On Citta
Citta Sutta  (AN 6:60)

I have heard that on one occasion the Blessed One was staying near Vārāṇasī at the Deer Park at Isipatana. And on that occasion a large number of elder monks, after the meal, on returning from their alms round, were sitting gathered together in the assembly hall discussing higher Dhamma. And there, while the elder monks were discussing higher Dhamma, Ven. Citta Hatthisārīputta interrupted in the middle of their talk. Then Ven. Mahā Koṭṭhita said to him, “Don’t interrupt in the middle of the talk while the elder monks are discussing higher Dhamma. Wait until the end of the talk.”

When this was said, the monks who were Ven. Citta Hatthisārīputta’s companions said to Ven. Mahā Koṭṭhita, “May Ven. Mahā Koṭṭhita not rebuke Ven. Citta Hatthisārīputta. He is wise, Ven. Citta Hatthisārīputta. He is capable of discussing higher Dhamma with the elder monks.”

“Friends, that is hard to know by those who do not know the thoughts of another.

“There is the case, friends, where a certain individual is ever so composed, ever so humble, ever so calm as long as he lives in dependence on the Teacher or another of his companions in the holy life who is in the position of a mentor. But when he leaves the Teacher or the companion in the holy life who is in a position of a mentor, he gets entangled with monks, nuns, male lay followers, female lay followers, kings, kings’ ministers, sectarians, and sectarians’ disciples. As he lives entangled, loosened up, uncontrolled, devoted to conversation, lust invades his mind. He, with his mind invaded by lust, gives up the training and reverts to the lower life.

“Suppose that a crop-eating bull were bound with a rope or confined in a pen. If someone were to say, ‘Never again will this crop-eating bull get into the crops,’ would he be speaking rightly?”

“Not at all, friend. It’s possible that the crop-eating bull, having cut the rope or broken open the pen, could again get into the crops.”

“In the same way, friends, there is the case where a certain individual is ever so composed… But when he leaves the Teacher or the companion in the holy life who is in a position of a mentor… he, with his mind invaded by lust, gives up the training and reverts to the lower life.

“And further, friends, there is the case where a certain individual, quite secluded from sensuality, secluded from unskillful mental qualities, enters & remains in the first jhāna: rapture & pleasure born of seclusion, accompanied by directed thought & evaluation. He, (thinking,) ‘I have gained the first jhāna,’ gets entangled with monks, nuns, male lay followers, female lay followers, kings, kings’ ministers, sectarians, and sectarians’ disciples. As he lives entangled, loosened up, uncontrolled, devoted to conversation, lust invades his mind. He, with his mind invaded by lust, gives up the training and reverts to the lower life.

“Suppose the deva of heavy rains, raining down on a great crossroads, were to make the dust disappear and mud appear. If someone were to say, ‘Never again will dust appear at that great crossroads,’ would he be speaking rightly?”

“Not at all, friend. It’s possible that human beings will pass through that great crossroads, or herd animals will pass through, or wind & heat will dry up the moisture, and then the dust will reappear.”

“In the same way, friends, there is the case where a certain individual… (thinking,) ‘I have gained the first jhāna,’ gets entangled… He, with his mind invaded by lust, gives up the training and reverts to the lower life.

“And further, friends, there is the case where a certain individual, with the stilling of directed thoughts & evaluations, enters & remains in the second jhāna: rapture & pleasure born of concentration, unification of awareness free from directed thought & evaluation—internal assurance. He, (thinking,) ‘I have gained the second jhāna,’ gets entangled with monks, nuns, male lay followers, female lay followers, kings, kings’ ministers, sectarians, and sectarians’ disciples. As he lives entangled, loosened up, uncontrolled, devoted to conversation, lust invades his mind. He, with his mind invaded by lust, gives up the training and reverts to the lower life.

“Suppose that not far from a village or town was a great reservoir. There, the deva of heavy rains, having rained down, would make the freshwater oysters & mussels, the gravel & pebbles, disappear. If someone were to say, ‘Never again will the freshwater oysters & mussels, the gravel & pebbles, reappear in that reservoir,’ would he be speaking rightly?”

“Not at all, friend. It’s possible that human beings will drink from that reservoir, or herd animals will drink from it, or wind & heat will dry up the moisture, and then the freshwater oysters & mussels, the gravel & pebbles, will reappear.”

“In the same way, friends, there is the case where a certain individual… (thinking,) ‘I have gained the second jhāna,’ gets entangled… He, with his mind invaded by lust, gives up the training and reverts to the lower life.

“And further, friends, there is the case where a certain individual, with the fading of rapture, remains equanimous, mindful, & alert, senses pleasure with the body, and enters & remains in the third jhāna, of which the noble ones declare, ‘Equanimous & mindful, he has a pleasant abiding.’ He, (thinking,) ‘I have gained the third jhāna,’ gets entangled with monks, nuns, male lay followers, female lay followers, kings, kings’ ministers, sectarians, and sectarians’ disciples. As he lives entangled, loosened up, uncontrolled, devoted to conversation, lust invades his mind. He, with his mind invaded by lust, gives up the training and reverts to the lower life.

“Suppose that a man had eaten his fill of an exquisite meal so that food left over from the night before wouldn’t appeal to him. If someone were to say, ‘Never again will food ever appeal to that man,’ would he be speaking rightly?”

“Not at all, friend. Once that man has eaten his fill of an exquisite meal, then as long as the vitality of the food remains in his body, then other food won’t appeal to him. But when the vitality of the food has disappeared, then the food will appeal to him.”

“In the same way, friends, there is the case where a certain individual… (thinking,) ‘I have gained the third jhāna,’ gets entangled… He, with his mind invaded by lust, gives up the training and reverts to the lower life.

“And further, friends, there is the case where a certain individual, with the abandoning of pleasure & pain—as with the earlier disappearance of elation & distress—enters & remains in the fourth jhāna: purity of equanimity & mindfulness, neither pleasure nor pain. He, (thinking,) ‘I have gained the fourth jhāna,’ gets entangled with monks, nuns, male lay followers, female lay followers, kings, kings’ ministers, sectarians, and sectarians’ disciples. As he lives entangled, loosened up, uncontrolled, devoted to conversation, lust invades his mind. He, with his mind invaded by lust, gives up the training and reverts to the lower life.

“Suppose that in a mountain glen there was a freshwater lake, free from wind and devoid of waves. If someone were to say, ‘Never again will a wave appear on that freshwater lake,’ would he be speaking rightly?”

“Not at all, friend. It’s possible that a huge storm of wind & rain could come from the east… the west… the north… the south. That would give rise to a wave on that freshwater lake.”

“In the same way, friends, there is the case where a certain individual… (thinking,) ‘I have gained the fourth jhāna,’ gets entangled… He, with his mind invaded by lust, gives up the training and reverts to the lower life.

“And further, friends, there is the case where a certain individual, not attending to any themes, enters & remains in the themeless concentration of awareness.1 He, (thinking,) ‘I have gained the themeless concentration of awareness,’ gets entangled with monks, nuns, male lay followers, female lay followers, kings, kings’ ministers, sectarians, and sectarians’ disciples. As he lives entangled, loosened up, uncontrolled, devoted to conversation, lust invades his mind. He, with his mind invaded by lust, gives up the training and reverts to the lower life.

“Suppose that a king or king’s minister, traveling along a road with a fourfold army, were to set up camp for a night in a forest grove. There—from the noise of elephants, the noise of horses, the noise of chariots, the noise of infantry, the noise & clamor of drums, kettledrums, conch-shell horns, & lutes—the sound of crickets would disappear. If someone were to say, ‘Never again will the sound of crickets appear in that forest grove,’ would he be speaking rightly?”

“Not at all, friend. It’s possible that when the king or king’s minister leaves that forest grove, the sound of crickets will reappear.”

“In the same way, friends, there is the case where a certain individual, not attending to any themes, enters & remains in the themeless concentration of awareness.1 He, thinking, ‘I have gained the themeless concentration of awareness,’ gets entangled with monks, nuns, male lay followers, female lay followers, kings, kings’ ministers, sectarians, and sectarians’ disciples. As he lives entangled, loosened up, uncontrolled, devoted to conversation, lust invades his mind. He, with his mind invaded by lust, gives up the training and reverts to the lower life.”

Then at a later time, Ven. Citta Hatthisārīputta gave up the training and reverted to the lower life. Then the monks who were his companions went to Ven. Mahā Koṭṭhita and, on arrival, asked him, “Did Ven. Mahā Koṭṭhita, with his own awareness, encompass the awareness of Citta Hatthisārīputta so that he knew, ‘Citta Hatthisārīputta has gained such & such meditative dwellings & attainments but will give up the training and revert to the lower life’? Or did devas report this matter to you: ‘Venerable sir, Citta Hatthisārīputta has gained such & such meditative dwellings & attainments but will give up the training and revert to the lower life’?”

“Friends, with my own awareness I encompassed the awareness of Citta Hatthisārīputta so that I knew, ‘Citta Hatthisārīputta has gained such & such meditative dwellings & attainments but will give up the training and revert to the lower life’? And devas also reported this matter to me: ‘Venerable sir, Citta Hatthisārīputta has gained such & such meditative dwellings & attainments but will give up the training and revert to the lower life.’”

Then the monks who were Citta Hatthisārīputta’s companions went to the Blessed One and, on arrival, having bowed down to him, sat to one side. As they were sitting there, they said to him, “Lord, Citta Hatthisārīputta, having gained such & such meditative dwellings & attainments, has given up the training and reverted to the lower life.”

“It won’t be long, monks, before Citta misses [the life of] renunciation.”

Then not long after that, Citta Hatthisārīputta, having shaved off his hair & beard, put on the ochre robes and went forth from the household life into homelessness. Then—dwelling alone, secluded, heedful, ardent, & resolute, Ven. Citta Hatthisārīputta in no long time entered & remained in the supreme goal of the holy life for which clansmen rightly go forth from home into homelessness, directly knowing & realizing it for himself in the here & now. He knew: “Birth is ended, the holy life fulfilled, the task done. There is nothing further for the sake of this world.” And thus Ven. Citta Hatthisārīputta became another one of the arahants.

Note

1. See MN 121.

See also: MN 29–30; SN 17:3; SN 17:5; SN 17:8; SN 35:200; AN 4:178; AN 8:7; Iti 81; Iti 109