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Thread: Recollection of the Dhamma

  1. #1
    Technical Administrator woodscooter's Avatar
    London UK
    “The Dhamma is well proclaimed by the Blessed One, visible here and now, not delayed (timeless), inviting of inspection, onward-leading, and directly experienceable by the wise” (M I 37; A III 285).
    This is one of my favourite concepts from the Pali canon. It speaks to me about how Buddhism stands for each individual being responsible for his or her own journey upon the Path. There's no need for intervention from clerics or priests. There's no need to accept other people's interpretations. There's no demand to "first, have faith".

    I cannot find an English language translation of M i 37 or A iii 285, so I will expand using inspiration from Buddhaghosa's Visuddhimagga "The Path of Purification". I have cut and simplified his wording in places.

    The noble path is “visible here and now” since it can be seen by a noble person himself when he has done away with greed. “When a man is consumed with greed and is overwhelmed, then he thinks for his own affliction, he thinks for others’ affliction, he experiences mental suffering and grief. When greed has been abandoned, he neither thinks for his own affliction, nor thinks for others’ affliction, and he does not experience mental suffering and grief. This, is how the Dhamma is visible here and now” (A i 156).

    It is "not delayed" because the fruit of following the Dhamma occurs immediately you follow it. It doesn't suggest that the result of right action will come in the future, in heaven or in some future life. Right action is the right thing to do in the present moment.

    It is “inviting of inspection” (ehipassika). Because it is found and because of its purity. If a man has said that there is money or gold in an empty fist, he cannot say, “Come and see it.” Why not? Because it is not found.

    And on the other hand, while dung or urine may well be found, a man cannot (for the purpose of cheering the mind by exhibiting beauty) say, “Come and see this”. On the contrary, they have to be covered up with grass and leaves because of their impurity.

    Consequently, it is worthy of the invitation to inspect since it is found and pure, thus it is “inviting of inspection.”

    It is "directly experienceable by the wise". It can be experienced by all kinds of wise men thus: “The path has been developed, fruition attained, and cessation realized, by me.”

    It does not happen that when a preceptor has developed the path his co-resident abandons his defilements, nor does a co-resident dwell in comfort owing to the preceptor’s attainment of fruition, nor does he realize the Nibbána realized by the preceptor.

    So this is not visible in the way that an ornament on another’s head is, but rather it is visible only in one’s own mind. What is meant is that it can be undergone by wise men, but it is not the province of fools.

  2. #2
    Forums Member Olderon's Avatar
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  3. #3
    Technical Administrator woodscooter's Avatar
    London UK
    Thanks for the reference, Olderon. Certainly the "Person of Integrity" sutta deals with greed, and my post includes a noble person who has done away with greed.

    There are other suttas that seem similar to my post, for instance the Dhamma being visible "Here and Now" is covered in AN 6.47

    I have also heard a (non-Theravada) teaching which said "When you first encounter the dharma, inspect it closely as you would examine gold in a market."

    But I would dearly love to find a simple translation of the one sutta covering all five qualities of the Dhamma: visible here-and-now, not-delayed, inviting inspection, leading one forward and fitting like a crown for the wise.

    It was first shown to me in Pali by an Oxford academic who gave me a rough verbal translation. I believe it was the inspiration for Buddhaghosa's reference to it. He mentions MN i 37 and AN iii 285, but neither of those can I find at Sutta Central or Access to Insight.

  4. #4
    Forums Member Element's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by woodscooter View Post
    MN i 37 and AN iii 285
    Hi Woodscooter

    The Recollection of Dhamma is found in a vast multitude of suttas, here.

    The above as an alternate referencing system.

    MN i 37 equates to MN 7
    He acquires unwavering confidence in the Dhamma thus: ‘The Dhamma is well proclaimed by the Blessed One, visible here and now, immediately effective, inviting inspection, onward leading, to be experienced by the wise for themselves.’


    Bhikkhus, if a bhikkhu of such virtue, such a state of concentration, and such wisdom eats almsfood consisting of choice hill rice along with various sauces and curries, even that will be no obstacle for him. Just as a cloth that is defiled and stained becomes pure and bright with the help of clear water, or just as gold becomes pure and bright with the help of a furnace, so too, if a bhikkhu of such virtue…eats almsfood…that will be no obstacle for him.

    MN 7
    AN iii 285 equates to AN 6.10
    Furthermore, a noble disciple recollects the teaching:

    Puna caparaṃ, mahānāma, ariyasāvako dhammaṃ anussarati:

    ‘The teaching is well explained by the Buddha—visible in this very life, immediately effective, inviting inspection, relevant, so that sensible people can know it for themselves.’

    ‘svākkhāto bhagavatā dhammo sandiṭṭhiko akāliko ehipassiko opaneyyiko paccattaṃ veditabbo viññūhī’ti.

    AN 6.10

    Following the referencing highlighted in red below:
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by Element; 16 Jun 19 at 00:51.

  5. #5
    Technical Administrator woodscooter's Avatar
    London UK
    svākkhāto bhagavatā dhammo sandiṭṭhiko akāliko ehipassiko opaneyyiko paccattaṃ veditabbo viññūhī’ti.
    That is the one I was looking for!

    Thank you, Element, for cutting through the forest of my ignorance with your sharp understanding of sutta references and your sturdy knowledge of the suttas.

    Now I remember that I used to chant the Dhammanussati in recollection of the Triple Gem during regular sessions with the meditation group I used to attend.

    These days I do no chanting. How easy it is to forget.

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