Majjhima Nikaya

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Majjhima Nikāya
1. Mūla-Paṇṇāsa
2. Sīhanāda Vagga

Sacred Books of the Buddhists
Volume V
Dialogues of the Buddha
Part IV

Further Dialogues of the Buddha
Volume I

Translated from the Pali
by Lord Chalmers, G.C.B.
Sometime Governor of Ceylon

Humphrey Milford
Oxford University Press
Public Domain

Sutta 19

Dvedhā-Vitakka Suttaɱ

On Counter-Irritants



[1][pts][than][ntbb][olds][upal][pnji] THUS have I heard:

Once when the Lord was staying at Sāvatthī in Jeta's grove in Anāthapiṇḍika's pleasaunce,
the Lord addressed the listening Almsmen as follows:

In the days before my full enlightenment,
when I was as yet only a Bodhisatta
and not yet all-enlightened,
the idea came to me
to sort out my thoughts
into two separate and distinct groups.

Into one category
I put thoughts about pleasures of sense,
about harm,
and about hurt;
and in a second category
came thoughts about Renunciation,
about hurting not
nor harming.

When, in my life
of strenuous earnestness purged of self,
there arose within me
a thought about pleasures of sense,
I recognized that it had arisen
and that it conduced to harm -
harm to myself,
to others,
and both to myself and to others -
as being subversive of insight,
allied to overthrow,
and no help towards Nirvana.

The reflection that they conduced to harm
[80] -to myself
or to others
or to both -
caused thoughts about pleasures of sense
to vanish away,
as did reflections that these thoughts
were subversive of insight,
allied to overthrow,
and no help towards Nirvana.

As each such thought severally arose,
I drove it away,
discarded it,
and rooted it out.

And in just the same way
I dealt with each thought
of harm
and hurt.

Now, whatsoever an Almsman
thinks much about
and dwells on,
gradually moulds his mind.

If he thinks much about pleasures of sense
and dwells thereon,
he has thereby driven away
thoughts of Renunciation,
has fostered the growth
of thoughts on pleasure,
and has applied his heart
to thoughts on pleasure.

And the same thing happens
with thoughts of harm
and of hurt.

Stripes. A beating with a stick or whip.
Mulct. A fine.

p.p. explains it all — p.p.

Just as in the last month of the monsoon
towards autumn,
when the crops stand thick on the ground,
a cowherd looks sharply after his cattle,
beating them off here with his stick,
heading them off there,
checking them at this point
and blocking their way at that point, -
because he dreads stripes
or imprisonment
or mulcts
or censure to himself; -
even so did I see the perils,
and defilement
arising from wrong states of mind,
and the blessings of Renunciation,
with sanctification as their ally,
which flow from right states of mind.

When, in my life of strenuous earnestness purged of self,
there arose within me a thought of Renunciation,
I recognized that it had arisen
and that it conduced to no harm,
either to myself
or to others
or to both,
seeing that it fostered insight,
was arrayed against overthrow,
and helped on towards Nirvana.

If by night -
or by day -
or by night and by day continuously -
I thought much about Renunciation
and dwelt thereon,
never did I discern anything to breed fear.

But, if I were to go on thinking these thoughts too long,
would my body grow weary?

With bodily weariness,
would my heart be defiled?

With its defilement,
would my heart be sundered from concentration?

At this thought,
I stilled and composed [8l] my heart within,
focussed and concentrated it, -
lest haply it should become defiled.

And as with thoughts of Renunciation,
so did I deal with thoughts of goodwill
and of benignity.

Now, Brethren, whatsoever a Brother
thinks much about
and dwells on,
gradually moulds his mind.

If he thinks and dwells much
on thoughts of Renunciation -
or goodwill -
or benignity, -
he has thereby driven away
thoughts about pleasures of sense
and about harm
and about hurt.

Just as in the last month of the hot season,
when all the crops have been carried
and are garnered on the confines of the village,
the cowherd in the discharge of his duties
has only to see -
from beneath a tree's shade
or in the open -
that his cows are all there, -
even so, Almsmen,
all that I had to see
was that all (right) states of mind were there.

Strenuous effort
won for me perseverance that never flagged;
there arose in me mindfulness
that knew no distraction,
perfect tranquillity of body,
stedfastness of mind that never wavered.

Divested of pleasures of sense,
divested of wrong states of mind,
I entered on,
and abode in,
the First Ecstasy ...

(etc., as in Sutta No. 4). ...

This was the third knowledge attained by me,
in the third watch of that night,; -
ignorance dispelled
and knowledge won,
darkness dispelled
and illumination won,
as befitted my strenuous and ardent life,
purged of self.

It is just as if
in the heart of the jungle
there was a great pond in a valley,
with a large herd of deer living there,
and there should come along
a man bent on their harm,
with no kind thought for them
and with no regard for their well-being.

If now he were to block up
the peaceful,
and happy road,
to open up
a treacherous way,
to plant a decoy,[1]
and to tether there
a tame hind as a lure, -
that great herd of deer
would thus in time
come to dire calamity and dwindle [82] away.

But, if another man appeared,
who meant well by the herd
and was kindly towards them
and had regard to their well-being,
he would open up that peaceful,
and happy road,
close the treacherous way,
break up the decoy,
get rid of the hind, -
whereby the herd later on
would grow
and increase
and multiply.

This, Almsmen, is a similitude
framed by me for your edification;
and here is its meaning: -

The great pond in the valley
is another name for pleasures of sense;
mankind is the herd of deer;
the first man stands for Māra the Evil One;
the treacherous way
is the evil eightfold path -
of wrong outlook,
wrong aims
and so forth;
the decoy represents sensual passion
and the hind ignorance.

The second man -
he of the good-will and kind heart,
who had regard to the deers' well-being -
stands for the Truth-finder,

What was styled the peaceful,
and happy road,
is the Noble Eightfold Path of
right outlook,
right aims,
right speech,
right action,
right mode of life,
right effort, and
right concentration.

Yes, Brethren, I have opened up the peaceful,
and happy road,
closed the treacherous way,
broken up the decoy,
and got rid of the lure of the hind.

All that a teacher can do for his disciples
out of his love and compassion,
that, for compassion's sake,
have I done for you.

Here are trees under which to lodge;
here are solitude's abodes;
plunge into deepest thought
and never flag;
lay not up for yourselves remorse hereafter; -
this is my injunction to you.

Thus spoke the Lord.

Glad at heart, these Almsmen rejoiced in what the Lord had said.


[1] Okacaro (home-pasture, cf. gocaro) seems to be a decoy in the sense in which we speak of a duck-decoy, and okacārikā to be its lure. (Cf. Jāt. VI, 416, okacarenāti okacarikāyā, with no suggestion of a tame stag - as Bu. here - as an added attraction.)

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