Người cầu đạo ví như kẻ mặc áo bằng cỏ khô, khi lửa đến gần phải lo tránh. Người học đạo thấy sự tham dục phải lo tránh xa.Kinh Bốn mươi hai chương
Cỏ làm hại ruộng vườn, sân làm hại người đời. Bố thí người ly sân, do vậy được quả lớn.Kinh Pháp Cú (Kệ số 357)
Dầu mưa bằng tiền vàng, Các dục khó thỏa mãn. Dục đắng nhiều ngọt ít, Biết vậy là bậc trí.Kinh Pháp cú (Kệ số 186)
Khi ăn uống nên xem như dùng thuốc để trị bệnh, dù ngon dù dở cũng chỉ dùng đúng mức, đưa vào thân thể chỉ để khỏi đói khát mà thôi.Kinh Lời dạy cuối cùng
Kẻ làm điều ác là tự chuốc lấy việc dữ cho mình.Kinh Bốn mươi hai chương
Ai sống quán bất tịnh, khéo hộ trì các căn, ăn uống có tiết độ, có lòng tin, tinh cần, ma không uy hiếp được, như núi đá, trước gió.Kinh Pháp cú (Kệ số 8)
Ý dẫn đầu các pháp, ý làm chủ, ý tạo; nếu với ý ô nhiễm, nói lên hay hành động, khổ não bước theo sau, như xe, chân vật kéo.Kinh Pháp Cú (Kệ số 1)
Ai dùng các hạnh lành, làm xóa mờ nghiệp ác, chói sáng rực đời này, như trăng thoát mây che.Kinh Pháp cú (Kệ số 173)
Mặc áo cà sa mà không rời bỏ cấu uế, không thành thật khắc kỷ, thà chẳng mặc còn hơn.Kinh Pháp cú (Kệ số 9)
Hãy tự mình làm những điều mình khuyên dạy người khác. Kinh Pháp cú

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Saccasaṃyutta

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Dịch giả: Bhikkhu Boddhi

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CONCENTRATION
1 (1) Concentration


At Sāvatthī. “Bhikkhus, develop concentration. A bhikkhu who is concentrated understands things as they really are.375
“And what does he understand as it really is? He understands as it really is: ‘This is suffering.’ He understands as it really is: ‘This is the origin of suffering.’ He understands as it really is: ‘This is the cessation of suffering.’ He understands as it really is: ‘This is the way leading to the cessation of suffering.’
“Bhikkhus, develop concentration. A bhikkhu who is concentrated understands things as they really are.
“Therefore, bhikkhus, an exertion should be made to understand: ‘This is suffering.’376 An exertion should be made to understand: ‘This is the origin of suffering.’ An exertion should be made to understand: ‘This is the cessation of suffering.’ An exertion should be made to understand: ‘This is the way leading to the cessation of suffering.’”
2 (2) Seclusion
“Bhikkhus, make an exertion in seclusion. A bhikkhu who is secluded understands things as they really are.
“And what does he understand as it really is? He understands as it really is: ‘This is suffering.’… ‘This is the origin of suffering. ’… ‘This is the cessation of suffering.’… ‘This is the way leading to the cessation of suffering.’ [415]
“Bhikkhus, make an exertion in seclusion. A bhikkhu who is secluded understands things as they really are.
“Therefore, bhikkhus, an exertion should be made to understand: ‘This is suffering.’… An exertion should be made to understand: ‘This is the way leading to the cessation of suffering.’”
(3) Clansmen (1)
“Bhikkhus, whatever clansmen in the past rightly went forth from the household life into homelessness, all did so in order to make the breakthrough to the Four Noble Truths as they really are. Whatever clansmen in the future will rightly go forth from the household life into homelessness, all will do so in order to make the breakthrough to the Four Noble Truths as they really are. Whatever clansmen at present have rightly gone forth from the household life into homelessness, all have done so in order to make the breakthrough to the Four Noble Truths as they really are.
“What four? The noble truth of suffering, the noble truth of the origin of suffering, the noble truth of the cessation of suffering, the noble truth of the way leading to the cessation of suffering. Whatever clansmen rightly went forth … will rightly go forth … have rightly gone forth from household life into homelessness, all have done so in order to make the breakthrough to these Four Noble Truths as they really are.
“Therefore, bhikkhus, an exertion should be made to understand: ‘This is suffering.’… An exertion should be made to understand: ‘This is the way leading to the cessation of suffering.’”
(4) Clansmen (2)
“Bhikkhus, whatever clansmen in the past rightly went forth from the household life into homelessness and made the breakthrough to things as they really are, all made the breakthrough to the Four Noble Truths as they really are. Whatever clansmen in the future will rightly go forth from the household life into homelessness and make the breakthrough to things as they really are, [416] all will make the breakthrough to the Four Noble Truths as they really are. Whatever clansmen at present have rightly gone forth from the household life into homelessness and make the breakthrough to things as they really are, all make the breakthrough to the Four Noble Truths as they really are.
“What four? The noble truth of suffering, the noble truth of the origin of suffering, the noble truth of the cessation of suffering, the noble truth of the way leading to the cessation of suffering. Whatever clansmen made the breakthrough … will make the breakthrough … make the breakthrough to things as they really are, all make the breakthrough to these Four Noble Truths as they really are.
“Therefore, bhikkhus, an exertion should be made to understand: ‘This is suffering.’… An exertion should be made to understand: ‘This is the way leading to the cessation of suffering.’”
(5) Ascetics and Brahmins (1)
“Bhikkhus, whatever ascetics or brahmins in the past fully awakened to things as they really are, all fully awakened to the Four Noble Truths as they really are. Whatever ascetics or brahmins in the future will fully awaken to things as they really are, all will fully awaken to the Four Noble Truths as they really are. Whatever ascetics or brahmins at present have fully awakened to things as they really are, all have fully awakened to the Four Noble Truths as they really are.
“What four? The noble truth of suffering … the noble truth of the way leading to the cessation of suffering. Whatever ascetics or brahmins fully
awakened … will fully awaken … have fully awakened to things as they really are, all have fully awakened to these Four Noble Truths as they really are. [417]
“Therefore, bhikkhus, an exertion should be made to understand: ‘This is suffering.’… An exertion should be made to understand: ‘This is the way leading to the cessation of suffering.’”
(6) Ascetics and Brahmins (2)
“Bhikkhus, whatever ascetics or brahmins in the past revealed themselves as having fully awakened to things as they really are, all revealed themselves as having fully awakened to the Four Noble Truths as they really are. Whatever ascetics or brahmins in the future will reveal themselves as having fully awakened to things as they really are, all will reveal themselves as having fully awakened to the Four Noble Truths as they really are. Whatever ascetics or brahmins at present reveal themselves as having fully awakened to things as they really are, all reveal themselves as having fully awakened to the Four Noble Truths as they really are.
“What four? The noble truth of suffering … the noble truth of the way leading to the cessation of suffering. Whatever ascetics or brahmins revealed themselves … will reveal themselves … reveal themselves as having fully awakened to things as they really are, all reveal themselves as having fully awakened to these Four Noble Truths as they really are.
“Therefore, bhikkhus, an exertion should be made to understand: ‘This is suffering.’… An exertion should be made to understand: ‘This is the way leading to the cessation of suffering.’”
(7) Thoughts
“Bhikkhus, do not think evil unwholesome thoughts; that is, sensual thought, thought of ill will, thought of harming. For what reason? These thoughts, bhikkhus, are unbeneficial, irrelevant to the fundamentals of the
holy life, [418] and do not lead to revulsion, to dispassion, to cessation, to peace, to direct knowledge, to enlightenment, to Nibbāna.
“When you think, bhikkhus, you should think: ‘This is suffering’; you should think: ‘This is the origin of suffering’; you should think: ‘This is the cessation of suffering’; you should think: ‘This is the way leading to the cessation of suffering.’ For what reason? These thoughts, bhikkhus, are beneficial, relevant to the fundamentals of the holy life, and lead to revulsion, to dispassion, to cessation, to peace, to direct knowledge, to enlightenment, to Nibbāna.
“Therefore, bhikkhus, an exertion should be made to understand: ‘This is suffering.’… An exertion should be made to understand: ‘This is the way leading to the cessation of suffering.’”
(8) Reflection
“Bhikkhus, do not reflect in an evil unwholesome way:377 ‘The world is eternal’ or ‘The world is not eternal’; or ‘The world is finite’ or ‘The world is infinite’; or ‘The soul and the body are the same’ or ‘The soul is one thing, the body is another’; or ‘The Tathāgata exists after death,’ or ‘The Tathāgata does not exist after death,’ or ‘The Tathāgata both exists and does not exist after death,’ or ‘The Tathāgata neither exists nor does not exist after death.’ For what reason? Because, bhikkhus, this reflection is unbeneficial, irrelevant to the fundamentals of the holy life, and does not lead to revulsion, to dispassion, to cessation, to peace, to direct knowledge, to enlightenment, to Nibbāna.
“When you reflect, bhikkhus, you should reflect: ‘This is suffering’; you should reflect: ‘This is the origin of suffering’; you should reflect: ‘This is the cessation of suffering’; you should reflect: ‘This is the way leading to the cessation of suffering.’ For what reason? Because, bhikkhus, this reflection is beneficial, relevant to the fundamentals of the holy life, and leads to revulsion, to dispassion, to cessation, to peace, to direct knowledge,
[419] to enlightenment, to Nibbāna.
“Therefore, bhikkhus, an exertion should be made to understand: ‘This is suffering.’… An exertion should be made to understand: ‘This is the way leading to the cessation of suffering.’”
(9) Disputatious Talk
“Bhikkhus, do not engage in disputatious talk,378 saying: ‘You don’t understand this Dhamma and Discipline. I understand this Dhamma and Discipline. What, you understand this Dhamma and Discipline! You’re practising wrongly, I’m practising rightly. What should have been said before you said after; what should have been said after you said before. I’m consistent, you’re inconsistent. What you took so long to think out has been overturned. Your thesis has been refuted. Go off to rescue your thesis, for you’re defeated, or disentangle yourself if you can.’ For what reason? Because, bhikkhus, this talk is unbeneficial, irrelevant to the fundamentals of the holy life, and does not lead to revulsion, to dispassion, to cessation, to peace, to direct knowledge, to enlightenment, to Nibbāna.
“When you talk, bhikkhus, you should talk about: ‘This is suffering’; you should talk about: ‘This is the origin of suffering’; you should talk about: ‘This is the cessation of suffering’; you should talk about: ‘This is the way leading to the cessation of suffering. ’ For what reason? Because, bhikkhus, this talk is beneficial, relevant to the fundamentals of the holy life, and leads to revulsion, to dispassion, to cessation, to peace, to direct knowledge, to enlightenment, to Nibbāna.
“Therefore, bhikkhus, an exertion should be made to understand: ‘This is suffering.’… An exertion should be made to understand: ‘This is the way leading to the cessation of suffering.’”
(10) Pointless Talk
“Bhikkhus, do not engage in the various kinds of pointless talk,379 that is, talk about kings, thieves, and ministers of state; talk about armies, dangers,
and wars; talk about food, drink, garments, and beds; talk about garlands and scents; talk about relations, vehicles, villages, towns, cities, and countries; talk about women and talk about heroes; [420] street talk and talk by the well; talk about those departed in days gone by; rambling chitchat; speculation about the world and about the sea; talk about becoming this or that. For what reason? Because, bhikkhus, this talk is unbeneficial, irrelevant to the fundamentals of the holy life, and does not lead to revulsion, to dispassion, to cessation, to peace, to direct knowledge, to enlightenment, to Nibbāna.
“When you talk, bhikkhus, you should talk about: ‘This is suffering’; you should talk about: ‘This is the origin of suffering’; you should talk about: ‘This is the cessation of suffering’; you should talk about: ‘This is the way leading to the cessation of suffering. ’ For what reason? Because, bhikkhus, this talk is beneficial, relevant to the fundamentals of the holy life, and leads to revulsion, to dispassion, to cessation, to peace, to direct knowledge, to enlightenment, to Nibbāna.
“Therefore, bhikkhus, an exertion should be made to understand: ‘This is suffering.’… An exertion should be made to understand: ‘This is the way leading to the cessation of suffering.’”
SETTING IN MOTION THE WHEEL OF THE DHAMMA
(1) Setting in Motion the Wheel of the Dhamma
Thus have I heard. On one occasion the Blessed One was dwelling at Bārāṇasī in the Deer Park at Isipatana. [421] There the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus of the group of five thus:380
“Bhikkhus, these two extremes should not be followed by one who has gone forth into homelessness. What two? The pursuit of sensual happiness in sensual pleasures, which is low, vulgar, the way of worldlings, ignoble, unbeneficial; and the pursuit of self-mortification, which is painful, ignoble, unbeneficial. Without veering towards either of these extremes, the
Tathāgata has awakened to the middle way, which gives rise to vision, which gives rise to knowledge, which leads to peace, to direct knowledge, to enlightenment, to Nibbāna.
“And what, bhikkhus, is that middle way awakened to by the Tathāgata, which gives rise to vision … which leads to Nibbāna? It is this Noble Eightfold Path; that is, right view, right intention, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration. This, bhikkhus, is that middle way awakened to by the Tathāgata, which gives rise to vision, which gives rise to knowledge, which leads to peace, to direct knowledge, to enlightenment, to Nibbāna.
“Now this, bhikkhus, is the noble truth of suffering: birth is suffering, aging is suffering, illness is suffering, death is suffering; 381 union with what is displeasing is suffering; separation from what is pleasing is suffering; not to get what one wants is suffering; in brief, the five aggregates subject to clinging are suffering.
“Now this, bhikkhus, is the noble truth of the origin of suffering: it is this craving which leads to renewed existence, accompanied by delight and lust, seeking delight here and there; that is, craving for sensual pleasures, craving for existence, craving for extermination.
“Now this, bhikkhus, is the noble truth of the cessation of suffering: it is the remainderless fading away and cessation of that same craving, the giving up and relinquishing of it, freedom from it, nonreliance on it.
“Now this, bhikkhus, is the noble truth of the way leading to the cessation of suffering: [422] it is this Noble Eightfold Path; that is, right view … right concentration.
“‘This is the noble truth of suffering’: thus, bhikkhus, in regard to things unheard before, there arose in me vision, knowledge, wisdom, true knowledge, and light.
“‘This noble truth of suffering is to be fully understood’: thus, bhikkhus, in regard to things unheard before, there arose in me vision, knowledge, wisdom, true knowledge, and light.
“‘This noble truth of suffering has been fully understood’: thus, bhikkhus, in regard to things unheard before, there arose in me vision, knowledge, wisdom, true knowledge, and light.
“‘This is the noble truth of the origin of suffering’: thus, bhikkhus, in regard to things unheard before, there arose in me vision, knowledge, wisdom, true knowledge, and light.
“‘This noble truth of the origin of suffering is to be abandoned’: thus, bhikkhus, in regard to things unheard before, there arose in me vision, knowledge, wisdom, true knowledge, and light.
“‘This noble truth of the origin of suffering has been abandoned’: thus, bhikkhus, in regard to things unheard before, there arose in me vision, knowledge, wisdom, true knowledge, and light.
“‘This is the noble truth of the cessation of suffering’: thus, bhikkhus, in regard to things unheard before, there arose in me vision, knowledge, wisdom, true knowledge, and light.
“‘This noble truth of the cessation of suffering is to be realized’: thus, bhikkhus, in regard to things unheard before, there arose in me vision, knowledge, wisdom, true knowledge, and light.
“‘This noble truth of the cessation of suffering has been realized’: thus, bhikkhus, in regard to things unheard before, there arose in me vision, knowledge, wisdom, true knowledge, and light.
“‘This is the noble truth of the way leading to the cessation of suffering’: thus, bhikkhus, in regard to things unheard before, there arose in me vision, knowledge, wisdom, true knowledge, and light.
“‘This noble truth of the way leading to the cessation of suffering is to be developed’: thus, bhikkhus, in regard to things unheard before, there arose in me vision, knowledge, wisdom, true knowledge, and light.
“‘This noble truth of the way leading to the cessation of suffering has been developed’: thus, bhikkhus, in regard to things unheard before, there arose in me vision, knowledge, wisdom, true knowledge, and light.
“So long, bhikkhus, as my knowledge and vision of these Four Noble Truths as they really are in their three phases and twelve aspects was not thoroughly purified in this way,382 [423] I did not claim to have awakened to the unsurpassed perfect enlightenment in this world with its devas, Māra, and Brahmā, in this generation with its ascetics and brahmins, its devas and humans. But when my knowledge and vision of these Four Noble Truths as they really are in their three phases and twelve aspects was thoroughly purified in this way, then I claimed to have awakened to the unsurpassed perfect enlightenment in this world with its devas, Māra, and Brahmā, in this generation with its ascetics and brahmins, its devas and humans. The knowledge and vision arose in me: ‘Unshakable is the liberation of my mind. This is my last birth. Now there is no more renewed existence.’”
This is what the Blessed One said. Elated, the bhikkhus of the group of five delighted in the Blessed One’s statement. And while this discourse was being spoken, there arose in the Venerable Kondañña the dust-free, stainless vision of the Dhamma: “Whatever is subject to origination is all subject to cessation.”
And when the Wheel of the Dhamma had been set in motion by the Blessed One,383 the earth-dwelling devas raised a cry: “At Bārāṇasī, in the Deer Park at Isipatana, this unsurpassed Wheel of the Dhamma has been set in motion by the Blessed One, which cannot be stopped by any ascetic or brahmin or deva or Māra or Brahmā or by anyone in the world.” Having heard the cry of the earth-dwelling devas, the devas of the realm of the Four Great Kings raised a cry: “At Bārāṇasī … this unsurpassed Wheel of the Dhamma has been set in motion by the Blessed One, which cannot be stopped … by anyone in the world.” Having heard the cry of the devas of the realm of the Four Great Kings, the Tāvatiṃsa devas … the Yāma devas
… the Tusita devas … the Nimmānaratī devas … the Paranimmitavasavattī
devas … the devas of Brahmā’s company raised a cry: “At Bārāṇasī, in the Deer Park at Isipatana, this unsurpassed Wheel of the Dhamma has been set in motion by the Blessed One, [424] which cannot be stopped by any ascetic or brahmin or deva or Māra or Brahmā or by anyone in the world.”
Thus at that moment, at that instant, at that second, the cry spread as far as the brahmā world, and this ten thousandfold world system shook,
quaked, and trembled, and an immeasurable glorious radiance appeared in the world surpassing the divine majesty of the devas.
Then the Blessed One uttered this inspired utterance: “Koṇḍañña has indeed understood! Koṇḍañña has indeed understood!” In this way the Venerable Koṇḍañña acquired the name “Aññā Koṇḍañña—Koṇḍañña Who Has Understood.”
(2) Tathāgatas
“‘This is the noble truth of suffering’: thus, bhikkhus, in regard to things unheard before, there arose in the Tathāgatas vision, knowledge, wisdom, true knowledge, and light.
“‘This noble truth of suffering is to be fully understood’: thus, bhikkhus, in regard to things unheard before, there arose in the Tathāgatas vision … and light.
“‘This noble truth of suffering has been fully understood’: thus, bhikkhus, in regard to things unheard before, there arose in the Tathāgatas vision … and light.
“‘This is the noble truth of the origin of suffering’ … ‘This noble truth of the origin of suffering is to be abandoned’ … ‘This noble truth of the origin of suffering has been abandoned’: thus, bhikkhus, in regard to things unheard before, there arose in the Tathāgatas vision … and light.
“‘This is the noble truth of the cessation of suffering’ … ‘This noble truth of the cessation of suffering is to be realized’ … [425] ‘This noble truth of the cessation of suffering has been realized’: thus, bhikkhus, in regard to things unheard before, there arose in the Tathāgatas vision … and light.
“‘This is the noble truth of the way leading to the cessation of suffering’
… ‘This noble truth of the way leading to the cessation of suffering is to be developed’ … ‘This noble truth of the way leading to the cessation of suffering has been developed’: thus, bhikkhus, in regard to things unheard
before, there arose in the Tathāgatas vision, knowledge, wisdom, true knowledge, and light.”
(3) Aggregates
“Bhikkhus, there are these Four Noble Truths. What four? The noble truth of suffering, the noble truth of the origin of suffering, the noble truth of the cessation of suffering, the noble truth of the way leading to the cessation of suffering.
“And what, bhikkhus, is the noble truth of suffering? It should be said: the five aggregates subject to clinging; that is, the form aggregate subject to clinging … the consciousness aggregate subject to clinging. This is called the noble truth of suffering.
“And what, bhikkhus, is the noble truth of the origin of suffering? It is this craving which leads to renewed existence, accompanied by delight and lust, seeking delight here and there; that is, craving for sensual pleasures, craving for existence, craving for extermination. This is called the noble truth of the origin of suffering.
“And what, bhikkhus, is the noble truth of the cessation of suffering? It is the remainderless fading away and cessation of that same craving, the giving up and relinquishing of it, freedom from it, nonreliance on it. This is called the noble truth of the cessation of suffering.
“And what, bhikkhus, is the noble truth of the way leading to the cessation of suffering? It is this Noble Eightfold Path; that is, right view … right concentration. This is called the noble truth of the way leading to the cessation of suffering. [426]
“These, bhikkhus, are the Four Noble Truths.
“Therefore, bhikkhus, an exertion should be made to understand: ‘This is suffering.’… An exertion should be made to understand: ‘This is the way leading to the cessation of suffering.’”
(4) Internal Sense Bases
“Bhikkhus, there are these Four Noble Truths. What four? The noble truth of suffering, the noble truth of the origin of suffering, the noble truth of the cessation of suffering, the noble truth of the way leading to the cessation of suffering.
“And what, bhikkhus, is the noble truth of suffering? It should be said: the six internal sense bases. What six? The eye base … the mind base. This is called the noble truth of suffering.”
(The rest of the sutta is identical with §13.)
(5) Remembrance (1)
“Bhikkhus, do you remember the Four Noble Truths taught by me?”
When this was said, a certain bhikkhu said to the Blessed One: [427] “Venerable sir, I remember the Four Noble Truths taught by the Blessed One.”
“But how, bhikkhu, do you remember the Four Noble Truths taught by me?”
“I remember suffering, venerable sir, as the first noble truth taught by the Blessed One. I remember the origin of suffering as the second noble truth taught by the Blessed One. I remember the cessation of suffering as the third noble truth taught by the Blessed One. I remember the way leading to the cessation of suffering as the fourth noble truth taught by the Blessed One. It is in this way, venerable sir, that I remember the Four Noble Truths taught by the Blessed One.”
“Good, good, bhikkhu! It is good that you remember the Four Noble Truths taught by me. Suffering, bhikkhu, is the first noble truth taught by me: remember it thus. The origin of suffering is the second noble truth taught by me: remember it thus. The cessation of suffering is the third noble truth taught by me: remember it thus. The way leading to the cessation of
suffering is the fourth noble truth taught by me: remember it thus. In this way, bhikkhu, remember the Four Noble Truths taught by me.
“Therefore, bhikkhu, an exertion should be made to understand: ‘This is suffering.’… An exertion should be made to understand: ‘This is the way leading to the cessation of suffering.’”
(6) Remembrance (2)
“Bhikkhus, do you remember the Four Noble Truths taught by me?” [428] When this was said, a certain bhikkhu said to the Blessed One:
“Venerable sir, I remember the Four Noble Truths taught by the Blessed One.”
“But how, bhikkhu, do you remember the Four Noble Truths taught by me?”
“I remember suffering, venerable sir, as the first noble truth taught by the Blessed One. For if any ascetic or brahmin should speak thus: ‘This is not the first noble truth of suffering taught by the ascetic Gotama; having rejected this first noble truth of suffering, I will make known another first noble truth of suffering’—this is impossible.
“I remember the origin of suffering as the second noble truth taught by the Blessed One…. I remember the cessation of suffering as the third noble truth taught by the Blessed One…. I remember the way leading to the cessation of suffering as the fourth noble truth taught by the Blessed One. For if any ascetic or brahmin should speak thus: ‘This is not the fourth noble truth of the way leading to the cessation of suffering taught by the ascetic Gotama; having rejected this fourth noble truth of the way leading to the cessation of suffering, I will make known another fourth noble truth of the way leading to the cessation of suffering’—this is impossible.
“It is in this way, venerable sir, that I remember the Four Noble Truths taught by the Blessed One.”
“Good, good, bhikkhu! It is good that you remember the Four Noble Truths taught by me. Suffering, bhikkhu, is the first noble truth taught by
me: remember it thus. For if any ascetic or brahmin should speak thus … (as above) … [429] ‘This is not the fourth noble truth of the way leading to the cessation of suffering taught by the ascetic Gotama; having rejected this fourth noble truth of the way leading to the cessation of suffering, I will make known another fourth noble truth of the way leading to the cessation of suffering’—this is impossible.
“In this way, bhikkhu, remember the Four Noble Truths taught by me. “Therefore, bhikkhu, an exertion should be made to understand: ‘This is
suffering.’… An exertion should be made to understand: ‘This is the way
leading to the cessation of suffering.’”
(7) Ignorance
Sitting to one side, that bhikkhu said to the Blessed One: “Venerable sir, it is said, ‘ignorance, ignorance.’ What is ignorance, venerable sir, and in what way is one immersed in ignorance?”
“Bhikkhu, not knowing suffering, not knowing the origin of suffering, not knowing the cessation of suffering, not knowing the way leading to the cessation of suffering: this is called ignorance, bhikkhu, and it is in this way that one is immersed in ignorance.
“Therefore, bhikkhu, an exertion should be made to understand: ‘This is suffering.’… An exertion should be made to understand: ‘This is the way leading to the cessation of suffering.’”
(8) True Knowledge
Then a certain bhikkhu approached the Blessed One, paid homage to him, sat down to one side, and said to him: “Venerable sir, it is said, ‘true knowledge, true knowledge.’ What is true knowledge, venerable sir, and in what way has one arrived at true knowledge?” [430]
“Bhikkhu, knowledge of suffering, knowledge of the origin of suffering, knowledge of the cessation of suffering, knowledge of the way leading to
the cessation of suffering: this is called true knowledge, bhikkhu, and it is in this way that one has arrived at true knowledge.
“Therefore, bhikkhu, an exertion should be made to understand: ‘This is suffering.’… An exertion should be made to understand: ‘This is the way leading to the cessation of suffering.’”
(9) Implications
“‘This is the noble truth of suffering’: such has been made known by me. In this statement, ‘This is the noble truth of suffering,’ there are innumerable nuances, innumerable details, innumerable implications.384
“‘This is the noble truth of the origin of suffering’ … ‘This is the noble truth of the cessation of suffering’ … ‘This is the noble truth of the way leading to the cessation of suffering’: such has been made known by me. In this statement, ‘This is the noble truth of the way leading to the cessation of suffering,’ there are innumerable nuances, innumerable details, innumerable implications.
“Therefore, bhikkhus, an exertion should be made to understand: ‘This is suffering.’… An exertion should be made to understand: ‘This is the way leading to the cessation of suffering.’”
(10) Actual
“Bhikkhus, these four things are actual, unerring, not otherwise. 385 What four?
“‘This is suffering’: this, bhikkhus, is actual, unerring, not otherwise. ‘This is the origin of suffering’: this is actual, unerring, not otherwise. ‘This is the cessation of suffering’: this is actual, unerring, not otherwise. [431] ‘This is the way leading to the cessation of suffering’: this is actual, unerring, not otherwise.
“These four things, bhikkhus, are actual, unerring, not otherwise.
“Therefore, bhikkhu, an exertion should be made to understand: ‘This is suffering.’… An exertion should be made to understand: ‘This is the way leading to the cessation of suffering.’”
KOṬIGAMA
21 (1) Koṭigāma (1) 386
On one occasion the Blessed One was dwelling among the Vajjians at Koṭigāma. There the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus thus: “Bhikkhus, it is because of not understanding and not penetrating the Four Noble Truths that you and I have roamed and wandered through this long course of saṃsāra. What four?
“It is, bhikkhus, because of not understanding and not penetrating the noble truth of suffering that you and I have roamed and wandered through this long course of saṃsāra. It is because of not understanding and not penetrating the noble truth of the origin of suffering … the noble truth of the cessation of suffering … the noble truth of the way leading to the cessation of suffering [432] that you and I have roamed and wandered through this long course of saṃsāra.
“That noble truth of suffering, bhikkhus, has been understood and penetrated. That noble truth of the origin of suffering has been understood and penetrated. That noble truth of the cessation of suffering has been understood and penetrated. That noble truth of the way leading to the cessation of suffering has been understood and penetrated. Craving for existence has been cut off; the conduit to existence has been destroyed; now there is no more renewed existence.”
This is what the Blessed One said. Having said this, the Fortunate One, the Teacher, further said this:
“Because of not seeing as they are The Four Noble Truths,
We have wandered through the long course In the various kinds of births.
“Now these truths have been seen; The conduit to existence is severed; Cut off is the root of suffering:
Now there is no more renewed existence.”
22 (2) Koṭigāma (2) 387
“Bhikkhus, those ascetics or brahmins who do not understand as it really is: ‘This is suffering’; who do not understand as it really is: ‘This is the origin of suffering’; who do not understand as it really is: ‘This is the cessation of suffering’; who do not understand as it really is: ‘This is the way leading to the cessation of suffering’: these I do not consider to be ascetics among ascetics or brahmins among brahmins, and these venerable ones do not, by realizing it for themselves with direct knowledge, enter and dwell, in this very life, in the goal of asceticism or the goal of brahminhood.
“But, bhikkhus, those ascetics or brahmins who understand these things: these I consider to be ascetics among ascetics and brahmins among brahmins, [433] and these venerable ones, by realizing it for themselves with direct knowledge, enter and dwell, in this very life, in the goal of asceticism and the goal of brahminhood.”
This is what the Blessed One said. Having said this, the Fortunate One, the Teacher, further said this:
“Those who do not understand suffering, Who do not know suffering’s origin, Nor where suffering completely stops, Where it ceases without remainder;
Who do not know that path
Which leads to suffering’s appeasement: They are devoid of mind’s liberation
And also of liberation by wisdom; Incapable of making an end,
They fare on to birth and aging.
“But those who understand suffering, Who know too suffering’s origin,
And where suffering completely stops, Where it ceases without remainder; Who understand that path
Which leads to suffering’s appeasement:
They are endowed with mind’s liberation And also with liberation by wisdom; Being capable of making an end,
They fare no more in birth and aging.”
23 (3) The Perfectly Enlightened One
At Sāvatthī. “Bhikkhus, there are these Four Noble Truths. What four? The noble truth of suffering … the noble truth of the way leading to the cessation of suffering. It is because he has fully awakened to these Four Noble Truths as they really are that the Tathāgata is called the Arahant, the Perfectly Enlightened One.
“Therefore, bhikkhus, an exertion should be made to understand: ‘This is suffering.’… An exertion should be made to understand: ‘This is the way leading to the cessation of suffering.’”
24 (4) Arahants
At Sāvatthī. “Bhikkhus, whatever Arahants, Perfectly Enlightened Ones, in the past fully awakened to things as they really are, all fully awakened to the Four Noble Truths as they really are. [434] Whatever Arahants, Perfectly Enlightened Ones, in the future will fully awaken to things as they really are, all will fully awaken to the Four Noble Truths as they really are. Whatever Arahants, Perfectly Enlightened Ones, at present have fully
awakened to things as they really are, all have fully awakened to the Four Noble Truths as they really are.
“What four? The noble truth of suffering, the noble truth of the origin of suffering, the noble truth of the cessation of suffering, the noble truth of the way leading to the cessation of suffering. Whatever Arahants, Perfectly Enlightened Ones, fully awakened … will fully awaken … have fully awakened to things as they really are, all have fully awakened to these Four Noble Truths as they really are.
“Therefore, bhikkhus, an exertion should be made to understand: ‘This is suffering.’… An exertion should be made to understand: ‘This is the way leading to the cessation of suffering.’”
25 (5) The Destruction of the Taints
“Bhikkhus, I say that the destruction of the taints is for one who knows and sees, not for one who does not know and does not see.388 For one who knows what, for one who sees what, does the destruction of the taints come about? The destruction of the taints comes about for one who knows and sees: ‘This is suffering’; for one who knows and sees: ‘This is the origin of suffering’; for one who knows and sees: ‘This is the cessation of suffering’; for one who knows and sees: ‘This is the way leading to the cessation of suffering.’ It is for one who knows thus, for one who sees thus, that the destruction of the taints comes about.
“Therefore, bhikkhus, an exertion should be made to understand: ‘This is suffering.’… An exertion should be made to understand: ‘This is the way leading to the cessation of suffering.’”
(6) Friends
“Bhikkhus, those for whom you have compassion and who think you should be heeded—whether friends or colleagues, relatives or kinsmen—
[435] these you should exhort, settle, and establish for making the breakthrough to the Four Noble Truths as they really are.
“What four? The noble truth of suffering, the noble truth of the origin of suffering, the noble truth of the cessation of suffering, the noble truth of the way leading to the cessation of suffering.
“Those for whom you have compassion … these you should exhort, settle, and establish for making the breakthrough to these Four Noble Truths as they really are.
“Therefore, bhikkhus, an exertion should be made to understand: ‘This is suffering.’… An exertion should be made to understand: ‘This is the way leading to the cessation of suffering.’”
(7) Actual
“Bhikkhus, there are these Four Noble Truths. What four? The noble truth of suffering, the noble truth of the origin of suffering, the noble truth of the cessation of suffering, the noble truth of the way leading to the cessation of suffering. These Four Noble Truths, bhikkhus, are actual, unerring, not otherwise. Therefore they are called noble truths.389
“Therefore, bhikkhus, an exertion should be made to understand: ‘This is suffering.’… An exertion should be made to understand: ‘This is the way leading to the cessation of suffering.’”
(8) The World
“Bhikkhus, these are these Four Noble Truths. What four? The noble truth of suffering, the noble truth of the origin of suffering, the noble truth of the cessation of suffering, the noble truth of the way leading to the cessation of suffering. In this world, with its devas, Marā, and Brahmā, in this generation with its ascetics and brahmins, its devas and humans, the Tathāgata is the noble one. Therefore they are called noble truths.
“Therefore, bhikkhus, an exertion should be made to understand: ‘This is suffering.’… An exertion should be made to understand: ‘This is the way leading to the cessation of suffering.’” [436]
(9) To Be Fully Understood
“Bhikkhus, there are these Four Noble Truths. What four? The noble truth of suffering, the noble truth of the origin of suffering, the noble truth of the cessation of suffering, the noble truth of the way leading to the cessation of suffering. These are the Four Noble Truths.
“Of these Four Noble Truths, bhikkhus, there is a noble truth that is to be fully understood; there is a noble truth that is to be abandoned; there is a noble truth that is to be realized; there is a noble truth that is to be developed.
“And what, bhikkhus, is the noble truth that is to be fully understood? The noble truth of suffering is to be fully understood; the noble truth of the origin of suffering is to be abandoned; the noble truth of the cessation of suffering is to be realized; the noble truth of the way leading to the cessation of suffering is to be developed.
“Therefore, bhikkhus, an exertion should be made to understand: ‘This is suffering.’… An exertion should be made to understand: ‘This is the way leading to the cessation of suffering.’”
(10) Gavampati
On one occasion a number of elder bhikkhus were dwelling among the Cetiyans at Sahajāti. Now on that occasion when the elder bhikkhus had returned from their alms round, after their meal they had assembled in the pavilion and were sitting together when this conversation arose: “Friend, does one who sees suffering also see the origin of suffering, also see the
cessation of suffering, also see the way leading to the cessation of suffering?”
When this was said, the Venerable Gavampati said to the elder bhikkhus: “Friends, in the presence of the Blessed One I have heard and learnt this:
[437] ‘Bhikkhus, one who sees suffering also sees the origin of suffering, also sees the cessation of suffering, also sees the way leading to the cessation of suffering. One who sees the origin of suffering also sees suffering, also sees the cessation of suffering, also sees the way leading to the cessation of suffering. One who sees the cessation of suffering also sees suffering, also sees the origin of suffering, also sees the way leading to the cessation of suffering. One who sees the way leading to the cessation of suffering also sees suffering, also sees the origin of suffering, also sees the cessation of suffering.’”390
THE SI]}{SAPA GROVE
(1) The Siṃsapā Grove
On one occasion the Blessed One was dwelling at Kosambī in a siṃsapā grove. Then the Blessed One took up a few siṃsapā leaves in his hand and addressed the bhikkhus thus: “What do you think, bhikkhus, which is more numerous: these few siṃsapā leaves that I have taken up in my hand or those in the siṃsapā grove overhead?” [438]
“Venerable sir, the siṃsapā leaves that the Blessed One has taken up in his hand are few, but those in the siṃsapā grove overhead are numerous.”
“So too, bhikkhus, the things I have directly known but have not taught you are numerous, while the things I have taught you are few. And why, bhikkhus, have I not taught those many things? Because they are unbeneficial, irrelevant to the fundamentals of the holy life, and do not lead to revulsion, to dispassion, to cessation, to peace, to direct knowledge, to enlightenment, to Nibbāna. Therefore I have not taught them.
“And what, bhikkhus, have I taught? I have taught: ‘This is suffering’; I have taught: ‘This is the origin of suffering’; I have taught: ‘This is the cessation of suffering’; I have taught: ‘This is the way leading to the cessation of suffering.’ And why, bhikkhus, have I taught this? Because this is beneficial, relevant to the fundamentals of the holy life, and leads to revulsion, to dispassion, to cessation, to peace, to direct knowledge, to enlightenment, to Nibbāna. Therefore I have taught this.
“Therefore, bhikkhus, an exertion should be made to understand: ‘This is suffering.’… An exertion should be made to understand: ‘This is the way leading to the cessation of suffering.’”
(2) Acacia
“Bhikkhus, if anyone should speak thus: ‘Without having made the breakthrough to the noble truth of suffering as it really is, without having made the breakthrough to the noble truth of the origin of suffering as it really is, without having made the breakthrough to the noble truth of the cessation of suffering as it really is, without having made the breakthrough to the noble truth of the way leading to the cessation of suffering as it really is, I will completely make an end to suffering’—this is impossible.
“Just as, bhikkhus, if someone should speak thus: ‘Having made a basket of acacia leaves or of pine needles or of myrobalan leaves,391 [439] I will bring water or a palm fruit,’392 this would be impossible; so too, if anyone should speak thus: ‘Without having made the breakthrough to the noble truth of suffering as it really is… I will completely make an end to suffering’—this is impossible.
“But, bhikkhus, if anyone should speak thus: ‘Having made the breakthrough to the noble truth of suffering as it really is, having made the breakthrough to the noble truth of the origin of suffering as it really is, having made the breakthrough to the noble truth of the cessation of suffering as it really is, having made the breakthrough to the noble truth of the way leading to the cessation of suffering as it really is, I will completely make an end to suffering’—this is possible.
“Just as, bhikkhus, if someone should speak thus: ‘Having made a basket of lotus leaves or of kino leaves or of māluva leaves,393 I will bring water or a palm fruit,’ this would be possible; so too, if anyone should speak thus: ‘Having made the breakthrough to the noble truth of suffering as it really is… I will completely make an end to suffering’—this is possible.
“Therefore, bhikkhus, an exertion should be made to understand: ‘This is suffering.’… An exertion should be made to understand: ‘This is the way leading to the cessation of suffering.’”
(3) Stick
“Bhikkhus, just as a stick thrown up into the air falls now on its bottom, now on its top, so too as beings roam and wander on, hindered by ignorance and fettered by craving, now they go from this world to the other world, now they come from the other world to this world.394 For what reason? Because they have not seen the Four Noble Truths. What four? The noble truth of suffering … the noble truth of the way leading to the cessation of suffering. [440]
“Therefore, bhikkhus, an exertion should be made to understand: ‘This is suffering.’… An exertion should be made to understand: ‘This is the way leading to the cessation of suffering.’”
(4) Clothes
“Bhikkhus, if one’s clothes or head were ablaze, what should be done about it?”
“Venerable sir, if one’s clothes or head were ablaze, to extinguish one’s blazing clothes or head one should arouse extraordinary desire, make an extraordinary effort, stir up zeal and enthusiasm, be unremitting, and exercise mindfulness and clear comprehension.”395
“Bhikkhus, one might look on equanimously at one’s blazing clothes or head, paying no attention to them, but so long as one has not made the breakthrough to the Four Noble Truths as they really are, in order to make the breakthrough one should arouse extraordinary desire, make an extraordinary effort, stir up zeal and enthusiasm, be unremitting, and exercise mindfulness and clear comprehension. What four? The noble truth of suffering … the noble truth of the way leading to the cessation of suffering.
“Therefore, bhikkhus, an exertion should be made to understand: ‘This is suffering.’… An exertion should be made to understand: ‘This is the way leading to the cessation of suffering.’”
(5) A Hundred Spears
“Bhikkhus, suppose there were a man with a life span of a hundred years, who could live a hundred years. Someone would say to him: ‘Come, good man, in the morning they will strike you with a hundred spears; at noon they will strike you with a hundred spears; in the evening they will strike you with a hundred spears.396 And you, good man, being struck day after day by three hundred spears will have a life span of a hundred years, will live a hundred years; and then, after a hundred years have passed, you will make the breakthrough to the Four Noble Truths, to which you had not broken through earlier.’ [441]
“It is fitting, bhikkhus, for a clansman intent on his good to accept the offer. For what reason? Because this saṃsāra is without discoverable beginning; a first point cannot be discerned of blows by spears, blows by swords, blows by axes. And even though this may be so, bhikkhus, I do not say that the breakthrough to the Four Noble Truths is accompanied by suffering or displeasure. Rather, the breakthrough to the Four Noble Truths is accompanied only by happiness and joy. What four? The noble truth of suffering … the noble truth of the way leading to the cessation of suffering.
“Therefore, bhikkhus, an exertion should be made to understand: ‘This is suffering.’… An exertion should be made to understand: ‘This is the way
leading to the cessation of suffering.’”
(6) Creatures
“Bhikkhus, suppose a man were to cut up whatever grass, sticks, branches, and foliage there is in this Jambudīpa and collect them into a single heap. Having done so, he would impale the large creatures in the ocean on the large stakes, the middle-sized creatures on the middle-sized stakes, and the small creatures on the small stakes. Still, bhikkhus, the gross creatures in the ocean would not be exhausted even after all the grass, sticks, branches, and foliage in Jambudīpa had been used up and exhausted. The small creatures in the ocean that could not easily be impaled on stakes would be even more numerous than this. For what reason? [442] Because of the minuteness of their bodies.
“So vast, bhikkhus, is the plane of misery. The person who is accomplished in view, freed from that vast plane of misery, understands as it really is: ‘This is suffering.’… ‘This is the way leading to the cessation of suffering.’
“Therefore, bhikkhus, an exertion should be made to understand: ‘This is suffering.’… An exertion should be made to understand: ‘This is the way leading to the cessation of suffering.’”
(7) The Sun (1)
“Bhikkhus, this is the forerunner and precursor of the rising of the sun, that is, the dawn. So too, bhikkhus, for a bhikkhu this is the forerunner and precursor of the breakthrough to the Four Noble Truths as the really are, that is, right view. It is to be expected that a bhikkhu with right view397 will understand as it really is: ‘This is suffering.’… ‘This is the way leading to the cessation of suffering.’
“Therefore, bhikkhus, an exertion should be made to understand: ‘This is suffering.’… An exertion should be made to understand: ‘This is the way
leading to the cessation of suffering.’”
(8) The Sun (2)
“Bhikkhus, so long as the sun and moon have not arisen in the world, for just so long there is no manifestation of great light and radiance, but then blinding darkness prevails, a dense mass of darkness; for just so long day and night are not discerned, the month and fortnight are not discerned, the seasons and the year are not discerned.
“But, bhikkhus, when the sun and moon arise in the world, then there is the manifestation of great light and radiance; [443] then there is no blinding darkness, no dense mass of darkness; then day and night are discerned, the month and fortnight are discerned, the seasons and year are discerned.
“So too, bhikkhus, so long as a Tathāgata has not arisen in the world, an Arahant, a Perfectly Enlightened One, for just so long there is no manifestation of great light and radiance, but then blinding darkness prevails, a dense mass of darkness; for just so long there is no explaining, teaching, proclaiming, establishing, disclosing, analysing, or elucidating of the Four Noble Truths.
“But, bhikkhus, when a Tathāgata arises in the world, an Arahant, a Perfectly Enlightened One, then there is the manifestation of great light and radiance; then no blinding darkness prevails, no dense mass of darkness; then there is the explaining, teaching, proclaiming, establishing, disclosing, analysing, and elucidating of the Four Noble Truths. What four? The noble truth of suffering … the noble truth of the way leading to the cessation of suffering.
“Therefore, bhikkhus, an exertion should be made to understand: ‘This is suffering.’… An exertion should be made to understand: ‘This is the way leading to the cessation of suffering.’”
(9) Indra’s Pillar
“Bhikkhus, those ascetics or brahmins who do not understand as it really is ‘This is suffering’ … ‘This is the way leading to the cessation of suffering’—they look up at the face of another ascetic or brahmin, thinking: ‘This worthy is surely one who really knows, who really sees.’
“Suppose, bhikkhus, a tuft of cotton wool or kapok, light, wafted by the wind, had settled on an even piece of ground. [444] An easterly wind would drive it westward; a westerly wind would drive it eastward; a northerly wind would drive it southward; a southerly wind would drive it northward. For what reason? Because of the lightness of the tuft.
“So too, bhikkhus, those ascetics or brahmins who do not understand as it really is ‘This is suffering’ … ‘This is the way leading to the cessation of suffering’—they look up at the face of another ascetic or brahmin, thinking: ‘This worthy is surely one who really knows, who really sees.’ For what reason? Because they have not seen the Four Noble Truths.
“But, bhikkhus, those ascetics or brahmins who understand as it really is ‘This is suffering’ … ‘This is the way leading to the cessation of suffering’—they do not look up at the face of another ascetic or brahmin, thinking: ‘This worthy is surely one who really knows, who really sees.’
“Suppose, bhikkhus, there was an iron pillar or an Indra’s pillar 398 with a deep base, securely planted, immobile, unshaking. Even if a forceful blast of wind comes—whether from the east, the west, the north, or the south— that pillar would not shake, quake, or tremble. For what reason? Because the pillar has a deep base and is securely planted.
“So too, bhikkhus, those ascetics or brahmins who understand as it really is ‘This is suffering’ … ‘This is the way leading to the cessation of suffering’—they do not look up at the face of another ascetic or brahmin, thinking: ‘This worthy is surely one who really knows, who really sees.’ For what reason? Because, bhikkhus, they have clearly seen the Four Noble Truths. What four? [445] The noble truth of suffering … the noble truth of the way leading to the cessation of suffering.
“Therefore, bhikkhus, an exertion should be made to understand: ‘This is suffering.’… An exertion should be made to understand: ‘This is the way leading to the cessation of suffering.’”
(10) Seeking an Argument
“Bhikkhus, if any bhikkhu understands as it really is: ‘This is suffering’ … ‘This is the way leading to the cessation of suffering,’ and then an ascetic or brahmin comes along—whether from the east, the west, the north, or the south—seeking an argument, searching for an argument, thinking: ‘I will refute his thesis,’ it is impossible that he could make that bhikkhu shake, quake, or tremble.
“Suppose, bhikkhus, 399 there was a stone column sixteen yards long: an eight yards’ portion of it would be sunk in the ground, an eight yards’ portion above ground. Even if a forceful blast of wind comes along— whether from the east, the west, the north, or the south—the column would not shake, quake, or tremble. For what reason? Because it has a deep base and is securely planted.
“So too, bhikkhus, if any bhikkhu understands as it really is ‘This is suffering’ … ‘This is the way leading to the cessation of suffering,’ [446] and then an ascetic or a brahmin comes along … it is impossible that he could make that bhikkhu shake, quake, or tremble. For what reason? Because he has clearly seen the Four Noble Truths. What four? The noble truth of suffering … the noble truth of the way leading to the cessation of suffering.
“Therefore, bhikkhus, an exertion should be made to understand: ‘This is suffering.’… An exertion should be made to understand: ‘This is the way leading to the cessation of suffering.’”
THE PRECIPICE
(1) Reflection about the World
On one occasion the Blessed One was dwelling at Rājagaha in the Bamboo Grove, the Squirrel Sanctuary. There the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus thus:
“Bhikkhus, once in the past a certain man set out from Rājagaha and went to the Sumāgadhā Lotus Pond, thinking: ‘I will reflect about the world.’400 [447] He then sat down on the bank of the Sumāgadhā Lotus Pond reflecting about the world. Then, bhikkhus, the man saw a four- division army entering a lotus stalk on the bank of the pond. Having seen this, he thought: ‘I must be mad! I must be insane! I’ve seen something that doesn’t exist in the world.’ The man returned to the city and informed a great crowd of people: ‘I must be mad, sirs! I must be insane! I’ve seen something that doesn’t exist in the world.’
“[They said to him:] ‘But how is it, good man, that you are mad? How are you insane? And what have you seen that doesn’t exist in the world?’
“‘Here, sirs, I left Rājagaha and approached the Sumāgadhā Lotus Pond
… (as above) … I saw a four-division army entering a lotus stalk on the bank of the pond. That’s why I’m mad, that’s why I’m insane, and that’s what I’ve seen that doesn’t exist in the world.’
“‘Surely you’re mad, good man! Surely you’re insane! And what you have seen doesn’t exist in the world.’
“Nevertheless, bhikkhus, what that man saw was actually real, not unreal.401 Once in the past the devas and the asuras were arrayed for battle. In that battle the devas won and the asuras were defeated. In their defeat,
[448] the asuras were frightened and entered the asura city through the lotus stalk, to the bewilderment of the devas.
“Therefore, bhikkhus, do not reflect about the world, thinking: ‘The world is eternal’ or ‘The world is not eternal’; or ‘The world is finite’ or ‘The world is infinite’; or ‘The soul and the body are the same’ or ‘The soul is one thing, the body is another’; or ‘The Tathāgata exists after death,’ or ‘The Tathāgata does not exist after death,’ or ‘The Tathāgata both exists and
does not exist after death,’ or ‘The Tathāgata neither exists nor does not exist after death.’ For what reason? Because, bhikkhus, this reflection is unbeneficial, irrelevant to the fundamentals of the holy life, and does not lead to revulsion, to dispassion, to cessation, to peace, to direct knowledge, to enlightenment, to Nibbāna.
“When you reflect, bhikkhus, you should reflect: ‘This is suffering’; you should reflect: ‘This is the origin of suffering’; you should reflect: ‘This is the cessation of suffering’; you should reflect: ‘This is the way leading to the cessation of suffering.’ For what reason? Because, bhikkhus, this reflection is beneficial, relevant to the fundamentals of the holy life, and leads to revulsion, to dispassion, to cessation, to peace, to direct knowledge, to enlightenment, to Nibbāna.
“Therefore, bhikkhus, an exertion should be made to understand: ‘This is suffering.’… An exertion should be made to understand: ‘This is the way leading to the cessation of suffering.’”
(2) The Precipice
On one occasion the Blessed One was dwelling at Rājagaha on Mount Vulture Peak. Then the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus thus: “Come, bhikkhus, let us go to Paṭibhāna Peak for the day’s abiding.”
“Yes, venerable sir,” those bhikkhus replied. [449] Then the Blessed One, together with a number of bhikkhus, went to Paṭibhāna Peak. A certain bhikkhu saw the steep precipice off Paṭibhāna Peak and said to the Blessed One: “That precipice is indeed steep, venerable sir; that precipice is extremely frightful. But is there, venerable sir, any other precipice steeper and more frightful than that one?”
“There is, bhikkhu.”
“But what, venerable sir, is that precipice steeper and more frightful than that one?”
“Those ascetics and brahmins, bhikkhu, who do not understand as it really is: ‘This is suffering’; who do not understand as it really is: ‘This is the origin of suffering’; who do not understand as it really is: ‘This is the cessation of suffering’; who do not understand as it really is: ‘This is the way leading to the cessation of suffering’—they delight in volitional formations that lead to birth, in volitional formations that lead to aging, in volitional formations that lead to death, in volitional formations that lead to sorrow, lamentation, pain, displeasure, and despair. Delighting in such volitional formations, they generate volitional formations that lead to birth, generate volitional formations that lead to aging, generate volitional formations that lead to death, generate volitional formations that lead to sorrow, lamentation, pain, displeasure, and despair. Having generated such volitional formations, they tumble down the precipice of birth, tumble down the precipice of aging, tumble down the precipice of death, tumble down the precipice of sorrow, lamentation, pain, displeasure, and despair. They are not freed from birth, aging, and death; not freed from sorrow, lamentation, pain, displeasure, and despair; not freed from suffering, I say.402 [450]
“But, bhikkhu, those ascetics and brahmins who understand as it really is: ‘This is suffering’ … ‘This is the way leading to the cessation of suffering’—they do not delight in volitional formations that lead to birth, nor in volitional formations that lead to aging, nor in volitional formations that lead to death, nor in volitional formations that lead to sorrow, lamentation, pain, displeasure, and despair. Not delighting in such volitional formations, they do not generate volitional formations that lead to birth, nor generate volitional formations that lead to aging, nor generate volitional formations that lead to death, nor generate volitional formations that lead to sorrow, lamentation, pain, displeasure, and despair. Not having generated such volitional formations, they do not tumble down the precipice of birth, nor tumble down the precipice of aging, nor tumble down the precipice of death, nor tumble down the precipice of sorrow, lamentation, pain, displeasure, and despair. They are freed from birth, aging, and death; freed from sorrow, lamentation, pain, displeasure, and despair; freed from suffering, I say.
“Therefore, bhikkhus, an exertion should be made to understand: ‘This is suffering.’… An exertion should be made to understand: ‘This is the way leading to the cessation of suffering.’”
(3) The Great Conflagration
“Bhikkhus, there exists a hell named the Great Conflagration. There, whatever form one sees with the eye is undesirable, [451] never desirable; unlovely, never lovely; disagreeable, never agreeable.403 Whatever sound one hears with the ear … Whatever odour one smells with the nose … Whatever taste one savours with the tongue … Whatever tactile object one feels with the body … Whatever mental phenomenon one cognizes with the mind is undesirable, never desirable; unlovely, never lovely; disagreeable, never agreeable.”
When this was said, a certain bhikkhu said to the Blessed One: “That conflagration, venerable sir, is indeed terrible; that conflagration is indeed very terrible. But is there, venerable sir, any other conflagration more terrible and frightful than that one?”
“There is, bhikkhu.”
“But what, venerable sir, is that conflagration more terrible and frightful than that one?”
“Those ascetics or brahmins, bhikkhu, who do not understand as it really is: ‘This is suffering’ … ‘This is the way leading to the cessation of suffering’—they delight in volitional formations that lead to birth, in volitional formations that lead to aging, in volitional formations that lead to death, in volitional formations that lead to sorrow, lamentation, pain, displeasure, and despair. Delighting in such volitional formations, they generate volitional formations that lead to birth, generate volitional formations that lead to aging, generate volitional formations that lead to death, generate volitional formations that lead to sorrow, lamentation, pain, displeasure, and despair. Having generated such volitional formations, they are burnt by the conflagration of birth, burnt by the conflagration of aging, burnt by the conflagration of death, burnt by the conflagration of sorrow,
lamentation, pain, displeasure, and despair. They are not freed from birth, aging, and death; not freed from sorrow, lamentation, pain, displeasure, and despair; not freed from suffering, I say.
“But, bhikkhu, those ascetics and brahmins who understand as it really is: ‘This is suffering’ … ‘This is the way leading to the cessation of suffering’—they do not delight in volitional formations that lead to birth, nor in volitional formations that lead to aging, nor in volitional formations that lead to death, nor in volitional formations that lead to sorrow, lamentation, pain, displeasure, and despair. Not delighting in such volitional formations, they do not generate volitional formations that lead to birth, nor generate volitional formations that lead to aging, nor generate volitional formations that lead to death, nor generate volitional formations that lead to sorrow, lamentation, pain, displeasure, and despair. Not having generated such volitional formations, they are not burnt by the conflagration of birth, nor burnt by the conflagration of aging, nor burnt by the conflagration of death, nor burnt by the conflagration of sorrow, lamentation, pain, displeasure, and despair. They are freed from birth, [452] aging, and death; freed from sorrow, lamentation, pain, displeasure, and despair; freed from suffering, I say.
“Therefore, bhikkhus, an exertion should be made to understand: ‘This is suffering.’… An exertion should be made to understand: ‘This is the way leading to the cessation of suffering.’”
(4) Peaked House
“Bhikkhus, if anyone should speak thus: ‘Without having made the breakthrough to the noble truth of suffering as it really is, without having made the breakthrough to the noble truth of the origin of suffering as it really is, without having made the breakthrough to the noble truth of the cessation of suffering as it really is, without having made the breakthrough to the noble truth of the way leading to the cessation of suffering as it really is, I will completely make an end to suffering’—this is impossible.
“Just as, bhikkhus, if anyone should speak thus, ‘Without having built the lower storey of a peaked house, I will erect the upper storey,’ this would be impossible; so too, if anyone should speak thus: ‘Without having made the breakthrough to the noble truth of suffering as it really is… I will completely make an end to suffering’—this is impossible.
“But, bhikkhus, if anyone should speak thus: ‘Having made the breakthrough to the noble truth of suffering as it really is, having made the breakthrough to the noble truth of the origin of suffering as it really is, having made the breakthrough to the noble truth of the cessation of suffering as it really is, having made the breakthrough to the noble truth of the way leading to the cessation of suffering as it really is, I will completely make an end to suffering’—this is possible.
“Just as, bhikkhus, if anyone should speak thus: ‘Having built the lower storey of a peaked house, I will erect the upper storey,’ this would be possible; so too, if anyone should speak thus: ‘Having made the breakthrough to the noble truth of suffering as it really is… I will completely make an end to suffering’—this is possible. [453]
“Therefore, bhikkhus, an exertion should be made to understand: ‘This is suffering.’… An exertion should be made to understand: ‘This is the way leading to the cessation of suffering.’”
(5) The Hair 404
On one occasion the Blessed One was dwelling at Vesālī in the Great Wood in the Hall with the Peaked Roof. Then, in the morning, the Venerable Ānanda dressed and, taking bowl and robe, entered Vesālī for alms. The Venerable Ānanda saw a number of Licchavi youths practising archery in the training hall, shooting arrows from a distance through a very small keyhole, head through butt,405 without missing. When he saw this, the thought occurred to him: “These Licchavi youths are indeed trained! These Licchavi youths are indeed well trained, in that they shoot arrows from a distance through a very small keyhole, head through butt, without missing.”
Then, when the Venerable Ānanda had walked for alms in Vesālī and had returned from his alms round, after his meal he approached the Blessed One, paid homage to him, sat down to one side, and reported what he had seen. [454]
[The Blessed One said:] “What do you think, Ānanda, which is more difficult and challenging: to shoot arrows from a distance through a very small keyhole, head through butt, without missing, or to pierce with the arrowhead the tip of a hair split into seven strands?”406
“It is more difficult and challenging, venerable sir, to pierce with the arrowhead the tip of a hair split into seven strands.”
“But, Ānanda, they pierce something even more difficult to pierce who pierce as it really is: ‘This is suffering’ …; who pierce as it really is: ‘This is the way leading to the cessation of suffering.’
“Therefore, Ānanda, an exertion should be made to understand: ‘This is suffering.’… An exertion should be made to understand: ‘This is the way leading to the cessation of suffering.’”
(6) Darkness
“Bhikkhus, there are world interstices, vacant and abysmal407 regions of blinding darkness and gloom, where the light of the sun and moon, so powerful and mighty, does not reach.”
When this was said, a certain bhikkhu said to the Blessed One: “That darkness, venerable sir, is indeed great; that darkness is indeed very great. But is there, venerable sir, any other darkness greater and more frightful than that one?”
“There is, bhikkhu.”
“But what, venerable sir, is that darkness greater and more frightful than that one?”
“Those ascetics and brahmins, bhikkhu, who do not understand as it really is: ‘This is suffering’; [455] who do not understand as it really is:
‘This is the origin of suffering’; who do not understand as it really is: ‘This is the cessation of suffering’; who do not understand as it really is: ‘This is the way leading to the cessation of suffering’—they delight in volitional formations that lead to birth, in volitional formations that lead to aging, in volitional formations that lead to death, in volitional formations that lead to sorrow, lamentation, pain, displeasure, and despair. Delighting in such volitional formations, they generate volitional formations that lead to birth, generate volitional formations that lead to aging, generate volitional formations that lead to death, generate volitional formations that lead to sorrow, lamentation, pain, displeasure, and despair. Having generated such volitional formations, they tumble into the darkness of birth, tumble into the darkness of aging, tumble into the darkness of death, tumble into the darkness of sorrow, lamentation, pain, displeasure, and despair. They are not freed from birth, aging, and death; not freed from sorrow, lamentation, pain, displeasure, and despair; not freed from suffering, I say.
“But, bhikkhu, those ascetics and brahmins who understand as it really is: ‘This is suffering’ … ‘This is the way leading to the cessation of suffering’—they do not delight in volitional formations that lead to birth, nor in volitional formations that lead to aging, nor in volitional formations that lead to death, nor in volitional formations that lead to sorrow, lamentation, pain, displeasure, and despair. Not delighting in such volitional formations, they do not generate volitional formations that lead to birth, nor generate volitional formations that lead to aging, nor generate volitional formations that lead to death, nor generate volitional formations that lead to sorrow, lamentation, pain, displeasure, and despair. Not having generated such volitional formations, they do not tumble into the darkness of birth, nor tumble into the darkness of aging, nor tumble into the darkness of death, nor tumble into the darkness of sorrow, lamentation, pain, displeasure, and despair. They are freed from birth, aging, and death; freed from sorrow, lamentation, pain, displeasure, and despair; freed from suffering, I say.
“Therefore, bhikkhus, an exertion should be made to understand: ‘This is suffering.’… An exertion should be made to understand: ‘This is the way leading to the cessation of suffering.’”
(7) Yoke with a Hole (1) 408
“Bhikkhus, suppose a man would throw a yoke with a single hole into the great ocean, and there was a blind turtle which would come to the surface once every hundred years. What do you think, bhikkhus, would that blind turtle, coming to the surface once every hundred years, insert its neck into that yoke with a single hole?” [456]
“If it would ever do so, venerable sir, it would be only after a very long time.”
“Sooner, I say, would that blind turtle, coming to the surface once every hundred years, insert its neck into that yoke with a single hole than the fool who has gone once to the nether world [would regain] the human state. For what reason? Because here, bhikkhus, there is no conduct guided by the Dhamma, no righteous conduct, no wholesome activity, no meritorious activity. Here there prevails mutual devouring, the devouring of the weak. For what reason? Because, bhikkhus, they have not seen the Four Noble Truths. What four? The noble truth of suffering … the noble truth of the way leading to the cessation of suffering.
“Therefore, bhikkhus, an exertion should be made to understand: ‘This is suffering.’… An exertion should be made to understand: ‘This is the way leading to the cessation of suffering.’”
(8) Yoke with a Hole (2)
“Bhikkhus, suppose that this great earth had become one mass of water, and a man would throw a yoke with a single hole upon it. An easterly wind would drive it westward; a westerly wind would drive it eastward; a northerly wind would drive it southward; a southerly wind would drive it northward. There was a blind turtle which would come to the surface once every hundred years. What do you think, bhikkhus, would that blind turtle,
coming to the surface once every hundred years, [457] insert its neck into that yoke with a single hole?”
“It would be by chance, venerable sir, that that blind turtle, coming to the surface once every hundred years, would insert its neck into that yoke with a single hole.”
“So too, bhikkhus, it is by chance409 that one obtains the human state; by chance that a Tathāgata, an Arahant, a Perfectly Enlightened One arises in the world; by chance that the Dhamma and Discipline proclaimed by the Tathāgata shines in the world.
“You have obtained that human state, bhikkhus; a Tathāgata, an Arahant, a Perfectly Enlightened One has arisen in the world; the Dhamma and Discipline proclaimed by the Tathāgata shines in the world.
“Therefore, bhikkhus, an exertion should be made to understand: ‘This is suffering.’… An exertion should be made to understand: ‘This is the way leading to the cessation of suffering.’”
(9) Sineru (1)
“Bhikkhus, suppose that a man would place on Sineru, the king of mountains, seven grains of gravel the size of mung beans.410 What do you think, bhikkhus, which is more: the seven grains of gravel the size of mung beans that have been placed there or Sineru, the king of mountains?”
“Venerable sir, Sineru, the king of mountains, is more. The seven grains of gravel the size of mung beans are trifling. Compared to Sineru, the king of mountains, the seven grains of gravel the size of mung beans are not calculable, do not bear comparison, do not amount even to a fraction.” [458]
“So too, bhikkhus, for a noble disciple, a person accomplished in view who has made the breakthrough, the suffering that has been utterly destroyed and eliminated is more, while that which remains is trifling. Compared to the former mass of suffering that has been destroyed and eliminated, the latter is not calculable, does not bear comparison, does not
amount even to a fraction, as there is a maximum of seven more lives. He is one who understands as it really is: ‘This is suffering’ … ‘This is the way leading to the cessation of suffering.’
“Therefore, bhikkhus, an exertion should be made to understand: ‘This is suffering.’… An exertion should be made to understand: ‘This is the way leading to the cessation of suffering.’”
50 (10) Sineru (2)
“Bhikkhus, suppose that Sineru, the king of mountains, would be destroyed and eliminated except for seven grains of gravel the size of mung beans.411 What do you think, bhikkhus, which is more: the portion of Sineru, the king of mountains, that has been destroyed and eliminated or the seven grains of gravel the size of mung beans that remain?”
“Venerable sir, the portion of Sineru, the king of mountains, that has been destroyed and eliminated is more. The seven grains of gravel the size of mung beans that remain are trifling. Compared to the portion of Sineru that would be destroyed and eliminated, the seven grains of gravel the size of mung beans that remain are not calculable, do not bear comparison, do not amount even to a fraction.”
“So too, bhikkhus, for a noble disciple, a person accomplished in view who has made the breakthrough, [459] the suffering that has been utterly destroyed and eliminated is more, while that which remains is trifling. Compared to the former mass of suffering that has been destroyed and eliminated, the latter is not calculable, does not bear comparison, does not amount even to a fraction, as there is a maximum of seven more lives. He is one who understands as it really is: ‘This is suffering’ … ‘This is the way leading to the cessation of suffering.’
“Therefore, bhikkhus, an exertion should be made to understand: ‘This is suffering.’… An exertion should be made to understand: ‘This is the way leading to the cessation of suffering.’”
THE BREAKTHROUGH
51 (1) The Fingernail412
Then the Blessed One took up a little bit of soil in his fingernail and addressed the bhikkhus thus:
“Bhikkhus, what do you think which is more: the little bit of soil that I have taken up in my fingernail or this great earth?”
“Venerable sir, the great earth is more. The little bit of soil that the Blessed One has taken up in his fingernail is trifling. Compared to the great earth, that little bit of soil is not calculable, does not bear comparison, does not amount even to a fraction.” [460]
“So too, bhikkhus, for a noble disciple, a person accomplished in view who has made the breakthrough, the suffering that has been destroyed and eliminated is more, while that which remains is trifling. Compared to the former mass of suffering that has been destroyed and eliminated, the latter is not calculable, does not bear comparison, does not amount even to a fraction, as there is a maximum of seven more lives. He is one who understands as it really is: ‘This is suffering’ … ‘This is the way leading to the cessation of suffering.’
“Therefore, bhikkhus, an exertion should be made to understand: ‘This is suffering.’… An exertion should be made to understand: ‘This is the way leading to the cessation of suffering.’”
52 (2) The Pond
“Bhikkhus, suppose there were a pond fifty yojanas long, fifty yojanas wide, and fifty yojanas deep, full of water, overflowing so that a crow could drink from it, and a man would draw out some water from it on the tip of a blade of kusa grass. What do you think, bhikkhus, which is more: the water drawn out on the tip of the blade of kusa grass or the water in the pond?”
“Venerable sir, the water in the pond is more. The water drawn out on the tip of the blade of kusa grass is trifling. Compared to the water in the pond, the water drawn out on the tip of the blade of kusa grass is not calculable, does not bear comparison, does not amount even to a fraction.”
“So too, bhikkhus, for a noble disciple … Therefore an exertion should be made.…”
(3) Water at the Confluence (1)
“Bhikkhus, suppose that in the place where these great rivers meet and converge—that is, the Ganges, the Yamunā, the Aciravatī, the Sarabhū, and the Mahī—a man would draw out two or three drops of water. [461] What do you think, bhikkhus, which is more: these two or three drops of water that have been drawn out or the water at the confluence?”
“Venerable sir, the water at the confluence is more. The two or three drops of water that have been drawn out are trifling. Compared to the water at the confluence, the two or three drops of water that have been drawn out are not calculable, do not bear comparison, do not amount even to a fraction.”
“So too, bhikkhus, for a noble disciple … Therefore an exertion should be made.…”
(4) Water at the Confluence (2)
“Bhikkhus, suppose that in the place where these great rivers meet and converge—that is, the Ganges, the Yamunā, the Aciravatī, the Sarabhū, and the Mahī—their water would be destroyed and eliminated except for two or three drops. What do you think, bhikkhus, which is more: the water at the confluence that has been destroyed and eliminated or the two or three drops of water that remain?”
“Venerable sir, the water at the confluence that has been destroyed and eliminated is more; the two or three drops of water that remain are trifling.
Compared to the water at the confluence that has been destroyed and eliminated, the two or three drops of water that remain are trifling; they are not calculable, do not bear comparison, do not amount even to a fraction.”
“So too, bhikkhus, for a noble disciple … Therefore an exertion should be made.…” [462]
(5) The Earth (1)
“Bhikkhus, suppose that a man would place seven little balls of clay the size of jujube kernels on the great earth. What do you think, bhikkhus, which is more: those seven little balls of clay the size of jujube kernels that have been placed there or the great earth?”
“Venerable sir, the great earth is more. The seven little balls of clay the size of jujube kernels are trifling. Compared to the great earth, those seven little balls of clay the size of jujube kernals are trifling; they are not calculable, do not bear comparison, do not amount even to a fraction.”
“So too, bhikkhus, for a noble disciple … Therefore an exertion should be made.…”
(6) The Earth (2)
“Bhikkhus, suppose that the great earth would be destroyed and eliminated except for seven little balls of clay the size of jujube kernels. What do you think, bhikkhus, which is more: the great earth that has been destroyed and eliminated or the seven little balls of clay the size of jujube kernels that remain?”
“Venerable sir, the great earth that has been destroyed and eliminated is more. The seven little balls of clay the size of jujube kernels that remain are trifling. Compared to the great earth that has been destroyed and eliminated, the seven little balls of clay the size of jujube kernels that remain are not calculable, do not bear comparison, do not amount even to a fraction.”
“So too, bhikkhus, for a noble disciple … Therefore an exertion should be made.…” [463]
(7) The Ocean (1)
“Bhikkhus, suppose that a man would draw out two or three drops of water from the great ocean. What do you think, bhikkhus, which is more: the two or three drops of water that have been drawn out or the water in the great ocean?”
“Venerable sir, the water in the great ocean is more. The two or three drops of water that have been drawn out are trifling. Compared to the water in the great ocean, the two or three drops of water that have been drawn out are not calculable, do not bear comparison, do not amount even to a fraction.”
“So too, bhikkhus, for a noble disciple … Therefore an exertion should be made.…”
(8) The Ocean (2)
“Bhikkhus, suppose that the great ocean would be destroyed and eliminated except for two or three drops of water. What do you think, bhikkhus, which is more: the water in the great ocean that has been destroyed and eliminated or the two or three drops of water that remain?”
“Venerable sir, the water in the great ocean that has been destroyed and eliminated is more. The two or three drops of water that remain are trifling. Compared to the water that has been destroyed and eliminated, the two or three drops of water that remain are not calculable, do not bear comparison, do not amount even to a fraction.”
“So too, bhikkhus, for a noble disciple … Therefore an exertion should be made.…” [464]
(9) The Mountain (1)
“Bhikkhus, suppose that a man would place on the Himalayas, the king of mountains, seven grains of gravel the size of mustard seeds. What do you think, bhikkhus, which is more: the seven grains of gravel the size of mustard seeds that have been placed there or the Himalayas, the king of mountains?”
“Venerable sir, the Himalayas, the king of mountains, is more. The seven grains of gravel the size of mustard seeds are trifling. Compared to the Himalayas, the king of mountains, the seven grains of gravel the size of mustard seeds are not calculable, do not bear comparison, do not amount even to a fraction.”
“So too, bhikkhus, for a noble disciple … Therefore an exertion should be made.…”
(10) The Mountain (2)
“Bhikkhus, suppose that the Himalayas, the king of mountains, would be destroyed and eliminated except for seven grains of gravel the size of mustard seeds. What do you think, bhikkhus, which is more: the portion of the Himalayas, the king of mountains, that has been destroyed and eliminated or the seven grains of gravel the size of mustard seeds that remain?”
“Venerable sir, the portion of the Himalayas, the king of mountains, that has been destroyed and eliminated is more. The seven grains of gravel the size of mustard seeds that remain are trifling. Compared to the portion of the Himalayas, the king of mountains, that has been destroyed and eliminated, the seven grains of gravel the size of mustard seeds that remain are not calculable, do not bear comparison, do not amount even to a fraction.”
“So too, bhikkhus, for a noble disciple, a person accomplished in view who has made the breakthrough, [465] the suffering that has been destroyed and eliminated is more, while that which remains is trifling. Compared to
the former mass of suffering that has been destroyed and eliminated, the latter is not calculable, does not bear comparison, does not amount even to a fraction, as there is a maximum of seven more lives. He is one who understands as it really is: ‘This is suffering’ … ‘This is the way leading to the cessation of suffering.’
“Therefore, bhikkhus, an exertion should be made to understand: ‘This is suffering.’… An exertion should be made to understand: ‘This is the way leading to the cessation of suffering.’”
FIRST RAW GRAIN REPETITION SERIES413
(1) Elsewhere
Then the Blessed One took up a little bit of soil in his fingernail and addressed the bhikkhus thus:
“What do you think, bhikkhus, which is more: the little bit of soil in my fingernail or the great earth?” [466]
“Venerable sir, the great earth is more. The little bit of soil that the Blessed One has taken up in his fingernail is trifling. Compared to the great earth, that little bit of soil is not calculable, does not bear comparison, does not amount even to a fraction.”
“So too, bhikkhus, those beings are few who are reborn among human beings. But those beings are more numerous who are reborn elsewhere than among human beings.414 For what reason? Because, bhikkhus, they have not seen the Four Noble Truths. What four? The noble truth of suffering, the noble truth of the origin of suffering, the noble truth of the cessation of suffering, the noble truth of the way leading to the cessation of suffering.
“Therefore, bhikkhus, an exertion should be made to understand: ‘This is suffering.’… An exertion should be made to understand: ‘This is the way leading to the cessation of suffering.’”
(2) Outlying Countries
Then the Blessed One took up a little bit of soil in his fingernail and addressed the bhikkhus thus.…
“So too, bhikkhus, those beings are few who are reborn in the middle countries. But those beings are more numerous who are reborn in the outlying countries among the uncultured barbarians. …” [467]
(3) Wisdom
… “So too, bhikkhus, those beings are few who possess the noble eye of wisdom. But these beings are more numerous, who are immersed in ignorance and confused.…”
(4) Wines and Liquors
… “So too, bhikkhus, those beings are few who abstain from wine, liquors, and intoxicants that are a basis for negligence. But these beings are more numerous who do not abstain from wines, liquors, and intoxicants that are a basis for negligence.…”
(5) Water-Born
… “So too, bhikkhus, those beings are few who are born on high ground. But these beings are more numerous who are born in water.…”
(6) Who Honour Mother
… “So too, bhikkhus, those beings are few who honour their mother. But these beings are more numerous who do not honour their mother.…”
(7) Who Honour Father
… “So too, bhikkhus, those beings are few who honour their father. But these beings are more numerous who do not honour their father.…” [468]
(8) Who Honour Ascetics
… “So too, bhikkhus, those beings are few who honour ascetics. But these beings are more numerous who do not honour ascetics. …”
(9) Who Honour Brahmins
… “So too, bhikkhus, those beings are few who honour brahmins. But these beings are more numerous who do not honour brahmins.…”
(10) Who Respect Elders
… “So too, bhikkhus, those beings are few who respect their elders in the family. But these beings are more numerous who do not respect their elders in the family.…”
SECOND RAW GRAIN REPETITION SERIES
(1) Killing Living Beings415
… “So too, bhikkhus, those beings are few who abstain from the destruction of life. But these beings are more numerous who do not abstain from the destruction of life.…” [469]
(2) Taking What Is Not Given
… “So too, bhikkhus, those beings are few who abstain from taking what is not given. But these beings are more numerous who do not abstain from taking what is not given.…”
(3) Sexual Misconduct
… “So too, bhikkhus, those beings are few who abstain from sexual misconduct. But these beings are more numerous who do not abstain from sexual misconduct.…”
(4) False Speech
… “So too, bhikkhus, those beings are few who abstain from false speech. But these beings are more numerous who do not abstain from false speech.
…”
(5) Divisive Speech
… “So too, bhikkhus, those beings are few who abstain from divisive speech. But these beings are more numerous who do not abstain from divisive speech.…”
(6) Harsh Speech
… “So too, bhikkhus, those beings are few who abstain from harsh speech. But these beings are more numerous who do not abstain from harsh speech.
…”
(7) Idle Chatter
… “So too, bhikkhus, those beings are few who abstain from idle chatter. But these beings are more numerous who do not abstain from idle chatter.
…” [470]
(8) Seed Life 416
… “So too, bhikkhus, those beings are few who abstain from damaging seed and plant life. But these beings are more numerous who do not abstain from damaging seed and plant life.…”
(9) Improper Times
… “So too, bhikkhus, those beings are few who abstain from eating at improper times. But these beings are more numerous who do not abstain from eating at improper times.…”
(10) Scents and Unguents
… “So too, bhikkhus, those beings are few who abstain from wearing garlands, embellishing themselves with scents, and beautifying themselves with unguents. But these beings are more numerous who do not so abstain.
…”
THIRD RAW GRAIN REPETITION SERIES
(1) Dancing and Singing
… “So too, bhikkhus, those beings are few who abstain from dancing, singing, instrumental music, and unsuitable shows. [471] But these beings are more numerous who do not so abstain.…”
(2) High Beds
… “So too, bhikkhus, those beings are few who abstain from high and luxurious beds and seats. But these beings are more numerous who do not so abstain.…”
(3) Gold and Silver
… “So too, bhikkhus, those beings are few who abstain from accepting gold and silver. But these beings are more numerous who do not so abstain.…”
(4) Raw Grain
… “So too, bhikkhus, those beings are few who abstain from accepting raw grain. But these beings are more numerous who do not so abstain.…”
(5) Raw Meat
… “So too, bhikkhus, those beings are few who abstain from accepting raw meat. But these beings are more numerous who do not so abstain.…”
(6) Girls
… “So too, bhikkhus, those beings are few who abstain from accepting women and girls. But these beings are more numerous who do not so abstain.…” [472]
(7) Slaves
… “So too, bhikkhus, those beings are few who abstain from accepting male and female slaves. But these beings are more numerous who do not so
abstain.…”
(8) Goats and Sheep
… “So too, bhikkhus, those beings are few who abstain from accepting goats and sheep. But these beings are more numerous who do not so abstain.…”
(9) Fowl and Swine
… “So too, bhikkhus, those beings are few who abstain from accepting fowl and swine. But these beings are more numerous who do not so abstain.
…”
(10) Elephants
… “So too, bhikkhus, those beings are few who abstain from accepting elephants, cattle, horses, and mares. But these beings are more numerous who do not so abstain.…”
[473]
FOURTH RAW GRAIN REPETITION SERIES
(1) Fields
… “So too, bhikkhus, those beings are few who abstain from accepting fields and land. But these beings are more numerous who do not so abstain.
…”
(2) Buying and Selling
… “So too, bhikkhus, those beings are few who abstain from buying and selling. But these beings are more numerous who do not so abstain.…”
(3) Messages
… “So too, bhikkhus, those beings are few who abstain from running messages and errands. But these beings are more numerous who do not so abstain.…”
(4) False Weights
… “So too, bhikkhus, those beings are few who abstain from false weights, false metals, and false measures. But these beings are more numerous who do not so abstain.…”
(5) Bribery
… “So too, bhikkhus, those beings are few who abstain from the crooked ways of bribery, deception, and fraud. But these beings are more numerous who do not so abstain.…”
(6)-101 (11) Mutilating, Etc.
… “So too, bhikkhus, those beings are few who abstain from mutilating, murder, binding, robbery, plunder, and violence. [474] But these beings are more numerous who do not so abstain. For what reason? Because, bhikkhus, they have not seen the Four Noble Truths. What four? The noble truth of suffering, the noble truth of the origin of suffering, the noble truth of the cessation of suffering, the noble truth of the way leading to the cessation of suffering.
“Therefore, bhikkhus, an exertion should be made to understand: ‘This is suffering.’… An exertion should be made to understand: ‘This is the way leading to the cessation of suffering.’”
THE FIVE DESTINATIONS REPETITION SERIES
(1) Passing Away as Humans (1)
Then the Blessed One took up a little bit of soil in his fingernail and addressed the bhikkhus thus:
“What do you think, bhikkhus, which is more: the little bit of soil in my fingernail or the great earth?”
“Venerable sir, the great earth is more. The little bit of soil that the Blessed One has taken up in his fingernail is trifling. Compared to the great earth, the little bit of soil that the Blessed One has taken up in his fingernail is not calculable, does not bear comparison, does not amount even to a fraction.”
“So too, bhikkhus, those beings are few who, when they pass away as human beings, are reborn among human beings. But those beings are more numerous who, when they pass away as human beings, are reborn in hell. For what reason? Because, bhikkhus, they have not seen the Four Noble Truths. What four? The noble truth of suffering, the noble truth of the origin of suffering, the noble truth of the cessation of suffering, the noble truth of the way leading to the cessation of suffering.
“Therefore, bhikkhus, an exertion should be made to understand: ‘This is suffering.’… An exertion should be made to understand: ‘This is the way leading to the cessation of suffering.’”
(2) Passing Away as Humans (2)
… “So too, bhikkhus, those beings are few who, when they pass away as human beings, are reborn among human beings. But those beings are more numerous who, when they pass away as human beings, are reborn in the animal realm.…” [475]
(3) Passing Away as Humans (3)
… “So too, bhikkhus, those beings are few who, when they pass away as human beings, are reborn among human beings. But those beings are more numerous who, when they pass away as human beings, are reborn in the domain of ghosts.…”
(4)-107 (6) Passing Away as Humans (4-6)
… “So too, bhikkhus, those beings are few who, when they pass away as human beings, are reborn among the devas. But those beings are more numerous who, when they pass away as human beings, are reborn in hell … in the animal realm … in the domain of ghosts.…”
108 (7)-110 (9) Passing Away as Devas (1-3)
… “So too, bhikkhus, those beings are few who, when they pass away as devas, are reborn among the devas. But those beings are more numerous who, when they pass away as devas, are reborn in hell … in the animal realm … in the domain of ghosts.…”
111 (10)-113 (12) Passing Away as Devas (4-6)
… “So too, bhikkhus, those beings are few who, when they pass away as devas, are reborn among human beings. But those beings are more numerous who, when they pass away as devas, are reborn in hell … in the animal realm … in the domain of ghosts.…”
114 (13)-116 (15) Passing Away from Hell (1-3)
… “So too, bhikkhus, those beings are few who, when they pass away from hell, are reborn among human beings. But those beings are more numerous who, when they pass away from hell, are reborn in hell … in the animal realm … in the domain of ghosts.…” [476]
117 (16)-119 (18) Passing Away from Hell (4-6)
… “So too, bhikkhus, those beings are few who, when they pass away from hell, are reborn among the devas. But those beings are more numerous who, when they pass away from hell, are reborn in hell … in the animal realm … in the domain of ghosts.…”
120 (19)-122 (21) Passing Away from the Animal Realm (1-3)
… “So too, bhikkhus, those beings are few who, when they pass away from the animal realm, are reborn among human beings. But those beings are more numerous who, when they pass away from the animal realm, are reborn in hell … in the animal realm … in the domain of ghosts.…”
123 (22)-125 (24) Passing Away from the Animal Realm (4-6)
… “So too, bhikkhus, those beings are few who, when they pass away from the animal realm, are reborn among the devas. But those beings are more numerous who, when they pass away from the animal realm, are reborn in hell … in the animal realm … in the domain of ghosts.…”
126 (25)-128 (27) Passing Away from the Domain of Ghosts (1 -3)
… “So too, bhikkhus, those beings are few who, when they pass away from the domain of ghosts, are reborn among human beings. But those beings are
more numerous who, when they pass away from the domain of ghosts, are reborn in hell … in the animal realm … in the domain of ghosts.…”
(28) Passing Away from the Domain of Ghosts (4)
… “So too, bhikkhus, those beings are few who, when they pass away from the domain of ghosts, are reborn among the devas. But those beings are more numerous who, when they pass away from the domain of ghosts, are reborn in hell.” [477]
(29) Passing Away from the Domain of Ghosts (5)
… “So too, bhikkhus, those beings are few who, when they pass away from the domain of ghosts, are reborn among the devas. But those beings are more numerous who, when they pass away from the domain of ghosts, are reborn in the animal realm.”
(30) Passing Away from the Domain of Ghosts (6)
… “So too, bhikkhus, those beings are few who, when they pass away from the domain of ghosts, are reborn among the devas. But those beings are more numerous who, when they pass away from the domain of ghosts, are reborn in the domain of ghosts. For what reason? Because they have not seen the Four Noble Truths. What four? The noble truth of suffering, the noble truth of the origin of suffering, the noble truth of the cessation of suffering, the noble truth of the way leading to the cessation of suffering.
“Therefore, bhikkhus, an exertion should be made to understand: ‘This is suffering.’ An exertion should be made to understand: ‘This is the origin of suffering.’ An exertion should be made to understand: ‘This is the cessation of suffering.’ An exertion should be made to understand: ‘This is the way leading to the cessation of suffering.’”
This is what the Blessed One said. Elated, those bhikkhus delighted in the Blessed One’s statement. [478]
The Great Book is finished.
1
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