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Samyutta Nikaya
IV. Salayatana Vagga
35: Salayatana Samyutta
Pannasa Catuttham
4. Asivisa 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
4. The Chapter on the Snake

Sutta 205

Vinopama Suttam

The Lute[1]

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

Copyright The Pali Text Society
Commercial Rights Reserved
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[195] [128]

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

The Exalted One was once staying near Savatthi, at Jeta Grove, in Anathapindika's, Park.

Then the Exalted One addressed the brethren, saying:

"Brethren."

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

The Exalted One thus spake:

"In whatsoever brother or sister, Brethren,
there should arise desire
or lust
or malice
or infatuation
or repugnance of heart
in respect of objects cognizable by the eye,
let such refrain his heart from that.

Fearsome and beset with fear is this way,
beset with thorns and jungle,
a devious track,[2]
a wrong path,[3]
hard to travel on.[4]

Followed by the unworthy is this path,
not by the worthy ones.

So with the thought,

''tis no proper path for thee,'

let a man refrain his heart
from objects cognizable by the eye.

"In whatsoever brother or sister, Brethren,
there should arise desire
or lust
or malice
or infatuation
or repugnance of heart
in respect of sounds cognizable by the ear,
let such refrain his heart from that.

Fearsome and beset with fear is this way,
beset with thorns and jungle,
a devious track,
a wrong path,
hard to travel on.

Followed by the unworthy is this path,
not by the worthy ones.

So with the thought,

''tis no proper path for thee,'

let a man refrain his heart
from sounds cognizable by the ear.

"In whatsoever brother or sister, Brethren,
there should arise desire
or lust
or malice
or infatuation
or repugnance of heart
in respect of scents cognizable by the nose,
let such refrain his heart from that.

Fearsome and beset with fear is this way,
beset with thorns and jungle,
a devious track,
a wrong path,
hard to travel on.

Followed by the unworthy is this path,
not by the worthy ones.

So with the thought,

''tis no proper path for thee,'

let a man refrain his heart
from scents cognizable by the nose.

"In whatsoever brother or sister, Brethren,
there should arise desire
or lust
or malice
or infatuation
or repugnance of heart
in respect of savours cognizable by the tongue,
let such refrain his heart from that.

Fearsome and beset with fear is this way,
beset with thorns and jungle,
a devious track,
a wrong path,
hard to travel on.

Followed by the unworthy is this path,
not by the worthy ones.

So with the thought,

''tis no proper path for thee,'

let a man refrain his heart
from savours cognizable by the tongue.

"In whatsoever brother or sister, Brethren,
there should arise desire
or lust
or malice
or infatuation
or repugnance of heart
in respect of tangibles cognizable by the body,
let such refrain his heart from that.

Fearsome and beset with fear is this way,
beset with thorns and jungle,
a devious track,
a wrong path,
hard to travel on.

Followed by the unworthy is this path,
not by the worthy ones.

So with the thought,

''tis no proper path for thee,'

let a man refrain his heart
from tangibles cognizable by the body.

"In whatsoever brother or sister, Brethren,
there should arise desire
or lust
or malice
or infatuation
or repugnance of heart
in respect of mind-states cognizable by the mind,
let such refrain his heart from that.

Fearsome and beset with fear is this way,
beset with thorns and jungle,
a devious track,
a wrong path,
hard to travel on.

Followed by the unworthy is this path,
not by the worthy ones.

So with the thought,

''tis no proper path for thee,'

let a man refrain his heart
from mind-states cognizable by the mind.

 


 

Suppose, Brethren, there is growing corn
that has reached ripeness,
and a lazy watcher of the corn.

Then a cow that devours[5] corn
comes down into that corn
and eats her fill
with ravenous delight.

Even so, Brethren, the ignorant manyfolk,
being uncontrolled in the sixfold sense-sphere,
eats its fill
with ravenous delight
among the five sensual pleasures.

But suppose, Brethren, that there is growing corn
that has reached ripeness
and a zealous watcher of the corn.

Then a cow that devours corn
comes trespassing in that corn.

The watcher of the corn
seizes her with a firm grip
by the muzzle.

Gripping her muzzle
he gets a firm hold of her forehead
and holds her fast.

So holding her fast
above the forehead,[6]
he gives her a sound drubbing with a stick,
and having so belaboured her,
he lets her go.

Then a second time that cow that devours corn
comes trespassing in that corn.

Then a second time the watcher of the corn
seizes her with a firm grip
by the muzzle.

Gripping her muzzle
he gets a firm hold of her forehead
and holds her fast.

So holding her fast
above the forehead,
he gives her a sound drubbing with a stick,
and having so belaboured her,
he lets her go.

Then a third time that cow that devours corn
comes trespassing in that corn.

[129] Then a third time the watcher of the corn
seizes her with a firm grip
by the muzzle.

Gripping her muzzle
he gets a firm hold of her forehead
and holds her fast.

So holding her fast
above the forehead,
he gives her a sound drubbing with a stick,
and having so belaboured her,
he lets her go.

So it comes about, Brethren,
that the corn-devouring cow,
whether she roam in village or forest,
whether given to standing[7] or lying down,
would never trespass in that corn again:
for she bethinks her
of that last belabouring with a stick.

Just so, Brethren,
when a brother's heart is stirred,
stirred strongly
by the sixfold sense-sphere,
yet inwardly he stands fast,
becomes tranquil,
is one-pointed,
is composed.[8]

 


 

Suppose, Brethren, the sound of a lute
has never been heard
by a rajah
or royal minister.

Then he hears the sound of a lute
and says:

'Good man, pray what is that sound
so entrancing,
so delightful,
so intoxicating,
so ravishing,[9]
of such power to bind?

Then they say to him:

'That, lord, is the sound
of what is called a lute,
that sound so entrancing,
so delightful,
so intoxicating,
so ravishing,
of such power to bind.'

Then he says:

'Go, my man.

Fetch me that lute.'

So they fetch him that lute
and say to him:

'This, lord, is that lute,
that sound so entrancing,
so delightful,
so intoxicating,
so ravishing,
of such power to bind.'

Then he says:

'Enough of this lute, my man.

Fetch me that sound.'

They say to him:

'This lute so called, lord,
consists of divers parts,[10]
a great number of parts.

It speaks
because it is compounded of divers parts,
to wit,
owing to the belly,
owing to the parchment,
the handle,
the frame,[11] the strings,
owing to the bridge[12]
and proper effort of a player.

Thus, lord, this lute, so called,
consists of divers parts,
of a great number of parts.

It speaks
because it is compounded of divers parts.'

Then that rajah breaks up that lute
into ten
or a hundred [130] pieces.

Having done so,
he splinters
and splinters it again.

Having done so,
he burns it in fire,[13]
then makes it a heap of ashes
and winnows the heap of ashes
in a strong wind
or lets them be borne down
by the swift stream of a river.

Then he says:

'A poor thing[14]
is what you call a lute, my men,
whatever a lute may be.

Herein the world is exceeding careless
and led astray.'

Even so, Brethren, a brother
investigating[15] body
as far as there is scope[16] for body,
investigating feeling,
as far as there is scope for feeling,
investigating perception,
as far as there is scope for perception
investigating the activities,
as far as there is scope for the activities,
investigating consciousness,
so far as there is scope for consciousness, -
in all of these investigations,
whatever there be of 'I'
or 'I am'
or 'Mine,'
there is none of that for him.

 


[1] 'This parable,' says Comy., 'was given, at Jeta Grove.'

[2] Ummagga. Comy. 'No way for one journeying to the world of devas or mankind or Nibbana.'

[3] Kummagga. Skt. ku-marga, 'an evil way.' Cf. Itiv. 117; Sn. 736.

[4] Duhitika, 'beset with robbers.' But Comy. reads dvihitika, as infra. p. 323 of text. See Pali Dict. s.v.

[5] Cf. Brethren, verse 446.

[6] Upari-ghatayan ('pot'), like kumbha (of an elephant), not as Pali Dict. ref. s.v. Comy. dvinnan singanan antare.

[7] Thana-bahula, nisajja bahula.

[8] Comy. explains the four words of the four jhanas respectively.

[9] Mucchaniyya. Comy. mucchitan viya karanato mucchissati.

[10] Cf. Mil. Panh., 53. The parts there given are patta, camma, doni, danda, upainna, tantiyo, kona.

[11] Text upavenan (v.l. upavine, upadhirane). Comy. has upadharane = vethake (framework).

[12] Konan = caturansan sara-danndakan C.

[13] The stock series of phrases for utter destruction of anything. Cf. K.S. iii, 61. [But ?]

[14] Text asakkirayan (v.l. asatikirayan, also the reading of Comy., with expl. asati = lamaka. JA. i, 285. Tanti-bandhi-lamakam eva ti attho.

[15] Text samanesati. Comy. sammannesati (expl. as khandha-samma-sanan ... pariyesati), but Pali Dict., which I follow here, samannesati. The passage is quoted at Mahaniddesa, p. 439, where it is spelt sammannesati.

[16] Gati.


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