Majjhima Nikaya


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Majjhima Nikāya
II. Majjhima Paṇṇāsa
2. Bhikkhu 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 64

Mahā-Māluŋkya Suttaɱ

Of Bursting Bonds Asunder

 


[432] [308]

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

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

Do you know the Five Bonds
which chain men to the lower life here,
as taught by me?

Yes, I do, said the reverend Malunkya-putta.

And what is your knowledge of them?

One is views on personality;
another is doubt;
another is attachment to observances;
fourth come lusts of the flesh;
and the fifth is malevolence.

To whom do you hear that I so taught the Five Bonds?

Would not Wanderers who profess other creeds confute you with the illustration from infancy?

For, a new-born babe,
helpless on its back,
is not conscious of personality at all,
[433] much less can it hold views on personality,
its propensity to views on personality being latent only.

Such an infant is not conscious of doctrines,
much less can it have doubts about them,
its propensity to doubt being latent only.

Such an infant is not conscious of rules of conduct,
much less can it be attached to observances,
its propensity to such attachment being latent only.

Such an infant is not conscious of lusts of the flesh,
much less can passion arise within it,
its sensual propensities being latent only.

Such an infant is not conscious of fellow-creatures,
much less can it harbour malevolence towards them,
its malevolent propensities being latent only.

Would not Wanderers who profess other creeds confute you, Malunkya-putta,
with this illustration from infancy?

At this point the reverend Ānanda exclaimed:

Now is the time for this, Lord;
now is the time, Blessed One,
for the Lord to impart teaching about [309] the Five Bonds,
to be treasured up from his lips by the Almsmen.

Give ear then, Ānanda,
and listen,
said the Lord;
and I will speak.

Then to the listening Ānanda the Lord began:

Take an uninstructed everyday man,
who has no vision of the Noble
and is unversed and untrained in their noble doctrine,
who has no vision of the Excellent
and is unversed and untrained in their excellent doctrine.

Such a man's mind is beset and obsessed by delusions about personality;
he knows no real escape therefrom;
and these delusions about personality,
if left to grow in strength,
are a Bond to chain him to this lower life here.

Just the same, too,
happens with doubt -
with attachment to rites -
with sensuality -
[434] and with malevolence;
all of which are likewise Bonds
to chain him to this lower life here.

On the other hand,
the instructed disciple of the Noble -
who has vision of the Noble and Excellent
and is versed and trained in noble and excellent doctrine -
has a mind beset and obsessed by no delusions about personality and the rest of the Five Bonds;
he knows the real escape therefrom;
he discards each and all of them,
with all propensities thereto.

Without first treading the path and the course
for getting rid of these Five Bonds,
it is quite impossible for a man to know or discern or to get rid of them, -
any more than it is possible,
without first cutting away bark and foliage,
to cut the choice timber
of a fine upstanding timber-tree.

But, if he has first trodden the path and the course
for getting rid of these Five Bonds,
[435] it is possible for a man to know and discern and get rid of them, -
just as it is possible,
after first cutting away bark and foliage,
to cut the choice timber of the tree.

in spate = in flood or rising

p.p. explains it all — p.p.

Just as a weakling,
coming to the Ganges in spate,
and thinking his arms can bear him across in safety to the further shore,
would fail in the attempt, -
in just the same case is whosoever fails,
when the doctrine of [310] stilling personality is being preached,
to embrace it,
welcome it,
cleave to it,
and stand fast therein.

This is the case of such men.

But just as a strong man,
coming to the Ganges in spate
and thinking his arms can bear him across in safety to the further shore,
would succeed in the attempt, -
in just the same case is whosoever succeeds,
when the doctrine of stilling personality is being preached,
in embracing it,
welcoming it,
cleaving to it,
and standing fast therein.

This is the case of such men.

Now, what is the path
and what is the course
unto riddance of these Five Bonds
which chain men to this lower world here?

Take an Almsman who,
by aloofness from all ties,
by eschewing wrong states of consciousness,
and by quelling all lewdness of body,
becomes divested of pleasures of sense
and of wrong states of consciousness
so that he develops
and dwells in the First Ecstasy
with all its zest and satisfaction, -
a state bred of inward aloofness
but not divorced from observation and reflection.

Whatsoever occurs as a visible shape,
or feeling,
or perception,
or factors of being, -
all such mental phenomena
he regards as transitory,
as Ill,
as disease,
as pustulences,
as pangs,
as anguish,
as maladies,
as extraneous,
as fleeting,
as hollow,
as non-self.

He purges his mind of all such mental phenomena
and [436] applies it, so purged,
to the state which is deathless,
confident that what is really good and really excellent
is the stilling of all factors of being,
riddance from all ties,
destruction of cravings,
passionlessness,
peace,
Nirvana.

From this platform he attains to the extirpation of the Cankers;
or, if he does not attain to their definite extirpation,
yet by his very passion for righteousness
and by his very delight therein,
he destroys the Five Bonds which chain him to this lower world here
so that he will be translated hereafter to realms above,
from which he will never return to earth.

Such is the path
and such is the course
unto riddance of these Five Bonds.

[311] Rising above observation and reflection,
the Almsman enters on,
and abides 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.

And then follow the Third and Fourth Ecstasies.

Whatsoever occurs as a visible shape ...
riddance of these Five Bonds.

Rising next altogether beyond perception of the visible,
by ceasing to perceive sense-reactions,
and by not heeding perception of differences,
the Almsman reaches the idea of infinite space
and so develops, and abides in, the plane of infinite space,
and, in succession,
the plane of infinite mind.

Whatsoever occurs as a visible shape ...
[437] riddance of these Five Bonds which chain men to the lower life here.

If this, sir, be the path
and the course unto riddance of these Five Bonds,
how comes it that Deliverance is found by some
through the heart
and by others through the intellect?[1]

I say it results from difference in their respective faculties.

Thus spoke the Lord.

Glad at heart, the reverend Ānanda rejoiced in what the Lord had said.

 


[1] Cf. Dial. II, 70 (note). The Comy. says that Sāriputta was an instance of the former, and Mahā-Moggallāna of the latter, mode of Deliverance.


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