Thursday, February 25, 2010

Mahasatipatthana Sutta (9)

IV. Dhammanupassana (Contemplation on Dhammas)

v. Sacca Pabba (Section on Noble Truths)

d. Maggasacca Pabba
(Section on the Noble Truth of the Path leading to the cessation of Dukkha)

And what, bhikkhus, is the Noble Truth of the path leading to the cessation of dukkha?

It is the Noble Eightfold Path, namely, Right View (Samma-ditthi), Right Thought (Samma-sankappa), Right Speech (Samma-vaca), Right Action (Samma-kammanta), Right Livelihood (Samma-ajiva), Right Effort (Samma-vayama), Right Mindfulness (Samma-sati), and Right Concentration (Samma-samadhi).

And what, bhikkhus, is Right View? The understanding of dukkha; the understanding of the cause of dukkha; the understanding of the cessation of dukkha; the understanding of the path leading to the cessation of dukkha. This, bhikkhus, is called Right View.note104

And what, bhikkhus, is Right Thought? Thoughts directed to liberation from sensuality; thoughts free from ill-will; and thoughts free from cruelty. This, bhikkhus, is called Right Thought.note105

And what, bhikkhus, is Right Speech? Abstaining from lying, from tale-bearing,note106 from abusive speech, and from vain and unbeneficial talk.note107 This, bhikkhus, is called Right Speech.

And what, bhikkhus, is Right Action? Abstaining from killing living beings,note108 from stealingnote109 and from wrongful indulgence in sense pleasures.note110 This, bhikkhus, is called Right Action.

And what, bhikkhus, is Right Livelihood? Here (in this teaching), bhikkhus, the noble disciple completely abstains from a wrong way of livelihood and makes his living by a right means of livelihood. This, bhikkhus, is called Right Livelihood.note111

And what, bhikkhus, is Right Effort? Here (in this teaching), bhikkhus, a bhikkhu generates an intention, makes effort, rouses energy, applies his mind, and strives ardently to prevent the arising of evil, unwholesome states of mind that have not yet arisen. He generates an intention, makes effort, rouses energy, applies his mind, and strives ardently to abandon evil, unwholesome states of mind that have arisen. He generates an intention, makes effort, rouses energy, applies his mind, and strives ardently to attain wholesome states of mind that have not yet arisen. He generates an intention, makes effort, rouses energy, applies his mind, and strives ardently to maintain the wholesome states of mind that have arisen, to prevent their lapsing, to increase them, to cause them to grow, and to completely develop them. This, bhikkhus, is called Right Effort.

And what, bhikkhus, is Right Mindfulness? Here (in this teaching), bhikkhus, a bhikkhu dwells perceiving again and again the body as just the body with diligence, clear understanding, and mindfulness, thus keeping away covetousness and mental pain in the world; he dwells perceiving again and again feelings as just feelings with diligence, clear understanding and mindfulness, thus keeping away covetousness and mental pain in the world, he dwells perceiving again and again the mind as just the mind with diligence, clear understanding, and mindfulness, thus keeping away covetousness and mental pain in the world; he dwells perceiving again and again dhammas as just dhammas with diligence, clear understanding and mindfulness, thus keeping away covetousness and mental pain in the world. This, bhikkhus, is called Right Mindfulness.

And what, bhikkhus, is Right Concentration? Here (in this teaching), bhikkhus, a bhikkhu being detached from sensual desire and unwholesome states attains and dwells in the first jhana which has vitakka and vicara; and rapture (piti) and sukha born of detachment (from the hindrances).note112 With the subsiding of vitakka and vicara, a bhikkhu attains and dwells in the second jhana, with internal tranquility and one-pointedness of mind, without vitakka and vicara, but with rapture and sukha born of concentration. Being without rapture, a bhikkhu dwells in equanimity with mindfulness and clear understanding, and experiences sukha in mind and body. He attains and dwells in the third jhana; that which causes a person who attains it to be praised by the Noble Ones note113 as one who has equanimity and mindfulness, one who abides in sukha. By becoming detached from both sukha and dukkha and by the previous cessation of gladness and mental pain, a bhikkhu attains and dwells in the fourth jhana, a state of pure mindfulness born of equanimity. This, bhikkhus, is called Right Concentration.

This, bhikkhus, is called the Noble Truth of the path leading to the cessation of dukkha.

Thus he dwells perceiving again and again dhammas as just dhammas (not mine, not I, not self, but just as phenomena) in himself; or he dwells perceiving again and again dhammas as just dhammas in others; or he dwells perceiving again and again dhammas as just dhammas in both himself and in others. He dwells perceiving again and again the cause and the actual appearing of dhammas; or he dwells perceiving again and again the cause and the actual dissolution of dhammas; or he dwells perceiving again and again both the actual appearing and dissolution of dhammas with their causes.note114

To summarize, he is firmly mindful of the fact that only dhammas exist (not a soul, a self or I). That mindfulness is just for gaining insight (vipassana) and mindfulness progressively. Being detached from craving and wrong views he dwells without clinging to anything in the world. Thus, bhikkhus, in this way a bhikkhu dwells perceiving again and again the Four Noble Truths as just the Four Noble Truths.

Indeed, bhikkhus, whosoever practises these four satipatthanas in this manner for seven years, one of two results is to be expected in him: Arahatship in this very existence, or if there yet be any trace of clinging, the state of an Anagami.note115

Let alone seven years, bhikkhus, whosoever practises these four satipatthanas in this manner for six years, five years, four years, three years, two years, or one year.

Let alone one year, bhikkhus, whosoever practises these four satipatthanas in this manner for seven months, one of two results is to be expected in him: Arahatship in this very existence, or if there yet be any trace of clinging, the state of an Anagami.

Let alone seven months, bhikkhus, whosoever practises these four satipatthanas in this manner for six months, five months, four months, three months, two months, one month, or half a month.

Let alone half a month, bhikkhus, whosoever practises these four satipatthanas in this manner for seven days, one of two results is to be expected in him: Arahatship in this very existence or if there yet be any trace of clinging, the state of an Anagami.

This is what I meant when I said: "Bhikkhus, this is the one and the only way for the purification (of the minds) of beings, for overcoming sorrow and lamentation, for the cessation of physical and mental pain, for attainment of the Noble Paths, and for the realization of Nibbana. That only way is the four satipatthanas".

This is what the Bhagava said. Delighted, the bhikkhus rejoice at the Bhagava's words.

Sadhu! Sadhu! Sadhu!

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

Notes

104. Right View (samma ditthi) develops through several stages. At first one understands that good actions produce good results, and that bad actions produce bad results. Next, one understands the impermanent, unsatisfactory and soulless nature of conditioned phenomena which deepens the understanding of cause and effect so that only cause and effect are seen. The last stage is to understand the Four Noble Truths and to see that if the cause (craving) ceases the result (dukkha) will also cease.

105. If one has Right View then depending on that Right Thought (samma sankappa) will arise. Also if one has Right Thought then Right Speech (samma vaca) and Right Action (samma kammanta) will arise because one's actions are dependent on one's thoughts.

106. Tale bearing refers to taking stories from one person to another in order to create a split between those two people and also to make oneself liked by the second person, e.g. person A hears person B saying bad things about person C. Then A goes to C and tells him what B has said in order to create discord between B and C and to make C like A.

107. This refers to idle chatter or gossip that is of no benefit to anyone. Nowadays it is worth considering if this applies to reading and writing certain types of books.

108. Only the intentional killing of living beings is meant here and not unintentional killing such as accidentally stepping on an insect. Something is called a living being if it possesses consciousness and does not include plants, bacteria, amoebae, and viruses which according to Buddhism are without consciousness.

109. Stealing does not just mean simple theft but also includes smuggling, tax evasion, and using false weights or measures.

110. This refers to sexual misconduct (i.e. adultery, rape), drinking alcohol, and taking drugs.

111. This refers to obtaining one's livelihood by wrong speech or wrong action. It includes trading in weapons, in animals for slaughter, in slaves, in liquor, in drugs, and in poisons.

112. The word jhana comes from the root jha = to stare. Here it is used to refer to a degree of concentration in which the mind stares at an object with such concentration that one is unaware of sights, sounds, smells, tastes, or tactile objects. There are four types of jhanas mentioned here which are characterized or differentiated by the mental concomitants present in each. As mental concomitants of jhana, vitakka and vicara refer to the initial and sustained application of the mind to a single object. Just like a man first puts his hand on a shaking object and then keeps his hand on the shaking object, vitakka puts the mind on the object and vicara keeps the mind there. At this stage the mind is still not perfectly calm. In the second jhana the mind is so still that it stays on one object without any vitakka and vicara. Rapture (piti) is the same as the enlightenment factor of rapture (see Note 88). Sukha refers to ease and comfort of body and mind.

113. The Buddha and his enlightened disciples are Noble Ones (ariya).

114. The causes of the appearing of dukkha are ignorance of the Four Noble Truths, craving and kamma. The cause of the dissolution of dukkha is the Eightfold Noble Path. The cause of the appearing of craving is Feeling. The cause of the dissolution of craving is the Eightfold Noble Path. The cessation of dukkha, which is Nibbana, has no arising or passing away and is therefore not included here.

The path leading to the cessation of dukkha is of two kinds: supramundane (lokuttara) and mundane (lokiya). Both appear due to the four factors of stream entry. (i.e. associating with virtuous men, hearing the true Dhamma, wisely considering the Dhammas one has heard, and practising in accordance with that Dhamma). The lokuttara path cannot pass away once it has been attained but the lokiya path can pass away due to not wisely considering the Dhamma one has heard and not practising in accordance with that Dhamma.

115. An Anagami is an enlightened individual who has eradicated ditthi, vicikiccha, silabbataparamasa, issa, macchariya, kamaraga and patigha (see Note 82) and consequently at death will be reborn in the Pure Abode (Suddhavasa) where he will attain Arahatship. He is called a Non-returner because he will never be reborn again in the sensuous realm (kamaloka). This last section is meant to encourage the meditator with the knowledge that if he practises in a really diligent and consistent way in accordance with this sutta he can expect to attain the total eradication of greed, hatred and delusion, in this very life.

Sadhu! Sadhu! Sadhu!

U Jotika and U Dhamminda
Migadavun Monastery
Ye Chan Oh Village
Maymyo, Burma

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