Anguttara Nikaya


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Anguttara Nikāya
Sattaka Nipāta

Sutta 58

Nodding Off

Translated from the Pali by Michael Olds

 


 

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

Once upon a time Bhavaga, Bhagga-land revisiting,
Mount Crocodile, Deer Park.

Meanwhile Old Man Moggallāna the Great,
Magadha, Kallavā'amutta Village,
was sitting nodding off.

Then The Lucky Man saw,
with the divine eye clarified beyond that of man,
Old Man Moggallāna the Great,
Magadha, Kallavā'amutta Village,
sitting nodding off.

So seeing, in the same way as a strong man
could bend back his out-stretched arm,
or stretch out his bent back arm,
even so The Lucky Man stepped
between Bhagga-land, Mount Crocodile, Deer Park
and appeared before Old Man Moggallāna the Great,
in Kallavā'amutta Village in Magadha.

There Bhagava sat down on the seat indicated.

When so seated the Lucky Man said this
to Old Man Moggallāna the Great:

"'Are you nodding off, Moggallāna?
Are you nodding off, Moggallāna?"

"Even so, bhante."

[2][pts][ati] "So therefore, Moggallāna,
to clear up that occurrence of sluggishness,
whatsoever is your perception,
pay no mind to that perception,
[86] do not make much of that perception.

Doing this, it may be seen,
that that sluggishness will pass.

[3][pts][ati] "But if doing so,
that sluggishness does not pass,
then, Moggallāna,
review in mind
whatsoever Dhamma you have heard,
have thoroughly retained,
thought about,
worked over in mind.

Doing this, it may be seen,
that that sluggishness will pass.

[4][pts][ati] "But if doing so,
that sluggishness does not pass,
then, Moggallāna,
compose a detailed recitation
of whatsoever Dhamma you have heard
have thoroughly retained.

Doing this, it may be seen,
that that sluggishness will pass.

[5][pts][ati] "But if doing so,
that sluggishness does not pass,
then, Moggallāna,
pull both earlobes,
massage the limbs with the hands.

Doing this, it may be seen,
that that sluggishness will pass.

[6][pts][ati] "But if doing so,
that sluggishness does not pass,
then, Moggallāna,
get up and rub the eyes with water,
look in the ten directions,[1]
look up at the light of the stars at night.

Doing this, it may be seen,
that that sluggishness will pass.

[7][pts][ati] "But if doing so,
that sluggishness does not pass,
then, Moggallāna,
studiously examine the perception of light,
attend to perception of light
— as by day so by night;
as by night so by day —
thus open and unencumber the heart
and make the mind become radiant.

Doing this, it may be seen,
that that sluggishness will pass.

[87] [8][pts][ati] "But if doing so,
that sluggishness does not pass,
then, Moggallāna,
pace the place-to-pace
focused on arriving-departing-perception,[2]
faculties turned inward,
mind not gone to the external.

Doing this, it may be seen,
that that sluggishness will pass.

[9][pts][ati] "But if doing so,
that sluggishness does not pass,
then, Moggallāna,
lying down on the right side,
lion-like,
fitting foot under foot,
mindful, self-possessed,
direct the mind
to the perception of getting up.

"And at re-awakening, Moggallāna
quickly get up again, thinking:
'Not for reclining's pleasures,
not for feeling[3] pleasures,
not for groggy pleasures
shall I live!'

"Such is the way, Moggallāna, you should train yourself.

[10][pts][ati] "Additionally, Moggallāna, you should train yourself this way:

"'Not with my pride on display[4] will I draw near to families.'

"Such is the way, Moggallāna,you should train yourself.

"For, Moggallāna,
a beggar drawing near to families
with his pride on display
— there are in families many chores,
and men may not notice the arrival of a bhikkhu—
might have the thought:
'Who now, then, goes among the families spreading disruption,
making men to show me disrespect?'

"Then, getting nothing,
there is becoming upset.
Being upset there is becoming disturbed.
Being disturbed, there is loosing self-control.
Loosing self-control,
far is one
from being high in mind.

"Additionally, Moggallāna,
train yourself this way:
"No argumentative speech shall I speak."

"Even in this way, Moggallāna should you train yourself.

"With argumentative speech, Moggallāna,
there is much contentious talk.

"With much such talk,
there is becoming upset.
Being upset there is becoming disturbed.
Being disturbed, there is loosing self-control.
Loosing self-control,
far is one
from being high in mind.

"I do not, Moggallāna, speak highly of all conjunction
nor, [88] Moggallāna, do I speak highly of letting go of all conjunction.

"Of conjunction with groups and wanderers, Moggallāna, I do not speak highly.

"But that bed-seat place
which has little noise,
little shouting,
is unpopulated,
a man's sleep-alone bed,
an adequate retreat,
of such-suitable bed-seats
I do speak highly."

[11][pts][ati] This having been said, Old Man Mahā Moggallāno said this to the Lucky Man:

"In brief then, bhante,
to what extent has a beggar
freedom from own-made thirst,
reached a basis for the finish,
reached the end of yokes,
reached the conclusion of the best of lives,
reached the end of the end,
best of gods and men?"

"Here, Moggallāna, a beggar has heard:

'All things are inadequate refuges.'

If, Moggallāna, a bhikkhu has heard:
'All things are inadequate refuges',
he knows all things,
he understands all things,
comprehends all things,
apprehends all things,
and whatsoever sense experiences he experiences,
whether pleasant or painful or neither painful nor pleasant
he lives observing their changing,
he lives observing dispassion for them,
he lives observing their ending,
he lives observing their thorough abandonment.

Living observing change,
living observing dispassion,
living observing ending,
living observing thorough abandonment,
he is bound up in nothing at all in the world.

Not bound up, he wants not.
Not wanting, he,
of himself,
has become all-round-extinguished
and he knows:
'Left behind is rebirth,
lived is the best of lives,
done is duty's doing,
no more it'n-n-at'n' for me.

"It is to this extent, Moggallāna,
that a beggar
has got freedom from own-made thirst,
reached a basis for the finish,
reached the end of yokes,
reached the conclusion of the best of lives,
reached the end of the end,
best of gods and men."

 


[1]Disā. Points [N S E W] (4), + upward and downward (6) + intermediate points (4) = 10. Dasa disā. The idea is to rotate the eyeballs. In modern medicine the exercise is to rotate the eyes in a clock-wise or counter-clockwise fashion. The Buddha's method would also exercise the focal mechanism and engage the mind (e.g. in figuring out where North is). But if you do it, it will be seen to be difficult to look at the 'point' that points to the region at the back of the head. Trying to figure that one out might wake one up.

[2] Pacchāpuresaññi. After-before-perception. Hare has read the whole sentence differently and understands this phrase to mean attention should be given to the ends of the place to pace. Bhk. Thanissaro has: "percipient of what lies in front and behind". One of the special advantages of using a place to pace is the way it can be used to see the arising and passing off of phenomena which is our instruction in numerous places throughout the suttas.

Or he revisits body, watching over the origins of things,
or he revisits body, watching over the aging of things,
or he revisits body, watching over the origins and aging of things.
—[see: dn.22].

Because of the motion one is able to take a look around and actually see the first point at which a thing appears, then as it passes past and finally disappears.

[3] Phassa. Touch. An unusual way to speak of the pleasure of sleeping. Then below at saŋsagga..

[4] Uccāsoṇḍaŋ paggahetvā. Hare translates: 'lifted up with pride' reading soṇḍa as 'spirit, high-spirited'. Bhk. Thanissaro reads it as 'trunk', the raised trunk of the elephant: pride, but of course the raised trunk of the elephant does not symbolize pride to the elephant, but another thing altogether. At this point the Buddha seems to be directing his advice at the causes of sleepiness.
Snooty. Drunk with Pride. Stuck-up. He's so stuck up he needs an umbrella in the shower just to keep from drowning. This could also mean just high spirited where such a state could lead to being upset by being ignored.

 


 

References:
see also: AN 5.29

 


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