Profile: Raṭṭhapāla (Week of April 4, 2021)

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pulga
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Re: Profile: Raṭṭhapāla (Week of April 4, 2021)

Post by pulga »

SDC wrote: Mon Apr 05, 2021 5:21 pm
Do you know where this is mentioned?
I was referring to the Ratthapala Sutta itself:
Before long, dwelling alone, withdrawn, diligent, ardent, and resolute, the venerable Raṭṭhapāla, by realising for himself with direct knowledge, here and now entered upon and abided in that supreme goal of the holy life for the sake of which clansmen rightly go forth from the home life into homelessness. He directly knew: “Birth is destroyed, the holy life has been lived, what had to be done has been done, there is no more coming to any state of being.” And the venerable Raṭṭhapāla became one of the arahants.
Though as I said, it is understandable that King Koravya wasn't ready for the more profound elements of the Buddha's teaching. Just the thought of the inevitable loss of all one's possessions at death can be sobering.
"Dhammā=Ideas. This is the clue to much of the Buddha's teaching." ~ Ven. Ñanavira, Commonplace Book
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Re: Profile: Raṭṭhapāla (Week of April 4, 2021)

Post by SDC »

pulga wrote: Tue Apr 06, 2021 11:11 am
SDC wrote: Mon Apr 05, 2021 5:21 pm
Do you know where this is mentioned?
I was referring to the Ratthapala Sutta itself:
Before long, dwelling alone, withdrawn, diligent, ardent, and resolute, the venerable Raṭṭhapāla, by realising for himself with direct knowledge, here and now entered upon and abided in that supreme goal of the holy life for the sake of which clansmen rightly go forth from the home life into homelessness. He directly knew: “Birth is destroyed, the holy life has been lived, what had to be done has been done, there is no more coming to any state of being.” And the venerable Raṭṭhapāla became one of the arahants.
Though as I said, it is understandable that King Koravya wasn't ready for the more profound elements of the Buddha's teaching. Just the thought of the inevitable loss of all one's possessions at death can be sobering.
Ah, “direct knowledge”. Good point.

Yes, it does seem as though he spoke directly to the concerns of a king.
"As fruits fall from the tree, so people too, both young and old, fall when this body breaks." - Raṭṭhapāla (MN 82)
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Re: Profile: Raṭṭhapāla (Thag 16.4)

Post by SDC »

Below are Raṭṭhapāla's verses from the Theragāthā, some of which already appeared in MN 82. These seem to shed a bit more light on the significance of the encounters with his family and King Koravya. The last five are a declaration and description of victory, often a key theme in the verses of both the Theragāthā and Therīgāthā.

(Please feel free to discuss both suttas as we continue. Look for one more selection later in the week to close out this profile.)

====================================

Raṭṭhapālattheragāthā (Thag 16.4)

  • See this fancy puppet,
    a body built of sores,
    diseased, obsessed over,
    which doesn’t last at all.

    See this fancy figure,
    with its gems and earrings;
    it is bones wrapped in skin,
    made pretty by its clothes.

    Rouged feet
    and powdered face
    may be enough to beguile a fool,
    but not a seeker of the far shore.

    Hair in eight braids
    and eyeliner
    may be enough to beguile a fool,
    but not a seeker of the far shore.

    A rotting body all adorned
    like a freshly painted makeup box
    may be enough to beguile a fool,
    but not a seeker of the far shore.

    The hunter laid his snare,
    but the deer didn’t spring the trap.
    I’ve eaten the bait and now I go,
    leaving the trapper to lament.

    The hunter’s snare is broken,
    but the deer didn’t spring the trap.
    I’ve eaten the bait and now I go,
    leaving the deer-hunter to grieve.”

    “I see rich people in the world who,
    because of delusion, give not the wealth they’ve earned.
    Greedily, they hoard their riches,
    yearning for ever more sensual pleasures.

    A king who conquered the earth by force,
    ruling the land from sea to sea,
    unsatisfied with the near shore of the ocean,
    would still yearn for the further shore.

    Not just the king, but others too,
    reach death not rid of craving.
    They leave the body still wanting,
    for in this world sensual pleasures never satisfy.

    Relatives lament, their hair disheveled,
    saying ‘Ah! Alas! They’re not immortal!’
    They take out the body wrapped in a shroud,
    heap up a pyre, and burn it there.

    It’s poked with stakes while being burnt,
    in just a single cloth, all wealth gone.
    Relatives, friends, and companions
    can’t help you when you’re dying.

    Heirs take your riches,
    while beings fare on according to their deeds.
    Riches don’t follow you when you die;
    nor do children, wife, wealth, nor kingdom.

    Longevity isn’t gained by riches,
    nor does wealth banish old age;
    for the wise say this life is short,
    it’s perishable and not eternal.

    The rich and the poor feel its touch;
    the fool and the wise feel it too.
    But the fool lies stricken by their own folly,
    while the wise don’t tremble at the touch.

    Therefore wisdom’s much better than wealth,
    since by wisdom you reach consummation in this life.
    But if because of delusion you don’t reach consummation,
    you’ll do evil deeds in life after life.

    One who enters a womb and the world beyond,
    will transmigrate from one life to the next.
    While someone of little wisdom, placing faith in them,
    also enters a womb and the world beyond.

    As a bandit caught in the door
    is punished for his own bad deeds;
    so after departing, in the world beyond,
    people are punished for their own bad deeds.

    Sensual pleasures are diverse, sweet, delightful,
    appearing in disguise they disturb the mind.
    Seeing danger in the many kinds of sensual stimulation,
    I went forth, O King.

    As fruit falls from a tree, so people fall,
    young and old, when the body breaks up.
    Seeing this, too, I went forth, O King;
    the ascetic life is guaranteed to be better.”

    “I went forth out of faith
    joining the victor’s dispensation.
    My going forth wasn’t wasted;
    I enjoy my food free of debt.

    I saw sensual pleasures as burning,
    gold as a cutting blade,
    conception in a womb as suffering,
    and the hells as very fearful.

    Knowing this danger,
    I was struck with a sense of urgency.
    I was stabbed, but then I found peace,
    attaining the end of defilements.

    I’ve served the teacher
    and fulfilled the Buddha’s instructions.
    The heavy burden is laid down,
    the attachment to rebirth is eradicated.

    I’ve reached the goal
    for the sake of which I went forth
    from the lay life to homelessness—
    the ending of all fetters.”
    • End Thag 16.4
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Re: Profile: Raṭṭhapāla (Week of April 4, 2021)

Post by Pulsar »

Some interesting info from the agama parallels by Ven Analayo "The flying monk"
According to the Chinese versions and the Tibetan Bhaiajyavastu account,
Ratthapāla departed by flying up in the air. One of the individual translations explains that he did so because his parents had locked the door to prevent him from leaving after the meal. https://www.buddhismuskunde.uni-hamburg ... dyvol1.pdf
other excerpts, 
Issues for the parents:if Ratthapāla as the only son of the household would go forth, this would not only deprive his parents of the company of their beloved son, but would also threaten to bring the family lineage to an end and cause the loss of the family’s inheritance. Moreover, there would be no son to make offerings on behalf of the parents once they had passed away, an important requirement for their well-being after death according to ancient Indian beliefs. These repercussions of Ratthapāla’s going forth would have been at the background of his parents’ wish to prevent him from ordaining.

Also: According to the Chinese Avadāna account, Ratthapāla had already become a stream enterer during his first meeting with the Buddha. Although the Pāli and Chinese discourse versions do not explicitly mention any attainment, their account also suggests that the Buddha’s sermon had left a strong impression on Ratthapāla, as he was so determined to go forth that he went on a prolonged hunger strike in order to get his parents’ approval. Ratthapāla ordained, and after practising earnestly in due time became an arahant.
According to the commentary on the Ekottarika-āgama, Ratthapāla had become an arahant after being taught the four noble truths, while according to the Sanskrit and Tibetan Avadānaśataka tales he accomplished the same by developing insight into the impermanent nature of all formations. 
Perhaps the first is truer.
Interesting. According to the Pali commentary it took him 12 years to become an Arahant. This is unlikely since the sutta itself says that it did not take him long, besides 12 years is pretty long for someone who had already formed aspirations during Buddha Kassapa's time.
I find the following verses most endearing, Ratthapala escaped, but we are trapped by the artifice of the Deer hunter AKA Samsara.
The hunter’s snare is broken,
but the deer didn’t spring the trap.
I’ve eaten the bait and now I go,
leaving the deer-hunter to grieve.”

“I see rich people in the world who,
because of delusion, give not the wealth they’ve earned.
Greedily, they hoard their riches,
yearning for ever more sensual pleasures.
The second verse? Is it directed at his Dad? who chased him away the first time?
without so much as a morsel of food? and then offered him wealth? due to the fetter of father
son bond? We give our children willingly, but not the children of others.

Thanks SDC for a job well done, and the trouble you have taken in
presenting the Sutta. Theragatha verses, inspiring!
With love :candle:
PS Following words have an everyday application.
conception in a womb as suffering,
and the hells as very fearful.
Conception in a womb is our everyday conceiving due to ignorance, that brings us endless suffering, here and now, worrying about stuff, the ultimate Papanca. Buddha's primary teaching is about avoiding Papanca, and thereby Asavas, or vice versa. When papanca/asava is avoided the links of DO are broken. This is the goal of Samma Sati and Samma samadhi.
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Re: Profile: Raṭṭhapāla (Week of April 4, 2021)

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Pulsar wrote: Wed Apr 07, 2021 9:52 am Some interesting info from the agama parallels ...
Very interesting stuff. Thank you, Pulsar.
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Re: Profile: Raṭṭhapāla (Week of April 4, 2021)

Post by SDC »

pulga wrote: Tue Apr 06, 2021 11:11 am Though as I said, it is understandable that King Koravya wasn't ready for the more profound elements of the Buddha's teaching. Just the thought of the inevitable loss of all one's possessions at death can be sobering.
It had been my argument elsewhere that no matter what worldly issue a King would raise with the Buddha (or in this case, with Raṭṭhapāla) the result is almost exclusively to use the matter as a reference point to prioritize the Dhamma. Here - if I’m reading it correctly - King Koravya was concerned about relatively superficial notions of “loss”, and imagined that it could only be the result of it that one would go forth. But he was perplexed that Raṭṭhapāla had experienced none of them yet had made the choice to leave his comfortable life. Raṭṭhapāla responds by describing how the King’s definition of loss was/is always the nature of things even when it has not come to pass - things are liabile to change even when there is no immediate experience of loss.
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Re: Profile: Raṭṭhapāla (Week of April 4, 2021)

Post by JohnK »

SDC wrote: Wed Apr 07, 2021 3:27 pm ...the King’s definition of loss was/is always the nature of things even when it has not come to pass...
That was a very concise statement of the relationship between the four losses and the four dhamma summaries. :thumbsup:
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Re: Profile: Raṭṭhapāla (Week of April 4, 2021)

Post by SDC »

JohnK wrote: Wed Apr 07, 2021 10:20 pm
SDC wrote: Wed Apr 07, 2021 3:27 pm ...the King’s definition of loss was/is always the nature of things even when it has not come to pass...
That was a very concise statement of the relationship between the four losses and the four dhamma summaries. :thumbsup:
Thanks, John, but I’m still saturated with SN 22.26, which had come to mind earlier in the thread - I was certainly paraphrasing it as I wrapped up that paragraph.
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Re: Profile: Raṭṭhapāla (Week of April 4, 2021)

Post by Pulsar »

SDC wrote
Thanks, John, but I’m still saturated with SN 22.26, which had come to mind earlier in the thread - I was certainly paraphrasing it as I wrapped up that paragraph.
your mention of SN 22.26 helped a me solve an issue, I was puzzling over in relation to Samma Sati. So thank you. I think you meant MN 25 and MN 26 though? right?
MN 25 Nivapa sutta and MN 26 The Noble Search or Ariyapariyasena sutta contain references to Deer Hunter. I have always thought of Deer Hunter as a brilliant metaphor for the traps of samsara. Buddha the genius like
no other, and it is a pleasure to engage in these discussions.
Enjoy your Day! :candle:
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Re: Profile: Raṭṭhapāla (Week of April 4, 2021)

Post by SDC »

Pulsar wrote: Thu Apr 08, 2021 10:33 am SDC wrote
Thanks, John, but I’m still saturated with SN 22.26, which had come to mind earlier in the thread - I was certainly paraphrasing it as I wrapped up that paragraph.
your mention of SN 22.26 helped a me solve an issue, I was puzzling over in relation to Samma Sati. So thank you. I think you meant MN 25 and MN 26 though? right?
When we were talking about gratification, danger and escape I read SN 22.26 and saw that great line about the danger in the aggregates is that they are “subject to change”:
“SN 22.26” wrote:...Yaṁ is rūpaṁ aniccaṁ dukkhaṁ vipariṇāmadhammaṁ, ayaṁ rūpassa ādīnavo.
...That form is impermanent, suffering, and subject to change: this is the danger in form.
And, yes, the “deer hunter” is excellent. I’ll be sure to give a week to MN 25!
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Re: Profile: Raṭṭhapāla (Week of April 4, 2021)

Post by Pulsar »

Thanks for the correction SDC, my brain mistakenly superimposed the Deer hunter suttas over the sutta on dangers of aggregates. Repetition of suttas really helps, and discussion more, and something i did not notice the first time, sank in the next time.
The passage below from SN 22.26
“The pleasure and joy that arise in dependence on feeling
in dependence on perception
in dependence on volitional formations
in dependence on consciousness:
this is the gratification in consciousness. That consciousness is impermanent, suffering, and subject to change: this is the danger in consciousness. The removal and abandonment of desire and lust for consciousness: this is the escape from consciousness.
This is again a reminder of the need to develop independence from feelings, perception, intention etc kind of trying to reverse Dependent origination. Pretty cool. What we do in Samma Sati, in fact.

The last line The removal and abandonment of desire and lust for consciousness: this is the escape from consciousness. Buddha constantly advices the
"escape from consciousness"
which tend to escape some of us. What does he mean? escape consciousness? Now I see what he is talking about "it is the escape from underlying tendency AKA kammic consciousness."
Sutta studies help reveal the profound secrets hidden in suttas. It reminds me of Visigoth, who was on DW a while ago. No more. I love this person whoever that was. He said many things that truly inspired me, one of them was
that a sutta is a secret, the student's task is to unravel the secret.
I am sure you remember him? Unfortunately I was not here to learn from him. He was wise in many ways, maybe he tripped now and then, but who doesn't?
I think these discussions are precious, one sutta leading to many other suttas... all eventually pointing to the
termination of suffering. Thanks for taking on the task to "end our suffering', truly a noble task.
With love :candle:
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Re: Profile: Raṭṭhapāla (Week of April 4, 2021)

Post by JohnK »

Just noticing in SN22.26:
https://suttacentral.net/sn22.26/en/bodhi
The structure of the exposition is driven by the progress in the Buddha's path of awakening.
While "still a bodhisatta, not yet fully enlightened," the questions about gratification, danger and escape "occurred" to him. Then, the answers "occurred" to him. (Can't tell how much later "then" might be -- perhaps immediately, perhaps not.)
More importantly,“So long, bhikkhus, as I did not directly know...I did not claim to have awakened...But when I directly knew...then I claimed to have awakened."
So, like us, questions and answers occurred to the Buddha, and even for him, it took a further direct knowing.

Does this aspect of SN22.26 (progress on the path and knowing) relate back to MN 82? The venerable knew and saw (presumably directly) the specific dhamma summaries (danger) at the time of his going forth, but he did not claim to have know and seen the escape at the time of going forth -- faith in the escape being what he was willing to die for. From MN82, this suggests that knowing and seeing the dangers does not immediately lead to complete dispassion and liberation. (Perhaps having to hang out in disenchantment for awhile!)

I am happy to hear different takes on this -- I surely may have some things wrong -- this is study/learn.
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Re: Profile: Raṭṭhapāla (Week of April 4, 2021)

Post by SDC »

Pulsar wrote: Thu Apr 08, 2021 2:18 pm I think these discussions are precious, one sutta leading to many other suttas... all eventually pointing to the
termination of suffering.
:thumbsup:

A recent Dhamma talk pointed me towards this gem:
“Ud 5.5” wrote: ... Just as, monks, the great ocean has one taste, the taste of salt, so, monks, this Dhamma and Discipline has one taste, the taste of freedom.
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Re: Profile: Raṭṭhapāla (Week of April 4, 2021)

Post by SDC »

JohnK wrote: Thu Apr 08, 2021 4:30 pm From MN82, this suggests that knowing and seeing the dangers does not immediately lead to complete dispassion and liberation. (Perhaps having to hang out in disenchantment for awhile!)
That certainly sounds like what Raṭṭhapāla meant here:
“Thag 16.4” wrote:...
I saw sensual pleasures as burning,
gold as a cutting blade,
conception in a womb as suffering,
and the hells as very fearful.

Knowing this danger,
I was struck with a sense of urgency.
I was stabbed, but then I found peace,
attaining the end of defilements.
...
Never ceases to amaze me how these little nuggets in verse tend to liven up the descriptions found in prose. Not that they are in need of invigoration, but sometimes when we read something over and over again it loses its potency. The verses bring things closer, which I find helpful.
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Re: Profile: Raṭṭhapāla (Week of April 4, 2021)

Post by Pulsar »

JohnK wrote
The structure of the exposition is driven by the progress in the Buddha's path of awakening.
While "still a bodhisatta, not yet fully enlightened," the questions about gratification, danger and escape "occurred" to him. Then, the answers "occurred" to him. (Can't tell how much later "then" might be -- perhaps immediately, perhaps not.)
More importantly,“So long, bhikkhus, as I did not directly know...I did not claim to have awakened...But when I directly knew...then I claimed to have awakened."
So, like us, questions and answers occurred to the Buddha, and even for him, it took a further direct knowing.
you are right in your observation. There are other suttas that say that Buddha was brainstorming the ideas related to DO for quite a while before that full moon of May.
In fact there is a sutta that indicates that Bodhisattva had figured out Dependent origination without a glitch, way before awakening. He just was not able to remove the last residues of defilements that stuck to him. On the night of awakening he decimated the underlying tendencies or the kammic consciousness that clung to him, for good.
One Mahayana suttas describes that removal as an explosive event. More down to earth, 4th jhana is described in Sn 12.11 as an event that removes all traces of form. So technically we can call 4th jhana formless. Form does not appear, hence name does not appear. At that point worldly consciousness is not supported, hence it collapses In Buddha's case it was the awakening. The termination of Nama-rupa-vinnana cycling.
Does this aspect of SN22.26 (progress on the path and knowing) relate back to MN 82?
Yes it does. Ratthapala had become an Arahant not long after ordination sutta claims. He had to go through a similar process of undoing Dependent Origination of Dukkha.
You wrote
The venerable knew and saw (presumably directly) the specific dhamma summaries (danger) at the time of his going forth, (agama sutta says he was a stream enterer by then) but he did not claim to have know and seen the escape at the time of going forth -- faith in the escape being what he was willing to die for. From MN82, this suggests that knowing and seeing the dangers does not immediately lead to complete dispassion and liberation.
This is true, since after that realization it takes a while (or no time for some) to remove the worldly consciousness. Removal of the last remnants of defilements is a challenge. You also wrote
(Perhaps having to hang out in disenchantment for awhile!)
Yes what you call hang out in disenchantment are the events of Samma sati and Samma samadhi. The last is where the 4 buddhist jhanas play a role.
You wrote at the end
I am happy to hear different takes on this -- I surely may have some things wrong -- this is study/learn.
I am happily learning as I type, it is nice interacting, on stuff that is closest to my heart.
Be well! :candle:
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