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Saɱyutta Nikāya,
V: Mahā-Vagga
47. Satipaṭṭhana Saɱyutta
1. Ambapāli-Vagga

Sutta 7

The Book of the Kindred Sayings
The Great Chapter,
47: Kindred Sayings on the Stations of Mindfulness
Chapter I: Ambapālī

Makkaṭa Suttaɱ

The Monkey[1]

Translated by F. L. Woodward

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[1][bodh][than][olen] THUS have I heard:

Once the Exalted One was staying near Sāvatthī, at Jeta Grove, in Anāthapiṇḍika's Park.

Then the Exalted One addressed the monks,
saying:

"Monks."

"Yes, lord," replied those monks to the Exalted One.

The Exalted One said:

"In Himalaya, king of mountains, monks,
there is a tract of land
that is rough and hard to cross,
where neither monkeys nor humans do resort.

Likewise there is a tract of land
where monkeys do resort,
but not humans.

There are tracts, monks, in Himalaya,
tracts of level country,
delightful spots,
where both monkeys and humans do resort.

In those spots, monks,
a hunter[2] sets a trap of pitch[13]
in the monkeys' tracks
to catch the monkeys.

Now those monkeys who are free from folly and greed,
on seeing that pitch-trap
keep far away from it.

But a greedy, foolish monkey
comes up to the pitch
and handles it with one paw,
and his paw sticks fast in it.

Then, thinking:

'I'll free my paw,'

The trap is a post covered with tar. The Monkey to free his one hand does not grab the one hand with the other, but pushes on the post hoping that with that leverage he will free his stuck hand, but that sticks too. In this way the other appendages also get stuck. Woodward's 'grabs it' and 'grabs them' referring to the limbs, not the trap, breaks down when it is the head that gets stuck. And further grabing the one hand with the other would not necessarily result in the second hand getting stuck and might even give the monkey strength enough to free the hand. And how could even a monkey grab both hands with one foot? Etc.

p.p. explains it all — p.p.

he seizes it with the other paw:
but that too sticks fast.

To free both paws
he seizes them with one foot,
and that too sticks fast.

To free both paws
and the one foot,
he lays hold of them
with the other foot:
but that too sticks fast.

To free both paws and both feet
he lays hold of them
with his muzzle:
but that too sticks fast.

So that monkey
thus trapped in five ways[4]
lies down and howls,[5]
thus fallen on misfortune,
fallen on ruin,
a prey for the hunter,
to work his will upon him.

So the hunter spits him
and prepares him (for eating) there and then
over a charcoal fire,[6]
and goes off at his pleasure.

Just so it is, monks,
with one who roams in wrong pastures
that belong to others.

Wherefore do not ye so roam.

For to [128] those, monks, who so roam
Māra gets access,
Māra gets opportunity.

And what, monks, is not one's own range,
but belongs to others?

It is the five sensual elements.

What five?

There are, monks, objects cognizable by the eye,
objects desirable,
pleasant,
delightful
and dear,
passion-fraught,
inciting to lust.

There are sounds cognizable by the ear
sounds desirable,
pleasant,
delightful
and dear,
passion-fraught,
inciting to lust.

There are scents cognizable by the nose
scents desirable,
pleasant,
delightful
and dear,
passion-fraught,
inciting to lust.

There are savours cognizable by the tongue
savours desirable,
pleasant,
delightful
and dear,
passion-fraught,
inciting to lust.

There are tangibles cognizable by the body
tangibles desirable,
pleasant,
delightful
and dear,
passion-fraught,
inciting to lust.

This, monks, is not one's own range
but belongs to others.

Do ye range your own pasture-ground.

Keep to your own native beat.

To those who range their own pasture-ground,
who keep their own native beat,
Māra gets no access,
Māra gets no opportunity of them.

And what is a monk's own pasture-ground?

What is his own native beat?

It is the four stations of mindfulness.

What four?

Herein a monk dwells as regards body contemplating body
(as transient),
ardent,
composed
and mindful,
having restrained the dejection in the world
that arising from coveting.

He dwells as regards feelings contemplating feelings
(as transient),
ardent,
composed
and mindful,
having restrained the dejection in the world
arising from coveting.

He dwells as regards mind contemplating mind
(as transient),
ardent,
composed
and mindful,
having restrained the dejection in the world
arising from coveting.

He dwells as regards mind-states contemplating mind-states
(as transient),
ardent,
composed
and mindful,
having restrained the dejection in the world
arising from coveting.

This, monks, is a monk's own pasture-ground,
this is his native beat.

 


[1] Translated Buddh. Psych., p. 35, where the resemblance to Brer Rabbit and the Tar Baby is pointed out.

[2] Here text and Sinh. MSS. have plural. Comy. and Burmese MSS. singular.

[3] Lepa, apparently a sort of bird-lime or plaster. Comy. says it is made from vaṭa,-khīra-rukkhā (fig-and-sap-tree), etc. So it may include pitch and tar.

[4] Pañc'oḍḍito (Comy. uḍḍito), strung up for carrying on a pole or pingo.

[5] Text thunaŋ seti. Comy. thanaŋ-thananto.

[6] Text is doubtful here. Sinh. MSS. would seem to mean 'trussing him up and carrying him off on a stick.' Comy. has no remark.


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