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Phagguna Sutta

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Title: Phagguna Sutta: To Phagguna

Summary: Questions that presuppose the existence of an abiding “self,” are fundamentally invalid. The Buddha shows how to re-frame these questions in a way that conduces to liberation.

SN 12.12

PTS: S ii 13

CDB i 541

Phagguna Sutta: To Phagguna

translated from the Pali by

Thanissaro Bhikkhu

Alternate translation: Nyanaponika

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Dwelling at Savatthi. “Monks, there are these four nutriments for the maintenance of beings who have come into being or for the support of those in search of a place to be born. Which four? Physical food, gross or refined; contact as the second; intellectual intention the third; and consciousness the fourth. These are the four nutriments for the maintenance of beings who have come into being or for the support of those in search of a place to be born.

When this was said, Ven.-Moliya-Phagguna said to the Blessed One, “Lord, who feeds on the consciousness-nutriment?”

“Not a valid question,” the Blessed One said. “I don't say 'feeds.' If I were to say 'feeds,' then 'Who feeds on the consciousness-nutriment?' would be a valid question. But I don't say that. When I don't say that, the valid question is 'Consciousness-nutriment for what?' And the valid answer is, 'Consciousness-nutriment for the production of future coming-into-being. When that has come into being and exists, then the six sense media. From the six sense media as a requisite condition comes contact.'”

“Lord, who makes contact?”

“Not a valid question,” the Blessed One said. “I don't say 'makes contact.' If I were to say 'makes contact,' then 'Who makes contact?' would be a valid question. But I don't say that. When I don't say that, the valid question is 'From what as a requisite condition comes contact?' And the valid answer is, 'From the six sense media as a requisite condition comes contact. From contact as a requisite condition comes feeling.'”

“Lord, who feels?”

“Not a valid question,” the Blessed One said. “I don't say 'feels.' If I were to say 'feels,' then 'Who feels?' would be a valid question. But I don't say that. When I don't say that, the valid question is 'From what as a requisite condition comes feeling?' And the valid answer is, 'From contact as a requisite condition comes feeling. From feeling as a requisite condition comes craving.'”

“Lord, who craves?”

“Not a valid question,” the Blessed One said. “I don't say 'craves.' If I were to say 'craves,' then 'Who craves?' would be a valid question. But I don't say that. When I don't say that, the valid question is 'From what as a requisite condition comes craving?' And the valid answer is, 'From feeling as a requisite condition comes craving. From craving as a requisite condition comes clinging/sustenance.'”

“Lord, who clings?”

“Not a valid question,” the Blessed One said. “I don't say 'clings.' If I were to say 'clings,' then 'Who clings?' would be a valid question. But I don't say that. When I don't say that, the valid question is 'From what as a requisite condition comes clinging?' And the valid answer is, 'From craving as a requisite condition comes clinging. From clinging as a requisite condition comes becoming. From becoming as a requisite condition comes birth. From birth as a requisite condition, then aging & death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair come into play. Such is the origination of this entire mass of stress & suffering.(1)

“Now from the remainderless fading & cessation of the six sense media(2) comes the cessation of contact. From the cessation of contact comes the cessation of feeling. From the cessation of feeling comes the cessation of craving. From the cessation of craving comes the cessation of clinging/sustenance. From the cessation of clinging/sustenance comes the cessation of becoming. From the cessation of becoming comes the cessation of birth. From the cessation of birth, then aging & death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair all cease. Such is the cessation of this entire mass of stress & suffering.”

Notes

<dl>

1.

An alternative translation for this exchange — and one that, in light of the topic of nutriment, might actually be more apt — is:

<blockquote>“Lord, who takes sustenance?”

“Not a valid question,” the Blessed One said. “I don't say 'takes sustenance.' If I were to say 'takes sustenance,' then 'Who takes sustenance?' would be a valid question. But I don't say that. When I don't say that, the valid question is 'From what as a requisite condition comes sustenance?' And the valid answer is, 'From craving as a requisite condition comes sustenance. From sustenance as a requisite condition comes becoming. From becoming as a requisite condition comes birth. From birth as a requisite condition, then aging & death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair come into play. Such is the origination of this entire mass of stress & suffering.”</blockquote>

2.

This refers to the moment of Awakening, when the six sense media are transcended. See AN 4.174 and SN 35.117, and the discussion of “consciousness without feature” in //The Mind Like Fire Unbound,// chapter 1.

</dl>

en/tipitaka/sut/sn/sn12/sn12.012.than.txt · Last modified: 2019/09/03 09:26 by Johann