SN 22.86 Anurādha – Tathāgata—the highest type of person

On one occasion the Blessed One was dwelling at Vesālī in the Great Wood in the Hall with the Peaked Roof.162 Now on that occasion the Venerable Anurādha was dwelling in a forest hut not far from the Blessed One. Then a number of wanderers of other sects approached the Venerable Anurādha and exchanged greetings with him. When they had concluded their greetings and cordial talk, they sat down to one side and said to him:

“Friend Anurādha, when a Tathāgata is describing a Tathāgata—the highest type of person, the supreme person, the attainer of the supreme attainment163—he describes him in terms of these four cases: ‘The Tathāgata exists after death,’ or ‘The Tathāgata does not exist after death,’ or ‘The Tathāgata both exists and does not exist after death,’ or ‘The Tathāgata neither exists nor does not exist after death.’”

When this was said, the Venerable Anurādha said to those wanderers: ‘Friends, when a Tathāgata is describing a Tathāgata—the highest type of person, the supreme person, the attainer of the supreme attainment—he describes him apart from these four cases: ‘The Tathāgata exists after death,’ or ‘The Tathāgata does not exist after death,’ or ‘The Tathāgata both exists and does not exist after death,’ or ‘The Tathāgata neither exists nor does not exist after death.’”164

When this was said, those wanderers said to the Venerable Anurādha: ‘This bhikkhu must be newly ordained, not long gone forth; or, if he is an elder, he must be an incompetent fool.”

Then those wanderers of other sects, having denigrated the Venerable Anurādha with the terms “newly ordained” and “fool,” rose from their seats and departed. [117]

Then, not long after those wanderers had left, it occurred to the Venerable Anurādha: “If those wanderers of other sects should question me further, how should I answer if I am to state what has been said by the Blessed One and not misrepresent him with what is contrary to fact? And how should I explain in accordance with the Dhamma, so that no reasonable consequence of my assertion would give ground for criticism?”

Then the Venerable Anurādha approached the Blessed One, paid homage to him, sat down to one side, and reported to the Blessed One everything that had happened, [118] asking: “If those wanderers of other sects should question me further, how should I answer … so that no reasonable consequence of my assertion would give ground for criticism?”

“What do you think, Anurādha, is form permanent or impermanent?” – “Impermanent, venerable sir.”… – “Therefore … Seeing thus … He understands: ‘… there is no more for this state of being.’

“What do you think, Anurādha, do you regard form as the Tathāgata?” – “No, venerable sir.” – “Do you regard feeling … perception … volitional formations … consciousness as the Tathāgata?” – “No, venerable sir.”

“What do you think, Anurādha, do you regard the Tathāgata as in form?” – “No, venerable sir.” – “Do you regard the Tathāgata as apart from form?” – “No, venerable sir.” – “Do you regard the Tathāgata as in feeling? As apart from feeling? As in perception? As apart from perception? As in volitional formations? As apart from volitional formations? As in consciousness? As apart from consciousness?” – “No, venerable sir.”

“What do you think, Anurādha, do you regard form, feeling, perception, volitional formations, and consciousness [taken together] as the Tathāgata?” – “No, venerable sir.”

“What do you think, Anurādha, do you regard the Tathāgata as one who is without form, without feeling, without perception, without volitional formations, without consciousness?” – “No, venerable sir.”

“But, Anurādha, when the Tathāgata is not apprehended by you as real and actual here in this very life, is it fitting for you to declare: ‘Friends, when a Tathāgata is describing a Tathāgata—the highest type of person, the supreme person, the attainer of the supreme attainment—he describes him apart from these four cases: [119] ‘The Tathāgata exists after death,’ or … ‘The Tathāgata neither exists nor does not exist after death’?”

“No, venerable sir.”

“Good, good, Anurādha! Formerly, Anurādha, and also now, I make known just suffering and the cessation of suffering.”165

AN 10:81 (1) Bāhuna


On one occasion the Blessed One was dwelling at Campā on a bank of the Gaggārā Lotus Pond. Then the Venerable Bāhuna approached the Blessed One, paid homage to him, sat down to one side, and said to him:
“Bhante, from how many things is the Tathāgata released, detached, and emancipated, that he dwells with a mind free from boundaries?” [152]
“Bāhuna, it is because the Tathāgata is released, detached, and emancipated from ten things that he dwells with a mind free from boundaries. What ten? (1) It is because the Tathāgata is released, detached, and emancipated from form that he dwells with a mind free from boundaries. (2)–(5) It is because the Tathāgata is released, detached, and emancipated from feeling … perception … volitional activities … consciousness that he dwells with a mind free from boundaries. (6)–(10) It is because the Tathāgata is released, detached, and emancipated from birth … old age … death … suffering … defilements that he dwells with a mind free from boundaries.
“Just as a blue, red, or white lotus flower, though born in the water and grown up in the water, rises up above the water and stands unsoiled by the water,2100 even so, Bāhuna, it is because the Tathāgata is released, detached, and emancipated from these ten things that he dwells with a mind free from boundaries.”

AN 3:47 (7) Conditioned


“Bhikkhus, there are these three characteristics that define the conditioned.405 What three? An arising is seen, a vanishing is seen, and its alteration while it persists is seen. These are the three characteristics that define the conditioned.
“Bhikkhus, there are these three characteristics that define the unconditioned.406 What three? No arising is seen, no vanishing is seen, and no alteration while it persists is seen. These are the three characteristics that define the unconditioned.”

Published by Vimutta Fellowship Toronto

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