Majjhima Nikāya

The Middle Length Sayings

Bahuvedanīya Suttaṃ

59. Discourse on Much to Be Experienced

Thus have I heard: at one time the Lord was staying near Sāvatthī in the Jeta Grove in Anāthapiṇḍika's monastery. Then Five-tools, the carpenter, approached the venerable Udāyin; having approached, having greeted the venerable Udāyin, he sat down at a respectful distance. As he was sitting down at a respectful distance, Five-tools, the carpenter, spoke thus to the venerable Udāyin:

“Now, revered Udāyin, how many feelings are spoken of by the Lord?” “Three, householder, are the feelings that are spoken of by the Lord: pleasant feeling, painful feeling, feeling that is neither painful nor pleasant. These, householder, are the three feelings spoken of by the Lord.”

“Revered Udāyin, three feelings are not spoken of by the Lord. Two feelings are spoken of by the Lord: pleasant feeling, painful feeling. Revered sir, that feeling which is neither painful nor pleasant, that is spoken of by the Lord as belonging to exquisite happiness.”

And a second time the venerable Udāyin spoke thus to Five-tools, the carpenter: “Three, householder, are the feelings that are spoken of by the Lord: pleasant feeling, painful feeling, feeling that is neither painful nor pleasant. These, householder, are the three feelings spoken of by the Lord.”

And a second time Five-tools the carpenter spoke thus to the venerable Udāyin: “Two feelings are spoken of by the Lord: pleasant feeling, painful feeling. Revered sir, that feeling which is neither painful nor pleasant, that is spoken of by the Lord as belonging to exquisite happiness.”

And a third time the venerable Udāyin spoke thus to Five-tools, the carpenter: “Three, householder, are the feelings that are spoken of by the Lord: pleasant feeling, painful feeling, feeling that is neither painful nor pleasant. These, householder, are the three feelings spoken of by the Lord.”

And a third time Five-tools the carpenter spoke thus to the venerable Udāyin: “Two feelings are spoken of by the Lord: pleasant feeling, painful feeling. Revered sir, that feeling which is neither painful nor pleasant, that is spoken of by the Lord as belonging to exquisite happiness.”

So neither was the venerable Udāyin able to convince Five-tools the carpenter, nor was Five-tools the carpenter able to convince the venerable Udāyin.

Now, the venerable Ānanda overheard this conversation between the venerable Udāyin and Five-tools the carpenter. Then the venerable Ānanda approached the Lord; having approached, having greeted the Lord, he sat down at a respectful distance. Seated at a respectful distance, the venerable Ānanda told the Lord the whole of the conversation between the venerable Udāyin and Five-tools the carpenter as far as it went.

When this had been said, the Lord spoke thus to the venerable Ānanda: “Although, Ānanda, Udāyin's classification was right, Five-tools the carpenter disagreed; and although Five-tools the carpenter's classification was right, Udāyin disagreed.

Ānanda, [1] two feelings are spoken of by me according to (one) classification, and [2] three feelings are spoken of by me according to (another) classification, and [3] five feelings are spoken of by me according to (another) classification, and [4] six feelings are spoken of by me according to (another) classification, and [5] eighteen feelings are spoken of by me according to (another) classification, and [6] thirty-six feelings are spoken of by me according to (another) classification, and [7] one hundred and eight feelings are spoken of by me according to (another) classification. Thus, Ānanda, is Dhamma taught by me according to classification.

As Dhamma, is taught by me thus, Ānanda, according to classification, of those who will not accede to, approve of or accept what has been well said, well spoken by each other, this is to be expected: that they will live wrangling, quarrelsome, disputatious, wounding one another with the weapons of the tongue.

Thus, Ānanda, is Dhamma taught by me according to classification. As Dhamma is taught by me thus, Ānanda, according to classification, of those who will accede to, approve of and accept what has been well said, well spoken by each other, this is to be expected: that they will live all together on friendly terms and harmonious as milk and water blend, regarding one another with the eye of affection.

Ten Types of Happiness

Happiness of the Five Sense-pleasures

[1] Ānanda, there are these five strands of sense-pleasures. What are the five? Material shapes cognisable by the eye, agreeable, pleasant, liked, enticing, connected with sensual pleasures, alluring. Sounds cognisable by the ear, agreeable, pleasant, liked, enticing, connected with sensual pleasures, alluring. Smells cognisable by the nose, agreeable, pleasant, liked, enticing, connected with sensual pleasures, alluring. Tastes cognisable by the tongue, agreeable, pleasant, liked, enticing, connected with sensual pleasures, alluring. Touches cognisable by the body, agreeable, pleasant, liked, enticing, connected with sensual pleasures, alluring. These, Ānanda, are the five strands of sense-pleasures.

Four Jhānas

Whatever happiness, whatever joy, Ānanda, arises in consequence of these five strands of sense-pleasures, it is called happiness in sense-pleasures. Whoever, Ānanda, should speak thus: ‘This is the highest happiness and joy that creatures experience’, this I cannot allow on his part. What is the reason for this? There is, Ānanda, another happiness more excellent and exquisite than that happiness. And what, Ānanda, is this other happiness more excellent and exquisite than that happiness? [2] Here, Ānanda, a monk, aloof from pleasures of the senses, aloof from unskilled states of mind, enters and abides in the first meditation that is accompanied by initial thought and discursive thought, is born of aloofness and is rapturous and joyful. This, Ānanda, is the other happiness that is more excellent and exquisite than that happiness.

Whoever, Ānanda, should speak thus: ‘This is the highest happiness and joy that creatures experience’, this I cannot allow on his part. What is the reason for this? There is, Ānanda, another happiness more excellent and exquisite than that happiness. And what, Ānanda, is this other happiness more excellent and exquisite than that happiness? [3] Here, Ānanda, a monk, by allaying initial thought and discursive thought, his mind inwardly tranquillised and fixed on one point, enters and abides in the second meditation which is devoid of initial and discursive thought, is born of concentration, and is rapturous and joyful. This, Ānanda, is the other happiness that is more excellent and exquisite than that happiness.

Whoever, Ānanda, should speak thus: ‘This is the highest happiness and joy that creatures experience’, this I cannot allow on his part. What is the reason for this? There is, Ānanda, another happiness more excellent and exquisite than that happiness. And what, Ānanda, is this other happiness more excellent and exquisite than that happiness? [4] Here, Ānanda, a monk, by the fading out of rapture, dwells with equanimity, attentive and clearly conscious, and experiences in his person that joy of which the ariyans say: ‘Joyful lives he who has equanimity and is mindful,’ and he enters on and abides in the third meditation. This, Ānanda, is the other happiness that is more excellent and exquisite than that happiness.

Whoever, Ānanda, should speak thus: ‘This is the highest happiness and joy that creatures experience’, this I cannot allow on his part. What is the reason for this? There is, Ānanda, another happiness more excellent and exquisite than that happiness. And what, Ānanda, is this other happiness more excellent and exquisite than that happiness? [5] Here, Ānanda, a monk, by getting rid of happiness and 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. This, Ānanda, is the other happiness that is more excellent and exquisite than that happiness.

Four Formless States

Whoever, Ānanda, should speak thus: ‘This is the highest happiness and joy that creatures experience’, this I cannot allow on his part. What is the reason for this? There is, Ānanda, another happiness more excellent and exquisite than that happiness. And what, Ānanda, is this other happiness more excellent and exquisite than that happiness? [6] Here, Ānanda, a monk, by passing quite beyond perception of material shapes, by the going down of perception of sensory reactions, by not attending to perception of variety, thinking: ‘Ether is unending,’ enters on and abides in the plane of infinite ether. This, Ānanda, is the other happiness that is more excellent and exquisite than that happiness.

Whoever, Ānanda, should speak thus: ‘This is the highest happiness and joy that creatures experience’, this I cannot allow on his part. What is the reason for this? There is, Ānanda, another happiness more excellent and exquisite than that happiness. And what, Ānanda, is this other happiness more excellent and exquisite than that happiness? [7] Here, Ānanda, a monk, by passing quite beyond the plane of infinite ether, thinking: ‘Consciousness is unending,’ enters on and abides in the plane of infinite consciousness. This, Ānanda, is the other happiness that is more excellent and exquisite than that happiness.

Whoever, Ānanda, should speak thus: ‘This is the highest happiness and joy that creatures experience’, this I cannot allow on his part. What is the reason for this? There is, Ānanda, another happiness more excellent and exquisite than that happiness. And what, Ānanda, is this other happiness more excellent and exquisite than that happiness? [8] Here, Ānanda, a monk, by passing quite beyond the plane of infinite consciousness, thinking: ‘There is not anything,’ enters on and abides in the plane of no-thing. This, Ānanda, is the other happiness that is more excellent and exquisite than that happiness.

Whoever, Ānanda, should speak thus: ‘This is the highest happiness and joy that creatures experience’, this I cannot allow on his part. What is the reason for this? There is, Ānanda, another happiness more excellent and exquisite than that happiness. And what, Ānanda, is this other happiness more excellent and exquisite than that happiness? [9] Here, Ānanda, a monk, by passing quite beyond the plane of no-thing, enters on and abides in the plane of neither-perception-nor-non-perception. This, Ānanda, is the other happiness that is more excellent and exquisite than that happiness.

Happiness beyond Feeling

Whoever, Ānanda, should speak thus: ‘This is the highest happiness and joy that creatures experience’, this I cannot allow on his part. What is the reason for this? There is, Ānanda, another happiness more excellent and exquisite than that happiness. And what, Ānanda, is this other happiness more excellent and exquisite than that happiness? [10] Here, Ānanda, a monk, by passing quite beyond the plane of neither-perception-nor-non-perception, enters on and abides in the stopping of perception and feeling. This, Ānanda, is the other happiness that is more excellent and exquisite than that happiness. But the situation occurs, Ānanda, when wanderers belonging to other sects may speak thus: ‘The recluse Gotama speaks of the stopping of perceiving and feeling, and lays down that this belongs to happiness. Now what is this, now how is this?’

Ānanda, wanderers belonging to other sects who speak thus should be spoken to thus: ‘Your reverences, the Lord does not lay down that it is only pleasant feeling that belongs to happiness; for, your reverences, the Tathāgata lays down that whenever, wherever, whatever happiness is found it belongs to happiness.’

Thus spoke the Lord. Delighted, the venerable Ānanda rejoiced in what the Lord had said.

Discourse on Much to be Experienced: The Ninth