Majjhima Nikaya


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Majjhima Nikāya
III. Upari Paṇṇāsa
5. Saḷāyatana Vagga

The Middle Length Sayings
III. The Final Fifty Discourses
5. The Division of the Sixfold Sense(-field)

Sutta 146

Nandak'ovāda Suttaɱ

Discourse on an Exhortation from Nandaka

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
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[1][chlm][than][upal] Thus have I heard:

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

Then Mahāpajāpatī the Gotamid
with as many as five hundred nuns
approached the Lord;
having approached and greeted the Lord,
she stood at a respectful distance.
As she was standing at a respectful distance,
Mahāpajāpatī the Gotamid spoke thus to the Lord:

"Revered sir, [323] let the Lord exhort the nuns;
revered sir, let the Lord instruct the nuns;
revered sir, let the Lord make a talk on Dhamma for the nuns."

Now at that time the monks who were elders used to exhort the nuns in turn;
but the venerable Nandaka[1] did not want to exhort the nuns in (his) turn.[2]
So the Lord addressed the venerable Ānanda, saying:

"Ānanda, whose turn is it today to exhort the nuns by turn?"

"It is Nandaka's turn, revered sir,
to exhort the nuns by turn;
but this venerable Nandaka, revered sir,
does not want to exhort the nuns in (his) turn."

Then the Lord addressed the venerable Nandaka, saying:

"Exhort the nuns, Nandaka;
instruct the nuns, Nandaka;
do you, brahman,[3] make a talk on Dhamma for the nuns."

"Yes, revered sir," [271] answered the venerable Nandaka in assent to the Lord.

He dressed in the early morning
and, taking his bowl and robe,
entered Sāvatthī for almsfood.
When he had walked for almsfood in Sāvatthī,
on returning from the alms-gathering after the meal
he approached the King's Monastery[4] without a companion.[5]

Those nuns saw the venerable Nandaka coming in the distance,
and on seeing him they made ready a seat
and set out water for (washing) the feet.

The venerable Nandaka sat down on the seat made ready
and as he was sitting down he washed his feet.

And when those nuns had greeted the venerable Nandaka
they sat down at a respectful distance.

The venerable Nandaka spoke thus to those nuns
as they were sitting down at a respectful distance:

"Sisters, there will be a talk by way of putting questions.

Those who understand (each question) should say:
'We understand';
those who do not understand should say:
'We do not understand.'
[324] But if anyone has any doubt or perplexity
I should be questioned about it thus:
'How is this, revered sir?
What is the meaning of that?'"

"So far, revered sir, we are pleased and satisfied with the master Nandaka
in that the master Nandaka invites us."

"What do you think about this, sisters?
Is the eye permanent or impermanent?"

"Impermanent, revered sir."

"But is what is impermanent, anguish
or happiness?"

"Anguish, revered sir."

"It is right to regard that which is impermanent,
anguish and liable to alteration as,
'This is mine,
this am I,
this is my self.'?"

"No, revered sir."

"What do you think about this, sisters?
Is the ear permanent or impermanent?"

"Impermanent, revered sir."

"But is what is impermanent, anguish
or happiness?"

"Anguish, revered sir."

"It is right to regard that which is impermanent,
anguish and liable to alteration as,
'This is mine,
this am I,
this is my self.'?"

"No, revered sir."

"What do you think about this, sisters?
Is the nose permanent or impermanent?"

"Impermanent, revered sir."

"But is what is impermanent, anguish
or happiness?"

"Anguish, revered sir."

"It is right to regard that which is impermanent,
anguish and liable to alteration as,
'This is mine,
this am I,
this is my self.'?"

"No, revered sir."

"What do you think about this, sisters?
Is the tongue permanent or impermanent?"

"Impermanent, revered sir."

"But is what is impermanent, anguish
or happiness?"

"Anguish, revered sir."

"It is right to regard that which is impermanent,
anguish and liable to alteration as,
'This is mine,
this am I,
this is my self.'?"

"No, revered sir."

"What do you think about this, sisters?
Is the body permanent or impermanent?"

"Impermanent, revered sir."

"But is what is impermanent, anguish
or happiness?"

"Anguish, revered sir."

"It is right to regard that which is impermanent,
anguish and liable to alteration as,
'This is mine,
this am I,
this is my self.'?"

"No, revered sir."

"What do you think about this, sisters?
Is the mind permanent or impermanent?"

"Impermanent, revered sir."

"But is what is impermanent, anguish
or happiness?"

"Anguish, revered sir."

"It is right to [272]regard that which is impermanent,
anguish and liable to alteration as,
'This is mine,
this am I,
this is my self.'?"

"No, revered sir.

What is the reason for this?

Already, revered sir, by means of perfect intuitive wisdom
it has been well seen by us as it really is that
'These six internal sense-fields are impermanent.'"

"It is good, sisters, it is good.

For it is thus, sisters,
that by means of perfect intuitive wisdom
this is seen by an Ariyan disciple
as it really is.

What do you think about this, sisters?
Are material shapes permanent or impermanent?

"Impermanent, revered sir."

"But is what is impermanent, anguish
or happiness?"

"Anguish, revered sir."

"It is right to regard that which is impermanent,
anguish and liable to alteration as,
'This is mine,
this am I,
this is my self.'?"

"No, revered sir."

What do you think about this, sisters?
Are sounds permanent or impermanent?

"Impermanent, revered sir."

"But is what is impermanent, anguish
or happiness?"

"Anguish, revered sir."

"It is right to regard that which is impermanent,
anguish and liable to alteration as,
'This is mine,
this am I,
this is my self.'?"

"No, revered sir."

What do you think about this, sisters?
Are smells permanent or impermanent?

"Impermanent, revered sir."

"But is what is impermanent, anguish
or happiness?"

"Anguish, revered sir."

"It is right to regard that which is impermanent,
anguish and liable to alteration as,
'This is mine,
this am I,
this is my self.'?"

"No, revered sir."

What do you think about this, sisters?
Are tastes permanent or impermanent?

"Impermanent, revered sir."

"But is what is impermanent, anguish
or happiness?"

"Anguish, revered sir."

"It is right to regard that which is impermanent,
anguish and liable to alteration as,
'This is mine,
this am I,
this is my self.'?"

"No, revered sir."

What do you think about this, sisters?
Are touches permanent or impermanent?

"Impermanent, revered sir."

"But is what is impermanent, anguish
or happiness?"

"Anguish, revered sir."

"It is right to regard that which is impermanent,
anguish and liable to alteration as,
'This is mine,
this am I,
this is my self.'?"

"No, revered sir."

What do you think about this, sisters?
Are mental states permanent or impermanent?

"Impermanent, revered sir."

"But is what is impermanent, anguish
or happiness?"

"Anguish, revered sir."

"It is right to regard that which is impermanent,
anguish and liable to alteration as,
'This is mine,
this am I,
this is my self.'?"

"No, revered sir.

What is the reason for this?

Already, revered sir, by means of perfect intuitive wisdom
it has been well see by us
as it really is that
'These six external sense-fields are impermanent.'"

"It is good, sisters, it is good.

For it is thus, sisters,
that by means of perfect intuitive wisdom
this is seen by an Ariyan disciple as it really is.

What do you think about this, sisters?
Is visual consciousness permanent or impermanent?

"Impermanent, revered sir."

"But is what is impermanent, anguish
or happiness?"

"Anguish, revered sir."

"It is right to regard that which is impermanent,
anguish and liable to alteration as,
'This is mine,
this am I,
this is my self.'?"

"No, revered sir."

What do you think about this, sisters?
Is auditory consciousness permanent or impermanent?

"Impermanent, revered sir."

"But is what is impermanent, anguish
or happiness?"

"Anguish, revered sir."

"It is right to regard that which is impermanent,
anguish and liable to alteration as,
'This is mine,
this am I,
this is my self.'?"

"No, revered sir."

What do you think about this, sisters?
Is olfactory consciousness permanent or impermanent?

"Impermanent, revered sir."

"But is what is impermanent, anguish
or happiness?"

"Anguish, revered sir."

"It is right to regard that which is impermanent,
anguish and liable to alteration as,
'This is mine,
this am I,
this is my self.'?"

"No, revered sir."

What do you think about this, sisters?
Is gustatory consciousness permanent or impermanent?

"Impermanent, revered sir."

"But is what is impermanent, anguish
or happiness?"

"Anguish, revered sir."

"It is right to regard that which is impermanent,
anguish and liable to alteration as,
'This is mine,
this am I,
this is my self.'?"

"No, revered sir."

What do you think about this, sisters?
Is tactile consciousness permanent or impermanent?

"Impermanent, revered sir."

"But is what is impermanent, anguish
or happiness?"

"Anguish, revered sir."

"It is right to regard that which is impermanent,
anguish and liable to alteration as,
'This is mine,
this am I,
this is my self.'?"

"No, revered sir."

What do you think about this, sisters?
Is mental consciousness permanent or impermanent?"

"Impermanent, revered sir."

"But is what is impermanent, anguish or happiness?"

"Anguish, revered sir."

[325] "Is it right to regard that which is impermanent,
anguish and liable to alterations as
'This is mine,
this am I,
this is my self'?"

"No, revered sir.

What is the reason for this?

Already, revered sir, by means of perfect intuitive wisdom
it has been well seen by us as it really is that
'These six classes of consciousness are impermanent.'"

"It is good, sisters, it is good.

For it is thus, sisters,
that by means of perfect intuitive wisdom
this is seen by an Ariyan disciple as it really is.

It is, sisters, like the oil for lighting an oil-lamp
which is impermanent and liable to alteration,
and like the wick which is impermanent and liable to alteration,
and like the flame which is impermanent and liable to alteration,
and like the light which is impermanent and liable to alteration.

If anyone, sisters, were to speak thus:
'The oil for lighting this oil-lamp is impermanent and liable to alteration,
and the wick is impermanent and liable to alteration,
and the flame is impermanent and liable to alteration,
but that which is the light
— that is permanent, lasting, eternal, not liable to alteration,'
speaking thus sisters,
would he be speaking rightly?"

"No, revered sir.

What is the reason for this?

It is, revered sir, that
if the oil for lighting this oil-lamp be impermanent and liable to alteration,
and if the wick be impermanent and liable to alteration,
and if the flame be impermanent and liable to alteration,
all the more is the light impermanent and liable to alteration."

"Even so, sisters,
if anyone should speak thus:
'These six internal sense-fields are impermanent and liable to alteration,
but whatever pleasure or pain
or neither pain nor pleasure
is experience as a result of these six internal sense-field
— that is permanent, lasting, eternal,
not liable to alteration,'
speaking this, sisters,
would he be speaking rightly?'

"No, revered sir.

What is the reason for this?

As a result of this or that condition, revered sir,
these or those feelings arise.

[274] From the stopping of this or that condition
these or those feelings are stopped."

"It is good, sisters, it is good.

For it is thus, sisters,
that by means of perfect intuitive wisdom
this is seen by an Ariyan disciple as it really is.

It is, sisters, like the roots of a great, stable and pithy tree
which are impermanent and liable to alteration,
like the trunk
which is impermanent and liable to alteration
the branches and foliage
which are impermanent and liable to alteration,
and like the shade
which is impermanent and liable to alteration.

If anyone, sisters, were to speak thus: 'The roots of this great, stable and pithy tree
are impermanent and liable to alteration,
the trunk of this great, stable and pithy tree
are impermanent and liable to alteration,
the branches and foliage of this great, stable and pithy tree
are impermanent and liable to [326] alteration,
but that which is its shade
— that is permanent, lasting, eternal,
not liable to alteration,
speaking thus, sisters,
would he be speaking rightly?'

"No, revered sir.

What is the reason for this?

It is, revered sir, that if the roots of this great, stable and pithy tree
are impermanent and liable to alteration,
the trunk of this great, stable and pithy tree
are impermanent and liable to alteration,
the foliage and branches of this great, stable and pithy tree
are impermanent and liable to alteration,
all the more is the shade impermanent and liable to alteration."

"Even so, sisters,
if anyone should speak thus:
'These six external sense-fields
are impermanent and liable to alteration,
but whatever pleasure or pain
or neither pain nor pleasure
is experience as a result of these six external sense-fields
— that is permanent, lasting, eternal,
not liable to alteration,'
speaking thus, sisters,
would he be speaking rightly?"

"No, revered sir.

What is the reason for this?

As a result of this or that condition, revered sir,
these or those feeling arise.
From the stopping of this or that condition
these or those feelings are stopped."

"It is good, sisters, it is good.

For it is thus, sisters,
that by means of perfect intuitive wisdom
this is seen by an Ariyan disciple as it really is.

It is, sisters, as if a clever cattle-butcher
or cattle-butcher's apprentice,
having killed a cow,
should dissect the cow with a butcher's sharp knife
without spoiling the flesh within,
without spoiling the outer hide,
and with the butcher's sharp knife
should cut,
should cut around,
should cut all around
whatever tendons, sinews and ligaments there are there within;
[275] and having cut,
cut around,
cut all around
and removed the outer hide and,
having clothed that cow in that self-same hide again,
should then speak thus:
'This cow is conjoined with this hide as before.'

Speaking thus, sisters, would he be speaking rightly?"

"No, revered sir.

What is the reason for this?

Although, revered sir, that clever cattle-butcher
or cattle-butcher's apprentice,
having killed a cow
should dissect the cow with a butcher's sharp knife
without spoiling the flesh within,
without spoiling the outer hide,
and with the butcher's sharp knife
should cut,
should cut around,
should cut all around
whatever tendons, sinews and ligaments there are there within;
and having cut,
cut around,
cut all around
and removed the outer hide and,
having clothed that cow in that self-same hide again,
should then speak thus:
'This cow is conjoined with this hide as before.'
yet that cow is not conjoined with that hide."

"I have made this simile for you, sisters,
so as to illustrate the meaning.

This is the meaning here:

'The flesh within,' sisters,
is a synonym for the six internal sense-fields.

'The outer hide,' sisters,
is a synonym for the six external sense-fields.

'The tendons, sinews and ligaments within,' sisters,
is a synonym for delight and attachment.

'The butcher's sharp knife,' sisters,
is a synonym for the Ariyan intuitive wisdom,
the Ariyan intuitive wisdom by which [327] one cuts,
cuts around
and cuts all around
the inner defilement's
the inner fetters
and the inner bonds.

There are, sisters, these seven links in awakening[6]
from the development and making much of which a monk,
by the destruction of the cankers,
having here and now realized
by his own super-knowledge
the freedom of mind
and the freedom through intuitive wisdom
that are cankerless,
entering on them abides therein.

What are the seven?

Herein, sisters, a monk develops the link in awakening
that is mindfulness
and is dependent on aloofness,
dependant on detachment,
dependant on cessation,
ending in abandoning;

he develops the link in awakening
that is investigation into things
and is dependent on aloofness,
dependant on detachment,
dependant on cessation,
ending in abandoning;

he develops the link in awakening
that is energy
and is dependent on aloofness,
dependant on detachment,
dependant on cessation,
ending in abandoning;

he develops the link in awakening
that is rapture
and is dependent on aloofness,
dependant on detachment,
dependant on cessation,
ending in abandoning;

he develops the link in awakening
that is impassability
and is dependent on aloofness,
dependant on detachment,
dependant on cessation,
ending in abandoning;

he develops the link in awakening
that is concentration
and is dependent on aloofness,
dependant on detachment,
dependant on cessation,
ending in abandoning;

he develops the link in awakening
that is equanimity
and is dependent on aloofness,
dependent on detachment,
dependent on cessation,
ending in abandoning.

These, sisters, are the seven links in awakening
from the development and making much of which a monk,
by the destruction of the cankers,
having here and now realized
by his own super-knowledge
the freedom of mind
and the freedom through intuitive wisdom
that are cankerless,
entering on them abides therein.

[276] Then the venerable Nandaka,
having exhorted the nuns with this exhortation,
dismissed them, saying:

"Go, sisters, it is time."

Then these nuns,
having rejoiced in what the venerable Nandaka had said
and having given thanks,
rose from their seats,
greeted the venerable Nandaka
keeping their right sides towards him,
and approached the Lord;
having approached and greeted the Lord,
they stood at a respectful distance.

The Lord spoke thus to these nuns
as they were standing at a respectful distance:

"Go, nuns, it is time."

Then these nuns,
having greeted the Lord,
departed keeping their right sides towards him.

Not long after these nuns had departed
the Lord addressed the monks, saying:

"Monks, as on an Observance day,
a fourteenth,
there is neither doubt nor perplexity among the populace
as to whether the moon is not full[7]
or whether the moon is full,
for the moon is then not full,
even so, monks,
although these nuns were delighted with Nandaka;'s teaching on Dhamma,
their aspirations were not fulfilled."

Then the Lord addressed the venerable Nandaka, saying:

"Well [328] then, Nandaka,
you may exhort these nuns
with this same exhortation
again tomorrow."

"Yes, revered sir,"
the venerable Nandaka answered the Lord in assent.

Then the venerable Nandaka dressed in the early morning
towards the end of that night and,
taking his bowl and robe,
entered Sāvatthī for almsfood.
When he had walked for almsfood in Sāvatthī,
on returning from the alms-gathering
after the meal
he approached the King's Monastery without a companion.

Those nuns saw the venerable Nandaka coming in the distance,
and on seeing him they made ready a seat
and set out water for (washing) the feet.

The venerable Nandaka sat down on the seat made ready
and as he was sitting down he washed his feet.

And when those nuns had greeted the venerable Nandaka
they sat down at a respectful distance.

The venerable Nandaka spoke thus to those nuns
as they were sitting down at a respectful distance:

"Sisters, there will be a talk by way of putting questions.

Those who understand (each question) should say:
'We understand';
those who do not understand should say:
'We do not understand.'
But if anyone has any doubt or perplexity
I should be questioned about it thus:
'How is this, revered sir?
What is the meaning of that?'"

"So far, revered sir,
we are pleased and satisfied with the master Nandaka
in that the master Nandaka invites us."

"What do you think about this, sisters?
Is the eye permanent or impermanent?"

"Impermanent, revered sir."

"But is what is impermanent, anguish
or happiness?"

"Anguish, revered sir."

"It is right to regard that which is impermanent,
anguish and liable to alteration as,
'This is mine,
this am I,
this is my self.'?"

"No, revered sir."

"What do you think about this, sisters?
Is the ear permanent or impermanent?"

"Impermanent, revered sir."

"But is what is impermanent, anguish
or happiness?"

"Anguish, revered sir."

"It is right to regard that which is impermanent,
anguish and liable to alteration as,
'This is mine,
this am I,
this is my self.'?"

"No, revered sir."

"What do you think about this, sisters?
Is the nose permanent or impermanent?"

"Impermanent, revered sir."

"But is what is impermanent, anguish
or happiness?"

"Anguish, revered sir."

"It is right to regard that which is impermanent,
anguish and liable to alteration as,
'This is mine,
this am I,
this is my self.'?"

"No, revered sir."

"What do you think about this, sisters?
Is the tongue permanent or impermanent?"

"Impermanent, revered sir."

"But is what is impermanent, anguish
or happiness?"

"Anguish, revered sir."

"It is right to regard that which is impermanent,
anguish and liable to alteration as,
'This is mine,
this am I,
this is my self.'?"

"No, revered sir."

"What do you think about this, sisters?
Is the body permanent or impermanent?"

"Impermanent, revered sir."

"But is what is impermanent, anguish
or happiness?"

"Anguish, revered sir."

"It is right to regard that which is impermanent,
anguish and liable to alteration as,
'This is mine,
this am I,
this is my self.'?"

"No, revered sir."

"What do you think about this, sisters?
Is the mind permanent or impermanent?"

"Impermanent, revered sir."

"But is what is impermanent, anguish
or happiness?"

"Anguish, revered sir."

"It is right to regard that which is impermanent,
anguish and liable to alteration as,
'This is mine,
this am I,
this is my self.'?"

"No, revered sir.

What is the reason for this?

Already, revered sir, by means of perfect intuitive wisdom
it has been well seen by us as it really is that
'These six internal sense-fields are impermanent.'"

"It is good, sisters, it is good.

For it is thus, sisters,
that by means of perfect intuitive wisdom
this is seen by an Ariyan disciple
as it really is.

What do you think about this, sisters?
Are material shapes permanent or impermanent?

"Impermanent, revered sir."

"But is what is impermanent, anguish
or happiness?"

"Anguish, revered sir."

"It is right to regard that which is impermanent,
anguish and liable to alteration as,
'This is mine,
this am I,
this is my self.'?"

"No, revered sir."

What do you think about this, sisters?
Are sounds permanent or impermanent?

"Impermanent, revered sir."

"But is what is impermanent, anguish
or happiness?"

"Anguish, revered sir."

"It is right to regard that which is impermanent,
anguish and liable to alteration as,
'This is mine,
this am I,
this is my self.'?"

"No, revered sir."

What do you think about this, sisters?
Are smells permanent or impermanent?

"Impermanent, revered sir."

"But is what is impermanent, anguish
or happiness?"

"Anguish, revered sir."

"It is right to regard that which is impermanent,
anguish and liable to alteration as,
'This is mine,
this am I,
this is my self.'?"

"No, revered sir."

What do you think about this, sisters?
Are tastes permanent or impermanent?

"Impermanent, revered sir."

"But is what is impermanent, anguish
or happiness?"

"Anguish, revered sir."

"It is right to regard that which is impermanent,
anguish and liable to alteration as,
'This is mine,
this am I,
this is my self.'?"

"No, revered sir."

What do you think about this, sisters?
Are touches permanent or impermanent?

"Impermanent, revered sir."

"But is what is impermanent, anguish
or happiness?"

"Anguish, revered sir."

"It is right to regard that which is impermanent,
anguish and liable to alteration as,
'This is mine,
this am I,
this is my self.'?"

"No, revered sir."

What do you think about this, sisters?
Are mental states permanent or impermanent?

"Impermanent, revered sir."

"But is what is impermanent, anguish
or happiness?"

"Anguish, revered sir."

"It is right to regard that which is impermanent,
anguish and liable to alteration as,
'This is mine,
this am I,
this is my self.'?"

"No, revered sir.

What is the reason for this?

Already, revered sir, by means of perfect intuitive wisdom
it has been well see by us
as it really is that
'These six external sense-fields are impermanent.'"

"It is good, sisters, it is good.

For it is thus, sisters,
that by means of perfect intuitive wisdom
this is seen by an Ariyan disciple as it really is.

What do you think about this, sisters?
Is visual consciousness permanent or impermanent?

"Impermanent, revered sir."

"But is what is impermanent, anguish
or happiness?"

"Anguish, revered sir."

"It is right to regard that which is impermanent,
anguish and liable to alteration as,
'This is mine,
this am I,
this is my self.'?"

"No, revered sir."

What do you think about this, sisters?
Is auditory consciousness permanent or impermanent?

"Impermanent, revered sir."

"But is what is impermanent, anguish
or happiness?"

"Anguish, revered sir."

"It is right to regard that which is impermanent,
anguish and liable to alteration as,
'This is mine,
this am I,
this is my self.'?"

"No, revered sir."

What do you think about this, sisters?
Is olfactory consciousness permanent or impermanent?

"Impermanent, revered sir."

"But is what is impermanent, anguish
or happiness?"

"Anguish, revered sir."

"It is right to regard that which is impermanent,
anguish and liable to alteration as,
'This is mine,
this am I,
this is my self.'?"

"No, revered sir."

What do you think about this, sisters?
Is gustatory consciousness permanent or impermanent?

"Impermanent, revered sir."

"But is what is impermanent, anguish
or happiness?"

"Anguish, revered sir."

"It is right to regard that which is impermanent,
anguish and liable to alteration as,
'This is mine,
this am I,
this is my self.'?"

"No, revered sir."

What do you think about this, sisters?
Is tactile consciousness permanent or impermanent?

"Impermanent, revered sir."

"But is what is impermanent, anguish
or happiness?"

"Anguish, revered sir."

"It is right to regard that which is impermanent,
anguish and liable to alteration as,
'This is mine,
this am I,
this is my self.'?"

"No, revered sir."

What do you think about this, sisters?
Is mental consciousness permanent or impermanent?"

"Impermanent, revered sir."

"But is what is impermanent, anguish or happiness?"

"Anguish, revered sir."

"Is it right to regard that which is impermanent,
anguish and liable to alterations as
'This is mine,
this am I,
this is my self'?"

"No, revered sir.

What is the reason for this?

Already, revered sir, by means of perfect intuitive wisdom
it has been well seen by us as it really is that
'These six classes of consciousness are impermanent.'"

"It is good, sisters, it is good.

For it is thus, sisters,
that by means of perfect intuitive wisdom
this is seen by an Ariyan disciple as it really is.

It is, sisters, like the oil for lighting an oil-lamp
which is impermanent and liable to alteration,
and like the wick which is impermanent and liable to alteration,
and like the flame which is impermanent and liable to alteration,
and like the light which is impermanent and liable to alteration.

If anyone, sisters, were to speak thus:
'The oil for lighting this oil-lamp is impermanent and liable to alteration,
and the wick is impermanent and liable to alteration,
and the flame is impermanent and liable to alteration,
but that which is the light
— that is permanent, lasting, eternal, not liable to alteration,'
speaking thus sisters,
would he be speaking rightly?"

"No, revered sir.

What is the reason for this?

It is, revered sir, that
if the oil for lighting this oil-lamp be impermanent and liable to alteration,
and if the wick be impermanent and liable to alteration,
and if the flame be impermanent and liable to alteration,
all the more is the light impermanent and liable to alteration."

"Even so, sisters,
if anyone should speak thus:
'These six internal sense-fields are impermanent and liable to alteration,
but whatever pleasure or pain
or neither pain nor pleasure
is experience as a result of these six internal sense-field
— that is permanent, lasting, eternal,
not liable to alteration,'
speaking this, sisters,
would he be speaking rightly?'

"No, revered sir.

What is the reason for this?

As a result of this or that condition, revered sir,
these or those feelings arise.

[274] From the stopping of this or that condition
these or those feelings are stopped."

"It is good, sisters, it is good.

For it is thus, sisters,
that by means of perfect intuitive wisdom
this is seen by an Ariyan disciple as it really is.

It is, sisters, like the roots of a great, stable and pithy tree
which are impermanent and liable to alteration,
like the trunk
which is impermanent and liable to alteration
the branches and foliage
which are impermanent and liable to alteration,
and like the shade
which is impermanent and liable to alteration.

If anyone, sisters, were to speak thus: 'The roots of this great, stable and pithy tree
are impermanent and liable to alteration,
the trunk of this great, stable and pithy tree
are impermanent and liable to alteration,
the branches and foliage of this great, stable and pithy tree
are impermanent and liable to alteration,
but that which is its shade
— that is permanent, lasting, eternal,
not liable to alteration,
speaking thus, sisters,
would he be speaking rightly?'

"No, revered sir.

What is the reason for this?

It is, revered sir, that if the roots of this great, stable and pithy tree
are impermanent and liable to alteration,
the trunk of this great, stable and pithy tree
are impermanent and liable to alteration,
the foliage and branches of this great, stable and pithy tree
are impermanent and liable to alteration,
all the more is the shade impermanent and liable to alteration."

"Even so, sisters,
if anyone should speak thus:
'These six external sense-fields
are impermanent and liable to alteration,
but whatever pleasure or pain
or neither pain nor pleasure
is experience as a result of these six external sense-fields
— that is permanent, lasting, eternal,
not liable to alteration,'
speaking thus, sisters,
would he be speaking rightly?"

"No, revered sir.

What is the reason for this?

As a result of this or that condition, revered sir,
these or those feeling arise.
From the stopping of this or that condition
these or those feelings are stopped."

"It is good, sisters, it is good.

For it is thus, sisters,
that by means of perfect intuitive wisdom
this is seen by an Ariyan disciple as it really is.

It is, sisters, as if a clever cattle-butcher
or cattle-butcher's apprentice,
having killed a cow,
should dissect the cow with a butcher's sharp knife
without spoiling the flesh within,
without spoiling the outer hide,
and with the butcher's sharp knife
should cut,
should cut around,
should cut all around
whatever tendons, sinews and ligaments there are there within;
and having cut,
cut around,
cut all around
and removed the outer hide and,
having clothed that cow in that self-same hide again,
should then speak thus:
'This cow is conjoined with this hide as before.'

Speaking thus, sisters, would he be speaking rightly?"

"No, revered sir.

What is the reason for this?

Although, revered sir, that clever cattle-butcher
or cattle-butcher's apprentice,
having killed a cow
should dissect the cow with a butcher's sharp knife
without spoiling the flesh within,
without spoiling the outer hide,
and with the butcher's sharp knife
should cut,
should cut around,
should cut all around
whatever tendons, sinews and ligaments there are there within;
and having cut,
cut around,
cut all around
and removed the outer hide and,
having clothed that cow in that self-same hide again,
should then speak thus:
'This cow is conjoined with this hide as before.'
yet that cow is not conjoined with that hide."

"I have made this simile for you, sisters,
so as to illustrate the meaning.

This is the meaning here:

'The flesh within,' sisters,
is a synonym for the six internal sense-fields.

'The outer hide,' sisters,
is a synonym for the six external sense-fields.

'The tendons, sinews and ligaments within,' sisters,
is a synonym for delight and attachment.

'The butcher's sharp knife,' sisters,
is a synonym for the Ariyan intuitive wisdom,
the Ariyan intuitive wisdom by which one cuts,
cuts around
and cuts all around
the inner defilement's
the inner fetters
and the inner bonds.

There are, sisters, these seven links in awakening
from the development and making much of which a monk,
by the destruction of the cankers,
having here and now realized
by his own super-knowledge
the freedom of mind
and the freedom through intuitive wisdom
that are cankerless,
entering on them abides therein.

What are the seven?

Herein, sisters, a monk develops the link in awakening
that is mindfulness
and is dependent on aloofness,
dependant on detachment,
dependant on cessation,
ending in abandoning;

he develops the link in awakening
that is investigation into things
and is dependent on aloofness,
dependant on detachment,
dependant on cessation,
ending in abandoning;

he develops the link in awakening
that is energy
and is dependent on aloofness,
dependant on detachment,
dependant on cessation,
ending in abandoning;

he develops the link in awakening
that is rapture
and is dependent on aloofness,
dependant on detachment,
dependant on cessation,
ending in abandoning;

he develops the link in awakening
that is impassability
and is dependent on aloofness,
dependant on detachment,
dependant on cessation,
ending in abandoning;

he develops the link in awakening
that is concentration
and is dependent on aloofness,
dependant on detachment,
dependant on cessation,
ending in abandoning;

he develops the link in awakening
that is equanimity
and is dependent on aloofness,
dependent on detachment,
dependent on cessation,
ending in abandoning.

These, sisters, are the seven links in awakening
from the development and making much of which a monk,
by the destruction of the cankers,
having here and now realized
by his own super-knowledge
the freedom of mind
and the freedom through intuitive wisdom
that are cankerless,
entering on them abides therein.

Then the venerable Nandaka,
having exhorted the nuns with this exhortation,
dismissed them, saying:

"Go, sisters, it is time."

Then these nuns,
having rejoiced in what the venerable Nandaka had said
and having given thanks,
rose from their seats,
greeted the venerable Nandaka
keeping their right sides towards him,
and approached the Lord;
having approached and greeted the Lord,
they stood at a respectful distance.

The Lord spoke thus to these nuns
as they were standing at a respectful distance:

"Go, nuns, it is time."

Then these nuns,
having greeted the Lord,
departed keeping their right sides towards him.

Not long after these nuns had departed
the Lord addressed the monks, saying:

"Monks, as on an Observance day,
a fifteenth,
there is neither doubt nor perplexity among the populace
as to whether the moon is not full
or whether the moon is full,
for the moon is then quite full,
even so, monks, these nuns were delighted with Nandaka's teaching on Dhamma
and their aspirations were fulfilled.

She who is the last nun[8] of these five hundred nuns is a stream-attainer,
not liable to the Downfall;
she is assured, bound for self-awakening."

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

 


[1] At A. i. 25 he is called foremost of those who exhort nuns. Verses at Thag. 279-282. MA. v. 93-94 says that in a former life he had been head of 500 slaves and Mahāpajāpatī of 500 women slaves, and they were husband and wife. In this life the women were born as her companions and went forth with her.

[2] This was because in a previous birth he had been a king and they his concubines. He feared that anyone with recollection of former "habitations" would know this, and accuse him of wanting to see his former companions again.

[3] A term of high regard. The Buddha knew that only Nandaka could liberate the nuns.

[4]Rājakārāma, built by Pasenadi to the south of the city, corresponding to the Thūpārāma, (at Anurādhapura), MA. v. 96. See Jā. ii. 15 and D.P.P.N.

[5]attadutiya, with oneself for companion, i.e. alone; see C.P.D.

[6] As at M. iii. 88. They are spoken of here according to MA. v. 96-97 because wisdom alone, without the seven links in awakening, is unable to cut off the defilements.

[7] ūno chando, i.e.. one day less than full; the fifteenth being the day of the full moon.

[8] The last of all in so far as excellent qualities, guṇa, are concerned is a stream-attainer; the others are once-returners, non-returners and those whose cankers are destroyed, MA. v. 97.

 


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