Anguttara Nikaya


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Anguttara Nikāya
Sattaka Nipāta

Sutta 47

Methuna Suttaṃ

Intercourse

Translated from the Pali by Michael Olds

 


 

[1][pts][mnl] I HEAR TELL:

Once upon a time, Bhagava, Savatthi-town revisiting.

There then, the brahman Janussoni approached Bhagava and drew near.

Having drawn near he exchanged greetings together with Bhagava.

Having exchanged greetings and shared friendly talk he took a seat to one side.

Seated to one side then, the brahman Janussoni said this to The Lucky Man:

Does Gotama not[1] also profess to live the Brahma carriage[2]?

Indeed, brahman, he who would say,
speaking highly:
"Complete, faultless, spotless, unblemished,
fulfilled,
clean clear through,
he carries on the Brahma carriage",
speaking highly,
would say so of me —
for, complete, faultless, spotless, unblemished,
fulfilled,
clean clear through,
I carry the Brahma carriage.

But what then, good Gotama
is the incomplete, faulty, spotted, blemished,
Brahma carriage?

2. Here, brahman,
some shaman or brahman
professes to live the highest Brahma carriage,
and though not going so far as to actually enter upon duplicitous coupling[3] with women,[4]
nevertheless enjoys being rubbed, scrubbed, bathed, and shampooed by women.

He savours this,
craves this,
and becomes intoxicated by this.

This, then, brahman,
is an incomplete, faulty, spotted, blemished,
Brahma carriage.

Moreover, brahman, I say
this is an unclean carrying on of the Brahma carriage,
yoked to the yoke of intercourse
not set free from birth, aging and death,
grief and lamentation
pain and misery,
and despair,
not set free from pain, say I.

3. Again, brahman, deeper than that,
here some shaman or brahman
professes to live the highest Brahma carriage,
and though not going so far as to actually enter upon duplicitous coupling with women
not going so far as to enjoy being rubbed, scrubbed, bathed, and shampooed by women,
nevertheless enjoys joking, fooling around and playing with women.

4. Again, brahman, deeper than that,
here some shaman or brahman
professes to live the highest Brahma carriage,
and though not going so far as to actually enter upon duplicitous coupling with women
not going so far as to enjoy being rubbed, scrubbed, bathed, and shampooed by women,
not going so far as to enjoy joking, fooling around and playing with women,
nevertheless eye-to-eye intently gazes[5] at women.

5. Again, brahman, deeper than that,
here some shaman or brahman
professes to live the highest Brahma carriage,
and though not going so far as to actually enter upon duplicitous coupling with women
not going so far as to enjoy being rubbed, scrubbed, bathed, and shampooed by women,
not going so far as to enjoy joking, fooling around and playing with women,
not going so far as to intently gaze at women eye-to-eye,
nevertheless enjoys hearing women
through the wall,
or over the fence,
as they laugh, or talk, or sing, or cry.

6. Again, brahman, deeper than that,
here some shaman or brahman
professes to live the highest Brahma carriage,
and though not going so far as to actually enter upon duplicitous coupling with women
not going so far as to enjoy being rubbed, scrubbed, bathed, and shampooed by women,
not going so far as to enjoy joking, fooling around and playing with women,
not going so far as to intently gaze at women eye-to-eye,
not going so far as to enjoy hearing women
through the wall,
or over the fence,
as they laugh, or talk, or sing, or cry,
nevertheless enjoys reminiscing about
such merriment, talking and playing around
as he previously had with women.

7. Again, brahman, deeper than that,
here some shaman or brahman
professes to live the highest Brahma carriage,
and though not going so far as to actually enter upon duplicitous coupling with women
not going so far as to enjoy being rubbed, scrubbed, bathed, and shampooed by women,
not going so far as to enjoy joking, fooling around and playing with women,
not going so far as to intently gaze at women eye-to-eye,
not going so far as to enjoy hearing women
through the wall,
or over the fence,
as they laugh, or talk, or sing, or cry,
not going so far as to enjoy reminiscing
about such merriment, talking and playing around
as he previously had with women,
nevertheless he is mentally overcome
seeing a housefather or a housefather's son
given over to, engrossed in
the five strands of pleasure.

8. Again, brahman, deeper than that,
here some shaman or brahman
professes to live the highest Brahma carriage,
and though not going so far as to actually enter upon duplicitous coupling with women
not going so far as to enjoy being rubbed, scrubbed, bathed, and shampooed by women,
not going so far as to enjoy joking, fooling around and playing with women,
not going so far as to intently gaze at women eye-to-eye,
not going so far as to enjoy hearing women
through the wall,
or over the fence,
as they laugh, or talk, or sing, or cry,
not going so far as to enjoy reminiscing
about such merriment, talking and playing around
as he previously had with women,
not going so far as to be mentally overcome
seeing a housefather or a housefather's son
given over to, engrossed in
the five strands of pleasure,
nevertheless he carries on the Brahma carriage aspiring to a deva-body, thinking:
'May I by this ethical behavior, practice, penance and Brahma-carriage, become some god or another.'

He savours this,
craves this,
and becomes intoxicated by this.

This, then, brahman,
is an incomplete, faulty, spotted, blemished,
Brahma carriage.

Moreover, brahman, I say
this is an unclean carrying on of the Brahma carriage,
yoked to the yoke of intercourse
not set free from birth, aging and death,
grief and lamentation
pain and misery,
and despair,
not set free from pain, say I.

For so long, brahman,
as I observed of these seven yokes to intercourse,
one or another of these yokes to intercourse
not given up by myself,
I did not, brahman,
acknowledge awakening to unsurpassed high-self-awakening
in this world with its generations of gods and men,
with it's shamen and brahmans,
devas, Maras, and Brahmas.

But then when I, brahman,
observed of these seven yokes to intercourse
not one or another of these yokes to intercourse
not given up by myself,
I did, brahman,
acknowledge awakening to unsurpassed high-self-awakening
in this world with its generations of gods and men,
with it's shamen and brahmans,
devas, Maras, and Brahmas.

The knowing and seeing then arose in me that:

'Unshakable is the release of my heart,
this is my final birth,
there is now no further becoming.'

This said, the brahman Janussoni said this to The Lucky Man:

Enchanting good Gotama!
Enchanting good Gotama!
it's as though, good Gotama,
the upside-down were set upright,
the covered-over were opened,
someone held up an oil lamp in the darkness
to show the way for the lost
saying "Those with eyes will see shapes,"
even so has Gotama
in a multiplicity of permutations
made known the Dhamma.

Hold it, Gotama
that I have taken refuge
and am from this day forward
for as long as life shall last
a lay follower.

 


[1] No. ? Misprint for 'Bho'? See below. Hare notes in other texts: 'kho' (then), and with 'no' inserting 'samaṇo'.

[2] Brahmacāriya. Brahma-carrying-on. Mrs. Rhys Davids 'Brahma-faring' is good. Primarily, but not exclusively used, as here, to indicate a celebate life. It is also used to indicate a life led according to a broader set of high ethical standards.

[3] Dvayan-dvaya-samāpatti. The two-backed beast. Could be 'couple-coupling' 'double-dealing-duo' Hare uses 'couple' but his 'falls' points in the wrong direction. Sister Upalavana has 'secret association' which is a good translation, but misses the point, and the pun.

[4] Mātugāmassa. Who are mother-folk.

[5] Cakkhunā cakkhuṃ upanijjhāyati pekkhati. Eye upon eye he up-n'burns-down with desire. Pekkha here, the opposite of the goal: Upekkha, objective detachment (atsa u pekkha ouch-a k-kha). 'jha' (burn) being the root of our 'know' and to: jhāna, chan, zen.

 


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