Classic and Contemporary Buddhist Works

The Connected Discourses of the Buddha - Selections

Chapter 35. Saḷāyatanasaṃyutta: Connected Discourses on the Six Sense Bases
Division II. The Second Fifty

III. Sick

74 (1) Sick (1)
At Sāvatthī. Then a certain bhikkhu approached the Blessed One, paid homage to him, sat down to one side, and said to him: “Venerable sir, in such and such a dwelling there is a certain newly ordained bhikkhu, not well known, who is sick, afflicted, gravely ill. It would be good, venerable sir, if the Blessed One would approach that bhikkhu out of compassion.”
    Then, when the Blessed One heard the words “newly ordained” and “sick,” and understood that he was not a well-known bhikkhu, he went to him. That bhikkhu saw the Blessed One coming in the distance and stirred on his bed. The Blessed One said to him: “Enough, bhikkhu, do not stir on your bed. There are these seats ready, I will sit down there.”
    The Blessed One then sat down on the appointed seat and said to that bhikkhu: “I hope you are bearing up, bhikkhu, I hope you are getting better. I hope that your painful feelings are subsiding and not increasing, and that their subsiding, not their increase, is to be discerned.”
    “Venerable sir, I am not bearing up, I am not getting better. Strong painful feelings are increasing in me, not subsiding, and their increase, not their subsiding, is to be discerned.”
    “I hope then, bhikkhu, that you are not troubled by remorse and regret.”
    “Indeed, venerable sir, I have quite a lot of remorse and regret.” [47]
    “I hope, bhikkhu, that you have nothing for which to reproach yourself in regard to virtue.”
    “I have nothing, venerable sir, for which to reproach myself in regard to virtue.”
    “Then, bhikkhu, if you have nothing for which to reproach yourself in regard to virtue, why are you troubled by remorse and regret?”
    “I understand, venerable sir, that it is not for the sake of purification of virtue that the Dhamma has been taught by the Blessed One.”
    “If, bhikkhu, you understand that the Dhamma has not been taught by me for the sake of purification of virtue, then for what purpose do you understand the Dhamma to have been taught by me?”
    “Venerable sir, I understand the Dhamma to have been taught by the Blessed One for the sake of the fading away of lust.”
    “Good, good, bhikkhu! It is good that you understand the Dhamma to have been taught by me for the sake of the fading away of lust. For the Dhamma is taught by me for the sake of the fading away of lust.
    “What do you think, bhikkhu, is the eye permanent or impermanent?” – “Impermanent, venerable sir.”… “Is the ear … the mind permanent or impermanent?” – “Impermanent, venerable sir.” – “Is what is impermanent suffering or happiness?” – “Suffering, venerable sir.” – “Is what is impermanent, suffering, and subject to change fit to be regarded thus: ‘This is mine, this I am, this is my self’?” – “No, venerable sir.”
    “Seeing thus … He understands: ‘… there is no more for this state of being.’”
    This is what the Blessed One said. Elated, that bhikkhu delighted in the Blessed One’s statement. And while this discourse was being spoken, there arose in that bhikkhu the dust-free, stainless vision of the Dhamma: “Whatever is subject to origination is all subject to cessation.”

75 (2) Sick (2)
(As above down to:) [48]
    “If, bhikkhu you understand that the Dhamma has not been taught by me for the sake of purification of virtue, then for what purpose do you understand the Dhamma to have been taught by me?”
    “Venerable sir, I understand the Dhamma to have been taught by the Blessed One for the sake of final Nibbāna without clinging.”
    “Good, good, bhikkhu! It is good that you understand the Dhamma to have been taught by me for the sake of final Nibbāna without clinging. For the Dhamma is taught by me for the sake of final Nibbāna without clinging.
    “What do you think, bhikkhu, is the eye permanent or impermanent?” – “Impermanent, venerable sir.”… “Is the ear … the nose … the tongue … the body … the mind … mind-consciousness … mind-contact … whatever feeling arises with mind-contact as condition—whether pleasant or painful or neither-painful-nor-pleasant—permanent or impermanent?” – “Impermanent, venerable sir.” – “Is what is impermanent suffering or happiness?” – “Suffering, venerable sir.” – “Is what is impermanent, suffering, and subject to change fit to be regarded thus: ‘This is mine, this I am, this is my self’?” – “No, venerable sir.”
    “Seeing thus … He understands: ‘… there is no more for this state of being.’”
    This is what the Blessed One said. Elated, that bhikkhu delighted in the Blessed One’s statement. And while this discourse was being spoken, that bhikkhu’s mind was liberated from the taints by nonclinging.

76 (3) Rādha (1)
Then the Venerable Rādha approached the Blessed One … and said to him: “Venerable sir, it would be good if the Blessed One would teach me the Dhamma in brief, so that, having heard the Dhamma from the Blessed One, I might dwell alone, withdrawn, diligent, ardent, and resolute.”
    “Rādha, you should abandon desire for whatever is impermanent. And what is impermanent? The eye is impermanent; you should abandon desire for it. Forms are impermanent … Eye-consciousness is impermanent … Eye-contact is impermanent … Whatever feeling arises with eye-contact as condition—whether pleasant or painful or neither-painful-nor-pleasant—that too is impermanent; you should abandon desire for it.
    “The ear … The mind is impermanent … Whatever feeling arises with mind-contact as condition … that too is impermanent; you should abandon desire for it. [49] Rādha, you should abandon desire for whatever is impermanent.”

77 (4) Rādha (2)
… “Rādha, you should abandon desire for whatever is suffering.”…

78 (5) Rādha (3)
… “Rādha, you should abandon desire for whatever is nonself.”…

79 (6) Abandoning Ignorance (1)
Then a certain bhikkhu approached the Blessed One … and said to him: “Venerable sir, is there one thing through the abandoning of which ignorance is abandoned by a bhikkhu and true knowledge arises?”
    “There is one thing, bhikkhu, through the abandoning of which ignorance is abandoned by a bhikkhu and true knowledge arises.”
    “And what is that one thing, venerable sir?” [50]
    “Ignorance, bhikkhu, is that one thing through the abandoning of which ignorance is abandoned by a bhikkhu and true knowledge arises.”
    “But, venerable sir, how should a bhikkhu know, how should he see, for ignorance to be abandoned by him and true knowledge to arise?”
    “Bhikkhu, when a bhikkhu knows and sees the eye as impermanent, ignorance is abandoned by him and true knowledge arises. When he knows and sees forms as impermanent … When he knows and sees as impermanent whatever feeling arises with mind-contact as condition … ignorance is abandoned by him and true knowledge arises.
    “When, bhikkhu, a bhikkhu knows and sees thus, ignorance is abandoned by him and true knowledge arises.”

80 (7) Abandoning Ignorance (2)
(As above down to:)
    “But, venerable sir, how should a bhikkhu know, how should he see, for ignorance to be abandoned by him and true knowledge to arise?”
    “Here, bhikkhu, a bhikkhu has heard, ‘Nothing is worth adhering to.’ When a bhikkhu has heard, ‘Nothing is worth adhering to,’ he directly knows everything. Having directly known everything, he fully understands everything. Having fully understood everything, he sees all signs differently. He sees the eye differently, he sees forms differently … whatever feeling arises with mind-contact as condition … that too he sees differently.
    “When, bhikkhu, a bhikkhu knows and sees thus, ignorance is abandoned by him and true knowledge arises.”

81 (8) A Number of Bhikkhus
Then a number of bhikkhus approached the Blessed One … and said to him: [51] “Here, venerable sir, wanderers of other sects ask us: ‘For what purpose, friends, is the holy life lived under the ascetic Gotama?’ When we are asked thus, venerable sir, we answer those wanderers thus: ‘It is, friends, for the full understanding of suffering that the holy life is lived under the Blessed One.’ We hope, venerable sir, that when we answer thus we state what has been said by the Blessed One and do not misrepresent him with what is contrary to fact; that we explain in accordance with the Dhamma, and that no reasonable consequence of our assertion gives ground for criticism.”
    “For sure, bhikkhus, when you answer thus you state what has been said by me and do not misrepresent me with what is contrary to fact; you explain in accordance with the Dhamma, and no reasonable consequence of your assertion gives ground for criticism. For, bhikkhus, it is for the full understanding of suffering that the holy life is lived under me.
    “But, bhikkhus, if wanderers of other sects 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 them 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 … Whatever feeling arises with eye-contact as condition … that too 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 that suffering for the full understanding of which the holy life is lived under the Blessed One.’ [52]
    “Being asked thus, bhikkhus, you should answer those wanderers of other sects in such a way.”

82 (9) The World
Then a certain bhikkhu approached the Blessed One … and said to him: “Venerable sir, it is said, ‘the world, the world.’ In what way, venerable sir, is it said ‘the world’?”
    “It is disintegrating, bhikkhu, therefore it is called the world. And what is disintegrating? The eye, bhikkhu, is disintegrating, forms are disintegrating, eye-consciousness is disintegrating, eye-contact is disintegrating, and whatever feeling arises with eye-contact as condition … that too is disintegrating. The ear is disintegrating … The mind is disintegrating … Whatever feeling arises with mind-contact as condition … that too is disintegrating. It is disintegrating, bhikkhu, therefore it is called the world.”

83 (10) Phagguna
Then the Venerable Phagguna approached the Blessed One … and said to him: “Venerable sir, is there any eye by means of which one describing the Buddhas of the past could describe them—those who have attained final Nibbāna, cut through proliferation, cut through the rut, exhausted the round, and transcended all suffering? Is there any ear by way of which one describing the Buddhas of the past could describe them?… Is there any mind by way of which one describing the Buddhas of the past could describe them—those who have attained final Nibbāna, cut through proliferation, cut through the rut, exhausted the round, and transcended all suffering?”
    “There is no eye, Phagguna, by means of which one describing the Buddhas of the past could describe them—those who have attained final Nibbāna, cut through proliferation, cut through the rut, exhausted the round, and transcended all suffering. There is no ear by means of which one describing the Buddhas of the past could describe them…. [53] There is no mind by means of which one describing the Buddhas of the past could describe them—those who have attained final Nibbāna, cut through proliferation, cut through the rut, exhausted the round, and transcended all suffering.”
 

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

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