In order to understand properly the Law of Dependent Arising, one has to have a deep insight into the inter-dependence between consciousness and name-and-form. In the last two sermons we compared this inter-dependence to a whirlpool.
The deepest point in a whirlpool is the abyss. The riddle verse we have taken up today as the topic of our sermon, has a reference to an abyss. Let us examine whether there is any connection between the Law of Dependent Arising and this abyss…..
‘Ekamūlaṁ dvirāvaṭṭaṁ’ Having one root and with two turnings round. ‘Timalaṁ pañca pattharam’ With three stains and five expanses. ‘Samuddaṁ dvādasāvaṭṭaṁ’– the ocean with twelve whirlpools. ‘Pātālaṁ atarī isī’ – ‘The abyss the sage has crossed.’
Only this difficult riddle verse is found there in that context without any clue to its meaning. The commentary gives some meanings at random. Though it appears as a difficult verse, the similes alluded to in it are to be found elsewhere in the discourses.
To begin with the abyss itself, there is a discourse by the same name 2 in the Vedanā Saṁyutta of the Saḷāyatana Vagga in the Saṁyutta Nikāya. There the Buddha says: (4) Pātāla–Abyss, Vedanā Saṃyutta, Saḷāyatanavaggo, Saḷāyatanavaggo
‘Monks, this is a synonym for painful bodily feelings, namely, the abyss.’
(‘Sārīrikānaṁ kho etaṁ bhikkhave dukkhānaṁ vedanānaṁ adhivacanaṁ yadidaṁ pātāloti’)
So you all now know what the abyss is. Then as for the ocean, that too, we can understand by an open hint in the Samudda Sutta 3 in the same section of the Saṁyutta Nikāya….…
The eye, O monks, is the ocean for a man. It has the force of waves of forms. Whoever endures that force of forms, he, O monks, is called one who has crossed the eye-ocean with its waves, whirlpools, seizures, and demons – the Brahmin who has crossed over and stands on dry ground on the further shore.’
Now what does this mean? The eye is called an ocean for a man. In that ocean, there are the waves of forms……
Source : seeing through the net