Khuddaka Nikaya


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Itivuttaka

[I] [ II] [III] [IV]

 

IV. The Group Of Fours

Suttas 100-112

Translated from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.
For free distribution only.

 


 

[100] This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "I am a brahman, responsive to requests, open-handed, bearing my last body, an unsurpassed doctor and surgeon. You are my children, my sons, born from my mouth, born of the Dhamma, created by the Dhamma, heirs to the Dhamma, not heirs in material things.

"There are these two kinds of gifts: a gift of material things and a gift of the Dhamma. Of the two, this is supreme: a gift of the Dhamma.

"There are these two kinds of sharing: sharing of material things and sharing of the Dhamma. Of the two, this is supreme: sharing of the Dhamma.

"There are these two kinds of assistance: assistance with material things and assistance with the Dhamma. Of the two, this is supreme: help with the Dhamma.

"There are these two kinds of mass-donations: a mass-donation of material things and a mass-donation of the Dhamma. Of the two, this is supreme: a mass-donation of the Dhamma."

He who, unstinting,
made the mass-donation of Dhamma,
the Tathagata,
sympathetic to all beings:
    to one of that sort
-- the best of beings, human and divine --
living beings pay homage --
    to one gone
    to the beyond
    of becoming.

 


 

[101] This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "These four things are next to nothing, both easy to gain and blameless. Which four? Cast-off cloth is next to nothing, both easy to gain and blameless. Alms food is next to nothing, both easy to gain and blameless. The root of a tree as a dwelling place is next to nothing, both easy to gain and blameless. Medicine made of smelly urine[1] is next to nothing, both easy to gain and blameless. These are the four things that are next to nothing, both easy to gain and blameless. When a monk is content with what is next to nothing, easy to gain and blameless, then I say that he has one of the component factors of the contemplative

Content with what's blameless,
    next-to-nothing,
    easy to gain,
his mind not vexed
over    lodging, clothing,
    food, or drink:
the four directions offer him
no        obstruction.
These things are declared
congenial for the contemplative life,
    possessed by the monk
    heedful, content.

 


 

[102] This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "For one knowing and seeing, I tell you, there is the ending of fermentations, not for one not knowing and seeing. For one knowing what and seeing what is there the ending of fermentations? For one knowing and seeing, 'This is stress,' there is the ending of fermentations. For one knowing and seeing, 'This is the origination of stress,' there is the ending of fermentations. For one knowing and seeing, 'This is the cessation of stress,' there is the ending of fermentations. For one knowing and seeing, 'This is the path of practice leading to the cessation of stress,' there is the ending of fermentations. For one knowing in this way and seeing in this way is there the ending of fermentations."

    For a learner in training
    along the straight path, there arises:
    first,        the knowledge of ending;
    then,        the gnosis unsurpassed;
    then,        the gnosis of one released --
    release-knowledge, superlative,
    the knowledge of ending:
        'The fetters are ended.'
    Certainly not by the lazy fool
        uncomprehending,
    is there attained
        Unbinding,       
        the loosing of all ties.

 


 

[103] This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "Any priests or contemplatives who do not discern, as it actually is present, that 'This is stress,'... that 'This is the origination of stress,'... that 'This is the cessation of stress,' who do not discern, as it actually is present, that 'This is the path of practice leading to the cessation of stress': to me these priests and contemplatives do not count as priests among priests or as contemplatives among contemplatives. Furthermore, they do not enter and remain in the goal of the priestly life or the goal of the contemplative life, having directly known and made it manifest for themselves right in the present life.

"But any priests or contemplatives who discern, as it actually is present, that 'This is stress,'... that 'This is the origination of stress,'... that 'This is the cessation of stress,' who discern, as it actually is present, that 'This is the path of practice leading to the cessation of stress': to me these priests and contemplatives count as priests among priests and as contemplatives among contemplatives. Furthermore, they enter and remain in the goal of the priestly life and the goal of the contemplative life, having directly known and made it manifest for themselves right in the present life."

Those who don't discern stress,
its cause,
and where it totally stops,
    without trace,
who don't know the path,
the way to the stilling of stress:
    lowly
in their awareness-release
and discernment-release,
    incapable
of making an end,
    they're headed
    to birth and aging.

But those who discern stress,
its cause,
and where it totally stops,
    without trace,
who discern the path,
the way to the stilling of stress:
    consummate
in their awareness-release
and discernment-release,
    capable
of making an end,
    they are not headed
    to birth and aging.

 


 

[104] This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "Those monks who are consummate in virtue, consummate in concentration, consummate in discernment, consummate in release, consummate in the knowledge and vision of release; who exhort, demonstrate, instruct, urge, rouse and encourage; who are competent rightly to point out the true Dhamma: seeing them, I tell you, accomplishes a great deal; listening to them, approaching them, attending to them, recollecting them, following them in going forth accomplishes a great deal. Why is that?

"By associating with monks of this sort, sharing with them, attending on them, the as-yet-unculminated aggregate of virtue goes to the culmination of its development, the as-yet-unculminated aggregate of concentration goes to the culmination of its development, the as-yet-unculminated aggregate of discernment goes to the culmination of its development, the as-yet-unculminated aggregate of release goes to the culmination of its development, the as-yet-unculminated aggregate of knowledge and vision of release goes to the culmination of its development. Monks of this sort are said to be teachers, leaders, abandoners of harm, dispellers of darkness, makers of light, makers of radiance, makers of brightness, makers of brilliance, bringers of illumination, noble ones, endowed with eyes that see."

This is a condition
creating joy
for those who know:
living the Dhamma
of the noble ones,
    composed,
who brighten the true Dhamma,
illumine it,    shining brilliantly,
who are    makers of light,
        enlightened,
        abandoners of harm,
who have eyes
that see.
Having heard their message
with right gnosis, the wise
directly knowing
the ending of birth,
    come to no further becoming.

 


 

[105] This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "There are these four birthplaces of craving where a monk's craving, when taking birth, takes birth. Which four? Either for the sake of cloth a monk's craving, when taking birth, takes birth. Or for the sake of alms food a monk's craving, when taking birth, takes birth. Or for the sake of lodging a monk's craving, when taking birth, takes birth. Or for the sake of becoming or not becoming this or that a monk's craving, when taking birth, takes birth. These are the four birthplaces of craving where a monk's craving, when taking birth, takes birth."

With craving his companion, a man
wanders on a long, long time.
Neither in this state here
nor anywhere else
does he go beyond
    the wandering-    on.
Knowing this drawback --
that craving brings stress into play --
free        from craving,
devoid    of clinging,
mindful,    the monk
    lives the mendicant life.

 


 

[106] This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "Living with Brahma are those families where, in the home, mother and father are revered by the children. Living with the first devas are those families where, in the home, mother and father are revered by the children. Living with the first teachers are those families where, in the home, mother and father are revered by the children. Living with those worthy of gifts are those families where, in the home, mother and father are revered by the children. 'Brahma' is a designation for mother and father. 'The first devas' is a designation for mother and father. 'The first teachers' is a designation for mother and father. 'Those worthy of gifts' is a designation for mother and father. Why is that? Mother and father do much for their children. They care for them, nourish them, introduce them to this world."

Mother and father,
compassionate to their family,
are called
    Brahma,
    first teachers,
    those worthy of gifts
    from their children.
So the wise should pay them
            homage,
            honor
        with food and drink
        clothing and bedding
        anointing and bathing
        and washing their feet.
Performing these services to their parents,
the wise
        are praised right here
        and after death
        rejoice in heaven.

 


 

[107] This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "Monks, brahmans and householders are very helpful to you, as they provide you with the requisites of robes, alms food, lodgings, and medical requisites for the sick. And you, monks, are very helpful to brahmans and householders, as you teach them the Dhamma admirable in the beginning, admirable in the middle, admirable in the end; as you expound the holy life both in its particulars and in its essence, entirely complete, surpassingly pure. In this way the holy life is lived in mutual dependence, for the purpose of crossing over the flood, for making a right end to stress."

    Householders and the homeless
    in mutual dependence
    both reach the true Dhamma:
        the unsurpassed safety from bondage.
    From householders, the homeless
    receive requisites: robes, lodgings,
    protection from inclemencies.

While in dependence on those well-gone,
    home-loving householders
    have conviction in Arahants
        of noble discernment,
        absorbed in jhana.
    Having practiced the Dhamma here --
    the path leading to good destinations --
        delighting in the deva world,
            they rejoice,
        enjoying sensual pleasures.

 


 

[108] This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "Any monks who are deceitful, stubborn, talkers, frauds, arrogant, and uncentered are not followers of mine. They have turned away from this Dhamma-and-Vinaya. They attain, in terms of this Dhamma-and-Vinaya, no growth, increase, or abundance.

"But any monks who are not deceitful, not talkers, who are enlightened, pliant, and well-centered: they are followers of mine. They have not turned away from this Dhamma-and-Vinaya. They attain, in terms of this Dhamma-and-Vinaya, growth, increase, and abundance.

Deceitful, stubborn, talkers, frauds,
arrogant, uncentered:
they don't grow in the Dhamma
taught by the Rightly
Self-awakened One.

Not deceitful, not talkers,
enlightened, pliant,
well-centered:
they grow in the Dhamma
taught by the One
Rightly
Self-awakened.

 


 

[109] This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "Suppose a man was being carried along by the flow of a river, lovely and alluring. And then another man with good eyesight, standing on the bank, on seeing him would say: 'My good man, even though you are being carried along by the flow of a river, lovely and alluring, further down from here is a pool with waves and whirlpools, with monsters and demons. On reaching that pool you will suffer death or death-like pain.' Then the first man, on hearing the words of the second man, would make an effort with his hands and feet to go against the flow.

"I have given you this simile to illustrate a meaning. The meaning is this: the flow of the river stands for craving. Lovely and alluring stands for the six internal sense-media. The pool further down stands for the five lower fetters.[2] The waves stand for anger and distress. The whirlpools stand for the five strings of sensuality. The monsters and demons stand for the opposite sex. Against the flow stands for renunciation. Making an effort with hands and feet stands for the arousing of persistence. The man with good eyesight standing on the bank stands for the Tathagata, worthy and rightly self-awakened."

Even if it's with pain,
you should abandon
sensual desires
if you aspire
to future safety from bondage.
    Alert,
with a mind well-released,
touch release now here,
    now there.
An attainer-of-wisdom,
having fulfilled the holy life,
is said to have gone
to the end of the world, gone
        beyond.

 


 

[110] This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "If, while he is walking, there arises in a monk a thought of sensuality, a thought of ill-will, or a thought of harmfulness, and he does not quickly abandon, dispel, demolish, or wipe that thought out of existence, then a monk walking with such a lack of ardency and concern is called continually and continuously lethargic and low in his persistence.

"If, while he is standing...

"If, while he is sitting...

"If, while he is lying down, there arises in a monk a thought of sensuality, a thought of ill-will, or a thought of harmfulness, and he does not quickly abandon, dispel, demolish, or wipe that thought out of existence, then a monk lying down with such a lack of ardency and concern is called continually and continuously lethargic and low in his persistence.

"But if, while he is walking, there arises in a monk a thought of sensuality, a thought of ill-will, or a thought of harmfulness, and he quickly abandons, dispels, demolishes, and wipes that thought out of existence, then a monk walking with such ardency and concern is called continually and continuously resolute, one with persistence aroused.

"If, while he is standing...

"If, while he is sitting...

"If, while he is lying down, there arises in a monk a thought of sensuality, a thought of ill-will, or a thought of harmfulness, and he quickly abandons, dispels, demolishes, and wipes that thought out of existence, then a monk lying down with such ardency and concern is called continually and continuously resolute, one with persistence aroused."

Whether walking, standing,
sitting, or lying down,
whoever thinks evil thoughts,
related to the household life,
    is following no path at all,
        smitten
with delusory things.
He's incapable,
    a monk like this,
of touching superlative
self-awakening.
But whoever --
walking, standing,
sitting, or lying down --
overcomes thought,
delighting in the stilling of thought:
he's capable,
    a monk like this,
of touching superlative
self-awakening.

 


 

[111] This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "Be consummate in virtue, monks, and consummate in the Patimokkha. Dwell restrained in accordance with the Patimokkha, consummate in your behavior and sphere of activity. Train yourselves, having undertaken the training rules, seeing danger in the slightest faults.

"When one is consummate in virtue, consummate in the Patimokkha; dwelling restrained in accordance with the Patimokkha, consummate in one's behavior and sphere of activity; training oneself, having undertaken the training rules, seeing danger in the slightest faults -- what more is to be done?

"If, while he is walking, any greed in a monk is done away with, any ill will, any sloth and drowsiness, any restlessness and anxiety, any uncertainty is done away with; if his persistence is aroused and not lax; if his mindfulness is established and unmuddled; if his body is calm and unaroused; if his mind is centered and unified: then a monk walking with such ardency and concern is called continually and continuously resolute, one with persistence aroused.

"If, while he is standing...

"If, while he is sitting...

"If, while he is lying down, any greed in a monk is done away with, any ill will, any sloth and drowsiness, any restlessness and anxiety, any uncertainty is done away with; if his persistence is aroused and not lax; if his mindfulness is established and unmuddled; if his body is calm and unaroused; if his mind is centered and unified: then a monk lying down with such ardency and concern is called continually and continuously resolute, one with persistence aroused."

Controlled in walking,
controlled in standing,
controlled in sitting,
controlled in lying down,
controlled in flexing and extending his limbs
    -- above, around, and below,
        as far as the worlds extend --
    observing the arising and passing away
        of phenomena,
        of aggregates:
a monk who dwells thus ardently,
not restlessly, at peace --
    always
mindful,
training in the mastery
of awareness-tranquillity --
is said to be continually
        resolute.

 


 

[112] This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "The world[3] has been fully awakened to by the Tathagata. From the world, the Tathagata is disjoined. The origination of the world has been fully awakened to by the Tathagata. The origination of the world has, by the Tathagata, been abandoned. The cessation of the world has been fully awakened to by the Tathagata. The cessation of the world has, by the Tathagata, been realized. The path leading to the cessation of the world has been fully awakened to by the Tathagata. The path leading to the cessation of the world has, by the Tathagata, been developed.

"Whatever in this world -- with its devas, Maras, and Brahmas, its generations complete with contemplatives and priests, princes and men -- is seen, heard, sensed, cognized, attained, sought after, pondered by the intellect, that has been fully awakened to by the Tathagata. Thus he is called the Tathagata.

"From the night the Tathagata fully awakens to the unsurpassed Right Self-awakening to the night he is totally unbound in the Unbinding property with no fuel remaining, whatever the Tathagata has said, spoken, explained is just so (tatha) and not otherwise. Thus he is called the Tathagata.

"The Tathagata is one who does in line with (tatha) what he teaches, one who teaches in line with what he does. Thus he is called the Tathagata.

"In this world with its devas, Maras, and Brahmas, its generations complete with contemplatives and priests, princes and men, the Tathagata is the unconquered conqueror, all-seeing, the wielder of power.[4] Thus he is called the Tathagata." This is the meaning of what the Blessed One said. So with regard to this it was said:

Directly knowing all the world,
all the world as is really is,
    from all the world    disjoined,
    in all the world    unmatched:
Conquering all
in all ways,
enlightened,
released from all bonds,
he touches the foremost peace --
    Unbinding, free
    from fear.

He is    free    of fermentation,
        of trouble,
    awakened,
        his doubts cut through;
has attained    the ending of action,
is released    in the destruction of acquisitions.
He is blessed, awakened,
a lion, unsurpassed.
In the world with its devas
he set the Brahma-wheel going.[5]

Thus divine and human beings
who have gone to the Buddha for refuge,
gathering, pay homage
to the great one, thoroughly mature:

'Tamed, he's the best
    of those who can be tamed;
calm, the seer
    of those who can be calmed;
released, supreme
    among those who can be released;
crossed, the foremost
    of those who can cross.'

Thus they pay homage
to the great one, thoroughly mature:
'In this world with its devas,
    there's no one
    to compare
    with you.'

This, too, was the meaning of what was said by the Blessed One, so I have heard.

 


[1] This is one of a monk's basic requisites. There is some disagreement as to whether it refers to medicine pickled in urine, or to the use of urine as a medicine (as is still practiced in parts of Asia today).

[2] The five lower fetters are self-identity view, uncertainty, attachment to practices and precepts, sensual passion, and resistance.

[3] SN XXXV.82 defines the "world" as the six sense spheres, their objects, consciousness at those spheres, contact at those spheres, and whatever arises in dependence on that contact, experienced as pleasure, pain, or neither-pleasure-nor-pain.

[4] These are epithets usually associated with the Great Brahma. See 22.

[5] The Brahma-wheel = the Dhamma-wheel, the name of the Buddha's first sermon, so called because it contains a "wheel" that lists all twelve permutations of two sets of variables: the four noble truths -- stress, its origination, its cessation, and the way leading to its cessation -- and the three levels of knowledge appropriate to each truth: knowledge of the truth, knowledge of the task appropriate to the truth, and knowledge that the task has been completed. This wheel constitutes the Buddha's most central teaching.

 


 

References:

See also: AN II.31


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