Anguttara Nikaya


[Site Map]  [Home]  [Sutta Indexes]  [Glossology]  [Site Sub-Sections]


 

Anguttara Nikaya
Sattakanipata

Sutta 70

Arakenanusasani Sutta

Araka's Teaching

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

 


 

[1]"Once, monks, there was a teacher named Araka, a sectarian leader who was free of passion for sensual pleasures. He had many hundreds of students and he taught them the Dhamma in this way: 'Next to nothing, brahmans, is the life of human beings — limited, trifling, of much stress and many despairs. One should touch this [truth] like a sage, do what is skillful, follow the holy life. For one who is born there is no freedom from death.

"'Just as a dewdrop on the tip of a blade of grass quickly vanishes with the rising of the sun and does not stay long, in the same way, brahmans, the life of human beings is like a dewdrop — limited, trifling, of much stress and many despairs. One should touch this [truth] like a sage, do what is skillful, follow the holy life. For one who is born there is no freedom from death.

"'Just as when the rain-devas send rain in fat drops, and a bubble on the water quickly vanishes and does not stay long, in the same way, brahmans, the life of human beings is like a water bubble — limited, trifling, of much stress and many despairs. One should touch this [truth] like a sage, do what is skillful, follow the holy life. For one who is born there is no freedom from death.

"'Just as a line drawn in the water with a stick quickly vanishes and does not stay long, in the same way, brahmans, the life of human beings is like a line drawn in the water with a stick — limited, trifling, of much stress and many despairs. One should touch this [truth] like a sage, do what is skillful, follow the holy life. For one who is born there is no freedom from death.

"'Just as a river flowing down from the mountains, going far, its current swift, carrying everything with it, so that there is not a moment, an instant, a second where it stands still, but instead it goes and rushes and flows, in the same way, brahmans, the life of human beings is like a river flowing down from the mountains — limited, trifling, of much stress and many despairs. One should touch this [truth] like a sage, do what is skillful, follow the holy life. For one who is born there is no freedom from death.

"'Just as a strong man forming a drop of spit on the tip of his tongue would spit it out with little effort, in the same way, brahmans, the life of human beings is like a drop of spit — limited, trifling, of much stress and many despairs. One should touch this [truth] like a sage, do what is skillful, follow the holy life. For one who is born there is no freedom from death.

"'Just as a sliver of meat thrown into an iron pan heated all day quickly vanishes and does not stay long, in the same way, brahmans, the life of human beings is like a sliver of meat — limited, trifling, of much stress and many despairs. One should touch this [truth] like a sage, do what is skillful, follow the holy life. For one who is born there is no freedom from death.

"'Just as a cow to be slaughtered being led to the slaughterhouse, with every step of its foot closer to its slaughtering, closer to death, in the same way, brahmans, the life of human beings is like a cow to be slaughtered — limited, trifling, of much stress and many despairs. One should touch this [truth] like a sage, do what is skillful, follow the holy life. For one who is born there is no freedom from death.'

"Now at that time, monks, the human life span was 60,000 years, with girls marriageable at 500. And at that time there were [only] six afflictions: cold, heat, hunger, thirst, defecation, and urination. Yet even though people were so long-lived, long-lasting, with so few afflictions, that teacher Araka taught the Dhamma to his disciples in this way: 'Next to nothing, brahmans, is the life of human beings — limited, trifling, of much stress and many despairs. One should touch this [truth] like a sage, do what is skillful, follow the holy life. For one who is born there is no freedom from death.'

"At present, monks, one speaking rightly would say, 'Next to nothing is the life of human beings — limited, trifling, of much stress and many despairs. One should touch this [truth] like a sage, do what is skillful, follow the holy life. For one who is born there is no freedom from death.' At present, monks, one who lives a long time is 100 years old or a little bit more. Living 100 years, one lives for 300 seasons: 100 seasons of cold, 100 seasons of heat, 100 seasons of rain. Living for 300 seasons, one lives for 1,200 months: 400 months of cold, 400 months of heat, 400 months of rain. Living for 1,200 months, one lives for 2,400 fortnights: 800 fortnights of cold, 800 fortnights of heat, 800 fortnights of rain. Living for 2,400 fortnights, one lives for 36,000 days: 12,000 days of cold, 12,000 days of heat, 12,000 days of rain. Living for 36,000 days, one eats 72,000 meals: 24,000 meals in the cold, 24,000 meals in the heat, 24,000 meals in the rain — counting the taking of mother's milk and obstacles to eating. These are the obstacles to eating: when one doesn't eat while angered, when one doesn't eat while suffering or stressed, when one doesn't eat while sick, when one doesn't eat on the observance[1] day, when one doesn't eat while poor.

"Thus, monks, I have reckoned the life of a person living for 100 years: I have reckoned the life span, reckoned the seasons, reckoned the years,[2] reckoned the months, reckoned the fortnights, reckoned the nights, reckoned the days, reckoned the meals, reckoned the obstacles to eating. Whatever a teacher should do — seeking the welfare of his disciples, out of sympathy for them — that have I done for you. Over there are the roots of trees; over there, empty dwellings. Practice jhana, monks. Don't be heedless. Don't later fall into regret. This is our message to you all."

 


[1] Uposatha.

[2] The actual reckoning doesn't mention years between seasons and months, although the number of years is implied in the lifespan.

 


 

References:

See also: MN 54;
AN 6.19-20;
Sn 4.6

 


Contact:
E-mail
Copyright Statement   Webmaster's Page