Translated from the Pali by K.R.Norman
1070 Having regard for (the state of) nothingness, possessing mindfulness, Upasīva, said the Blessed One, supported by (the belief) it does not exist, cross over the flood. Abandoning sensual pleasures, abstaining from (wrong) conversations, look for the destruction of craving day and night.
1071 He whose passion for all sensual pleasures has gone, said the Venerable Upasīva, supported by the (state of) nothingness, having left the other (states) behind, being released in the highest release from perception, would he stay there not subject (to saṃsāra)?
1072 He whose passion for all sensual pleasures has gone, Upasīva, said the Blessed One, supported by the (state of) nothingness, having left the other (states) behind, being released in the highest release from perception, he would stay there not subject (to saṃsāra).
1073 One with all-round vision, if he should remain there not subject (to saṃsāra), for a vast number of years, (and) being released in that very place were to become cold, would consciousness disappear for him in such a state?
1074 Just as a flame tossed about by the force of the wind, Upasīva, said the Blessed One, goes out and no longer counts (as a flame), so a sage released from his mental body goes out and no longer counts (as a sage).
1075 He (who) has gone out, does he not exist, or (does he remain) unimpaired for ever? Explain this to me well, sage, for thus is this doctrine known to you.
1076 There is no measuring of one who has gone out, Upasīva, said the Blessed One. That no longer exists for him by which they might speak of him. When all phenomena have been removed, then all ways of speaking are also removed.1
1. Alexander Wynne in "The Origin of Buddhist Meditation" summarizes this sutta as follows:
106970 Upasīva asks what meditative object one should practise in order to escape suffering. The Buddha answers that one should observe nothingness mindfully; the word satimā appears to mean that this practice combines meditative absorption with the practice of mindfulness.2
107172 Upasīva asks if this state of meditation can be sustained without falling away from it, probably because he was surprised to hear that one must observe nothingness and practise mindfulness at the same time. The Buddha answers that this state of meditation can be sustained without falling away from it.
107374 Upasīva asks if consciousness disappears for the one who, after sustaining this state of meditation for some time, attains liberation at death (becomes cool). For the Buddha, the issue is not in question because the state of the living liberated person cannot be reckoned.
107576 Upasīva asks if the one who is liberated/dead exists in a state of eternal bliss, or ceases to exist. The Buddha again denies the possibility of answering this question, because all modes of speaking do not apply to this living person. The conceptual framework upon which the dichotomies of existence and non existence are based has ceased to function for the sage, even when he is alive.
2. Wynne has gone astray here. The Buddha is referring to the no-thingness of atammayata (non-concocting; non-fashioning) but Upasīva (in 1072), and Wynne (in his summary of 1071-72), think he is referring to the Realm of Nothingness (the 7th Jhāna).
Sutta Central version, translated by Bhikkhu Sujato, with Pali
Back to Sutta Translations
|Back to Leigh's Home Page