutta: At Sedaka 1: The Acrobat
translated from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu


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



I have heard that on one occasion the Blessed One was living among the Sumbhas. Now there is a Sumbhan town named Sedaka. There the Blessed One addressed the monks, "Monks!"

"Yes, lord," the monks responded.

The Blessed One said, "Once upon a time, monks, a bamboo acrobat, having erected a bamboo pole, addressed his assistant, Frying Pan: 'Come, my dear Frying Pan. Climb up the bamboo pole and stand on my shoulders.'

"'As you say, Master,' Frying Pan answered the bamboo acrobat and, climbing the bamboo pole, stood on his shoulders.

"So then the bamboo acrobat said to his assistant, 'Now you watch after me, my dear Frying Pan, and I'll watch after you. Thus, protecting one another, watching after one another, we'll show off our skill, receive our reward, and come down safely from the bamboo pole.'

"When he had said this, Frying Pan said to him, 'But that won't do at all, Master. You watch after yourself, and I'll watch after myself, and thus with each of us protecting ourselves, watching after ourselves, we'll show off our skill, receive our reward, and come down safely from the bamboo pole.'

"What Frying Pan, the assistant, said to her Master was the right way in that case.

"Monks, a frame of reference is to be practiced with the thought, 'I'll watch after myself.' A frame of reference is to be practiced with the thought, 'I'll watch after others.' When watching after oneself, one watches after others. When watching after others, one watches after oneself.

"And how does one, when watching after oneself, watch after others? Through pursuing [the practice], through developing it, through devoting oneself to it. This is how one, when watching after oneself, watches after others.

"And how does one, when watching after others, watch after oneself? Through endurance, through harmlessness, and through a mind of kindness & sympathy. This is how one, when watching after others, watches after oneself.

"A frame of reference is to be practiced with the thought, 'I'll watch after myself.' A frame of reference is to be practiced with the thought, 'I'll watch after others.' When watching after oneself, one watches after others. When watching after others, one watches after oneself."

See also:

AN 5.20; http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
AN 4.95; http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
AN 4.96; http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
AN 4.99. http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
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Re: SN 47.19: Sedaka Sutta — The Bamboo Acrobat

Postby mikenz66 » Tue Dec 25, 2012 7:58 am

SN 47.19 PTS: S v 168 CDB ii 1648
Sedaka Sutta: The Bamboo Acrobat
translated from the Pali by Andrew Olendzki


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

[The Buddha addressed the monks:]
Once upon a time, monks, a bamboo acrobat, setting himself upon his bamboo pole, addressed his assistant Medakathalika: "Come you, my dear Medakathalika, and climbing up the bamboo pole, stand upon my shoulders." "Okay, master" the assistant Medakathalika replied to the bamboo acrobat; and climbing up the bamboo pole she stood on the master's shoulders. So then the bamboo acrobat said this to his assistant Medakathalika: "You look after me, my dear Medakathalika, and I'll look after you. Thus with us looking after one another, guarding one another, we'll show off our craft, receive some payment, and safely climb down the bamboo pole." This being said, the assistant Medakathalika said this to the bamboo acrobat: "That will not do at all, master! You look after yourself, master, and I will look after myself. Thus with each of us looking after ourselves, guarding ourselves, we'll show off our craft, receive some payment, and safely climb down from the bamboo pole. That's the right way to do it!"

[The Buddha said:]
Just like the assistant Medakathalika said to her master: "I will look after myself," so should you, monks, practice the establishment of mindfulness. You should (also) practice the establishment of mindfulness (by saying) "I will look after others." Looking after oneself, one looks after others. Looking after others, one looks after oneself. And how does one look after others by looking after oneself? By practicing (mindfulness), by developing (it), by doing (it) a lot. And how does one look after oneself by looking after others? By patience, by non-harming, by loving kindness, by caring (for others). (Thus) looking after oneself, one looks after others; and looking after others, one looks after oneself.

Translator's note

What a vivid image of insight meditation!

The practice of mindfulness requires the focused attention of an acrobat balancing on a bamboo pole. One lapse, one moment of distraction or carelessness, and he tumbles to the ground. The picture is one of intensive inner awareness and concentration — almost a matter of life and death.

But the Buddha's parable goes even further, for the safety and well being of the bamboo acrobat's beloved assistant also hangs upon the master's successful practice of mindfulness.

The story is telling us that ultimately we are responsible for our own balance, and would be foolish to direct our attention to others while neglecting our own inner focus. And yet others are directly affected by how well we do this. Insight meditation is not a selfish undertaking, because the quality of our interaction with all those around us depends on the degree of our own self-understanding and self-control.
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Re: SN 47.19: Sedaka Sutta — The Bamboo Acrobat

Postby danieLion » Tue Dec 25, 2012 12:50 pm

Reverend Analayo's lecture on this sutta and it's Agama (Chinese) parallel:

Protecting Oneself and Protecting Others Through Mindfulness

or download here
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Re: SN 47.19: Sedaka Sutta — The Bamboo Acrobat

Postby ricebowl » Tue Dec 25, 2012 3:04 pm

mikenz66 wrote: SN 47.19 PTS: S v 168 CDB ii 1648
Sedaka Sutta: At Sedaka 1: The Acrobat
translated from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu


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


I think accruing from my past experienced reading translations by Thanissaro Bhikkhu, when three translations are put together on a running order I instinctively felt that I understood Thanissaro Bhikkhu's expression, thanks for the wonderful share mikenz66 I might see how I can apply this dharma onto the daily practice :goodpost:
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Re: SN 47.19: Sedaka Sutta — The Bamboo Acrobat

Postby mikenz66 » Tue Dec 25, 2012 8:21 pm

Hi Daniel,
danieLion wrote:Reverend Analayo's lecture on this sutta and it's Agama (Chinese) parallel:

Protecting Oneself and Protecting Others Through Mindfulness

or download here

Thanks for reminding me of that talk. There is a PDF comparing the Pali and Chinese versions of the sutta available on this page:
http://www.audiodharma.org/series/208/talk/2751/

:anjali:
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Re: SN 47.19: Sedaka Sutta — The Bamboo Acrobat

Postby mikenz66 » Tue Dec 25, 2012 8:35 pm

The most interesting difference beween the Pali and Chinese versions is this:

Sedaka-sutta SN 47.19 wrote:[Student:] You protect yourself, teacher, and I'll protect
myself. Thus, each self-guarded and self-
protected, we will display our skills, collect our
fee, and get down safely from the bamboo pole.'

That's the method there," the Blessed One said.
"It's just as the apprentice Medakathālikā said
to the teacher.


Saṃyukta-āgama n. 619 wrote:[Student:] Instead, we should each take care to protect
ourselves. [Like this] we will put on a show and
gain much wealth. We will be physically at ease
and yet I will get down safely.'

The teacher of acrobatics said: 'As you said, we
will take care to protect ourselves, this is
correct and is also the meaning of what I said'."

So in the Chinese version the teacher appears to have been inviting the the student to draw out the meaning, as opposed to the Pali, which makes the teacher sound a little stupid (and makes one wonder how long he is going to survive...).

There is a nice discussion of the issues on the recording.

:anjali:
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Re: SN 47.19: Sedaka Sutta — The Bamboo Acrobat

Postby mikenz66 » Thu Dec 27, 2012 9:30 am

From Bhikkhu Bodhi's translation:

“Bhikkhus, once in the past an acrobat set up his bamboo pole and addressed his apprentice Medakathālikā thus:...

    BB: The name is a feminine (meaning “frying pan”), but Spk says the name is given in the feminine gender (itthiliṅgavasena laddhanāmaṃ), presumably to a boy. The passage contains no pronouns that might establish the gender.

‘Come, dear Medakathālikā, climb the bamboo pole and stand on my shoulders.’ Having replied, ‘Yes, teacher,’ the apprentice Medakathālikā climbed up the bamboo pole and stood on the teacher’s shoulders. The acrobat then said to the apprentice Medakathālikā: ‘You protect me, dear Medakathālikā, and I’ll protect you. Thus guarded by one another, protected by one another, we’ll display our skills, collect our fee, and get down safely from the bamboo pole.’ When this was said, the apprentice Medakathālikā replied: ‘That’s not the way to do it, teacher. You protect yourself, teacher, and I’ll protect myself. Thus, each self-guarded and self-protected, we’ll display our skills, collect our fee, and get down safely from the bamboo pole.’

    BB: From Spk’s description, it seems that the master places the lower end of the bamboo pole over the base of his throat or forehead (galavāṭake vā nalāṭe), and the pupil then climbs via his shoulders to the top of the pole. Though in the sutta the master speaks as if they both descend from the pole, this may be only a figure of speech. Spk: The master protects himself when he holds the pole firmly, moves with his apprentice, and looks constantly at the top of the pole. The apprentice protects himself when he keeps his body straight, balances himself against the wind, sets up steady mindfulness, and sits down motionless.
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Re: SN 47.19: Sedaka Sutta — The Bamboo Acrobat

Postby mikenz66 » Thu Dec 27, 2012 9:33 am

“That’s the method there,” the Blessed One said. “It’s just as the apprentice Medakathālikā said to the teacher. ‘I will protect myself,’ bhikkhus: thus should the establishments of mindfulness be practised. ‘I will protect others,’ bhikkhus: thus should the establishments of mindfulness be practised. Protecting oneself, bhikkhus, one protects others; protecting others, one protects oneself.

“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.


    Spk: The bhikkhu who gives up frivolous activity and pursues, develops, and cultivates his basic meditation subject day and night attains arahantship. Then, when others see him and gain confidence in him, they become destined for heaven. This one protects others by protecting himself.


“And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, lovingkindness, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.

    BB: The four terms are khantiyā avihiṃsāya mettatāya anudayatāya . Spk takes the last three as respectively compassion, lovingkindness, and altruistic joy, and explains this maxim from a narrowly monastic perspective thus: “The bhikkhu develops the jhānas based on the brahmavihāra, then uses the jhāna as a basis for insight and attains arahantship. This one protects himself by protecting others.” For a broader and profounder treatment of this maxim, see Nyanaponika, Protection through Satipaṭṭhāna.
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Re: SN 47.19: Sedaka Sutta — The Bamboo Acrobat

Postby James the Giant » Tue Jan 01, 2013 1:40 pm

It's not often a sutta makes me laugh out loud, but Frying Pan sure did! I wonder, was that a stage name, or did parents name their kids after random household objects more often in ancient India?
Then,
saturated with joy,
you will put an end to suffering and stress.
SN 9.11
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Re: SN 47.19: Sedaka Sutta — The Bamboo Acrobat

Postby mikenz66 » Tue Jan 01, 2013 8:56 pm

Hi James,

It seems that in English names have, sadly, become just labels, and their meanings have been largely lost in the mists of time (though we do have names like Bird, and so on. See: http://surnames.behindthename.com/names/usage/english).
Thai nicknames can be quite entertaining. As well as the old chestnuts like Nok (bird) or Noi (little) we now have all kinds of creativity.
http://thaiwomantalks.com/2011/03/04/we ... nicknames/
One of the examples there: แพนเค้ก (transliteration of Pancake into Thai script) would go well with Frying Pan... :tongue:

On a more serious note, most of the names in the Suttas seem to have meanings:
I have heard that on one occasion the Blessed One was staying near Rajagaha on Vulture's Peak Mountain, in the Boar's Cave. Then LongNails [Dighanakha] the wanderer went to the Blessed One ...
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html


:anjali:
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Re: SN 47.19: Sedaka Sutta — The Bamboo Acrobat

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Jan 01, 2013 9:04 pm

In Shantideva's compendium of Mahayana thought, the "Sikshasammuccaya," we find quoted from the Mahayana Ayrya-Sagaramati Sutra:

"There is another rule that can serve as the epitome of Mahayana: 'By taking care to avoid stumbling oneself, one will protect all beings.'"

And he quotes from the Bodhisattva-Pratimoksa:

"If, O Sariputra, one wishes to protect others, one should protect oneself."
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

dheamhan a fhios agam

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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