HeartDhamma

SN IV 41.7 Unlimited Samādhi

Godatta Sutta

 

Once, the venerable Godatta resided in the mango grove of Fishermans’ Heap.

 

Then, Citta the householder went to the venerable Godatta

Paid loving respects, sat to the side.

The venerable Godatta then asked:

 

[Ven. Godatta]

“Householder, there is

the liberation of the mind by measurelessness

the liberation of mind by nothingness,

the liberation of mind by emptiness,

and the liberation of the mind by signlessness. [1]

 

Are these different in name

and different in meaning or

are these the same in meaning

and different in name only?”

 

[Citta]

“Bhante, there is a way by which one can understand

these terms to be both, different in meaning, and different in name.

 

And there is also a way by which on can understand

these terms to be the same in meaning but different only in name.”

 

[1. Different in Meaning]

 

“Bhante, the way by which one can understand

These terms to be both, different in meaning, and different in name is this:

 

[A. Deliverance by Measurelessness]

[I. Boundless Love]

First, Bhante,

(1) One lives and meditates

filling one’s heart full of Love

and radiating it in one direction

a second,

a third,

and a fourth.

 

Above, below, and across,

everywhere,

to all living beings in this boundless universe.

 

One lives and meditates,

filling one’s heart full of Love

 and radiating it with

vastness,

expansiveness

and measurelessness

without a trace of anger or resentment.

 

[II. Boundless Compassion]

 

(2) One lives and meditates

filling one’s heart full of compassion

and radiating it in one direction

a second,

a third,

and a fourth.

 

Above, below, and across,

everywhere,

to all living beings in this boundless universe.

 

One lives and meditates,

filling one’s heart full of compassion

and radiating it with

vastness,

expansiveness

and measurelessness

without a trace of anger or resentment.

 

[III. Boundless Joy]

 

(3) One lives and meditates

filling one’s heart full of joy,

and radiating it in one direction

a second,

a third,

and a fourth.

 

Above, below, and across,

everywhere,

to all living beings in this boundless universe.

 

One lives and meditates,

filling one’s heart full of joy

and radiating it with

vastness,

 expansiveness

and measurelessness,

without a trace of anger or resentment.

 

[IV. Boundless Calm]

 

(4) One lives and meditates

filling one’s heart full of calm

and radiating it in one direction,

a second,

a third,

and a fourth.

 

Above, below, and across,

everywhere,

to all living beings in this boundless universe.

 

One lives and meditates,

filling one’s heart full of calm

and radiating it with

vastness,

expansiveness

and measurelessness

without a trace of anger or resentment.

 

This is called deliverance by measurelessness Bhante.

 

[B. Deliverance by Nothingness]

 

What is the deliverance of mind by nothingness?

 

Here, by overcoming all perception of endless consciousness,

knowing: ‘there is nothing’

 

One experiences and abides

in the plane of bare awareness.

 

This is called the deliverance of mind by nothingness.

 

[C. Deliverance by Emptiness]

 

What is the deliverance of mind by emptiness?

 

Here,

one goes to the forest,

to the root of a tree or

to an empty place,

and reflects:

‘This is empty of a self or anything that belongs to a self’

 

This is called the deliverance of mind by emptiness.

 

[D. Deliverance by Signlessness]

 

What is the deliverance of mind by signlessness?

 

Here, one relinquishes awareness for all mental objects,

one experiences and abides

in the signless collectedness of mind. [2]

 

This is called the deliverance of mind by signlessness.

 

 

 

Bhante, this is the way by which one can understand

that these terms are both, different in meaning, and different in name.

 

[2. Same in Meaning]

 

And here is the way by which one can understand

These terms to be the same in meaning, but different only in name.

 

[A. Unshakable Measurelessness]

 

Bhante,

Selfishness is a maker of limits, [3]

hate is a maker of limits,

and delusion is a maker of limits.

 

In those who have defeated the mental fluxes, [4]

these [three roots] are relinquished,

shaven at the root,

turned into a palm stump,

obliterated,

and they are no longer subject to arise in the future. [5]

 

Of all deliverances of mind by measurelessness,

the unshakable deliverance of mind

 is said to be the highest. [6]

 

Because the unshakable deliverance of mind is

void of selfishness,

void of hate

and void of delusion.[7]

 

[B. Unshakable Nothingness]

 

Selfishness is a maker of things, [8]

hate is a maker of things,

and delusion is a maker of things.

 

In those who have defeated the mental fluxes,

these [three roots] are relinquished,

shaven at the root,

turned into a palm stump,

obliterated

and they are no longer subject to arise in the future.

 

Of all deliverances of the mind by nothingness,

the unshakable deliverance of mind

is said to be the highest.

 

Because the unshakable deliverance of mind is

void of selfishness,

void of hate

and void of delusion.

 

[C. Unshakable Signlessness]

 

Selfishness is a maker of signs, [9]

hate is a maker of signs,

and delusion is a maker of signs.

 

In those who have defeated the mental fluxes,

these [three roots] are relinquished,

shaven at the root,

turned into a palm stump,

obliterated

and they are no longer subject to arise in the future.

 

Of all deliverances of the mind by signlessness,

the unshakable deliverance of mind

is said to be the highest.

 

Because the unshakable deliverance of mind is

void of selfishness,

void of hate

and void of delusion.

 

 

This is the way of explaining by which one can understand

these terms to be the same in meaning,

but different only in name.

 

 

[Ven. Godatta]

You have gained much, householder, the highest of gains it is,

this ability of yours, to see into the Buddha’s words with such depth of wisdom. [10]

 

 

[1] appamāṇā cetovimutti, ākiñcaññā cetovimutti, suññatā cetovimutti, animittā cetovimutti

[2] sabbanimittānaṃ amanasikārā animittaṃ cetosamādhiṃ upasampajja viharati. Very interesting meditation instructions.

[3] Rāgo pamāṇakaraṇo,

[4] khīṇāsavassa

[5] Te khīṇāsavassa bhikkhuno pahīnā ucchinnamūlā tālāvatthukatā anabhāvaṅkatā āyatiṃ anuppādadhammā.

[6] Yāvatā kho, bhante, appamāṇā cetovimuttiyo, akuppā tāsaṃ cetovimutti aggamakkhāyati.

[7] Interestingly, the word suññā is here used within each individual type of deliverance of mind’s description to explain them as ‘void’ of greed, hate and delusion.

[8] Rāgo kiñcanaṃ. The opposite of “No-thingness” here is meant. No ‘mental somethings.’

[9] Rāgo nimittakaraṇo. I interpret nimitta also as object whereby animitta samādhi is understood as both signless meditation or objectless meditation or themeless meditation. The theme being ‘no-themeness.’ Release itself.

[10] Yassa te gambhīre buddhavacane paññācakkhu kamatī”ti. Citta was declared by the Buddha to be the foremost lay disciple of his, along with Hatthaka of Ālavi.

This is a gift of Dhamma

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