Thread: Theravada Pointing-out Sutta

  1. #1
    Forums Member CedarTree's Avatar
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    Theravada Pointing-out Sutta

    Many know that I follow Soto Zen in particular the tradition that emphasizes Zazen; Gyobutsuji Zen Monastery in America & Antai-ji in Japan.

    However I do have a background in Theravada and as of late a very keen interest in the Tantric traditions.

    Below is an excerpt from one of my favorite Suttas. It is directly from the Pali Canon and about as Theravada as you can get.

    Tidbit of wisdom = Bahiya was recognized later in the Theravada tradition as the one that had achieved arahantship the fastest.


    A third time, Bāhiya said to the Blessed One, "But it is hard to know for sure what dangers there may be for the Blessed One's life, or what dangers there may be for mine. Teach me the Dhamma, O Blessed One! Teach me the Dhamma, O One-Well-Gone, that will be for my long-term welfare & bliss."

    "Then, Bāhiya, you should train yourself thus: In reference to the seen, there will be only the seen. In reference to the heard, only the heard. In reference to the sensed, only the sensed. In reference to the cognized, only the cognized. That is how you should train yourself. When for you there will be only the seen in reference to the seen, only the heard in reference to the heard, only the sensed in reference to the sensed, only the cognized in reference to the cognized, then, Bāhiya, there is no you in connection with that. When there is no you in connection with that, there is no you there. When there is no you there, you are neither here nor yonder nor between the two. This, just this, is the end of stress."[2]

    Through hearing this brief explanation of the Dhamma from the Blessed One, the mind of Bāhiya of the Bark-cloth right then and there was released from effluents through lack of clinging/sustenance. Having exhorted Bāhiya of the Bark-cloth with this brief explanation of the Dhamma, the Blessed One left.


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    Perhaps this reference will further explain the buddha's statements to bahiya:
    http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipit....024.than.html

    An excerpt:
    "Thus, monks, the Tathagata, when seeing what is to be seen, doesn't construe an [object as] seen. He doesn't construe an unseen. He doesn't construe an [object] to-be-seen. He doesn't construe a seer.

    "When hearing...

    "When sensing...

    "When cognizing what is to be cognized, he doesn't construe an [object as] cognized. He doesn't construe an uncognized. He doesn't construe an [object] to-be-cognized. He doesn't construe a cognizer.

    Thus, monks, the Tathagata — being the same with regard to all phenomena that can be seen, heard, sensed, & cognized — is 'Such.' And I tell you: There's no other 'Such' higher or more sublime.
    chownah

  3. #3
    Hi CedarTree,

    I've always particularly liked this sutta myself.

    Can you provide URL links for any quotes that you make in future, please. (Code of Conduct number 2c)

    Bahiya sutta is quoted with some comments about it on pages 62-3 of 'The Island ' by Ajahn Amaro and Ajahn Pasanno:

    https://www.abhayagiri.org/books/the-island

    ...including a mention of the sutta linked above by chownah.

    Quote Originally Posted by CedarTree
    Tidbit of wisdom = Bahiya was recognized later in the Theravada tradition as the one that had achieved arahantship the fastest.
    He was apparently recognised by the Buddha himself as achieving the quickest full understanding of his teachings.

    Excerpt from page 63 of 'The Island':


    It was customary of the Buddha to honour those of his disciples who excelled in particular ways, for example: Sariputta was declared by him to be the keenest in wisdom, Dhammadinna as the nun most skilled in expounding on the Dhamma – and to Bahiya he (posthumously) accorded the honour of being the one to gain the swiftest full understanding of his teaching.

    This instruction to Bahiya bears a close relation to the Kalakarama Sutta, A 4.24, (at §6.8) and is well worth contemplating in connection with that teaching. In addition this discourse to Bahiya, particularly in its references to non-locality, is comparable to Ud 8.1 (at §9.2)



  4. #4
    Translation of Bahiya Sutta from "The Island" (link mentioned above):



    In the seen there is only the seen,
    in the heard, there is only the heard,
    in the sensed there is only the sensed,
    in the cognized there is only the cognized:
    This, Bahiya, is how you should train yourself.

    When, Bahiya, there is for you
    in the heard, only the heard,
    in the sensed only the sensed,
    in the cognized only the cognized,
    then, Bahiya, there is no ‘you’
    in connection with that.

    When, Bahiya, there is no ‘you’
    in connection with that,
    there is no ‘you’ there.
    When, Bahiya, there is no ‘you’ there,
    then, Bahiya, you are neither here
    nor there
    nor in between the two.

    This, just this, is the end of suffering.

    ~ Ud 1.10


    There's also a commentary on the sutta by Piya Tan:

    http://dharmafarer.org/wordpress/wp-...u1.10-piya.pdf



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    In trying to tie together the two sutta excerpts that cedartree and I brought above and to hopefully extend their meaning, please consider:

    Notice that this quote below from the Bahiya Sutta as a summary says that if done properly there will be "no you there"..."neither here nor yonder nor between the two". This is talking about the anatta (not self) doctrine..........
    When for you there will be only the seen in reference to the seen, only the heard in reference to the heard, only the sensed in reference to the sensed, only the cognized in reference to the cognized, then, Bāhiya, there is no you in connection with that. When there is no you in connection with that, there is no you there. When there is no you there, you are neither here nor yonder nor between the two. This, just this, is the end of stress
    .....And then notice that in the an 4.24 excerpt below it talks about "he doesn't construe a seer.....a hearer...a senser....a cognizer." Again this is talking about the anatta doctrine so this again stresses the connection and importance of the anatta doctrine.....
    "Thus, monks, the Tathagata, when seeing what is to be seen, doesn't construe an [object as] seen. He doesn't construe an unseen. He doesn't construe an [object] to-be-seen. He doesn't construe a seer.

    "When hearing...

    "When sensing...

    "When cognizing what is to be cognized, he doesn't construe an [object as] cognized. He doesn't construe an uncognized. He doesn't construe an [object] to-be-cognized. He doesn't construe a cognizer.
    ....so...now I want to bring a new sutta reference:
    http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipit....207.than.html
    An excerpt:
    "'I am' is a construing. 'I am this' is a construing. 'I shall be' is a construing. 'I shall not be'...'I shall be possessed of form'... 'I shall not be possessed of form'... 'I shall be percipient'... 'I shall not be percipient'... 'I shall be neither percipient nor non-percipient' is a construing. Construing is a disease, construing is a cancer, construing is an arrow. Therefore, monks, you should train yourselves: 'We will dwell with an awareness free of construings.'
    So....prevously the buddha is said to not construe a seer, hearer, senser, or cognizer. I bring this to show how important this not construing is. In this sutta it talks about "I am" which is a stock phrase used to reference that anatta doctrine and here it is applied in some of the various ways that the delusional self comes into play which is by construing the delusional self.
    The important thing here is to understand the seriousness of construing (especially with regared to the delusional self)....... "Construing is a disease, construing is a cancer, construing is an arrow. Therefore, monks, you should train yourselves: 'We will dwell with an awareness free of construings."

    I hope this helps in focusing on the meaning of the buddha's teachings.

    chownah

  6. #6
    I think it might be worth looking at SN 35.95 Malunkyaputta Sutta:

    Excerpt:


    Having seen a form with mindfulness muddled,
    Attending to the pleasing sign,
    One experiences it with infatuated mind
    And remains tightly holding to it.

    “Many feelings flourish within,
    Originating from the visible form,
    Covetousness and annoyance as well
    By which one’s mind becomes disturbed.
    For one who accumulates suffering thus
    Nibbāna is said to be far away.

    “Having heard a sound with mindfulness muddled …

    “Having smelt an odour with mindfulness muddled …

    “Having enjoyed a taste with mindfulness muddled …

    “Having felt a contact with mindfulness muddled …

    “Having known an object with mindfulness muddled …
    For one who accumulates suffering thus
    Nibbāna is said to be far away.

    “When, firmly mindful, one sees a form,
    One is not inflamed by lust for forms;
    One experiences it with dispassionate mind
    And does not remain holding it tightly.

    “One fares mindfully in such a way
    That even as one sees the form,
    And while one undergoes a feeling,
    Suffering is exhausted, not built up.
    For one dismantling suffering thus,
    Nibbāna is said to be close by.

    “When, firmly mindful, one hears a sound,
    One is not inflamed by lust for sounds; …

    “When, firmly mindful, one smells an odour,
    One is not inflamed by lust for odours; …

    “When, firmly mindful, one enjoys a taste,
    One is not inflamed by lust for tastes; …

    “When, firmly mindful, one feels a contact,
    One is not inflamed by lust for contacts; …

    “When, firmly mindful, one knows an object,
    One is not inflamed by lust for objects; …
    For one diminishing suffering thus
    Nibbāna is said to be close by.

    https://suttacentral.net/en/sn35.95


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