The Connected Discourses of the Buddha - Selections

Chapter 36. Vedanāsaṃyutta: Connected Discourses on Feeling

II. Alone

11 (1) Alone
Then a certain bhikkhu approached the Blessed One, paid homage to him, sat down to one side, and said to him: “Here, venerable sir, while I was alone in seclusion, a reflection arose in my mind thus: ‘Three feeling have been spoken of by the Blessed One: pleasant feeling, painful feeling, neither-painful-nor-pleasant feeling. These three feelings have been spoken of by the Blessed One. But the Blessed One has said: “Whatever is felt is included in suffering.” Now with reference to what was this stated by the Blessed One?’”
    “Good, good, bhikkhu! These three feelings have been spoken of by me: pleasant feeling, painful feeling, neither-painful-nor-pleasant feeling. These three feelings have been spoken of by me. And I have also said: ‘Whatever is felt is included in suffering.’ That has been stated by me with reference to the impermanence of formations. That has been stated by me with reference to formations being subject to destruction … to formations being subject to vanishing … to formations being subject to fading away [217] … to formations being subject to cessation … to formations being subject to change.
    “Then, bhikkhu, I have also taught the successive cessation of formations. For one who has attained the first jhāna, speech has ceased. For one who has attained the second jhāna, thought and examination have ceased. For one who has attained the third jhāna, rapture has ceased. For one who has attained the fourth jhāna, in-breathing and out-breathing have ceased. For one who has attained the base of the infinity of space, the perception of form has ceased. For one who has attained the base of the infinity of consciousness, the perception pertaining to the base of the infinity of space has ceased. For one who has attained the base of nothingness, the perception pertaining to the base of the infinity of consciousness has ceased. For one who has attained the base of neither-perception-nor-nonperception, the perception pertaining to the base of nothingness has ceased. For one who has attained the cessation of perception and feeling, perception and feeling have ceased. For a bhikkhu whose taints are destroyed, lust has ceased, hatred has ceased, delusion has ceased.
    “Then, bhikkhu, I have also taught the successive subsiding of formations. For one who has attained the first jhāna speech has subsided…. For one who has attained the cessation of perception and feeling, perception and feeling have subsided. For a bhikkhu whose taints are destroyed, lust has subsided, hatred has subsided, delusion has subsided.
    “There are, bhikkhu, these six kinds of tranquillization. For one who has attained the first jhāna, speech has been tranquillized. For one who has attained the second jhāna, thought and examination have been tranquillized. For one who has attained the third jhāna, rapture has been tranquillized. For one who has attained the fourth jhāna, in-breathing and out-breathing have been tranquillized. [218] For one who has attained the cessation of perception and feeling, perception and feeling have been tranquillized. For a bhikkhu whose taints are destroyed, lust has been tranquillized, hatred has been tranquillized, delusion has been tranquillized.”

12 (2) The Sky (1)
“Bhikkhus, just as various winds blow in the sky: winds from the east, winds from the west, winds from the north, winds from the south, dusty winds and dustless winds, cold winds and hot winds, mild winds and strong winds; so too, various feelings arise in this body: pleasant feeling arises, painful feeling arises, neither-painful-nor-pleasant feeling arises.”

Just as many diverse winds
Blow back and forth across the sky,
Easterly winds and westerly winds,
Northerly winds and southerly winds,
Dusty winds and dustless winds,
Sometimes cold, sometimes hot,
Those that are strong and others mild—
Winds of many kinds that blow;

So in this very body here
Various kinds of feelings arise,
Pleasant ones and painful ones,
And those neither painful nor pleasant.

But when a bhikkhu who is ardent
Does not neglect clear comprehension,
Then that wise man fully understands
Feelings in their entirety.

Having fully understood feelings,
He is taintless in this very life.
Standing in Dhamma, with the body’s breakup,
The knowledge-master cannot be reckoned. [219]

13 (3) The Sky (2)
(Same as the preceding, but without the verses.)

14 (4) The Guest House
“Bhikkhus, suppose there is a guest house. People come from the east, west, north, and south and lodge there; khattiyas, brahmins, vessas, and suddas come and lodge there. So too, bhikkhus, various feelings arise in this body: pleasant feeling arises, painful feeling arises, neither-painful-nor-pleasant feeling arises; carnal pleasant feeling arises; carnal painful feeling arises; carnal neither-painful-nor-pleasant feeling arises; spiritual pleasant feeling arises; spiritual painful feeling arises; spiritual neither-painful-nor-pleasant feeling arises.”

15 (5) Ānanda (1)
Then the Venerable Ānanda approached the Blessed One, paid homage to him, sat down to one side, and said to him: “Venerable sir, what now is feeling? What is the origin of feeling? What is the cessation of feeling? [220] What is the way leading to the cessation of feeling? What is the gratification in feeling? What is the danger? What is the escape?”
    “Ānanda, these three feelings—pleasant feeling, painful feeling, neither-painful-nor-pleasant feeling—are called feeling. With the arising of contact there is the arising of feeling. With the cessation of contact there is the cessation of feeling. This Noble Eightfold Path is the way leading to the cessation of feeling; that is, right view … right concentration. The pleasure and joy that arise in dependence on feeling: this is the gratification in feeling. That feeling is impermanent, suffering, and subject to change: this is the danger in feeling. The removal and abandonment of desire and lust for feeling: this is the escape from feeling.
    “Then, Ānanda, I have also taught the successive cessation of formations … (as in §11).… [221] For a bhikkhu whose taints are destroyed, lust has been tranquillized, hatred has been tranquillized, delusion has been tranquillized.”

16 (6) Ānanda (2)
Then the Venerable Ānanda approached the Blessed One, paid homage to him, and sat down to one side. The Blessed One then said to the Venerable Ānanda as he was sitting to one side: “Ānanda, what now is feeling? What is the origin of feeling? What is the cessation of feeling? What is the way leading to the cessation of feeling? What is the gratification in feeling? What is the danger? What is the escape?”
    “Venerable sir, our teachings are rooted in the Blessed One, guided by the Blessed One, take recourse in the Blessed One. It would be good if the Blessed One would clear up the meaning of this statement. Having heard it from him, the bhikkhus will remember it.”
    “Then listen and attend closely, Ānanda. I will speak.”
    “Yes, venerable sir,” the Venerable Ānanda replied. The Blessed One said this:
    “Ānanda, these three feelings—pleasant feeling, painful feeling, neither-painful-nor-pleasant feeling—are called feeling….”
    (All as in the preceding sutta.)

17 (7)–18 (8) A Number of Bhikkhus
(These two suttas are identical with §§15–16 except that in each “a number of bhikkhus” is the interlocutor in place of Ānanda.) [222–23]

19 (9) Pañcakaṅga
Then the carpenter Pañcakaṅga approached the Venerable Udāyī, paid homage to him, sat down to one side, and asked him: “Venerable Udāyī, how many kinds of feelings have been spoken of by the Blessed One?”
    “Three kinds of feelings, carpenter, have been spoken of by the Blessed One: pleasant feeling, painful feeling, neither-painful-nor-pleasant feeling. These are the three kinds of feelings that have been spoken of by the Blessed One.”
    When this was said, the carpenter Pañcakaṅga said to the Venerable Udāyī: “The Blessed One did not speak of three kinds of feelings, Venerable Udāyī. He spoke of two kinds of feelings: pleasant feeling and painful feeling. As to this neither-painful-nor-pleasant feeling, venerable sir, the Blessed One has said that this is included in the peaceful and sublime pleasure.”
    A second time [224] and a third time the Venerable Udāyī stated his position, and a second time and a third time the carpenter Pañcakaṅga stated his, but the Venerable Udāyī could not convince the carpenter Pañcakaṅga nor could the carpenter Pañcakaṅga convince the Venerable Udāyī.
    The Venerable Ānanda heard this conversation between the Venerable Udāyī and the carpenter Pañcakaṅga. Then he approached the Blessed One, paid homage to him, sat down to one side, and reported to the Blessed One the entire conversation. [The Blessed One said:]
    “Ānanda, it was a true method of exposition that the carpenter Pañcakaṅga would not approve of from the bhikkhu Udāyī, and it was a true method of exposition that the bhikkhu Udāyī would not approve of from the carpenter Pañcakaṅga. I have spoken of two kinds of feelings by [one] method of exposition; I have spoken of three kinds of feelings by [another] method of exposition; I have spoken of five kinds of feelings … six kinds of feelings … eighteen kinds of feelings … thirty-six kinds of feelings by [another] method of exposition; [225] and I have spoken of one hundred and eight kinds of feelings by [still another] method of exposition. Thus, Ānanda, the Dhamma has been taught by me through [different] methods of exposition.
    “When the Dhamma has been taught by me in such a way through [different] methods of exposition, it may be expected of those who will not concede, allow, and approve of what is well stated and well spoken by others that they will become contentious and quarrelsome and engage in disputes, and that they will dwell stabbing each other with verbal daggers. But when the Dhamma has been taught by me in such a way through [different] methods of exposition, it may be expected of those who will concede, allow, and approve of what is well stated and well spoken by others that they will live in concord, with mutual appreciation, without disputing, blending like milk and water, viewing each other with kindly eyes.
    “Ānanda, there are these five cords of sensual pleasure. What five? Forms cognizable by the eye that are desirable, lovely, agreeable, pleasing, sensually enticing, tantalizing. Sounds cognizable by the ear … Odours cognizable by the nose … Tastes cognizable by the tongue … Tactile objects cognizable by the body that are desirable, lovely, agreeable, pleasing, sensually enticing, tantalizing. These are the five cords of sensual pleasure. The pleasure and joy that arise in dependence on these five cords of sensual pleasure: this is called sensual pleasure.
    “Though some may say, ‘This is the supreme pleasure and joy that beings experience,’ I would not concede this to them. Why is that? Because there is another kind of happiness more excellent and sublime than that happiness. And what is that other kind of happiness? Here, Ānanda, secluded from sensual pleasures, secluded from unwholesome states, a bhikkhu enters and dwells in the first jhāna, which is accompanied by thought and examination, with rapture and happiness born of seclusion. This is that other kind of happiness more excellent and sublime than the previous kind of happiness. [226]
    “Though some may say, ‘This is the supreme pleasure and joy that beings experience,’ I would not concede this to them. Why is that? Because there is another kind of happiness more excellent and sublime than that happiness. And what is that other kind of happiness? Here, Ānanda, with the subsiding of thought and examination, a bhikkhu enters and dwells in the second jhāna, which has internal confidence and unification of mind, is without thought and examination, and has rapture and happiness born of concentration. This is that other kind of happiness more excellent and sublime than the previous kind of happiness.
    “Though some may say, ‘This is the supreme pleasure and joy that beings experience,’ I would not concede this to them. Why is that? Because there is another kind of happiness more excellent and sublime than that happiness. And what is that other kind of happiness? Here, Ānanda, with the fading away as well of rapture, a bhikkhu dwells equanimous and, mindful and clearly comprehending, he experiences happiness with the body; he enters and dwells in the third jhāna of which the noble ones declare: ‘He is equanimous, mindful, one who dwells happily.’ This is that other kind of happiness more excellent and sublime than the previous kind of happiness.
    “Though some may say, ‘This is the supreme pleasure and joy that beings experience,’ I would not concede this to them. Why is that? Because there is another kind of happiness more excellent and sublime than that happiness. And what is that other kind of happiness? Here, Ānanda, with the abandoning of pleasure and pain, and with the previous passing away of joy and displeasure, a bhikkhu enters and dwells in the fourth jhāna, which is neither painful nor pleasant and includes the purification of mindfulness by equanimity. This is that other kind of happiness more excellent and sublime than the previous kind of happiness.
    “Though some may say, ‘This is the supreme pleasure and joy that beings experience,’ I would not concede this to them. [227] Why is that? Because there is another kind of happiness more excellent and sublime than that happiness. And what is that other kind of happiness? Here, Ānanda, with the complete transcendence of perceptions of forms, with the passing away of perceptions of sensory impingement, with nonattention to perceptions of diversity, aware that ‘space is infinite,’ a bhikkhu enters and dwells in the base of the infinity of space. This is that other kind of happiness more excellent and sublime than the previous kind of happiness.
    “Though some may say, ‘This is the supreme pleasure and joy that beings experience,’ I would not concede this to them. Why is that? Because there is another kind of happiness more excellent and sublime than that happiness. And what is that other kind of happiness? Here, Ānanda, by completely transcending the base of the infinity of space, aware that ‘consciousness is infinite,’ a bhikkhu enters and dwells in the base of the infinity of consciousness. This is that other kind of happiness more excellent and sublime than the previous kind of happiness.
    “Though some may say, ‘This is the supreme pleasure and joy that beings experience,’ I would not concede this to them. Why is that? Because there is another kind of happiness more excellent and sublime than that happiness. And what is that other kind of happiness? Here, Ānanda, by completely transcending the base of the infinity of consciousness, aware that ‘there is nothing,’ a bhikkhu enters and dwells in the base of nothingness. This [228] is that other kind of happiness more excellent and sublime than the previous kind of happiness.
    “Though some may say, ‘This is the supreme pleasure and joy that beings experience,’ I would not concede this to them. Why is that? Because there is another kind of happiness more excellent and sublime than that happiness. And what is that other kind of happiness? Here, Ānanda, by completely transcending the base of nothingness, a bhikkhu enters and dwells in the base of neither-perception-nor-nonperception. This is that other kind of happiness more excellent and sublime than the previous kind of happiness.
    “Though some may say, ‘This is the supreme pleasure and joy that beings experience,’ I would not concede this to them. Why is that? Because there is another kind of happiness more excellent and sublime than that happiness. And what is that other kind of happiness? Here, Ānanda, by completely transcending the base of neither-perception-nor-nonperception, a bhikkhu enters and dwells in the cessation of perception and feeling. This is that other kind of happiness more excellent and sublime than the previous kind of happiness.
    “Now it is possible, Ānanda, that wanderers of other sects might speak thus: ‘The ascetic Gotama speaks of the cessation of perception and feeling, and he maintains that it is included in happiness. What is that? How is that?’ When wanderers of other sects speak thus, Ānanda, they should be told: ‘The Blessed One, friends, does not describe a state as included in happiness only with reference to pleasant feeling. But rather, friends, wherever happiness is found and in whatever way, the Tathāgata describes that as included in happiness.’”

20 (10) Bhikkhus
“Bhikkhus, I have spoken of two kinds of feelings by [one] method of exposition…. Thus, bhikkhus, the Dhamma has been taught by me through [different] methods of exposition….”
    (Complete as in the preceding sutta.) [229]
 

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