This month’s homework for the Bodhi College CPP is MN 122, The Longer/Greater Discourse on Emptiness.
As previously, I’ve compiled a spreadsheet comparing translations between Sujato, Ñanamoli, and Ṭhānissaro: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1J23pjMQkIRkus0LOthLGtHriaZA6Pq4UTwjVaD0umlo/.
The sutta is not divided into chapters but seems to discuss 9(ish) different things:
- Mendicants should not allow themselves to be caught up in socializing.
- Perseverance when the mind is troubled in meditation.
- Awareness in different postures.
- Awareness when speaking and thinking.
- Awareness of susceptibility to the Five Chords of Sense Pleasure (Kāmaguṇa).
- Observing the Five Aggregates (Khandhas) rise and fall and the resultant Anattā.
- When to follow after a teacher.
- The undoing of teachers (ācariya), students (antevāsī), and “those who live the holy life” (brahmacārī) (ie, disciples of Gotama?).
- Treating teachers and disciples as friends.
- The sutta doesn’t seem to be that much about Emptiness (suññatā).
- I was surprised to find myself assenting to the list of things to talk/think or avoid talking/thinking about. I don’t believe we should _never_ talk about these things, only that we should do it with intentionality. At a house party recently (those are a thing again?!?) I watched how unintentional focus on these topics was unpleasant. And it seems to me that for some people it is even causing harm to their mental health.
- I particularly enjoyed the bit at the end, about how he, Gotama, would not “Mollycoddle” Ānanda. “I shall not mollycoddle you like a potter with their damp, unfired pots. I shall speak, correcting you again and again, pressing you again and again. The core will stand the test.” (Sujato’s translation)