SN 1.1 The Flood

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SN 1.1 The Flood

Postby mikenz66 » Tue Oct 01, 2013 5:45 am

SN 1.1 PTS: S i 1 CDB i 89
Ogha-tarana Sutta: The Flood
Translated by Bhikkhu Nanananda


The Buddha explains how he "crossed over the flood" of craving.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... #passage-1

Thus have I heard. The Exalted One was once staying near Savatthi at Jeta Grove, in A.nathapi.n.dika's Park. Now a certain deity, when the night was far spent, shedding radiance with his effulgent beauty over the whole Jeta Grove, came into the presence of the Exalted One, and coming, saluted him and stood at one side. So standing, he spake thus to the Exalted One:

"How did you, dear sir, cross the flood?"[1]

[The Exalted One:] "Without tarrying, friend, and without hurrying did I cross the flood."[2]

"But how did you, dear sir, without tarrying, without hurrying, cross the flood?"

"When I friend, tarried, then verily I sank;[3] when I, friend, hurried, then verily I was swept away. And so, friend, untarrying, unhurrying, did I cross the flood."

    [The deity:]
    Lo! Now what length of time since I beheld
    A saint[4] with all his passions quelled[5]
    One who, neither tarrying not yet hurrying.
    Has got past the world's viscosity[6] — Craving.
Thus spoke the deity, and the Teacher approved. And then the deity, noting that approval, saluted the Lord, and having circumambulated him by the right, vanished there and then.

Notes

1. Four types of 'flood' (ogha) are distinguished: i. sense-desires (kaama); ii. becoming (bhava); iii. views (ai.t.thi); iv. ignorance (avijjaa).

2. The two words 'appati.t.tha.m' and 'anaayuuha.m' point to the Middle Path (majjhimaa pa.tipadaa) in its broadest sense.
In the case of the first flood (i.e., sense-desires), they bring out the ethical significance of the Noble Eightfold Path in the avoidance of the two extremes of self-indulgence and self-mortification. The former extreme tends to moral stagnation while the latter leads to extreme forms of asceticism which are not conducive to a healthy development of the mind. Since both attitudes of 'stagnation' and 'struggling' are ineffective against the flood of sense-desires, the Buddha's Middle Path advocates sanity and moderation.

Extreme reactions to the second flood (i.e., becoming), took the form of Eternalism and Annihilationism, which again reflect attitudes of attachment and aversion. The Eternalist 'leaned back' while Annihilationist 'over-reached' himself in the face of the problem of existence. "... Delighting in the existence, monks, are gods and men; they are attached to existence and rejoice in it. When Dhamma is being preached (to them) their minds do not leap towards it, do not become pleased, established or released therein. Thus, monks, do some lean back. And how, monks, do some others over-reach themselves? Being afflicted by and loathing this very existence, some others delight in non-existence, thus: 'Inasmuch as this being, when the body breaks up, after death, gets annihilated, will be destroyed and be no more after death, this is peace, this is excellent this is the true state.' Thus, monks, some others over-reach themselves..." (Itiv. 43f). The former ran after his shadow, while the latter tried in vain to outstrip it, both being equally obsessed I taking it to be real. Here the Buddha's solution was to recognize the shadow for what it is by 'seeing-things-as-they-are' (yathaabhuuta~naa.nadassana) — as dependently arisen -, thus dispelling both Narcissistic love and morbid hate for it and ushering in equanimity in the light of wisdom. "... and how, monks, do those who have eyes, see? Herein, a monk sees the 'become' (bhuuta.m) as 'become.' Having seen the 'become' as 'become,' he treads the path towards the disenchantment, dispassion and cessation with regard to the 'become.' Thus it is monks, that those who have eyes see..." (ib).

The third flood (i.e., views) brought forth the dichotomy between the extreme views of absolute existence ('sabba.m atthi' — 'everything exists) and absolute non-existence ('sabba.m natthi) — 'nothing exists'). Avoiding these two extremes runs the Middle Path of Dependent arising: 'He who with right insight sees the arising of the world as it really is, does not hold with the non-existence of the world. And he who with right insight sees the passing away of the world as it really is, does not hold with the non-existence of the world.' (Kaccaayana S. S. II.17). In place of the static world-view of the metaphysicians and the nihilists we have here a dynamic vision of the rise and fall of phenomena.

The fourth flood (i.e., ignorance) resulted in the polarization of the extreme attitudes of extraversion and introversion, both of which spelt delusion (moha). This is the paradox of consciousness (vi~n~naa.na), inter-dependent as it is on name-and form (naamaruupa) — each providing a footing or support (pati.t.thaa) for the other. The deepest riddle of existence (bhava) lay between them as they doted upon each other forming the whirlpool of sa.msaara. (See below, Notes 38, 51). 'The consciousness turns back from name-and-form, it does not go beyond' (D.II.32). However much it tried to dart out of the vicious cycle with the force of sa.mkhaaras or formations, it found itself confronted by name-and-form. Epistemologically, all views — even those based on jhaanic experience — stood condemned, since they all centered around some aspect or other of name-and-form, which in its turn implicated consciousness itself. 'A seeing man will see name-and-form, and having seen, he will understand just those things. Verily, let him see much or little, yet the experts do not speak of purity thereby.' (Sn. 909). Similarly, the almost refrain-like pronouncement running through the concluding sections of the Brahmajaala Sutta (D. I. 41-44): 'even that is due to contact' (tadapi phassapaccayaa), is a disqualification of the whole range of sixty-two views, since 'contact' comes under 'name-and-form' (See below: Note 13.). The Buddha discovered a way out of this impasse in a unique realm of meditation in which the consciousness neither partakes of extraversion nor of introversion and is free from the sa.mkhaaras that keep one leashed to existence (bhava). It is the 'Deliverance-through-Knowledge' (a~n~naavimokha — Sn. 1107), having as its Fruit, the Knowledge of Nibbaanic freedom (A~n~naphala — A. IV. 428.) The consciousness, now, is 'non-manifestative' (anidassana D. I. 213), providing no footing for name-and-form, and it is neither distracted or diffuse without (... 'bahiddhaa c'assa vi~n~nanam avikkhitta.m avisata.m M. III. 223) nor established within (ajjhatta.m — asa.n.thita.m'-ib); neither 'approaching' (anupaayo — M. III. 25), nor 'receding' (anapaayo-ib.); neither 'turned-towards (nacaabhinato — A. IV. 428., S. I. 28), nor 'turned-outwards' (nacaapanato-ib.); neither 'focused' (asa.mhiira.m — M. III.187) nor 'excitable' (asa.mkuppam-ib.). Having no object (anaaramma~na.m — Ud.80), it is 'unestablished' (appati.t.tha.m-ib.) and non-continuing' (appavattam-ib.). It is not a state of pent up tension, forcibly held in check by formations ('na sasa.nkhaaraniggayha-vaaritavato' — A. IV. 428.). This level of transcendental experience was so subtle and refractory to definition, that the Buddha declared: "This too were a state very difficult to see, that is to say the calming of all formations, the renunciation of all assets, the destruction of craving, dispassion, cessation, Nibbaana." (idampi kno .thaana.m sududdasa.m yadida.m sabbasa.mkharasamatho sabbuu padhi pa.tinissaggo ta.nhak khayo viraago nirodho nibbaana.m — S. I. 136, Vin. I. 5).

The two words, 'appati.t.tha.m' and 'anaayuuha.m' can thus be interpreted with reference to the four floods in their ethical, existential, metaphysical and epistemological aspects.

3. 'It is he in whom delight and existence are extinct, that does not sink in the deep' ('nandiibhava-pa.tikkhiino-so gambhiire na siidati' — Sn. V. 175).

4. The term 'braahmana' is often used as an epithet of the perfect saint, the arahant.

5. Here the text has 'parinibbuta.m' in the sense of complete extinction of the three 'fires' of lust, hatred and delusion. Though in later usage there came in a tendency to associate this word frequently with the death of an arahant, suttas frequently apply it even to the living arahant experiencing the bliss of complete emancipation. A similar tendency is evident in the usage of the term 'nirupadhi' 'without possessions or assets.' (Cf. Itiv. 46: 'Having touched with his body the Deathless-element, the 'Asset-less' and realized the abandonment of all assets, the Perfectly Awakened One, the cankerless, proclaims the sorrowless, Dustless state.')

6. Visattikaa — a synonym for craving (tanhaa) in its agglutinative aspect, which is also implicit in such expressions as 'sibbanii' (seamstress —Sn. Vv. 1040, 1042), 'lippati' ('to be smeared or soiled' — ib) and 'tatratatra-bninandini' ('finding delight now here, now there' — Vin. I. 10).
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Re: SN 1.1 The Flood

Postby mikenz66 » Tue Oct 01, 2013 5:50 am

SN 1.1 PTS: S i 1 CDB i 89
Ogha-tarana Sutta: Crossing over the Flood
Translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu


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

    Translator's note: This discourse opens the Samyutta Nikaya with a paradox. The Commentary informs us that the Buddha teaches the devata in terms of the paradox in order to subdue her pride. To give this paradox some context, you might want to read other passages from the Canon that discuss right effort.


I have heard that on one occasion the Blessed One was staying near Savatthi in Jeta's Grove, Anathapindika's monastery. Then a certain devata, in the far extreme of the night, her extreme radiance lighting up the entirety of Jeta's Grove, went to the Blessed One. On arrival, having bowed down to him, she stood to one side. As she was standing there, she said to him, "Tell me, dear sir, how you crossed over the flood."

"I crossed over the flood without pushing forward, without staying in place."[1]

"But how, dear sir, did you cross over the flood without pushing forward, without staying in place?"

"When I pushed forward, I was whirled about. When I stayed in place, I sank. And so I crossed over the flood without pushing forward, without staying in place."

    [The devata:]
    At long last I see
    a brahman, totally unbound,
    who without pushing forward,
    without staying in place,
    has crossed over
    the entanglements
    of the world.
That is what the devata said. The Teacher approved. Realizing that "The Teacher has approved of me," she bowed down to him, circumambulated him — keeping him to her right — and then vanished right there.

Note

1. Or: "unestablished." See Ud 8.1. Related references are in SN 12.38 and SN 12.64.
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Re: SN 1.1 The Flood

Postby mikenz66 » Tue Oct 01, 2013 6:41 am

SN 1.1 Crossing the Flood
Translated by Bhikkhu Bodhi


Thus have I heard. On one occasion the Blessed One was dwelling at Sāvatthī in Jeta’s Grove, Anāthapiṇḍika’s Park. Then, when the night had advanced, a certain devatā of stunning beauty, illuminating the entire Jeta’s Grove, approached the Blessed One. Having approached, he paid homage to the Blessed One, stood to one side, and said to him:

“How, dear sir, did you cross the flood?”[1]

“By not halting, friend, and by not straining I crossed the flood.”[2]

“But how is it, dear sir, that by not halting and by not straining you crossed the flood?”

“When I came to a standstill, friend, then I sank; but when I struggled, then I got swept away. It is in this way, friend, that by not halting and by not straining I crossed the flood.”[3]

    [The devatā:]
    1 “After a long time at last I see
    A brahmin who is fully quenched,
    Who by not halting, not straining,
    Has crossed over attachment to the world.”[4]
This is what that devat̄ said.[5] The Teacher approved. Then that devatā, thinking, “The Teacher has approved of me,” paid homage to the Blessed One and, keeping him on the right, disappeared right there.

Notes

[1] Mārisa, “dear sir,” is the term which the devas generally use to address the Buddha, eminent bhikkhus (see, e.g., 40:10; IV 270,16), and members of their own community (11:3; I 218,34); kings also use it to address one another (3:12; I 80,4). Spk explains it as a term of affection meaning “one without suffering” (niddukkha), but it is probably a Middle Indic form of Skt madṛsa. The word “flood” (ogha) is used metaphorically, but here with technical overtones, to designate a doctrinal set of four floods (see 45:171), so called, according to Spk, “because they keep beings submerged within the round of existence and do not allow them to rise up to higher states and to Nibbāna.” The four (with definitions from Spk) are: (i) the flood of sensuality (kāmogha) = desire and lust for the five cords of sensual pleasure (agreeable forms, sounds, etc.—see 45:176); (ii) the flood of existence (bhavogha) = desire and lust for form-sphere existence and formless-sphere existence and attachment to jhāna; (iii) theflood of views (diṭṭhogha) = the sixty-two views (DN I 12-38); and (iv) the flood of ignorance (avijjogha) = lack of knowledge regarding the Four Noble Truths. Flood lack of knowledge regarding the Four Noble Truths. Flood imagery is also used at vv. 298-300, 511-13, and 848-49.

[2] Appatiṭṭhaṃ khvāhaṃ āvuso anāyūhaṃ ogham atariṃ. Spk: The Buddha’s reply is intended to be paradoxical, for one normally crosses a flood by halting in places that offer a foothold and by straining in places that must be crossed.

Spk glosses appatiṭṭhaṃ only with appatiṭṭhahanto (an alternative form of the present participle), but Spk-pṭ elaborates: “Not halting: not coming to a standstill on account of the defilements and so forth; the meaning is ‘not sinking’ (appatiṭṭhahanto ti kilesādīnaṃ vasena asantiṭṭhanto, asaṃsīdanto ti attho).” The verb patitiṭṭhati usually means “to become established,” i.e., attached, principally on account of craving and other defilements: see below v. 46 and n. 35. Consciousness driven by craving is “established” (see 12:38-40, 12:64, 22:53-54), and when craving is removed it becomes “unestablished, unsupported.” The arahant expires “with consciousness unestablished” (appatiṭṭhitena viññāṇena … parinibbuto; see 4:23 (I 122,12-13)). All these nuances resonate in the Buddha’s reply.

The verb āyūhati is rare in the Nikāyas, but see below v. 263df, v. 264d, and Sn 210d. It is an intensification of ūhati (augmented by ā- with -y- as liaison); the simple verb occurs at MN I 116,13-14, where it might be rendered “to be strained.” Its occurrence there ties up with the present context: a strained mind is far from concentration. In the later literature the noun form āyūhana acquires the technical sense of “accumulation,” with specific reference to kamma; in the formula of dependent origination (paṭiccasamuppāda ), volitional formations (saṅkhārā) are said to have the function of āyūhana; see Paṭis I 52,14, 26; Vism 528,12 (Ppn 17:51), 579,31-580,4 (Ppn 17:292-93).

Spk: The Blessed One deliberately gave an obscure reply to the deva in order to humble him, for he was stiff with conceit yet imagined himself wise. Realizing that the deva would not be able to penetrate the teaching unless he first changed his attitude, the Buddha intended to perplex him and thereby curb his pride. At that point, humbled, the deva would ask for clarification and the Buddha would explain in such a way that he could understand.

[3] The Buddha’s brief reply points to the middle way (majjhimā paṭipadā) in its most comprehensive range, both practical and philosophical. To make this implication clear Spk enumerates seven dyads: (i) “halting” by way of defilements, one sinks; “straining” by way of volitional formations, one gets swept away; (ii) by way of craving and views, one sinks; by way of the other defilements, one gets swept away; (iii) by way of craving, one sinks; by way of views, one gets swept away; (iv) by way of the eternalist view, one sinks; by way of the annihilationist view, one gets swept away (see It 43,12-44,4); (v) by way of slackness one sinks, by way of restlessness one gets swept away; (vi) by way of devotion to sensual pleasures one sinks, by way of devotion to self-mortification one gets swept away; (vii) by way of all unwholesome volitional formations one sinks, by way of all mundane wholesome volitional formations one gets swept away. Ñāṇananda suggests connecting the principle of “not halting, not straining” with each of the four floods: see SN-Anth 2:56-58.

[4] Spk: The Buddha is called a brahmin in the sense of arahant (see Dhp 388, 396-423). He is fully quenched (parinibbuto ) in that he is quenched through the quenching of defilements (kilesanibbānena nibbutaṃ). Craving is designated attachment (visattikā) because it clings and adheres to a variety of sense objects.

[5] Spk: When the deva heard the Buddha’s reply he was established in the fruit of stream-entry.
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Re: SN 1.1 The Flood

Postby mikenz66 » Tue Oct 01, 2013 6:48 am

The previous SN suttas we examined were from the end of the Pali Samyutta Nikaya: viewtopic.php?f=25&t=18609
This is the first Sutta of the SN, but, as Bhikkhu Bodhi notes viewtopic.php?f=25&t=345&p=262447#p88300 the suttas with verses come at the end of the Chinese Agamas.

It is interesting to see the translations and comments from the three excellent translator-interpreters above.

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Re: SN 1.1 The Flood

Postby Samma » Wed Oct 02, 2013 2:46 am

This one is deep but not too clear and paradoxical, so it takes a lot of explanation to make much sense of.
In a flood what else is there but pushing forward, staying in place? Floating and letting the stream carry you?
Some abstract idea about crossing over due to there being no sense of place with nibbana? Gets confusing with talk of nibbana as unestablished consciousness outside of space and time.

UD 8:4
One who is dependent has wavering. One who is independent, no wavering. There being no wavering, there is calm. There being calm, there is no desire. There being no desire, there is no coming or going. There being no coming or
going, there is no passing away or arising. There being no passing away or arising, there is neither a here nor a there nor a between-the-two. This, just this, is the end of stress.


Some Thanissaro commentary:
With no here or there or between the two, no activity of coming or going or staying can occur, for these activities require a sense of place. This fact explains the Buddha’s famous paradox about the last stage of the practice.

"One doesn't run" to any of the destinations of rebirth; "one doesn't sink" into any of the four floods of sensuality, views, becoming, and ignorance (see SN 45.171 and AN 4.10).

Samasara is a process of creating places, even whole worlds, (this is called becoming) and then wandering through them (this is called birth). Nirvana is the end of this process.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... averb.html
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Re: SN 1.1 The Flood

Postby Derek » Wed Oct 02, 2013 11:33 am

I love SN 1.1. The metaphor of crossing a stream comes from very early Buddhism, as in chapter 5 of the Sutta Nipata, "Parayanavagga" (chapter on the way to the far shore), or even the very word "sotapanna" (stream enterer).

The denial of opposites ("without pushing forward, without staying in place"), while not making any positive assertion in the middle, is elegant. It reminds me of Bhagavad Gita 2:47, "Don't be attached to action, don't be attached to inaction" (okay, that's a pretty loose translation). It also has something in common with the method of Nagarjuna, or even the sutra of Sengstan: "The great way is not difficult for those for those not attached to preferences."
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Re: SN 1.1 The Flood

Postby mikenz66 » Wed Oct 02, 2013 6:44 pm

Hi Derek,

Thanks for the post. I agree, this, and a number of other SN verses have a lot in common with the Sutta Nipata. We discussed Chapter 5 of the Snp some time ago, starting here: viewtopic.php?f=25&t=5778 and you might find it interesting to read though some of that discussion.

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Re: SN 1.1 The Flood

Postby Derek » Wed Oct 02, 2013 11:49 pm

Yeah, Thanissaro Bhikku is quoted on that thread as saying: "A recurrent image in these dialogues is of life as a raging flood." I suspect that this was an early and repeated metaphor of the Buddha's teachings, before they had been systematized into the structured formulae we see in much of the Sutta Pitaka. I've already mentioned that sotāpanna ("stream enterer") draws on this image. It occurs to me that āsava ("flow" or "outflow") might also draw on the imagery of a stream.
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Re: SN 1.1 The Flood

Postby mikenz66 » Thu Oct 03, 2013 4:52 am

Hi Derek,

Certainly streams and floods do feature in many suttas. However, there seem to be a number of different types of streams:
1. Good streams (in the stream-enterer case): http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
2. The stream or current that one goes against (the general flow): http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... ml#iti-109
3. Bad (flooded) streams: What we have in this sutta.

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Re: SN 1.1 The Flood

Postby Sam Vara » Mon Oct 07, 2013 9:45 pm

People might be interested in Ajahn Sucitto's book Parami: ways to cross life's floods

http://forestsanghapublications.org/viewBook.php?id=81&ref=vec

The first chapter is about the idea of ogha or floods as a metaphor for defilements, and is beautifully clear.
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Re: SN 1.1 The Flood

Postby mikenz66 » Tue Oct 08, 2013 9:26 am

Thanks Sam, that looks like an excellent book.

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