The Questions of Metteyya

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Ceisiwr
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The Questions of Metteyya

Post by Ceisiwr »

What is your understanding of this teaching?
Now at that time, after the meal, on return from alms-round, several senior mendicants sat together in the pavilion and this discussion came up among them, “Reverends, this was said by the Buddha in ‘The Way to the Beyond’, in ‘The Questions of Metteyya’:

‘The sage has known both ends,
and is not stuck in the middle.
He is a great man, I declare,
he has escaped the seamstress here.’

But what is one end? What’s the second end? What’s the middle? And who is the seamstress?” When this was said, one of the mendicants said to the senior mendicants:

“Contact, reverends, is one end. The origin of contact is the second end. The cessation of contact is the middle. And craving is the seamstress...
https://suttacentral.net/an6.61/en/sujato
Paññaṃ nappamajjeyya, saccamanurakkheyya, cāgamanubrūheyya, santimeva so sikkheyyā’ti

“One should not neglect wisdom, should preserve truth, cultivate relinquishment and train for peace.”

Dhātuvibhaṅga Sutta
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DooDoot
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Re: The Questions of Metteyya

Post by DooDoot »

Ceisiwr wrote: Wed Nov 11, 2020 5:18 am What is your understanding of this teaching?
My understanding is there is no relationship between the two ends & the middle. In other words, it is not some type of continuum sewn together by the seamstress.

The two ends are two wrong extremes, namely: (i) mere/generic/oblivious contact without understanding; and (ii) contact affected by craving called "arising" ("samudaya"). Note: SN 22.5 defines "samudaya" as "when approves, welcomes and keeps clinging".

The middle is the middle path, namely, the cessation of ignorance & craving affecting contact.

In short, craving, the seamstress, binds the two extremes or two ends. But the seamstress is unrelated to & does not bind the middle.

To believe the seamstress binds one end, the middle & the other end together is wrong or mannati.

The above is my understanding of this teaching. :smile:
The Buddha said this:

Bhagavā etadavoca:

Contact, mendicants, is one extreme. The origin of contact is the second extreme. The cessation of contact is the middle. And craving is the seamstress,

phasso kho, bhikkhave, eko anto, phassasamudayo dutiyo anto, phassanirodho majjhe, taṇhā sibbinī;
Compare to:
‘All exists’: this is one extreme.
‘Sabbamatthī’ti kho, kaccāna, ayameko anto.

‘All doesn’t exist’: this is the second extreme.
‘Sabbaṃ natthī’ti ayaṃ dutiyo anto.

Avoiding these two extremes, the Realized One teaches by the middle way:
Ete te, kaccāna, ubho ante anupagamma majjhena tathāgato dhammaṃ deseti:

SN 12.15
There is always an official executioner. If you try to take his place, It is like trying to be a master carpenter and cutting wood. If you try to cut wood like a master carpenter, you will only hurt your hand.

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confusedlayman
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Re: The Questions of Metteyya

Post by confusedlayman »

It doesnt fit
I may be slow learner but im at least learning...
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Dhammanando
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Re: The Questions of Metteyya

Post by Dhammanando »

confusedlayman wrote: Wed Nov 11, 2020 6:12 am It doesnt fit
Be more expansive, please. What doesn't fit what?
Anabhirati kho, āvuso, imasmiṃ dhammavinaye dukkhā, abhirati sukhā.

“To not delight in this dhammavinaya, friend, is painful; to delight in it is bliss.”
(Sukhasutta, AN 10:66)
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mikenz66
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Re: The Questions of Metteyya

Post by mikenz66 »

Note that the "original" question is in SNP5.2 https://suttacentral.net/snp5.2 which is then referred to in AN6.61 https://suttacentral.net/an6.61/ where six bhikkhus give their own interpretations (one quoted in the OP...), then go to ask the Buddha...

See also:
https://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?t=5949
And Nibbana Sermon 33: https://seeingthroughthenet.net/books/
Let us now try to understand these six explanations. One can make use of these six as meditation topics. The verse has a pragmatic value and so also the explanations given. What is the business of this seamstress or weaver?
:heart:
Mike
Last edited by mikenz66 on Wed Nov 11, 2020 9:32 am, edited 2 times in total.
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confusedlayman
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Re: The Questions of Metteyya

Post by confusedlayman »

Dhammanando wrote: Wed Nov 11, 2020 8:56 am
confusedlayman wrote: Wed Nov 11, 2020 6:12 am It doesnt fit
Be more expansive, please. What doesn't fit what?
It doesnt fit my logic...
I may be slow learner but im at least learning...
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Mahabrahma
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Re: The Questions of Metteyya

Post by Mahabrahma »

confusedlayman wrote: Wed Nov 11, 2020 9:25 am
Dhammanando wrote: Wed Nov 11, 2020 8:56 am
confusedlayman wrote: Wed Nov 11, 2020 6:12 am It doesnt fit
Be more expansive, please. What doesn't fit what?
It doesnt fit my logic...
It seems to me like the Buddha is talking about the attainment of Nibbana, which is above conventional means of understanding.
“Mendicants, you’ve all spoken well in a way. However, this is what I was referring to in ‘The Way to the Beyond’, in ‘The Questions of Metteyya’ when I said:

‘The sage has known both ends,
and is not stuck in the middle.
He is a great man, I declare,
he has escaped the seamstress here.’

Listen and pay close attention, I will speak.”

“Yes, sir,” they replied. The Buddha said this:

“Contact, mendicants, is one end. The origin of contact is the second end. The cessation of contact is the middle. And craving is the seamstress, for craving weaves one to rebirth in this or that state of existence. That’s how a mendicant directly knows what should be directly known and completely understands what should be completely understood. Knowing and understanding thus they make an end of suffering in this very life.”
It seems like your logic is provisionally stuck in the middle. So free yourself from suffering in this very life instead :smile: .
Mr. Seek
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Re: The Questions of Metteyya

Post by Mr. Seek »

I understand it as Kaccana explains it in the Madhupiṇḍika Sutta (MN 18). Know contact, know its origin, don't get stuck on either, don't get stuck on their cessation. Thus you don't cling or crave--there is no further becoming, no further non-becoming, only liberation in the here-and-now.

Pure, uncut dhamma of the highest caliber.
Snp 5.11—"Having nothing, free of clinging: That is the island, there is no other."
Spiny Norman
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Re: The Questions of Metteyya

Post by Spiny Norman »

mikenz66 wrote: Wed Nov 11, 2020 9:03 am Note that the "original" question is in SNP5.2 https://suttacentral.net/snp5.2 which is then referred to in AN6.61 https://suttacentral.net/an6.61/ where six bhikkhus give their own interpretations (one quoted in the OP...), then go to ask the Buddha...

See also:
https://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?t=5949
And Nibbana Sermon 33: https://seeingthroughthenet.net/books/
Let us now try to understand these six explanations. One can make use of these six as meditation topics. The verse has a pragmatic value and so also the explanations given. What is the business of this seamstress or weaver?
:heart:
Mike
I think it's important to consider all 6 examples in AN 6.61, ie contact, feeling, time, consciousness and senses.
And to consider carefully the meaning of the phrase "The sage.. is not stuck in the middle".

I take this to mean the sage is not stuck in the middle of these processes, or more simply, not stuck in them. So the sage is not stuck in contact, feeling, time, consciousness and senses. No longer attached to them. And here "having seen both ends" would mean having seen the whole process, seeing how it all works.

So without the seamstress of craving, the sage is no longer stuck in the middle of these processes, and is therefore liberated from them.

Somewhat like the distinction between clinging and non-clinging aggregates in SN 22.48. When clinging ceases, one is no longer "stuck" to the aggregates.
https://suttacentral.net/sn22.48/en/bodhi
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DooDoot
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Re: The Questions of Metteyya

Post by DooDoot »

mikenz66 wrote: Wed Nov 11, 2020 9:03 am Note that the "original" question is in SNP5.2 https://suttacentral.net/snp5.2 which is then referred to in AN6.61 https://suttacentral.net/an6.61/ where six bhikkhus give their own interpretations (one quoted in the OP...), then go to ask the Buddha...

See also:
https://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?t=5949
And Nibbana Sermon 33: https://seeingthroughthenet.net/books/
Let us now try to understand these six explanations. One can make use of these six as meditation topics. The verse has a pragmatic value and so also the explanations given. What is the business of this seamstress or weaver?
Mike
I think it's important to consider all 6 examples of the middle in AN 6.61, ie cessation of contact, neutral feeling, the present, consciousness and the cessation of identity.

For example, the recent Ajahn Sumedho video gives the impression of being stuck in the middle in relation to consciousness.

Or SN 1.25 gives the impression of not being stuck on cessation of identity.

Or MN 140.29 gives the impression of not being stuck on both bright consciousness & cessation of identity.

I take this to mean the sage is not stuck in the middle, somewhat like the distinction of the Simile of The Raft in MN 22.

Its unlikely "without the seamstress of craving" means one is liberated from the middle because the middle is the middle path.

The above said, the Pali translated as "stuck" is limpati.
There is always an official executioner. If you try to take his place, It is like trying to be a master carpenter and cutting wood. If you try to cut wood like a master carpenter, you will only hurt your hand.

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Re: The Questions of Metteyya

Post by Bundokji »

I think the middle path taught by the Buddha that is dependent on the extremes is mundane right view (or mundane path). Why it is right view? because it acknowledges ignorance as its root, or lack of certainty. Why it is mundane? because it is dependent on self view and has not ended the origination process.

A fool who knows his foolishness is wise at least to that extent. A fool who think himself wise is a fool indeed.

A sage that is not stuck in the middle has attained supramundane knowledge of the dhamma. He does not need to reflect, and therefore his knowledge is without delay and certain (timeless). It is the attainment of supramundane right view and the ending of the origination process that is dependent on ignorance.
And the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus, saying: "Behold now, bhikkhus, I exhort you: All compounded things are subject to vanish. Strive with earnestness!"

This was the last word of the Tathagata.
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Re: The Questions of Metteyya

Post by Spiny Norman »

Bundokji wrote: Fri Nov 13, 2020 3:50 am I think the middle path taught by the Buddha that is dependent on the extremes is mundane right view (or mundane path). Why it is right view? because it acknowledges ignorance as its root, or lack of certainty. Why it is mundane? because it is dependent on self view and has not ended the origination process.

A fool who knows his foolishness is wise at least to that extent. A fool who think himself wise is a fool indeed.

A sage that is not stuck in the middle has attained supramundane knowledge of the dhamma. He does not need to reflect, and therefore his knowledge is without delay and certain (timeless). It is the attainment of supramundane right view and the ending of the origination process that is dependent on ignorance.
I'd agree that the sage "not stuck in the middle" has attained supramundane right view. Specifically this would be deep insight into the workings of the 6 examples given in AN 6.61, how one thing is dependent upon another.

However I don't think AN 6.61 is anything to with the "middle way". If you look at the way the 6 examples in the sutta are set out, this idea doesn't really hold up.
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Re: The Questions of Metteyya

Post by DooDoot »

Bundokji wrote: Fri Nov 13, 2020 3:50 am A sage that is not stuck in the middle has attained supramundane knowledge of the dhamma.
I'd agree that the sage "not stuck in the middle" has attained supramundane right view. If you look at the way the 6 examples in the sutta are set out, this idea does really hold up, namely, the sage has experienced:

1. Cessation in relation to contact.
2. Consciousness cojoined with that develops wisdom (MN 43).
3. Neutral feeling of 4th jhana.
4. Cessation in relation to identity.
5. Clings to nought of the above.

In case you missed it, I do think AN 6.61 has everything to with the "middle way", per below:
The Buddha said this:

Bhagavā etadavoca:

Contact, mendicants, is one extreme. The origin of contact is the second extreme. The cessation of contact is the middle. And craving is the seamstress,

phasso kho, bhikkhave, eko anto, phassasamudayo dutiyo anto, phassanirodho majjhe, taṇhā sibbinī;
Compare to:
‘All exists’: this is one extreme.
‘Sabbamatthī’ti kho, kaccāna, ayameko anto.

‘All doesn’t exist’: this is the second extreme.
‘Sabbaṃ natthī’ti ayaṃ dutiyo anto.

Avoiding these two extremes, the Realized One teaches by the middle way:
Ete te, kaccāna, ubho ante anupagamma majjhena tathāgato dhammaṃ deseti:

SN 12.15
Buddha save me from non-Buddhist trolls! :smile:
Last edited by DooDoot on Fri Nov 13, 2020 5:33 am, edited 1 time in total.
There is always an official executioner. If you try to take his place, It is like trying to be a master carpenter and cutting wood. If you try to cut wood like a master carpenter, you will only hurt your hand.

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Bundokji
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Re: The Questions of Metteyya

Post by Bundokji »

Spiny Norman wrote: Fri Nov 13, 2020 5:02 am I'd agree that the sage "not stuck in the middle" has attained supramundane right view. Specifically this would be deep insight into the workings of the 6 examples given in AN 6.61.

However I don't think AN 6.61 is anything to with the "middle way". If you look at the way the 6 examples in the sutta are set out, this idea doesn't really hold up.
The middle and the extremes is a recurring theme in the teachings. The teachings on Kamma for example, good and bad can be seen as the extremes while the path is kamma that goes beyond. Also the extremes are presented as nihilism and eternalism, or death and rebirth, while the path goes beyond both. In SN 12.15 the Buddha's teachings begins by stating the extremes of existence and non existence, and then the teachings by the middle begins with dependent origination of which ignorance is presented as the root. The supramundane path is the cessation of ignorance.

The six examples in AN 6.61 are different ways of presenting the extremes and the middle. The Buddha praised the mendicants but still asserted that he was referring to the cessation of contact as the way beyond. Why do you think that AN 6.61 has nothing to do with the middle way?
And the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus, saying: "Behold now, bhikkhus, I exhort you: All compounded things are subject to vanish. Strive with earnestness!"

This was the last word of the Tathagata.
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DooDoot
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Re: The Questions of Metteyya

Post by DooDoot »

Bundokji wrote: Fri Nov 13, 2020 5:33 am The middle and the extremes is a recurring theme in the teachings. The teachings on Kamma for example, good and bad can be seen as the extremes while the path is kamma that goes beyond. Also the extremes are presented as nihilism and eternalism, or death and rebirth, while the path goes beyond both. In SN 12.15 the Buddha's teachings begins by stating the extremes of existence and non existence, and then the teachings by the middle begins with dependent origination of which ignorance is presented as the root. The supramundane path is the cessation of ignorance.

The six examples in AN 6.61 are different ways of presenting the extremes and the middle. The Buddha praised the mendicants but still asserted that he was referring to the cessation of contact as the way beyond. Why do you think that AN 6.61 has nothing to do with the middle way?
:goodpost: :bow: :bow: :bow:

Also SN 12.17 :twothumbsup:
"'He who performs the act also experiences [the result]' — what you, Kassapa, first called 'suffering caused by oneself' — this amounts to the Eternalist theory. 'One person performs the act, another experiences,' — which to the person affected seems like "suffering caused by another" — this amounts to the Annihilationist theory. Avoiding both extremes, Kassapa, the Tathaagata teaches a doctrine of the middle: Conditioned by ignorance are the (Kamma-) formations... [as SN 12.15]... so there comes about the cessation of this entire mass of suffering."

[Kassapa is converted and eventually becomes an Arahant.]

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .wlsh.html
There is always an official executioner. If you try to take his place, It is like trying to be a master carpenter and cutting wood. If you try to cut wood like a master carpenter, you will only hurt your hand.

https://soundcloud.com/doodoot/paticcasamuppada
https://soundcloud.com/doodoot/anapanasati
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