Bihaya’s Liberation

A wonderful story of awakening…

A selection from the Udana , the collection of “Inspired Utterances” of the Buddha, tells the story of a religious hermit named Bahiya. Bahiya was concerned about his own spiritual development so he went to visit the Buddha. He stopped the Buddha on the street in Savatthi and said, “Venerable Sir, you are the Samana Gotama. Your Dharma is famous throughout the land. Please teach me that I may understand the truth”.

The Buddha replied, “We’re on our almsround, Bahiya. This is not the right time”. Bahiya said, “Life is uncertain, Venerable Sir. We never know when we are going to die. It is hard to know for sure what dangers there may be for the Blessed One’s life, or what dangers there may be for mine. Teach me the Dhamma, O Blessed One! Teach me the Dhamma, O One-Well-Gone, that will be for my long-term welfare and bliss”.

This dialogue repeats itself three times. Three times over, the Buddha says the same thing, and Bahiya responds in the same way. Finally, the Buddha says, “When a Tathagata is pressed three times, he has to answer. Listen carefully, Bahiya, and attend to what I say:

In the seen, there is only the seen,
in the heard, there is only the heard,
in the sensed, there is only the sensed,
in the cognized, there is only the cognized.

Thus you should see that
indeed there is no thing here;
this, Bahiya, is how you should train yourself.

Since, Bahiya, there is for you
in the seen, only the seen,
in the heard, only the heard,
in the sensed, only the sensed,
in the cognized, only the cognized,
and you see that there is no thing here,
you will therefore see that
indeed there is no thing there.

As you see that there is no thing there,
you will see that
you are therefore located neither in the world of this,
nor in the world of that, nor in any place betwixt the two.
This alone is the end of suffering”. (ud. 1.10)

Upon hearing these words, Bahiya was immediately enlightened.

Moments later he was killed by a runaway cow. So he was right: life is uncertain.

Later Bahiya was awarded the title of “The Disciple Who Understood the Teaching Most Quickly”.

Our only moment is now!

************************************************************************************

Many thanks to the Access to Insight site for this reference.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/kn/ud/ud.1.10.than.html

For the other famous liberation story in the Pali Canon, the Liberation of Rahula,  see here: http://wp.me/p1QwdP-Q5

The pic and saying are from this url:

http://what-buddha-said.net/drops/V/The_Fact_of_No-Self_Anatta.htm

http://wp.me/s1QwdP-bihaya

For some fantastic related commentary from the Zen tradition:

http://awakeningtoreality.blogspot.com/2011/10/zen-exploration-of-bahiya-sutta.html

About dominic724

A former seeker starts blogging.
This entry was posted in Buddha, Buddhist Practice, No self, Pali Canon and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Bihaya’s Liberation

  1. Stacy says:

    The information on this blog is useful.

  2. shane says:

    This is a great Blog Dominic. Really refreshing !

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