|The Buddha flanked by celestial dragons and devas (Niall Corbet/flickr.com)|
"That is so, prince, that is so. A meditator abiding here diligent, ardent, resolute may attain one-pointedness of mind."
"It were good if the reverend Aggivessana were to teach me Dharma as he has heard it, as he has mastered it."
"Prince, I am not able to teach you Dharma as I have heard it, as I have mastered it. If I were to teach you Dharma as I have heard it, as I have mastered it, and if you could not understand the meaning of what I said, that would be wearisome, that would be a vexation to me."
"Let the reverend Aggivessana teach me Dharma as he has heard it, as he has mastered it. Perhaps I could understand the meaning of what the good Aggivessana says."
"Prince, if I were to teach you Dharma as I have heard it, as I have mastered it, and if you were to understand the meaning of what I say, that would be good. But if you should not understand the meaning of what I say, you must remain as you are: You must not question me further on the matter."
"Let the reverend Aggivessana teach me Dharma as he has heard it, as he has mastered it. If I understand the meaning of what the good Aggivessana says, that will be good. But if I do not understand the meaning of what the good Aggivessana says, I will remain as I am; I will not question the reverend Aggivessana further on this matter."
|That is impossible! It can't be!|
"It is as if, Aggivessana, among elephants or horses or oxen to be tamed, two elephants, two horses, or two oxen are well tamed and well trained. And two are not tamed, not trained.
"Yes, reverend sir."
"But those two elephants or horses or oxen that were to be tamed but that were neither tamed nor trained -- would these, not being tamed, attain a tamed stage?"
"No, reverend sir."
"Even so, Aggivessana, that Prince Jayasena -- living as he does in the midst of sense-pleasures... should know or see or attain or realize that which can [only] be known and realized by renunciation -- such a situation does not exist.
|I see so many things from up here! (10KB)|
"The friend might say: Friend, as I stand here on top of the mountain, I see delightful parks, delightful woods, delightful stretches of level ground, delightful ponds.' And the other friend might say: 'But just now, friend, we understood you to say: 'That is impossible! It cannot come to pass....' Now we understand you to say: 'Friend, as I stand here on top of the mountain, I see [those things].'
"Even so, yet to a greater degree, Aggivessana, is Prince Jayasena hemmed in, blocked, obstructed, enveloped by this mass of ignorance.
"Indeed, that Prince Jayasena -- living as he does in the midst of sense-pleasures, enjoying sense-pleasures, being consumed by thoughts of (craving) sense-pleasures, eager in the search for sense-pleasures, should know or see, attain or realize that which can be known... seen... attained... realized by renunciation -- such a situation does not exist.
"Aggivessana, had these two similes occurred to you when you spoke to Prince Jayasena, he naturally would have acted in the manner of one having trust in you."
"But how could these two similes have occurred to me, reverend sir, seeing as they are spontaneous and never heard before?"
|Elephants (Ted Richardson/flickr)|
"But, Aggivessana, the forest elephant has a longing for the forest. In regard to it the elephant tracker tells the noble anointed king that the forest elephant has now been brought out into the open.
"And, Aggivessana, the elephant tamer, having answered 'Yes, sire,' would drive a great post into the ground, tie the forest elephant to it by its neck, and so subdue its forest ways... and accustom it to human ways.
"Then the elephant tamer addresses the elephant with such words as are gentle, pleasing to the ear, affectionate, going to the heart, pleasant to the manyfolk, liked by the manyfolk. And, Aggivessana, the forest elephant, being addressed with such words, listens, lends ear, and bends its mind to learning.
"Next the elephant tamer supplies it with good food to eat and water to drink. When, Aggivessana, the forest elephant has accepted the food and water from the elephant tamer, it occurs to the elephant tamer: 'The king's elephant will now live.'
"Then the elephant tamer makes it do a further task, saying: 'Take up, put down.' When, Aggivessana, the king's elephant is obedient and acts on its instructions to take up and put down, then the elephant tamer makes it do a further task, saying: 'Get up, sit down.'
|The tamed stage (Lamentables/flic|
"While it is 'standing its ground' it does not move a fore-leg, nor does it move a hind-leg, nor does it move the forepart of its body, nor does it move the hindpart of its body, nor does it move its head, nor does it move an ear, nor does it move a tusk, nor does it move its tail, nor does it move its trunk. A king's elephant is one who endures blows of sword, axe, arrow, hatchet, and the resounding din of drum and kettle-drum, conch and tam-tam. It is like purified gold purged of all dross and impurity, fit for a king, a royal possession, and reckoned as a royal attribute.
|The Buddha (Piyush.k/Piyushkumar1/flickr)|
Virtue (sila, morality)
"But, Aggivessana, devas and humans have this longing, namely, for the five strands of sense-pleasures. The Wayfarer disciplines and encourages one further, saying: 'Come, monastic, be moral, live controlled by the control of the training rules, possessed of [right] behavior and conduct, seeing danger even in the slightest faults; undertaking them, train yourself in the training rules.'
"And when, Aggivessana, the noble disciple is virtuous, lives controlled by the control... undertaking them, trains in the training rules, then the Wayfarer disciplines and encourages further, saying: 'Come, monastic, be guarded as to the doors of the senses.
Moderation in eating
|Novice (samanera) eating (pinterest.com)|
Mindfulness and clear comprehension
"And when, Aggivessana, the noble disciple is intent on vigilance, then the Wayfarer disciplines and encourages further, saying: 'Come, monastic, be possessed of mindfulness and clear comprehension, acting with clear comprehension whether approaching or departing, acting with clear comprehension whether looking forward or looking around, acting with clear comprehension whether bending or stretching [the arms], acting with clear comprehension whether carrying the outer cloak, the robe or bowl, acting with clear comprehension whether eating, drinking, tasting, savoring, acting with clear comprehension whether obeying the calls of nature, acting with clear comprehension whether walking, standing, sitting, asleep, awake, talking, or being silent.'
Overcoming of the Five Hindrances
- By ridding oneself of the taint of covetousness for the world, one dwells with a mind (heart) appeased and devoid of coveting.
- By ridding oneself of the taint of ill-will, one dwells benevolent in mind, compassionate for the welfare of all creatures and beings.
- By ridding oneself of sloth and torpor, one dwells devoid of sloth and torpor; perceiving the light (nimitta), mindful, clearly comprehending.
- By ridding oneself of restlessness and worry, one dwells calmly with the mind subjectively tranquilized.
- By ridding oneself of doubt, one dwells having overcome doubt, unperplexed as to which states are skillful.
"As, Aggivessana, an elephant tamer, driving a great post into the ground, ties a forest elephant to it by the neck so as to subdue its forest ways, so as to subdue its forest aspirations, and so as to subdue its distress, its fretting and fever for the forest, so as to make it pleased with villages and accustom it to human ways -- even so, Aggivessana, these Four Applications (Foundations) of Mindfulness are ties of the mind so as to subdue the ways of householders and to subdue the aspirations of householders and to subdue the distress, the fretting and fever of householders. They are for leading to the right Path, for realizing nirvana (the end of all disappointment, of all suffering).
"The Wayfarer then disciplines and encourages further, saying: 'Come, monastic, fare along contemplating the body in the body, but do not apply yourself to a train of thought connected with the body. Fare along contemplating feelings in feelings... mind in mind... mental states in mental states, but do not apply yourself to a train of thought connected with mental states.'
"One by allaying initial thought and discursive thought, with the mind subjectively tranquilized and fixed on one point, enters on and abides in the second meditation (meditative absorption, jhana),* which is devoid of initial and discursive thought (effortful-initial and attentive-sustained attention), is born of concentration and is blissful and joyful. By the fading away of bliss, one dwells with equanimity, attentive and clearly comprehending, and experiences that joy of which the noble ones say: 'Joyful lives one who has equanimity and is mindful,' and one enters and abides in the third meditation. By letting go of joy, by letting go of anguish, by surpassing former pleasures and sorrows, one enters and abides in the fourth meditation, which has neither anguish nor joy, and which is entirely purified by equanimity[, one-pointedness,] and mindfulness.
- [There is a better translation. Vitakka and vicara do not refer to "initial thought and discursive thought." According to the greatest living scholar-monk and meditation master Pa Auk Sayadaw, vitakka-vicara means "initial and sustained attention." These lead to the first absorption (jhana), which is much greater and purer than ordinary consciousness. But it has the defect of being very close to ordinary consciousness. Therefore, to get to the second absorption, one focuses on freedom from these imperfections, and the mind moves to the next deeper absorption, which also has imperfections. One moves through the jhanas to the eighth absorption, becoming aware of its flaws and moving to a better state. Nirvana is perfection. See jhana as explained by Ven. Nyanatiloka. - Eds. Wisdom Quarterly]
| Kwan Yin Bodhisattva and child on lotus pedestal (Kwanyinbuddha/flickr.com)|
"Then with the mind composed, quite purified, quite clarified, without blemish, without defilement, grown pliant and workable, fixed, immovable, one directs mind to the knowledge of the passing and the rearising of beings. With the purified deva-vision surpassing that of humans, one sees beings as they pass away or come to be; one comprehends that beings are mean, excellent, comely, ugly, easy-going, ill-going, according to the consequences of their deeds, then one thinks:
(3. Destruction of Cankers: Enlightenment)
"Then with the mind (heart) composed... immovable, one directs mind to the knowledge of the destruction of the cankers (āsavas). One understands as it really is [the Four Noble Truths]: This is anguish [dukkha, suffering, ill, woe, disappointment], this is the arising of anguish, this is the cessation of anguish, this is the path leading to the cessation of anguish.
- is freed from the canker of [craving] sense pleasures,
- is freed from the canker of [craving for eternal] becoming,
- is freed from the canker of ignorance.
- In freedom, the knowledge comes: I am free. And one comprehends: Destroyed is rebirth, brought to a culmination is the high life, done is what was to be done, there is no more of being such or such (no more cycling through samsara).
Thus spoke the Blessed One. Delighted, the novice-monk Aciravata rejoiced in what the Blessed One had said.