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Saŋyutta Nikāya,
V: MahāVagga
51. Iddhipāda Saŋyutta

Chapter VI
Suttas 55-66

Deeds Requiring Balance

Translated from the Pali by Michael Olds

 


 

Sutta 55

Able

[1][pts] I HEAR TELL:

Once upon a time, The Lucky Man, Sāvatthī-town, residing,
Jeta Grove, Anāthapiṇḍika's Park.

2. In the same way, beggars as whatsoever works to be done with balance[1] are done —
that is as all works to be done with balance are done
seated in solid ground,
standing on solid ground[2]
even so, beggars, it is seated in ethics,
standing on ethics,
that a beggar develops the four power-paths,
makes a big thing of the four power-paths.

And how, beggars, does a beggar
seated in ethics,
standing on ethics,
develop the four power-paths,
make a big thing of the four power-paths?

3. Here[3] beggars, a beggar develops the power-path
that is wish-serenity-connected-exertion-own-making,

develops the power-path
that is energy-serenity-connected-exertion-own-making,

develops the power-path
that is heart-serenity-connected-exertion-own-making,

develops the power-path
that is investigation-serenity-connected-exertion-own-making.

It is thus then, beggars, that a beggar
seated in ethics,
standing on ethics,
develops the four power-paths,
makes a big thing of the four power-paths.

 


 

Sutta 56

Seeds

[1][pts] I HEAR TELL:

2. In the same way, beggars
as whatsoever are seed famlies,
of famlies of living things,
sown, growing, coming to fruition,
come to be —
that is as all seed famlies,
of famlies of living things,
sown, growing, coming to fruition,
come to be
rooted in earth,
planted in earth —
even so, beggars, it is rooted in ethics,
planted in ethics,
that a beggar develops the four power-paths,
makes a big thing of the four power-paths.

And how, beggars, does a beggar
rooted in ethics,
planted in ethics,
develop the four power-paths,
make a big thing of the four power-paths —
sowing, growing, bringing to fruition
furtherance in this Dhamma?

3. Here beggars, a beggar develops the power-path
that is wish-serenity-connected-exertion-own-making,

develops the power-path
that is energy-serenity-connected-exertion-own-making,

develops the power-path
that is heart-serenity-connected-exertion-own-making,

develops the power-path
that is investigation-serenity-connected-exertion-own-making.

It is thus then, beggars, that a beggar
rooted in ethics,
planted in ethics,
develops the four power-paths,
makes a big thing of the four power-paths —
sowing, growing, bringing to fruition
furtherance in this Dhamma.

 


 

Dragon

Sutta 57

Dragon[4]

[1][pts] I HEAR TELL:

2. In the same way, beggars
as situated in Himalaya, King of Mountains,
the dragon is able to acquire a body,
having acquired a body is able to enter a pond,
from having entered a pond it enters the stream,
from having entered the stream it enters a river,
from having entered a river it enters the sea,
and there comes to plentyful greatness of body.

3. In the same way, beggars,
seated on ethics,
standing on ethics,
a beggar develops the four power-paths,
makes a big thing of the four power-paths,
and by that brings to fruition furtherance in this Dhamma.

And how, beggars, does a beggar
seated on ethics,
standing on ethics,
develop the four power-paths,
make a big thing of the four power-paths,
and by that bring to fruititon furtherance in this Dhamma?

4. Here beggars, a beggar develops the power-path
that is wish-serenity-connected-exertion-own-making,

develops the power-path
that is energy-serenity-connected-exertion-own-making,

develops the power-path
that is heart-serenity-connected-exertion-own-making,

develops the power-path
that is investigation-serenity-connected-exertion-own-making.

It is thus, beggars, that a beggar
seated on ethics,
standing on ethids,
develops the four power-paths,
makes a big thing of the four power-paths,
and by that brings to fruititon furtherance in this Dhamma.

 


 

Sutta 58

The Tree

[1][pts] I HEAR TELL:

2. Imagine, beggars, a tree
inclining eastward,
tending eastward,
bending eastward —
if cut down at it's base,
falling in which direction would it fall?

"However it inclined,
however it tended,
however it was bent" said they.

3. In the same way, beggars, a beggar
developing the four power-paths,
making a big thing of the four power-paths,
inclines towards Nibbana,
tends towards Nibbana,
bends towards Nibbana.

And how, beggars, does a beggar
develop the four power-paths,
make a big thing of the four power-paths,
so as to incline towards Nibbana,
tend towards Nibbana,
bend towards Nibbana?

4. Here beggars, a beggar develops the power-path
that is wish-serenity-connected-exertion-own-making,

develops the power-path
that is energy-serenity-connected-exertion-own-making,

develops the power-path
that is heart-serenity-connected-exertion-own-making,

develops the power-path
that is investigation-serenity-connected-exertion-own-making.

It is thus, beggars, that a beggar,
develops the four power-paths,
makes a big thing of the four power-paths,
so as to incline towards Nibbana,
tend towards Nibbana,
bend towards Nibbana.

 


 

Sutta 59

The Waterpot

[1][pts] I HEAR TELL:

2. In the same way, beggars, as a tipped-over waterpot disgourges it's water
does not retain it's water,
in the same way, beggars, a beggar,
developing the four power-paths,
making a big thing of the four power-paths,
disgourges and does not retain
bad, unskillful things.

And how, beggars, does a beggar
develop the four power-paths
make a big thing of the four power-paths
so as to disgourge and not retain
bad, unskillful things?

4. Here beggars, a beggar develops the power-path
that is wish-serenity-connected-exertion-own-making,

develops the power-path
that is energy-serenity-connected-exertion-own-making,

develops the power-path
that is heart-serenity-connected-exertion-own-making,

develops the power-path
that is investigation-serenity-connected-exertion-own-making.

It is thus, beggars, that a beggar,
develops the four power-paths,
makes a big thing of the four power-paths,
so as to disgourge and not retain
bad, unskillful things.

 


 

Sutta 60

The Barb

[1][pts] I HEAR TELL:

2. Imagine beggars,
that the awn of barbed wheat or barley,
consummately aimed
toward hand or foot pressing upon it,
is able to penetrate hand or foot,
or cause blood to appear.

That is easy to see.[5]

How come?

Because the spike, beggars,
is consummately aimed.

3. Even so, beggars,
that developing The Way
consummately aimed toward,
pressing down upon, Nibbana,
is able to penetrate blindness
and cause truth to appear
is easy to see.

How come?

Because beggars, view
is consummately aimed.

And how, beggars, does a beggar
consummately aim view,
consummately develop The Way,
so as to press down upon vision,
break up blindness
and cause truth to appear?

4. Here beggars, a beggar develops the power-path
that is wish-serenity-connected-exertion-own-making,

develops the power-path
that is energy-serenity-connected-exertion-own-making,

develops the power-path
that is heart-serenity-connected-exertion-own-making,

develops the power-path
that is investigation-serenity-connected-exertion-own-making.

It is thus, beggars, that a beggar,
consummately aims view,
consummately develops The Way,
so as to press down upon vision,
break up blindness
and cause truth to appear.

 

§

 

Sutta 61

Space

[1][pts] I HEAR TELL:

2. In the same way, beggars, as the various winds blowing in space,
are just winds blowing eastward,
just winds blowing westward,
just winds blowing northward,
just winds blowing southward,
just winds blowing dust,
just winds blowing dustless,
just winds blowing cool,
just winds blowing hot,
just winds blowing lightly,
just winds blowing wildly.

3. Even so, beggars, a beggar
developing the four power-paths,
making a big thing of the four power-paths,
also develops, brings to culmination the four settings up of memory,
also develops, brings to culmination the four consummate efforts,
also develops, brings to culmination the Aristocratic Multi-dimensional Way,[6]
also develops, brings to culmination the five forces,
also develops, brings to culmination the five enablers,
also develops, brings to culmination the seven dimensions of awakening.

And how, beggars, does a beggar developing the four power-paths,
making a big thing of the four power-paths,
also develop, bring to culmination the four settings up of memory,
also develop, bring to culmination the four consummate efforts,
also develop, bring to culmination the Aristocratic Multi-dimensional Way,
also develop, bring to culmination the five forces,
also develop, bring to culmination the five enablers,
also develop, bring to culmination the seven dimensions of awakening?

4. Here beggars, a beggar develops the power-path
that is wish-serenity-connected-exertion-own-making,

develops the power-path
that is energy-serenity-connected-exertion-own-making,

develops the power-path
that is heart-serenity-connected-exertion-own-making,

develops the power-path
that is investigation-serenity-connected-exertion-own-making.

It is thus, beggars, that a beggar,
developing the four power-paths,
making a big thing of the four power-paths,
also develops, brings to culmination the four settings up of memory,
also develops, brings to culmination the four consummate efforts,
also develops, brings to culmination the Aristocratic Multi-dimensional Way,
also develops, brings to culmination the five forces,
also develops, brings to culmination the five enablers,
also develops, brings to culmination the seven dimensions of awakening.

 


 

Sutta 62

Cloud (1)

[1][pts] I HEAR TELL:

2. In the same way, beggars,
as in the last month of summer
when the clay dust swirls up,
a great dark cloud
immediately disburses it,
causes it to disappear.

Even so, beggars, a beggar
developing the four power-paths
making a big thing of the four power-paths
immediately disburses,
causes to disappear,
any bad, unskillful thing
that has come to be or has not yet come to be.

And how, beggars, does a beggar
develop the four power-paths
make a big thing of the four power-paths
so as to immediately disburse,
cause to disappear,
any bad, unskillful thing
that has come to be or has not yet come to be?

3. Here beggars, a beggar develops the power-path
that is wish-serenity-connected-exertion-own-making,

develops the power-path
that is energy-serenity-connected-exertion-own-making,

develops the power-path
that is heart-serenity-connected-exertion-own-making,

develops the power-path
that is investigation-serenity-connected-exertion-own-making.

It is thus, beggars, that a beggar,
develops the four power-paths
makes a big thing of the four power-paths
so as to immediately disburses,
cause to disappear,
any bad, unskillful thing
that has come to be or has not yet come to be.

 


 

Sutta 63

Cloud (2)

[1][pts] I HEAR TELL:

2. In the same way, beggars,
as when a great cloud rises up
a strong wind
immediately disburses it,
causes it to disappear.

Even so, beggars, a beggar
developing the four power-paths
making a big thing of the four power-paths
immediately disburses,
causes to disappear,
any bad, unskillful thing
that has come to be or has not yet come to be.

And how, beggars, does a beggar
develop the four power-paths
make a big thing of the four power-paths
so as to immediately disburse,
cause to disappear,
any bad, unskillful thing
that has come to be or has not yet come to be?

4. Here beggars, a beggar develops the power-path
that is wish-serenity-connected-exertion-own-making,

develops the power-path
that is energy-serenity-connected-exertion-own-making,

develops the power-path
that is heart-serenity-connected-exertion-own-making,

develops the power-path
that is investigation-serenity-connected-exertion-own-making.

It is thus, beggars, that a beggar,
develops the four power-paths
makes a big thing of the four power-paths
so as to immediately disburses,
cause to disappear,
any bad, unskillful thing
that has come to be or has not yet come to be.

 


 

Sutta 64

The Ship

[1][pts] I HEAR TELL:

2. Imagine, beggars,
a rope-rigged ocean-going ship,
that has gone about in the water for six months,
dry-docked for the three months of winter,
subjected to wind and heat
and the rain pouring down from the clouds,
it's rope-rigging become rotten,
and easily broken away.

Even so, beggars, a beggar
developing the four power-paths
making a big thing of the four power-paths
rots and easily breaks away
the yokes to rebirth.

And how, beggars, does a beggar
develop the four power-paths
make a big thing of the four power-paths
so as to rot and easily break away
the yokes to rebirth?

3. Here beggars, a beggar develops the power-path
that is wish-serenity-connected-exertion-own-making,

develops the power-path
that is energy-serenity-connected-exertion-own-making,

develops the power-path
that is heart-serenity-connected-exertion-own-making,

develops the power-path
that is investigation-serenity-connected-exertion-own-making.

It is thus, beggars, that a beggar,
develops the four power-paths
makes a big thing of the four power-paths
so as to rot and easily break away
the yokes to rebirth.

 


 

Sutta 65

Guests

[1][pts] I HEAR TELL:

Imagine beggars, a guest-house,
and therein also a guest
arrived from the eastern direction,
taking up abode,
therein also a guest
arrived from the western direction,
taking up abode,
therein also a guest
arrived from the northern direction,
taking up abode,
therein also a guest
arrived from the southern direction,
taking up abode,
therein also a guest
a warrior,
taking up abode,
therein also a guest
a brahman,
taking up abode,
therein also a guest
a merchant,
taking up abode,
therein also a guest
a commoner,
taking up abode.

Even so, beggars, a beggar
developing the four power-paths
making a big thing of the four power-paths

whatever things through higher knowledge are to be thoroughly known,
such thing through higher knowledge are thoroughly known,

whatever things through higher knowledge are to be let go
such thing through higher knowledge are let go

whatever things through higher knowledge are to be witnessed
such thing through higher knowledge are witnessed

whatever things through higher knowledge are to be developed
such thing through higher knowledge are developed.

And what, beggars, are the things that are to be thoroughly known through higher knowledge?

The five stockpiles binding being, say I.

What five? It is these:

The bound-up-in-form-stockpile,
the bound-up-in-sensation-stockpile,
the bound-up-in-perception-stockpile,
the bound-up-in-own-making-stockpile,
the bound-up-in-consciousness-stockpile.

These then, beggars,
are the things to be thoroughly known through higher knowledge.

And what, beggars,
are the things that are to be let go through higher knowledge?

Blindness, and thirst for being.

These, beggars,
are the things that are to be let go through higher knowledge.

And what, beggars,
are the things that are to be witnessed through higher knowledge?

Vision and freedom.

These, beggars,
are the things that are to be witnessed through higher knowledge.

And what, beggars,
are the things that are to be developed through higher knowledge?

Calm and Review.

These, beggars,
are the things that are to be developed through higher knowledge.

And how, beggars, does a beggar develop the four power-paths
make a big thing of the four power-paths

such that whatever things through higher knowledge are to be thoroughly known,
such thing through higher knowledge are thoroughly known,

such that whatever things through higher knowledge are to be let go
such thing through higher knowledge are let go

such that whatever things through higher knowledge are to be witnessed
such thing through higher knowledge are witnessed

such that whatever things through higher knowledge are to be developed
such thing through higher knowledge are developed?

3. Here beggars, a beggar develops the power-path
that is wish-serenity-connected-exertion-own-making,

develops the power-path
that is energy-serenity-connected-exertion-own-making,

develops the power-path
that is heart-serenity-connected-exertion-own-making,

develops the power-path
that is investigation-serenity-connected-exertion-own-making.

It is thus, beggars, that a beggar,
develops the four power-paths
makes a big thing of the four power-paths

such that whatever things through higher knowledge are to be thoroughly known,
such thing through higher knowledge are thoroughly known,

such that whatever things through higher knowledge are to be let go
such thing through higher knowledge are let go

such that whatever things through higher knowledge are to be witnessed
such thing through higher knowledge are witnessed

such that whatever things through higher knowledge are to be developed
such thing through higher knowledge are developed.

 


 

Sutta 66

The River

[1][pts] I HEAR TELL:

Imagine, beggars,
the River Ganges,
inclining towards the east,
tending towards the east,
heading towards the east.

Then there comes along a great crowd of people,
carrying hoe and basket
saying:

"We will make this River Ganges
incline towards the west,
tend towards the west,
head towards the west."

What do you think about that, beggars?

Would that great crowd of people
make the River Ganges
incline towards the west,
tend towards the west,
head towards the west?

Not possible, bhante. How come?

Because the River Ganges, bhante,
inclining towards the east
tending towards the east,
heading towards the east,
would not easily be made
to incline towards the west,
tend towards the west,
head towards the west.

And further, in any case,
that great crowd of people
would get but exhostion and frustration
for their share.

3. Even so, beggars, a beggar
developing the four power-paths
making a big thing of the four power-paths
and the king,
or the king's prime minister
or friends
or associates,
or relatives,
or blood relations,
were to tempt him with offers
of the enjoyable, saying:

"Come good man!

Why let these yellow robes consume you?

Why with bald head and bowl wander around?

Come, return to the lower life
and enjoy food and drink
and doing good."

Indeed of such a beggar, beggars,
having developed the four power-paths
having made a big thing of the four power-paths
to reject the quest and return to the lower life —
such a thing is not to be seen.

How come?

It has been, beggars,
many a long day that his heart has
inclined towards solitude,
tended towards solitude,
headed towards solitude.

Indeed that he should return to the lower life —
such a thing is not to be seen.

And how, beggars, does a beggar
develop the four power-paths
make a big thing of the four power-paths?

3. Here beggars, a beggar develops the power-path
that is wish-serenity-connected-exertion-own-making,

develops the power-path
that is energy-serenity-connected-exertion-own-making,

develops the power-path
that is heart-serenity-connected-exertion-own-making,

develops the power-path
that is investigation-serenity-connected-exertion-own-making.

It is thus, beggars, that a beggar,
develops the four power-paths
makes a big thing of the four power-paths.

 


[1] Bala. PED goes to Latin de-bilis "without strength" English debility. I hear: Ability. Able. Stable. Balance. I think 'balance' here over 'stability' thinking according to the Dhamma that stability is never really what we get here, even seated on solid ground, standing on solid ground, let alone seated in ethics, standing on ethics. Think of standing on top of a bamboo pole stuck in the ground: is this a deed requiring strength, or stability, or balance? It could be said it needed to be done with ability, but we do not hear this in an enlightening way any longer in the term 'able'.

[2]Nissāya and patiṭṭhāya seated (or situated) and standing, rooted and planted, based on and established upon [Bhk. Bodhi], depend on supported by [Woodward], earth, solid ground.

[3] It is not clear at all exactly how to adapt SN 5.45.92 — 102 to the development of the four power-paths. For a full description of the issues see SN 5.51.055-066 Pali, n 1. I believe I have here, based on the sutta-numbering, the most reasonable solution.

[4]PED: a serpent or Nāga demon, playing a prominent part in Buddhist fairy-tales, gifted with miraculous powers and great strength. They often act as fairies and are classed with other divinities (see devatā), with whom they are sometimes friendly, sometimes at enmity (as with the Garu'as).
The word also is used for Elephant. I am going to make a wild speculation here and call these beings Dragons, as in Chinese Dragons. Even if I am off here, they stand in roughly the same place in terms of symbolism.

[5]
barly awn, rice awn
Actually it isn't that easy to see. Especially for those of us that have grown up with almost no contact with farming, but these little spikes can cause enormous pain when they pierce the skin which they find all sorts of ways of doing. As a booby-trap used against barefoot warriors I imagine these grains being spread around and buried just below the surface.
wild oat
This is a wild oat. Get a bunch of these stuck in your pants leg can drive you nutz.
Anyone with a better understanding of the use of these things as weapons please inform us!

[6] Here to adapt this from SN 5.45.155, I have replaced cattāro iddhipāde with ariyam aṭṭhaṅgikam maggam. This could not have been done with any confidence without the understanding given us by the simile.


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