English Translation 3.7.6

3.7.6  Maintaining One’s Object of Meditation Unobstructed1
 

Here when: ‘perceiving a visual object through the eyes’ he neither adheres to that object nor does he dwell in the details. If he was to dwell with the eye-faculty unguarded it would result in evil and unwholesome states, such as greed and aversion; thus he guards his eye doors and increases restraint on the faculties of vision.

In hearing a sound through the ears neither he adheres to that object nor does he dwell in the details. If he was to dwell with the ear-faculty unguarded it would result in evil and unwholesome states, such as greed and aversion; thus he guards his ear doors and increases restraint on the hearing faculties.

In encountering a fragrance through the nose neither he adheres to that object nor does he dwell in the details. If he was to dwell with the nose-faculty unguarded it would result in evil and unwholesome states, such as greed and aversion; thus he guards his nose doors and increases restraint on the smelling faculties.

In savouring a taste through the tongue neither he adheres to that object nor does he dwell in the details. If he was to dwell with the tongue-faculty unguarded it would result in evil and unwholesome states, such as greed and aversion; thus he guards the doors of taste and increases restraint on the savouring faculties.

In encountering a touch through the body he neither adheres to that object nor does he dwell in the details. If he was to dwell with the body-faculty unguarded it would result in evil and unwholesome states, such as greed and aversion; thus he guards his body doors and increases restraint on the sensible faculties.

In apprehending a thought through the mind he neither adheres to that thought nor does he dwell in the details. If he was to dwell with the mind-faculty unguarded it would result in evil and unwholesome things such as greed and aversion; thus he guards his mind doors and increases restraint on the mental faculties’ this it what is called: virtue of restraint of the sense faculties!.......

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…… Now, in regard to the virtue of restraint of the sense faculties as shown by inference here beginning with: “perceiving a visual object through the eyes” and those following, thus ‘he’ refers to a Bhikkhu – he, who is established in the virtue of perfecting the regulations of the Pātimokkha restraint. ‘Seeing a visual object through the eyes’ is done by means of an ‘instrument’ called the eye which is capable to see a physical form via the eye-consciousness. As the ancient scriptures say: ‘It is not the eye that sees, because it is doing it without mind, it is not the mind that sees, because it is doing it without the eye’ - it is mind based on ‘eye-sensitivity’ that sees when the object provokes the doors of perception. As a comparison, when one says: ‘he shoots with a bow’ or something like that, then the phrase refers to the instrument. Similarly is the meaning here: ‘One sees a physical form through eye-consciousness.’

He does not ‘adhere to that object’ means: He does not adhere to the sign of a woman or a man nor to anything that could turn into a base of defilement such as a sign of attractiveness and so forth. He remains only with what is seen.

‘He does ‘not dwell in the details’: He does not follow up ‘minor attributes’ consisting of hands, feet, smile, laughter, speech, looking in front and so forth that are called attributes as they manifest as particulars of defilements. He only apprehends to what there really is like Mahātissa Thera who dwelled at Cetiyapabbata.

It is said that a certain wife, after having quarrelled with her husband adorned herself like a heavenly goddess and went towards the city Anurādhapuraṃ to the house of her relatives. When she passed Cetiyapabbata and saw the Thera walking for alms towards the same city of Anurādhapuraṃ she, with a tainted mind, laughed loudly.

Thinking: ‘what is this?’ the Elder looked at her and while realizing her row of teeth as a sign of impurity achieved Arahatship. It is said:

“While seeing a row of teeth and remembering earlier perceptions

Standing at this very spot, the Thera attained Arahantship.”

When the husband, following the same path saw the Thera and asked him: “Bhante, have you seen a woman?” the Thera replied:

“I don’t know if a woman or if a man passed by here.

Merely an accumulation of bones passed this great road.”



1. Indriyasaṃvarasīlaṃ: Indriya + saṃvara + sīlaṃ: sense faculties + protection + virtue

Last modified: Friday, 4 May 2018, 1:02 PM