The Connected Discourses of the Buddha - Selections

Chapter 35. Saḷāyatanasaṃyutta: Connected Discourses on the Six Sense Bases
Division III. The Third Fifty

V. New and Old

146 (1) Kamma
“Bhikkhus, I will teach you new and old kamma, the cessation of kamma, and the way leading to the cessation of kamma. Listen to that and attend closely, I will speak….
    “And what, bhikkhus, is old kamma? The eye is old kamma, to be seen as generated and fashioned by volition, as something to be felt. The ear is old kamma … The mind is old kamma, to be seen as generated and fashioned by volition, as something to be felt. This is called old kamma.
    “And what, bhikkhus is new kamma? Whatever action one does now by body, speech, or mind. This is called new kamma.
    “And what, bhikkhus, is the cessation of kamma? When one reaches liberation through the cessation of bodily action, verbal action, and mental action, [133] this is called the cessation of kamma.
    “And what, bhikkhus, is the way leading to the cessation of kamma? It is this Noble Eightfold Path; that is, right view, right intention, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration.
    “Thus, bhikkhus, I have taught old kamma, I have taught new kamma, I have taught the cessation of kamma, I have taught the way leading to the cessation of kamma. Whatever should be done, bhikkhus, by a compassionate teacher out of compassion for his disciples, desiring their welfare, that I have done for you. These are the feet of trees, bhikkhus, these are empty huts. Meditate, bhikkhus, do not be negligent, lest you regret it later. This is our instruction to you.”

147 (2) Suitable for Attaining Nibbāna (1)
“Bhikkhus, I will teach you the way that is suitable for attaining Nibbāna. Listen to that….
    “And what, bhikkhus, is the way that is suitable for attaining Nibbāna? Here, a bhikkhu sees the eye as impermanent, he sees forms as impermanent, he sees eye-consciousness as impermanent, he sees eye-contact as impermanent, he sees as impermanent whatever feeling arises with eye-contact as condition, whether pleasant or painful or neither-painful-nor-pleasant.
    “He sees the ear as impermanent … [134] … He sees the mind as impermanent, he sees mental phenomena as impermanent, he sees mind-consciousness as impermanent, he sees mind-contact as impermanent, he sees as impermanent whatever feeling arises with mind-contact as condition, whether pleasant or painful or neither-painful-nor-pleasant.
    “This, bhikkhus, is the way that is suitable for attaining Nibbāna.”

148 (3)–149 (4) Suitable for Attaining Nibbāna (2–3)
(Same as preceding sutta, with “suffering” and “nonself” substituted for “impermanent.”) [135]

150 (5) Suitable for Attaining Nibbāna (4)
“Bhikkhus, I will teach the way that is suitable for attaining Nibbāna. Listen to that….
    “What do you think, bhikkhus, is the eye permanent or impermanent?”… (all as in §32) …
    “Seeing thus … [136] He understands: ‘… there is no more for this state of being.’
    “This, bhikkhus, is the way that is suitable for attaining Nibbāna.”

151 (6) A Student
“Bhikkhus, this holy life is lived without students and without a teacher. A bhikkhu who has students and a teacher dwells in suffering, not in comfort. A bhikkhu who has no students and no teacher dwells happily, in comfort.
    “And how, bhikkhus, does a bhikkhu who has students and a teacher dwell in suffering, not in comfort? Here, bhikkhus, when a bhikkhu has seen a form with the eye, there arise in him evil unwholesome states, memories and intentions connected with the fetters. They dwell within him. Since those evil unwholesome states dwell within him, he is called ‘one who has students.’ They assail him. Since evil unwholesome states assail him, he is called ‘one who has a teacher.’
    “Further, when a bhikkhu has heard a sound with the ear … cognized a mental phenomenon with the mind … [137] he is called ‘one who has a teacher.’
    “It is in this way that a bhikkhu who has students and a teacher dwells in suffering, not in comfort.
    “And how, bhikkhus, does a bhikkhu who has no students and no teacher dwell happily, in comfort? Here, bhikkhus, when a bhikkhu has seen a form with the eye, there do not arise in him evil unwholesome states, memories and intentions connected with the fetters. They do not dwell within him. Since those evil unwholesome states do not dwell within him, he is called ‘one who has no students.’ They do not assail him. Since evil unwholesome states do not assail him, he is called ‘one who has no teacher.’
    “Further, when a bhikkhu has heard a sound with the ear … cognized a mental phenomenon with the mind … he is called ‘one who has no teacher.’
    “It is in this way, bhikkhus, that a bhikkhu who has no students and no teacher dwells happily, in comfort.
    “Bhikkhus, this holy life is lived without students and without a teacher. [138] A bhikkhu who has students and a teacher dwells in suffering, not in comfort. A bhikkhu who has no students and no teacher dwells happily, in comfort.”

152 (7) For What Purpose the Holy Life?
“Bhikkhus, if wanderers of other sects ask you: ‘For what purpose, friends, is the holy life lived under the ascetic Gotama?’—being asked thus, you should answer those wanderers thus: ‘It is, friends, for the full understanding of suffering that the holy life is lived under the Blessed One.’ Then, bhikkhus, if those wanderers ask you: ‘What, friends, is that suffering for the full understanding of which the holy life is lived under the ascetic Gotama?’—being asked thus, you should answer those wanderers thus:
    “‘The eye, friends, is suffering: it is for the full understanding of this that the holy life is lived under the Blessed One. Forms are suffering: it is for the full understanding of them that the holy life is lived under the Blessed One. Eye-consciousness is suffering … Eye-contact is suffering … Whatever feeling arises with eye-contact as condition—whether pleasant or painful or neither-painful-nor-pleasant—that too is suffering: it is for the full understanding of this that the holy life is lived under the Blessed One. The ear is suffering … The mind is suffering … Whatever feeling arises with mind-contact as condition … that too is suffering: it is for the full understanding of this that the holy life is lived under the Blessed One. This, friends, is the suffering for the full understanding of which the holy life is lived under the Blessed One.’
    “Being asked thus, bhikkhus, you should answer those wanderers of other sects in such a way.”

153 (8) Is There a Method?
“Is there a method of exposition, bhikkhus, by means of which a bhikkhu—apart from faith, apart from personal preference, apart from oral tradition, apart from reasoned reflection, apart from acceptance of a view after pondering it—[139] can declare final knowledge thus: ‘Destroyed is birth, the holy life has been lived, what had to be done has been done, there is no more for this state of being’?”
    “Venerable sir, our teachings are rooted in the Blessed One, guided by the Blessed One, take recourse in the Blessed One. It would be good if the Blessed One would clear up the meaning of this statement. Having heard it from him, the bhikkhus will remember it.”
    “Then listen and attend closely, bhikkhus, I will speak.”
    “Yes, venerable sir,” the bhikkhus replied. The Blessed One said this:
    “There is a method of exposition by means of which a bhikkhu—apart from faith … apart from acceptance of a view after pondering it—can declare final knowledge thus: ‘Destroyed is birth … there is no more for this state of being.’ And what is that method of exposition? Here, bhikkhus, having seen a form with the eye, if there is lust, hatred, or delusion internally, a bhikkhu understands: ‘There is lust, hatred, or delusion internally’; or, if there is no lust, hatred, or delusion internally, he understands: ‘There is no lust, hatred, or delusion internally.’ Since this is so, are these things to be understood by faith, or by personal preference, or by oral tradition, or by reasoned reflection, or by acceptance of a view after pondering it?”
    “No, venerable sir.”
    “Aren’t these things to be understood by seeing them with wisdom?”
    “Yes, venerable sir.”
    “This, bhikkhus, is the method of exposition by means of which a bhikkhu can declare final knowledge thus: ‘Destroyed is birth … there is no more for this state of being.’
    “Further, bhikkhus, having heard a sound with the ear … [140] … Having cognized a mental phenomenon with the mind, if there is lust, hatred, or delusion internally, a bhikkhu understands: ‘There is lust, hatred, or delusion internally’; or, if there is no lust, hatred, or delusion internally, he understands: ‘There is no lust, hatred, or delusion internally.’ Since this is so, are these things to be understood by faith, or by personal preference, or by oral tradition, or by reasoned reflection, or by acceptance of a view after pondering it?”
    “No, venerable sir.”
    “Aren’t these things to be understood by seeing them with wisdom?”
    “Yes, venerable sir.”
    “This, bhikkhus, is the method of exposition by means of which a bhikkhu—apart from faith, apart from personal preference, apart from oral tradition, apart from reasoned reflection, apart from acceptance of a view after pondering it—can declare final knowledge thus: ‘Destroyed is birth, the holy life has been lived, what had to be done has been done, there is no more for this state of being.’”

154 (9) Equipped with Faculties
Then a certain bhikkhu approached the Blessed One … and said to him: “Venerable sir, it is said, ‘equipped with faculties, equipped with faculties.’ In what way, venerable sir, is one equipped with faculties?”
    “If, bhikkhu, while one dwells contemplating rise and fall in the eye faculty, one experiences revulsion towards the eye faculty; if, while one dwells contemplating rise and fall in the ear faculty, one experiences revulsion towards the ear faculty; … if, while one dwells contemplating rise and fall in the mind faculty, one experiences revulsion towards the mind faculty, then, experiencing revulsion, one becomes dispassionate…. When [the mind] is liberated, there comes the knowledge: ‘It’s liberated.’ One understands: ‘Destroyed is birth, the holy life has been lived, what had to be done has been done, there is no more for this state of being.’ It is in this way, bhikkhu, that one is equipped with faculties.” [141]

155 (10) A Speaker on the Dhamma
Then a certain bhikkhu approached the Blessed One … and said to him: “Venerable sir, it is said, ‘a speaker on the Dhamma, a speaker on the Dhamma.’ In what way, venerable sir, is one a speaker on the Dhamma?”
    “Bhikkhu, if one teaches the Dhamma for the purpose of revulsion towards the eye, for its fading away and cessation, one can be called a bhikkhu who is a speaker on the Dhamma. If one is practising for the purpose of revulsion towards the eye, for its fading away and cessation, one can be called a bhikkhu who is practising in accordance with the Dhamma. If, through revulsion towards the eye, through its fading away and cessation, one is liberated by nonclinging, one can be called a bhikkhu who has attained Nibbāna in this very life.
    “Bhikkhu, if one teaches the Dhamma for the purpose of revulsion towards the ear … for the purpose of revulsion towards the mind, for its fading away and cessation, one can be called a bhikkhu who is a speaker on the Dhamma. If one is practising for the purpose of revulsion towards the mind, for its fading away and cessation, one can be called a bhikkhu who is practising in accordance with the Dhamma. If, through revulsion towards the mind, through its fading away and cessation, one is liberated by nonclinging, one can be called a bhikkhu who has attained Nibbāna in this very life.”

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© Bhikkhu Bodhi, The Connected Discourses of the Buddha (Wisdom Publications, 2000)

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