Majjhima Nikaya


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Majjhima Nikāya
I. Mūlapaṇṇāsa
1. Mūlapariyāya Vagga

Sacred Books of the Buddhists
Volume V
Dialogues of the Buddha
Part IV

Further Dialogues of the Buddha
Volume I

Translated from the Pali
by Lord Chalmers
G.C.B.
Sometime Governor of Ceylon

London
Humphrey Milford
Oxford University Press
1926
Public Domain

Sutta 2

Sabbāsava Sutta,

Coping with Cankers

 


 

[1][rhyt][pts][ntbb][than][upal] THUS have I heard:

Once when the Lord was staying at Sāvatthī in Jeta's grove in Anāthapiṇḍika's pleasaunce, the Lord addressed the Almsmen, saying:

"Almsmen!"

"Lord," said they in answer.

Then the Lord spoke these words:

"I will expound to you how to subdue all the Cankers;
listen with attention and I will speak."

"Yes, sir," said they in response to the Lord, who then spoke as follows:

I say that it is only in him who knows and sees,
and not in him who neither knows nor sees,
that there is extirpation of the Cankers.

Now, what does he know and see whose Cankers are extirpated?

Why, he knows and sees what thinking is founded aright and what is wrongly founded.

If a mans thinking is wrong,
then not only do Cankers arise which had not arisen before,
but also those which had already risen now grow apace.

If, however, his thinking is right,
then not only do those Cankers not arise now which had not arisen before,
but also those which had already arisen are now got rid of.

Cankers are to be got rid of
(1) some by scrutiny,
(2) some by restraint,
(3) some by use,
(4) some by endurance,
(5) some by avoidance,
(6) some by removal, and
(7) others by culture.

I. What are the Cankers which are to be got rid of by scrutiny?

Take the case of the uninstructed everyday man,
who, having no vision of them that are Noble and of them that are Excellent,
and being unversed and untrained in their Doctrine,
does not understand either what mental states are,
or what mental states are not,
proper to be entertained.

Accordingly, as he does not understand either,
he entertains mental states which he should not entertain and fails to entertain those he should.

Now, what are the mental states which he entertains though he should not?

Why, [5] those states by the entertainment of which the Cankers -
of sensuous pleasure
or of continuing existence
or of ignorance -
either arise where they had not arisen before
or grow apace where they had arisen already.

What, now, are the mental states which he does not entertain though he should?

Why, those states by the entertainment of which those three Cankers either arise where they had not arisen before
or grow apace where they had arisen already.

Thus, by entertaining mental states which he should not entertain
and by not entertaining those which he should,
not only do fresh Cankers arise
but also the old ones grow apace.

In his wrong-headedness,
he asks himself -
(i.) Was I in ages past?
(ii.) Was I not in ages past?
(iii.) What was I then?
(iv.) How was I then?
(v.) From what did I pass to what?
(vi.) Shall I be in ages to come?
(vii.) Shall I not be in ages to come?
(viii.) What shall I then be?
(ix.) How shall I then be?
(x.) From what shall I pass to what?

Or, again, it is Self to-day about which he is in doubt,
asking himself -
(i.) Am I?
(ii.) Am I not?
(iii.) What am I?
(iv.) How am I?
(v.) Whence came my being?
(vi.) Whither will it pass?

In his wrong-headedness one or other of six wrong outlooks emerges as true and trustworthy: -
(i.) I have a Self,
(ii.) I have not a Self,
(iii.) By Self I perceive Self,
(iv.) By Self I perceive non-self,
(v.) By non-self I perceive Self,
(vi.) Or his error is to hold that this speaking and sentient Self of his -
which is experiencing the fruits of good and of bad conduct in this or that earlier existence -
has always been,
and will always be,
an everlasting and changeless Self,
which will stand fast so long as heaven and earth stand fast.

This is called perversion to error,
seizure by error,
the jungle of error,
the schism of error,
the writhing in error,
the bondage of error.

While he is fast in the bondage of error,
I say that the uninstructed everyday man is never freed from birth,
decay,
and death,
from sorrow,
lamentation and tribulation,
is never freed from Ill.

Now the instructed disciple of the Noble,
who has vision of the Noble and Excellent [6] and is versed and well-trained in their Doctrine,
understands what mental states his mind should entertain
and what states it should not entertain;
and accordingly he does not entertain those states he should not entertain
but does entertain those he should.

Now, what are the mental states which he should not,
and does not, entertain?

Why, those states by entertainment of which the Cankers of sensual pleasure,
continuing existence
or of ignorance
either arise where they had not arisen before
or grow apace where they had already arisen.

And what are the mental states he should,
and does, entertain?

Why, those states by entertainment of which
those same Cankers either do not arise
if they have not arisen before
or, having arisen before,
now pass away.

If he entertains not the mental states which he should not entertain
but does entertain those he should,
then not only will the Cankers which have not arisen before
not arise now,
but also those which had before arisen now
pass away.

His mind is engaged aright
with entertaining the Four Noble Truths, namely:

This is Ill;
this is the origin of Ill;
this is the cessation of Ill;
this is the way that leads to the cessation of Ill.

the virus of 'good works.' That is the belief that good works or rites and rituals will bring an end to Pain (Ill, Dukkha)

p.p. explains it all — p.p.

He rids himself of the three Bonds -
of individuality,
doubt
and the virus of 'good works.'

These are called the Cankers which are to be got rid of by scrutiny.

2. What are the Cankers to be got rid of by restraint?

Take the case of a Brother who has got his eye under restraint.

Whereas lack of restraint of the eye would entail the arising of Cankers that destroy and consume,
no such Cankers arise for him who has his eye under restraint.

[Similar sentences follow about hearing, smell, taste, touch and mind.]

These are called the Cankers which are to be got rid of by restraint.

3. What are the Cankers to be got rid of by use?

Take the case of an Almsman who, duly and advisedly, exercises the use of robes-only to keep off cold,
heat,
gadflies,
mosquitoes,
scorching winds,
and contact with creeping things,
and to veil the parts of shame.

Duly [7] and advisedly he exercises the use of alms received -
neither for pleasure nor for delight,
neither for ostentation nor for display,
but only to support and sustain his body,
to save it from hurt
and to foster the higher life,
thereby putting from him the old feelings
and not breeding new feelings,
but ensuring progress
and the blameless lot
and well-being.

Duly and advisedly he exercises the use of lodging -
only to keep off cold,
heat,
gadflies,
mosquitoes,
scorching winds
and contact with creeping things,
to dispel the dangers which the seasons bring,
and to enjoy seclusion.

Duly and advisedly
he exercises the use of medical comforts
and of his supply of medicaments -
only to keep off pain felt
and to minimize harm.

Whereas shortcomings in use
would entail the arising of Cankers that destroy and consume,
no such Cankers arise for him
whose use is in the right.

These are called the Cankers to be got rid of by use.

4. What are the Cankers to be got rid of by endurance? -

Take the case of an Almsman
who, duly and advisedly,
has grown patient of cold and heat,
of hunger and thirst,
patient of gadflies,
mosquitoes,
scorching winds
and contact with creeping things,
patient of abusive and hurtful language,
inured to endurance of the advent
of all those bodily feelings which are painful,
acute,
sharp,
severe,
wretched,
miserable,
or deadly.

Whereas lack of endurance
would entail the arising of Cankers that destroy and consume,
no such Cankers arise for him who has endurance.

These are called the Cankers which are to be got rid of by endurance.

5. What are the Cankers to be got rid of by avoidance?

Take the case of an Almsman
who, duly and advisedly,
avoids a savage elephant
or horse
or steer
or dog,
or avoids a snake,
the stump of a tree,
a briar patch,
a tank,
a precipice,
a refuse-pool
or rubbish shoot.

Duly and advisedly,
he avoids either sitting in such unseemly places,
or frequenting such unseemly resorts,
or cultivating such bad friends
as would lead the discreet among his fellows in the higher life to con- [8] clude he had gone astray.

Whereas failure to avoid
would entail the arising of Cankers that destroy and consume,
no such Cankers arise for him
who knows how to avoid.

These are called the Cankers which are to be got rid of by avoidance.

6. What are the Cankers to be got rid of by removal?

Take the case of an Almsman
who, duly and advisedly,
rejects,
discards,
dispels,
extinguishes
and annihilates all those thoughts of sensual pleasure,
malevolence
and malice
that have already arisen;
who rejects,
discards,
dispels,
extinguishes
and annihilates
all evil and wrong mental states
which have not yet arisen within him.

Whereas failure to remove these
would entail the arising of Cankers that destroy and consume,
no such Cankers arise for him
who knows how to remove them.

These are called the Cankers which are to be got rid of by removal.

7. What are the Cankers to be got rid of by culture?

Take the case of an Almsman
who, duly and advisedly,
cultivates the factors of enlightenment -
to wit,
selfcollectedness,
study of the Doctrine,
strenuous effort,
zest,
tranquillity,
rapt concentration,
and poised equanimity -
based each and all on aloofness,
passionlessness
and cessation,
with renunciation as the crown.

Whereas failure to cultivate these things
would entail the arising of Cankers that destroy and consume,
no such Cankers arise for him who cultivates them aright.

These are called the Cankers which are to be got rid of by culture.

The Almsman in whom the Cankers are gone
which are severally to be got rid of by scrutiny,
by restraint,
by use,
by endurance,
by avoidance,
by removal
and by culture -
he it is who is said to have all the Cankers in restraint;
he has cut off craving,
shed his bonds,
and, by fathoming false pride,
has made an end of Ill.

Thus spoke the Lord.

Glad at heart,
those Almsmen rejoiced in what the Lord had said.


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