Majjhima Nikaya


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Majjhima Nikāya
I. Mūlapaṇṇāsa
2. Sīhanāda 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 20

Vitakka-Santhāna Suttaɱ

On Governance of Thoughts

 


 

[1][pts][soma][than][ntbb][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 listening Almsmen as follows:

An Almsman who applies himself to the higher thought
should pass in review from time to time
five phases of mind;
and these are they:

(i.) When, by reason of a phase of mind,
there arise in a Brother
bad and wrong thoughts associated with appetite,
hatred
and delusion,
then he should divert his mind from that
to another phase
associated with what is right;
and, by his doing so,
those bad and wrong thoughts
pass away and disappear,
so that his heart stands firm,
is stedfast,
is focussed
and concentrated.

Just as a skilled artizan
or his apprentice
will with a little peg
knock and drive out and expel a big peg,
so, when, by reason of a phase of mind,
there arise in an Almsman
bad and wrong thoughts ...
focussed
and concentrated.

(ii.) If, though the Almsman diverts his mind
from the former to the latter phase,
there still arise in him
the same bad and wrong thoughts as before,
then he should study the perils these entail,
marking how wrong and depraved such thoughts are
and how they ripen unto Ill.

As he studies them,
these bad and wrong thoughts
pass away and disappear,
so that his heart stands firm,
is stedfast,
is focussed
and concentrated.

Just as a woman or man or dressy lad,
if the carcase of snake
or dog
or human being
be slung round their necks,
are filled with horror,
loathing
and disgust, -
even so is it with this Almsman
in his scrutiny.

(iii.) If, for all his scrutiny of their perils,
these bad and wrong thoughts
still keep on arising,
then he should ignore them
and not let his mind dwell on them.

As he ignores them,
they will pass away and disappear,
so that his heart stands firm,
is steadfast,
is focussed
and concentrated.

Just as a man with eyes to see,
will, if he does not want to view
visible forms that come within his field of vision,
close his eyes
or look another wray, -
even so is it with the Almsman
in his ignoring of bad and wrong thoughts.

(iv.) If, for all his ignoring of them,
these bad and wrong thoughts
still keep on arising,
then he must [84] bethink him
how to allay
all that moulds and fashions thoughts.

As he does so,
these thoughts will pass away and disappear,
so that his heart stands firm,
is stedfast,
is focussed
and concentrated.

Just as a man who is running fast,
may decide to walk slowly -
or stand still -
or sit down -
or lie down -
and thereby passes from the more violent
to the easier posture, -
even so is it with this Almsman
in his allaying of all that moulds and fashions thoughts.

(v.) But, if, allay as he may,
these thoughts continue to arise,
then, with his teeth clenched
and with his tongue pressed against his palate,
he should, by sheer force of mind,
restrain,
coerce
and dominate his heart.

As he does so,
these thoughts will pass away and disappear,
so that his heart stands firm,
is stedfast,
is focussed
and concentrated.

Just as a strong man,
taking a weaker man by the head or shoulders,
restrains
and coerces
and dominates him, -
even so, if, allay as he may, these thoughts ...
focussed
and concentrated.

When at last, whether
(i.) by diverting his mind elsewhere or
(ii.) by scrutiny of the perilous consequences or
(iii.) by ignoring bad and wrong thoughts or
(iv.) by allaying what moulds them or
(v.) by subduing them,
the Almsman is victorious over bad and wrong thoughts
associated with appetite,
hatred
and delusion,
so that they pass away and disappear
and his heart stands firm
and is stedfast,
is focussed
and concentrated, -
then indeed has he earned the style
of master of the ordering of his thoughts,
for, he will think only such thoughts as he wishes
and not those he wishes not to think;
he has hewn away cravings,
has shed his fetters,
and - by fathoming propensities to 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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