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Saɱyutta Nikāya
I. Sagātha Vagga
1. Devatā-Saɱyutta
I. Naḷa-Vagga

Sutta 1

 

In the name of the Potter, Aristocrat, #1 High Self-Awakened One

Flood

Translated from the Pali by Michael Olds

 


 

[1.1][pts][bodh][than] 1. I HEAR TELL:

Once upon a time, The Lucky Man, Savatthi-town revisiting, Anathapindika's JetaWoods Park.

There, towards the end of night,
a divinity of surpassing radiance,
illuminating the while
the whole of JetaWoods Park
with his surpassing radiance,
approached The Lucky Man.
Having approached Bhagava he stood to one side.
Standing to one side
that deity said this to Bhagava:

'How is it then Eminence,
crossed you the flood?'

Without stands, friend,
without pushes,
I have crossed the flood.[1]

How is it then, Eminence,
that without stands,
without pushes,
you have crossed the flood?

Whenever I took a stand, friend, I slipped;
Whenever I pushed, friend, I was pushed around.
This is how, friend, without stands,
without pushes,
I have crossed the flood."

Finally! At long last we see
a brahman thoroughly extinguished —
without stands,
without pushes
crossed the cloying world.

And the teacher approved of
what that divinity said.

Then that divinity, thinking
'The teacher approves,'
saluted, keeping Bhagava to the right,
and exited on the spot.

 


[1] Mrs. Rhys Davids, Bhk. Bodhi and Bhk. Thannissaro would have it (+/-) "without stopping and without rushing" — "Slow and steady wins the race."
Appatiṭṭhaɱ PED:[a + patiṭṭha] 1. not standing still S I.1. - 2. without a footing or ground to stand on, bottomless Sn 173.
Anāyūhaɱ PED: Āyūhati lit. to push on or forward, aim at, go for, i. e. (1) to endeavour, strain, exert oneself S I.1 (ppr. anāyūhaɱ unstriving)
What we have here is a teaching on two levels. This is clearer in the Pali. To cross the flood(s) it is necessary to avoid stopping as standing still will produce resistance (in reality they teach you to cross a flood at a slow steady rate at a 45 degree angle against the current), and with regard to the goal, which is above points of view, taking a stand on some position is to stop; and on the other hand crossing a flood rushing ahead one is fighting a superior force, and one is likely to take a mis-step resulting in being carried off by the current, and with regard to the goal it is necessary to avoid getting caught up in worldly ambitions (e.g., pushing one's point of view, struggling to get) for such reflects desire.

 


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