VIII.8: Visakha Suttam
Translated from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.
For free distribution only.
[VIII-8.1] I have heard that on one occasion the Blessed One was staying in Savatthi at the Eastern Monastery, the palace of Migara's mother. Now at that time a dear and beloved grandson of Visakha, Migara's mother, had died. So Visakha, Migara's mother -- her clothes wet, her hair wet -- went to the Blessed One in the middle of the day and, on arrival, having bowed down to him, sat to one side. As she was sitting there the Blessed One said to her: "Why have you come here, Visakha -- your clothes wet, your hair wet -- in the middle of the day?"
When this was said, she said to the Blessed One, "My dear and beloved grandson has died. This is why I have come here -- my clothes wet, my hair wet -- in the middle of the day."
"Visakha, would you like to have as many children and grandchildren as there are people in Savatthi?"
"Yes, lord, I would like to have as many children and grandchildren as there are people in Savatthi."
"But how many people in Savatthi die in the course of a day?"
"Sometimes ten people die in Savatthi in the course of a day, sometimes nine... eight... seven... six... five... four... three... two... Sometimes one person dies in Savatthi in the course of a day. Savatthi is never free from people dying."
"So what do you think, Visakha: Would you ever be free from wet clothes and wet hair?"
"No, lord. Enough of my having as many children and grandchildren as there are people in Savatthi."
"Visakha, those who have a hundred dear ones have a hundred sufferings. Those who have ninety dear ones have ninety sufferings. Those who have eighty... seventy... sixty... fifty... forty... thirty... twenty... ten... nine... eight... seven... six... five... four... three... two... Those who have one dear one have one suffering. For those with no dear ones, there are no sufferings. They are free from sorrow, free from stain, free from lamentation, I tell you."
Then, on realizing the significance of that, the Blessed One on that occasion exclaimed:
The sorrows, lamentations,
the many kinds of suffering in the world,
exist dependent on something dear.
They don't exist
when there's nothing dear.
And thus blissful and sorrowless
are those for whom nothing
in the world is dear anywhere.
So one who aspires
to be stainless and sorrowless
shouldn't make anything
in the world dear