Meditation for BeginngersDhammacakkapavattana Sutta: The Sermon:2. Self-Mortification [attakilamathanuyoga]Sugar-cane juice and poison: It can be compared to a mixture of sugar-cane juice and poison.This is the practice of self-denial or self-mortification which is a non-Buddhist practice. It is one of many practices favoured by non-Buddhist ascetics such as Niganthas. In fact, even amongst the ascetics who practice self-mortification there are many different schools: some refuse to wear clothes, some always stand in order to defecate, some use their bare hands to clean up after after defecation, some accept alms from a maximum of only one household or two households per day, some live on only one mouthful of food per day, some accept alme from only one benefactor per day, or only one particular woman benefactor per day, some fast for ten days, fifteen days each time they take a meal. Some eat only the tips of the rice, some eat only rice husks, some eat only pickled vegetables and fruit, some eat only rice, some eat only bran. Some wear only clothes made of jute. Some leave their hair to grow long and cover their nudity with their own hair. Some wear only animal skins. Some wear only clothes made of owl feathers. Some lie on a ;heap of thorns. Some never wash.All of these non-Buddhist practices are examples of self-mortification. Such practices cause physical harm with out any good benefit in return. They only increase one’s suffering.Jumping into a fire: It can be compared to a person jumping into the flames of a fire.Commentorial Metaphors: Self-mortification:1. Sugar-cane juice and poison: It can be compared to a mixture of sugar-cane juice and poison. In the end such practices will lead to death, and all for nothing.2. Stale Excrement mistaken for medicine: It can be compared to stale faeces or urine which has degenerated into a poison which festers with disease. Anyone who mistakes it for medicine will cause their own death or near death. Anyone who tries to reduce their suffering through the use of such a medicine will find that they are seriously mistaken.3. A grasshopper leaping into a fire: It can be compared to a grasshopper which leaps into the flames: Self-mortification is not a noble practice, but a practice fit for fools. It brings not the least benefit.4. A Vengeful Ogre: It can be compared to an ogre which follows one everywhere, with the vow of vengeance to kill one at the first opportunity.5. A poisonous snake mistaken for a rope: It can be compared to someone who mistakenly picks up a poisonous snake in the dark, thinking that it is a rope. There is on way they can escape the poisonous bit of that snake.A poisonous snake mistaken for a rope: It can be compared to someone who mistakenly picks up a poisonous snake in the dark, thinking that it is a rope.6. Jumping over a cliffL It can be compared to someone jumping over a cliff. There is no way they can escape being smashed to smithereens.7. Jumping into a fire: It can be compared to a person jumping into the flames of a fire. There is no way he can escape being burned to ashes. Anyone who wants to release themselves from the cycle of existence but mistakenly practices self-mortification – and for all the suffering of one’s efforts, eventually it will all be in vain.8. Trusting an Enemy: It is like persuading one’s worst enemy to be one’s friend. Sweet words lull one into a false sense of security, but in the end, he will surely take advantage of us and leave us decapitated in the jungle.It is for all of these reasons that the Lord Buddha taught that self-mortification is a non-Buddhist practice, it is unwholesome, ignoble and unsuitable for monks subscribing to Buddhism to practice or associate with.Self-mortification is a dangerous temptation which looks as if it should be a fruitful practice, but instead puts one in dreadful danger.to be continued...
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Dhammacakkapavattana Sutta: The Sermon : 2. Self-Mortification [attakilamathanuyoga]
This is the practice of self-denial or self-mortification which is a non-Buddhist practice. It is one of many practices favoured by non-Buddhist ascetics such as NiganthasDhamma Articles > Meditation Articles and Techniques > Meditation for Beginners
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