AN 7.67 Simile of the Fortress


“Bhikkhus, when a king’s frontier fortress is well provided with seven appurtenances of a fortress and readily gains, without trouble or difficulty, four kinds of food, it can be called a king’s frontier fortress that cannot be assailed by external foes and enemies.
“What are the seven kinds of appurtenances of a fortress with which it is well provided?
(1) “Here, bhikkhus, in the king’s frontier fortress the pillar has a deep base and is securely planted, immobile, unshakable. A king’s frontier fortress is well provided with this first appurtenance for protecting its inhabitants and for warding off outsiders.
(2) “Again, in the king’s frontier fortress the moat is dug deep and wide. A king’s frontier fortress is well provided with this second appurtenance for protecting its inhabitants and for warding off outsiders. [107]
(3) “Again, in the king’s frontier fortress the patrol path is high and wide. A king’s frontier fortress is well provided with this third appurtenance for protecting its inhabitants and for warding off outsiders.
(4) “Again, in the king’s frontier fortress many weapons are stored, both missiles and hand weapons.1580 A king’s frontier fortress is well provided with this fourth appurtenance for protecting its inhabitants and for warding off outsiders.
(5) “Again, in the king’s frontier fortress many kinds of troops reside, that is, elephant troops, cavalry, charioteers, archers, standard bearers, camp marshals, food servers, ugga-caste warriors, front-line commandoes, great-bull warriors, attack soldiers, shield-bearing soldiers, domestic-slave soldiers.1581 A king’s frontier fortress is well provided with this fifth appurtenance for protecting its inhabitants and for warding off outsiders.
(6) “Again, in the king’s frontier fortress the gatekeeper is wise, competent, and intelligent, one who keeps out strangers and admits acquaintances. A king’s frontier fortress is well provided with this sixth appurtenance for protecting its inhabitants and for warding off outsiders.
(7) “Again, in the king’s frontier fortress the rampart is high and wide, covered over by a coat of plaster. A king’s frontier fortress is well provided with this seventh appurtenance for protecting its inhabitants and for warding off outsiders. [108]
“It is well provided with these seven kinds of appurtenances. And what are the four kinds of food that it readily gains, without trouble or difficulty?
(1) “Here, bhikkhus, in the king’s frontier fortress much grass, firewood, and water are stored up for the delight, relief,1582 and ease of its inhabitants and for warding off outsiders.
(2) “Again, in the king’s frontier fortress much rice and barley are stored up for the delight, relief, and ease of its inhabitants and for warding off outsiders.
(3) “Again, in the king’s frontier fortress many foodstuffs—sesame, green gram, and beans1583—are stored up for the delight, relief, and ease of its inhabitants and for warding off outsiders.
(4) “Again, in the king’s frontier fortress many medicaments—ghee, butter, oil, honey, molasses, and salt—are stored up for the delight, relief, and ease of its inhabitants and for warding off outsiders.
“These are the four foods that it readily gains, without trouble or difficulty.
“When, bhikkhus, a king’s frontier fortress is well provided with these seven appurtenances of a fortress, and when it readily gains, without trouble or difficulty, these four kinds of food, it can be said that the king’s frontier fortress cannot be assailed by external foes and enemies.
“So too, bhikkhus, when a noble disciple possesses seven good qualities, and [109] when he gains at will, without trouble or difficulty, the four jhānas that constitute the higher mind and are pleasant dwellings in this very life, he is then called a noble disciple who cannot be assailed by Māra, who cannot be assailed by the Evil One.
“What are the seven good qualities that he possesses?
(1) “Just as, bhikkhus, the pillar in the king’s frontier fortress has a deep base and is securely planted, immobile and unshakable, for the purpose of protecting its inhabitants and for warding off outsiders, so too the noble disciple is endowed with faith. He places faith in the enlightenment of the Tathāgata thus: ‘The Blessed One is an arahant, perfectly enlightened, accomplished in true knowledge and conduct, fortunate, knower of the world, unsurpassed trainer of persons to be tamed, teacher of devas and humans, the Enlightened One, the Blessed One.’ With faith as his pillar, the noble disciple abandons the unwholesome and develops the wholesome, abandons what is blameworthy and develops what is blameless, and maintains himself in purity. He possesses this first good quality.
(2) “Just as the moat in the king’s frontier fortress is dug deep and wide for the purpose of protecting its inhabitants and for warding off outsiders, so too a noble disciple has a sense of moral shame; he is ashamed of bodily, verbal, and mental misconduct; he is ashamed of acquiring bad unwholesome qualities. With a sense of moral shame as the moat, the noble disciple abandons the unwholesome and develops the wholesome, abandons what is blameworthy and develops what is blameless, and maintains himself in purity. He possesses this second good quality.
(3) “Just as the patrol path in the king’s frontier fortress is high and wide for the purpose of protecting its inhabitants and for warding off outsiders, so too a noble disciple dreads wrongdoing; he dreads bodily, verbal, and mental misconduct; he dreads acquiring bad unwholesome qualities. With moral dread as the patrol path, the noble disciple abandons the unwholesome and develops [110] the wholesome, abandons what is blameworthy and develops what is blameless, and maintains himself in purity. He possesses this third good quality.
(4) “Just as many weapons, both missiles and hand weapons, are stored in the king’s frontier fortress for the purpose of protecting its inhabitants and for warding off outsiders, so too a noble disciple has learned much, remembers what he has learned, and accumulates what he has learned. Those teachings that are good in the beginning, good in the middle, and good in the end, with the right meaning and phrasing, which proclaim the perfectly complete and pure spiritual life—such teachings as these he has learned much of, retained in mind, recited verbally, mentally investigated, and penetrated well by view. With learning as his weaponry, the noble disciple abandons the unwholesome and develops the wholesome, abandons what is blameworthy and develops what is blameless, and maintains himself in purity. He possesses this fourth good quality.
(5) “Just as many kinds of troops reside in the king’s frontier fortress, that is, elephant troops … domestic-slave soldiers, for protecting its inhabitants and for warding off outsiders, so too a noble disciple has aroused energy for abandoning unwholesome qualities and acquiring wholesome qualities; he is strong, firm in exertion, not casting off the duty of cultivating wholesome qualities. With energy as his troops, the noble disciple abandons the unwholesome and develops the wholesome, abandons what is blameworthy and develops what is blameless, and maintains himself in purity. He possesses this fifth good quality.
(6) “Just as the gatekeeper in the king’s frontier fortress is wise, competent, and intelligent, one who keeps out strangers and admits acquaintances, for protecting its inhabitants and for warding off outsiders, [111] so too a noble disciple is mindful, possessing supreme mindfulness and alertness, one who remembers and recollects what was done and said long ago. With mindfulness as his gatekeeper, the noble disciple abandons the unwholesome and develops the wholesome, abandons what is blameworthy and develops what is blameless, and maintains himself in purity. He possesses this sixth good quality.
(7) “Just as the rampart in the king’s frontier fortress is high and wide, covered over by a coat of plaster, for protecting its inhabitants and for warding off outsiders, so too a noble disciple is wise; he possesses the wisdom that discerns arising and passing away, which is noble and penetrative and leads to the complete destruction of suffering. With wisdom as his coat of plaster, the noble disciple abandons the unwholesome and develops the wholesome, abandons what is blameworthy and develops what is blameless, and maintains himself in purity. He possesses this seventh good quality.
“He possesses these seven good qualities.1584
“And what are the four jhānas that constitute the higher mind and are pleasant dwellings in this very life, which he gains at will, without trouble or difficulty?
(1) “Just as, bhikkhus, much grass, firewood, and water are stored up in the king’s frontier fortress for the delight, relief, and comfort of its inhabitants and for warding off outsiders, so too, secluded from sensual pleasures, secluded from unwholesome states, a noble disciple enters and dwells in the first jhāna, which consists of rapture and pleasure born of seclusion, accompanied by thought and examination—for his own delight, relief, and comfort, and for entering upon nibbāna.
(2) “Just as [112] much rice and barley are stored up in the king’s frontier fortress for the delight, relief, and comfort of its inhabitants and for warding off outsiders, so too, with the subsiding of thought and examination, a noble disciple enters and dwells in the second jhāna, which has internal placidity and unification of mind and consists of rapture and pleasure born of concentration, without thought and examination—for his own delight, relief, and comfort, and for entering upon nibbāna.
(3) “Just as many foodstuffs—sesame, green gram, and beans—are stored up in the king’s frontier fortress for the delight, relief, and comfort of its inhabitants and for warding off outsiders, so too, with the fading away as well of rapture, a noble disciple dwells equanimous and, mindful and clearly comprehending, he experiences pleasure with the body; he enters and dwells in the third jhāna of which the noble ones declare: ‘He is equanimous, mindful, one who dwells happily’—for his own delight, relief, and comfort, and for entering upon nibbāna.
(4) “Just as many medicaments—ghee, butter, oil, honey, molasses, and salt—are stored up in the king’s frontier fortress for the delight, relief, and comfort of its inhabitants and for warding off outsiders, so too, with the abandoning of pleasure and pain, and with the previous passing away of joy and dejection, a noble disciple enters and dwells in the fourth jhāna, neither painful nor pleasant, which has purification of mindfulness by equanimity—for his own delight, relief, and comfort, and for entering upon nibbāna.
“These are the four jhānas that constitute the higher mind and are pleasant dwellings in this very life, which he gains at will, without trouble or difficulty. [113]
“When, bhikkhus, a noble disciple possesses these seven good qualities, and when he gains at will, without trouble or difficulty, these four jhānas that constitute the higher mind and are pleasant dwellings in this very life, he is then called a noble disciple who cannot be assailed by Māra, who cannot be assailed by the Evil One.”

Published by Vimutta Fellowship Toronto

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