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Indriyabhāvanā Sutta

Taught at Kajaṅgalā in the Mukheluvana. When a young brahmin, Uttara, pupil of Pārāsiviya (Pārāpariya), visits the Buddha, the Buddha asks him what was the teaching of Pārāsiviya on the development of the faculties (indriya). It is that a man should neither see forms with his eyes, nor hear words with his ears, says Uttara. Whereupon the Buddha retorts that in that case the deaf and the blind have reached development. When Uttara sits silent and discomfited, Ānanda intervenes and begs the Buddha to expound his teaching on the subject. The Buddha agrees and teaches this sutta, with a variety of similes (M.iii.298‑302).

In the Theragāthā Commentary (ii.17) we are told that the thera Pārāpariya (probably identical with Pārāsiviya mentioned above) was taught the Indriyabhāvanā Sutta by the Buddha. He learnt it by heart, and pondering over its meaning, attained insight. The Theragāthā (vv.726 ff) gives a summary of the musings of Pārāpariya which lead to his attainment.

The only connection between the Sutta and this summary is identity of subject, not identity of treatment. Perhaps Pārāpariya’s musings were only prompted by the sutta and were independent of its actual words.

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