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SN 35.100 Paṭisallānasutta: Retreat

“Mendicants, meditate in retreat. A mendicant in retreat truly understands. What do they truly understand?

They truly understand that the eye is impermanent. They truly understand that sights … eye consciousness … eye contact … the pleasant, painful, or neutral feeling that arises conditioned by eye contact is impermanent. …

They truly understand that the eye is impermanent.… ear… nose… tongue… body…

They truly understand that the mind is impermanent. They truly understand that ideas … mind consciousness … mind contact … the pleasant, painful, or neutral feeling that arises conditioned by mind contact is impermanent.

Mendicants, meditate in retreat. A mendicant in retreat truly understands.”


Read this translation of Saṁyutta Nikāya 35.100 Paṭisallānasutta: Retreat by Bhikkhu Sujato on SuttaCentral.net. Or read a different translation on SuttaCentral.net. Or listen on SC-Voice.net. Or explore the Pali on DigitalPaliReader.online.

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SN 35.246 Vīṇopamasutta: The Simile of the Lute

“Bhikkhus, if in any bhikkhu or bhikkhunī desire or lust or hatred or delusion or aversion of mind should arise in regard to forms cognizable by the eye, such a one should rein in the mind from them thus: ‘This path is fearful, dangerous, strewn with thorns, covered by jungle, a deviant path, an evil path, a way beset by scarcity. This is a path followed by inferior people; it is not the path followed by superior people. This is not for you.’ In this way the mind should be reined in from these states regarding forms cognizable by the eye. So too regarding sounds cognizable by the ear … regarding mental phenomena cognizable by the mind.

“Suppose, bhikkhus, that the barley has ripened and the watchman is negligent. If a bull fond of barley enters the barley field, he might indulge himself as much as he likes. So too, bhikkhus, the uninstructed worldling who does not exercise restraint over the six bases for contact indulges himself as much as he likes in the five cords of sensual pleasure.

“Suppose, bhikkhus, that the barley has ripened and the watchman is vigilant. If a bull fond of barley enters the barley field, the watchman would catch hold of him firmly by the muzzle. While holding him firmly by the muzzle, he would get a secure grip on the locks between his horns and, keeping him in check there, would give him a sound beating with his staff. After giving him that beating, he would drive the bull away. This might happen a second time and a third time. Thus that bull fond of barley, whether he has gone to the village or the forest, whether he is accustomed to standing or to sitting, remembering the previous beating he got from the staff, would not enter that barley field again.

“So too, bhikkhus, when a bhikkhu’s mind has been subdued, well subdued, regarding the six bases for contact, it then becomes inwardly steady, settled, unified, and concentrated.

“Suppose, bhikkhus, there was a king or a royal minister who had never before heard the sound of a lute. He might hear the sound of a lute and say: ‘Good man, what is making this sound—so tantalizing, so lovely, so intoxicating, so entrancing, so enthralling?’ They would say to him: ‘Sire, it is a lute that is making this sound—so tantalizing, so lovely, so intoxicating, so entrancing, so enthralling.’ He would reply: ‘Go, man, bring me that lute.’

“They would bring him the lute and tell him: ‘Sire, this is that lute, the sound of which was so tantalizing, so lovely, so intoxicating, so entrancing, so enthralling.’ The king would say: ‘I’ve had enough with this lute, man. Bring me just that sound.’ The men would reply: ‘This lute, sire, consists of numerous components, of a great many components, and it gives off a sound when it is played upon with its numerous components; that is, in dependence on the parchment sounding board, the belly, the arm, the head, the strings, the plectrum, and the appropriate effort of the musician. So it is, sire, that this lute consisting of numerous components, of a great many components, gives off a sound when it is played upon with its numerous components.’

“The king would split the lute into ten or a hundred pieces, then he would reduce these to splinters. Having reduced them to splinters, he would burn them in a fire and reduce them to ashes, and he would winnow the ashes in a strong wind or let them be carried away by the swift current of a river. Then he would say: ‘A poor thing, indeed sir, is this so-called lute, as well as anything else called a lute. How the multitude are utterly heedless about it, utterly taken in by it!’

“So too, bhikkhus, a bhikkhu investigates form to the extent that there is a range for form, he investigates feeling to the extent that there is a range for feeling, he investigates perception to the extent that there is a range for perception, he investigates volitional formations to the extent that there is a range for volitional formations, he investigates consciousness to the extent that there is a range for consciousness. As he investigates form to the extent that there is a range for form … consciousness to the extent that there is a range for consciousness, whatever notions of ‘I’ or ‘mine’ or ‘I am’ had occurred to him before no longer occur to him.”



Read this translation of Saṁyutta Nikāya 35.246 Vīṇopamasutta: The Simile of the Lute by Bhikkhu Bodhi on SuttaCentral.net.

MN 149 Mahāsaḷāyatanikasutta: The Great Discourse on the Six Sense Fields

So I have heard. At one time the Buddha was staying near Sāvatthī in Jeta’s Grove, Anāthapiṇḍika’s monastery. There the Buddha addressed the mendicants, “Mendicants!”

“Venerable sir,” they replied. The Buddha said this:

“Mendicants, I shall teach you the great discourse on the six sense fields. Listen and apply your mind well, I will speak.”

“Yes, sir,” they replied. The Buddha said this:

“Mendicants, when you don’t truly know and see the eye, sights, eye consciousness, eye contact, and what is felt as pleasant, painful, or neutral that arises conditioned by eye contact, you’re aroused by these things.

Someone who lives aroused like this—fettered, confused, concentrating on gratification—accumulates the five grasping aggregates for themselves in the future. And their craving—which leads to future lives, mixed up with relishing and greed, chasing pleasure in various realms—grows. Their physical and mental stress, torment, and fever grow. And they experience physical and mental suffering.

When you don’t truly know and see the ear … nose … tongue … body … mind, thoughts, mind consciousness, mind contact, and what is felt as pleasant, painful, or neutral that arises conditioned by mind contact, you’re aroused by these things.

Someone who lives aroused like this—fettered, confused, concentrating on gratification—accumulates the five grasping aggregates for themselves in the future. And their craving—which leads to future lives, mixed up with relishing and greed, chasing pleasure in various realms—grows. Their physical and mental stress, torment, and fever grow. And they experience physical and mental suffering.

When you do truly know and see the eye, sights, eye consciousness, eye contact, and what is felt as pleasant, painful, or neutral that arises conditioned by eye contact, you’re not aroused by these things.

Someone who lives unaroused like this—unfettered, unconfused, concentrating on drawbacks—disperses the the five grasping aggregates for themselves in the future. And their craving—which leads to future lives, mixed up with relishing and greed, chasing pleasure in various realms—is given up. Their physical and mental stress, torment, and fever are given up. And they experience physical and mental pleasure.

The view of such a person is right view. Their intention is right intention, their effort is right effort, their mindfulness is right mindfulness, and their immersion is right immersion. And their actions of body and speech have already been fully purified before. So this noble eightfold path is fully developed.

When the noble eightfold path is developed, the following are fully developed: the four kinds of mindfulness meditation, the four right efforts, the four bases of psychic power, the five faculties, the five powers, and the seven awakening factors.

And these two qualities proceed in conjunction: serenity and discernment. They completely understand by direct knowledge those things that should be completely understood by direct knowledge. They give up by direct knowledge those things that should be given up by direct knowledge. They develop by direct knowledge those things that should be developed by direct knowledge. They realize by direct knowledge those things that should be realized by direct knowledge.

And what are the things that should be completely understood by direct knowledge? You should say: ‘The five grasping aggregates.’ That is: form, feeling, perception, choices, and consciousness. These are the things that should be completely understood by direct knowledge.

And what are the things that should be given up by direct knowledge? Ignorance and craving for continued existence. These are the things that should be given up by direct knowledge.

And what are the things that should be developed by direct knowledge? Serenity and discernment. These are the things that should be developed by direct knowledge.

And what are the things that should be realized by direct knowledge? Knowledge and freedom. These are the things that should be realized by direct knowledge.

When you truly know and see the ear … nose … tongue … body … mind, thoughts, mind consciousness, mind contact, and what is felt as pleasant, painful, or neutral that arises conditioned by mind contact, you are not aroused by these things. …

These are the things that should be realized by direct knowledge.”

That is what the Buddha said. Satisfied, the mendicants were happy with what the Buddha said.


Read this translation of Majjhima Nikāya 149 Mahāsaḷāyatanikasutta: The Great Discourse on the Six Sense Fields by Bhikkhu Sujato on SuttaCentral.net. Or read a different translation on SuttaCentral.net or DhammaTalks.org. Or listen on PaliAudio.com or SC-Voice.net. Or explore the Pali on DigitalPaliReader.online.

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