The Discourse about the Great Emancipation

[The Second Chapter for Recitation]

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[13: The Four Noble Truths]

Then the Gracious One addressed venerable Ānanda, (saying): “Come Ānanda let us approach Koṭigāma.” Koṭigāma literally means the village at the corner, explained by the Commentary as meaning at the corner of a palace built by Mahāpanāda, a former king of Mithilā.01 “Very well, reverend Sir,” venerable Ānanda replied to the Gracious One. Then the Gracious One together with a great Community of monks arrived at Koṭigāma. There the Gracious One lived near Koṭigāma.

There the Gracious One addressed the monks, (saying): “Because of a lack of understanding and a lack of penetration, monks, of Four Noble Truths The Commentarial definition here is worth noting: Ariyasaccānan-ti Ariyabhāvakarānaṁ saccānaṁ; Noble Truths means Truths that produce a state of Nobility. Maybe we should translate: Four Ennobling Truths.02 both you and I have been wandering and running along (in Saṁsāra) for a long time.

Which four?

  1. Because of a lack of understanding and a lack of penetration, monks, of the Noble Truth of Suffering both you and I have been wandering and running along (in Saṁsāra) for a long time.

  2. Because of a lack of understanding and a lack of penetration, monks, of the Noble Truth of the Arising of Suffering both you and I have been wandering and running along (in Saṁsāra) for a long time.

  3. Because of a lack of understanding and a lack of penetration, monks, of the Noble Truth of the Cessation of Suffering both you and I have been wandering and running along (in Saṁsāra) for a long time.

  4. Because of a lack of understanding and a lack of penetration, monks, of the Noble Truth of the Practice going to the Cessation of Suffering both you and I have been wandering and running along (in Saṁsāra) for a long time.

(But now) the Noble Truth of Suffering has been understood and penetrated, the Noble Truth of the Arising of Suffering has been understood and penetrated, the Noble Truth of the Cessation of Suffering has been understood and penetrated, the Noble Truth of the Practice going to the Cessation of Suffering has been understood and penetrated. Craving for continued existence has been cut off, what leads to rebirth has been exhausted, there is no continuation in existence.”

The Gracious One said this, and after saying this, the Fortunate One, the Teacher, said something more: Normally this phrase, as here, introduces a verse summary of whatever precedes.03

“Because of not seeing as it really is the Four Noble Truths
we have run along for a long time through various births.
(Now) these have been seen, uprooted is what leads to rebirth,
the root of suffering has been cut off, there is no continuation in existence.”

* * *

There also the Gracious One, while living in Koṭigāma, spoke frequently to the monks about the Teaching, (saying):

“Such is virtue, such is concentration, such is wisdom, when virtue is well-developed it yields great fruit and brings great advantages in regard to concentration, when concentration is well-developed it yields great fruit and brings great advantages in regard to wisdom, when wisdom is well-developed the mind is completely liberated from the pollutants, that is to say: the pollutant of sensuality, the pollutant of (craving for) continued existence, the pollutant of ignorance.”