III. Khandha Vagga:
The Root of the Abyss
Translated from the Pali by Michael Olds
Once upon a time The Lucky Man, Savatthi-town revisiting.
There he addressed the beggars:
"Bhante!" they responded.
The Lucky Man said this to them:
"I will speak to you, beggars, of the abyss,
and of the root of the abyss -
I will speak!"
"It is thus, bhante"
those beggars said in response.!
And what, beggars, is the abyss?
Shape, beggars is the abyss,
sense-exp[erience is the abyss,
perception is the abyss,
own-making is the abyss,
sense-consciousness is the abyss.
This is what is called 'The Abyss'.
And what, beggars, is the root of the abyss?
Whatsever thirst furthers existence,
opens the gate to delight and lust,
taking delight now here now there,
that is to say:
Thirst for sense pleasures,
thirst for existence,
thirst for intensified existence.
This is what is called 'the root of the abyss'.