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The Stream

Saɱyutta Nikāya:
III. Khandha Vagga:
22: Khandha Saɱyutta
2.5. Puppha Vagga

Sutta 93

Nadi Suttaɱ

Stream

or
Grasping at Straws

Translated from the Pali by Michael Olds

 


 

[1][pts][than][bodh] I HEAR TELL,

Once Upon a Time in Savatthi-town the Bhagava came a revisit'n,
and there, to the Beggars gathered round he said:

Imagine, beggars, a roaring river,
it's swift stream tearing down the treacherous cliffs
from its origins in the high mountains,
it might be that clinging to the bank,
kasa grass is growing,
bending towards the opposing bank;
just hanging on there,
or it might be that kusa grass is growing,
just hanging on there;
or it might be that reeds are growing,
just hanging on there;
or it might be that sweet-smelling grasses are growing,
just hanging on there;
or it might be that some tree is growing,
just hanging on there;
And here comes, some man,
being carried down by that stream,
grabbing after that kasa grass,
but it just breaks away,
and because of that he is downbound
one who meets destruction and misery.

He grabs after that kusa grass,
grabs after those reeds,
grabs after those sweet-smelling grasses,
grabs after that tree,
but they just break away,
and because of that he is downbound,
one who meets destruction and misery.

In the same way, beggars, the uneducated common man,
not seeing aristocrats,
unwise to the aristocratic dhamma,
untrained in the aristocratic dhamma,
not seeing real men,
unwise to the dhamma of real men,
untrained in the dhamma of real men,
holds on to matter as the self;
self as having produced matter;
self as within matter;
matter as within self;
but then matter breaks away,
and because of that he is downbound,
one who meets destruction and misery.

He holds on to sense experience,
holds on to perception,
holds on to the own-made world,
holds on to consciousness,
but then consciousness breaks away,
and because of that he is downbound,
one who meets destruction and misery.

What do you think about this, beggars?
Does matter change or is it unchanging?

It changes, Bhante.

And sense experience?
Perception?
The own-made world?
Consciousness; do those things change, or are they unchanging?

They change, Bhante.

Wherefore beggars
whatever matter there is,
past, future or present,
personal or external,
tangible or intangible,
inferior or superior,
low or high,
far off or near by,
all matter whatsoever
should be seen with consummate wisdom
as it really is as:
'Not mine; not me; not the self of me.'

Whatever sense experiences,
whatever perceptions,
whatever own-made world
whatever consciousness there is,
past, future or present,
personal or external,
tangible or intangible,
inferior or superior,
low or high,
far off or near by,
all consciousness whatsoever
should be seen with consummate wisdom
as it really is as:
'Not mine; not me; not the self of me.'

So seeing, beggars,
the well-taught student of the aristocrats
is disgusted with matter,
sense experience,
perception,
the own-made world
and consciousness;
disgusted he is without passion for;
freed from passion,
he is free;
free he knows:
"Left behind is birth;
lived is the best of lives,
done is duty's doing,
no more this side or that,
no more it'n-n-at'n for me!'

 


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