Namo tassa bhagavato arahato sammāsambuddhassa

Introduction to 3.2.3
(The Four Noble Truths Have to Be Fully Realized)

After the Buddha had decided to visit his five previous companions (see 3.1.3) he explained to them that he had to leave aside those two extremes of rolling in sensual pleasures and the practice of self-mortification to be able to finally realize what made him enlightened and what he named the Ariyo Aṭṭhaṅgiko Maggo. He then continued to describe this realization in all necessary detail of how he himself had proceeded and how everyone else should proceed in order to achieve the same attainments.

The grammatical usage underscores the emphasis that Buddha puts on acquired self-realisation: Starting from simple factual comprehension of each Noble Truth (simple present—idaṃ—this is…) through the zeal of realising it (gerund of necessity, future passive participle—pahātabbaṃ—this should be abandoned) to the completed accomplishment (past participle—pahīnaṃ—this is abandoned) he points out the necessary threefold acquisition till final realization of all the respective four Noble Truths each is reached: Idaṃ—pariññeyyan’ti me—pariññātan’ti—(first noble truth); — Idaṃ—pahātabban’ti me—pahīnan’ti me—(second noble truth); — Idaṃ—sacchikātabban’ti me—sacchikatan’ti me—(third noble truth);—Idaṃ—bhāvetabban’ti me—bhāvitan’ti me—(fourth noble truth). In this manner each one needs to be performed up to fulfilment in the necessary three ways each, thus making them twelvefold: tiparivaṭṭaṃ dvādasākāraṃ yathābhūtaṃ ñāṇadassanaṃ suvisuddhaṃ ahosi.

The commentary (Dhammacakkappavattanasuttavaṇṇanā, Saṃyuttanikāye, Mahāvaggaaṭṭhakathā) further explains:—Tiparivaṭṭanti saccañāṇakiccañāṇakatañāṇasaṅkhātānaṃ1 tiṇṇaṃ parivaṭṭānaṃ vasena tiparivaṭṭaṃ.—In their three successions: on account of the discrimination of the knowledge of truth, the knowledge of the obligation of what ought to be done and the knowledge of what has been performed in its three rounds therefore it is: in their three successions. Ettha hi “idaṃ dukkhaṃ ariyasaccaṃ, idaṃ dukkhasamudayan”ti evaṃ catūsu saccesu yathābhūtaṃ ñāṇaṃ saccañāṇaṃ nāma.—Because here the knowledge of the four Noble Truths: “This is Noble Truth of Suffering, this is Noble Truth of the Arising of Suffering” as they really are is called the knowledge of truth. Tesuyeva “pariññeyyaṃ pahātabban”ti evaṃ kattabbakiccajānanañāṇaṃ2 kiccañāṇaṃ nāma.—In the same way: “should be completely understood, should be left behind” the understanding of that what should be done and knowledge as obligation is the knowledge of the obligation of what ought to be done. “Pariññātaṃ pahīnan” ti evaṃ tassa tassa kiccassa katabhāvajānanañāṇaṃ3 katañāṇaṃ nāma.—“Is completely understood, is left behind” is the understanding and knowledge that this very obligation has been performed that is what is called the knowledge of what has been performed.—Dvādasākāranti tesaṃyeva ekekasmiṃ sacce tiṇṇaṃ tiṇṇaṃ ākārānaṃ vasena dvādasākāraṃ.—Making them twelvefold: These very truths each one in three ways each on account of making them twelvefold.

By the end of this exposition one of the pañcavaggiyā bhikkhū, Koṇḍañña attained the first level of truth-realization and became Sotāpanna and thus the setting a-rolling of the auspicious wheel of the Dhamma was inaugurated. Koṇḍañña was older than the Buddha and had been one of the soothsayers, King Suddhodana had sent for and who had foreseen that the baby would become a Buddha. King Suddhodana had been worried about these prophesy that his son would later renounce the kingdom and did all he could to assure that Siddhattha would not encounter any mischief, misery or unhappiness. In spite of this the famous three incidents: old age, illness and death were encountered by the Bodhisatta as well as the happenstance of an ascetic who later resolved to renounce the householder’s world. Koṇḍañña had been convinced about the accuracy of his clairvoyance, had devoted his life to waiting for Siddhattha`s renunciation and immediately followed him with the four others. Due to the following utterance the Buddha expressed at the end of the Dhammacakkappavattanasuttaṃ Koṇḍañña was known henceforth by his second name: Aññāsikoṇḍañño:–Atha kho bhagavā imaṃ udānaṃ udānesi–“aññāsi4 vata, bho, koṇḍañño, aññāsi vata, bho, koṇḍañño”ti! Iti hidaṃ āyasmato koṇḍaññassa ‘aññāsikoṇḍañño’ tveva5 nāmaṃ ahosīti. Koṇḍañña became Arahant five days later after the preaching of the Anattalakkhanasutta (see 3.2.8). He, thus having seen the Dhamma, obtained, realized and dived into the Dhamma by having left behind doubt and uncertainty, having attained full confidence in the teachers instruction was the first to receive higher ordination, to go forth and to be addressed under the formula: ehi bhikkhu6: ……Atha kho āyasmā aññāsikoṇḍañño diṭṭhadhammo pattadhammo viditadhammo7 pariyogāḷhadhammo8 tiṇṇavicikiccho vigatakathaṅkatho9 vesārajjappatto10 aparappaccayo11 satthusāsane bhagavantaṃ etadavoca– “labheyyāhaṃ12, bhante, bhagavato santike pabbajjaṃ, labheyyaṃ upasampadan”ti. “Ehi bhikkhū”ti bhagavā avoca– “svākkhāto dhammo, cara brahmacariyaṃ sammā dukkhassa antakiri yāyā”ti13.

This turning of the wheel of Dhamma represented such a rare and unique occurrence that all the beings in the fields above the human world up to the Brahmaloka rejoiced as well: Itiha, tena khaṇena14, tena layena tena muhuttena yāva brahmalokā saddo abbhuggacchi. Ayañca dasasahassilokadhātu saṃkampi sampakampi sampavedhi; appamāṇo15 ca uḷāro obhāso loke pāturahosi, atikkamma devānaṃ devānubhāvaṃ.—At that very moment, that instant, that second the information reached up as far as to the fields of the Brahmā. Here the ten thousand world system shook, quaked and trembled and immeasurable bright halo appeared in the world even outshining the divine splendour of the Devas.

The sutta continues how this delightful news of the inauguration of the turning of the wheel of the Dhamma, which could not have been now stopped turning by anyone in this world of Samaṇas, Brāhmiṇs, Devas, Māras and Brahmas now spread throughout the universe. Starting from the earthbound beings it reaches up to the fields of higher beings dwelling in the world of form (brahmakāyikā deva) beginning with the following words: bhummā devā saddamanussāvesuṃ16—“etaṃ bhagavatā bārāṇasiyaṃ isipatane migadāye anuttaraṃ dhammacakkaṃ pavattitaṃ appaṭivattiyaṃ samaṇena vā brāhmaṇena vā devena vā mārena vā brahmunā vā kenaci vā lokasmin”ti. Bhummānaṃ devānaṃ saddaṃ sutvā cātumahārājikā devā saddamanussāvesuṃ– …pe… cātumahārājikānaṃ devānaṃ saddaṃ sutvā tāvatiṃsā devā …pe… yāmā devā …pe… tusitā devā …pe… nimmānaratī devā …pe… paranimmitavasavattī devā …pe… brahmakāyikā devā saddamanussāvesuṃ– “etaṃ bhagavatā…… Those fields above the human world start with the kāmaloka-devā, the first six field of beings that are enjoying sensual pleasures and whose names are mentioned here, (enjoying the fruits of the performance of wholesome actions in their past lives), the brahmic beings belonging to the sixteen fields of fine material sphere, the rupa-brahma-loka, (according to their meditative achievements from the first to the fourth jhānas) where beings are composed of fine material body and consciousness (except for the asaññasatta brahma) and the final four fields of ārupa-brahma-loka, where beings consist merely of consciousness (according to their meditative achievements in the arūpāyatana jhānas).

May the Dhammacakka continue to keep on rolling for the benefit of many!

[1] saccañāṇakiccañāṇakatañāṇasaṅkhātānaṃ: sacca +ñāṇa + kicca + ñāṇa + kata + ñāṇa + saṅkhātānaṃ: truth + knowledge + ought to be done + knowledge + what is done + knowledge + named

[2] kattabbakiccajānanañāṇaṃ: kattabba + kicca + jānana + ñāṇaṃ: should be done + obligation to do + understanding + knowledge

[3] katabhāvajānanañāṇaṃ: kata + bhāva + jānana + ñāṇaṃ: done + developement understanding + knowledge

[4] aññāsi: ājānāti (aor.): perceive, understand, know

[5] tveva: iti + eva: thus, here, in this way

[6] For the regular formular to request acceptance as a follower of the Buddha see: 1.4.8 Sāmaññaphalasuttaṃ

[7] viditadhammo: vidita (pp from vindati) + dhammo: known, found + dhamma

[8] pariyogāḷhadhammo: pariyogāḷha + dhammo: dived into + dhamma

[9] vigatakathaṅkatho: vigata + kathaṅkatho: gone + doubt

[10] vesārajjappatto: vesārajja + p + patto: confidence + having reached

[11] aparappaccayo: apara + p + paccayo: further + confidence, ground

[12] labheyyāhaṃ: labheyya + ahaṃ: may receive + I

[13] The Buddha’s reply for acceptance of disciple hood was: svākkhāto dhammo, cara brahmacariyaṃ sammā dukkhassa antakiri yāyā”ti. Well taught is the Dhamma, fare the holy life to make an end to suffering.

[14] khaṇo, layo, muhutto: are different expressions to denote a very short period of time,; moment, second, instance…

[15] appamāṇo: boundless, infinite

[16] saddamanussāvesuṃ: sadda + manussā + avesuṃ (aor. of suṇoti): sound + mankind + heared

Pāli lesson (with audio) 3.2.3

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Last modified: Thursday, 28 December 2023, 10:46 AM