Majjhima Nikaya


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Majjhima Nikāya
III. Upari Paṇṇāsa
2. Anupada Vagga

The Middle Length Sayings
III. The Final Fifty Discourses
2. The Division of the Uninterrupted

Sutta 115

Bahu-Dhātuka Suttaɱ

Discourse on the Manifold Elements

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

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

At one time the Lord was staying near Sāvatthī
in the Jeta Grove in Anāthapiṇḍika'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:

"Whatever fears arise, monks,
all arise for the fool,
not the wise man.

Whatever troubles[2] arise,
all arise for the fool,
not the wise man.

Whatever misfortunes arise,
all arise for the fool,
not the wise man.

Monks, as a spark of fire[3]
from a house thatched with rushes
or a house thatched with grass
sets fire to gabled houses
that [105] are smeared inside and out,
protected from the wind,
with bolts that are fastened,
windows that are closed,[4]
even so, monks, whatever fears arise, monks,
all arise for the fool,
not the wise man;
whatever troubles arise,
all arise for the fool,
not the wise man;
whatever misfortunes arise,
all arise for the fool,
not the wise man.

Thus, monks, it is the fool
who is beset by fear,
the wise man is not beset by fear;
the fool has trouble,
the wise man does not have trouble;
the fool has misfortune,
the wise man does not have misfortune.

Monks, there is not fear,
trouble,
misfortune
for the wise man.

Wherefore, monks, thinking,

'Investigating,
we will become wise,'

this is how you must train yourselves, monks."

 


 

When this had been said,
the venerable Ānanda, spoke thus to the Lord:

"What is the stage at which it suffices to say, revered sir:

'Investigating, the monk is wise'?"

"Ānanda, as soon as a monk is skilled in the elements
and skilled in the (sense-)fields
and skilled in conditioned genesis
and skilled in the possible and the impossible,[5]
it is at this stage, Ānanda,
that it suffices to say,
'Investigating, the monk is wise.'"

 


 

"But, revered sir, at what stage
does it suffice to say,

'The monk is skilled in the elements'?"

"There are these eighteen elements,[6] Ānanda:

the element of eye,
the element of material shape,
the element of visual consciousness;

the element of ear,
the element of sound,
the element of auditory consciousness;

the element of nose,
the element of smell,
the element of olfactory consciousness;

the element of tongue,
the element of taste,
the element of gustatory consciousness;

the element of body,
the element of touch,
the element of bodily consciousness;

the element of mind,
the element of mental states,
the element of mental consciousness.

When, Ānanda, he knows and sees these eighteen elements,
it is at this stage
that it suffices to say,
'The monk is skilled in the elements.'"

"Might there be another way also, revered sir,
according to which it suffices to say,
'The monk is skilled in the elements'?"

"There might be, Ānanda.

There are these six elements, Ānanda:

the element of extension,
the element of cohesion,
the element of radiation,
the element of mobility,[7]
the element of space,
the element of consciousness.[8]

When, Ānanda, he knows and sees [106] these six elements,
it is at this stage
that it suffices to say,
'The monk is skilled in the elements.'"

"Might there be another way also, revered sir,
according to which it suffices to say,

'The monk is skilled in the elements'?"

"There might be, Ānanda.

There are these six elements, Ānanda:

the element of happiness,
the element of anguish,
the element of gladness,
the element of sorrowing,
the element of equanimity,
the element of Ignorance.[9]

When, Ãnanda, he knows and sees these six elements,
it is at this stage
that it suffices to say,
'The monk is skilled in the elements.'"

"Might there be another way also, revered sir,
according to which it suffices to say,

'The monk is skilled in the elements'?"

"There might be, Ānanda.

There are these six elements, Ānanda:

the element of sensuous pleasures,
the element of renunciation,
the element of malice,
the element of non-malice,
the element of harming,
the element of non-harming.[10]

When, Ānanda, he knows and sees these six elements,
it is at this stage
that it suffices to say,
'The monk is skilled in the elements.'"

"Might there be another way also, revered sir,
according to which it suffices to say,

'The monk is skilled in the elements'?"

"There might be, Ānanda.

There are these three elements, Ānanda:

the element of sensuous pleasures,
the element of fine-materiality,
the element of non-materiality.[11]

When, Ānanda, he knows and sees these three elements,
it is at this stage
that it suffices to say,
'The monk is skilled in the elements.'"

"Might there be another way, revered sir,
according to which it suffices to say,

'The monk is skilled in the elements'?"

"There might be, Ānanda.

There are these two elements, Ānanda:

the element that is constructed[12]
and the element that is unconstructed.

When, Ānanda, he knows and sees these two elements,
it is at this stage
that it suffices to say,
'The monk is skilled in the elements.'"

 


 

"At what stage, revered sir,
does it suffice to say,

'The monk is skilled in the (sense-)fields'?"

"These six (sense-)fields, Ānanda,
are internal-external:

the eye [107] as well as material shape;
the ear as well as sound;
the nose as well as smell;
the tongue as well as taste;
the body as well as touch;
the mind as well as mental states.

When, Ānanda, he knows and sees these six internal-external (sense-)fields,
it is at this stage
that it suffices to say,
'The monk is skilled in the (sense-)fields.'"

 


 

"And at what stage, revered sir,
does it suffice to say,

'The monk is skilled in conditioned genesis'?"

"As to this, Ānanda, a monk knows thus:

'If this is,
that comes to be;
from the arising of this,
that arises;

if this is not,
that does not come to be;
from the stopping of this,
that is stopped.

That is to say:

Conditioned by ignorance are the (karma-)formations;[13]
conditioned by the (karma-)formations is consciousness;
conditioned by consciousness is name-and-shape;
conditioned by name-and-shape is the field of the six (senses);
conditioned by the field of the six (senses) is (sensory) impingement;
conditioned by (sensory) impingement is feeling;
conditioned by feeling is craving;
conditioned by craving is grasping;
conditioned by grasping is becoming;
conditioned by becoming is birth;
conditioned by birth there come into being
old age and dying,
grief,
sorrow,
suffering,
lamentation
and despair.

Thus is the origin
of this whole mass of anguish.

But from the utter fading away and stopping
of this very ignorance
is the stopping of the (karma-)formations;
from the stopping of the (karma-)formations
is the stopping of consciousness;
from the stopping of consciousness
is the stopping of name-and-shape;
from the stopping of name-and-shape
is the stopping of the field of the six (senses);
from the stopping of the field of the six (senses)
is the stopping of (sensory) impingement;
from the stopping of (sensory) impingement
is the stopping of feeling;
from the stopping of feeling
is the stopping of craving;
from the stopping of craving
is the stopping of grasping;
from the stopping of grasping
is the stopping of becoming;
from the stopping of becoming
is the stopping of birth;
from the stopping of birth,
old age and dying,
grief,
sorrow,
suffering,
lamentation
and despair
are stopped.

Thus is the stopping
of this whole mass of anguish.'

It is at that stage, Ānanda,
that it suffices to say,
'The monk is skilled in conditioned genesis.'"

"And at what stage, revered sir,
does it suffice to say,

'The monk is skilled in the possible and the impossible'?"

"As to this, Ānanda, a monk comprehends:

'It is impossible,
it cannot come to pass[14]
that a man possessed of (right) view
should [108] go to any construction[15]
as permanent -
this situation does not occur.'

He comprehends:

'But this situation occurs
when an average man
might go to some construction
as permanent -
this situation occurs.'

He comprehends:

'It is impossible,
it cannot come to pass
that a man possessed of (right) view
should go to any construction
as happy -
this situation does not occur.'

He comprehends:

'But this situation occurs
when an average man
might go to some construction
as happy -
this situation occurs.'

He comprehends:

'It is impossible,
it cannot come to pass
that a man possessed of (right) view
should go to any dhamma
as self -
this situation does not occur.'

He comprehends:

'But this situation occurs
when an average man
might go to some dhamma
as self -
this situation occurs.'

He comprehends:

'It is impossible,
it cannot come to pass
that a man possessed of (right) view
should deprive his mother of life -
this situation does not occur.'

He comprehends:

'But this situation occurs
when an average man
might deprive his mother of life -
this situation occurs.'

He comprehends:

'It is impossible,
it cannot come to pass
that a man possessed of (right) view
should deprive his father of life -
this situation does not occur.'

He comprehends:

'But this situation occurs
when an average man
might deprive his father of life -
this situation occurs.'

He comprehends:

'It is impossible,
it cannot come to pass
that a man possessed of (right) view
should deprive one perfected of life -
this situation does not occur.'

He comprehends:

'But this situation occurs
when an average man
might deprive one perfected of life -
this situation occurs.'

He comprehends:

'It is impossible,
it cannot come to pass
that a man possessed of (right) view
should, with murderous intent,
draw a Tathāāgata's blood -
this situation does not occur.'

He comprehends:

'But this situation occurs
when an average man
might with murderous intent,
draw a Tathāāgata's blood -
this situation occurs.'

He comprehends:

'It is impossible,
it cannot come to pass
that a man possessed of (right) view
should cause a schism in the Order -
this situation does not occur.'

He comprehends:

'But this situation occurs
when an average man
might cause a schism in the Order -
this situation occurs.'

He comprehends:

'It is impossible,
it cannot come to pass
that a man possessed of (right) view
might proclaim another Teacher -
this situation does not occur.'

He comprehends:

'But this situation occurs
when an average man
might proclaim another Teacher -
this situation occurs.'

He com- [109] prehends:

'It is impossible,
it cannot come to pass
that in one world-system
two perfected ones
who are Fully Self-Awakened Ones
should arise simultaneously -
this situation does not occur.'

He comprehends:

'But this situation occurs
that in one world-system
one perfected one
who is a Fully Self-Awakened Ones
might arise -
this situation occurs.'

He comprehends:

'It is impossible,
it cannot come to pass
that in one world-system
two wheel-turning kings
should arise simultaneously -
this situation does not occur.'

He comprehends:

'But this situation occurs
that in one world-system
one wheel-turning king
might arise -
this situation occurs.'

He comprehends:

'It is impossible,
it cannot come to pass
that a woman who is a perfected one
could be a Fully Self-Awakened One -
this situation does not occur.'

He comprehends:

'But this situation occurs
when a man who is a perfected one
could be a Fully Self-Awakened One -
this situation occurs.'

He comprehends:

'It is impossible,
it cannot come to pass
that a woman should be a wheel-turning king -
this situation does not occur.'

He comprehends:

'But this situation occurs
when a man could be a wheel-turning king -
this situation occurs.'

He comprehends:

'It is impossible,
it cannot come to pass
that a woman could be a Sakka -
this situation does not occur.'

He comprehends:

'But this situation occurs
when a man could be a Sakka -
this situation occurs.'

He comprehends:

'It is impossible,
it cannot come to pass
that a woman could be a Māra -
this situation does not occur.'

He comprehends:

'But this situation occurs
when a man could be a Māra -
this situation occurs.'

He comprehends:

'It is impossible,
it cannot come to pass
that a woman could be a Brahmā -
this situation does not occur.'

He comprehends:

'But this situation occurs
when a man could be a Brahmā -
this situation occurs.'

He comprehends:

'It is impossible,
it cannot come to pass
that from wrong conduct in body -
there could result a fruit that was agreeable,
pleasant,
liked -
this situation does not occur.'

He comprehends:

'But this situation occurs
when from wrong conduct in body
there might result a fruit that was disagreeable,
unpleasant,
not liked -
this situation occurs.'

He comprehends:

'It is impossible,
it cannot come to pass
that from wrong conduct in speech -
there could result a fruit that was agreeable,
pleasant,
liked -
this situation does not occur.'

He comprehends:

'But this situation occurs
when from wrong conduct in speech
there might result a fruit that was disagreeable,
unpleasant,
not liked -
this situation occurs.'

He comprehends:

'It is impossible,
it cannot come to pass
that from wrong conduct in thought -
there could result a fruit that was agreeable,
pleasant,
liked -
this situation does not occur.'

He comprehends:

'But this situation occurs
when from wrong conduct in thought
there might result a fruit that was disagreeable,
unpleasant,
not liked -
this situation occurs.'

He comprehends:

'It is impossible,
it cannot come to pass
that from right conduct in body -
there could result a fruit that was disagreeable,
unpleasant,
not liked -
this situation does not occur.'

He comprehends:

'But this situation occurs
when from right conduct in body
there might result a fruit that was agreeable,
pleasant,
liked -
this situation occurs.'

He comprehends:

'It is impossible,
it cannot come to pass
that from right conduct in speech -
there could result a fruit that was disagreeable,
unpleasant,
not liked -
this situation does not occur.'

He comprehends:

'But this situation occurs
when from right conduct in speech
there might result a fruit that was agreeable,
pleasant,
liked -
this situation occurs.'

He comprehends:

'It is impossible,
it cannot come to pass
that from right conduct in thought -
there could result a fruit that was disagreeable,
unpleasant,
not liked -
this situation does not occur.'

He comprehends:

'But this situation occurs
when from right conduct in thought
there might result a fruit that was agreeable,
pleasant,
liked -
this situation occurs.'

He comprehends:

'It is impossible,
it cannot come to pass
that one who is addicted to wrong conduct in body
should, from that source,
from that condition
arise, on the breaking up of the body after dying,
in a good bourn, a heaven world -
this situation does not occur.'

He comprehends:

'But this situation occurs
that one who is addicted to wrong conduct in body
should, from that source,
from that condition
arise, on the breaking up of the body after dying,
in the sorrowful ways,
a bad bourn,
the downfall,
Niraya Hell -
this situation occurs.'

He comprehends:

'It is impossible,
it cannot come to pass
that one who is addicted to wrong conduct in speech
should, from that source,
from that condition
arise, on the breaking up of the body after dying,
in a good bourn,
a heaven world -
this situation does not occur.'

He comprehends:

'But this situation occurs
that one who is addicted to wrong conduct in speech
should, from that source,
from that condition
arise, on the breaking up of the body after dying,
in the sorrowful ways,
a bad bourn,
the downfall,
Niraya Hell -
this situation occurs.'

He comprehends:

'It is impossible,
it cannot come to pass
that one who is addicted to wrong conduct in thought
should, from that source,
from that condition
arise, on the breaking up of the body after dying,
in a good bourn,
a heaven world -
this situation does not occur.'

He comprehends:

'But this situation occurs
that one who is addicted to wrong conduct in thought
should, from that source,
from that condition
arise, on the breaking up of the body after dying,
in the sorrowful ways,
a bad bourn,
the downfall,
Niraya Hell -
this situation occurs.'

He comprehends:

'It is impossible,
it cannot come to pass
that one who is addicted to right conduct in body
should, from that source,
from that condition
arise, on [110] the breaking up of the body after dying,
in the sorrowful ways,
a bad bourn,
the downfall,
Niraya Hell -
this situation does not occur.'

He comprehends:

'But this situation occurs
that one who is addicted to right conduct in body
should, from that source,
from that condition
arise, on the breaking up of the body after dying,
in a good bourn,
a heaven world -
this situation occurs.'

He comprehends:

'It is impossible,
it cannot come to pass
that one who is addicted to right conduct in speech
should, from that source,
from that condition
arise, on the breaking up of the body after dying,
in the sorrowful ways,
a bad bourn,
the downfall,
Niraya Hell -
this situation does not occur.'

He comprehends:

'But this situation occurs
that one who is addicted to right conduct in speech
should, from that source,
from that condition
arise, on the breaking up of the body after dying,
in a good bourn,
a heaven world -
this situation occurs.'

He comprehends:

'It is impossible,
it cannot come to pass
that one who is addicted to right conduct in thought
should, from that source,
from that condition
arise, on the breaking up of the body after dying,
in the sorrowful ways,
a bad bourn,
the downfall,
Niraya Hell -
this situation does not occur.'

He comprehends:

'But this situation occurs
that one who is addicted to right conduct in thought
should, from that source,
from that condition
arise, on the breaking up of the body after dying,
in a good bourn,
a heaven world -
this situation occurs.'

It is at this stage, Ānanda,
that it suffices to say:
'The monk is skilled in the possible and the impossible.'"

When this had been said the venerable Ānanda spoke thus to the Lord:

"It is wonderful, revered sir,
it is marvellous, revered sir.

What, revered sir, is the name of this disquisition on dhamma?"

"Wherefore do you, Ānanda,
remember this disquisition on dhamma as
'the Manifold Elements',
and remember it as
'the Fourfold Circle,[16]
and remember it as
'the Mirror of dhamma',
and remember it as
'the Drum of Deathlessness',
and remember it as
'the Incomparable Victory in the Battle.'"[17]

Thus spoke the Lord.

Delighted, the venerable Ānanda rejoiced in what the Lord had said.

Discourse on the Manifold Elements:
The Fifth

 


[1] As at A. i. 101 to "Wherefore" at end of next paragraph.

[2] upaddavā, distresses; "states of absent-mindedness," C.P.D.; MA. iv. 102, anekaggatākāra.

[3] aggimukka above and at A. i. 101; v.l. -muita.

[4] See M. i. 76, ii. 8 for this description.

[5] ṭhānāṭṭhāna, the causally possible and causally impossible.

[6] Vbh. 90. On the elements, dhātu, see Vism. 484 ff.

[7] In the text vāyodhātu stands before tejodhātu. I have transposed them above so as to secure the usual sequence.

[8] As at M. iii. 31.

[9] Vbh. 85.

[10] Cf. these six at D. iii. 215, A. iii. 447, S. ii. 151, Vbh. 86.

[11] As at D. iii. 215, Iti. 45.

[12] This pair also at D. iii. 274. The "constructed," saṁkhata, is a synonym for the five khandhā; the "unconstructed" is a synonym for nibbāna, MA. iv. 106. See also Vbh. 72-73, 89, 421.

[13] See M.L.S. i, xxiv; and cf. M. i. 262-264.

[14] As at A. i. 26 ff.

[15] Perhaps meaning here a "construction," a "compounded thing" or a "conditioned thing." See above, p. 106; also M.L.S. i. Intr., p. xxiv f. Saŋkhāra and dhamma just below go together at Dhp. 277-279, the former with anicca and dukkha (sabbe saŋkhārā anicca ... dukhha) and the latter with anatta (sabbe dhammā anattā). As a category, dhamma is wider than saŋkhāra, for it inoludes the uncompounded nibbāna. This is anatta, but it is neither impermanent nor painful; on the contrary it is permanent and blissful. Everything else is impermanent and painful as well as being anatta. The force of dhamma in this context and this sense is therefore to imply and include nibbāna.

[16] Referring to the elements, (sense-)flelds, conditioned genesis, and the possible and impossible, MA. iv. 126.

[17] Cf. D. i. 46 where Ānanda is also given five titles by which he might remember the disquisition on dhamma (the Brahma-Jāla Suttanta), and where the fifth title is the same as the fifth given above: Ṭnuttaro Saṁgāmavijayo.


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