Samyuktagama 109

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Saṃyuktāgama 109. [Discourse on the Tip of a Hair]

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

At that time the Blessed One said to the monks: “It is just as if there were a water pond that is fifty leagues (yojana ) in each direction and of similar depth, and it were full of water. Again, a person with a hair or with a blade of grass or with a fingernail takes a drop of that wa­ter. Monks, which do you think is more, that person’s drop of water or the water in the pond?”

The monks said to the Buddha: “The drop of water taken by that per­son with a hair or with a blade of grass or with a fingernail is little, so little it is not enough to be spoken about. The water in the pond is very much, a hundred, a thousand, a ten-thousand times more, it cannot be compared.”

“In the same way, monks, like that pond water is the manifold dukkha that has been abandoned by one who has seen the truth, it will never arise again in the future.”

At that time the Blessed One, having given this teaching, entered into his hut to sit in meditation. Then the venerable Sāriputta was seated in the assembly. After the Blessed One had gone and entered his hut, [Sāriputta] said to the monks:

“I have never before heard the simile of the pond that the Blessed One so well spoke today. Why is that? A noble disciple who is endowed with the vision of the truth gains the fruit of right comprehension (abhisamaya ). If the common folk has wrong view, that has its basis in identity view (sakkāyadiṭṭhi ), accumulates through identity view, arises through identity view, and emerges through identity view. That is, being covered by and experiencing worry and sorrow, they [still] celebrate and cher­ish it, call it a self, call it a living being, call it out­standing, special, and hold it to be superior.

“In this way this multitude of wrongness has all been completely given up and eradicated, removed at its root; like a plantain tree it will not arise again in the future.

“Monks, what is the multitude of wrongness [mentioned] above which the noble disciple, who has seen the truth, has abandoned, and which will never arise again in the future? A foolish unlearned worldling sees bodily form as the self, as being distinct from the self [in the sense of being owned by it], the self as being in bodily form, or bodily form as being in the self.He sees feeling … perception … forma­tions … consciousness as the self, as being distinct from the self [in the sense of being owned by it], the self as being in consciousness, or consciousness as being in the self.

“How does he see bodily form as the self? Having attained the earth kasiṇa and contemplated it, he thinks: ‘Earth is the self, the self is earth, the self and earth are just one, not two, they are not different, they are not separate.’

“In the same way having attained the water … fire …. wind … blue … yellow … red … white kasiṇa and contemplated it, he thinks: ‘White[ness] is the self, the self is white[ness], they are just one, not two, they are not different, they are not separate.’ In this way he con­ceives of a self in relation to each of the kasiṇa s. This is called [see­ing] bodily form as the self.

“How does he see bodily form as distinct from the self? Suppose he sees feeling as the self. Having seen feeling as the self, he sees bodily form as belonging to this self. Or he sees perception … formations … consciousness as the self and sees bodily form as belonging to this self. [This is called seeing bodily form as distinct from the self.]

“How does he see bodily form as being in the self? That is, he sees feeling as the self and bodily form as being in this self. Or he sees per­ception … formations … consciousness as the self and bodily form as being in this self. [This is called seeing bodily form as being in the self].

“How does he see the self as being in bodily form? That is, he sees feeling as the self, which dwells in bodily form, enters bodily form, being surrounded by the [other aggregates] as its four limbs. Or he sees perception … formations … consciousness as the self, which dwells in bodily form, [enters bodily form], being surrounded by the [other aggregates] as its four limbs. This is called [seeing] the self as being in bodily form.

“How does he see feeling as the self? That is, there are six classes of feeling: feeling arisen from eye-contact, feeling arisen from ear- … nose- … tongue- … body- … mind-contact. He sees each of these six classes of feeling as the self. This is called [seeing] feeling as the self.

“How does he see feeling as distinct from the self? That is, he sees bodily form as the self and feeling as belonging to this self. That is, [he sees] perception … formations … consciousness as the self and feeling as belonging to this self. This is called [seeing] feeling as dis­tinct from the self.

“How does he see feeling as being in the self? That is, [he sees] bodily form as the self and feeling as being within it. [He sees] perception … formations … consciousness as the self and feeling as being within it. [This is called seeing feeling as being in the self].

“How does he see the self as being in feeling? That is, [he sees] bodily form as the self which dwells among feelings, being surrounded by the [other aggregates] as its four limbs. [He sees] perception … forma­tions … consciousness as the self which dwells among feelings, being surrounded by the [other aggregates] as its four limbs. This is called [seeing] the self as being in feeling.

“How does he see perception as the self? That is, there are six classes of perception: perception arisen from eye-contact, perception arisen from ear- … nose- … tongue- … body- … mind-contact. He sees each of these six classes of perception as the self. This is called [seeing] perception as the self.

“How does he see perception as distinct from the self? That is, he sees bodily form as the self and perception as belonging to this self. [He sees feeling … formations] … consciousness as the self and percep­tion as belonging to this self. This is called [seeing] perception as dis­tinct from the self.

“How does he see perception as being in the self? That is, [he sees] bodily form as the self and perception as dwelling within it. [He sees] feeling … formations … consciousness as the self and perception as dwelling within it. This is called [seeing] perception as being in the self.

“How does he see the self as being in perception? That is, [he sees] bodily form as the self which dwells among perceptions, being sur­rounded by the [other aggregates] as its four limbs. [He sees] feel­ing … formations … consciousness as the self which dwells among perceptions, being surrounded by the [other aggregates] as its four limbs. This is called [seeing] the self as being in perception.

“How does he see formations as the self? That is, there are six classes of intention: intention arisen from eye-contact, intention arisen from ear- … nose- … tongue- … body- … mind-contact. He sees each of these six classes of intention as the self. This is called [seeing] for­mations as the self.

“How does he see formations as distinct from the self? That is, he sees bodily form as the self and formations as belonging to this self. [He sees] feeling … perception … consciousness as the self and forma­tions as belonging to this self. This is called [seeing] formations as distinct from the self.

“How does he see formations as being in the self? That is, [he sees] bodily form as the self and formations as dwelling within it. [He sees] feeling … perception … consciousness as the self and formations as dwelling in it. This is called [seeing] formations as being in the self.

“How does he see the self as being in formations? That is, [he sees] bodily form as the self which dwells among formations, being sur­rounded by the [other aggregates] as its four limbs. That is, [he sees] feeling … perception … consciousness as the self which dwells among formations, being surrounded by the [other aggregates] as its four limbs. This is called [seeing] the self as being in formations.

“How does he see consciousness as the self? That is, there are six clas­ses of consciousness: eye-consciousness, ear- … nose- … tongue- … body- … mind-consciousness. He sees each of these six classes of consciousness as the self. This is called [seeing] consciousness as the self.

“How does he see consciousness as distinct from the self? That is, he sees bodily form as the self and consciousness as belonging to this self. He sees feeling … perception … formations as the self and con­sciousness as belonging to this self. This is called [seeing] conscious­ness as distinct from the self.

“How does he see consciousness as being in the self? That is, [he sees] bodily form as the self and consciousness as dwelling within it. [He sees] feeling … perception … formations as the self and conscious­ness as dwelling within it. This is called [seeing] consciousness as being in the self.

“How does he see the self as being in consciousness? That is, [he sees] bodily form as the self which dwells among consciousness, being sur­rounded by the [other aggregates] as its four limbs. [He sees] feel­ing … perception … formations as the self which dwells among con­sciousness, being surrounded by the [other aggregates] as its four limbs. This is called [seeing] the self as being in consciousness.

“In this way a noble disciple who has seen the four truths gains the fruit of right comprehension and abandons all wrong views, which will never arise again in the future.

“Whatever bodily form, whether past, future or present, internal or ex­ternal, gross or subtle, sublime or repugnant, far or near, he contem­plates it taken together completely in this way:

“‘All of it is impermanent, all of it is dukkha, all of it is empty, all of it is not self, it should not be craved with delight, grasped or kept up. Feeling … perception … formations … consciousness is also like this, it should not be craved with delight, grasped or kept up.’

“Contemplating in this way he well collects the mind and establishes it, without being deluded by phenomena. He furthermore contemplates with energy, being apart from indolence, and his mind gains joy and happiness, his body and mind are calm, quietly established in equi­poise. He is endowed with the constituents of awakening and brings them to fulfilment by cultivation.

“He is forever apart from all evil, it is not the case that he does not extinguish it, it is not the case that he does not bring it to cessation, he eradicates it and does not give rise to it, he decreases it and does not increase it, he abandons it and does not give rise to it. Not clinging and 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 Sāriputta spoke this teaching, sixty monks by not clinging at­tained liberation from the influxes in their minds. When the Buddha had spoken this discourse, the monks, hearing what the Buddha had said, were delighted and received it respectfully.