II. Nidana Vagga
Translated from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.
Provenance, terms and conditons
"Once, monks, a large family of turtles had lived for a long time in a certain freshwater lake. Then one turtle said to another, 'My dear turtle, don't go to that area.' But the turtle went to that area, and because of that a hunter lanced him with a harpoon. So he went back to the first turtle. The first turtle saw him coming from afar, and on seeing him said to him, 'I hope, dear turtle, that you didn't go to that area.'
"'I went to that area, dear turtle.'
"'Then I hope you haven't been wounded or hurt.'
"'I haven't been wounded or hurt, but there's this cord that keeps dragging around behind me.'
"'Yes, dear turtle, you're wounded, you're hurt. It was because of that cord that your father and grandfather fell into misfortune and disaster. Now go, dear turtle. You are no longer one of us.'
"The hunter, monks, stands for Mara, the Evil One. The harpoon stands for gains, offerings, and fame. The cord stands for delight and passion. Any monk who relishes and revels in gains, offerings, and fame that have arisen is called a bhikkhu lanced by the harpoon, who has fallen into misfortune and disaster. The Evil One can do with him as he will. That's how cruel gains, offerings, and fame are: a harsh, bitter obstacle to the attainment of the unexcelled rest from bondage.
"So you should train yourselves: 'We will put aside any gains, offerings, and fame that have arisen; and we will not let any gains, offerings, and fame that have arisen keep our minds consumed.' That's how you should train yourselves."