Thread: Arming Oneself

  1. #1

    Arming Oneself

    .

    This sutta excerpt feels really special to me, and very relevant to the 21st century, - so I thought I'd share it here:



    Sn 4.15 Attadanda Sutta: Arming Oneself (Excerpt)


    Fear is born from arming oneself.
    Just see how many people fight!
    I'll tell you about the dreadful fear
    that caused me to shake all over:

    Seeing creatures flopping around,
    Like fish in water too shallow,
    So hostile to one another!
    — Seeing this, I became afraid.

    This world completely lacks essence;
    It trembles in all directions.
    I longed to find myself a place
    Unscathed — but I could not see it.

    Seeing people locked in conflict,
    I became completely distraught.
    But then I discerned here a thorn
    — Hard to see — lodged deep in the heart.

    It's only when pierced by this thorn
    That one runs in all directions.
    So if that thorn is taken out —
    one does not run, and settles down.

    ...

    Who here has crossed over desires,
    the world's bond, so hard to get past,
    he does not grieve, she does not mourn.
    His stream is cut, she's all unbound.

    What went before — let go of that!
    All that's to come — have none of it!
    Don't hold on to what's in between,
    And you'll wander fully at peace.

    For whom there is no "I-making"
    All throughout the body and mind,
    And who grieves not for what is not
    Is undefeated in the world.

    For whom there is no "this is mine"
    Nor anything like "that is theirs"
    Not even finding "self-ness," he
    Does not grieve at "I have nothing."


    http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipit...4.15.olen.html
    .

  2. #2
    Forums Member Genecanuck's Avatar
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    Hello Aloka,

    I found this interesting article about this Sutta...

    Removing the Thorn
    Andrew Olendzki reveals the Buddha’s prescription for peace on earth.


    https://tricycle.org/magazine/removing-thorn/

    Regards

    Gene

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Genecanuck View Post
    Hello Aloka,

    I found this interesting article about this Sutta...

    Removing the Thorn
    Andrew Olendzki reveals the Buddha’s prescription for peace on earth.


    https://tricycle.org/magazine/removing-thorn/

    Regards

    Gene

    Thank you Gene.

    Unfortunately I'm unable to read the article because a message appeared to say that its only available to subscribers of Tricycle magazine. However, Andrew Olendsky translated the sutta (posted #1) - and he made the following notes before the sutta begins, which might be of interest.



    Translator's note


    The Sutta Nipata is probably one of the most diverse collections of discourses to be found in the Pali Tipitaka, and the chapter from which this sutta is taken, the Atthaka-vagga, may well be the oldest portion of the entire canon. It is composed mostly in verse, and includes some lovely poetry.

    There is something particularly moving for me about this poem, perhaps because it is composed in the first person and appears to reveal the process through which the Buddha himself came to understanding; perhaps because of the vulnerability expressed in the opening stanzas, where he admits his fear and sense of dread over the nature of the human condition. Or maybe it is just the utter simplicity of first, the problem (people hurting each other), and then its cause (basic human selfishness, driven by desire), and finally, its solution (letting go of the ego's attachments). How easy he can so often make it all sound!

    The first line alone is a counter-intuitive show-stopper. Conventional wisdom suggests that arming oneself is a prudent response to fear of self-injury. Yet the Buddha's wisdom goes deeper to observe how this actually contributes to the generation of more fear. Do we really feel more safe when we lash out at our critics and adversaries? Our culture certainly assumes so; but the Buddha is offering an alternative response, emerging from his own experience.

    The phrase translated here as "arming oneself," which serves as the title of the sutta, is elsewhere rendered "embracing violence" (Norman) or "violent conduct" (Saddhatissa). The basic image is of a person taking up a stick, (danda); the stick being a common symbol in Indian literature for both violence and punishment.

    The reader can hardly help feeling swept up in the emotional turmoil of the author. The tension mounts as the fear and despair builds, and then breaks suddenly with the insight that, like an animal driven to madness by an injury, mankind is not evil by nature but is only driven to violence by the relentless pressure of desire.

    The latter half of the poem describes how to cultivate a state of mind — a stance within unfolding experience — that avoids the dysfunctional move of creating and projecting oneself on every situation.

    These few verses embrace the whole of the four noble truths: the suffering manifest as violence, its cause by the thorn in the heart, the "unbinding" or crossing over this, and the way to cultivate the selflessness that constitutes real freedom

    http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipit...4.15.olen.html


  4. #4
    Forums Member Genecanuck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aloka View Post
    Thank you Gene.

    Unfortunately I'm unable to read the article because a message appeared to say that its only available to subscribers of Tricycle magazine. However, Andrew Olendsky translated the sutta (posted #1) - and he made the following notes before the sutta begins, which might be of interest.




    Thank you Aloka,

    I found this translation easier to understand.

    Attadanda Sutta: The Rod Embraced
    translated from the Pali by
    Thanissaro Bhikkhu


    http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipit...n.html#fn-15-1

    I am still processing this Sutta and wondering how it applies to discord in a dysfunctional family.

    Cheers

    Gene

  5. #5
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    It reminds me of something Joseph Goldstein wrote in Mindfulness: A Practical Guide to Awakening. (A fantastic book)

    "How, then, do we practice this first aspect of Right Effort? The previous steps on the Path, Right Speech, Action and Livelihood, provide the foundation through abstinence from unwholesome activities. We then need to exercise wise attention on the different objects of experience arising through the senses. If our attention is casual, careless, and unwise, then we simply fall into old habits of reactivity. For me, one of the most radical, far-reaching, and challenging statements of the Buddha is his statement that as long as there is attachment to the pleasant and aversion to the unpleasant, liberation is impossible. Clearly we need a wise and sustained attention to weaken these deeply conditioned habits of mind."
    I have looked for his quote of the Buddha, "as long as there is attachment to the pleasant and aversion to the unpleasant, liberation is impossible". I can't find it anywhere.

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    Gene,

    I think that it can only be applied with sincerity and vigilance when dealing with discord in a dysfunctional family. The lay life is hard. Sometimes everything about the way this world of Samsara functions seems to try and pull us into our ego shell and away from the Dharma. Just remember that no effort is wasted.

    Peace
    Last edited by S8t0r1; 14 Oct 17 at 10:26.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Genecanuk

    I am still processing this Sutta and wondering how it applies to discord in a dysfunctional family.
    Hi Gene,


    I think these three verses of the sutta might be worth keeping in mind for difficult situations in general (as well as practising patience and metta):


    What went before — let go of that!
    All that's to come — have none of it!
    Don't hold on to what's in between,
    And you'll wander fully at peace.

    For whom there is no "I-making"
    All throughout the body and mind,
    And who grieves not for what is not
    Is undefeated in the world.

    For whom there is no "this is mine"
    Nor anything like "that is theirs"
    Not even finding "self-ness," he
    Does not grieve at "I have nothing."





  8. #8
    Forums Member Genecanuck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by S8t0r1 View Post
    Gene,

    I think that it can only be applied with sincerity and vigilance when dealing with discord in a dysfunctional family. The lay life is hard. Sometimes everything about the way this world of Samsara functions seems to try and pull us into our ego shell and away from the Dharma. Just remember that no effort is wasted.

    Peace
    Thanks S8tOr1,

    I will remember that no effort is wasted!!

    Many thanks

    Gene

  9. #9
    Forums Member Genecanuck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aloka View Post
    Hi Gene,


    I think these three verses of the sutta might be worth keeping in mind for difficult situations in general (as well as practising patience and metta):






    Thank you Aloka,


  10. #10
    Forums Member ancientbuddhism's Avatar
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    I like the Suttanipāta where sections like this one give us concise and possibly more approachable frameworks for what later became the 4-NT and Dependant Arising in the larger collections of the Pāḷi Nikāyas.

    However I am picked by this rendering because translations can go only so far and by themselves are a poor way to view these texts without looking at the pāḷi. With the following example I prefer K.R. Norman’s as a baseline for accuracy (KN 5.53):

    950. Sabbaso nāmarūpasmiṃ yassa n’atti mamāyitaṃ,
    Asatā ca na socati, sa ve loke na jiyyati.

    [Norman] “Of whom there is no cherishing at all in respect of name-and-form,
    And [who] does not grieve because of what does not exist, he truly does not suffer any loss in the world.

    951. Yassa n’atthi ‘idam me ti ‘paresaṃ’ vā pi kiñcanaṃ,
    mamattaṃ so asaṃvindaṃ ‘n’atthi me’ tin a socati.

    [Norman] “Of whom there is no thought of “this is mine” or “[this belongs] to others”, he not feeling [as sense of] possessiveness does not grieve [thinking] “I do not have this”.”

    Unpacking this in my own rendering, in 950 there is “sabbaso nāmarūpasmiṃ, yassa natthi mamāyitaṃ.” – “In this embodied cognition there is nothing attached to whatsoever (yassa natthi mamāyitaṃ).” which is congruent with 951. “ Yassa n’atthi ‘idam me ti ‘paresaṃ’) “Thus there is no ‘this is mine or another’s…”.

    In 950 Olendzki renders “yassa natthi mamāyitaṃ”” as “…there is no “I-making”…”, a translation usually given for ahaṅkāra (see Bodhi’s translation of AN.3.32)…, which is interesting when he connects this to the next śloka with “yassa n’atthi ‘idam me…” as “mine making”, usually rendered with reference to the same pāḷi compound mentioned above from “…mamaṅkāra”; the latter rendering being more congruent to the context of this sutta than the former.

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