Harmonization of two Suttas question


How can the following two be reconciled?


“Sir, I’m an old man, elderly and senior. I’m advanced in years and have reached the final stage of life. My body is ailing and I’m constantly unwell. I hardly ever get to see the esteemed mendicants. May the Buddha please advise me and instruct me. It will be for my lasting welfare and happiness.”
“That’s so true, householder! That’s so true, householder! For this body is ailing, trapped in its shell. If anyone dragging around this body claimed to be healthy even for a minute, what is that but foolishness?
So you should train like this: ‘Though my body is ailing, my mind will be healthy.’ That’s how you should train.”

[…] (Sariputta:)

They don’t regard consciousness as self, self as having consciousness, consciousness in self, or self in consciousness. They’re not obsessed with the thought: ‘I am consciousness, consciousness is mine!’ So when that consciousness of theirs decays and perishes, it doesn’t give rise to sorrow, lamentation, pain, sadness, and distress.
That’s how a person is ailing in body and healthy in mind.


The mind is impermanent. What’s impermanent is suffering. What’s suffering is not-self. And what’s not-self should be truly seen with right understanding like this: ‘This is not mine, I am not this, this is not my self.’
Seeing this, a learned noble disciple grows disillusioned with the eye, ear, nose, tongue, body, and mind. Being disillusioned, desire fades away. When desire fades away they’re freed. When they’re freed, they know they’re freed.

Thanks, Lunky


Perhaps you could share why you think there is a need for reconciling. I don’t see any conflict. One is instructions to an old man to train his mind and the other is a statement about the nature of the mind.

That to me seems to suggest overcoming one impermanent thing with the other, while the focus should shift from everything impermanent to get well?

‘Though my body is ailing, my mind will be healthy.’
‘āturakāyassa me sato cittaṁ anāturaṁ bhavissatī’ti.

The mind is impermanent.
mano anicco.

Firstly, the word “mind” in the two sentences above translates from two different Pali words.
Secondly, in my opinion, “healthy” here carries a relative meaning, that is, healthy compared to the body. The true nature of conditioned phenomena is impermanence, suffering, and non-self.

What is meant by each? Thanks

I’m sorry, I don’t know :smiley:

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All conditioned phenomena are impermanent, suffering, and non-self.

I believe that “citta” in the above passage also means this.

And “healthy” carries a relative meaning.

Okay, I kind of get it. Altough mind and body are both impermanent it is still allowed to use the advantages of one over the other for the sake of physical and mental health. Thank you.

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As I understand it, a healthy mind for the Buddha doesn’t mean a mind that is permanent and everlasting. A healthy mind is a mind free from delusion and all this—so growing disillusioned does, in other words, mean to become healthy.

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So why did he not teach the old man to become disillusioned with mind, but the contrary, to become healthy?

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It’s about the contrast between mind and body. Normally when we are ill and have physical pain, we don’t suffer only with the body, but both with body and mind. The mind can’t cope with the body’s pain, so we get upset, develop resistance against that pain, etc.

But one who understands the Dhamma does not develop unhealthy mind states because of physical pain. See also the sutta with the two arrows, SN 36.6.

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Indeed, according this model there is no escape from suffering because mind is also suffering.
In this model, even a mind without lobha, dosa, moha, avijja, anusaya, asava, tanha is inherently suffering. Even a freed mind suffers. Even a dispassionate mind.

Indeed, in this model, there is also no reason at all to think about mind as healthy. This model says that all that arises and ceases is inherently suffering. And mind is according this model extremely unstable and arises and ceases more quickly then whatever other thing. So, to speak of a healthy mind is irrational if you at the same time see everything that arises and ceases as suffering.

So, indeed, this cannot be reconciled.

So this model also must be wrong, i believe.

So, we must not think that the mind that can be healthy is a mind that comes and goes even more quickly then whatever phenomena. I believe that this healthy mind refers to the element or aspect of mind that does not arise and cease. The undirected, signless, empty, uninclined, peaceful nature of mind. That what is stable, constant. Only such can be healthy. The Buddha also teaches the Path to what is constant, stable…(SN43)

The question is always, i feel, do we accept asankhata as something really present in this very life and as something that can be known…If not, then all is arising, ceasing and then all is suffering and even talking about peace, ease, in this life is irrational!


YOU should know that I do.

But what this comes down to is Non-Self and Not-Self being represented side by side in the same most important collection of EBT.

Which of course would equal a disaster … or so it seems.

When the Buddha talks about asankhata, he described it as: not with the characteristic of arising, ceasing, and changing. I do not believe that this thus…refers to a soul, a personal eternal self, a kind of entity like thing that is an everlasting self.

Asankhata points, i believe, to that element or aspect in our lifes (mind) that has not the characteristic of arising, ceasing and changing. I believe this is part of what we know. Because it is not that we know there are only formations arising and ceasing such as sounds, plans, thoughts, emotions, etc. No, we are also in contact with what is not known to arise: a stilling, peace, empty, desireless, signless, undirected dimension, not? I believe boths these aspect of arising and ceasing, and not arising and ceasing are part of what we know.

But it is a bit strange. I believe, asankhata cannot be traced. Can you trace that element or aspect of emptiness in your life, that peace, that stilling in the mind? Can you establish for yourself: here it is, here it begins, here it ends. It cannot be grasped right? It is like proliferating the unproliferated.
Even conceiving it, is not oke, right, because it is domain without conceiving.

I also feel that what has not the characteristic to arise and cease and change , cannot be spoken of in term of existence or non-existence, or in term of space/location, and also not in terms of time (also not as eternal).

And also asankhata is not-self and must also not be regarded as me, mine, my self. It must also not be conceived and delighted in. But i do not think one must see asankhata as nothing or as mere cessation.