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MN 144 Channovāda Sutta - Advice to Channa

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1. Thus have I heard. On one occasion the Blessed One was living at Rājagaha in the Bamboo Grove, the Squirrels’ Sanctuary.

2. Now on that occasion the venerable Sāriputta, the venerable Mahā Cunda, and the venerable Channa were living on the mountain Vulture Peak.

3. On that occasion the venerable Channa was afflicted, suffering, and gravely ill. Then, when it was evening, the venerable Sāriputta rose from meditation, went to the venerable Mahā Cunda, and said to him: “Friend Cunda, let us go the the venerable Channa and ask about his illness.” – “Yes, friend,” the venerable Mahā Cunda replied.

4. Then the venerable Sāriputta and the venerable Mahā Cunda went to the venerable Channa and exchanged greetings with him. When this courteous and amiable talk was finished, they sat down at one side and the venerable Sāriputta said to the venerable Channa: “I hope you are getting well, friend Channa, I hope you are comfortable. I hope your painful feelings are subsiding and not increasing, and that their subsiding, not their increase, is apparent.”

5. “Friend Sāriputta, I am not getting well, I am not comfortable. My painful feelings are increasing, not subsiding;…(as Sutta 143, ¶4)…their increase and not their subsiding is apparent. I shall use this knife, friend Sāriputta; I have no desire to live.”

6. “Let the venerable Channa not use the knife. Let the venerable Channa live. We want the venerable Channa to live. If he lacks suitable food, I will go in search of suitable food for him. If he lacks suitable medicine, I will go in search of suitable medicine for him. If he lacks a proper attendant, I will attend on him. Let the venerable Channa not use the knife. Let the venerable Channa live. We want the venerable Channa to live.”

7. “Friend Sāriputta, it is not that I have no suitable food and medicine or no proper attendant. But rather, friend Sāriputta, the Teacher has long been worshipped by me with love, not without love; for it is proper for the discipline to worship the Teacher with love, not without love. Friend Sāriputta, remember this: the bhikkhu Channa will use the knife blamelessly.”

8. “We would ask the venerable Channa certain questions, if the venerable Channa finds it opportune to reply.”

“Ask, friend Sāriputta. When I have heard, I shall know.”

9. “Friend Channa, do you regard the eye, eye-consciousness, and things cognizable [by the mind] through eye-consciousness thus: ‘This is mine, this I am, this is my self’? Do you regard the ear…the nose…the tongue…the body…the mind, mind-consciousness, and things cognizable [by the mind] through mind-consciousness thus: ‘This is mine, this I am, this is my self’?”

“Friend Sāriputta, I regard the eye, eye-consciousness, and things cognizable [by the mind] through eye-consciousness thus: ‘This is not mine, this I am not, this is not my self. I regard the ear…the nose…the tongue…the body…the mind, mind-consciousness, and things cognizable [by the mind] through mind-consciousness thus: ‘This is not mine, this I am not, this is not my self.’”

10. “Friend Channa, what have you seen and directly known in the eye, in eye-consciousness, and in things cognizable [by the mind] through eye-consciousness, that you regard them thus: ‘This is not mine, this I am not, this is not my self’? What have you seen and directly known in the ear…in the nose…in the tongue…in the body…in the mind, mind-consciousness, and things cognizable [by the mind] through mind-consciousness, that you regard them thus: ‘This is not mine, this I am not, this is not my self’?”

“Friend Sāriputta, it is through seeing and directly knowing cessation in the eye, in eye-consciousness, and in things cognizable [by the mind] through eye-consciousness, that I regard them thus: ‘This is not mine, this I am not, this is not my self.’ It is through seeing and directly knowing cessation in the ear…in the nose…in the tongue…in the body…in the mind, mind-consciousness, and things cognizable [by the mind] through mind-consciousness, that I regard them thus: ‘This is not mine, this I am not, this is not my self.’”

11. When this was said, the venerable Mahā Cunda said to the venerable Channa: “Therefore, friend Channa, this instruction of the Blessed One’s is to be constantly given attention: ‘There is wavering in one who is dependent, there is no wavering in one who is independent; when there is no wavering, there is tranquility; when there is tranquility, there is no bias; when there is no bias, there is no coming and going; when there is no coming and going, there is no passing away and reappearing; when there is no passing away and reappearing, there is no here nor beyond nor in between. This is the end of suffering.’”

12. Then when the venerable Sāriputta and the venerable Mahā Cunda had advised the venerable Channa thus, they rose from their seats and went away. Then, soon after they had gone, the venerable Channa used the knife.

13. Then the venerable Sāriputta went to the Blessed One, and after paying homage to him, he sat down at one side and said to the Blessed One: “Venerable sir, the venerable Channa has used the knife. What is his destination, what is his future course?”

“Sāriputta, didn’t the bhikkhu Channa declare to you his blamelessness?”

“Venerable sir, there is a Vajjian village called Pubbajira. There the venerable Channa had friendly families, intimate families, approachable families [as his supporters].”

“Indeed, Sāriputta, the bhikkhu Channa had friendly families, intimate families, approachable families [as his supporters]; but I do not say that to this extent he was blameworthy. Sāriputta, when one lays down this body and takes up a new body, then I say one is blameworthy. This did not happen in the case of the bhikkhu Channa; the bhikkhu Channa used the knife blamelessly.”

That is what the Blessed One said. The venerable Sāriputta was satisfied and delighted in the Blessed One’s words.


Majjhima Nikāya 144
Part Three– The Final Fifty Discourses (Uparipaṇṇāsapāḷi) 
The Division of Expositions (Vibhangavagga)
Translated by Bhikkhu Ñāṇamoli and Bhikkhu Bodhi
Contributed by Chris Burke

 

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