The Sutra on Totality

Posted by in Buddha

This is a Sutra that I’ve always found to be clear, sharp, and insightful.  It marks the boundary of any explanations that we’d like to entertain and keeps us honest when we stray into imagination.

The Sutra on Totality

Monks, I will teach you the totality of life. Listen, attend carefully to it and I will speak.

What, monks, is totality ?

It is just the eye
with the objects of sight,
the ear with the objects of hearing,
the nose with the objects of smell,
the tongue with the objects of taste,
the body with the objects of touch
and the mind with the objects of cognition.

This, monks, is called totality.

Now, if anyone were to say, “Aside from this explanation of totality, I will preach another totality,” that person would be speaking empty words, and being questioned would not be able to answer. Why is this ? Because that person is talking about something outside of all possible knowledge.

Samyutta Nikaya

*The Sutra on Totality is from the Samyutta Nikaya  (“Connected Discourses” or “Kindred Sayings”) a Buddhist scripture, the third of the five nikayas, or collections, in the Sutta Pitaka, which is one of the “three baskets” that compose the Pali Tipitaka of Theravada Buddhism.

Andrew Furst
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Andrew Furst

Author of two books, Poet, Meditation Teacher, Buddhist blogger, backup guitarist for his teenage boys, lucky husband and technologist
Andrew Furst
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