Wednesday, May 28, 2014

The Way without blind faith (sutra)

Ven. √Ďanamoli Thera, Salha Sutta: "To Salha" (AN 3.66), Dhr. Seven (ed.), Wisdom Quarterly
The historical Buddha had blue-eyes and golden skin (Tenzin Osel//flickr.com).
 
Thus have I heard. Once Venerable Nandaka was living at Savatthi in the Eastern Monastery, Migara's Mother's Palace. Then Migara's grandson, Salha, and Pekhuniya's grandson, Rohana, went to him, and after a salutation sat respectfully to one side. When they had done so Ven. Nandaka said to Migara's grandson:
 
This abbreviated message is misleading.
"Come, Salha, do not be satisfied with hearsay or with tradition or with legendary lore or with what has come down in scriptures or with conjecture or with logical inference or with weighing evidence or with a liking for a view after pondering it or with someone else's ability or with the thought, 'This ascetic is our teacher.' 

"But when you know in yourself, 'These things are unprofitable, liable to censure, condemned by the wise, being adopted and put into effect, they lead to harm and suffering,' then abandon them.

"What do you think? Is there greed?" — "Yes, venerable sir." — "Covetousness is the meaning of that, I say. Through greed a covetous person kills breathing things, takes what is not given, commits sexual misconduct, and utters falsehoods [perjury, divisive speech, harsh words, idle chit chat], and one gets another to do the same. Will that be long for one's harm and suffering?" — "Yes, venerable sir."

"What do you think, is there hate?" — "Yes, venerable sir." — "Ill-will is the meaning of that, I say. Through hate a malevolent person kills breathing things [and likewise disregards the other precepts]... Will that be long for one's harm and suffering?" — "Yes, venerable sir." 

"What do you think? Is there delusion?" — "Yes, venerable sir." — "Ignorance is the meaning of that, I say. Through ignorance a deluded person kills breathing things... Will that be long for one's harm and suffering?" — "Yes, venerable sir."
 
"What do you think? Are these things profitable or unprofitable?" — "Unprofitable, venerable sir." — "Blameworthy or blameless?" — "Blameworthy, venerable sir." — "Condemned or commended by the wise?" — "Condemned by the wise, venerable sir." — "Being adopted and put into effect, do they lead to harm and suffering, or do they not, or how does it appear to you in this case?" — "Being adopted and put into effect, venerable sir, they lead to harm and suffering. So it appears in this case." 
 
"Now that was the reason why I told you, 'Come Salha, do not be satisfied with hearsay [and so on as stated famously by the Buddha in the Kalama Sutra]... 

"But when you know in yourself, "These things are unprofitable," then abandon them.'

Nongreed, nonhatred, nondelusion 
The Kalama Sutra in brief: There is no need to take anything on faith but instead consider, Do greed, hatred, and delusion arise in a person to that person's benefit or detriment, or how do you see it? To a person's detriment. In that case, abandon them not because of faith, hearsay, my teaching, another teacher's teaching...but because you yourself can see that this is the case. And if you can see this, is it not also true that...?
 
"Come Salha, do not be satisfied with hearsay... or with the thought, 'This ascetic is our teacher.' But when you know in yourself, 'These things are profitable, blameless, commended by the wise, being adopted and put into effect they lead to welfare and happiness,' then practice them and abide in them. 
 
"What do you think? Is there non-greed?" — "Yes, venerable sir." — "Uncovetousness is the meaning of that, I say. Through non-greed an uncovetous person does not kill breathing things or take what is not given or engage in sexual misconduct or utter falsehoods, and one gets another to do likewise. Will that be long for one's welfare and happiness?" — "Yes, venerable sir."

"What do you think? Is there non-hate?" — "Yes, venerable sir." — "Non ill-will is the meaning of that, I say. Through non ill-will an unmalevolent person does not kill breathing things... Will that be long for one's welfare and happiness?" — "Yes, venerable sir."

"What do you think? Is there non-delusion?" — "Yes, venerable sir." — "True knowledge is the meaning of that, I say. Through non-delusion a person with true knowledge does not kill breathing things... Will that be long for one's welfare and happiness?" — "Yes, venerable sir."
 
"What do you think? Are these things profitable or unprofitable?" — "Profitable, venerable sir." — "Blameworthy or blameless?" — "Blameless, venerable sir." — "Condemned or commended by the wise?" — "Commended by the wise, venerable sir." — "Being adopted and put into effect, do they lead to welfare and happiness, or do they not, or how does it appear to you in this case?" — "Being adopted and put into effect, venerable sir, they lead to welfare and happiness. So it appears to us in this case."

"Now that was the reason why I told you, 'Come Salha, do not be satisfied with hearsay... but when you know in yourself, "These things are profitable..." then practice them and abide in them.'
 
"Now a disciple who is ennobled [by reaching the Noble Path, attaining at least the first stage of enlightenment], who has rid oneself in this way of covetousness and ill-will and is undeluded, abides with one's heart imbued with loving-kindness extending over one quarter, likewise the second quarter, likewise the third quarter, likewise the fourth quarter [all four cardinal directions, east, south, west, north], and so above, below, around, and everywhere, and to all as to oneself.

"One abides with one's heart abundant, exalted, with measureless loving-kindness, freed of hostility and ill-will, extending over the all-encompassing world-system. One abides with heart imbued with compassion... gladness [over the happiness of others]... equanimity extending over the all-encompassing world-system.

"Now one understands this state of meditation in this way: 'There is this [state of Divine Abiding in one who has entered the stream to full enlightenment]. There is what has been abandoned [which is the amount of greed, hate, and delusion exhausted by the stream-entry Path moment]. There is a superior goal [which is full enlightenment or arhatship]. And there is an ultimate escape from this whole field.'

Novice Rahula, the Buddha, and Ven. Ananda
"When one knows and sees in this way, one's heart is liberated from the taint of sensual craving, from the taint of clinging to being [becoming], and from the taint of ignorance. When liberated [by reaching the arhat Path moment], there comes thereafter the knowledge that it is liberated. One knows that rebirth is ended, that the Highest Life has been lived to perfection, that what had to be done is done, and that there is no more of this [suffering] to come. 
 
"One understands thus: 'Formerly there was greed, which was harmful, and now there is none, which is beneficial. Formerly there was hate, which was harmful, and now there is none, which is beneficial. Formerly there was delusion, which was harmful, and now there is none, which is beneficial.'

"So here and now, in this very life, one is parched no more [by the fever of craving's thirst], one's fires of greed, hate, and delusion are extinguished and cooled out; experiencing bliss, one abides [for the remainder of one's final life-span] supremely pure in oneself." 

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