Khuddaka Nikaya

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Sutta Nipāta
Sutta 10. Purabheda Sutta

[pali] [faus]

Before the Break-up of the Body

Translated from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.

For free distribution only.



"Seeing how,
behaving how,
is one said to be
    at peace?
Gotama, tell me about
    -- when asked about --
    the ultimate person."

The Buddha:

"Free from craving
before the break-up
[of the body],
    of before
    and the end,[1]
not classified in between,[2]
no yearning is his.

Un-    angered,
un-    startled,
un-    boastful,
un-    anxious,
giving counsel unruffled,
    he is a sage,
    his speech
    under control.

Free from attachment
with regard to the future,
not sorrowing
over the past,
he sees seclusion
in the midst of sensory contacts.[3]
He can't be led
in terms of views.[4]

    Withdrawn, un-
    deceitful, not
    stingy, not
    miserly, not
    insolent, in-
    he doesn't engage in
    divisive speech.

Not intoxicated with enticements,
nor given to pride,
he's gentle, quick-witted,
beyond conviction and dispassion.[5]

Not in hopes of material gain
does he take on the training;
when without material gain
he isn't upset.

Unobstructed     by craving,
he doesn't         through craving[6]
    hunger for flavors.

Equanimous -- always -- mindful,
he doesn't conceive himself as
            in the world.
    No swellings of pride
    are his.

Whose dependencies
don't exist
when, on knowing the Dhamma,
he's in-
in whom no craving is found
for becoming or not-:
    he is said
    to be at peace,
        on sensual pleasures,
    with nothing at all
    to tie him down:
one who's crossed over attachment.

He has no     children
In him you can't pin down
    what's embraced
    or rejected,
        what's self
        or opposed to self.[7]
He has no yearning
for that which people run-of-the-mill
or priests and contemplatives
might blame --
    which is why
he is unperturbed
with regard to their words.

His greed gone,
not miserly,
    the sage
doesn't speak of himself
as among those who are higher,
or lower.
    doesn't submit
    to conjuring,
    to the cycling of time.[8]

For whom
nothing in the world
is his own,
    who doesn't grieve
    over what is not,
        who doesn't enter into
    he is said
    to be
    at peace."


[1] Nd.I: "Independent of before and the end" = no craving or view with regard to past or future.

[2] For discussions of how the awakened one cannot be classified even in the present, see MN 72 and SN XXII.85-86.

[3] Nd.I: "He sees seclusion in the midst of sensory contacts" = he sees contact as empty of self. This passage may also refer to the fact that the awakened person experiences sensory contact as if disjoined from it. On this point, see MN 140 and MN 146, quoted in The Mind Like Fire Unbound, pp. 116 and 113.

[4] See AN X.93.

[5] Beyond conviction and dispassion -- The Pali here can also mean, "A person of no conviction, he does not put away passion." This is an example of the kind of pun occasionally used in Pali poetry for its shock value. Other examples are at Dhp 97 and the end of Sn IV.13. For an explanation of what is meant by being beyond dispassion, see note 2 to Sn IV.6.

[6] The Pali word tanhaya -- by/through craving -- here is a "lamp," i.e., a single word that functions in two separate phrases.

[7] "Embraced/rejected, what's self/what lies against self" -- a pun on the pair of Pali words, attam/nirattam.

[8] "Conjuring, the cycling of time" -- two meanings of the Pali word, kappam.

[9] "Doctrines, phenomena" -- two meanings of the Pali word, dhamma.


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