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The Man From the City of Aṭṭhaka —Bhikkhu Sujato

Numbered Discourses 11

2. Recollection

16. The Man From the City of Aṭṭhaka

1.1At one time Venerable Ānanda was staying near Vesālī in the little village of Beluva.

1.2Now at that time the householder Dasama from the city of Aṭṭhaka had arrived at Pāṭaliputta on some business. 2.1He went to the Chicken Monastery, approached a certain mendicant, and said to him, 2.2“Sir, where is Venerable Ānanda now staying? 2.3For I want to see him.”

2.4“Householder, Venerable Ānanda is staying near Vesālī in the little village of Beluva.”

3.1Then the householder Dasama, having concluded his business there, went to the little village of Beluva in Vesālī to see Ānanda. He bowed, sat down to one side, and said to Ānanda:

3.2“Sir, Ānanda, is there one thing that has been rightly explained by the Blessed One—who knows and sees, the perfected one, the fully awakened Buddha—practicing which a diligent, keen, and resolute mendicant’s mind is freed, their defilements are ended, and they arrive at the supreme sanctuary?”

3.3“There is, householder.”

4.1“And what is that one thing?”

4.2“Householder, it’s when a mendicant, quite secluded from sensual pleasures, secluded from unskillful qualities, enters and remains in the first absorption, which has the rapture and bliss born of seclusion, while placing the mind and keeping it connected. 4.3Then they reflect: 4.4‘Even this first absorption is produced by choices and intentions.’ 4.5They understand: ‘But whatever is produced by choices and intentions is impermanent and liable to cessation.’ 4.6Abiding in that they attain the ending of defilements. 4.7If they don’t attain the ending of defilements, with the ending of the five lower fetters they’re reborn spontaneously, because of their passion and love for that meditation. They are extinguished there, and are not liable to return from that world. 4.8This is one thing that has been rightly explained by the Blessed One—who knows and sees, the perfected one, the fully awakened Buddha—practicing which a diligent, keen, and resolute mendicant’s mind is freed, their defilements are ended, and they arrive at the supreme sanctuary.

5.1Furthermore, as the placing of the mind and keeping it connected are stilled, they enter and remain in the second absorption … 5.2third absorption … 5.3fourth absorption. 5.4Then they reflect: 5.5‘Even this fourth absorption is produced by choices and intentions.’ 5.6They understand: ‘But whatever is produced by choices and intentions is impermanent and liable to cessation.’ 5.7Abiding in that they attain the ending of defilements. 5.8If they don’t attain the ending of defilements, with the ending of the five lower fetters they’re reborn spontaneously, because of their passion and love for that meditation. They are extinguished there, and are not liable to return from that world. 5.9This too is one thing that has been rightly explained by the Blessed One—who knows and sees, the perfected one, the fully awakened Buddha—practicing which a diligent, keen, and resolute mendicant’s mind is freed, their defilements are ended, and they arrive at the supreme sanctuary.

6.1Furthermore, a mendicant meditates spreading a heart full of love to one direction, and to the second, and to the third, and to the fourth. In the same way above, below, across, everywhere, all around, they spread a heart full of love to the whole world—abundant, expansive, limitless, free of enmity and ill will. 6.2Then they reflect: 6.3‘Even this heart’s release by love is produced by choices and intentions.’ 6.4They understand: ‘But whatever is produced by choices and intentions is impermanent and liable to cessation.’ 6.5Abiding in that they attain the ending of defilements. 6.6If they don’t attain the ending of defilements, with the ending of the five lower fetters they’re reborn spontaneously, because of their passion and love for that meditation. They are extinguished there, and are not liable to return from that world. 6.7This too is one thing that has been rightly explained by the Blessed One …

7.1Furthermore, a mendicant meditates spreading a heart full of compassion … 7.2They meditate spreading a heart full of rejoicing … 7.3They meditate spreading a heart full of equanimity to one direction, and to the second, and to the third, and to the fourth. 7.4In the same way above, below, across, everywhere, all around, they spread a heart full of equanimity to the whole world—abundant, expansive, limitless, free of enmity and ill will. 7.5Then they reflect: 7.6‘Even this heart’s release by equanimity is produced by choices and intentions.’ 7.7They understand: ‘But whatever is produced by choices and intentions is impermanent and liable to cessation.’ 7.8Abiding in that they attain the ending of defilements. 7.9If they don’t attain the ending of defilements, with the ending of the five lower fetters they’re reborn spontaneously, because of their passion and love for that meditation. They are extinguished there, and are not liable to return from that world. 7.10This too is one thing that has been rightly explained by the Blessed One …

8.1Furthermore, a mendicant, going totally beyond perceptions of form, with the ending of perceptions of impingement, not focusing on perceptions of diversity, aware that ‘space is infinite’, enters and remains in the dimension of infinite space. 8.2Then they reflect: 8.3‘Even this attainment of the dimension of infinite space is produced by choices and intentions.’ 8.4They understand: ‘But whatever is produced by choices and intentions is impermanent and liable to cessation.’ 8.5Abiding in that they attain the ending of defilements. 8.6If they don’t attain the ending of defilements, with the ending of the five lower fetters they’re reborn spontaneously, because of their passion and love for that meditation. They are extinguished there, and are not liable to return from that world. 8.7This too is one thing that has been rightly explained by the Blessed One …

9.1Furthermore, a mendicant, going totally beyond the dimension of infinite space, aware that ‘consciousness is infinite’, enters and remains in the dimension of infinite consciousness. … 9.2Going totally beyond the dimension of infinite consciousness, aware that ‘there is nothing at all’, they enter and remain in the dimension of nothingness. … 9.3Then they reflect: 9.4‘Even this attainment of the dimension of nothingness is produced by choices and intentions.’ 9.5They understand: ‘But whatever is produced by choices and intentions is impermanent and liable to cessation.’ 9.6Abiding in that they attain the ending of defilements. 9.7If they don’t attain the ending of defilements, with the ending of the five lower fetters they’re reborn spontaneously, because of their passion and love for that meditation. They are extinguished there, and are not liable to return from that world. 9.8This too is one thing that has been rightly explained by the Blessed One—who knows and sees, the perfected one, the fully awakened Buddha—practicing which a diligent, keen, and resolute mendicant’s mind is freed, their defilements are ended, and they reach the supreme sanctuary.”

10.1When he said this, the householder Dasama said to Venerable Ānanda:

10.2“Sir, suppose a person was looking for an entrance to a hidden treasure. And all at once they’d come across eleven entrances! 10.3In the same way, I was searching for the door to the deathless. And all at once I got to hear of eleven doors to the deathless. 10.4Suppose a person had a house with eleven doors. If the house caught fire they’d be able to flee to safety through any one of those doors. 10.5In the same way, I’m able to flee to safety through any one of these eleven doors to the deathless. 10.6Sir, those who follow other paths seek a fee for the teacher. 10.7Why shouldn’t I make an offering to Venerable Ānanda?”

11.1Then the householder Dasama, having assembled the Saṅgha from Vesālī and Pāṭaliputta, served and satisfied them with his own hands with a variety of delicious foods. 11.2He clothed each and every mendicant in a pair of garments, with a set of three robes for Ānanda. 11.3And he had a dwelling worth five hundred built for Ānanda.