THE ENLIGHTENMENT AND THE OLD PATH
In this sutra, through the simile of the sapling, we are led to understand when we notice the dangers of gratification in things we perceive, in objects of clinging, craving diminishes and ultimately, the more profoundly we realize these dangers, it ceases and so brings this cycle of dependent origination to a halt.
Dwelling at Savatthi,
“Bhikkhus, when one dwells contemplating gratification in things that can fetter, craving increases. With craving as condition, clinging comes to be….Such is the origin of this whole mass of suffering.
“Suppose, bhikkhus, there was a sapling, and from time to time a man would clear the area around the roots, from time to time provide it with good soil, from time to time water it. Sustained by that care, nourished by it, that sapling would attain to growth, increase, and expansion. So too, when one dwells contemplating gratification in things that can fetter, craving increases….Such is the origin of this whole mass of suffering.
“When bhikkhus, one dwells contemplating danger in things that can fetter, craving ceases…. Such is the cessation of this whole mass of suffering.
“Suppose, bhikkhus, there was a sapling. Then a man would come along bringing a shovel and a basket. He would cut down the sapling at its root…he would winnow the ashes in a strong wind or let them be carried away by the swift current of a river. Thus that sapling would be cut off at the root, made like a palm stump, obliterated so that it is no more subject to future arising.
“So too, bhikkhus, when one dwells contemplating danger in things that can fetter, craving ceases…. Such is the cessation of this whole mass of suffering.
COMMENTARY and NOTES
In this sutra, the Buddha says that anything that fetters increases suffering. In the sutra Fetters (AN 10.13), the ten as listed: "There are these ten fetters. Which ten? Five lower fetters & five higher fetters. And which are the five lower fetters?
And which are the five higher fetters?
These are the five higher fetters. And these are the ten fetters." Consider how each of these fetters increases suffering; and using everyday examples, consider how you might practice with each fetter.
A relationship between right action and meditation is suggested in this sutra. Consider the implications of this for your practice.