This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: “Monks, there are these two forms of the Unbinding property. Which two? The Unbinding property with fuel remaining, & the Unbinding property with no fuel remaining.
“And what is the Unbinding property with fuel remaining? There is the case where a monk is an Arahant whose effluents have ended, who has reached fulfillment, finished the task, laid down the burden, attained the true goal, destroyed the fetter of becoming, and is released through right gnosis. His five sense faculties still remain and, owing to their being intact, he experiences the pleasing & the displeasing, and is sensitive to pleasure & pain. His ending of passion, aversion, & delusion is termed the Unbinding property with fuel remaining.1
“And what is the Unbinding property with no fuel remaining? There is the case where a monk is an Arahant whose effluents have ended, who has reached fulfillment, finished the task, laid down the burden, attained the true goal, destroyed the fetter of becoming, and is released through right gnosis. For him, all that is sensed, being unrelished, will grow cold right here. This is termed the Unbinding property with no fuel remaining.”1
by the one with vision,
the one independent,
the one who is Such:2
one property, here in this life,
with fuel remaining
from the destruction of [craving],
the guide to becoming,
and that with no fuel remaining,
after this life,
in which all becoming
Those who know
this unfabricated state,
their minds released
through the destruction of [craving],
the guide to becoming,
they, attaining the Dhamma’s heartwood,
delighting in ending,3
have abandoned all becoming:
they, the Such.
1. With fuel remaining (sa-upādisesa) and with no fuel remaining (anupādisesa): The analogy here is to a fire. In the first case, the flames are out, but the embers are still glowing. In the second, the fire is so thoroughly out that the embers have grown cold. The “fuel” here is the five aggregates (see the Glossary). While the Arahant is still alive, he/she still experiences the five aggregates, but they do not burn with the fires of passion, aversion, or delusion. When the Arahant passes away, there is no longer any experience of aggregates here or anywhere else. For a discussion of this point, see The Mind Like Fire Unbound, pp. 21-37.
2. Such (tādin): An adjective to describe one who has attained the goal. It indicates that the person’s state is undefinable and not subject to change or influence of any sort.
3. Following the reading in the Burmese and PTS editions: dhamma-sārādigamā khaye ratā. The Thai edition reads, dhamma-sārādigamakkhaye ratā–delighting in the ending of the attaining of the Dhamma’s heartwood–which doesn’t make sense. See MN 29 & MN 30.
See also: MN 140