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Sutta 52 | Majjhima Nikāya

Majjhima Nikāya
Sutta 52

52. Aṭṭhakanāgara Sutta:
The Man from Aṭṭhakanāgara

I have heard that on one occasion Ven. Ananda was staying near Vesālī at Veluvagamaka. Now on that occasion Dasama the householder from Atthakanagara had arrived at Pāṭaliputta on some business. Then he went to a certain monk at Kukkata Monastery and on arrival, having bowed down to him, sat to one side. As he was sitting there he said to the monk, “Where is Ven. Ananda staying now? I’d like to see him.”

“Householder, the Ven. Ananda is staying near Vesālī at Veluvagamaka.”

Then Dasama the householder from Aṭṭhakanāgara, on completing his business at Pataliputta, went to Ven. Ananda at Veluvagamaka near Vesālī. On arrival, having bowed down to him, he sat to one side. As he was sitting there, he said to Ven. Ananda: “Venerable sir, is there a single quality declared by the Blessed One - the one who knows, the one who sees, worthy & rightly self-awakened - where the unreleased mind of a monk who dwells there heedful, ardent, & resolute becomes released, or his unended effluents go to their total ending, or he attains the unexcelled security from the yoke that he had not attained before?”

“Yes, householder, there is....”

“And what is that one quality, venerable sir.?”

“There is the case, householder, where a monk, quite secluded from sensuality, secluded from unskilful qualities, enters & remains in the first jhāna: rapture & pleasure born from seclusion, accompanied by directed thought & evaluation. He reflects on this and discerns, ‘This first jhāna is fabricated & intended. Now whatever is fabricated & intended is inconstant & subject to cessation.’ Staying right there, he reaches the ending of the effluents. Or, if not, then - through this very Dhamma- passion, this Dhamma-delight, and from the total wasting away of the five lower fetters [self-identification views, grasping at habits & practices, uncertainty, sensual passion, and irritation] - he is due to arise spontaneously (in the Pure Abodes), there to be totally unbound, never again to return from that world.

“This, householder, is a single quality declared by the Blessed One - the one who knows, the one who sees, worthy & rightly self-awakened - where the unreleased mind of a monk who dwells there heedful, ardent, & resolute becomes released, or his unended effluents go to their total ending, or he attains the unexcelled security from the yoke that he had not attained before. [Similarly with the second, third, and fourth jhānas.]

“Then again, a monk keeps pervading the first direction [the east] with an awareness imbued with goodwill, likewise the second, likewise the third, likewise the fourth. Thus above, below, & all around, everywhere, in its entirety, he keeps pervading the all-encompassing cosmos with an awareness imbued with goodwill - abundant, expansive, unlimited, without hostility, without ill will. He reflects on this and discerns, ‘This awareness-release through goodwill is fabricated & intended. Now whatever is fabricated & intended is inconstant & subject to cessation.’ Staying right there, he reaches the ending of the effluents. Or, if not, then - through this very Dhamma-passion, this Dhamma-delight, and from the total wasting away of the five lower fetters - he is due to arise spontaneously (in the Pure Abodes), there to be totally unbound, never again to return from that world.

“This too, householder, is a single quality declared by the Blessed One - the one who knows, the one who sees, worthy & rightly self-awakened - where the unreleased mind of a monk who dwells there heedful, ardent, & resolute becomes released, or his unended effluents go to their total ending, or he attains the unexcelled security from the yoke that he had not attained before.

[Similarly with awareness-release through compassion, through empathetic joy, & through equanimity.]

“Then again, a monk - with the complete transcending of perceptions of (physical) form, with the disappearance of perceptions of resistance, and not attending to perceptions of multiplicity, (perceiving,) ‘Infinite space’ - enters & remains in the dimension of the infinitude of space. He reflects on this and discerns, ‘This attainment of the infinitude of space is fabricated & intended. Now whatever is fabricated & intended is inconstant & subject to cessation.’ Staying right there, he reaches the ending of the effluents. Or, if not, then - through this very Dhamma- passion, this Dhamma-delight, and from the total wasting away of the five lower fetters - he is due to arise spontaneously (in the Pure Abodes), there to be totally unbound, never again to return from that world.

“This too, householder, is a single quality declared by the Blessed One - the one who knows, the one who sees, worthy & rightly self-awakened - where the unreleased mind of a monk who dwells there heedful, ardent, & resolute becomes released, or his unended effluents go to their total ending, or he attains the unexcelled security from the yoke that he had not attained before.

[Similarly with the dimension of the infinitude of consciousness and the dimension of nothingness.]

When this was said, Dasama the householder from Aṭṭhakanāgara said to Ven. Ananda, “Venerable Ananda, just as if a man seeking a single opening onto treasure were all at once to come upon eleven openings onto treasure, in the same way I - seeking a single doorway to the deathless - have all at once come to hear of eleven doorways to the deathless. And just as if a man whose house had eleven doors could

take himself to safety by means of any one of those doors, in the same way I can take myself to safety by means of any one of these eleven doors to the deathless. Venerable sir, when sectarians search for a teacher’s fee for their teachers, why shouldn’t I pay homage to Ven. Ananda?”

So Dasama the householder from Aṭṭhakanāgara, having assembled the Sangha of monks from Vesālī and Pāṭaliputta, with his own hands served & satisfied them with refined staple & non-staple foods. He presented a pair of cloths to each monk, and a triple robe to Ven. Ananda. And for Ven. Ananda he had a dwelling built worth five hundred (kahapanas).