Tuesday, 19 April 2011

THE FIRE SERMON

COMMENT:

Āditta is adjectival and means burning. There are two Fire Sermons. In one the Sense Bases are said to be burning. In the other it is the Khandhas. It comes to the same thing.

At any point at which the senses contact the sense objects (i.e. the world), fire blazes up. This fire is said to be the fire of raga, dosa and moha. In some translations, raga is wrongly translated as "passion". Passion is a strong feeling but it can also be used to describe dosa (hatred) so it is clear that the Buddha had something else in mind. Raga means "strong desire".

Greed (lobha) is strong desire also. So we can see that the fires that ignite at sense contact are in fact the first three kilesas. This is the link with last week's project. Kilesas 4 to 10 can all be derived from the first three. If the first three are completely eradicated, the others disappear also.

The Buddha goes on to explain that these three are the fires of suffering (birth, old age etc.). When things are seen like this rather than as sense objects with desirable characteristics, there is a turning away from the sense objects (nibbindati, literally "withdrawing seeing from"). A turning away from the world. At this point, desire ceases (viraga) and release is obtained. This is the extinction of the asavas.


NEW PROJECT: MĀRA'S DAUGHTERS.