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Udāna

Udāna
1.10 Bāhiya Sutta
Bāhiya of the Bark-cloth

The Buddha gives a deep teaching on the six sense bases.

This is how I heard. At one time the Blessed One was staying in the province of Sāvatthī in the Prince Jeta’s garden at Anāthapiṇdika’s monastery. There, Bāhiya, who was wearing a Bark-cloth, was living by the seashore at the bank of Suppāraka. People respected, revered, honored, venerated, and worshipped him. He received plenty of clothes, food, lodging, and medicine.

One day while Bāhiya was meditating alone, a thought arose in his mind, “Am I one of those in the world who has been liberated or have I entered the path to liberation?”

Then a god who was a former blood relative of Bāhiya of the Bark-cloth, knew the thought that arose in Bāhiya’s mind. Being compassionate and desiring Bāhiya’s well-being, the god appeared in front Bāhiya and said to him, “Bāhiya, you are neither a liberated one nor have you entered the path to liberation. You do not even have the practice by which you would become a liberated one or enter the path to liberation.”

Bāhiya asked the god, “Then dear god, who are the liberated ones in this world of gods and humans, and who have entered the path to liberation?”

The god responded, “Dear Bāhiya, there is a province called Sāvatthi in the Northern territory of India. There, the Blessed One, liberated and fully enlightened, lives. Dear Bāhiya, the Blessed One is truly a liberated one and teaches the Dhamma leading to liberation.

Then and there, Bāhiya of the Bark-cloth, who was shocked by the god, left the bank of Suppāraka towards to the province of Sāvatthī. Along the way, he stopped only for one night, and went all the way to the province of Sāvatthī where the Blessed One was staying in the Prince Jeta’s garden at Anāthapiṇdika’s monastery. At that time a large number of monks who were walking up and down in the open air. Bāhiya of the Bark-cloth went to those monks and asked, “Venerable sirs, where is the Blessed One now staying, the liberated one, the supremely enlightened one? I want to see the Blessed One , the liberated one, the supremely enlightened one.”

The monks replied, “Bāhiya, the Blessed One has gone into the village for alms.”

Then Bāhiya hurriedly left the Prince Jeta’s garden and entered the village. All of a sudden he saw the Blessed One, the best among gods and humans—pleasing, lovely to see, with calmed senses, with a peaceful mind, having attained supreme freedom and peacefulness, fully tamed, with guarded senses—going for alms in the village. Seeing the Blessed One, Bāhiya approached him and fell to his knees and worshiped the Blessed One with his head to the Blessed One’s feet saying, “O Blessed One, please teach me the Dhamma! O Fortunate One, please teach me the Dhamma, that will be for my good and happiness for a long time.”

When Bāhiya said this, the Blessed One said to him, “Bāhiya this is not a suitable time for teaching. I have entered the village for alms.”

For the second time Bāhiya said to the Blessed One, “But Venerable sir, it is hard to know for sure how long the Blessed One will live or how long I will live. O Blessed One, please teach me the Dhamma! O Fortunate One, please teach me the Dhamma, that will be for my good and happiness for a long time.” For the third time Bāhiya said to the Blessed One, “But Venerable sir, it is hard to know for sure, how long the Blessed One will live or how long I will live. O Blessed One, please teach me the Dhamma! O Fortunate One, please teach me the Dhamma, that will be for my good and happiness for a long time.”

“Then, Bāhiya you should train yourself thus: when you see something there will be only what is seen and therefore no defilements will be generated. When you hear something there will be only what is heard and therefore no defilements will be generated. When you smell something there will be only what is smelled and therefore no defilements will be generated. When you taste something there will be only what is tasted and therefore no defilements will be generated. When you touch something there will be only what is touched and therefore no defilements will be generated. When you think something there will be only what is thought and therefore no defilements will be generated. Bāhiya in this way you should train yourself.

“Bāhiya, when you see something, if there is only what is seen and therefore no defilements are generated. When you hear something, if there is only what is heard and therefore no defilements are generated. When you smell something, if there is only what is smelled and therefore no defilements are generated. When you taste something, if there is only what is tasted and therefore no defilements are generated. When you touch something, if there is only what is touched and therefore no defilements are generated. When you think something, if there is only what is thought and therefore no defilements are generated, then Bāhiya, as a result you will not cling to them. When, Bāhiya you do not cling to anything at all then Bāhiya, there is no “you” there. When, Bāhiya there is no “you” there, you are neither in this world nor in the other world nor in between the two worlds. Just this is the end of suffering.”

Through hearing this brief explanation of the Dhamma from the Blessed One, the mind of Bāhiya of the Bark-cloth, right then and there, was freed from the taints without clinging. Having instructed Bāhiya with this brief explanation of the Dhamma, the Blessed One left.

Not long after the Blessed One’s departure, Bāhiya was attacked and killed by a cow with a young calf. When the Blessed One, having gone for alms in the village, after the meal, returning from his alms round with a large number of monks, saw that Bāhiya of the Bark-cloth had died. Seeing this he said to the monks, “Monks, take Bāhiya’s body, put it on a plank, carry the body away and cremate it. Then build a stupa in his name. This is the body of one of your fellow monks.”

“As you say, Bhante,” those monks replied to the Blessed One. The monks took Bāhiya’s body, put the body on a plank, carried it away, and cremated it. Then they built a stupa in the name of the monk Bāhiya. Then the monks returned to the Blessed One, worshipped him and sat down to one side. Sitting there those monks asked the Blessed One, “Bhante, Bāhiya’s body has been cremated and a stupa has been made in his name. What is his destination? Where has he been reborn?”

“Monks, Bāhiya of the bark-cloth was very wise. He practiced according to the Dhamma and did not trouble me with issues related to the Dhamma. Monks, Bāhiya of the bark-cloth became liberated and attained ultimate freedom, Nibbāna at passing away.”

Then, on realizing the bliss of liberation, the Blessed One spoke the following inspired verses:

“Where neither water nor earth nor fire nor air gain a foothold, there the stars do not shine, the sun’s radiance is not visible, and the moon does not shine. Yet, there darkness is not found.

“When the liberated sage, the brāhmin through the Dhamma has realized ultimate freedom for himself through his own wisdom, then he is freed from the realm of form and formless. He is also freed from the sense realm where there is pain and pleasure.”

These inspired verses were spoken by the Blessed One, so I heard.

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Udāna 1.10 Bāhiya Sutta: Bāhiya of the Bark-cloth

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