Understanding Anatta

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Dhamma to Inspire” : The Buddha’s Words for Monastics : Vol IV

“Bhikkhus, dwell observant of virtuous behavior, observant of the Pātimokkha. Dwell restrained by the Pātimokkha, possessed of good conduct and resort, seeing danger in minute faults. Having undertaken them, train in the training rules. When you have done so, what further should be done?

 




 

(1) “Bhikkhus, if a bhikkhu has gotten rid of longing and ill will while walking; if he has abandoned dullness and drowsiness, restlessness and remorse, and doubt; 640 if his energy is aroused without slackening; if his mindfulness is established and unmuddled; if his body is tranquil and undisturbed; if his mind is concentrated and one-pointed, then that bhikkhu is said to be ardent and to dread wrongdoing; he is constantly and continuously energetic and resolute while walking.

 




Controlled in walking, controlled in standing, controlled in sitting and in lying down; controlled, a bhikkhu draws in the limbs, and controlled, he stretches them out. Above, across, and below, as far as the world extends, he is one who scrutinizes the arising and vanishing of such phenomena as the aggregates. Training in what is conducive to serenity of mind, always mindful, they call such a bhikkhu one constantly resolute.

 




14 (4) Restraint “Bhikkhus, there are these four strivings. What four? Striving by restraint, striving by abandonment, striving by development, and striving by protection.

(1) “And what, bhikkhus, is striving by restraint? Here, having seen a form with the eye, a bhikkhu does not grasp its marks and features. Since, if he left the eye faculty unrestrained, bad unwholesome states of longing and dejection might invade him, he practices restraint over it, he guards the eye faculty, he undertakes the restraint of the eye faculty. Having heard a sound with the ear …Having smelled an odor with the nose …Having tasted a taste with the tongue …Having felt a tactile object with the body …Having cognized a mental phenomenon with the mind, a bhikkhu does not grasp its marks and features. Since, if he left the mind faculty unrestrained, bad unwholesome states of longing and dejection might invade him, he practices restraint over it, he guards the mind faculty, he undertakes the restraint of the mind faculty. This is called striving by restraint.

(2) “And what is striving by abandonment? Here, a bhikkhu does not tolerate an arisen sensual thought; he abandons it, dispels it, terminates it, and obliterates it. He does not tolerate an arisen thought of ill will …an arisen thought of harming …bad unwholesome states whenever they arise; he abandons them, dispels them, terminates them, and obliterates them. This is called striving by abandonment.

(3) “And what is striving by development? Here, a bhikkhu develops the enlightenment factor of mindfulness, which is based upon seclusion, dispassion, and cessation, maturing in release. He develops the enlightenment factor of discrimination of phenomena …the enlightenment factor of energy …the enlightenment factor of rapture …the enlightenment factor of tranquility …the enlightenment factor of concentration …the enlightenment factor of equanimity, which is based upon seclusion, dispassion, and cessation, maturing in release. This is called striving by development. [17]

(4) “And what is striving by protection? Here, a bhikkhu protects an arisen excellent object of concentration: 642 the perception of a skeleton, the perception of a worm-infested corpse, the perception of a livid corpse, the perception of a festering corpse, the perception of a fissured corpse, the perception of a bloated corpse. This is called striving by protection.

“These, bhikkhus, are the four kinds of striving.”Restraint and abandonment, development and protection: these four strivings were taught by the Kinsman of the Sun. By these means an ardent bhikkhu here can attain the destruction of suffering.

 




Having known the exquisiteness of form, the origination of feelings, how perception arises, and where it disappears; having known volitional activities as alien, as suffering, and not as self, truly that bhikkhu who sees rightly, 646 peaceful, delights in the peaceful state. He bears his final body, having conquered Māra and his mount.

 




17 (7) Wrong Courses (1) “Bhikkhus, there are these four ways of taking a wrong course. What four? One takes a wrong course because of desire, because of hatred, because of delusion, or because of fear. These are the four ways of taking a wrong course.”If through desire, hate, fear, or delusion one transgresses against the Dhamma, one’s fame diminishes like the moon in the dark fortnight.




 

 

Having directly known all the world— all in the world just as it is— he is detached from all the world, disengaged from all the world. He is the vanquisher of all, the wise one who has untied all knots. He has reached the supreme peace, nibbāna, inaccessible to fear.67

 




 

25 (5) The Spiritual Life “Bhikkhus, this spiritual life is not lived for the sake of deceiving people and cajoling them; nor for the benefit of gain, honor, and praise; nor for the benefit of winning in debates; nor with the thought: ‘Let the people know me thus.’But rather, this spiritual life is lived for the sake of restraint, abandoning, dispassion, and cessation.”670 The Blessed One taught the spiritual life, not based on tradition, culminating in nibbāna, lived for the sake of restraint and abandoning. 671 This is the path of the great beings, 672 the path followed by the great seers. Those who practice it as taught by the Buddha, acting upon the Teacher’s guidance, will make an end of suffering.

 




 

26 (6) Deceivers673

(1) “Bhikkhus, those bhikkhus who are deceivers, stubborn, talkers, imposters, haughty, and unconcentrated are not bhikkhus of mine. 674 (2) They have strayed from this Dhamma and discipline, and they do not achieve growth, progress, and maturity in this Dhamma and discipline. (3) But those bhikkhus who are honest, sincere, steadfast, compliant, and well concentrated are bhikkhus of mine. (4) They have not strayed from this Dhamma and discipline, and they achieve growth, progress, and maturity in this Dhamma and discipline.”Those who are deceivers, stubborn, talkers, imposters, haughty, unconcentrated, do not make progress in the Dhamma that the Perfectly Enlightened One has taught. But those who are honest and sincere, steadfast, compliant, and well concentrated, make progress in the Dhamma

 




 

28 (8) Noble Lineages678

“Bhikkhus, there are these four noble lineages, primal, of long standing, traditional, ancient, unadulterated and never before adulterated, which are not being adulterated and will not be adulterated, which are not repudiated by wise ascetics and brahmins. What four?

(1) “Here, a bhikkhu is content with any kind of robe, and he speaks in praise of contentment with any kind of robe, and he does not engage in a wrong search, in what is improper, for the sake of a robe. 679 If he does not get a robe he is not agitated, and if he gets one he uses it without being tied to it, infatuated with it, and blindly absorbed in it, seeing the danger in it and understanding the escape from it. Yet he does not extol himself or disparage others because of this. Any bhikkhu who is skillful in this, diligent, clearly comprehending and ever mindful, is said to be standing in an ancient, primal noble lineage.

(2) “Again, a bhikkhu is content with any kind of almsfood, and he speaks in praise of contentment with any kind of almsfood, and he does not engage in a wrong search, in what is improper, for the sake of almsfood. If he does not get almsfood he is not agitated, and if he gets some he uses it without being tied to it, infatuated with it, and blindly absorbed in it, seeing the danger in it and understanding the escape from it. [28] Yet he does not extol himself or disparage others because of this. Any bhikkhu who is skillful in this, diligent, clearly comprehending and ever mindful, is said to be standing in an ancient, primal noble lineage.

(3) “Again, a bhikkhu is content with any kind of lodging, and he speaks in praise of contentment with any kind of lodging, and he does not engage in a wrong search, in what is improper, for the sake of lodging. If he does not get lodging he is not agitated, and if he gets it he uses it without being tied to it, infatuated with it, and blindly absorbed in it, seeing the danger in it and understanding the escape from it. Yet he does not extol himself or disparage others because of this. Any bhikkhu who is skillful in this, diligent, clearly comprehending and ever mindful, is said to be standing in an ancient, primal noble lineage.

(4) “Again, a bhikkhu finds delight in development, is delighted with development, finds delight in abandoning, is delighted with abandoning. 680 Yet he does not extol himself or disparage others because of this. Any bhikkhu who is skillful in this, diligent, clearly comprehending and ever mindful, is said to be standing in an ancient, primal noble lineage. “These, bhikkhus, are the four noble lineages, primal, of long standing, traditional, ancient, unadulterated and never before adulterated, which are not being adulterated and will not be adulterated, which are not repudiated by wise ascetics and brahmins.

 




 

“I neither approve of your [statement], brahmin, nor do I reject it. [36] Rather, I describe one who possesses four [other] qualities as a great man with great wisdom. What four?

(1) Here, he is practicing for the welfare and happiness of many people; he is one who has established many people in the noble method, that is, in the goodness of the Dhamma, in the wholesomeness of the Dhamma. 693

(2) He thinks whatever he wants to think and does not think what he does not want to think; he intends whatever he wants to intend and does not intend what he does not want to intend; thus he has attained to mental mastery over the ways of thought.

(3) He gains at will, without trouble or difficulty, the four jhānas that constitute the higher mind and are pleasant dwellings in this very life.

(4) With the destruction of the taints, he has realized for himself with direct knowledge, in this very life, the taintless liberation of mind, liberation by wisdom, and having entered upon it, he dwells in it. “I neither approve of your [statement], brahmin, nor do I reject it. But I describe someone who possesses these four qualities as a great man with great wisdom.”

 




 

37 (7) Non-Decline

“Bhikkhus, a bhikkhu who possesses four qualities is incapable of decline and is in the vicinity of nibbāna. What four? Here, a bhikkhu is accomplished in virtuous behavior, guards the doors of the sense faculties, observes moderation in eating, and is intent on wakefulness.

(1) “And how is a bhikkhu accomplished in virtuous behavior? Here, a bhikkhu is virtuous; he dwells restrained by the Pātimokkha, possessed of good conduct and resort, seeing danger in minute faults. Having undertaken the training rules, he trains in them. It is in this way that a bhikkhu is accomplished in virtuous behavior.

(2) “And how does a bhikkhu guard the doors of the sense faculties? Here, having seen a form with the eye, a bhikkhu does not grasp its marks and features. Since, if he left the eye faculty unrestrained, bad unwholesome states of longing and dejection might invade him, he practices restraint over it; he guards the eye faculty, he undertakes the restraint of the eye faculty. Having heard a sound with the ear …Having smelled an odor with the nose …Having tasted a taste with the tongue …Having felt a tactile object with the body …Having cognized a mental phenomenon with the mind, a bhikkhu does not grasp its marks and features. Since, if he left the mind faculty unrestrained, bad unwholesome states of longing and dejection [40] might invade him, he practices restraint over it; he guards the mind faculty, he undertakes the restraint of the mind faculty. It is in this way that a bhikkhu guards the doors of the sense faculties.

(3) “And how does a bhikkhu observe moderation in eating? Here, reflecting carefully, a bhikkhu consumes food neither for amusement nor for intoxication nor for the sake of physical beauty and attractiveness, but only for the support and maintenance of this body, for avoiding harm, and for assisting the spiritual life, considering: ‘Thus I shall terminate the old feeling and not arouse a new feeling, 700 and I shall be healthy and blameless and dwell at ease.’It is in this way that a bhikkhu observes moderation in eating.

(4) “And how is a bhikkhu intent on wakefulness? Here, during the day, while walking back and forth and sitting, a bhikkhu purifies his mind of obstructive qualities. In the first watch of the night, while walking back and forth and sitting, he purifies his mind of obstructive qualities. In the middle watch of the night he lies down on the right side in the lion’s posture, with one foot overlapping the other, mindful and clearly comprehending, after noting in his mind the idea of rising. After rising, in the last watch of the night, while walking back and forth and sitting, he purifies his mind of obstructive qualities. It is in this way that a bhikkhu is intent on wakefulness.

“A bhikkhu who possesses these four qualities is incapable of decline and is in the vicinity of nibbāna.”Established in virtuous behavior, restrained in the sense faculties, moderate in eating, intent on wakefulness: a bhikkhu dwells thus ardently, unwearying by day and night, developing wholesome qualities701 to attain security from bondage. A bhikkhu who delights in heedfulness, seeing the danger in heedlessness, is incapable of decline: he is close to nibbāna. 702 [41]

 




 

38 (8) Drawn Back

“Bhikkhus, a bhikkhu who has dispelled personal truths, totally renounced seeking, and tranquilized bodily activity is said to have drawn back. 703

(1) “And how, bhikkhus, has a bhikkhu dispelled personal truths? 704 Here, whatever ordinary personal truths may be held by ordinary ascetics and brahmins—that is, ‘The world is eternal’ or ‘The world is not eternal’; ‘The world is finite’ or ‘The world is infinite’; ‘The soul and the body are the same’ or ‘The soul is one thing, the body another’; ‘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’—a bhikkhu has discarded and dispelled them all, given them up, rejected them, let go of them, abandoned and relinquished them. 705 It is in this way that a bhikkhu has dispelled personal truths.

(2) “And how has a bhikkhu totally renounced seeking? Here, a bhikkhu has abandoned the search for sensual pleasures and the search for existence and has allayed the search for a spiritual life. 706 It is in this way that a bhikkhu has totally renounced seeking.

(3) “And how has a bhikkhu tranquilized bodily activity? Here, with the abandoning of pleasure and pain, and with the previous passing away of joy and dejection, a bhikkhu enters and dwells in the fourth jhāna, neither painful nor pleasant, which has purification of mindfulness by equanimity. It is in this way that a bhikkhu has tranquilized bodily activity. 707

(4) “And how has a bhikkhu drawn back? Here, a bhikkhu has abandoned the conceit ‘I am,’cut it off at the root, made it like a palm stump, obliterated it so that it is no longer subject to future arising. It is in this way that a bhikkhu has drawn back. “Bhikkhus, a bhikkhu who has dispelled personal truths, totally renounced seeking, and tranquilized bodily activity is said to have drawn back.”[42] Seeking for sense pleasures, seeking for existence, seeking for a spiritual life; the tight grasp “Such is the truth,”viewpoints [that are] swellings: 708 for one entirely detached from lust, liberated by the destruction of craving, such seeking has been relinquished, and viewpoints are uprooted. That peaceful, mindful bhikkhu, tranquil, undefeated, enlightened by breaking through conceit, is called “one who has drawn back.”

 




 

71 (1) Striving

“Bhikkhus, a bhikkhu who possesses four qualities is practicing the unmistakable way and has laid the groundwork for the destruction of the taints. 766 What four? Here, a bhikkhu is virtuous, learned, energetic, and wise. A bhikkhu who possesses these four qualities is practicing the unmistakable way and has laid the groundwork for the destruction of the taints.”

 




 

98 (8) One’s Own Welfare

“Bhikkhus, there are these four kinds of persons found existing in the world. What four? (1) One who is practicing for his own welfare but not for the welfare of others; (2) one who is practicing for the welfare of others but not for his own welfare; (3) one who is practicing neither for his own welfare nor for the welfare of others; and (4) one who is practicing both for his own welfare and for the welfare of others. These are the four kinds of persons found existing in the world.”

 “And how is a person practicing both for his own welfare and for the welfare of others? Here, some person is quick in attending to wholesome teachings … he practices in accordance with the Dhamma. Moreover, he is a good speaker with a good delivery … and he instructs, encourages, inspires, and gladdens his fellow monks. It is in this way that a person is practicing both for his own welfare and for the welfare of others.

 




104 (4) Pools of Water

“Bhikkhus, there are these four kinds of pools of water. What four? The one that is shallow but appears to be deep; the one that is deep but appears to be shallow; the one that is shallow and appears to be shallow; and the one that is deep and appears to be deep. These are the four kinds of pools of water. 793 So too, there are these four kinds of persons similar to pools of water found existing in the world. What four? The one who is shallow but appears to be deep; the one who is deep but appears to be shallow; the one who is shallow and appears to be shallow; and the one who is deep and appears to be deep.

(1) “And how, bhikkhus, is a person one who is shallow but appears to be deep? Here, someone inspires confidence by his manner of going forward and returning, looking ahead and looking aside, drawing in and extending the limbs, wearing his robes and carrying his outer robe and bowl; but he does not understand as it really is: ‘This is suffering,’and ‘This is the origin of suffering,’and ‘This is the cessation of suffering,’and ‘This is the way leading to the cessation of suffering.’It is in this way that a person is shallow but appears to be deep. So, I say, this person is just like a pool of water that is shallow but appears to be deep. [106]

(4) “And how is a person one who is deep and appears to be deep? Here, someone inspires confidence by his manner of going forward and returning, looking ahead and looking aside , drawing in and extending the limbs, wearing his robes and carrying his outer robe and bowl; and he understands as it really is: ‘This is suffering,’ and ‘This is the origin of suffering,’ and ‘This is the cessation of suffering,’ and ‘This is the way leading to the cessation of suffering.’ It is in this way that a person is deep and appears to be deep. So, I say, this person is just like a pool of water that is deep and appears to be deep. “These, bhikkhus, are the four kinds of persons similar to pools of water found existing in the world.””

 




 

(7) Mice

“Bhikkhus, there are these four kinds of mice. What four? The one that makes a hole but does not live in it; the one that lives in a hole but does not make one; the one that neither makes a hole nor lives in one; and the one that both makes a hole and lives in it. These are the four kinds of mice. So too, there are these four kinds of persons similar to mice found existing in the world. What four? The one who makes a hole but does not live in it; the one who lives in a hole but does not make one; the one who neither makes a hole nor lives in one; and the one who both makes a hole and lives in it. [108]

(1) “And how, bhikkhus, is a person one who makes a hole but does not live in it? Here, someone masters the Dhamma—the discourses, mixed prose and verse, expositions, verses, inspired utterances, quotations, birth stories, amazing accounts, and questions-and-answers—but he does not understand as it really is: ‘This is suffering,’and ‘This is the origin of suffering,’and ‘This is the cessation of suffering,’and ‘This is the way leading to the cessation of suffering.’It is in this way that a person is one who makes a hole but does not live in it. So, I say, this person is just like a mouse that makes a hole but does not live in it.

 (4) “And how is a person one who both makes a hole and lives in it? Here, someone masters the Dhamma—the discourses, mixed prose and verse, expositions, verses, inspired utterances, quotations, birth stories, amazing accounts, and questions-and-answers—and he understands as it really is: ‘This is suffering,’and ‘This is the origin of suffering,’and ‘This is the cessation of suffering,’and ‘This is the way leading to the cessation of suffering.’It is in this way that a person is one who both makes a hole and lives in it. So, I say, this person is just like a mouse that both makes a hole and lives in it.

“These, bhikkhus, are the four kinds of persons similar to mice found existing in the world.””

 




(3) “And how is a bhikkhu one who patiently endures? Here, a bhikkhu patiently endures cold and heat; hunger and thirst; contact with flies, mosquitoes, wind, the burning sun, and serpents; rude and offensive ways of speech; [118] he is able to bear up with arisen bodily feelings that are painful, racking, sharp, piercing, harrowing, disagreeable, sapping one’s vitality. It is this way that a bhikkhu is one who patiently endures.

 




“115 (5) Deeds

“Bhikkhus, there are these four cases of deeds. 796 What four? (1) There is a deed that is disagreeable to do which will prove harmful. (2) There is a deed that is disagreeable to do which will prove beneficial. (3) There is a deed that is agreeable to do which will prove harmful. (4) There is a deed that is agreeable to do which will prove beneficial.

(1) “Bhikkhus, take first the case of the deed that is disagreeable to do which will prove harmful. One considers that this deed should not be done on both grounds: because it is disagreeable to do and because it will prove harmful. One considers that this deed should not be done on both grounds.

(2) “Next, take the case of the deed that is disagreeable to do which will prove beneficial. It is in this case that one can understand who is a fool and who is a wise person in regard to manly strength, manly energy, and manly exertion. The fool does not reflect thus: ‘Although this deed is disagreeable to do, still [119] it will prove beneficial.’So he does not do that deed, and his refraining from it proves harmful. But the wise person does reflect thus: ‘Although this deed is disagreeable to do, still it will prove beneficial.’So he does that deed, and it proves beneficial.

(3) “Next, take the case of the deed that is agreeable to do which will prove harmful. It is in this case, too, that one can understand who is a fool and who is a wise person in regard to manly strength, manly energy, and manly exertion. The fool does not reflect thus: ‘Although this deed is agreeable to do, still it will prove harmful.’So he does that deed, and it proves harmful. But the wise person does reflect thus: ‘Although this deed is agreeable to do, still it will prove harmful.’So he does not do that deed, and his refraining from it proves beneficial.

(4) “Next, take the case of the deed that is agreeable to do which will prove beneficial. This deed is considered one that should be done on both grounds: because it is agreeable to do and because it proves beneficial. This deed is considered one that should be done on both grounds. “These, bhikkhus, are the four cases of deeds.”

 




 

 

116 (6) Heedfulness

“Bhikkhus, there are four occasions when heedfulness should be practiced. What four? (1) “Abandon bodily misconduct and develop bodily good conduct; do not be heedless in this. (2) Abandon verbal misconduct and develop verbal good conduct; do not be heedless in this. (3) Abandon mental misconduct and develop mental good conduct; do not be heedless in this. (4) Abandon wrong view and develop right view; do not be heedless in this. [120]

“Bhikkhus, when a bhikkhu has abandoned bodily misconduct and developed bodily good conduct; when he has abandoned verbal misconduct and developed verbal good conduct; when he has abandoned mental misconduct and developed mental good conduct; when he has abandoned wrong view and developed right view, then he need not fear death in the future.”797 117

 




 

(7) Guarding

“Bhikkhus, one bent on his own welfare798 should practice heedfulness, mindfulness, and guarding of the mind in four instances. What four?

(1) “‘May my mind not become excited by things that provoke lust!’One bent on his own welfare should practice heedfulness, mindfulness, and guarding of the mind thus.

(2) “‘May my mind not be full of hate toward things that provoke hatred!’One bent on his own welfare should practice heedfulness, mindfulness, and guarding of the mind thus.

(3) “‘May my mind not be deluded by things that cause delusion!’One bent on his own welfare should practice heedfulness, mindfulness, and guarding of the mind thus. (

4) “‘May my mind not be intoxicated by things that intoxicate!’799 One bent on his own welfare should practice heedfulness, mindfulness, and guarding of the mind thus.

“Bhikkhus, when a bhikkhu’s mind is not excited by things that provoke lust because he has gotten rid of lust; when his mind is not full of hate toward things that provoke hatred because he has gotten rid of hatred; when his mind is not deluded by things that cause delusion because he has gotten rid of delusion; when his mind is not intoxicated by things that intoxicate because he has gotten rid of intoxication, then he does not cower, does not shake, does not tremble or become terrified, nor is he swayed by the words of [other] ascetics.”800″

 

New Retreat – The Noble Eightfold Path : Ancient Teachings for a Modern World

I will be doing a retreat in November once more at Buddhist Insights in NYC. The Title of this event is :

*The Noble Eightfold Path : Ancient Teachings for a Modern World*

I want this to be more then just a basic Noble Eightfold Path retreat. I will go over the various aspects of the path, but with a special focus on how you can implement the path in this modern world, and how the path is timeless and as viable today as it was 2600 years ago.

sign up here : https://www.eventbrite.com/e/weekend-retreat-the-noble-eightfold-path-with-bhikkhu-jayasara-tickets-38420363341