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SN 35.205(246): Vina Sutta - The Lute - Dhamma Wheel

SN 35.205(246): Vina Sutta - The Lute

Each week we study and discuss a different sutta or Dhamma text

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SN 35.205(246): Vina Sutta - The Lute

Postby mikenz66 » Tue Sep 20, 2011 9:48 am

SN 35.205 PTS: S iv 195 CDB ii 1253 (corresponds to CDB SN 35.246)
Vina Sutta: The Lute
translated from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu


The heart of insight (vipassana): When you take apart a lute in search of its music, what do you find? When you take apart the five aggregates in search of "self," what do you find?

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html


"Monks, in whatever monk or nun there arises desire, passion, aversion, delusion, or mental resistance with regard to forms cognizable via the eye, he/she should hold the mind in check. [Thinking,] 'It's dangerous & dubious, that path, thorny & overgrown, a miserable path, a devious path, impenetrable. It's a path followed by people of no integrity, not a path followed by people of integrity. It's not worthy of you,' he/she should hold the mind in check with regard to forms cognizable via the eye.

"In whatever monk or nun there arises desire, passion, aversion, delusion, or mental resistance with regard to sounds cognizable via the ear... aromas cognizable via the nose... flavors cognizable via the tongue... tactile sensations cognizable via the body... ideas cognizable via the intellect, he/she should hold the mind in check. [Thinking,] 'It's dangerous & dubious, that path, thorny & overgrown, a miserable path, a devious path, impenetrable. It's a path followed by people of no integrity, not a path followed by people of integrity. It's not worthy of you,' he/she should hold the mind in check with regard to ideas cognizable via the intellect.

"Suppose that corn had ripened and the watchman was heedless. A corn-eating ox, invading the corn to eat it, would intoxicate itself as much as it liked. In the same way, an uninstructed run-of-the-mill person, not exercising restraint with regard to the six media of sensual contact, intoxicates himself with the five strings of sensuality as much as he likes.

"Now suppose that corn had ripened and the watchman was heedful. The corn-eating ox would invade the corn to eat it, but then the watchman would grab it firmly by the muzzle. Having grabbed it firmly by the muzzle, he would pin it down by the forehead. Having pinned it down by the forehead, he would give it a sound thrashing with a stick. Having given it a sound thrashing with a stick, he would let it go.

"A second time... A third time, the corn-eating ox would invade the corn to eat it, but then the watchman would grab it firmly by the muzzle. Having grabbed it firmly by the muzzle, he would pin it down by the forehead. Having pinned it down by the forehead, he would give it a sound thrashing with a stick. Having given it a sound thrashing with a stick, he would let it go.

"As a result, the corn-eating ox — regardless of whether it went to the village or to the wilds, was standing still or lying down — wouldn't invade the corn again, because it would recall the earlier taste it got of the stick.

"In the same way, when a monk's mind is held back, thoroughly held back, from the six media of sensory contact, his mind settles inwardly, grows steady, unified, & concentrated.

"Suppose there were a king or king's minister who had never heard the sound of a lute before. He might hear the sound of a lute and say, 'What, my good men, is that sound — so delightful, so tantalizing, so intoxicating, so ravishing, so enthralling?' They would say, 'That, sire, is called a lute, whose sound is so delightful, so tantalizing, so intoxicating, so ravishing, so enthralling.' Then he would say, 'Go & fetch me that lute.' They would fetch the lute and say, 'Here, sire, is the lute whose sound is so delightful, so tantalizing, so intoxicating, so ravishing, so enthralling.' He would say, 'Enough of your lute. Fetch me just the sound.' Then they would say, 'This lute, sire, is made of numerous components, a great many components. It's through the activity of numerous components that it sounds: that is, in dependence on the body, the skin, the neck, the frame, the strings, the bridge, and the appropriate human effort. Thus it is that this lute — made of numerous components, a great many components — sounds through the activity of numerous components.'

"Then the king would split the lute into ten pieces, a hundred pieces. Having split the lute into ten pieces, a hundred pieces, he would shave it to splinters. Having shaved it to splinters, he would burn it in a fire. Having burned it in a fire, he would reduce it to ashes. Having reduced it to ashes, he would winnow it before a high wind or let it be washed away by a swift-flowing stream. He would then say, 'A sorry thing, this lute — whatever a lute may be — by which people have been so thoroughly tricked & deceived.'

"In the same way, a monk investigates form, however far form may go. He investigates feeling... perception... fabrications... consciousness, however far consciousness may go. As he is investigating form... feeling... perception... fabrications... consciousness, however far consciousness may go, any thoughts of 'me' or 'mine' or 'I am' do not occur to him."

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Re: SN 35.205(246): Vina Sutta - The Lute

Postby mikenz66 » Tue Sep 20, 2011 9:59 am


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Re: SN 35.205(246): Vina Sutta - The Lute

Postby mikenz66 » Mon Sep 26, 2011 9:35 am


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Re: SN 35.205(246): Vina Sutta - The Lute

Postby Nori » Tue Sep 27, 2011 4:37 am

I am imagining the actuality of the practice of guarding the senses. That is, that every time one is confronted with a contact that is "so delightful, so tantalizing, so intoxicating, so ravishing, so enthralling" that it can lead to "desire, passion, aversion", one would mentally give oneself a "sound thrashing with a stick" so as to ward off one's attention from going there and making contact.

I've tried it before for a part of the day. It is difficult and painful, and I felt like I was going to die. It makes you realize how almost every second, you are delighting in one sensual experience or another (very often created in the mind as ideas). Cutting oneself off from these delightful feelings (and eventually feeling ill), you often wonder - 'will this do any good?' These feelings are in fact, what everyone lives for..

I am wondering if anyone out there has abstained from these contacts and feelings, long enough to the point they no longer felt like they were going to die? To the point where they started to feel good. I would appreciate hearing anyone's experiences.

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Re: SN 35.205(246): Vina Sutta - The Lute

Postby alan » Tue Sep 27, 2011 4:54 am

Nori,
What the hell are you talking about?
"Thrashing of the stick"?
I think you just made that up.

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Re: SN 35.205(246): Vina Sutta - The Lute

Postby alan » Tue Sep 27, 2011 5:04 am

Bad kamma to disrespect a good forum, Nori. And it makes me more inclined to make fun of you. Either way, you lose.

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Re: SN 35.205(246): Vina Sutta - The Lute

Postby mikenz66 » Tue Sep 27, 2011 5:04 am

Hi Nori,

I don't think the idea is to give oneself a "sound thrashing". The idea is to observe how one gets carried away by the senses, and "see through" the attractiveness.

I can't think of a good sutta quote right now, but meanwhile here is a nice essay by Ayya Khema on the subject:
http://www.vipassana.com/meditation/khe ... he_way.php

:anjali:
Mike

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Re: SN 35.205(246): Vina Sutta - The Lute

Postby Nori » Tue Sep 27, 2011 5:28 am

You both obviously do not understand the Sutta (no disrespect).

"Now suppose that corn had ripened and the watchman was heedful. The corn-eating ox would invade the corn to eat it, but then the watchman would grab it firmly by the muzzle. Having grabbed it firmly by the muzzle, he would pin it down by the forehead. Having pinned it down by the forehead, he would give it a sound thrashing with a stick. Having given it a sound thrashing with a stick, he would let it go.

"A second time... A third time, the corn-eating ox would invade the corn to eat it, but then the watchman would grab it firmly by the muzzle. Having grabbed it firmly by the muzzle, he would pin it down by the forehead. Having pinned it down by the forehead, he would give it a sound thrashing with a stick. Having given it a sound thrashing with a stick, he would let it go.

"As a result, the corn-eating ox — regardless of whether it went to the village or to the wilds, was standing still or lying down — wouldn't invade the corn again, because it would recall the earlier taste it got of the stick.

"In the same way, when a monk's mind is held back, thoroughly held back, from the six media of sensory contact, his mind settles inwardly, grows steady, unified, & concentrated."

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Re: SN 35.205(246): Vina Sutta - The Lute

Postby mikenz66 » Tue Sep 27, 2011 5:39 am


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Re: SN 35.205(246): Vina Sutta - The Lute

Postby Nori » Tue Sep 27, 2011 5:51 am

Hi Mike,

Of course it is a simile. It is not saying to literally thrash oneself with a stick, nor have I implied that. You need to read a bit more carefully.

*This sutta*, however, *is* implying/suggesting a forceful manner in which the mind should be restrained to guard the senses.

(I agree, there are other suttas which convey gentler means of handling oneself, though not specifically to guarding the senses.)

---

My actual question to the forum, however, had nothing to do with this issue, even though I made reference to the "thrashing".


Nori

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Re: SN 35.205(246): Vina Sutta - The Lute

Postby Nori » Tue Sep 27, 2011 5:57 am

Lol...

I just read my post again, and see how it was interpreted.

That's very funny. (Actually, it's pretty ridiculous that you both would even think that.)

You both probably imagined some crazed Christian whipping himself and bleeding.

Yes, you both need to read more carefully and understand a post before you reply.

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Re: SN 35.205(246): Vina Sutta - The Lute

Postby cooran » Tue Sep 27, 2011 6:04 am

---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---

Nori
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Re: SN 35.205(246): Vina Sutta - The Lute

Postby Nori » Tue Sep 27, 2011 6:30 am


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Re: SN 35.205(246): Vina Sutta - The Lute

Postby cooran » Tue Sep 27, 2011 6:56 am

Dear Nori,

On a 10 day Retreat, everyone rises at 4 or 5 a.m. and goes to bed at 9.30 p.m. or later. One meditates intensively for the entire day (and occasionally all night) except for meals, a scheduled dhamma talk, and a scheduled practice talk, and a brief interview with the teacher 3 times during this period. This 10 day period is in total silence with eyes lowered (no gazing at the scenery), and the other sense doors guarded at all times. The purpose of the Retreat is to Guard the Sense Doors while intensively practising meditation.

I’ve just returned from such a retreat, and always take two days off work after this to ensure a gentle return to the flood of sense impressions in the day to day world.

With metta
Chris
---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---

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Re: SN 35.205(246): Vina Sutta - The Lute

Postby mikenz66 » Tue Sep 27, 2011 8:48 am

Hi Nori,

Sorry, I should have been clearer.

When I said it was "a dramatic simile rather than as an instruction to thrash oneself..." I wasn't referring to physically hitting oneself, but to applying restraint in an obsessive and unproductive manner.

From your description of "feeling ill" it does sound as if you were "mentally thrashing" yourself, which does not sound very helpful.

:anjali:
Mike

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Re: SN 35.205(246): Vina Sutta - The Lute

Postby mikenz66 » Tue Sep 27, 2011 9:16 am


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Re: SN 35.205(246): Vina Sutta - The Lute

Postby mikenz66 » Tue Sep 27, 2011 9:20 am


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Re: SN 35.205(246): Vina Sutta - The Lute

Postby Nori » Tue Sep 27, 2011 5:44 pm



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