Anguttara Nikaya


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Aŋguttara Nikāya
Pañcaka Nipāta
III: Pañc'aŋgika Vagga

Sutta 28

Five-Dimensional Serenity

Translated from the Pali by Michael Olds

 


 

[1][pts][than][bodh] I HEAR TELL:

Once Upon a Time, The Lucky Man, Sāvatthī-town
came-a revisiting.

There, to the Beggars gathered round, he said:

"Beggars!"

And the beggars responding:
"Bhante!"
Bhagava said:

"I will teach you, beggars, the development of
the Five-Dimensional Consummate Serenity
of the Aristocrat.

Give ear!

Give your mind over to studious attention!

I will speak!"

And the beggars responding:
"Even so, bhante!"
The Lucky Man said:

[2] "And what, beggars, is the development of
the Five-Dimensional Consummate Serenity
of the Aristocrat?

[1] Here beggars, a beggar,
isolating himself from sense pleasures,
isolating himself from unskillful things,
with thinking,
with pondering
isolation-born pleasureable-enthusiasm
rises up into and makes a habitat of
The First Burning Knowledge.

He
soakes,
permeates,
suffuses and
saturates
his body
with this isolation-born pleasureable-enthusiasm
such that there is not any part of his body
untouched by this isolation-born pleasureable-enthusiasm.

In the same way, beggars,
as the bath attendant
or the bath attendant's skillful apprentice
whenever he wishes to make a soap-ball
puts soap-flakes into a copper bowl
and sprinkles on water
and sprinkling,
works those soap-flakes round and round
til those soap-flakes are
moistened,
become gooey,
permeated within and without
with that moisture,
but do not yet ooze any liquid.

Even so, friends, that beggar,
soakes,
permeates,
suffuses and
saturates
his body
with this isolation-born pleasureable-enthusiasm
such that there is not any part of his body
untouched by this isolation-born pleasureable-enthusiasm.

This, beggars, is the first developing of
the Five-Dimensional Consummate Serenity
of the Aristocrat.

[2] Again, beggars, deeper than that,
a beggar,
desolving thought and pondering,
internally self-pacified,
become whole-heartedly single minded,
without thinking,
without pondering,
rises up into and makes a habitat of
The Second Burning Knowledge.

He
soakes,
permeates,
suffuses and
saturates
his body
with this serenity-born pleasureable-enthusiasm
such that there is not any part of his body
untouched by this isolation-born pleasureable-enthusiasm.

In the same way, beggars, as a spring-fed pond
with no inlet from the East,
with no inlet from the South,
with no inlet from the West,
with no inlet from the North,
and with no rain coming down from the heavens above,
is nevertheless
soaked,
permeated,
suffused and
saturated
with that cool water rising up
from that spring which feeds it from below.

Even so, beggars, that beggar,
soakes,
permeates,
suffuses and
saturates
his body with this serenity-born enthusiastic-pleasure,
such that there is not anything which is of body
untouched by this serenity-born enthusiastic-pleasure.

This, beggars, is the second developing of
the Five-Dimensional Consummate Serenity
of the Aristocrat.

[3] Again, beggars, deeper than that,
a beggar,
with the vanishing of entheusiasm,
and living detached,
minding,
self-aware,
and pleased,
experiencing in his own body
that of which the Aristocrats speak
when they say:

'Detached, minding, he lives pleasantly'

rises up into and makes a habitat of
The Third Burning Knowledge.

He
soakes,
permeates,
suffuses and
saturates
his body
with this enthusiasm-free pleasure,
such that there is not any part of his body
untouched by this enthusiasm-free-pleasure.

In the same way, beggars, as
in a pond overgrown with blue and
red and
white water lillies
or in a pond overgrown with blue and
red water lillies
or in a pond overgrown with white water lillies
some red water lillies,
or blue water lillies
or white water lillies,
are born in the water,
grow up in the water,
become strong in the water,
and from the tips of the tops
of their flowering heads above
to the bottom of their roots below
are
soaked,
permeated,
suffused and
saturated
such that no part of those
red water lillies,
or blue water lillies,
or white water lillies,
is not saturated thereby.

Even so, beggars, that beggar,
soakes,
permeates,
suffuses and
saturates
his body with this enthusiasm-free-pleasure,
such that there is not any part of his body
untouched by this enthusiasm-free-pleasure.

This, beggars, is the third developing of
the Five-Dimensional Consummate Serenity
of the Aristocrat.

[4] Again, beggars, deeper than that, to a beggar,
letting go of pleasures,
letting go of pains,
settling down the anticedent mental ease and mental pain,
without pain, but without pleasure,
detached, recollected, surpassingly pure
rises up into and makes a habitat of
The Fourth Burning Knowledge.

Thus he comes to be sitting
pure-of-body-pervaded,
utter-clarity-of-heart-pervaded
such that there is not anything at all
of his entire body
that is untouched by purity of body,
utter clarity of heart.

In the same way, beggars, as a man
comes to be seated
covered head and all
with a white cloth
such that there is nothing at all
of his entire body
that is not wrapped up in
that white cloth.

Even so beggars, a bhikkhu comes to be sitting
pure-of-body-pervaded,
utter-clarity-of-heart-pervaded
such that there is not anything at all
of his entire body
that is untouched by purity of body,
utter clarity of heart.

This, beggars, is the fourth developing of
the Five-Dimensional Consummate Serenity
of the Aristocrat.

[5] Again, beggars, deeper than that,
the identifying marks of a beggar's meditation subject[1]
are well-noted,
well studied in mind,
well in hand,
well and wisely penetrated.

In the same way, beggars,
as one person might observe another
one standing might observe another sitting
one sitting might observe another lying down,
the identifying marks of a beggar's meditation subject
are well-noted,
well studied in mind,
well in hand,
well and wisely penetrated.

This, beggars, is the fifth developing of
the Five-Dimensional Consummate Serenity
of the Aristocrat.

[3] Thus developed beggars,
a beggar, making a big thing
of the Aristocratic Five-Dimensional Consummate Serenity,
here and there attains personal experience of such,
there being scope for the mind.

Just imagine, beggars, a water-pot placed on a stand
brim full up with water,
crow-drinkable-full;
could a strong man coming up
tipping it this way and that
spill out that water?"

"Even so Bhante."

"In the same way, beggars,
a beggar who has thus developed,
made a big thing of
the Aristocratic Five-Dimensional Consummate Serenity,
here and there attains personal experience of such,
there being scope for the mind.

Just imagine, beggars, a water-tank,
four-sided
on level ground,
with earthen embankment
brim full up with water,
crow-drinkable-full;
could a strong man coming up
removing this or that embankment
spill out that water?"

"Even so Bhante."

"In the same way, beggars,
a beggar who has thus developed,
made a big thing of
the Aristocratic Five-Dimensional Consummate Serenity,
here and there attains personal experience of such,
there being scope for the mind.

Reigns in the left is calming down, goad in the right is stirring up energy.

p.p. explains it all — p.p.

Just imagine, beggars,
level ground where the four crossroads meet,
a carrage standing yoked to thoroughbred steeds
goad at the ready
with a trainer of horses,
a dexteroous charioteer,
taking the reigns in the left hand,
and in the right, the goad —
he could drive back and forth
when and where he wished.

"In the same way, beggars,
a beggar who has thus developed,
made a big thing of
the Aristocratic Five-Dimensional Consummate Serenity,
here and there attains personal experience of such,
there being scope for the mind.

[4] [1] If a beggar should wish:

'May I exercise various sorts of psychic power':

Being one
becoming many,
being many
becoming one.

Manifest here,
transported beyond,
transported through walls,
transported through fortifications unsticking,
go whithersoever as if in space.

Jumping into and out of the earth
as though in water;
going on water without parting it
as though on solid ground.

Going through space cross-legged
like a bird on the wing.

Touching and feeling with the hand
the Moon and Sun,
as great and powerful as they are.

Turning up in the body
even in the Brahma world.'

Then here and there
he attains personal experience of such,
there being scope for the mind.

[2] If a beggar should wish:

'May I, with The Devine Ear,
purified beyond that of ordinary men
hear both sounds:
that of humans, and
that of the gods
far and near.'

Then here and there
he attains personal experience of such,
there being scope for the mind.

[3] If a beggar should wish:

'May I, with mind encompassing mind,
know the hearts of other being,
of other men.

Of a lustful heart, know:
"This is a lustful heart."

Of a lust-free heart, know:
"This is a lust-free heart."

Of a hateful heart, know:
"This is a hateful heart."

Of a hate-free heart, know:
"This is a hate-free heart."

Of a clogged up heart, know:
"This is a clogged up heart."

Of an unclogged heart, know:
"This is an unclogged heart."

Of an deranged heart, know:
"This is a deranged heart."

Of a balanced heart, know:
"This is a balanced heart."

Of a constricted heart, know:
"This is a constricted heart."

Of an unconstricted heart, know:
"This is an unconstricted heart."

Of a state of heart that is less than superior, know:
"This is a state of heart that is less than superior.'

Of a state of heart that is superior, know:
"This state of heart is nothing less than superior.'

Of useless heart, know:
"This is a useless heart."

Of a beneficial heart, know:
"This is a beneficial heart."

Of a heart that is not free, know:
"This is a heart that is not free."

Of a heart that is freed, know:
"This is a heart that is freed."'

Then here and there
he attains personal experience of such,
there being scope for the mind.

[4] If a beggar should wish:

'May I recollect not just one arrangement of previous inhabitations.

For example:

Just one birth,
just two births,
just three births,
just four births,
just five births,
just ten births,
just twenty births,
just thirty births,
just fourty births,
just fifty births,
or one hundred births in all,
or a thousand births in all,
or a hundred-thousand births in all,
not just one evolution of a kappa,
not just one devolution of a kappa,
not just one evolution and devolution of a kappa.

That there —:

Of such a name
of such a clan
of such color
of such food
of such experience of pleasure and pain,
of such coming to life's end.

Shifting away from that,
re-appearing elsewhere.

In that habitation —:

Of such a name
of such a clan
of such color
of such food
of such experience of pleasure and pain,
of such coming to life's end.

Shifting away from that reborn here.

Thus with it's makeup in detail,
the recollecting of not just one arrangement
of previous inhabitations.'

Then here and there
he attains personal experience of such,
there being scope for the mind.

[5] If a beggar should wish:

'May I, with purified godlike sight
know of beings
their shifting away, re-appearance,
being left behind, advancing,
their beauty, their uglyness,
their experiencing of pleasure,
experiencing of pain,
according to their intentional deeds:

"For sure these good beings were
committed to injurious bodily conduct,
committed to injurious verbal conduct,
committed to injurious mental conduct,
denegrated Aristocrats,
held low views,
were committed to behavior in accordance with low views,
for upon the break up of the body after death
they have arisen in states of woe,
pain,
punishment,
Niraya Hell.

For sure these good beings were
committed to beneficial bodily conduct,
committed to beneficial verbal conduct,
committed to beneficial mental conduct,
spoke well of Aristocrats,
were of high view,
were committed to behavior in accordance with high view,
for upon the break up of the body after death
they have arisen in worlds of heavonly pleasures."'

Then here and there
he attains personal experience of such,
there being scope for the mind.

[6] If a beggar should wish:

'May I, with the destruction of the corrupting influences
see for myself,
with my own higher powers,
in this seen thing,
rise up into and inhabit
a corrupting-influence-free
freedom of heart and
afreedom of wisdom.'

Then here and there
he attains personal experience of such,
there being scope for the mind."

 


[1] Pacc'avekkhaṇā-nimitta: (paṭi+avekkhati) reflect-observation. Observing the signs is not seen elsewhere connected with sammā samādhi or the mastery of higher powers and it's meaning here is subject to question. There is no support in the sutta itself for the idea that this is paying attention to a concentration device, or the so called 'reflex image,' or to the subject of one's meditation. I believe the key is in the simile which is of a man observing another man while standing, observing while standing another man who is sitting, and sitting observing another man who is lying down. I believe what is being observed is one's state of serenity and that there is, in the idea of 'a man', a symbolic imagry for mnemonic purposes which is humorous. Note that the final, always the highest state, is supine.
However to cover one's bets also take this to mean the signs or mile-stones identifying stages in ones mastery of a subject of meditation (not attention to the kasina or subject propper). Further, the 'subject' can be a kasina, but is not limited to the kasinas; it can be a subject like the emptiness meditation, the idea of the repulsive, the idea of death, etc. Generally we are not aware of the vast amount of information we receive and promptly forget. The idea here would be to make conscious the various stages one progresses through so that it is not necessary to develop them anew at each meditation session.

 


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