Saṃyutta Nikāya 35

Connected Discourses on the Six Sense Bases

95. Maluṅkyaputta

Then the Venerable Maluṅkyaputta approached the Blessed One … and said to him: “Venerable sir, it would be good if the Blessed One would teach me the Dhamma in brief, so that, having heard the Dhamma from the Blessed One, I might dwell alone, withdrawn, diligent, ardent, and resolute.”

“Here now, Maluṅkyaputta, what should I say to the young bhikkhus when a bhikkhu like you—old, aged, burdened with years, advanced in life, come to the last stage—asks me for an exhortation in brief?”

“Although, venerable sir, I am old, aged, burdened with years, advanced in life, come to the last stage, let the Blessed One teach me the Dhamma in brief, let the Fortunate One teach me the Dhamma in brief. Perhaps I may understand the meaning of the Blessed One’s statement, perhaps I may become an heir to the Blessed One’s statement.”

“What do you think, Maluṅkyaputta, do you have any desire, lust, or affection for those forms cognizable by the eye that you have not seen and never saw before, that you do not see and would not think might be seen?”

“No, venerable sir.”

“Do you have any desire, lust, or affection for those sounds cognizable by the ear … for those odours cognizable by the nose … for those tastes cognizable by the tongue … for those tactile objects cognizable by the body … for those mental phenomena cognizable by the mind that you have not cognized and never cognized before, that you do not cognize and would not think might be cognized?”

“No, venerable sir.”

“Here, Maluṅkyaputta, regarding things seen, heard, sensed, and cognized by you: in the seen there will be merely the seen; in the heard there will be merely the heard; in the sensed there will be merely the sensed; in the cognized there will be merely the cognized.

“When, Maluṅkyaputta, regarding things seen, heard, sensed, and cognized by you, in the seen there will be merely the seen, in the heard there will be merely the heard, in the sensed there will be merely the sensed, in the cognized there will be merely the cognized, then, Maluṅkyaputta, you will not be ‘by that.’ When, Maluṅkyaputta, you are not ‘by that,’ then you will not be ‘therein. ’ When, Maluṅkyaputta, you are not ‘therein,’ then you will be neither here nor beyond nor in between the two. This itself is the end of suffering.”

“I understand in detail, venerable sir, the meaning of what was stated by the Blessed One in brief:

“Having seen a form with mindfulness muddled,
Attending to the pleasing sign,
One experiences it with infatuated mind
And remains tightly holding to it.

“Many feelings flourish within,
Originating from the visible form,
Covetousness and annoyance as well
By which one’s mind becomes disturbed.
For one who accumulates suffering thus
Nibbāna is said to be far away.

“Having heard a sound with mindfulness muddled …

“Having smelt an odour with mindfulness muddled …

“Having enjoyed a taste with mindfulness muddled …

“Having felt a contact with mindfulness muddled …

“Having known an object with mindfulness muddled …
For one who accumulates suffering thus
Nibbāna is said to be far away.

“When, firmly mindful, one sees a form,
One is not inflamed by lust for forms;
One experiences it with dispassionate mind
And does not remain holding it tightly.

“One fares mindfully in such a way
That even as one sees the form,
And while one undergoes a feeling,
Suffering is exhausted, not built up.
For one dismantling suffering thus,
Nibbāna is said to be close by.

“When, firmly mindful, one hears a sound,
One is not inflamed by lust for sounds; …

“When, firmly mindful, one smells an odour,
One is not inflamed by lust for odours; …

“When, firmly mindful, one enjoys a taste,
One is not inflamed by lust for tastes; …

“When, firmly mindful, one feels a contact,
One is not inflamed by lust for contacts; …

“When, firmly mindful, one knows an object,
One is not inflamed by lust for objects; …
For one diminishing suffering thus
Nibbāna is said to be close by.

“It is in such a way, venerable sir, that I understand in detail the meaning of what was stated by the Blessed One in brief.”

“Good, good, Maluṅkyaputta! It is good that you understand in detail the meaning of what was stated by me in brief.

The Buddha here repeats the above verses in full.

“It is in such a way, Maluṅkyaputta, that the meaning of what was stated by me in brief should be understood in detail.”

Then the Venerable Maluṅkyaputta, having delighted and rejoiced in the Blessed One’s words, rose from his seat, and, after paying homage to the Blessed One, keeping him on his right, he departed.

Then, dwelling alone, withdrawn, diligent, ardent, and resolute, the Venerable Maluṅkyaputta, by realizing it for himself with direct knowledge, in this very life entered and dwelt in that unsurpassed goal of the holy life for the sake of which clansmen rightly go forth from the household life into homelessness. He directly knew: “Destroyed is birth, the holy life has been lived, what had to be done has been done, there is no more for this state of being.” And the Venerable Maluṅkyaputta became one of the arahants.