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With Sandha —Bhikkhu Sujato

Numbered Discourses 11

1. Dependence

9. With Sandha

1.1At one time the Buddha was staying at Nādika in the brick house.

1.2Then Venerable Sandha went up to the Buddha, bowed, and sat down to one side. The Buddha said to him:

2.1“Sandha, meditate like a thoroughbred, 2.2not like a wild colt.

2.3And how does a wild colt meditate? 2.4A wild colt, tied up by the feeding trough, meditates: ‘Fodder, fodder!’ 2.5Why is that? 2.6Because it doesn’t occur to the wild colt tied up by the feeding trough: 2.7‘What task will the horse trainer have me do today? How should I respond?’ 2.8Tied up by the feeding trough they just meditate: ‘Fodder, fodder!’

2.9In the same way, take a certain wild person who has gone to the forest, the root of a tree, or an empty hut. Their heart is overcome and mired in sensual desire, and they don’t truly understand the escape from sensual desire that has arisen. 2.10Harboring sensual desire within they meditate and concentrate and contemplate and ruminate. 2.11Their heart is overcome by ill will … 2.12dullness and drowsiness … 2.13restlessness and remorse … 2.14doubt … 2.15Harboring doubt within they meditate and concentrate and contemplate and ruminate. 2.16They meditate dependent on earth, water, fire, and air. They meditate dependent on the dimension of infinite space, infinite consciousness, nothingness, or neither perception nor non-perception. They meditate dependent on this world or the other world. They meditate dependent on what is seen, heard, thought, known, attained, sought, or explored by the mind. 2.17That’s how a wild colt meditates.

3.1And how does a thoroughbred meditate? 3.2A fine thoroughbred, tied up by the feeding trough, doesn’t meditate: ‘Fodder, fodder!’ 3.3Why is that? 3.4Because it occurs to the fine thoroughbred tied up by the feeding trough: 3.5‘What task will the horse trainer have me do today? How should I respond?’ 3.6Tied up by the feeding trough they don’t meditate: ‘Fodder, fodder!’ 3.7For that fine thoroughbred regards the use of the goad as a debt, a bond, a loss, a misfortune.

3.8In the same way, take a certain fine thoroughbred person who has gone to the forest, the root of a tree, or an empty hut. Their heart is not overcome and mired in sensual desire, and they truly understand the escape from sensual desire that has arisen. 3.9Their heart is not overcome by ill will … 3.10dullness and drowsiness … 3.11restlessness and remorse … 3.12doubt … 3.13They don’t meditate dependent on earth, water, fire, and air. They don’t meditate dependent on the dimension of infinite space, infinite consciousness, nothingness, or neither perception nor non-perception. They don’t meditate dependent on this world or the other world. They don’t meditate dependent on what is seen, heard, thought, known, attained, sought, or explored by the mind. 3.14Yet they do meditate.

3.15When a fine thoroughbred meditates like this, the gods together with Indra, Brahmā, and Pajāpati worship them from afar:

4.1‘Homage to you, O thoroughbred!
4.2Homage to you, supreme among men!
4.3We don’t understand
4.4the basis of your absorption.’”

5.1When he said this, Venerable Sandha asked the Buddha, 5.2“But sir, how does that fine thoroughbred meditate?” 5.3 5.4

6.1
6.2
6.3
6.4

7.1“Sandha, for a fine thoroughbred person, the perception of earth has vanished in relation to earth. The perception of water … fire … air has vanished in relation to air. The perception of the dimension of infinite space has vanished in relation to the dimension of infinite space. The perception of the dimension of infinite consciousness … nothingness … neither perception nor non-perception has vanished in relation to the dimension of neither perception nor non-perception. The perception of this world has vanished in relation to this world. The perception of the other world has vanished in relation to the other world. And the perception of what is seen, heard, thought, known, attained, sought, or explored by the mind has vanished. 7.2That’s how that fine thoroughbred person doesn’t meditate dependent on earth, water, fire, and air. They don’t meditate dependent on the dimension of infinite space, infinite consciousness, nothingness, or neither perception nor non-perception. They don’t meditate dependent on this world or the other world. 7.3They don’t meditate dependent on what is seen, heard, thought, known, attained, sought, or explored by the mind. 7.4Yet they do meditate.

7.5When a fine thoroughbred person meditates like this, the gods together with Indra, Brahmā, and Pajāpati worship them from afar:

8.1‘Homage to you, O thoroughbred!
8.2Homage to you, supreme among men!
8.3We don’t understand
8.4the basis of your absorption.’”