Majjhima Nikaya


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Majjhima Nikāya
III. Upari-Paṇṇāsa
4. Vibhaŋga 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 139

Araṇa-Vibhaŋga Suttaɱ

Calm

 


[229] [286]

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

Once when the Lord was staying at Sāvatthī in Jeta's grove in Anāthapiṇḍika's pleasaunce,
he announced to the Almsmen that he would expound to them the detailed exposition of Calm,
and thus began: -

Let a man neither give himself over
to pleasures of sense -
which are low,
pagan,
vulgar,
ignoble
and unprofitable -
nor yet let him give himself over
to self-mortification, -
which is painful,
ignoble
and unprofitable.

To the exclusion of both these extremes,
the Truth-finder has discovered a middle course
which gives vision and understanding,
and conduces to tranquillity,
insight,
enlightenment
and Nirvana.

Let him understand both appreciation
and depreciation,
and, having understood them,
let him not appreciate or depreciate
but preach the Doctrine.

Let him understand the appraisement of ease;
and, having understood it,
let him pursue inward ease of heart.

Let him not be a tale-teller
nor confront anyone
with improper remarks.

Slowly let him speak,
not hurriedly.

Let him neither affect provincialisms in speech
nor depart from recognized parlance. -

This is the summary of the exposition of calm.

I said that a man was to avoid both extremes.

Why? -

Because, in the one case,
the low, pagan, vulgar, ignoble and unprofitable
pursuit of pleasures of sense
and their delights,
being fraught with Ill,
hurt,
tribulation
and distress,
is the wrong course, -
the right course being [231] to eschew
the pursuit of pleasure
and to escape its consequences;
and because, in the second case,
painful, ignoble and unprofitable self-mortification,
being fraught with Ill,
hurt,
tribulation
and distress,
is the wrong course,- [287] the right course being to eschew
self-mortification
and to escape its consequences.

I said that,
to the exclusion of both these extremes,
the Truth-finder had discovered a middle course.

How? -

In the Noble Eightfold Path, - namely,
right outlook,
right aims,
right speech,
right action,
right mode of livelihood,
right endeavour,
right mindfulness and
right rapture of concentration.

I said that a man should understand
appreciation and depreciation
and neither appreciate nor depreciate
but preach the Doctrine.

How do appreciation and depreciation come about
without preaching the Doctrine? -

Well, when a man says
that all those persons who are devoted to the low
... and unprofitable pursuit
of pleasures of sense and their delights,
are all of them fraught with Ill, hurt, tribulation and distress
and all on the wrong course, -
then he is depreciating a class of individuals;
while he is appreciating another class of individuals
when he says that all those persons who eschew
the pursuit of such pleasures of sense and their delights,
are all of them without Ill, hurt tribulation and distress,
and are all on the right course.

So too when he says
that all those persons who are devoted
to painful ignoble and unprofitable self-mortification,
are all of them,
[232] fraught with Ill ... distress
and are all of them on the wrong course, -
then he is depreciating a class of individuals;
while he is appreciating another class of individuals
when he says that all who eschew self-mortification
are all of them without Ill, hurt, tribulation and distress,
and are all on the right course.

So too when he says the same of individuals
who either have not,
or have,
got rid of the bonds
that tie them to continued existence,
it is a class of individuals
that he is either depreciating or appreciating,
without teaching the Doctrine.

How, now, without appreciation or depreciation
is the Doctrine preached? -

By not making any such statements
as the foregoing (about particular classes of individuals),
but by teaching the truth
in (abstract terms of general principle,
such as): -

Devotion to this [288] is fraught
with Ill, hurt, tribulation and distress,
and is a wrong course.

Or Non-devotion to this
is without Ill ... and distress,
and is a right course.

[288] I said that a man should understand the appraisement of ease
but pursue inward ease of heart.

How? -

Five strands make up pleasures of sense, -
forms,
sounds,
odours,
savours,
and things touched, -
all of them desirable,
agreeable,
pleasant and attractive,
all of them bound up with lusts
and exciting passion.

The easefulness which is bred of these five
is called the sensual,
foul
and ignoble ease
of the everyday man.

I lay it down
that there must be no fostering
or growth
or development
of such ease,
but a dread of it.

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

This it is
which is called the heart's ease of Renunciation,
aloofness,
tranquillity
and Enlightenment, -
of which there should be fostering,
growth
and development,
without any dread at all.

[234] I said that a man should not be a tale-teller
nor confront anyone with improper remarks.

How? -

If he knows that the tale
is false and untrue and unprofitable,
assuredly he should not tell it;
also, he should study not to report
what, though true and not false,
is yet unprofitable;
but he should - at a seasonable juncture -
tell what he knows to be
not only true but also profitable.

Precisely the same applies also
to making improper remarks to anyone.

I said that he should speak slowly
and not hurriedly.

Why? -

Because the hurried speaker's body becomes distressed,
his mind becomes worn out,
his voice becomes worn out,
and his throat suffers,
while his speech grows incoherent and unintelligible.

But none of these results attend a slow and measured utterance.

I said that a man should neither affect provincialisms in speech
nor depart from recognized parlance.

Why? -

In various provinces the same bowl is styled pāti, [285] patta,
vittha,
sarāva,
dhāropa,
poṇa

and pisīla;
and it is with obstinacy
tenacity
and pertinacity
that each particular province
insists that theirs is the only [289] right word,
all others being wrong.

The proper thing is
frankly to use in each particular province
the word they understand.

Now, Almsmen, the pleasure-lover's low,
pagan,
vulgar,
ignoble
and unprofitable
pursuit of delight,
is fraught with Ill,
hurt,
tribulation
and distress
and is the wrong course;
and that is why it is not attended by calm;
whereas to eschew such pursuit
is to escape Ill,
hurt,
tribulation
and distress
and is the right course;
and that is why calm attends it.

The same applies to indulgence in self-mortification
and to eschewing it.

[236] The middle course discovered by the Truth-finder -
which gives vision and understanding
and conduces to tranquillity,
insight,
Enlightenment
and Nirvana -
is void of Ill,
hurt,
tribulation,
or distress,
and is the right course;
and that is why it gives calm.

Appreciation and depreciation,
without preaching the Doctrine,
are fraught with Ill,
hurt,
tribulation
and distress,
and are the wrong course;
and that is why no calm is present.

But, when the Doctrine is preached
without either appreciation or depreciation,
this is without Ill ...
calm is present.

The sensual, foul and ignoble ease
of the everyday man
is fraught with Ill ...
calm is absent.

But the heart's ease of Renunciation,
aloofness and tranquillity is without Ill
... calm is present.

When tale-telling is false,
untrue and unprofitable,
it is fraught with Ill ...
calm is absent.

When the thing told,
though true and not false,
is yet unprofitable,
it is fraught with Ill ...
calm is absent.

But where the thing told is not only true but also profitable,
it is without Ill ...
calm is present.

To confront anyone with improper remarks that are false and untrue and unprofitable,
is fraught with Ill ...
calm is absent;
as it is also if the remarks though true and not false are yet unprofitable;
but if [287] they be both true and profitable,
then it is without Ill ...
calm is present.

Hurried speaking is fraught with Ill ...
calm is absent;
but a slow and measured utterance is without III ...
calm is present.

To affect pro- [290] vincialisms in speech and to depart from the recognized parlance is fraught with Ill ...
calm is absent.

Neither to affect provincialism in speech nor to depart from recognized parlance is without Ill ...
calm is present.

Therefore, Almsmen,
train yourselves to understand calm and turmoil,
and, understanding them,
to walk where calm dwells.

The young man Subhūti walks where calm dwells.

Thus spoke the Lord.

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


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