SN 6.15: Parinibbana Sutta — Total Unbinding

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SN 6.15: Parinibbana Sutta — Total Unbinding

Post by mikenz66 »

SN 6.15 PTS: S i 157 CDB i 251 Parinibbana Sutta: Total Unbinding
translated from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu


Four eyewitness accounts of the passing away of the Buddha.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
  • Translator's note: This discourse reports the way the Buddha passed away, giving four verses uttered by those who witnessed the event. It is interesting to note that the verses ascribed to heavenly beings make general comments on how the nature of all beings — even a Buddha — is to pass away, whereas the verses ascribed to the monks comment specifically on the Buddha's display of mental mastery immediately prior to the moment of his total Unbinding.
On one occasion the Blessed One was staying near Kusinara in Upavattana, the Sal Tree Grove of the Mallans, on the occasion of his total Unbinding. Then the Blessed One addressed the monks, "I exhort you, monks: All fabrications are subject to decay. Bring about completion by being heedful." Those were the Tathagata's last words.

Then the Blessed One entered the first jhana. Emerging from that he entered the second jhana. Emerging from that, he entered the third... the fourth jhana... 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. Emerging from that, he entered the cessation of perception & feeling.

Then emerging from the cessation of perception & feeling, he entered the dimension of neither perception nor non-perception. Emerging from that, he entered the dimension of nothingness... the dimension of the infinitude of consciousness... the dimension of the infinitude of space... the fourth jhana... the third... the second... the first jhana. Emerging from the first jhana he entered the second... the third... the fourth jhana. Emerging from the fourth jhana, he immediately was totally Unbound.

When the Blessed One was totally Unbound, simultaneously with the total Unbinding, Sahampati Brahma uttered this verse:
  • All beings — all — in the world,
    will cast off the bodily heap
    in the world
    where a Teacher like this
    without peer in the world
    the Tathagata, with strength attained,
    the Rightly Self-Awakened One,
    has been totally
    Unbound.
When the Blessed One was totally Unbound, simultaneously with the total Unbinding, Sakka, ruler of the gods, uttered this verse:
  • How inconstant are compounded things!
    Their nature: to arise & pass away.
    They disband as they are arising.
    Their total stilling is bliss.
When the Blessed One was totally Unbound, simultaneously with the total Unbinding, Ven. Ananda uttered this verse:
  • It was awe-inspiring.
    It was hair-raising
    when, displaying the foremost
    accomplishment in all things,
    the Rightly Self-Awakened One
    was totally Unbound.
When the Blessed One was totally Unbound, simultaneously with the total Unbinding, Ven. Anuruddha uttered this verse:
  • He had no in-&-out breathing,
    the one who was Such, the firm-minded one,
    imperturbable
    & bent on peace:
    the sage completing his span.

    With heart unbowed
    he endured the pain.
    Like a flame's unbinding
    was the liberation
    of awareness.
See also: DN 16; SN 5.7; SN 9.6; SN 48.56.
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Re: SN 6.15: Parinibbana Sutta — Total Unbinding

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From Bhikkhu Bodhi's translation:
  • This sutta corresponds to the portion of the Mahāparinibbāna Sutta that reports the actual passing away of the Buddha (DN II 156,1-157,19 DN 16). A few discrepancies between the two versions are noticeable. The omission of the attainment of cessation of perception and feeling, noted by C.Rh.D, seems to be peculiar to Ee1; the passage is in Be, Se, and Ee2 as well as in the lemma of Spk. All four eds., however, omit Ānanda’s assertion that the Blessed One (while still in cessation) has attained parinibbāna and Anuruddha’s correction. The SN version also omits the earthquake and thundering, mentioned at DN II 156,35-37.
Having emerged from the fourth jhāna, immediately after this the Blessed One attained final Nibbāna.
  • Spk: Here there are two kinds of “immediately after” (samanantarā): immediately after jhāna and immediately after reviewing. In the former case one emerges from the fourth jhāna, descends into the bhavaṅga, and attains parinibbāna. In the latter case, one emerges from the fourth jhāna, reviews the jhāna factors again, then descends into the bhavaṅga, and attains parinibbāna. In the case of the Blessed One, the parinibbāna occurred in the second way. But all beings whatsoever, from Buddhas down to ants and termites, pass away with a kammically indeterminate bhavaṅga consciousness.
“All beings in the world
Will finally lay the body down,
Since such a one as the Teacher,
The peerless person in the world,
The Tathāgata endowed with the powers,
The Buddha, has attained final Nibbāna.”
  • On Brahmā Sahampati, see n. 367:
    • Brahmā Sahampati appears in dramatic roles at key points in the Buddha’s ministry and also utters the first verse at his parinibbāna (v. 608 below). See SN48.57 for his own account of how he become a prominent deity in the brahmā world. His other appearances in SN are at: SN6.2, SN6.3, SN6.10, SN6.12, SN6.13; SN11.17; SN22.80; SN47.18, SN47.43. In the Mvu version the deity who arrives is referred to simply as Mahābrahmā, without a personal name. He comes accompanied by many other gods including Sakka.
    The powers (bala) are the ten Tathāgata’s powers, enumerated at MN I 69-71, MN12
“Impermanent indeed are formations;
Their nature is to arise and vanish.
Having arisen, they cease:
Their appeasement is blissful.”
  • At v. 21, SN 1.11we have the same verse with a reading sabbasaṅkhārā in place of vata saṅkhārā in pāda a. See n. 20 [at that link].
When the Blessed One attained final Nibbāna, simultaneously with his final Nibbāna the Venerable Ānanda recited this verse:
  • In the DN version Anuruddha’s verses precede Ānanda’s.
There was no more in-and-out breathing
In the Stable One of steady mind
When unstirred, bent on peace,
The One with Vision attained final Nibbāna.
  • VĀT remarks: “The absence of in-and-out breathing (in pāda a) refers to the state in the fourth jhāna, where breathing ceases, from which the Buddha passed away. This is not the ordinary cessation of breathing that sets in when anyone dies. The verse states something remarkable: that already before ‘dying’ there was no breathing.” On “the Stable One” (tādī), see below n. 435.
    • I have translated tādī as “the Stable One” in accordance with the commentarial gloss, tādilakkhaṇaṃ pattassa, which alludes to the explanation of tādī at Nidd I 114-16: “The arahant is tādī because he is ‘stable’ (tādī) in the face of gain and loss, etc.; he is tādī because he has given up all defilements, etc.; he is tādī because he has crossed the four floods, etc.; he is tādī because his mind is free from all defilements; and he is tādī as a description of him in terms of his qualities” (condensed). A similar but slightly different definition of tādī in relation to the Buddha occurs at Nidd I 459-61.
    On the ceasing of the breath in the fourth jhāna, see SN36.11 (IV 217,8-9).
“With unshrinking mind
He endured the pain;
Like the quenching of a lamp
Was the deliverance of the mind.”
  • Spk: His deliverance, not obstructed by anything, his approaching the completely indescribable state (sabbaso apaññattibhāvūpagamo ), resembled the quenching of a lamp. Anuruddha’s verses on the Buddha’s parinibbāna in Th include an additional verse, Th 907. Thag16.9 Anu­ruddha
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Re: SN 6.15: Parinibbana Sutta — Total Unbinding

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" Emerging from the fourth jhana, he immediately was totally Unbound."
=========
Is there a reason why he totally unbound in forth Jhana?
Say, why not in first jhana?
:thinking:
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”
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Re: SN 6.15: Parinibbana Sutta — Total Unbinding

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Who is supposedly narrating this sutta?
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Re: SN 6.15: Parinibbana Sutta — Total Unbinding

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chownah wrote:Who is supposedly narrating this sutta?
Ven. Ānanda is narrating, but Ven. Anuruddha, a mind-reading adept, is giving him the information about the Buddha's mind states.
Rūpehi bhikkhave arūpā santatarā.
Arūpehi nirodho santataro ti.


“Bhikkhus, the formless is more peaceful than the form realms.
Cessation is more peaceful than the formless realms.”
(Santatarasutta, Iti 73)
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Re: SN 6.15: Parinibbana Sutta — Total Unbinding

Post by Zom »

Is there a reason why he totally unbound in forth Jhana?
Say, why not in first jhana?
My thought - because this was the Buddha's last lesson. Nibbana is possible either on the basis of 4th jhana or on the basis of nirodha-samapatti. AN 7.69 gives a nice simile.
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Re: SN 6.15: Parinibbana Sutta — Total Unbinding

Post by chownah »

Dhammanando wrote:
chownah wrote:Who is supposedly narrating this sutta?
Ven. Ānanda is narrating, but Ven. Anuruddha, a mind-reading adept, is giving him the information about the Buddha's mind states.
Why is it that all those mind reading adepts are always dead by the time we hear of them? Why don't we ever discover them when they are still alive and functioning?
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Re: SN 6.15: Parinibbana Sutta — Total Unbinding

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Is this how all Arahants attain Total Unbinding?
:thinking:
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”
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Re: SN 6.15: Parinibbana Sutta — Total Unbinding

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chownah wrote:Why is it that all those mind reading adepts are always dead by the time we hear of them? Why don't we ever discover them when they are still alive and functioning?
What do you mean "WE", white man? :)

Here in the north of Thailand —where I believe you too are living— I am constantly hearing about living monks and mae chees who supposedly possess this or that supernormal power. And of the powers mentioned, cetopariyañāṇa / mind-reading seems to be the commonest. Whether there's any truth to these rumours is of course another story. Personally I just don't feel interested enough to go and pay any of these alleged magical yogis a visit to check them out, but you could always do so if you wanted. Though if you did it might be a good idea to take someone like James Randi with you. If they're anything like the charlatan sadhus of India, they'll probably have an impressive repertoire of conjuring tricks that won't be easy to see through if you're not in the business.
Rūpehi bhikkhave arūpā santatarā.
Arūpehi nirodho santataro ti.


“Bhikkhus, the formless is more peaceful than the form realms.
Cessation is more peaceful than the formless realms.”
(Santatarasutta, Iti 73)
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Re: SN 6.15: Parinibbana Sutta — Total Unbinding

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SarathW wrote:Is this how all Arahants attain Total Unbinding?
:thinking:
No.
Rūpehi bhikkhave arūpā santatarā.
Arūpehi nirodho santataro ti.


“Bhikkhus, the formless is more peaceful than the form realms.
Cessation is more peaceful than the formless realms.”
(Santatarasutta, Iti 73)
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Re: SN 6.15: Parinibbana Sutta — Total Unbinding

Post by mikenz66 »

SarathW wrote:" Emerging from the fourth jhana, he immediately was totally Unbound."
=========
Is there a reason why he totally unbound in forth Jhana?
Say, why not in first jhana?
:thinking:
Note that is it after emerging from fourth jhana.

I don't know of a detailed sutta explanation, but in the commentaries, the various psychic powers are said to be something one can attain following mastery of the fourth jhana. The recollection of past lives and so on are described in a number of suttas after emerging from the fourth jhana in a number of suttas.
“When his concentrated mind is thus purified, bright, unblemished, rid of imperfection, malleable, wieldy, steady, and attained to imperturbability, he directs it to knowledge of the recollection of past lives.
...
https://suttacentral.net/mn27
Perhaps there is some connection.

:anjali:
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Re: SN 6.15: Parinibbana Sutta — Total Unbinding

Post by SarathW »

Considering the fact that there is no Cuti citta for Arahants, I wonder how the thought process of a normal Arahants at the Total Unbinding.
:thinking:
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”
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Re: SN 6.15: Parinibbana Sutta — Total Unbinding

Post by mikenz66 »

"What lies on the other side of Unbinding?"

"You've gone too far, friend Visakha. You can't keep holding on up to the limit of questions. For the holy life gains a footing in Unbinding, culminates in Unbinding, has Unbinding as its final end. If you wish, go to the Blessed One and ask him the meaning of these things. Whatever he says, that's how you should remember it."
https://suttacentral.net/mn44" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
:anjali:
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Re: SN 6.15: Parinibbana Sutta — Total Unbinding

Post by SarathW »

Fair enough. :D
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”
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Re: SN 6.15: Parinibbana Sutta — Total Unbinding

Post by mikenz66 »

There are two Chinese parallels listed for this sutta on Sutta Central:
https://suttacentral.net/sn6.15
Unfortunately, there is no translation there.

:anjali:
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