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Mahāsuññatā Sutta

Taught at Nigrodhārāma in Kapilavatthu. The Buddha was staying in the cell erected by Kāḷakhemaka, and nearby, in the cell erected by Ghaṭāya, Ānanda, with many monks, was making robes. The Buddha knew from the number of pallets outside the cells of Kāḷakhemaka that many monks were in residence there. He therefore addressed Ānanda, telling him of the joys of tranquility and solitude. A monk should dwell apart and concentrate his heart internally and thus develop the four absorptions (jhāna). He then knows that, whatever his posture, he will be free from evil dispositions; his speech will be free from faults, his thoughts pure. A monk should always examine his heart to see if he has any longing for sensual pleasures. A disciple should follow in his master’s footsteps, not to obtain interpretations of canonical law, but solely to hear words that conduce to dispassion, illumination, nibbāna (M.iii.109‑18).

The sutta is also called the Gaṇabheda Sutta, because it tends to break up groups. Once, in the Vālikapitthi-vihāra, Abhidhammika Abhaya recited this sutta with several others, and, understanding its import, dwelt apart and attained Arahantship during the rains. MA.ii.907.

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