Anguttara Nikaya


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Aŋguttara Nikāya
X. Dasaka-Nipāta
VII. Yamaka Vagga

The Book of the Gradual Sayings
X. The Book of the Tens
VII: The Pairs

Sutta 61

Avijjā Suttaɱ

Ignorance

Translated from the Pali by F. L. Woodward, M.A.

Copyright The Pali Text Society
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[113] [78]

[1][bodh] Thus have I heard:

Once the Exalted One was dwelling near Sāvatthī
at Jeta Grove in Anāthapiṇḍika's Park.

There the Exalted One addressed the monks, saying:

'Monks.'

'Yes, lord,' they replied,
and the Exalted One said:

'Monks, the extreme point of ignorance[1] is not apparent, so that one may say:

"Ignorance was not before;
it has since eome to be."

And this statement, monks, is made.

Nevertheless, this thing is apparent:

Ignorance is conditioned by this or that.[2]

Ignorance, I declare, monks, has its nutriment.[3]

It is not without nutriment.

And what is the nutriment of ignorance?

"The five hindrances"
should be the reply.

I declare, monks,
that the five hindrances have their nutriment,
are not without nutriment.

And what is the nutriment
of the five hindrances?

"The three wrong ways of practice"
should be the reply.

They too have their nutriment.

What?

"Not-restraint of the sense-faculties"
should be the reply.

They too have their nutriment.

What?

"Lack of mindfulness and self-composure"
should be the reply.

That too has its nutriment, I declare.

What?

"Lack of thorough work of mind"
should be the reply.

And what is the nutriment of that?

"Lack of faith"
should be the reply.

What is the nutriment of that?

"Not listening to true dhamma"[4]
should be the reply.

I declare, monks,
that not listening to true dhamma has its nutriment,
is not without nutriment.

And what is the [79] nutriment
of not listening to true dhamma?

"Not following after the very man"[5]
should be the reply.

Thus, monks, the act of not following after the very man,
when complete,
completes not listening to true dhamma;
not listening to true dhamma,
when complete,
completes lack of faith;
lack of faith,
when complete,
completes lack of thorough work of mind;
lack of thorough work of mind,
when complete,
completes lack of mindfulness and self-composure;
lack of mindfulness and self-composure,
when complete,
completes not-restraint of the sense-faculties;
not-restraint of the sense-faculties,
when complete,
completes the three wrong ways of practice;
the three wrong ways of practice,
when complete,
completes the five hindrances;[6]
the five hindrances,
when complete,
complete ignorance.

Such is the nutriment of this ignorance,
and such is its fulfilment.

Just as when, monks,
on a mountain[7] the rain falls in heavy drops,
that water flowing onwards according to the slope
fills up the mountain-clefts
and rifts and gullies,
and they when filled
fill up the little pools,
and the little pools in turn
fill up the big pools,
and they in turn fill up the small rivers;
they fill the large rivers,
and the large rivers in turn
fill up the sea,
the mighty ocean -
thus is the nutriment of the mighty ocean
and thus its fulfilment -
in the same way, monks,
not following after the very man,
completes not listening to true dhamma;
not listening to true dhamma,
when complete,
completes lack of faith;
lack of faith,
when complete,
completes lack of thorough work of mind;
lack of thorough work of mind,
when complete,
completes lack of mindfulness and self-composure;
lack of mindfulness and self-composure,
when complete,
completes not-restraint of the sense-faculties;
not-restraint of the sense-faculties,
when complete,
completes the three wrong ways of practice;
the three wrong ways of practice,
when complete,
completes the five hindrances;
the five hindrances,
when complete,
complete ignorance.

Thus is the nutriment of this ignorance
and thus its fulfilment.

 


 

Release by knowledge, monks,
I declare, has its nutriment,
it is not without nutriment.

And what is the nutriment
of release by knowledge?

"The seven limbs of wisdom"
should be the reply.

The seven limbs of wisdom,
I declare, have their nutriment.

And what is nutriment
of the seven limbs of wisdom?

"The four arisings of mindfulness"
should be the reply.

The four arisings of mindfulness,
I declare, have their nutriment.

And what is nutriment
of the four arisings of mindfulness?

"The three [80] right ways of practice"
should be the reply.

The three right ways of practice,
I declare, have their nutriment.

And what is nutriment
of the three right ways of practice?

"Control of the faculties of sense"
should be the reply.

Control of the faculties of sense,
I declare, has it's nutriment.

And what is nutriment
of control of the faculties of sense?

"Mindfulness and self-possession"
should be the reply.

Mindfulness and self-possession,
I declare, have their nutriment.

And what is nutriment
of Mindfulness and self-possession?

"Thorough work of mind"
should be the reply.

Thorough work of mind,
I declare, has it's nutriment.

And what is nutriment
of thorough work of mind?

"Faith"
should be the reply.

Faith,
I declare, has it's nutriment.

And what is nutriment
of Faith?

"Listening to true dhamma"
should be the reply.

Listening to true dhamma,
I declare, has it's nutriment.

And what is nutriment
of Listening to true dhamma?

"Following after the very man"
should be the reply.

Thus, monks, following after the very man,
when complete,
completes listening to true dhamma;
listening to true dhamma,
when complete,
completes faith;
faith,
when complete,
completes thorough work of mind;
thorough work of mind,
when complete,
completes mindfulness and self-possession;
mindfulness and self-possession,
when complete,
completes control of the sense-facuities;
control of the sense-facuities,
when complete,
completes the three right ways of practice;
three right ways of practice,
when complete,
completes the four arisings of mindfulness;
the four arisings of mindfulness,
when complete,
completes the seven limbs of wisdom;
the seven limbs of wisdom,
when complete,
completes release by knowledge.

Thus is the nutriment of release by knowledge,
and thus is its fulfilment.

Just as when, monks, on a mountain the rain falls in heavy drops,
that water flowing onwards according to the slope
fills up the mountain-clefts
and rifts and gullies,
and they when filled
fill up the little pools,
and the little pools in turn
fill up the big pools,
and they in turn fill up the small rivers;
they fill the large rivers,
and the large rivers in turn
fill up the sea,
the mighty ocean -
thus is the nutriment of the mighty ocean
and thus its fulfilment -
in the same way, monks,
even so does following after the very man
complete listening to true dhamma;
listening to true dhamma,
when complete,
completes faith;
faith,
when complete,
completes thorough work of mind;
thorough work of mind,
when complete,
completes mindfulness and self-possession;
mindfulness and self-possession,
when complete,
completes control of the sense-facuities;
control of the sense-facuities,
when complete,
completes the three right ways of practice;
three right ways of practice,
when complete,
completes the four arisings of mindfulness;
the four arisings of mindfulness,
when complete,
completes the seven limbs of wisdom;
the seven limbs of wisdom,
when complete,
completes release by knowledge..

Thus is the fulfilment of release by knowledge
and thus its fulfilment.'

 


[1] The essence of this and following sutta is at K.S. ii, 118 ff. Quoted V.M. 525 = Path of Purity, iii, 625; UdA. 176; Expositor, 13 (in stating that ignorance is caused by the cankers). For koṭi saŋsārassa, cf. K.S. ii, 119, etc.

[2] Idappaccayā.

[3] Sāhāraɱ = sappaccayaɱ, Comy.

[4] Here saddhamma may mean, as I have pointed out at G.S. ii, 21 n., 'the voice of conscience' (saka-dhamma).

[5] For sappurisa in this connexion see Dhp. v, 208 (Mrs. Rhys Davids' trans.), taɱ tādisaɱ sappurisaɱ sumedhaɱ bhajetha. At G.S. ii, 251, four states conduce to growth in wisdom - viz., association with the very man, hearing true dhamma, thorough work of mind and living according to dhamma.

[6] Pañca nīvaraṇāni; sensuality, ill-will, sloth-and-torpor, flurry-and-worry, doubt-and-wavering.

[7] For the simile cf. K.S. v, 339; G.S. i, 223.


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