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The Connected Discourses of the Buddha - Selections

Chapter 56. Saccasaṃyutta: Connected Discourses on the Truths

I. Concentration

1 (1) Concentration
At Sāvatthī. “Bhikkhus, develop concentration. A bhikkhu who is concentrated understands things as they really are.
    “And what does he understand as it really is? He understands as it really is: ‘This is suffering.’ He understands as it really is: ‘This is the origin of suffering.’ He understands as it really is: ‘This is the cessation of suffering.’ He understands as it really is: ‘This is the way leading to the cessation of suffering.’
    “Bhikkhus, develop concentration. A bhikkhu who is concentrated understands things as they really are.
    “Therefore, bhikkhus, an exertion should be made to understand: ‘This is suffering.’ An exertion should be made to understand: ‘This is the origin of suffering.’ An exertion should be made to understand: ‘This is the cessation of suffering.’ An exertion should be made to understand: ‘This is the way leading to the cessation of suffering.’”

2 (2) Seclusion
“Bhikkhus, make an exertion in seclusion. A bhikkhu who is secluded understands things as they really are.
    “And what does he understand as it really is? He understands as it really is: ‘This is suffering.’… ‘This is the origin of suffering.’… ‘This is the cessation of suffering.’… ‘This is the way leading to the cessation of suffering.’ [415]
    “Bhikkhus, make an exertion in seclusion. A bhikkhu who is secluded understands things as they really are.
    “Therefore, bhikkhus, an exertion should be made to understand: ‘This is suffering.’… An exertion should be made to understand: ‘This is the way leading to the cessation of suffering.’”

3 (3) Clansmen (1)
“Bhikkhus, whatever clansmen in the past rightly went forth from the household life into homelessness, all did so in order to make the breakthrough to the Four Noble Truths as they really are. Whatever clansmen in the future will rightly go forth from the household life into homelessness, all will do so in order to make the breakthrough to the Four Noble Truths as they really are. Whatever clansmen at present have rightly gone forth from the household life into homelessness, all have done so in order to make the breakthrough to the Four Noble Truths as they really are.
    “What four? The noble truth of suffering, the noble truth of the origin of suffering, the noble truth of the cessation of suffering, the noble truth of the way leading to the cessation of suffering. Whatever clansmen rightly went forth … will rightly go forth … have rightly gone forth from household life into homelessness, all have done so in order to make the breakthrough to these Four Noble Truths as they really are.
    “Therefore, bhikkhus, an exertion should be made to understand: ‘This is suffering.’… An exertion should be made to understand: ‘This is the way leading to the cessation of suffering.’”

4 (4) Clansmen (2)
“Bhikkhus, whatever clansmen in the past rightly went forth from the household life into homelessness and made the breakthrough to things as they really are, all made the breakthrough to the Four Noble Truths as they really are. Whatever clansmen in the future will rightly go forth from the household life into homelessness and make the breakthrough to things as they really are, [416] all will make the breakthrough to the Four Noble Truths as they really are. Whatever clansmen at present have rightly gone forth from the household life into homelessness and make the breakthrough to things as they really are, all make the breakthrough to the Four Noble Truths as they really are.
    “What four? The noble truth of suffering, the noble truth of the origin of suffering, the noble truth of the cessation of suffering, the noble truth of the way leading to the cessation of suffering. Whatever clansmen made the breakthrough … will make the breakthrough … make the breakthrough to things as they really are, all make the breakthrough to these Four Noble Truths as they really are.
    “Therefore, bhikkhus, an exertion should be made to understand: ‘This is suffering.’… An exertion should be made to understand: ‘This is the way leading to the cessation of suffering.’”

5 (5) Ascetics and Brahmins (1)
“Bhikkhus, whatever ascetics or brahmins in the past fully awakened to things as they really are, all fully awakened to the Four Noble Truths as they really are. Whatever ascetics or brahmins in the future will fully awaken to things as they really are, all will fully awaken to the Four Noble Truths as they really are. Whatever ascetics or brahmins at present have fully awakened to things as they really are, all have fully awakened to the Four Noble Truths as they really are.
    “What four? The noble truth of suffering … the noble truth of the way leading to the cessation of suffering. Whatever ascetics or brahmins fully awakened … will fully awaken … have fully awakened to things as they really are, all have fully awakened to these Four Noble Truths as they really are. [417]
    “Therefore, bhikkhus, an exertion should be made to understand: ‘This is suffering.’… An exertion should be made to understand: ‘This is the way leading to the cessation of suffering.’”

6 (6) Ascetics and Brahmins (2)
“Bhikkhus, whatever ascetics or brahmins in the past revealed themselves as having fully awakened to things as they really are, all revealed themselves as having fully awakened to the Four Noble Truths as they really are. Whatever ascetics or brahmins in the future will reveal themselves as having fully awakened to things as they really are, all will reveal themselves as having fully awakened to the Four Noble Truths as they really are. Whatever ascetics or brahmins at present reveal themselves as having fully awakened to things as they really are, all reveal themselves as having fully awakened to the Four Noble Truths as they really are.
    “What four? The noble truth of suffering … the noble truth of the way leading to the cessation of suffering. Whatever ascetics or brahmins revealed themselves … will reveal themselves … reveal themselves as having fully awakened to things as they really are, all reveal themselves as having fully awakened to these Four Noble Truths as they really are.
    “Therefore, bhikkhus, an exertion should be made to understand: ‘This is suffering.’… An exertion should be made to understand: ‘This is the way leading to the cessation of suffering.’”

 

 

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7 (7) Thoughts
“Bhikkhus, do not think evil unwholesome thoughts; that is, sensual thought, thought of ill will, thought of harming. For what reason? These thoughts, bhikkhus, are unbeneficial, irrelevant to the fundamentals of the holy life, [418] and do not lead to revulsion, to dispassion, to cessation, to peace, to direct knowledge, to enlightenment, to Nibbāna.
    “When you think, bhikkhus, you should think: ‘This is suffering’; you should think: ‘This is the origin of suffering’; you should think: ‘This is the cessation of suffering’; you should think: ‘This is the way leading to the cessation of suffering.’ For what reason? These thoughts, bhikkhus, are beneficial, relevant to the fundamentals of the holy life, and lead to revulsion, to dispassion, to cessation, to peace, to direct knowledge, to enlightenment, to Nibbāna.
    “Therefore, bhikkhus, an exertion should be made to understand: ‘This is suffering.’… An exertion should be made to understand: ‘This is the way leading to the cessation of suffering.’”

8 (8) Reflection
“Bhikkhus, do not reflect in an evil unwholesome way: ‘The world is eternal’ or ‘The world is not eternal’; or ‘The world is finite’ or ‘The world is infinite’; or ‘The soul and the body are the same’ or ‘The soul is one thing, the body is another’; or ‘The Tathāgata exists after death,’ or ‘The Tathāgata does not exist after death,’ or ‘The Tathāgata both exists and does not exist after death,’ or ‘The Tathāgata neither exists nor does not exist after death.’ For what reason? Because, bhikkhus, this reflection is unbeneficial, irrelevant to the fundamentals of the holy life, and does not lead to revulsion, to dispassion, to cessation, to peace, to direct knowledge, to enlightenment, to Nibbāna.
    “When you reflect, bhikkhus, you should reflect: ‘This is suffering’; you should reflect: ‘This is the origin of suffering’; you should reflect: ‘This is the cessation of suffering’; you should reflect: ‘This is the way leading to the cessation of suffering.’ For what reason? Because, bhikkhus, this reflection is beneficial, relevant to the fundamentals of the holy life, and leads to revulsion, to dispassion, to cessation, to peace, to direct knowledge, [419] to enlightenment, to Nibbāna.
    “Therefore, bhikkhus, an exertion should be made to understand: ‘This is suffering.’… An exertion should be made to understand: ‘This is the way leading to the cessation of suffering.’”

9 (9) Disputatious Talk
“Bhikkhus, do not engage in disputatious talk, saying: ‘You don’t understand this Dhamma and Discipline. I understand this Dhamma and Discipline. What, you understand this Dhamma and Discipline! You’re practising wrongly, I’m practising rightly. What should have been said before you said after; what should have been said after you said before. I’m consistent, you’re inconsistent. What you took so long to think out has been overturned. Your thesis has been refuted. Go off to rescue your thesis, for you’re defeated, or disentangle yourself if you can.’ For what reason? Because, bhikkhus, this talk is unbeneficial, irrelevant to the fundamentals of the holy life, and does not lead to revulsion, to dispassion, to cessation, to peace, to direct knowledge, to enlightenment, to Nibbāna.
    “When you talk, bhikkhus, you should talk about: ‘This is suffering’; you should talk about: ‘This is the origin of suffering’; you should talk about: ‘This is the cessation of suffering’; you should talk about: ‘This is the way leading to the cessation of suffering.’ For what reason? Because, bhikkhus, this talk is beneficial, relevant to the fundamentals of the holy life, and leads to revulsion, to dispassion, to cessation, to peace, to direct knowledge, to enlightenment, to Nibbāna.
    “Therefore, bhikkhus, an exertion should be made to understand: ‘This is suffering.’… An exertion should be made to understand: ‘This is the way leading to the cessation of suffering.’”

10 (10) Pointless Talk
“Bhikkhus, do not engage in the various kinds of pointless talk, that is, talk about kings, thieves, and ministers of state; talk about armies, dangers, and wars; talk about food, drink, garments, and beds; talk about garlands and scents; talk about relations, vehicles, villages, towns, cities, and countries; talk about women and talk about heroes; [420] street talk and talk by the well; talk about those departed in days gone by; rambling chitchat; speculation about the world and about the sea; talk about becoming this or that. For what reason? Because, bhikkhus, this talk is unbeneficial, irrelevant to the fundamentals of the holy life, and does not lead to revulsion, to dispassion, to cessation, to peace, to direct knowledge, to enlightenment, to Nibbāna.
    “When you talk, bhikkhus, you should talk about: ‘This is suffering’; you should talk about: ‘This is the origin of suffering’; you should talk about: ‘This is the cessation of suffering’; you should talk about: ‘This is the way leading to the cessation of suffering.’ For what reason? Because, bhikkhus, this talk is beneficial, relevant to the fundamentals of the holy life, and leads to revulsion, to dispassion, to cessation, to peace, to direct knowledge, to enlightenment, to Nibbāna.
    “Therefore, bhikkhus, an exertion should be made to understand: ‘This is suffering.’… An exertion should be made to understand: ‘This is the way leading to the cessation of suffering.’”
 

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

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