SuttaCentral

Importance of acknowledging what is well spoken


#1

The carpenter Pañcakaṅga disagreed with Venerable Udāyī about how many kinds of feeling the Buddha taught. The Buddha affirms that each is a genuine teaching, valid in different contexts.

Then the master builder Pañcakaṅga went up to Venerable Udāyī, bowed, sat down to one side, and said to him: “Sir, how many feelings has the Buddha spoken of?” “Master builder, the Buddha has spoken of three feelings: pleasant, painful, and neutral. The Buddha has spoken of these three feelings.” When he said this, Pañcakaṅga said to Udāyī: “Sir, Udāyī, the Buddha hasn’t spoken of three feelings. He’s spoken of two feelings: pleasant and painful. The Buddha said that neutral feeling is included as a peaceful and subtle kind of pleasure.”

For a second time, Udāyī said to him: “The Buddha hasn’t spoken of two feelings, he’s spoken of three.” For a second time, Pañcakaṅga said to Udāyī: “The Buddha hasn’t spoken of three feelings, he’s spoken of two.”

And for a third time, Udāyī said to him: “The Buddha hasn’t spoken of two feelings, he’s spoken of three.” And for a third time, Pañcakaṅga said to Udāyī: “The Buddha hasn’t spoken of three feelings, he’s spoken of two.” But neither was able to persuade the other. Venerable Ānanda heard this discussion between Udāyī and Pañcakaṅga.

Then he went up to the Buddha, bowed, sat down to one side, and informed the Buddha of all they had discussed.

“Ānanda, the explanation by the mendicant Udāyī, which the master builder Pañcakaṅga didn’t agree with, was quite correct. But the explanation by Pañcakaṅga, which Udāyī didn’t agree with, was also quite correct. In one explanation I’ve spoken of two feelings. In another explanation I’ve spoken of three feelings, or five, six, eighteen, thirty-six, or a hundred and eight feelings. I’ve explained the teaching in all these different ways.

This being so, you can expect that those who don’t concede, approve, or agree with what has been well spoken will argue, quarrel, and fight, continually wounding each other with barbed words.

I’ve explained the teaching in all these different ways. This being so, you can expect that those who do concede, approve, or agree with what has been well spoken will live in harmony, appreciating each other, without quarreling, blending like milk and water, and regarding each other with kindly eyes.
SN36.19


#2

Arguing about the container, rather than truly understanding what it contains… and that both are talking about the same thing. Inflexible thought patterns and stubbornness.


#3

There is even a sutta that deals with both teachings at the same time:

Visākha went to see the nun Dhammadinnā…
…What is pleasant and what is painful in each of the three feelings? –MN44


#4

So I have heard. At one time the Buddha was staying near Benares, in the deer park at Isipatana. Now at that time, after the meal, on return from alms-round, several senior mendicants sat together in the pavilion and this discussion came up among them: “Reverends, this was said by the Buddha in ‘The Way to the Beyond’, in ‘The Questions of Metteyya’:

‘The sage has known both ends,
and is not stuck in the middle.
He is a great man, I declare,
he has escaped the seamstress here.’

But what is one end? What’s the second end? What’s the middle? And who is the seamstress?” When this was said, one of the mendicants said to the senior mendicants: “Contact, reverends, is one end. The origin of contact is the second end. The cessation of contact is the middle. And craving is the seamstress, for craving weaves one to rebirth in this or that state of existence. That’s how a mendicant directly knows what should be directly known and completely understands what should be completely understood. Knowing and understanding thus they make an end of suffering in this very life.”

When this was said, one of the mendicants said to the senior mendicants: “The past, reverends, is one end. The future is the second end. The present is the middle. And craving is the seamstress … That’s how a mendicant directly knows … an end of suffering in this very life.”

When this was said, one of the mendicants said to the senior mendicants: “Pleasant feeling, reverends, is one end. Painful feeling is the second end. Neutral feeling is the middle. And craving is the seamstress … That’s how a mendicant directly knows … an end of suffering in this very life.”

When this was said, one of the mendicants said to the senior mendicants: “Name, reverends, is one end. Form is the second end. Consciousness is the middle. And craving is the seamstress … That’s how a mendicant directly knows … an end of suffering in this very life.”

When this was said, one of the mendicants said to the senior mendicants: “The six interior sense fields, reverends, are one end. The six exterior sense fields are the second end. Consciousness is the middle. And craving is the seamstress … That’s how a mendicant directly knows … an end of suffering in this very life.”

When this was said, one of the mendicants said to the senior mendicants: “Identity, reverends, is one end. The origin of identity is the second end. The cessation of identity is the middle. And craving is the seamstress, for craving weaves one to rebirth in this or that state of existence. That’s how a mendicant directly knows what should be directly known and completely understands what should be completely understood. Knowing and understanding thus they make an end of suffering in this very life.”

When this was said, one of the mendicants said to the senior mendicants: “Each of us has spoken from the heart. Come, reverends, let’s go to the Buddha, and inform him about this. As he answers, so we’ll remember it.”

“Yes, reverend,” those senior mendicants replied. Then those senior mendicants went up to the Buddha, bowed, sat down to one side, and informed the Buddha of all they had discussed. They asked, “Sir, who has spoken well?” “Mendicants, you’ve all spoken well in a way. However, this is what I was referring to in ‘The Way to the Beyond’, in ‘The Questions of Metteyya’ when I said:

‘The sage has known both ends,
and is not stuck in the middle.
He is a great man, I declare,
he has escaped the seamstress here.’

Listen and pay close attention, I will speak.” “Yes, sir,” they replied. The Buddha said this: “Contact, mendicants, is one end. The origin of contact is the second end. The cessation of contact is the middle. And craving is the seamstress, for craving weaves one to rebirth in this or that state of existence. That’s how a mendicant directly knows what should be directly known and completely understands what should be completely understood. Knowing and understanding thus they make an end of suffering in this very life.”
AN6.61


#5

Yummy. Thanks for the excerpt.

I had to run to my keyboard and find contact.

For example, from MN148

Body consciousness arises dependent on the body and touches. The meeting of the three is contact.

To be between one end and the other would therefore imply awareness of the process of contact-ing