Anguttara Nikaya


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Anguttara Nikaya
Ekadasakanipata

Sutta 18

Gopalaka Sutta

The Cowherd

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

 


 

[1][pts] "Monks, a cowherd endowed with eleven factors is incapable of looking after a herd so that it prospers and grows. Which eleven? There is the case where a cowherd is not well-versed in forms (appearances), unskilled in characteristics,[1] doesn't pick out flies' eggs, doesn't dress wounds, doesn't fumigate [the cattle pen], doesn't know fords, doesn't know what it is [for the cattle] to have drunk, doesn't know the road, is not skilled in pastures, milks dry, and shows no extra respect for the bulls who are fathers and leaders of the herd. A cowherd endowed with these eleven factors is incapable of looking after a herd so that it prospers and grows.

"A monk endowed with these eleven factors is incapable of attaining growth, increase, and abundance in this Dhamma-Vinaya. Which eleven? There is the case where a monk is not well-versed in forms, unskilled in characteristics, doesn't pick out flies' eggs, doesn't dress wounds, doesn't fumigate, doesn't know fords, doesn't know what it is to have drunk, doesn't know the road, is not skilled in pastures, milks dry, and shows no extra respect for the elder monks with seniority, who have been ordained long, who are fathers and leaders of the Community. A monk endowed with these eleven factors is incapable of attaining growth, increase, and abundance in this Dhamma-Vinaya.

"And how is a monk not well-versed in forms? There is the case where a monk does not discern, as it actually is, that every form whatsoever is composed of the four great existents[2] and the forms dependent on them. This is how a monk is not well-versed in forms.

"And how is a monk unskilled in characteristics? There is the case where a monk does not discern, as it actually is, that a fool is characterized by his actions, a wise person is characterized by his actions.[3] This is how a monk is unskilled in characteristics.

"And how does a monk not pick out flies' eggs? There is the case where a monk acquiesces with an arisen thought of sensuality. He does not abandon it, dispel it, demolish it, or wipe it out of existence. He acquiesces with an arisen thought of ill will... an arisen thought of harmfulness. He does not abandon it, dispel it, demolish it, or wipe it out of existence. This is how a monk doesn't pick out flies' eggs.

"And how does a monk not dress wounds? There is the case where a monk, on seeing a form with the eye, grasps at themes or details by which — as he dwells without restraint over the faculty of the eye — evil, unskillful qualities such as greed or distress might assail him. On hearing a sound with the ear... On smelling an odor with the nose... One tasting a flavor with the tongue... On touching a tactile sensation with the body... On cognizing an idea with the intellect, he grasps at themes or details by which — as he dwells without restraint over the faculty of the intellect — evil, unskillful qualities such as greed or distress might assail him. This is how a monk doesn't dress wounds.

"And how does a monk not fumigate? There is the case where a monk does not teach others in detail the Dhamma as he has heard and mastered it. This is how a monk doesn't fumigate.

"And how does a monk not know fords? There is the case where a monk does not go time and again to the monks who are learned, well-versed in the tradition, who have memorized the Dhamma, the Vinaya, and the Matikas. He does not question them, does not present them with his problems: 'How is this, venerable sir? What is the meaning of this?' These venerable ones doe not reveal what has not been revealed to him, do not make plain what has not been made plain to him, do not resolve his doubts about the many teachings that might give rise to doubt. This is how a monk doesn't know fords.

"And how does a monk not know what it is to have drunk? There is the case where a monk, when the Dhamma-Vinaya proclaimed by the Tathagata is being taught, doesn't gain knowledge of the meaning, doesn't gain knowledge of the Dhamma, doesn't gain joy connected with the Dhamma. This is how a monk doesn't know what it is to have drunk.

"And how does a monk not know the road? There is the case where a monk does not discern, as it actually is, the noble eightfold path. This is how a monk doesn't know the road.

"And how is a monk unskilled in pastures? There is the case where a monk does not discern, as they actually are, the four frames of reference.[4] This is how a monk is unskilled in pastures.

"And how does a monk milk dry? There is the case where a monk — when faithful householders invite him to accepts gifts of cloth, alms food, lodgings, and medicinal requisites for curing the sick — knows no moderation in taking. This is how a monk milks dry.

"And how does a monk show no extra respect for the elder monks with seniority, who have been ordained long, who are fathers and leaders of the Community? There is the case where a monk does not establish himself in bodily acts of kindness, in public and in private, toward the elder monks with seniority, who have been ordained long, who are fathers and leaders of the Community. He does not establish himself in verbal acts of kindness... in mental acts of kindness, in public and in private, toward the elder monks with seniority, who have been ordained long, who are fathers and leaders of the Community.

"A monk endowed with these eleven factors is incapable of attaining growth, increase, and abundance in this Dhamma-Vinaya.

"Monks, a cowherd endowed with eleven factors is capable of looking after a herd so that it prospers and grows. Which eleven? There is the case where a cowherd is well-versed in forms (appearances), skilled in characteristics, picks out flies' eggs, dresses wounds, fumigates, knows fords, knows what it is to have drunk, knows the road, is skilled in pastures, doesn't milk dry, and shows extra respect for the bulls who are fathers and leaders of the herd. A cowherd endowed with these eleven factors is capable of looking after a herd so that it prospers and grows.

"A monk endowed with these eleven factors is capable of attaining growth, increase, and abundance in this Dhamma-Vinaya. Which eleven? There is the case where a monk is well-versed in forms, skilled in characteristics, picks out flies' eggs, dresses wounds, fumigates, knows fords, knows what it is to have drunk, knows the road, is skilled in pastures, doesn't milk dry, and shows extra respect for the elder monks with seniority, who have been ordained long, who are fathers and leaders of the Community. A monk endowed with these eleven factors is capable of attaining growth, increase, and abundance in this Dhamma-Vinaya.

"And how is a monk well-versed in forms? There is the case where a monk discerns, as it actually is, that every form whatsoever is composed of the four great existents and the forms dependent on them. This is how a monk is well-versed in forms.

"And how is a monk skilled in characteristics? There is the case where a monk discerns, as it actually is, that a fool is characterized by his actions, a wise person is characterized by his actions. This is how a monk is skilled in characteristics.

"And how does a monk pick out flies' eggs? There is the case where a monk does not acquiesce with an arisen thought of sensuality. He abandons it, dispels it, demolishes it, and wipes it out of existence. He does not acquiesce with an arisen thought of ill will... an arisen thought of harmfulness He abandons it, dispels it, demolishes it, and wipes it out of existence. This is how a monk pick outs flies' eggs.

"And how does a monk dress wounds? There is the case where a monk, on seeing a form with the eye, does not grasp at any theme or details by which — if he were to dwell without restraint over the faculty of the eye — evil, unskillful qualities such as greed or distress might assail him. On hearing a sound with the ear... On smelling an odor with the nose... One tasting a flavor with the tongue... On touching a tactile sensation with the body... On cognizing an idea with the intellect, he does not grasp at any theme or details by which — if he were to dwell without restraint over the faculty of the intellect — evil, unskillful qualities such as greed or distress might assail him. This is how a monk dresses wounds.

"And how does a monk fumigate? There is the case where a monk teaches others in detail the Dhamma as he has heard and mastered it. This is how a monk fumigates.

"And how does a monk know fords? There is the case where a monk goes time and again to the monks who are learned, well-versed in the tradition, who have memorized the Dhamma, the Vinaya, and the Matikas. He questions them, presents them with his problems: 'How is this, venerable sir? What is the meaning of this?' These venerable ones reveal what has not been revealed to him, make plain what has not been made plain to him, resolve his doubts about the many teachings that might give rise to doubt. This is how a monk knows fords.

"And how does a monk know what it is to have drunk? There is the case where a monk, when the Dhamma-Vinaya proclaimed by the Tathagata is being taught, gains knowledge of the meaning, gains knowledge of the Dhamma, gains joy connected with the Dhamma. This is how a monk knows what it is to have drunk.

"And how does a monk know the road? There is the case where a monk discerns, as it actually is, the noble eightfold path. This is how a monk knows the roads.

"And how is a monk skilled in pastures? There is the case where a monk discerns, as they actually are, the four frames of reference. This is how a monk is skilled in pastures.

"And how does a monk not milk dry? There is the case where a monk — when faithful householders invite him to accepts gifts of cloth, alms food, lodgings, and medicinal requisites for curing the sick — knows moderation in taking. This is how a monk does not milk dry.

"And how does a monk show extra respect for the elder monks with seniority, who have been ordained long, who are fathers and leaders of the Community? There is the case where a monk establishes himself in bodily acts of kindness, in public and in private, toward the elder monks with seniority, who have been ordained long, who are fathers and leaders of the Community. He establishes himself in verbal acts of kindness... in mental acts of kindness, in public and in private, toward the elder monks with seniority, who have been ordained long, who are fathers and leaders of the Community.

"A monk endowed with these eleven factors is capable of attaining growth, increase, and abundance in this Dhamma-Vinaya."

 


[1]According to the Commentary, a cowherd "unskilled in characteristics" is one who doesn't recognize the branding marks used on cattle.

[2]Dhatū. Earth, water, fire, and wind.

[3]See AN III.2.

[4]See SN XLVII.6 and SN XLVII.7.

 


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