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
III. Upari-Paṇṇāsa
3. Suññata Vagga

Sacred Books of the Buddhists
Volume VI
Dialogues of the Buddha
Part V

Further Dialogues of the Buddha
Volume II

Translated from the Pali
by Lord Chalmers, G.C.B.
Sometime Governor of Ceylon

London
Humphrey Milford
Oxford University Press
1927
Public Domain

Sutta 122

Mahā Suññata Suttaɱ

True Solitude II

 


[109] [217]

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

Once when the Lord was staying among the Sakyans at Kapilavatthu in the Banyan pleasaunce,
early in the morning,
duly robed and bowl in hand,
he went for alms into the city
and on his return after his meal
betook himself to rest
during the noontide heat
at the cell erected in that pleasaunce
by Kāḷa-Khemaka the Sakyan.

Now at that time
a number of pallets had been got ready there
and at the sight [110] of these
the Lord wondered whether there were a number of Almsmen in residence.

At the time the reverendĀnanda
with a number of Almsmen
was engaged on robe-making
at the (neighbouring) cell
erected by Ghaṭāya the Sakyan, -
whither, when he rose from his meditations towards evening,
the Lord betook himself,
enquiring, as he took the seat set for him,
whether the number of pallets at Kāḷa-Khemaka's cell
betokened a number of Almsmen in residence there.

Yes, wasĀnanda's answer; -
it is robe-making time.

An Almsman, Ānanda,
does not shine by delighting in fellowship,
by finding delight in fellowship
or by being given to a delight in fellowship;
nor does he shine
by a like delight in company at large.

If such be his delight,
it is impossible that,
at will and without trouble or difficulty,
he should enjoy the well-being
which attends Renunciation,
solitude,
tranquillity
and Enlightenment.

But, any Almsman who lives aloof from company
may be expected to enjoy all this.

Similarly, if an Almsman
delights in fellowship and company,
it is impossible that,
at will and without trouble or difficulty,
he should develop,
and dwell in,
Deliverance of heart
whether [Ill] as a passing joy
or as an enduring possession.

But any Almsman
who lives aloof from company
may be expected to enjoy all [218] this.

Not a single visible shape
do I discern, Ānanda,
delight in which
does not entail,
with that shape's change and alteration,
sorrow and lamentation,
pain,
ills
and despair.

The Truth-finder has become fully aware of this state,
namely how, in dismissing thoughts of all attendant phenomena,
to develop and dwell in true emptiness within.

Therein, Ānanda, if, so dwelling,
the Truth-finder is approached by Almsmen
or Alms-women,
by lay-disciples male or female,
by kings or their ministers,
by sectaries or their followers, -
then it is with a heart that is set on solitude,
that trends to solitude
and finds a fastness in solitude,
it is with a heart that is aloof,
that finds its joy in renunciation of the world,
and has laid low each and every disposition
which is bred of Cankers,
it is with such a heart
that, being in company,
he frames his speech
so as to be left alone once more.

Therefore, if an Almsman's desire
is to develop and dwell in true emptiness within,
he should calm,
tranquillize,
focus
and concentrate his heart internally.

How is he to accomplish this? -

Take the case of an Almsman
who, divested of lusts and of wrong dispositions,
successively develops and dwells in the Four Ecstasies.

In this way he calms,
tranquillizes,
focusses
and concentrates his heart internally.

[112] Suppose now that his mind ponders on internal emptiness,
but that, as he does so,
his heart does not go forth to it,
to find satisfaction therein
or a foothold
or Deliverance,
and that ultimately he recognizes
and consciously realizes
this inward verdict and finding, -
with the same thing happening
with regard to external emptiness,
to both internal and external emptiness,
and to Permanence;
always the same verdict.

What that Almsman has to do
is (to persevere in his efforts)
to calm,
focus
and concentrate his heart
internally on the same old theme of concentration
till - for both internal and external emptiness
and for Permanence -
the inward verdict and finding is reversed
and his heart goes forth to emptiness,
finding therein satisfaction,
a foothold
and Deliverance;
[219] and ultimately he recognizes
and consciously realizes
this verdict of satisfaction.

When, living in this plane,
he applies his mind - say -
to pacing up and down,
he does so with the conscious conviction
that, as in his present state
he paces up and down,
no covetousness and discontent,
no dispositions that are evil and wrong
will [113] assail him.

The same conviction is his
if, while living in this plane,
he applies his mind to standing still
and stands still, -
or sits down, -
or lies down;
he is conscious
that now he will not be assailed
by covetousness and discontent
or by dispositions that are evil and wrong.

If, while living in this plane,
the Almsman applies his mind to speech,
he is conscious that his tongue
will utter nothing that is low
rustic
and vulgar,
nothing that is not noble
or not profitable,
nothing that fails to conduce to aversion,
passipnlessness,
stilling,
peace,
illumination,
enlightenment
and Nirvana, -
nothing by way of talk of princes,
bandits,
great lords,
armies,
terrors,
battles,
meat and drink,
clothes,
beds,
garlands,
perfumes,
relations,
carriages,
villages,
townships,
cities,
countries,
women,
heroes' prowess,
gossip at street-corners or at wells,
tales of kinsfolk departed,
other chatter,
and fables about the origin of the world and the ocean
and about the rise and fall of things.

He is conscious on the contrary
that his speech will be grave and heart-opening,
conducing to absolute aversion,
to passionlessness,
to stilling,
peace,
illumination,
enlightenment
and Nirvana, -
namely talk of wanting little
and being contented,
solitude,
withdrawal from the world,
strenuous endeavour,
virtue,
concentration,
understanding,
Deliverance,
and clear vision of Deliverance.

If, while living in this plane,
the Almsman [114] applies his mind to thinking,
he is conscious that his thoughts
will not be low
rustic
and vulgar,
not noble and not profitable,
conducing not to aversion,
passionlessness,
stilling,
peace,
illumination,
enlightenment and Nirvana;
he is conscious that his thoughts
will not be [220] thoughts of lust,
malevolence and injury,
but will on the contrary be thoughts
that are noble and saving,
that guide him who lives up to them
to the extinction of all Ill, -
such as thoughts of renunciation
and benevolence
and innocency.

Five strands, Ānanda,
make up the pleasures of sense, - namely,
visible shapes,
sounds,
odours,
tastes
and touch,
all of them pleasant and agreeable and delightful,
all of them bound up with passion and lusts.

Therein an Almsman must constantly search his heart
to see whether, in this or that relation,
his heart is coming to have traffic
with these pleasures of sense.

If his search tells him
that such traffic is about,
then he becomes conscious
that he has not yet made an end
of the seductions of such pleasures;
but if his search tells him
there is no such traffic about,
he becomes conscious
that these seductions are ended.

Five in number, Ānanda,
are the factors of attachment,
which must engage an Almsman
who ponders on the rise and fall of things, - namely,
form,
feeling,
perception,
plastic forces
and consciousness,
[115] together with the arising and the passing
of each of the five.

If he so ponders,
all pride of personality in these five factors
quits him
and he is conscious that he is quit of them.

The foregoing states of consciousness, Ānanda,
ensure an absolutely right future
and are noble,
transcendent,
and beyond the clutches of Māra,
the Evil One.

What do you think, Ānanda?

On what grounds ought a disciple
to dog his master's footsteps
even though hounded away?

The Lord, sir, is the root,
the channel
and the refuge
of all our doctrines.

We pray that the Lord
may be moved to declare the meaning
of what he has said,
so that the Almsmen may treasure up
what falls from his lips.

The disciple ought not to dog his master's footsteps
for the interpretation of canonical scriptures.

And why not? -

Because from of old
their doctrines have been heard,
learned by heart,
garnered by recital,
[221] turned over and over in the mind
and fathomed by vision.

No; he should persist in dogging his master's footsteps perforce,
solely to hear words that are grave and heart-opening,
conducing to absolute aversion,
to passionlessness,
to stilling,
peace,
illumination,
enlightenment and Nirvana, - namely,
words about wanting little,
about contentment,
solitude,
withdrawal from the world,
strenuous endeavour,
virtue,
concentration,
understanding,
Deliverance
and clear vision of Deliverance.

Thus comes affliction of master and of pupil,
and affliction in living the higher life.

How comes the master's affliction? -

Take the case of a master
who chooses out a solitary lodging -
in the forest under a tree,
in the wilds in cave or grot,
in a charnel-ground [116],
in a thicket,
or on bracken in the open.

As he lives aloof thus,
he is visited by a constant stream of brahmins and householders,
of townsfolk and countryfolk;
and infatuations hankerings and covetise grow upon him,
so that he is a backslider to luxury.

Such is an afflicted master who,
in his affliction
is laid low by evil and wrong dispositions
that are vicious and entail re-birth,
are fraught with anguish,
and ripen to Ill,
with a heritage of birth,
old-age and death in their train.

Such is the affliction of a master;
and exactly the same is the affliction
which comes on that master's pupil
who devotes himself to solitude
after his master's example
and chooses out his solitary lodging -
in the forest under a tree,
in the wilds in cave or grot,
in a charnel-ground,
in a thicket,
or on bracken in the open.

As he lives aloof thus,
he is visited by a constant stream of brahmins and householders,
of townsfolk and countryfolk;
and infatuations hankerings and covetise grow upon him,
so that he is a backslider to luxury.

Such is an afflicted pupil who,
in his affliction
is laid low by evil and wrong dispositions
that are vicious and entail re-birth,
are fraught with anguish,
and ripen to Ill,
with a heritage of birth,
old-age and death in their train.

Such is the pupil's affliction.

What is affliction in living the higher life? -

Suppose there appears in the world a Truth-finder,
arahat all-enlightened,
... Lord of Enlightenment,
who chooses out his solitary lodging
and there in his life aloof
is visited by a constant stream of visitors;
yet infatuations hankerings and covetise
never grow upon him
nor [117] is he ever a backslider to luxury.

But this Master's pupil,
devoting himself to solitude
after his Master's example,
chooses out his solitary lodging
where in his life aloof
he is visited by a constant stream of visitors;
and infatuations hankerings and covetise [222] grow upon him,
so that he is a backslider to luxury.

Such, Ānanda,
is what is termed
affliction in living the higher life.

It is such affliction,
whether of master or of pupil,
which more than aught else
proves their affliction
in living the higher life
which ripens to Ill
and exceeding bitterness
and conduces to woe hereafter.

Therefore, comport yourselves towards me
in a spirit of friendliness
not of hostility,
and it will prove your lasting happiness and welfare.

Now, how do disciples comport themselves towards their master
in a spirit of hostility
and not of friendliness? -

Take the case of a master
who out of compassion and affection
preaches his Doctrine to his disciples
in a spirit of compassion
to ensure their happiness and welfare,
but whose disciples do not listen
or give ear
or try to learn,
but turn away from his teachings.

That is the spirit of hostility to a master.

The spirit of friendliness is shown
when his disciples listen,
give ear
and try to learn,
and turn not from his teachings,
as he seeks to ensure their happiness and welfare.

[118] Therefore, Ānanda,
comport yourselves towards me
in a spirit not of hostility
but of friendliness;
and it will prove your lasting happiness and welfare.

I do not deal with you
as the potter with mere wet clay.

I shall speak to you with constant admonishings
and with constant eradication of faults; -
that which is excellent will stand fast.

Thus spoke the Lord.

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


Contact:
E-mail
Copyright Statement   Webmaster's Page