The Connected Discourses of the Buddha - Selections

Chapter 35. Saḷāyatanasaṃyutta: Connected Discourses on the Six Sense Bases
Division III. The Third Fifty

IV. Devadaha

134 (1) At Devadaha
On one occasion the Blessed One was dwelling among the Sakyans where there was a town of the Sakyans named Devadaha. There the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus thus:
    “Bhikkhus, I do not say of all bhikkhus that they still have work to do with diligence in regard to the six bases for contact, [125] nor do I say of all bhikkhus that they do not have work to do with diligence in regard to the six bases for contact.
    “I do not say of those bhikkhus who are arahants, whose taints are destroyed, who have lived the holy life, done what had to be done, laid down the burden, reached their own goal, utterly destroyed the fetters of existence, and are completely liberated through final knowledge, that they still have work to do with diligence in regard to the six bases for contact. Why is that? They have done their work with diligence; they are incapable of being negligent.
    “But I say of those bhikkhus who are trainees, who have not attained their mind’s ideal, who dwell aspiring for the unsurpassed security from bondage, that they still have work to do with diligence in regard to the six bases for contact. Why is that? There are, bhikkhus, forms cognizable by the eye that are agreeable and those that are disagreeable. [One should train so that] these do not persist obsessing one’s mind even when they are repeatedly experienced. When the mind is not obsessed, tireless energy is aroused, unmuddled mindfulness is set up, the body becomes tranquil and untroubled, the mind becomes concentrated and one-pointed. Seeing this fruit of diligence, bhikkhus, I say that those bhikkhus still have work to do with diligence in regard to the six bases for contact.
    “There are, bhikkhus, sounds cognizable by the ear … mental phenomena cognizable by the mind that are agreeable and those that are disagreeable. [One should train so that] these do not persist obsessing one’s mind even when they are repeatedly experienced. When the mind is not obsessed, tireless energy is aroused, unmuddled mindfulness is set up, the body becomes tranquil and untroubled, the mind becomes concentrated and one-pointed. Seeing this fruit of diligence, bhikkhus, I say that those bhikkhus still have work to do with diligence in regard to the six bases for contact.” [126]

135 (2) The Opportunity
“Bhikkhus, it is a gain for you, it is well gained by you, that you have obtained the opportunity for living the holy life. I have seen, bhikkhus, the hell named ‘Contact’s Sixfold Base.’ There whatever form one sees with the eye is undesirable, never desirable; unlovely, never lovely; disagreeable, never agreeable. Whatever sound one hears with the ear … Whatever odour one smells with the nose … Whatever taste one savours with the tongue … Whatever tactile object one feels with the body … Whatever mental phenomenon one cognizes with the mind is undesirable, never desirable; unlovely, never lovely; disagreeable, never agreeable.
    “It is a gain for you, bhikkhus, it is well gained by you, that you have obtained the opportunity for living the holy life. I have seen, bhikkhus, the heaven named ‘Contact’s Sixfold Base.’ There whatever form one sees with the eye is desirable, never undesirable; lovely, never unlovely; agreeable, never disagreeable. Whatever sound one hears with the ear … Whatever odour one smells with the nose … Whatever taste one savours with the tongue … Whatever tactile object one feels with the body … Whatever mental phenomenon one cognizes with the mind is desirable, never undesirable; lovely, never unlovely; agreeable, never disagreeable.
    “It is a gain for you, bhikkhus, it is well gained by you, that you have obtained the opportunity for living the holy life.”

136 (3) Delight in Forms (1)
“Bhikkhus, devas and humans delight in forms, take delight in forms, rejoice in forms. With the change, fading away, and cessation of forms, devas and humans dwell in suffering. Devas and humans delight in sounds … delight in odours … delight in tastes … delight in tactile objects … delight in mental phenomena, [127] take delight in mental phenomena, rejoice in mental phenomena. With the change, fading away, and cessation of mental phenomena, devas and humans dwell in suffering.
    “But, bhikkhus, the Tathāgata, the Arahant, the Fully Enlightened One, has understood as they really are the origin and the passing away, the gratification, the danger, and the escape in the case of forms. He does not delight in forms, does not take delight in forms, does not rejoice in forms. With the change, fading away, and cessation of forms, the Tathāgata dwells happily.
    “He has understood as they really are the origin and the passing away, the gratification, the danger, and the escape in the case of sounds … odours … tastes … tactile objects … mental phenomena. He does not delight in mental phenomena, does not take delight in mental phenomena, does not rejoice in mental phenomena. With the change, fading away, and cessation of mental phenomena, the Tathāgata dwells happily.”
    This is what the Blessed One said. Having said this, the Fortunate One, the Teacher, further said this:

“Forms, sounds, odours, tastes,
 Tactiles and all objects of mind—
 Desirable, lovely, agreeable,
 So long as it’s said: ‘They are.’

“These are considered happiness
 By the world with its devas;
 But where these cease,
 That they consider suffering.

“The noble ones have seen as happiness
 The ceasing of identity.
 This [view] of those who clearly see
 Runs counter to the entire world.

“What others speak of as happiness,
 That the noble ones say is suffering;
 What others speak of as suffering,
 That the noble ones know as bliss.

“Behold this Dhamma hard to comprehend:
 Here the foolish are bewildered.
 For those with blocked minds it is obscure,
 Sheer darkness for those who do not see. [128]

“But for the good it is disclosed,
 It is light here for those who see.
 The dullards unskilled in the Dhamma
 Don’t understand it in its presence.

“This Dhamma isn’t easily understood
 By those afflicted with lust for existence,
 Who flow along in the stream of existence,
 Deeply mired in Māra’s realm.

“Who else apart from the noble ones
 Are able to understand this state?
 When they have rightly known that state,
 The taintless ones are fully quenched.”

137 (4) Delight in Forms (2)
(Identical with the preceding sutta, but without the verses.)

138 (5) Not Yours (1)
“Bhikkhus, whatever is not yours, abandon it. When you have abandoned it, that will lead to your welfare and happiness. And what is it, bhikkhus, that is not yours? The eye is not yours: abandon it. When you have abandoned it, that will lead to your welfare and happiness. The ear is not yours … [129] … The mind is not yours: abandon it. When you have abandoned it, that will lead to your welfare and happiness.
    “Suppose, bhikkhus, people were to carry off the grass, sticks, branches, and foliage in this Jeta’s Grove, or to burn them, or to do with them as they wish. Would you think: ‘People are carrying us off, or burning us, or doing with us as they wish’?”
    “No, venerable sir. For what reason? Because, venerable sir, that is neither our self nor what belongs to our self.”
    “So too, bhikkhus, the eye is not yours … The ear … The mind is not yours … When you have abandoned it, that will lead to your welfare and happiness.”

139 (6) Not Yours (2)
(Identical with the preceding sutta, but stated by way of the six external bases.)

140 (7) Impermanent with Cause (Internal)
“Bhikkhus, the eye is impermanent. The cause and condition for the arising of the eye is also impermanent. As the eye has originated from what is impermanent, how could it be permanent? [130]
    “The ear is impermanent…. The mind is impermanent. The cause and condition for the arising of the mind is also impermanent. As the mind has originated from what is impermanent, how could it be permanent?
    “Seeing thus, bhikkhus, the instructed noble disciple experiences revulsion towards the eye … towards the mind. 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.’”

141 (8) Suffering with Cause (Internal)
“Bhikkhus, the eye is suffering. The cause and condition for the arising of the eye is also suffering. As the eye has originated from what is suffering, how could it be happiness?
    “The ear is suffering…. The mind is suffering. The cause and condition for the arising of the mind is also suffering. As the mind has originated from what is suffering, how could it be happiness?
    “Seeing thus … He understands: ‘… there is no more for this state of being.’”

142 (9) Nonself with Cause (Internal)
“Bhikkhus, the eye is nonself. The cause and condition for the arising of the eye is also nonself. As the eye has originated from what is nonself, how could it be self?
    “The ear is nonself…. The mind is nonself. The cause and condition for the arising of the mind [131] is also nonself. As the mind has originated from what is nonself, how could it be self?
    “Seeing thus … He understands: ‘… there is no more for this state of being.’”

143 (10)–145 (12) Impermanent with Cause, Etc. (External)
(These three suttas are identical with §§140–42, but are stated by way of the six external sense bases.)
 

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

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