26th September 2016

Vammika Sutta
Majjima Nikaya (Middle-length discosures)

Thus I heard,

At this time, the blessed one was residing in Anatapindika’s Monastery in the Jetavana Park of Savatti. On that day a monk called Bhante Kumara Kassapa was staying at the Blinds Forest, Bhante Kumara Kassapa was approached by a heavenly light of a Deva, the Deva then stood at one side of the monk.

The Deva then said ;
“Oh Bhante! This ant-hill fumes at night and flames by day. A brahmin then says “Hey! Wise one! Yielding an instrument you must dig up this ant-hill!

The Wise One then brought an instrument. He began digging. As he dug into the midst of the this anthill, he came across a padlock.

“Sir, I have found a padlock”

The Brahmin then said ;
Lift this padlock and throw it away! Continue digging. The wise One obeyed the Brahmin’s command and began digging once more.

He then comes across a frog.

“Sir, I have found a frog.”

The Brahmin then said ;
Lift this frog and throw it away. Continue digging. The Wise One obeyed the Brahmin’s command and began digging once more.

He then comes across a ‘two-way junction’.

“Sir, I have found a ‘two-way junction’.

The Brahmin then said ;
Lift this ‘two-way junction’ and throw it away. Continue digging. The Wise One obeyed the Brahmin’s command and began digging once more.

He then comes across a sieve.

“Sir, I have found a sieve.”

The Brahmin then said;
Lift this ‘sieve ’ and throw it away. Continue digging. The Wise One obeyed the Brahmin’s command and began digging once more.

He then comes across a ‘tortoise’.

“Sir, I have found a ‘tortoise’.

The Brahmin then said ;
Lift this ‘tortoise’ and throw it away. Continue digging. The Wise One obeyed the Brahmin’s command and began digging once more.

He then comes across a Butcher’s knife and block.

“Sir, I have found a Butcher’s knife and block.”

The Brahmin then said;
Lift this ‘Butcher’s knife and block’ and throw it away. Continue digging. The Wise One obeyed the Brahmin’s command and began digging once more.

He then comes across a piece of meat.

“Sir, I have found a piece of meat.”
The Brahmin then said;
Lift this ‘piece of meat ’ and throw it away. Continue digging. The Wise One obeyed the Brahmin’s command and began digging once more.

He then comes across a Cobra.

“Sir, I have found a Cobra.”

The Brahmin then said;
Do not harm this Cobra, let him be. Do not mess with him but simply sit to one side and worship him.

Now bhante, take this riddle to our Supreme Buddha, the blessed one, He will give you the best answer, you should remember His words exactly as He proclaims. In this world I do not believe there to be anyone else who is able to answer let alone explain this sequence of events.

As dusk became dawn, bhante Kumarakassapa made his way towards the blessed one. he payed homage and then sat to one side.

“Oh Blessed one! During my stay at the Blind Forest, at midnight a certain deva approached me and stood to one side. This deva then said this to me.

“Oh Bhante! This ant-hill fumes at night and flames by day. A brahmin then says “Hey! Wise one! Yielding an instrument you must dig up this ant-hill!

The Wise One then brought an instrument. He began digging. He dug into the midst of the this anthill, he came across a padlock.

“Sir, I have found a padlock”

The Brahmin then said ;
Lift this padlock and throw it away! Continue digging. The wise One obeyed the Brahmin’s command and began digging once more.

He then comes across a frog.

“Sir, I have found a frog.”

The Brahmin then said ;
Lift this frog and throw it away. Continue digging. The Wise One obeyed the Brahmin’s command and began digging once more.

He then comes across a ‘two-way junction’.

“Sir, I have found a ‘two-way junction’.

The Brahmin then said ;
Lift this ‘two-way junction’ and throw it away. Continue digging. The Wise One obeyed the Brahmin’s command and began digging once more.

He then comes across a sieve.

“Sir, I have found a sieve.”

The Brahmin then said;
Lift this ‘sieve ’ and throw it away. Continue digging. The Wise One obeyed the Brahmin’s command and began digging once more.

He then comes across a ‘tortoise’.

“Sir, I have found a ‘tortoise’.

The Brahmin then said ;
Lift this ‘tortoise’ and throw it away. Continue digging. The Wise One obeyed the Brahmin’s command and began digging once more.

He then comes across a Butcher’s knife and block.

“Sir, I have found a Butcher’s knife and block.”

The Brahmin then said;
Lift this ‘Butcher’s knife and block’ and throw it away. Continue digging. The Wise One obeyed the Brahmin’s command and began digging once more.

He then comes across a piece of meat.

“Sir, I have found a piece of meat.”

The Brahmin then said;
Lift this ‘piece of meat ’ and throw it away. Continue digging. The Wise One obeyed the Brahmin’s command and began digging once more.

He then comes across a Cobra.

“Sir, I have found a Cobra.”

The Brahmin then said;
Do not harm this Cobra, let him be. Do not mess with him but simply sit to one side and worship him.

Now bhante, take this riddle to our Supreme Buddha, the blessed one, he will give you the best answer, you should remember his words exactly as He proclaims. In this world I do not believe there to be anyone else who is able to answer let alone explain this sequence of events.

“Venerable Sir, this is what the deva said to me, after saying so, he disappeared”.

“Venerable Sir, what is the meaning of this ant-hill?”

“What does it mean by fuming at night and flaming by day”

“Who is this Brahmin?”

“Who is the Wise One?”

“What is the instrument that was used to dig?”

“What does the action of digging represent?”

“What does this padlock show?”

“What does the frog show?”

“What is the meaning of this two-way junction?”

“What does the sieve show?”

“What does the tortoise represent?”

“What is the meaning of this butchers knife and block?”

“What does this piece of meat show?”

“Who does the Cobra represent?”

The Blessed One then answered;

“Bhikkhu,
This ant-hill is another term used to show this human body. This body has been formed via a mother and a father. This body has been grown by food and nutriment. This body is impermanent and subject to change. This body is rubbed and consistently attended to. This body is subject to decay. This is what this ant-hill represents.

Bhikku,
During the midst of the night, our minds contemplate and plan things to do for the following day. This is what is meant by the fuming of the anthill at night.

Bhikku,
During the midst of the day, our body speech and mind fulfills the plans that were made during the night. This is what is meant by the flaming of the anthill during the day.

Bhikku,
This Brahmin is a representation of a Buddha, an Arahant, a Fully Enlightened one, a Blessed-One.

Bhikku,
The Wise One symbolises a monk who is thoroughly practicing his way towards Nibbana.

Bhikku,
The instrument used to dig conveys ‘keen wisdom’.

Bhikku,
The action of digging stands for consistent energy.

Bhikku,
The first found object, the padlock, presents ignorance. Lifting this padlock and throwing it away means the ignorance too, should be abandoned.

Bhikku,
The second found object, the frog, shows intense anger. Lifting this frog and throwing it away means intense anger should also be discarded of.

Bhikku,
The third found object, the two way junction, represents doubt. Lifting this two way junction and throwing it away means doubt should also be removed.

Bhikku,
The fourth found object, the sieve, represents, the five hindrances which obstruct the development of the mind. These include sensual lust, anger, sloth and torpor, restlessness and remorse and doubt. All of which obstruct the development of the mind. Lifting this sieve and throwing it away shows that the five hindrances should also be gotten rid of.

Bhikku,
The fifth found object, the tortoise, shows, the five aggregates of clinging. They are; the material form aggregate of clinging, the feeling aggregates of clinging, the perception aggregate of clinging, the formation aggregate of clinging and the consciousness aggregate of clinging. Lifting this tortoise and throwing it away means that the five aggregates of clinging should be abandoned.

Bhikku,
The sixth found object, the butcher’s knife and block, shows the five cords of sensual pleasures. They are; wished for, desired, aggreable, likeable forms that are cognized by the eye; wished for, desired, aggreable, likeable sounds that cognized by the ear; wished for, desired, aggreeabe, likeable smells that are cognized by the nose; wished for, desired, aggreable, likeable tastes that are cognized by the tongue. Wished for, desired, aggreable, likeable touches that are cognized by the body. Lifting this butcher’s knife and block and throwing it away shows that the five cords of sensual pleasures must be removed.

The seventh found object, the piece of meat, represents desire and lust. Lifting this piece of meat and throwing it away shows that desire and lust must be eradicated.

The final and eight found object, the Cobra, represents an arahant, who is free from defilements, and free from taints. He must not be removed, he must not be messed with, he must be respected and worshipped.

These were the Buddha’s words. Bhante kumara-kassapa was extremely satisfied. He warmly accepted the teaching given by the Blessed One.

Sadu! Sadu! Sadu! ….

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