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Saṃyutta Nikāya:
IV. Saḷāyatana Vagga
35: Saḷāyatana Saɱyutta
Paññāsaṃ Catutthaṃ
3. Samudda Vagga

Sutta 194

Āditta-Pariyāya Suttaṃ

A Fire-and-Brimstone Sermon[1]

Translated from the Pali by Michael Olds

 


 

I HEAR TELL:

[1][pts][bodh] I Hear Tell:

Once upon a time, The Lucky Man said this to the beggars gathered round:

"Beggars!"

And "Bhante!" they responded upon hearing which the Lucky Man said:

"I will teach you, beggars,
a fire-and-brimstone Dhamma sermon.

Give ear!

And what, beggars, is this
fire-and-brimstone Dhamma sermon?

Better, beggars, that a glowing-hot iron rod[2]
ablaze,
in flame,
on fire,
were to sear[3] the eye-force[4]
there would then be no 'taking cues'[5]
from details of the eye's consciousness of shapes.

Getting tied up in signs[5], beggars, or
having established consciousness
based on getting tied up in details,
thereby stuck in this way of understanding,[6]
upon having served one's time,
there is but one or another of two goings:
either where the sun don't shine[7] or to an animal womb.

It is seeing a going to this doom, beggars, that I so speak.

Better, beggars, that a sharp iron stake[8]
ablaze,
in flame,
on fire,
were to sear the ear-force —
there would then be no 'taking cues'
from details of the ear's consciousness of sounds.

Getting tied up in signs, beggars, or
having established consciousness
based on getting tied up in details,
thereby stuck in this way of understanding,
upon having served one's time,
there is but one or another of two goings:
either where the sun don't shine
or to an animal womb.

It is seeing a going to this doom, beggars, that I so speak.

Better, beggars, that a sharp wedge
ablaze,
in flame,
on fire,
were to sear the nose-force —
there would then be no 'taking cues'
from details of the nose's consciousness of scents.

Getting tied up in signs, beggars, or
having established consciousness
based on getting tied up in details,
thereby stuck in this way of understanding,
upon having served one's time,
there is but one or another of two goings:
either where the sun don't shine
or to an animal womb.

It is seeing a going to this doom, beggars, that I so speak.

Better, beggars, that a sharp razor
ablaze,
in flame,
on fire,
were to sear the tongue-force —
there would then be no 'taking cues'
from details of the tongue's consciousness of savours.

Getting tied up in signs, beggars, or
having established consciousness
based on getting tied up in details,
thereby stuck in this way of understanding,
upon having served one's time,
there is but one or another of two goings:
either where the sun don't shine
or to an animal womb.

It is seeing a going to this doom, beggars, that I so speak.

Better, beggars, that a sharp spear
ablaze,
in flame,
on fire,
were to sear the body-force —
there would then be no 'taking cues'
from details of the body's consciousness of touch.

Getting tied up in signs, beggars, or
having established consciousness
based on getting tied up in details,
thereby stuck in this way of understanding,
upon having served one's time,
there is but one or another of two goings:
either where the sun don't shine
or to an animal womb.

It is seeing a going to this doom, beggars, that I so speak.

Better, beggars, to sleep
for sleep, beggars,
is static for one living, say I,
is fruitless for one living, say I,
is dull for one living, say I.

Not for such would be thought and reflection
as would get such a grip as to lead
to breaking apart the Sangha.

It is seeing stasis
for one living a-going to this doom, beggars,
that I so speak.[9]

Such being so, beggars, the well-taught student of the aristocrats thinks this to himself:

'Forget[10] this glowing-hot iron rod
ablaze,
in flame,
on fire,
searing the eye-force!

By gum! I will study in mind:

"This eye is unstable,
shapes are unstable,
visual consciousness is unstable,
visual contact is unstable,
that pleasure or pain or not-pleasant-but-not-painful sensation arising from visual-contact,
that too is unstable."'

'Forget this sharp iron stake
ablaze,
in flame,
on fire,
searing the ear-force!

By gum! I will study in mind:

"This ear is unstable,
sounds are unstable,
auditory consciousness is unstable,
auditory contact is unstable,
that pleasure or pain or not-pleasant-but-not-painful sensation arising from auditory-contact,
that too is unstable."'

'Forget this sharp wedge
ablaze,
in flame,
on fire,
searing the nose-force!

By gum! I will study in mind:

"This nose is unstable,
scents are unstable,
olfactory consciousness is unstable,
olfactory contact is unstable,
that pleasure or pain or not-pleasant-but-not-painful sensation arising from olfactory-contact,
that too is unstable."'

'Forget this sharp razor
ablaze,
in flame,
on fire,
searing the tongue-force!

By gum! I will study in mind:

"This tongue is unstable,
savours are unstable,
gustatory consciousness is unstable,
gustatory contact is unstable,
that pleasure or pain or not-pleasant-but-not-painful sensation arising from gustatory-contact,
that too is unstable."'

'Forget this sharp spear
ablaze,
in flame,
on fire,
searing the body-force!

By gum! I will study in mind:

"This body is unstable,
tangibles are unstable,
tactile consciousness is unstable,
tactile contact is unstable,
that pleasure or pain or not-pleasant-but-not-painful sensation arising from tactile-contact,
that too is unstable."'

'Forget sleep!

By gum! I will study in mind:

"This mind is unstable,
mental things are unstable,
consciousness of mental things is unstable,
contact with mental things is unstable,
that pleasure or pain or not-pleasant-but-not-painful sensation arising from contact with mental things,
that too is unstable."'

So seeing, beggars, the well-taught student of the Aristocrats
has had enough of the eye,
has had enough of shapes,
has had enough of visual consciousness,
has had enough of visual contact,
and that pleasant or painful or not-pleasant-but-not-painful sensation arising from visual contact,
of that too, he has had enough.

So seeing, beggars, the well-taught student of the Aristocrats
has had enough of the ear,
has had enough of sounds,
has had enough of auditory consciousness,
has had enough of auditory contact,
and that pleasant or painful or not-pleasant-but-not-painful sensation arising from auditory contact,
of that too, he has had enough.

So seeing, beggars, the well-taught student of the Aristocrats
has had enough of the nose,
has had enough of scents,
has had enough of olfactory consciousness,
has had enough of olfactory contact,
and that pleasant or painful or not-pleasant-but-not-painful sensation arising from olfactory contact,
of that too, he has had enough.

So seeing, beggars, the well-taught student of the Aristocrats
has had enough of the tongue,
has had enough of savours,
has had enough of gustatory consciousness,
has had enough of gustatory contact,
and that pleasant or painful or not-pleasant-but-not-painful sensation arising from gustatory contact,
of that too, he has had enough.

So seeing, beggars, the well-taught student of the Aristocrats
has had enough of the body,
has had enough of tangibles,
has had enough of tactile consciousness,
has had enough of tactile contact,
and that pleasant or painful or not-pleasant-but-not-painful sensation arising from tactile contact,
of that too, he has had enough.

So seeing, beggars, the well-taught student of the Aristocrats
has had enough of the mind,
has had enough of mental things,
has had enough of consciousness of mental things,
has had enough of contact with mental things,
and that pleasant or painful or not-pleasant-but-not-painful sensation arising from contact with mental things,
of that too, he has had enough.

Having had enough he is dispassionate;
dispassionate he is free;
in freedom knowing:

'This is freedom,'

He knows:

"Left behind is rebirth,
lived is carrying on like Brahma,
done is duty's doing,
no further is there this'n-n-that'n."

This then, beggars, is that fire-and-brimstone Dhamma sermon.

 


[1] Āditta-pariyāyaṃ

[2] Salākāya. PED meaning 9: membrum virile.

[3] Sampalimaṭṭha. SANG = with, to; + PARI = around; + MAṬṬHA = wipe, polish, clean. 'Seared' here borrwoed from Woodward. The word implies a wiping motion, hense with red-hot iron instruments, searing. The more literal 'wiped out', or 'rubbed out' as in American slang doesn't work well here. Bhk. Bodhi's 'lacerated' does not account for the fire factor nor the idea of rubbing or wiping.

[4] Cakkhundriyaṃ. cakkhu- ~ indriya. 'Faculty' here works better than my preferred 'force' for 'indriya.'

[5] Nimitta. Usually translated 'signs'. The word means mark, sign (as in 'reading sign'; track, signature. Here the idea is using what is seen to help construct one's existence, one's story line.

[6] ṭhānam etaṃ vijjati. 'standing on this vision' (or 'knowing' or 'wisdom'). I do not understand where Woodward gets his "firmly bound by the satisfaction" where the 'firmly bound' comes not from the 'ṭhānam' but from the 'gadhitaŋ' and similarly I do not understand where Bhkkhu Bodhi gets his 'gratification' in his: "stand tied to gratification". I believe the intended meaning is that 'holding on to this way of understanding and constructing the world, that is, through aggrigation of perceptions of signs and details encountered by the senses. Built on that, those signs and details being unstable, pursuit of a world built on them leads inevitably downward.

[7] Niraya. Hell.

[8] Spelled: Saṅku. in the PTS and BJT text, PED spells it 'sanku.'

[9] The concluding refrain changes here in a way Woodward believes is an error. Bhk. Bodhi ignores the change. I have tried to make sense of it understnding the underlying idea to be that one who is asleep at least does not generate such ideas as would lead him to the doom of one who breaks up the Sangha.

[10] Tiṭṭhatu. Really, 'Stand aside, stand down, set down'. Woodward's "Let alone", Bhk. Bodhi's "Leave off". It is a self-command which we would have most commonly as I have put it.

 


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