|The Awakened One knows and sees and is able to fully explain (Kellyj525/flickr.com).|
|Great Buddha of Thailand, statue at Wat Muang, Ang Thong, largest in the world (KP)|
Now at that time the novice Aciravata was staying in the Forest Hut.
"I have heard, good Aggivessana, that if a monastic is abiding here diligent, ardent, self-resolute, that monastic may attain one-pointedness of mind."
"That is so, prince; that is so. A monastic abiding here diligent, ardent, self-resolute, may attain one-pointedness of mind."
"It would be good if the reverend Aggivessana were to teach me the Dharma as he has heard it, as he has mastered it."
"Prince, I am not able to teach you the Dharma as I have heard it, as I have mastered it. Now, if I were to teach it to you 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 to me, that would be vexing to me."
"Let the reverend Aggivessana teach me the Dharma as he has heard it, as he has mastered it. Perhaps I could understand the meaning of what the good Aggivessana says."
"If I were to teach you the Dharma, prince, as I have heard it, as I have mastered it, and if you were to understand the meaning, that would be good. But if you do not understand the meaning of what I say, you must remain as you are and not question me further on the matter." [They agreed.]
Then the novice Aciravata taught the Dharma to Prince Jayasena...and Prince Jayasena said to the novice Aciravata:
"This is impossible, good Aggivessana, it cannot come to pass that a monastic abiding diligent, ardent, self-resolute, should attain one-pointedness of mind." Then Prince Jayasena, having declared to the novice Aciravata that this was impossible and could not come to pass, rising from his seat, departed.
Soon after Prince Jayasena had departed, the novice Aciravata approached the Buddha; having approached and greeted him, he sat down at a respectful distance, and told the Buddha what happened. The Buddha replied:
"Aggivessana, it is as if among elephants or horses or oxen to be tamed, two elephants, two horses, or two oxen are well tamed, well trained, and two are not tamed, not trained.
"What do you think about this, Aggivessana? Would these two elephants or horses or oxen that were to be tamed and that were well tamed, well trained -- would these on being tamed reach a tamed capacity, would they, on being tamed, attain a tamed stage?"
"Yes, revered 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 as do the two elephants or horses or oxen to be tamed that were well tamed, well trained?"
"No, revered 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 be known and realized by renunciation, such a situation does not exist.
The mountain top example
|A village and market town by a great mountain (weditchthemap/flickr.com)|
"Aggivessana, it is as if there were a great mountain near a village or a market-town which two friends, coming hand in hand from that village or market-town might approach.
"Having approached the mountain, one friend might remain at the foot while the other might climb to the top.
"Then the friend standing at the foot of the mountain might say to the one standing on top:
"'Dear friend, what do you see as you stand on top of the mountain?' He might reply: 'As I stand on the top of the mountain, dear friend, I see delightful parks, delightful woods, delightful stretches of level ground, and delightful ponds.'
"But the other might say back: 'That's impossible. It cannot come to pass, dear friend, that as you stand on top of the mountain, you see...delightful parks...delightful ponds.'
"Then the friend who had been standing on top of the mountain having come down to the foot and taken his friend by the arm, making him climb to the top of the mountain, and giving him a moment to regain his breath, might say:
|What can be seen from the mountain top that cannot be seen below? (bag_lady/flickr.com)|
"'Now, dear friend, what do you see as you stand on top of this mountain?' He might answer: 'Dear friend, as I stand on top of this mountain, I see delightful parks...delightful ponds.'
"He might say: 'But just now, dear friend, you said: "It is impossible, it cannot be that, as you stand on the of the mountain, you see delightful parks...delightful ponds." Now you say: 'I, dear friend, as I stand on this mountain, see delightful parks...delightful ponds.'
"He might answer: 'Dear friend, that was because I, hemmed in by this great mountain, could not see what was there to be seen.'
"Even so -- but 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 sense-pleasures, eager in the search for sense-pleasures, should know or see or 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, Prince Jayasena naturally would have acted in the manner of one having confidence in you."
"But how could these two similes for Prince Jayasena have occurred to me, revered sir, seeing that they just spontaneously (never having been heard before) occurred to [the Buddha]?"
How to tame the mind (like an elephant)
|Untamed forest elephants wandering in the wild (noralagatta/flickr.com)|
"Aggivessana, as a noble anointed king addresses an elephant hunter saying; 'You, good elephant hunter, mount the king's elephant and go into an elephant forest. When you see a forest elephant, tie it by the neck to the king's elephant.'
"And, Aggivessana, the elephant hunter answering, 'Yes, sire,' in assent to the noble anointed king, does so.
"But, Aggivessana, the forest elephant has this longing, that is, a longing for the elephant forest. With regard to it the elephant hunter tells the noble anointed king that the forest elephant has gotten out into the open. The noble anointed king then addresses an elephant tamer, saying:
"'Come, good elephant tamer, tame the forest elephant by subduing its forest ways, by subduing its forest memories and aspirations, and by subduing its distress, its fretting and fever for the forest, by making it pleased with the village and by accustoming it to human ways.'
"And, Aggivessana, the elephant tamer, answering, 'Yes, sire' in assent to the noble anointed king, driving a great post into the ground ties the forest elephant to it by its neck so as to subdue its forest ways... and accustom it to human ways.
"Then the elephant tamer addresses it with words gentle, pleasing to the ear, affectionate, going to the heart, urbane, pleasant to the manyfolk, liked by the manyfolk. And, Aggivessana, the forest elephant, on being addressed with words that are gentle...liked by the manyfolk, listens, lends ear, and bends its mind to learning.
"Next the elephant tamer supplies it with grass-fodder and water. When, Aggivessana, the forest elephant has accepted the grass-fodder 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 and put down.' Aggivessana, when the king's elephant is obedient to the elephant tamer and acts on his instructions to take up and put down, then the elephant tamer makes it do a further task, saying: 'Get up and sit down.'
"When, Aggivessana, the king's elephant is obedient to the elephant tamer and acts on his instructions to get up and sit down, then the elephant tamer makes it do a further task known as 'standing your ground':
"He ties a shield to the great beast's trunk; a man holding a lance is sitting on its neck, and men holding lances are standing surrounding it on all sides. The elephant tamer, holding a lance with a long shaft, is standing in front.
"While it is doing the task of 'standing your 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, conch and tam-tam. It is [like] purified gold purged of all dross and impurities, fit for a king, a royal possession, and reckoned as a royal attribute.
Acquisition of confidence
|The noble disciple Sivali (TC)/(I love to take pictures)|
"He makes known this world with its devas, with Mara, with Brahma, the creation [this generation] with its recluses and Brahmins, its devas and humans, having realized them by his own super-knowledge.
"He teaches the Dharma that is lovely at the beginning, lovely in the middle, lovely at the ending, in spirit and letter. He proclaims the supreme-faring
- Supreme-faring (brahmacariyam): the supreme (pure, chaste) life of a celibate recluse [Ed., The Wheel].
"Endowed with this confidence acquired, one reflects in this way: 'Whereas, the household life is confined and dusty, going forth is open [and clean]; it is not easy for one who lives in a household to fare the supreme-faring wholly fulfilled, wholly pure, polished like a conch-shell.
"Suppose now that I, having cut off hair and beard, having put on saffron robes, should go forth from home into homelessness?' After a time, getting rid of one's wealth, be it small or great, getting rid of one's circle of relations, be it small or great, having cut off one's hair and beard, having put on saffron robes, one goes forth from home into homelessness. To this extent, Aggivessana, the noble disciple gets out into the open.
"But, Aggivessana, devas and humankind have this longing, that is, for the five strands of sense-pleasure. The Wayfarer disciplines one further, saying: 'Come you, monastic, be virtuous. Live controlled by the control of the obligations [monastic precepts], possessed of [right] behavior and disposition, seeing danger in the slightest fault; undertaking them, train yourself in the rules of training.'
"And when, Aggivessana, the noble disciple is virtuous, lives controlled by the control...undertaking them, trains oneself in the rules of training, then the Wayfarer disciplines one further, saying: 'Come you, monastic, be guarded as to the doors of the sense-organs:
"'Having seen a material shape with the eye, do not be entranced by its general appearance; do not be entranced by its details. For if one dwells with the organ of sight uncontrolled, covetousness and dejection, harmful, unskillful states of mind (heart), may flow in. So fare along controlling it; guard the organ of sight. Achieve control over the organ of sight.
"'Having heard a sound with the ear...Having smelled a fragrance with the nose...Having savored a taste with the tongue...Having felt a touch with the body...Having cognized a mental state with the mind, be not entranced by its general appearance; be not entranced by its detail.
"'For if you dwell with the organ of mind uncontrolled, covetousness and dejection, harmful, unskillful states of mind, might flow in. So fare along with its control; guard the organ of mind. Achieve control over the organ of the mind.'
Moderation in eating
"'Come you, monastic, be moderate in eating; take food reflecting carefully rather than for fun or indulgence or personal charm or beautification, taking just enough for maintaining this body and keeping it going, for keeping it unharmed, for furthering the supreme life, with the thought:
"'Thus will I crush out an old feeling [of hunger], and I will not allow a new feeling to arise [of overindulgence], and then there will be for me subsistence and blamelessness and abiding in comfort.'
"When, Aggivessana, the noble disciple is moderate in eating, the Wayfarer disciplines one further, saying:
"'Come you, monastic, abide intent on vigilance: During the day, while pacing back and forth, while sitting down, cleanse the mind (heart) of obstructive mental states.
During the middle watch of the night, lie down on the right side in the lion posture, foot resting on foot [propped on elbow with a pillow tucked under the ribs as show above], mindful, clearly conscious, reflecting on the thought of getting up again.
During the last watch of the night, when you have arisen, while pacing back and forth, while sitting down, cleanse the mind of obstructive mental states.'
|The Buddha reclining into nirvana, lion's pose, Wat Phra Chetuphon, Bangkok (schultzpax)|
"And when, Aggivessana, the noble disciple is intent on vigilance, then the Wayfarer disciplines one further, saying:
"'Come you, monastic, be possessed of mindfulness and clear comprehension (clarity of consciousness),
- acting with clear comprehension whether you are approaching or departing,
- acting with clear comprehension whether you are looking ahead or looking round,
- acting with clear comprehension whether you are bending in or stretching out [your arms],
- acting with clear comprehension whether you are carrying outer cloak, bowl, or robe,
- acting with clear comprehension whether you are eating, drinking, chewing, savoring,
- acting with clear comprehension whether you are obeying the calls of nature,
- acting with clear comprehension whether you are walking, standing, sitting, asleep, awake, talking, or remaining silent.'
|A peaceful place to live secluded in the forest free from noise and disturbances (BPS).|
"And when, Aggivessana, the noble disciple is possessed of mindfulness and clear comprehension, then the Wayfarer disciplines one further, saying:
"'Come you, monastic, choose a remote lodging in a forest, at the root of a tree, on a mountain slope, in a wilderness, in a hill-cave, a charnal ground, a forest haunt, in the open, or on a heap of straw.'
"One chooses a remote lodging in the forest...or on a heap of straw. Returning from alms-gathering, after the meal, one sits down cross-legged, holding the back erect, having made mindfulness rise up in front of one, one, by getting rid of coveting for the world, dwells with a mind devoid of coveting. One purifies the mind of coveting.
"By getting rid of the taint of ill-will, one dwells benevolent in mind, compassionate for the welfare of all creatures and beings. One purifies the mind of the taint of ill-will.
"By getting rid of sloth and torpor, one dwells devoid of sloth and torpor; perceiving the light, mindful, clearly comprehending, one purifies the mind of sloth and torpor.
"By getting rid of restlessness and worry, one dwells calmly, the mind subjectively tranquilized. One purifies the mind of restlessness and worry.
"By getting rid of doubt, one dwells doubt-free, unperplexed as to states that are skillful. One purifies the mind of doubt.
|Gold wooden Buddha (bag_lady)|
"One fares along contemplating the feelings...the mind...the mental states in mental states, ardent, clearly comprehending [them], mindful [of them] so as to control covetousness and dejection with regard to the world.
"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 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 Wayfarer then disciplines one further, saying: 'Come you, 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 the feelings [sensations] in the feelings [sensations]...the mind in the mind...mental states in mental states, but do not apply yourself to a train of thought connected with mental states.'
"By surpassing initial and sustained attention, with the mind subjectively tranquilized and fixed on one point, one enters on and abides in the second meditation or absorption (jhana).
- NOTE: This section on the Four Foundations of Mindfulness (satipatthana) is here followed by the second meditation (jhana) without mention of the first. Either a meditator has already attained the first or, possibly, it is meant to indicate that the intensive practice of mindfulness, by its emphasis on bare observation, settles the mind sufficient for absorption. The second absorption surpasses applied and sustained attention (vitakka-vicara) toward one-pointedness of mind.
"'Joyful lives one who has equanimity and is mindful,' and one enters and abides in the third absorption. By leaving behind joy, by abandoning anguish, by the letting go of former pleasures and sorrows, one enters and abides in the fourth absorption which has neither anguish nor joy, and which is entirely purified by equanimity and mindfulness.
|One trapped on this side cannot yet imagine the view from the top (linenbeachbunting).|
"One remembers a variety of former births, thus: one birth, two births, three... four... five... ten... 20...30 ... 40... 50... 100... 1,000... 100,000 births, many an aeon of integration, many an aeon of disintegration, and many an aeon of integration-disintegration:
"'Such a one was I by name, having such a clan, such and such a color, so was I nourished, such and such pleasant and painful experiences were mine, so did the span of life end.
"'Passing from this, I came to be in another state where such a one was I by name, having such and such a clan, such and such a color, so was I nourished, such and such pleasant and painful experiences were mine, so did the span of life end. Passing from this, I arose here.' Thus one remembers divers former abodes in all their modes and details.
(2. The Divine Eye)
|The "divine eye" or psychic faculty is called the dibba cakkhu by the Buddha.|
"With the purified deva-vision surpassing that of humans, one sees beings as they pass away or again come to be; one comprehends that beings are mean, excellent, comely, ugly, well-going, ill-going, according to the consequence of their deeds [karma], the one thinks:
"'Indeed these worthy beings [called "worthy" simply out of courtesy and respect] who were possessed of wrong conduct in body, who were possessed of wrong conduct in speech, who were possessed of wrong conduct of thought, scoffers at the noble ones, holding wrong views, engaging in deeds as a consequence of wrong views -- these, at the breaking up of the body after dying, have rearisen in a sorrowful state, a bad birth, the abyss, even in a niraya-hell.
"'But these worthy beings who were possessed of good conduct in body, who were possessed of good conduct in speech, who were possessed of good conduct in thought, who did not scoff at the noble ones, holding right views, engaging in deeds as a consequence of right views -- these, at the breaking up of the body, after dying, have rearisen in a good birth, even a heavenly world.
(3. Destruction of Cankers: Enlightenment)
"Then with the mind composed...immovable, one directs the mind to the knowledge of the destruction of the cankers (asavas).
[The Four Ennobling Truths]
"One understands as it really is:
- This is suffering (disappointment, pain, woe),
- this is the arising of suffering,
- this is the stopping of suffering,
- this is the path leading to the stopping of suffering.
|Who are the " "noble ones" in Buddha's Teaching? (vinayakh/flickr.com)|