Anguttara Nikaya


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Anguttara Nikāya
Sattaka Nipāta

The Book of the
Gradual Sayings
The Book of the Sevens

Sutta 70

Araka Suttaɱ

Wheel-Wright[1]

Translated from the Pali by E.M. Hare.

Copyright The Pali Text Society
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[1][than]Thus have I heard:

'Long ago, monks, there was a teacher named Wheel-Wright,
a course-setter,
freed of all lustful passions,
and he had many hundreds of disciples.

Now this was the doctrine that he taught his disciples:

"Short is the life of man, O brāhman,
insignificant,
trifling,
fraught with much ill,
with much trouble.

By mantras[2] awaken (the people)!

Do good!

Live the godly life!

For the born there is no immortality.[3]

Just as a drop of dew[4]
on the tip of a blade of grass,
when the sun gets up,
straightway dries up and lasts not a while;
even so, brāhman,
like a dew-drop is the life of man,
insignificant,
trifling,
fraught with much ill,
with much trouble.

By mantras awaken (the people)!

Do good!

Live the godly life!

For the born there is no immortality.

Just as a bubble[5] appears on the water
when the sky-deva rains down big drops,
but straightway bursts
and lasts not a while;
even so, brāhman,
like a water-bubble
is the life of man,
insignificant,
trifling,
fraught with much ill,
with much trouble.

By mantras awaken (the people)!

Do good!

Live the godly life!

For the born there is no immortality.

[92] Just as the line[6] of a stick on water
straightway vanishes
and lasts not a while;
even so, brāhman,
like the line of a stick on water
is the life of man,
insignificant,
trifling,
fraught with much ill,
with much trouble.

By mantras awaken (the people)!

Do good!

Live the godly life!

For the born there is no immortality.

Just as a mountain river,[7]
winding here and there,
swiftly flowing,
taking all along with it,[8]
never for a moment[9]
or for an instant
or for a second pauses,[10]
but rushes on,
swirls along
and sweeps forward;
even so, brāhman,
like a mountain river
is the life of man,
insignificant,
trifling,
fraught with much ill,
with much trouble.

By mantras awaken (the people)!

Do good!

Live the godly life!

For the born there is no immortality.

Just as a strong man
might fashion a gob[11] of spittle
on the tip of his tongue
and spit it out
with utmost ease;
even so, brāhman,
like a spittle-gob
is the life of man,
insignificant,
trifling,
fraught with much ill,
with much trouble.

By mantras awaken (the people)!

Do good!

Live the godly life!

For the born there is no immortality.

Just as a lump of meat,[12]
thrown into an iron pot,
heated the livelong day,
straightway splits up
and lasts not a while;
even so, brāhman,
like a lump of meat
is the life of man,
insignificant,
trifling,
fraught with much ill,
with much trouble.

By mantras awaken (the people)!

Do good!

Live the godly life!

For the born there is no immortality.

Just as a cow,[13]
about to be slaughtered,
being led to the shambles,
each time[14] she raises her foot
is nearer to destruction,
nearer to death;
even so, brāhman,
like a doomed cow
is the life of man,
insignificant,
trifling,
fraught with much [93] ill,
with much trouble.

By mantras awaken (the people)!

Do good!

Live the godly life!

For the born there is no immortality.

Now at that time, monks,
the span of man's life
was sixty thousand years[15]
and at five hundred years
girls were ripe to wed.

Then man had but six afflictions,
to wit:
cold and heat,
hunger and thirst,
and twofold excrement.[16]

Yet though such was the longevity,
such the duration
and such the freedom from affliction of the people,
the teacher, Wheel-Wright,
taught[17] this doctrine to his disciples:

"Short is the life of man, O brāhman,
insignificant,
trifling,
fraught with much ill,
with much trouble."

By mantras awaken (the people)!

Do good!

Live the godly life!

For the born there is no immortality.

And now, monks,
if a man would speak truly,
he should say:

"Short is the life of man,
insignificant,
trifling,
fraught with much ill,
with much trouble."

By wisdom[18] awaken (the people)!

Do good!

Live the godly life!

For the born there is no immortality.

For today, monks,
he who lives long
lives but a hundred years
or a little more.

And though a man live a hundred years,
he lives but three hundred seasons -
a hundred seasons of winter,
a hundred seasons of summer
and a hundred seasons of rain.[19]

And though he live three hundred seasons,
he lives but twelve hundred months -
four hundred months of winter,
four hundred months of summer
and four hundred months of rain.

[94] And though he live twelve hundred months,
he lives but four and twenty hundred fortnights -
eight hundred fortnights of winter,
eight hundred fortnights of summer
and eight hundred fortnights of rain.

And though he live four and twenty hundred fortnights,
he lives but six and thirty thousand days[20] -
twelve thousand days of winter,
twelve thousand days of summer
and twelve thousand days of rain.

And though he live six and thirty thousand days,
he eats but two and seventy thousand meals -
four and twenty thousand meals in winter,
four and twenty thousand meals in summer
and four and twenty thousand meals in the rainy season.

This includes mother's milk
and foodless times.[21]

Here by foodless times is meant:
Agitated, he eats no food;
grieved, he eats no food;
ill, he eats no food;
fasting, he eats no food;
and not getting any, he eats no food.

Thus, monks, I account the life
of man who lives a hundred years,[22]
his life-span,
the seasons,
the years,[23]
the months,
the fortnights,
the days,[24]
the days and nights,[25]
meal-times
and foodless times.

Monks, the work to be done by a teacher for his disciples,
seeking their good,
by compassion,
because of compassion,
that has been done for you by me.

Monks, at the foot of these trees,
in these empty places
(make ye your habitations)!

Muse, monks!

Be not slothful!

Let there be no occasion
for you to reproach yourselves afterwards!

This is our command to you.'[26]

 


[1] This sutta is referred to at Vism. 237.

[2] Mantāya bodhabbarj. Comy, paññāya jānitabbaɱ (cf. Vv.A. 262). The whole passage down to amaraṇaɱ recurs at D. ii, 246 f.; at Dial. ii, 277, Rhys Davids translates, We must learn by wisdom. See Mrs. Rhys Davids' Gotama 82 f. For examples of brāhman mantras see S.B.E. xv, 189, Upanishads. Cf. I Corinthians, xv, 34.

[3] Amaraṇaɱ); Dial., loc. cit.: There is no escaping death.

[4] Cf. J. iv, 122; Vism. 231, 633; Sn.A. 458 (cf. Vism. 238, quotation 'not traced' with Sn.A. 459).

[5] Cf. S. iii, 141 (K.S. iii, 119); Vism. 633; also Dhp. 170; Vism. 109.

[6] Cf. J. i, 48 (Warren's Buddhism 40); Vism. 633. Mr. John Still, in his Jungle Tide, p. 118, quotes this simile as having been 'carved in granite' by a Sinhalese king; and in a letter to me he adds: 'in Polonnaruwa, on a pillar near the Archaeological Commissioner's bungalow.'

[7] Cf. A. iii, 64; Vism. 231 (trsl. 266); J. v, 445.

[8] Hārahārinī. Comy, instances trees, reeds, bamboos.

Xuanzang

Xuanzang born Chen Hui or Chen Yi, was a Chinese Buddhist monk, scholar, traveler, and translator who described the interaction between China and India in the early Tang Dynasty.
— Wikipedia
Born: 602 AD, Henan, China
Died: February 5, 664 AD
Books: Great Tang Records on the Western Regions, Cheng Weishi Lun, Treatise on groups of elements

p.p. explains it all — p.p.

[9] Khaṇo vā layo vā muhutto vā; the Chinese traveller, Hiuen Tsiang (or Yuan Chwang), has the following note on these periods: The shortest portion of time is called a kshaṇa; 120 kshaṇas make a takshaṇa; 60 of these make a lava (sic); 30 of these make a muhūrta; 5 of these make a kāla; 6 of these make a day and night. Beal's Records 71. See Childers, muhutto.

[10] Āramati, ā and \/ḤRAM; cf. viramati. P.E.D. omits.

[11] Cf. M. iii, 300 (F.Dial. ii, 326); J. i, 34.

[12] Cf. Vism. 468; also M. i, 453, iii, 300; S. iv, 190.

Proverbs vii, 16 I have spread my couch with carpets of tapestry,
With striped cloths of the yarn of Egypt.
17 I have perfumed my bed
With myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon.
18 Come, let us take our fill of love until the morning;
Let us solace ourselves with loves.
19 For the man is not at home;
He is gone a long journey:
20 He hath taken a bag of money with him;
He will come home at the full moon.
21 With her much fair speech she causeth him to yield;
With the flattering of her lips she forceth him along.
22 He goeth after her straightway,
As an ox goeth to the slaughter,
Or as one in fetters to the correction of the fool;
23 Till an arrow strike through his liver;
As a bird hasteth to the snare,
And knoweth not that it is for his life.
24 Now therefore, my sons, hearken unto me,
And attend to the words of my mouth.
25 Let not thy heart decline to her ways;
Go not astray in her paths.
26 For she hath cast down many wounded:
Yea, all her slain are a mighty host.
27 Her house is the way to Sheol,
Going down to the chambers of death.
— American Standard Version

p.p. explains it all — p.p.

[13] Proverbs vii, 22.

[14] Yañ ñad eva: yaɱ yaɱ eva.

[15] This was the life-span during the age of the Buddha Vesabhu; see D. ii, 3; but at D. iii, 75 it is said that girls were marriageable at 500 when men's life-span was 80,000 years.

[16] This list recurs at A. v, 88, 110, which see for a fuller list of diseases.

[17] The text reads desessati, with v.l. deseti.

[18] Mantāya, as before; but we here have it in its specialized Buddhist sense; cf. the brāhman and Buddhist meanings of yañña.

[19] Winter is from November to March; summer is from March to June; July to October is the rainy season; see Q. of M. ii, 113; I-Tsing Records 102 and 219. According to the Upanishads there are five seasons: the above three and spring and autumn; see S.B.E. i, 25; xv, 331.

[20] Ratti, lit. night.

[21] Bhattantarāya, food-prevention.

[22] Vassa.

[23] Sanvacchara.

[24] Ratti.

[25] Cf. similar series S.B.E. xxi, 89 (Saddhamma-Puṇḍarīka).

[26] These last two paragraphs recur at M. i, 46; A. iii, 87; S. v, 157; M. ii, 266. For the second half of the last paragraph see D. ii, 155 (the Buddha's last words); A. ii, 79.


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