MN 1. Mūlapariyāya Sutta

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MN 1. Mūlapariyāya Sutta

Postby jcsuperstar » Tue Oct 13, 2009 4:15 am

MN 1 PTS: M i 1
Mulapariyaya Sutta: The Root Sequence
translated from the Pali by
Thanissaro Bhikkhu

Translator's Introduction
The Buddha taught that clinging to views is one of the four forms of clinging that tie the mind to the processes of suffering. He thus recommended that his followers relinquish their clinging, not only to views in their full-blown form as specific positions, but also in their rudimentary form as the categories & relationships that the mind reads into experience. This is a point he makes in the following discourse, which is apparently his response to a particular school of Brahmanical thought that was developing in his time — the Samkhya, or classification school.

This school had its beginnings in the thought of Uddalaka, a ninth-century B.C. philosopher who posited a "root": an abstract principle out of which all things emanated and which was immanent in all things. Philosophers who carried on this line of thinking offered a variety of theories, based on logic and meditative experience, about the nature of the ultimate root and about the hierarchy of the emanation. Many of their theories were recorded in the Upanishads and eventually developed into the classical Samkhya system around the time of the Buddha.

Although the present discourse says nothing about the background of the monks listening to it, the Commentary states that before their ordination they were brahmans, and that even after their ordination they continued to interpret the Buddha's teachings in light of their previous training, which may well have been proto-Samkhya. If this is so, then the Buddha's opening lines — "I will teach you the sequence of the root of all phenomena" — would have them prepared to hear his contribution to their line of thinking. And, in fact, the list of topics he covers reads like a Buddhist Samkhya. Paralleling the classical Samkhya, it contains 24 items, begins with the physical world (here, the four physical properties), and leads back through ever more refined & inclusive levels of being & experience, culminating with the ultimate Buddhist concept: Unbinding (nibbana). In the pattern of Samkhya thought, Unbinding would thus be the ultimate "root" or ground of being immanent in all things and out of which they all emanate.

However, instead of following this pattern of thinking, the Buddha attacks it at its very root: the notion of a principle in the abstract, the "in" (immanence) & "out of" (emanation) superimposed on experience. Only an uninstructed, run of the mill person, he says, would read experience in this way. In contrast, a person in training should look for a different kind of "root" — the root of suffering experienced in the present — and find it in the act of delight. Developing dispassion for that delight, the trainee can then comprehend the process of coming-into-being for what it is, drop all participation in it, and thus achieve true Awakening.

If the listeners present at this discourse were indeed interested in fitting Buddhist teachings into a Samkhyan mold, then it's small wonder that they were displeased — one of the few places where we read of a negative reaction to the Buddha's words. They had hoped to hear his contribution to their project, but instead they hear their whole pattern of thinking & theorizing attacked as ignorant & ill-informed. The Commentary tells us, though, they were later able to overcome their displeasure and eventually attain Awakening on listening to the discourse reported in AN 3.123.

Although at present we rarely think in the same terms as the Samkhya philosophers, there has long been — and still is — a common tendency to create a "Buddhist" metaphysics in which the experience of emptiness, the Unconditioned, the Dharma-body, Buddha-nature, rigpa, etc., is said to function as the ground of being from which the "All" — the entirety of our sensory & mental experience — is said to spring and to which we return when we meditate. Some people think that these theories are the inventions of scholars without any direct meditative experience, but actually they have most often originated among meditators, who label (or in the words of the discourse, "perceive") a particular meditative experience as the ultimate goal, identify with it in a subtle way (as when we are told that "we are the knowing"), and then view that level of experience as the ground of being out of which all other experience comes.

Any teaching that follows these lines would be subject to the same criticism that the Buddha directed against the monks who first heard this discourse.


I have heard that on one occasion the Blessed One was staying at Ukkattha, in the shade of a royal Sal tree in the Very Blessed Grove. There he addressed the monks, "Monks!"

"Yes, lord," the monks responded.

The Blessed One said, "Monks, I will teach you the sequence of the root of all phenomena [or: the root sequence of all phenomena]. Listen & pay close attention. I will speak."

"As you say, sir," they responded.

The Blessed One said: "There is the case, monks, where an uninstructed run-of-the-mill person — who has no regard for noble ones, is not well-versed or disciplined in their Dhamma; who has no regard for men of integrity, is not well-versed or disciplined in their Dhamma — perceives earth as earth. Perceiving earth as earth, he conceives [things] about earth, he conceives [things] in earth, he conceives [things] coming out of earth, he conceives earth as 'mine,' he delights in earth. Why is that? Because he has not comprehended it, I tell you.

"He perceives water as water... fire as fire... wind as wind [1] ... beings as beings... gods as gods...Pajapati as Pajapati...Brahma as Brahma... the luminous gods as luminous gods... the gods of refulgent glory as gods of refulgent glory... the gods of abundant fruit as the gods of abundant fruit... the Great Being as the Great Being [2] ... the dimension of the infinitude of space as the dimension of the infinitude of space... the dimension of the infinitude of consciousness as the dimension of the infinitude of consciousness... the dimension of nothingness as the dimension of nothingness... the dimension of neither-perception-nor-non-perception as the dimension of neither-perception-nor-non-perception [3] ... the seen as the seen... the heard as the heard... the sensed as the sensed... the cognized as the cognized [4] ... singleness as singleness... multiplicity as multiplicity [5] ... the All as the All [6] ...

"He perceives Unbinding as Unbinding. [7] Perceiving Unbinding as Unbinding, he conceives things about Unbinding, he conceives things in Unbinding, he conceives things coming out of Unbinding, he conceives Unbinding as 'mine,' he delights in Unbinding. Why is that? Because he has not comprehended it, I tell you.

The Trainee
"A monk who is a trainee — yearning for the unexcelled relief from bondage, his aspirations as yet unfulfilled — directly knows earth as earth. Directly knowing earth as earth, let him not conceive things about earth, let him not conceive things in earth, let him not conceive things coming out of earth, let him not conceive earth as 'mine,' let him not delight in earth. Why is that? So that he may comprehend it, I tell you.

"He directly knows water as water... fire as fire... wind as wind... beings as beings... gods as gods... Pajapati as Pajapati... Brahma as Brahma... the luminous gods as luminous gods... the gods of refulgent glory as gods of refulgent glory... the gods of abundant fruit as the gods of abundant fruit... the Great Being as the Great Being... the dimension of the infinitude of space as the dimension of the infinitude of space... the dimension of the infinitude of consciousness as the dimension of the infinitude of consciousness... the dimension of nothingness as the dimension of nothingness... the dimension of neither-perception-nor-non-perception as the dimension of neither-perception-nor-non-perception... the seen as the seen... the heard as the heard... the sensed as the sensed... the cognized as the cognized... singleness as singleness... multiplicity as multiplicity... the All as the All...

"He directly knows Unbinding as Unbinding. Directly knowing Unbinding as Unbinding, let him not conceive things about Unbinding, let him not conceive things in Unbinding, let him not conceive things coming out of Unbinding, let him not conceive Unbinding as 'mine,' let him not delight in Unbinding. Why is that? So that he may comprehend it, I tell you.

The Arahant
"A monk who is a Worthy One, devoid of mental fermentations — who has attained completion, finished the task, laid down the burden, attained the true goal, destroyed the fetters of becoming, and is released through right knowledge — directly knows earth as earth. Directly knowing earth as earth, he does not conceive things about earth, does not conceive things in earth, does not conceive things coming out of earth, does not conceive earth as 'mine,' does not delight in earth. Why is that? Because he has comprehended it, I tell you.

"He directly knows water as water... fire as fire... wind as wind... beings as beings... gods as gods... Pajapati as Pajapati... Brahma as Brahma... the luminous gods as luminous gods... the gods of refulgent glory as gods of refulgent glory... the gods of abundant fruit as the gods of abundant fruit... the Great Being as the Great Being... the dimension of the infinitude of space as the dimension of the infinitude of space... the dimension of the infinitude of consciousness as the dimension of the infinitude of consciousness... the dimension of nothingness as the dimension of nothingness... the dimension of neither-perception-nor-non-perception as the dimension of neither-perception-nor-non-perception... the seen as the seen... the heard as the heard... the sensed as the sensed... the cognized as the cognized... singleness as singleness... multiplicity as multiplicity... the All as the All...

"He directly knows Unbinding as Unbinding. Directly knowing Unbinding as Unbinding, he does not conceive things about Unbinding, does not conceive things in Unbinding, does not conceive things coming out of Unbinding, does not conceive Unbinding as 'mine,' does not delight in Unbinding. Why is that? Because he has comprehended it, I tell you.

"A monk who is a Worthy One, devoid of mental fermentations... directly knows earth as earth. Directly knowing earth as earth, he does not conceive things about earth, does not conceive things in earth, does not conceive things coming out of earth, does not conceive earth as 'mine,' does not delight in earth. Why is that? Because, with the ending of passion, he is devoid of passion, I tell you.

"He directly knows water as water... the All as the All...

"He directly knows Unbinding as Unbinding. Directly knowing Unbinding as Unbinding, he does not conceive things about Unbinding, does not conceive things in Unbinding, does not conceive things coming out of Unbinding, does not conceive Unbinding as 'mine,' does not delight in Unbinding. Why is that? Because, with the ending of passion, he is devoid of passion, I tell you.

"A monk who is a Worthy One, devoid of mental fermentations... directly knows earth as earth. Directly knowing earth as earth, he does not conceive things about earth, does not conceive things in earth, does not conceive things coming out of earth, does not conceive earth as 'mine,' does not delight in earth. Why is that? Because, with the ending of aversion, he is devoid of aversion, I tell you.

"He directly knows water as water... the All as the All...

"He directly knows Unbinding as Unbinding. Directly knowing Unbinding as Unbinding, he does not conceive things about Unbinding, does not conceive things in Unbinding, does not conceive things coming out of Unbinding, does not conceive Unbinding as 'mine,' does not delight in Unbinding. Why is that? Because, with the ending of aversion, he is devoid of aversion, I tell you.

"A monk who is a Worthy One, devoid of mental fermentations... directly knows earth as earth. Directly knowing earth as earth, he does not conceive things about earth, does not conceive things in earth, does not conceive things coming out of earth, does not conceive earth as 'mine,' does not delight in earth. Why is that? Because, with the ending of delusion, he is devoid of delusion, I tell you.

"He directly knows water as water... the All as the All...

"He directly knows Unbinding as Unbinding. Directly knowing Unbinding as Unbinding, he does not conceive things about Unbinding, does not conceive things in Unbinding, does not conceive things coming out of Unbinding, does not conceive Unbinding as 'mine,' does not delight in Unbinding. Why is that? Because, with the ending of delusion, he is devoid of delusion, I tell you.

The Tathagata
"The Tathagata — a worthy one, rightly self-awakened — directly knows earth as earth. Directly knowing earth as earth, he does not conceive things about earth, does not conceive things in earth, does not conceive things coming out of earth, does not conceive earth as 'mine,' does not delight in earth. Why is that? Because the Tathagata has comprehended it to the end, I tell you.

"He directly knows water as water... fire as fire... wind as wind... beings as beings... gods as gods... Pajapati as Pajapati... Brahma as Brahma... the luminous gods as luminous gods... the gods of refulgent glory as gods of refulgent glory... the gods of abundant fruit as the gods of abundant fruit... the Great Being as the Great Being... the dimension of the infinitude of space as the dimension of the infinitude of space... the dimension of the infinitude of consciousness as the dimension of the infinitude of consciousness... the dimension of nothingness as the dimension of nothingness... the dimension of neither-perception-nor-non-perception as the dimension of neither-perception-nor-non-perception... the seen as the seen... the heard as the heard... the sensed as the sensed... the cognized as the cognized... singleness as singleness... multiplicity as multiplicity... the All as the All...

"He directly knows Unbinding as Unbinding. Directly knowing Unbinding as Unbinding, he does not conceive things about Unbinding, does not conceive things in Unbinding, does not conceive things coming out of Unbinding, does not conceive Unbinding as 'mine,' does not delight in Unbinding. Why is that? Because the Tathagata has comprehended it to the end, I tell you.

"The Tathagata — a worthy one, rightly self-awakened — directly knows earth as earth. Directly knowing earth as earth, he does not conceive things about earth, does not conceive things in earth, does not conceive things coming out of earth, does not conceive earth as 'mine,' does not delight in earth. Why is that? Because he has known that delight is the root of suffering & stress, that from coming-into-being there is birth, and that for what has come into being there is aging & death. Therefore, with the total ending, fading away, cessation, letting go, relinquishment of craving, the Tathagata has totally awakened to the unexcelled right self-awakening, I tell you.

"He directly knows water as water... the All as the All...

"He directly knows Unbinding as Unbinding. Directly knowing Unbinding as Unbinding, he does not conceive things about Unbinding, does not conceive things in Unbinding, does not conceive things coming out of Unbinding, does not conceive Unbinding as 'mine,' does not delight in Unbinding. Why is that? Because he has known that delight is the root of suffering & stress, that from coming-into-being there is birth, and that for what has come into being there is aging & death. Therefore, with the total ending, fading away, cessation, letting go, relinquishment of craving, the Tathagata has totally awakened to the unexcelled right self-awakening, I tell you."

That is what the Blessed One said. Displeased, the monks did not delight in the Blessed One's words.

Notes
1.Earth, water, fire, and wind are the four properties that comprise the experience of physical form.
2.In this section of the list, "beings" denotes all living beings below the level of the gods. "Gods" denotes the beings in the sensual heavens. The remaining terms — Pajapati, Brahma, the luminous gods, the gods of refulgent glory, the gods of abundant fruit, & the Great Being — denote gods in the heavens of form & formlessness.
3.The dimension of the infinitude of space, the dimension of the infinitude of consciousness, the dimension of nothingness, & the dimension of neither-perception-nor-non-perception are four formless states that can be attained in concentration.
4."The seen, the heard, the sensed, & the cognized" is a set of terms to cover all things experienced through the six senses.
5.Singleness = experience in states of intense concentration (jhana). Multiplicity = experience via the six senses.
6."What is the All? Simply the eye & forms, ear & sounds, nose & aromas, tongue & flavors, body & tactile sensations, intellect & ideas. This is termed the All. Anyone who would say, 'Repudiating this All, I will describe another,' if questioned on what exactly might be the grounds for his assertion, would be unable to explain, and furthermore, would be put to grief. Why is that? Because it lies beyond range." — SN 35.23 For more on this topic, see The Mind Like Fire Unbound, Chapter 1.
7.Unbinding = nibbana (nirvana).
See also: AN 10.58
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 1. Mūlapariyāya Sutta

Postby jcsuperstar » Tue Oct 13, 2009 4:17 am

from the study guide

1 Mūlapariyāya Sutta The Root of All Things v
SUMMARY
The Buddha analyzes the cognitive process of four types of individuals: the
untaught ordinary person, the disciple in higher training, the arahant, and the
Tathāgata. He distinguishes between one who has not fully understood (one
who still has craving, conceit and views, or in other words, ignorance), one who
is on the path to higher training (a sekha), and one who has fully understood
(the arahant and Tathāgata—see MN1.147 for the distinction between the two).
NOT ES
In his summary, Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi tells us that this discourse is one of the
deepest and most difficult discourses in the Pali Canon. Therefore, it may be
best to begin with MN2.
[326]
The Buddha uses a set of phrases for each of the following to show us
how we misperceive: earth, water, fire, air, beings, gods, Pajāpati, Brahmā, the
gods of Streaming Radiance, the gods of Refulgent Glory, the gods of Great
Fruit, and Overlord, the four immaterial attainments, the seen, the heard, the
sensed, the cognized, unity, diversity, all, and Nibbāna.
This is an example of the set of phrases. (Each of the above categories can
be substituted.):
[3] The earth is me. I am in earth. I am separate from earth. The earth is mine.
I delight in earth. Why do I perceive in this way? Because I have not fully
understood it. [26] Nibbāna is me. I am in Nibbāna. I am separate from Nibbāna.
Nibbāna is mine. I delight in Nibbāna. Why do I perceive in this way? Because I
have not fully understood it.
A disciple in higher training will perceive in this way: [27] The earth is not me.
I am not in earth. I am not separate from earth. The earth is not mine. I do not
delight in earth. Why do I perceive in this way? So I may fully understand it.
[50] Nibbāna is not me. I am not in Nibbāna. I am not separate from Nibbāna.
Nibbāna is not mine. I do not delight in Nibbāna. Why do I perceive in this way?
So I may fully understand it.
Note 5 explains how misperception occurs: An ordinary person takes the
concept for the thing itself (“it is earth”) and perceives the object through four
perversions of perception (saññāvipallāsa):
1. one sees what is impermanent as permanent
2. painful as pleasurable
3. what is notself
as self
4. what is foul as beautiful (as in AN4:49/ii.52)

Note 6: “The Pali verb ‘conceives’ (maññati), from the root man, ‘to think,’ is
often used in the Pali discourses to mean distortional thinking—thought that
ascribes to its object characteristics and a significance derived not from the
object but from its own subjective imaginings” (egocentric perspective). “…the
activity of conceiving is governed by three defilements, which accounts for the
different ways it comes into manifestation: craving (tanhā), conceit (māna) and
views (ditthi),” which are underlaid by ignorance and are the root of all things.
[Ed: Hence the title.]
Note 22: An ordinary person perceives an object; a sekha (anyone who has
reached the first three stages of enlightenment explained further in Note 21)
directly knows an object. “From earth, he has direct knowledge of earth.” Note 7
points out how one has direct knowledge of the elements. It says one
understands by three types of full understanding:
1. the full understanding of the known—knowing each of the elements by way
of its unique characteristic, function, manifestation and proximate cause.
(Descriptions of each can be found in the Visuddhimagga, an
encyclopedic work on Buddhist doctrine and meditation compiled by
Ācariya Buddhaghosa around the 5thC A.D.)
2. the full understanding by scrutinization—contemplation of elements by
way of the three characteristics—impermanence, suffering and notself
3. the full understanding of abandonment—abandoning desire and lust for
elements through the supreme path (of arahantship).
[51] The arahant: “A bhikkhu who is an arahant with taints destroyed, who
has lived the holy life, done what had to be done, laid down the burden, reached
the true goal, destroyed the fetters of being, and is completely liberated through
final knowledge.” An arahant has reached the fourth and final stage of
enlightenment.
[75146]
The arahant is free from lust, hatred, and delusion through the
destruction of lust, hatred, and delusion.
Note 23: Only by an arahant are the defilements fully abandoned. The sekha
is urged by the Buddha to refrain from conceiving and delight because
disposition to these mental processes still remains within him. With the
attainment of streamentry,
the fetter of identity view is eradicated. Thus one can
no longer conceive in terms of wrong views, but the defilements of conceit and
craving still remain, and the sekha remains vulnerable to conceivings.
“Whereas direct knowledge is the province of both the sekha and the arahant,
full understanding is the province exclusively of the arahant, as it involves full
abandoning of all defilements.”
[147] Note 28 clarifies the distinction between an arahant and a Buddha (or
Tathāgata—the epithet the Buddha uses most often when referring to himself).
“While Buddhas and disciplearahants
are alike in abandoning all defilements,
there is a distinction in their range of full understanding: whereas disciples can
attain Nibbāna after comprehending with insight only a limited number of
formations, Buddhas fully understand all formations without exception.”
[171] Delight (nandī) is the root of suffering. “Delight” here means
pleasurable involvement and infatuation with an object at the expense of clarity.
PRACT ICE
1. To get a sense of what the Buddha is pointing to, first, using the language in
[3] (I and mine), take one thing, like anger, and say to yourself the first five
phrases as you connect with the meaning as much as possible: “The anger is
me. I am in the anger. I am separate from the anger. The anger is mine, etc.”
Then, change to the language in [27] (not I and not mine): “The anger is not me.
I am not in the anger, etc.” Notice the quality of the energy you feel as you say
each of the phrases. 2. The Buddha asks us to do the same for the words—
unity, all, Nibbāna. Do the same exercise as above, and reflect on what this
implies about the idea that we are all one.
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 1. Mūlapariyāya Sutta

Postby Jechbi » Tue Oct 13, 2009 6:45 am

Fascinating that this apparently was the later instruction that turned the monks' displeasure around:

On one occasion the Blessed One was staying near Vesali at Gotamaka Shrine. There he addressed the monks, "Monks!"

"Yes, lord," the monks responded.

The Blessed One said, "It's through direct knowledge that I teach the Dhamma, not without direct knowledge. It's with a cause that I teach the Dhamma, not without a cause. It's with marvels that I teach the Dhamma, not without marvels. Because I teach the Dhamma through direct knowledge and not without direct knowledge, because I teach the Dhamma with a cause and not without a cause, because I teach the Dhamma with marvels and not without marvels, there is good reason for my instruction, good reason for my admonition. And that is enough for you to be content, enough for you to be gratified, enough for you to take joy that the Blessed One is rightly self-awakened, the Dhamma is well-taught by the Blessed One, and the community has practiced rightly."

That is what the Blessed One said. Gratified, the monks delighted in the Blessed One's words. And while this explanation was being given, the ten-thousand fold cosmos quaked.

"And that is enough for you to be content ..."
It almost seems as though the listeners are being taken right back to the beginning, right back to that first refuge. A very humbling instruction, as I read it, and probably just the medicine that the doctor ordered.
:broke:
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 1. Mūlapariyāya Sutta

Postby Prasadachitta » Sat Oct 17, 2009 5:41 pm

An excellent Sutta.

Its very precise in how it indicates the appropriate way of dealing with our ideas about experience.

Truly Liberating.

Sadhu

Sadhu

Sadhu

:0)

Gabe
"Beautifully taught is the Lord's Dhamma, immediately apparent, timeless, of the nature of a personal invitation, progressive, to be attained by the wise, each for himself." Anguttara Nikaya V.332
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