HeartDhamma

AN VI 55 Soṇa’s Awakening

Soṇa Sutta

 

Thus I have heard,

The Awakened Ones was living in Rājagaha, 

on Vulture’s Peak mountain.

 

At that time, 

The venerable Soṇa was also living at Rājagaha, 

in the cool meadow.

 

Then, when the venerable Soṇa had gone into retreat, 

into solitude,

this reasoning came to him:

 

“I am a follower of Awakened One 

who lives putting forth energy. [1]

Yet my mind is not liberated from incoming distractions,

 

Considering that my family has great wealth,

I could perform great magnanimous actions. [2]

 

What if I were to put an end to the training 

and having gone back to a lesser mode of life,

 

I could perform great charitable actions with my wealth.” [3]

 

At that time, 

The Awakened One encompassed the mind of the venerable Soṇa 

with his own mind.

 

And just as a fit person could 

Stretch their bent arm or 

flex their outstretched arm,

 

With alike swiftness, 

The Awakened One disappeared from Vultures’ Peak mountain

And materialized right in front of the Venerable Soṇa.

 

He sat down on a prepared seat,

And the venerable Soṇa paid loving respects 

and sat in front of him.

 

Then the Buddha said:

 

“Didn’t, Soṇa, when you had gone to retreat, to solitude

this reasoning came to you:

 

“I am a follower of Awakened One 

who lives putting forth energy. [4]

Yet my mind is not liberated from incoming distractions,

 

Considering that my family has great wealth,

I could perform great magnanimous actions.

 

What if I were to put an end to the training 

and having gone back to a lesser mode of life,

 

I could perform great charitable actions with my wealth.’”

 

“Yes Bhante”

 

[Playing the Vīṇa]

 

“What do you think Soṇa, 

Formerly when living the family life, 

were you skilled at playing the Vīṇā?” [5]

 

“Yes Bhante”

 

“What do you think Soṇa, 

When the strings of your Vīṇa were stretched very tight,

Was your Vīṇa well-tuned and fit to play?” [6]

 

“No Bhante”

 

“What do you think Soṇa, 

When the strings of your Vīṇa were slackened very loose,

Was your Vīṇa well-tuned and fit to play?” [7]

 

“No Bhante”

 

“But Soṇa, 

When the strings of your Vīṇa were neither too loose not too tight, 

But were perfectly even-pitched [8]

Was your Vīṇa well-tuned and fit to play?”

 

“Yes Bhante”

 

[Tuning the Faculties]

 

In the same way Soṇa,

Excessive arousal of energy leads to agitation,

And feeble energy leads to idleness. [9]

 

Therefore Soṇa,

Resolve upon [balancing] energy and tranquility,

With harmonious faculties comes the break through,

Understand this principle. [10]

 

“Yes Bhante.”

 

Then the Buddha, 

Having given these instructions to the Venerable Soṇa–

 

Just as a fit person could 

Stretch their flexed arm or 

Flex their outstretched arm,

 

With alike swiftness, 

The Awakened One disappeared from the cool meadow

And materialized on Vultures’ Peak mountain.

 

[Soṇa’s Awakening]

 

Afterwards, the Venerable Soṇa, 

Resolved upon [balancing] energy and tranquility,

To the harmony of the faculties until break through,

And to understanding this principle.

 

Then, the venerable Soṇa, 

Dwelling alone, 

Secluded, 

Attentive, 

Intent 

And resolute, 

 

In no long time, 

Attained the purpose for which 

Sons of good families

Honestly leave their home 

And become homeless [seekers], 

Seeking for the highest,

 

The complete perfection of the holy life. [11]

 

And having realized the Dhamma by his own direct knowledge,

 

He abided in it.

 

He directly knew: 

Rebirth is no longer possible,

Lived is the holy life,

Done was what should be done,

There is no more conceit here[12].

 

And the monk became another one of the Arahants.

 

[Declaration to the Buddha]

 

Then the Venerable Soṇa, 

having arrived at worthiness thought thus:

 

“Perhaps I could visit the Awakened One

And announce final knowledge in his presence?” [13]

 

Then the Venerable Soṇa went to the Awakened One,

Paid loving respects sat down in front of him and said:

 

One who is a Worthy One Bhante,

Who is done with distractions,

Who is perfected [in mind],

Who has done what had to be done,

Who has laid down the burden,

Who has arrived at true happiness,

Completely shattered the fetters of becoming,

Release by perfect knowledge;

[That person] lives, devoted to six things, one is: [14]

 

 

(1) Devoted to letting go,

(2) Devoted to disengaging,

(3) Devoted to kindness,

(4) Devoted to calming of tension,

(5) Devoted to non-accumulation,

(6) Devoted to mental clarity. [15]

 

[Freedom from the Three Roots]

 

(1) It could be Bhante, 

That here some venerable ones might question:

 

‘Surely it must be completely out of confidence in oneself 

that this venerable one is devoted to letting go.’ [16]

 

But this is not how it should be seen Bhante,

 

For one who is done with distractions, 

Who is perfected, who has done what had to be done,

One sees nothing left to be done in oneself or to be improved. [17]

 

With the end of longing, 

                      free from longing 

                      they are devoted to letting go.

With the end of dislike, 

                      free from dislike 

                      they are devoted to letting go.

With the end of confusion, 

                      free from confusion 

                      they are devoted to letting go.[18]

 

(2) It could be Bhante, 

That here some venerable ones might question:

 

‘Surely, it is for the sake of worldly gains that 

this venerable one does not mind the senses and is devoted to disengaging. [19]

 

But this is not how it should be seen Bhante,

 

For one who is done with distractions, 

Who is perfected, who has done what had to be done,

One sees nothing left to be done in oneself or to be improved.

 

 

With the end of longing, 

                      free from longing 

                      they are devoted to disengaging.

With the end of dislike,

                      free from dislike 

                      they are devoted to disengaging.

With the end of confusion, 

                      free from confusion 

                      they are devoted to disengaging.

 

(3) It could be Bhante, that here some venerable ones might question:

 

‘Surely it is by falling back onto and being given [blind] observances and practices 

that the venerable is devoted to kindness’ [20]

 

But this is not how it should be seen Bhante,

 

For one who is done with distractions, 

Who is perfected, who has done what had to be done,

One sees nothing left to be done in oneself or to be improved.

 

With the end of longing, 

                        free from longing 

                        they are devoted to kindness.

With the end of dislike, 

                        free from dislike 

                        they are devoted to kindness.

With the end of confusion, 

                        free from confusion 

                        they are devoted to kindness.

 

(4) With the end of longing, 

                  free from longing,

                  they are devoted to calming the tension.

With the end of dislike, 

                  free from dislike 

                  they are devoted to calming the tension.

With the end of confusion, 

                  free from confusion 

                  they are devoted to calming the tension.

 

(5) With the end of longing, 

                  free from longing 

                  they are devoted to non-accumulation

With the end of dislike, 

                  free from dislike 

                  they are devoted to non-accumulation 

With the end of confusion, 

                  free from confusion 

                  they are devoted to non-accumulation

 

(6) With the end of longing, 

                  free from longing 

                  they are devoted to mental clarity.

With the end of dislike, 

                  free from dislike 

                  they are devoted to mental clarity.

With the end of confusion, 

                  free from confusion 

                  they are devoted to mental clarity.

 

[Unaffected by the Senses]

 

With such utterly complete mental release Bhante, 

Even if one should witness abundant forms 

at the visual field of perception,

One’s mind cannot be overcome by it. [21]

 

In this way one’s mind remains unaltered

It sees its passing away, 

Firmly attained to immovability [22]

 

Even if one should witness abundant sounds

At the field of auditive perception,

One’s mind cannot be overcome by it.

 

In this way one’s mind remains unaltered

It sees its passing away, 

Firmly attained to immovability

 

Even if one should witness abundant smells 

At the field of olfactive perception,

One’s mind cannot be overcome by it.

 

In this way one’s mind remains unaltered

It sees its passing away, 

Firmly attained to immovability

 

Even if one should witness abundant tastes 

At the field of gustative perception,

One’s mind cannot be overcome by it.

 

In this way one’s mind remains unaltered

It sees its passing away, 

Firmly attained to immovability

 

Even if one should witness abundant tangibles 

At the field of bodily perception,

One’s mind cannot be overcome by it.

 

In this way one’s mind remains unaltered

It sees its passing away, 

Firmly attained to immovability

 

Even if one should witness abundant mental activity 

At the field of mental perception,

One’s mind cannot be overcome by it.

 

In this way one’s mind remains unaltered

It sees its passing away, 

Firmly attained to immovability.

 

[Simile of Mountain of Solid Rock]

 

Bhante, just as if there were a mountain of solid rock, 

Which was free from cracks, 

Unbroken, 

Free from depressions, 

that held together as one. [23]

 

Then even if there came a storm 

with heavy wind and rain from the east

It would not budge,

nor would it tremble,

nor would it be affected, [24]

 

Then even if there came a storm 

with heavy wind and rain from the west

It would not budge,

nor would it tremble,

nor would it be affected,

 

Then even if there came a storm 

with heavy wind and rain from the north

It would not budge,

nor would it tremble,

nor would it be affected,

 

Then even if there came a storm 

with heavy wind and rain from the south

It would not budge,

nor would it tremble,

nor would it be affected,

 

In the same way Bhante, 

With such utterly complete mental release,

Even if one should witness abundant [contact] 

at each of the fields of perception,

One’s mind cannot be overcome by it.

 

In this way one’s mind remains unaltered

It sees its passing away, 

Firmly attained to immovability

 

 

Devoted to letting go,

With mind disengaged;

Devoted to kindness,

And not accumulating. [25]

 

Devoted to the end of tension,

With mental clarity,

Seeing the arising of the senses

With a mind wholly freed. [26]

 

With such a released mind,

One is at peace;

With nothing more to add,

Nothing more to be understood. [27]

 

Like one solid mass of rock, 

The winds cannot move;

Just so, forms, tastes, sounds,

Odors, tangible – all of it, [28]

 

The wished for and the unwished for,

Cannot affect one like this;

With a mind firmly standing in continual release,

Seeing the passing away [of all.] [29]

 

 


[1] “ye kho keci bhagavato sāvakā āraddhavīriyā viharanti, ahaṃ tesaṃ aññataro.

[2] Atha ca pana me na anupādāya āsavehi cittaṃ vimuccati, saṃvijjanti kho pana me kule bhogā,  sakkā bhogā ca bhuñjituṃ puññāni ca kātuṃ.

[3] Yannūnāhaṃ sikkhaṃ paccakkhāya hīnāyāvattitvā bhoge ca bhuñjeyyaṃ puññāni ca kareyyan”ti.

[4] “ye kho keci bhagavato sāvakā āraddhavīriyā viharanti, ahaṃ tesaṃ aññataro.

[5] “Taṃ kiṃ maññasi, soṇa, kusalo tvaṃ pubbe agāriyabhūto vīṇāya tantissare”ti? Vīṇa: Indian Lute.

[6] yadā te vīṇāya tantiyo accāyatā honti,   api nu te vīṇā tasmiṃ samaye saravatī vā hoti kammaññā vā”ti?

[7] yadā te vīṇāya tantiyo atisithilā   honti,  api nu te vīṇā tasmiṃ samaye saravatī vā hoti kammaññā vā”ti?

[8] “Yadā pana te, soṇa, vīṇāya tantiyo na accāyatā honti nātisithilā same guṇe patiṭṭhitā, api nu te vīṇā tasmiṃ samaye saravatī vā hoti kammaññā vā”ti?

[9] “Evamevaṃ kho, soṇa, accāraddhavīriyaṃ uddhaccāya saṃvattati, atisithilavīriyaṃ kosajjāya  saṃvattati.

[10] vīriyasamathaṃ adhiṭṭhaha, indriyānañca samataṃ paṭivijjha, tattha ca nimittaṃ gaṇhāhī”ti.

[11] Brahmacariyapariyosānaṃ

[12] Nāparaṃ itthattāyā: distortion of this word is icchatta.

[13] Atha kho āyasmato soṇassa arahattappattassa etadahosi: “yannūnāhaṃ yena bhagavā tenupasaṅkameyyaṃ; upasaṅkamitvā bhagavato santike aññaṃ byākareyyan”ti

[14] “Yo so, bhante, bhikkhu arahaṃ khīṇāsavo Vusitavākatakaraṇīyo ohitabhāro anuppattasadattho parikkhīṇabhavasaṃyojano sammadaññāvimutto, so cha ṭhānāni adhimutto hoti—

[15] nekkhammādhimutto hoti, pavivekādhimutto hoti, abyāpajjādhimutto hoti, taṇhākkhayādhimutto hoti, upādānakkhayādhimutto hoti, asammohādhimutto hoti.

[16] idhekaccassa āyasmato evamassa: “kevalaṃsaddhāmattakaṃ nūna ayamāyasmā nissāya nekkhammādhimutto’ti.

[17] Khīṇāsavo, bhante, bhikkhu vusitavā katakaraṇīyo karaṇīyaṃ attano asamanupassanto katassa vā paṭicayaṃ

[18] khayā rāgassa vītarāgattā nekkhammādhimutto hoti, khayā dosassa vītadosattā nekkhammādhimutto hoti, khayā mohassa vītamohattā nekkhammādhimutto hoti. (1)

[19] ‘lābhasakkārasilokaṃ nūna ayamāyasmā nikāmayamāno pavivekādhimutto’ti.

[20] ‘sīlabbataparāmāsaṃ nūna ayamāyasmā sārato paccāgacchanto abyāpajjādhimutto’ti.

[21] Evaṃ sammā vimuttacittassa, bhante, bhikkhuno bhusā cepi cakkhuviññeyyārūpā cakkhussa āpāthaṃ āgacchanti, nevassa cittaṃ pariyādiyanti.

[22] Amissīkatamevassa  cittaṃ hoti ṭhitaṃ āneñjappattaṃ vayañcassānupassati.

[23] Seyyathāpi, bhante, selo pabbato acchiddo asusiro ekagghano.

[24] Atha puratthimāya cepi disāya āgaccheyya bhusā vātavuṭṭhi neva naṃ saṅkampeyya na sampakampeyya na sampavedheyya,

[25] Nekkhammaṃ adhimuttassa, pavivekañca cetaso; Abyāpajjādhimuttassa, upādānakkhayassa ca.

[26] Taṇhākkhayādhimuttassa, asammohañca cetaso; Disvā āyatanuppādaṃ, sammā cittaṃ vimuccati.

[27] Tassa sammā vimuttassa, santacittassa bhikkhuno; Katassa paṭicayo  natthi, karaṇīyaṃ na vijjati.

[28] Selo yathā ekagghano, vātena na samīrati; Evaṃ rūpā rasā saddā, gandhā phassā ca kevalā.

[29] Iṭṭhā dhammā aniṭṭhā ca, nappavedhenti tādino; Ṭhitaṃ cittaṃ vippamuttaṃ, vayañcassānupassatī”ti.

 
 

 

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