I’m looking for clues of the path to release.
At the first council (Vinayapiṭaka / Khandhaka / Pañcasatikakkhandhaka) convened by Venerable Maha Kassapa after the recluse Gotama’s death and supposedly only the released disciples of the recluse Gotama participated to gather discourses and monastic rules altogether:
- No released disciple told what the recluse Gotama taught that disciple from the first encounter, full training to the moment of release?
- What about the disciples ordained or released shortly before the recluse Gotama’s death, like supposedly Subhadda (DN 16 – Thanissaro:“[V] … Now on that occasion a wanderer named Subhadda was staying near Kusinārā … And thus Ven. Subhadda became another one of the arahants, the last of the Blessed One’s direct-witness disciples.”)? Was any of them present at the first council? Could any of them tell what the recluse Gotama taught them in full detail? DN 16 only mentioned the recluse Gotama’s teaching to Subhadda: noble eightfold path to achieve awakening. And that’s it, not in particular of what the noble eightfold path is or any concrete basis for Subhadda’s practice and achievement of release before the recluse Gotama’s death.
This is a clue to full training to release of a disciple besides DN 2 (Thanissaro -“There is the case, great king, where a Tathāgata
There is nothing further for this world.’ … And as for another visible fruit of the contemplative life, higher and more sublime than this, there is none.” ),
which is basically the noble eightfold path.
But what about the recluse Gotama’s own practice? Āḷāra Kālāma, Uddaka Rāmaputta, self-mortification all failed the recluse Gotama (MN 36). Then how did the recluse Gotama find the right path? MN 36 Stated that the recluse Gotama recalled his past experience of the first absorption (jhana) under the rose-apple tree while his father was working. So he took this first experience after abandoning self-mortification.
But what did he first contemplate and discover? Dependent co-arising (SN 12.10)?
What next? Five clinging-aggregates? (SN 22.26, and based on Vipassi’s story in DN 14 – Sujato:“After some time he withdrew from the group to live alone. The 84,000 went one way, but Vipassī went another.
11. Vipassī’s Reflections
Then as Vipassī, the one intent on awakening, was in private retreat this thought came to his mind,
Meditating like this his mind was soon freed from defilements by not grasping.”)
So what exactly do these experiences fit in the path the recluse Gotama had walked? What came before and what came after?