Buddha 4


THE MIDDLE PATHWAY

Samyutta Nikâya

The First Sermon

Thus have I heard.

On one occasion the Blessed One* was staying at Isipatana, near Benares, in the Deer-Park.  There the Blessed One spoke to the group of the five mendicants*, and said:

There are two extremes which should not be followed by a person who has gone forth* as a wanderer:

devotion to sensual pleasures,

which is a low, pagan, practice,

unworthy, unprofitable,

the way of the worldly-minded,

and devotion to self-mortification,

which is painful,

unworthy, unprofitable.

By avoiding these two extremes the Tathâgata has discovered the Middle Path, which gives insight, bestows knowledge, and leads to serenity, wisdom, enlightenment, and nibbâna*.

And what is the Middle Path, which gives insight, bestows knowledge, and leads to serenity, wisdom, enlightenment, and nibbana?

It is this noble eightfold path, namely:

right outlook

right intention

right speaking

right action

right livelihood

right effort

right mindfulness

right concentration

 

*bhagavat

 

*bhikkhu

 

 

*pabbajito

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*nirvâna

 

(knowledge, wisdom)

 

 

(morality)

 

 

(meditation)

 

NOTES

This is one version of the first sermon delivered by the Buddha, after his enlightenment.  It is addressed to five ascetics who had earlier withdrawn from him, because he seemed to be deserting the way of asceticism.  It is found in the Samyutta Nikâya (5.421) in the Sutta Pitaka.  This sermon is called ‘turning the wheel of dharma’, and it expounds the noble eightfold path.  It goes on to expound the Four Noble Truths, the last of which is in fact  the eightfold path. 

See the next extract.  And reference may also be made to the Buddhacharita,15:14-58.

 

THE FOUR NOBLE TRUTHS

Mahâsatipatthâna Sutta, Dîgha Nikâya

The Four Truths

(1)

Monks, what is the noble* truth of suffering*?

Birth is painful*,

old age is painful,

death is painful,

grief, lamentation, sorrow*, depression,

and despair are painful; 

being attached to some unloved thing is painful;

being separated from some loved thing is painful;

wishing for something and not getting it is painful;

in short, the five factors* of attachment* are painful.

These are form, feeling, perception, activity, consciousness....

*ariya Ariyan, noble

*dukkha pain, unhappiness

*dukkhâ

 

*dukkha

 

 

 


*khandha, Skt skandha

*upâdâna dependence

(2)

Monks, what is the noble truth of the origin of suffering?

It is the thirst* that leads to rebirth,

accompanied by enjoyment* and passion*,

and finding gratification now here now there,

namely the thirst for pleasure*,

the thirst for (continued) existence*,

the thirst for extinction*....

 

*tanha

*nandi joy craving,

*raga excitement

*kâma, desire, love

*bhava, becoming, rebirth

*vibhava, annihilation

 

(3)

Monks, what is the noble truth of cessation of suffering?

It is the completely passionless cessation of that thirst, relinquishment of it, rejection of it,

release from it, aversion to it.

 

(4)

Monks, what is the noble truth of the path leading to

cessation of suffering?

It is this noble eightfold way*:

right outlook*

right intention*

right speaking*

right action*

right livelihood*

right effort*

right mindfulness*

right concentration*

 

 

*magga Skt mârga

*ditthi, Skt drsti, opinion,

*sankappa, Skt samkalpa,

*vâchâ

*kammanta doing, conduct

*ajiva

*vayama

*sati, Skt smrti remembering

*samadhi, contemplation

 


The Eightfold Way

 

(1)

Monks, what is right outlook?

Knowledge of suffering*,

knowledge of the origin of suffering,

knowledge of the cessation of suffering,

knowledge of the path* leading to the cessation of suffering,

this, monks, is called right outlook.

 

*dukkha

 

 

*patipadâ

(2)

Monks, what is right intention?

Being intent on renunciation,

being intent on non-violence,

being intent on harmlessness,

this, monks, is called right intention.

 

(3)

Monks, what is right speaking?

Refraining from false speech,

refraining from malicious talk,

refraining from abusive speech,

refraining from thoughtless gossip,

this, monks, is called right speaking.

 

(4)

Monks, what is right action?

Refraining from taking life,

refraining from taking what has not been given,

refraining from sexual misconduct,

this, monks, is called right action.


(murder)

(theft)

(sexual passion)

(5)

Monks, what is right livelihood?

Here, monks, a disciple of the noble one*,

by abandoning wrong living,

makes a living through right livelihood,

and this, monks, is called right livelihood.

 

*ariya

(6)

Monks, what is right effort?

Here, monks,

to prevent the engendering of evil inappropriate ideas*,

...to expel evil inappropriate ideas that have been engendered,

...to engender appropriate ideas as yet unengendered,

...to ensure that appropriate ideas that have been engendered are stabilized, clarified, increased, developed, and fulfilled,

a monk makes a resolute effort, mobilizes his energy, concentrates and exerts his mind.

This, monks, is called right effort.

 

 

*dhamma

(7)

Monks, what is right mindfulness?

Here, monks, the ascetic

lives contemplating his body as body,

lives fervent, self-possessed, recollected,

controlling his yearning and pining for the world.

Likewise with regard to feelings,

with regard to perception,

with regard to activities, ...

with regard to thought*.

This, monks, is called right mindfulness.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*cp. the 5 factors


                            The Four Trances

(8)

Monks, what is right  concentration?

Here,monks, an ascetic,

detached from sense-desires,

detached from bad mental states,

enters and resides in the first trance*,

which is accompanied by directed thought

and sustained thought,

born of detachment, rapturous and joyful.

 

 

 

 

*jhana (dhyana)

 

Then, by the yielding of directed and sustained thought,

he enters and resides in the second trance,

which is an inner serenity,

and a unique exaltation,

devoid of directed and sustained thought,

born of concentration, rapturous and joyful.


Then, monks, by the fading of the rapture,

he becomes even-minded,

and remains mindful and self-possessed;

he experiences in his body the joy,

of which the noble* declare:

The even-minded and mindful remains joyful.

Thus he enters and remains in the third trance.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*Ariyans

 

Then, by the forsaking of joy,

by the forsaking of pain,

by the passing away of the previous gladness and sadness,

he enters and remains in the fourth trance,

which is free of pain and pleasure alike,

with perfect purity of evenmindedness* and mindfulness.

This, monks, is called right concentration.

 

And this, monks, is the noble truth of the path leading to cessation of suffering.

 

 

 

 

 

*equanimity

NOTES

This, in abridged form, is the Buddha’s exposition of the four noble (Ariyan) truths, as found in Dîgha Nikâya 2:305-312, part of Sutta 22, Mahâsatipatthâna Sutta, The Greater Discourse on the Foundations of Mindfulness.  For a full translation of this sutta see Maurice Walshe, Thus Have I Heard:  The Long Discourses of the Buddha (1978), 335-350.  The four truths are also found in the sermon on the middle path, delivered to the five mendicants in the Deer Park, after the Buddha’s enlightenment.


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