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 4

Bhaya-Bherava Suttaɱ

Of Braving Fears

 


 

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

Once when the Lord was staying at Sāvatthī in Jeta's grove in Anāthapiṇḍika's pleasaunce,
there came to him the brahmin Jāṇussoṇi
who, after due exchange of the greetings and compliments of politeness and courtesy,
seated himself to one side and said:

"These young men who,
following the reverend Gotama and believing in him,
have gone forth as Pilgrims from home to homelessness, -
all of them have him as their leader,
warden
and guide?
And the whole company of them
are adherents of his tenets?"

"Quite so, brahmin; quite so;
it is just as you say."

"It is hard, Gotama,
to brave life in the wilds and depths of the forest,
far from the haunts of men;
solitude is hard to endure;
to live alone is joyless;
[13] and methinks forests are killing to the mind
of an Almsman who does not attain to rapt concentration."

"Quite, so, brahmin; quite so;
it is just as you say.

I myself thought the very same thing
in the days before my full Enlightenment
when as yet I was not fully enlightened
but was only a Bodhisatta.

But, even so, I bethought me that:

'Recluses and brahmins
who without purity -
of ac t-
of word -
of thought -
or of livelihood -
take to living in the wilds,
all of them,
by reason of their impurity
and its attendant corruption,
evoke fear and dread from within themselves.

But it is not in impurity
but in purity
that I take to a life of solitude in the wilds;
I am one of the Noble Brotherhood
who in purity enter on such life.'

This consciousness of purity within, brahmin,
braced me with confidence
to live in the wilds.

I bethought me that:

'Recluses and brahmins living in the wilds
are beset with fear and dread
if they are covetous and pleasure-loving,
and accordingly corrupt -
or malevolent and malignant,
and corrupt accordingly -
or are corrupt either by being given over to sloth and torpor,
or by being puffed-up and disordered in mind,
or by harbouring perplexity and doubts,
or by exalting themselves and disparaging others,
or by being aghast and affrighted,
or by acquisitiveness and love of distinction,
or by being indolent and slack,
or by being bewildered and flustered,
or by being unstable and wandering,
or witless and drivelling.

With me it is not so;
none of these defects are mine
as I take to a life of solitude in the wilds;
I am one of the Noble Brotherhood
who, without any one of these defects
and without their attendant corruption,
enter on the solitary life
in the wilds and depths of the forest,
far from the haunts of men.'

This consciousness
braced me with confidence to live in the wilds.

There came to me the thought that,
on the special and outstanding nights of each fortnight,
I would seek out haunted shrines
and altars in woodland or forest
or under tutelary trees
and there abide,
in those awesome [14] and grisly scenes, -
perchance there to discover fear and dread.

So, in due season,
on such nights,
I took up my abode in those awesome and grisly scenes.

As I abode there,
either an animal passed along,
or a peacock knocked off a branch,
or the wind rustled the fallen leaves,
so that I thought this must surely be fear and dread coming.

Thought I:

'Wherefore am I doing nothing but await the coming of fear and dread?

Come as they may,
I, just as they find me,
will even so overcome them,
without changing my posture for them.'

I was pacing to and fro
when fear and dread came upon me;
I continued to pace to and fro
till I had overcome them,
neither standing still
nor sitting
nor lying down.

If I was standing still
when fear and dread came upon me,
I continued to stand still,
and neither paced to and fro
nor sat
nor lay down,
until I had overcome them.

If I was seated
when they came upon me,
sitting I remained
till I had overcome them,
neither lying down
nor standing still
nor pacing to and fro.

If I was lying down
when fear and dread came upon me,
lying down I remained
till I had overcome them, -
neither sitting down
nor standing still
nor pacing to and fro.

Now, brahmin, there are some recluses and brahmins
who say night is day
and day is night;[1]
but I say this shews the delusion in which they live.

Night to me is night,
and day is day.

Of me, if of anyone,
it can truly be affirmed
that, in me,
a being without delusions has arisen in the world,
for the weal and welfare of many,
out of compassion towards the world,
for the good,
the weal,
and the welfare of gods and men.

Strenuous effort won for me
perseverance that never flagged;
there arose in me mindfulness that knew no distraction,
perfect tranquillity of body,
stedfastness of mind that never wavered.

Divested of pleasures of sense,
divested of wrong states of consciousness,
I entered on,
and abode in,
the First Ecstasy
with all its zest and satisfaction, -
a state bred of inward aloofness [15] but not divorced from observation and reflection.

As I rose above reasoning and reflection,
I entered on,
and abode in,
the Second Ecstasy
with all its zest and satisfaction, -
a state bred of rapt concentration,
above all observation and reflection,
a state whereby the heart is focussed
and tranquillity reigns within.

By shedding the emotion of zest,
I entered on,
and abode in,
the Third Ecstasy,
with its poised equanimity,
mindful and self-possessed,
feeling in my frame
the satisfaction of which the Noble say
that poise and mindfulness bring abiding satisfaction.

By putting from me both satisfaction and dissatisfaction,
and by shedding the joys and sorrows I used to feel,
I entered on,
and abode in,
the Fourth Ecstasy, -
the state that,
knowing neither satisfaction nor dissatisfaction,
is the consummate purity
of poised equanimity and mindfulness.

With heart thus stedfast,
thus clarified and purified,
clean and cleansed of things impure,
tempered and apt to serve,
stablished and immutable, -
it was thus that I applied my heart to the knowledge which recalled my earlier existences.

Redintegration. 'restoration to a former state'. Also revival of a mental state by the stimulus of any aspect of a former mental state. Perhaps a better term for what Marcel Proust is describing than 'recapturing the past,'. But this word, in Pali, 'saɱ- and vi- vaṭṭa' on- and un- rolling' is more simply and directly translated evolving and devolving.

p.p. explains it all — p.p.

I called to mind my divers existences in the past, -
a single birth,
then two ... [and so on to] ... a hundred thousand births,
many an aeon of disintegration of the world,
many an aeon of its redintegration,
and again many an aeon both of its disintegration
and of its redintegration.

Sept. A branch of a family. Especially one of which all the members re believed to have descended froma single ancestor. - Websters. The Pali is 'gotta.' PED: "Gotta (nt.) [Vedic gotra, to go] ancestry, lineage. There is no word in English for gotta. It includes all those descended, or supposed to be descended, from a common ancestor."

p.p. explains it all — p.p.

In this or that former existence,
I remembered,
such and such was my name,
my sept,
my class,
my diet,
my joys and sorrows,
and my term of life.

When I passed thence,
I came by such and such subsequent existence,
wherein such and such was my name and so forth.

Thence I passed to my life here.

Thus did I call to mind my divers existences of the past
in all their details and features.

This, brahmin, was the first knowledge attained by me,
in the first watch of that night,[2] -
ignorance dispelled and know- [16] ledge won,
darkness dispelled and illumination won,
as befitted my strenuous and ardent life,
purged of self.

That same stedfast heart
I now applied to knowledge of the passage hence,
and re-appearance elsewhere,
of other beings.

With the Eye Celestial,
which is pure
and far surpasses the human eye,
I saw beings in the act of passing hence
and of re-appearing elsewhere, -
beings high and low,
fair or foul to view,
in bliss or woe;
I saw them all faring according to their past.

Here were beings given over to evil
in act, word and thought,
who decried the Noble
and had a wrong outlook
and became what results from such wrong outlook -
these, at the body's dissolution after death,
made their appearance in states of suffering,
misery
and tribulation
and in purgatory.

Here again were beings given to good
in act, word and thought,
who did not decry the Noble,
who had the right outlook
and became what results from right outlook; -
these, at the body's dissolution after death,
made their appearance in states of bliss in heaven.

All this did I see with the Eye Celestial;
and this, brahmin, was the second knowledge attained by me,
in the second watch of that night, -
ignorance dispelled and knowledge won,
darkness dispelled and illumination won,
as befitted my strenuous and ardent life,
purged of self.

That same stedfast heart
I next applied to knowledge of the eradication of Cankers.

I comprehended,
aright and to the full,
I11,
the origin of Ill,
the cessation of Ill,
and the course that leads to the cessation of Ill.

I comprehended,
aright and to the full,
what the Cankers were,
with their origin,
cessation,
and the course that leads to their cessation.

When I knew this
and when I saw this,
then my heart was delivered
[17] from the Canker of sensuous pleasure,
from the Canker of continuing existence,
and from the Canker of ignorance;
and to me thus delivered
came the knowledge of my Deliverance
in the conviction -
Rebirth is no more;
I have lived the highest life;
my task is done;
and now for me
there is no more of what I have been.

This, Brahmin, was the third knowledge attained by me,
in the third watch of that night, -
ignorance dispelled
and knowledge won,
darkness dispelled and illumination won,
as befitted my strenuous and ardent life,
purged of self.

Yet it may be, brahmin, that you imagine
that even to-day the recluse Gotama is not void
of passion,
hate
and delusion,
and therefore takes to living in the wilds and depths of the forest,
far from the haunts of men.

Not so.

I live the solitary life
because therein I see a twofold good; -
I see my own well-being here and now,
and I have compassion on them that come after."

"Compassion indeed, Gotama, for them that come after, -
befitting the Arahat all-enlightened!

Excellent, Gotama; excellent!

It is just as if a man should set upright again
what had been cast down,
or reveal what was hidden away,
or tell a man who had gone astray
which was his way,
or bring a lamp into darkness
so that those with eyes to see
might see the things about them, -
even so, in many a figure, has the reverend Gotama made his Doctrine clear.

I come to Gotama as my refuge
and to his Doctrine
and to his Confraternity;
I ask him to accept me as a follower
who has found an abiding refuge
from this day onward while life shall last.

 


[1] I.e. by Kasiṇa meditations on white and black, respectively. Cf. Sutta No. 77, - M. II, 14-15.

These things are not mutually exclusive. The knowledge of rebirths and the knowledge of destiny according to kamma is illustrative of 'dependent arising.'

p.p. explains it all — p.p.

[2] According to the Vinaya version (S.B.E. XIII, 75), only the Chain of Causation occupied the Buddha's mind during all three watches of the seventh night after attaining Buddhahood. According, however, to the (later) Jātaka (I, 75), this night was the actual night of attaining Buddhahood and the first two watches of this night were absorbed (as in this Sutta) by the pubbe-nivāsa-ñāṇa and the dibba-cakkhu-ñāṇa of this and the next paragraph. In the Jātaka version the third watch alone is reserved for the Chain of Causation, - here replaced (as at I Digha 93) by the Four Noble Truths and by a parallel series of four truths concerning the three Cankers.


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