Samyuktagama 103

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Saṃyuktāgama 103. [Discourse to Khemaka]

This have I heard. At one time a group of many elder monks were staying at Kosambī in Ghosita’s Park. Then the monk Khemaka was dwelling at Kosambī in the Jujube Tree Park. His body had become seriously ill. Then the monk Dāsaka was looking after the sick. Then the monk Dāsaka approached the elder monks, paid respect at the feet of the elder monks, and stood at one side.

The elder monks said to the monk Dāsaka: “Approach the monk Khe­maka and say: The elder monks ask you: ‘Is your body recovering a little and at ease, is the severity of your painful afflictions not increas­ing?’”

Then the monk Dāsaka, having received the instructions from the el­der monks, approached the monk Khemaka. He said to the monk Khemaka: “The elder monks ask you: ‘Are you gradually recovering from your painful afflictions? Are the multitude of pains not increas­ing?’”

The monk Khemaka said to the monk Dāsaka: “I have not recovered from the illness and my body is not at ease, the pains keep increasing and there is no relief. It is just as if many strong men were to grab a weak man, put a rope around his head and with both hands pull it tight, so that he is in extreme pain. My pain now exceeds that. It is just as if a cow butcher with a sharp knife cuts open a living [cow’s] belly to take its internal organs. How could that cow endure the pains in its belly? My belly is now more painful than that cow’s. It is just as if two strong men grabbed one weak person and hung him over a fire, roast­ing both his feet. The heat of both my feet now exceeds that.”

Then the monk Dāsaka approached the elders. He completely told the elders what the monk Khemaka had said about the condition of his illness.

Then the elders sent the monk Dāsaka back to approach the monk Khemaka, to say to the monk Khemaka: “There are five aggregates of clinging, taught by the Blessed One. What are the five? They are the bodily form aggregate of clinging, the feeling … perception … for­mations … consciousness aggregate of clinging. Khemaka, are you just able to examine these five aggregates of clinging as not self and not belonging to the self?”

Then the monk Dāsaka, having received the instructions from the el­der monks, approached the monk Khemaka and said: “The elders say to you: ‘The Blessed One has taught the five aggregates of cling­ing. Are you just able to examine them as not self and not belonging to the self?’”

The monk Khemaka said to Dāsaka: “I am able to examine these five aggregates of clinging as not self and not belonging to the self.”

The monk Dāsaka returned and said to the elders: “The monk Khema­ka says: ‘I am able to examine these five aggregates of clinging as not self and not belonging to the self.’”

The elders again sent the monk Dāsaka to say to the monk Khemaka: “Being able to examine these five aggregates of clinging as not self and not belonging, are you thus an arahant, with the influxes being eradi­cated?”

Then the monk Dāsaka, having received the instructions from the el­der monks, approached the monk Khemaka. He said to Khemaka: “A monk who is able to contemplate the five aggregates of clinging in this way, is he thus an arahant, with the influxes being eradicated?”

The monk Khemaka said to the monk Dāsaka: “I contemplate the five aggregates of clinging as not self and not belonging to the self, [yet] I am not an arahant, with the influxes being eradicated.”

Then the monk Dāsaka returned to the elders. He said to the elders: “The monk Khemaka says: ‘I contemplate the five aggregates of cling­ing as not self and not belonging to the self, yet I am not an arahant, with the influxes being eradicated.”

Then the elders said to the monk Dāsaka: “Return again to say to the monk Khemaka: You say: ‘I contemplate the five aggregates as not self and not belonging to the self, yet I am not an arahant, with the influxes being eradicated.’ The former and the latter [statement] con­tradict each other.’”

Then the monk Dāsaka, having received the instructions from the el­der monks, approached the monk Khemaka and said: “You say: ‘I contemplate the five aggregates of clinging as not self and not belong­ing to the self, yet I am not an arahant, with the influxes being eradi­cated.’ The former and the latter [statement] contradict each other.”

The monk Khemaka said to the monk Dāsaka: “I examine these five aggregates of clinging as not self and not belonging to the self, yet I am not an arahant, [with the influxes being eradicated]. I have not yet abandoned the ‘I am’ conceit, the desire [related to the notion] ‘I am’, and the underlying tendency towards ‘I am’, have not yet [fully] under­stood it, not yet become separated from it, not yet vomited it out.”

The monk Dāsaka returned to the elders. He said to the elders: “The monk Khemaka says: ‘I examine these five aggregates of clinging as not self and not belonging to the self, yet I am not an arahant, with the influxes being eradicated. I have not yet abandoned the ‘I am’ conceit, the desire [related to the notion] ‘I am’, and the underlying tendency towards ‘I am’, have not yet [fully] understood it, not yet become sepa­rated from it, not yet vomited it out.’”

The elders again sent the monk Dāsaka to say to the monk Khemaka: “You [seem] to affirm that there is a self. Where is that self? Is bodily form the self? Or is the self distinct from bodily form? Is feeling … perception … for­mations … consciousness the self? Or is the self distinct from con­sciousness?”

The monk Khemaka said to the monk Dāsaka: “I do not say that bodily form is the self, or that the self is distinct from bodily form; that feeling … perception … formations … consciousness is the self, or that the self is distinct from consciousness. Yet in relation to these five aggregates of clinging I have not yet abandoned the ‘I am’ conceit, the desire [related to the notion] ‘I am’, and the underlying tendency towards ‘I am’, have not yet [fully] understood it, not yet become separated from it, not yet vomited it out.”

The monk Khemaka said to the monk Dāsaka: “Why trouble you now, making you run back and forth? Bring my walking stick. Supporting myself with the walking stick, I will approach the elders. [So] I ask you to give me the walking stick for my use.”

The monk Khemaka, supporting himself with the walking stick, ap­proached the elders. Then the elders saw from afar that the monk Khe­maka was coming, supported by a walking stick. They themselves pre­pared a seat for him and set up a foot rest. They came forward them­selves to welcome him, took his robe and bowl, and told him to sit down right away. They exchanged polite greetings with each other. Having exchanged polite greetings, the [elders] said to the monk Khe­maka:

“You speak of the conceit ‘I am’. Where do you see a self? Is bodily form the self? Or is the self distinct from bodily form? Is feeling … perception … formations … consciousness the self? Or is the self dis­tinct from consciousness?”

The monk Khemaka said: “Bodily form is not self and there is no self that is distinct from bodily form. Feeling … perception … forma­tions … consciousness is not self, and there is no self that is distinct from consciousness. However, in relation to these five aggregates of clinging I have not yet abandoned the ‘I am’ conceit, the desire [re­lated to the notion] ‘I am’, and the underlying tendency towards ‘I am’, have not yet [fully] understood it, not yet become separated from it, not yet vomited it out.

“It is just like the fragrance of uppala lotuses, paduma lotuses, kumuda lotuses, puṇḍarīka lotuses ― is the fragrance in the roots? Is the fragrance distinct from the roots? Is the fragrance in the stalks, the leafs, the stamen, its finer and coarser parts? Or is it distinct from … its finer and coarser parts? Is this correctly spoken?”

The elders replied: “No, monk Khemaka. The fragrance is not in the roots of uppala lotuses, paduma lotuses, kumuda lotuses, puṇḍarīka lotuses, nor is the fragrance distinct from the roots. The fragrance is also not in the stalks, the leafs, the stamen, its fine and coarse parts, and the fragrance is also not distinct from … its fine and coarse parts.”

The monk Khemaka asked again: “Where is the fragrance?”

The elders replied: “The fragrance is in the flower.”

The monk Khemaka said again: “With me it is in the same way. Bod­ily form is not self and there is no self distinct from bodily form. Feel­ing … perception … formations … consciousness is not self, and there is no self distinct from consciousness. Although in relation to these five aggregates of clinging I see no self and nothing belonging to the self, still I have not yet abandoned the ‘I am’ conceit, the desire [re­lated to the notion] ‘I am’, and the underlying tendency towards ‘I am’, have not yet [fully] understood it, not yet become separated from it, not yet vomited it out.

“Elders, allow me to speak a simile. Wise ones usually gain under­standing because of a comparison through a simile. It is just like a wet-nurse who gives a cloth [used as diaper] to the launderer. With various kinds of lye and soap he washes out the dirt, yet there is still a remainder of smell. By mixing it with various kinds of fragrance he makes that disappear.

“In the same way, although the learned noble disciple rightly contem­plates these five aggregates of clinging as not self and not belonging to a self, still he has not yet abandoned the ‘I am’ conceit in relation to these five aggregates of clinging, the desire [related to the notion] ‘I am’, and the underlying tendency towards ‘I am’, has not yet [fully] understood it, not yet become separated from it, not yet vomited it out.

“Yet at a later time he progresses in giving attention to these five ag­gregates of clinging by examining their rise and fall: this is bodily form, this is the arising of bodily form, this is the cessation of bodily form, this is feeling … perception … formations … conscious­ness, this is the arising of consciousness, this is the cessation of con­sciousness. Having contemplated the rise and fall of these five aggre­gates of clinging in this way, he completely relinquishes all ‘I am’ con­ceit, desire [related to the notion] ‘I am’, and the underlying tendency towards ‘I am’. This is called truly and rightly contemplating.”

When the monk Khemaka spoke this teaching, the elders attained the pure eye of Dharma that is remote from [mental] stains and free from [mental] dust, and the monk Khemaka by not clinging attained libera­tion from the influxes in his mind. Because of the benefit of the joy of Dharma, his body got completely rid of the illness.

Then the elder monks said to the monk Khemaka: “When we heard what [our] friend said for the first time, we already understood and already delighted in it, what to say of hearing him again and again. When asking [further] we wished that [our] friend manifests his re­fined eloquence. Not to harass you, [but] for you to be willing and able to teach in detail the Dharma of the Tathāgata, the arahant, the fully awakened one.”

Then the elders, hearing what the monk Khemaka had said, were de­lighted and received it respectfully.