Personalities of the Buddhist Suttas
(DPPN: A householder of Macchikasanda, where he was Treasurer. He was later declared by the Buddha to be pre-eminent among laymen who preached the Doctrine. On the day of his birth the whole city was covered knee-deep with flowers of various hues, hence his name. [Citta = Shine, Bright] When Mahanama visited Macchikasanda, Citta, pleased with his demeanor, invited him to his park, the Ambatakarama, and built for him a monastery there. And there the Elder preached to Citta the Salayatana-vibhatti (? I cannot find this, although there is a Salayatana Vibhanga Sutta which covers the same subject, but does not mention Citta] and Citta became an Anagamin. Thereafter many monks visited the Ambatakarama and accepted Citta's hospitality. Among them was Isidatta, a former acquaintance of Citta, but Isidatta left when he found that his identity had been discovered. Mahanama and Mahaka did likewise, after having performed miracles at the request of Citta. The Citta Samyutta (S.iv.282ff) contains a record of conversations between Citta and members of the Order, among whom, besides those already mentioned, were Kamabhu and Godatta. Citta is also said to have had discussions with Nigantha Nataputta [founder of the Jains] and Acela Kassapa [one of the Ajivikas — naked ascetics] and to have refuted their views.
A thera named Sudhamma was a permanent resident in the Ambatakarama and was looked after by Citta. Once, when the two Chief Disciples and several other eminent Elders came to the Ambatakarama, Citta invited first these and then Sudhamma; the later, feeling slighted, blamed Citta beyond measure, but the Buddha, hearing of this, sent Sudhamma to ask for Citta's pardon.
Some time later, Citta visited the Buddha. He was accompanied by two thousand others and took with him five hundred cartloads of offerings to the Buddha and the Order. As he fell at the feet of the Buddha, flowers of five hues showered from the sky and the Buddha preached to him the Salayatana-vibhatti. For a fortnight he continued distributing his gifts to the Order and the devas filled his carts with all kinds of valuables.
When Citta lay ill just before his death, devas visited him and advised him to wish for kingship among them, but he refused to aspire to anything so impermanent, and instructed the devas and his kinsfolk gathered round him, telling them of the Buddha and his teachings. He is regarded as the ideal layman [S.iv.302f]
Selections From: PTS: Woodward, trans., The Book of the Kindred Sayings, IV, Kindred Sayings about Citta
Once a number of elder brethren were staying at Macchikasanda in Wild Mango Grove.
Now on that occasion, as this number of elder brethren, after going their rounds and eating their meal, were sitting together in conclave at the pavilion [Footnote: An octagonal peaked open-sided 'summer-house,' thatched with palm-leaves, as in Ceylon today, but sometimes half-walled and tiled.] the following chance talk arose: --
'Fetters and things that tend to fetter, friend, — are these two things different in spirit and in letter, or are they one and the same spirit, but different in letter?' [The terms are: attha (here, intrinsic meaning) and vyanjana (attribute, mark, characteristic)]
Thereupon the matter was expounded by divers brethren in divers ways thus:--
'Friend, a fetter and things that tend to fetter, — both of them are different in spirit and different in letter." While others expounded the matter thus: 'Friend, a fetter and things that tend to fetter, — both of these are one and the same in spirit, but different in letter.'
Now at that time Citta, the housefather, had arrived at Migapathaka on some business or other. And Citta, the housefather, heart it said that a number of elder brethren, after going their rounds and eating their meal, were sitting together in conclave at the pavilion, and that the following chance talk had arisen ...
So Citta, the housefather, went to visit those elder brethren, and on coming to them he saluted them and sat down at one side. So seated, Citta the housefather said to those elder brethren:--
'I heard, my lords, the rumor that a number of elder brethren ... were sitting together ... and that such and such chance talk arose ... Is it so?'
'It is so, housefather.'
'Now, my lords, these two things, the fetter and the things that tend to fetter, are different both in spirit and in letter. Now, my lords, I will make you a comparison. Maybe some wise one here will know the meaning of what I say.
Suppose, my lords, a black steer and a white steer are yoked together by one rope or one yoke. Now he who should say that the black steer is the fetter to the white one, or the white one to the black one, — would he in so saying be saying rightly/"
'Not so, housefather. The black steer is not a fetter to the white one, nor is the white one a fetter to the black one. But the fact of their being yoked by one rope or yoke, — that is a fetter.'
'Well, my lords, just so the eye is not a fetter of objects, nor objects a fetter to the eye. But the desire and lust that arise owing to the pair of them, — that is the fetter. [and it is the same for the ear and sounds, the nose and scents, the tongue and tastes, the body and touches and the mind and mental objects] — it is the desire and lust that arise owing to the pair of them, — that is the fetter.'
'Good for you, housefather. Well gotten for you, housefather, that in you the eye of wisdom [pannacakkhu — note here that Citta is said to be possessed of panna, while not yet an arahant] is conversant with the profound teaching of the enlightened One.'
[A question asked by Citta, answered by the most junior novice among a group of Theras who were stumped by the question]
Citta: As to these divers views that arise in the world ... such as: Eternal is the world, not eternal is the world, finite is the world, infinite is the world, life and body are the same, life and body are different, the Tathagata exists after death, he exists not, he both exists and exists not, he neither exists nor exists not; also as to the sixty-two heretical views set forth in the Brahmajala (Dialogues of the Buddha, I) — owing to the existence of what, lord, do these views prevail: owing to the non-existence of what do these views not prevail?'
Isidatta: ... it is owing to the person-pack view [sakkaya-ditthi, a samyojana by the way, the first of three, that must be cut to become Sotapanna --the other two being silabbataparamaso, the mistaken belief that rights and rituals, good deeds and moral conduct alone will free one from rebirth, and vicikiccha, doubt as to what constitutes Dukkha, the origin of Dukkha, the end of Dukkha, and the Way] they arise, and if the person-pack view exists not, they do not exist.
Citta: 'But, lord, how comes the person-pack view to be?'
Isidatta: 'Herein, housefather, the untaught manyfolk, who discern not those who are Ariyans, who are unskilled in the Ariyan doctrine, who are untrained in the Ariyan doctrine, who discern not those who are worthy ones, who are unskilled in the worthy doctrine, untrained in the worthy doctrine, — they regard body as the self, they regard the self as having body, body as being in the self, the self as being in the body. They regard feeling as the self ... perception, the activities [sankhara] ... they regard consciousness as the self, they regard the self as having consciousness, consciousness as being in the self, the self as being in the consciousness, That, housefather, is how the person-pack view arises.'
Citta: 'But, lord, how is there no person-pack view?'
Isidatta: 'Herein, housefather, the well-taught Ariyan disciple ... such regards not body as the self ... perception ... [sankhara] ... consciousness.
Citta: 'Sir, how many activities [sankhara] are there?
Kamabhu: 'There are three activities, housefather: those of body, speech and mind.'
Citta: 'But what, sir, is the activity of body, what of speech, what of mind?'
Kamabhu: 'Inbreathing and outbreathing, housefather, is the activity of body; thought directed and sustained [vitakka and vicara] is the activity of speech; perception [sanna] and feeling [vedana] are the activity of mind.'
Citta: 'But why, sir, are inbreathing and outbreathing the activity of body--etc.?
Kamabhu: 'Inbreathing and outbreathing, housefather, are bodily processes, dependent on body. Therefore are they called "the activity of body." [This needs a little clarification. This depends on the view that "wind" Pali, vayo, motion; is that which holds the body upright and the lack of it that which causes the body or muscles to relax, thus all other activities of the body depend on in-breathing and out-breathing] First one directs thought and sustains it, then one utters speech. Therefore is thought directed and sustained called "the activity of speech." Perception and feeling are mental processes dependent on mind. Therefore are they called "the activity of mind."
Citta: 'But how, sir, comes the attainment of the ceasing of perception and feeling? [sannavedayitanirodha]
Kamabhu: A brother, housefather, in attaining the ceasing of perception and feeling does not think: "I shall attain, I am attaining, the ceasing of perception and feeling, I have attained the ceasing of perception and feeling," but his mind has been so practiced that it leads him on to the state of being such [Footnote: tathattaya upaneti, or 'leads to thusness' (a term for Nibbana)]
Citta: 'But, sir, in attaining the ceasing of perception and feeling, what states cease first? Is it the activity of body or of speech or of mind?'
Kamabhu: 'In so attaining, housefather, a brother's activity of speech ceases first [Footnote has activity of speech ceasing in the first jhana; this is not correct; it is in the second jhana that speech ceases], then that of body [in the fourth burning, jhana], then that of mind [in the Cessation of Perception and Sense Experience Jhana].'
Citta: 'But a brother who has so attained, how does he differ from a dead man, from one who has made an end?'
Kamabhu: 'In a dead man, housefather, in one who has made an end, the activity of body has ceased, become calmed. So also have the activities of speech and mind, — they have ceased, become calmed. Life has run out, vital heat has ceased, the faculties are scattered. In him, housefather, who has attained the ceasing of perception and feeling, the activity of body also has ceased, become calmed. So also have the activities of speech and mind. But his life has not run out, vital heat has not ceased, the faculties have become clarified. That is the difference ...
Citta: 'But how comes about the emerging from attaining the ceasing of perception and feeling?'
Kamabhu: 'In emerging from such attainment, housefather, a brother does not think: "I will now emerge, I am emerging, I have now emerged from attaining the ceasing of perception and feeling," but his mind has been so practiced that it leads him on to the state of being such.'
Citta: 'But when a brother is thus emerging from it, what states arise first? Is it activity of body, of speech, or of mind?'
Kamabhu: 'In a brother so emerging from it, housefather, activity of mind arises first, next that of body, and last that of speech.'
Citta: 'But when a brother has so emerged from it, how many contacts touch him?'
Kamabhu: 'When a brother has so emerged from it, housefather, three contacts touch him: the void, the signless and the aimless contact.' [Footnote: Sunnato, animitto, appanihito phasso ... 'empty' of lust, etc., freed from the three marks or signs of nicca, adukkha, atta, and, being experienced in dukkha, he desires nothing, fixes his aim on nothing but Nibbana ... Brethren, there are three deliverances, that of the void, the signless, the aimless.' (-- Please note carefully. This is the real meaning of Emptiness, The Void, etc. not some condition of nothingness that some schools would have one believe is the case. "Beggars, Empty of Empty Habits I dwell in the Fullness of Emptiness."--mo )]
Citta: 'But when one has so emerged from it, how does a brother's mind tend, slope, incline?'
Kamabhu: 'His mind tends to detachment [here viveka = Nibbana], housefather, it slopes to detachment, it inclines to detachment.
Citta: 'But sir, how many states are most useful for the attainment of the ceasing of perception and feeling?'
Kamabhu: 'Indeed, housefather, you ask last what you ought to have asked first! Yet will I explain to you. Two states are most useful, housefather, for the attainment of the ceasing of perception and feeling, — calm and insight.' [samatha and vipassana — my "calming down" and "review"].
Godatta (a Bhikkhu): 'Housefather, this heart's release [appamana cetovimutti — boundless] and this utterly unworldly heart's release [akincanna cetovimutti — no thing (obstruction) there], and this heart's release that is by the void [sunnatacetovimutti — empty] and that which is signless [animitta cetovimutti], — are these states diverse in spirit, diverse in letter, or are they the same both in spirit and in letter?
Citta: 'There is one view of the question, sir, according to which these states are diverse both in spirit and in letter. But there is another view, sir, according to which they are one and the same both in spirit and in letter.
But what, sir, is that view according to which they are diverse both in spirit and in letter?
Herein, sir, a brother dwells suffusing one quarter of the world with his heart possessed of kindliness; so also the second third and fourth quarters: and in like manner above, below, across, everywhere, for all sorts and conditions, — the whole world does he abide suffusing with a heart possessed of kindliness that is widespread, grown great and boundless, free from enmity and untroubled.
And he does likewise with heart possessed of compassion, possessed of sympathy, possessed of equanimity [upekkha --objective detachment] that is widespread, grown great and boundless, free from enmity and untroubled. This, sir, is called "the heart's release by a boundless heart [appamanena cetasa vimutti].
And what, sir, is the heart's release that is utterly unworldly?
Herein, sir, a brother, passing utterly beyond the sphere of infinite [kinciti unobstructed, here the letter is important: a sphere of infinite consciousness implies a consciousness that is infinite, but the meaning is that it is infinite in scope; therefore a better term would be "limitless"] consciousness, with the idea of "there is nothing at all," [in fact this is not possible, "There is Nothing" implies that Nothing is Something; better would be "there is no obstruction"] reaches and abides in the sphere of nothingness [No Thing There]. This, sir, is called "the utterly unworldly heart's release."
And what, sir, is the heart's release by the void?
Herein, sir, a brother goes to the forest or the root of a tree or a lonely spot, and thus reflects: "Void is this of self or of what pertains to self." This, sir, is called "the heart's release by the void."
And what, sir, is the heart's release that is signless?
Herein, sir, a brother, without thought of all signs, reaches and abides in that tranquillity of heart that is signless. This, sir, is called "the heart's release that is signless."
Such, sir, is the view of the question according to which states are diverse both in spirit and in letter.
And what, sir, is the view according to which states are one and the same, both in spirit and letter?
Lust [rago], sir, sets a limit [pamanakarano = opposite of appamana]. Hate [doso] sets a limit. Illusion [moho] sets a limit. In the brother who has destroyed the asavas these are abandoned, cut down at the root, made like a palm-tree stump, made unable to become, of a nature not to grow again in future time. Of all the boundless ways of heart's release, the unshaken [akuppa] heart's release is deemed supreme among them. Truly that unshaken heart's release is void of lust, void of hate, void of illusion.
Lust, sir, is a hindrance [kincanan — a something]. Hate ... Illusion ... Of all the unobstructed ways of heart's release, the unshaken heart's release is deemed supreme among them. Truly that unshaken heart's release is void of lust, void of hate, void of illusion.
Lust, sir, causes distinctive signs. Hate ... Illusion ... Truly that unshaken heart's release is void of lust, void of hate, void of illusion.
[Here the implication is that there is "release" without attaining unshakable release, or Nibbana.]
[An historically important sutta, in which Nataputta, The Jain, asks Citta if he believes the teaching of Gotama that there is attaining of mental balance in which Vitakka and Vicara have been suppressed. Citta replies that he does not go by faith in such a matter. Nataputta takes this to mean that Citta does not follow Gotama's belief and praises Citta. But Citta explains that he is able, for himself to attain the Jhanas and therefore does not need to go by faith in this matter. Nataputta then dispraises Citta. Citta then challenges Nataputta this way: ]
If, sir, your first assertion [praising Citta] was true, your last was false. And if your last was true, your first was false. Now here, sir, these ten reasonable questions arise. If you know the way to reply to them, you should give me a counter-blow along with your company. One question, one explanation, one answer. Two questions, two explanations, two answers. Three, four, five, six ... ten questions, ten explanations, ten answers.'
Then Citta, the housefather, getting no reply to these ten reasonable questions, rose up from his seat and went away.
[Kassapa, the Unnclothed — to this point, not a follower of Gotama]
Citta: 'How long have you been a Wanderer, worthy Kassapa?'
Kassapa: Full thirty years, housefather, have I been a Wanderer.'
Citta: 'In those thirty years, sir, have you come by any super human experience, any truly Ariyan excellence of knowledge and insight, any comfortable life?'
Kassapa: 'In these full thirty years, housefather, that I have been a Wanderer, I have never come by any superhuman experience, nor any truly Ariyan excellence of knowledge and insight, nor any comfortable life, — nothing but nakedness and a shaven crown and dusting away the gravel. [Footnote says "a bunch of peacock's feathers was used for beating away dust and grit from the place where one sits on the ground, a painful thing for the naked!" but I believe the practice also consisted of sweeping the path before one as one walked, so that one brushed away the living creatures that might be crushed by one's walking — a practice that usually ended in chronic back problems.]
[Kassapa asks Citta the same question and is answered in the affirmative, citing the four jhanas as the superhuman experience and truly Ariyan excellence of knowledge and insight and comfortable life. Kassapa joins the Order.]
[Citta dies praising the Buddha, Dhamma and Samgha to his relatives.]