Monday, December 6

Karuna and Infinite Space


Samyutta Nikaya V. (the Great book, Mahavagga) 46 (the bojjhanga samyutta, on factors of enlightenment), contains the oft-referred-to sutta, "Accompanied by Loving-kindness." See volume 2 of "The Connected Discourses of the Buddha," tr. by Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi [Wisdom Publications], pp. 1607 - 1611.

Excerpt on karuna and infinite space on p.1610, emphasis added:
"And how, bhikkhus, is the liberation of the mind by compassion developed? What does it have as its destinaiton, its culmination, its fruit, its final goal? Here, bhikkhus, a bhikkhu develops the enlightenment factor of mindfulness accompanied by compassion ... the enlightenment factor of equanimity accompanied by compassion, based upon seclusion, dispassion, and cessation, maturing in release. If he wishes: 'May I dwell perceiving the repulsive in the unrepulsive,' he dwells perceiving the repulsive therein.... If he wishes: 'Avoiding both the repulsive and the unrepulsive, may I dwell equanimously, mindful and clearly comprehending,' then he dwells therein equanimously, minful and clearly comprehending. Or else, with the complete transcendence of perception of forms, with the passing away of perceptions of sensory impingement, with non-attention to perceptions of diversity, aware that 'space is infinite,' he enters and dwells in the base of the infinity of space. Bhikkhus, the liberation of mind by compassion has the base of the infinity of space as its culminaiton, I say, for a wise bhikkhu here who has not penetrated to a superior liberation.


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