The Teachings of Phra Ajaan Mun Bhuridatta Thera
by Phra Ajaan Mun Bhuridatta Thera | 1995 | 9,299 words
Translated from the Thai by Thanissaro Bhikkhu Copyright © 1995 Metta Forest Monastery PO Box 1409, Valley Center, CA 92082 For free distribution only. You may reprint this work for free distribution. You may re-format and redistribute this work for use on computers and computer networks provided that you charge no fees for its distribution or us...
The realms of the heavenly beings, the human realm, and the realms of destitution (apaya) are classed as the sensual realm, the abode of living beings who indulge in sensuality. Taken together, they count as one. The realms of form, the abodes of living beings who have attained rupa jhana, are four. The realms of formlessness, the abodes of living beings who have attained arupa jhana, are also four. So altogether there are nine abodes for living beings. Those -- the arahants -- who are wise to the nine abodes leave them and dont have to live in any of them. This appears in the last of the Novices Questions (samanera panha), dasa nama kim -- What is ten? -- which is answered. dasahangehi samannagato arahati vuccati ti -- The arahant, one who is endowed with ten qualities, gains release from the nine abodes of living beings. This can be compared to writing the numerals 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10. 1 to 9 are numbers that can be counted, named, added, subtracted, multiplied, and divided. As for ten -- 1 and 0 (zero) -- when we erase the 1, because its a repetition, we are left with 0 (zero). If we use 0 to add, subtract, multiply, or divide with any other number, it wont increase the value of that number; and 0 by itself has no value at all -- but you cant say that it doesnt exist, because there it is. The same is true with the heart: Its a nature whose attributes are like 0. When 0 is connected to any other number, it greatly increases the value of that number. For instance, 1 connected with 0 becomes 10. So it is with the heart. When connected with anything, it instantly proliferates into things elaborate and fantastic. But when trained until it is wise and discerning with regard to all knowable phenomena, it returns to its state as 0 (zero) -- empty, open, and clear, beyond all counting and naming. It doesnt stay in the nine places that are abodes for living beings. Instead, it stays in a place devoid of supposing and formulation: its inherent nature as 0 (zero), or activity less ness, as mentioned in S 14.