Chapter III +quot;Forty cartloads of timber.+quot; Upadana carries both of its meanings-cl

---
Master Index Current Directory Index Go to SkepticTank Go to Human Rights activist Keith Henson Go to Scientology cult

Skeptic Tank!

Chapter III =========== "Forty cartloads of timber." Upadana carries both of its meanings--clinging & sustenance--when applied to the mind. It refers on the one hand both to mental clinging & to the object clung to, and on the other to both the act of taking mental sustenance & the sustenance itself. This, of course, raises the question, 'Sustenance for what?' In the description of Dependent Origination, upadana forms the condition for becoming and, through becoming, for birth, old age, death, and the entire mass of suffering & stress. Thus the answer: 'Sustenance for becoming' & its attendant ills. Just as if a great mass of fire, of ten...twenty...thirty or forty cartloads of timber were burning, and into it a man would time & again throw dried grass, dried cow dung, & dried timber, so that the great mass of fire--thus nourished, thus sustained--would burn for a long, long time; even so, monks, in one who keeps focusing on the allure of those phenomena that offer sustenance (lit: 'flammable phenomena'), craving develops; with craving as condition, sustenance; with sustenance as condition, becoming; with becoming as condition, birth; from birth--ageing, sickness & death, sorrow, lamentation, grief, & despair. Thus is the origin of this entire mass of suffering & stress. Just as if a great mass of fire...were burning, into which a man simply would not time and again throw dried grass, dried cow dung or dried timber, so that the great mass of fire--its original sustenance being consumed, and no other being offered--would, without nourishment, go out; even so, monks, in one who keeps focusing on the drawbacks of those phenomena that offer sustenance, craving stops. From the stopping of craving, sustenance stops. From the stopping of sustenance, becoming...birth...ageing, sickness & death, sorrow, lamentation, grief, & despair all stop. Thus is the stopping of this entire mass of suffering & stress. S xiii.52 The Buddha made a distinction between phenomena that offer sustenance & the sustenance itself. And what, monks, are phenomena that offer sustenance? What is sustenance? Form, monks, is a phenomenon offering sustenance. Any desire or passion related to it, is sustenance related to it. Feeling...Perception...Mental processes... Consciousness is a phenomenon offering sustenance. Any desire or passion related to it, is sustenance related to it. S xii.121 Thus passion & desire are both the act of taking sustenance and the sustenance itself, while form, feeling, mental processes, & consciousness simply offer the opportunity for them to occur. Alternatively, we can translate the distinction as one between clingable phenomena & the clinging itself. And what, monks, are clingable phenomena? What is clinging? Form, monks, is a clingable phenomenon. Any desire or passion related to it, is clinging related to it. Feeling...Perception...Mental processes...Consciousness is a clingable phenomenon. Any desire or passion related to it, is clinging related to it. S xii.121 In this case, passion & desire are the act of clinging and the object clung to, while form, feeling, & the rest simply offer the opportunity for them to occur. Still, the two sides of this distinction are so closely interrelated that they are hardly distinct at all. Visakha: Is it the case that clinging/sustenance is the same thing as the five aggregates for clinging/sustenance (form, feeling, perception, mental processes & consciousness), or is it something separate? Sister Dhammadinna: Neither is clinging/sustenance the same thing as the five aggregates for clinging/ sustenance, my friend, nor is it something separate. Whatever desire & passion there is with regard to the five aggregates for clinging/sustenance, that is the clinging/sustenance there. M 44 (The use of the word aggregate (khandha) here may relate to the fire image, as khandha can also mean the trunk of a tree.) The desire & passion for these five aggregates can take any of four forms. Monks, there are four (modes of) sustenance for becoming. What four? Sensuality as a form of sustenance, views as a form of sustenance, precepts & practices as a form of sustenance, doctrines of the self as a form of sustenance. M 11 These four modes of sustenance acts as the focus for many of the passages in the Canon that describe the attainment of the goal. Because they are so closely related to the notion of nibbana--they are the binding loosened in the unbinding of the mind--each of them deserves to be considered in detail. SENSUALITY ========== First, sensuality. The Buddha recommends relinquishing attachment to sensuality, not because sensual pleasures are in any way evil, but because the attachment itself is dangerous: both in terms of the pain experienced when a relished pleasure inevitably ends, and in terms of the detrimental influence such attachment can have on a person's actions--and thus on his or her future condition. It is with a cause, monks, that sensual thinking occurs, and not without a cause...And how is it, monks, that sensual thinking occurs with a cause and not without a cause? In dependence on the property of sensuality, there occurs the perception of sensuality. In dependence on the perception of sensuality, there occurs the consideration of sensuality... the desire for sensuality...the fever for sensuality...the quest for sensuality. Questing for sensuality, monks, an uninstructed, run-of-the-mill person conducts himself wrongly through three means: through body, through speech, & through mind. Just as if a man were to throw a burning firebrand into a dry, grassy wilderness and not quickly stamp it out with his hands & feet, and thus whatever animals inhabiting the grass & timber would come to ruin & loss; even so, monks, any contemplative or priest who does not quickly abandon, dispel, demolish, & wipe out of existence any wrong-headed, unwise perceptions once they have arisen, will dwell in stress in the present life--troubled, despairing, & feverish--and on the break-up of the body, after death, can expect a bad destination. S xiv.12 This is not to deny that sensual pleasures provide a certain form of happiness, but that happiness must be weighed against the greater pains & disappointments sensuality can bring. Now what is the allure of sensuality? There are, monks, these five strands of sensuality. What five? Forms cognizable via the eye--agreeable, pleasing, charming, endearing, fostering desire, enticing. Sounds cognizable via the ear... Aromas cognizable via the nose...Flavors cognizable via the tongue...Tactile sensations cognizable via the body--agreeable, pleasing, charming, endearing, fostering desire, enticing. Now whatever pleasure or joy arises in dependence on these five strands of sensuality, that is the allure of sensuality. And what is the drawback of sensuality? There is the case where, on account of the occupation by which a clansman makes a living--whether checking or accounting or calculating or plowing or trading or cattle tending or archery or as a king's man, or whatever the occupation may be--he faces cold, he faces heat, being harassed by mosquitoes & flies, wind & sun & creeping things, dying from hunger & thirst. Now this drawback in the case of sensuality, this mass of stress visible here & now, has sensuality for its reason, sensuality for its source, sensuality for its cause, the reason being simply sensuality. If the clansman gains no wealth while thus working & striving & making effort, he sorrows, grieves & laments, beats his breast, becomes distraught: 'My work is in vain, my efforts are fruitless!' Now this drawback too in the case of sensuality, this mass of stress visible here & now, has sensuality for its reason... If the clansman gains wealth while thus working & striving & making effort, he experiences pain & grief in protecting it: 'How shall neither kings nor thieves make off with my property, nor fire burn it, nor water sweep it away nor hateful heirs make off with it?' And as he thus guards and watches over his property, kings or thieves make off with it, or fire burns it, or water sweeps it away, or hateful heirs make off with it. And he sorrows, grieves & laments, beats his breast, becomes distraught: 'What was mine is no more!' Now this drawback too in the case of sensuality, this mass of stress visible here & now, has sensuality for its reason... Furthermore, it is with sensuality for the reason, sensuality for the source, sensuality for the cause, the reason being simply sensuality, that kings quarrel with kings, nobles with nobles, priests with priests, householders with householders, mother with child, child with mother, father with child, child with father, brother with brother, sister with sister, brother with sister, sister with brother, friend with friend. And then in their quarrels, brawls, & disputes, they attack one another with fists or with clods or with sticks or with knives, so that they incur death or deadly pain. Now this drawback too in the case of sensuality, this mass of stress visible here & now, has sensuality for its reason... Furthermore, it is with sensuality for the reason, sensuality for the source...that (men), taking swords & shields and buckling on bows & quivers, charge into battle massed in double array while arrows & spears are flying and swords are flashing; and there they are wounded by arrows & spears, and their heads are cut off by swords, so that they incur death or deadly pain. Now this drawback too in the case of sensuality, this mass of stress visible here & now, has sensuality for its reason... Furthermore, it is with sensuality for the reason, sensuality for the source...that (men), taking swords & shields and buckling on bows & quivers, charge slippery bastions while arrows & spears are flying and swords are flashing; and there they are splashed with boiling cow dung and crushed under heavy weights, and their heads are cut off by swords, so that they incur death or deadly pain. Now this drawback too in the case of sensuality, this mass of stress visible here & now, has sensuality for its reason, sensuality for its source, sensuality for its cause, the reason being simply sensuality. M 13 Sumedha to her fianc_: In the face of the Deathless, what worth are your sensual pleasures? For all delights in sensuality are burning & boiling aggravated, aglow.... A blazing grass firebrand, held in the hand: Those who let go do not get burned. Sensuality is like a firebrand. It burns those who do not let go. Thig xvi.1 Even the more honorable emotions that can develop from sensual attraction--such as love & personal devotion--ultimately lead to suffering & stress when one is inevitably parted from the person one loves. Once in this same Savatthi there was a certain man whose wife died. Owing to her death he went mad, out of his mind, and wandering from street to street, crossroads to crossroads, would say, 'Have you seen my wife? Have you seen my wife?' From this it may be realized how from a dear one, owing to a dear one, comes sorrow & lamentation, pain, grief, & despair. Once in this same Savatthi there was a wife who went to her relatives' home. Her relatives, having separated her from her husband, wanted to give her to another against her will. So she said to her husband, 'These relatives of mine, having separated us, want to give me to another against my will,' whereupon he cut her in two and slashed himself open, thinking, 'Dead we shall be together.' And from this it may be realized how from a dear one, owing to a dear one, comes sorrow & lamentation, pain, grief, & despair. M 87 How do you construe this, monks: Which is greater, the tears you have shed while transmigrating & wandering this long time--crying & weeping from being joined with what is displeasing, from being separated from what is pleasing--or the water in the four great oceans?...This is the greater: The tears you have shed...Why is that? From an inconstruable beginning, monks, comes transmigration. A beginning point is not evident, though beings hindered by ignorance and fettered by craving are transmigrating & wandering on. Long have you thus experienced stress, experienced pain, experienced loss, swelling the cemeteries--long enough to become disenchanted with all conditioned things, enough to become dispassionate, enough to be released. S xv.3 A theme recurrent throughout the Canon is that complete knowledge of any object does not end with an understanding of its allure & drawbacks, but goes on to comprehend what brings emancipation from the mental fetters based on both. And what is the emancipation from sensuality? Whatever is the subduing of passion & desire, the abandoning of passion & desire for sensuality, that is the emancipation from sensuality. M 13 Sundara Samudda: Ornamented, finely clothed garlanded, adorned, Her feet stained red with lac, she wore slippers: a courtesan. Stepping out of her slippers-- her hands raised before me palm-to-palm over her heart-- She softly, tenderly, in measured words spoke to me first: 'You are young, recluse. Heed my message: Partake of human sensuality. I will give you luxury. Truly I vow to you, I will tend to you as to a fire. When we are old, both leaning on canes, Then we will both become recluses, winning the benefits of both worlds.' And seeing her before me-- a courtesan, ornamented, finely clothed, hands palm-to-palm over her heart-- like a snare of death laid out, Apt attention arose in me, the drawbacks appeared, disenchantment stood at an even keel: With that, my heart was released.... Thag vii.1 Seeing a form unmindfully, focusing on its pleasing features, One knows with mind enflamed and remains fastened to it. (Notice how these lines draw directly on the image of burning as entrapment.) One's feelings, born of the form, grow numerous. Greed & provocation injure one's mind. Thus amassing stress one is said to be far from Unbinding. (And so on with the rest of the six senses.) One not enflamed with forms --seeing a form with mindfulness firm-- Knows with mind unenflamed and does not remain fastened there. While he is seeing a form --and even experiencing feeling-- It falls away and does not accumulate. Faring mindful. and thus not amassing stress, he is said to be in the presence of Unbinding. (And so on with the rest of the six senses.) S xxxv.95 There are forms, monks, cognizable via the eye--agreeable, pleasing, charming, endearing, fostering desire, enticing. If a monk relishes them, welcomes them and remains fastened to them, he is said to be a monk fettered by forms cognizable by the eye. He has gone over to Mara's camp; he has come under Mara's power. The Evil One can do with him as he will. (And so on with the rest of the six senses.) S xxxv.115 There are forms cognizable by the eye--agreeable...enticing. If a monk relishes them, welcomes them, & remains fastened to them, then...his consciousness is dependent on them, is sustained by them. With sustenance/clinging, the monk is not totally unbound... If he does not relish them, welcome them, or remain fastened to them, then...his consciousness is not dependent on them, is not sustained by them. Without sustenance/clinging, the monk is totally unbound. (And so on with the rest of the six senses.) S xxxv.118 Here again, we see the reciprocal nature of attachment: One is bound by what one relishes & latches onto--or rather, by the act of relishing & latching on, in and of itself. Citta: Venerable sirs, it is just as if a black ox and a white ox were joined with a single collar or yoke. If someone were to say, 'The black ox is the fetter of the white ox, the white ox is the fetter of the black'--speaking this way, would he be speaking rightly? Some elder monks: No, householder. The black ox is not the fetter of the white ox, nor is the white ox the fetter of the black. The single collar or yoke by which they are joined: That is the fetter there. Citta: In the same way, the eye is not the fetter of forms, nor are forms the fetter of the eye. Whatever desire & passion arises in dependence on the two of them: That is the fetter there. The ear is not the fetter of sounds...The nose is not the fetter of smells...The tongue is not the fetter of tastes...The body is not the fetter of tactile sensations... The intellect is not the fetter of ideas, nor are ideas the fetter of the intellect. Whatever desire & passion arises in dependence on the two of them: That is the fetter there. S xli.1 In other words, neither the senses nor their objects are fetters for the mind. Beautiful sights, sounds, and so forth, do not entrap it, nor do the senses themselves. Instead, it is trapped by the act of desire & passion based on such things. Monks, there are these five strands of sensuality. What five? Forms cognizable via the eye--agreeable...enticing; sounds... odors...flavors...tactile sensations cognizable via the body--agreeable...enticing. But these are not sensuality. They are called strands of sensuality in the disciple of the Noble Ones. The passion for his intentions is a man's sensuality, Not the beautiful sensual pleasures found in the world. The passion for his intentions is a man's sensuality. The beauties remain as they are in the world, While the wise, in this regard subdue their desire. A vi.63 Thus sensual pleasures, which belong to the realm of form, are the 'clingable phenomena' that offer sustenance for the bond of desire & passion. Or, to borrow an image from Ven. Rahula, they are the bait--as long as one is blind to their true nature--for falling into the trap of one's own craving & complacency. Ven. Rahula: They (the unawakened): Blinded by sensual pleasures, covered by the net, Veiled with the veil of craving, bound by the bond of complacency, like fish in the mouth of a trap. Thag iv.8 For this reason, freedom from sensuality as a clinging/sustenance requires a two-pronged approach: to realize the true nature of the bait and to extricate oneself from the trap. The first step involves examining the unattractive side of the human body, for as the Buddha says, Monks, I don't know of even one other form that stays in a man's mind and consumes it like the form of a woman... one other sound...smell...taste...touch that stays in a man's mind and consumes it like the touch of a woman. The touch of a woman stays in a man's mind and consumes it. I don't know of even one other form that stays in a woman's mind and consumes it like the form of a man...one other sound...smell...taste...touch that stays in a woman's mind and consumes it like the touch of a man. The touch of a man stays in a woman's mind and consumes it. A I.1 Just as if a sack with openings at both ends were full of various kinds of grain--wheat, rice, mung beans, kidney beans, sesame seeds, husked rice--and a man with good eyesight, pouring it out, were to reflect, 'This is wheat. This is rice. These are mung beans. These are kidney beans. These are sesame seeds. This is husked rice,' in the same way, monks, a monk reflects on this very body from the soles of the feet on up, from the crown of the head on down, surrounded by skin and full of various kinds of impurities: 'In this body there are head hairs, body hairs, nails, teeth, skin, flesh, tendons, bones, bone marrow, kidneys, heart, liver, pleura, spleen, lungs, large intestines, small intestines, gorge, feces, bile, phlegm, pus, blood, sweat, fat, tears, skin-oil, saliva, mucus, fluid in the joints, urine'... Or again, as if he were to see a corpse cast away in a charnel ground--one day, two days, three days dead--bloated, livid & festering, he applies it to this very body, 'This body, too: Such is its nature, such is its future, such its unavoidable fate'... Or again, as if he were to see a corpse cast away in a charnel ground, picked at by crows, vultures, & hawks, by dogs, hyenas, & various other creatures...a skeleton smeared with flesh & blood, connected with tendons...a fleshless skeleton smeared with blood, connected with tendons...a skeleton without flesh or blood, connected with tendons...bones detached from their tendons, scattered in all directions--here a hand bone, there a foot bone, here a shin bone, there a thigh bone, here a hip bone, there a back bone, here a rib, there a chest bone, here a shoulder bone, there a neck bone, here a jaw bone, there a tooth, here a skull...the bones whitened, somewhat like the color of shells...piled up, more than a year old...decomposed into a powder, he applies it to this very body, 'This body, too: Such is its nature, such is its future, such its unavoidable fate.' So he abides contemplating the body in & of itself, internally, externally or both internally & externally. D 22 The purpose of this contemplation is not to develop a morbid fascination with the grotesque, but simply to correct the distortion of perception that tries to deny the unattractive aspects of the body and to admit only 'the sign of the beautiful'--its attractive side. Now of course this contemplation has its dangers, for it can go overboard into states of aversion & depression, but these are not incurable. At several points in the Canon, where the Buddha sees that monks have let the contemplation of foulness adversely affect their minds, he recommends that they calm their aversion by focusing on the in & out breath as a companion meditation. Ultimately, as a more balanced perception of the body develops, one may make use of the second prong of the approach: turning one's attention from the object of the lust to the act of lust itself, seeing it as an act of mental fabrication--foolish, inconstant, & stressful--and so removing any sense of identification with it. This, in turn, can calm the mind to an even deeper level and lead on to its Unbinding. Ven. Vangisa: With sensual lust I burn. My mind is on fire. Please, Gotama, from compassion, Tell me how to put it out. The Buddha: From distorted perception your mind is on fire. Shun the sign of the beautiful, accompanied by lust. See mental processes as other as stress & not as self. Extinguish your great lust. Do not keep burning again & again. Thag xxi.1 For one who keeps focusing on the foulness (of the body), any underlying tendencies to lust for the property of beauty are abandoned. When mindfulness of breathing is internally well-established before one, there are no annoying inclinations to external thinking. For one who keeps focusing on the inconstancy of all processes, whatever is ignorance is abandoned; whatever is knowledge arises. Focusing on foulness with regard to the body, Mindful of in & out breathing, Seeing the calming of all processes --always ardent-- The right-seeing monk, when released there, is truly a master of direct knowledge. Calm. He is truly a sage gone beyond bonds. Iti 85 Sister Nanda: As I, uncomplacent, examined it aptly (a vision of a beautiful person growing sick, unclean & putrid) This body--as it actually is-- was seen inside & out. Then was I disenchanted with the body and dispassionate within: Uncomplacent, detached, calmed was I. Unbound. Thig v.4 VIEWS ===== Views are the second mode of clinging/sustenance. And, as with the abandoning of attachment to sensuality, the abandoning of attachment to views can lead to an experience of Unbinding. 'This I maintain,' does not occur to one who would investigate what is seized (as a view) with reference to (actual) phenomena. Looking for what is unseized with reference to views, And detecting inner peace, I saw. Sn iv.9 Attachment to views can block an experience of Unbinding in any of three major ways. First, the content of the view itself may not be conducive to the arising of discernment, and it may even have a pernicious moral effect on one's actions, leading to an unfavorable rebirth. I have heard that once the Master was dwelling among the Koliyans...Then Punna the Koliyan, a bovine, and Seniya, a canine naked ascetic, approached the Master. On approaching, Punna the Koliyan bovine, saluting the Master, sat down to one side, while Seniya, the canine naked ascetic, exchanged greetings with the Master, and having made agreeable polite conversation, sat down to one side, curling up like a dog. Punna the Koliyan bovine, sitting to one side, said to the Master, 'Sir, Seniya, this naked ascetic, is a canine, a doer-of-hard-tasks. He eats food that is thrown on the ground. He has long undertaken & conformed to that dog-practice. What is his future destination, what is his future course?' (The Buddha at first declines to answer, but on being pressed, finally responds:) 'There is the case where a person develops the dog-practice fully & perfectly...Having developed the dog-practice fully & perfectly, having developed a dog's virtue fully & perfectly, having developed a dog's mind fully & perfectly, having developed a dog's demeanor fully & perfectly, then on the break-up of the body, after death, he reappears in the company of dogs. But if he is of such a view as, "By this virtue or practice or asceticism or holy life I shall become a greater or lesser god," that is his wrong view. Now, Punna, there are two destinations for one with wrong view, I say: purgatory or the animal womb. So the dog-practice, if perfected, leads him to the company of dogs; if defective, to purgatory.' M 57 Just as if in the last month of the hot season a maluva creeper pod were to burst open, and a maluva creeper seed were to fall at the foot of a sala tree. The deity living in the tree would become frightened, apprehensive & anxious. Her friends & companions, relatives & kin--garden deities, forest deities, tree deities, deities living in herbs, grass & forest monarchs--would gather together to console her: 'Have no fear, have no fear. In all likelihood a peacock is sure to swallow this maluva creeper seed, or a deer will eat it, or a brush fire will burn it up, or woodsmen will pick it up or termites will carry it off, and it probably isn't really a seed.' And then no peacock swallowed it, no deer ate it, no brush fire burned it up, no woodsmen picked it up, no termites carried it off and it really was a seed. Watered by a rain-laden cloud, it sprouted in due course and curled its soft, tender, downy tendril around the sala tree. The thought occurred to the deity living in the sala tree: 'Now what future danger did my friends...foresee, that they gathered together to console me?...It's pleasant, the touch of this maluva creeper's soft, tender, downy tendril.' Then the creeper, having enwrapped the sala tree, having made a canopy over it, & cascading down around it, caused the massive limbs of the sala tree to come crashing down. The thought occurred to the deity living in the tree: 'This was the future danger my friends...foresaw, that they gathered together to console me...It's because of that maluva creeper seed that I'm now experiencing sharp, burning pains.' In the same way, monks, there are some priests & contemplatives who hold to a doctrine, a view like this: 'There is no harm in sensual pleasures.' Thus they meet with their downfall through sensual pleasures. They consort with women wanderers who wear their hair coiled and long. The thought occurs to them: 'Now what future danger do those (other) priests & contemplatives foresee that they teach the relinquishment & analysis of sensual pleasures? It's pleasant, the touch of this woman wanderer's soft, tender, downy arm.' Thus they meet with their downfall through sensual pleasures. With the break-up of the body, after death, they will go to a bad bourn, destitution, the realm of the hungry shades, purgatory. There they will experience sharp, burning pains. The thought will occur to them: 'This was the future danger those priests & contemplatives foresaw that they taught the relinquishment & analysis of sensual pleasures. It's because of sensual pleasures, as a result of sensual pleasures, that we are now experiencing these sharp, burning pains.' M 45 Secondly, apart from the actual content of the views, a person attached to views is bound to get into disputes with those who hold opposing views, resulting in unwholesome mental states for the winners as well as the losers. Engaged in disputation in the midst of an assembly, --desirous of praise, anxious-- he is staggered when defeated. Shaken with criticism, he seeks for an opening. He whose doctrine is (judged as) demolished, Defeated, by those who judge the question: He laments, he grieves--the inferior exponent-- 'He beat me,' he mourns. These disputes have arisen among contemplatives. In them are victory & defeat. Seeing this, one would abstain from disputes, For they have no other goal than the gaining of praise. He who is praised there for expounding his doctrine in the midst of the assembly, Laughs on that account and grows haughty, attaining his heart's desire. That haughtiness will be his grounds for vexation, for he will speak in pride & over-estimation. Seeing this, one should abstain from disputes. No purity is attained by them, say the wise. Sn iv.8 Thirdly, and more profoundly, attachment to views implicitly involves attachment to a sense of 'superior' & 'inferior,' and to the criteria used in measuring and making such evaluations. As we saw in Chapter I, any measure or criterion acts as a limitation or bond on the mind. That, say the wise, is a fetter, In dependence on which One sees others as inferior. Sn iv.5 Whoever construes 'equal' 'superior' or 'inferior,' by that he would dispute; Whereas to one unaffected by these three, 'equal' 'superior' do not occur. Of what would the Brahman* say 'true' or 'false,' disputing with whom, he in whom 'equal' & 'unequal' are not.... As the prickly lotus is unsmeared by water & mud, So the sage, an exponent of peace, without greed, is unsmeared by sensuality & the world. An attainer-of-wisdom is not measured made proud by views or by what is thought, for he is not altered by them. Not by rituals is he led, nor by traditional lore, nor with reference to dogmas. For one dispassionate towards perception there are no ties; for one released by discernment, no delusions. Those who seize at perceptions & views go about disputing in the world. Sn iv.9 An important point to notice is that attachment to views must be abandoned through knowledge, and not through skepticism, agnosticism, ignorance, or a mindless openness to all views. This point is made clear in the Discourse of the Supreme Net. There the Buddha gives a list of 62 philosophical positions concerning the nature of the self, the cosmos, & the state of ultimate freedom in the immediate present. The list is intended to be exhaustive--the 'net' in the title of the discourse--covering all possible views & positions on these subjects divided into ten categories, one of the categories--equivocation--including cases of agnosticism. There are, monks, some contemplatives & priests who, being asked questions regarding this or that, resort to verbal contortions, to eel-like wriggling, on four grounds...There is the case of a certain priest or contemplative who does not discern as it actually is that 'This is good,' or that 'This is not good.' The thought occurs to him: 'I don't discern as it actually is that "This is good," or that "This is not good." If I...were to declare that "This is good," or that "This is not good," desire, passion, aversion, or irritation would occur to me; that would be a falsehood for me. Whatever would be a falsehood for me would be a distress for me. Whatever would be a distress for me would be an obstacle for me.' So, out of fear of falsehood, a loathing for falsehood, he does not declare that 'This is good,' or that 'This is not good." Being asked questions regarding this or that, he resorts to verbal contortions, to eel-like wriggling: 'I don't think so. I don't think in that way. I don't think otherwise. I don't think not. I don't think not not.' The second case is virtually identical with the first, substituting 'clinging' for 'falsehood.' The third case: There is the case of a certain priest or contemplative who does not discern as it actually is that 'This is good,' or that 'This is not good'...'If I, not discerning as it actually is that "This is good," or that "This is not good," were to declare that "This is good," or that "This is not good"--There are priests and contemplatives who are pundits, subtle, skilled in debate, who prowl about like hair-splitting marksmen, as it were, shooting philosophical positions to pieces with their dialectic. They might cross-question me, press me for reasons, rebuke me. I might not be able to stand my ground, that would be a distress for me...an obstacle for me.' So, out of a fear for questioning, a loathing for questioning...he resorts to verbal contortions, to eel-like wriggling... The fourth case: There is the case of a certain priest or contemplative who is dull & exceedingly stupid. Out of dullness & exceeding stupidity, he--being asked questions regarding this or that--resorts to verbal contortions, to eel-like wriggling: 'If you ask me if there exists another world (after death), if I thought that there exists another world, would I declare that to you? I don't think so. I don't think in that way. I don't think otherwise. I don't think not. I don't think not not. If you asked me if there isn't another world...both is & isn't...neither is nor isn't...if there are beings who transmigrate...if there aren't...both are & aren't... neither are nor aren't...if the Tathagata exists after death... doesn't...both...neither...I don't think so. I don't think that way. I don't think otherwise. I don't think not. I don't think not not.' D 1 Agnosticism, then, is not a way of abandoning standpoints but is simply another standpoint: Like all standpoints, it must be abandoned through knowledge. The type of knowledge called for--in which standpoints are regarded, not in terms of their content, but as events in a causal chain--is indicated by the refrain that follows each of the ten categories of the Supreme Net. This, monks, the Tathagata discerns. And he discerns that these standpoints, thus seized, thus held to, lead to such & such a destination, to such & such a state in the world beyond. And he discerns what surpasses this. And yet discerning that, he does not hold to it. And as he is not holding to it, Unbinding (nibbuti) is experienced right within. Knowing, for what they are, the origin, ending, allure, & drawbacks of feelings, along with the emancipation from feelings, the Tathagata, monks--through lack of sustenance/clinging-- is released. D 1 Another list of speculative views--a set of ten positions summarizing the standard topics debated by the various schools of contemplatives in the Buddha's time--recurs frequently in the Canon. Non-Buddhist debaters used it as a ready-made checklist for gauging an individual's positions on the controversial issues of the day, and they often put it to the Buddha. Invariably, he would reply that he did not hold to any of the ten positions. 'Seeing what drawback, then, is the venerable Gotama thus entirely dissociated from each of these ten positions?' 'Vaccha, the position that "the world is eternal" is a thicket of views, a wilderness of views, a contortion of views, a writhing of views, a fetter of views. It is accompanied by suffering, distress, despair, & fever, and it does not lead to disenchantment, dispassion, stopping; to calm, direct knowledge, full awakening, Unbinding. 'The position that "the world is not eternal"... '..."the world is finite"... '..."the world is infinite"... '..."the soul & the body are the same"... '..."the soul is one thing and the body another"... '..."after death a Tathagata exists"... '..."after death a Tathagata does not exist"... '..."after death a Tathagata both exists & does not exist"... '..."after death a Tathagata neither exists nor does not exist"...does not lead to disenchantment, dispassion, stopping; to calm, direct knowledge, full awakening, Unbinding.' 'Does Master Gotama have any position at all?' 'A "position," Vaccha, is something that a Tathagata has done away with. What a Tathagata sees is this: "Such is form, such its origin, such its disappearance; such is feeling, such its origin, such its disappearance; such is perception... such are mental processes...such is consciousness, such its origin, such its disappearance." Because of this, I say, a Tathagata,--with the ending, fading out, stopping, renunciation & relinquishment of all construings, all excogitations, all I-making & mine-making & tendencies to conceits--is, through lack of sustenance/clinging, released.' M 72 The construings the Buddha relinquished include views not only in their full-blown form as specific positions, but also in their rudimentary form as the categories & relationships that the mind reads into experience. This is a point he makes in his instructions to Bahiya, which led immediately to the latter's attaining the goal. When the mind imposes interpretations on its experience, it is engaging implicitly in system-building, and all the limitations of location & relationship that system-building involves. Only when it can free itself of those interpretations and the fetters they place on it, can it gain true freedom. Therefore, Bahiya, you should train yourself thus: In reference to the seen, there will be only the seen. In reference to the heard, only the heard. In reference to the sensed, only the sensed. In reference to the cognized, only the cognized. That is how you should train yourself. When for you there will be only the seen in reference to the seen...only the heard...only the sensed...only the cognized in reference to the cognized, then, Bahiya, you will not be 'thereby.' When you are not thereby, you will not be 'therein.' When you are not therein, you will be neither 'here' nor 'there' nor between the two. This, just this, is the end of stress. Ud i.10 PRECEPTS & PRACTICES. ==================== The Canon mentions a variety of precepts & practices--the third mode of clinging/sustenance. Prominent among them are Brahmanical rituals & Jain practices of self-torture, and according to the Commentary these are the precepts & practices referred to in this context. Yet although the goal will always remain out of reach as long as one remains attached to such practices, the abandonment of this attachment is never in & of itself sufficient for attaining the goal. But there is another practice which, though a necessary part of the Buddhist path, can nevertheless offer sustenance for becoming; and which--as the object of attachment to be transcended--figures prominently in descriptions of the goal's attainment. That practice is jhana, or meditative absorption. It might be argued that this is stretching the term practice (vata) a little far, but jhana does not fall under any of the other three sustenances for becoming at all, and yet it definitely does function as such a sustenance, so there seems to be little choice but to place it here. Different passages in the Canon number the levels of jhana in different ways. The standard description gives four, although the pure mindfulness & equanimity attained on the fourth level may further be applied to four progressively more & more refined formless sensations--termed the 'peaceful emancipations, formlessness beyond forms'--that altogether give eight levels, often referred to as the eight attainments. A number of objects can serve as the basis for jhana. The breath is one, and an analysis of the Canon's description of the first stages of breath meditation will give an idea of what jhana involves. The first step is simply being mindful of the breath in the present: There is the case of a monk who, having gone to a forest, to the shade of a tree or to an empty building, sits down folding his legs crosswise, holding his body erect, & keeping mindfulness to the fore. Always mindful, he breathes in; mindful he breathes out. Then comes evaluation: He begins to discern variations in the breath: Breathing in long, he discerns that he is breathing in long; or breathing out long, he discerns that he is breathing out long. Or breathing in short, he discerns that he is breathing in short; or breathing out short, he discerns that he is breathing out short. The remaining steps are willed, or determined: He 'trains himself', first by manipulating his sense of conscious awareness, making it sensitive to the body as a whole. (This accounts for the term 'mahaggatam'--enlarged or expanded--used to describe the mind in the state of jhana.) He trains himself to breathe in sensitive to the entire body, and to breathe out sensitive to the entire body. Now that he is aware of the body as a whole, he can begin to manipulate the physical sensations of which he is aware, calming them--i.e., calming the breath--so as to create a sense of rapture & ease. He trains himself to breathe in calming the bodily processes, and to breathe out calming the bodily processes. He trains himself to breathe in sensitive to rapture, and to breathe out sensitive to rapture. He trains himself to breathe in sensitive to pleasure and breathe out sensitive to pleasure. (As we will see below, he maximizes this sense of rapture & pleasure, making it suffuse the entire body.) Now that bodily processes are stilled, mental processes become apparent as they occur. These too are calmed, leaving--as we will see below--a radiant awareness of the mind itself. He trains himself to breathe in sensitive to mental processes, and to breathe out sensitive to mental processes. He trains himself to breathe in calming mental processes and to breathe out calming mental processes. He trains himself to breathe in sensitive to the mind, and to breathe out sensitive to the mind.... M 118 The standard description of jhana, however, does not refer to any particular object as its basis, but simply divides it into four levels determined by the way the mind relates to the object as it becomes more & more absorbed in it. Furthermore, monks, the monk--quite withdrawn from sensual pleasures, withdrawn from unwise (mental) qualities--enters and remains in the first jhana: rapture & pleasure born from withdrawal, accompanied by directed thought & evaluation. He permeates & pervades, suffuses & fills this very body with the rapture & pleasure born from withdrawal. There is nothing in his body unpervaded by rapture & pleasure born from withdrawal. Just as a skilled bathman or bathman's apprentice would pour bath powder into a brass basin and knead it together, sprinkling it again & again with water, so that his ball of bath powder--saturated, moisture-laden, permeated within & without--would nevertheless not drip; even so, monks, the monk permeates...this very body with the rapture & pleasure born of withdrawal. And as he remains thus earnest, ardent & intent, any longings related to the household life are abandoned, and with their abandoning his mind gathers & settles inwardly, one-pointed & composed. That is how a monk develops mindfulness immersed in the body. And furthermore, with the stilling of directed thought & evaluation, he enters & remains in the second jhana: rapture & pleasure born of composure, one-pointedness of awareness free from directed thought & evaluation--internal assurance. He permeates & pervades, suffuses & fills this very body with the rapture & pleasure born of composure. There is no part of his entire body unpervaded by rapture & pleasure born of composure. Just like a lake with spring-water welling up from within, having no inflow from east, west, north or south, and with the skies supplying abundant showers time & again, so that the cool fount of water welling up from within the lake would permeate & pervade, suffuse & fill it with cool waters, there being no part of the lake unpervaded by the cool waters; even so monks, the monk permeates...this very body with the rapture & pleasure born of composure. And as he remains thus earnest, ardent & intent...he develops mindfulness immersed in the body. And furthermore, with the fading of rapture, he remains in equanimity, mindful & fully aware, and physically sensitive of pleasure. He enters & remains in the third jhana, and of him the Noble Ones declare, 'Equanimous & mindful, he has a pleasurable abiding.' He permeates & pervades, suffuses & fills this very body with the pleasure divested of rapture, so that there is nothing of his entire body unpervaded by pleasure divested of rapture. Just as in a blue-, white-, or red-lotus pond, there may be some of the blue, white, or red lotuses that, born & growing in the water, stay immersed in the water and flourish without standing up out of the water, so that they are permeated & pervaded, suffused & filled with cool water from their roots to their tips, and nothing of those blue, white, or red lotuses would be unpervaded with cool water; even so, monks, the monk permeates...this very body with the pleasure divested of rapture. And as he remains thus earnest, ardent & intent...he develops mindfulness immersed in the body. And furthermore, with the abandoning of pleasure & stress--as with the earlier disappearance of elation & sorrow--he enters & remains in the fourth jhana: purity of equanimity & mindfulness, neither pleasure nor stress. He sits, permeating the body with a pure, bright awareness, so that nothing of his entire body is unpervaded by pure, bright awareness. Just as if a man were sitting covered from head to foot with a white cloth so that there would be no part of his body to which the white cloth did not extend; even so, monks, the monk sits, permeating the body with a pure, bright awareness. And as he remains thus earnest, ardent & intent...he develops mindfulness immersed in the body. M 119 'Directed thought' mentioned in the reference to the first level of jhana corresponds, in the description of breath meditation, to the mindfulness directed to the breath in the present. 'Evaluation' corresponds to the discernment of variations in the breath, and to the manipulation of awareness & the breath so as to create a sense of rapture & pleasure throughout the body (the bathman kneading moisture throughout the ball of bath powder). The still waters in the simile for the third level of jhana, as opposed to the spring waters welling up in the second level, correspond to the stilling of mental processes. And the pure, bright awareness in the fourth level corresponds to the stage of breath meditation where the meditator is sensitive to the mind. Thus as the mind progresses through the first four levels of jhana, it sheds the various mental activities surrounding its one object: Directed thought & evaluation are stilled, rapture fades, and pleasure is abandoned. After reaching a state of pure, bright, mindful, equanimous awareness in the fourth level of jhana, the mind can start shedding its perception (mental label) of the form of its object, the space around its object, itself, & the lack of activity within itself. This process takes four steps--the four formlessnesses beyond form--culminating in a state where perception is so refined that it can hardly be called perception at all. With the complete transcending of perceptions of (physical) form, and the passing away of perceptions of resistance, and not heeding perceptions of diversity, thinking, 'Infinite space,' one enters & remains in the sphere of the infinitude of space... With the complete transcending of the sphere of the infinitude of space, thinking, 'Infinite consciousness,' one enters & remains in the sphere of the infinitude of consciousness... With the complete transcending of the sphere of the infinitude of consciousness, thinking, 'There is nothing,' one enters & remains in the sphere of nothingness... With the complete transcending of the sphere of nothingness, one enters & remains in the sphere of neither perception nor non-perception. D 15 To abandon attachment to jhana as a sustenance for becoming means, not to stop practicing it, but rather to practice it without becoming engrossed in the sense of pleasure or equanimity it affords, so that one can discern its true nature for what it is. When this had been said, the Venerable Ananda asked the Master: 'In the case, Sir, where a monk has reached the point that--(thinking) "It should not be, it should not occur to me; it will not be, it will not occur to me. What is, what has come to be, that I abandon"--he obtains equanimity. Would this monk be totally unbound, or not?' 'A certain such monk might, Ananda, and another might not.' 'What is the cause, what is the reason, whereby one might and another might not?' 'There is the case, Ananda, where a monk has reached the point that--(thinking) "It should not be, it should not occur to me; it will not be, it will not occur to me. What is, what has come to be, that I abandon"-- he obtains equanimity. He relishes that equanimity, welcomes it, remains fastened to it. As he does so, his consciousness is dependent on it, sustained by it. With sustenance, Ananda, a monk is not totally unbound.' 'Being sustained, where is that monk sustained?' 'The sphere of neither perception nor non-perception.' 'Then, indeed, being sustained, he is sustained by the supreme sustenance.' 'Being sustained, Ananda, he is sustained by the supreme sustenance; for this--the sphere of neither perception nor non-perception--is the supreme sustenance. There is (how-ever) the case where a monk...reaches equanimity. He does not relish that equanimity, does not welcome it, does not remain fastened to it. Such being the case, his consciousness is not dependent on it, is not sustained by it. Without sustenance, Ananda, a monk is totally unbound.' M 106 Once the mind can detach itself from the pleasure & equanimity offered by jhana, it can be inclined toward that which transcends jhana--the unconditioned quality of deathlessness. There is the case, Ananda, where a monk...enters & remains in the first jhana: rapture & pleasure born of withdrawal, accompanied by directed thought & evaluation. He regards whatever phenomena there that are connected with form, feeling, perceptions, mental processes, & consciousness as inconstant, stressful, a disease, a cancer, an arrow, painful, an affliction, alien, a dissolution, a void, not-self. He turns his mind away from those phenomena, and having done so, inclines it to the quality of deathlessness: 'This is peace, this is exquisite--the resolution of all mental processes; the relinquishment of all the paraphernalia of becoming; the ending of craving; dispassion; stopping; Unbinding.' Having attained this point, he reaches the ending of the mental effluents. Or, if not, then--through passion & delight for this very phenomenon (the discernment inclining to deathlessness) and from the total ending of the first of the five Fetters*--he is due to be reborn (in the Pure Abodes), there to be totally unbound, never again to return from that world. (Similarly with the other levels of jhana.) M 64 The fact that the various levels of jhana are nurtured & willed, and thus dependent on conditions, is important: A realization of exactly how they are nurtured--a realization acquired only through practical experience with them--can give insight into the conditioned nature of all mental events and is one of the ways in which the attachment to jhana, as sustenance for becoming, can be abandoned. An indication of how this happens is given in outline form in the Discourse on Mindfulness of In & Out Breathing. To take up the description of breath meditation where we left off: Once there is direct awareness of the mind itself, the various levels of jhana are reviewed. Now, however, primary attention is focused, not on the object, but on the mind as it relates to the object--the different ways in which it can be satisfied & steadied, and the different factors from which it can be released by taking it through the different levels (e.g., releasing it from directed thought & evaluation by taking it from the first to the second level, and so forth). He trains himself to breathe in satisfying the mind, and out satisfying the mind. He trains himself to breathe in steadying the mind, and out steadying the mind. He trains himself to breathe in releasing the mind, and out releasing the mind. The states of satisfaction, steadiness, & release experienced on these levels, though, are willed, and therefore conditioned. The next step is to focus on the fact that these qualities, being conditioned, are inconstant. Once the mind sees directly that inconstancy is inherent both in the pleasure offered by jhana and in the act of will that brings it about, one becomes dispassionate towards it, stops craving it, and can relinquish any & all attachment to it. He trains himself to breathe in focusing on inconstancy, and out focusing on inconstancy. He trains himself to breathe in focusing on dispassion, and out focusing on dispassion. He trains himself to breathe in focusing on stopping, and out focusing on stopping. He trains himself to breathe in focusing on relinquishment, and out focusing on relinquishment. M 118 At the conclusion to the discourse, the Buddha states that breath meditation, when practiced often & repeatedly in this way, results in the maturation of clear knowledge & release. A more vivid description of how mastery of jhana can lead to the insight that transcends it, is given in the Discourse on the Exposition of the Properties: (On attaining the fourth level of jhana) there remains only equanimity: pure & bright, pliant, malleable & luminous. Just as if a skilled goldsmith or goldsmith's apprentice were to prepare a furnace, heat up a crucible, and, taking gold with a pair of tongs, place it in the crucible. He would blow on it time & again, sprinkle water on it time & again, examine it time & again, so that the gold would become refined, well-refined, thoroughly refined, flawless, free from dross, pliant, malleable & luminous. Then whatever sort of ornament he had in mind--whether a belt, an earring, a necklace, or a gold chain--it would serve his purpose. In the same way, there remains only equanimity: pure & bright, pliant, malleable & luminous. He (the meditator) discerns that 'If I were to direct equanimity as pure & bright as this toward the sphere of the infinitude of space, I would develop the mind along those lines, and thus this equanimity of mind--thus supported, thus sustained--would last for a long time. (Similarly with the remaining formless states.)' He discerns that 'If I were to direct equanimity as pure & bright as this towards the sphere of the infinitude of space and to develop the mind along those lines, that would be fabricated. (Similarly with the remaining formless states.)' He neither fabricates nor mentally fashions for the sake of becoming or unbecoming. This being the case, he is not sustained by anything in the world (does not cling to anything in the world). Unsustained, he is not agitated. Unagitated, he is totally unbound right within. He discerns that 'Birth is ended, the holy life fulfilled, the task done. There is nothing further for this world.' M 140 DOCTRINES OF THE SELF ===================== Doctrines of the self. These form the fourth mode of clinging/ sustenance. The Canon reports a wide variety of doctrines of the self that were current in the Buddha's time, only to reject them out-of-hand for two major reasons. The first is that even the least articulated sense of self or self-identification inevitably leads to stress & suffering. 'Monks, do you see any clinging/sustenance in the form of a doctrine of self which, in clinging to, there would not arise sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief, & despair?' 'No, Lord.' '...Neither do I...How do you construe this, monks: If a person were to gather or burn or do as he likes with the grass, twigs, branches & leaves here in Jeta's Grove, would the thought occur to you, "It's us that this person is gathering, burning, or doing with as he likes"?' 'No, sir. Why is that? Because those things are not our self and do not pertain to our self.' 'Even so, monks, whatever is not yours: Let go of it. Your letting go of it will be for your long-term happiness & benefit. And what is not yours? Form (body) is not yours... Feeling is not yours...Perception...Mental processes...Consciousness is not yours. Let go of it. Your letting go of it will be for your long-term happiness & benefit.' M 22 The second reason for rejecting doctrines of the self is that, whatever form they take, they all contain inherent inconsistencies. The Buddha's most systematic treatment of this point is in the Great Discourse on Causation, where he classifies all theories of the self into four major categories: those describing a self (a) possessed of form (a body) & finite; (b) possessed of form & infinite; (c) formless & finite; and (d) formless & infinite. The text gives no examples for the categories, but we might cite the following as illustrations: (a) theories that deny the existence of a soul, and identify the self with the body; (b) theories that identify the self with all being or with the universe; (c) theories of discrete souls in individual beings; (d) theories of a unitary soul or identity immanent in all things. Discussing these various categories, the Buddha states that people who adhere to any of them will state that the self already is of such a nature, that it is destined to acquire such a nature after death, or that it can be made into such a nature by various practices. He then goes on to discuss the various ways people assume a self as defined in relation to feeling. 'In what respect, Ananda, does one assume when assuming a self? Assuming feeling to be the self, one assumes that "Feeling is my self" (or) "Feeling is not my self: My self is oblivious (to feeling)" (or) "Neither is feeling my self, nor is my self oblivious to feeling, but rather my self feels, in that my self is subject to feeling." 'Now, one who says, "Feeling is my self," should be addressed as follows: "There are these three feelings, my friend--feelings of pleasure, feelings of pain, and feelings of neither pleasure nor pain. Which of these three feelings do you assume to be the self? At a moment when a feeling of pleasure is sensed, no feeling of pain or of neither pleasure nor pain is sensed. Only a feeling of pleasure is sensed at that moment. At a moment when a feeling of pain is sensed, no feeling of pleasure or of neither pleasure nor pain is sensed. Only a feeling of pain is sensed at that moment. At a moment when a feeling of neither pleasure nor pain is sensed, no feeling of pleasure or of pain is sensed. Only a feeling of neither pleasure nor pain is sensed at that moment. 'Now, a feeling of pleasure is inconstant, compounded, dependent on conditions, subject to passing away, dissolution, fading, & stopping. A feeling of pain...A feeling of neither pleasure nor pain is inconstant...subject to stopping. Having sensed a feeling of pleasure as 'my self,' then with the stopping of one's very own feeling of pleasure, 'my self' has perished. Having sensed a feeling of pain as 'my self'... Having sensed a feeling of neither pleasure nor pain as 'my self,' then with the stopping of one's very own feeling of neither pleasure nor pain, 'my self' has perished." 'Thus he assumes, assuming in the immediate present a self inconstant, entangled in pleasure & pain, subject to arising & passing away, he who says, "Feeling is my self." Thus in this manner, Ananda, one does not see fit to assume feeling to be the self. 'As for the person who says, "Feeling is not the self: My self is oblivious (to feeling)," he should be addressed as follows: "My friend, where nothing whatsoever is sensed (experienced) at all, would there be the thought, 'I am'?"' 'No, sir.' 'Thus in this manner, Ananda, one does not see fit to assume that "Feeling is not my self: My self is oblivious (to feeling)." 'As for the person who says, "Neither is feeling my self, nor is my self oblivious to feeling, but rather my self feels, in that my self is subject to feeling," he should be addressed as follows: "My friend, should feelings altogether and every way stop without remainder, then with feeling completely not existing, owing to the stopping of feeling, would there be the thought, 'I am'?"' 'No, sir.' 'Thus in this manner, Ananda, one does not see fit to assume that "Neither is feeling my self, nor is my self oblivious to feeling, but rather my self feels, in that my self is subject to feeling." 'Now, Ananda, in as far as a monk does not assume feeling to be the self, nor the self as oblivious, nor that "My self feels, in that my self is subject to feeling," then, not assuming in this way, he is not sustained by anything in the world. Unsustained, he is not agitated. Unagitated, he is totally unbound right within. He discerns that "Birth is ended, the holy life fulfilled, the task done. There is nothing further for this world." 'If anyone were to say with regard to a monk whose mind is thus released that "The Tathagata exists after death," is his view, that would be mistaken; that "The Tathagata does not exist after death"...that "The Tathagata both exists & does not exist after death"...that "The Tathagata neither exists nor does not exist after death" is his view, that would be mistaken. Why? Having directly known the extent of designation and the extent of the objects of designation, the extent of expression and the extent of the objects of expression, the extent of description and the extent of the objects of description, the extent of discernment and the extent of the objects of discernment, the extent to which the cycle revolves: Having directly known that, the monk is released. (To say that,) "The monk released, having directly known that, does not see, does not know is his opinion," that would be mistaken.' (This last sentence means that the monk released is not an agnostic concerning what lies beyond the extent of designation, and so forth. He does know & see what lies beyond, even though--as Ven. Sariputta said to Ven. MahaKotthita--he may not express it inasmuch as it lies beyond differentiation. See the discussion on pages 31-32.) D 15 Views of the self can center around not only feeling, but also physical form, perception, mental processes, & consciousness--the five aggregates for sustenance--which, according to another passage in the above discourse, cover the extent of what can be designated, expressed, & described, but none of which, on investigation, can rightfully be designated as self. I have heard that on one occasion the Master was staying at Varanasi, in the Game Refuge at Isipatana. There he addressed the group of five monks: 'Physical form, monks, is not the self. If physical form were the self, this body would not lend itself to disease. One could get physical form to be like this and not be like that. But precisely because physical form is not the self, it lends itself to disease. And one cannot get physical form to be like this and not be like that. 'Feeling is not the self...Perception is not the self...Mental processes are not the self... 'Consciousness is not the self. If consciousness were the self, this consciousness would not lend itself to disease. One could get consciousness to be like this and not be like that. But precisely because consciousness is not the self, it lends itself to disease. And one cannot get consciousness to be like this and not be like that. 'How do you construe thus, monks--Is physical form constant or inconstant?'--'Inconstant, Lord.'--'And whatever is inconstant: Is it easeful or stressful?'--'Stressful, Lord.'--'And is it right to assume with regard to whatever is inconstant, stressful, subject to change, that "This is mine. This is my self. This is what I am"?'--'No, Lord.' '...Is feeling constant or inconstant?...Is perception constant or inconstant?...Are mental processes constant or inconstant?... 'Is consciousness constant or inconstant?'--'Inconstant, Lord.'--'And whatever is inconstant: Is it easeful or stressful?'--'Stressful, Lord.'--'And is it right to assume with regard to whatever is inconstant, stressful, subject to change, that "This is mine. This is my self. This is what I am"?'--'No, Lord.' 'Thus, monks, any physical form whatsoever--past, future, or present; internal or external; blatant or subtle, common or sublime, far or near: every physical form--is to be seen as it actually is with right discernment as: "This is not mine. This is not my self. This is not what I am." 'Any feeling whatsoever...Any perception whatsoever...Any mental processes whatsoever... 'Any consciousness whatsoever--past, future, or present; internal or external; blatant or subtle, common or sublime, far or near: every consciousness--is to be seen as it actually is with right discernment as: "This is not mine. This is not my self. This is not what I am." 'Seeing thus, the instructed noble disciple grows disenchanted with the body, disenchanted with feeling, disenchanted with perception, disenchanted with mental processes, and disenchanted with consciousness. Disenchanted, he grows dispassionate. Through dispassion, he is released. With release, there is the knowledge, "Released." He discerns that "Birth is ended, the holy life fulfilled, the task done. There is nothing further for this world."' That is what the Master said. Glad at heart, the group of five monks delighted at his words. And while this explanation was being given, the hearts of the group of five monks, through not clinging (not being sustained), were released from the mental effluents. S xxii.59 On the surface, doctrines about the self would appear simply to be another variety of speculative view. They deserve separate treatment, though, because they all come down to a deeply rooted sense of 'I am'--a conceit coloring all perception at the most basic level. Monks, whatever contemplatives or priests who assume in various ways when assuming a self, all assume the five aggregates for sustenance, or a certain one of them. What five? There is the case where an uninstructed, run-of-the-mill person...assumes the body to be the self, or the self as possessing the body, the body as in the self, or the self as in the body. He assumes feeling to be the self...perception to be the self...mental processes to be the self...He assumes consciousness to be the self, or the self as possessing consciousness, consciousness as in the self, or the self as in consciousness. Thus, both this assumption & the understanding, 'I am,' occur to him. And so it is with reference to the understanding 'I am' that there is the appearance of the five faculties--eye, ear, nose, tongue, & body (the senses of vision, hearing, smell, taste, & touch). Now, there is the intellect, there are ideas (mental qualities), there is the property of ignorance. To an ordinary run-of-the-mill person, touched by experience born of the contact of ignorance, there occur (the thoughts): 'I am,' 'I am thus,' 'I shall be,' 'I shall not be,' 'I shall be possessed of form,' 'I shall be formless,' 'I shall be percipient (conscious),' 'I shall be non-percipient,' or 'I shall be neither percipient nor non-percipient.' The five faculties, monks, continue as they were. And with regard to them the instructed noble disciple abandons ignorance and gives rise to clear knowledge. Owing to the fading of ignorance, (the thoughts)--'I am,' 'I am this,'...'I shall be neither percipient nor non-percipient'--do not occur to him. S xxii.47 The sense of 'I am' can prevent a person from reaching the goal, even when he feels that he has abandoned attachment to sensuality, speculative views, & the experience of jhana. There is the case, monks, where a certain contemplative or priest, with the abandonment of speculations about the past and the abandonment of speculations about the future, from the thorough lack of resolve for the fetters of sensuality, and from the surmounting of the rapture of withdrawal (in the first level of jhana), non-material pleasure and the feeling of neither pleasure nor pain (in the fourth level of jhana), thinks, 'I am at peace, I am unbound, I am without clinging/ sustenance!' In this regard, the Tathagata perceives: 'This venerable contemplative or priest, with the abandonment of speculations about the past...thinks, "I am at peace, I am unbound, I am without clinging/sustenance!' To be sure, he affirms the practice conducive to Unbinding. Still, he clings, clinging to a speculative view about the past or...a speculative view about the future...or a fetter of sensuality...or the rapture of withdrawal...or formless pleasure...or a feeling of neither pleasure nor pain. And the fact that he thinks, "I am at peace, I am unbound, I am without clinging/sustenance!"--that in itself proclaims his clinging.' Now, with regard to that--conditioned, gross--there is still this: the stopping of mental processes. Knowing this, seeing the emancipation from it, the Tathagata has gone beyond it. M 102 Whereas the contemplative or priest under discussion in this passage reads an 'I' into what he is experiencing, the Buddha simply observes that 'There is this....' This unadorned observation--which simply sees what is present in an experience as present, and what is absent as absent--is treated in detail in the Lesser Discourse on Voidness. There the Buddha describes how to develop it methodically, in ascending stages passing through the levels of jhana--in this case based on the object 'earth', or solidity--and leading ultimately to Awakening. Ananda, just as this palace of Migara's mother (in the monastery constructed by Lady Visakha near Savatthi) is devoid of elephants, cattle & mares, devoid of gold & silver, devoid of assemblies of women & men, and there is only this non-voidness--the singleness based on the community of monks; even so, Ananda, a monk--not attending to the perception (mental note) of village, not attending to the perception of human being--attends to the singleness based on the perception of forest. His mind takes pleasure, finds satisfaction, settles, & indulges in its perception of forest. He discerns that 'Whatever disturbances would exist based on the perception of village...whatever disturbances would exist based on the perception of human being, are not present. There is only this modicum of disturbance: the singleness based on the perception of forest.' He discerns that 'This mode of perception is void of the perception of village. This mode of perception is void of the perception of human being. There is only this non-voidness: the singleness based on the perception of forest.' Thus he regards it as void of whatever is not there. Whatever remains, he discerns as present: 'There is this.' And so this, his entry into voidness, accords with actuality, is undistorted in meaning, & pure. Further, Ananda, the monk--not attending to the perception of human being, not attending to the perception of forest--attends to the singleness based on the perception of earth. His mind takes pleasure, finds satisfaction, settles, & indulges in its perception of earth. Just as a bull's hide is stretched free from wrinkles with a hundred stakes, even so--without attending to all the ridges & hollows, the river ravines, the tracts of stumps & thorns, the craggy irregularities of this earth--he attends to the singleness based on the perception of earth. His mind...settles & indulges in its perception of earth. He discerns that 'Whatever disturbances would exist based on the perception of human being...whatever disturbances would exist based on the perception of forest, are not present. There is only this modicum of disturbance: the singleness based on the perception of earth.' He discerns that 'This mode of perception is void of the perception of human being...void of the perception of forest. There is only this non-voidness: the singleness based on the perception of earth.' Thus he regards it as void of whatever is not there. Whatever remains, he discerns as present: 'There is this.' And so this, his entry into voidness, accords with actuality, is undistorted in meaning, & pure. Further, Ananda, the monk--not attending to the perception of forest, not attending to the perception of earth--attends to the singleness based on the perception of the sphere of the infinitude of space...(and so on through the four levels of formless jhana. Then:) Further, Ananda, the monk--not attending to the perception of the sphere of nothingness, not attending to the perception of the sphere of neither perception nor non-perception--attends to the singleness based on the signless concentration of awareness. His mind takes pleasure, finds satisfaction, settles, & indulges in its signless concentration of awareness. He discerns that 'Whatever disturbances would exist based on the perception of the sphere of nothingness...whatever disturbances would exist based on the perception of the sphere of neither perception nor non-perception, are not present. And there is only this modicum of disturbance: that connected with the six sensory spheres, dependent on this very body with life as its condition.' He discerns that 'This mode of perception is void....(etc.)' Further, Ananda, the monk--not attending to the perception of the sphere of nothingness, not attending to the perception of the sphere of neither perception nor non-perception--attends to the singleness based on the signless concentration of awareness. His mind takes pleasure, finds satisfaction, settles, & indulges in its signless concentration of awareness. He discerns that 'This signless concentration of awareness is fabricated & mentally fashioned.' And he discerns that 'Whatever is fabricated & mentally fashioned is inconstant & subject to stopping.' For him--thus knowing, thus seeing--the mind is released from the effluent of sensuality, the effluent of becoming, the effluent of ignorance. With release, there is the knowledge, 'Released.' He discerns that 'Birth is ended, the holy life fulfilled, the task done. There is nothing further for this world.' He discerns that 'Whatever disturbances would exist based on the effluent of sensuality...the effluent of becoming...the effluent of ignorance, are not present. And there is only this modicum of disturbance: that connected with the six sensory spheres, dependent on this very body with life as its condition.' He discerns that 'This mode of perception is void of the effluent of sensuality...becoming...ignorance. And there is just this non-voidness: that connected with the six sensory spheres, dependent on this very body with life as its condition.' Thus he regards it as void of whatever is not there. Whatever remains, he discerns as present: 'There is this.' And so this, his entry into voidness, accords with actuality, is undistorted in meaning, pure-- superior & unsurpassed. M 121 Ananda: It is said that the world is void, the world is void, venerable sir. In what respect is it said that the world is void? The Buddha: Insofar as it is void of a self or of anything pertaining to a self: Thus it is said that the world is void. And what is void of a self or of anything pertaining to a self? The eye is void of a self or of anything pertaining to a self. Forms...Visual consciousness...Visual contact is void of a self or of anything pertaining to a self. The ear...The nose...The tongue...The body... The intellect is void of a self or of anything pertaining to a self. Ideas...Mental consciousness...Mental contact is void of a self or of anything pertaining to a self. Thus it is said that the world is void. S.xxxv.85 In abandoning the notion of self with regard to the world--here defined in the same terms as the 'All' (page 31, above)--the Buddha did not, however, hold to a theory that there is no self. Having taken a seat to one side, Vacchagotta the wanderer said to the Master, 'Now then, Venerable Gotama, is there a self?' When this was said, the Master was silent. 'Then is there no self?' Again, the Master was silent. Then Vacchagotta the wanderer got up from his seat and left. Then, not long after Vacchagotta the wanderer had left, the Venerable Ananda said to the Master, 'Why, sir, did the Master not answer when asked a question asked by Vacchagotta the wanderer?' 'Ananda, if I, being asked by Vacchagotta the wanderer if there is a self, were to answer that there is a self, that would be conforming with those priests & contemplatives who are exponents of eternalism (i.e., the view that there is an eternal soul). And if I...were to answer that there is no self, that would be conforming with those priests & contemplatives who are exponents of annihilationism (i.e. that death is the annihilation of consciousness). If I...were to answer that there is a self, would that be in keeping with the arising of knowledge that all phenomena are not-self? 'No, Lord.' 'And if I...were to answer that there is no self, the bewildered Vacchagotta would become even more bewildered: "Does the self that I used to have, now not exist?"' S xliv.10 This dialogue is one of the most controversial in the Canon. Those who hold that the Buddha took a position one way or the other on the question of whether or not there is a self have to explain away the Buddha's silence, and usually do so by focusing on his final statement to Ananda. If someone else more spiritually mature than Vacchagotta had asked the question, they say, the Buddha would have revealed his true position. This interpretation, though, ignores the fact that of the Buddha's four express reasons for not answering the question, only the last is specific to Vacchagotta. The first two hold true no matter who is asking the question: To say that there is or is not a self would be to fall into one of two philosophical positions that the Buddha frequently attacked as incompatible with his teaching. As for his third reason, the Buddha wanted to be consistent with 'the arising of knowledge that all phenomena are not-self,' not because he felt that this knowledge was worth holding onto in & of itself (cf. his statement to Upasiva, on page 28, that in the experience of the goal all phenomena are done away with), but because he saw that the arising of such knowledge could, through causing the mind to let go of all forms of clinging/sustenance, lead to liberation. This point becomes clear when we compare the exchange with Vacchagotta, given above, to this one with Mogharaja: Mogharaja: In what way does one view the world so that the King of Death does not see one? The Buddha: Having removed any view in terms of self, always mindful, Mogharaja, view the world as void. This way one is above & beyond death. This is the way one views the world so that the King of Death does not see one. Sn v.16 The fundamental difference between this dialogue & the preceding one lies in the questions asked: In the first, Vacchagotta asks the Buddha to take a position on the metaphysical question of whether or not there is a self, and the Buddha remains silent. In the second, Mogharaja asks for a way to view the world so that one can go beyond death, and the Buddha speaks, teaching him to view the world without reference to the notion of self. This suggests that, instead of being a metaphysical assertion that there is no self, the teaching on not-self is more a strategy, a technique of perception aimed at leading beyond death to Unbinding--a way of perceiving things that involves no self-identification, no sense that 'I am', no attachment to 'I' or 'mine.' And this would be in keeping with the discernment the Buddha recommends in the Discourse on the Supreme Net (see page 64): one that judges views not in terms of their content, but in terms of where they come from and where they lead. If a person aiming at Unbinding is not to view the world in terms of self, then in what terms should he or she view it? The Buddha's comment to Anuradha (page 25)--'It is only stress that I describe, and the stopping of stress'--suggests an answer, and this answer is borne out by a series of other passages in the Canon. 'Lord, "Right view, right view," it is said. In what respect is there right view?' 'By & large, Kaccayana, this world is supported by (takes as its object) a polarity, that of existence & non-existence. But when one sees the origin of the world as it actually is with right discernment, "non-existence" with reference to the world does not occur to him. When he sees the stopping of the world as it actually is with right discernment, "existence" with reference to the world does not occur to him. 'By & large, Kaccayana, this world is in bondage to attachments, clingings (sustenances), & biases. But the awareness of a person such as this is not attached, does not cling to these attachments, clingings, fixations, biases, & propensities; nor is it resolved on "my self." He has no uncertainty or doubt that, when there is arising, only stress is arising; and that when there is passing away, only stress is passing away. In this, his knowledge is independent of others. It is in this respect, Kaccayana, that there is right view.' S xii.15 There is the case where an uninstructed, run-of-the-mill person...does not discern what ideas are fit for attention, or what ideas are unfit for attention. This being so, he does not attend to ideas fit for attention, and attends (instead) to ideas unfit for attention...This is how he attends inaptly: 'Was I in the past? Was I not in the past? What was I in the past? How was I in the past? Having been what, what was I in the past? Shall I be in the future? Shall I not be in the future? What shall I be in the future? How shall I be in the future? Having been what, what shall I be in the future?' Or else he is inwardly perplexed about the immediate present: 'Am I? Am I not? What am I? How am I? Where has this being come from? Where is it bound?' As this person attends inaptly in this way, one of six kinds of view arises in him: The view I have a self arises in him as true & established, or the view I have no self...or the view It is precisely because of self that I perceive self...or the view It is precisely because of self that I perceive not-self...or the view It is precisely because of not-self that I perceive self arises in him as true & established, or else he has a view like this: This very self of mine--the knower that is sensitive here & there to the ripening of good & bad actions--is the self of mine that is constant, everlasting, eternal, not subject to change, and will endure as long as eternity. This is called a thicket of views, a wilderness of views, a contortion of views, a writhing of views, a fetter of views. Bound by a fetter of views, the uninstructed run-of-the-mill person is not freed from birth, ageing, & death, from sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief, & despair. He is not freed from stress, I say. The well-taught noble disciple...discerns what ideas are fit for attention, and what ideas are unfit for attention. This being so, he does not attend to ideas unfit for attention, and attends (instead) to ideas fit for attention...He attends aptly, This is stress...This is the origin of stress...This is the stopping of stress...This is the way leading to the stopping of stress. As he attends aptly in this way, three fetters are abandoned in him: identity-view, doubt, and grasping at precepts & practices. M 2 Now this, monks, is the noble truth of stress: Birth is stressful, ageing is stressful, death is stressful; sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief, & despair are stressful; association with the unbeloved is stressful, separation from the loved is stressful, not getting what is wanted is stressful. In short, the five aggregates for sustenance are stressful. And this, monks, is the noble truth of the origination of stress: the craving that makes for further becoming--accompanied by passion & delight, relishing now here & now there--i.e., craving for sensual pleasure, craving for becoming, craving for non-becoming. And this, monks, is the noble truth of the stopping of stress: the remainderless fading & stopping, renunciation, relinquishment, release & letting go of that very craving. And this, monks, is the noble truth of the way leading to the stopping of stress: precisely this Noble Eightfold Path--right view, right intention, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration. Vision arose, insight arose, discernment arose, knowledge arose, illumination arose within me with regard to things never heard before: 'This is the noble truth of stress'...'This noble truth of stress is to be comprehended'...'This noble truth of stress has been comprehended'...'This is the noble truth of the origination of stress'...'This noble truth of the origination of stress is to be abandoned'...'This noble truth of the origination of stress has been abandoned'...'This is the noble truth of the stopping of stress'...'This noble truth of the stopping of stress is to be directly experienced'...'This noble truth of the stopping of stress has been directly experienced'...'This is the noble truth of the way leading to the stopping of stress'...'This noble truth of the way leading to the stopping of stress is to be developed'...'This noble truth of the way leading to the stopping of stress has been developed.' And, monks, as long as this knowledge & vision of mine--with its three rounds and twelve permutations concerning these four noble truths as they actually are--was not pure, I did not claim to have directly awakened to the unexcelled right self-awakening...But as soon as this knowledge & vision of mine--with its three rounds and twelve permutations concerning these four noble truths as they actually are--was truly pure, then did I claim to have directly awakened to the unexcelled right self-awakening...The knowledge & vision arose in me: 'Unprovoked is my release. This is the last birth. There is now no further becoming.' S lvi.11 Just as if there were a pool of water in a mountain glen--clear, limpid & unsullied--where a man with good eyes standing on the bank could see shells, gravel & pebbles, and also shoals of fish swimming about & resting, and it would occur to him, 'This pool of water is clear, limpid & unsullied. Here are these shells, gravel & pebbles, and also these shoals of fish swimming about & resting.' So too, the monk discerns as it actually is, that 'This is stress...This is the origination of stress...This is the stopping of stress...This is the way leading to the stopping of stress...These are mental effluents...This is the origination of mental effluents...This is the stopping of mental effluents...This is the way leading to the stopping of mental effluents.' His heart, thus knowing, thus seeing, is released from the effluent of sensuality, released from the effluent of becoming, released from the effluent of ignorance. With release, there is the knowledge, 'Released.' He discerns that 'Birth is ended, the holy life fulfilled, the task done. There is nothing further for this world.' This, great king, is a fruit of the contemplative life, visible here & now, more excellent than the previous ones and more sublime. And as for another visible fruit of the contemplative life, higher & more sublime than this, there is none. D 2 Thus for the person who aims at Unbinding, the Buddha recommends a technique of perception that regards things simply in terms of the four truths concerning stress, with no self-identification, no sense that 'I am', no attachment to 'I' or 'mine' involved. Although, as the following passage states, there may be a temporary, functional identity to one's range of perception, this 'identity' goes no further than that. One recognizes it for what it is: inconstant & conditioned, and thus not worthy of being taken as a self--for in transcending attachment to it, there is the realization of deathlessness. Ananda: 'It is wonderful, sir; it is marvelous. For truly, the Master has pointed out the way to cross over the flood by going from one support to the next. But what then, sir, is the Noble Liberation?' The Buddha: 'There is the case, Ananda, where a noble disciple considers that "Sensual pleasure here & now and in lives to come; form here & now and in lives to come; perceptions of form here & now and in lives to come; perceptions of imperturbability, perceptions of the sphere of nothingness, perceptions of the sphere of neither perception nor non-perception: (All) that is an identity, to the extent that there is identity. (But) this is deathless: the liberation of the mind through lack of clinging/sustenance."' M 106 Once the sense of self is transcended, its polar opposite--the sense of something standing in contradistinction to a self--is transcended as well. In the Discourse at Kalaka's Park, the Buddha expresses this lack of a self/non-self polarity directly in terms of sensory experience. For a person who has attained the goal, experience occurs with no 'subject' or 'object' superimposed on it, no construing of experience or thing experienced. There is simply the experience in & of itself. Monks, whatever in this world--with its gods, Maras & Brahmas, its generations complete with contemplatives & priests, princes & men--is seen, heard, sensed, cognized, attained, sought after, pondered by the intellect: That do I know. Whatever in this world...is seen, heard, sensed, cognized, attained, sought after, pondered by the intellect: That I directly know. That is known by the Tathagata, but the Tathagata has not been obsessed with it... Thus, monks, the Tathagata, when seeing what is to be seen, does not construe an (object as) seen. He does not construe an unseen. He does not construe an (object) to-be-seen. He does not construe a seer. When hearing...When sensing... When cognizing what is to be cognized, he does not construe an (object as) cognized. He does not construe an uncognized. He does not construe an (object) to-be-cognized. He does not construe a cognizer. Thus, monks, the Tathagata--being such-like with regard to all phenomena that can be seen, heard, sensed, & cognized--is 'Such.' And I tell you: There is no other 'Such' higher or more sublime. Whatever is seen or heard or sensed and fastened onto as true by others, One who is Such--among those who are self-bound-- would not further assume to be true or even false. Having seen well in advance that arrow where generations are fastened & hung --'I know, I see, that's just how it is!'-- There is nothing of the Tathagata fastened. A iv.24 A view is true or false only when one is judging how accurately it refers to something else. If one is regarding it simply as an event in & of itself, true & false no longer apply. Thus for the Tathagata--who no longer needs to impose notions of subject or object on experience, and can regard sights, sounds, feelings, & thoughts purely in & of themselves--views are not necessarily true or false, but can simply serve as phenomena to be experienced. With no notion of subject, there is no grounds for 'I know, I see;' with no notion of object, no grounds for 'That's just how it is.' So--although a Tathagata may continue using 'true' & 'false' in the course of teaching others, and may continue reflecting on right view as a means of abiding mindfully & comfortably in the present--notions of true, false, self, & not self have lost all their holding power over the mind. As a result, the mind can see conditioned events in their suchness--'such are the aggregates, such their origin, such their disappearance'--and is left free to its own Suchness: unrestrained, uninfluenced by anything of any sort. * * * This concludes our survey of the four modes of clinging/sustenance--passion & delight for sensuality, for views, for precepts & practices, and for doctrines of the self--and should be enough to give a sense of what is loosed in the Unbinding of the mind. All that remains now is the question of how. Many of the passages we have considered seem to suggest that total Unbinding may be realized by letting go of any one of these four modes of sustenance. What most likely happens in such cases, though, is that the abandoning of one mode immediately triggers an abandoning of the remaining three, for there are other cases reported in the Canon where the experience of Unbinding comes in stages spread over time: the arising of the eye of Dhamma, which frees one from passion & delight for doubt, self-identity views, and grasping at precepts & practices; the attainment of Non-returning, which frees one from passion & delight for sensuality; and the attainment of Arahantship, which frees one from passion & delight for all views, the practice of jhana, & the conceit 'I am.' Why these stages happen in this order, and how they relate to the practices meant to induce them, is what we will take up next.

---

E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank