Majjhima Nikāya
Anupada Vagga

by Dr Victor Gunasekara

CONTENTS


M 111 AnupadasuttaUnboken Concentration
M 112 ChabbisodhanasuttaDiscourse on the Six-fold Clensing
M 113 SappurisasuttaDiscourse on the Good Man
M 114 SevitabāsevitabbasuttaWhat should be Done and not Done
M 115 Bahudhātukasutta Discourse to the many Elements
M 116 IsigilisuttaDiscourse at Isigili
M 117 MahācattārikasuttaDiscourse onthe Great Forty
M 118 AnāpānasatisuttaMindfulness when Breathing In-and-Out
M 119 KāyagatāsatisuttaMindfulness of the Body
M 120 SaṅkāruppattisuttaDiscourse on Uprising by Aspiration

M 111. Anupadasutta
Unbroken Concentration


[93-97] This sutta given by the Buddha at Jetavana in Sāvatthi is a tribute to Ven Sāriputta. His concentration is described as deep, wide, joyous, rapid, quick and penetrating. His completing the four jhānas is described using the stereotyped phrases used to describe progress through the jhānas. Next he reached and remained in the Infinitude of Space. From there he progressed to the Infinitude of Consciousness. From there he progressed to the Dimension of Nothingness. From there he progressed to the Dimension of Neither Perception nor non-Perception. From there he progressed to the Cessation of Feeling and Perception. This is taken as the completion of his spiritual journey as it is said that there is nothing more to achieve and no further escape needed.

Many epithets are given to describe Sāriputta. He is said to have attained perfection in noble virtue, noble concentration, noble discernment, and noble release. He is even said to be the Blessed One's son born of his mouth (bhagavato putto oraso mukhato). He is said to be be the successor of the Buddha in rolling the wheel of the Dhamma (tathāgatena anuttarăT; dhammacakkaṃ pavattitaṃ sammadeva anuppavatteti).

Summary Analysis
There are some differences in the description of Sāriputa's escape from saṃsāra to that usually given. There is no mention of the preliminaries of perfection in the moralities, the cutting off of the five fetters and the mastery of the foundations of mindfulness. These may be assumed to have been accomplished. Sāriputta is shown as plunging straight into the jhānas. After that the various transcendental levels are reached and the last one being the Cessation of Feeling and Perception. What is omitted is the accomplishment of the three-fold knowledge. These involve the recollection of former births, the development of the Divine Eye and the repelling of the āsavas. These are presumably included in the Cessation of Feeling which is often not mentioned for others who have complete this course.

M 112. Chabbisodhanasutta
Discourse on the Six-fold Cleansing

[98] This sutta was given by the Buddha to the monks at the Jetavana in Sāvatthi. He said that if a monk claims to have reached the goal he should be questioned [in six ways].<br><br>

[Firstly Cleansing] He should be asked how his mind was released. There are four ways this could be done: by seeing, by hearing, by sensing and by cognizing. The monk should be able to declare this knowing that it is an error to have fallen for the seen (or heard or sensed or cognized) without being settled unbound, released, unyoked and with an unrestricted mind. If he can say this his word should be accepted but further questions should be asked.

[99] [Second Cleansing] The five holding masses declared by the Tathagata are matter, feelings, perceptions and conscience. He should be able to say that seeing that matter is weak, his interest waned and he was dissatisfied. So he destroyed ceased, gave up and released his mind from the tendency to fall for and firmly hold matter. A similar declaration should be made about the other holding masses, i.e feelings, perception and consciousness. His words should be accepted as good words and a further question should be asked.

[100] [Third Cleansing] The six elements declared by the Tathagata are earth, water, fire, air, space and consciousness. On the element earth the monk should be able to say: "I see no self in the earth element. The latent tendency to fall for and firmly hold on to matter should be destroyed, ceased, given up. Then he should be able to say "I know that the mind is released". A similar statement should be made with respect to the other elements, i.e. water element, fire element, air element, space element, and the consciousness. His words should be accepted as good words and a further question should be asked.

101] [Fourth Cleansing] The six external and internal sense spheres are eye, ear, nose, tongue, body and mind. The monk should be able to assert that he does not hold on to the consciousness generated by these organs of sense with interest greed and craving. If he can so assert (truthfully) his word should be believed. Then a further question should be asked.


[102-103] [Fifth Cleansing] The monk should be asked when he realized that he was released from the sense spheres. He should say that before this he was a householder but after hearing the Teaching from a Tathagata he went forth from the household life. Then he became a trainer in the life of a bhikkhu. [NOTE: At this point the bhikkhu should state how he cultivated all the requirements such as the completion of the sīlas]

[104] [Sixth Cleansing] This is the affirmation by the bhikkhu that he has completed the requirement for complete release that go beyond the cultivation of the moral requirements of the Bhikkhu. The should be able to state that he had then dispelled the five hindrances. Then he should have completed the four jhānas. Then after that the bhikkhu would have cleared the mind for even the minor defilements. The usual step at this point is the acquisition of the three-fold knowledge (tevijjā). But the Bhikkhu is questioned only on the last of these that is if he has got over the āsavas. The absence of a mention of the first two as well as the verification if he has acquired the supernormal powers is significant.

As usual the Buddha's words were received by he bhikkhus with acclamation.

Summary Analysis
This sutta is another way of stating he path of the bhikkhu to liberation or the complete release of the mind. It is given as a series of tests that could be performed on a person claiming to be one liberated, i.e. to be an Arhat. But the verification turns out to be a mere declaration by the bhikkhu that he hs indeed passed these six tests. There is no way of verifying if his claim of having passed the six tests is true. It is significant that the question on the supernormal powers as well as the first two of the three-fold knowledge is are not mentioned. If the bhikkhu claims to have passed these stages be could be asked to give a demonstration of these powers. This means that he can do such things as diving into the solid earth, passing through walls or sitting in the air. He should be able to tell a least a few of the one hundred thousand previous lives he would have gone through when he acquired the the first knowledge. But there is no mention of imposing such tests on the claimant to arhat-ship.


M 113. Sappurisasutta
Discourse on the Good Man

[NOTE: The Pali word sappuriso has been translated in various ways. It literally means a man with some unstated (good) qualities. Usually the masculine connotation is changed into something neutral like 'person' or 'one'. Here we shall use the literal 'good man' and its opposite(asappuriso) for the bad man.]

[105] Once at the Jetavana in Sāvatthi the Buddha addressed the monks saying that he will give the qualities of a bad man and of a good man. Then in turn the following arguments are presented:
  1. The bad man says that the good man claims that he is from a high or noble claim and therefore he is superior, but greed, aversion and foolishness does not depend on such a claim.
  2. [106] If a bad man is highly regarded he thinks that this is because his high birth.
  3. If a bad man can preach Dhamma he thinks that it is because his birth is high that he can do so. But any Teacher of right conduct will be able to teach and receive praise.
  4. [107] If the bad man is a forest dweller he thinks that the other (i.e the good man) cannot become a forest dweller. He thinks he is therefore the more exalted.
  5. If the bad man wears only robes of discarded cloth he thinks that he is superior on that account.
  6. ... an alms-goer...
  7. ... one who dwells at the root of a tree...
  8. ... a cemetery dweller...
  9. ... one who lives in the open air...
  10. ... one who doesn't lie down...
  11. ... one who is content with whatever dwelling is assigned to him...
  12. ..,. one who eats only one meal a day so he is superior on that account.

[108] If the bad man lives rejecting sensuality and achieves the first jhāna he revels in that achievement. The same happens if he reaches the second, third and the fourth jhāna and he exalts himself. But the Buddha has said not to be attached even to the fourth jhāna. The same applies if the bad man were to achieve the sphere of boundless space, ... of boundless consciousness ... of nothingness .. of the sphere of neither perception-nor-non-perception. On the other hand the good man goes beyond this sphere and proceeds to the Cessation of Perceptions and Feelings. Seeing this with wisdom his desires too get destroyed. Then the bhikkhu does not imagine anything more, and there is no reason to proceed further.

Summary Analysis
This is another device to state the path of the good man from his going forth until he proceeds to the end of his journey. The foil of a bad man is postulated simply to give the full credit to the good man. It is not stated how a bad man with the qualities given could complete the jhānas and come to the state of neither perception nor non-perception. Surely he would have lost all his bad qualities and become a good man at that stage so that he can overcome the final hurdle. Once again there is no mention of the three-fold knowldge in this sutta.

M 114. Sevitabāsevitabbasutta
What should be Done and not Done

[NOTE: In this sutta given at Jetavana in Sāvattthi to the monks the Buddha makes statements on what should be done and not done with respect to a number of things. Then there is a detailed exposition of this by Sāriputta.]

[109] The Buddha's initial statement is as follows: "Bodily conduct is twofold, consisting of that should be practiced and not practiced. So too is verbal conduct, mental conduct, and the arousing of thoughts. perceptions and views." Then comes the detailed exposition of what the Buddha had said by Ven. Sāriputta.

[110-111] In bodily conduct what must not be done are those acts which increase demerit, and what must be done are those which increase merit. Acts which increase demerit are killing, taking what is not given, and sexual misconduct with women who are under protection of parents or husbands. Merit comes from refraining from these acts and doing their opposite.

[112-113] In verbal acts demerit comes from lying, not revealing what is known (especially to authorities), talk which divides, uttering rough, angry and piercing words, and useless talk. This is what should not be done relating to verbal acts. What should be done are those which increase merit. These are simply the opposite of what is listed as bringing demerit.

[114-115] With respect to mental acts too increasing demerit is what should not be done. Examples given are coveting the belongings of others. wishing that others be beaten or killed or do not exist, having an angry or defiled mind. The arousing of thoughts and perceptions, mentioned in the Buddha's short statement, is equated to what has been said relating to good and bad mental acts.

[116] Views one entertains can bring either merit or demerit whether these are done or not done. For view that give demerit and therefore should not be held the standard list is given: "There are no results for gifts, sacrifices and offerings. There are no results for good and bad actions. There is no this world, no other world, no mother, no father, no spontaneously arisen beings, There are no recluses and Brahmins who realizing this world and the other world declare it.".

[117] This deals with personal gains (attabhāvapaṭilābha), which are not directly mentioned in the Buddha's short statement. What makes such gains meritorious or demeritorous is not sttaed, and no examples are given.

[118-119] The Buddha then says that Sāriputta's detailed exposit (given in [110]-[117]) of his short statement is correct (sādhu). Then the Buddha repeats all that Sāriputta has said giving it his formal approval.

[120] Here the Buddha extends his two-fold approach to forms, sounds, smells, tastes and touches generated by the organs of sense. The criterion whether they are good or bad is whether they generate merit or demerit and accordingly should be done or not done.

[121] Here the twofold classification is extended to robes, food, and dwelling which are specific to monks. With regard to robes and food it is said that there is merit and demerit but it is not stated what kind of robes give merit and what gives demerit. The same is the case with food. In the case of dwellings villages, hamlets and towns are mentioned but no specific examples as to which is more merit worthy is made. Curiously there is no mention of forest dwelling.

[122-123] In this section Sāriputta is again praised for his contribution. It is then said that the two-fold analysis of what is to be done and not done applies not only to monks but to all classes and castes in the lay society in fact to all the world.

Summary Analysis
This sutta can be classified as an ethical even though there is not emphasis on detailed ethics except those in the familiar five precepts (except the last one on the consumption of alcohol). On the merit-demerit criterion the examples given are ones which are clearly meritorious or not. But many actions have an aspect of both. In these situations whether they should be done or not done is not clear. Hence the applicability of the criterion is limited especially when applied to society in general.

There is no statement of what would happen if the wrong thing is done. The usual method is to invoke the rebirth principle. Doing the wrong unmeritorious things lead to hell or animal birth, while otherwise the destinations if one of the heavens or human form. This could be seen as some way of deprecating the rebirth doctrine.

M 115. Bahudhātukasutta
Discourse on the many Elements

[124] Once the Buddha was addressing the bhikkhus at Jetavana in Sāvatthi and he told them: "Whatever fears that rise they arise to the fool not to the wise man". He then exorted the monks to be wise inquirers (vīmaṃsikā). Then Ananda asked how does one become a wise inquirer. The Buddha replied that for a monk to be wise through investigation he should be skilled in four requirements: (1) the elements, (2) the sense-fields, (3) conditioned genesis, (4) the possible and the impossible. The rest of the sutta consists of explaining these four requirement especially the last to which most of the sutta is devoted.

[125] (1) The Elements. The eighteen elements which the wise one should know and see are: "the element of eye, the element of material shape, the element of visual consciousness; the element of ear, the element of sound, the element of auditory consciousness; the element of nose, the element of smell, the element of olfactory consciousness; the element of tongue, the element of taste, the element of gustatory consciousness; the element of body, the element of touch, the element of bodily consciousness; the element of mind, the element of mental states, the element of mental consciousness. In a reply to Ananda the Buddha gives alternative listings of elements consisting of two to six elements, selected from the larger list,  knowing which too the bhikkhu could be said to be wise.

[126] (2) Sense Fields. These are said to be six: the internal and external spheres of the eye and forms, ear and sounds, nose and scents, tongue and tastes, body and touches and mind and ideas. The bhikkhu should know and "see" these to be considered clever in these spheres.

(3) Conditioned Genesis. This follows from the general principle of cause and effect. The chain given here is: "From ignorance arise determinations, from determinations arise consciousness, from consciousness arise name and matter. From name and matter arise the six spheres, from the six spheres arise contact and from contact arise feelings. From feelings arise craving, from craving arise holding (grasping), from holding arises being, from being arises birth. From birth arises decay, death, grief, lament, suffering, displeasure and distress. Thus arises the complete mass of sorrow.

[127-131] (4) The Possible and the Impossible. The rest of the sutta is devoted to this. It consist of a list of what is impossible and what is possible. When considering the possibility or the impossibility two kinds of persons are considered (1) a person with Right View (2) An Average or Ordinary person. In the following list various events are given with the response of the two kinis of individual. A "Yes" indicates that it is possible and a "No" that it is impossible for the kind of individual.
EVENTRIGHT VIEW   
PERSON
ORDINARY
PERSON
take any determination as permanent No Yes
take any determination as pleasant No Yes
take any thought as his own No Yes
deprive the life of his mother NoYes
should deprive the life of his father NoYes
should cause hurt to the body of the Tathagata NoYes
should cause a breach in the Community NoYes
go to another Teacher No Yes
two Tathatas in the same world at same time No Yes
one Tathagata in the same world at the same time Yes No
a woman should be the Tathagata No Yes
a man should be the Tathagta Yes No
a woman should be the Universal Monarch No Yes
man should be the Universal Monarch Yes No
a woman should be the King of Gods No No
a man should be the King of Gods Yes Yes
a woman should be Brahmaa No Yes
a man should be Brahmaa Yes Yes
bodily misconduct will lead to a pleasant birth No Yes
verbal misconduct will lead to a Hell Yes No
mental misconduct will lead to a Heaven No Yes

[132] Then venerable Aananda said, 'It is wonderful venerable sir. What is the name of this discourse? The Buddha said that it could be called  the Discourse on many elements, or The fourfold circle, or The mirror of the Teaching, or The drum of deathlessness, or The noble victory in the battle.  Ven. Ananda delighted in the words of the Blessed One.

Summary Analysis
Of the four requirements the number of elements seem to have multiplied. Originally there was only four Mahābuthā. Even the number of fundamentals in the Mulapaiyaya sutta numbered only 28, many of which are not in the present list. The sense fields and the Dependent Origination get the scantest of concern.

Most of the sutta is devoted to what is impossible and impossible. There is a distinct misogynist element in the events given. While the views of the Right View Person is in accordance with the Teaching and are fixed the views of the average or ordinary person may not be as definitive as given.

M 116. Isigilisutta
Discourse at Isigili

[136-142] Once the Buddha was staying at the Isigili mountain near Rajagaha. He pointed to the monks the mountains Vebhara, Pandava, Vepulla, Gijjakuta surrounding Rahagaha. He then said that formerly they were known by other names. But the Isigili mountain always had that name.

He then said that once 500 paccekabuddhas lived in the Isigili mountain. They were seen entering the mountain and not seen afterwards. Hence the story grew that the mountain swallowed them, hence its name.

The Buddha then proceeded to give the names of the 500 paccekabuddhas in verse with short epithets describing them. This constitutes the substance of this Sutta. [These names are not reproduced here as they are obviously mythical names.]

M 117. Mahācattārīsakasutta
Discourse on the Great Forty

[136] In this sutta given to bhikkhus at Jetavana in Sāvatthi the begins with the statement: "I will teach you noble right concentration with its supports and requisite conditions." Right concentration is the last factor in the Eightfold Path and by "supports and requisites" (sapaniso saparikkhāro) the Buddha means the other seven factors of the path. In fact this sutta is a commentary on the eight factors in the Path not only on the last one. When considering these factors he repeats before each is of them that "Right View becomes foremost (pubbaṅgamā)".

So it is not surprising that he begins with Right View. In stating what Right View is he gives a stereotyped phrase: "'There is what is given, what is offered, what is sacrificed. There are fruits and results of good & bad actions. There is this world & the next world. There is mother and father. There are spontaneously reborn beings; there recluses and Brahmans who, faring rightly and practicing rightly, proclaim this world and the next after having directly known and realized it for themselves." [NOTE: See Summary Analysis below on this definition.] No further comments are made on Right View.

[137] Right Resolve is considered next.. This is defined as thoughts on sensuality, ill-will and harmfulness. There are two levels of resolve: with taints (sāsavo) and without taints (anāsavo). The former is the lower level reached by lay persons, and the latter the higher one which is properly a factor in the noble path.

[138] Right Speech is considered next. This is defined as uttering falsehoods, tale-bearing, abusive speech and gossip. This too is of two types with and without the taints, the former for the ordinary people and the latter for the noble disciple.

[139] Next is Right Action. This is defined as abstaining from killing, taking what is not given and not having sex with women under guardianship. Once again there are two aspects to this, that is whether the person involved has dispelled the taints or not.

[140] Right Livelihood comes next. Right view is here also the forerunner, but as with the other factors this is only to find out what right and wrong livelihood is. There is no direct statement of what right livelihood is but it could be taken as the opposite of wrong livelihood of which five things are said: kuhanā (deceit), lapanā (scheming?), nemittikā (astrology), nippesikatā (jugglery ?), and lābhena lābhaṃ (getting excessive profit).

[141] Right Effort and Right Mindfulness comes next. But these topics are not treated separately. Then all seven with Right View being the foremost lead to Right Concentration. This completes the traditional Eight factors in the Path. But here two more factors are added as resulting from Right Concentration. These are Right Knowledge and Right Release. Not much is said about the two new factors but Right Knowledge is probably the threefold knowledge (tevijjā) while Right Release is the extinction implicit in Nibbāna. So the eightfold path becomes a ten-fold path.

[142-143] Here the Buddha gives the opposites to the ten positive factors. These are wrong view leading to wrong resolve and so on right down to wrong release. The ten positive and the ten negative factors give twenty factors. But each factor has a two fold aspect depending on whether taints are present or not. This gives the Great Forty in the title of this sutta.

Summary Analysis
There are some important aspects in this sutta. First of all it is curious why the definition of Right View excludes three important aspects of the Dhamma. These are (1) the absence of a Creator God, (2) Impermanence (anicca), and lack of a soul (anatta). These aspects are emphasised in many suttas and why they are excluded from the stereotyped formula for Right View given in this sutta is not explained. This is probably due to later changes after the Buddha's death. As the stereotyped view does not seem to exclude some version of theistic religion.

The expansion of the eight-fold path to a ten-fold path is probably an improvement. There is no finality in the Eightfold path as Right Concentration is not an end in itself. With Right Release at the end the Path comes to a logical end.

Another innovation is that every stage of the Path is given a twofold aspect as to whether it is accompanied by the taints or not. When most people try to reach some of the stages for example mindfulness through meditation they are really aiming for the lower aspect as they have not got rid of the taints.


M 118. Anāpānasatisutta
Mindfulness when breathing In-and-Out.

[144-147] This sutta given in the Pubbārāma in Sāvatthi starts saying that the Buddha was with a host of leading monks like Venerables Sāriputta, Mahāmoggallāna, Mahācunda, Ananda and several others named but they do not play any part in this sutta which is a strait foward discourse given by the Buddha to the bhikkhus. It was given at night in the open on a full moon day.

The Buddha first praises the monks for their accomplishments and for their good behaviour especially their silence and refraining from idle talk. He repeated the gāthā of veneration of the Sangha and said that there were arhats (who had reached the goal) present and those who have destroyed the first three fetters and are destined to go to a heaven from whence they will reach extinction There are some who will return to earth only once before the final release. Then the Buddha said that he will speak on in-and-out breathing meditation (ānāpānasatibhāvanā), which brings the four stages of mindfulness and the seven factors of awakening to their culmination. The following is what he said:

[148] A monk goes to the forest or an empty place sits down cross-legged, holds body erect and breathes in and out mindfully. The following stages are then gone through sequentially:
  1. Breathing in or out discerning that he is breathing in or out. 
  2. Breathing long or short discerning that he is breathing long or short.
  3. He trains to breathe sensitive to the entire body.
  4. He trains to calm the bodily fabrication.
  5. He trains to breathe sensitive to rapture.'
  6. He trains to breathe sensitive to pleasure.
  7. He trains to breathe sensitive to mental fabrication.
  8. He trains to breathe calming mental fabrication.
  9. He trains to breathe sensitive the mind.
  10. He trains to breathe in and out satisfying he mind.
  11. He trains to breathe in and out steadying the mind.
  12. He trains to breathe in and out releasing the mind.

[149] The four foundation of mindfulness are secured by in-and-out breathing in the following ways:
  1. The first foundation of the mindfulness is satisfied because in doing this meditation the meditator remains focussed on the body. He dispels greed for the world and the resulting distress. It is considered a 'body among bodies' (kāyesu kāyaññatarā).
  2. In the same manner the second foundation is satisfied as the meditator remains focussed on feelings. He gets the same results.
  3. Again while doing this meditation the meditator remains focused on the mind in and of itself, ardent, alert, & mindful.
  4. Again while doing this meditation the meditator remains focused on mental qualities in and of themselves, so the fourth foundation of mindfulness is satisfied. [NOTE: This takes the term 'dhammā' in the fourth foundation to mean quality not doctrine].

[150] Similarly the seven factors of awakening are secured by in-and-out breathing in the following ways:
  1. This meditation establishes mindfulness as an enlightenment (awakening) factor.
  2. This meditation establishes investigation as an enlightenment (awakening) factor.
  3. This meditation establishes effort (persistence) as an enlightenment (awakening) factor.
  4. This meditation establishes rapture (appeasement) as an enlightenment (awakening) factor.
  5. This meditation establishes equanimity (serenity) as an enlightenment (awakening) factor.
  6. This meditation establishes concentration as an enlightenment (awakening) factor.
  7. This meditation establishes effort as an enlightenment (awakening) factor.

[151-152] This meditation leads the meditator to liberation through knowledge vijjāvimutti and finally to release (nirodhavimuttti).

Summary Analysis
A literal reading of this sutta may give the impression that in-and-out breathing is all that is required for the achievement of full liberation. If this view is correct then the path to release given in many other suttas become irrelevant. That path requires the full accomplishment in the sīlas, then the doing away with the hindrances, then accomplishing the four Jhanas, and finally acquiring the three-fold knowledge. There is no mention how in-and-out breathing in itself will eliminate the āsavas which is the absolute requirement for release. Many modern meditation teachers use this simplistic view to mislead gullible meditators and make themselves money.

The fact is that this meditation will only work if the meditator has already abolished the taints. He will then be an arhat and he will use this meditation simply to pass away time until his final death. As with the factors in the eightfold path there is a lower and a higher way of reaching the stages and this depends on whether the practitioner is with or without the taints. It should be remembered that this rule is also valid for this kind of meditation. There is no short-cut to nibbāna.

M 119. Kāyagatāsatisutta
Mindfulness of the Body

[153] Once when the Buddha was living at the Jetvana the bhikkhus on returning to the meeting hall after their alms round raised the question "Is it not wonderful that the Blessed one has said mindfulness on the body brings great benefit". There was no agreement on this and when the Buddha came to the meeting hall the issue was put to him.

[154] The Buddha postulated the case of a bhikkhu going to an empty place and adopting the right posture. He trains himself mindfully to breathe in and out long and short, sensitive to the entire body, and calming bodily fabrications. While doing this he abandons any memories relating to his household life. He does this also while walking, standing, lying down, falling asleep, waking up, talking, bending, extending his limbs, drinking, chewing, urinating, defecating and remaining silent. This is how a monk develops mindfulness immersed in the body. He then reflects on the body considering each of the 32 impurities (kesā, lomā, nakhā, dantā ... etc.). He compares the body to a bag open at both ends. He then undertakes the cemetery reflections contemplating on a decaying corpse.

[155- 158] He then undertakes the jhānas from the first to the fourth. [NOTE: This is stated using the stereotyped description of the passage through the four jhānas.] By now it is said that the would have developed the skilful qualities on the side of clear knowing. If anyone does not do so Death (Māra) gets access to him and puts a sign on him. Various analogies like a heavy stone thrown into soft mud, or using a log to make fire, or trying to store water in a jar are used to illustrate this. With mindfulness in the body developed Māra gains no entry. This too is illustrated with a couple of analogies.

[159] The person in whom this mindfulness immersed in the body is developed can realize any of the three-fold knowledge he turns his mind to. He compare this to a fully harnessed carriage left on the road which any charioteer can get into and drive away. Finally the Buddha lists 10 benefits which such a peson can get. These are:
  1. Conquers displeasure.
  2. Conquers fear and dread.
  3. Becomes resistant to heat, cold, insect stings, wind sun etc, the body can endure pain.
  4. Can attain the four jhānas without trouble.
  5. Wield the manifold supernormal powers.
  6. Gain the Divine Eye.
  7. Can read the minds of others.
  8. Can recollect previous births up to one hundred thousand.
  9. Sees beings passing from one life to a new birth according to kamma.
  10. By ending of the mental effluents, he becomes effluent-free awareness-release & discernment-release in the here & now.

Summary Analysis
Once again there appears to be gross exaggeration attached to the benefits from this one kind of meditation. In fact the entire course of the Ariyan disciple's progress towards final nibbāna, so labouriously detailed in many a sutta, can be replaced by this one meditation on mindfulness on the body which could be done (in one session?) seated under a tree in the wilderness !

M 120. Saṅkāruppattisutta
Discourse on Uprising by Aspiration

[160-161] Once while addressing bhikkhus at Jetavana in Sāvatthi the Buddha said: "Bhikkhus I will teach you rebirth through aspiration". The bhikkhus agreed and the Buddha said "If a monk is endowed with faith, virtues, learning, benevolence and wisdom and he wishes that after death he will like to be reborn in the company of wealthy khattiva-caste people this will happen if he bears that in mind, directs thoughts to it, and develops that thought.

[162] ... he wishes that after death he will like to be reborn in the company of wealthy brahmins this will happen.

[163-164] ... he wishes that after death he will like to be reborn in the company of four great heavenly kings ... tavatimsā gods ... yamā gods ... tusitā gods ... nimmānarati gods ... paranimmārati gods this will happen.

[165-168] ... he wishes that after death he will like to be reborn in the company of sahassso brahmā ... dvisahasso brahmā ... tisahasso brahmā ... catusahasso brahmā ... pancasahasso brahmas ... dasasahasso brahmas ... satasahassassa brahmā this will happen.

[169-174] ... he wishes that after death he will like to be reborn in the company of Abha devas ... parittabha devas .... appamānābhā devā ... ābhassarā devā ... parittasubhā devas ... appamanasubha devas.. subhakimha devas vehapphala devas ... aviha devas ... atappa devas ... sudassa devas ... sudassi devas ... akanittha devas this will happen.

[175] ... he wishes that he should destroy desires, release his mind through wisdom here and now by himself realizing that he should abide here now this will happen and this bhikkhu is not born any where for any reason.


Summary Analysis
According to this sutta the bhikkhu can gain even the supreme goad simply by wishing. The preconditions given are faith, virtues, learning, benevolence and wisdom. But for these virtues we ae not told to what extent the bhikkhu should be proficient.  Only in faith can he be sure. So it seems that this sutta says that faith can get the bhikkhu across, which seeems to violate many Dhamma principles.

The list of Brahma and deva worlds given shows the absurdity of this kind of cosmology. It was the Vedas that introduced the notion of devas but there the number of gods was limited, some counting only 33 gods. But Buddhismm magnified this into thousands of supernatural worlds giving them fancy names. All these heavenly worlds are simply mythical.

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