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Buddhadharma : Fall 2006
buddhadharma| 43 |fall 2006 So what was this teaching? Here is my own translation: Bahiya, you should train yourself thus: in the seen will be merely what is seen; in the heard will be merely what is heard; in the sensed 1 will be merely what is sensed; in the cognized will be merely what is cognized. Practicing in this way, Bahiya, you will not be “because of that.” When you are not “because of that,” you will not be “in that.” And when you are not “in that,” then you will be neither here nor beyond nor in between the two. Just this is the end of suffering. And then Bahiya became fully enlightened. Sounds easy, doesn’t it? You have just read the same teach- ing. Did you achieve full enlightenment? No! Why not? As usual, there is more to the story than is recorded in the sutta. It is often the case that the suttas record only the highlights of a long episode. Just as wedding photos do not record the first meeting, the dating, and the arguments, so many suttas do not record all that occurred before the finale. So what is the full story of Bahiya? How can we put the finale, captured for posterity in the Udana, into its full context? Fortunately, the whole story is recorded in the Apadana (a biographical work containing the stories of the Buddha and his arahant disciples) and in the commentaries. In his previous life, Bahiya was a monk under the Buddha Kassapa. He and six other monks climbed a steep mountain and threw the ladder away, determined to remain on top of that rock until they became enlightened or died. One of the seven monks became an arahant, another became an ana- gami (non-returner), and the other five died on the mountain. Bahiya was one of the five who died. In Bahiya’s final life, he was a sailor who suc- cessfully crossed the ocean seven times. On the eighth voyage, he was shipwrecked but managed 1 Sensed: smelled, tasted, touched photographs by elizabeth cerejido