Bahiya’s Bodhi

Do you have a favorite passage in the Suttapitaka?…Difficult question, there are so many gems. But this one is really
special, IMHO. It’s a ZEN Masters dream come true in the Pali canon:

‘Tasmātiha te, bāhiya, evaṃ sikkhitabbaṃ – ‘diṭṭhe diṭṭhamattaṃ bhavissati, sute sutamattaṃ bhavissati, mute mutamattaṃ bhavissati, viññāte viññātamattaṃ bhavissatī’ti. Evañhi te, bāhiya, sikkhitabbaṃ. Yato kho te, bāhiya, diṭṭhe diṭṭhamattaṃ bhavissati, sute sutamattaṃ bhavissati, mute mutamattaṃ bhavissati, viññāte viññātamattaṃ bhavissati, tato tvaṃ, bāhiya, na tena; yato tvaṃ, bāhiya, na tena tato tvaṃ, bāhiya, na tattha ; yato tvaṃ, bāhiya, na tattha, tato tvaṃ, bāhiya, nevidha na huraṃ na ubhayamantarena. Esevanto dukkhassā’’ti. Udana I, 10

This is probably the shortest personal vipassana instruction given by the Buddha i know of. He says to Bahiya the ascetic:

diṭṭhe diṭṭhamattaṃ bhavissati – by the seen only the seen shall be
sute sutamattaṃ bhavissati – by the heard just the heard shall be
mute mutamattaṃ bhavissati – by the felt only the felt shall be
viññāte viññātamattaṃ bhavissatī – by the cognised only the cognised shall be

This really is stopping short and letting the mind dry up on the sense ocean, let the itching skin heal…to bring in some other similes to your mind. It is the same approach used by modern day vipassana instructions using a small set of labels to increase an all-around almost 24/7 bare awareness.

Buddha even tells us what will happen:

tato tvaṃ, bāhiya, na tena; yato tvaṃ, bāhiya, na tena tato tvaṃ, bāhiya, na tattha ; yato tvaṃ, bāhiya, na tattha, tato tvaṃ, bāhiya, nevidha na huraṃ na ubhayamantarena. Esevanto dukkhassā

Then, Bahiya, you will not be with it. If you are not with it, Bahiya, you will not be there. If you are not there, Bahiya, then you are neither here nor there nor in between both ends. This indeed is the end of suffering.

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  1. Pingback: Taking on the Lankavatara « Theravadin

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