56. Sacca Saŋyutta
II Dhamma-Cakka-Pavattana Vagga
Suchas Such Are Such as Such Are
Translated from the Pali by Michael Olds
This sutta seems to have caused a lot of confusion even going way back. It seems to me that it is presented somewhat out of context. The context should be understood as a number of bhikkhus contemplating various aspects of the Four Aristocratic Truths. 'The Truths deal with the pain of recurrent rebirth.' 'The Truths deal with the stress of life.' 'The Truths deal with general unsatisfactoriness.' Etc. So I am going to re-cast it 'in detail' as an introduction as I believe it should be understood, using widely-understood American English terms.
These four, friends, are facts, not statements of what are not facts, not statements to be interpreted as other than stated.
What are these four?
The statement: 'This is pain', friends, is a statement of fact, not a statement of what is not a fact, not a statement to be interpreted in any way other than as stated.
The statement: 'This is the source of pain' is a statement of fact, not a statement of what is not a fact, not a statement to be interpreted in any way other than as stated.
The statement 'This is the end to pain' is a statement of fact, not a statement of what is not a fact, not a statement to be interpreted in any way other than as stated.
The statement 'This is the path following which one arrives at the end of pain' is a statement of fact, not a statement of what is not a fact, not a statement to be interpreted in any way other than as stated.
These then, friends, are the four facts, not statements of what are not facts, not statements to be interpreted as other than stated.
Therefore, friends, be admonished to do what makes sense to do in connection with the statement 'this is pain'. That is: Understand that 'This' means anything to which the term 'this' can be applied, or, to give only a few of the many ways 'this' is to be understood: Being; Existing; The All: the eye and sights, the ear and sounds, the nose and scents, the tongue and tastes, the body and touch, the mind and mental objects; or, The Khandhas: shape, sensation, perception, own-making, consciousness. In other words, any existing thing conceivable whatsoever is to be understood as Pain. Period no wiggle room. But the most obvious is what is right in front of one: this world, this life, this being.
Be admonished to do what makes sense to do in connection with the statement 'This is a source of pain', that is, understand The Second Aristocratic Truth: The source of Pain is Tanha, Hunger/thirst. Desire, wanting, craving of any sort for anything conceivable whatsoever. Period. No wiggle room.
be admonished to do what makes sense to do in connection with the statement 'This is an end to pain', that is understand the Third Aristocratic Truth: The Ending of tanha is the Ending of Pain. In other words. End the Thirst. What makes sense to do in connection with the statement 'there is an end to pain' is to examine the statement in the Third Aristocratic Truth that the end of pain is accomplished by ending tanha.
be admonished to do what makes sense to do in connection with the statement 'This is the path following which one arrives at the end of pain', which is to follow the steps of the path described in the Fourth Aristocratic Truth. The Way to behave in order to end tanha and by the ending of tanha the ending of pain. That is: High point of view, high principles, high talk, high works, high lifestyle, high self-control, high getting high, high vision and high detachment.
Upon reflection upon my reflection upon this sutta I recalled the story of Sariputta being able to work out the Dhamma from the simple instruction: 'Gotama speaks of the reasons for the arising and ending of things that arise from reasons.'[i1]
So it is possible that with the four statements made in this sutta one could arrive at the meaning of Gotama's Dhamma.
The implications are interesting. It is possible that what this is is just one of many alternative ways of stating the Dhamma, or it could be an early statement of what later became The Four Truths. For this latter to be the case, however, the formulation found in the First Sutta would need to have been made up later and it would probably be better to let that one be left alone.
How could the Dhamma be worked out from the four statements found here?
Take as a working hypothesis that the four statements are true. There is no sense arguing this. The truth or falsety of the statements is to be seen or not seen by one who acts in accordance.
The first statement is seen to be true when it is seen that all things that have become, come to an end and that this is something that is felt as painful. The truth of this first statement must be seen to work out the rest.
Then taking the second statement as true we ask: What, then, is this source of all things that become that are Pain? And we can arrive at the Second Aristocrat of Truths: that all things that arise arise as a consequence of wanting.
Then taking the third statement as true we can see that if all things that become are pain and that that pain arises from wanting that the ending of that Pain must be the ending of that wanting. The Fourth Aristocrat of Truths.
Thinking in the orderly way of the Mind, we then work out the way to bring about the end of wanting based on the perception that we must not act out of wanting in order to accomplish the task. So we can break down the details of the behavior required: All the various aspects of not-doing anything based on wanting.
Point of view: orientation not on being or not being, but on not wanting.
Principles of behavior based on this point of view: orientation not on getting or not getting, but on not creating new kamma.
Behavior of speech: Speech that avoids creating new kammic repercussions
Behavior of body: Behavior that avoids creating new kammic repercussions
Manner or style of living: Living in a style that focuses on letting go of repercussion-causing behavior, not acquisition creating behavior
Developing self-control that is focused on preserving or developing the letting go of repercussion-causing behavior
Developing the memory so as to firmly establish our experience of the truth of these truths and the freedom from pain established by detachment in the four basic modes in which beings live: body, sensation, emotions, and Understanding (the thoughts or teachings or rules by which we live: dhammas).
Developing serenity to the point of detachment
Seeing these Four Truths as they actually work in the world
Seeing freedom in Detachment.
And There you are! I had thought it had to be 'there is a', but it is 'this is the'; it's all right in front of one.
[i1]Ye dhamma hetuppabhava||
tesam hetum tathagato aham||
tesañ ca yo nirodho||
evamvadi mahasamano' ti.|| ||
'Those things reason-arisen become
of these reasons the Tathagata speaks
and of those their eradication'
thus speaks the great shaman.
Hetu is usually translated 'cause' an idea I try to avoid where possible. What is being spoken of is the repercussion we call 'kamma'. It is the consequence that arises having acted in thought, word and deed. The distinction is this: the repercussion from an act can take a multiplicity of forms whereas the idea of 'cause' implies a certain outcome from a certain action.
Suchas Such Are Such as Such Are
2. These four, beggars, are suchas such are, not not-suchas such are, not anything else.
What are these four?
3. 'This is pain' beggars, is suchas such is, not not-suchas such is, not anything else.
4. 'This is a source of pain' is suchas such is, not not-suchas such is, not anything else.
5. 'This is the end to pain' is suchas such is, not not-suchas such is, not anything else.
6. 'This is the path-following going to the end of pain' is suchas such is, not not-suchas such is, not anything else.
7. These then, beggars, are the four that are suchas such are, not not-suchas such are, not anything else.
do the to be done in connection with 'this is pain',
do the to be done in connection with 'this is the source of pain',
do the to be done in connection with 'this is the end to pain',
do the to be done in connection with 'this is the path-following going to the end of pain', say I.
 Yogo karaṇīyo. Yoked to the to be done.