Khuddaka Nikaya


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Udāna
VI.8: Ganika Suttaṃ

The Courtesan

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

 


 

[VI-8.1] I have heard that on one occasion the Blessed One was staying in Rajagaha at the Bamboo Grove, the Squirrels' Sanctuary. Now at that time two factions in Rajagaha were in love with a certain courtesan, their minds enthralled. Arguing, quarreling, and disputing, they attacked one another with fists, attacked one another with clods of dirt, attacked one another with sticks, attacked one another with knives, so that they fell into death or death-like pain.

Then in the early morning, a large number of monks, having put on their robes and carrying their bowls and outer robes, went into Savatthi for alms. Having gone for alms in Savatthi, after the meal, returning from their alms round, they went to the Blessed One and, on arrival, having bowed down to him, sat to one side. As they were sitting there, they said to the Blessed One: "At present, two factions in Rajagaha are in love with a certain courtesan, their minds enthralled. Arguing, quarreling, and disputing, they attack one another with fists, attack one another with clods of dirt, attack one another with sticks, attack one another with knives, so that they fall into death or death-like pain."

Then, on realizing the significance of that, the Blessed One on that occasion exclaimed:

What's been attained, what's to be attained,
are both defiled by one who trains
    in line with the afflicted.
Those for whom precepts and practices
are the essence of the training,
for whom celibacy is the essence of service:
    this is one extreme.
Those who say, "There's no harm in sensual desires":
    this is the second extreme.
Both of these extremes cause the growth of cemeteries,
and cemeteries cause views to grow.
Not directly knowing these two extremes,
    some fall short,
    some run too far.
But those who directly know them,
    don't exist there,
    don't conceive things
    through them.
And for these people,
there's no whirling through the cycle
to be described.


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