Moha - Moha accompanied by doubt II

People in the Buddha's time too were speculating about things which do not lead to the goal of the teachings. They were wondering whether the world is finite or infinite, whether the world is eternal or not eternal, whether the Tathāgata (the Buddha) exists after his final passing away or not. We read in the 'Lesser Discourse to Mālunkya (Middle Length Sayings II, no. 63) that Mālunkyaputta was displeased that the Buddha did not give explanations with regard to speculative views. He wanted to question the Buddha on these views and if the Buddha should not give him an explanation with regard to these views he would leave the order. He spoke to the Buddha about this matter and the Buddha asked him whether he had ever said to Malunkyaputta:


Come you, Mālurikyaputta, fare the Brahma-faring under me

and I will explain to you either that the world is eternal

or that the world is not eternal...

or that the Tathāgata is…

is not after dying…

both is and is not after dying...

neither is nor is not after dying?


We read that Mālunkyaputta answered: 'No, revered Sir.’ The Buddha also

asked him whether he (Māunkyaputta) had said that he would 'fare the

Brahma-faring' under the Lord if the Lord should give him an explanation with

regard to these views and again Māunkyaputta answered: 'No, revered sir.'

The Buddha then compared his situation with the case of a man who is

pierced by a poisoned arrow and who will not draw out the arrow until he

knows whether the man who pierced him is a noble, a brahman, a merchant

or a worker; until he knows the name of the man and his clan; until he knows

his outward appearance; until he knows about the bow, the bowstring, the

material of the shaft, the kind of arrow. However, he will pass away before he

knows all this. It is the same with the person who only wants to 'fare the

Braham-faring' under the Lord if explanations with regard to speculative views

are given to him. We read that the Buddha said:


'The living of the Brahma-faring, Mālunkyaputta,

could not be said to depend on the view that the world is eternal.

Nor could the living of the Brahma-faring, Mālunkyaputta,

be said to depend on the view that the world is not eternal.

Whether there is the view that the world is eternal

or whether there is the view that the world is not eternal,

there is birth, there is aging, there is dying,

there are grief, sorrow, suffering, lamentation and despair,

the destruction of which I lay down here and now....


Wherefore, Mālunkyaputta, understand as not explained

what has not been explained by me,

and understand as explained what has been explained by me.

And what, Mālunkyaputta, has not been explained by me? 

That the world is eternal..

that the world is not eternal has not been explained by me..

And why, Mālunkyaputta, has this not been explained by me?

It is because it is not connected with the goal,

it is not  fundamental to the Brahma-faring,

and does not conduce to turning away from,

nor to dispassion, stopping, calming,

super-knowledge, awakening, nor to nibbana. 

Therefore it has not been explained by me, Mālunkyaputta.

And what has been explained by me, Mālunkyaputta?'

This is dukkha' has been explained by me, Mālunkyaputta.

'This is the arising of dukkha' has been explained by me.

'This is the stopping of dukkha' has been explained by me.

'This is the course leading to the stopping of dukkha'

has been explained by me.

And why, Mālunkyaputta, has this been explained by me?

It is because it is connected with the goal,

it is fundamental to the Brahma-faring,

and conduces to turning away from,

to dispassion, stopping, calming,

super-knowledge, awakening and nibbāna... '


Doubt cannot be cured by speculating about matters which do not lead to the

goal; it can only be cured by being aware of the nāma and rūpa which

present themselves now. Even when there is doubt it can be realized as only

a type of nāma arising because of conditions and not self. Thus the reality of

the present moment will be known more clearly.

Topic 180