Samyuktagama 257

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Saṃyuktāgama 257. Second Discourse on Ignorance

Thus have I heard. At one time the Buddha was staying at Rājagaha in the Bamboo Grove, the Squirrels’ Feeding Place. At that time the venerable Sāriputta and the venerable Mahākoṭṭhita were on Mount Vulture Peak.

Then, in the afternoon the venerable Mahākoṭṭhita rose from meditation and approached the venerable Sāriputta. Having exchanged polite greetings and in various ways expressed their mutual delight, the venerable Mahākoṭṭhita withdrew to sit at one side and then said to the venerable Sāriputta: “I would like to ask a question. Would you have a little free time for me to speak?”

Sāriputta said: “Friend, you can just ask, on knowing it I shall reply.”

Mahākoṭṭhita asked Sāriputta: “Regarding ignorance: What, again, is ignorance? Who has this ignorance?”

Sāriputta replied: “One who is ignorant is reckoned not to understand, one who does not understand is ignorant.”

Mahākoṭṭhita asked again: “What does he not understand?”

Sāriputta said: “That is, he does not understand as it really is bodily form … the arising of bodily form … the cessation of bodily form, and he does not understand as it really is the path leading to the cessation of bodily form. He does not understand as it really is feeling … perception … formations … consciousness … the arising of consciousness … the cessation of consciousness, and he does not understand as it really is the path leading to the cessation of consciousness.

“Mahākoṭṭhita, not understanding these five aggregates of clinging as they really are, not understanding them, not seeing them, not comprehending them, being stupid, dull, and without understanding in this respect—this is called ignorance. One who fulfils this condition is called ignorant.”

Mahākoṭṭhita asked Sāriputta again: “What is knowledge? Who has this knowledge?”

Sāriputta said: “Regarding one who is knowledgeable, he understands. One who understands is knowledgeable.”

Mahākoṭṭhita asked again: “What does he understand?”

Sāriputta said: “He understands as it really is bodily form … the arising of bodily form … the cessation of bodily form, and he understands as it really is the path leading to the cessation of bodily form. He understands as it really is feeling … perception … formations … consciousness … the arising of consciousness… the cessation of consciousness, and he understands as it really is the path leading to the cessation of consciousness.

“Mahākoṭṭhita, understanding these five aggregates of clinging as they really are, seeing them, understanding them, realizing them, having wisdom in regard to them, comprehending them—this is called being knowledgeable. One who fulfils this condition is called knowledgeable.”

The two worthy ones kept on delighting in hearing what each other had said, rose from their seats and returned to their respective former dwellings.