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Kotthita Sutta

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Title: Kotthita Sutta: To Kotthita

Summary: How the Buddha answers the question, “What lies beyond Nibbana?&quot.

AN 4.174

PTS: A ii 161

Thai 4.173

Kotthita Sutta: To Kotthita

translated from the Pali by

Thanissaro Bhikkhu

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Then Ven. Maha Kotthita went to Ven. Sariputta and, on arrival, exchanged courteous greetings with him. After an exchange of friendly greetings & courtesies, he sat to one side. As he was sitting there, he said to Ven. Sariputta, “With the remainderless stopping & fading of the six contact-media [vision, hearing, smell, taste, touch, & intellection] is it the case that there is anything else?”

[Sariputta:] “Don't say that, my friend.”

[Maha Kotthita:] “With the remainderless stopping & fading of the six contact-media, is it the case that there is not anything else?”

[Sariputta:] “Don't say that, my friend.”

[Maha Kotthita:] ”…is it the case that there both is & is not anything else?“

[Sariputta:] “Don't say that, my friend.”

[Maha Kotthita:] ”…is it the case that there neither is nor is not anything else?“

[Sariputta:] “Don't say that, my friend.”

[Maha Kotthita:] “Being asked if, with the remainderless stopping & fading of the six contact-media, there is anything else, you say, 'Don't say that, my friend.' Being asked if … there is not anything else … there both is & is not anything else … there neither is nor is not anything else, you say, 'Don't say that, my friend.' Now, how is the meaning of your words to be understood?”

[Sariputta:] “The statement, 'With the remainderless stopping & fading of the six contact-media [vision, hearing, smell, taste, touch, & intellection] is it the case that there is anything else?' objectifies non-objectification.(1) The statement, '… is it the case that there is not anything else … is it the case that there both is & is not anything else … is it the case that there neither is nor is not anything else?' objectifies non-objectification. However far the six contact-media go, that is how far objectification goes. However far objectification goes, that is how far the six contact media go. With the remainderless fading & stopping of the six contact-media, there comes to be the stopping, the allaying of objectification.

Note

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1.

See MN 18. As Sn 4.14 points out, the root of the classifications and perceptions of objectification is the thought, “I am the thinker.” This thought forms the motivation for the questions that Ven. Maha Kotthita is presenting here: the sense of “I am the thinker” can either fear or desire annihilation in the course of Unbinding. Both concerns get in the way of the abandoning of clinging, which is essential for the attainment of Unbinding, which is why the questions should not be asked.

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See also: AN 4.42; AN 8.30.

en/tipitaka/sut/an/an04/an04.174.than.txt · Last modified: 2019/09/03 09:26 by Johann