Anguttara Nikaya


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Anguttara Nikāya
Chakka-Nipata
II: Sārāṇīya-Vagga

The Book of the Gradual Sayings
The Book of the Sixes
Chapter II: Be Considerate

Sutta 20

Dutiya Maraṇasati Suttaɱ

Mindfulness of Death (b)[1]

Translated from the Pali by E.M. Hare.

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[1][than] Thus have I heard:

Once, when the Exalted One was staying in the Brick Hall at Nadika,
he addressed the monks, saying:

'Monks.'

'Lord,'they replied;
and the Exalted One said:

'Monks, mindfulness of death,
when made become,
mad to increase,
is very fruitful,
great in weal,
merging in the deathless,
having the deathless as consummation.

How so, monks is mindfulness of death,
when made become,
made to increase,
very fruitful,
great in weal,
merging in the deathless,
having the deathless as consummation?

Consider the monk who,
when day declines and night sets in,
reflects thus:

"The chances of death for me are many.

Snake,
scorpion,
or centipede may bite me
and bring death and hinder[2] me;
I may stumble and fall,
the food I have eaten may make me ill,
bile may convulse me,
phlegm choke me,
cutting winds within rack me
and bring death and hinder me."[3]

Monks, let that monk reflect thus:

"Have I given up every evil and wicked thing which,
were I to die to-night,
would hinder me?"

Monks, if, on reflection,
he know that he has not,
let an urge in great measure be made by that monk,
an effort,
an endeavour,
an exertion,
a struggle,
let him get mindfulness
and self-possession.

Monks, just as were his cloth and hair on fire
he would make an urge in great measure,
an effort,
an endeavour,
an [220] exertion,
a struggle,
would get mindfulness and self-possession,
to put out the fire thereof;
even so let an urge in great measure be made by him,
an effort,
an endeavour,
an exertion,
a struggle,
let him get mindfulness and self-possession,
to give up every evil and wicked thing.

But if, monks, on reflection
he knows there is no evil or wickedness
that has not been given up by him,
which, were he to die that night,
would hinder him,
let him live with zest and delight,
training himself day and night
in the ways of right.

 


 

Again, monks, consider the monk who,
when night is spent
and day breaks,
reflects thus:

"The chances of death for me are many.

Snake,
scorpion,
or centipede may bite me
and bring death and hinder me;
I may stumble and fall,
the food I have eaten may make me ill,
bile may convulse me,
phlegm choke me,
cutting winds within rack me
and bring death and hinder me."

Monks, let that monk reflect thus:

"Have I given up every evil and wicked thing which,
were I to die to-day,
would hinder me?"

Monks, if, on reflection,
he know that he has not,
let an urge in great measure be made by that monk,
an effort,
an endeavour,
an exertion,
a struggle,
let him get mindfulness
and self-possession.

Monks, just as were his cloth and hair on fire
he would make an urge in great measure,
an effort,
an endeavour,
an exertion,
a struggle,
would get mindfulness and self-possession,
to put out the fire thereof;
even so let an urge in great measure be made by him,
an effort,
an endeavour,
an exertion,
a struggle,
let him get mindfulness and self-possession,
to give up every evil and wicked thing.

But if, monks, on reflection
he knows there is no evil or wickedness
that has not been given up by him,
which, were he to die that day,
would hinder him,
let him live with zest and delight,
training himself day and night
in the ways of right.

'Monks, mindfulness of death,
when made become,
mad to increase,
is very fruitful,
great in weal,
merging in the deathless,
having the deathless as consummation.

 


[1] Cf. A. iv, 320.

[2] Comy. death is a hindrance to life, to a recluse's duties, to the ordinary man working for heaven or to one on the Way.

[3] Cf. above V, Ī 77.


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