Satthusasana Sutta: To Upali, A Concise Teaching

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Introduction

The Satthusana Sutta is a concise sutta presented to a monk well-versed in the Buddha’s teachings. He has developed understanding of Dependent Origination  [1] and Four Noble Truths. [2] He has integrated the framework of the Eightfold Path. [3] Through Upali’s integration of the Eightfold Path, he has developed skillful insight into Three Marks of Existence. [4] Here the Buddha is teaching Upali Refined Mindfulness – what to hold in mind and what to dismiss. A skillful understanding of the Buddha’s Dhamma clearly shows that it is as important to understand what to dismiss from mindfulness as it is what to hold in mind – the eight factors of the Eightfold Path.

Satthusasana Sutta: To Upali

Anguttara Nikaya 7.79

One day the Venerable Upali asked the Buddha: “Please provide a concise teaching on your Dhamma so that I may continue to develop understanding in seclusion, free of distraction, ardent, alert, with skillful determination.” “Upali, you know those qualities of mind that do not lead to utter disenchantment, to dispassion, to cessation, to calm, to direct knowledge, to self-awakening, nor to unbinding from self-referential view rooted in ignorance of Four Noble Truths. Be mindful that these qualities are not the Dhamma and they are not the Vinaya. These are not the Teacher’s instruction. “The qualities of mind that you know that lead to utter disenchantment, to dispassion, to cessation, to calm, to direct knowledge, to self-awakening, to unbinding from self-referential view rooted in ignorance of Four Noble Truths. Be mindful that these qualities are the Dhamma and they are the Vinaya. These are  your Teacher’s instruction.”

End Of Sutta

[1] Dependent Origination [2] Four Noble Truths [3] Eightfold Path [4] Three Marks Of Existence. My Dhamma articles are based primarily on Thanissaro Bhikkhu’s excellent and insightful translation of the Pali, as well as the works of Nyanaponika Thera, John Ireland and Maurice Walsh, among others, as preserved at Access To Insight. (http://www.accesstoinsight.org/) Also, I have found Bhikkhu Bodhi’s translations from Wisdom Publications Pali Canon Anthologies to be most informative and an excellent resource.   Every teaching the Buddha presented during his forty-five-year teaching career was taught in the context of Dependent Origination and Four Noble Truths. I have made contextual edits to the suttas from the Sutta Pitaka for further clarity, to minimize repetition, and maintain relevance to Dependent Origination and Four Noble Truths supporting concentration and refined mindfulness developing skillful insight of Three Marks Of Existence.

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