Anguttara Nikaya


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Anguttara Nikāya
Sattaka Nipāta

Sutta 68

The Fire

Translated from the Pali by Michael Olds

 


 

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

Once upon a time the Lucky Man's, walk'n bout Kosala land on 'es Begga's rouns with a huge company of Beggars, when he spots a great bonfire. At that he steps off the HighWay and sits down at the root of a tree on a seat made ready. Then, to the Beggars gathered round he said:

"See that bonfire there, a great burning, blazing, mass of flame?

What do you think, Beggars, which would be better: to sit or lie down embracing that great burning, blazing, mass of flame or to sit or lie down embracing the fairest lass in the land, one whose hands and feet were soft and smooth, a lady of high birth and great refinement?

'For sure, Bhagava, it would be the latter!

"Not so, Beggars! Not so! I swear to you, it would be better for a bad man, a man of low, suspect intentions, impure and secretive in conduct, no bhikkhu although claiming to be such, no celibate although claiming to be celibate, rotten to the core, full of lust, a no-good, evil man, to sit or lie down embracing that great burning, blazing mass of flame. How come?

Because, beggars, although that man might experience death or excruciating, deadly pains as a consequence of this, he would not because of this, at the breaking up of the elements at death find consciousness again down the drain, the way of woe, the Agha, Niraya Hell.

But beggars, if that bad man of low, suspect intentions, impure and secretive in conduct, no bhikkhu although claiming to be such, no celibate although claiming to be celibate, rotten to the core, full of lust, a no-good, evil man, were to sit or lie down embracing the fairest lass in the land, one whose hands and feet were soft and smooth, a lady of high birth and great refinement, he would do so to his own detriment and to the detriment of others, to his pain and misery for many a long day, because on the breaking up of the elements at death he will find consciousness again down the drain, the way of woe, the Agha, Niraya Hell. That's how come!

What do you think, Beggars, which would be better: To have the executioner bind one's legs with a thick rope, insert a stick and twist cutting through the skin, cutting through the subdura, cutting through the flesh, cutting through the tendons, cutting through the bones and pressing on to the marrow, or that one should enjoy the respect and deference of those of position, power and wealth?

'For sure, Bhagava, it would be the latter!

"Not so, Beggars! Not so! I swear to you, it would be better for a bad man, a man of low, suspect intentions, impure and secretive in conduct, no bhikkhu although claiming to be such, no celibate although claiming to be celibate, rotten to the core, full of lust, a no-good, evil man, to have the executioner bind his legs with a thick rope, insert a stick and twist cutting through the skin, cutting through the subdura, cutting through the flesh, cutting through the tendons, cutting through the bones and pressing on to the marrow. How come?

Because, beggars, although that man might experience death or excruciating, deadly pains as a consequence of this, he would not because of this, at the breaking up of the elements at death find consciousness again down the drain, the way of woe, the Agha, Niraya Hell.

But beggars, if that bad man of low, suspect intentions, impure and secretive in conduct, no bhikkhu although claiming to be such, no celibate although claiming to be celibate, rotten to the core, full of lust, a no-good, evil man, were to enjoy the respect and deference of those of position, power and wealth, he would do so to his own detriment and to the detriment of others, to his pain and misery for many a long day, because on the breaking up of the elements at death he will find consciousness again down the drain, the way of woe, the Agha, Niraya Hell. That's how come!

What do you think, Beggars, which would be better: To have the executioner, with newly oiled and sharpened sward, gleaming, glistening, stab one through the chest, or that one should enjoy the respect and deference of those of position, power and wealth?

'For sure, Bhagava, it would be the latter!

"Not so, Beggars! Not so! I swear to you, it would be better for a bad man, a man of low, suspect intentions, impure and secretive in conduct, no bhikkhu although claiming to be such, no celibate although claiming to be celibate, rotten to the core, full of lust, a no-good, evil man, to have the executioner, with newly oiled and sharpened sward, gleaming, glistening, stab him through the chest. How come?

Because, beggars, although that man might experience death or excruciating, deadly pains as a consequence of this, he would not because of this, at the breaking up of the elements at death find consciousness again down the drain, the way of woe, the Agha, Niraya Hell.

But beggars, if that bad man of low, suspect intentions, impure and secretive in conduct, no bhikkhu although claiming to be such, no celibate although claiming to be celibate, rotten to the core, full of lust, a no-good, evil man, were to enjoy the respect and deference of those of position, power and wealth, he would do so to his own detriment and to the detriment of others, to his pain and misery for many a long day, because on the breaking up of the elements at death he will find consciousness again down the drain, the way of woe, the Agha, Niraya Hell. That's how come!

What do you think, Beggars, which would be better: To have the executioner wrap one round with iron plates, red hot, glowing, blazing, or that one should enjoy the soft robes given out of belief in the great fruit of good deeds by those of position, power and wealth?

'For sure, Bhagava, it would be the latter!

"Not so, Beggars! Not so! I swear to you, it would be better for a bad man, a man of low, suspect intentions, impure and secretive in conduct, no bhikkhu although claiming to be such, no celibate although claiming to be celibate, rotten to the core, full of lust, a no-good, evil man, to have the executioner wrap him round with iron plates, red hot, glowing, blazing. How come?

Because, beggars, although that man might experience death or excruciating, deadly pains as a consequence of this, he would not because of this, at the breaking up of the elements at death find consciousness again down the drain, the way of woe, the Agha, Niraya Hell.

But beggars, if that bad man of low, suspect intentions, impure and secretive in conduct, no bhikkhu although claiming to be such, no celibate although claiming to be celibate, rotten to the core, full of lust, a no-good, evil man, were to enjoy the soft robes given out of belief in the great fruit of good deeds by those of position, power and wealth, he would do so to his own detriment and to the detriment of others, to his pain and misery for many a long day, because on the breaking up of the elements at death he will find consciousness again down the drain, the way of woe, the Agha, Niraya Hell. That's how come!

What do you think, Beggars, which would be better: To have the executioner pry open one's mouth witha iron j-Jack, and jam down one's throat a coppa ball, red hot, glowing, blazing, so that it burned pastha lips, burned over one's tongue, burned past the old adam's apple, burned down through the belly and on out dragging intestines and bowels with-a, or that one should enjoy the tasty almsfood, given out of belief in the great fruit of good deeds of those of position, power and wealth?

'For sure, Bhagava, it would be the latter!

"Not so, Beggars! Not so! I swear to you, it would be better for a bad man, a man of low, suspect intentions, impure and secretive in conduct, no bhikkhu although claiming to be such, no celibate although claiming to be celibate, rotten to the core, full of lust, a no-good, evil man, to have the executioner pry open his mouth with an iron jack and jam down his throat a copper ball, red hot, glowing, blazing, so that it burned past his lips, burned over his tongue, burned past his throat, burned down through his belly and on out dragging intestines and bowels withall. How come?

Because, beggars, although that man might experience death or excruciating, deadly pains as a consequence of this, he would not because of this, at the breaking up of the elements at death find consciousness again down the drain, the way of woe, the Agha, Niraya Hell.

But beggars, if that bad man of low, suspect intentions, impure and secretive in conduct, no bhikkhu although claiming to be such, no celibate although claiming to be celibate, rotten to the core, full of lust, a no-good, evil man, were to enjoy the tasty almsfood, given out of belief in the great fruit of good deeds of those of position, power and wealth, he would do so to his own detriment and to the detriment of others, to his pain and misery for many a long day, because on the breaking up of the elements at death he will find consciousness again down the drain, the way of woe, the Agha, Niraya Hell. That's how come!

What do you think, Beggars, which would be better: To have the executioner take one by the head or shoulders and force one to sit or lie down on an iron bed, red hot, glowing, blazing or that one should enjoy the comfort of a soft bed given out of belief in the great fruit of good deeds of those of position, power and wealth?

'For sure, Bhagava, it would be the latter!

"Not so, Beggars! Not so! I swear to you, it would be better for a bad man, a man of low, suspect intentions, impure and secretive in conduct, no bhikkhu although claiming to be such, no celibate although claiming to be celibate, rotten to the core, full of lust, a no-good, evil man, to have the executioner take him by the head or shoulders and force him to sit or lie down on an iron bed, red hot, glowing, blazing. How come?

Because, beggars, although that man might experience death or excruciating, deadly pains as a consequence of this, he would not because of this, at the breaking up of the elements at death find consciousness again down the drain, the way of woe, the Agha, Niraya Hell.

But beggars, if that bad man of low, suspect intentions, impure and secretive in conduct, no bhikkhu although claiming to be such, no celibate although claiming to be celibate, rotten to the core, full of lust, a no-good, evil man, were to enjoy the comfort of a soft bed given out of belief in the great fruit of good deeds of those of position, power and wealth, he would do so to his own detriment and to the detriment of others, to his pain and misery for many a long day, because on the breaking up of the elements at death he will find consciousness again down the drain, the way of woe, the Agha, Niraya Hell. That's how come!

What do you think, Beggars, which would be better: To have the executioner bind one up, up end down, and toss one into an iron cauldron, red hot, glowing, blazing, so that one sank down and rose up and was whirled round and round and round and round witha SCUM, or that one should enjoy the surroundings of a lodging given out of belief in the great fruit of good deeds of those of position, power and wealth?

'For sure, Bhagava, it would be the latter!

"Not so, Beggars! Not so! I swear to you, it would be better for a bad man, a man of low, suspect intentions, impure and secretive in conduct, no bhikkhu although claiming to be such, no celibate although claiming to be celibate, rotten to the core, full of lust, a no-good, evil man, to have the executioner bind him up, up end down, and toss him into an iron cauldron, red hot, glowing, blazing, so that he sank down and rose up and was whirled round and round and round and round with the scum. How come?

Because, beggars, although that man might experience death or excruciating, deadly pains as a consequence of this, he would not because of this, at the breaking up of the elements at death find consciousness again down the drain, the way of woe, the Agha, Niraya Hell.

But beggars, if that bad man of low, suspect intentions, impure and secretive in conduct, no bhikkhu although claiming to be such, no celibate although claiming to be celibate, rotten to the core, full of lust, a no-good, evil man, were to enjoy the surroundings of a lodging given out of belief in the great fruit of good deeds of those of position, power and wealth, he would do so to his own detriment and to the detriment of others, to his pain and misery for many a long day, because on the breaking up of the elements at death he will find consciousness again down the drain, the way of woe, the Agha, Niraya Hell. That's how come!

Therefore, Beggars, train yourselves this way: Let those who give us gifts of food, clothing, bedding, medicines and shelter enjoy great fruit, great profit from their good deeds! Let our leaving home for the homeless life not be an empty habit, but one of great profit, one of great fruit! This is the way to train yourselves, beggars.

Beggars! Thinking of your own best interests, to strive energetically is worth the effort.

Beggars! Thinking of the best interests of others, to strive energetically is worth the effort.

Beggars! Thinking of both your own best interests and the best interests of others, to strive energetically is worth the effort."

That's what the Bhagava said, So I hear.

I also heard that at that time some sixty Bhikkhus threw up hot blood and died, sixty more gave up orders and returned to the lower life saying "Too hard! Too hard! Is life under the Bhagava!"; and sixty more were freed without attachment and destroyed the asavas

 


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