Snp 5.1: Ajita-manava-puccha — Ajita's Questions

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Snp 5.1: Ajita-manava-puccha — Ajita's Questions

Postby mikenz66 » Wed Sep 29, 2010 8:15 am

Snp 5.1: Ajita-manava-puccha — Ajita's Questions {Sn 1032-1039}
The Buddha summarizes the essence of Dhamma training: "Not craving for sensual pleasures, and with a mind that is pure and tranquil."

This is the first Sutta of:
The Parayana Vagga
The Chapter on the Way to the Far Shore

by
Thanissaro Bhikkhu

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... vagga.html
Sixteen brahman ascetics — students of a teacher named Bavari — approach the Buddha with questions on the goal of his teaching and how to attain it. From their questions, it is obvious that some of them, at least, are quite advanced in their meditation practice. Tradition tells us that the first fifteen of the ascetics attained arahantship immediately after the Buddha answered their questions. As for the sixteenth — Pingiya — the Cula Niddesa tells us that, after his questions were answered, he attained the Dhamma Eye, a term that usually means stream-entry. The commentary to the Cula Niddesa, however, interprets it as meaning that he became a non-returner.

A recurrent image in these dialogues is of life as a raging flood — a flood of birth, aging, and death; sorrow and lamentation; stress and suffering. The purpose of spiritual practice is to find a way across the flood to the safety of the far shore. This image explains the frequent reference to finding a way past entanglements — the flotsam and jetsam swept along by the flood that may prevent one's progress; and to the desire to be without acquisitions — the unnecessary baggage that could well cause one to sink midstream.

There is evidence that these sixteen dialogues were highly regarded right from the very early centuries of the Buddhist tradition. As concise statements of profound teachings particular to Buddhism, they sparked an attitude of devotion coupled with the desire to understand their more cryptic passages. Most of the Cula Niddesa, a late addition to the Pali canon, is devoted to explaining them in detail. Five discourses — one in the Samyutta Nikaya, four in the Anguttara — discuss specific verses in the set, and a sixth discourse tells of a lay woman who made a practice of rising before dawn to chant the full set of sixteen dialogues.

The notes to this translation include material drawn from the Cula Niddesa, together with extensive quotations from the five discourses mentioned above.
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Re: Snp 5.1: Ajita-manava-puccha — Ajita's Questions

Postby mikenz66 » Wed Sep 29, 2010 8:18 am

Snp 5.1
Ajita-manava-puccha: Ajita's Questions

translated from the Pali by John D. Ireland

[The Venerable Ajita:]
"By what is the world enveloped? Because of what is it not known? With what do you say it is soiled? What is its great fear?"

[The Lord:]
"The world is enveloped by ignorance, Ajita. Because of wrongly directed desire and heedlessness it is not known (as it really is). It is soiled by longings and its great fear is suffering."

[Ajita:]
"Everywhere flow the streams.[1] What is the obstruction for the streams, tell me the restricting of them, by what are they cut off?"

[The Lord:]
"Whatever streams are in the world, it is mindfulness that obstructs them and restricts them, and by wisdom they are cut off."

[Ajita:]
"It is just wisdom and mindfulness. Now mind-and-body, sir, explain this: where does it cease?"

[The Lord:]
"This question you have asked, Ajita, I will answer for you: where mind-and-body completely cease. By the cessation of consciousness they cease."[2]

[Ajita:]
"Those who have fully understood the Dhamma, those who are training and the other individuals here,[3] explain their (rule of) conduct."

[The Lord:]
"Not craving for sensual pleasures and with a mind that is pure and tranquil[4] a bhikkhu should mindfully go forth, skillful in all situations."
Notes

1. "The streams" are cravings flowing out towards pleasurable and desirable objects in the world.
2. This question and answer refers to the doctrine of dependent-arising (paticca-samuppada). Where rebirth-consciousness (pati-sandhi-vinnana) does not arise there is no establishment of an individual (mind-and-body, namarupa) in a realm of existence, nor the consequent appearance of old age and death and the other sufferings inherent in life.
3. "Those who have fully understood" are arahants (perfected ones) who have reached the highest goal. "Those who are training" are those noble beings (ariya) who are working towards and are assured of that goal. The other individuals are ordinary beings (puthujjana) who have not yet reached assurance.
4. The word anavilo means pure, clear, tranquil, unagitated, unmuddied, etc. In the Dhammapada v. 82, the wise are compared to a deep lake with this quality.
[Dhp 82. On hearing the Teachings, the wise become perfectly purified, like a lake deep, clear and still.]
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Re: Snp 5.1: Ajita-manava-puccha — Ajita's Questions

Postby mikenz66 » Wed Sep 29, 2010 8:20 am

Snp 5.1
Ajita-manava-puccha: Ajita's Questions

translated from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

[Ajita:]
With what is the world shrouded? Because of what doesn't it shine? With what is it smeared? Tell me. What is its great danger & fear?

[The Buddha:]
With ignorance the world is shrouded. Because of stinginess, heedlessness, it doesn't shine. With longing it's smeared — I tell you. Suffering-stress: its great danger & fear.

[Ajita:]
They flow every which way, the streams. What is their blocking, what their restraint — tell me — with what are they finally stopped?

[The Buddha:]
Whatever streams there are in the world: their blocking is mindfulness, mindfulness is their restraint — I tell you — with discernment they're finally stopped.

[Ajita:]
Discernment & mindfulness, name & form, dear sir: Tell me, when asked this, where are they brought to a halt?

[The Buddha:]
This question you've asked, Ajita, I'll answer it for you — where name & form are brought to a halt without trace: With the cessation of consciousness they're brought to a halt.

[Ajita:]
Those here who have fathomed the Dhamma, those who are learners, those who are run-of-the-mill: When you, dear sir, astute, are asked this, tell me their manner of life.

[The Buddha:]
He should not hanker for sensual pleasures, should be limpid in mind. Skilled in all mental qualities, he, the monk, should live his life mindfully.

Note
According to the Culaniddesa (Nd.II), the streams that "flow every which way" are the streams of craving, views, conceit, defilement, corruption, and ignorance that flow out the six sense media. The first two lines in Ven. Ajita's second set of questions (the first half-line in the Pali) is identical to the first half-line in Dhp. 340.
They flow every which way, the streams, but the sprouted creeper stays in place. Now, seeing that the creeper's arisen, cut through its root with discernment.


For a more detailed answer to Ajita's last set of questions, see SN 12.31.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
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Re: Snp 5.1: Ajita-manava-puccha — Ajita's Questions

Postby cooran » Wed Sep 29, 2010 10:23 am

Hello Mike, all,

Another translation – for your delectation:

Ajita’s Questions

1. ‘What is it’, said Ajita, ‘that smothers the world? What makes the world so hard to see? What would you say pollutes the world, and what threatens it most?’

2. ‘It is ignorance which smothers’, said the Master, ‘and it is carelessness and greed which make the world invisible. The hunger of desire pollutes the world, and the great source of fear is the pain of suffering.’

3. ‘In every direction’, said Ajita, ‘the rivers of desire are running. How can we dam them and what will hold them back? What can we use to close the flood-gates?’

4. ‘Any river can be stopped with the dam of mindfulness’, said the Buddha, ‘I call it the flood-stopper. And with wisdom you can close the flood-gates.’

5. ‘Sir’, said Ajita, ‘where there is wisdom and mindfulness there is also the hybrid of mind and matter [the generation of individuality]. What brings it all to a halt?’

6. ‘This is the answer to your question, Ajita’, said the Master. ‘Individuality can be brought to a total end by the cessation consciousness.’

7. ‘Sir’, said Ajita, ‘there are people here who have mastered all the teachings, and there are students and apprentices, and ordinary people too. Tell me how these people should live and work.’

8. ‘Let them be like a wanderer, a monk’, said the Buddha. ‘Mindful and skilful in everyway, they should free themselves from pleasure-hunger and make their minds [calm and] undisturbed.
[1032 – 1039 pp.118/9 Sutta-Nipata trans. H Saddhatissa Curzon Press Ltd. 1994 reprinted 1998 ISBN13: 978-0-7007-0181-0]

With metta
Chris
---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---
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Re: Snp 5.1: Ajita-manava-puccha — Ajita's Questions

Postby Ytrog » Fri Oct 01, 2010 6:31 pm

Thanks for sharing. Really needed it as a push in the right direction concerning desire.

Also: where did you get that translation, cooran?
Suffering is asking from life what it can never give you.


mindfulness, bliss and beyond (page 8) wrote:Do not linger on the past. Do not keep carrying around coffins full of dead moments


If you see any unskillful speech (or other action) from me let me know, so I can learn from it.
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Re: Snp 5.1: Ajita-manava-puccha — Ajita's Questions

Postby mikenz66 » Fri Oct 01, 2010 7:35 pm

Hi Ytrog,

I think Cooran must have typed it from the translation by H Saddhatissa, referenced in the post. It's useful to see these different translations...

Be sure to check out how SN 12.31 http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
expands on the question:
Those here who have fathomed the Dhamma,
those who are learners,
those who are run-of-the-mill:
When you, dear sir, astute,
are asked this,
tell me their manner of life.

That Sutta occurs in the second book of the Samyutta Nikaya, which, as I've quoted Bhikkhu Bodhi here: viewtopic.php?f=25&t=345#p88300
Bhikkhu Bodhi wrote:Then take Part II, the Nidana-samyutta [12]. This represents the noble
truths of the origin and cessation of suffering. You can also look at
Part IV-43 and 44-which again relate to the truth of cessation.


Mike
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Re: Snp 5.1: Ajita-manava-puccha — Ajita's Questions

Postby cooran » Sat Oct 02, 2010 7:47 am

Ytrog asked: where did you get that translation, cooran?


Mike said: I think Cooran must have typed it from the translation by H Saddhatissa, referenced in the post.


Yes, that's correct ... I have the hard copy of the book referenced in my post. [1032 – 1039 pp.118/9 Sutta-Nipata trans. H Saddhatissa Curzon Press Ltd. 1994 reprinted 1998 ISBN13: 978-0-7007-0181-0]

with metta
Chris
---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---
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