4👑☸ Cattāri Ariya-saccaṃ 四聖諦
The Raft ☸🚣
💩🌊 → 🏝️
taking you from the ocean of samsaric dukkha → to the island of Nirvana
→ The Raft ☸ 🚣
Having carefully studied and practiced the teachings of the Buddha, you've become convinced of the efficacy of the Dhamma, the truth of kamma, and a strong conviction in rebirth. Who knows when death will knock on your door? Are you prepared? There's only two rational courses of action for one not yet liberated. Ordain, or become a full time yogi.
In the quest for liberation, you simplify your life to the point where your only possessions consist of one set of clothes, a bowl for eating, a needle and some thread to repair your clothes. No dhamma books, no mp3 players. You're going old school, just like the disciples during the Buddha's time. Whatever dhamma you need to know, you commit it to memory and recite it frequently.
So what's on your raft? Which suttas and sutta excerpts are absolutely essential for Arahantship?
Pāli pronunciation guide: ☸🦍
1. Memorize 📜, word for word
The absolute essential, non-negotiable suttas that need to be memorized in their entirety, word for word, that forms the core and heart of EBT.
AN 3.16 - 🔗🔊 5.5min: 3 qualities lead to destruction of āsavā's. The Buddha gives a schedule of how you should practice throughout the day, proper way to eat and sleep.
AN 4.14 - 🔗🔊 5min, 2min: expand on definition of right-effort 4pd
AN 5.29 - 🔗🔊 0.5min: walking meditation. One of the only suttas where the Buddha talks about benefits of health exercise, and how it helps samadhi.
AN 6.29 - 🔗🔊 6min: six of the most important meditation subjects (no need to memorize word for word beginning where Udayi gives wrong answer).
KN Kp 2 - 🔗🔊 0.5min: five, eight, ten precepts
SN 22.59 - 🔗🔊 7min: 🚫🏃 an-atta-lakkana
SN 35.28 - 🔗🔊 6min: Āditta Sutta
SN 45.8 - 🔗🔊 5min: 👑8☸
SN 48.9 - 🔗🔊 2.5min: 5ind🖐️️: slight overlap with 👑8☸, but here it explains the raw function and likely pre-Buddhist definition of key words like sati and viriya the Buddha inherited, not found in STED 👑8☸
SN 54.2 - 🔗🔊 2min; 16🌬️😤 combined with 7sb☀️
SN 54.3 - 🔗🔊 3min; STED 16🌬️😤. The Buddha's favored and preeminent meditation topic.
SN 56.13 - 🔗🔊 2.5min: STED 4👑☸
SN 56.14 - 🔗🔊 2.5min: same as SN 56.13 but replace 5uk with 6aya
Total avg. chanting time at fluent speed: 50min
But there are some redundant passages among these suttas, so actually more like 40 minutes.
If you don't read all the repetions that typically get elided, then we're talking 30-35 minutes.
2. Indispensable key 🗝️ ideas 📜
The suttas that contain critical ideas to the heart of EBT, with ideas and some phrases that need to be memorized to form a complete core EBT understanding.
AN 4.126 - 🔗🔊 3min: memorize the STED 4bv☮️ 4 Brahma vihāras formula and the 11x5 contemplation of dukkha
AN 4.41 - 🔗🔊 5min: memorize the S&S🐘💭 definition here. It's what 3rd and 4th jhana are doing
AN 6.19 - 🔗🔊 8min: marana-sati 1: remember at minimum the key idea from this sutta.
AN 6.20 - 🔗🔊 7min, marana-sati 2: remember at minimum the key idea from this sutta. Also that pamojja and piti aspect of 7sb from SN 46.3 is clarified here.
AN 7.61 - 🔗🔊 12min, seven ways to stop drowsiness
AN 7.67 - 🔗🔊 🏰 study and memorize the key ideas. This is one of the best suttas in the EBT to help you understand exactly how each of the path factors in 8aam, 7sb, 37bp, interact with each other, what duties they share and overlap. Most Buddhist teachers, even those highly experienced and learned, often have muddled views and gross misunderstandings of what sati/"mindfulness" and other path factors actually mean, because they didn't study suttas like these carefully.
AN 8.63 - 🔗🔊 8.5min: 4sp🐘, 4bv☮️, 4j🌕 all are part of "3 ways of samadhi" (samādhi in 3 ways), and you can do any combination of those in all four postures. Also see AN 3.63 for explicit tie between 4j and walking. AN 8.63 is like an expanded version of SN 47.3 + SN 47.4.
SN 36.11 - 🔗🔊 speech ceasing in first jhana, and breath ceasing in 4th jhana, is key piece of information not in STED 4j.
SN 46.2 - 🔗🔊 The nutriments for the 7sb☀️: memorize at least the synopsis, but the sutta is actually very easy to memorize in entirety word for word, because of refrain repetition.
SN 46.3 - 🔗🔊 7sb☀️: 37 seconds to recite the synopsis, memorize word for word that part. That is the heart of EBT meditation engine for all 42 of the most popular EBT meditations.
SN 47.4 - 🔗🔊 Sālā: (name of village): all 4sp are done simultaneously with jhana samadhi. Also explains the meaning of cryptic 4sp formula
3. Extremely helpful key 🗝️ ideas 📜
But you could argue these are not absolutely essential to know. You could still cross over to the island of Nirvana without these, in contrast to previous two sections.
AN 5.28 - 🔗🔊 10min, similes for 4j jhanas are extremely helpful.
AN 5.57 - 🔗🔊 5 Dharma vitakkas to be reflected frequently
AN 6.10 - 🔗🔊 13min, know at least the first 3 of 6 topics. #1 is already built in saddha-indriya of 5ind. Dhamma and Sangha anussati are closely related. All 6 topics feed into the 7sb samadhi engine of SN 46.3
AN 9.1 - 🔗🔊 the part near the end on 4 meditations
AN 10.48 - 🔗🔊 ten Dharma vitakkas to be reflected frequently
MN 62 - 🔗🔊 how to combine 16APS with most of the popular meditations
SN 12.2 - 🔗🔊 8.5min, 12ps explanation. Most important part of 12ps, already covered by SN 35.28.
SN 51.12 - 🔗🔊 8min: mahap-phala: 6 abhiñña. You could argue the first 2 are optional to memorize, but #4 is the same as satipatthana citta anupassana, and 4-6 are the 3 te-vijja, The Buddha redefining the Brahman's "three vedas" in a way of certifying nirvana realization. And the 4ip are essentially an expansion of developing 4th jhana. AN 6.29 is essentially a commentary on the 4ip 🌕⚡.
SN 54.8 - 🔗🔊 9.5min: dipa - 9 meditative attainments, 5👑abi️ lemonade formula
SN 56.11 - 🔗🔊 10min (6min if you eliminate deva celebration ending): Dhamma-cakkap-pavattana-sutta: Dhamma-wheel-turning-discourse. No need to memorize word for word parts everything in this sutta, such as the devas celebrating.
4. Customize your raft ☸🚣
These suttas don't contain indispensable ideas from earlier sections, they may be redundant, or they may just be an elucidation of ideas already present in the core sutta passages above. But you just happen to really like these suttas and want to memorize part or all of it. Here are some of my favorites.
SN 8.4 - 🔗🔊 2.5min/1min, Ananda’s instructions on destroying lust
SN 12.63 - 🔗🔊 Putta-maṃsa 👨👩👦🍴: son's-flesh: 4 sublime similes of 4 nutriments
SN 22.95 - 🔗🔊 Pheṇapiṇḍūpama, A Lump of Foam. Interesting coincidence(?), 95 is 59 transposed SN 22.59 - 🔗🔊 🚫🏃 an-atta-lakkana. Is SN 22.95 a commentary with similes on SN 22.59?
SN 35.247 - 🔗🔊 Chap-pāṇak-opama: 🐍🐊🐦🐕🐺🐒 6 animals simile
SN 47.20 - 🔗🔊 janapada-kalyāṇī 💃🤷🤺
The raft ☸🚣 simile comes from SN 35.238
SN 35.238 poisonous viper simile
Kullanti kho, bhikkhave,
|“‘(The) raft ***, *********’:
ariyass-etaṃ aṭṭh-aṅgikassa maggassa adhi-vacanaṃ,
|[represents] (The) Noble Eight-fold Path, (as a) figure-of-speech.
|(it is) as-follows - ...
Tassa hatthehi ca pādehi ca vāyāmoti kho, bhikkhave,
|“‘(with)-hands and feet **, Making-effort ***, ********* ’:
|[represents] vigor & vitality's-arousal, (as a) figure-of-speech.