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Saɱyutta Nikāya
5. Mahā-Vagga
47. Sati-Paṭṭhāna Saɱyutta
2. Nālandā Vagga

The Book of the Kindred Sayings
5. The Great Chapter
47. Kindred Sayings on the Stations of Mindfulness
2. Nālandā

Sutta 19

Sedaka (or Ekantaka or Desakā) Suttaɱ

Desakā (or Sole Ending)[1]

Translated by F. L. Woodward

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

On a certain occasion the Exalted One was staying among the Sumbhā, at Desakā, a district of the Sumbhā.

On that occasion the Exalted One addressed the monks, saying:

"Once upon a time, monks, a bamboo acrobat[2] set up his pole and called to his pupil, Medakathālikā,[3] saying:


[149] 'Now, my lad,
climb the pole and stand on my shoulder!'

'All right, master,' replied the pupil to the bamboo acrobat,
climbed the pole
and stood on bis master's shoulder.

Then said the master to bis pupil:

'Now, Medakathālikā, my lad,
you watch me and I'll watch you.

Thus watched and warded by each other,
we'll show our tricks,
get a good fee
and come down safe
from the bamboo pole.'[4]

At these words Medakathālikā the pupil
said to his master:

'No, no!

That won't do, master!

You look after yourself
and I'll look after myself.

Thus watched and warded,
each by himself,
we'll show our tricks,
get a good fee
and come down safe
from the bamboo pole.

That's the way to do it!'"

Then said the Exalted One:

"Now, monks, just as Medakathālikā the pupil
said to his master:

'I'll look after myself,'

so ought ye to observe
the station of mindfulness which means
'I'll ward myself';

likewise that which means
'We'll ward another.'

By warding oneself, monks,
one wards another.

By warding another
one wards himself.

And how, monks,
by warding oneself
does one ward another?

It is by following after,
by cultivating,
by making much of him.[5]

And how, monks,
by warding another
does one ward himself?

It is by forbearance,
by harmlessness,
by goodwill,
by compassion towards him.[6]

That, monks, is how he wards himself.

Monks, ye must observe the station of mindfulness which means

'I'll ward myself.'

Ye must observe that which means:

'I'll ward another.'

It is by warding self, monks,
that one wards another.

It is by warding another
that one wards himself."


[1] Text title is Sedaka or (?) Ekantaka. These titles are from the Uddāna, generally corrupt. As above at text 89, I read Desakā of JA. i, 393.

[2] Caṇḍāla-vaṅsika, not as Pali Dict. (s.v. vaṅsika) 'a caṇḍāla (of scavenger caste) by descent,' but 'bamboo acrobat' (vaṅsa is primarily 'bamboo'; secondarily 'family'). For castes see Dialog. i, 95 ff. Caṇḍāla according to Comy. at DA. i, 84 (Cf. Dialog. i, 9), is a game with an iron ball (caṇḍa-gula-kīla). The name means 'ball-and-bamboo-acrobat.' The man balances a bamboo on forehead, chin, shoulder, or breast (as may be often seen in Ceylon or India). The pupil climbs up and balances himself, standing, sitting, or lying, on the point of the pole. Cf. JA. iv, 390, candaṇḍāla-vaṅsa-dhopana-sippa. Text has a confusion of capital C here.

[3] Lit. 'Frying-pan.' Text has altered here to the masculine form of vocative (Burmese MSS. have it right), but Comy. notes that the name is a feminine one.

[4] Comy. 'The end of the pole rests on the man's forehead or throat. He must watch the balance of the pole closely, and not attend to the pupil on the end of the pole, who must look after himself.' It is possible, also, that here, as sometimes happens, both are balanced on the end of the pole.

[5] Comy. His regular systematic life which leads to Arahantship attracts the attention of another, who follows his example and so 'goes to heaven.'

[6] Anuddayā = anuhampā. Comy. anuddayāya sapubba-bhāgāya muditāya.

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