AN VII 15 Analogy of Water and the Ariyas

HeartDhamma

AN VII 15 Analogy of Water and the Ariyas

 

Udakūpamā Sutta [1] #

 

Monks, seven types of people are found in this world
who can be described by this analogy on water.

 

What Seven?

 

Here monks,

(1) Some people sink down once and stay submerged. [2]

(2) Some rise to the surface then sink down again. [3]

(3) Some rise to the surface and stay there; [4]

(4) Some rise to the surface and look around, seeing clearly; [5]

(5) Some, risen to the surface, swim across [to the shore]; [6]

(6) Some, risen to the surface reach solid ground; [7]

(7) Some, risen to the surface, crossed over and reached the shore

Are called Brahmins,

standing straight on dry land. [8]

 

 

[1. Staying Under] #

 

Who are those who sink down once

and stay submerged?[9]

 

These are the ones

harboring mainly dark and heavy

unskillful qualities. [10]

 

This is how some sink down once

and stay submerged.

 

 

[2. Rise and Sink] #

 

Who are those who rise to the surface

then sink down again?

 

Those who rise to the surface thinking

It is good to be confident

conscientious,

scrupulous,

devoted

And discerning in wholesome qualities.[11]

 

Although their confidence, [12]

Conscientiousness,

Scrupulousness,

Devotion

And discernment does not stay, it does not grow

and it fades away.

 

 This is how some rise to the surface

then sink down again.

 

 

[3. Rise and Stay] #

 

Who are those who rise to the surface

and stay there?

 

Those who rise to the surface thinking

It is good to be confident

conscientious,

scrupulous,

devoted

And discerning in wholesome qualities.

 

Their confidence, [13]

Conscientiousness,

Scrupulousness,

Devotion

And discernment does not fade but does not grow either,

it remains the same.

 

This is how, some rise to the surface

and stay there.

 

 

[4. Look Around and See Clearly] #

 

Who are those who rise to the surface

and look around, seeing clearly?

 

Those who rise to the surface thinking

It is good to be confident

conscientious,

scrupulous,

devoted

And discerning in wholesome qualities.

 

They completely give up the three worldly fetters,

and enter the stream.

Done with the lowest mental states,

bound, headed for Sambodhi. [14]

 

This is how some rise to the surface

and look around, seeing clearly.

 

 

 

[5. Swim Across] #

 

Who are those who rise to the surface

and swim across [to the shore]?

 

Those who rise to the surface thinking

It is good to be confident

conscientious,

scrupulous,

devoted

And discerning in wholesome qualities.

 

They completely give up the three worldly fetters

and wear away discontent,

anger

and foolishness

and become once-returners,

Who will come back once more to this world

and bring trouble to an end.[15]

 

This is how, some rise to the surface

and swim across [to the shore].

 

 

 

[6. Reaching Shore] #

 

Who are those who rise to the surface

and reach solid ground?

 

Those who rise to the surface thinking

It is good to be confident

conscientious,

scrupulous,

devoted

And discerning in wholesome qualities.

 

They completely release the five worldly fetters,

and arise instantly [in a Brāhmic plane]

And there, become fully released,

not coming back to the world. [16]

 

This is how, some rise to the surface

and reach solid ground.

 

 

[7. Standing on Dry Land] #

 

Who are those who, risen to the surface,

cross over and reach the shore

are called Brahmins, standing on dry land? [17]

 

Those who rise to the surface thinking

It is good to be confident

conscientious,

scrupulous,

devoted

And discerning in wholesome qualities.

 

Those are the ones who release the distractions,

who are liberated in mind

liberated by discernment,

Seeing for themselves, here and now,

they live, attained and realized by direct knowledge. [18]

 

 

This is how some, risen to the surface,

cross over and reach the shore

are called Brahmins, standing straight on dry land.

 

 

Monks, these are the seven types of people found in this world,

who can be described by this analogy on water.

 

 

 

[1] Variant: udakūpamapuggalasuttaṁ (bj)

[2] ekacco puggalo sakiṁ nimuggo nimuggova hoti;

[3] ekacco puggalo ummujjitvā nimujjati;

[4] ekacco puggalo ummujjitvā ṭhito hoti;

[5] ekacco puggalo ummujjitvā vipassati viloketi; The verb ‘vipassati’ here stands out in this context and this is, in my understanding, perhaps one of the clearest descriptions of its true meaning: Seeing clearly. Not as the more common and popular translation as ‘insight’. Here, one is not ‘insighting’ because one rises above the surface of the water, but ‘sees clearly’ for the first time. I believe most people are familiar with the experience of opening their eyes in water. A painful and blurry experience. It is made more obvious by the next type of person that, seeing clearly, one implicitly sees the shore (Nibbāna) and thereby, can start swimming towards it. Beautiful imagery of stream entry and the vision of Dhamma which, once imparted, brings about a radical shift of understanding, orientation and purpose, for the highest bliss of Nibbāna, the solid shore. Another good reference on the original meaning of Samatha and Vipassanā is found at AN II 31 Samathovipassanā Sutta. There are very few instances when the Buddha does in fact venture to explain what he truly means by this very famous pair of qualities which seem so central to the Buddhist practice. We therefore have to look carefully at the context surrounding these terms, in the suttas, to draw wise definitions which rely solely on the original word of the Buddha himself. Some other translations of this passage: “Monks, a certain person having emerged, looks around with his eyes open” (Dr. Ari Ubeysekara); “One person rises up then sees and discerns.” (Bhante Sujato); “There is the case where an individual, on coming to the surface, opens his eyes & looks around.” (Bhante Ṭhāṇissaro).

[6] ekacco puggalo ummujjitvā patarati; Having looked around, sees the shore and crosses over (Patarati) to it.

[7] ekacco puggalo ummujjitvā patigādhappatto hoti; after having swam.

[8] ekacco puggalo ummujjitvā tiṇṇo hoti pāraṅgato thale tiṭṭhati brāhmaṇo.

[9] Kathañca… puggalo sakiṁ nimuggo nimuggova hoti?

[10] ekantakāḷakehi  akusalehi dhammehi.

[11] Idha, bhikkhave, ekacco puggalo ummujjati sādhu saddhā kusalesu dhammesu, sādhu hirī …pe… sādhu ottappaṁ … sādhu vīriyaṁ   … sādhu paññā kusalesu dhammesūti.

[12] Tassa sā saddhā neva tiṭṭhati no vaḍḍhati hāyatiyeva,…

[13] Tassa sā saddhā neva hāyati no vaḍḍhati ṭhitā hoti.

[14] So tiṇṇaṁ saṁyojanānaṁ parikkhayā sotāpanno hoti

avinipātadhammo niyato sambodhiparāyaṇo.

[15] So tiṇṇaṁ saṁyojanānaṁ parikkhayā rāgadosamohānaṁ tanuttā   sakadāgāmī hoti, sakideva imaṁ lokaṁ āgantvā dukkhassantaṁ karoti.

[16] So pañcannaṁ orambhāgiyānaṁ saṁyojanānaṁ parikkhayā opapātiko hoti tattha parinibbāyī anāvattidhammo tasmā lokā.

[17] Kathañca, bhikkhave, puggalo ummujjitvā tiṇṇo hoti pāraṅgato thale tiṭṭhati brāhmaṇo.

[18] So āsavānaṁ khayā anāsavaṁ cetovimuttiṁ paññāvimuttiṁ

diṭṭheva dhamme sayaṁ abhiññā sacchikatvā upasampajja viharati.

This is a gift of Dhamma

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