Anguttara Nikaya


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Anguttara Nikāya
Chakka-Nipata
II: Sārāṇīya-Vagga

Sutta 20

Maranassati Sutta

Mindfulness of Death (2)

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

 


 

[1][pts] I have heard that at one time the Blessed One was staying at Nadika, in the Brick Hall.

There he addressed the monks,

"Monks, mindfulness of death
— when developed and pursued —
is of great fruit and great benefit.
It plunges into the Deathless,
has the Deathless as its final end.

And how is mindfulness of death developed and pursued
so that it is of great fruit and great benefit,
plunges into the Deathless,
and has the Deathless as its final end?

"There is the case where a monk,
as day departs and night returns, reflects:
'Many are the [possible] causes of my death.
A snake might bite me,
a scorpion might sting me,
a centipede might bite me.
That would be how my death would come about.
That would be an obstruction for me.

Stumbling, I might fall;
my food, digested, might trouble me;
my bile might be provoked,
my phlegm might be provoked.
That would be how my death would come about.
That would be an obstruction for me.

Piercing wind forces [in the body] might be provoked.
That would be how my death would come about.
That would be an obstruction for me.'

Then the monk should investigate:
'Are there any evil,
unskillful mental qualities
unabandoned by me
that would be an obstruction for me
were I to die in the night?'

If, on reflecting, he realizes
that there are evil,
unskillful mental qualities
unabandoned by him
that would be an obstruction for him
were he to die in the night,
then he should put forth extra desire,
effort,
diligence,
endeavor,
undivided mindfulness,
and alertness for the abandoning
of those very same evil,
unskillful qualities.

Just as when a person
whose turban or head was on fire
would put forth extra desire,
effort,
diligence,
endeavor,
undivided mindfulness,
and alertness to put out the fire
on his turban or head,
in the same way
the monk should put forth extra desire,
effort,
diligence,
endeavor,
undivided mindfulness,
and alertness for the abandoning
of those very same evil,
unskillful qualities.

But if, on reflecting, he realizes
that there are no evil,
unskillful mental qualities
unabandoned by him
that would be an obstruction for him
were he to die in the night,
then for that very reason
he should dwell in joy and rapture,
training himself day and night
in skillful qualities.

"Further, there is the case where a monk,
as night departs and day returns, reflects:
'Many are the [possible] causes of my death.
A snake might bite me,
a scorpion might sting me,
a centipede might bite me.
That would be how my death would come about.
That would be an obstruction for me.

Stumbling, I might fall;
my food, digested, might trouble me;
my bile might be provoked,
my phlegm might be provoked.
That would be how my death would come about.
That would be an obstruction for me.

Piercing wind forces [in the body] might be provoked.
That would be how my death would come about.
That would be an obstruction for me.'

Then the monk should investigate:
'Are there any evil,
unskillful mental qualities
unabandoned by me
that would be an obstruction for me
were I to die during the day?'

If, on reflecting, he realizes
that there are evil,
unskillful mental qualities
unabandoned by him
that would be an obstruction for him
were he to die during the day,
then he should put forth extra desire,
effort,
diligence,
endeavor,
undivided mindfulness,
and alertness for the abandoning
of those very same evil,
unskillful qualities.

Just as when a person
whose turban or head was on fire
would put forth extra desire,
effort,
diligence,
endeavor,
undivided mindfulness,
and alertness to put out the fire
on his turban or head,
in the same way the monk
should put forth extra desire,
effort,
diligence,
endeavor,
undivided mindfulness,
and alertness for the abandoning
of those very same evil,
unskillful qualities.

But if, on reflecting, he realizes
that there are no evil,
unskillful mental qualities
unabandoned by him
that would be an obstruction for him
were he to die during the day,
then for that very reason
he should dwell in joy and rapture,
training himself day and night
in skillful qualities.

"This, monks, is how mindfulness of death
is developed and pursued
so that it is of great fruit and great benefit,
plunges into the Deathless,
and has the Deathless
as its final end."

That is what the Blessed One said.
Gratified, the monks delighted in the Blessed One's words.

 


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