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The Blessed One: Admitted Killer?

anguttara
sutta
kesi
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#1

I just read the Sutta in which the Supreme one admits to killing the unteachable! Please read on to discover his motivations and method:

111. With Kesi

Then Kesi the horse trainer went up to the Buddha, bowed, and sat down to one side. The Buddha said to him: “Kesi, you’re known as a horse trainer. Just how do you guide a horse in training?” “Sir, I guide a horse in training sometimes gently, sometimes harshly, and sometimes both gently and harshly.” “Kesi, what do you do with a horse in training that doesn’t follow these forms of training?” “In that case, sir, I kill it. Why is that? So that I don’t disgrace my profession.

But sir, the Buddha is the supreme guide for those who wish to train. Just how do you guide a person in training?” “Kesi, I guide a person in training sometimes gently, sometimes harshly, and sometimes both gently and harshly. The gentle way is this: ‘This is good conduct by way of body, speech, and mind. This is the result of good conduct by way of body, speech, and mind. This is life as a god. This is life as a human.’ The harsh way is this: ‘This is bad conduct by way of body, speech, and mind. This is the result of bad conduct by way of body, speech, and mind. This is life in hell. This is life as an animal. This is life as a ghost.’

The both gentle and harsh way is this: ‘This is good conduct … this is bad conduct …’”

“Sir, what do you do with a person in training who doesn’t follow these forms of training?” “In that case, Kesi, I kill them.” “Sir, it’s not proper for the Buddha to kill living creatures. And yet you say you kill them.” “It’s true, Kesi, it’s not proper for a Realized One to kill living creatures. But when a person in training doesn’t follow any of these forms of training, the Realized One doesn’t think they’re worth advising or instructing, and neither do their sensible spiritual companions. For it is death in the training of the noble one when the Realized One doesn’t think they’re worth advising or instructing, and neither do their sensible spiritual companions.”

“Well, they’re definitely dead when the Realized One doesn’t think they’re worth advising or instructing, and neither do their sensible spiritual companions. Excellent, sir! … From this day forth, may the Buddha remember me as a lay follower who has gone for refuge for life.”

:pray:


#2

Another killing by the Blessed One:

Having slain mother (craving), father (self-conceit), two warrior-kings (eternalism and nihilism), and destroyed a country (sense organs and sense objects) together with its treasurer (attachment and lust), ungrieving goes the holy man.

Having slain mother, father, two brahman kings (two extreme views), and a tiger as the fifth (the five mental hindrances), ungrieving goes the holy man.

Dhp 294-295


#3

Or this (Vasabha Theragatha)


#4

Also, why does mother is craving and father is self-conceit?

In MN 19, female deer is ignorance and male deer is desire with relishing.
In Mahayana Prajnaparamita is called “Mother of all Buddha”, which contrast MN 19.


#5

I have no idea, because it’s from the commentary :sweat_smile:


#6

I think :thinking: it’s a compassionate act, as these people would have much bad karma accrued, otherwise arguing against the Buddha!

I think these verses refer to the highest level of defilements. Mother and father are the source of beings. Clinging to the aggregates, leads to the conceit ‘I am’. So these defilements are some of the last to go when arahanth remove attachment to the aggregates. Attachment to existence (kama, rupa, arupa) are removed along with attachment to annihilation. These are all high level defilements, which are removed when becoming an arahanth. Nibbana is cessation of the six sense bases when in meditation. It is the mind freed from the all, in waking instances!


#7

Killing = ignoring.

If the Buddha talks to you, even calls you a fool, it is for your benefit. But if the Buddha ignores you, you’re a lost cause and your punishment is to be killed over and over again in Samsara.

His words lead to the deathless, so yes, by giving up on you he has killed you.


#8

In general I think that this idea of permanent exclusion (from school) of a student by their teachers is problematic. I have noticed that here in the UK there is a worrying trend with more and more children being excluded from schools and this appears to have a very negative effect on society.

It appears that we have here an excuse where the teacher is blaming the student because the teacher hasn’t found an appropriate way of teaching them, so deems that they are not worth teaching.

I also find it troubling that the Buddha (with his ability to read the minds of beings) seems to suggest that he will take on a student only to abandon them later when he finds that he has taken on a teaching challenge that is too difficult for him.


#9

What does this comparison mean to you? What are you contrasting, the treatment of female figures in parables and expressions?


#10

Actually, one may also understand that the Buddha has known another’s mind to be stuck on obstinate ignorance from the beginning. That would-be student’s mind has presumed itself to be an eternal non-believer. Yet the teachings are not withheld. They are given to all. So the one who turned away was actually the student who never listened. The Buddha is simply acknowledging that the student never listened.


#11

Actually I kinda forgot :sweat_smile:,
But I probably thinking along this line of thought:
Ignorance is symbolized as female deer, and wisdom (prajnaparamita) is regarded as mother of Buddha (female figure in enlightenment). Hence Mother in “killing mother and father” should be ignorance (which is the female figure in anti-enlightenment)


#12

Isn’t that a Tibetan concept? :smirk:


#13

I think :thinking: the Buddha’s omniscience is partial, and he doesn’t always read people’s minds. The Kamma effects (vipaka) are not in his direct control either. So there are other variables in the mix, otherwise he would have perfect students, which wasn’t the case. So with people like devadatta rebelling, and Channa having too much conceit, it’s a distortion to hold a teacher to blame :man_shrugging:t5:. Actually, as a mendicant with no money, he did pretty well!


#14

Much as I try I cannot find a sutta with Channa being conceited. Might you have a reference? I would like to understand further about Channa. :pray:


#15

There are several instances in the Vinaya. Maybe what Mat was referring to was something like this, from Pli Tv Bu Vb Ss 12:

At one time the Buddha was staying at Kosambī in Ghosita’s Monastery. At that time Venerable Channa was behaving improperly. The monks would tell him, “Don’t do that; it’s not allowable,” and he would reply, “Who are you to correct me? I should correct you! The Buddha is mine; the Teaching is mine. The Master realized the Truth because of me. Just as a great wind lifts up grass, sticks, and fallen leaves all at once, just as a mountain stream lifts up the leaves of various water plants all at once, so too you–having various names, various families, various castes, various clans–having gone forth, have been lifted up together. So, who are you to correct me? I should correct you! The Buddha is mine; the Teaching is mine. The Master realized the Truth because of me.


#16

:open_mouth: wow. that is virulent raging conceit.

And yet this is the same Channa of whom the Buddha said, "The mendicant Channa slit his wrists blamelessly.’”

:exploding_head:

Thank you for the reference.


#17

I don’t think that was the same Channa. I think it’s the same Channa on whom the Buddha imposed the “prime punishment” in DN 16 at DN II 154 (which, happily, led to good things for Ven. Channa).


#18

Thank you. I agree. There was the Channa who slit his wrists while the Buddha was alive. There was the Channa who lived after the Buddha died. No wonder my head exploded!


#19

Yes. In fact, there seem to be three Channas:
http://aimwell.org/DPPN/channa.html


#20

Those with much-dust-in-their-eyes could not enter the irreversible path during their contemporary lifetime with Buddha Gotama and there was unfortunately nothing he could do to rectify their specific predicaments. The suttas are peppered all over with disciples reaching attainment, but there are also disgruntled monks and defectors.

To know intellectually that there is potentially a deathless state whilst also gracing the presence of a living Buddha, yet lacking the capacity for wisdom of penetration would indeed be a brutal killing. :grimacing:
A fine recipe for jealousy and envy, too.