Samyuktagama 104

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Saṃyuktāgama 104. [Discourse to Yamaka]

This have I heard. At one time the Buddha was staying at Sāvatthī in Jeta’s Grove, Anāthapiṇḍika’s Park.

At that time a monk called Yamaka had given rise to an evil wrong view, speaking in this way: “As I understand the Dharma taught by the Buddha, an arahant, with the influxes being eradicated, will not exist any­where after the body breaks up at the end of life.”

Then a group of many monks heard what he had said. They ap­proached the monk Yamaka and said to him: “Is it true that you said this: ‘As I understand the Dharma taught by the Buddha, an arahant, with the influxes being eradicated, will not exist anywhere after the body breaks up at the end of life’?”

He replied: “It is true, venerable ones.”

Then the monks said to Yamaka: “Do not misrepresent the Blessed One! It is not good to misrepresent the Blessed One. The Blessed One does not say this. You should completely give up this evil wrong view.”

When the monks said this, the monk Yamaka still held on to his evil wrong view, speaking in this way: “Venerable ones, only this is true, what differs is false.” He spoke in this way three times.

When the monks were unable to correct the monk Yamaka, they forth­with gave up and left. They approached the venerable Sāriputta and said to the venerable Sāriputta: “Venerable one, you should know that the monk Yamaka has given rise to an evil wrong view in this way: ‘[As] I understand the Dharma taught by the Buddha, an arahant, with the influxes being eradicated, will not exist anywhere after the body breaks up at the end of life.’

“Having heard what he had said, we therefore approached and asked the monk Yamaka: ‘Is it true that your understanding and view is like this?’ He replied to us: ‘It is true, venerable ones, what differs [from my understanding] is fool­ish talk.’

“We said: ‘Do not misrepresent the Blessed One. The Blessed One does not say this. You should give up this evil wrong view.’ We admonished him three times, yet he did not give up his evil wrong view. Therefore we now have approached the venerable one. May the venerable one appease the evil wrong view of the monk Yamaka, out of compassion for him.”

Sāriputta said: “It being like this, I will appease his evil wrong view.”

Then the group of many monks, hearing what Sāriputta had said, re­joiced and were delighted. They returned to their former dwellings.

At that time, in the morning, the venerable Sāriputta put on his robe and took his bowl to enter the town of Sāvatthī to beg for food. Hav­ing eaten, he came out of the town. Having returned to his monastery to store away his robe and bowl, he approached the monk Yamaka.

When the monk Yamaka saw from afar that the venerable Sāriputta was coming, he prepared a seat for him, [water] for washing the feet, and set up a foot rest. He welcomed him, taking his robe and bowl, and invited him to sit down right away.

Having right away sat down and washed his feet, the venerable Sāri­putta said to the monk Yamaka: “Is it true that you speak in this way: ‘[As] I understand the Dharma taught by the Blessed One, an arahant, with the influxes being eradicated, will not exist anywhere after the body breaks up at the end of life’?”

The monk Yamaka replied to Sāriputta: “It is true, venerable Sāri­putta.”

Sāriputta said: “I will now ask you, answer me according to your un­derstanding. How is it, Yamaka, is bodily form permanent or is it im­permanent?”

[Yamaka] replied: “It is impermanent, venerable Sāriputta.”

[Sāriputta] asked again: “What is impermanent, is it dukkha?”

[Yamaka] replied: “It is dukkha.”

[Sāriputta] asked again: “What is impermanent, dukkha, of a nature to change, would a noble disciple herein [regard] it as the self, as distinct from the self [in the sense of being owned by it], as existing [within the self, or the self] as existing [within it]?”

[Yamaka] replied: “No, venerable Sāriputta.”

Feeling … perception … formations … consciousness is also like this.

[Sāriputta] asked again: “How is it, Yamaka, is bodily form the Ta­thāgata?”

[Yamaka] replied: “No, venerable Sāriputta.”

[Sāriputta asked again]: “Is feeling … perception … formations … consciousness the Tathāgata?”

[Yamaka] replied: “No, venerable Sāriputta.”

[Sāriputta] asked again: “How is it, Yamaka, is the Tathāgata distinct from bodily form? Is the Tathāgata distinct from feeling … percep­tion … formations … consciousness?”

[Yamaka] replied: “No, venerable Sāriputta.”

[Sāriputta] asked again: “Is the Tathāgata in bodily form? Is the Ta­thāgata in feeling … perception … formations … consciousness?”

[Yamaka] replied: “No, venerable Sāriputta.”

[Sāriputta asked again]: “Is bodily form in the Tathāgata? Is feeling … perception … formations … consciousness in the Tathāgata?”

[Yamaka] replied: “No, venerable Sāriputta.”

[Sāriputta] asked again: “Is the Tathāgata without bodily form … feel­ing … perception … formations … consciousness?”

[Yamaka] replied: “No, venerable Sāriputta.”

[Sāriputta said]: “In this way, Yamaka, the Tathāgata as existing truly here and now cannot be gotten at anywhere, cannot be designated any­where. Why do you say: ‘[As] I understand the Dharma taught by the Buddha, an arahant, with the influxes being eradicated, will not exist any­where after the body breaks up at the end of life’? Is that properly spo­ken?”

[Yamaka] replied: “No, venerable Sāriputta.”

[Sāriputta] asked again: “Yamaka, earlier you said: ‘[As] I understand the Dharma taught by the Buddha, an arahant, with the influxes being eradicated, will not exist anywhere after the body breaks up at the end of life’. Why are you now replying by stating that this is not the case?”

The monk Yamaka said: “Venerable Sāriputta, earlier I did not under­stand. Because of ignorance I generated and expressed an evil wrong view like this. Having heard what the venerable Sāriputta said, all that lack of understanding and ignorance have been completely aban­doned.”

[Sāriputta] asked again: “Yamaka, if you are further asked: ‘Monk, as you earlier declared an evil wrong view, knowing and seeing what has this now all been completely removed?’ What would you answer?”

Yamaka replied: “Venerable Sāriputta, if someone comes and asks, I would answer in this way: ‘The bodily form of an arahant, with the in­fluxes being eradicated, is impermanent. What is impermanent, is dukkha . What is dukkha has become tranquil and become cool, it has for­ever disappeared. Feeling, perception … formations … consciousness is also like this.’ [If] someone comes and asks, I would answer in this way.”

Sāriputta said: “It is well, it is well, monk Yamaka. You should an­swer in this way. Why is that? The bodily form of an arahant, with the influxes being eradicated, is impermanent. What is impermanent, is dukkha. What is impermanent and dukkha is of a nature to rise and fall. Feel­ing … perception … formations … consciousness is also like this.”

When the venerable Sāriputta spoke this teaching, the monk Yamaka attained the pure eye of Dharma that is remote from [mental] stains and free from [mental] dust.

The venerable Sāriputta said to the monk Yamaka: “I will now speak a simile. Wise persons gain understanding through a simile. It is like the son of a householder; a son of a householder who is very rich and has much wealth. He seeks widely for a retinue that well protects his wealth.

“Then an evil person who is his enemy pretends to have come as a close friend in order to become his retainer. He often waits for an opportunity, going to sleep late and rising early, looking after him nearby when he rests. He is careful and respectful in his affairs, mod­est in his words, causing his master to think of him with delight, to perceive him as a friend, to perceive him as a son, with utmost trust and without doubt, without guarding himself. Later on, with a sharp knife in his hand, he cuts off [his master’s] life.

“Monk Yamaka, what do you think? That evil enemy, acting at the householder’s friend, was he not acting from the outset as an expedient with a mind intent on harm, constantly waiting for an opportunity until bringing about [the householder’s] end? Yet that householder was not able to realize it, until the moment he suffered harm.”

[Yamaka] replied: “It is true, venerable [Sāriputta].”

Sāriputta said to the monk Yamaka. “What do you think? Had that householder actually understood that the man pretending to be a friend wished his harm, would he have well guarded himself and not suffered harm?”

[Yamaka] replied: “It is like this, venerable Sāriputta.”

[Sāriputta said]: “In the same way, monk Yamaka, a foolish unlearned worldling perceives these five aggregates of clinging as permanent, perceives them as ease, perceives them as health, perceives them as the self, perceives them as belonging to the self. He keeps guarding and cherishing these five aggregates of clinging. In the end he is harmed by the enemy of the five aggregates of clinging, just as that householder was harmed by the enemy pretending to be a friend, with­out realizing it.

“Yamaka, a learned noble disciples who examines these five aggre­gates of clinging as a disease, as a carbuncle, as a thorn, as a killer, as impermanent, as dukkha, as empty, as not self, and as not belonging to a self, does not cling to these five aggregates of clinging and [there­fore] is not attached to them.

“Because of not clinging he is not attached, because of not being at­tached he personally realizes Nirvāṇa, [knowing]: ‘Birth for me has been eradicated, the holy life has been established, what had to be done has been done, I myself know that there will be no receiving of any further existence.’”

When the venerable Sāriputta spoke this teaching, the monk Yamaka by not clinging attained liberation from the influxes in his mind.

The venerable Sāriputta, having spoken this teaching to the monk Yamaka, having instructed, taught, illuminated, and delighted him, rose from his seat and left.