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Dharma Sunday: Patacara and Guta suttas

CarlitaCarlita Om Vajrasattva HumUnited States Veteran
edited November 19 in Buddhism Basics

_Now this, monks, is the Noble Truth of dukkha: Birth is dukkha, aging is dukkha, death is dukkha; sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief, & despair are dukkha; association with the unbeloved is dukkha; separation from the loved is dukkha; not getting what is wanted is dukkha. In short, the five clinging-aggregates are dukkha." ~SN 56.11 _

Before we start, take a look at "befriending the suttas." on Accesstoinsight.org. Some questions to ask; Why should I read the suttas?; Which suttas should I read?; How should I read a sutta?

We have two more weeks for the month of November. All quotes will be in gray and posted anytime Sunday EST.

We're going to start with The Four Noble Truths (One and two on Sunday 19th and Three and Four on the 26th) and work our way through the basics of Buddhism at an intellectual level as well as an application one. Using what we learn here, your practice, and reflection would hopefully help bring our practices stronger in discipline, interest, and keeping our mind at ease. You can have a quick review the Noble Truths here.

The purpose is to reflect on these isolated quotes in respect of The Noble Truths. We will start with:

  1. The Truth of Dukkha

[I thought:]
"Plowing the field with plows,
sowing the ground with seed,
supporting their wives & children,
young men gather up wealth.

So why is it that I,
consummate in virtue,
a doer of the teacher's bidding,
don't gain Unbinding?
I'm not lazy or proud."

Washing my feet, I noticed
the
water.

And in watching it flow from high
to
low,
my heart was composed
like a fine thoroughbred steed.

Then taking a lamp, I entered the hut,
checked the bedding,
sat down on the bed.
And taking a pin, I pulled out the wick:
Like the flame's unbinding
was the liberation
of awareness.
~Patacara Thig 5.10 (112-116)

  1. The Truth of the Cause of Dukkha

[The Buddha admonished me:]
Gutta, devote yourself to the goal
for which you went forth,
having discarded [hope]
for a dear son of your own.
Don't fall under the sway
of the mind.

Hoodwinked by mind,
beings in love with Mara's realm,
roam
through the many-birth wandering-on,
unknowing.

Abandoning these lower fetters, nun —
sensual desire, ill will,
self-identity views,
grasping at precepts & practices,
and uncertainty as the fifth —
you won't come
to this again.

Forsaking passion, conceit,
ignorance, & restlessness
—cutting through [all] the fetters —
you will make an end
of suffering & stress.

Discarding birth & wandering-on,
comprehending further becoming,
free from hunger
in the right-here-&-now
you will go about
totally calmed.
~Gutta (Thig. 6.7)
__

Remember. The idea is more to reflect, apply, and understand. What clicks? You can talk about either or both quotes. The following posts after this will be more brief.

On an upcoming note, may you all be well and happy! B) (Metta inspired by @Bunks)

Video: Venerable Thubten Chondron on Samsara

(My metta challange: Cultivating patience by applying and sharing weekly Dharmas)

ShoshinHozanshadowleaverSnakeskinpersonKeromeTreeLuvr87

Comments

  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran
    edited November 19

    The Patacara sutta seems to be about gaining insight: the speaker’s heart becomes composed through observing the flow of water, high to low. We don’t know exactly how the insight was triggered, but it brought the liberation of awareness.

    All we can do is be heedful and watch for our moment, which may come from something so simple as watching the flow of water. Hmm. It seems too obvious, too straightforward.

    May you be well. May you be happy.

  • CarlitaCarlita Om Vajrasattva Hum United States Veteran

    @Kerome said:
    The Patacara sutta seems to be about gaining insight: the speaker’s heart becomes composed through observing the flow of water, high to low. We don’t know exactly how the insight was triggered, but it brought the liberation of awareness.

    All we can do is be heedful and watch for our moment, which may come from something so simple as watching the flow of water. Hmm. It seems too obvious, too straightforward.

    May you be well. May you be happy.

    I liked how it says "and taking a pin, I pulled out the wick like a flame's unbinding." It makea me think that while liberation is a gradual process it doesnt need to be too relaxed or lethargical practice. Instead, it seems to say that there is an acute way to become aware. Each person's way is different. For him, experiencing suffering physically seem to do the trick. Of course this only teaches there is suffering. Stages to awareness.

    May you be well. May you be happy.

  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    It’s interesting that the Buddha would encourage people, that he would say to them “you will cut through all the fetters” when they have not yet done so.

  • Fetta yum! Oh you said fetters ... :3 ... carry on ...

  • SnakeskinSnakeskin Texas, USA Veteran

    @Carlita said:
    I liked how it says "and taking a pin, I pulled out the wick like a flame's unbinding." It makea me think that while liberation is a gradual process it doesnt need to be too relaxed or lethargical practice. Instead, it seems to say that there is an acute way to become aware.

    I echo the gradual and diligent comments. I think the first sutta could be interpreted as a poetic narrative of the gradual training. Thanissaro’s translation of MN 27 describes it beginning with the heading of "Virtue" and ending with the third to last paragraph. He gives it 6 headings: 1) Virtue; 2) Sense Restraint; 3) Mindfulness & Alertness; 4) Abandoning the Hindrances; 5) The Four Jhanas; and 6) The Three Knowledges. I speculate the elements in the poem could symbolize the elements of the training:

    1. Plowing/consummate in virtue = Virtue
    2. Sowing/adherent = Sense Restraint
    3. Support/not lazy or proud = Mindfulness & Alertness
    4. Washing feet = Abandoning the Hindrances
    5. Dripping water = The Four Jhanas
    6. Hut, bedding & bed = The Three Knowledges

    The steed in the poem could represent a mind purified by jhana and the lamp, that mind turning from jhana to insight. MN 27 describes it:

    “With his mind thus concentrated, purified, and bright, unblemished, free from defects, pliant, malleable, steady, and attained to imperturbability, he directs and inclines it to [the three knowledges].”

    The poem opens likening the attainment of Nibbana/Unbinding to the acquisition of worldly wealth. The nun observes worldly efforts gain wealth and wonders why her equal efforts in the spiritual life hasn't reached its goal. But she closes the poem with the attainment of her goal. Likewise, the catechism of the training in MN 27 ends with this paragraph:

    “His heart, thus knowing, thus seeing, is released from the effluent of sensuality, released from the effluent of becoming, released from the effluent of ignorance. With release, there is the knowledge, ‘Released.’ He discerns that ‘Birth is ended, the holy life fulfilled, the task done. There is nothing further for this world.’

    The nun’s poem ends metaphorically similar:

    And taking a pin, I pulled out the wick:
    Like the flame's unbinding
    was the liberation
    of awareness.

    The pin could symbolize knowing & seeing; the wick, release from the effluents; the simile of awareness’ unbinding as that of the flame’s, both the knowledge, 'Released’ and the discernment, ‘Birth is ended, the holy life fulfilled, the task done. There is nothing further for this world.’

    p.s.
    I like weekly better than daily. ;)

    Carlita
  • SnakeskinSnakeskin Texas, USA Veteran

    Couple more observations.

    First, the comparison in the beginning of the sutta could correspond to the threefold training:

    Plowing = Ethical conduct
    Sowing = Mental discipline
    Supporting = Wisdom

    Wealth would still correspond to Nibbana, the remainder more specifically to concentration and wisdom.

    Second, she frames her opening question in the context of acquisition, but answers in closing with relinquishment.

    "Formerly, when he was ignorant, he undertook and accepted acquisitions;[49] now he has abandoned them, cut them off at the root, made them like a palm stump, done way with them so that they are no longer subject to future arising. Therefore a monk possessing [this relinquishment] possesses the supreme foundation of relinquishment. For this, monk, is the supreme noble relinquishment, namely, the relinquishing of all acquisitions.

    1. [The Majjhima Nikaya Commentary] mentions four kinds of acquisitions (upadhi) here: the five aggregates; defilements; volitional formations; and sensual pleasures.

    - MN 140 from "In the Buddha's Words" by Bhikkhu Bodhi.

    Carlita
  • paulysopaulyso usa Veteran

    thanks snakeskin.great analasis--i hope i spelled it right.

    Snakeskin
  • paulysopaulyso usa Veteran

    sorry not the best speller.

    Snakeskin
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    Try 'spell-checker'.... ;)

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