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 5

Anaŋgaṇa Suttaɱ

Of Blemishes

 


 

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

Once when the Lord was staying at Sāvatthī in Jeta's grove in Anāthapiṇḍika's pleasaunce,
the reverend Sāriputta addressed the Almsmen as follows:

"There are four types of individuals in the world:

(i.) The blemished man
who does not realize aright
the blemish within him;

(ii.) the blemished man
who does realize it aright;

(iii.) the unblemished man
who does not realize aright
that he is unblemished within; and

(iv.) the unblemished man
who does realize it aright.

In the first pair -
of the blemished -
the second ranks high
and the first low;
and similarly in the second pair
the second ranks high
and the first low."

Hereupon the reverend Mahā-Moggallāna asked Sāriputta
what was the cause
and what were the conditions
whereby one of the two with blemishes,
and one of the two without blemishes,
was ranked high
and the other low.

"Reverend sir," answered Sāriputta,
"it is to be expected of the man who is blemished
but does not realize it,
that he will not develop will-power,
will not exert himself
nor work to shed his blemishes;
he will die with heart corrupt
and with his blemishes still upon him,
a prey to passion,
hate
and delusion.

Stithy. Smithy. I.e., as from the smith, unpolished.

p.p. explains it all — p.p.

It is just like a brass bowl
brought home from bazaar
or stithy covered with dust and dirt,
never to be used or scoured by its owners,
but just flung aside among the dust.

Pray, would such a bowl grow fouler and fouler
till it became filthy?"

"Yes, sir."

"Just in the same way
the man with blemishes
which he does not realize aright,
may be expected not to develop will-power ... delusion.

On the other hand,
it is to be expected of the man with blemishes
which he does realize aright,
that he will develop will-power,
will exert himself,
will work to [19] shed his blemishes,
and will die with heart uncorrupt
and without blemish,
quit of passion,
hate
and delusion.

It is just like a brass bowl
brought home from bazaar
or stithy covered with dust and dirt,
to be used and scoured by its owners
and not to be flung aside among the dust.

Pray, would such a bowl grow cleaner and cleaner
till it became spotless?"

"Yes, sir."

"Just in the same way
the man with blemishes
which he realizes aright,
may be expected to develop will-power ...
quit of passion,
hate
and delusion.

Of the man who is without blemish
but does not realize it aright,
it is to be expected
that his mind will dwell on seductive ideas
and that in consequence
passion will degrade his heart;
he will die with heart corrupt
and with his blemishes still upon him,
a prey to passion,
hate
and delusion.

It is just like a brass bowl
brought home from bazaar
or stithy clean and bright,
never to be used or scoured by its owners
but just flung aside among the dust.

Pray, would such a bowl grow fouler and fouler
till it became filthy?"

"Yes, sir."

"Just in the same way
the man who is without blemish
but does not recognize it aright,
may be expected to let his mind dwell on seductive ideas
and in consequence
to have his heart degraded by passion,
so that he will die with heart corrupt
and with his blemishes still upon him,
a prey to passion,
hate
and delusion.

Lastly, it is to be expected of the man without blemish
who realizes it aright,
that his mind will not dwell on seductive ideas,
and therefore that passion will not degrade his heart,
and that he will die with heart uncorrupt
and without blemish,
quit of passion,
hate,
and delusion.

It is just like a brass bowl
brought home from bazaar
or stithy clean and bright,
to be used and scoured by its owners
and not to be flung aside among the dust.

Pray, would such a bowl grow cleaner and cleaner
till it became spotless?"

"Yes, sir."

"Just in the same way
it is to be expected of the man without blemish
who realizes it aright,
that his mind will not dwell ...
quit of passion,
hate,
and delusion.

[20]

This, reverend Moggallana, is the cause
and these are the conditions
whereby one of the two with blemishes,
and one of the two without blemishes,
is ranked high and the other low."

"'Blemish' is simply called 'blemish,' reverend sir
(said Moggallana).

What does the term connote?"

"'Blemish', reverend sir,
connotes the domain of bad and wrong desires.

The case may arise
of an Almsman who conceives the desire that,
should he commit an offence,
his fellows should not know of it;
and who, when they do come to know of it,
waxes angry and wroth at their knowing it.

This anger and dissatisfaction
are both blemishes.

Or he may conceive the desire that,
should he commit an offence,
his fellows should reprove him in private
and not in conclave;
and when they reprove him in conclave,
he waxes angry and wroth at their doing so.

This anger and dissatisfaction
are both blemishes.

Or he may conceive the idea that,
should he commit an offence,
he may be reproved by an equal
and not by one on an inequality with him;
and when reproof comes from one not his equal,
he waxes angry and wroth.

This anger and dissatisfaction
are both blemishes.

Or he may conceive the desire
that the Master should expound the Doctrine to the Confraternity
through a series of questions addressed to him alone
and to no other Almsman;
and, if the questions are addressed not to him
but to another,
he waxes angry and wroth at being passed over.

This anger and dissatisfaction
are both blemishes.

Blemishes too
are his anger and dissatisfaction
if he is disappointed in the desire -
to be the centre figure -
he and no other -
to lead a train of Almsmen into the village for alms;

to be given,
after the meal,
the principal seat,

Handsel. To initiate the use of.

p.p. explains it all — p.p.

the water first
(to handsel the donation, as senior),

and the best of everything going;

to return thanks after the meal;

to be the preacher in the pleasaunce to the [21] Almsmen,

or to the Almswomen,

or to the laymen,

or to the lay-women;

to be the sole recipient -
he and no other -
of the other Almsmen's respect and reverence,
devotion and worship;

to have to himself the pick of robes,
alms,
lodging,
and medicaments.

'Blemish', reverend sir,
connotes the domain
of all these bad and wrong desires.

If they are seen,
and heard,
to be immanent in an Almsman, then -
albeit his abode be in the depths of the forest,
albeit he begs his food from door to door
just as the houses come,
and is coarsely clad
in rags from the dust-heap -
not unto him do his fellows in the higher life shew respect
and reverence,
devotion
and worship.

And why?

Because bad and wrong desires
are seen
and heard to be immanent in him.

It is just as if a brass bowl,
clean and bright,
were brought home from bazaar or stithy
and were first filled by its owners
with a dead snake
or a dead dog
or human carrion,
and then taken back to the bazaar
enclosed within a second bowl,
making people wonder
what wonderful treasure was here,
until, on opening it
and looking in,
they were filled at the sight
with such repugnance
and loathing
and disgust
as to banish appetite from the hungry,
let alone from those who had already fed;
even so, sir,
if these bad and wrong desires are seen,
or heard,
to be immanent in a Brother,
then-albeit ...
immanent in him.

"clad in lay attire" this does not mean dressed like a layman, but wearing perhaps costly garments donated by laymen rather than rough garments made up by the bhikkhus from scraps taken from the refuse pile.

p.p. explains it all — p.p.

But if these bad and wrong desires are seen,
and heard,
to have been put from him by an Almsman,
then-albeit he lives on the outskirts of a village
and accepts invitations to meals
and is clad in lay attire -
yet unto him do his fellows in the higher life
shew respect
and reverence,
devotion
and worship.

And why?

Because he has put from him
bad and wrong desires.

It is just as if a brass bowl,
clean and bright,
were brought home from bazaar or stithy,
and its owners were first to fill it
with the choicest boiled rice
of picked varieties
together with divers sauces
and [22] curries,
and were then to hie back to the bazaar
with it enclosed within a second bowl,
making people wonder what wonderful treasure was here,
until, on opening it
and looking in,
they were filled at the sight
with such pleasure and delight
as to give appetite to those who had already fed,
let alone the hungry; -
even so, sir,
if these bad and wrong desires
are seen, and heard,
to have been put from him by an Almsman,
then-albeit he lives ...
and wrong desires."

At this point the reverend Mahā-Moggallāna
remarked to Sāriputta
that an illustration had occurred to him and,
on being invited to cite it, said:

Early one morning,
when I was staying once on the heights that encircle Rājagaha,
I went for alms into the city,
duly robed and bowl in hand,
at a time when Samīti, the waggon-builder,
was shaping a felloe;
and by him there was standing Paṇḍu-putta the Mendicant (ājīvika)
himself come of a waggon-building stock in bygone days -
in whom arose the wish
that Samīti might shape the felloe
without crook
or twist
or blemish,
so that, free from crook,
twist
and blemish,
the felloe might turn out clean and of the best;
and while this thought was passing through the mind of Pandu-putta,
the old waggon-builder,
all the time Samīti was shaping away crook,
twist
and blemish.

At last Paṇḍu-putta
in his joy
burst out with the joyous cry -

'His heart, me-thinks, knows my heart,
as he shapes that felloe!'

Even so is it here.

First, take first those persons who,
not for their belief
but for a livelihood
and without believing,
go forth from home to homelessness as Pilgrims, -
cunning and deceitful tricksters,
vain and puffed-up,
raucous babblers
who keep no watch over the portals of sense,
intemperate in their eating,
devoid of vigilance,
taking no thought of their vocation
nor keen for its discipline,
acquisitive
and with only a loose grip of truth,
foremost in backsliding
and intolerant of Renunciation's yoke,
indolent and slack,
bewildered and flustered,
unstable and wandering,
witless and drivelling. -
Sāriputta's heart, methinks,
knows the heart of [23] all these persons
and is at work in his exposition
to shape them aright.

Take next those young men
who, for beliefs sake,
go forth from home to homelessness as Pilgrims, -
in whom these shortcomings find no place
but only their counterparts in virtue -
these, as they hear the reverend Sāriputta's exposition
drink it in, methinks,
and feed upon it, methinks,
with words of thanksgiving
from grateful hearts.

Right well has Sāriputta raised up his fellows in the higher life
from what is wrong
and established them in what is right.

It is just as if,
after the bath,
a woman or a lad
young and fond of finery
were to be given a chaplet of lotuses
or jasmine
or other blossoms
and were to clutch it eagerly with both hands
and set it gladly on the brow, -
even so do these young men
who, for belief's sake,
go forth ...
established them in what is right.

In such wise did that noble pair of Arahats
rejoice together
in what each had heard the other say so well.


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