Abiding Independently and the Bahiya Sutta

These are notes taken from studying Joseph Goldstein’s book, “Mindfulness.” This is the last part of chapter 6.

The last sentence of the refrain is:

And one abides independent, not clinging to anything in the world”

This line encapsulates the whole path.

Abiding independently means that the mind is not attached to any arising experience, either through craving or views.

Pali word tanha- desire, craving and sometimes translated as thirst
Thirst has the embodied urgency of this powerful state of mind.
We learn through practice two levels:
  • Birth and death, existence and nonexistence, self and other, are the great defining themes of our lives
  • On another level, we see that all experience is just a show of empty appearances

Not being attached through views

And, most fundamentally, through the view of self.

The Bahiya Sutta or the discourse to Bahiya

The story of Bahiya:
Shipwrecked on the southern coast of India, where he lost everything
With no clothes, he covered himself with bark.
People who saw him honored him as a “holy man” an arahant, or fully enlightened being and he came to believe it himself.
He did this for years
And then some devas, celestial beings, who were former companions came and told him that not only was he not an arahant, but not even on the path to becoming one.
They told him to seek the Buddha.
Bahiya requested teachings of the Buddha three times.
On the third time, Bahiya said, “Lord, you may die. I may die. Please teach me now.”
Buddha said:
In the seen there is only the seen,
In the heard, there is only the heard,
In the sensed (smell, taste, and touch), there is only the sensed,
In the cognized, there is only the cognized:
This, Bahiya, is how you should train yourself.
When Bahiya, there is for you
In the seen only the senm,
In the heard only the heard,
In the sensed only the sensed,
In the cognized only the cognized,
Them Bahiya, there is no “you”
In connection with all that.
When, Bahiya, there is no “you”
In connection with that,
There is no “you” there.
When, Bahiya, there is no “you ”there,
Then, Bahiya, you are neither here nor there
Nor in between the two.
This, just this, is the end of suffering.
This is the quality of bare knowledge. We do not add on evaluating or proliferating different sense impressions. When we practice in this way, we understand the selfless nature of phenomenon – with no “you” there – and we live abiding independent, not clinging to anything in the world.