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Samyutta Nikaya
IV. Salayatana Vagga
35: Salayatana Samyutta
Pannasa Catuttham
3. Samudda Vagga

The Book of the Kindred Sayings
IV. Kindred Sayings on the 'Six-Fold Sphere' of Sense and Other Subjects
35: Kindred Sayings the Sixfold Sphere of Sense The 'Fourth Fifty' Suttas
3. The Chapter on the Ocean

Sutta 194

Aditta-Pariyaya Suttam

On Fire[1]

Translated by F. L. Woodward
Edited by Mrs. Rhys Davids

Copyright The Pali Text Society
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[168] [104]

[1][olds][bodh]Thus have I heard:

The Exalted One once addressed the brethren, saying:

"Brethren."

"Lord," responded those brethren to the Exalted One.

The Exalted One thus spake:

"I will teach you, Brethren, a discourse (illustrated) by fire,
a Norm-discourse.

Do ye listen to it.

And what, Brethren, is that discourse?

It were a good thing, Brethren,
if the organ of sight
were seared with a red-hot iron pin,[2]
on fire,
all ablaze,
a glowing mass of flame.

Then would there be no grasping
of the marks [105] or details
of objects cognizable by the eye.

The consciousness might stand fast,
being firmly bound[3]
by the satisfaction
either of the marks
or the details (of the objects).

Should one die at such a time,
there is the possibility
of his winning one of two destinies,
either Purgatory
or rebirth in the womb of an animal.

Seeing this danger, Brethren,
do I so declare.

It were a good thing, Brethren,
if the organ of hearing
were pierced with an iron spike,
on fire,
all ablaze,
a glowing mass of flame.

Then would there be no grasping
of the marks or details
of objects cognizable by the ear.

The consciousness might stand fast,
being firmly bound
by the satisfaction
either of the marks
or the details (of the objects).

Should one die at such a time,
there is the possibility
of his winning one of two destinies,
either Purgatory
or rebirth in the womb of an animal.

Seeing this danger, Brethren,
do I so declare.

It were a good thing, Brethren,
if the organ of smell
were pierced with a sharp claw,[4]
on fire,
all ablaze,
a glowing mass of flame.

Then would there be no grasping
of the marks or details
of objects cognizable by the nose.

The consciousness might stand fast,
being firmly bound
by the satisfaction
either of the marks
or the details (of the objects).

Should one die at such a time,
there is the possibility
of his winning one of two destinies,
either Purgatory
or rebirth in the womb of an animal.

Seeing this danger, Brethren,
do I so declare.

It were a good thing, Brethren,
if the organ of taste
were seared with a sharp razor,
on fire,
all ablaze,
a glowing mass of flame.

Then would there be no grasping
of the marks or details
of objects cognizable by the tongue.

The consciousness might stand fast,
being firmly bound
by the satisfaction
either of the marks
or the details (of the objects).

Should one die at such a time,
there is the possibility
of his winning one of two destinies,
either Purgatory
or rebirth in the womb of an animal.

Seeing this danger, Brethren,
do I so declare.

It were a good thing, Brethren,
if the organ of touch[5]
were seared with a sword,
on fire,
all ablaze,
a glowing mass of flame.

Then would there be no grasping
of the marks or details
of objects cognizable by the nose.

The consciousness might stand fast,
being firmly bound
by the satisfaction
either of the marks
or the details (of the objects).

Should one die at such a time,
there is the possibility
of his winning one of two destinies,
either Purgatory
or rebirth in the womb of an animal.

Seeing this danger, Brethren,
do I so declare.

It were a good thing, Brethren,
to be asleep.

For sleep, I declare,
is barren for living things.

It is fruitless for living things,
I declare.

It is dull[6] for living things,
I declare.

For (if asleep)
one would not be applying his mind
to such imaginings as would enslave him,
so that (for instance)
he would [106] break up the Order.[7]

Seeing this[8] danger (of being awake), Brethren,
do I so declare.

As to that, Brethren,
the well-taught Ariyan disciple thus reflects: -

'Let alone searing the organ of sight
with an iron pin,
on fire,
all ablaze,
a glowing mass of flame,
what if I thus ponder:

"Impermanent is the eye,
impermanent are objects,
impermanent is eye-consciousness,
impermanent is eye-contact,
the weal or woe or neutral state experienced
which arises owing to eye-contact,
- that also is impermanent."'

Let alone splitting the organ of hearing
with an iron spike,
on fire,
all ablaze,
a glowing mass of flame,
what if I thus ponder:

"Impermanent is the ear,
impermanent are sounds,
impermanent is ear-consciousness,
impermanent is ear-contact,
the weal or woe or neutral state experienced
which arises owing to ear-contact,
- that also is impermanent."'

Let alone piercing the organ of smell
with a sharp claw,
on fire,
all ablaze,
a glowing mass of flame,
what if I thus ponder:

"Impermanent is the nose,
impermanent are scents,
impermanent is nose-consciousness,
impermanent is nose-contact,
the weal or woe or neutral state experienced
which arises owing to nose-contact,
- that also is impermanent."'

Let alone splitting the organ of taste
with a sharp razor,
on fire,
all ablaze,
a glowing mass of flame,
what if I thus ponder:

"Impermanent is the tongue,
impermanent are savours,
impermanent is tongue-consciousness,
impermanent is tongue-contact,
the weal or woe or neutral state experienced
which arises owing to tongue-contact,
- that also is impermanent."'

Let alone searing the organ of touch
with a sword,
on fire,
all ablaze,
a glowing mass of flame,
what if I thus ponder:

"Impermanent is the body,
impermanent are tangibles,
impermanent is body-consciousness,
impermanent is body-contact,
the weal or woe or neutral state experienced
which arises owing to body-contact,
- that also is impermanent."'

Let alone sleeping,
let me thus ponder:

"Impermanent is the mind,
impermanent are mind-states,
impermanent is mind-consciousness,
impermanent is mind-contact,
the weal or woe or neutral state experienced
which arises owing to mind-contact,
- that also is impermanent."'

So seeing, brethren, the well-taught Ariyan disciple
is repelled by the eye,
is repelled by objects,
is repelled by eye-consciousness,
is repelled by eye-contact,
is repelled by that weal or woe or neutral state experienced,
which arises owing to eye-contact.

So seeing, brethren, the well-taught Ariyan disciple
is repelled by the ear,
is repelled by sounds,
is repelled by ear-consciousness,
is repelled by ear-contact,
is repelled by that weal or woe or neutral state experienced,
which arises owing to ear-contact.

So seeing, brethren, the well-taught Ariyan disciple
is repelled by the nose,
is repelled by scents,
is repelled by nose-consciousness,
is repelled by nose-contact,
is repelled by that weal or woe or neutral state experienced,
which arises owing to nose-contact.

So seeing, brethren, the well-taught Ariyan disciple
is repelled by the tongue,
is repelled by savours,
is repelled by tongue-consciousness,
is repelled by tongue-contact,
is repelled by that weal or woe or neutral state experienced,
which arises owing to tongue-contact.

So seeing, brethren, the well-taught Ariyan disciple
is repelled by the body,
is repelled by things tactile,
is repelled by body-consciousness,
is repelled by body-contact,
is repelled by that weal or woe or neutral state experienced,
which arises owing to body-contact.

So seeing, brethren, the well-taught Ariyan disciple
is repelled by the mind,
is repelled by mind-states,
is repelled by mind-consciousness,
is repelled by mind-contact,
is repelled by that weal or woe or neutral state experienced,
which arises owing to mind-contact.

Being repelled by these,
he lusts not for them.

Not lusting he is set free.

In this freedom
comes insight
that it is a being free.

Thus he realizes:

'Rebirth is destroyed,
lived is the righteous life,
done is the task.

For life in these conditions
there is no hereafter.'"

Such, Brethren, is the Norm discourse (illustrated) by fire.

 


[1] Supra, I 28; Vin. i, 21; K.S. iii, 62.

[2] Quoted at VM. 1, 36, where the translator has: 'better an iron wire heated ... than the faculty of sight grasping details. ...' At J. (F) iii, 532, trans in vol. iii, p 316 (Francis and Neil), there is a similar passage showing that a brother under the influence of personal beauty should not set his affections on mental or physical attributes, 'for should he die at such a moment, he is reborn in hell and the like evil states ... Therefore it is good that the eye of the senses should be touched with a red-hot iron pin.'

[3] Gadhitan. Comy. reads 'gathitan = ganthitan, baddhan.' Cf. UdA. 120.

[4] Nakha-cchedana, lit. 'nail-split.'

[5] Kayindriya (generally applied to the skin).

[6] Momuhan.

[7] Here doubtless Devadatta is thought of.

[8] Text has vanjhan jivitanan, possibly inserted by error, for only one MS. has it. Usually vanjha, 'barren,' is associated with its opposite, saphala, fruitful.


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