The Way to the Beyond

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6: Upasīva's Questions

“Alone, Sakyan, with nothing to depend on, I am unable to cross over the great flood. Please tell me of a support, Visionary One, depending on which I can cross over this flood.”The great flood of existence.01 [94]

“Looking to nothingness, and being mindful, depending on nothing, cross over the flood.Paraphrase: having developed the sphere of nothingness (ākiñcaññāyatanaṁ), emerging and gaining insight into impermanence, cross over the flood.02 Having given up sense pleasures, abstaining from talk, day and night you must look for the end of suffering.” [95]

“He who is passionless regarding all sense pleasures, who is depending on nothingness, having given up all else, intent on the highest freedom which still has perception - will he remain there without going away?”He is asking about the state of the Non-Returner (Anāgāmī) in the Ākiñcaññāyatana Brahmāloka. The next higher state (nevasaññānāsaññāyatanaṁ) cannot be said to have perception or no perception.03 [96]

“He who is passionless regarding all sense pleasures, who is depending on nothingness, having given up all else, intent on the highest freedom which still has perception - he will remain there without going away.”It means: will he return to this world?04 [97]

“If he remains there without going away for a great number of years, Visionary One, will he become cool and free right there, or will the consciousness of such a one fall away?”The discussion now turns to the one who has attained Arahatta.05 [98]

“As a flame overthrown by the force of the wind, goes to rest and can no longer be discerned, just so the sage free from the mental body goes to rest and can no longer be discerned.” [99]

“The one who has come to rest, is he then nothing? Or is he eternally healthy?Upasīva is still thinking in terms of annihilation (uccheda) or eternal life (sassata). 06 Please explain this to me, Sage, for this Teaching has been understood by you.” [100]

“There is no measure of the one who has come to rest, there is nothing by which they can speak of him, when everything has been completely removed, all the pathways for speech are also completely removed.” The Buddha points out that the truth is outside of conditioned reality.07[101]