Majjhima Nikaya


[Site Map]  [Home]  [Sutta Indexes]  [Glossology]  [Site Sub-Sections]

The Pali is transliterated as IAST Unicode (āīūṃṅñṭḍṇḷ). Alternatives:
[ ASCII (aiumnntdnl) | Mobile (āīūŋńñţđņļ) | Velthuis (aaiiuu.m'n~n.t.d.n.l) ]

 

Majjhima Nikāya
I. Mūlapaṇṇāsa
3. Tatiya 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 28

Mahā-Hatthi-Padopama Suttaɱ

The Long Trail

 


 

[1][pts][than][ntbb][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, saying,

Reverend sirs!

Yes, reverend sir, said they in response.

The reverend Sāriputta spoke as follows:

Just as the foot of every creature that walks the earth
will go into the elephant's footprint,
which is pre-eminent for size, -
even so, sirs, are all right states of mind
comprised within the Four Noble Truths, -
which are the Noble Truth of Ill,
the Noble Truth of the origin of Ill,
the Noble Truth ot the cessation of Ill,
and the Noble Truth of the way that leads to the cessation of Ill.

This is the Noble Truth of Ill:

Ill is birth,
Ill is decay,
death,
sorrow,
lamentation,
depression of body and of mind,
failure to get what one desires, -
together, in brief,
with all that makes up
the Five Attachments to existence, namely,
the Attachments of visible shapes,
of feeling,
of perception,
of the plastic forces,
and of consciousness.

What makes up the Attachment of visible shapes?

The four principal elements
(i.e. earth, water, fire, and air)
and whatever visible shapes are derivative therefrom.

Now, as to the nature of the earth-element;
it is either personal or external.

If personal,
it embraces everything personal
and referable to an individual
which is hard
or solid
or derived therefrom, -
such as the hair of the head or body,
nails,
teeth,
skin,
flesh,
sinews,
bones,
marrow,
kidneys,
heart,
liver,
pleura,
[134] spleen,
lungs,
inwards,
bowels,
stomach,
faeces,
together with everything else personal
and referable to an individual
which is hard or solid
or derived therefrom.

All this is called the personal earth-element,
and, in combination with the external earth-element,
makes up the totality of the earth-element.

The right way to regard this
as it really is,
and to comprehend it aright,
is to say:

This is not mine,
This is not I,
This is no self of mine.

So regarding
and so comprehending it,
a man turns from it in disgust
and loathing of heart.

There comes a time
when the external water-element[ed1] is wroth
and the external earth-element
disappears before it.

Then will this external earth-element,
ancient though it be,
reveal how transient is its nature,
how subject to dissolution and decay,
how mutable!

And what of this short-lived body,
bred of cravings?

No 'I' is here,
no 'mine,'
no 'I am,' -
nothing at all.

Therefore, if others revile or defame,
assail or harry an Almsman,
he knows well that it is through his sense of hearing
that he has experienced these painful feelings,
and that they come to him as effects,
with a cause behind them, -
which cause is Contact.

He is clear that Contact is transient.

So are feelings;
so are perceptions;
so are the plastic forces;
and so is consciousness.

This relativity of the elements
attracts and satisfies him;
he takes his stand on it
and holds to it.

If others act harshly,
unpleasantly,
and disagreeably towards an Almsman,
if they deal him blows with fist
or clod
or cudgel
or sword,
he is clear that the nature of this body of his
is such that it is affected by such blows.

He remembers
that in the Saw Homily
(Sutta 21)
the Lord taught that,
even if villainous bandits
were to carve us limb from limb
with a two-handled saw,
even then the mind that should harbour enmity
would not be obedient to his teaching.

He resolves, therefore,
that indomitable and unflagging
shall his resolution be,
with a steady mindfulness
that knows no distraction,
with a tranquil body
that has found rest,
and with a stedfast heart
that never wavers; -
let them deal their blows,
if they [135] will,
with fist,
clod,
cudgel,
or sword;
the commandments of the Buddhas
are being fulfilled!

If, with this present remembrance
of the Buddha[1]
and his Doctrine
and his Confraternity,
there is not strong within him
the equanimity which is founded on the right,
then is he deeply moved
and in his emotion he cries:

Failure is mine,
instead of success;
I have failed
and not succeeded,
in that, with this present remembrance
of the Buddha
and his Doctrine
and his Confraternity,
equanimity is not strong within me.

Just as a young wife
is deeply moved in the presence of her husband's father,
so if, with the present remembrance ...
not strong within me.

But if, with that same present remembrance
of the Buddha
and his Doctrine
and his Confraternity,
there is strong within him
the equanimity which is founded on the right,
then he rejoices thereat.

At this stage the Almsman has achieved much.

Next as to the nature of the water-element,
which may be either personal or external.

If personal,
it embraces everything personal
and referable to an individual
which is water
or watery
or derived therefrom, -
such as bile,
phlegm,
pus,
blood,
sweat,
fat,
tears,
serum,
saliva,
mucus,
synovial fluid
and urine,
together with everything else personal
and referable to an individual,
which is water
or watery
or derived therefrom.

All this is called the personal water-element,
and, in combination with the external water-element,
makes up the totality of the water-element.

The right way to regard this
as it really is,
and to comprehend it aright,
is to say:

This is not mine,
This is not I,
This is no self of mine.

So regarding
and so comprehending it,
a man turns from it in disgust
and loathing of heart.

There comes a time when the external water-element is wroth,
sweeping away village,
township
and city,
countries
and whole continents.

This paragraph has been mis-read by Chalmers and makes no sense in context. See Horner's version, pg 234

p.p. explains it all — p.p.

[136] There comes a time
when the ocean will be a hundred leagues deep,
yea, two,
three ...
seven hundreds of leagues deep.

There comes a time
when the depth of ocean's waters
will equal only seven,
six ...
two palmyra-trees' height,
or a single tree.

There comes a time
when the depth of ocean's waters
will equal only seven,
six ...
two men's height,
or the height of but one man.

There comes a time
when ocean's waters will reach
only to a man's waist,
then only to his loins,
then only to his knees,
then only to his ankles.

There comes a time
when ocean's waters
will not cover a single joint of a man's finger.

Then will this external water-element,
ancient though it be,
reveal how transient is its nature,
how subject to dissolution and decay ...
(etc., as above) ...
he rejoices thereat.

At this stage too the Brother has achieved much.

Next as to the nature of the fire-element,
which may be personal or external.

If personal,
it embraces everything personal
and referable to an individual
which is fire
or fiery
or is derived therefrom, -
such as whatever heats,
consumes
or burns up,
or whatever wholly transmutes food and drink in digestion;
together with everything else that,
being personal
and referable to an individual,
is fire
or fiery
or is derived therefrom.

All this is called the personal fire-element,
and, in combination with the external fire-element,
makes up the totality of the fire-element.

The right way to regard this
as it really is,
and to comprehend it aright,
is to say:

This is not mine,
This is not I,
This is no self of mine.

So regarding
and so comprehending it,
a man turns from it in disgust
and loathing of heart.

There comes a time
when the external fire-element is wroth
and burns up village,
township
and city,
countries
and whole continents;
nor will it stop till,
spreading to green growths
or roads
or rocks
or water
or verdant scenes,
it fails for lack of sustenance.

There comes a time
when people try to light fires
with fowls' feathers
or snippets of sinews
and shrivelled hide.

Then will the external fire-element,
ancient though it be,
reveal how transient ...
he rejoices [137] thereat.

At this stage too
the Almsman has achieved much.

Next as tö the nature of the air-element,
which maybe either personal or external.

If personal,
it embraces everything personal
and referable to an individual
which is air
or airy
or derived therefrom, -
such as wind discharged upwards
or downwards,
wind in the abdomen or belly,
vapours that traverse the several members,
inhalings and exhalings of breath,
together with everything else that,
being personal
and referable to an individual,
is air
or airy
or derived therefrom.

All this is called the personal air-element,
and, in combination with the external air-element,
makes up the totality of the air-element.

The right way to regard this
as it really is,
and to comprehend it aright,
is to say:

This is not mine,
This is not I,
This is no self of mine.

So regarding
and so comprehending it,
a man turns from it in disgust
and with loathing of heart.

There comes a time when the external air-element is wroth
and sweeps away before it village,
township,
and city,
countries
and whole continents.

There comes a time
when, in the last month of the hot season
before the rains break,
men try to create a current of air
with fans and the like,
nor do they now look to see grass growing -
even on the thatch.

Then will the air-element,
ancient though it be,
reveal how transient ...
he rejoices thereat.

At this stage too
an Almsman has achieved much.

Withy. ? Woven willow wands. Used as lathe?

p.p. explains it all — p.p.

Just as it is by and because of wattle and withies,
grass and clay,
that a space is enclosed
which is called a house,
so it is by and because of
bones and sinews,
flesh and skin
that a space is enclosed
which is called a visible shape.

If the eye within is intact
but if visible shapes external to it
do not come to focus
and there is developed
no pertinent material to sustain it,
then there is developed
no manifestation
of the pertinent section of consciousness.

If the eye within is intact
and visible shapes external to it
do come to focus,
but if there is developed
no pertinent material to [138] sustain it,
again there is developed
no manifestation
of the pertinent section of consciousness.

But when the eye within is intact
and visible shapes external to it
do come to focus,
and when there is developed pertinent material to sustain it,
then there is developed
a manifestation of the pertinent section of consciousness.

Any visible shape that appertains
to a man so conscious,
unites with all that goes
to make up the Attachment of Form;
feelings unite with all that goes
to make up the Attachment to feelings;
and so too with perceptions,
plastic forces,
and consciousness.

And what is true of visible objects,
is equally true of sounds,
smells,
tastes,
touch,
and mind.

Thus the Almsman recognizes that:

This is how all that makes up the Five Attachments is collected,
assembled,
and brought together.

Now, the Lord has laid it down
that whoso sees the Chain of Causation
sees the Doctrine,
and whoso sees the Doctrine
sees the Chain of Causation.

It is the Chain of Causation
which entails all that makes up these Five Attachments.

The origin of Ill
is the yearning for,
and the resort to,
these Five,
the appetite for them
and the cleaving to them.|| ||

And the cessation of Ill
is the avoidance
and the rejection of all such yearnings and appetites.

At this stage too the Almsman has achieved much.

Thus spoke the reverend Sāriputta.

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

 


[1] Here, it will be noted, the style of 'Buddha' is used by Sāriputta of his master (who does not use it of himself) in lieu of Tathāgata, etc. (See Dialogues II, 6.) The plural is used in the line immediately above.

 


[ed1] This is a correct translation. Ms. Horner notes that this is an error in the text, (i.e., āpodhātu. should be earth-element, paṭhavīdhātu.). This makes logical sense and follows the formula for the other elements, but as Bhk. Bodhi notes, it accords with Indian cosmology in which only the water, fire and wind elements destroy the world. On the othe hand, we do have earthquakes. On the other other hand, the formula for creating an earthquake by magic power is to mentally merge the image of the smallest water particle with that of the largest earth particle ... something like that, I forget exactly.


Contact:
E-mail
Copyright Statement   Webmaster's Page