Majjhima Nikaya


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Majjhima Nikāya
I. Mūlapaṇṇāsa
3. Tatiya Vagga

The Middle Length Sayings
I. The First Fifty Discourses
3. The Third Division

Sutta 22

Alagaddūpama Suttaɱ

Discourse on the Parable of the Water-Snake

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

Copyright The Pali Text Society
Commercial Rights Reserved
Creative Commons Licence
For details see Terms of Use.

 


 

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

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

Now at that time
a pernicious view had arisen like this
in a monk named Ariṭṭha
who had formerly been a vulture-trainer:[1]

"In so far as I understand dhamma
taught by the Lord,
it is that in following those things
called stumbhng-blocks by the Lord,
there is no stumbling-block at all."

Several monks heard:

"A pernicious view has arisen
to the monk named Ariṭṭha,
who was formerly a vulture-trainer,
like this:

'In so far as I understand dhamma
taught by the Lord,
it is that in following those things
called stumbhng-blocks by the Lord,
there is no stumbling-block at all.'"

Then these monks approached the monk Ariṭṭha,
who had formerly been a vulture-trainer;
having approached,
they spoke thus to the monk Ariṭṭha,
who had formerly been a vulture-trainer:

"Is it true, as is said, reverend Ariṭṭha,
that a pernicious view has arisen in you,
like this:

'In so far as I understand dhamma
taught by the Lord,
it is that in following those things
called stumbhng-blocks by the Lord,
there is no stumbling-block at all?'"

"Undoubtedly, your reverences,
as I understand dhamma taught by the Lord,
it is that in following those things
called stumbling-blocks by the Lord,
there is no stumbling-block at all."

Then these monks,
anxious to dissuade the monk Ariṭṭha
who had formerly been a vulture-trainer
from that pernicious view,
questioned him,
cross-questioned him,
and pressed for the reasons,[2] [168]
and said:

"Do not speak thus, reverend Ariṭṭha,
do not misrepresent the Lord;
misrepresentation of the Lord
is not at all seemly,
and the Lord certainly would not speak thus.

For, in many a figure, reverend Ariṭṭha,
are things called stumbling-blocks by the Lord,[3]
and in following these
there is a veritable stumbling-block.

Senseṁpleasures are said by the Lord
to be of little satisfaction,
of much pain,
of much tribulation,
wherein is more peril.

Senseṁpleasures are likened by the Lord
to a skeleton,[4]
of much pain,
of much tribulation,
wherein is more peril.

Senseṁpleasures are likened by the Lord
to a lump of meat,
of much pain,
of much tribulation,
wherein is more peril.

Senseṁpleasures are likened by the Lord
to a torch of dry grass,
of much pain,
of much tribulation,
wherein is more peril.

Senseṁpleasures are likened by the Lord
to a pit of glowing embers,
of much pain,
of much tribulation,
wherein is more peril.

Senseṁpleasures are likened by the Lord
to a dream,
of much pain,
of much tribulation,
wherein is more peril.

Senseṁpleasures are likened by the Lord
to something borrowed,
of much pain,
of much tribulation,
wherein is more peril.

Senseṁpleasures are likened by the Lord
to the fruits of a tree,
of much pain,
of much tribulation,
wherein is more peril.

Senseṁpleasures are likened by the Lord
to a slaughterhouse,
of much pain,
of much tribulation,
wherein is more peril.

Senseṁpleasures are likened by the Lord
to an impaling stake,
of much pain,
of much tribulation,
wherein is more peril.

Senseṁpleasures are likened by the Lord
to a snake's head,
of much pain,
of much tribulation,
wherein is more peril."

Yet the monk Ariṭṭha
who had formerly been a vulture-trainer
even while being questioned,
cross-questioned
and pressed for his reasons by these monks,
expressed that pernicious view as before,
obstinately holding and adhering to it:

"Undoubtedly, your reverences,
as I understand dhamma taught by the Lord,
it is that in following those things
called stumbling-blocks by the Lord,
there is no stumbling-block at all."

Since these monks were unable to dissuade the monk Ariṭṭha
who had formerly been a vulture-trainer
from that pernicious view,
then these monks approached the Lord;
having approached,
having greeted the Lord,
they sat down at a respectful distance.

While they were sitting down at a respectful distance,
these monks spoke thus to the Lord:

"Lord, a pernicious view like this
arose in the monk called Ariṭṭha
who had formerly been a vulture-trainer:

'In so far as I understand dhamma
taught by the Lord,
it is that in following those things
called stumbhng-blocks by the Lord,
there is no stumbling-block at all.'

And we heard, Lord,
that a pernicious view like this
had arisen in the monk called Ariṭṭha
who had formerly been a vulture-trainer:

'In so far as I understand dhamma
taught by the Lord,
it is that in following those things
called stumbhng-blocks by the Lord,
there is no stumbling-block at all.'

Then we, Lord,
approached the monk Ariṭṭha
who had formerly been a vulture-trainer;
having approached,
we spoke thus to the monk Ariṭṭha
who had formerly been a vulture-trainer:

'Is it true, as is said, reverend Ariṭṭha,
that a pernicious view has arisen in you like this:

"In so far as I under- [169] stand dhamma
taught by the Lord,
it is that in following those things
called stumbhng-blocks by the Lord,
there is no stumbling-block at all'?"

'When this had been said, Lord,
the monk Ariṭṭha,
who had formerly been a vulture-trainer,
spoke thus to us:

"Undoubtedly, your reverences,
as I understand dhamma taught by the Lord,
it is that in following those things
called stumbling-blocks by the Lord,
there is no stumbling-block at all."

Then we, Lord,
anxious to dissuade the monk Ariṭṭha,
who had formerly been a vulture-trainer,
from that pernicious view,
questioned him,
cross-questioned him,
pressed him for reasons,
and said:

'Do not speak thus, reverend Ariṭṭha,
do not misrepresent the Lord;
misrepresentation of the Lord
is not at all seemly,
and the Lord certainly would not speak thus.

For in many a figure, reverend Ariṭṭha,
are things called stumbling-blocks by the Lord,
and in following these
there is a veritable stumbling-block.

Senseṁpleasures are said by the Lord
to be of little satisfaction,
of much pain,
of much tribulation,
wherein is more peril.

Senseṁpleasures are likened by the Lord
to a skeleton,
of much pain,
of much tribulation,
wherein is more peril.

Senseṁpleasures are likened by the Lord
to a lump of meat,
of much pain,
of much tribulation,
wherein is more peril.

Senseṁpleasures are likened by the Lord
to a torch of dry grass,
of much pain,
of much tribulation,
wherein is more peril.

Senseṁpleasures are likened by the Lord
to a pit of glowing embers,
of much pain,
of much tribulation,
wherein is more peril.

Senseṁpleasures are likened by the Lord
to a dream,
of much pain,
of much tribulation,
wherein is more peril.

Senseṁpleasures are likened by the Lord
to something borrowed,
of much pain,
of much tribulation,
wherein is more peril.

Senseṁpleasures are likened by the Lord
to the fruits of a tree,
of much pain,
of much tribulation,
wherein is more peril.

Senseṁpleasures are likened by the Lord
to a slaughterhouse,
of much pain,
of much tribulation,
wherein is more peril.

Senseṁpleasures are likened by the Lord
to an impaling stake,
of much pain,
of much tribulation,
wherein is more peril.

Senseṁpleasures are likened by the Lord
to a snake's head,
of much pain,
of much tribulation,
wherein is more peril."

Yet, Lord, the monk Ariṭṭha
who had formerly been a vulture-trainer,
even while being questioned,
cross-questioned
and pressed for his reasons by us,
expressed that pernicious view as before,
obstinately holding and adhering to it:

"Undoubtedly, your reverences,
as I understand dhamma taught by the Lord,
it is that in following those things
called stumbling-blocks by the Lord,
there is no stumbling-block at all."

Since we, Lord,
were unable to dissuade the monk Ariṭṭha
who had formerly been a vulture-trainer
from that pernicious view,
we are therefore telling this matter to the Lord."

Then the Lord addressed a certain monk, saying:

"Come you, monk,
summon the monk Ariṭṭha
who had formerly been a vulture-trainer
in my name, saying:

"'The Lord is summoning you, Ariṭṭha.'"

"Very well, Lord,"
and this monk, having answered the Lord in assent,
approached the monk Ariṭṭha
who had formerly been a vulture-trainer,
and having approached,
spoke thus to the monk Ariṭṭha
who had formerly been a vulture-trainer:

"The Lord is summoning you, reverend Ariṭṭha."

"Very well, your reverence,"
and the monk Ariṭṭha
who had formerly been a vulture-trainer,
having answered this monk in assent,
approached the Lord;
having approached,
having greeted the Lord,
he sat down at a respectful distance.

As the monk Ariṭṭha
who had formerly been a vulture-trainer
was sitting down at a respectful distance,
the Lord spoke thus to him:

"Is it true, as is said,
that in you, Ariṭṭha,
a pernicious view [170] arose like this;

"In so far as I understand dhamma
taught by the Lord,
it is that in following those things
called stumbhng-blocks by the Lord,
there is no stumbling-block at all'?"

"Undoubtedly, Lord,
as I understand dhamma taught by the Lord,
it is that in following those things
called stumbling-blocks by the Lord,
there is no stumbling-block at all."

"To whom then do you, foohsh man,
understand that dhamma was taught thus by me?

Have not things that are stumbling-blocks
been spoken of by me in many a figure,
and in following these
is there not a veritable stumbling-block?

Sense-pleasures are said by me
to be of little satisfaction,
of much pain,
of much tribulation,
wherein is more peril.

Senseṁpleasures are likened by me
to a skeleton,
of much pain,
of much tribulation,
wherein is more peril.

Senseṁpleasures are likened by me
to a lump of meat,
of much pain,
of much tribulation,
wherein is more peril.

Senseṁpleasures are likened by me
to a torch of dry grass,
of much pain,
of much tribulation,
wherein is more peril.

Senseṁpleasures are likened by me
to a pit of glowing embers,
of much pain,
of much tribulation,
wherein is more peril.

Senseṁpleasures are likened by me
to a dream,
of much pain,
of much tribulation,
wherein is more peril.

Senseṁpleasures are likened by me
to something borrowed,
of much pain,
of much tribulation,
wherein is more peril.

Senseṁpleasures are likened by me
to the fruits of a tree,
of much pain,
of much tribulation,
wherein is more peril.

Senseṁpleasures are likened by me
to a slaughterhouse,
of much pain,
of much tribulation,
wherein is more peril.

Senseṁpleasures are likened by me
to an impaling stake,
of much pain,
of much tribulation,
wherein is more peril.

Senseṁpleasures are likened by me
to a snake's head,
of much pain,
of much tribulation,
wherein is more peril."

And yet you, foolish man,
not only misrepresent me
because of your own wrong grasp,
but also injure yourself
and give rise to much demerit
which will be for a long time, foolish man,
for your woe and sorrow."[5]

Then the Lord addressed the monks, saying:

"What do you think about this, monks?

Has the monk Ariṭṭha
who was formerly a vulture-trainer
even a glimmering[6] of this dhamma and discipline?"

"How could this be, Lord?

It is not so, Lord."

When this had been said,
the monk Ariṭṭha
who had formerly been a vulture-trainer
sat down silent,
ashamed,
his shoulders drooped,
his head lowered,
brooding,
speechless.

Then the Lord,
understanding why the monk Ariṭṭha
who had formerly been a vulture-trainer
was silent,
ashamed,
his shoulders drooped,
his head lowered,
brooding,
speechless,
spoke thus to the monk Ariṭṭha
who had formerly been a vulture-trainer:

"You, foohsh man,
will be known through this pernicious view of your own,
for I will now interrogate the monks."

Then the Lord addressed the monks, saying:

"Do you too, monks,
understand that dhamma was taught by me thus,
so that the monk Ariṭṭha
who had formerly been a vulture-trainer
not only misrepresents me
because of his own wrong grasp,
but is also injuring himself
and giving rise to much demerit?"

[171] "No, Lord.

For, Lord, in many a figure
are things that are stumbling-blocks
spoken of to us by the Lord,
and in following these
there is a veritable stumbhng-block.

Senseṁpleasures are said by the Lord
to be of little satisfaction,
of much pain,
of much tribulation,
wherein is more peril.

Senseṁpleasures are likened by the Lord
to a skeleton,
of much pain,
of much tribulation,
wherein is more peril.

Senseṁpleasures are likened by the Lord
to a lump of meat,
of much pain,
of much tribulation,
wherein is more peril.

Senseṁpleasures are likened by the Lord
to a torch of dry grass,
of much pain,
of much tribulation,
wherein is more peril.

Senseṁpleasures are likened by the Lord
to a pit of glowing embers,
of much pain,
of much tribulation,
wherein is more peril.

Senseṁpleasures are likened by the Lord
to a dream,
of much pain,
of much tribulation,
wherein is more peril.

Senseṁpleasures are likened by the Lord
to something borrowed,
of much pain,
of much tribulation,
wherein is more peril.

Senseṁpleasures are likened by the Lord
to the fruits of a tree,
of much pain,
of much tribulation,
wherein is more peril.

Senseṁpleasures are likened by the Lord
to a slaughterhouse,
of much pain,
of much tribulation,
wherein is more peril.

Senseṁpleasures are likened by the Lord
to an impaling stake,
of much pain,
of much tribulation,
wherein is more peril.

Senseṁpleasures are likened by the Lord
to a snake's head,
of much pain,
of much tribulation,
wherein is more peril."

"It is good, monks,
it is good that you, monks,
have thus understood dhamma taught by me.

For in many a figure
have things that are stumbling-blocks
been spoken of by me to you, monks,
and in following these
there is a veritable stumbling-block.

Sense-pleasures are said by me
to be of little satisfaction,
of much pain,
of much tribulation,
wherein is more peril.

Senseṁpleasures are likened by me
to a skeleton,
of much pain,
of much tribulation,
wherein is more peril.

Senseṁpleasures are likened by me
to a lump of meat,
of much pain,
of much tribulation,
wherein is more peril.

Senseṁpleasures are likened by me
to a torch of dry grass,
of much pain,
of much tribulation,
wherein is more peril.

Senseṁpleasures are likened by me
to a pit of glowing embers,
of much pain,
of much tribulation,
wherein is more peril.

Senseṁpleasures are likened by me
to a dream,
of much pain,
of much tribulation,
wherein is more peril.

Senseṁpleasures are likened by me
to something borrowed,
of much pain,
of much tribulation,
wherein is more peril.

Senseṁpleasures are likened by me
to the fruits of a tree,
of much pain,
of much tribulation,
wherein is more peril.

Senseṁpleasures are likened by me
to a slaughterhouse,
of much pain,
of much tribulation,
wherein is more peril.

Senseṁpleasures are likened by me
to an impaling stake,
of much pain,
of much tribulation,
wherein is more peril.

Senseṁpleasures are likened by me
to a snake's head,
of much pain,
of much tribulation,
wherein is more peril."

But when this monk Ariṭṭha
who had formerly been a vulture-trainer
not only misrepresents me,
but also injures himself
and gives rise to much demerit,
this will be for a long time
for the woe and sorrow of this foohsh man.

Indeed, monks, this situation does not occur
when one could follow sense-pleasures
apart from sense-pleasures themselves,
apart from perceptions of sense-pleasures,
apart from thoughts of sense-pleasures.

Herein, monks, some foolish men
master dhamma:
the Discourses in prose,
in prose and verse,[7]
the Expositions,[8]
the Verses,[9]
the Uphfting Verses,
the 'As it was Saids,'
the Birth Stories,
the Wonders,
the Miscellanies.[10]

These, having mastered that dhamma,
do not test the meaning of these things by intuitive wisdom;
and these things whose meaning is untested by intuitive wisdom
do not become clear;
they master this dhamma
simply for the advantage of reproaching others
and for the advantage of gossiping,[11]
and they do not arrive at that goal
for the sake of which they mastered dhamma.

These things,
badly grasped by them
conduce for a long time
to their woe and sorrow.

What is the reason for this?

[172] Monks, it is because of a wrong grasp of things.

Monks, it is like[12] a man walking about
aiming after a water-snake,[13]
searching for a water-snake,
looking about for a water-snake.

He might see a large water-snake,
and he might take hold of it
by a coil
or by its tail;
the water-snake,
having rounded on him,
might bite him on his hand
or arm
or on another part of his body;
from this cause
he might come to dying
or to pain like unto dying.

What is the reason for this?

Monks, it is because of his wrong grasp of the water-snake.

Even so, monks,
do some foolish men here master dhamma:
the Discourses in prose,
in prose and verse,
the Expositions,
the Verses,
the Uphfting Verses,
the 'As it was Saids,'
the Birth Stories,
the Wonders,
the Miscellanies.

These, having mastered that dhamma,
do not test the meaning of these things by intuitive wisdom;
and these things whose meaning is untested by intuitive wisdom
do not become clear;
they master this dhamma simply for the advantage of reproaching others
and for the advantage of gossiping,
and they do not arrive at that goal
for the sake of which they mastered dhamma.

These things,
badly grasped by them
conduce for a long time
to their woe and sorrow.

What is the reason for this?

Monks, it is because of a wrong grasp of things.

In this case, monks,
some young men of family master dhamma;
the discourses in prose,
in prose and verse,
the Expositions,
the Verses,
the Uplifting Verses,
the 'As it was Saids,'
the Birth Stories,
the Wonders,
the Miscellanies.|| ||

These, having mastered that dhamma,
test the meaning of these things by intuitive wisdom;
and these things whose meaning is tested by intuitive wisdom
become clear to them.|| ||

They master dhamma
neither for the advantage of reproaching others
nor for the advantage of gossiping,
and they arrive at the goal
for the sake of which they mastered dhamma.

These things,
being well grasped by them,
conduce for a long time
to their welfare and happiness.

What is the reason for this?

It is, monks, because of a right grasp of things.

Monks, it is like a man walking about
aiming after a water-snake,
searching for a water-snake,
looking about for a water-snake.

He might see a large water-snake,
and he might hold it back skilfully[14]
with a forked[15] stick;
having held it back skilfully
with a forked stick,
he might grasp it properly
by the neck.

However that water-snake, monks,
might wind its coils round that man's hand
or arm
or round another part of his body,
he would not come to dying
or to pain like unto dying.

What is the reason for this?

Monks, it is because of his right grasp of the water-snake.

In this case, monks,
some young men of family master dhamma;
the discourses in prose,
in prose and verse,
the Expositions,
the Verses,
the Uplifting Verses,
the 'As it was Saids,'
the Birth Stories,
the Wonders,
the Miscellanies.

These, having mastered that dhamma,
test the meaning of these things by intuitive wisdom;
and these things whose meaning is tested by intuitive wisdom
become clear to them.

They master dhamma
neither for the advantage of reproaching others
nor for the advantage of gossiping,
and they arrive at the goal
for the sake of which they mastered dhamma.

These things,
being well grasped by them,
conduce for a long time
to their welfare and happiness.

What is the reason for this?

It is, monks, because of a right grasp of things.

Wherefore, monks,
understand the meaning of what I have said,
then learn it.

But in case you do not understand
the meaning of what I have said,
I should be questioned about it by you,
or else those who are experienced monks.

[173] Monks, I will teach you dhamma -
the Parable of the Raft -
for crossing over,
not for retaining.[16]

Listen to it,
pay careful attention,
and I will speak."

"Yes, Lord,"
these monks answered the Lord in assent.

"Monks, as a man going along a highway
might see a great stretch of water,
the hither bank dangerous[17] and frightening,[17]
the further bank secure,
not frightening,
but if there were not a boat for crossing by
or a bridge across
for going from the not-beyond to the beyond,
this might occur to him:

'This is a great stretch of water,
the hither bank dangerous and frightening,
the further bank secure and not frightening,
but there is not a boat for crossing by
or a bridge across
for going from the not-beyond to the beyond.

Suppose that I,
having collected grass,
sticks,
branches
and foliage,
and having tied a raft,
depending on that raft,
and striving with hands and feet,[18]
should cross over safely
to the beyond?'

Then, monks, that man,
having collected grass,
sticks,
branches
and foliage,
having tied a raft,
depending on that raft
and striving with his hands and feet,
might cross over safely
to the beyond.

To him, crossed over,
gone beyond,
this might occur:

'Now, this raft has been very useful to me.

I, depending on this raft,
and striving with my hands and feet,
crossed over safely
to the beyond.

Suppose now that I,
having put this raft on my head,
or having lifted it on to my shoulder,
should proceed as I desire?'

What do you think about this, monks?

If that man does this,
is he doing
what should be done with that raft?"

"No, Lord."

"What should that man do, monks,
in order to do
what should be done with that raft?

In this case, monks,
it might occur to that man
who has crossed over,
gone beyond:

'Now, this raft has been very useful to me.

Depending on this raft
and striving with my hands and feet,
I have crossed over safely
to the beyond.

Suppose now that I,
having beached this raft on dry ground
or having submerged it under the water,
should proceed as I desire?

In doing this, monks,
that man would be doing
what should be done with that raft.

Even so, monks,
is the Parable of the Raft
dhamma taught by me
for crossing over,
not for retaining.

You, monks, [174]
by understanding the Parable of the Raft,
should get rid even of (right) mental objects,[19]
all the more
of wrong ones.[20]

Monks, there are these six views
with causal relations.[21]

What are the six?

In this connection, monks,
an uninstructed average person,[22]
taking no count of the pure ones,
unskilled in the dhamma of the pure ones,
untrained in the dhamma of the pure ones,
taking no count of the true men,
unskilled in the dhamma of the true men,
untrained in the dhamma of the true men,
regards material shape as:

'This is mine,
this am I,
this is my self.'[23]

he regards feeling as:

'This is mine,
this am I,
this is my self.'

he regards perception as:

'This is mine,
this am I,
this is my self.'

he regards the habitual tendencies as:

'These are mine,
this am I,
this is my self.'

he regards consciousness as:

'This is mine,
this am I,
this is my self.'

And also he regards whatever is seen,
heard,
sensed,[24]
cognised,
reached,
looked for,
pondered by the mind as:

'This is mine,
this am I,
this is my self.'

Also whatever view with causal relation says:

So loko so attā. This world this self. Meaning 'this which I call the world which I really understand to be myself'; or 'this world which is the self.'

p.p. explains it all — p.p.

'This the world
this the self;[25]
after dying[26]
I[27] will become permanent,
lasting,
eternal,
not liable to change,
I will stand fast like unto the eternal,'

he regards this as:

'This is mine,
this am I,
this is my self.'

But, monks,
an instructed disciple of the pure ones,
taking count of the pure ones,
skilled in the dhamma of the pure ones,
well trained in the dhamma of the pure ones,
taking count of the true men,
skilled in the dhamma of the true men,
well trained in the dhamma of the [175] true men,
regards material shape as:

'This is not mine,
this am I not,
this is not my self;'

he regards feehng as:

'This is not mine,
this am I not,
this is not my self;'

he regards perception as:

'This is not mine,
this am I not,
this is not my self;'

he regards the habitual tendencies as:

'These are not mine,
this am I not,
this is not my self;'

he regards consciousness as:

'This is not mine,
this am I not,
this is not my self;'

And also he regards whatever is seen,
heard,
sensed,
cognised,
reached,
looked for,
pondered by the mind as:

'This is not mine,
this am I not,
this is not my self;'

Also whatever view
with causal relation says:

'This the world
this the self,
after dying
I will become permanent,
lasting,
eternal,
not liable to change,
I will stand fast like unto the eternal,'

he regards this as:

'This is not mine,
this am I not,
this is not my self;'

"that which does not exist" to here Gotama has spoken about what exists in the present 'seen thing'; hereafter he is speaking about what exists only in hopes and wishes in the imagination.

p.p. explains it all — p.p.

He, regarding thus that which does not exist,[28]
will not be anxious."[29]

Bahiddhā and ajjhattaɱ Outside and inside, external and internal, objective and subjective, impersonal and personal.

p.p. explains it all — p.p.

When this had been said,
a certain monk spoke thus to the Lord:

"But Lord, might there not be anxiety
about something objective
that does not exist?"[30]

"There might be, monk,"
the Lord said.

"In this case, monk,
it occurs to somebody:

'What was certainly mine[31]
is certainly not mine (now);[32]
what might certainly be mine,
there is certainly no chance of my getting.'

He grieves,
mourns,
laments,
beats his breast,
and falls into disillusionment.

Even so, monks,
does there come to be anxiety
about something objective
that does not exist."

"But might there be, Lord, no anxiety
about something objective
that does not exist?"

"There might be, monk,"
the Lord said.

"In this case, monk,
it does not occur to anybody:

'What was certainly mine
is certainly not mine (now);
what might certainly be mine,
there is certainly no chance of my getting.'

He does not grieve,
mourn,
lament,
he does not beat his breast,
he does not Ūfall into disillusionment.

Even so, monk,
does there come to be no anxiety
about something objective
that does not exist."

"But, Lord, might there be anxiety
about something subjective
that does not exist?"

"There might be, monk,'
the Lord said.

"In this case, monk,
the view occurs to someone:

'This the world
this the self;
after [176] dying
I will become permanent,
lasting,
eternal,
not liable to change,
I will stand fast like unto the eternal.'

He hears dhamma as it is being taught by the Tathāgata
or by a disciple of the Tathāgata
for rooting out all resolve for,
bias,
tendency
and addiction to
view and causal relation,
for tranquillising all the activities,
for casting away all attachment,
for the destruction of craving,
for dispassion,
stopping,
nibbāna.

It occurs to him thus:

'I will surely be annihilated,
I will surely be destroyed,
I will surely not be.'[33]

He grieves,
mourns,
laments,
beats his breast,
and falls into disillusionment.

Thus, monk, there comes to be anxiety
about something subjective
that does not exist."

"But, Lord, might there be no anxiety
about something subjective
that does not exist?"

"There might be, monk,"
the Lord said.

"In this case, monk,
the view does not occur to anyone:

'This the world
this the self,
after dying
I will become permanent,
lasting,
eternal,
not liable to change,
I will stand fast like unto the eternal.'

He hears dhamma as it is being taught by the Tathāgata
or by a disciple of the Tathāgata
for rooting out all resolve for,
bias,
tendency
and addiction to
view and causal relation,
for tranquillising all the activities,
for casting away all attachment,
for the destruction of craving,
for dispassion,
stopping,
nibbāna.

But it does not occur to him thus:

'I will surely be annihilated,
I will surely be destroyed,
I will surely not be.'

So he does not grieve,
mourn,
lament,
he does not beat his breast,
he does not fall into disillusionment.

Thus, monk, does there come to be no anxiety
about something subjective
that does not exist.

Monks, could you take hold of some possession,
the possession of which would be permanent,
lasting,
eternal,
not liable to change,
that would stand fast
like unto the eternal?

But do you, monks,
see that possession
the possession of which would be permanent,
lasting,
eternal,
not hable to change,
that would stand fast
like unto the eternal?"

"No, Lord."

"Good, monks.

Neither do I, monks,
see that possession
the possession of which is permanent,
lasting,
eternal,
not liable to change,
that would stand fast
like unto the eternal.

Could you, monks,
grasp that grasping
of the theory of self,
so that by grasping that theory of self
there would not arise grief,
suffering,
anguish,
[177] lamentation,
despair?

But do you, monks,
see that grasping
of the theory of self,
from the grasping of which theory of self
there would not arise grief,
suffering,
anguish,
lamentation,
despair?"

"No, Lord."

"Good, monks.

Neither do I, monks,
see that grasping
of the theory of self
from the grasping of which
there would not arise grief,
suffering,
anguish,
lamentation,
despair.

Could you, monks,
depend on that dependence on view,
depending on which dependence on view
there would not arise grief,
suffering,
anguish,
lamentation,
despair?

But do you, monks,
see that dependence on view,
from depending on which dependence on view
there would not arise grief,
suffering,
anguish,
lamentation,
despair?"

"No, Lord."

"Good, monks.

Neither do I, monks,
see that dependence on view
by depending on which dependence on view
there would not arise grief,
suffering,
anguish,
lamentation,
despair.

If, monks, there were Self,
could it be said:

'It belongs to my self'?"[34]

"Yes, Lord."

"Or, monks,
if there were what belongs to Self,
could it be said:

'It is my self'?"[35]

"Yes, Lord."

"But if Self, monks,
and what belongs to Self,
although actually existing,
are incomprehensible,[36]
is not the view
and the causal relation that:

anupalabbhamāne. Beyond grasping, past reach. The argument here is that even if there were a world or a self but that if it was beyond the possibility of conception by the consciousness of the existing individual, that it would be folly to hold a view about it, or to hold that in some way or another it would become something of a certain sort in the future (that is conceptualizing that the beyond-conception becomes what is not beyond conception. Bhk. Thanissaro: 'not pinned down as a truth or reality'

p.p. explains it all — p.p.

'This the world
this the self,
after dying
I will become permanent,
lasting,
eternal,
not liable to change,
I will stand fast
like unto the eternal' -
is not this, monks,
absolute complete folly?"

"Lord, how could it not be
absolute complete folly?"

"What do you think about this, monks:[37]

Is material shape
permanent or impermanent?"[38]

"Impermanent, Lord."

"But is what is impermanent
painful or pleasant?"

"Painful, Lord."

"But is it fitting
to regard that which is impermanent,
painful,
liable to change, as

'This is mine,
this am I,
this is my self'?"

[178] "No, Lord."[39]

"What do you think about this, monks:

Is feeling
permanent or impermanent?"

"Impermanent, Lord."

"But is what is impermanent
painful or pleasant?"

"Painful, Lord."

"But is it fitting
to regard that which is impermanent,
painful,
liable to change, as

'This is mine,
this am I,
this is my self'?"

"No, Lord."

"What do you think about this, monks:

Is perception
permanent or impermanent?"

"Impermanent, Lord."

"But is what is impermanent
painful or pleasant?"

"Painful, Lord."

"But is it fitting
to regard that which is impermanent,
painful,
liable to change, as

'This is mine,
this am I,
this is my self'?"

"No, Lord."

"What do you think about this, monks:

Are the habitual tendencies
permanent or impermanent?

"Impermanent, Lord."

"But is what is impermanent
painful or pleasant?"

"Painful, Lord."

"But is it fitting
to regard that which is impermanent,
painful,
liable to change, as

'This is mine,
this am I,
this is my self'?"

"No, Lord."

What do you think about this, monks:

Is consciousness
permanent or impermanent?"

"Impermanent, Lord."

"Is that which is impermanent
painful or pleasant?"

"Painful, Lord."

"But is it fitting
to regard that which is impermanent,
painful,
liable to change, as

'This is mine,
this am I,
this is my self'?"

"No, Lord."

"Wherefore, monks,
whatever is material shape,
past, future, present,
subjective or objective,
gross or subtle,
mean or excellent,
whether it is far or near -
all material shape
should be seen thus
by perfect intuitive wisdom
as it really is:

This is not mine,
this am I not,
this is not my self.

Whatever is feeling,
past, future, present,
subjective or objective,
gross or subtle,
mean or excellent,
whether it is far or near -
all material shape
should be seen thus
by perfect intuitive wisdom
as it really is:

This is not mine,
this am I not,
this is not my self.

Whatever is perception,
past, future, present,
subjective or objective,
gross or subtle,
mean or excellent,
whether it is far or near -
all material shape
should be seen thus
by perfect intuitive wisdom
as it really is:

This is not mine,
this am I not,
this is not my self.

Whatever are the habitual tendencies,
past, future, present,
subjective or objective,
gross or subtle,
mean or excellent,
whether it is far or near -
all material shape
should be seen thus
by perfect intuitive wisdom
as it really is:

This is not mine,
this am I not,
this is not my self.

Whatever is consciousness,
past, future, present,
subjective or objective,
gross or subtle,
mean or excellent,
whether it is far or near -
all material shape
should be seen thus
by perfect intuitive wisdom
as it really is:

This is not mine,
this am I not,
this is not my self.

Monks, the instructed disciple of the pure ones,
seeing thus,
disregards material shape,
disregards feeling,
disregards perception,
disregards the habitual tendencies,
disregards consciousness;
disregarding,
he is dispassionate;
through dispassion
he is freed;
in freedom
the knowledge comes to be
that he is freed,[40]
and he comprehends:

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.

Monks, such a monk[41]
is said to have lifted the barrier,[42]
and he is said to have filled the moat,
and he is said to have pulled up the pillar,
and he is said to have withdrawn the bolts,
and he is said to be a pure one,
the flag laid low,
the burden[43] dropped,
without fetters.

And how, monks, has a monk
lifted the barrier?

In this connection, monks,
ignorance is got rid of by the monk,
cut down to the roots,
made like a palm-tree stump,
made so that it can come to no [179] future existence,
not liable to rise again.

In this way, monks,
a monk comes to be
one who has lifted the barrier.

And how, monks,
does a monk come to be
one who has filled the moat?

In this connection, monks,
again-becoming,
faring on in births
come to be got rid of by a monk,
cut down to the roots,
made like a palm-tree stump,
made so that they can come to no future existence,
not liable to rise again.

In this way, monks,
a monk comes to be
one who has filled the moat.

And how, monks,
does a monk come to be
one who has pulled up the pillar?

In this connection, monks,
craving comes to be got rid of by a monk,
cut down to the roots,
made like a palm-tree stump,
made so that they can come to no future existence,
not liable to rise again.

In this way, monks, is a monk
one who has pulled up the pillar.

And how, monks,
does a monk come to be
one who has withdrawn the bolts?

In this connection, monks,
the five fetters binding to the lower (shore)
come to be got rid of by a monk,
cut down to the roots,
made like a palm-tree stump,
made so that they can come to no future existence,
not liable to rise again.

In this way, monks, does a monk come to be
one who has withdrawn the bolts.

And how, monks,
does a monk come to be
a pure one,
the flag laid low,
the burden dropped,
without fetters?

In this connection, monks,
the conceit 'I am'
comes to be got rid of by the monk,
cut down to the roots,
made like a palm-tree stump,
made so that they can come to no future existence,
not liable to rise again.

In this way, monks,
a monk comes to be
a pure one,
the flag laid low,
the burden dropped,
without fetters.

Monks, when a monk's mind is freed thus,
the devas -
those with Inda,[44]
those with Brahma,[44]
those with Pajapati,[44]
do not succeed in their search
if they think:

Tathāgata. The-that-that-got-that. Meaning one who has got arahantship. The Buddha often refers to himself as the Tathāgata, but this is not exclusive to him. It is just being used by him at these times as an impersonal self reference. 'the arahant' 'this being here'.

p.p. explains it all — p.p.

'This is the discriminative consciousness
attached[45] to a Tathāgata.'[46]

What is the reason for this?

I, monks, say here and now
that a Tathāgata is untraceable.[47]

[180] Although I, monks, am one who speaks thus,
who points out thus,
there are some recluses and brahmans
who misrepresent me untruly,
vainly,
falsely,
not in accordance with fact,
saying:

'The recluse Gotama is a nihihst,[48]
he lays down the cutting off,
the destruction,
the disappearance[49]
of the existent entity.

But as this, monks, is just what I am not,
as this is just what I do not say,
therefore these worthy recluses and brahmans
misrepresent me untruly,
vainly,
falsely,
and not in accordance with fact
when they say:

'The recluse Gotama is a nihihst,
he lays down the cutting off,
the destruction,
the disappearance
of the existent entity.'

Formerly[50] I, monks,
as well as now,
lay down simply anguish
and the stopping of anguish.

If, in regard to this, monks,
others revile,[51]
abuse,
annoy[52] the Tathāgata,
there is in the Tathāgata
no resentment,
no distress,
no dissatisfaction of mind[53]
concerning them.

If, in regard to this,[54] monks,
others revere,
esteem,
respect
and honour
the Tathāgata,
there is in the Tathāgata
no joy,
no gladness,
no elation of mind[55]
concerning them.

If, in regard to this, monks,
others revere,
esteem,
respect
and honour
the Tathāgata,
it occurs to the Tathāgata, monks, concerning them:

Yaɱ kho idaɱ pubbe pariññātaɱ tattha me evarūpā kārā karīyanti. "Whatever is now such as what ought to be done for me, is done because of earlier comprehensive knowledge." Bhks. Ñāñamoli/Bodhi have: "They perform such services as these for the sake of what had earlier come to be fully understood." Bhk. Thanissaro: "They do me such service at this that has already been comprehended." Sister Upalavana: "it is on account of what I have thoroughly understood, that they do it."

p.p. explains it all — p.p.

'This that was formerly thoroughly known,[56]
such kind of duties are to be done by me to it.'[57]

Wherefore, monks,
even if others should revile,
abuse,
annoy you,
there should be in you no resentment,
distress,
dissatisfaction of mind
concerning them.

And wherefore, monks,
even if others should revere,
esteem,
respect,
honour you,
there should not be in you joy,
gladness,
elation of mind
concerning them.

And wherefore, monks,
even if others should revere,
esteem,
respect,
honour you,
it should occur to you:

'This that was formerly thoroughly known,
such kind of duties are to be done by us to it.'

[181] Wherefore, monks,
what is not yours,
put it away.[58]

Putting it away
will be for a long time
for your welfare and happiness.

And what, monks, is not yours?

Material shape, monks,
is not yours;
put it away,
putting it away
will be for a long time
for your welfare and happiness.

Feeling, monks,
is not yours;
put it away,
putting it away
will be for a long time
for your welfare and happiness.

Perception, monks,
is not yours;
put it away,
putting it away
will be for a long time
for your welfare and happiness.

The habitual tendencies, monks,
is not yours;
put it away,
putting it away
will be for a long time
for your welfare and happiness.

Consciousness, monks,
is not yours;
put it away,
putting it away
will be for a long time
for your welfare and happiness.

What do you think about this,[59] monks?

If a person were to gather
or burn
or do as he pleases
with the grass,
twigs,
branches
and foliage
in this Jeta Grove,
would it occur to you:

The person is gathering us,
he is burning us,
he is doing as he pleases with us?"

"No, Lord.

What is the reason for this?

It is that this, Lord,
is not our self
nor what belongs to self."

"Even so, monks,
what is not yours,
put it away;
putting it away
will be for a long time
for your welfare and happiness.

And what, monks, is not yours?

Material shape, monks,
is not yours;
put it away,
putting it away
will be for a long time
for your welfare and happiness.

Feeling, monks,
is not yours;
put it away,
putting it away
will be for a long time
for your welfare and happiness.

Perception, monks,
is not yours;
put it away,
putting it away
will be for a long time
for your welfare and happiness.

The habitual tendencies, monks,
is not yours;
put it away,
putting it away
will be for a long time
for your welfare and happiness.

Consciousness, monks,
is not yours;
put it away,
putting it away
will be for a long time
for your welfare and happiness.

Thus, monks, is dhamma well taught by me,
made manifest,
opened up,
made known,
stripped of its swathings.

Because dhamma has been well taught by me thus,
made manifest,
opened up,
made known,
stripped of its swathings,
those monks who are perfected ones,
the cankers destroyed,
who have lived the life,
done what was to be done,
laid down the burden,
attained their own goal,
the fetter of becoming utterly destroyed,
and who are freed by perfect profound knowledge -
the track of these cannot be discerned.

Thus, monks, is dhamma well taught by me,
made manifest,
opened up,
made known,
stripped of its swathings.

Because dhamma has been well taught by me thus,
made manifest,
opened up,
made known,
stripped of its swathings,
those monks in whom
the five fetters binding the lower (shore)
are got rid of -
all these[60] are of spontaneous [182] uprising,
they are attainers of utter nibbāna there,
not liable to return from that world.[61]

Thus, monks, is dhamma well taught by me,
made manifest,
opened up,
made known,
stripped of its swathings.

Because dhamma has been well taught by me thus,
made manifest,
opened up,
made known,
stripped of its swathings,
those monks in whom
the three fetters are got rid of,
in whom attachment,
aversion
and confusion are reduced,
all these are once-retumers
who, having come back to this world once,
will make an end of anguish.

Thus, monks, is dhamma well taught by me,
made manifest,
opened up,
made known,
stripped of its swathings.

Because dhamma has been well taught by me thus,
made manifest,
opened up,
made known,
stripped of its swathings,
those monks in whom
the three fetters are got rid of,
all these are stream-attainers
who, not liable to the Downfall,
are assured,
bound for awakening.

Thus, monks, is dhamma well taught by me,
made manifest,
opened up,
made known,
stripped of its swathings.

Because dhamma has been well taught by me thus,
made manifest,
opened up,
made known,
stripped of its swathings,
all those monks
who are striving for dhamma,
striving for faith[62]
are bound for awakening.

Thus, monks, is dhamma well taught by me,
made manifest,
opened up,
made known,
stripped of its swathings.

Because dhamma has been well taught by me thus,
made manifest,
opened up,
made known,
stripped of its swathings,
all those who have enough faith in me,
enough affection,
are bound for heaven."[63]

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

Discourse on the Parable of the Water-snake:
The Second

 


[1] This episode also at Vin. ii. 25, iv. 133 ff. For notes, etc. see B.D. iii. 21 ff.

[2] As at M. i. 233.

[3] Vin. iv. 134 reads "are things that are stumbling-blocks called stumbling-blocks by the Lord."

[4] Cf. following with M. i. 364 f.

[5] To here = Vin. iv. 133-35, with the difference that in Vin. Gotama does not summon Ariṭṭha to speak to him, but convenes an Order and questions him there.

[6] usmīkata, as at M. i. 258. MA. ii. 104 "has he the least glimmering of knowledge, ñaṇusmā?"

[7] Stock passage. MA. ii. 106 says "in prose and verse" refers to Vinaya and various Suttas in the Suttanipāta.

[8] veyyākaraṇa is explained as Abhidhamma.

[9] MA. ii. 106: Thag-thīg, and Dhp. and part of the Sn.

[10] Cūla- and Mahā-vedalla Suttas, Sammadiṭṭhi, Sakkapañha, Sankhārabhājanīya and Mahāpuṇṇama Suttas.

[11] Cf. A. ii. 26. [? or the next?]

[12] Quoted DA. i. 21. Asl. 23.

[13] alagadda = āsivisa, MA. ii. 107.

[14] Lit.; he might hold it back well held back.

[15] ajapada, cleft like a goat's hoof.

[16] Referred to at MA. i. 260.

[17] MA. ii. 109 defines these words in accordance with definitions given at Vin. iii. 263, iv. 63.

[18] Cf. S. iv. 174 for this symbolism.

[19] MA. ii. 109 says that the Lord makes us get rid of the desire and passion for calm and for insight; and in regard to the former the Comy. quotes M. i. 456, "I speak of getting rid of the plane of neither-perception-nor-non-perception"; and in regard to the latter it quotes M. i. 260, "Even if this view of yours is purified thus, do not cling to it."

[20] Such as Ariṭṭha's; MA. ii 109.

[21] diṭṭhiṭṭhānāni. Cf. A. v. 198. MA. ii. 110 says, "There is view and the (harm of view; both the cause of view and the result of view."

[22] As at M. i. 1, 7, etc.

[23] Through desire, pride, false view respectively.

[24] muta. The fields of sight and hearing are separately mentioned; muta refers to the fields of smell, taste and touch, so MA. ii. 110, with which cf. definition of muta at Vin. iv. 2.

[25] so loko so attā, meaning, I think, that what is the world, that is the self, thus identifying them. The "world" at S. iv. 97 is the world of the senses and as such is impermanent, ill, not the self. See MA. ii. 110 which quotes M. iii. 17: rūpam attato samanupassati, he regards material shapes from the point of view of self. Or so may stand for "I," as below; thus we would get: "I the world, I the self."

[26] Having gone to a world beyond, MA. ii. 110.

[27] so =so aham.

[28] asati = avijjamāne, being inexistent, untrue, MA. ii. 111.

[29] MA. ii. 111, will not be disturbed by fear and craving.

[30] Externally, in the loss of requisites, MA. ii. 111.

[31] Valuables, vehicles, mounts, gold, MA. ii. 111.

[32] MA. ii. 111, it is taken by rajahs or thieves or it is burnt or carried away by water; cf. M. i. 86.

[33] MA. ii. 112 cites S. iii. 55 ff. no c'assaɱ no ca me siyā," had it not been it were not mine." Cf. Ud. 66.

[34] Cf. S. iii. 127; also S. iii. 67; Vin. i. 13.

[35] MA. ii. 113, "If there is an I, there is a mine; if there is a mine, there is an I. So (the two) would become joined."

[36] anupalabbhamāne, either: not to be known, or, not-existing. Cf. Sn. 858: in him there exists (or is to be found) neither attaɱ nor nirattaɱ.

[37] As at Vin. i. 14. Cf. S. iv. 34, iii. 66, 82-3; also M. iii. 282.

[38] MA. ii. 113, "inasmuch as having been, it is not (now), therefore it is impermanent, and for these four reasons: because of uprising and decaying, temporariness, and being the opposite of permanence."

[39] MA ii. 113, "Not-self for four reasons: because it is empty, has no owner, has no master, and because it is the opposite of Self."

[40] MA. ii. 115, "Here dispassion is the Way ... he is freed by the dispassionate Way."

[41] This passage also at A. iii. 84.

[42] Dhp. 398.

[43] See S. iii. 25 on the burden and its bearer.

[44] Mentioned in different context at D. i. 244. Sa-Indadeve sa-Brahmake at D. ii. 261; sa-Inda-deva sa-Pajāpaṭika at D. ii. 274. Inda at D. iii. 204, Sn. 310, 316, 679. Brahma vā Indo vā pi Sujumpati at Sn. 1024.

[45] nissata, supporting, attached to, dependent on.

[46] MA. ii. 117 says here "tathāgata means both a being, satta, and the highest person, one who has destroyed the cankers." It then seems to take this back, saying there is nothing called a being in the highest meaning, and the Lord does not speak of tathāgata, satta, puggala. For the Tathāgata is untraceable. Cf. UdA. 340, which explains tathāgata by attā. Cf. S. i. 123, where Māra cannot find Godhika's discriminative consciousness, viññāṇa.ananuvejja. Cf. Dhp. 179; Mūn. 73.

[47] ananuvejja. Cf. Dhp. 179; Miln. 73.

[48] venayika, a leader away, avetter, diverter. MA. ii. 117 says he removes, he causes destruction.

[49] vibhava, or extirpation, annihilation.

[50] As early as the First Utterance, called the Rolling of the Dhamma-wheel.

[51] MA. ii. 118, with the ten ways of reviling or cursing. These are given at Jā. i. 191, DhA. i. 212, SnA. 342. See B.D. ii. 171, n. 3 and p. 173 for the ten kinds of omamvāda, insulting speech.

[52] MA. ii. 118 reads rosenti vihesanti, annoy, vex.

[53] As at D. i. n. 3; A. i. 79.

[54] I.e. the teaching on anguish.

[55] As at D. i. 3.

[56] MA. ii. 118 refers this to the five khandhas; see Vin. i. 13 f., etc.

[57] tattha me evarūpa kārā karīyanti. MA. ii. 118 says tattha'me ti tasmiɱ khandhapañcake ime. But "'me" must be wrong, for just below when the monks are being told how to comport themselves, we get tattha no evarūpā.

[58] This passage also at S. iii. 33 f.

[59] S. iii. 34 reads seyyathā pi.

[60] anāgāmino, non-returners, should, I think, be inserted after sabbe te.

[61] See above, p. 43.

[62] Defined at Pug. 15; quoted at MA. ii. 120. Cf. M. i. 226.

[63] Not literally, but "'as though,' viya, in heaven. Some say 'assured.'" MA. ii. 120 adds that the Porāṇakatheras call such a monk a lesser stream-attainer, cūḷasotāpanno. "Monk," however, is not mentioned in this clause of the text.


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