DN 10 Subha Sutta: Morality, concentration and wisdom
Thus have i heard.
Once Venerable Ananda was staying at Savatthi, in Jeta's grove, in Anathapindika's park shortly after the final passing away of Buddha. During that time there was a youth called Subha, Todeyya's son, who was staying at Savtthi too on business trip. This Sutta is given to Subha by Venerable Ananda , it talks about sila (morality), Samadhi (concentration) and panna (wisdom).
Subha told a young man to go to Venerable Ananda to ask bhante in his name to see if he is in good health, free from fatigue and dwelling in comfort. Should Venerable Ananda is comfortable, can bhante out of compassion visit him. The young man conveyed the message and Venerable Ananda replied : " Now is not the right time as i am not feeling well. I have taken some medicine, if tomorrow is possible i will visit Subha. The next day Venerable Ananda took his robe and bowl accompanied by Venerable Cetaka went to Subha's dwelling.
Subha prepared a seat for Venerable Ananda, exchanged courtesies with him and sat down on one side. Subha said: " Venerable Ananda, it's been a long time since you have been Buddha's attendant, living near him. You must have heard what things that Buddha praised and with which he aroused, exhorted and established people. So Venerable, may i know what things that Buddha praised?"
Venerable Ananda replied : " Buddha praised three divisions of things which are the division of Ariyan Morality (Sila), Ariyan Concentration (Samadhi) and Ariyan Wisdom (Panna). " Subha asked Venerable Ananda to elaborate and explained what is Sila (morality) , Samadhi (concentration) and Panna (wisdom).
Venerable Ananda continued to say : " A Tathágata arises in the world, an Arahant, fully-enlightened Buddha (he has realized the four noble truths and discovered the noble eightfold path by himself) , endowed with wisdom and conduct, Well-Farer, Knower of the worlds (he knows the arising, the cessation and the means to the cessation of the worlds), incomparable Trainer of men to be tamed (he surpasses in terms of virtue, knowledge, concentration, deliverance and understanding), Teacher of Gods and humans, enlightened and blessed. He, having realized it by his own super-knowledge, preaches the Dhamma, which is lovely in it’s beginning, lovely in its middle, lovely in it’s ending, in the spirit and in the letter, and displays the fully-perfected and purified holy life."
A disciple will go forth and practices the moralities, watching his speech, thoughts and actions”. Because of his morality (sila), he sees no danger anywhere. He experiences a blameless bliss that comes from maintaining this Ariyan morality. In this way, he is perfected in morality as if he were freed from debt, from sickness, from any bonds, from slavery and from the perils of the desert. Thus he will be perfected in morality.
He is perfected in morality by observing the precepts:
1. Abstain from Killing, injuring, torturing, violence, cruelty so as to cultivate loving kindness, compassion and respect for all lives. This promotes non-violence (ahiṃsā), assures a sense of security in the society, advocates right means of livelihood and allow one to cherish all precious lives. 2. Abstain from stealing, swindling, frauds, bribes so as to cultivate contentment, generosity, sharing, non-attachment to money and respect for others’ property rights. This promotes rights of ownership over property, assures a sense of security in business cooperation, advocates right means of livelihood and promotes honesty and trust in society. 3. Abstain from sexual misconduct, adultery, perverted sexual act so as to cultivate self-control, self-restraint and self-discipline. By doing so it will promote a sense of social decency, supports social responsibility and mutual trust, prevents family break-ups/divorce and assures safe and healthy environment. 4. Abstain from lying, malicious writing, slander, harsh speech, idle chatter, back-biting, gossip so as to cultivate honest, virtuous and beneficial speech. This promotes truthfulness, assures trustworthiness and sincerity, promotes peace and harmony and provides friendly, pleasant, gentle environment. Always say kind, beneficial and truthful speech. 5. Abstain from all forms of intoxicants that cloud the mind and self-destruction so as to cultivate a sober mind, mindfulness, self-respect and efficiency in work. This promotes good health by abstaining from harmful intoxicants, a peaceful environment, supports social responsibility, avoid accidents, prevents violence, quarrels, fights, vices, and respects all other precepts.
Endowed with this noble (ariyan) aggregate of virtue (morality), he experiences the blameless bliss.
After hearing this, Subha said : " Excellent! Excellent! This division of Ariyan (Noble) morality (sila) is perfectly fulfilled and not left incomplete. I do not see such perfected division of Ariyan morality in other ascetics and Brahmins, if any of them have found this perfection in themselves then they would have reached the final goal of asceticism and nothing more need to be done".
Then Venerable Ananda went on to explain about Samadhi (concentration) to Subha.
Guarding his sense doors, a monk is detached from sense-desires, detached from unwholesome states, he enters and remains in the first jhana such that there is no spot in his entire body that is untouched by this delight and joy born of detachment. Then the disciple attains the second jhana, the third jhana and fourth jhana. entire body with a pure bright mind. This comes to him through concentration.
After hearing this, Subha said : " Excellent! Excellent! This division of Ariyan (Noble) concentration (samadhi) is perfectly fulfilled and not left incomplete. I do not see such perfected division of Ariyan concentration in other ascetics and Brahmins, if any of them have found this perfection in themselves then they would have reached the final goal of asceticism and nothing more need to be done".
Then Venerable Ananda went on to explain about Wisdom (Panna) to Subha.
With the bhikkhu's (monk's) mind fully concentrated, purified, bright, unblemished, free from defects and attained to imperturbability, the monk then directs and inclines it to knowledge, insight and vision. The monk with his mind concentrated and purified, steady and gained imperturbability, directs his mind the to knowledge of destruction of taints. He understands rightly the four noble truths : " This is suffering. This is the origin of suffering. this is the cessation of suffering. This is the path leading to cessation of suffering. " He also knows " These are corruptions. This is the origin of corruptions. This is the cessation of corruptions. This is the path leading to cessation of corruptions. "
The monk's/ascetic's heart, thus knowing, thus seeing, is released from the corruption of sensual desires, the corruption of becoming, the corruption of ignorance. With these releases, he gains the knowledge and wisdom. Rebirth has ended, the holy life has been fulfilled, the task is done. There is nothing further for this world and he will be released from the cycle of samsara.
After hearing this, Subha said : " Excellent! Excellent! This division of Ariyan (Noble) wisdom (panna) is perfectly fulfilled and not left incomplete. I do not see such perfected division of Ariyan wisdom in other ascetics and Brahmins, if any of them have found this perfection in themselves then they would have reached the final goal of asceticism and nothing more need to be done".
It's as if someone were to set up what had been knocked down , or to point out the way to one who had got lost or to bring an oil lamp into a dark place so that those with eyes could see what was there. Just so Venerable Ananda has expounded the dhamma in various ways. Subha was full of praises for the discourse and he said : "Venerable Ananda, i will go to the Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha for refuge. May Venerable Ananda accept me as a lay-follower who has taken refuge from this day forth as long as my life shall last. "
Moral of story: Subha asked Venerable Ananda what are the things Buddha praised about. Venerable Ananda said that Buddha praise the threefold training which is morality, concentration and wisdom. Morality in terms of watching the precepts, observing over our actions, speech and thoughts. Concentration are states of mindfulness we develop during meditation and going into different jhana states. Wisdom and insight through practicing, getting rid of ignorance and understanding the four noble truths.
References: 1. www.accesstoinsight.org 2. https://suttacentral.net/ 3. The long discourses of the Buddha (Bhikkhu Bodhi)