Majjhima Nikaya


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The Pali is transliterated as Velthuis (aaiiuu.m'n~n.t.d.n.l). Alternatives:
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German translation

Majjhima Nikaaya
II. Majjhima-Pa.n.naasa
1. Gahapati Vagga

The Middle Length Sayings
II. The Middle Fifty Discourses
1. The Division on Householders

Sutta 52

A.t.thaka-Naagara Sutta.m[1]

Discourse to a Citizen of A.t.thaka

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

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[349] [14]

[1][ati][upal] THUS have I heard:

At one time the venerable Aananda was staying near Vesaali in Beluva hamlet.[2]

Now at that time the householder Dasama of A.t.thaka had arrived in Paataliputta on some business or other.

Then the householder Dasama of A.t.thaka approached a monk in Cock's monastery[3]; having approached, having greeted that monk, he sat down at a respectful distance.

As he was sitting down at a respectful distance the householder Dasama of A.t.thaka spoke thus to that monk:

"Revered sir, where is the venerable Aananda staying at present, for we are anxious to see the venerable Aananda?"

"Householder, the venerable Aananda is staying near Vesaalii in Beluva hamlet."

[15] Then the householder Dasama of A.t.thaka, having concluded his business in Paataliputta, approached the venerable Aananda in Beluva hamlet; having approached, having greeted the venerable Aananda, he sat down at a respectful distance.

As he was sitting down at a respectful distance, the householder Dasama of A.t.thaka spoke thus to the venerable Aananda:

"Now is there, revered Aananda, any one thing pointed out by that Lord who knows, who sees, perfected one, fully Self-Awakened One, [350]whereby if a monk dwell diligent, ardent, self-resolute, his mind, not (yet) freed, is freed; or the cankers, not (yet) completely destroyed, go to complete destruction; or he attains that matchless security from the bonds, not (yet) attained?"

"There is one thing, householder, pointed out by that Lord who knows, who sees, perfected one, fully Self-Awakened one, whereby if a monk dwell diligent, ardent, self-resolute, his mind not (yet) freed, is freed; and also the cankers, not (yet) completely destroyed, go to complete destruction; and, too, he attains the matchless security from the bonds, not (yet) attained."

"But what, revered Aananda, is this one thing pointed out by the Lord who knows, who sees, perfected one, fully Self-Awakened one, whereby if a monk dwell diligent, ardent, self-resolute, his mind not (yet) freed, is freed; and also the cankers, not (yet) completely destroyed, go to complete destruction; and, too, he attains the matchless security from the bonds, not (yet) attained?"

"As to this, householder, a monk,
aloof from the pleasures of the senses,
aloof from unskilled states of mind,
entering into the first meditation
which is accompanied by initial thought
and discursive thought,
is born of aloofness,
and is rapturous and joyful,
abides in it.

He reflects on this and comprehends:

'This first meditation is effected and thought out.[4]

But whatever is effected and thought out, that is impermanent, it is liable to stopping.'

Firm in this, he attains the destruction of the cankers.

If he does not attain the destruction of the cankers, then by this attachment to Dhamma, by this delight in Dhamma, by the destruction of the five fetters binding to this lower (shore), he is of spontaneous uprising, one who attains nibbaana there, not liable to return from that world.

This, householder, is one thing pointed out by the Lord who knows, who sees, perfected one, fully Self-Awakened one, whereby if a monk dwell diligent, ardent, self-resolute, his mind not (yet) freed, is freed; and also the cankers, not (yet) completely destroyed, go to complete destruction; and, too, he attains the matchless security from the bonds, not (yet) attained.

And again, householder, a monk,
by allaying initial and discursive thought,
his mind subjectively tranquillised
and fixed on one point,
enters on
and abides in
the second meditation
which is devoid of initial and discursive thought,
is born of concentration
and is rapturous and joyful.

He reflects on this and comprehends:

'This second meditation is also effected and thought out.

But whatever is effected and thought out, that is impermanent, it is liable to stopping.'

[16] Firm in this, he attains the destruction of the cankers.

If he does not attain the destruction of the cankers, then by this attachment to Dhamma, by this delight in Dhamma, by the destruction of the five fetters binding to this lower (shore), he is of spontaneous uprising, one who attains nibbaana there, not liable to return from that world.

This, householder, is one thing pointed out by the Lord who knows, who sees, perfected one, fully Self-Awakened one, [351] whereby if a monk dwell diligent, ardent, self-resolute, his mind not (yet) freed, is freed; and also the cankers, not (yet) completely destroyed, go to complete destruction; and, too, he attains the matchless security from the bonds, not (yet) attained.

And again, householder, a monk,
by the fading out of rapture,
dwells with equanimity,
attentive and clearly conscious,
and experiences in his person
that joy of which the ariyans say:
'Joyful lives he who has equanimity and is mindful,'
and he enters on
and abides in
the third meditation.

He reflects on this and comprehends:

'This third meditation is also effected and thought out.

But whatever is effected and thought out, that is impermanent, it is liable to stopping.'

Firm in this, he attains the destruction of the cankers.

If he does not attain the destruction of the cankers, then by this attachment to Dhamma, by this delight in Dhamma, by the destruction of the five fetters binding to this lower (shore), he is of spontaneous uprising, one who attains nibbaana there, not liable to return from that world.

This, householder, is one thing pointed out by the Lord who knows, who sees, perfected one, fully Self-Awakened one, whereby if a monk dwell diligent, ardent, self-resolute, his mind not (yet) freed, is freed; and also the cankers, not (yet) completely destroyed, go to complete destruction; and, too, he attains the matchless security from the bonds, not (yet) attained.

And again, householder, a monk,
by getting rid of joy,
by getting rid of anguish,
by the going down of his former pleasures and sorrows,
enters on
and abides in
the fourth meditation
which has neither anguish nor joy,
and which is entirely purified
by equanimity and mindfulness.

He reflects on this and comprehends:

'This fourth meditation is also effected and thought out.

But whatever is effected and thought out, that is impermanent, it is liable to stopping.'

Firm in this, he attains the destruction of the cankers.

If he does not attain the destruction of the cankers, then by this attachment to Dhamma, by this delight in Dhamma, by the destruction of the five fetters binding to this lower (shore), he is of spontaneous uprising, one who attains nibbaana there, not liable to return from that world.

This, householder, is one thing pointed out by the Lord who knows, who sees, perfected one, fully Self-Awakened one, whereby if a monk dwell diligent, ardent, self-resolute, his mind not (yet) freed, is freed; and also the cankers, not (yet) completely destroyed, go to complete destruction; and, too, he attains the matchless security from the bonds, not (yet) attained.

And again, householder, a monk dwells,
having suffused the first quarter with a mind of friendliness,
likewise the second,
likewise the third,
likewise the fourth;
just so above,
below,
across;
he dwelt having suffused the whole world
everywhere,
in every way,
with a mind of friendliness
that was far-reaching,
wide-spread,
immeasurable,
without enmity,
without malevolence.

He reflects on this and comprehends:

'This freedom of mind that is friendliness is also effeted and thought out.

But whatever is effected and thought out, that is impermanent, it is liable to stopping.'

Firm in this, he attains the destruction of the cankers.

If he does not attain the destruction of the cankers, then by this attachment to Dhamma, by this delight in Dhamma, by the destruction of the five fetters binding to this lower (shore), he is of spontaneous uprising, one who attains nibbaana there, not liable to return from that world.

This, householder, is one thing pointed out by the Lord who knows, who sees, perfected one, fully Self-Awakened one, whereby if a monk dwell diligent, ardent, self-resolute, his mind not (yet) freed, is freed; and also the cankers, not (yet) completely destroyed, go to complete destruction; and, too, he attains the matchless security from the bonds, not (yet) attained.

And again, householder, a monk dwells,
having suffused the first quarter with a mind of compassion,
likewise the second,
likewise the third,
likewise the fourth;
just so above,
below,
across;
he dwelt having suffused the whole world
everywhere,
in every way,
with a mind of compassion
that was far-reaching,
wide-spread,
immeasurable,
without enmity,
without malevolence.

He reflects on this and comprehends:

'This freedom of mind that is compassion is also effeted and thought out.

But whatever is effected and thought out, that is impermanent, it is liable to stopping.'

Firm in this, he attains the destruction of the cankers.

If he does not attain the destruction of the cankers, then by this attachment to Dhamma, by this delight in Dhamma, by the destruction of the five fetters binding to this lower (shore), he is of spontaneous uprising, one who attains nibbaana there, not liable to return from that world.

This, householder, is one thing pointed out by the Lord who knows, who sees, perfected one, fully Self-Awakened one, whereby if a monk dwell diligent, ardent, self-resolute, his mind not (yet) freed, is freed; and also the cankers, not (yet) completely destroyed, go to complete destruction; and, too, he attains the matchless security from the bonds, not (yet) attained.

And again, householder, a monk dwells,
having suffused the first quarter with a mind of sympathetic joy,
likewise the second,
likewise the third,
likewise the fourth;
just so above,
below,
across;
he dwelt having suffused the whole world
everywhere,
in every way,
with a mind of sympathetic joy
that was far-reaching,
wide-spread,
immeasurable,
without enmity,
without malevolence.

He reflects on this and comprehends:

'This freedom of mind that is sympathetic joy is also effeted and thought out.

But whatever is effected and thought out, that is impermanent, it is liable to stopping.'

Firm in this, he attains the destruction of the cankers.

If he does not attain the destruction of the cankers, then by this attachment to Dhamma, by this delight in Dhamma, by the destruction of the five fetters binding to this lower (shore), he is of spontaneous uprising, one who attains nibbaana there, not liable to return from that world.

This, householder, is one thing pointed out by the Lord who knows, who sees, perfected one, fully Self-Awakened one, whereby if a monk dwell diligent, ardent, self-resolute, his mind not (yet) freed, is freed; and also the cankers, not (yet) completely destroyed, go to complete destruction; and, too, he attains the matchless security from the bonds, not (yet) attained.

And again, householder, a monk dwells,
having suffused the first quarter with a mind of equanimity,
likewise the second,
likewise the third,
likewise the fourth;
just so above,
below,
across;
he dwelt having suffused the whole world
everywhere,
in every way,
with a mind of equanimity
that was far-reaching,
wide-spread,
immeasurable,
without enmity,
without malevolence.

He reflects on this and comprehends:

'This freedom of mind that is equanimity is also effeted and thought out.

But whatever is effected and thought out, that is impermanent, [352] it is liable to stopping.'

Firm in this, he attains the destruction of the cankers.

If he does not attain the destruction of the cankers, then by this attachment to Dhamma, by this delight in Dhamma, by the destruction of the five fetters binding to this lower (shore), he is of spontaneous uprising, one who attains nibbaana there, not liable to return from that world.

This, householder, is one thing pointed out by the Lord who knows, who sees, perfected one, fully Self-Awakened one, whereby if a monk dwell diligent, ardent, self-resolute, his mind not (yet) freed, is freed; and also the cankers, not (yet) completely destroyed, go to complete destruction; and, too, he attains the matchless security from the bonds, not (yet) attained.

And again, householder, a monk
by wholly transcending perception of material shapes,
by the going down of perception due to [17] sensory impressions,
by not attending to perception of variety,
thinking:
'Ether[5] is unending,'
enters on
and abides in the plane of infinite ether.

He reflects on this and comprehends:

'This attainment of the plane of infinite ether is also effeted and thought out.

But whatever is effected and thought out, that is impermanent, it is liable to stopping.'

Firm in this, he attains the destruction of the cankers.

If he does not attain the destruction of the cankers, then by this attachment to Dhamma, by this delight in Dhamma, by the destruction of the five fetters binding to this lower (shore), he is of spontaneous uprising, one who attains nibbaana there, not liable to return from that world.

This, householder, is one thing pointed out by the Lord who knows, who sees, perfected one, fully Self-Awakened one, whereby if a monk dwell diligent, ardent, self-resolute, his mind not (yet) freed, is freed; and also the cankers, not (yet) completely destroyed, go to complete destruction; and, too, he attains the matchless security from the bonds, not (yet) attained.

And again, householder, monks, a monk
by wholly transcending the plane of infinite ether,
thinking:
'Consciousness is unending,'
enters on
and abides in
the plane of infinite consciousness.

He reflects on this and comprehends:

'This attainment of the plane of infinite consciousness is also effeted and thought out.

But whatever is effected and thought out, that is impermanent, it is liable to stopping.'

Firm in this, he attains the destruction of the cankers.

If he does not attain the destruction of the cankers, then by this attachment to Dhamma, by this delight in Dhamma, by the destruction of the five fetters binding to this lower (shore), he is of spontaneous uprising, one who attains nibbaana there, not liable to return from that world.

This, householder, is one thing pointed out by the Lord who knows, who sees, perfected one, fully Self-Awakened one, whereby if a monk dwell diligent, ardent, self-resolute, his mind not (yet) freed, is freed; and also the cankers, not (yet) completely destroyed, go to complete destruction; and, too, he attains the matchless security from the bonds, not (yet) attained.

And again, householder, a monk,
by wholly transcending the plane of infinite consciousness,
thinking:
'There is not anything,'
enters on
and abides in
the plane of no-thing.

He reflects on this and comprehends:

'This attainment of the plane of no-thing is also effeted and thought out.

But whatever is effected and thought out, that is impermanent, it is liable to stopping.'

Firm in this, he attains the destruction of the cankers.

If he does not attain the destruction of the cankers, then by this attachment to Dhamma, by this delight in Dhamma, by the destruction of the five fetters binding to this lower (shore), he is of spontaneous uprising, one who attains nibbaana there, not liable to return from that world.

This, householder, is one thing pointed out by the Lord who knows, who sees, perfected one, fully Self-Awakened one, whereby if a monk dwell diligent, ardent, self-resolute, his mind not (yet) freed, is freed; and also the cankers, not (yet) completely destroyed, go to complete destruction; and, too, he attains the matchless security from the bonds, not (yet) attained.

When this had been said, the householder Dasama of A.t.thaka spoke thus to the venerable Aananda:

"Revered Aananda, is is as though a man who was seeking for one opening to (some hidden) treasure were to come at one and the same time on eleven openings to the treasure.

[353]Even so do I, revered sir, in seeking for one [18] door to the deathless come to hear[6] at one and the same time of eleven doors to the deathless.

And too, revered sir, it is like a man's house that has eleven doors; if his house were on fire he could make himself safe by any one of the doors.

Even so can I, revered sir, make myself safe by any one of these eleven doors to the deathless.

Now, revered sir, members of other sects will look about for a fee for the teacher, but why shold not I pay honour to the venerable Aananda?"

Then the householder Dasama of A.t.thaka, having had the Order of monks that was at Paa.taliputta and Vesaalii gathered together, with his own hand served and satisfied them with sumptuous foods, solid and soft, and presented each monk with a separate pair of cloths; to the venerable Aananda he presented a set of three robes and had a dwelling-place[7] that cost five hundred pieces built for the venerable Aananda.

 


[1] This Discourse is also at A. v. 342 ff., and is there called Dasama Sutta, after the name of the householder. See the notes at G.S. v. 219 ff.

[2] On a slope of a hill to the soouth of Vesaalii, MA. iii. 12 = Comy. on A.

[3] MA. iii. 13 says it was made by a se.t.thi, a rich man, banker or merchant, called Kukku.ta (Cock).

[4] abhisa'nkhatam abhisa~ncetayita.m

[5] As I used "either" for aakaasa in vol. i, I retain it in this volume, although "ether," for science, no longer means the substratum or ultimate matter out of which come all solids, liquids, gases, etc. Nor is aakasa "space" in such contexts as the above; it is, however, as is nibbaana, in some sense an absolute, for neither of the two is born of kamma, of cause, or of nature, Miln. 268.

[6] savanaaya (for the hearing of); A. v. 346 reads sevanaaya (for entering in by), with v.l. savanaaya.

[7] MA. iii. 16, says a pa.n.nasaalaa, a leaf hut (or, hall).


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