Having read through the Majjhima Nikaya four times now, this time around, I kept some good bookmarks and notes. Here are about half of those bookmarks, with brief notes.

Note: part 2 is here.

Funny:

  • Majjhima Nikaya 126 - Bhūmijasutta - “Suppose there was a person in need of milk. While wandering in search of milk, they tried pulling the horn of a newly-calved cow.”

Inspiring:

  • Majjhima Nikaya 16 - wildernesses of the heart

  • Majjhima Nikaya 17 - if no concentration, leave

  • Majjhima Nikaya 24 - relay chariots

  • Majjhima Nikaya 83 - do not be the last man

  • Majjhima Nikaya 101 - equanimity exhausts suffering - analogy of woman one used to love.

  • Majjhima Nikaya 112 - “Giving up doubt, I meditated having gone beyond doubt, not undecided about skillful qualities, cleansing the mind of doubt.”

  • Majjhima Nikaya 122 - Mahāsuññatasutta - The Greater Discourse on Voidness:

    • “So you should regularly check your own mind: ‘Does my mind take an interest in any of these five kinds of sensual stimulation?’ Suppose that, upon checking, a mendicant knows this: ‘My mind does take an interest.’ In that case, they understand: ‘I have not given up desire and greed for the five kinds of sensual stimulation.’ In this way they are aware of the situation. But suppose that, upon checking, a mendicant knows this: ‘My mind does not take an interest.’ In that case, they understand: ‘I have given up desire and greed for the five kinds of sensual stimulation.’”

Heavy:

  • Majjhima Nikaya 1 - Seen, heard, sensed, cognized (meme):
    • “He perceives the seen as the seen. Having perceived the seen as the seen, he conceives himself as the seen, he conceives himself in the seen, he conceives himself apart from the seen, he conceives the seen to be ‘mine,’ he delights in the seen. Why is that? Because he has not fully understood it, I say.

    • “He perceives the heard as the heard. Having perceived the heard as the heard, he conceives himself as the heard, he conceives himself in the heard, he conceives himself apart from the heard, he conceives the heard to be ‘mine,’ he delights in the heard. Why is that? Because he has not fully understood it, I say.

    • “He perceives the sensed as the sensed. Having perceived the sensed as the sensed, he conceives himself as the sensed, he conceives himself in the sensed, he conceives himself apart from the sensed, he conceives the sensed to be ‘mine,’ he delights in the sensed. Why is that? Because he has not fully understood it, I say.

    • “He perceives the cognized as the cognized. Having perceived the cognized as the cognized, he conceives himself as the cognized, he conceives himself in the cognized, he conceives himself apart from the cognized, he conceives the cognized to be ‘mine,’ he delights in the cognized. Why is that? Because he has not fully understood it, I say.

  • Majjhima Nikaya 19 - the mind inclines to frequent thoughts (meme), also “herd of deer” simile:
    • “Bhikkhus, whatever a bhikkhu frequently thinks and ponders upon, that will become the inclination of his mind. If he frequently thinks and ponders upon thoughts of renunciation, he has abandoned the thought of sensual desire to cultivate the thought of renunciation, and then his mind inclines to thoughts of renunciation. If he frequently thinks and ponders upon thoughts of non-ill will…upon thoughts of non-cruelty, he has abandoned the thought of cruelty to cultivate the thought of non-cruelty, and then his mind inclines to thoughts of non-cruelty.”

      “Just as in the last month of the hot season, when all the crops have been brought inside the villages, a cowherd would guard his cows while staying at the root of a tree or out in the open, since he needs only to be mindful that the cows are there; so too, there was need for me only to be mindful that those states were there.”

      “Suppose, bhikkhus, that in a wooded range there was a great low-lying marsh near which a large herd of deer lived. Then a man appeared desiring their ruin, harm, and bondage, and he closed off the safe and good path to be traveled joyfully, and he opened up a false path, and he put out a decoy and set up a dummy so that the large herd of deer might later come upon calamity, disaster, and loss. But another man came desiring their good, welfare, and protection, and he reopened the safe and good path that led to their happiness, and he closed off the false path, and he removed the decoy and destroyed the dummy, so that the large herd of deer might later come to growth, increase, and fulfilment.

      “Bhikkhus, I have given this simile in order to convey a meaning. This is the meaning: ‘The great low-lying marsh’ is a term for sensual pleasures. ‘The large herd of deer’ is a term for beings. ‘The man desiring their ruin, harm, and bondage’ is a term for Māra the Evil One. ‘The false path’ is a term for the wrong eightfold path, that is: wrong view, wrong intention, wrong speech, wrong action, wrong livelihood, wrong effort, wrong mindfulness, and wrong concentration. ‘The decoy’ is a term for delight and lust. ‘The dummy’ is a term for ignorance. ‘The man desiring their good, welfare, and protection’ is a term for the Tathāgata, accomplished and fully enlightened. ‘The safe and good path to be traveled joyfully’ is a term for the Noble Eightfold Path, that is: right view, right intention, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, and right concentration.

      “So, bhikkhus, the safe and good path to be traveled joyfully has been reopened by me, the wrong path has been closed off, the decoy removed, the dummy destroyed.

  • Majjhima Nikaya 37 - Nothing is worth adhering to

  • Majjhima Nikaya 82 - 4 Dhamma summaries:
    • Life in any world is unstable, it is swept away
    • Life in any world has no shelter and no protector
    • Life in any world has nothing of its own; one has to leave all and pass on
    • Life in any world is incomplete, insatiate, the slave of craving
  • Majjhima Nikaya 105 - “It’s possible that a certain individual may be intent on the imperturbable. Such an individual engages in pertinent conversation, thinking and considering in line with that. They associate with that kind of person, and they find it satisfying. But when talk connected with material pleasures is going on they don’t want to listen. They don’t lend an ear or apply their minds to understand it. They don’t associate with that kind of person, and they don’t find it satisfying. Suppose there was a fallen, withered leaf. It’s incapable of becoming green again. In the same way, an individual intent on the imperturbable has dropped the connection with material pleasures. You should know of them: ‘That individual is intent on the imperturbable, for they’re detached from things connected with material pleasures.’”

  • Majjhima Nikaya 109 - “Name and form are the reasons why the aggregate of consciousness is found.” (Note: In Bhikkhu Bodhi’s translation: “Mentality-materiality is the cause and condition for the manifestation of the consciousness aggregate.”)

  • Majjhima Nikaya 140 - Dhātuvibhangasutta - The Exposition of the Elements:
    • “His deliverance, being founded upon truth, is unshakeable. For that is false, bhikkhu, which has a deceptive nature, and that is true which has an undeceptive nature—Nibbāna. Therefore a bhikkhu possessing this truth possesses the supreme foundation of truth. For this, bhikkhu, is the supreme noble truth, namely, Nibbāna, which has an undeceptive nature. …

      Bhikkhu, ‘I am’ is a conceiving; ‘I am this’ is a conceiving; ‘I shall be’ is a conceiving; ‘I shall not be’ is a conceiving; ‘I shall be possessed of form’ is a conceiving; ‘I shall be formless’ is a conceiving; ‘I shall be percipient’ is a conceiving; ‘I shall be non-percipient’ is a conceiving; ‘I shall be neither-percipient-nor-non-percipient’ is a conceiving. Conceiving is a disease, conceiving is a tumour, conceiving is a dart. By overcoming all conceivings, bhikkhu, one is called a sage at peace. And the sage at peace is not born, does not age, does not die; he is not shaken and does not yearn. For there is nothing present in him by which he might be born. Not being born, how could he age? Not ageing, how could he die? Not dying, how could he be shaken? Not being shaken, why should he yearn?”

      “So it was with reference to this that it was said: ‘The tides of conceiving do not sweep over one who stands upon these foundations, and when the tides of conceiving no longer sweep over him he is called a sage at peace.’ Bhikkhu, bear in mind this brief exposition of the six elements.”