Namo tassa bhagavato arahato sammāsambuddhassa
Introduction to 1.4.5
Araññasuttaṃ - Serene Dwelling in the Forest
tena me samaṇā piyā.
Living in the present moment:
That is why they are dear to me!1
The current short Araññasutta is chosen from the Saṃyuttanikāyo, Sagāthāvaggo Devatāsaṃyuttaṃ, the questions of Devās. Here a Devatā is addressing the Buddha in verses.2 She expresses her surprise that these Bhikkhus live such a simple, restrained life and their appearance is still so serene. The commentary mentions that the Buddha’s reply shows that through meditation the mind becomes tranquil, the blood circulation gets smoothed, the physical appearance improves and becomes cleansed.
Tesañca evaṃ nisinnānaṃ balavacittekaggatā3 uppajjati. Tato visabhāgasantati4 vūpasammati, sabhāgasantati5 okkamati, cittaṃ pasīdati. Citte pasanne lohitaṃ pasīdati, cittasamuṭṭhānāni upādārūpāni parisuddhāni honti, vaṇṭā pamuttatālaphalassa6 viya mukhassa vaṇṇo hoti.7
In this way when sitting down there arises a strong one-pointedness of mind. Thus the duration of uneven portions get extinguished, the duration of even portions get established and the mind gets purified. With that purified mind, blood gets cleaned, matter subsisting and arising from mind is utterly pure, and the features become like the freed fruit on the stalk of the Palmyra tree.
The ability and accomplishment of paccuppannena yāpenti (Living in the present moment) can be achieved by maintaining ‘wakefulness, alertness, attention and constant thorough awareness’.8 In the previous lesson9 the Venerable Ānanda emphasised the seven ‘befitting qualities’ (saddhamma) of a Bhikkhu but also pointed to the importance of maintaining alertness and wakefulness thus.
‘‘Kathañca, mahānāma, ariyasāvako jāgariyaṃ anuyutto hoti?
rattiyā paṭhamaṃ yāmaṃ caṅkamena nisajjāya āvaraṇīyehi dhammehi cittaṃ parisodheti,
rattiyā majjhimaṃ yāmaṃ dakkhiṇena passena sīhaseyyaṃ kappeti, pāde pādaṃ accādhāya, sato sampajāno,
uṭṭhānasaññaṃ13 manasi karitvā, rattiyā pacchimaṃ yāmaṃ paccuṭṭhāya caṅkamena nisajjāya āvaraṇīyehi dhammehi
Evaṃ kho, mahānāma, ariyasāvako jāgariyaṃ anuyutto hoti.”
“And how does a noble disciple maintain wakefulness and alertness?
During the day, while walking up and down, while sitting, a noble disciple purifies his mind of obstructive states.
In the first watch of the night, while walking up and down, while sitting, he purifies his mind of obstructive states.
In the middle watch of the night he lies down on the right side in the lion’s pose with one foot overlapping the other, fully aware with constant thorough understanding of impermanence, after noting in his mind the time for rising.
After rising, in the third watch of the night, while walking up and down, while sitting, he purifies his mind of obstructive states.
That is how a noble disciple maintains wakefulness and alertness.”
3. balavacittekaggatā: balava + citta + eka + g + gatā — firm, strong + mind + one + gone.
4. visabhāgasantati: visabhāga + santati — different, dissimilar + continuity, lineage.
5. sabhāgasantati: sabhāga + santati: similar + continuity, lineage.
6. pamuttatālaphalassa: pamutta + tāla + phala + assa — freed + palm tree + fruit.
7. Araññasuttavaṇṇanā, Sagāthāvagga-aṭṭhakathā, Saṃyuttanikāye.
10. caṅkamena: caṅkama + ena — walking up and down.
11. nisajjā: sitting down.
12. āvaraṇīyehi: āvaraṇa (pl., instr.): hindrance, obstacle (āvaraṇa is another term or synonym for the more common nivaraṇa for which one may refer to 3.7.8 Nīvaraṇapabbaṃ – Mastering the Hindrances).
13. uṭṭhānasaññaṃ: uṭṭhāna + sañña — rising, appearance + consciousness, perception.