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Saŋyutta Nikaya
Nidāna Vagga
20. Opammasaŋyutta

Sutta 9

Nāgo

The Elephant

 

Translated by Mrs. Rhys Davids
Assisted by F. L. Woodward

Originally Published by
The Pali Text Society
Public Domain

 


 

[1] Thus have I heard:

The Exalted One was once staying near Savatthi at the Jeta Grove in Anathapindika's Park.

Now at that time a certain novice spent too much time among the clansmen's houses.

And the brethren admonished him not to do so.

He being spoken to said thus:-

Verily these senior brethren deem it permissible to go about among the clansmen's houses;
why then should not I?[1]

Then many of the brethren went into the presence of the Exalted One,
saluted him and sat down beside him.

So seated they told him of this.

Once upon a time, brethren,
there was a great lake in a wooded region,
and elephants dwelt by it.

They, plunging into the lake,
plucked up stalks and root-fibres of lotuses,
cleansed them well,
worked them free from mud and swallowed them.

This made in them
for beauty and strength;
there was naught therein
whence they should suffer death or mortal pain.

But following the example of those great elephants
tender baby-elephants[2] plunged into the lake,
plucked up stalks and [181] root-fibres of lotuses,
and swallowed them not cleansed,
and kneaded together all muddy.

This made in them
neither for beauty nor for strength;
there was herein whence
they came to suffer death or mortal pain.

Even so, brethren,
with us when the senior brethren rise at an early hour
and taking bowl and robe
enter village or township for alms,
there they utter the doctrine[3]
the laymen pleased with them do their duty.

They enjoy what they get
without greed or longing,
void of offence,
watchful of danger
and discerning their salvation.[4]

Thus these things make in them
for beauty and strength;
there is naught therein
whence they should come to death
or to mortal pain.

But novices, when they,
following the training of the senior brethren,
rise at an early hour,
and taking bowl and enter village or town for alms,
there they utter the doctrine.

The laity pleased with them do their duty.

The novices enjoy what they get
greedily and with longing,
committing offence,
heedless of danger
and undiscerning their salvation.

Thus these things do not make in them
for beauty or strength;
for that reason they come to death
or to mortal pain.

Wherefore, brethren,
thus must ye train yourselves: -

'We will enjoy what we get
without greed,
or longing,
or offence,
watchful of danger,
discerning our salvation'
­ even thus.

 


[1] Kim angaŋ = kiŋ kāraṇā. Comy.

[2] Called bhinkacchāpā, (chāpā = young ones), because their usual cry is 'bhing'. Comy.

[3] Jātakas or Suttas, says B., a little 'peviously' perhaps.

[4] Or escape (nissaraṇa).


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