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If you can't even locate the Tathāgata in space when he's sitting right in front of you, how can you…
October 30th, 2013
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illustration (attribution, if any possible, is at the end of the article)

If you can't even locate the Tathāgata in space when he's sitting right in front of you, how can you ever hope to answer questions about his fate after death?

– What do you think, Anurādha, is form permanent or impermanent?
– Impermanent, venerable sir.
– Is what is impermanent unsatisfactory or satisfactory?
– Unsatisfactory, venerable sir.
– Is what is impermanent, unsatisfactory and subject to change fit to be regarded thus: "This is mine, this I am, this is my self."?
– No, venerable sir.

– Now, what do you think, Anurādha, is feeling permanent or impermanent? (…)
– (…) is perception permanent or impermanent? (…)
– (…) formations (…)
– (…) consciousness (…)

– Therefore, Anurādha, any kind of form whatsoever, whether past, future or present, internal or external, gross or subtle, inferior or superior, far or near —all forms should be seen as they really are with right wisdom thus: "This is not mine, this I am not, this is not my self."
(…) any kind of feeling whatsoever (…)
(…) perception (…)
(…) formations (…)
(…) consciousness (…)


– What do you think, Anurādha, do you regard form as the Tathāgata?
– No, venerable sir.
(…)
– What do you think, Anurādha, do you regard the Tathāgata as in form?
– No, venerable sir.
– Do you regard the Tathāgata as apart from form?
– No, venerable sir.
(…)

– What do you think, Anurādha, do you regard form, feeling, perception, formations, consciousness (taken together) as the Tathāgata?
– No, venerable sir.

– What do you think, Anurādha, do you regard the Tathāgata as one who is without form, without feeling, without perception, without formations, without consciousness?
– No, venerable sir.

– But, Anurādha, when the Tathāgata is not being apprehended by you as true and real here in this very life, is it fitting for you to declare:
"Avuso, when a Tathāgata is describing a Tathāgata —the highest person, the supreme person, the attainer of the supreme— he describes him apart from these four grounds:
• the Tathāgata exists after death, or
• the Tathāgata does not exist after death, or
• the Tathāgata both exists and not exist after death, or
• the Tathāgata neither exists nor not exist after death."?
– No, venerable sir.
– Good, Anurādha, good! Formerly, Anurādha, and also now, I only teach suffering and the ending of suffering.


If you can't even locate the Tathāgata in space when he's sitting right in front of you, how can you ever hope to answer questions about his fate after death? Metaphysics are not what the Dharma is about.

#Buddhism   #Dharma  
Anurādha sutta (SN 22.86 / SN 44.2)
photo: Seated Buddha, Gandhara, 1st-2nd century CE, at the Tokyo National Museum