Classic and Contemporary Buddhist Works

The Connected Discourses of the Buddha - Selections

Chapter 47. Satipaṭṭhānasaṃyutta: Connected Discourses on the Establishments of Mindfulness

III. Virtue and Duration

21 (1) Virtue
Thus have I heard. On one occasion the Venerable Ānanda and the Venerable Bhadda were dwelling at Pāṭaliputta in the Cock’s Park. Then, in the evening, the Venerable Bhadda emerged from seclusion, approached the Venerable Ānanda, and exchanged greetings with him. When they had concluded their greetings and cordial talk, he sat down to one side and said to the Venerable Ānanda:
    “Friend Ānanda, as to the wholesome virtues spoken of by the Blessed One, what is the purpose for which they were spoken of by him?”
    “Good, good, friend Bhadda! Your intelligence is excellent, your ingenuity is excellent, your inquiry is a good one. For you have asked me: ‘Friend Ānanda, as to the wholesome virtues spoken of by the Blessed One, what is the purpose for which they were spoken of by him?’”
    “Yes, friend.”
    “Those wholesome virtues spoken of by the Blessed One were spoken of by him for the purpose of developing the four establishments of mindfulness. What four? Here, friend, a bhikkhu dwells contemplating the body in the body … feelings in feelings … mind in mind … phenomena in phenomena, ardent, clearly comprehending, mindful, having removed covetousness and displeasure in regard to the world. [172]
    “Those virtues spoken of by the Blessed One were spoken of by him for the sake of developing these four establishments of mindfulness.”

22 (2) Duration
The same setting. Sitting to one side the Venerable Bhadda said to the Venerable Ānanda:
    “Friend Ānanda, what is the cause and reason why the true Dhamma does not endure long after a Tathāgata has attained final Nibbāna? And what is the cause and reason why the true Dhamma endures long after a Tathāgata has attained final Nibbāna?”
    “Good, good, friend Bhadda! Your intelligence is excellent, your acumen is excellent, your inquiry is a good one. For you have asked me: ‘Friend Ānanda, what is the cause and reason why the true Dhamma does not endure long after a Tathāgata has attained final Nibbāna? And what is the cause and reason why the true Dhamma endures long after a Tathāgata has attained final Nibbāna?’”
    “Yes, friend.”
    “It is, friend, because the four establishments of mindfulness are not developed and cultivated that the true Dhamma does not endure long after a Tathāgata has attained final Nibbāna. And it is because the four establishments of mindfulness are developed and cultivated that the true Dhamma endures long after a Tathāgata has attained final Nibbāna. What four? Here, friend, a bhikkhu dwells contemplating the body in the body … feelings in feelings … mind in mind … phenomena in phenomena, ardent, clearly comprehending, mindful, having removed covetousness and displeasure in regard to the world.
    “It is because these four establishments of mindfulness are not developed and cultivated that the true Dhamma does not endure long after a Tathāgata has attained final Nibbāna. And it is because these four establishments of mindfulness are developed and cultivated that the true Dhamma endures long after a Tathāgata has attained final Nibbāna.” [173]

23 (3) Decline
(As above down to:)
    “Friend Ānanda, what is the cause and reason for the decline of the true Dhamma? And what is the cause and reason for the nondecline of the true Dhamma?”…
    “It is, friend, when these four establishments of mindfulness are not developed and cultivated that the true Dhamma declines. And it is when these four establishments of mindfulness are developed and cultivated that the true Dhamma does not decline.”

24 (4) Simple Version
At Sāvatthī. “Bhikkhus, there are these four establishments of mindfulness. What four? Here, bhikkhus, a bhikkhu dwells contemplating the body in the body, ardent, clearly comprehending, mindful, having removed covetousness and displeasure in regard to the world. [174] He dwells contemplating feelings in feelings … mind in mind … phenomena in phenomena, ardent, clearly comprehending, mindful, having removed covetousness and displeasure in regard to the world. These are the four establishments of mindfulness.”

25 (5) A Certain Brahmin
Thus have I heard. On one occasion the Blessed One was dwelling at Sāvatthī, in Jeta’s Grove, Anāthapiṇḍika’s Park. Then a certain brahmin 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, what is the cause and reason why the true Dhamma does not endure long after a Tathāgata has attained final Nibbāna? And what is the cause and reason why the true Dhamma endures long after a Tathāgata has attained final Nibbāna?”
    “It is, brahmin, because the four establishments of mindfulness are not developed and cultivated that the true Dhamma does not endure long after a Tathāgata has attained final Nibbāna. And it is because the four establishments of mindfulness are developed and cultivated that the true Dhamma endures long after a Tathāgata has attained final Nibbāna. What four? … (as in §22) … It is because these four establishments of mindfulness are not developed and cultivated … are developed and cultivated that the true Dhamma endures long after a Tathāgata has attained final Nibbāna.”
    When this was said, that brahmin said to the Blessed One: ‘Magnificent, Master Gotama!… From today let Master Gotama remember me as a lay follower who has gone for refuge for life.”

26 (6) Partly
On one occasion the Venerable Sāriputta and the Venerable Mahāmoggallāna and the Venerable Anuruddha were dwelling at Sāketa in the Thornbush Grove. Then, in the evening, the Venerable Sāriputta and the Venerable Mahāmoggallāna emerged from seclusion, approached the Venerable Anuruddha, and exchanged greetings with him. When they had concluded their greetings and cordial talk, [175] they sat down to one side, and the Venerable Sāriputta said to the Venerable Anuruddha:
    “Friend Anuruddha, it is said, ‘A trainee, a trainee.’ In what way, friend, is one a trainee?”
    “It is, friend, because one has partly developed the four establishments of mindfulness that one is a trainee. What four? Here, friends, a bhikkhu dwells contemplating the body in the body … feelings in feelings … mind in mind … phenomena in phenomena, ardent, clearly comprehending, mindful, having removed covetousness and displeasure in regard to the world. It is because one has partly developed these four establishments of mindfulness that one is a trainee.”

27 (7) Completely
The same setting. Sitting to one side, the Venerable Sāriputta said to the Venerable Anuruddha:
    “Friend Anuruddha, it is said, ‘One beyond training, one beyond training.’ In what way, friend, is one beyond training?”
    “It is, friend, because one has completely developed the four establishments of mindfulness that one is beyond training. What four?… (as above) … It is because one has completely developed these four establishments of mindfulness that one is beyond training.”

28 (8) The World
The same setting. Sitting to one side, the Venerable Sāriputta said to the Venerable Anuruddha:
    “By having developed and cultivated what things has the Venerable Anuruddha attained to greatness of direct knowledge?” [176]
    “It is, friend, because I have developed and cultivated the four establishments of mindfulness that I have attained to greatness of direct knowledge. What four? Here, friend, I dwell contemplating the body in the body … feelings in feelings … mind in mind … phenomena in phenomena, ardent, clearly comprehending, mindful, having removed covetousness and displeasure in regard to the world. It is, friend, because I have developed and cultivated these four establishments of mindfulness that I directly know this thousandfold world.”

29 (9) Sirivaḍḍha
On one occasion the Venerable Ānanda was dwelling at Rājagaha, in the Bamboo Grove, the Squirrel Sanctuary. Now on that occasion the householder Sirivaḍḍha was sick, afflicted, gravely ill. Then the householder Sirivaḍḍha addressed a man thus:
    “Come, good man, approach the Venerable Ānanda, pay homage to him in my name with your head at his feet, and say: ‘Venerable sir, the householder Sirivaḍḍha is sick, afflicted, gravely ill; he pays homage to the Venerable Ānanda with his head at his feet.’ Then say: ‘It would be good, venerable sir, if the Venerable Ānanda would come to the residence of the householder Sirivaḍḍha out of compassion.’”
    “Yes, master,” that man replied, and he approached the Venerable Ānanda, paid homage to him, sat down to one side, and delivered his message. [177] The Venerable Ānanda consented by silence.
    Then, in the morning, the Venerable Ānanda dressed and, taking bowl and robe, went to the residence of the householder Sirivaḍḍha. He then sat down in the appointed seat and said to the householder Sirivaḍḍha: “I hope you are bearing up, householder, I hope you are getting better. I hope your painful feelings are subsiding and not increasing, and that their subsiding, not their increase, is to be discerned.”
    “I am not bearing up, venerable sir, I am not getting better. Strong painful feelings are increasing in me, not subsiding, and their increase, not their subsiding, is to be discerned.”
    “Well then, householder, you should train thus: ‘I will dwell contemplating the body in the body, ardent, clearly comprehending, mindful, having removed covetousness and displeasure in regard to the world. I will dwell contemplating feelings in feelings … mind in mind … phenomena in phenomena, ardent, clearly comprehending, mindful, having removed covetousness and displeasure in regard to the world.’ It is in such a way that you should train.”
    “Venerable sir, as to these four establishments of mindfulness taught by the Blessed One—these things exist in me, and I live in conformity with those things. I dwell, venerable sir, contemplating the body in the body … feelings in feelings … mind in mind … phenomena in phenomena, ardent, clearly comprehending, mindful, having removed covetousness and displeasure in regard to the world. And as to these five lower fetters taught by the Blessed One, I do not see any of these unabandoned in myself.”
    “It is a gain for you, householder! It is well gained by you, householder! You have declared, householder, the fruit of nonreturning.” [178]

30 (10) Mānadinna
The same setting. Now on that occasion the householder Mānadinna was sick, afflicted, gravely ill. Then the householder Mānadinna addressed a man thus:
    “Come, good man” … (as above) …
    “I am not bearing up, venerable sir, I am not getting better. Strong painful feelings are increasing in me, not subsiding, and their increase, not their subsiding, is to be discerned. But, venerable sir, when I am being touched by such painful feeling, I dwell contemplating the body in the body … feelings in feelings … mind in mind … phenomena in phenomena, ardent, clearly comprehending, mindful, having removed covetousness and displeasure in regard to the world. And as to these five lower fetters taught by the Blessed One, I do not see any of these unabandoned in myself.”
    “It is a gain for you, householder! It is well gained by you, householder! You have declared, householder, the fruit of nonreturning.”
 

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

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