MN 52. Aṭṭhakanāgara Sutta

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MN 52. Aṭṭhakanāgara Sutta

Postby jcsuperstar » Tue Sep 29, 2009 1:15 pm

(*noteMN 64. Mahāmālunkya Sutta wasnt anywhere online so i skipped one sutta ahead.-jc)

MN 52 PTS: M i 349 This sutta also appears at AN 11.17
Atthakanagara Sutta: To the Man from Atthakanagara
translated from the Pali by
Thanissaro Bhikkhu

I have heard that on one occasion Ven. Ananda was staying near Vesali at Veluvagamaka. Now on that occasion Dasama the householder from Atthakanagara had arrived at Pataliputta on some business. Then he went to a certain monk at Kukkata Monastery and on arrival, having bowed down to him, sat to one side. As he was sitting there he said to the monk, "Where is Ven. Ananda staying now? I'd like to see him."

"Householder, the Ven. Ananda is staying near Vesali at Veluvagamaka."

Then Dasama the householder from Atthakanagara, on completing his business at Pataliputta, went to Ven. Ananda at Veluvagamaka near Vesali. On arrival, having bowed down to him, he sat to one side. As he was sitting there, he said to Ven. Ananda: "Venerable sir, is there a single quality declared by the Blessed One — the one who knows, the one who sees, worthy & rightly self-awakened — where the unreleased mind of a monk who dwells there heedful, ardent, & resolute becomes released, or his unended fermentations go to their total ending, or he attains the unexcelled security from the yoke that he had not attained before?"

"Yes, householder, there is..."

"And what is that one quality, venerable sir...?"

"There is the case, householder, where a monk, withdrawn from sensuality, withdrawn from unskillful qualities, enters & remains in the first jhana: rapture & pleasure born from withdrawal, accompanied by directed thought & evaluation. He reflects on this and discerns, 'This first jhana is fabricated & intended. Now whatever is fabricated & intended is inconstant & subject to cessation.' Staying right there, he reaches the ending of the mental fermentations. Or, if not, then — through this very Dhamma-passion, this Dhamma-delight, and from the total wasting away of the first five Fetters [1] — he is due to be reborn [in the Pure Abodes], there to be totally unbound, never again to return from that world.

"This, householder, is a single quality declared by the Blessed One — the one who knows, the one who sees, worthy & rightly self-awakened — where the unreleased mind of a monk who dwells there heedful, ardent, & resolute becomes released, or his unended fermentations go to their total ending, or he attains the unexcelled security from the yoke that he had not attained before.

[Similarly with the second, third, and fourth jhanas.]

"Then again, a monk keeps pervading the first direction [2] with an awareness imbued with good will, likewise the second, likewise the third, likewise the fourth. Thus above, below, & all around, everywhere, in its entirety, he keeps pervading the all-encompassing cosmos with an awareness imbued with good will — abundant, expansive, immeasurable, without hostility, without ill will. He reflects on this and discerns, 'This awareness-release through good will is fabricated & intended. Now whatever is fabricated & intended is inconstant & subject to cessation.' Staying right there, he reaches the ending of the mental fermentations. Or, if not, then — through this very Dhamma-passion, this Dhamma-delight, and from the total wasting away of the first five Fetters — he is due to be reborn [in the Pure Abodes], there to be totally unbound, never again to return from that world.

"This too, householder, is a single quality declared by the Blessed One — the one who knows, the one who sees, worthy & rightly self-awakened — where the unreleased mind of a monk who dwells there heedful, ardent, & resolute becomes released, or his unended fermentations go to their total ending, or he attains the unexcelled security from the yoke that he had not attained before.

[Similarly with awareness-release through compassion, through appreciation, & through equanimity.]

"Then again, a monk — with the complete transcending of perceptions of [physical] form, with the disappearance of perceptions of resistance, and not heeding perceptions of diversity, [perceiving,] 'Infinite space' — enters & remains in the dimension of the infinitude of space. He reflects on this and discerns, 'This attainment of the infinitude of space is fabricated & intended. Now whatever is fabricated & intended is inconstant & subject to cessation.' Staying right there, he reaches the ending of the mental fermentations. Or, if not, then — through this very Dhamma-passion, this Dhamma-delight, and from the total wasting away of the first five Fetters — he is due to be reborn [in the Pure Abodes], there to be totally unbound, never again to return from that world.

"This too, householder, is a single quality declared by the Blessed One — the one who knows, the one who sees, worthy & rightly self-awakened — where the unreleased mind of a monk who dwells there heedful, ardent, & resolute becomes released, or his unended fermentations go to their total ending, or he attains the unexcelled security from the yoke that he had not attained before.

[Similarly with the dimension of the infinitude of consciousness and the dimension of nothingness.]

When this was said, Dasama the householder from Atthakanagara said to Ven. Ananda, "Venerable Ananda, just as if a man seeking a single opening onto treasure were all at once to come upon eleven openings onto treasure, in the same way I — seeking a single doorway to the Deathless — have all at once come to hear of eleven doorways to the Deathless. And just as if a man whose house had eleven doors could take himself to safety by means of any one of those doors, in the same way I can take myself to safety by means of any one of these eleven doors to the Deathless. Venerable sir, when sectarians search for a teacher's fee for their teachers, why shouldn't I pay homage to Ven. Ananda?"

So Dasama the householder from Atthakanagara, having assembled the community of monks from Vesali and Pataliputta, with his own hands served & satisfied them with refined staple & non-staple foods. He presented a pair of cloths to each monk, and a triple robe to Ven. Ananda. And, for Ven. Ananda, he had a dwelling built worth five hundred [kahapanas].

Notes
1.Self-identity views, grasping at precepts & practices, uncertainty, sensual passion, and irritation.
2.The east.
See also: AN 9.36.

from the study guide
Atthakanāgara Sutta The Man from Atthakanagara v
SUMMARY
Ven. Ānanda teaches a householder eleven “doors to the deathless” by which a
bhikkhu can attain the supreme security from bondage.
NOT ES
[3] The initial question is, “…has any one thing been proclaimed by the Blessed
One…” whereby one who is diligent can cause one’s unliberated mind to be
liberated?
Pressing Out Pure Ho ney 66
[414]
The eleven “doors to the deathless,” used as a basis for the
development of insight and the attainment of arahantship, are the four jhānas,
the four brahmavihāras, and the first three immaterial attainments. The fourth
immaterial attainment is not included because it is too subtle for insight. The
insight is that whatever is conditioned and volitionally produced is impermanent
and subject to cessation. One sees this for each of the “doors.”
[Ed: I think these are called “doors to the deathless” because they access a
full, but temporary release from the taints. They also give insight the firm basis it
needs to do its work. Therefore, if one can see that these, too, are conditioned
and volitionally produced, and subject to cessation, this is the supreme insight
that liberates. The reason for this emphasis is also cultural, because saints of the
time were claiming these states to be Nibbāna.]
Note 552: A method for developing “insight preceded by serenity” (see
also AN4:170/ii.157): One emerges from the jhānic state and contemplates that
the state is brought into being by conditions, particularly volition, and
contemplates the jhāna with insight into the three marks of existence
(impermanence, suffering and notself).
[15] The discourse ends with SIMILES: “Just as if a man seeking one entrance
to a hidden treasure came all at once upon eleven entrances to a hidden
treasure…” and “Just as if a man had a house with eleven doors and when that
house caught on fire, he could flee to safety by any of these eleven doors, so I
can flee to safety by any one of these eleven doors to the Deathless.”
PRACT ICE
Even in sublime states, we are directed to be watchful for any clinging that may
arise in relationship to those states. Reflect on the fact that all states of mind
arise due to conditions and are subject to change. Be aware of the arising of any
clinging to mind states. At different times during the day, turn your attention to
your mind state and note that it is merely a mind state, temporary and
impersonal.
53
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: MN 52. Aṭṭhakanāgara Sutta

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Sep 29, 2009 11:58 pm

Greetings JC, all,

One thing that came to mind reading this sutta, was that jhana, and seeing the conditioned (and thus, subject to disturbance) nature of even the most blissful conditioned mindstates, is an important factor in the renunciation of sense-desires.

Insight meditation is great for experientially realising the realities of anicca and anatta, but to what extent is dukkha directly realised by such methods? Is it just inferred (i.e. it is anicca, therefore it is dukkha... it is anatta, therefore it is dukkha) or is it direct... and if direct, how comprehensive is it and how representative of the full gamut of potential objects of sense desire?

To realise experientially why dukkha is inherent in all conditioned existence, I suspect one may need to experientially see the dukkha inherent in even the most blissful conditioned mindstates for themselves. Otherwise, bliss (be it sensory or jhanic) will always be a temptation, and true renunciation of the senses will be more difficult. I think this is why we see this 'boilerplate' jhana talk repeated so often throughout the Sutta Pitaka.

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: MN 52. Aṭṭhakanāgara Sutta

Postby vinasp » Wed Sep 30, 2009 2:21 am

Greetings JC, retrofuturist,all,

What a wonderful discourse ! All attempts at meditation are just adding more conditioned states, to those we already have !
How can you reach nibbana the unconditioned by creating more conditioned states ? You are going the wrong way. Turn around, you must go against the flow, back to the original mind. When you see this what can you do ? Nothing ! Go further, stop doing that which sustains what has already been constructed. Note the two outcomes, full enlightenment, or the state of a non-returner.

Just my heretical opinion. Feel free to disagree. Best wishes, Vincent.
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Re: MN 52. Aṭṭhakanāgara Sutta

Postby Jechbi » Wed Sep 30, 2009 4:53 am

retrofuturist wrote:To realise experientially why dukkha is inherent in all conditioned existence, I suspect one may need to experientially see the dukkha inherent in even the most blissful conditioned mindstates for themselves. Otherwise, bliss (be it sensory or jhanic) will always be a temptation, and true renunciation of the senses will be more difficult.

Maybe that's why rupa-raga and arupa-raga are only extinguished with attainment to the fruit of arahat.
Rain soddens what is kept wrapped up,
But never soddens what is open;
Uncover, then, what is concealed,
Lest it be soddened by the rain.
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Re: MN 52. Aṭṭhakanāgara Sutta

Postby retrofuturist » Wed Sep 30, 2009 5:29 am

Greetings Jechbi,

Quite possibly.

The impermanence of pleasant, unpleasant and neutral sensations are well known by the hedonist, yet it doesn't deter them from pursuing the pleasant.

Likewise, these pleasant sensations are attractive to the hedonist, regardless of whether or not they are perceived as "self".

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


Dharma Wheel (Mahayana / Vajrayana forum) -- Open flower ~ Open book (blog)
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Re: MN 52. Aṭṭhakanāgara Sutta

Postby rowyourboat » Wed Sep 30, 2009 2:33 pm

the jhanas are right concentration- add vipassana on to that and you have the recipie for success. In jhana states the mind is very maleable- hence any insight is likely to penetrate quite deeply. Trying to free the mind from attachment without these deep states are like trying to kill the medusa- the mind will find another way to get attached, or is simply too weak to let go with any lasting result-hence not very practical.

but i agree with retro that a broader application of vipassana insight is more useful in completely letting go. It is only when there is complete letting go of samsara that nibbana can manifest, not partial.
With Metta

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& Upekkha
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Re: MN 52. Aṭṭhakanāgara Sutta

Postby Jechbi » Wed Sep 30, 2009 3:41 pm

rowyourboat wrote:nibbana can manifest
I know what you're saying, but here again is an example of how language fails us. My understanding is that nibbana doesn't manifest, or do anything at all for that matter.
Rain soddens what is kept wrapped up,
But never soddens what is open;
Uncover, then, what is concealed,
Lest it be soddened by the rain.
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Re: MN 52. Aṭṭhakanāgara Sutta

Postby Raga Mala » Sat Oct 03, 2009 6:40 am

I am always pleased to be reminded in the suttas of the preconditions for success through samadhi, note the Buddha's words:

"...living withdrawn from sensuality, withdrawn from unskillful mental qualities..."

The formula occurs often in Sutta passages such as this one. Many of us overlook such statements and I know that I, as a reader, have come to be adept at navigating such formulas and merely searching out the "meat and potatoes" of a given Sutta...that is, skimming all the repetitions and sutta-formulas and finding what is new/different in a given paragraph of a Sutta. Nevertheless, the reason this phrase is the doorman of many passages on mental development seems important.

The reduction of sensuality and unskillful thoughts is always a worthwhile pursuit.
"It is easier to shout 'STOP!' than to do it." -Treebeard
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