AN 8.40 Rebirth

AN 8.40
Monks, the taking of life — when indulged in, developed, & pursued — is something that leads to hell, leads to rebirth as a common animal, leads to the realm of the hungry shades. The slightest of all the results coming from the taking of life is that, when one becomes a human being, it leads to a short life span.

MN 41
If a householder who observes conduct in accordance with the Dhamma, righteous conduct, should wish: ‘Oh, that on the dissolution of the body, after death, I might reappear in the company of the gods of the Four Kings!’ it is possible that on the dissolution of the body, after death, he may do so. Why is that? Because he observes conduct in accordance with the Dhamma, righteous conduct.

SN 42.3
Apparently, headman, I haven’t been able to get past you by saying, ‘Enough, headman, put that aside. Don’t ask me that.’ So I will simply answer you. When a warrior strives & exerts himself in battle, his mind is already seized, debased, & misdirected by the thought: ‘May these beings be struck down or slaughtered or annihilated or destroyed. May they not exist.’ If others then strike him down & slay him while he is thus striving & exerting himself in battle, then with the breakup of the body, after death, he is reborn in the hell called the realm of those slain in battle. But if he holds such a view as this: ‘When a warrior strives & exerts himself in battle, if others then strike him down & slay him while he is striving & exerting himself in battle, then with the breakup of the body, after death, he is reborn in the company of devas slain in battle,’ that is his wrong view. Now, there are two destinations for a person with wrong view, I tell you: either hell or the animal womb.

SN22.2
If one who entered & remained in skillful mental qualities were to have a stressful abiding in the here & now — threatened, despairing, & feverish — and on the break-up of the body, after death, could expect a bad destination, then the Blessed One would not advocate entering into skillful mental qualities. But because one who enters & remains in skillful mental qualities has a pleasant abiding in the here & now — unthreatened, undespairing, unfeverish — and on the break-up of the body, after death, can expect a good destination, that is why the Blessed One advocates entering into skillful mental qualities.

MN.54
When the disciple of the noble ones has arrived at this purity of equanimity & mindfulness, he sees — by means of the divine eye, purified & surpassing the human — beings passing away & re-appearing, and he discerns how they are inferior & superior, beautiful & ugly, fortunate & unfortunate in accordance with their kamma: ‘These beings — who were endowed with bad conduct of body, speech & mind, who reviled noble ones, held wrong views and undertook actions under the influence of wrong views — with the break-up of the body, after death, have re-appeared in the plane of deprivation, the bad destination, the lower realms, in hell.

MN.19
These beings — who were endowed with bad conduct of body, speech & mind, who reviled the Noble Ones, held wrong views and undertook actions under the influence of wrong views — with the break-up of the body, after death, have re-appeared in the plane of deprivation, the bad destination, the lower realms, in hell.

DN.16.5-6
And for what reason is a Tathagata, worthy & rightly self-awakened, worthy of a burial mound? [At the thought,] ‘This is the burial mound of a Tathagata, worthy & rightly self-awakened,’ many people will brighten their minds. Having brightened their minds there, then — on the break-up of the body, after death — they will reappear in a good destination, the heavenly world. It is for this reason that a Tathagata, worthy & rightly self-awakened, is worthy of a burial mound.

AN 44.9 The Debating Hall

Then the wanderer Vacchagotta approached the Blessed One and exchanged greetings with him. When they had concluded their greetings and cordial talk, he sat down to one side and said to the Blessed One:

“In recent days, Master Gotama, a number of ascetics, brahmins, and wanderers of various sects had assembled in the debating hall and were sitting together when this conversation arose among them:380 ‘This Pūraṇa Kassapa—the leader of an order, the leader of a group, the teacher of a group, the well known and famous spiritual guide considered holy by many people—declares the rebirth of a disciple who has passed away and died thus: “That one was reborn there, that one was reborn there.” And in the case of a disciple who was a person of the highest kind, a supreme person, one who had attained the supreme attainment, when that disciple has passed away and died he also declares his rebirth thus: “That one was reborn there, that one was reborn there.” This Makkhali Gosāla … This Nigaṇṭha Nātaputta … This Sañjaya Belaṭṭhiputta … This Pakudha Kaccāyana … This Ajita Kesakambalı̄ … when that disciple has passed away [399] and died he also declares his rebirth thus: “That one was reborn there, that one was reborn there.” This ascetic Gotama—the leader of an order, the leader of a group, the teacher of a group, the well known and famous spiritual guide considered holy by many people—declares the rebirth of a disciple who has passed away and died thus: “That one was reborn there, that one was reborn there.” But in the case of a disciple who was a person of the highest kind, a supreme person, one who had attained the supreme attainment, when that disciple has passed away and died he does not declare his rebirth thus: “That one was reborn there, that one was reborn there.” Rather, he declares of him: “He cut off craving, severed the fetter, and, by completely breaking through conceit, he has made an end to suffering.”’

“There was perplexity in me, Master Gotama, there was doubt: ‘How is the Dhamma of the ascetic Gotama to be understood?’”

“It is fitting for you to be perplexed, Vaccha, it is fitting for you to doubt. Doubt has arisen in you about a perplexing matter. I declare, Vaccha, rebirth for one with fuel, not for one without fuel. Just as a fire burns with fuel, but not without fuel, so, Vaccha, I declare rebirth for one with fuel, not for one without fuel.”381

“Master Gotama, when a flame is flung by the wind and goes some distance, what does Master Gotama declare to be its fuel on that occasion?”

“When, Vaccha, a flame is flung by the wind and goes some distance, I declare that it is fuelled by the wind. For on that occasion the wind is its fuel.” [400]

“And, Master Gotama, when a being has laid down this body but has not yet been reborn in another body, what does Master Gotama declare to be its fuel on that occasion?”

“When, Vaccha, a being has laid down this body but has not yet been reborn in another body, I declare that it is fuelled by craving.382 For on that occasion craving is its fuel.”

AN 4:131 (1) Fetters

“Bhikkhus, there are these four kinds of persons found existing in the world. What four?
“(1) Here, bhikkhus, some person has not abandoned the lower fetters, the fetters for obtaining rebirth, or the fetters for obtaining existence.826 (2) Some other person has abandoned the lower fetters, but not the fetters for obtaining rebirth or the fetters for obtaining existence. (3) Still another person has abandoned the lower fetters and the fetters for obtaining rebirth, but not the fetters for obtaining existence. (4) And still another person has abandoned the lower fetters, the fetters for obtaining rebirth, and the fetters for obtaining existence.
(1) “What kind of person has not abandoned the lower fetters, the fetters for obtaining rebirth, or the fetters for obtaining existence? The once-returner.827 This person has not abandoned the lower fetters, the fetters for obtaining rebirth, or the fetters for obtaining existence.
(2) “What kind of person has abandoned the lower fetters, but not the fetters for obtaining rebirth or the fetters for obtaining existence? The one bound upstream, heading toward the Akaniṭṭha realm.828 This person has abandoned the lower fetters but not the fetters for obtaining rebirth or the fetters for obtaining existence.
(3) “What kind of person has abandoned the lower fetters and the fetters for obtaining rebirth but not the fetters for obtaining existence? The one who attains final nibbāna in the interval.829 This person has abandoned the lower fetters and the fetters for obtaining rebirth but not the fetters for obtaining existence.

829 antarāparinibbāyī literally means “one who attains final nibbāna in between中阴,” and there seems no legitimate reason, based on a sutta, to deny the possibility that certain non-returners, following their death in human form, enter an intermediate state and attain final nibbāna in that state itself, thereby circumventing the need to take another rebirth.
(4) “What kind of person has abandoned the lower fetters, the fetters for obtaining rebirth, and the fetters for obtaining existence? The arahant. For this person has abandoned the lower fetters, the fetters for obtaining rebirth, and the fetters for obtaining existence.
“These, bhikkhus, are the four kinds of persons found existing in the world.” [135]

SN 35:87 Channa

Therefore, friend Channa, this teaching of the Blessed One is to be constantly given close attention: ‘For one who is dependent there is wavering; for one who is independent there is no wavering. When there is no wavering, there is tranquillity; when there is tranquillity, there is no inclination; when there is no inclination, there is no coming and going; when there is no coming and going, there is no passing away and being reborn; when there is no passing away and being reborn, there is neither here nor beyond nor in between the two. This itself is the end of suffering.

note: For one who is dependent (nissitassa): “dependent” on account of craving, conceit, and views; there is wavering (calitạ): palpitation颤动,悸动. As Channa is unable to endure the arisen pain, there is now the palpitation of one who isn’t free from the grip of such thoughts as “I am in pain, the pain is mine.” By this, he is telling him, “You’re still a worldling.” No inclination (nati): no inclination of craving. No coming by way of rebirth, no going by way of death. This itself is the end of suffering: this itself is the end, the termination, the limit, of the suffering of defilements and of the suffering of the round. “in between the two” (ubhayamantarena) implies an intermediate state (antar̄bhava).
Though the Theravāda Abhidhamma (see Kvu 362–66) and the commentaries argue against the existence of an antarābhava, a number of canonical texts seem to support this notion.

MN 38:26

Bhikkhus, the de­scent of the being-to-be-born (gabb­has­sâ­vakkanti) takes place through the union of three things. Here, there is the union of the mother and the fa­ther; but the mother is not in sea­son, and the being-to-be-born (gand­habba) is not present. In this case, no de­scent of a being-to-be-born oc­curs. But when there is the union of the mother and fa­ther; the mother is in sea­son; and the being-to-be-born is present, through the union of these three the de­scent of the being-to-be-born oc­curs.

note: the term gand­habba here re­fers to the in-between state, however ear­lier Vedic us­age var­ied, and it seems to have been as vague as our ‘spirit’. By the time of the Buddha, gand­habbahad al­most en­tirely reached its clas­si­cal mean­ing of a class of ce­les­tial mu­si­cians. The use of this term is so ca­sual and un­cer­tain that it would be un­wise to make much inference of it.

SN 12:11

Bhikkhus, there are these four kinds of food for the main­te­nance of be­ings that al­ready have come to be (bhūtā) and for the sup­port of be­ings seek­ing a new ex­is­tence (samb­havesī). What are the four? They are phys­i­cal food, gross or sub­tle; con­tact as the sec­ond; men­tal vo­li­tion as the third; and con­scious­ness as the fourth.

Note: Interpreted by the com­men­tary to mean ‘one seek­ing re­birth’, mod­ern gram­mar­i­ans pre­fer to con­strue the term as ‘one to be re­born’. In ei­ther case it ap­pears to re­fer to the be­ing in the in-between state.

AN 8.40 (10) Conducive


(1) “Bhikkhus, the taking of life, repeatedly pursued, developed, and cultivated, is conducive to hell, to the animal realm, and to the sphere of afflicted spirits; for one reborn as a human being the destruction of life at minimum conduces to a short life span.
(2) “Taking what is not given, repeatedly pursued, developed, and cultivated, is conducive to hell, to the animal realm, and to the sphere of afflicted spirits; for one reborn as a human being taking what is not given at minimum conduces to loss of wealth.
(3) “Sexual misconduct, repeatedly pursued, developed, and cultivated, is conducive to hell, to the animal realm, and to the sphere of afflicted spirits; for one reborn as a human being sexual misconduct at minimum conduces to enmity and rivalry.
(4) “False speech, repeatedly pursued, developed, and cultivated, is conducive to hell, to the animal realm, and to the sphere of afflicted spirits; for one reborn as a human being false speech at minimum conduces to false accusations.
(5) “Divisive speech, repeatedly pursued, developed, and cultivated, is conducive to hell, to the animal realm, and to the sphere of afflicted spirits; for one reborn as a human being divisive speech at minimum conduces to being divided from one’s friends. [248]
(6) “Harsh speech, repeatedly pursued, developed, and cultivated, is conducive to hell, to the animal realm, and to the sphere of afflicted spirits; for one reborn as a human being harsh speech at minimum conduces to disagreeable sounds.
(7) “Idle chatter, repeatedly pursued, developed, and cultivated, is conducive to hell, to the animal realm, and to the sphere of afflicted spirits; for one reborn as a human being idle chatter at minimum conduces to others distrusting one’s words.
(8) “Drinking liquor and wine, repeatedly pursued, developed, and cultivated, is conducive to hell, to the animal realm, and to the sphere of afflicted spirits; for one reborn as a human being drinking liquor and wine at minimum conduces to madness.”

MN 41 Sāleyyaka Sutta – The Brahmins of Sālā

[285] 1. THUS HAVE I HEARD. On one occasion the Blessed One was wandering by stages in the Kosalan Country with a large Sangha of bhikkhus, and eventually he arrived at a Kosalan brahmin village named Sālā.

2. The brahmin householders of Sālā heard: “The recluse Gotama, the son of the Sakyans who went forth from a Sakyan clan, has been wandering in the Kosalan country with a large Sangha of bhikkhus and has come to Sālā. Now a good report of Master Gotama has been spread to this effect: ‘That Blessed One is accomplished, fully enlightened, perfect in true knowledge and conduct, sublime, knower of worlds, incomparable leader of persons to be tamed, teacher of gods and humans, enlightened, blessed. He declares this world with its gods, its Māras, and its Brahmās, this generation with its recluses and brahmins, its princes and its people, which he has himself realised with direct knowledge. He teaches the Dhamma good in the beginning, good in the middle, and good in the end, with the right meaning and phrasing, and he reveals a holy life that is utterly perfect and pure.’ Now it is good to see such arahants.”

3. Then the brahmin householders of Sālā went to the Blessed One. Some paid homage to the Blessed One and sat down at one side; some exchanged greetings with him, and when this courteous and amiable talk was finished, sat down at one side; some extended their hands in reverential salutation towards the Blessed One and sat down at one side; some pronounced their name and clan in the Blessed One’s presence and sat down at one side; some kept silent and sat down at one side.

4. When they were seated, they said to the Blessed One: “Master Gotama, what is the cause and condition why some beings here, on the dissolution of the body, after death, reappear in states of deprivation, in an unhappy destination, in perdition, even in hell? And what is the cause and condition why some beings here, on the dissolution of the body, after death, reappear in a happy destination, even in the heavenly world?”

5. “Householders, it is by reason of conduct not in accordance with the Dhamma, by reason of unrighteous conduct that some beings here, on the dissolution of the body, after death, reappear in states of deprivation, in an unhappy destination, in perdition, even in hell. It is by reason of conduct in accordance with the Dhamma, by reason of righteous conduct that some beings here, on the dissolution of the body, after death, reappear in a happy destination, even in the heavenly world.” [286]

6. “We do not understand the detailed meaning of Master Gotama’s utterance, which he has spoken in brief without expounding the detailed meaning. It would be good if Master Gotama would teach us the Dhamma so that we might understand the detailed meaning of his utterance.”

“Then, householders, listen and attend closely to what I shall say.”

“Yes, venerable sir,” they replied. The Blessed One said this:

7. “Householders, there are three kinds of bodily conduct not in accordance with the Dhamma, unrighteous conduct. There are four kinds of verbal conduct not in accordance with the Dhamma, unrighteous conduct. There are three kinds of mental conduct not in accordance with the Dhamma, unrighteous conduct.

8. “And how, householders, are there three kinds of bodily conduct not in accordance with the Dhamma, unrighteous conduct? Here someone kills living beings; he is murderous, bloody-handed, given to blows and violence, merciless to living beings. He takes what is not given; he takes by way of theft the wealth and property of others in the village or forest. He misconducts himself in sensual pleasures; he has intercourse with women who are protected by their mother, father, mother and father, brother, sister, or relatives, who have a husband, who are protected by law, and even with those who are garlanded in token of betrothal. That is how there are three kinds of bodily conduct not in accordance with the Dhamma, unrighteous conduct.

9. “And how, householders, are there four kinds of verbal conduct not in accordance with the Dhamma, unrighteous conduct? Here someone speaks falsehood; when summoned to a court, or to a meeting, or to his relatives’ presence, or to his guild, or to the royal family’s presence, and questioned as a witness thus: ‘So, good man, tell what you know,’ not knowing, he says, ‘I know,’ or knowing, he says, ‘I do not know’; not seeing, he says, ‘I see,’ or seeing, he says, ‘I do not see’; in full awareness he speaks falsehood for his own ends, or for another’s ends, or for some trifling worldly end. He speaks maliciously; he repeats elsewhere what he has heard here in order to divide [those people] from these, or he repeats to these people what he has heard elsewhere in order to divide [these people] from those; thus he is one who divides those who are united, a creator of divisions, who enjoys discord, rejoices in discord, delights in discord, a speaker of words that create discord. He speaks harshly; he utters such words as are rough, hard, hurtful to others, offensive to others, bordering on anger, unconducive to concentration. [287] He is a gossip; he speaks at the wrong time, speaks what is not fact, speaks what is useless, speaks contrary to the Dhamma and the Discipline; at the wrong time he speaks such words as are worthless, unreasonable, immoderate, and unbeneficial. That is how there are four kinds of verbal conduct not in accordance with the Dhamma, unrighteous conduct.

10. “And how, householders, are there three kinds of mental conduct not in accordance with the Dhamma, unrighteous conduct? Here someone is covetous; he covets the wealth and property of others thus: ‘Oh, may what belongs to another be mine!’ Or he has a mind of ill will and intentions of hate thus: ‘May these beings be slain and slaughtered, may they be cut off, perish, or be annihilated!’ Or he has wrong view, distorted vision, thus: ‘There is nothing given, nothing offered, nothing sacrificed; no fruit or result of good and bad actions; no this world, no other world; no mother, no father; no beings who are reborn spontaneously; no good and virtuous recluses and brahmins in the world who have themselves realised by direct knowledge and declare this world and the other world.’425 That is how there are three kinds of mental conduct not in accordance with the Dhamma, unrighteous conduct. So, householders, it is by reason of such conduct not in accordance with the Dhamma, by reason of such unrighteous conduct that some beings here on the dissolution of the body, after death, reappear in states of deprivation, in an unhappy destination, in perdition, even in hell.

11. “Householders, there are three kinds of bodily conduct in accordance with the Dhamma, righteous conduct. There are four kinds of verbal conduct in accordance with the Dhamma, righteous conduct. There are three kinds of mental conduct in accordance with the Dhamma, righteous conduct.

12. “And how, householders, are there three kinds of bodily conduct in accordance with the Dhamma, righteous conduct? Here someone, abandoning the killing of living beings, abstains from killing living beings; with rod and weapon laid aside, gentle and kindly, he abides compassionate to all living beings. Abandoning the taking of what is not given, he abstains from taking what is not given; he does not take by way of theft the wealth and property of others in the village or in the forest. Abandoning misconduct in sensual pleasures, he abstains from misconduct in sensual pleasures; he does not have intercourse with women who are protected by their mother, father, mother and father, brother, sister, or relatives, who have a husband, who are protected by law, or with those who are garlanded in token of betrothal. That is how there are three kinds of bodily conduct in accordance with the Dhamma, righteous conduct. [288]

13. “And how, householders, are there four kinds of verbal conduct in accordance with the Dhamma, righteous conduct? Here someone, abandoning false speech, abstains from false speech; when summoned to a court, or to a meeting, or to his relatives’ presence, or to his guild, or to the royal family’s presence, and questioned as a witness thus: ‘So, good man, tell what you know,’ not knowing, he says, ‘I do not know,’ or knowing, he says, ‘I know’; not seeing, he says, ‘I do not see,’ or seeing, he says, ‘I see’; he does not in full awareness speak falsehood for his own ends, or for another’s ends, or for some trifling worldly end. Abandoning malicious speech, he abstains from malicious speech; he does not repeat elsewhere what he has heard here in order to divide [those people] from these, nor does he repeat to these people what he has heard elsewhere in order to divide [these people] from those; thus he is one who reunites those who are divided, a promoter of friendships, who enjoys concord, rejoices in concord, delights in concord, a speaker of words that promote concord. Abandoning harsh speech, he abstains from harsh speech; he speaks such words as are gentle, pleasing to the ear, and loveable, as go to the heart, are courteous, desired by many, and agreeable to many. Abandoning gossip, he abstains from gossip; he speaks at the right time, speaks what is fact, speaks on what is good, speaks on the Dhamma and the Discipline; at the right time he speaks such words as are worth recording, reasonable, moderate, and beneficial. That is how there are four kinds of verbal conduct in accordance with the Dhamma, righteous conduct.

14. “And how, householders, are there three kinds of mental conduct in accordance with the Dhamma, righteous conduct? Here someone is not covetous; he does not covet the wealth and property of others thus: ‘Oh, may what belongs to another be mine!’ His mind is without ill will and he has intentions free from hate thus: ‘May these beings be free from enmity, affliction and anxiety! May they live happily!’ He has right view, undistorted vision, thus: ‘There is what is given and what is offered and what is sacrificed; there is fruit and result of good and bad actions; there is this world and the other world; there is mother and father; there are beings who are reborn spontaneously; there are good and virtuous recluses and brahmins in the world who have themselves realised by direct knowledge and declare this world and the other world.’ That is how there are three kinds of mental conduct in accordance with the Dhamma, righteous conduct. So, householders, it is by reason of such conduct in accordance with the Dhamma, by reason of such righteous conduct that some beings here, on the dissolution of the body, after death, reappear in a happy destination, even in the heavenly world. [289]

15. “If, householders, one who observes conduct in accordance with the Dhamma, righteous conduct, should wish: ‘Oh, that on the dissolution of the body, after death, I might reappear in the company of well-to-do nobles!’ it is possible that, on the dissolution of the body, after death, he will reappear in the company of well-to-do nobles. Why is that? Because he observes conduct that is in accordance with the Dhamma, righteous conduct.

16-17. “If, householders, one who observes conduct in accordance with the Dhamma, righteous conduct, should wish: ‘Oh, that on the dissolution of the body, after death, I might reappear in the company of well-to-do brahmins!…in the company of well-to-do householders!’ it is possible that, on the dissolution of the body, after death, he will reappear in the company of well-to-do householders. Why is that? Because he observes conduct that is in accordance with the Dhamma, righteous conduct.

18-42. “If, householders, one who observes conduct in accordance with the Dhamma, righteous conduct, should wish: ‘Oh, that on the dissolution of the body, after death, I might reappear in the company of the gods of the heaven of the Four Great Kings!…in the company of the gods of the heaven of the Thirty-three…the Yāma gods…the gods of the Tusita heaven…the gods who delight in creating…the gods who wield power over others′ creations…the gods of Brahmā′ s retinue…the gods of Radiance 426 …the gods of Limited Radiance…the gods of Immeasurable Radiance…the gods of Streaming Radiance…the gods of Glory…the gods of Limited Glory…the gods of Immeasurable Glory…the gods of Refulgent Glory…the gods of Great Fruit…the Aviha gods…the Atappa gods…the Sudassa gods…the Sudassī gods…the Akaniṭṭha gods…the gods of the base of infinite space…the gods of the base of infinite consciousness…the gods of the base of nothingness…the gods of the base of neither-perception-nor-non-perception!’ it is possible that on the dissolution of the body, after death, he will reappear in the company of the gods of the base of neither-perception-nor-non-perception. Why is that? Because he observes conduct in accordance with the Dhamma, righteous conduct.

43. “If, householders, one who observes conduct in accordance with the Dhamma, righteous conduct, should wish: ‘Oh, that by realising for myself with direct knowledge I might here and now enter upon and abide in the deliverance of mind and deliverance by wisdom that are taintless with the destruction of the taints!’ it is possible that, by realising for himself with direct knowledge, he will here and now enter upon and abide in the deliverance of mind and deliverance by wisdom that are taintless with the destruction of the taints. Why is that? Because he observes conduct in accordance with the Dhamma, righteous conduct.”427 [290]

44. When this was said, the brahmin householders of Sālā said to the Blessed One: “Magnificent, Master Gotama! Magnificent, Master Gotama! Master Gotama has made the Dhamma clear in many ways, as though he were turning upright what had been overthrown, revealing what was hidden, showing the way to one who was lost, or holding up a lamp in the darkness for those with eyesight to see forms. We go to Master Gotama for refuge and to the Dhamma and to the Sangha of bhikkhus. From today let Master Gotama accept us as lay followers who have gone to him for refuge for life.”

SN 42.3 Yodhājīva

Then the headman Yodhājı̄va the Mercenary339 approached the Blessed One, paid homage to him, sat down to one side, and said to him: “Venerable sir, I have heard it said by mercenaries of old in the lineage of teachers: ‘When a mercenary is one who strives and exerts himself in battle, if others slay him and finish him off while he is striving and exerting himself in battle, then with the breakup of the body, after death, he is reborn in the company of the battle-slain devas.’340 What does the Blessed One say about that?”

“Enough, headman, let it be! Don’t ask me that!”

A second time and a third time Yodhājı̄va the headman said: “Venerable sir, I have heard it said by mercenaries of old in the lineage of teachers: … What does the Blessed One say about that?” [309]

“Surely, headman, I am not getting through to you when I say, ‘Enough, headman, let it be! Don’t ask me that!’ But still, I will answer you. When, headman, a mercenary is one who strives and exerts himself in battle, his mind is already low, depraved, misdirected by the thought: ‘Let these beings be slain, slaughtered, annihilated, destroyed, or exterminated.’ If others then slay him and finish him off while he is striving and exerting himself in battle, then with the breakup of the body, after death, he is reborn in the ‘Battle-Slain Hell.’341 But should he hold such a view as this: ‘When a mercenary strives and exerts himself in battle, if others slay him and finish him off while he is striving and exerting himself in battle, then with the breakup of the body, after death, he is reborn in the company of the battle-slain devas’—that is a wrong view on his part. For a person with wrong view, I say, there is one of two destinations: either hell or the animal realm.”

When this was said, Yodhājı̄va the headman cried out and burst into tears. [The Blessed One said:] “So I did not get through to you when I said, ‘Enough, headman, let it be! Don’t ask me that!’”

“I am not crying, venerable sir, because of what the Blessed One said to me, but because I have been tricked, cheated, and deceived for a long time by those mercenaries of old in the lineage of teachers who said: ‘When a mercenary is one who strives and exerts himself in battle, if others slay him and finish him off while he is striving and exerting himself in battle, then with the breakup of the body, after death, he is reborn in the company of the battle-slain devas.’

“Magnificent, venerable sir!… From today let the Blessed One remember me as a lay follower who has gone for refuge for life.” [310]

SN 22.2 (2) At Devadaha

Thus have I heard. On one occasion the Blessed One was dwelling among the Sakyans where there was a town of the Sakyans named Devadaha. Then a number of westward-bound bhikkhus approached the Blessed One, paid homage to him, sat down to one side, and said to him:

“Venerable sir, we wish to go to the western province in order to take up residence there.”9

“Have you taken leave of Sāriputta, bhikkhus?”

“No, venerable sir.”

“Then take leave of Sāriputta, bhikkhus. Sāriputta is wise, he is one who helps his brothers in the holy life.”10 [6]

“Yes, venerable sir,” those bhikkhus replied. Now on that occasion the Venerable Sāriputta was sitting not far from the Blessed One in a cassia bush.11 Then those bhikkhus, having delighted and rejoiced in the Blessed One’s statement, rose from their seats and paid homage to the Blessed One. Then, keeping him on their right, they approached the Venerable Sāriputta. They exchanged greetings with the Venerable Sāriputta and, when they had concluded their greetings and cordial talk, they sat down to one side and said to him:

“Friend Sāriputta, we wish to go to the western province in order to take up residence there. We have taken leave of the Teacher.”

“Friends, there are wise khattiyas, wise brahmins, wise householders, and wise ascetics who question a bhikkhu when he has gone abroad12—for wise people, friends, are inquisitive: ‘What does your teacher say, what does he teach?’ I hope that you venerable ones have learned the teachings well, grasped them well, attended to them well, reflected on them well, and penetrated them well with wisdom, so that when you answer you will state what has been said by the Blessed One and will not misrepresent him with what is contrary to fact; so that you will explain in accordance with the Dhamma, and no reasonable consequence of your assertion would give ground for criticism.”13

“We would come from far away, friend, to learn the meaning of this statement from the Venerable Sāriputta. It would be good indeed if the Venerable Sāriputta would clear up the meaning of this statement.”

“Then listen and attend closely, friends, I will speak.”

“Yes, friend,” those bhikkhus replied. The Venerable Sāriputta said this: [7]

“There are, friends, wise khattiyas, wise brahmins, wise householders, and wise ascetics who question a bhikkhu when he has gone abroad—for wise people, friends, are inquisitive: ‘What does your teacher say, what does he teach?’ Being asked thus, friends, you should answer: ‘Our teacher, friends, teaches the removal of desire and lust.’

“When you have answered thus, friends, there may be wise khattiyas … wise ascetics who will question you further—for wise people, friends, are inquisitive: ‘In regard to what does your teacher teach the removal of desire and lust?’ Being asked thus, friends, you should answer: ‘Our teacher, friends, teaches the removal of desire and lust for form, the removal of desire and lust for feeling … perception … volitional formations … consciousness. ’

“When you have answered thus, friends, there may be wise khattiyas … wise ascetics who will question you further—for wise people, friends, are inquisitive: ‘Having seen what danger does your teacher teach the removal of desire and lust for form, the removal of desire and lust for feeling … perception … volitional formations … consciousness?’ Being asked thus, friends, you should answer thus: ‘If, friends, one is not devoid of lust, desire, affection, thirst, passion, and craving in regard to form,14 then with the change and alteration of form there arise in one sorrow, lamentation, pain, displeasure, and despair. If, friends, one is not devoid of lust, desire, affection, thirst, passion, and craving in regard to feeling … perception … volitional formations … consciousness, then with the change and alteration of consciousness there arise in one sorrow, lamentation, pain, displeasure, and despair. Having seen this danger, our teacher teaches the removal of desire and lust for form, the removal of desire and lust for feeling … perception … volitional formations … consciousness. ’ [8]

“When you have answered thus, friends, there may be wise khattiyas … wise ascetics who will question you further—for wise people, friends, are inquisitive: ‘Having seen what benefit does your teacher teach the removal of desire and lust for form, the removal of desire and lust for feeling … perception … volitional formations … consciousness?’ Being asked thus, friends, you should answer thus: ‘If, friends, one is devoid of lust, desire, affection, thirst, passion, and craving in regard to form, then with the change and alteration of form sorrow, lamentation, pain, displeasure, and despair do not arise in one. If one is devoid of lust, desire, affection, thirst, passion, and craving in regard to feeling … perception … volitional formations … consciousness, then with the change and alteration of consciousness sorrow, lamentation, pain, displeasure, and despair do not arise in one. Having seen this benefit, our teacher teaches the removal of desire and lust for form, the removal of desire and lust for feeling … perception … volitional formations … consciousness.’

“If, friends,15 one who enters and dwells amidst unwholesome states could dwell happily in this very life, without vexation, despair, and fever, and if, with the breakup of the body, after death, he could expect a good destination, then the Blessed One would not praise the abandoning of unwholesome states. But because one who enters and dwells amidst unwholesome states dwells in suffering in this very life, with vexation, despair, and fever, and because he can expect a bad destination with the breakup of the body, after death, the Blessed One praises the abandoning of unwholesome states.

“If, friends, one who enters and dwells amidst wholesome states would dwell in suffering in this very life, with vexation, [9] despair, and fever, and if, with the breakup of the body, after death, he could expect a bad destination, then the Blessed One would not praise the acquisition of wholesome states. But because one who enters and dwells amidst wholesome states dwells happily in this very life, without vexation, despair, and fever, and because he can expect a good destination with the breakup of the body, after death, the Blessed One praises the acquisition of wholesome states.”

This is what the Venerable Sāriputta said. Elated, those bhikkhus delighted in the Venerable Sāriputta’s statement.

MN 54 Potaliya Sutta – To Potaliya

1. THUS HAVE I HEARD. On one occasion the Blessed One was living in the country of the Anguttarāpans where there was a town of theirs named Āpaṇa.

2. Then, when it was morning, the Blessed One dressed, and taking his bowl and outer robe, went into Āpaṇa for alms. When he had wandered for alms in Āpaṇa and had returned from his almsround, after his meal he went to a certain grove for the day’s abiding. Having entered the grove, he sat down at the root of a tree.

3. Potaliya the householder, while walking and wandering for exercise, wearing full dress with parasol and sandals, also went to the grove, and having entered the grove, he went to the Blessed One and exchanged greetings with him. When this courteous and amiable talk was finished, he stood at one side. The Blessed One said to him: “There are seats, householder, sit down if you like.”

When this was said, the householder Potaliya thought: “The recluse Gotama addresses me as ‘householder,’” and angry and displeased, he remained silent.

A second time the Blessed One said to him: “There are seats, householder, sit down if you like.” And a second time the householder Potaliya thought: “The recluse Gotama addresses me as ‘householder,’” and angry and displeased, he remained silent.

A third time the Blessed One said to him: “There are seats, householder, sit down if you like.” When this was said, the householder Potaliya thought: “The recluse Gotama addresses me as ‘householder,’” and angry and displeased, he said to the Blessed One: [360] “Master Gotama, it is neither fitting nor proper that you address me as ‘householder.’”

“Householder, you have the aspects, marks, and signs of a householder.”

“Nevertheless, Master Gotama, I have given up all my works and cut off all my affairs.”

“In what way, householder, have you given up all your works and cut off all your affairs?”

“Master Gotama, I have given all my wealth, grain, silver, and gold to my children as their inheritance. I do not advise or blame them about such matters but merely live on food and clothing. That is how I have given up all my works and cut off all my affairs.”

“Householder, the cutting off of affairs as you describe it is one thing, but in the Noble One’s Discipline the cutting off of affairs is different.”

“What is the cutting off of affairs like in the Noble One’s Discipline, venerable sir? It would be good, venerable sir, if the Blessed One would teach me the Dhamma, showing what the cutting off of affairs is like in the Noble One’s Discipline.”

“Then listen, householder, and attend closely to what I shall say.”

“Yes, venerable sir,” Potaliya the householder replied. The Blessed One said this:

4. “Householder, there are these eight things in the Noble One’s Discipline that lead to the cutting off of affairs. What are the eight? With the support of the non-killing of living beings, the killing of living beings is to be abandoned. With the support of taking only what is given, the taking of what is not given is to be abandoned. With the support of truthful speech, false speech is to be abandoned. With the support of unmalicious speech, malicious speech is to be abandoned. With the support of no rapacity and greed,567 rapacity and greed are to be abandoned. With the support of no spite and scolding, spite and scolding are to be abandoned. With the support of no anger and irritation, anger and irritation are to be abandoned. With the support of non-arrogance, arrogance is to be abandoned. These are the eight things, stated in brief without being expounded in detail, that lead to the cutting off of affairs in the Noble One’s Discipline.”

5. “Venerable sir, it would be good if, out of compassion, the Blessed One would expound to me in detail these eight things that lead to the cutting off of affairs in the Noble One’s Discipline, which have been stated in brief by the Blessed One without being expounded in detail.”

“Then listen, householder, and attend closely to what I shall say.”

“Yes, venerable sir,” Potaliya the householder replied. The Blessed One said this: [361]

6. “‘With the support of the non-killing of living beings, the killing of living beings is to be abandoned.’ So it was said. And with reference to what was this said? Here a noble disciple considers thus: ‘I am practising the way to the abandoning and cutting off of those fetters because of which I might kill living beings. If I were to kill living beings, I would blame myself for doing so; the wise, having investigated, would censure me for doing so; and on the dissolution of the body, after death, because of killing living beings an unhappy destination would be expected. But this killing of living beings is itself a fetter and a hindrance.568 And while taints, vexation, and fever might arise through the killing of living beings, there are no taints, vexation, and fever for one who abstains from killing living beings.’ So it is with reference to this that it was said: ‘With the support of the non-killing of living beings, the killing of living beings is to be abandoned.’

7. “‘With the support of taking only what is given, the taking of what is not given is to be abandoned.’ So it was said…

8. “‘With the support of truthful speech, false speech is to be abandoned.’ So it was said…[362]

9. “‘With the support of unmalicious speech, malicious speech is to be abandoned.’ So it was said…

10. “‘With the support of no rapacity and greed, rapacity and greed are to be abandoned.’ So it was said…

11. “‘With the support of no spite and scolding, spite and scolding are to be abandoned.’ So it was said…[363]

12. “‘With the support of no anger and irritation, anger and irritation are to be abandoned.’ So it was said…

13. “‘With the support of non-arrogance, arrogance is to be abandoned.’ So it was said. And with reference to what was this said? Here a noble disciple considers thus: ‘I am practising the way to the abandoning and cutting off of those fetters because of which I might be arrogant. If I were to be arrogant, I would blame myself for this; the wise, having investigated, would censure me for this; and on the dissolution of the body, after death, because of being arrogant an unhappy destination would be expected. But this arrogance is itself a fetter and a hindrance. And while taints, vexation, and fever might arise through arrogance, there are no taints, vexation, and fever for one who is not arrogant.’ So it is with reference to this that it was said: ‘With the support of non-arrogance, arrogance is to be abandoned.’569 [364]

14. “These eight things that lead to the cutting off of affairs in the Noble One’s Discipline have now been expounded in detail. But the cutting off of affairs in the Noble One’s Discipline has not yet been achieved entirely and in all ways.”

“Venerable sir, how is the cutting off of affairs in the Noble One’s Discipline achieved entirely and in all ways? It would be good, venerable sir, if the Blessed One would teach me the Dhamma, showing me how the cutting off of affairs in the Noble One’s Discipline is achieved entirely and in all ways.”

“Then listen, householder, and attend closely to what I shall say.”

“Yes, venerable sir,” Potaliya the householder replied. The Blessed One said this:

15. “Householder, suppose a dog, overcome by hunger and weakness, was waiting by a butcher’s shop.570 Then a skilled butcher or his apprentice would toss the dog a well hacked, clean hacked skeleton of meatless bones smeared with blood. What do you think, householder? Would that dog get rid of his hunger and weakness by gnawing such a well hacked, clean hacked skeleton of meatless bones smeared with blood?”

“No, venerable sir. Why is that? Because that was a skeleton of well hacked, clean hacked meatless bones smeared with blood. Eventually that dog would reap weariness and disappointment.”

“So too, householder, a noble disciple considers thus: ‘Sensual pleasures have been compared to a skeleton by the Blessed One; they provide much suffering and much despair, while the danger in them is great.’ Having seen this thus as it actually is with proper wisdom, he avoids the equanimity that is diversified, based on diversity, and develops the equanimity that is unified, based on unity,571 where clinging to the material things of the world utterly ceases without remainder.

16. “Householder, suppose a vulture, a heron, or a hawk seized a piece of meat and flew away, and then vultures, herons, and hawks pursued it and pecked and clawed it. What do you think, householder? If that vulture, heron, or hawk does not quickly let go of that piece of meat, wouldn’t it incur death or deadly suffering because of that?”

“Yes, venerable sir.”

“So too, householder, a noble disciple considers thus: ‘Sensual pleasures have been compared to a piece of meat by the Blessed One; they provide much suffering and much despair, while the danger in them is great.’ [365] Having seen this thus as it actually is with proper wisdom…clinging to the material things of the world utterly ceases without remainder.

17. “Householder, suppose a man took a blazing grass torch and went against the wind. What do you think, householder? If that man does not quickly let go of that blazing grass torch, wouldn’t that blazing grass torch burn his hand or his arm or some other part of his body, so that he might incur death or deadly suffering because of that?”

“Yes, venerable sir.”

“So too, householder, a noble disciple considers thus: ‘Sensual pleasures have been compared to a grass torch by the Blessed One; they provide much suffering and much despair, while the danger in them is great.’ Having seen this thus as it actually is with proper wisdom…clinging to the material things of the world utterly ceases without remainder.

18. “Householder, suppose there were a charcoal pit deeper than a man’s height full of glowing coals without flame or smoke. Then a man came who wanted to live and not to die, who wanted pleasure and recoiled from pain, and two strong men seized him by both arms and dragged him towards that charcoal pit. What do you think, householder? Would that man twist his body this way and that?”

“Yes, venerable sir. Why is that? Because that man knows that if he falls into that charcoal pit, he will incur death or deadly suffering because of that.”

“So too, householder, a noble disciple considers thus: ‘Sensual pleasures have been compared to a charcoal pit by the Blessed One; they provide much suffering and much despair, while the danger in them is great.’ Having seen this thus as it actually is with proper wisdom…clinging to the material things of the world utterly ceases without remainder.

19. “Householder, suppose a man dreamt about lovely parks, lovely groves, lovely meadows, and lovely lakes, and on waking he saw nothing of it. So too, householder, a noble disciple considers thus: ‘Sensual pleasures have been compared to a dream by the Blessed One; they provide much suffering and much despair, while the danger in them is great.’ Having seen this thus as it actually is with proper wisdom…clinging to the material things of the world utterly ceases without remainder.

20. “Householder, suppose a man borrowed goods on loan [366]—a fancy carriage and fine-jewelled earrings—and preceded and surrounded by those borrowed goods he went to the marketplace. Then people, seeing him, would say: ‘Sirs, that is a rich man! That is how the rich enjoy their wealth!’ Then the owners, whenever they saw him, would take back their things. What do you think, householder? Would that be enough for that man to become dejected?”

“Yes, venerable sir. Why is that? Because the owners took back their things.”

“So too, householder, a noble disciple considers thus: ‘Sensual pleasures have been compared to borrowed goods by the Blessed One; they provide much suffering and much despair, while the danger in them is great.’ Having seen this thus as it actually is with proper wisdom…clinging to material things of the world utterly ceases without remainder.

21. “Householder, suppose there were a dense grove not far from some village or town, within which there was a tree laden with fruit but none of its fruit had fallen to the ground. Then a man came needing fruit, seeking fruit, wandering in search of fruit, and he entered the grove and saw the tree laden with fruit. Thereupon he thought: ‘This tree is laden with fruit but none of its fruit has fallen to the ground. I know how to climb a tree, so let me climb this tree, eat as much fruit as I want, and fill my bag.’ And he did so. Then a second man came needing fruit, seeking fruit, wandering in search of fruit, and taking a sharp axe, he too entered the grove and saw that tree laden with fruit. Thereupon he thought: ‘This tree is laden with fruit but none of its fruit has fallen to the ground. I do not know how to climb a tree, so let me cut this tree down at its root, eat as much fruit as I want, and fill my bag.’ And he did so. What do you think, householder? If that first man who had climbed the tree doesn’t come down quickly, when the tree falls, wouldn’t he break his hand or his foot or some other part of his body, [367] so that he might incur death or deadly suffering because of that?”

“Yes, venerable sir.”

“So too, householder, a noble disciple considers thus: ‘Sensual pleasures have been compared to fruits on a tree by the Blessed One; they provide much suffering and much despair, while the danger in them is great.’ Having seen this thus as it actually is with proper wisdom, he avoids the equanimity that is diversified, based on diversity, and develops the equanimity that is unified, based on unity, where clinging to the material things of the world utterly ceases without remainder.

22. “Based upon that same supreme mindfulness whose purity is due to equanimity, this noble disciple recollects his manifold past lives, that is, one birth, two births…(as Sutta 51, §24)…Thus with their aspects and particulars he recollects his manifold past lives.

23. “Based upon that same supreme mindfulness whose purity is due to equanimity, with the divine eye, which is purified and surpasses the human, this noble disciple sees beings passing away and reappearing, inferior and superior, fair and ugly, fortunate and unfortunate…(as Sutta 51, §25)…and he understands how beings pass on according to their actions.

24. “Based upon that same supreme mindfulness whose purity is due to equanimity, by realising for himself with direct knowledge, this noble disciple here and now enters upon and abides in the deliverance of mind and deliverance by wisdom that are taintless with the destruction of the taints.

25. “At this point, householder, the cutting off of affairs in the Noble One’s Discipline has been achieved entirely and in all ways. What do you think, householder? Do you see in yourself any cutting off of affairs like this cutting off of affairs in the Noble One’s Discipline when it is achieved entirely and in all ways?”

“Venerable sir, who am I that I should possess any cutting off of affairs entirely and in all ways like that in the Noble One’s Discipline? I am far indeed, venerable sir, from that cutting off of affairs in the Noble One’s Discipline when it has been achieved entirely and in all ways. For, venerable sir, though the wanderers of other sects are not thoroughbreds, we imagined that they are thoroughbreds;572 though they are not thoroughbreds, we fed them the food of thoroughbreds; though they are not thoroughbreds, we set them in the place of thoroughbreds. But though the bhikkhus are thoroughbreds, we imagined that they are not thoroughbreds; though they are thoroughbreds, we fed them the food of those who are not thoroughbreds; though they are thoroughbreds, we set them in the place of those who are not thoroughbreds. But now, venerable sir, [368] as the wanderers of other sects are not thoroughbreds, we shall understand that they are not thoroughbreds; as they are not thoroughbreds, we shall feed them the food of those who are not thoroughbreds; as they are not thoroughbreds, we shall set them in the place of those who are not thoroughbreds. But as the bhikkhus are thoroughbreds, we shall understand that they are thoroughbreds; as they are thoroughbreds, we shall feed them the food of thoroughbreds; as they are thoroughbreds, we shall set them in the place of those who are thoroughbreds. Venerable sir, the Blessed One has inspired in me love for recluses, confidence in recluses, reverence for recluses.

26. “Magnificent, Master Gotama! Magnificent, Master Gotama! Master Gotama has made the Dhamma clear in many ways, as though he were turning upright what had been overthrown, revealing what was hidden, showing the way to one who was lost, or holding up a lamp in the dark for those with eyesight to see forms. I go to Master Gotama for refuge and to the Dhamma and to the Sangha of bhikkhus. From today let Master Gotama remember me as a lay follower who has gone to him for refuge for life.”

 

MN 19  Dvedhāvitakka Sutta – Two Kinds of Thought

 

1. THUS HAVE I HEARD. On one occasion the Blessed One was living at Sāvatthī in Jeta’s Grove, Anāthapiṇḍika’s Park. There he addressed the bhikkhus thus: “Bhikkhus.”—“Venerable sir,” they replied. The Blessed One said this:

2. “Bhikkhus, before my enlightenment, while I was still only an unenlightened Bodhisatta, it occurred to me: ‘Suppose that I divide my thoughts into two classes./235 Then I set on one side thoughts of sensual desire, thoughts of ill will, and thoughts of cruelty, and I set on the other side thoughts of renunciation, thoughts of non-ill will, and thoughts of non-cruelty.236

3. “As I abided thus, diligent, ardent, and resolute, [115] a thought of sensual desire arose in me. I understood thus: ‘This thought of sensual desire has arisen in me. This leads to my own affliction, to others’ affliction, and to the affliction of both; it obstructs wisdom, causes difficulties, and leads away from Nibbāna.’ When I considered: ‘This leads to my own affliction,’ it subsided in me; when I considered: ‘This leads to others’ affliction,’ it subsided in me; when I considered: ‘This leads to the affliction of both,’ it subsided in me; when I considered: ‘This obstructs wisdom, causes difficulties, and leads away from Nibbāna,’ it subsided in me. Whenever a thought of sensual desire arose in me, I abandoned it, removed it, did away with it.

4—5 . “As I abided thus, diligent, ardent, and resolute, a thought of ill will arose in me…a thought of cruelty arose in me. I understood thus: ‘This thought of cruelty has arisen in me. This leads to my own affliction, to others’ affliction, and to the affliction of both; it obstructs wisdom, causes difficulties, and leads away from Nibbāna.‘ When I considered thus…it subsided in me. Whenever a thought of cruelty arose in me, I abandoned it, removed it, did away with it.

6. “Bhikkhus, whatever a bhikkhu frequently thinks and ponders upon, that will become the inclination of his mind. If he frequently thinks and ponders upon thoughts of sensual desire, he has abandoned the thought of renunciation to cultivate the thought of sensual desire, and then his mind inclines to thoughts of sensual desire. If he frequently thinks and ponders thoughts of sensual desire. If he frequently thinks and ponders upon thoughts of ill will…upon thoughts of cruelty, he has abandoned the thought of non-cruelty to cultivate the thought of cruelty, and then his mind inclines to thoughts of cruelty.

7. “Just as in the last month of the rainy season, in the autumn, when the crops thicken, a cowherd would guard his cows by constantly tapping and poking them on this side and that with a stick to check and curb them. Why is that? Because he sees that he could be flogged, imprisoned, fined, or blamed [if he let them stray into the crops]. So too I saw in unwholesome states danger, degradation, and defilement, and in wholesome states the blessing of renunciation, the aspect of cleansing. [116]

8. “As I abided thus, diligent, ardent, and resolute, a thought of renunciation arose in me. I understood thus: ‘This thought of renunciation has arisen in me. This does not lead to my own affliction, or to others’ affliction, or to the affliction of both; it aids wisdom, does not cause difficulties, and leads to Nibbāna. If I think and ponder upon this thought even for a night, even for a day, even for a night and day, I see nothing to fear from it. But with excessive thinking and pondering I might tire my body, and when the body is tired, the mind becomes strained, and when the mind is strained, it is far from concentration.’ So I steadied my mind internally, quieted it, brought it to singleness, and concentrated it. Why is that? So that my mind should not be strained.237

9-10. “As I abided thus, diligent, ardent, and resolute, a thought of non-ill will arose in me…a thought of non-cruelty arose in me. I understood thus: ‘This thought of non-cruelty has arisen in me. This does not lead to my own affliction, or to others’ affliction, or to the affliction of both; it aids wisdom, does not cause difficulties, and leads to Nibbāna. If I think and ponder upon this thought even for a night, even for a day, even for a night and day, I see nothing to fear from it. But with excessive thinking and pondering I might tire my body, and when the body is tired, the mind becomes strained, and when the mind is strained, it is far from concentration.’ So I steadied my mind internally, quieted it, brought it to singleness, and concentrated it. Why is that? So that my mind should not be strained.

11. “Bhikkhus, whatever a bhikkhu frequently thinks and ponders upon, that will become the inclination of his mind. If he frequently thinks and ponders upon thoughts of renunciation, he has abandoned the thought of sensual desire to cultivate the thought of renunciation, and then his mind inclines to thoughts of renunciation. If he frequently thinks and ponders upon thoughts of non-ill will…upon thoughts of non-cruelty, he has abandoned the thought of cruelty to cultivate the thought of non-cruelty, and then his mind inclines to thoughts of non-cruelty.

12. “Just as in the last month of the hot season, when all the crops have been brought inside the villages, [117] a cowherd would guard his cows while staying at the root of a tree or out in the open, since he needs only to be mindful that the cows are there; so too, there was need for me only to be mindful that those states were there.

13. “Tireless energy was aroused in me and unremitting mindfulness was established, my body was tranquil and untroubled, my mind concentrated and unified.

14-23. “Quite secluded from sensual pleasures, secluded from unwholesome states, I entered upon and abided in the first jhāna…(as Sutta 4, §§23—32)…I directly knew: ‘Birth is destroyed, the holy life has been lived, what had to be done has been done, there is no more coming to any state of being.’

23. “Quite secluded from sensual pleasures, secluded from unwholesome states, I entered upon and abided in the first jhāna, which is accompanied by applied and sustained thought, with rapture and pleasure born of seclusion.62

24. “With the stilling of applied and sustained thought, I entered upon and abided in the second jhāna, which has self-confidence and singleness of mind [22] without applied and sustained thought, with rapture and pleasure born of concentration.

25. “With the fading away as well of rapture, I abided in equanimity, and mindful and fully aware, still feeling pleasure with the body, I entered upon and abided in the third jhāna, on account of which noble ones announce: ‘He has a pleasant abiding who has equanimity and is mindful.’

26. “With the abandoning of pleasure and pain, and with the previous disappearance of joy and grief, I entered upon and abided in the fourth jhāna, which has neither-pain-nor-pleasure and purity of mindfulness due to equanimity.

27. “When my concentrated mind was thus purified, bright, unblemished, rid of imperfection, malleable, wieldy, steady, and attained to imperturbability, I directed it to knowledge of the recollection of past lives.63 I recollected my manifold past lives, that is, one birth, two births, three births, four births, five births, ten births, twenty births, thirty births, forty births, fifty births, a hundred births, a thousand births, a hundred thousand births, many aeons of world-contraction, many aeons of world-expansion, many aeons of world-contraction and expansion: ‘There I was so named, of such a clan, with such an appearance, such was my nutriment, such my experience of pleasure and pain, such my life-term; and passing away from there, I reappeared elsewhere; and there too I was so named, of such a clan, with such an appearance, such was my nutriment, such my experience of pleasure and pain, such my life-term; and passing away from there, I reappeared here.’ Thus with their aspects and particulars I recollected my manifold past lives.

28. “This was the first true knowledge attained by me in the first watch of the night. Ignorance was banished and true knowledge arose, darkness was banished and light arose, as happens in one who abides diligent, ardent, and resolute.

29. “When my concentrated mind was thus purified, bright, unblemished, rid of imperfection, malleable, wieldy, steady, and attained to imperturbability, I directed it to knowledge of the passing away and reappearance of beings.64 With the divine eye, which is purified and surpasses the human, I saw beings passing away and reappearing, inferior and superior, fair and ugly, fortunate and unfortunate. I understood how beings pass on according to their actions thus: ‘These worthy beings who were ill conducted in body, speech, and mind, revilers of noble ones, wrong in their views, giving effect to wrong view in their actions, on the dissolution of the body, after death, have reappeared in a state of deprivation, in a bad destination, in perdition, even in hell; but these worthy beings who were well conducted in body, [23] speech, and mind, not revilers of noble ones, right in their views, giving effect to right view in their actions, on the dissolution of the body, after death, have reappeared in a good destination, even in the heavenly world.’ Thus with the divine eye, which is purified and surpasses the human, I saw beings passing away and reappearing, inferior and superior, fair and ugly, fortunate and unfortunate, and I understood how beings pass on according to their actions.

30. “This was the second true knowledge attained by me in the middle watch of the night. Ignorance was banished and true knowledge arose, darkness was banished and light arose, as happens in one who abides diligent, ardent, and resolute.

31. “When my concentrated mind was thus purified, bright, unblemished, rid of imperfection, malleable, wieldy, steady, and attained to imperturbability, I directed it to knowledge of the destruction of the taints. I directly knew as it actually is: ‘This is suffering’; I directly knew as it actually is: ‘This is the origin of suffering’; I directly knew as it actually is: ‘This is the cessation of suffering’; I directly knew as it actually is: ‘This is the way leading to the cessation of suffering.’ I directly knew as it actually is: ‘These are the taints’; I directly knew as it actually is: ‘This is the origin of the taints’; I directly knew as it actually is: ‘This is the cessation of the taints’; I directly knew as it actually is: ‘This is the way leading to the cessation of the taints.’65

32. “When I knew and saw thus, my mind was liberated from the taint of sensual desire, from the taint of being, and from the taint of ignorance. When it was liberated, there came the knowledge: ‘It is liberated.’66 I directly knew: ‘Birth is destroyed, the holy life has been lived, what had to be done has been done, there is no more coming to any state of being.’67

24. “This was the third true knowledge attained by me in the last watch of the night. Ignorance was banished and true knowledge arose, darkness was banished and light arose, as happens in one who abides diligent, ardent, and resolute.

25. “Suppose, bhikkhus, that in a wooded range there was a great low-lying marsh near which a large herd of deer lived. Then a man appeared desiring their ruin, harm, and bondage, and he closed off the safe and good path to be traveled joyfully, and he opened up a false path, and he put out a decoy and set up a dummy so that the large herd of deer might later come upon calamity, disaster, and loss. But another man came desiring their good, welfare, and protection, and he reopened the safe and good path that led to their happiness, and he closed off the false path, and he removed the decoy and destroyed the dummy, so that the large herd of deer might later come to growth, increase, and fulfilment.

26. “Bhikkhus, I have given this simile in order to convey a meaning. [118] This is the meaning: ‘The great low-lying marsh’ is a term for sensual pleasures. ‘The large herd of deer’ is a term for beings. ‘The man desiring their ruin, harm, and bondage’ is a term for Māra the Evil One. ‘The false path’ is a term for the wrong eightfold path, that is: wrong view, wrong intention, wrong speech, wrong action, wrong livelihood, wrong effort, wrong mindfulness, and wrong concentration. ‘The decoy’ is a term for delight and lust. ‘The dummy’ is a term for ignorance. ‘The man desiring their good, welfare, and protection’ is a term for the Tathāgata, accomplished and fully enlightened. ‘The safe and good path to be traveled joyfully’ is a term for the Noble Eightfold Path, that is: right view, right intention, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, and right concentration.

“So, bhikkhus, the safe and good path to be traveled joyfully has been reopened by me, the wrong path has been closed off, the decoy removed, the dummy destroyed.

27. “What should be done for his disciples out of compassion by a teacher who seeks their welfare and has compassion for them, that I have done for you, bhikkhus. There are these roots of trees, these empty huts. Meditate, bhikkhus, do not delay or else you will regret it later. This is our instruction to you.”

That is what the Blessed One said. The bhikkhus were satisfied and delighted in the Blessed One’s words.

 

Published by Vimutta Fellowship Toronto

The Vimutta community is a group of Theravādan supporters in Canada, who share a focus on the practices based on the Buddha's teachings on the path toward liberation. The Pāli term“Vimutta” literally means “liberated, freed” from the cycle of death and rebirth (samsāra). If you share the vision and are interested and want to contribute, please feel free to contact us.