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Dvayatanupassana Sutta

The Contemplation of Dualities

Translated from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu
For free distribution only

I have heard that on one occasion the Blessed One was staying near Savatthi in the Eastern Monastery, the palace of Migara's mother. Now on that occasion -- the Uposatha day of the fifteenth, the full-moon night -- the Blessed One was sitting in the open air surrounded by the community of monks. Surveying the silent community of monks, he addressed them: "Monks, if there are any who ask, 'Your listening to teachings that are skillful, noble, leading onward, going to self-awakening is a prerequisite for what?' they should be told, 'For the sake of knowing qualities of dualities as they actually are.' 'What duality are you speaking about?' 'This is stress. This is the origination of stress': this is one contemplation. 'This is the cessation of stress. This is the path of practice leading to the cessation of stress': this is a second contemplation. For a monk rightly contemplating this duality in this way -- heedful, ardent, and resolute -- one of two fruits can be expected: either gnosis right here and now, or -- if there be any remnant of clinging-sustenance -- non-return."

That is what the Blessed One said. Having said that, the One Well-gone, the Teacher, said further:

Those who don't discern stress,
what brings stress into play,
and where it totally stops,
without trace;
who don't know the path,
the way to the stilling of stress:
lowly
in their release of awareness
and release of discernment,
incapable
of making an end,
they’re headed
to birth and aging.

But those who discern stress,
what brings stress into play,
and where it totally stops,
without trace;
who discern the path,
the way to the stilling of stress:
consummate
in their release of awareness
and release of discernment,
capable
of making an end,
they aren't headed
to birth and aging.

"Now, if there are any who ask, 'Would there be the right contemplation of dualities in yet another way?' they should be told, 'There would.' 'How would that be?' 'Whatever stress comes into play is all from acquisition as a requisite condition': this is one contemplation. 'From the remainder-less fading and cessation of that very acquisition, there is no coming into play of stress': this is a second contemplation. For a monk rightly contemplating this duality in this way -- heedful, ardent, and resolute -- one of two fruits can be expected: either gnosis right here and now, or -- if there be any remnant of clinging-sustenance -- non-return."

That is what the Blessed One said. Having said that, the One Well-gone, the Teacher, said further:

The manifold stresses
that come into play in the world,
come from acquisition as their cause.
Anyone not knowing [this]
creates acquisition.
The fool, he comes to stress
again and again.
Therefore, discerning [this],
you shouldn't create acquisition
as you contemplate birth
as what brings stress
into play.

"Now, if there are any who ask, 'Would there be the right contemplation of dualities in yet another way?' they should be told, 'There would.' 'How would that be?' 'Whatever stress comes into play is all from ignorance as a requisite condition': this is one contemplation. 'From the remainder-less fading and cessation of that very ignorance, there is no coming into play of stress': this is a second contemplation. For a monk rightly contemplating this duality in this way -- heedful, ardent, and resolute -- one of two fruits can be expected: either gnosis right here and now, or -- if there be any remnant of clinging-sustenance -- non-return."

That is what the Blessed One said. Having said that, the One Well-gone, the Teacher, said further:

Those who journey the wandering-on
through birth and death, again and again,
in this state here
or anywhere else,
that destination is simply through ignorance.
This ignorance is a great delusion
whereby they have wandered-on
a long, long time.
While beings immersed in clear knowing
don't go to further becoming.

"Now, if there are any who ask, 'Would there be the right contemplation of dualities in yet another way?' they should be told, 'There would.' 'How would that be?' 'Whatever stress comes into play is all from fabrication as a requisite condition': this is one contemplation. 'From the remainder-less fading and cessation of that very fabrication, there is no coming into play of stress': this is a second contemplation. For a monk rightly contemplating this duality in this way -- heedful, ardent, and resolute -- one of two fruits can be expected: either gnosis right here and now, or -- if there be any remnant of clinging-sustenance -- non-return."

That is what the Blessed One said. Having said that, the One Well-gone, the Teacher, said further:

Any stress that comes into play
is all from fabrication
as a requisite
condition.
With the cessation of fabrication,
there is no stress
coming into play.
Knowing this drawback --
that stress comes from fabrication
as a requisite
condition --
with the tranquilizing of all fabrication,
with the stopping of perception:
that’s how there is
the ending of stress.
Knowing this as it actually is,
an attainer-of-wisdom
sees rightly.
Seeing rightly,
the wise --
overcoming the fetter of Mara --
go to no further becoming.

"Now, if there are any who ask, 'Would there be the right contemplation of dualities in yet another way?' they should be told, 'There would.' 'How would that be?' 'Whatever stress comes into play is all from consciousness as a requisite condition': this is one contemplation. 'From the remainder-less fading and cessation of that very consciousness, there is no coming into play of stress': this is a second contemplation. For a monk rightly contemplating this duality in this way -- heedful, ardent, and resolute -- one of two fruits can be expected: either gnosis right here and now, or -- if there be any remnant of clinging-sustenance -- non-return."

That is what the Blessed One said. Having said that, the One Well-gone, the Teacher, said further:

Any stress that comes into play
is all from consciousness
as a requisite
condition.
With the cessation of consciousness,
there is no stress
coming into play.
Knowing this drawback --
that stress comes from fabrication
as a requisite
condition --
with the stilling of consciousness, the monk
free from hunger
is totally unbound.

"Now, if there are any who ask, 'Would there be the right contemplation of dualities in yet another way?' they should be told, 'There would.' 'How would that be?' 'Whatever stress comes into play is all from contact as a requisite condition': this is one contemplation. 'From the remainder-less fading and cessation of that very contact, there is no coming into play of stress': this is a second contemplation. For a monk rightly contemplating this duality in this way -- heedful, ardent, and resolute -- one of two fruits can be expected: either gnosis right here and now, or -- if there be any remnant of clinging-sustenance -- non-return."

That is what the Blessed One said. Having said that, the One Well-gone, the Teacher, said further:

For those overcome by contact,
flowing along in the stream of becoming,
following a miserable path,
the ending of fetters
is far away.
While those who comprehend contact,
delighting in stilling through discernment,
they, by breaking through contact,
free from hunger,
are totally unbound.

"Now, if there are any who ask, 'Would there be the right contemplation of dualities in yet another way?' they should be told, 'There would.' 'How would that be?' 'Whatever stress comes into play is all from feeling as a requisite condition': this is one contemplation. 'From the remainder-less fading and cessation of that very feeling, there is no coming into play of stress': this is a second contemplation. For a monk rightly contemplating this duality in this way -- heedful, ardent, and resolute -- one of two fruits can be expected: either gnosis right here and now, or -- if there be any remnant of clinging-sustenance -- non-return."

That is what the Blessed One said. Having said that, the One Well-gone, the Teacher, said further:

Knowing that
whatever is felt --
pleasure, pain,
neither pleasure nor pain,
within or without --
is stressful,
deceptive,
dissolving,
seeing its passing away
at each contact,
each
contact,
he knows it right there:
with just the ending of feeling,
there is no stress
coming into play.

"Now, if there are any who ask, 'Would there be the right contemplation of dualities in yet another way?' they should be told, 'There would.' 'How would that be?' 'Whatever stress comes into play is all from craving as a requisite condition': this is one contemplation. 'From the remainder-less fading and cessation of that very craving, there is no coming into play of stress': this is a second contemplation. For a monk rightly contemplating this duality in this way -- heedful, ardent, and resolute -- one of two fruits can be expected: either gnosis right here and now, or -- if there be any remnant of clinging-sustenance -- non-return."

That is what the Blessed One said. Having said that, the One Well-gone, the Teacher, said further:       

With craving his companion, a man
wanders on a long, long time.
Neither in this state here
nor anywhere else
does he go beyond
the wandering-on.
Knowing this drawback --
that craving brings stress into play --
free from craving,
devoid of clinging,
mindful, the monk
lives the wandering life.

"Now, if there are any who ask, 'Would there be the right contemplation of dualities in yet another way?' they should be told, 'There would.' 'How would that be?' 'Whatever stress comes into play is all from clinging as a requisite condition': this is one contemplation. 'From the remainder-less fading and cessation of that very clinging, there is no coming into play of stress': this is a second contemplation. For a monk rightly contemplating this duality in this way -- heedful, ardent, and resolute -- one of two fruits can be expected: either gnosis right here and now, or -- if there be any remnant of clinging-sustenance -- non-return."

That is what the Blessed One said. Having said that, the One Well-gone, the Teacher, said further:

From clinging as a requisite condition
comes becoming.
One who has come into being
goes
to stress.
There is death
for one who is born.
This is the coming into play
of stress.
Thus, with the ending of clinging, the wise
seeing rightly,
directly knowing
the ending of birth,
go to no further becoming.

"Now, if there are any who ask, 'Would there be the right contemplation of dualities in yet another way?' they should be told, 'There would.' 'How would that be?' 'Whatever stress comes into play is all from disturbance as a requisite condition': this is one contemplation. 'From the remainder-less fading and cessation of that very disturbance, there is no coming into play of stress': this is a second contemplation. For a monk rightly contemplating this duality in this way -- heedful, ardent, and resolute -- one of two fruits can be expected: either gnosis right here and now, or -- if there be any remnant of clinging-sustenance -- non-return."

That is what the Blessed One said. Having said that, the One Well-gone, the Teacher, said further:

Any stress that comes into play
is all from disturbance
as a requisite
condition.
With the cessation of disturbance,
there is no stress
coming into play.
Knowing this drawback --
that stress comes from disturbance
as a requisite
condition --
with the relinquishing
of all disturbance,
a monk released in non-disturbance,
his craving for becoming    crushed,
his mind at peace,
his wandering-on in birth totally ended:
he has no further becoming.

"Now, if there are any who ask, 'Would there be the right contemplation of dualities in yet another way?' they should be told, 'There would.' 'How would that be?' 'Whatever stress comes into play is all from nutriment as a requisite condition': this is one contemplation. 'From the remainder-less fading and cessation of that very nutriment, there is no coming into play of stress': this is a second contemplation. For a monk rightly contemplating this duality in this way -- heedful, ardent, and resolute -- one of two fruits can be expected: either gnosis right here and now, or -- if there be any remnant of clinging-sustenance -- non-return."

That is what the Blessed One said. Having said that, the One Well-gone, the Teacher, said further:

Any stress that comes into play
is all from nutriment
as a requisite
condition.
With the cessation of nutriment,
there is no stress
coming into play.
Knowing this drawback --
that stress comes from nutriment
as a requisite
condition --
comprehending all nutriment,
independent of all nutriment,
rightly seeing
freedom from disease
through the total ending
of fermentations,
judiciously associating,
a judge,
he, an attainer-of-wisdom,
goes beyond judgment,
beyond classification.

"Now, if there are any who ask, 'Would there be the right contemplation of dualities in yet another way?' they should be told, 'There would.' 'How would that be?' 'Whatever stress comes into play is all from what is perturbed as a requisite condition': this is one contemplation. 'From the remainder-less fading and cessation of what is perturbed, there is no coming into play of stress': this is a second contemplation. For a monk rightly contemplating this duality in this way -- heedful, ardent, and resolute -- one of two fruits can be expected: either gnosis right here and now, or -- if there be any remnant of clinging-sustenance -- non-return."

That is what the Blessed One said. Having said that, the One Well-gone, the Teacher, said further:

Any stress that comes into play
is all from what is perturbed
as a requisite
condition.
With the cessation of what is perturbed,
there is no stress
coming into play.
Knowing this drawback --
that stress comes from what is perturbed
as a requisite
condition --
the monk thus renouncing perturbance,
putting a stop to fabrications,
free from perturbance, free
from clinging,
mindful he lives
the wandering life.

"Now, if there are any who ask, 'Would there be the right contemplation of dualities in yet another way?' they should be told, 'There would.' 'How would that be?' 'For one who is dependent, there is wavering': this is one contemplation. 'One who is independent doesn't waver': this is a second contemplation. For a monk rightly contemplating this duality in this way -- heedful, ardent, and resolute -- one of two fruits can be expected: either gnosis right here and now, or -- if there be any remnant of clinging-sustenance -- non-return."

That is what the Blessed One said. Having said that, the One Well-gone, the Teacher, said further:

One who's independent
doesn't
waver.
One who's dependent,
clinging
to this state here
or anywhere else,
doesn't go beyond
the wandering-on.
Knowing this drawback --
the great danger in
dependencies --
independent,
free from clinging,
mindful the monk
lives the wandering life.

"Now, if there are any who ask, 'Would there be the right contemplation of dualities in yet another way?' they should be told, 'There would.' 'How would that be?' 'Formless phenomena are more peaceful than forms': this is one contemplation. 'Cessation is more peaceful than formless phenomena': this is a second contemplation. For a monk rightly contemplating this duality in this way -- heedful, ardent, and resolute -- one of two fruits can be expected: either gnosis right here and now, or -- if there be any remnant of clinging-sustenance -- non-return."

That is what the Blessed One said. Having said that, the One Well-gone, the Teacher, said further:

Those beings headed to forms,
and those standing in the formless,
with no knowledge of cessation,
return to further becoming.

But, comprehending form,
not taking a stance in formless things,
those released in cessation
are people who've left death behind.

"Now, if there are any who ask, 'Would there be the right contemplation of dualities in yet another way?' they should be told, 'There would.' 'How would that be?' 'Whatever is considered as "This is true" by the world with its deities, Maras, and Brahmas, with its contemplatives and priests, its royalty and common-folk, is rightly seen as it actually is with right discernment by the noble ones as "This is false"': this is one contemplation. 'Whatever is considered as "This is false" by the world with its deities, Maras, and Brahmas, with its contemplatives and priests, its royalty and common-folk, is rightly seen as it actually is with right discernment by the noble ones as "This is true"': this is a second contemplation. For a monk rightly contemplating this duality in this way -- heedful, ardent, and resolute -- one of two fruits can be expected: either gnosis right here and now, or -- if there be any remnant of clinging-sustenance -- non-return."

That is what the Blessed One said. Having said that, the One Well-gone, the Teacher, said further:

See the world, together with its deities,
conceiving not-self to be self.
Entrenched in name and form,
they conceive that 'This is true.'
In whatever terms they conceive it
it turns into something other than that,
and that's what's false about it:
changing,
it's deceptive by nature.
Un-deceptive by nature
is Unbinding:
that the noble ones know
as true.
They, through breaking through
to the truth,
free from hunger,
are totally unbound.

"Now, if there are any who ask, 'Would there be the right contemplation of dualities in yet another way?' they should be told, 'There would.' 'How would that be?' 'Whatever is considered as "This is bliss" by the world with its deities, Maras, and Brahmas, with its contemplatives and priests, its royalty and common-folk, is rightly seen as it actually is with right discernment by the noble ones as "This is stressful"': this is one contemplation. 'Whatever is considered as "This is stressful" by the world with its deities, Maras, and Brahmas, with its contemplatives and priests, its royalty and common-folk, is rightly seen as it actually is with right discernment by the noble ones as "This is bliss"': this is a second contemplation. For a monk rightly contemplating this duality in this way -- heedful, ardent, and resolute -- one of two fruits can be expected: either gnosis right here and now, or -- if there be any remnant of clinging-sustenance -- non-return."

That is what the Blessed One said. Having said that, the One Well-gone, the Teacher, said further:

All sights, sounds, smells, tastes,
tactile sensations, and ideas
that are welcome,
appealing,
agreeable --
as long as they're said
to exist,
are supposed by the world
together with its deities
to be bliss.
But when they cease,
they’re supposed by them
to be stress.
The stopping of self-identity
is viewed by the noble ones
as bliss.
This is contrary
to what's seen
by the world as a whole.

What others say is blissful,
the noble ones say is stress.
What others say is stressful,
the noble know as bliss.
See the Dhamma, hard to understand!
Here those who don't know
are confused.
For those who are veiled,
it’s darkness,
blindness
for those who don't see.
But for the good it is blatant,
like light
for those who see.
Though in their very presence,
they don't understand it --
dumb animals, un-adept in the Dhamma.
It's not easy
for those overcome
by passion for becoming,
flowing along
in the stream of becoming,
falling under Mara's sway,
to wake up
to this Dhamma.

Who, apart from the noble,
is worthy to wake up
to this state? --
The state that,
through rightly knowing it,
they’re free from fermentation,
totally
unbound.

That is what the Blessed One said. Gratified, the monks delighted in the Blessed One's words. And while this explanation was being given, the minds of sixty monks, through lack of clinging, were fully released from fermentation.

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