The Longs Basket
The Brahma-Jāla Suttanta
The Brahma Jala Suttanta
This is the first sutta of the Digha Nikaya. Some consider it the first book of the Pali. Whether or not that is, in fact, the case, the opening passage is a very instructive way to look at the whole of the Pali.
The first 2 sections of the BrahmaJala Sutta (and the one that follows on ways of earning a living) deal with the praise the ordinary layman would likely voice concerning The Buddha. The real point of the sutta is not that Gotama follows these practices (which he does) but that these are not the real reason to be following a Buddha.
The real reason is the "other matters, profound, hard to see, hard to understand, peaceful, excellent, beyond mere thought, subtle, to be experienced by the wise, which the Tathagata, having realized them by his own super-knowledge, proclaims, and about which those who would truthfully praise the Tathagata would rightly speak." Namely the way he surpasses points of view: "With regard to all of these points of view, they arrive at these points of view as a consequence of contact through the six senses. (In other words, points of view about ultimate reality, the self and the existence or non existence of the world are essentially how people "feel" about their experiences). Downbound Sensation (vedana, sense experience) rebounds bound up in wanting (tanha); Downbound wanting rebounds bound up in going after getting (upadana, bound up); downbound going after getting rebounds bound up in living; downbound living rebounds bound up in birth; downbound birth rebounds bound up in aging and death, grief and lamentation, pain and misery, and despair. A beggar who understands as they really are the arising and ending of the six sense spheres, their satisfaction and their dangers and the escape, knows that which goes beyond all views. (Note how this quite casually begins in the middle of the paticca samuppada.)
NIMMITA: [PED] 1. sign, omen, portent, prognostication; 2. Outward appearance, mark, characteristic, attribute, phenomenon (contrast with essence); 3. Mark, aim, pick out, mark out designate; 4. Sexual organ; 5. Ground, reason, condition
What this section comes down to is that an initiated Beggar is not supposed to do anything to "earn" his keep. His job is to be a trailblazer for the rest of us on the Path to uttermost freedom. He should be a perfect example of non-attachment to anything at all in the world, even "his own" welfare. I reference this list here as a prologue to the discussion of reading signs. There are two distinctions between the items listed here and those to be discussed with the idea of practicing and mastering them. The first is that most of the items here use devices, whereas those to be practiced here are to be directly understood through various faculties of the mind. The second is that mastered or not, they are not to be used to earn a living by an initiated beggar. As for an uninitiated individual, it is advised that in this world such practices will invariably subject the practitioner to an endless battle with accusations of fraud and the battle with dealing with that will amount to a serious hindrance to the development of progress in This System. In any case it is recommended you avoid the practices listed here and concentrate on the more "pure" variety of reading signs to be described in The 10th Lesson. Exceptions, of course for some of these which have become "sciences," such as foretelling the eclipse of the sun, predicting the weather, (soon, they think, predicting earthquakes), predicting a good harvest, (for the CIA, predicting conflict), predicting a season of swine flu, etc.
Sections on Views
This is the most detailed discussion of Unskillful Views that is to be found in the Pali. Most of the time in the Pali the discussion is condensed to the four primary views taken by the world: The World [or the Soul or whatever]Is; is not; both is and is not; neither is nor is not. Another tack taken is View based on the assumption of self: I am this; This is mine; this is an aspect of myself; I am an aspect of this.
[ The Brahmajalasutta: The BrahmaNet Spell Part I ]
See also: Pali Text Society: The Perfect Net, T.W. Rhys Davids' translation of the Brahmagala Sutta.
[Notes] [Nidana] [Basic Ethics I] [Basic Ethics II] [On Earning a Living] [On Higher Dhamma] [About the Past] [Eternalists] [Partial Eternalists] [End'n'o-Enders] [Eel-Wrigglers] [Caused-by-Chancers] [About the Future]/ [Conscious after Death] [Unconscious after Death] [Neither Conscious nor Unconscious] [Annihilationist] [Nibbana-Now] [Conclusion]