Sutta Nipāta

Dvayatānupassanā Sutta

3.12. Observation of Dualities

Thus have I heard:

At one time the Buddha was staying near Sāvatthī at the eastern Monastery, the mansion of Migāra’s Mother. Now at that time the Buddha was seating in the open, surrounded by the Saṅgha of bhikkhus. It was the uposatha day, the night of the fifteenth day full moon. Then the Buddha, having surveyed the Saṅgha of monks sitting silently, addressed the bhikkhus:

“Bhikkhus, if they ask you, ‘What is the purpose of learning those skilful principles that are noble, emancipating, leading to full enlightenment?’ You should say to them, ‘Only for the sake of knowing in accordance with reality the duality of principles.’

“What duality should you speak of?

“‘This is suffering, this is the origin of suffering’, this is one observation. ‘This is the end of suffering, this is the practice leading to the end of suffering’, this is a second observation. Rightly observing this duality, a monk who meditates diligent, ardent, and resolute may expect one of two results: final knowledge in this very life, or is there is anything left over, non-return.”

This is what the Buddha said. Having said this, the Teacher, the Sublime One, said further:

Those who do not understand suffering,
Or suffering’s origination;
Or where all suffering
Ceases without remainder;
They do not know the path
Leading to the stilling of suffering.

They lack the release of the heart,
And the release by understanding;
They are incapable of making an end,
They go again to birth and old age.

Those who do understand suffering,
And suffering’s origination;
And where all suffering
Ceases without remainder;
They know the path
Leading to the stilling of suffering.

They possess the release of the heart,
And the release by understanding;
They are capable of making an end,
They do not go again to birth and old age.

“If, bhikkhus, they ask you, ‘Might there be another way of rightly observing duality?’ you should say, ‘There is’. And how is there?

“‘Whatever suffering arises, all is caused by attachments’, this is one observation. ‘With the complete ending of all attachments there is no arising of suffering’, this is a second observation. Rightly observing this duality, a monk who meditates diligent, ardent, and resolute may expect one of two results: final knowledge in this very life, or is there is anything left over, non-return.”

This is what the Buddha said. Having said this, the Teacher, the Sublime One, said further:

Sufferings come to be because of attachments
Of many kinds in this world.
Whoever, unknowing, makes attachments,
That dull person goes to suffering again and again.
Therefore, understanding,
One should not make attachments,
Observing how suffering comes to be.

“If, bhikkhus, they ask you, ‘Might there be another way of rightly observing duality?’ you should say, ‘There is’. And how is there?

“‘Whatever suffering arises, all is caused by ignorance’, this is one observation. ‘With the complete ending of all ignorance there is no arising of suffering’, this is a second observation. Rightly observing this duality, a monk who meditates diligent, ardent, and resolute may expect one of two results: final knowledge in this very life, or is there is anything left over, non-return.”

This is what the Buddha said. Having said this, the Teacher, the Sublime One, said further:

Those who transmigrate
Through birth and death, again and again;
In this form of existence or some other,
They go under the sway of ignorance alone.

This ignorance really is the great deluder,
Because of which we have transmigrated for a long time,
Those beings who have arrived at understanding,
Do not go to future lives.

“If, bhikkhus, they ask you, ‘Might there be another way of rightly observing duality?’ you should say, ‘There is’. And how is there?

“‘Whatever suffering arises, all is caused by kammic choices’, this is one observation. ‘With the complete ending of all kammic choices there is no arising of suffering’, this is a second observation. Rightly observing this duality, a monk who meditates diligent, ardent, and resolute may expect one of two results: final knowledge in this very life, or is there is anything left over, non-return.”

This is what the Buddha said. Having said this, the Teacher, the Sublime One, said further:

Whatever suffering arises in the world,
All is caused by kammic choices.
With the cessation of such choices,
There is no arising of suffering.

Knowing this danger,
That suffering is caused by kammic choices,
With the settling of all choices,
There is the stopping of perceptions;
Thus suffering comes to an end,
Knowing this as it is.

Rightly seeing, the ones who know,
Rightly understanding, the clever ones,
Overcoming the fetters of Māra,
Do not go to future lives.

“If, bhikkhus, they ask you, ‘Might there be another way of rightly observing duality?’ you should say, ‘There is’. And how is there?

“‘Whatever suffering arises, all is caused by consciousness’, this is one observation. ‘With the complete ending of all consciousness there is no arising of suffering’, this is a second observation. Rightly observing this duality, a monk who meditates diligent, ardent, and resolute may expect one of two results: final knowledge in this very life, or is there is anything left over, non-return.”

This is what the Buddha said. Having said this, the Teacher, the Sublime One, said further:

Whatever suffering arises in the world,
All is caused by consciousness.
With the cessation of consciousness,
There is no arising of suffering.

Knowing this danger,
That suffering is caused by consciousness,
With the stilling of consciousness,
One is wishless, quenched.

“If, bhikkhus, they ask you, ‘Might there be another way of rightly observing duality?’ you should say, ‘There is’. And how is there?

“‘Whatever suffering arises, all is caused by contact’, this is one observation. ‘With the complete ending of all contact there is no arising of suffering’, this is a second observation. Rightly observing this duality, a monk who meditates diligent, ardent, and resolute may expect one of two results: final knowledge in this very life, or is there is anything left over, non-return.”

This is what the Buddha said. Having said this, the Teacher, the Sublime One, said further:

Struck by contacts,
They flow down the stream of lives,
Practising the bad path,
They are far from the ending of fetters.

But those who fully understand contact,
And with final knowledge have stilled desire,
By comprehending contact,
They are wishless, quenched.

“If, bhikkhus, they ask you, ‘Might there be another way of rightly observing duality?’ you should say, ‘There is’. And how is there?

“‘Whatever suffering arises, all is caused by feeling’, this is one observation. ‘With the complete ending of all feeling there is no arising of suffering’, this is a second observation. Rightly observing this duality, a monk who meditates diligent, ardent, and resolute may expect one of two results: final knowledge in this very life, or is there is anything left over, non-return.”

This is what the Buddha said. Having said this, the Teacher, the Sublime One, said further:

Whatever feelings there are,
Whether pleasant or painful,
And even including neutral,
Internal and external;

Knowing this as suffering,
Confusing, disintegrating;
Seeing feelings fall away with each touch,
One understands this matter.
With the ending of feelings,
One is wishless, quenched.

“If, bhikkhus, they ask you, ‘Might there be another way of rightly observing duality?’ you should say, ‘There is’. And how is there?

“‘Whatever suffering arises, all is caused by craving’, this is one observation. ‘With the complete ending of all craving there is no arising of suffering’, this is a second observation. Rightly observing this duality, a monk who meditates diligent, ardent, and resolute may expect one of two results: final knowledge in this very life, or is there is anything left over, non-return.”

This is what the Buddha said. Having said this, the Teacher, the Sublime One, said further:

Craving is a man’s partner,
In this long journey of transmigration;
In this form of existence or some other,
One does not escape transmigration.

Knowing this danger,
That suffering is caused by craving;
Free of craving, without grasping,
Mindful, a bhikkhu would go forth.

“If, bhikkhus, they ask you, ‘Might there be another way of rightly observing duality?’ you should say, ‘There is’. And how is there?

“‘Whatever suffering arises, all is caused by grasping’, this is one observation. ‘With the complete ending of all grasping there is no arising of suffering’, this is a second observation. Rightly observing this duality, a monk who meditates diligent, ardent, and resolute may expect one of two results: final knowledge in this very life, or is there is anything left over, non-return.”

This is what the Buddha said. Having said this, the Teacher, the Sublime One, said further:

Grasping is the cause of rebirth into a new life,
Living, one runs into suffering.
Those who are born must die,
This is the origin of suffering.

Therefore, with the ending of grasping,
Rightly knowing, a clever one,
Directly knowing the ending of birth,
Does not go to future lives.

“If, bhikkhus, they ask you, ‘Might there be another way of rightly observing duality?’ you should say, ‘There is’. And how is there?

“‘Whatever suffering arises, all is caused by kammic activity’, this is one observation. ‘With the complete ending of all kammic activity there is no arising of suffering’, this is a second observation. Rightly observing this duality, a monk who meditates diligent, ardent, and resolute may expect one of two results: final knowledge in this very life, or is there is anything left over, non-return.”

This is what the Buddha said. Having said this, the Teacher, the Sublime One, said further:

Whatever suffering arises in the world,
All is caused by kammic activity.
With the cessation of kammic activities,
There is no arising of suffering.

Knowing this danger,
That suffering is caused by kammic activity,
Letting go of kammic activity,
One is freed from kammic activity.

With craving for rebirth cut,
A bhikkhu has peace of mind;
Transmigrating through rebirths has ended,
They have no future lives.

“If, bhikkhus, they ask you, ‘Might there be another way of rightly observing duality?’ you should say, ‘There is’. And how is there?

“‘Whatever suffering arises, all is caused by intake’, this is one observation. ‘With the complete ending of all intake there is no arising of suffering’, this is a second observation. Rightly observing this duality, a monk who meditates diligent, ardent, and resolute may expect one of two results: final knowledge in this very life, or is there is anything left over, non-return.”

This is what the Buddha said. Having said this, the Teacher, the Sublime One, said further:

Whatever suffering arises in the world,
All is caused by intake.
With the cessation of intakes,
There is no arising of suffering.

Knowing this danger,
That suffering is caused by intake,
By fully understanding all intakes,
One is not dependent on any intake.

Rightly knowing true health,
With the complete ending of corruptions,
Discerning, the practitioner stands firm in Dhamma,
The knowing one cannot be classified.

“If, bhikkhus, they ask you, ‘Might there be another way of rightly observing duality?’ you should say, ‘There is’. And how is there?

“‘Whatever suffering arises, all is caused by commotions’, this is one observation. ‘With the complete ending of all commotions there is no arising of suffering’, this is a second observation. Rightly observing this duality, a monk who meditates diligent, ardent, and resolute may expect one of two results: final knowledge in this very life, or is there is anything left over, non-return.”

This is what the Buddha said. Having said this, the Teacher, the Sublime One, said further:

Whatever suffering arises in the world,
All is caused by commotions.
With the cessation of commotions,
There is no arising of suffering.

Knowing this danger,
That suffering is caused by commotions,
Therefore one should relinquish commotions,
And uproot conditioned activities;
With no commotions, not grasping,
Mindful, a bhikkhu would go forth.

“If, bhikkhus, they ask you, ‘Might there be another way of rightly observing duality?’ you should say, ‘There is’. And how is there?

“‘The dependent are vulnerable’, this is one observation. ‘The independent are not vulnerable’, this is a second observation. Rightly observing this duality, a monk who meditates diligent, ardent, and resolute may expect one of two results: final knowledge in this very life, or is there is anything left over, non-return.”

This is what the Buddha said. Having said this, the Teacher, the Sublime One, said further:

One who is independent is not vulnerable,
But one who is dependent and grasping,
In this form of existence or some other,
Does not escape transmigration.

Knowing this danger,
That dependencies are the great fear,
Independent, not grasping,
Mindful, a bhikkhu would go forth.

“If, bhikkhus, they ask you, ‘Might there be another way of rightly observing duality?’ you should say, ‘There is’. And how is there?

“‘The non-physical realms are better than the physical realms’, this is one observation. ‘Cessation is better than the non-physical realms’, this is a second observation. Rightly observing this duality, a monk who meditates diligent, ardent, and resolute may expect one of two results: final knowledge in this very life, or is there is anything left over, non-return.”

This is what the Buddha said. Having said this, the Teacher, the Sublime One, said further:

The beings in the physical realms,
And those committed to non-physical realms,
Not understanding cessation,
They go on to future rebirth.

Those who understand the physical realms,
And are not committed to non-physical realms,
They are freed by cessation,
And leave death behind.

“If, bhikkhus, they ask you, ‘Might there be another way of rightly observing duality?’ you should say, ‘There is’. And how is there?

“‘That which is regarded as truth by this world together with its gods, its Māras and its Brahmās, in this generation together with its ascetics and priests, its princes and people, that the noble ones, having clearly seen with correct wisdom in accordance with reality, understand to be false’, this is one observation. ‘That which is regarded as false by this world together with its gods, its Māras and its Brahmās, in this generation together with its ascetics and priests, its princes and people, that the noble ones, having clearly seen with correct wisdom in accordance with reality, understand to be true’, this is a second observation. Rightly observing this duality, a monk who meditates diligent, ardent, and resolute may expect one of two results: final knowledge in this very life, or is there is anything left over, non-return.”

This is what the Buddha said. Having said this, the Teacher, the Sublime One, said further:

Look at this world with its gods,
Enmeshed in the physical and the mental,
Thinking not-self is self,
It thinks, “This is truth”.

Whatever they think it is,
It becomes something else;
That is false for them,
For transient things are delusory.

But quenching is not delusory,
That the noble ones know to be true;
By comprehending the truths,
They are wishless, quenched.

“If, bhikkhus, they ask you, ‘Might there be another way of rightly observing duality?’ you should say, ‘There is’. And how is there?

“‘That which is regarded as pleasure by this world together with its gods, its Māras and its Brahmās, in this generation together with its ascetics and priests, its princes and people, that the noble ones, having clearly seen with correct wisdom in accordance with reality, understand to be suffering’, this is one observation. ‘That which is regarded as suffering by this world together with its gods, its Māras and its Brahmās, in this generation together with its ascetics and priests, its princes and people, that the noble ones, having clearly seen with correct wisdom in accordance with reality, understand to be pleasure’, this is a second observation. Rightly observing this duality, a monk who meditates diligent, ardent, and resolute may expect one of two results: final knowledge in this very life, or is there is anything left over, non-return.”

Sights, sounds, tastes, and smells,
Touches, mental phenomena, the lot;
Are wished for, desirable, pleasing,
As long as it is said: “They exist”.

These are agreed by the world
With its gods to be pleasurable,
But when they cease,
That, they agree, is suffering.

The uprooting of identity
Is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable;
But this contradicts
What the whole world sees.

What others see as pleasure,
The noble ones see as suffering;
What others see as suffering,
The noble ones see as pleasure.

See this principle, so hard to understand,
Which confuses the ignorant.
Shrouded in darkness,
Blind, they cannot see.

The good can see as by a light
When the curtain is drawn back.
But beasts who are unskilled in Dhamma,
Do not understand, even when it is right there.

Overcome by desire for new life,
Flowing down the stream of rebirth,
They are reborn in Māra’s realm:
This is not the Teaching of the Buddha.

Who beside the noble ones
Is worthy of waking up to that state?
Fully understanding that state,
One is quenched, without corruptions.

This is what the Buddha said. Pleased, the bhikkhus rejoiced in the Buddha’s words. And while this explanation was being spoken the minds of sixty bhikkhus were freed from the corruptions without grasping.