Digha Nikaya


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Digha Nikaya

The Long Discourses of the Buddha

Sutta 33

Sangiti Suttanta

The Chanting Together

Eights

© Maurice Walshe 1987.
Used with the permission of Wisdom Publications.

 


 

'There are [sets of] eight things perfectly proclaimed by the Lord ...

[8.01][pts][bd] 'Eight wrong factors (micchatta): wrong view, wrong thought, wrong speech, wrong action, wrong livelihood, wrong effort, wrong mindfulness, wrong concentration.

[255] [8.02][pts][bd] 'Eight right factors (sammatta): right view, right thought, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration.

[8.03][pts][bd] 'Eight persons worthy of offerings:[1113] the Stream-Winner and one who has practised to gain the fruit of Stream-Entry, the Once-Returner ... , the Non-Returner ... , the Arahant and one who has worked to gain the fruit of Arahantship.

[8.04][pts][bd] 'Eight occasions of indolence (kusita-vatthuni): Here, a monk (a) has a job to do. He thinks: "I've got this job to do, but it will make me tired. I'll have a rest." So he lies down and does not stir up enough energy to complete the uncompleted, to accomplish the unaccomplished, to realise the unrealised. Or (b) he has done some work, and thinks: "I've done this work, now I'm tired. I'll have a rest." So he lies down ... Or (c) he has to go on a journey, and thinks: "I have to go on this journey. It will make me tired ..." Or (d) he has been on a journey ... Or (e) he goes on the alms-round in a village or [504] town and does not get his fill of food, whether coarse or fine, and he thinks: "I've gone for alms ... [256] my body is tired and useless ..." Or (f) he goes on the alms-round ... and gets his fill ... He thinks: "I've gone for alms and my body is heavy and useless as if I were pregnant"[1114] ... Or (g) he has developed some slight indisposition, and he thinks: "I'd better have a rest ..." Or (h) he is recuperating, having, not long recovered from an illness, and he thinks: "My body is weak and useless. I'll have a rest." So he lies down and does not stir up enough energy to complete the uncompleted, to accomplish the unaccomplished, to realise the unrealised.

[8.05][pts][bd] 'Eight occasions for making an effort (arabbha-vatthuni): Here, a monk (a) has a job to do. He thinks: "I've got this job to do, but in doing it I won't find it easy to pay attention to the teaching of the Buddhas. So I will stir up sufficient energy to complete the uncompleted, to accomplish the unaccomplished, to realise the unrealised." Or (b) he has [257] done some work, and thinks: "Well, I did the job, but because of it I wasn't able to pay sufficient attention to the teaching of the Buddhas. So I will stir up sufficient energy ..." Or (c) he has to go on a journey ... Or (d) he has been on a journey. He thinks: "I've been on this journey, but because of it I wasn't able to pay sufficient attention ..." Or (e) he goes for alms ... without getting his fill ... And he thinks: "So my body is light and fit. I'll stir up energy ..." Or (f) he goes for alms ... and gets his fill ... And he thinks: "So my body is strong and fit. I'll stir up energy ..." Or (g) he has some slight indisposition ... and he thinks: "This indisposition might get worse, so I'll stir up energy ..." Or [258] (h) he is recuperating ... and he thinks: "it might be that the illness will recur. So I'll stir up energy ..." Thus he stirs up sufficient energy to complete the uncompleted, to accomplish the unaccomplished, to realise the unrealised.

[8.06][pts][bd] 'Eight bases for giving: One gives (a) as occasion offers (asajja), (b) from fear, (c) thinking: "He gave me something", (d) thinking: "He will give me something", (e) thinking: "It is good to give", (f) thinking: "I am cooking something, they are not. It would not be right not to give something to those who are not cooking", (g) thinking: "If I make this gift I shall [505] acquire a good reputation", (h) in order to adorn and prepare one's heart.[1115]

[8.07][pts][bd] Eight kinds of rebirth due to generosity: Here, someone gives an ascetic or Brahmin food, drink, clothes, transport (yanam), garlands, perfumes and ointments, sleeping accommodation, a dwelling, or lights, and he hopes to receive a return for his gifts. He sees a rich Khattiya or Brahmin or householder living in full enjoyment of the pleasures of the five senses, and he thinks: "If only when I die I may be reborn as one of these rich people!" He sets his heart on this thought, fixes it and develops it (bhaveti).[1116] And this thought, being launched (vimuttam) at such a low level (hine), and not developed to a higher level (uttarim abhavitam), leads to rebirth right there. [259] But I say this of a moral person, not of an immoral one. The mental aspiration of a moral person is effective, through its purity.[1117] Or (b) he gives such gifts and, having heard that the devas in the realm of the Four Great Kings live long, are good-looking and lead a happy life, he thinks: "If only I could be reborn there!" Or he similarly aspires to rebirth in the heavens of (c) the Thirty-Three Gods, (d) the Yama devas, (e) the Tusita devas, (f) the Nimmanarati devas, (g) the Paranimmita-vasavatti devas. And this thought leads to rebirth right there ... The mental aspiration of a moral person is effective through its purity. Or (h) he similarly aspires to rebirth in the world of Brahma ... But [260] I say this of a moral person, not an immoral one, one freed from passion (vitaragassa), not one still swayed by passion.[1118] The mental aspiration of [such] a moral person is effective through liberation from passion.

[8.08][pts][bd] 'Eight assemblies: the assembly of Khattiyas, Brahmins, householders, ascetics, devas of the Realm of the Four Great Kings, of the Thirty-Three Gods, of maras, of Brahmas (as Sutta 16, verse 3.21).

[8.09][pts][bd] 'Eight worldly conditions (loka-dhamma): gain and loss, fame and shame (yaso ca ayaso ca), blame and praise, happiness and misery.

[8.10][pts][bd] 'Eight stages of mastery: (a) perceiving forms internally, one sees external forms, limited and beautiful or ugly; (b) (as (a) but) unlimited; (c) not perceiving forms internally, one sees [506] external forms, limited ...; (d) (as (c) but) unlimited; not perceiving forms internally, one perceives forms that are (e) blue, [261] (f) yellow, (g) red, (h) white (as Sutta 16, verse 3.25-32).

[8.11][pts][bd] 'Eight liberations: (a) possessing form, one sees forms; (b) not perceiving material forms in oneself, one sees them outside; (c) thinking: "It is beautiful", one becomes intent on it; one enters (d) the Sphere of Infinite Space; (e) ... the Sphere of Infinite Consciousness; (f) ... the Sphere of No-Thingness; (g) the Sphere of Neither-Perception-Nor-Non-Perception; (h) the Cessation of Perception and Feeling (as Sutta 15, verse 35).

[262] "These are the [sets of] eight things ... '

 


[1113] As n.1039.

[1114] RD has 'like a load of soaked beans', following DA, but the sense of 'pregnant' seems well established. Perhaps a case of prudishness on Buddhaghosa's part, echoed by Mrs Rhys Davids.

[1115] In practising (not 'studying': RD) for calm and insight. Giving (RD has 'forgiving' - a misprint for 'for giving'!) softens the heart in both donor and recipient. DA quotes the verse also found at VM 9.39:

A gift for taming the untamed,
A gift for every kind of good;
Through giving gifts they do unbend
And condescend to kindly speech.

- (Nanamoli's translation).

[1116] 'Expands' (RD). But this is the usual verb for'developing' in meditation.

[1117] 'I.e. its being unmixed, single-minded' (RD). DA has no comment, but the idea of the power of such a 'pureminded' aspiration is very similar to that regarding the efficacy of a 'declaration of truth'.

[1118] Brahma to the Buddha is not immortal and is not a creator-god: His wisdom, though considerable, is limited, and he can be boastful (see DN 11!), but he is free from sensual passions, and so must those be who are reborn in his realm (though the passions may have only been suppressed by jhana - which is cetovimutti 'liberation of the heart' - and not necessarily by insight, which is pannavimutti 'liberation by wisdom': cf. nn.355, 868). But those who are reborn there have not, says the Sub-Commentary, got rid of the desire for continued existence (bhavatanha: n.1032).


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