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The Connected Discourses of the Buddha - Selections

Chapter 36. Vedanāsaṃyutta: Connected Discourses on Feeling

III. The Theme of the Hundred and Eight

21 (1) Sīvaka
On one occasion the Blessed One was dwelling at Rājagaha in the Bamboo Grove, the Squirrel Sanctuary. Then the wanderer Moḷiyasīvaka approached the Blessed One and exchanged greetings with him. When they had concluded their greetings and cordial talk, he sat down to one side and said to the Blessed One:
    “Master Gotama, there are some ascetics and brahmins who hold such a doctrine and view as this: ‘Whatever a person experiences, whether it be pleasant or painful or neither-painful-nor-pleasant, all that is caused by what was done in the past.’ What does Master Gotama say about this?”
    “Some feelings, Sīvaka, arise here originating from bile disorders: that some feelings arise here originating from bile disorders one can know for oneself, and that is considered to be true in the world. Now when those ascetics and brahmins hold such a doctrine and view as this, ‘Whatever a person experiences, whether it be pleasant or painful or neither-painful-nor-pleasant, all that is caused by what was done in the past,’ they overshoot what one knows by oneself and they overshoot what is considered to be true in the world. Therefore I say that this is wrong on the part of those ascetics and brahmins.
    “Some feelings, Sīvaka, arise here originating from phlegm disorders … originating from wind disorders … originating from an imbalance [of the three] … produced by change of climate … produced by careless behaviour … caused by assault … [231] produced as the result of kamma: how some feelings arise here produced as the result of kamma one can know for oneself, and that is considered to be true in the world. Now when those ascetics and brahmins hold such a doctrine and view as this, ‘Whatever a person experiences, whether it be pleasant or painful or neither-painful-nor-pleasant, all that is caused by what was done in the past,’ they overshoot what one knows by oneself and they overshoot what is considered to be true in the world. Therefore I say that this is wrong on the part of those ascetics and brahmins.”
    When this was said, the wanderer Moḷiyasīvaka said to the Blessed One: “Magnificent, Master Gotama! Magnificent, Master Gotama!… From today let Master Gotama remember me as a lay follower who has gone for refuge for life.”

Bile, phlegm, and also wind,
Imbalance and climate too,
Carelessness and assault,
With kamma result as the eighth.

22 (2) The Theme of the Hundred and Eight
“Bhikkhus, I will teach you a Dhamma exposition on the theme of the hundred and eight. Listen to that….
    “And what, bhikkhus, is the Dhamma exposition on the theme of the hundred and eight? I have spoken of two kinds of feelings by [one] method of exposition; I have spoken of three kinds of feelings by [another] method of exposition; I have spoken of five kinds of feelings … six kinds of feelings … eighteen kinds of feelings … thirty-six kinds of feelings by [another] method of exposition; and I have spoken of one hundred and eight kinds of feelings by [still another] method of exposition.
    “And what, bhikkhus, are the two kinds of feelings? Bodily and mental. These are called the two kinds of feelings. [232]
    “And what, bhikkhus, are the three kinds of feelings? Pleasant feeling, painful feeling, neither-painful-nor-pleasant feeling. These are called the three kinds of feelings.
    “And what, bhikkhus, are the five kinds of feelings? The pleasure faculty, the pain faculty, the joy faculty, the displeasure faculty, the equanimity faculty. These are called the five kinds of feelings.
    “And what, bhikkhus, are the six kinds of feelings? Feeling born of eye-contact … feeling born of mind-contact. These are called the six kinds of feeling.
    “And what, bhikkhus, are the eighteen kinds of feelings? Six examinations accompanied by joy, six examinations accompanied by displeasure, six examinations accompanied by equanimity. These are called the eighteen kinds of feelings.
    “And what, bhikkhus, are the thirty-six kinds of feelings? Six types of joy based on the household life, six types of joy based on renunciation; six types of displeasure based on the household life, six types of displeasure based on renunciation; six types of equanimity based on the household life, six types of equanimity based on renunciation. These are called the thirty-six kinds of feelings.
    “And what, bhikkhus, are the hundred and eight kinds of feelings? The [above] thirty-six feelings in the past, the [above] thirty-six feelings in the future, the [above] thirty-six feelings at present. These are called the hundred and eight kinds of feelings.
    “This, bhikkhus, is the Dhamma exposition on the theme of the hundred and eight.”

23 (3) A Certain Bhikkhu
Then a certain bhikkhu approached the Blessed One, paid homage to him, sat down to one side, and said to him: “Venerable sir, what now is feeling? What is the origin of feeling? What is the way leading to the origination of feeling? What is the cessation of feeling? What is the way leading to the cessation of feeling? What is the gratification in feeling? What is the danger? What is the escape?” [233]
    “There are, bhikkhu, these three feelings: pleasant feeling, painful feeling, neither-painful-nor-pleasant feeling. This is called feeling. With the arising of contact there is the arising of feeling. Craving is the way leading to the origination of feeling. With the cessation of contact there is the cessation of feeling. This Noble Eightfold Path is the way leading to the cessation of feeling; that is, right view … right concentration.
    “The pleasure and joy that arise in dependence on feeling: this is the gratification in feeling. That feeling is impermanent, suffering, and subject to change: this is the danger in feeling. The removal and abandonment of desire and lust for feeling: this is the escape from feeling.”

24 (4) Before
“Bhikkhus, before my enlightenment, while I was still a bodhisatta, not yet fully enlightened, it occurred to me: “What now is feeling? What is the origin of feeling? What is the way leading to the origination of feeling? What is the cessation of feeling? What is the way leading to the cessation of feeling? What is the gratification in feeling? What is the danger? What is the escape?”
    “Then, bhikkhus, it occurred to me: ‘There are these three feelings … (all as in preceding sutta) … this is the escape from feeling.’”

25 (5) Knowledge
“‘These are feelings’: thus, bhikkhus, in regard to things unheard before, there arose in me vision, knowledge, wisdom, true knowledge, and light.
    “‘This is the origin of feeling’: thus, bhikkhus, in regard to things unheard before, there arose in me vision … and light.
    “‘This is the way leading to the origination of feeling’: thus, bhikkhus, in regard to things unheard before, there arose in me vision … and light.
    “‘This is the cessation of feeling’: thus, bhikkhus, in regard to things unheard before, there arose in me vision … and light. [234]
    “‘This is the way leading to the cessation of feeling’: thus, bhikkhus, in regard to things unheard before, there arose in me vision … and light.
    “‘This is the gratification in feeling’ … ‘This is the danger in feeling’ … ‘This is the escape from feeling’: thus, bhikkhus, in regard to things unheard before, there arose in me vision, knowledge, wisdom, true knowledge, and light.”

26 (6) A Number of Bhikkhus
(Identical with §23 except that “a number of bhikkhus” are the interlocutors rather than “a certain bhikkhu.”)

27 (7) Ascetics and Brahmins (1)
“Bhikkhus, there are these three feelings. What three? Pleasant feeling, painful feeling, neither-painful-nor-pleasant feeling.
    “Those ascetics or brahmins, bhikkhus, who do not understand as they really are the gratification, the danger, and the escape in the case of these three feelings: these I do not consider to be ascetics among ascetics or brahmins among brahmins, and these venerable ones do not, by realizing it for themselves with direct knowledge, in this very life enter and dwell in the goal of asceticism or the goal of brahminhood.
    “But, bhikkhus, those ascetics and brahmins who understand these things as they really are: these I consider to be ascetics among ascetics and brahmins among brahmins, and these venerable ones, by realizing it for themselves with direct knowledge, in this very life enter and dwell in the goal of asceticism and the goal of brahminhood.” [235]

28 (8) Ascetics and Brahmins (2)
“Those ascetics or brahmins, bhikkhus, who do not understand as they really are the origination and the passing away, the gratification, the danger, and the escape in the case of these three feelings: these I do not consider to be ascetics among ascetics or brahmins among brahmins, and these venerable ones do not, by realizing it for themselves with direct knowledge, in this very life enter and dwell in the goal of asceticism or the goal of brahminhood.
    “But, bhikkhus, those ascetics and brahmins who understand these things as they really are: these I consider to be ascetics among ascetics and brahmins among brahmins, and these venerable ones, by realizing it for themselves with direct knowledge, in this very life enter and dwell in the goal of asceticism and the goal of brahminhood.”

29 (9) Ascetics and Brahmins (3)
“Those ascetics or brahmins, bhikkhus, who do not understand feeling, its origin, its cessation, and the way leading to its cessation: these I do not consider to be ascetics among ascetics … nor do they enter and dwell in the goal of asceticism or the goal of brahminhood.
    “But, bhikkhus, those ascetics and brahmins who understand feeling, its origin, its cessation, and the way leading to its cessation: these I consider to be ascetics among ascetics … and they enter and dwell in the goal of asceticism and the goal of brahminhood.”

30 (10) Simple Version
“Bhikkhus, there are these three feelings. What three? Pleasant feeling, painful feeling, neither-painful-nor-pleasant feeling.”

31 (11) Spiritual
“Bhikkhus, there is carnal rapture, there is spiritual rapture, there is rapture more spiritual than the spiritual. There is carnal happiness, there is spiritual happiness, there is happiness more spiritual than the spiritual. There is carnal equanimity, there is spiritual equanimity, there is equanimity more spiritual than the spiritual. There is carnal deliverance, there is spiritual deliverance, there is deliverance more spiritual than the spiritual.
    “And what, bhikkhus, is carnal rapture? There are, bhikkhus, these five cords of sensual pleasure. What five? Forms cognizable by the eye … tactile objects cognizable by the body that are desirable, lovely, agreeable, pleasing, sensually enticing, tantalizing. These are the five cords of sensual pleasure. The rapture that arises in dependence on these five cords of sensual pleasure: this is called carnal rapture. [236]
    “And what, bhikkhus, is spiritual rapture? Here, secluded from sensual pleasures, secluded from unwholesome states, a bhikkhu enters and dwells in the first jhāna, which is accompanied by thought and examination, with rapture and happiness born of seclusion. With the subsiding of thought and examination, he enters and dwells in the second jhāna, which has internal confidence and unification of mind, is without thought and examination, and has rapture and happiness born of concentration. This is called spiritual rapture.
    “And what, bhikkhus, is rapture more spiritual than the spiritual? When a bhikkhu whose taints are destroyed reviews his mind liberated from lust, liberated from hatred, liberated from delusion, there arises rapture. This is called rapture more spiritual than the spiritual.
    “And what, bhikkhus, is carnal happiness? There are, bhikkhus, these five cords of sensual pleasure. What five? Forms cognizable by the eye … tactile objects cognizable by the body that are desirable, lovely, agreeable, pleasing, sensually enticing, tantalizing. These are the five cords of sensual pleasure. The happiness that arises in dependence on these five cords of sensual pleasure: this is called carnal happiness.
    “And what, bhikkhus, is spiritual happiness? Here, bhikkhus, secluded from sensual pleasures … a bhikkhu enters and dwells in the first jhāna … the second jhāna…. With the fading away as well of rapture, he dwells equanimous and, mindful and clearly comprehending, he experiences happiness with the body; he enters and dwells in the third jhāna of which the noble ones declare: ‘He is equanimous, mindful, one who dwells happily.’ This is called spiritual happiness.
    “And what, bhikkhus, is happiness more spiritual than the spiritual? When a bhikkhu whose taints are destroyed reviews his mind liberated from lust, liberated from hatred, [237] liberated from delusion, there arises happiness. This is called happiness more spiritual than the spiritual.
    “And what, bhikkhus, is carnal equanimity? There are, bhikkhus, these five cords of sensual pleasure. What five? Forms cognizable by the eye … tactile objects cognizable by the body that are desirable, lovely, agreeable, pleasing, sensually enticing, tantalizing. These are the five cords of sensual pleasure. The equanimity that arises in dependence on these five cords of sensual pleasure: this is called carnal equanimity.
    “And what, bhikkhus, is spiritual equanimity? With the abandoning of pleasure and pain, and with the previous passing away of joy and displeasure, a bhikkhu enters and dwells in the fourth jhāna, which is neither painful nor pleasant and includes the purification of mindfulness by equanimity.
    “And what, bhikkhus, is equanimity more spiritual than the spiritual? When a bhikkhu whose taints are destroyed reviews his mind liberated from lust, liberated from hatred, liberated from delusion, there arises equanimity. This is called equanimity more spiritual than the spiritual.
    “And what, bhikkhus, is carnal deliverance? Deliverance connected with the form sphere is carnal deliverance.
    “And what, bhikkhus, is spiritual deliverance? Deliverance connected with the formless sphere is spiritual deliverance.
    “And what, bhikkhus, is deliverance more spiritual than the spiritual? When a bhikkhu whose taints are destroyed reviews his mind liberated from lust, liberated from hatred, liberated from delusion, there arises deliverance. This is called deliverance more spiritual than the spiritual.”
 

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

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