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Saɱyutta Nikāya
5. Mahā-Vagga
54. Ānāpāna Saɱyutta
1. Eka-Dhamma Vagga

The Aspiration Collection

Book 1: One Thing

Sutta 9

Vesālī or Asubha Suttaɱ

Vesālī or The Impure

Translated from the Pali
by
Michael M. Olds

 


 

[1][pts][bodh][than] I HEAR TELL:

Once upon a time Bhagava, Vesālī-land revisiting,
Great-Woods,
House with the peaked roof.

At that time Bhavava use to preach to the beggars there
in a multiplicity of ways
about the subject of the impure;[1]
speaking about the advantages
of talking about the subject of 'the impure',
speaking about the advantages
of developing the subject of 'the impure'.[2]

Then the Lucky man addressed the bhikkhus:

"I wish, beggars,
to retire to chambers
for the half month.

No one should approach me
except the one who brings my mess-bowl food."

"Even so, bhante", the beggars responded in agreement
and subsequently no one approached the Lucky Man
except the one who brought his mess-bowl food.

Then those beggars, saying:

"The Bhagava used to preach
in a multiplicity of ways
about the subject of the impure;
speaking about the advantages
of talking about the subject of 'the impure',
speaking about the advantages
of developing the subject of 'the impure'"|| ||

lived devoting themselves
to the development of 'the impure'
in a multiplicity of ways.

These, being depressed,
ashamed,
disgusted with body,
sought out a way to take to the knife.

In one day
as many as ten bhikkhus
took to the knife.

In one day
as many as twenty bhikkhus
took to the knife.

In one day
as many as thirty bhikkhus
took to the knife.

Then, returning from his retirement to chambers
at the end of that half-month,
Bhagava spoke thus to the Agéd Ānanda:

"What's this now, Ānanda?

Thinned of beings
seems the Order of Bhikkhus."

"Indeed that is so, bhante!

Because the Bhagava preached to the beggars
in a multiplicity of ways
about the subject of the impure; [321]
speaking about the advantages
of talking about the subject of 'the impure',
speaking about the advantages
of developing the subject of 'the impure',
the beggars, bhante, saying:

'The Bhagava used to preach
in a multiplicity of ways
about the subject of the impure;
speaking about the advantages
of talking about the subject of 'the impure',
speaking about the advantages
of developing the subject of 'the impure'"

lived devoting themselves
to the development of the subject of 'the impure'
in a multiplicity of ways.

These, being depressed,
ashamed,
disgusted,
with body,
sought out a way to take to the knife.

In one day
as many as ten bhikkhus
took to the knife.

In one day
as many as twenty bhikkhus
took to the knife.

In one day
as many as thirty bhikkhus
took to the knife.

It would be good, bhante,
if the Bhagava would reveal another course
to establish the Order of bhikkhus in omniscience."

"In that case, Ānanda,
whatsoever there are of bhikkhus
who have taken up residence in Vesālī
they all should be gathered together

in the meeting hall."

"Even so bhante", said the Agéd Ānanda in reply,
and whatsoever there were of bhikkhus
who had taken up residence in Vesālī
they all gathered together
in the meeting hall.

Once gathered together,
Ānanda said this to Bhagava:

"The bhikkhu Saṅgha has assembled, bhante,
now is the time for the Bhagava
to do what he has in mind".

Then The Lucky Man went to the meeting hall.

Arriving there
he sat down in the designated seat.

So seated
he said this to the bhikkhus there:

"When, beggars, resperation-remembering high-getting
is developed
and made a big thing of
it brings peace
and living in undampened pleasure
and, additionally, bad, unskillful things
disappear on the spot.

In the same way, beggars,
as the stirred up dust and dirt
of the last month of summer
is settled by a great untimely thunderstorm
and is caused to disappear on the spot,
even so, beggars,
resperation-remembering high-getting
developed
and made a big thing of
brings peace
and living in undampened pleasure
and, additionally, bad, unskillful things
disappear on the spot.

And how, beggars, is resperation-remembering high-getting developed
and made a big thing of
suchas to bring peace
and living in undampened pleasure
and, additionally,
to cause bad, unskillful things
to disappear on the spot?

Here beggars, a beggar
having gotten himself off to the forest
or to the root of some tree,
or to some empty hut,
and having taken up his seat there
sitting down,
setting the body upright,
legs bent-across-lapwise,
recollecting he attends to the mouth,
just so he recollects inspiration,
just so he recollects expiration.

If he inspires deeply, he knows:

'I am inspiring deeply.'

If he breaths out deeply, he knows:

'I am expiring deeply.'

If he inspires shallowly, he knows:

'I am inspiring shallowly.'

If he exspires shallowly, he knows:

'I am expiring shallowly.'

'Reflecting on the totality of bodily experience,
I will inspire,'
this is the way he trains.

'Reflecting on the totality of bodily experience,
I will expire,'
this is the way he trains.

'Pacifying own-body-making,
I will inspire,'
this is the way he trains.

'Pacifying own-body-making,
I will expire,'
this is the way he trains.

'Reflecting on enthusiasm,
I will inspire,'
this is the way he trains.

'Reflecting on enthusiasm,
I will expire,'
this is the way he trains.

'Observing pleasure,
I will inspire,'
this is the way he trains.

'Observing pleasure,
I will expire,'
this is the way he trains.

'Reflecting on the own-making of the heart,
I will inspire,'
this is the way he trains.

'Reflecting on the own-making of the heart,
I will expire,'
this is the way he trains.

'Pacifying the own-making of the heart,
I will inspire,'
this is the way he trains.

'Pacifying the own-making of the heart,
I will expire,'
this is the way he trains.

'Reflecting on the heart,
I will inspire,'
this is the way he trains.

'Reflecting on the heart,
I will expire,'
this is the way he trains.

'Abundantly content in heart,
I will inspire,'
this is the way he trains.

'Abundantly content in heart,
I will expire,'
this is the way he trains.

'Composing the heart,
I will inspire,'
this is the way he trains.

'Composing the heart,
I will expire,'
this is the way he trains.

'Liberating the heart,
I will inspire,'
this is the way he trains.

'Liberating the heart,
I will expire,'
this is the way he trains.

'On the look-out for inconsistency,
I will inspire,'
this is the way he trains.

'On the look-out for inconsistency,
I will expire,'
this is the way he trains.

'On the look-out for the end of lust,
I will inspire,'
this is the way he trains.

'On the look-out for the end of lust,
I will expire,'
this is the way he trains.

'On the look-out for ending,
I will inspire,'
this is the way he trains.

'On the look-out for ending,
I will expire,'
this is the way he trains.

'On the look-out for opportunities to let go,
I will inspire,'
this is the way he trains.

'On the look-out for opportunities to let go,
I will expire,'
this is the way he trains.

This is how, beggars,
resperation-remembering high-getting
is developed
and made a big thing of
suchas to bring peace
and living in undampened pleasure
and, additionally, to cause bad, unskillful things
to disappear on the spot."

 


[1]Asubhakatha asubhakathaɱ katheti — "about the not-pure talk talking." Not 'speaking in praise of foulness' per Bhk Nm/Bodhi; Woodward's 'subject of the unlovely' is closer. Hereafter in quotes to indicate that this is in fact 'samadhi technique based on reflection on impurity' and does not intend what we would otherwise read as encouragement to develop the impure. Asubhāya vaṇṇaɱ bhāsati, asubhabhāvanāya vaṇṇaɱ bhāsati. Both Woodward and Bhk. Bodhi insert the words 'meditation on' which is not in the text

[2]Bhk. Bodhi footnotes with an explanation that the intent is the meditation on the 32 parts of the body and on the Charnel Field both found in the Satipatthana Sutta.

References:

Defeat or Vesālī (A combination of this sutta plus the Vinaya version describing the same situation).

 


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