Digha Nikaya


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Dīgha Nikāya

The Longs Basket

Sutta 1

The Brahma-Jāla Suttanta

BrahmaNet Spell

Partly translated from the Pali by Michael Olds, partly 'adapted/edited' from the Rhys Davids' translation

 


 

Elementary Things: Basic Ethics

[7][pts][wp][ati] Beggars! It is only with regard to elementary things, matters of basic ethics that the uneducated common man speaks of the Tathagata.

And what are the elementary things, what are the matters of basic ethics which would be spoken of by the uneducated common man when he speaks in praise of the Tathagata?

[8][pts][wp] "Letting go of taking life, the shaman Gotama lives abstaining from life-taking. Giving up stick and sword, considerate, compassionate, concerned for the good of all living beings."

This the uneducated common man would say in praise of the Tathagata.

"Letting go of taking what has not been given, the shaman Gotama lives abstaining from taking what has not been given. He lives clean-handed, accepting what is given, waiting for what is given, refraining from theft.

Letting go of carnal indulgence, the shaman Gotama lives separated from family life, above participating in sexual matters.

[9][pts][wp] "Letting go of lies and deception, the shaman Gotama lives abstaining from intentional untruth. A straight-talker, one whose word can be counted on, one whose word can be trusted, dependable, no deceiver of the world.
Letting go of malicious speech, he does not repeat in one place what he has heard in another place to the disadvantage of anyone. He makes peace between those with differences and he encourages the peace of those who are friends. Rejoicing in peace, loving peace, delighting in peace, he is one whose words speak up for peace.
Letting go harsh language, he abstains from from abusive speech. He speaks words that are blameless, pleasing to the ear, agreeable, penetrating to and vibrating in the heart, urbane, pori, words that charm and enchant the people.
Letting go idle talk, he knows the right time to speak, he says only what is true and to the point, speaking about the Dhamma and Discipline, words to be treasured, well-reasoned, well-defined, connected with the goal.

This the uneducated common man would say in praise of the Tathagata.

[10][pts][wp] "The shaman Gotama abstains from from damaging seeds and crops.
He eats once a day and not at night. He abstains from eating at improper times.
He does not watch dancing, singing, music and shows.
He abstains from using garlands, perfumes, cosmetics, jewelry and accessories.
He abstains from using high and wide beds.
He abstains from accepting gold and silver. He abstains from accepting raw grain or raw meat. He does not accept gifts of women and young girls, male or female slaves, sheep and goats, foul and pigs, elephants, cattle, horses and donkeys, fields and plots;
He abstains from acting as a messenger, from buying and selling, from cheating with false weights and measures, from bribery and corruption, deception and insincerity, from wounding, killing, imprisoning, highway robbery, and taking food by force."

This the uneducated common man would say in praise of the Tathagata.

Elementary Things: Basic Ethics II

[11][pts][wp] "Whereas some shamans and Brahmins, while living on the food of the faithful, continue to cultivate such crops as are propagated from roots, from trunks, from limbs, from leaves, from seeds, the shaman Gotama abstains from such injury to plant life."

This the uneducated common man would say in praise of the Tathagata.

[12][pts][wp] "Whereas some shamans and Brahmins, while feeding on the food of the faithful, continue to enjoy the use of stored possessions such as meat and other foods, drink, clothing, carriages, beds, and perfumes, the shaman Gotama abstains from from such enjoyments.

[13][pts][wp] "Whereas some shamans and Brahmins while feeding on the food of the faithful, continue to attend shows of dancing, singing, music and drama; displays of oratorical skills, street performances, hand-music, cymbals and drums, fairy-shows, acrobatic and conjuring tricks, combats of elephants, buffaloes, bulls, goats, rams, cocks and quail, fighting with staves, boxing, wrestling, sham-fights, parades, maneuvers and military reviews, the shaman Gotama abstains from from attending such displays.

[14][pts][wp] "Whereas some shamans and Brahmins while feeding on the food of the faithful, continue to engage in such idle pursuits as board games with eight or ten rows of squares; playing the same games in the mind; hopping from square to square on diagrams drawn on the ground; removing sticks or pieces from a heap without disturbing the heap, or constructing a heap without causing it to collapse; throwing dice; hitting a short stick with a long stick; dipping the hand in paint or flour and slapping it on the floor or wall to make the shape called out by one's mates "elephant! ...horse! etc.;" games with balls; pretending to play music with toy instruments; playing with toy ploughs, windmills, scales, carriages, bows and arrows; turning summersaults or playing leapfrog; playing guessing games; or mimicking deformities, the shaman Gotama abstains from from such footholds for carelessness.

[15][pts][wp] "Whereas some shamans and Brahmins while feeding on the food of the faithful, continue to use high and wide beds, divans, couches adorned with animal figures, fleecy or variegated coverlets, coverlets with hair on one or both sides, silk coverlets with or without gem embroidery, elephant-, horse- or chariot-rugs, choice spreads of antelope-hide, couches with awnings, or with red cushions at both ends, the shaman Gotama abstains from from using such luxurious beds.

[16][pts][wp] "Whereas some shamans and Brahmins while feeding on the food of the faithful, continue to use forms of adornment and beautification such as massages with scented oils, bathing in scented water, shampooing, and using scented powders; using mirrors; using rouges and eye make-up, cosmetic ointments, and perfumes; wearing garlands, bracelets and headbands; carrying fancy walking-sticks, drug boxes, and bottles, swords, sunshades, decorated sandals, turbans, gems, whisks of the yaks-tail and long-fringed white robes, the shaman Gotama abstains from from using such adornments.

[17][pts][wp] "Whereas some shamans and Brahmins, while feeding on the food of the faithful, continue to talk idle talk about kings and ministers of state, robbers and thieves, the horrors of war and battle; talk of food, drink, clothes, beds, garlands and perfumes; talk of cities, towns, villages, relationships, men and women, heroes and villains; gossip at the corner, over the back fence, or at the well of those alive or of those who are departed; talk comparing differences between this and that; speculative talk about creation, existence or non-existence, the shaman Gotama abstains from from such idle talk.

[18][pts][wp] "Whereas some shamans and Brahmins, while feeding on the food of the faithful, continue to indulge in argument and contention, using such phrases as:

"You don't understand this Dhamma, I do."
"How could someone like you know about this Dhamma?"
"You hold wrong view.
It is I who have right view."
"I am speaking to the point, you are not."
"You are putting last what ought to come first,
and first what ought to come last."
"What you've been expounding so long,
is completely disproved."
"Your challenge has been met."
"You are proved to be wrong."
"Straighten up your act."
"Get out of this one if you can."

The shaman Gotama abstains from from such argument and contention.

[19][pts][wp] "Whereas some shamans and Brahmins, while feeding on the food of the faithful, continue to do such things as running errands and carrying messages for such as kings, ministers, nobles, Brahmins, householders and young men who say: 'Go here — go there! Take this there — bring that from there!' the shaman Gotama abstains from from running errands and carrying messages.

[20][pts][wp] "Whereas some shamans and Brahmins, while feeding on the food of the faithful, continue to use deception, patter, hinting, signifying, belittling, and cajoling in their never ending quest for adding gain to gain, the shaman Gotama abstains from from such trickery and deceit."

This the uneducated common man would say in praise of the Tathagata.

Elementary Things: Basic Ethics III: On Earning a Living

[from Rhys Davids][21][pts][wp] "Or he might say: "Whereas some shaman and Brahmans,
while living on food provided by the faithful,
earn a living by craft and black arts such as:
palmistry,
prophesying long life and prosperity or the reverse
from marks on a child's hands, feet, or other parts of the body;
divining by means of omens and signs;
auguries drawn from thunderbolts and other celestial portents;
prognostication by interpreting dreams;
fortune-telling from marks on the body;
auguries from the marks on cloth gnawed by mice;
sacrificing to Agni (fire);
offering oblations from a spoon;
making offerings to gods of husks,
of the red powder between the grain and the husk,
of husked grain ready for boiling,
of ghee,
and of oil;
sacrificing by spewing mustard seeds and so forth out of one's mouth into the fire;
drawing blood from one's right knee as a sacrifice to the gods;
looking at the knuckles, and so forth, and,
after muttering a charm,
divining whether a man is well born or lucky or not;
determining whether the site for a proposed house or pleasance, is lucky or not;
finding a lucky site for a proposed house or pleasance;
consecrating sites;
knowledge of the charms to be used
when lodging in an earth house,
or repeating such charms;
laying demons in a cemetery;
laying ghosts;
snake charming;
the poison craft;
the scorpion craft;
the mouse craft;
the crow craft;
foretelling the number of years that a man has yet to live;
giving charms to ward off arrows;
The Animal Wheel.

[from Rhys Davids][22][pts][wp] Knowledge of the signs of good and bad qualities in the following things and of the marks in them denoting the health or luck of their owners: — to wit, gems, staves, garments, earrings, swords, arrows, bows, other weapons, women, men, boys, girls, slaves, slave-girls, elephants, horses, buffaloes, bulls, oxen, goats, sheep, fowls, quails, iguanas, tortoises, and other animals;

[from Rhys Davids][23][pts][wp] Soothsaying, to the effect that the chiefs will march out; the chiefs will march back; the home chiefs will attack, and the enemies retreat; the enemies chiefs will attack, and ours will retreat; the home chiefs will gain the victory, and the foreign chiefs suffer defeat; the foreign chiefs will gain the victory, and ours will suffer defeat; thus will there be victory on this side, defeat on that.

[from Rhys Davids][24][pts][wp] Foretelling that there will be an eclipse of the moon; there will be an eclipse of the sun; there will be an eclipse of a star; there will be aberration of the sun or the moon; the sun or the moon will return to its usual path; here will be aberrations of the stars; the stars will return to their usual course; there will be a fall of meteors; there will be a jungle fire; there will be an earthquake; the god will thunder; there will be rising and setting, clearness and dimness, of the sun or the moon or the stars, or foretelling of each of these fifteen phenomena that they will betoken such and such a result.

[from Rhys Davids][25][pts][wp] Foretelling an abundant rainfall; Foretelling a deficient rainfall; Foretelling a good harvest; Foretelling scarcity of food; Foretelling tranquility; Foretelling disturbances; Foretelling a pestilence; Foretelling a healthy season;
Counting on the fingers; counting without using the fingers; summing up large totals (looking at a tree and telling how many leaves are on it, etc.);
Composing ballads, poetizing, casuistry, sophistry...

[from Rhys Davids][26][pts][wp] Arranging a lucky day for marriages in which the bride or bridegroom is brought home; arranging a lucky day for marriages in which the bride or bridegroom is sent forth;
Fixing a lucky time for the conclusion of treaties of peace (or using charms to procure harmony); fixing a lucky time for the outbreak off hostilities (or using charms to make discord);
Fixing a lucky time for the calling in of debts (or charms for success in throwing dice); fixing a lucky time for the expenditure of money [or charms to bring ill luck to an opponent throwing dice);
Using charms to make people lucky; using charms to make people unlucky; using charms to procure abortion;
Incantations to bring on dumbness; incantations to keep a man's jaws fixed; incantations to make a man throw up his hands; incantations to bring on deafness;
Obtaining oracular answers by means of the magic mirror; obtaining oracular answers through a girl possessed; obtaining oracular answers from a god;
Bringing forth flames from one's mouth;
Invoking Siri, the goddess of Luck.

[from Rhys Davids][27][pts][wp] Vowing gifts to a god if a certain benefit be granted; paying such vows;
Causing virility; making a man impotent;
Ceremonial rinsing of the mouth; ceremonial bathing;
Administering emetics and purgatives; purging people to relieve the head (that is by giving drugs to make people sneeze); oiling people's ears (either to make them grow or to heal sores on them); satisfying people's eyes (soothing them by dropping medicinal oils into them); administering drugs through the nose; applying collyrium to the eyes; giving medical ointment for the eyes; practicing as an oculist; practicing as a surgeon; practicing as a doctor for children; administering roots and drugs; administering medicines in rotation;
Gotama the shaman abstains from earning a living by craft or black arts."

These, Beggars, are the elementary things, the matters of basic ethics which would be spoken of by the uneducated common man when he speaks in praise of the Tathagata.


[ Next: Higher Dhamma Part I ]


 [Notes]  [Nidana]  [Basic Ethics I]  [Basic Ethics II]  [On Earning a Living]  [On Higher Dhamma]  [About the Past]  [Eternalists]  [Partial Eternalists]  [End'n'o-Enders]  [Eel-Wrigglers]  [Caused-by-Chancers]  [About the Future]  [Conscious after Death]  [Unconscious after Death]  [Neither Conscious nor Unconscious]  [Annihilationist]  [Nibbana-Now]  [Conclusion]


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