Samyuktagama 259

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Saṃyuktāgama 259. Discourse on Comprehension

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.

In the afternoon Mahākoṭṭhita rose from meditation and approached Sāriputta. Having exchanged polite greetings and expressed their mutual delight, Mahākoṭṭhita withdrew to sit at one side and then said to Sāriputta: “I would like to ask a question. Friend, would you have free time to show me the answer?”

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

Then Mahākoṭṭhita asked Sāriputta: “If a monk, who has not yet attained comprehension of the Dharma, wishes to seek comprehension of the Dharma, how should he diligently seek for it?What things should he give attention to?”

Sāriputta said: “If a monk, who has not yet attained comprehension of the Dharma, wishes to seek comprehension of the Dharma, he should energetically give attention to the five aggregates of clinging as a disease, as a carbuncle, as a thorn, as a killer, as impermanent, as dukkha, as empty, and as not self. Why is that? Because it is possible that a monk who energetically gives attention to these five aggregates of clinging in this way attains the realization of the fruit of stream-entry.”

Mahākoṭṭhita asked again: “Sāriputta, having attained the realization of the fruit of stream-entry and wishing to attain the realization of the fruit of once-return, what things should he give attention to?”

Sāriputta said: “Mahākoṭṭhita, having attained the realization of the fruit of stream-entry and wishing to attain the realization of the fruit of once-return, he should also energetically give attention to the nature of these five aggregates of clinging as a disease, as a carbuncle, as a thorn, as a killer, as impermanent, as dukkha, as empty, and as not self. Why is that? Because it is possible that a monk who energetically gives attention to these five aggregates of clinging in this way attains the realization of the fruit of once-return.”

Mahākoṭṭhita asked Sāriputta again: “Having attained the realization of the fruit of once-return and wishing to attain the realization of the fruit of non-return, what things should he give attention to?”

Sāriputta said: “Mahākoṭṭhita, having attained the realization of the fruit of once-return and wishing to attain the realization of the fruit of non-return, he should again energetically give attention to the nature of these five aggregates of clinging as a disease, as a carbuncle, as a thorn, as a killer, as impermanent, as dukkha, as empty, and as not self. Why is that? Because it is possible that a monk who energetically gives attention to these five aggregates of clinging in this way attains the realization of the fruit of non-return.”

Mahākoṭṭhita asked Sāriputta again: “Having attained the realization of the fruit of non-return and wishing to attain the realization of the fruit of arahantship, what things should he give attention to?”

Sāriputta said: “Mahākoṭṭhita, having attained the realization of the fruit of non-return and wishing to attain the realization of the fruit of arahantship, he should again energetically give attention to the nature of these five aggregates of clinging as a disease, as a carbuncle, as a thorn, as a killer, as impermanent, as dukkha, as empty, and as not self. Why is that? Because it is possible that a monk who energetically gives attention to these five aggregates of clinging in this way attains the realization of the fruit of arahantship.”

Mahākoṭṭhita asked Sāriputta again: “Having attained the realization of the fruit of arahantship, what things should he further give attention to?”

Sāriputta said: “Mahākoṭṭhita, an arahant still gives attention to the nature of these five aggregates of clinging as a disease, as a carbuncle, as a thorn, as a killer, as impermanent, as dukkha, as empty and as not self. Why is that? Not for the sake of attaining what had not been attained, for the sake of realizing what had not been realized, but for the sake of a pleasant abiding in the here and now.”

Then the two worthy ones delighted in hearing what each other had said and left.