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AN IX 37 Ānanda – Unforced Samādhi

Ānanda Sutta

 

At that time, the venerable Ānanda lived in Kosambi

at the park of debates.

 

There, he adressed the monks saying:

“Monks”

“Friend” they replied.

 

The venerable Ānanda said this:

 

“How amazing friends and how unbelievable is this!”

 

That the Beloved Teacher, who knows and sees, [1]

a trustworthy one, perfectly all awakened Buddha,

has realized and broken through to an opening in the midst of oppression [2]

which purifies living beings,

overcomes sorrow and anxiety,

appeases pain and depression

and produces understanding

which culminates in realizing Nibbāna.

 

[1. Sense-Fields]

 

(1) Whereby the eye still exists and so do forms

but one does not experience that sense-field. [3]

 

(2) Whereby the ear still exists and so do sounds

but one does not experience that sense-field.

 

(3) Whereby the nose still exists and so do odors

but one does not experience that sense-field.

 

(4) Whereby the tongue still exists and so do tastes

but one does not experience that sense-field.

 

(5) Whereby the body still exists and so do tangibles

but one does not experience that sense-field.

 

 

When this was said, the venerable Udāyī asked the venerable Ānanda:

 

            [Udāyī]

“But, friend, would this person be conscious

while not experiencing those sense-fields

or would one be unconscious?” [4]

 

[Ānanda]

“It is, friend, while being conscious that a person

would not experience those sense fields,

not while being unconscious.”

 

[Udāyī]

“But then, friend, what would a person be conscious of

when not experiencing any of these bases?”

 

[2. Formless Planes]

 

(6) “Here, friend,

by going beyond the perception of forms

while the awareness of sensory contact fades away,

not paying attention to the complexity of diversity,

knowing: ‘There is endless space.’

one experiences and abides in the plane of endless space.

 

Being aware of this,

a person does not experience these previous sense-fields. [5]

 

 

(7) Also, friend,

by going beyond all perceptions of the plane of endless space,

knowing: ‘There is endless consciousness.’

one experiences and abides in the plane of endless consciousness.

 

Being aware of this also,

a person does not experience these previous sense-fields.

 

 

(8) Also, friend,

by going beyond the plane of endless consciousness,

Knowing: ‘There is nothing [in particular].’

one experiences and abides in the plane of bare awareness.

 

Being aware of this also,

a person does not experience these previous sense-fields.

 

 

[3. Final Awakening]

 

(9) Once, friend, when

I lived in Sāketa’s black forest at the deer park

and a bhikkhunī who lived amongst the Jaṭilas [6]

approached me, paid loving respects,

sat down beside me and asked:

 

‘Bhante Ānanda, that samādhi which

is not bent on [anything]

and does not push away [anything], [7]

that does not come to the dead-end of forcefully suppressing and controlling, [8]

Liberated, it simply stands there,

Standing there, it is content,

Contented, it is not agitated, [9]

 

what did the Buddha declare was the fruit of such samādhi?”

 

Once this was said,

I replied to her:

 

‘Sister, this samādhi

that is not bent on [anything]

and does not push away [anything],

that does not come to the dead-end of forcefully suppressing and controlling,

Liberated, it simply stands there,

Standing there, it is content,

Contented, it is not agitated.

 

The Awakened one said the fruition of such samādhi, sister, is final awakening. [10]

 

Being aware of this also,

a person does not experience these previous sense-fields.’

 

 

[1] Yāvañcidaṃ tena bhagavatā jānatā passatā

[2] sambādhe okāsādhigamo anubuddho

[3] This sequence is in the future tense but I felt like using the present was more suitable and meaningful given the context and also keeping in mind the practice, here and now, of these words. I cannot help but notice noticeable differences in verb tense usage between Pāḷi and English. Therefore, exact word for word, tense for tense translations are often not carrying the proper meaning in English. Tadeva nāma cakkhuṃ bhavissati te rūpā tañcāyatanaṃ no paṭisaṃvedissati.

[4] “saññīmeva nu kho, āvuso ānanda, tadāyatanaṃ no paṭisaṃvedeti udāhu asaññī”ti?

[5] Evaṃsaññīpi kho, āvuso, tadāyatanaṃ no paṭisaṃvedeti.

[6] jaṭilavāsikā bhikkhunī: Unclear if this was her name or simply adjectives to describe her, as usual, probably both.

[7] yāyaṃ, bhante ānanda, samādhi na cābhinato na cāpanato: na cābhinato: Abhinata; bend towards, inclined towards. Abhinamati; to bend. na cāpanato: Apanata; bent away, disinclined, averse. Verb apanamati; which goes away, bends away…

[8] na ca sasaṅkhāra-niggayha-vāritagato,

[9] vimuttattā ṭhito, ṭhitattā santusito, santusitattā no paritassati.

[10] aññāphalo

This is a gift of Dhamma

All Sutta Translations by Ānanda are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.