Most Ven. U. Dhammajiva Maha Thero commenced on a new Dhamma Talk series based on Mūla Pariyāya Sutta to the Mitirigala Monastery Monks after completing the series on Aggi Vachchagoththa Sutta.
Mūla Pariyāya Sutta is an important Sutta from Majjima Nikaya. It is also the first Sutta of Majjima Nikaya and a spiritual prologue to Majjima teachings. The Sutta analyses the perceptual process of different types of individuals.
The Majjhima Commentary says that the Buddha delivered this discourse to dispel the pride and conceit that had arisen in 500 monks because their Vedic learning and intellectual mastery of the Buddha’s teachings. These monks were formerly Brahmins learned in Vedic literature. The subtle nuances of this discourse are intended to loosen the grip of Brahmanical views to which they may be clinging to. As eternal teachings, the suttas today address our own narrow “Brahmanical” views of Buddhism whether about the Dharma or the Abhidharma or Buddhism in general. Their purpose is reminding us of the ultimate purpose of the spiritual life—that of wisdom, liberation and joyful peace.
This sutta is unique in that it is the only sutta that ends with the monks “not approving” of it.
The monks were not happy with this discourse because they were faced with an open challenge by the Buddha that they should deal with their own pride and arrogance. The Majjhima Commentary also contains the Mūla Pariyāya Jataka which the Buddha expounds to these 500 monks a short while later. After listening to this Jataka, the monks thought, “In the past as well we were knocked down because of conceit” and were humbled (MA 1:59).8
The Majjhima Commentary remarks that the monks did not understand the sutta despite the excellent and melodious voice of the Buddha and his well-taught discourse, for it was for them “like delicious food placed before a man with his mouth bound by a thick broad cloth”. The Buddha nevertheless taught it “for shattering their conceit” (MA 1:56). What is truly interesting is that the sutta is, on the contrary, not difficult at all (although the subject is profound) but the 500 monks were blinded by their conceit. After all, it was after listening to the Mūla Pariyāya Jataka, that their conceit is removed, which then led them to understand the sutta in retrospect.
Please click the following link to read the text of the Sutta directly from Thripitakaya.org;
Mūla Pariyāya Sutta
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- 01 Mūla Pariyāya Sutta_20-04-2017
- 02 Mūla Pariyāya Sutta_27-04-2017
- 03 Mūla Pariyāya Sutta_18-05-2017
- 04 Mūla Pariyāya Sutta_06-07-2017
- 05 Mūla Pariyāya Sutta_20-07-2017
- 06 Mūla Pariyāya Sutta_27-07-2017
- 07 Mūla Pariyāya Sutta_03-08-2017
- 08 Mūla Pariyāya Sutta_10-08-2017
To be Continued….