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Samyutta Nikaya
IV. Salayatana Vagga
35: Salayatana Samyutta
Pannasa Catuttham
4. Asivisa Vagga

The Connected Discourses of the Buddha
IV. The Book of the Six Sense Bases
35: Connected Discourses on the Six Sense Bases
The Fourth Fifty
4. The Vipers

Sutta 204 [WP: #245]

Kimsukopama Suttam

The Kimsuka Tree

Translated by Bhikkhu Bodhi

"OBhikkhu Bodhi 2000., The Connected Discourses of the Buddha (Wisdom Publications, 2000)
This selection from The Connected Discourses of the Buddha: A Translation of the Samyutta Nikaya by Bhikkhu Bodhi is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at http://www.wisdompubs.org/book/connected-discourses-buddha.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at http://www.wisdompubs.org/terms-use.

 


[191] [1251]

[1][pts][than] One bhikkhu approached another and asked him:

"In what way, friend, is a bhikkhu's vision well purified?"

"When, friend, a bhikkhu understands as they really are the origin and the passing away of the six bases for contact, [192] in this way his vision is well purified."

Then the first bhikkhu, dissatisfied with the other's answer, approached another bhikkhu and asked him:

"In what way, friend, is a bhikkhu's vision well purified?"

"When, friend, a bhikkhu understands as they really are the origin and the passing away of the five aggregates subject to clinging, in this way his vision is well purified."

Again, the first bhikkhu, dissatisfied with the other's answer, approached still another bhikkhu and asked him:

"In what way, friend, is a bhikkhu's vision well purified?"

"When, friend, a bhikkhu understands as they really are the origin and the passing away of the four great elements, in this way his vision is well purified."

Again, the first bhikkhu, dissatisfied with the other's answer, approached still another bhikkhu and asked him:

"In what way, friend, is a bhikkhu's vision well purified?"

"When, friend, a bhikkhu understands as it really is:

'Whatever is subject to origination is all subject to cessation,'

in this way his vision is well purified."

Then the first bhikkhu, dissatisfied with the other's answer, approached the Blessed One, reported everything that had happened, [193] and asked:

"In what way, venerable sir, is a bhikkhu's vision well purified?"

"Bhikkhu, suppose there was a man who had never before seen a kimsuka tree.

He might approach a man who had seen a kimsuka tree and ask him:

'Sir, what is a kimsuka tree like?'

The other might answer:

'Good man, a kimsuka tree is blackish, like a charred stump.'

On that occasion a kimsuka tree was for him exactly as it had been in the other man's sight.

"Then that man, dissatisfied with the other's answer, might approach another man who had seen a kimsuka tree and ask him:

'Sir, what is a kimsuka tree like?'

The other might answer:

'Good man, a kimsuka tree is reddish, like a piece of meat.'

On that occasion a kimsuka tree was for him exactly as it had been in the other man's sight.

"Then that man, dissatisfied with the other's answer, might approach still another man who had seen a kimsuka tree and ask him:

'Sir, what is a kimsuka tree like?'

The other might answer:

'Good man, a kimsuka tree has strips of bark hanging down and burst pods, like an acacia tree.'

On that occasion a kimsuka tree was for him exactly as it had been in the other man's sight.

"Then that man, dissatisfied with the other's answer, [194] might approach still another man who had seen a kimsuka tree and ask him:

'Sir, what is a kimsuka tree like?'

The other might answer:

'Good man, a kimsuka tree has plenty of leaves and foliage and gives abundant shade, like a banyan tree.'

On that occasion a kimsuka tree was for him exactly as it had been in the other man's sight.

"So too, bhikkhu, those superior men answered as they were disposed in just the way their own vision had been well purified.

"Suppose, bhikkhu, a king had a frontier city with strong ramparts, walls, and arches, and with six gates.

The gatekeeper posted there would be wise, competent, and intelligent; one who keeps out strangers and admits acquaintances.

A swift pair of messengers would come from the east and ask the gatekeeper:

'Where, good man, is the lord of this city?'

He would reply:

'He is sitting in the central square.'

Then the swift pair of messengers would deliver a message of reality to the lord of the city and leave by the route by which they had arrived.

Similarly, messengers would come from the west, from the north, from the south, deliver their message, and leave by the route by which they had arrived.

"I have made up this simile, bhikkhu, in order to convey a meaning.

This is the meaning here:

'The city': this is a designation for this body consisting of the four great elements, originating from mother and father, built up out of boiled rice and gruel, subject to impermanence, to being worn and rubbed away, to breaking apart and dispersal.

'The six gates': this is a designation for the six internal sense bases.

'The gatekeeper': this is a designation for mindfulness.

[195] 'The swift pair of messengers': this is a designation for serenity and insight.

'The lord of the city': this is designation for consciousness.

'The central square': this is a designation for the four great elements - the earth element, the water element, the heat element, the air element.

'A message of reality': this is a designation for Nibbana.

'The route by which they had arrived': this is a designation for the Noble Eightfold Path; that is, right view ... right concentration."

 


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