This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: “Monks, a monk should investigate in such a way that–his consciousness neither externally scattered & diffused, nor internally positioned–he is, from lack of clinging/sustenance, unagitated, and there is no coming into being of the origination of future birth, aging, death, or stress.”1
For a monk who has abandoned
and cut the guide:2
the wandering-on in birth
there is, for him,
no further becoming.
1. In MN 138, Ven. MahāKaccāna offers the following explanation of this cryptic statement:
“And how is consciousness said not to be externally scattered & diffused? There is the case where, having seen a form with the eye, consciousness does not follow the drift of the theme of the form, is not tied to… chained to… fettered, or joined to the attraction of the theme of the form. Consciousness is said not to be externally scattered & diffused. [Similarly with the other senses.] …
“And how is the mind said not to be internally positioned? There is the case where a monk, quite secluded from sensuality, secluded from unskillful qualities, enters & remains in the first jhāna: rapture & pleasure born of seclusion, accompanied by directed thought & evaluation. His consciousness does not follow the drift of the rapture & pleasure born of seclusion, is not tied to… chained to… fettered, or joined to the attraction of the rapture & pleasure born of seclusion. [Similarly with the second, third, and fourth jhānas.] The mind is said not to be internally positioned.”
“And how is non-agitation caused by lack of clinging/sustenance? There is the case where an instructed disciple of the noble ones–who has regard for noble ones, is well-versed & disciplined in their Dhamma; who has regard for people of integrity, is well-versed & disciplined in their Dhamma–doesn’t assume form to be the self, or the self as possessing form, or form as in the self, or the self as in form. His form changes & is unstable, but his consciousness doesn’t–because of the change & instability of form–alter in accordance with the change in form. His mind is not consumed with any agitation born from an alteration in accordance with the change in form or coming from the co-arising of [unskillful mental] qualities. And because his awareness is not consumed, he feels neither fearful, threatened, nor solicitous. [Similarly with the aggregates of feeling, perception, fabrications, and consciousness.] “This, friends, is how non-agitation is caused by lack of clinging/sustenance.”
2. The “seven attachments” are passion, aversion, delusion, views, conceit, defilement, & misconduct. The “guide” is craving, which leads to becoming.