Majjhima Nikāya

The Middle Length Sayings

Mahā Vedalla Suttaṃ

43. Greater Discourse of the Miscellany

Thus have I heard: At one time the Lord was staying near Sāvatthī in the Jeta Grove in Anāthapiṇḍika's monastery. Then the venerable Koṭṭhita the Great, emerging from solitary meditation towards evening, approached the venerable Sāriputta: having approached, he exchanged greetings with the venerable Sāriputta; having exchanged greetings of friendliness and courtesy, he sat down at a respectful distance. As he was sitting down at a respectful distance, the venerable Koṭṭhita the Great spoke thus to the venerable Sāriputta: “Your reverence, one is called: ‘Poor in intuitive wisdom, poor in intuitive wisdom.’ Now what are the respects in which one is called ‘Poor in intuitive wisdom,’ your reverence?”

“Your reverence, if it is said ‘He does not comprehend, he does not comprehend,’ therefore he is called ‘Poor in intuitive wisdom.’ What does he not comprehend? He does not comprehend: ‘This is anguish,’ he does not comprehend: ‘This is the arising of anguish,’ he does not comprehend: ‘This is the stopping of anguish,’ he does not comprehend: ‘This is the course leading to the stopping of anguish.’ If it is said, ‘He does not comprehend, he does not comprehend,’ your reverence, therefore he is called ‘poor in intuitive wisdom.’”

“It is good, your reverence,” and the venerable Koṭṭhita the Great, having rejoiced in what the venerable Sāriputta had said, having thanked him, asked the venerable Sāriputta a further question: “Your reverence, one is called ‘Intuitively wise, intuitively wise.’ Now what are the respects in which one is called ‘intuitively wise,’ your reverence?” “Your reverence, if it is said ‘He comprehends, he comprehends,’ he is therefore called ‘Intuitively wise.’ And what does he comprehend? He comprehends: ‘This is anguish,’ he comprehends: ‘This is the arising of anguish,’ he comprehends: ‘This is the stopping of anguish,’ he comprehends: ‘This is the course leading to the stopping of anguish.’ If it is said, ‘He comprehends, he comprehends,’ your reverence, therefore he is called ‘intuitively wise.’”

“Your reverence, it is called ‘Discriminative consciousness, discriminative consciousness.’ Now in what respects, your reverence, is it called ‘discriminative consciousness’?” “Your reverence, if it said ‘It discriminates, it discriminates,’ it is therefore called discriminative consciousness. And what does it discriminate? It discriminates pleasure and it discriminates pain and it discriminates neither pain nor pleasure. If it is said ‘It discriminates, it discriminates,’ your reverence, therefore it is called ‘Discriminative consciousness.’”

“That which is intuitive wisdom, your reverence, and that which is discriminative consciousness, are these states associated or dissociated? And is it possible to lay down a difference between these states, having analysed them again and again?” “That which is intuitive wisdom, your reverence, and that which is discriminative consciousness, these states are associated, not dissociated, and it is not possible to lay down a difference between these states, having analysed them again and again. Whatever one comprehends, your reverence, that one discriminates; whatever one discriminates that one comprehends; therefore these states are associated, not dissociated, and it is not possible to lay down a difference between these states, having analysed them again and again.”

“That which is intuitive wisdom, your reverence, and that which is discriminative consciousness, what is the difference between these states which are associated, not dissociated?” “That which is intuitive wisdom, your reverence, and that which is discriminative consciousness among these states that are associated, not dissociated, intuitive wisdom is to be developed, discriminative consciousness is for apprehending. This is the difference between them.”

“Your reverence, it is said, ‘Feeling, feeling.’ Now what are the respects in which it is called ‘feeling,’ your reverence?” “Your reverence, if it is said, ‘He feels, he feels,’ it is therefore called ‘feeling.’ And what does he feel? He feels pleasure, and he feels pain, and he feels neither pain nor pleasure. If it is said, ‘He feels, he feels,’ your reverence, therefore it is called ‘feeling.’”

“Your reverence, it is said, ‘Perception, perception.’ Now what are the respects in which it is called ‘perception,’ your reverence?” “Your reverence, if it is said, ‘He perceives, he perceives,’ it is therefore called ‘perception.’ And what does he perceive? He perceives what is dark green and he perceives what is yellow and he perceives what is red and he perceives what is white. If it is said ‘He perceives, he perceives,’ your reverence, it is therefore called ‘perception.’”

“That which is feeling, your reverence, and that which is perception and that which is discriminative consciousness, are these states associated or dissociated? And is it possible to lay down a difference between these states, having analysed them again and again?” “That which is feeling, your reverence, and that which is perception and that which is discriminative consciousness, these states are associated, not dissociated, and it is not possible to lay down a difference between these states, having analysed them again and again. Your reverence, whatever one feels, that one perceives; whatever one perceives that one discriminates; therefore these states are associated, not dissociated, and it is not possible to lay down a difference between these states, having analysed them again and again.”

“What is knowable, your reverence, by purified mental consciousness isolated from the five sense-organs?” “Your reverence, thinking, ‘Ether is unending,’ the plane of infinite ether is knowable by pure mental consciousness isolated from the five sense-organs; thinking, ‘Consciousness is unending,’ the plane of infinite consciousness is knowable; thinking, ‘There is not anything,’ the plane of no-thing is knowable.”

“By what means does one comprehend a knowable mental object, your reverence?” “One comprehends a knowable mental object, your reverence, by means of the eye of intuitive wisdom.”

“But what is intuitive wisdom for, your reverence?” “Your reverence, intuitive wisdom is for super-knowledge, for apprehending, for getting rid of.”

“But how many conditions are there, your reverence, for bringing right understanding into existence?” “There are two conditions, your reverence, for bringing right understanding into existence: the utterance of another (person) and wise attention. Your reverence, these are the two conditions for bringing right understanding into existence.”

“If right understanding is forwarded, by how many factors, your reverence, does there come to be the fruit of freedom of mind and the advantage of the fruit of freedom of mind, and the fruit of freedom through intuitive wisdom and the advantage of the fruit of freedom through intuitive wisdom?” “Your reverence, if right understanding is forwarded by five factors there comes to be the fruit of freedom of mind and the advantage of the fruit of freedom of mind, and the fruit of freedom through intuitive wisdom and the advantage of the fruit of freedom through intuitive wisdom. In this case, your reverence, right understanding is forwarded by moral habit, and it is forwarded by hearing, and it is forwarded by discussion, and it is forwarded by calm and it is forwarded by vision. Your reverence, if right understanding is forwarded by these five factors, there comes to be the fruit of freedom of mind and the advantage of the fruit of freedom of mind, and there comes to be the fruit of freedom through intuitive wisdom and the advantage of the fruit of freedom through intuitive wisdom.”

“And how many becomings are there, your reverence?” “These three are becomings, your reverence: becoming of sense-pleasures, becoming of fine-materiality, becoming of immateriality.”

“How, your reverence, is there the recurrence of again-becoming in the future?” “For those creatures who are hindered by ignorance, fettered by craving, delighting in this and that, there thus comes to be recurrence of again-becoming in the future.”

“But how, your reverence, is there not recurrence of again-becoming in the future?” “By the fading away of ignorance, by the uprising of knowledge, by the stopping of craving, there is thus no recurrence of again-becoming in the future “

“And what, your reverence, is the first meditation?” “As to this, your reverence, a monk, aloof from pleasures of the senses, aloof from unskilled states of mind, enters on and abides in the first meditation which is accompanied by initial thought and discursive thought, is born of aloofness, and is rapturous and joyful. This, your reverence, is called the first meditation.”

“Of how many factors, your reverence, is the first meditation?” “Your reverence, the first meditation is five-factored: if a monk has entered on the first meditation there is initial thought and discursive thought and rapture and joy and one-pointedness of mind. Thus, your reverence, is the first meditation five-factored.”

“Your reverence, in regard to the first meditation, how many factors are abandoned, how many factors are possessed?” “Your reverence, in regard to the first meditation, five factors are abandoned, five are possessed: if a monk has entered on the first meditation, desire for sense-pleasure is abandoned, malevolence is abandoned, sloth and torpor are abandoned, restlessness and worry are abandoned, doubt is abandoned, but there is initial thought and discursive thought, rapture and joy and one-pointedness of mind. Thus, your reverence, in regard to the first meditation, five factors are abandoned, five factors are possessed.”

“Your reverence, these five sense-organs, different in range, different in pasture, do not react to the pasture and range of one another; that is to say: the organ of eye, the organ of ear, the organ of nose, the organ of tongue, the organ of body. What is the repository of these five sense-organs, different in range, different in pasture, which do not react to the pasture and range of one another? And what is it that reacts to their pasture and range?” “Your reverence, these five sense-organs, different in range, different in pasture, do not react to the pasture and range of one another; that is to say: the organ of eye, the organ of ear, the organ of nose, the organ of tongue, the organ of body. Of these five sense-organs, your reverence, different in range, different in pasture, not reacting to the pasture and range of one another, mind is the repository, and mind reacts to their pasture and range.”

“Your reverence, these are the five sense-organs; that is to say: the organ of eye, the organ of ear, the organ of nose, the organ of tongue, the organ of body. On what do these five sense-organs depend, your reverence?” “Your reverence, these are the five sense-organs, that is to say: the organ of eye, the organ of ear, the organ of nose, the organ of tongue, the organ of body. Your reverence, these five sense-organs depend on vitality.”

“And on what does vitality depend, your reverence?” “Vitality depends on heat.” “And on what does heat depend, your reverence?” “Heat depends on vitality.” “Your reverence, we now understand the words of the venerable Sāriputta thus: ‘Vitality depends on heat’; we now understand the words of the venerable Sāriputta thus: ‘Heat depends on vitality.’ What is the precise meaning to be attached to these words, your reverence?” “Well then, your reverence, I will make a simile for you. For by a simile some intelligent persons here might understand the meaning of what has been said: As when an oil lamp is burning the light is seen because of the flame and the flame is seen because of the light, so, your reverence, vitality depends on heat and heat on vitality.”

“Now, your reverence, are these properties of vitality states that are to be felt, or are the properties of vitality one thing, states that are to be felt another?” “Your reverence, these properties of vitality are not themselves states to be felt. If, your reverence, these properties of vitality were themselves states to be felt, no emergence could be shown for a monk who had won to the stopping of perception and feeling. But because, your reverence, the properties of vitality are one thing and states to be felt another, therefore the emergence of a monk who has won to the stopping of perception and feeling can be shown.”

“In regard to this body, your reverence, when how many things are got rid of, does this body lie cast away, flung aside like unto a senseless log of wood?” “In regard to this body, your reverence, when three things are got rid of: vitality, heat and consciousness, then does this body lie cast away, flung aside like unto a senseless log of wood.”

“What is the difference, your reverence, between that dead thing, passed away, and that monk who has attained to the stopping of perception and feeling?” “Your reverence, the bodily activities of that dead thing, passed away, have been stopped, have subsided, the vocal activities have been stopped, have subsided, the mental activities have been stopped, have subsided, the vitality is entirely destroyed, the heat allayed, the sense-organs are entirely broken asunder. But that monk who has attained to the stopping of perception and feeling, although his bodily activities have been stopped, have subsided, although his vocal activities have been stopped, have subsided, although his mental activities have been stopped, have subsided, his vitality is not entirely destroyed, his heat is not allayed, his sense-organs are purified. This, your reverence, is the difference between a dead thing, passed away, and that monk who has attained to the stopping of perception and feeling.”

“And how many conditions are there, your reverence, for the attainment of the freedom of mind which has neither anguish nor joy?” “There are four conditions, your reverence, for the attainment of the freedom of mind which has neither anguish nor joy. In this case, your reverence, a monk by getting rid of joy, by getting rid of anguish, by the going down of his former pleasures and sorrows, enters on and abides in the fourth meditation which has neither anguish nor joy, and which is entirely purified by equanimity and mindfulness. These, your reverence, are the four conditions for attaining the freedom of mind which has neither anguish nor joy.”

“How many conditions are there, your reverence, for the attainment of the freedom of mind that is signless?” “There are two conditions, your reverence, for the attainment of the freedom of mind that is signless: paying no attention to any signs, and paying attention to the signless realm. These, your reverence, are the two conditions for the attainment of the freedom of mind that is signless.”

“How many conditions are there, your reverence, for the persistence of the freedom of mind that is signless?” “There are three conditions, your reverence, for the persistence of the freedom of mind that is signless: paying no attention to any signs, and paying attention to the signless realm, and a preceding preparation. These, your reverence, are the three conditions for the persistence of the freedom of mind that is signless.”

“How many conditions are there, your reverence, for emergence from the freedom of mind that is signless?” “There are the two conditions, your reverence, for emerging from the freedom of mind that is signless: paying attention to all signs, and not paying attention to the signless realm. These, your reverence, are the two conditions for emergence from the freedom of mind that is signless.”

“Your reverence, whatever is immeasurable freedom of mind and whatever is freedom of mind that is naught and whatever is freedom of mind that is void and whatever is freedom of mind that is signless, are these states different in connotation and different in denotation, or are they identical in connotation while being different only in denotation?” “Your reverence, whatever is immeasurable freedom of mind and whatever is the freedom of mind that is naught and whatever is freedom of mind that is void and whatever is freedom of mind that is signless, there is a method according to which these states are different in connotation as well as being different in denotation; and, your reverence, there is a method according to which these states are identical in connotation while being different in denotation. And what, your reverence, is the method according to which these states are different in connotation as well as being different in denotation? (1) As to this, your reverence, a monk abides having suffused the first quarter with a mind of friendliness, likewise the second, likewise the third, likewise the fourth; just so above, below, across; he dwells having suffused the whole world everywhere, in every way with a mind of friendliness, that is far-reaching, widespread, immeasurable, without enmity, without malevolence. (2) He dwells having suffused the first quarter with a mind of compassion, likewise the second, likewise the third, likewise the fourth; just so above, below, across; he dwells having suffused the whole world everywhere, in every way with a mind of compassion, that is far-reaching, widespread, immeasurable, without enmity, without malevolence. (3) He dwells having suffused the first quarter with a mind of sympathetic joy, likewise the second, likewise the third, likewise the fourth; just so above, below, across; he dwells having suffused the whole world everywhere, in every way with a mind of sympathetic joy, that is far-reaching, widespread, immeasurable, without enmity, without malevolence. (4) He dwells having suffused the first quarter with a mind of equanimity, likewise the second, likewise the third, likewise the fourth; just so above, below, across; he dwells having suffused the whole world everywhere, in every way with a mind of equanimity, that is far-reaching, widespread, immeasurable, without enmity, without malevolence. This, your reverence, is called immeasurable freedom of mind.”

“And what, your reverence, is the freedom of mind that is naught?” “As to this, your reverence, a monk passing quite beyond the plane of infinite consciousness, thinking, ‘There is not anything,’ enters on and abides in the plane of no-thing. This, your reverence, is called the freedom of mind that is naught.”

“And what, your reverence, is the freedom of mind that is void?” “As to this, your reverence, a monk forest-gone or gone to the root of a tree or gone to an empty place, reflects thus: ‘This is void of self or of what pertains to self.’ This, your reverence, is called the freedom of mind that is void.”

“And what, your reverence, is the freedom of mind that is signless?” “As to this, your reverence, a monk, by paying no attention to any signs, entering on the concentration of mind that is signless, abides therein. This, your reverence, is called the freedom of mind that is signless.

This, your reverence, is the method according to which these states are different in connotation as well as differing in denotation.”

“And what, your reverence, is the method according to which these states are identical in connotation while being different in denotation?” “(1) Attachment, your reverence, is productive of the measurable, hatred is productive of the measurable, confusion is productive of the measurable. For a monk whose cankers are destroyed, these are got rid of, cut off at the roots, made like a palm-tree stump so that they can come to no further existence in the future. To the extent, your reverence, that freedoms of mind are immeasurable, unshakable freedom of mind is shown to be their chief, for that unshakable freedom of mind is void of attachment, void of hatred, void of confusion. (2) Attachment, your reverence, is something (obstructive), hatred is something (obstructive), confusion is something (obstructive). For a monk whose cankers are destroyed, these are got rid of, cut off at the roots, made like a palm-tree stump so that they can come to no further existence in the future. To the extent, your reverence, that freedoms of mind are naught, unshakable freedom of mind is shown to be their chief, for that unshakable freedom of mind is void of attachment, void of hatred, void of confusion. (3) Attachment, your reverence, is productive of signs, hatred is productive of signs, confusion is productive of signs. For a monk whose cankers are destroyed these are got rid of, cut off at the roots, made like a palm-tree stump so that they can come to no further existence in the future. To the extent, your reverence, that freedoms of mind are signless, unshakable freedom of mind is shown to be their chief, for that unshakable freedom of mind is void of attachment, void of hatred, void of confusion.

This, your reverence, is the method according to which these states are identical in connotation while being different in denotation.”

Thus spoke the venerable Sāriputta. Delighted, the venerable Koṭṭhita the Great rejoiced in what the venerable Sāriputta had said.

Greater Discourse of the Miscellany: The Third