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Saɱyutta-Nikāya, Nidāna-vaggo,
Anamatagga-saɱyuttam

Sutta 1

Tiṇakaṭṭham

Thatch'n-twigs

Translated from the Pali by Michael Olds

 


 

Ma's Mas

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

Once upon a time Bhagava around Savatthi revisiting, Jeta-woods, Anathapindika's Park.

[2][pts][wp] There to the Beggars gathered round he said:

Beggars!

And Broke Tooth, the Beggars responded.

[3][pts][wp] Then Bhagava said:

Out of reach of the mind, beggars,
is the start of one's run-around,
not known is the beginning point
of beings reigned in by blindness,
bridled by thirst,
rolled-up in this our run'n-round.

[4][pts][wp] If it happened, beggars,
that some man here
crafted together all the thatch and twigs
and branches and leaves
in this RoseAppleLand,
placing them together by hand
quadrangle by quadrangle
saying for each:
"This is my mother;
this is my mother's mother."[1]

Not completely used up, beggars,
would be that man's mother's mothers
but the thatch and twigs
and branches and leaves
in this RoseAppleLand
would be thoroughly spent,
thoroughly used up.

[5][pts][wp] How come?

Out of reach of the mind, beggars,
is the start of one's run-around,
not known is the beginning point of
beings reigned in by blindness,
bridled by thirst,
rolled-up in this our run'n-round.

[6][pts][wp] Many a long day, beggars,
have you lived tortured by pain,
tortured by terror,
tortured by bad luck,
filling the cemeteries.

[7][pts][wp] Enough is enough, beggars!
Enough to have had enough
of every confounded thing,
enough for disinterest in it,
enough for freedom from it.

 


[1] This doesn't make sense as an illustration of the personal journey through samsara. What does the length of the line of one's ancestors on one's mother's side have to do with the length of time one has been on the journey? It must be being used here to illustrate the extent of samsara itself. There is also here the possibility of word-play: mata/mātā thought/mother. This is the mother of my thinking, this is the mother of the mother of that thought. Or: death/mother. This is my death. This is the death that preceded that death (the mother of that death).

 


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