Samyuktagama 15

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Saṃyuktāgama

15. Discourse on the Underlying Tendencies

Thus have I heard. At one time the Buddha was staying at Sāvatthī in Jeta’s Grove, Anāthapiṇḍika’s Park. At that time a certain monk approached the Buddha, paid homage with his head at the Buddha’s feet, withdrew to stand at one side and said to the Buddha:

“It would be well if the Blessed One would now teach me the essentials of the Dharma in brief. On having heard the Dharma I shall practice alone in a quiet place without negligence. Having practiced without negligence I shall in turn reflect on that for whose sake a clansman’s son goes forth, shaving off beard and hair and putting Dharma robes on the body, out of faith going forth from the home to homelessness for the unsurpassed supreme holy life, realizing here and now that ‘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 further existence.’”

At that time the Blessed One said to that monk: “It is well, it is well, monk, that you right away speak these words, saying: ‘Would you teach me the essentials of the Dharma in brief. On having heard the Dharma I shall practice alone in a quiet place without negligence … up to … knowing myself that there will be no receiving of further existence.’ Are you speaking like this?” The monk said to the Buddha: “It is like this, Blessed One.”

The Buddha said to the monk: “Listen, listen and pay careful attention to what I shall tell you. Monk, if one surrenders to the underlying tendencies, one surrenders to the underlying tendency at death. If one surrenders to the underlying tendency at death, one is bound by grasping. Monk, if one does not surrender to the underlying tendencies, one does not surrender to the underlying tendency at death. If one does not surrender to the underlying tendency at death, one is liberated from grasping.” The monk said to the Buddha: “I understood, Blessed One, I understood Well Gone One!”

The Buddha said to the monk: “How do you understand in full the meaning of the teaching I herein spoke in brief?” The monk said to the Buddha: “Blessed One, surrendering to the underlying tendencies towards bodily form one surrenders to the underlying tendency towards bodily form at death. One who surrenders to the underlying tendencies and surrenders to the underlying tendency at death is bound by grasping. In the same way surrendering to the underlying tendencies towards feeling … perception … formations … consciousness one surrenders to the underlying tendency at death. One who surrenders to the underlying tendencies and surrenders to the underlying tendency at death is bound by grasping.

“Blessed One, if one does not surrender to the underlying tendencies towards bodily form one does not surrender to the underlying tendency at death. One who does not surrender to the underlying tendencies and does not surrender to the underlying tendency at death is liberated from grasping. In the same way if one does not surrender to the underlying tendencies towards feeling … perception … formations … consciousness one does not surrender to the underlying tendency at death. One who does not surrender to the underlying tendencies and does not surrender to the underlying tendency at death is liberated from grasping. Blessed One, in this way I understand in full the meaning of the teaching herein spoken in brief.”

The Buddha said to the monk: “It is well, it is well, monk, that you understand in full the meaning of the teaching I herein spoke in brief. Why is that? Surrendering to the underlying tendencies towards bodily form one surrenders to the underlying tendency at death. One who surrenders to the underlying tendencies and surrenders to the underlying tendency at death is bound by grasping. In the same way surrendering to the underlying tendencies towards feeling … perception … formations … consciousness one surrenders to the underlying tendency at death. One who surrenders to the underlying tendencies and surrenders to the underlying tendency at death is bound by grasping.

“Monk, if one does not surrender to the underlying tendencies towards bodily form one does not surrender to the underlying tendency at death. One who does not surrender to the underlying tendencies and does not surrender to the underlying tendency at death is liberated from grasping. In the same way, if one does not surrender to the underlying tendencies towards feeling … perception … formations … consciousness one does not surrender to the underlying tendency at death. One who does not surrender to the underlying tendencies and does not surrender to the underlying tendency at death is liberated from grasping.”

Then, on hearing what the Buddha had said, the mind of that monk was greatly delighted. He paid homage to the Buddha and withdrew. Practising alone in a quiet place with diligence he was established in being without negligence. Having practiced with diligence and being established in being without negligence, he was able to reflect on that for the sake of what a clansman’s son goes forth, shaving off beard and hair and putting Dharma robes on the body, out of faith going forth from the home to homelessness … up to … he himself knew that there will be no receiving of further existence.’ Then that monk became an arahant, attaining liberation of the mind.