Hello everyone. I have just completed reading some of the part of this sutta ‘application of mindfulness of sacred dharma’ from website of 84000 org-translating words of Buddha.
I want to share my thoughts and changes it caused in my direction of thinking.
I don’t know if this is Mahayana sutta or any other traditional sutta. But it is not titled as Mahayana sutta on website. For me it was a relief when I did not find the title Mahayana there. I will share it’s summary in the end of this post. The most interesting thing is about this sutta is that it puts emphasis on dire need of attaining stream-entry and causes reader to realise the importance of liberation! I have read some Mahayana suttas as well but nowhere I have found this much emphasis on stream-entry as most of them emphasize the ideal of Bodhisattva. Even the word Bodhisattva is very rarely mentioned there.
This Sutra is exactly as its title suggests… ‘mindfullness of sacred dharma’. Here sacred dharma of liberation is taught instead of importance and need of becoming Bodhisattva.
Like a childish being I am who is infatuated with desires, I always used to search for the causes of taking birth in sensual heavens. I always wondered about how life must be there. Whenever I encountered difficulty in life I thought if I was in heaven there wouldn’t be such difficulty as this which I am facing. So without controlling my mind from burning desires I used to focus on generousity only while forgetting discipline while wishing for birth in heaven. I always searched for descriptions of heavens by Buddha here n there because of my childishness. I always used to ignore the need to attain the fruit of stream entry which is attained by relying on pure/sacred dharma. I was always curious about karma and it’s functioning and wanted to know the exact causes of birth and experience in different realms while entirely ignoring the reality of death there also.
But when I read this sutra, my direction of thinking is changed completely. In that sutta… all the different realms of hells, all the different realms of hungry spirits, all the different realms of animals are explained in very beautiful and descriptive details such that reader will definitely fear them, as if he/she is the one experiencing it himself/herself. I almost cried and was stricken with tremendous fear while reading the different kinds of unimaginable horrors & sufferings that and I don’t think I will forget that fear now. Afterwards I started reading descriptions of 5 desire heavens above…different classes of gods which I was unaware before, causes of birth there, how those god’s live their daily life, their detailed enjoyments of their various kinds of mesmerizing pleasures, how they follow dhamma and how they don’t follow it, how their death occurs from their and how they die, how different classes of gods perceive their signs of dying differently and how they take birth in lower realms, how can gods avoid birth in lower realms and in the end how the fruit of stream-entry is the biggest happiness is written there. To be honest I actually stopped desiring life in heaven now.
This sutta provides description of all realms from hells upto the Heaven of Making Use of Others’ Emanations. How different their happinesses are from each other, how differently they they take birth and how differently they die. As one reads it, It almost feels like one is having tour of these realms with divine eye all the while not having divine eye actually!
This sutta is just like elaborated movie like version of sutta where lord Buddha takes his brother nanda in the heavenly realm of thirty three so that it will result in his disenchantment from desire for lay life and contribute to spiritual progress. I think it is udana 3.2 titled ‘The discourse about Nanda’. So this sutra is like very very detailed version of story like that of story of nanda.
This became my favourite sutta till now. Problem with some people who don’t understand teachings even after reading so many suttas(such as me) and still don’t develop disenchantment from daily undisciplined life and find reasons of not practicing discipline is that they don’t realise the connection Between the life they are living daily and where it is heading and what is importance of teachings given in suttas. They lack urgency and fear of suffering. There were some people who attain even the fruition of stream entry by listening to single sentence! Just like that reading different suttas becomes cause of disenchantment of mind from undisciplined conduct for different people. Now I am wishing for the fruition of stream entry as soon as possible.
So while reading this my desire for knowing heavenly realms discriptively is satisfied completely! I don’t think I will search anymore about descriptions of heavens and now I have understood the importance of liberation from cyclic existence. Different suttas are like different medicinal pills for all the different kinds of people like all of us. I have shared this for those who might want the tour of heavenly realms with compulsory hell realms also… without having divine vision! And in the progress increase their desire for liberation.
Last I want to share here is that I have realised one thing now…if a person does not start to remove his defilements and work for liberation in this very life starting from this very moment and instead continues to make merits and just studying dhamma without doing practice…and dies without attaining stream-entry…CHANCES are there that he/she will go in higher realms experience great happinesses there, then fall from there in lower realms of suffering and then from dying there will take birth in human realm…and only then diligently work for liberation. Because until one sees/experiences suffering clearly some way or the other one does not honestly desire liberation perfectly and diligently. It has become a very big remainder for me that it is very very important to attain stream-entry in this very life or else very high chances are there that I will go in hell.
‘Application of mindfulness of sacred dharma’
While on the way to Rājagṛha to collect alms, a group of newly ordained monks are approached by some non-Buddhists, who suggest that their doctrine is identical to that of the Buddha, since everyone agrees that misdeeds of body, speech, and mind are to be given up. The monks do not know how to reply, and when they later return to the brahmin town of Nālati, where the Buddha is residing, Śāradvatīputra therefore encourages them to seek clarification from the Blessed One himself. In response to the monks’ request, the Buddha delivers a comprehensive discourse on the effects of virtuous and unvirtuous actions, explaining these matters from the perspective of an adept practitioner of his teachings, who sees and understands all this through a process of personal discovery. As the teaching progresses, the Buddha presents an epic tour of the realm of desire—from the Hell of Ultimate Torment to the Heaven Free from Strife—all the while introducing the specific human actions and attitudes that cause the experience of such worlds and outlining the ways to remedy and transcend them. In the final section of the sūtra, which is presented as an individual scripture on its own, the focus is on mindfulness of the body and the ripening of karmic actions that is experienced among humans in particular.
Thank you for reading till here and bearing with it!