Majjhima Nikaya


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Majjhima Nikāya
I. Mūlapaṇṇāsa
2. Sīhanāda Vagga

The Middle Length Sayings
I. The First Fifty Discourses
2. The Division of the Lion's Roar

Sutta 19

Dvedhā-Vitakka Suttaɱ

Discourse on the Twofold Thought

Translated from the Pali by I.B. Horner, M.A.
Associate of Newham College, Cambridge
First Published in 1954

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

At one time the Lord was staying near Sāvatthī in the Jeta Grove in Anathapiṇḍika's monastery.

While he was there the Lord addressed the monks, saying:

"Monks."

"Revered One," these monks answered the Lord in assent.

The Lord spoke thus:

[2][wp][mnl][ati] "Monks, before my awakening;
while I was the bodhisatta,
not fully awakened,
this occurred to me:

'Suppose that I should fare along with a twofold thought?'[1]

So, monks, whatever is thought of sense-pleasures
and whatever is thought of malevolence
and whatever is thought of harming
— that I made into one part;
and whatever is thought of renunciation
and whatever is though of non-malevolence
and whatever is thought of non-harming,
that I made into the other part.

[3][wp][mnl][ati] While I, monks, was faring on thus,
diligent,
ardent,
self-resolute,
thought of sense-pleasures arose,
and I comprehended thus:

'This thought of sense-pleasures has arisen in me,
but it conduces to self-hurt
and it conduces to the hurt of others
and it conduces to the hurt of both,
it is destructive of intuitive wisdom,
associated with distress,
not conducive to nibbana.'

But while I was reflecting,

'It conduces to self-hurt,'

it subsided;
and while I was reflecting,

'It conduces to the hurt of others,'

it subsided;
and while I was reflecting,

'It is destructive of intuitive wisdom,'
it is asociated with distress,
it is not conducive to nibbana,'

it subsided.

So I, monks, kept on getting rid of the thought of sense-pleasures as It constantly arose,
I kept on driving it out,
I kept on making an end of it.

[4][wp][mnl][ati] While I, monks, was faring on thus,
diligent,
ardent,
self-resolute,
thought of malevolence arose ...
thought of harming arose,
and I comprehended thus:

'This thought of malevolence ...
of harming has arisen in me,
but it conduces to self-hurt ...
not conducive to nibbana.'

But while I was reflecting,

'It conduces to self-hurt'

... while I was reflecting,

'It is ... not conducive to nibbana,'

it subsided.

So I, monks, kept on getting rid of the thought of harmming as it constantly arose,
I kept on driving it out,
I kept on making an end of it.

[6][wp][mnl][ati] Monks, according to whatever a monk ponders and reflects on much
his mind in consequence gets a bias that way.

Monks, if a monk ponder and reflect much on thought of sense-pleasures
he ejects thought of renunciation;
if he makes much of the thought of sensee-pleasures,
his mind inclines to the thought of sense-pleasures.

Monks, if a monk ponder and reflect much on the thought of malevolence ...
on the thought of harming,
he ejects the thought of non-harming;
if he makes much of the thought of harming,
his uind inclines to the thought of harming.

Monks, it is as if in the last month of the rains,
in the autumn when the corn is thick,
a cowherd might be looking after the cows,
and might hit them above and below[2] with a stick,
and might restrain and check them.

What is the reason for this?

Monks, that cowherd sees death or imprisonment or degradation[3] from that source.

Even so did I, monks, see the peril in unskilled states of mind,
the vanity,
the defilement,
and the advantage,
allied to cleansing,
in renouncing them for skilled states of mind.[4]

While I, monks, was faring on,
diligent,
ardent,
self-resolute,
thought of renunciation arose
and I comprehended thus:

'This thought of renunciation has arisen in me,
and it conduces neither to self-hurt
nor does it conduce to the hurt of others
nor does it conduce to the hurt of both,
it is for growth in intuitive wisdom,
it is not associated with distress,
it is conducive to nibbana.'

If during the night, monks,
I should ponder and reflect upon this,
not from that source do I behold fear;
and if during the day, monks,
I should ponder and reflect upon this,
not from that source do I behold fear;
and if during the night and day, monks,
I should ponder and reflect upon this,
not from that source do I behold fear.

But I thought that after pondering and reflecting too long
my body would be weary;
if the body was weary
the mind would be disturbed;[5]
if the mind is disturbed it is a mind far from concentration.

So I monks, subjectively steadied the mind,
I calmed it,
I made it one-pointed,
I concentrated.[6]

What was the reason for this?

I thought,

'Do not let my mind be disturbed.'

While I, monks, was faring on diligent,
ardent,
self-resolute,
thought of non-malevolence ...
thought of non-harming arose,
and I comprehended thus:

'This thought of non-malevolence ...
or non-harming has arisen in me,
and it conduces neither to self-hurt
nor does it conduce to the hurt of others
nor does it conduce to the hurt of both,
it is for growth in intuitive wisdom,
it is not associated with distress,
it is conducive to nibbana.'

If, during the night. monks, ...
not from that source do I behold fear.

But I thought that after pondering and reflecting too long
my body would be weary;
if the body was weary the mind would be disturbed;
if the mind is disturbed, it is a mind far from concentration.

So I, monks subjectively steadied the mind,
I calmed it,
I made it one-pointed,
I concentrated.

What was the reason for this?

I thought,

'Do not let my mind be disturbed.'

Monks, according to whatever a monk ponders and reflects on much
his mind in consequence gets a bias that way.

Monks, if a monk ponder and reflect much
on thought of renunciation
he ejects thought of sense-pleasures;
if he makes much of the thought of renunciation,
his mind inclines to the thought of renunciation.

Monks, if a monk ponder and reflect much
on the thought of non malevolence ...
of non-harming,
he ejects thought of harming.

If he makes much of the thought of non-harming
his mind inclines to the thought of non-harming.

Monks, it is as if in the last month of the hot weather
when all the corn is stored at the confines of a village
a cowherd might be looking after the cows;
while he is at the root of a tree
or in the open
he remembers there is something to be done,
and thinks:

Those are the cows.[7]

Even so, monks,
remembering there is someething to be done,
did 1 think:

Those are mental statcs.[8]

Monks, unsluggish energy[9] was stirred up in me,
unmuddled mindfulness was set up,
the body was tranquil,
impassible,
the mind composed,
one-pointed.

Then I, monks,
aloof from pleasures of the senses,
aloof from unskilled states of mind,
entered into and abided in the first meditation
which is accompanied by initial thought and discursive thought,
is born of aloofness,
and is rapturous and joyful.

By allaying initial and discursive thought, with the mind subjectively tranqillised and fixed on one point, I entered into and abided in the second meditatin which is devoid of initial and discursive thought, is born of concentration, and is rapturous and joyful.

By the fading out of rapture, I dwelt with equanimity, attentive, and clearly conscious; and I experienced in my person that joy of which the ariyans say: 'Joyful lives he who has eqanimity and is mindful,' and I entered into and abided in the third meditation.

By getting rid of joy, by getting rid of anguish, by the going down of my former pleasures and sorrows, I entered into and abided in the fourth meditation which has neither anguish nor joy, and which is entirely purified by equanimity and mindfulness.

Thus with the mind composed, quite purified, quite clarified, without blemish, without defilement, grown soft and workable, fixed, immovable, I directed my mind to the knowledge and recollection of former habitations:

I remembered a variety of former habitations, thus: one birth, two births, three ... four ... five ... ten ... twenty ... thirty ... forty ... fifty ... a hundred ... a thousand ... a hundred thousand births, and many an eon of integration and many an eon of disintegratioon and many an eon of integration-disintegration: such a one was I by name, having such and such a clan, such and such a colour, so was I nourished, such and such pleasant and painful experiences were mine, so did the span of life end. Passsing from this, I came to be in another state where such a one was I by name, having such and such a clan, such and such a colour, so was I nouished, such and such pleasant and painful experiences were mine, so did the span of life end.

Passing from this, I arose here. Thus I remember divers former habitations in all their modes and detail.

19. This, Monks, was the first knowledge attained by me in the first watch of the night; ignorance was dispelled, knowledge arose, darkness was dispelled, light arose, even as I abided diligent, ardent, self-resolute.

20. Then with the mind composed, quite purified, quite claarified, without blemish, without defilement, grown soft and workable, fixed, immovable, I directed my mind to the knowledge of the passing hence and the arising of beings.

With the purified deva-vision surpassing that of men I see beings as they pass hence or come to be: I comprehend that beings are mean, excellent, comely, ugly, well-going, ill-going, according to the consequences of their deeds, and I think: Indeed these worthy beings who were possessed of wrong conduct in body, who were possessed of wrong cconduct of speech, who were possessed of wrong conduct of thought, scoffers at the ariyans, holding a wrong view, incurring deeds consequent on a wrong view — these, at the breaking up of the body after dying, have arisen in a sorrowful state, a bad bourn, the abyss, Niraya Hell.

But these worthy beings who were possessed of good conduct in body, who were possessed of good conduct in speech, who were possessed of good confuct in thought, who did not scoff at the ariyans, holding a right view, incurring deeds conseuent on a right view — these, at the breaking up of the body after dying have arisen in a good bourn, a heaven world.

Thus with the purified deva-vision surpassing that of men do I see beings as they pass hence, as they arise; I comprehend that beings are mean, excellent, comely, ugly, well-going, ill-going according to the consequences of their deeds.

21. This, Monks, was the second knowledge attained by me in the middle watch of the night; ignorance was dispelled, knowledge araose, darkness was dispelled, light arose, even as I abided diligent, ardent, self-resolute.

22. Then with the mind composed, quite purified, quite clarified, without blemish, without defilement, grown soft and workable, fixed, immovable, I directed my mind to the knowledge of the destruction of the cankers.

I understood as it really is: This is anguish, this is the arising of anguish, this is the stopping of anguish, this is the course leading to the stopping of anguish.

I understood as it really is: These are the cankers, this is the arising of the cankers, this is the stopping of the cankers, this is the course leading to the stopping of the cankers.

23. Knowing this thus, seeing thus, my mind was freed from the canker of sense-pleasures, and my mind was freed from the canker of becoming, and my mind was freed from the canker of ignorance.

In freedom the knowledge came to be:

I am freed; and I comprehended: Destroyed is birth, brought to a close is the Brahma-faring, done is what was to be done, there is no more of being such or such.

24. This, Monks, was the third knowledge attained by me in the last watch of the night; ignorance was dispelled, knowledge arose, darkness was dispelled, light arose even as I abided diligent, ardent, self-resolute..

25. Monks, as there might be a large piece of low-lying marshy ground in a forest grove,[10] near which might live a large herd of deer, towards which some man might come along, not desiring their good, not desiring their weal, not desiring their security from bonds; if there were a road that was secure, safe, leading to rapture, he might block that road, might open up a treacherous road, might place a decoy and might tether a female decoy as a lure, even so, monks, after a time that great herd of deer might come to calamity and dwindle away.

But, monks, if some man came along towards that great herd of deer, desiring their good, desiring their weal, desiring their security from bonds, and if there were a road that was secure, safe, leading to rapture, he might open up that road, he might block the treacherous road, he would disturb the male decoy, he would let loose[11] the female lure; thus, monks, after a time that great herd of deer would come to growth, expansion, maturity.

Monks, this parable has been made by me for illustrating the meaning. And this is the meaning here:

'The large piece of low-lying marshy ground,' monks, this is a synonym for sense-pleasures.

The great herd of deer,' monks, this is a synonym for beings.

'The man not desiring their good, not desiring their weal, not desiring their security from bonds,' monks, this is a synonym for Mara, the Evil One.

'The treacherous way,' monks, this is a synonym for the eightfold wrong way, that is to say, wrong view, wrong thought, wrong speech, wrong action, wrong way of living, wrong endeavour, wrong mindfulness, wrong concentration.

'The male decoy,' monks, this is a synonym for the passion of delight.

'The female lure,' monks, this is a synonym for ignorance.

'The man desiring good, desiring weal, desiring security from the bonds,' monks, this is a synonym for the Tathāgata, perfected one, fully self-awakened one.

'The way that is secure, safe, leading to rapture,' monks, this is a synonym for the ariyan eightfold Way, that is to say, right view, right thought, right speech, right action, right way of living, right endeavour, right mindfulness, right concentration.

Thus is the secure, safe way leading to rapture opened by me, monks, the treacherous way blocked, the decoy disturbed, the lure let loose.

Whatever, monks, is to be done from compassion by a Teacher seeking the welfare of his disciples, that has been done by me out of compassion for you.

These, monks, are the roots of trees, these are empty places.

Meditate, monks; do not be slothful, be not remorseful later.

This is our instruction to you."[12]

Thus spoke the Lord. Delighted, these monks rejoiced in what the Lord had said.

THE DISCOURSE ON THE TWOFOLD THOUGHT: THE NINTH

 


[1] Cf. It. p. 82.

[2] ākoṭeyya patikoṭeyya. MA. ii. 82, he would strike them straight, on their backs, he woud strike them across, on the ribs.

[3] Cf. D. i. 135, A. i. 201.

[4] M. i. 403. Cf. M. i. 379, Vin. i. 15

[5] Ūhanati, to shake, to be restless

[6] Cf. M. iii. 111; A. ii. 94.

[7] MA ii. 84 says he need not herd them but must be mindful of them.

[8] Namely samatha (calm) and vipassanā (insight), MA. ii. 84.

[9] = M. i. 21-3 to beginning of next simile.

[10] araññe pavane. MA. ii, 85 says that these two words mean the same; and pavana is vanasaṇḍa, forest grove, or woodland thicket.

[11] nāseti, to expel, with the added sense of spoiling or ruining, here the purpose for which she ws tethered.

[12] As at M. i. 46.


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