fba 3.0 is here! try it now for all devices: help us get the new site ready for primetime!


17 million words and counting!

Social network icons Connect with us on your favourite social network The FBA Podcast Stay Up-to-date via Email, and RSS feeds Stay up-to-date
download whole text as a pdf   Next   

Sutra of Forty - two Sections - New Zealand Unchecked

by Sangharakshita

DISCLAIMER - This transcript has not been checked, and may contain mistakes and mishearings.


(Seminar Study in - New Zealand. 2 Weekends)
Well we are going to start this morning on the Sutra of the Forty Two
Sections -uh-. Which, according to tradition, is the first Buddhist text to have been translated
into Chinese. We probably won't get through the whole text this weekend but if we don't then
we shall continue in about five weeks time after I get back from Christchurch, when we have
another weekend study. Before we actually start, just a few words about the study in
general.huh- I think everybody appreciates that in the FWBO we attach great importance not
justAreading huh, but to study, that is to say going through a
text in this way, section by section, line by line, even, you know word by word, and really
trying to get to the bottom of it -hah- and trying to relate it to our own spiritual needs, as
growing and developing individuals, ah- So as we go through the Text, ah - I don't propose
that we shall be dealing with things that we ought to know anyway - I'll for instance not stop
and go into the Four Noble Truths, because they've been dealt with on so many occasions, but
rather deal with matters which arise out of the text - ah - which haven't been covered, you
know, on previous occasions, which aren't covered in the "Survey" or in the lectures, or even
any of the other Seminars, and concentrate more on those points, those issues, eh, raised in
the text, which directly relate to us and are of some concern to us, or are not very clear to us,
eh, for which we haven't had an opportunity of clearing up or going into bed?re, so that if we
approach it in this way, we'll get more out of the study, and also won't be going over the same
old ground again - uh. Now what we'll do, what we usually do, we just go around the circle,
each person reading a section - eh - here the sections are numbered, so
it's quite, you know,easy and convenient. Each person in turn reads a section - uh - we then
stop and discuss that that section - go into it for as long as possible, eh - and usually what
happens is that we are not too strict about keeping to the text, eh. If, you know, a question of
interest or concern arises just out of the text, even though it isn't even very directly related to
it, or some questions arise simply out of
COruLext, eh, they may not not be very directly based on the text, well don't hesitate to bring
it up. We can go into it, we can even digress a little bit - it doesn't matter -eh- provided that
we come back to the text, of course ( in the end - eh- We have in fact spent weekends
going into half a page of text, that's quite all right; that's quite in order. We don't have to get
through it in a certain given time. If we don't manage to finish the whole text in two
weekends even, well, we'll just have to carry on next time I come back to New Zealand, - eh-
(Laughter) That'll be the way we'll have to do it -eh- Another thing - before we actually start,
we ought to take, what I believe is called a voice-print-uh- so that when somebody or other
eventually gets around to transcribing it, they know who is speaking~uh. So what I suggest is
- you know - everybody already has heard my voice,eh (chuckles) we go round the circle and
everybody introduces themselves, you know, mentioning their name and just a few words
about themselves so that whoever transcribes later on can recognise that voice and attribute,
you know, the correct sayings to the correct person, you know, and not get them muddled up.
So maybe we can do that first, just take a voice-print, then we'd better check back t~at we've
got it all right, and that it's sounding all right, and then we can start. So let's start with Udaya,
introducing himself - uh - just an address and telephone number - (Laughter) if you can't think
of anything better.
Udaya: I'm Udaya,and I'm living at Suvarnaketu, and I'm very happy to be on this study with
Bhante, and hope to get a lot out of it.
Barbara Gill (Aniketa) : I'm Barbara. I've been coming along to the
FWBO for a number of years now, since Bhante's last visit when he gave some lectures here
in Auckland - and I am also very happy to be here.
Ann (Suvajri): I'm Ann Gill and I can't really think of anything to say - (Laughter) .
Right! you're identified. (Laughter).
I'm Megha. I live some distance away from this place. I 'm~ry happy
to be here.
Verne: I'm Verne Barrett and I come from the North Shore, and I'm also very pleased
to be here.
I'm Vijaya - I've been invited up here from Christchurch and very
happy to be here.
Purna: I'm Purna - I'm resident in the community here also very happy to be here
Bhante: They seem to encourage
here - (Laughter).
Dave Moore: My name is David Moore, I'm a mitra of Auckland,
(Ratnaketu)and live in Suvarnaketu.
Keith Downer
(Dharmadhara): I'm Keith. I've just come up from Wellington.
It's a great great occasion for me, and I'm very pleased.
I'm Priyananda and I'm now living in Auckland having recently arrived
here from England.
Jim Sharples
I'm Jim Sharples, mitra, and I'm doing the
recording, so if anything goes wrong, it'll be my fault. (Laughter)-
All right the Sutra of 42 Sections spoken by the Buddha. )
We'Te going to start on Page ten - there's no need to go into
the introduction - translated in the
3So maybe Udaya could read the first section.
There's all sorts of points arising in this section - eh- First of all about the
"World honoured One" - The foot-note says ~okajt~t~a title of the Buddha. Does anybody
know what it actually means, or what it signifies?
Udaya:The Elder brother of the world.
S: Um is more like "elder brother" - "Loka" is of course - 'world". So why do you
think the Buddha is called the "elder brother of the world" - what's the significance of this
particular title?
Dave: Does it mean he's the helper of the world or the younger brothers?
Um - yes - it certainly suggest that - but there's an additional significance -eh-
which is something so obvious that you're probably not noticing it, it's staring you right in the
face, yes.
Purna: It's the priority in time - he was first.
Yes - but it's in a way even more obvious then that.
Yes - but it's in a way more obvious thatn that.
Verne: It feels to me like we're part of that - that same family.
Yes - part of that same family. You're getting quite close now - (Laughter) So
what does that mean?
There's no fundamental difference.
There's no fundamental difference. There's no difference of kind. The Buddha
is a human being, as you are a human being, so just as the'younger brother' can grow up and
become like the 'elder brother', so the unenlightened human being can grow s~iritually and
become like, or even become the enlightened human being, i.e. the Buddha. So this is the
significance of
4th~t title -eh- so this is quite important. I've gone into it on other occasions, but it's worth
underlining that from time to time. Uh. "So when the 'world honoured' had become enlight-
ened, he reflected th-us - To abandon desire and rest in perfect quietude is the greatest of
victories. To remain in a state of complete abstraction i-s to overcome the ways of all the
Evil ones" --eh- you musn't forget here that this is a translation from the Chinese, and that the
translation into Chinese, that Chinese version - was a translation from the Sanskrit - so the
terminology is a bit general -uh- not to say - vague. The technicalities tend to get a bit lost, so
we musn't take some of expressions translated into English from Chinese translated from
Sanskrit -- presuming the sanskrit to be the original. We musn't take them too literally -eh-
especially expressions like 'complete abstraction' - if you take that too literally it would
almost mak~ nonsense of Buddhism. But anyway one or two general points worth
considering here. This question of victory -uh- The Buddha says "to abandon desire and rest
in perfect quietude i-s the greatest of victories". Clearly he is talking of some spiritual
achievement, but why does he describe it as the greatest of victories? Does it remind you of
anything? Does it remind you of any verse or teaching you've read before, some other text?
Victory over death?
Victory over death, yes.
Keith: Sounds like something from the Dhammapada.
Sounds like something from the Dhammapada, so which verse?
Purna: If one conquers a thousand men, a thousand times in battle
Ah, yes, yes - Puma - etc.
S: So it seems to be an indirect reference to that - 'To
abandon desire and rest in perfect quietude' is the greatest
5of victories' because that is the victory over oneself -um- the greatest of victories, is the
victory over oneself. All right, this question of abandoning desire. No doubt it is clear in
your own minds, but often isn't always clear in the minds of people who come along to
classes and start looking into Buddhism, eh-. They hear that Buddhism teaches the of desire
-eh- so ...

download whole text as a pdf   Next