Tuvaṭaka Sutta – 4.14. The Quick Way

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    • #15215
      Tobias G

      See https://suttacentral.net/snp4.14/en/mills

      …One of my followers would not cast spells,
      Or interpret dreams,
      Nor would they practice astrology,
      Prognosticate animal sounds,
      Practice fertility magic,
      Or [earn money] as a healer….

      Why should one not work as a healer? If understanding of the Buddha Dhamma is established and good deeds by healing people can be done, why not do that?

    • #15218

      Perhaps that one can do it but for free.

    • #15219
      y not

      Remember it refers to followers of the Dhamma. The motive of gain is there and they get what is necessary for survival by almsgiving. So for them it counts as greed. If they can heal (not applying occult practices or techniques, of course), very well and good,but expecting nothing in return, This is how I see it.

      The case of healing as regards doctors of medicine is different, even though THEY practice primarirly to make a decent living for themselves.So the merit is mostly on the mundane level ( for they get their reward in the here and now) and so it decreases on higher levels the more they charge. Compare: there have been a few ‘doctors of the poor’ here where I live. They do not charge money at all.

      y not

    • #15227

      Tobias said: “Why should one not work as a healer? If understanding of the Buddha Dhamma is established and good deeds by healing people can be done, why not do that?”

      1. The part of the verse he quoted is, “Or [earn money] as a healer”. The Pali verse is, “Tikicchaṃ māmako na seveyya”. Here, mamaka means “devoted to”, and tikiccaha is the art of healing or how to practice medicine. So, a better translation is, “should not get into practicing medicine”.
      2. I am not familiar with the background for this sutta. But it seems that someone is asking the Buddha how should a bhikkhu live his life to “Mūlaṃ-papañca-saṅ-khāya”, or “to uproot the defilements from his mind”.
      3. One becomes a bhikkhu to stay away from the need to make a living and to devote most of his/her time to pursue Nibbana. In order to do that, he/she must be supported by lay people. Now the way to “pay back” those lay people is not by doing all those things listed in the sutta, but just by explaining Dhamma to them.
        • And in the rest of the sutta, the Buddha describes how a bhikkhu should devote his life for that goal.
      4. A bhikkhu should not do ANYTHING to earn money, but also AVOID becoming healers (doctors) people or in general helping with their mundane necessities (doing astrology, helping with fertility issues, etc that are listed in the sutta). This may sound contradictory to being compassionate, but it really is not.
        • The role of a bhikkhu, as far as lay people are concerned, should be to explain Dhamma and help them attain Nibbana.
      5. If bhikkhus start helping out lay people with their mundane necessities that will be a HUGE distraction. Furthermore, helping someone to attain Nibbana will save one from unimaginable suffering in the future.
        • By helping one to recover from an illness is be just to be healthy in this life. There are doctors available for that task, and that was true even at the time of the Buddha. All other “mundane tasks” that could be helpful can be done by people in those professions.
      6. In fact, it is good to keep this “big picture” in mind for lay people too. Helping one learn Dhamma, and thus getting them close to Nibbana, will help remove so much FUTURE SUFFERING, compared to any temporary relief by any mundane actions.
        • But that DOES NOT mean one should stay away from helping others.
        • Of course, we should help people at every opportunity. Anyone who comprehends Dhamma will not shy away from helping others even in mundane matters whenever a need arises.

      P.S. Thanks and much merits to Donna for sending the code to fix the formatting error numbering!

      P.P.S. . There is more information on this topic at, “Abstaining from damaging plants and seeds“.

    • #15241

      Thank you Tobias for sharing! I really like how direct this sutta is.

      Regarding the 3rd stanza of the Buddha’s answer, he states that “One should completely extract…The notion, “I am the thinker”.

      Does this mean that “I”, the thinker is this body and is not who I am? This is easy to understand.

      Or does it mean it in general, I am not the thinker b/c the mind is not who I am, just as the body is not who I am once shed?

      And if I am not the mind is the case, what’s left after the Parinibbana? Is there still a mind in the mind plane, but without boundaries? Is what anyone is just part of universal mind?

      Just pondering life outside the box.

      With metta,

    • #15242
      y not


      This is THE question. I have been pondering it for decades.

      And …’ Is there still a mind in the mind plane, but without boundaries?’
      Is what anyone is just part of universal mind?’

      And if without boundaries, and if all are within universal mind, are all notions of individuality and distinction no longer there? This is the ground why some say it amounts to annihilation. No school of the Mahāyāna has come up with a clear and definite answer. I have asked the question here before myself and got no answers.

      Would it be one of those questions that even the Buddha would not answer (even today) as it does not help towards Release?

      y not

    • #15254

      I think it is the second stanza that Donna (inflib) is referring to:
      Mūlaṃ papañcasaṅkhāya, Mantā asmīti sabbamuparundhe
      Yā kāci taṇhā ajjhattaṃ, Tāsaṃ vinayā sadā sato sikkhe

      Which is translated at that website as:
      “One should completely extract
      The root of proliferation and reckoning—
      The notion, “I am the thinker”.
      One should train to dispel whatever craving
      There is inside, ever mindful.”

      I think a better translation would be:
      All papi sankhara (apunna abhisankhara) that arise need to be rooted out via breaking the asmi mana spell (mantā), which is the lens (kāci) of tanha that is inside (in one’s mind). By being ever mindful (sadā sato), one should train (sikkhe) to be disciplined (vinayā).

      This is the ultimate goal, to attain Arahantship by breaking asmi mana (which is the mana in the last five samyojana removed at the Arahant stage). As we have discussed before, this asmi mana is the “perception of a self”.

      In the rest of sutta, steps to be taken are stated.

      But it is critical to understand that breaking asmi mana samyojana comes at the end, not at the beginning when one is striving to be a Sotapanna or even an Anagami.

    • #15256

      Whatever “I” is,or is not or neither, the actual body is but a transient expression of it.

    • #15257
      y not


      ‘ -need to be rooted out
      – breaking the asmi mana spell
      -(in one’s mind)
      – By being ever mindful
      – one should train
      – to attain Arahantship
      – This is the ultimate goal
      – this asmi mana is the “perception of a self”.
      – when one is striving to be a Sotapanna or even an Anagami.’

      Who is it who needs to do this rooting out, who breaks the spell,whose mind,who is being ever mindful,who should train (in this way).who attains Arhantship,whose goal, who perceives, who is striving ??

      Is there not a being who is behind and besides all these?

      If this cannot be answered or should not be answered because it should not be asked, please say so. I will just put it aside.

      y not

    • #15258

      @y not: The perception of “me” or “myself” (which is called asmi mana) is going to be there until the Arahant phala is attained.

      So, that is who that will be doing all those things that you listed.

      Also see: “Sakkāya Ditthi is Personality (Me) View?“.

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