Anguttara Nikaya


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Aŋguttara-Nikāya
III. Tikanipāta
VII. Mahā Vagga

Sutta 69

Mula Sutta

Roots

Translated from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.
Provenance, terms and conditons

 


 

[1][pts] "Monks, there are these three roots
of what is unskillful.
Which three?

Greed is a root of what is unskillful,
aversion is a root of what is unskillful,
delusion is a root of what is unskillful.

"Greed itself is unskillful.
Whatever a greedy person fabricates
by means of body, speech, or intellect,
that too is unskillful.
Whatever suffering a greedy person
— his mind overcome with greed,
his mind consumed —
wrongly inflicts on another person
through beating or imprisonment
or confiscation or placing blame or banishment,
[with the thought,] 'I have power. I want power,'
that too is unskillful.
Thus it is that many evil,
unskillful qualities/events
— born of greed,
caused by greed,
originated through greed,
conditioned by greed —
come into play.

"Aversion itself is unskillful.
Whatever an aversive person fabricates
by means of body, speech, or intellect,
that too is unskillful.
Whatever suffering an aversive person
— his mind overcome with aversion,
his mind consumed —
wrongly inflicts on another person
through beating or imprisonment
or confiscation or placing blame or banishment,
[with the thought,] 'I have power. I want power,'
that too is unskillful.
Thus it is that many evil,
unskillful qualities
— born of aversion,
caused by aversion,
originated through aversion,
conditioned by aversion —
come into play.

"Delusion itself is unskillful.
Whatever a deluded person fabricates
by means of body, speech, or intellect,
that too is unskillful.
Whatever suffering a deluded person
— his mind overcome with delusion,
his mind consumed —
wrongly inflicts on another person
through beating or imprisonment
or confiscation or placing blame or banishment,
[with the thought,] 'I have power. I want power,'
that too is unskillful.
Thus it is that many evil,
unskillful qualities
— born of delusion,
caused by delusion,
originated through delusion,
conditioned by delusion —
come into play.

"And a person like this is called
one who speaks at the wrong time,
speaks what is unfactual,
speaks what is irrelevant,
speaks contrary to the Dhamma,
speaks contrary to the Vinaya.
Why...?
Because of having wrongly inflicted suffering on another person
through beating or imprisonment
or confiscation or placing blame or banishment,
[with the thought,] 'I have power. I want power.'
When told what is factual,
he denies it and doesn't acknowledge it.
When told what is unfactual,
he doesn't make an ardent effort to untangle it
[to see], 'This is unfactual. This is baseless.'
That's why a person like this is called
one who speaks at the wrong time,
speaks what is unfactual,
speaks what is irrelevant,
speaks contrary to the Dhamma,
speaks contrary to the Vinaya.

"A person like this
— his mind overcome with evil,
unskillful qualities born of greed...
born of aversion...
born of delusion,
his mind consumed —
dwells in suffering right in the here-and-now
— feeling threatened, turbulent, feverish —
and at the break-up of the body,
after death,
can expect a bad destination.

"Just as a sal tree,
a birch,
or an aspen,
when smothered and surrounded
by three parasitic vines,
falls into misfortune,
falls into disaster,
falls into misfortune and disaster,
in the same way,
a person like this
— his mind overcome with evil,
unskillful qualities born of greed...
born of aversion...
born of delusion,
his mind consumed —
dwells in suffering right in the here-and-now
— feeling threatened, turbulent, feverish —
and at the break-up of the body,
after death,
can expect a bad destination.

"These are the three roots of what is unskillful.

"Now, there are these three roots
of what is skillful.
Which three?

Lack of greed is a root of what is skillful,
lack of aversion is a root of what is skillful,
lack of delusion is a root of what is skillful.

"Lack of greed itself is skillful.
Whatever an ungreedy person fabricates
by means of body, speech, or intellect,
that too is skillful.
Whatever suffering an ungreedy person
— his mind not overcome with greed,
his mind not consumed —
does not wrongly inflict on another person
through beating or imprisonment
or confiscation or placing blame or banishment,
[with the thought,] 'I have power. I want power,'
that too is skillful.
Thus it is that many skillful qualities
— born of lack of greed,
caused by lack of greed,
originated through lack of greed,
conditioned by lack of greed —
come into play.

"Lack of aversion itself is skillful...

"Lack of delusion itself is skillful.
Whatever an undeluded person fabricates
by means of body, speech, or intellect,
that too is skillful.
Whatever suffering an undeluded person
— his mind not overcome with delusion,
his mind not consumed —
does not wrongly inflict on another person
through beating or imprisonment
or confiscation or placing blame or banishment,
[with the thought,] 'I have power. I want power,'
that too is skillful.
Thus it is that many skillful qualities
— born of lack of delusion,
caused by lack of delusion,
originated through lack of delusion,
conditioned by lack of delusion —
come into play.

"And a person like this is called
one who speaks at the right time,
speaks what is factual,
speaks what is relevant,
speaks in line with the Dhamma,
speaks in line with the Vinaya.
Why...?
Because of not having wrongly inflicted suffering
on another person
through beating or imprisonment
or confiscation or placing blame or banishment,
[with the thought,] 'I have power. I want power.'
When told what is factual,
he acknowledges it and does not deny it.
When told what is unfactual,
he makes an ardent effort to untangle it
[to see], 'This is unfactual. This is baseless.'
That's why a person like this is called
one who speaks at the right time,
speaks what is factual,
speaks what is relevant,
speaks in line with the Dhamma,
speaks in line with the Vinaya.

"In a person like this,
evil, unskillful qualities born of greed...
born of aversion...
born of delusion have been abandoned,
their root destroyed,
like an uprooted palm tree,
deprived of the conditions of existence,
not destined for future arising.
He dwells in ease right in the here-and-now
— feeling unthreatened, placid, unfeverish —
and is unbound right in the here-and-now.

"Just as if there were a sal tree,
a birch,
or an aspen,
smothered and surrounded by three parasitic vines.
A man would come along,
carrying a spade and a basket.
He would cut the vines at the root and,
having cut them at the root,
would dig around them.
Having dug around them,
he would pull them out,
even down to the rootlets.
He would cut the stalks of the vines.
Having cut them,
he would slice them into splinters.
Having sliced them into splinters,
he would pound them into bits.
Having pounded them into bits,
he would dry them in the wind and sun.
Having dried them in the wind and sun,
he would burn them in a fire.
Having burned them in a fire,
he would reduce them to powdered ash.
Having reduced them to powdered ash,
he would winnow them before a high wind
or let them be washed away in a swift-flowing stream.
In that way the parasitic vines
would have their root destroyed,
like an uprooted palm tree,
deprived of the conditions of existence,
not destined for future arising.

"In the same way,
in a person like this,
evil, unskillful qualities born of greed...
born of aversion...
born of delusion have been abandoned,
their root destroyed,
like an uprooted palm tree,
deprived of the conditions of existence,
not destined for future arising.
He dwells in ease right in the here-and-now
— feeling unthreatened, placid, unfeverish —
and is unbound right in the here-and-now.

"These are the three roots
of what is skillful."

 


 

See also:
MN 90;
SN III.5;
SN III.7;
SN III.14;
SN III.15;
SN III.25;
AN III.34;
Ud II.10

 


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