The Connected Discourses of the Buddha - Selections

Chapter 12. Nidānasaṃyutta: Connected Discourses on Causation

VII. The Great Subchapter

61 (1) Uninstructed (1)
Thus have I heard. On one occasion the Blessed One was dwelling at Sāvatthī in Jeta’s Grove, Anāthapiṇ˜ika’s Park….
    “Bhikkhus, the uninstructed worldling might experience revulsion towards this body composed of the four great elements; he might become dispassionate towards it and be liberated from it. For what reason? Because growth and decline is seen in this body composed of the four great elements, it is seen being taken up and laid aside. Therefore the uninstructed worldling might experience revulsion towards this body composed of the four great elements; he might become dispassionate towards it and be liberated from it.
    “But, bhikkhus, as to that which is called ‘mind’ and ‘mentality’ and ‘consciousness’—the uninstructed worldling is unable to experience revulsion towards it, unable to become dispassionate towards it and be liberated from it. For what reason? Because for a long time this has been held to by him, appropriated, and grasped thus: ‘This is mine, this I am, this is my self.’ Therefore the uninstructed worldling is unable to experience revulsion towards it, unable to become dispassionate towards it and be liberated from it.
    “It would be better, bhikkhus, for the uninstructed worldling to take as self this body composed of the four great elements rather than the mind. For what reason? Because this body composed of the four great elements is seen standing for one year, for two years, for three, four, five, or ten years, for twenty, thirty, forty, or fifty years, for a hundred years, [95] or even longer. But that which is called ‘mind’ and ‘mentality’ and ‘consciousness’ arises as one thing and ceases as another by day and by night. Just as a monkey roaming through a forest grabs hold of one branch, lets that go and grabs another, then lets that go and grabs still another, so too that which is called ‘mind’ and ‘mentality’ and ‘consciousness’ arises as one thing and ceases as another by day and by night.
    “Therein, bhikkhus, the instructed noble disciple attends closely and carefully to dependent origination itself thus: ‘When this exists, that comes to be; with the arising of this, that arises. When this does not exist, that does not come to be; with the cessation of this, that ceases. That is, with ignorance as condition, volitional formations [come to be]; with volitional formations as condition, consciousness…. Such is the origin of this whole mass of suffering. But with the remainderless fading away and cessation of ignorance comes cessation of volitional formations; with the cessation of volitional formations, cessation of consciousness…. Such is the cessation of this whole mass of suffering.
    “Seeing thus, bhikkhus, the instructed noble disciple experiences revulsion towards form, revulsion towards feeling, revulsion towards perception, revulsion towards volitional formations, revulsion towards consciousness. Experiencing revulsion, he becomes dispassionate. Through dispassion [his mind] is liberated. When it is liberated there comes the knowledge: ‘It’s liberated.’ He understands: ‘Destroyed is birth, the holy life has been lived, what had to be done has been done, there is no more for this state of being.’”

62 (2) Uninstructed (2)
(This sutta is identical with the preceding one from the opening down to the monkey simile. It then omits the monkey simile and continues as follows:) [96]
    “Therein, bhikkhus, the instructed noble disciple attends closely and carefully to dependent origination itself thus: ‘When this exists, that comes to be; with the arising of this, that arises. When this does not exist, that does not come to be; with the cessation of this, that ceases.’ Bhikkhus, in dependence on a contact to be experienced as pleasant, a pleasant feeling arises. With the cessation of that contact to be experienced as pleasant, the corresponding feeling—the pleasant feeling that arose in dependence on that contact to be experienced as pleasant—ceases and subsides. In dependence on a contact to be experienced as painful, a painful feeling arises. With the cessation of that contact to be experienced as painful, the corresponding feeling—the painful feeling [97] that arose in dependence on that contact to be experienced as painful—ceases and subsides. In dependence on a contact to be experienced as neither-painful-nor-pleasant, a neither-painful-nor-pleasant feeling arises. With the cessation of that contact to be experienced as neither-painful-nor-pleasant, the corresponding feeling—the neither-painful-nor-pleasant feeling that arose in dependence on that contact to be experienced as neither-painful-nor-pleasant—ceases and subsides.
    “Bhikkhus, just as heat is generated and fire is produced from the conjunction and friction of two fire-sticks, but with the separation and laying aside of the sticks the resultant heat ceases and subsides; so too, in dependence on a contact to be experienced as pleasant … a contact to be experienced as painful … a contact to be experienced as neither-painful-nor-pleasant, a neither-painful-nor-pleasant feeling arises…. With the cessation of that contact to be experienced as neither-painful-nor-pleasant, the corresponding feeling … ceases and subsides.
    “Seeing thus, bhikkhus, the instructed noble disciple experiences revulsion towards contact, revulsion towards feeling, revulsion towards perception, revulsion towards volitional formations, revulsion towards consciousness. Experiencing revulsion, he becomes dispassionate. Through dispassion [his mind] is liberated. When it is liberated there comes the knowledge: ‘It’s liberated.’ He understands: ‘Destroyed is birth, the holy life has been lived, what had to be done has been done, there is no more for this state of being.’”

63 (3) Son’s Flesh
At Sāvatthī. [98] “Bhikkhus, there are these four kinds of nutriment for the maintenance of beings that have already come to be and for the assistance of those about to come to be. What four? The nutriment edible food, gross or subtle; second, contact; third, mental volition; fourth, consciousness. These are the four kinds of nutriment for the maintenance of beings that have already come to be and for the assistance of those about to come to be.
    “And how, bhikkhus, should the nutriment edible food be seen? Suppose a couple, husband and wife, had taken limited provisions and were travelling through a desert. They have with them their only son, dear and beloved. Then, in the middle of the desert, their limited provisions would be used up and exhausted, while the rest of the desert remains to be crossed. The husband and wife would think: ‘Our limited provisions have been used up and exhausted, while the rest of this desert remains to be crossed. Let us kill our only son, dear and beloved, and prepare dried and spiced meat. By eating our son’s flesh we can cross the rest of this desert. Let not all three of us perish!’
    “Then, bhikkhus, the husband and wife would kill their only son, dear and beloved, prepare dried and roasted meat, and by eating their son’s flesh they would cross the rest of the desert. While they are eating their son’s flesh, they would beat their breasts and cry: ‘Where are you, our only son? Where are you, our only son?’
    “What do you think, bhikkhus? Would they eat that food for amusement or for enjoyment [99] or for the sake of physical beauty and attractiveness?”
    “No, venerable sir.”
    “Wouldn’t they eat that food only for the sake of crossing the desert?”
    “Yes, venerable sir.”
    “It is in such a way, bhikkhus, that I say the nutriment edible food should be seen. When the nutriment edible food is fully understood, lust for the five cords of sensual pleasure is fully understood. When lust for the five cords of sensual pleasure is fully understood, there is no fetter bound by which a noble disciple might come back again to this world.
    “And how, bhikkhus, should the nutriment contact be seen? Suppose there is a flayed cow. If she stands exposed to a wall, the creatures dwelling in the wall would nibble at her. If she stands exposed to a tree, the creatures dwelling in the tree would nibble at her. If she stands exposed to water, the creatures dwelling in the water would nibble at her. If she stands exposed to the open air, the creatures dwelling in the open air would nibble at her. Whatever that flayed cow stands exposed to, the creatures dwelling there would nibble at her.
    “It is in such a way, bhikkhus, that I say the nutriment contact should be seen. When the nutriment contact is fully understood, the three kinds of feeling are fully understood. When the three kinds of feeling are fully understood, I say, there is nothing further that a noble disciple needs to do.
    “And how, bhikkhus, should the nutriment mental volition be seen? Suppose there is a charcoal pit deeper than a man’s height, filled with glowing coals without flame or smoke. A man would come along wanting to live, not wanting to die, desiring happiness and averse to suffering. Then two strong men would grab him by both arms and drag him towards the charcoal pit. The man’s volition would be to get far away, his longing would be to get far away, his wish would be to get far away [from the charcoal pit]. [100] For what reason? Because he knows: ‘I will fall into this charcoal pit and on that account I will meet death or deadly suffering.’
    “It is in such a way, bhikkhus, that I say the nutriment mental volition should be seen. When the nutriment mental volition is fully understood, the three kinds of craving are fully understood. When the three kinds of craving are fully understood, I say, there is nothing further that a noble disciple needs to do.
    “And how, bhikkhus, should the nutriment consciousness be seen? Suppose they were to arrest a bandit, a criminal, and bring him before the king, saying: ‘Sire, this man is a bandit, a criminal. Impose on him whatever punishment you wish.’ The king says to them: ‘Go, men, in the morning strike this man with a hundred spears.’ In the morning they strike him with a hundred spears. Then at noon the king asks: ‘Men, how’s that man?’ – ‘Still alive, sire.’ – ‘Then go, and at noon strike him with a hundred spears.’ At noon they strike him with a hundred spears. Then in the evening the king asks: ‘Men, how’s that man?’ – ‘Still alive, sire.’ – ‘Then go, and in the evening strike him with a hundred spears.’ In the evening they strike him with a hundred spears.
    “What do you think, bhikkhus? Would that man, being struck with three hundred spears, experience pain and displeasure on that account?”
    “Venerable sir, even if he were struck with one spear he would experience pain and displeasure on that account, not to speak of three hundred spears.”
    “It is in such a way, bhikkhus, that I say the nutriment consciousness should be seen. When the nutriment consciousness is fully understood, name-and-form is fully understood. When name-and-form is fully understood, I say, there is nothing further that a noble disciple needs to do.” [101]

64 (4) If There Is Lust
At Sāvatthī. “Bhikkhus, there are these four kinds of nutriment for the maintenance of beings that have already come to be and for the assistance of those about to come to be. What four? The nutriment edible food, gross or subtle; second, contact; third, mental volition; fourth, consciousness. These are the four kinds of nutriment for the maintenance of beings that have already come to be and for the assistance of those seeking a new existence.
    “If, bhikkhus, there is lust for the nutriment edible food, if there is delight, if there is craving, consciousness becomes established there and comes to growth. Wherever consciousness becomes established and comes to growth, there is a descent of name-and-form. Where there is a descent of name-and-form, there is the growth of volitional formations. Where there is the growth of volitional formations, there is the production of future renewed existence. Where there is the production of future renewed existence, there is future birth, aging, and death. Where there is future birth, aging, and death, I say that is accompanied by sorrow, anguish, and despair.
    “If, bhikkhus, there is lust for the nutriment contact, or for the nutriment mental volition, or for the nutriment consciousness, if there is delight, if there is craving, consciousness becomes established there and comes to growth. Wherever consciousness becomes established and comes to growth … I say that is accompanied by sorrow, anguish, and despair.
    “Suppose, bhikkhus, an artist or a painter, using dye or lac or turmeric or indigo or crimson, [102] would create the figure of a man or a woman complete in all its features on a well-polished plank or wall or canvas. So too, if there is lust for the nutriment edible food, or for the nutriment contact, or for the nutriment mental volition, or for the nutriment consciousness, if there is delight, if there is craving, consciousness becomes established there and comes to growth. Wherever consciousness becomes established and comes to growth … I say that is accompanied by sorrow, anguish, and despair.
    “If, bhikkhus, there is no lust for the nutriment edible food, or [103] for the nutriment contact, or for the nutriment mental volition, or for the nutriment consciousness, if there is no delight, if there is no craving, consciousness does not become established there and come to growth. Where consciousness does not become established and come to growth, there is no descent of name-and-form. Where there is no descent of name-and-form, there is no growth of volitional formations. Where there is no growth of volitional formations, there is no production of future renewed existence. Where there is no production of future renewed existence, there is no future birth, aging, and death. Where there is no future birth, aging, and death, I say that is without sorrow, anguish, and despair.
    “Suppose, bhikkhus, there was a house or a hall with a peaked roof, with windows on the northern, southern, and eastern sides. When the sun rises and a beam of light enters through a window, where would it become established?”
    “On the western wall, venerable sir.”
    “If there were no western wall, where would it become established?”
    “On the earth, venerable sir.”
    “If there were no earth, where would it become established?”
    “On the water, venerable sir.”
    “If there were no water, where would it become established?”
    “It would not become established anywhere, venerable sir.”
    “So too, bhikkhus, if there is no lust for the nutriment edible food … for the nutriment contact … for the nutriment mental volition … for the nutriment consciousness … consciousness does not become established there and come to growth. Where consciousness does not become established and come to growth … [104] … I say that is without sorrow, anguish, and despair.”

65 (5) The City
At Sāvatthī. “Bhikkhus, before my enlightenment, while I was still a bodhisatta, not yet fully enlightened, it occurred to me: ‘Alas, this world has fallen into trouble, in that it is born, ages, and dies, it passes away and is reborn, yet it does not understand the escape from this suffering [headed by] aging-and-death. When now will an escape be discerned from this suffering [headed by] aging-and-death?’
    “Then, bhikkhus, it occurred to me: ‘When what exists does aging-and-death come to be? By what is aging-and-death conditioned?’ Then, bhikkhus, through careful attention, there took place in me a breakthrough by wisdom: ‘When there is birth, aging-and-death comes to be; aging-and-death has birth as its condition.’
    “Then, bhikkhus, it occurred to me: ‘When what exists does birth come to be?… existence?… clinging?… craving?… feeling?… contact?… the six sense bases?… name-and-form? By what is name-and-form conditioned?’ Then, bhikkhus, through careful attention, there took place in me a breakthrough by wisdom: ‘When there is consciousness, name-and-form comes to be; name-and-form has consciousness as its condition.’
    “Then, bhikkhus, it occurred to me: ‘When what exists does consciousness come to be? By what is consciousness conditioned?’ Then, bhikkhus, through careful attention, there took place in me a breakthrough by wisdom: ‘When there is name-and-form, consciousness comes to be; consciousness has name-and-form as its condition.’
    “Then, bhikkhus, it occurred to me: ‘This consciousness turns back; it does not go further than name-and-form. It is to this extent that one may be born and age and die, pass away and be reborn, that is, when there is consciousness with name-and-form as its condition, and name-and-form with consciousness as its condition. With name-and-form as condition, the six sense bases; with the six sense bases as condition, contact…. [105] Such is the origin of this whole mass of suffering.’
    “‘Origination, origination’—thus, bhikkhus, in regard to things unheard before there arose in me vision, knowledge, wisdom, true knowledge, and light.
    “Then, bhikkhus, it occurred to me: ‘When what does not exist does aging-and-death not come to be? With the cessation of what does the cessation of aging-and-death come about?’ Then, bhikkhus, through careful attention, there took place in me a breakthrough by wisdom: ‘When there is no birth, aging-and-death does not come to be; with the cessation of birth comes cessation of aging-and-death.’
    “It occurred to me: ‘When what does not exist does birth not come to be?… existence?… clinging?… craving?… feeling?… contact?… the six sense bases?… name-and-form? With the cessation of what does the cessation of name-and-form come about?’ Then, bhikkhus, through careful attention, there took place in me a breakthrough by wisdom: ‘When there is no consciousness, name-and-form does not come to be; with the cessation of consciousness comes cessation of name-and-form.’
    “It occurred to me: ‘When what does not exist does consciousness not come to be? With the cessation of what does the cessation of consciousness come about?’ Then, bhikkhus, through careful attention, there took place in me a breakthrough by wisdom: ‘When there is no name-and-form, consciousness does not come to be; with the cessation of name-and-form comes cessation of consciousness.’
    “Then, bhikkhus, it occurred to me: ‘I have discovered this path to enlightenment, that is, with the cessation of name-and-form comes cessation of consciousness; with the cessation of consciousness comes cessation of name-and-form; with the cessation of name-and-form, cessation of the six sense bases; with the cessation of the six sense bases, cessation of contact…. Such is the cessation of this whole mass of suffering.’
    “‘Cessation, cessation’—thus, bhikkhus, in regard to things unheard before there arose in me vision, knowledge, wisdom, true knowledge, and light.
    “Suppose, bhikkhus, a man wandering through a forest would see an ancient path, an ancient road travelled upon by people in the past. He would follow it and would see an ancient city, an ancient capital [106] that had been inhabited by people in the past, with parks, groves, ponds, and ramparts, a delightful place. Then the man would inform the king or a royal minister: ‘Sire, know that while wandering through the forest I saw an ancient path, an ancient road travelled upon by people in the past. I followed it and saw an ancient city, an ancient capital that had been inhabited by people in the past, with parks, groves, ponds, and ramparts, a delightful place. Renovate that city, sire!’ Then the king or the royal minister would renovate the city, and some time later that city would become successful and prosperous, well populated, filled with people, attained to growth and expansion.
    “So too, bhikkhus, I saw the ancient path, the ancient road travelled by the Perfectly Enlightened Ones of the past. And what is that ancient path, that ancient road? It is just this Noble Eightfold Path; that is, right view, right intention, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration. I followed that path and by doing so I have directly known aging-and-death, its origin, its cessation, and the way leading to its cessation. I have directly known birth … existence … clinging … craving … feeling … contact … the six sense bases … name-and-form … consciousness … volitional formations, their origin, their cessation, and the way leading to their cessation. [107] Having directly known them, I have explained them to the bhikkhus, the bhikkhunīs, the male lay followers, and the female lay followers. This holy life, bhikkhus, has become successful and prosperous, extended, popular, widespread, well proclaimed among devas and humans.”

66 (6) Exploration
Thus have I heard. On one occasion the Blessed One was dwelling among the Kurus, where there was a town of the Kurus named Kammāsadamma. There the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus thus: “Bhikkhus!”
    “Venerable sir!” those bhikkhus replied. The Blessed One said this:
    “Do you engage in inward exploration, bhikkhus?”
    When this was said, one bhikkhu said to the Blessed One: “Venerable sir, I engage in inward exploration.”
    “How do you engage in inward exploration, bhikkhu?”
    The bhikkhu then explained but the way he explained did not satisfy the Blessed One. Then the Venerable Ānanda said: “Now is the time for this, Blessed One! Now is the time for this, Fortunate One! Let the Blessed One explain inward exploration. Having heard it from the Blessed One, the bhikkhus will remember it.”
    “Then listen and attend closely, Ānanda, I will speak.”
    “Yes, venerable sir,” the bhikkhus replied. The Blessed One said this:
    “Here, bhikkhus, when engaged in inward exploration, a bhikkhu explores thus: ‘The many diverse kinds of suffering that arise in the world [headed by] aging-and-death: what is the source of this suffering, what is its origin, [108] from what is it born and produced? When what exists does aging-and-death come to be? When what does not exist does aging-and-death not come to be?’
    “As he explores he understands thus: ‘The many diverse kinds of suffering that arise in the world [headed by] aging-and-death: this suffering has acquisition as its source, acquisition as its origin; it is born and produced from acquisition. When there is acquisition, aging-and-death comes to be; when there is no acquisition, aging-and-death does not come to be.’
    “He understands aging-and-death, its origin, its cessation, and the way leading on that is in conformity with its cessation. He practises in that way and conducts himself accordingly. This is called a bhikkhu who is practising for the utterly complete destruction of suffering, for the cessation of aging-and-death.
    “Then, engaging further in inward exploration, he explores thus: ‘What is the source of this acquisition, what is its origin, from what is it born and produced? When what exists does acquisition come to be? When what is absent does acquisition not come to be?’
    “As he explores he understands thus: ‘Acquisition has craving as its source, craving as its origin; it is born and produced from craving. When there is craving, acquisition comes to be; when there is no craving, acquisition does not come to be.’
    “He understands acquisition, its origin, its cessation, and the way leading on that is in conformity with its cessation. He practises in that way and conducts himself accordingly. This is called a bhikkhu who is practising for the utterly complete destruction of suffering, for the cessation of acquisition.
    “Then, engaging further in inward exploration, he explores thus: ‘When this craving arises, where does it arise? When it settles down, upon what does it settle?’
    “As he explores he understands thus: ‘Whatever in the world has a pleasant and agreeable nature: it is here that this craving arises when it arises; it is here that it settles when it settles down.’ And what in the world has a pleasant and agreeable nature? The eye has a pleasant and agreeable nature in the world: it is here that this craving arises when it arises; it is here that it settles when it settles down. So too the ear, [109] the nose, the tongue, the body, and the mind have a pleasant and agreeable nature: it is here that this craving arises when it arises; it is here that it settles when it settles down.
    “Bhikkhus, whatever ascetics and brahmins in the past regarded that in the world with a pleasant and agreeable nature as permanent, as happiness, as self, as healthy, as secure: they nurtured craving. In nurturing craving they nurtured acquisition. In nurturing acquisition they nurtured suffering. In nurturing suffering they were not freed from birth, aging, and death; they were not freed from sorrow, lamentation, pain, displeasure, and despair; they were not freed from suffering, I say.
    “Whatever ascetics and brahmins in the future will regard that in the world with a pleasant and agreeable nature as permanent, as happiness, as self, as healthy, as secure: they will nurture craving. In nurturing craving they will nurture acquisition. In nurturing acquisition they will nurture suffering. In nurturing suffering they will not be freed from birth, aging, and death; they will not be freed from sorrow, lamentation, pain, displeasure, and despair; they will not be freed from suffering, I say.
    “Whatever ascetics and brahmins at present regard that in the world with a pleasant and agreeable nature as permanent, as happiness, as self, as healthy, as secure: they are nurturing craving. In nurturing craving they are nurturing acquisition. In nurturing acquisition they are nurturing suffering. In nurturing suffering they are not freed from birth, aging, and death; they are not freed from sorrow, lamentation, pain, displeasure, and despair; they are not freed from suffering, I say. [110]
    “Suppose, bhikkhus, there was a bronze cup of a beverage having a fine colour, aroma, and taste, but it was mixed with poison. Then a man would come along, oppressed and afflicted by the heat, tired, parched, and thirsty. They would tell him: ‘Good man, this beverage in the bronze cup has a fine colour, aroma, and taste, but it is mixed with poison. Drink it if you wish. If you drink it, it will gratify you with its colour, aroma, and taste, but by drinking it you will meet death or deadly suffering.’ Suddenly, without reflecting, he would drink the beverage—he would not reject it—and thereby he would meet death or deadly suffering.
    “So too, bhikkhus, whatever ascetics and brahmins in the past … in the future … at present regard that in the world with a pleasant and agreeable nature as permanent, as happiness, as self, as healthy, as secure: they are nurturing craving. In nurturing craving … they are not freed from suffering, I say.
    “Bhikkhus, whatever ascetics and brahmins in the past regarded that in the world with a pleasant and agreeable nature as impermanent, as suffering, as nonself, as a disease, as fearful: they abandoned craving. In abandoning craving they abandoned acquisition. In abandoning acquisition they abandoned suffering. In abandoning suffering they were freed from birth, aging, and death; they were freed from sorrow, lamentation, pain, displeasure, and despair; they were freed from suffering, I say.
    “Whatever ascetics and brahmins in the future [111] will regard that in the world with a pleasant and agreeable nature as impermanent, as suffering, as nonself, as a disease, as fearful: they will abandon craving. In abandoning craving … they will be freed from suffering, I say.
    “Whatever ascetics and brahmins at present regard that in the world with a pleasant and agreeable nature as impermanent, as suffering, as nonself, as a disease, as fearful: they are abandoning craving. In abandoning craving … they are freed from suffering, I say.
    “Suppose, bhikkhus, there was a bronze cup of a beverage having a fine colour, aroma, and taste, but it was mixed with poison. Then a man would come along, oppressed and afflicted by the heat, tired, parched, and thirsty. They would tell him: ‘Good man, this beverage in the bronze cup has a fine colour, aroma, and taste, but it is mixed with poison. Drink it if you wish. If you drink it, it will gratify you with its colour, aroma, and taste, but by drinking it you will meet death or deadly suffering.’ Then the man would think: ‘I can quench my thirst with water, whey, porridge, or soup, but I should not drink that beverage, since to do so would lead to my harm and suffering for a long time.’ Having reflected, he would not drink the beverage but would reject it, [112] and thereby he would not meet death or deadly suffering.
    “So too, bhikkhus, whatever ascetics and brahmins in the past … in the future … at present regard that in the world with a pleasant and agreeable nature as impermanent, as suffering, as nonself, as a disease, as fearful: they are abandoning craving. In abandoning craving … they are freed from suffering, I say.”

67 (7) The Sheaves of Reeds
On one occasion the Venerable Sāriputta and the Venerable Mahākoṭṭhita were dwelling at Bārāṇasī in the Deer Park at Isipatana. Then, in the evening, the Venerable Mahākoṭṭhita emerged from seclusion and approached the Venerable Sāriputta. He exchanged greetings with the Venerable Sāriputta and, when they had concluded their greetings and cordial talk, he sat down to one side and said to him:
    “How is it, friend Sāriputta: Is aging-and-death created by oneself, or is it created by another, [113] or is it created both by oneself and by another, or has it arisen fortuitously, being created neither by oneself nor by another?”
    “Friend Koṭṭhita, aging-and-death is not created by oneself, nor is it created by another, nor is it created both by oneself and by another, nor has it arisen fortuitously, being created neither by oneself nor by another. But rather, with birth as condition, aging-and-death [comes to be].”
    “How is it, friend Sāriputta: Is birth created by oneself … Is existence … clinging … craving … feeling … contact … the six sense bases … name-and-form created by oneself, or is it created by another, or is it created both by oneself and by another, or has it arisen fortuitously, being created neither by oneself nor by another?”
    “Name-and-form, friend Koṭṭhita, is not created by oneself, nor is it created by another, nor is it created both by oneself and by another, nor has it arisen fortuitously, being created neither by oneself nor by another; but rather, with consciousness as condition, name-and-form [comes to be].”
    “How is it, friend Sāriputta: Is consciousness created by oneself, or is it created by another, or is it created both by oneself and by another, or has it arisen fortuitously, being created neither by oneself nor by another?”
    “Consciousness, friend Koṭṭhita, is not created by oneself, nor is it created by another, nor is it created both by oneself and by another, nor has it arisen fortuitously, being created neither by oneself nor by another; but rather, with name-and-form as condition, consciousness [comes to be].” [114]
    “Now we understand the Venerable Sāriputta’s statement thus: ‘Name-and-form, friend Koṭṭhita, is not created by oneself … but rather, with consciousness as condition, name-and-form [comes to be].’ Now we also understand the Venerable Sāriputta’s [other] statement thus: ‘Consciousness, friend Koṭṭhita, is not created by oneself … but rather, with name-and-form as condition, consciousness [comes to be].’ But how, friend Sāriputta, should the meaning of this statement be seen?”
    “Well then, friend, I will make up a simile for you, for some intelligent people here understand the meaning of a statement by means of a simile. Just as two sheaves of reeds might stand leaning against each other, so too, with name-and-form as condition, consciousness [comes to be]; with consciousness as condition, name-and-form [comes to be]. With name-and-form as condition, the six sense bases [come to be]; with the six sense bases as condition, contact…. Such is the origin of this whole mass of suffering.
    “If, friend, one were to remove one of those sheaves of reeds, the other would fall, and if one were to remove the other sheaf, the first would fall. So too, with the cessation of name-and-form comes cessation of consciousness; with the cessation of consciousness comes cessation of name-and-form. With the cessation of name-and-form comes cessation of the six sense bases; with the cessation of the six sense bases, cessation of contact…. Such is the cessation of this whole mass of suffering.”
    “It is wonderful, friend Sāriputta! It is amazing, friend Sāriputta! How well this has been stated by the Venerable Sāriputta. We rejoice in the Venerable Sāriputta’s statement on these thirty-six grounds: If, friend, a bhikkhu teaches the Dhamma for the purpose of revulsion towards aging-and-death, for its fading away and cessation, he can be called a bhikkhu who is a speaker on the Dhamma. [115] If a bhikkhu is practising for the purpose of revulsion towards aging-and-death, for its fading away and cessation, he can be called a bhikkhu who is practising in accordance with the Dhamma. If through revulsion towards aging-and-death, through its fading away and cessation, a bhikkhu is liberated by nonclinging, he can be called a bhikkhu who has attained Nibbāna in this very life.
    “If, friend, a bhikkhu teaches the Dhamma for the purpose of revulsion towards birth … existence … clinging … craving … feeling … contact … the six sense bases … name-and-form … consciousness … volitional formations … ignorance, for its fading away and cessation, he can be called a bhikkhu who is a speaker on the Dhamma. If a bhikkhu is practising for the purpose of revulsion towards ignorance, for its fading away and cessation, he can be called a bhikkhu who is practising in accordance with the Dhamma. If through revulsion towards ignorance, through its fading away and cessation, a bhikkhu is liberated by nonclinging, he can be called a bhikkhu who has attained Nibbāna in this very life.”

68 (8) Kosambī
On one occasion the Venerable Musīla, the Venerable Saviṭṭha, the Venerable Nārada, and the Venerable Ānanda were living at Kosambī in Ghosita’s Park.
    Then the Venerable Saviṭṭha said to the Venerable Musīla: “Friend Musīla, apart from faith, apart from personal preference, apart from oral tradition, apart from reasoned reflection, apart from acceptance of a view after pondering it, does the Venerable Musīla have personal knowledge thus: ‘With birth as condition, aging-and-death [comes to be]’?”
    “Friend Saviṭṭha, apart from faith, apart from personal preference, apart from oral tradition, apart from reasoned reflection, apart from acceptance of a view after pondering it, I know this, I see this: ‘With birth as condition, aging-and-death [comes to be].’” [116]
    “Friend Musīla, apart from faith … apart from acceptance of a view after pondering it, does the Venerable Musīla have personal knowledge thus: ‘With existence as condition, birth’?… ‘With ignorance as condition, volitional formations’?”
    “Friend Saviṭṭha, apart from faith … apart from acceptance of a view after pondering it, I know this, I see this: ‘With ignorance as condition, volitional formations.’”
    “Friend Musīla, apart from faith … apart from acceptance of a view after pondering it, does the Venerable Musīla have personal knowledge: ‘With the cessation of birth comes cessation of aging-and-death’?… [117] … ‘With the cessation of ignorance comes cessation of volitional formations’?”
    “Friend Saviṭṭha, apart from faith … apart from acceptance of a view after pondering it, I know this, I see this: ‘With the cessation of birth comes cessation of aging-and-death.’… ‘With the cessation of ignorance comes cessation of volitional formations.’”
    “Friend Musīla, apart from faith, apart from personal preference, apart from oral tradition, apart from reasoned reflection, apart from acceptance of a view after pondering it, does the Venerable Musīla have personal knowledge thus: ‘Nibbāna is the cessation of existence’?”
    “Friend Saviṭṭha, apart from faith, apart from personal preference, apart from oral tradition, apart from reasoned reflection, apart from acceptance of a view after pondering it, I know this, I see this: ‘Nibbāna is the cessation of existence.’”
    “Then the Venerable Musīla is an arahant, one whose taints are destroyed.”
    When this was said, the Venerable Musīla kept silent.
    Then the Venerable Nārada said to the Venerable Saviṭṭha: “Friend Saviṭṭha, it would be good if I were asked that series of questions. Ask me that series of questions and I will answer you.”
    “Then let the Venerable Nārada get to answer that series of questions. I will ask the Venerable Nārada that series of questions, and let him answer me.”
    (Here the Venerable Saviṭṭha asks the Venerable Nārada the same series of questions as were addressed to the Venerable Musīla, and he answers in exactly the same way.)
    “Then the Venerable Nārada is an arahant, one whose taints are destroyed.” [118]
    “Friend, though I have clearly seen as it really is with correct wisdom, ‘Nibbāna is the cessation of existence,’ I am not an arahant, one whose taints are destroyed. Suppose, friend, there was a well along a desert road, but it had neither a rope nor a bucket. Then a man would come along, oppressed and afflicted by the heat, tired, parched, and thirsty. He would look down into the well and the knowledge would occur to him, ‘There is water,’ but he would not be able to make bodily contact with it. So too, friend, though I have clearly seen as it really is with correct wisdom, ‘Nibbāna is the cessation of existence,’ I am not an arahant, one whose taints are destroyed.”
    When this was said, the Venerable Ānanda asked the Venerable Saviṭṭha: “When he speaks in such a way, friend Saviṭṭha, what would you say about the Venerable Nārada?”
    “When he speaks in such a way, friend Ānanda, I would not say anything about the Venerable Nārada except what is good and favourable.”

69 (9) The Surge
Thus have I heard. On one occasion the Blessed One was dwelling at Sāvatthī in Jeta’s Grove, Anāthapiṇ˜ika’s Park. There the Blessed One said:
    “Bhikkhus, the ocean surging causes the rivers to surge; the rivers surging cause the streams to surge; the streams surging cause the lakes to surge; the lakes surging cause the pools to surge. So too, ignorance surging causes volitional formations to surge; volitional formations surging cause consciousness to surge; consciousness surging causes name-and-form to surge; name-and-form surging causes the six sense bases to surge; the six sense bases surging cause contact to surge; contact surging causes feeling to surge; feeling surging causes craving to surge; craving surging causes clinging to surge; clinging [119] surging causes existence to surge; existence surging causes birth to surge; birth surging causes aging-and-death to surge.
    “Bhikkhus, the ocean receding causes the rivers to recede; the rivers receding cause the streams to recede; the streams receding cause the lakes to recede; the lakes receding cause the pools to recede. So too, ignorance receding causes volitional formations to recede; volitional formations receding cause consciousness to recede … birth receding causes aging-and-death to recede.”

70 (10) Susīma
Thus have I heard. On one occasion the Blessed One was dwelling at Rājagaha in the Bamboo Grove, the Squirrel Sanctuary.

(i)

Now on that occasion the Blessed One was honoured, respected, esteemed, venerated, and revered, and he obtained robes, almsfood, lodgings, and medicinal requisites. The Bhikkhu Saṅgha too was honoured, respected, esteemed, venerated, and revered, and the bhikkhus too obtained robes, almsfood, lodgings, and medicinal requisites. But the wanderers of other sects were not honoured, respected, esteemed, venerated, and revered, and they did not obtain robes, almsfood, lodgings, and medicinal requisites.
    Now on that occasion the wanderer Susīma was residing in Rājagaha along with a large company of wanderers. [120] Then his company said to the wanderer Susīma: “Come, friend Susīma, lead the holy life under the ascetic Gotama. Master his Dhamma and teach it to us. We will master his Dhamma and preach it to the lay people. Thus we too will be honoured, respected, esteemed, venerated, and revered, and we too will obtain robes, almsfood, lodgings, and medicinal requisites.”
    “All right, friends,” the wanderer Susīma replied. He then approached the Venerable Ānanda and exchanged greetings with him. When they had concluded their greetings and cordial talk, he sat down to one side and said to him: “Friend Ānanda, I wish to lead the holy life in this Dhamma and Discipline.”
    Then the Venerable Ānanda took the wanderer Susīma and approached the Blessed One. He paid homage to the Blessed One, and then he sat down to one side and said to him: “Venerable sir, this wanderer Susīma says that he wishes to lead the holy life in this Dhamma and Discipline.”
    “Well then, Ānanda, give him the going forth.” The wanderer Susīma then received the going forth and the higher ordination under the Blessed One.

(ii)

Now on that occasion a number of bhikkhus had declared final knowledge in the presence of the Blessed One, saying: “We understand: Destroyed is birth, the holy life has been lived, what had to be done has been done, there is no more for this state of being.” The Venerable Susīma heard about this, [121] so he approached those bhikkhus, exchanged greetings with them, and then sat down to one side and said to them: “Is it true that you venerable ones have declared final knowledge in the presence of the Blessed One, saying: ‘We understand: Destroyed is birth, the holy life has been lived, what had to be done has been done, there is no more for this state of being’?”
    “Yes, friend.”
    “Then knowing and seeing thus, do you venerable ones wield the various kinds of spiritual power, such that: having been one, you become many; having been many, you become one; you appear and vanish; you go unhindered through a wall, through a rampart, through a mountain as though through space; you dive in and out of the earth as though it were water; you walk on water without sinking as though it were earth; seated cross-legged, you travel in space like a bird; with your hand you touch and stroke the moon and sun so powerful and mighty; you exercise mastery with the body as far as the brahmā world?”
    “No, friend.”
    “Then knowing and seeing thus, do you venerable ones, with the divine ear element, which is purified and surpasses the human, hear both kinds of sounds, the divine and human, those that are far as well as near?”
    “No, friend.”
    “Then knowing and seeing thus, do you venerable ones understand the minds of other beings and persons, having encompassed them with your own minds? Do you understand a mind with lust as a mind with lust; a mind without lust as a mind without lust; a mind with hatred as a mind with hatred; a mind without hatred as a mind without hatred; a mind with delusion [122] as a mind with delusion; a mind without delusion as a mind without delusion; a contracted mind as contracted and a distracted mind as distracted; an exalted mind as exalted and an unexalted mind as unexalted; a surpassable mind as surpassable and an unsurpassable mind as unsurpassable; a concentrated mind as concentrated and an unconcentrated mind as unconcentrated; a liberated mind as liberated and an unliberated mind as unliberated?”
    “No, friend.”
    “Then knowing and seeing thus, do you venerable ones recollect your manifold past abodes, that is, one birth, two births, three births, four births, five births, ten births, twenty births, thirty births, forty births, fifty births, a hundred births, a thousand births, a hundred thousand births, many aeons of world-contraction, many aeons of world-expansion, many aeons of world-contraction and expansion thus: ‘There I was so named, of such a clan, with such an appearance, such was my food, such my experience of pleasure and pain, such my life span; passing away from there, I was reborn elsewhere, and there too I was so named, of such a clan, with such an appearance, such was my food, such my experience of pleasure and pain, such my life span; passing away from there, I was reborn here’? Do you thus recollect your manifold past abodes with their modes and details?”
    “No, friend.”
    “Then knowing and seeing thus, do you venerable ones, with the divine eye, which is purified and surpasses the human, see beings passing away and being reborn, inferior and superior, beautiful and ugly, fortunate and unfortunate, and understand how beings fare on in accordance with their kamma thus: ‘These beings who engaged in misconduct of body, [123] speech, and mind, who reviled the noble ones, held wrong view, and undertook actions based on wrong view, with the breakup of the body, after death, have been reborn in a state of misery, in a bad destination, in the nether world, in hell; but these beings who engaged in good conduct of body, speech, and mind, who did not revile the noble ones, who held right view, and undertook action based on right view, with the breakup of the body, after death, have been reborn in a good destination, in a heavenly world’? Thus with the divine eye, which is purified and surpasses the human, do you see beings passing away and being reborn, inferior and superior, beautiful and ugly, fortunate and unfortunate, and understand how beings fare on in accordance with their kamma?”
    “No, friend.”
    “Then knowing and seeing thus, do you venerable ones dwell in those peaceful deliverances that transcend forms, the formless attainments, having touched them with the body?”
    “No, friend.”
    “Here now, venerable ones: this answer and the nonattainment of those states, how could this be, friends?”
    “We are liberated by wisdom, friend Susīma.”
    “I do not understand in detail, friends, the meaning of what has been stated in brief by the venerable ones. It would be good if the venerable ones would explain to me in such a way that I could understand in detail what has been stated in brief.” [124]
    “Whether or not you understand, friend Susīma, we are liberated by wisdom.”

(iii)

Then the Venerable Susīma rose from his seat and approached the Blessed One. Having approached, he paid homage to the Blessed One, sat down to one side, and reported to the Blessed One the entire conversation he had had with those bhikkhus. [The Blessed One said:]
    “First, Susīma, comes knowledge of the stability of the Dhamma, afterwards knowledge of Nibbāna.”
    “I do not understand in detail, venerable sir, the meaning of what was stated in brief by the Blessed One. It would be good if the Blessed One would explain to me in such a way that I could understand in detail what has been stated in brief.”
    “Whether or not you understand, Susīma, first comes knowledge of the stability of the Dhamma, afterwards knowledge of Nibbāna.
    “What do you think, Susīma, is form permanent or impermanent?” – “Impermanent, venerable sir.” – “Is what is impermanent suffering or happiness?” – “Suffering, venerable sir.” – “Is what is impermanent, suffering, and subject to change fit to be regarded thus: ‘This is mine, this I am, this is my self’?” – “No, venerable sir.”
    “Is feeling permanent or impermanent?… Is perception permanent or impermanent?… Are volitional formations permanent or impermanent?… Is consciousness permanent or impermanent?” [125] – “Impermanent, venerable sir.” – “Is what is impermanent suffering or happiness?” – “Suffering, venerable sir.” – “Is what is impermanent, suffering, and subject to change fit to be regarded thus: ‘This is mine, this I am, this is my self’?” – “No, venerable sir.”
    “Therefore, Susīma, any kind of form whatsoever, whether past, future, or present, internal or external, gross or subtle, inferior or superior, far or near, all form should be seen as it really is with correct wisdom thus: ‘This is not mine, this I am not, this is not my self.’
    “Any kind of feeling whatsoever … Any kind of perception whatsoever … Any kind of volitional formations whatsoever … Any kind of consciousness whatsoever, whether past, future, or present, internal or external, gross or subtle, inferior or superior, far or near, all consciousness should be seen as it really is with correct wisdom thus: ‘This is not mine, this I am not, this is not my self.’
    “Seeing thus, Susīma, the instructed noble disciple experiences revulsion towards form, revulsion towards feeling, revulsion towards perception, revulsion towards volitional formations, revulsion towards consciousness. Experiencing revulsion, he becomes dispassionate. Through dispassion [his mind] is liberated. When it is liberated there comes the knowledge: ‘It’s liberated.’ He understands: ‘Destroyed is birth, the holy life has been lived, what had to be done has been done, there is no more for this state of being.’
    “Do you see, Susīma: ‘With birth as condition, aging-and-death [comes to be]’?”
    “Yes, venerable sir.”
    “Do you see, Susīma: ‘With existence as condition, birth’?… ‘With clinging as condition, existence’?… [126] … ‘With craving as condition, clinging’?… ‘With feeling as condition, craving’?… ‘With contact as condition, feeling’?… ‘With the six sense bases as condition, contact’?… ‘With name-and-form as condition, the six sense bases’?… ‘With consciousness as condition, name-and-form’?… ‘With volitional formations as condition, consciousness’?… ‘With ignorance as condition, volitional formations [come to be]’?”
    “Yes, venerable sir.”
    “Do you see, Susīma: ‘With the cessation of birth comes cessation of aging-and-death’?”
    “Yes, venerable sir.”
    “Do you see, Susīma: ‘With the cessation of existence comes cessation of birth’?… ‘With the cessation of clinging comes cessation of existence’?… ‘With the cessation of ignorance comes cessation of volitional formations’?”
    “Yes, venerable sir.”
    “Knowing and seeing thus, Susīma, do you wield the various kinds of spiritual power, such that: having been one, you become many … and exercise bodily mastery as far as the brahmā world?”
    “No, venerable sir.”
    “Then knowing and seeing thus, Susīma, do you, with the divine ear element, which is purified and surpasses the human, hear both kinds of sounds, the divine and human, those that are far as well as near?” [127]
    “No, venerable sir.”
    “Then knowing and seeing thus, Susīma, do you understand the minds of other beings and persons, having encompassed them with your own mind?”
    “No, venerable sir.”
    “Then knowing and seeing thus, Susīma, do you recollect your manifold past abodes with their modes and details?”
    “No, venerable sir.”
    “Then knowing and seeing thus, Susīma, do you, with the divine eye, which is purified and surpasses the human, see beings passing away and being reborn and understand how beings fare on in accordance with their kamma?”
    “No, venerable sir.”
    “Then knowing and seeing thus, Susīma, do you dwell in those peaceful deliverances that transcend forms, the formless attainments, having touched them with the body?”
    “No, venerable sir.”
    “Here now, Susīma: this answer and the nonattainment of those states, how could this be, Susīma?”

(iv)

Then the Venerable Susīma prostrated himself with his head at the Blessed One’s feet and said: “Venerable sir, I have committed a transgression in that I was so foolish, so confused, so inept that I went forth as a thief of the Dhamma in such a well-expounded Dhamma and Discipline as this. Venerable sir, may the Blessed One pardon me for my transgression seen as a transgression for the sake of future restraint.”
    “Surely, Susīma, you have committed a transgression in that you were so foolish, so confused, so inept that you went forth as a thief of the Dhamma in such a well-expounded Dhamma and Discipline as this. [128] Suppose, Susīma, they were to arrest a bandit, a criminal, and bring him before the king, saying: ‘Sire, this man is a bandit, a criminal. Impose on him whatever punishment you wish.’ The king would say to them: ‘Come, men, bind this man’s arms tightly behind his back with a strong rope, shave his head, and lead him around from street to street and from square to square, beating a drum. Then take him out through the southern gate and to the south of the city cut off his head.’ What do you think, Susīma, would that man experience pain and displeasure on that account?”
    “Yes, venerable sir.”
    “Although that man would experience pain and displeasure on that account, going forth as a thief of the Dhamma in such a well-expounded Dhamma and Discipline as this has results that are far more painful, far more bitter, and further, it leads to the nether world. But since you see your transgression as a transgression and make amends for it in accordance with the Dhamma, we pardon you for it. For it is growth in the Noble One’s Discipline when one sees one’s transgression as a transgression, makes amends for it in accordance with the Dhamma, and undertakes future restraint.”
 

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© Bhikkhu Bodhi, The Connected Discourses of the Buddha (Wisdom Publications, 2000)

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