|Greek tele "distant" + patheia "feeling"|
|Siddhartha’s period of severe austerities|
8. “And what is the miracle of instruction? Here, Kevaddha, a disciple gives instruction as follows: ‘Consider in this way, don’t consider in that way, give up that, gain this and persevere in it.’ That, Kevaddha, is called the miracle of instruction.
“One guards the sense-doors and attains the [first] four absorptions (jhānas)... (as in DN 2, Verses 64-82); one attains various insights... (DN 2, Verses 83-84); one realizes the Four Noble Truths, the path, and the cessation of the corruptions (DN 2, Verses 85-97), and one knows: ‘[The ultimate goal is accomplished]…There is nothing further here.’ That, Kevaddha, is called the miracle of instruction.
“Once, Kevaddha, in this Monastic Order the thought occurred to a certain monastic: ‘I wonder where the four great elements -- earth, water, fire, air [actually the four characteristics of materiality: solidity, cohesion, temperature, motion] -- cease without remainder.’ And that monastic attained such a state of mental concentration [absorption] that the way to the deva-realms appeared.
68. “Then arriving in the [space] Realm of the Devas of the Four Great Sky Kings, that monastic asked those devas [gandharvas, entertainers, messengers]: ‘Friends, where do the four great elements -- earth, water, fire, air -- cease without remainder?’
“And therefore, monastic, you have acted wrongly. You have acted incorrectly by going beyond the Blessed Lord [the Buddha] in search of an answer to this question elsewhere. Now, monastic, you just go to the Blessed Lord and put this question to him, and whatever answer he gives, accept it.’
“But if it saw no land, it returned to the ship. In the same way, monastic, you have been as far as the Brahmā World searching for an answer to your question and not finding it. And now you come back to me. But, monastic, you should not ask your question in this way: ‘Where do the four great elements -- earth, water, fire, air -- cease without remainder?’
- *Translator Maurice O’Connell Walshe (1911-1998) was one of the foremost British-born Buddhist and Pali scholars, Vice-President of the Buddhist Society, Chair of the English Sangha Trust, and author of the definitive translation of the Digha Nikaya or Long Discourses of the Buddha.