Sevens

Treasure
Dhana Sutta  (AN 7:6)

“Monks, there are these seven treasures. Which seven? The treasure of conviction, the treasure of virtue, the treasure of a sense of shame, the treasure of a sense of compunction, the treasure of listening, the treasure of generosity, the treasure of discernment.

“And what is the treasure of conviction? There is the case where a disciple of the noble ones has conviction, is convinced of the Tathāgata’s awakening: ‘Indeed, the Blessed One is worthy & rightly self-awakened, consummate in clear-knowing & conduct, well-gone, an expert with regard to the cosmos, unexcelled trainer of people fit to be tamed, teacher of devas & human beings, awakened, blessed.’ This is called the treasure of conviction.

“And what is the treasure of virtue? There is the case where a disciple of the noble ones abstains from taking life, abstains from stealing, abstains from sexual misconduct, abstains from lying, abstains from taking intoxicants that cause heedlessness. This, monks, is called the treasure of virtue.

“And what is the treasure of a sense of shame? There is the case where a disciple of the noble ones feels shame at (the thought of engaging in) bodily misconduct, verbal misconduct, mental misconduct. He feels shame at falling into evil, unskillful actions. This is called the treasure of a sense of shame.

“And what is the treasure of a sense of compunction? There is the case where a monk, a disciple of the noble ones feels compunction at (the suffering that would result from) bodily misconduct, verbal misconduct, mental misconduct. He feels compunction at falling into evil, unskillful actions. This is called the treasure of a sense of compunction.

“And what is the treasure of listening? There is the case where a disciple of the noble ones has heard much, has retained what he/she has heard, has stored what he/she has heard. Whatever teachings are admirable in the beginning, admirable in the middle, admirable in the end, that—in their meaning & expression—proclaim the holy life that is entirely perfect, surpassingly pure: Those he/she has listened to often, retained, discussed, accumulated, examined with his/her mind, and well-penetrated in terms of his/her views. This is called the treasure of listening.

“And what is the treasure of generosity? There is the case of a disciple of the noble ones, his awareness cleansed of the stain of stinginess, living at home, is freely generous, openhanded, delighting in being magnanimous, responsive to requests, delighting in the distribution of alms. This is called the treasure of generosity.

“And what is the treasure of discernment? There is the case where a disciple of the noble ones is discerning, endowed with discernment of arising & passing away—noble, penetrating, leading to the right ending of stress. This is called the treasure of discernment. These, monks, are the seven treasures.”

The treasure of conviction,

the treasure of virtue,

the treasure of a sense of shame & compunction,

the treasure of listening, generosity,

& discernment as the seventh treasure.

Whoever, man or woman, has these treasures

is said not to be poor,

has not lived in vain.

So conviction & virtue,

faith & Dhamma-vision

should be cultivated by the intelligent,

remembering the Buddhas’ instruction.

See also: AN 2:9

To Ugga
Ugga Sutta  (AN 7:7)

Then Ugga, the king’s chief minister, approached the Blessed One and, on arrival, having bowed down, sat to one side. As he was sitting there, he said to the Blessed One: “It’s amazing, lord, & astounding, how prosperous Migāra Rohaṇeyya is, how great his treasures, how great his resources!”

[The Buddha:] “But what is his property, Ugga? What are his great treasures & great resources?”

“One hundred thousand pieces of gold, lord, to say nothing of his silver.”

“That is treasure, Ugga. I don’t say that it’s not. And that treasure is open to fire, floods, kings, thieves, & hateful heirs. But these seven treasures are not open to fire, flood, kings, thieves, or hateful heirs. Which seven? The treasure of conviction, the treasure of virtue, the treasure of a sense of shame, the treasure of a sense of compunction, the treasure of listening, the treasure of generosity, the treasure of discernment. These, Ugga, are the seven treasures that are not open to fire, flood, kings, thieves, or hateful heirs.”

The treasure of conviction,

the treasure of virtue,

the treasure of a sense of shame & compunction,

the treasure of listening, generosity,

& discernment as the seventh treasure:

Whoever, man or woman, has these treasures,

has great treasure in the world

that no being,

human or divine,

can excel.

So conviction & virtue, faith & Dhamma-vision

should be cultivated by the intelligent,

remembering the Buddhas’ instruction.

See also: SN 1:51; SN 3:19–20; SN 3:25; AN 3:52-53; AN 4:62; Khp 6–7; Dhp 151; Dhp 333

Obsessions (1)
Anusaya Sutta  (AN 7:11)

“Monks, there are these seven obsessions.1 Which seven?

“The obsession of sensual passion, the obsession of resistance, the obsession of views, the obsession of uncertainty, the obsession of conceit, the obsession of passion for becoming, the obsession of ignorance: These are the seven obsessions.”

Note

1. This term—anusaya—is usually translated as “underlying tendency” or “latent tendency.” These translations are based on the etymology of the term, which literally means, “to lie down with.” However, in actual usage, the related verb (anuseti) means to be obsessed with something, for one’s thoughts to return and “lie down with it” over and over again.

See also: MN 44; SN 22:36; SN 36:6

Obsessions (2)
Anusaya Sutta  (AN 7:12)

“Monks, with the abandoning & destruction of the seven obsessions, the holy life is fulfilled. Which seven? The obsession of sensual passion, the obsession of resistance, the obsession of views, the obsession of uncertainty, the obsession of conceit, the obsession of passion for becoming, the obsession of ignorance. With the abandoning & destruction of these seven obsessions, the holy life is fulfilled.

“When, for a monk, the obsession of sensual passion has been abandoned, its root destroyed, made like a palmyra stump, deprived of the conditions of development, not destined for future arising; when, for him, the obsession of resistance… the obsession of views… the obsession of uncertainty… the obsession of conceit… the obsession of passion for becoming… the obsession of ignorance has been abandoned, its root destroyed, made like a palmyra stump, deprived of the conditions of development, not destined for future arising: this is called a monk who has cut through craving, has turned away from the fetter, and—by rightly breaking through conceit—has put an end to suffering & stress.”

The Water Simile
Udakupama Sutta  (AN 7:15)

“Monks, seven types of individuals are to be found existing in the world. Which seven?

“There is the case where an individual sinks down once and stays sunk. There is the case where an individual, on coming to the surface, sinks down again. There is the case where an individual, on coming to the surface, stays there. There is the case where an individual, on coming to the surface, opens his eyes & looks around. There is the case where an individual, on coming to the surface, heads across. There is the case where an individual, on coming to the surface, gains a foothold. Then there is the case where an individual, on coming to the surface, crosses over, reaches the far shore, stands on high ground, a brahman.

“And how does an individual sink down once and stay sunk? There is the case where an individual is endowed with exclusively dark, unskillful qualities. That’s how an individual sinks down once and stays sunk.

“And how does an individual, on coming to the surface, sink down again? There is the case where an individual comes to the surface, (seeing,) ‘Conviction in skillful qualities is good, a sense of shame is good, a sense of compunction (over the results of actions) is good, persistence is good, discernment with regard to skillful qualities is good.’ But his conviction neither remains nor grows, but simply wanes away. His sense of shame, his sense of compunction, his persistence, his discernment neither remain nor grow, but simply wane away. That’s how an individual, on coming to the surface, sinks down again.

“And how does an individual, on coming to the surface, stay there? There is the case where an individual comes to the surface, (seeing,) ‘Conviction in skillful qualities is good, a sense of shame is good, a sense of compunction is good, persistence is good, discernment with regard to skillful qualities is good.’ His conviction doesn’t wane, but instead develops & remains. His sense of shame, his sense of compunction, his persistence, his discernment don’t wane, but instead develop & remain. That’s how an individual, on coming to the surface, stays there.

“And how does an individual, on coming to the surface, open his eyes & look around? There is the case where an individual comes to the surface, (seeing,) ‘Conviction in skillful qualities is good, a sense of shame is good, a sense of compunction is good, persistence is good, discernment with regard to skillful qualities is good.’ With the total ending of (the first) three fetters, he becomes a stream-winner, steadfast, never again destined for states of woe, headed for self-awakening. That’s how an individual, on coming to the surface, opens his eyes & looks around.

“And how does an individual, on coming to the surface, head across? There is the case where an individual comes to the surface, (seeing,) ‘Conviction in skillful qualities is good, a sense of shame is good, a sense of compunction is good, persistence is good, discernment with regard to skillful qualities is good.’ With the total ending of (the first) three fetters, and with the attenuation of passion, aversion, & delusion, he becomes a once-returner, who—on returning only one more time to this world—will make an ending to stress. That’s how an individual, on coming to the surface, heads across.

“And how does an individual, on coming to the surface, gain a foothold? There is the case where an individual comes to the surface, (seeing,) ‘Conviction in skillful qualities is good, a sense of shame is good, a sense of compunction is good, persistence is good, discernment with regard to skillful qualities is good.’ With the total ending of the five lower fetters, he is due to arise spontaneously (in the Pure Abodes), there to be totally unbound, never again to return from that world. That’s how an individual, on coming to the surface, gains a foothold.

“And how does an individual, on coming to the surface, cross over, reach the far shore, stand on high ground, a brahman? There is the case where an individual comes to the surface, (seeing,) ‘Conviction in skillful qualities is good, a sense of shame is good, a sense of compunction is good, persistence is good, discernment with regard to skillful qualities is good.’ With the ending of effluents, he enters & remains in the effluent-free awareness-release & discernment-release, having directly known and realized them for himself right in the here & now. That’s how an individual, on coming to the surface, crosses over, reaches the far shore, stands on high ground, a brahman.

“These are the seven types of individuals to be found existing in the world.”

See also: SN 35:200; AN 4:5; AN 10:58; Iti 69; Sn 5

Conditions for No Decline among the Monks
Bhikkhu-aparihāniya Sutta  (AN 7:21)

I have heard that on one occasion the Blessed One was staying near Rājagaha on Vulture Peak Mountain. There he addressed the monks: “Monks, I will teach you the seven conditions that lead to no decline. Listen & pay close attention. I will speak.”

“As you say, lord,” the monks responded to the Blessed One.

The Blessed One said: “And which seven are the conditions that lead to no decline?

[1] “As long as the monks meet often, meet a great deal, their growth can be expected, not their decline.

[2] “As long as the monks meet in harmony, adjourn from their meetings in harmony, and conduct Saṅgha business in harmony, their growth can be expected, not their decline.

[3] “As long as the monks neither decree what has been undecreed nor repeal what has been decreed, but practice undertaking the training rules as they have been decreed, their growth can be expected, not their decline.

[4] “As long as the monks honor, respect, venerate, and do homage to the elder monks—those with seniority who have long been ordained, the fathers of the Saṅgha, leaders of the Saṅgha—regarding them as worth listening to, their growth can be expected, not their decline.

[5] “As long as the monks do not submit to the power of any arisen craving that leads to further becoming, their growth can be expected, not their decline.

[6] “As long as the monks see their own benefit in wilderness dwellings, their growth can be expected, not their decline.

[7] “As long as the monks each keep firmly in mind: ‘If there are any well-behaved companions in the holy life who have yet to come, may they come; and may the well-behaved companions in the holy life who have come live in comfort,’ their growth can be expected, not their decline.

“As long as the monks remain steadfast in these seven conditions, and as long as these seven conditions endure among the monks, the monks’ growth can be expected, not their decline.”

See also: DN 16; AN 5:77—80; AN 6:12; AN 7:56

Heedfulness
Appamāda Sutta  (AN 7:31)

Then a certain devatā, in the far extreme of the night, her extreme radiance lighting up the entirety of Jeta’s Grove, went to the Blessed One. On arrival, having bowed down to him, she stood to one side. As she was standing there, she said to the Blessed One, “These seven qualities, lord, lead to a monk’s non-decline. Which seven? Respect for the teacher, respect for the Dhamma, respect for the Saṅgha, respect for training, respect for concentration, respect for heedfulness, respect for hospitality. These seven qualities, lord, lead to the non-decline of a monk.”

That is what the devatā said. The Teacher approved. Sensing, “The Teacher approves of me,” the devatā bowed down to the Blessed One and, circled him three times, keeping him to her right, and then disappeared right there.

Then when the night had past, The Blessed One addressed the monks: “Last night, monks, a certain devatā in the far extreme of the night, her extreme radiance lighting up the entirety of Jeta’s Grove, came to me and, on arrival, bowed down to me and stood to one side. As she was standing there, she said to me, ‘These seven qualities, lord, lead to a monk’s non-decline. Which seven? Respect for the teacher, respect for the Dhamma, respect for the Saṅgha, respect for training, respect for concentration, respect for heedfulness, respect for hospitality. These seven qualities, lord, lead to the non-decline of a monk.’

“That is what that devatā said. Having said it, she bowed down to me, circled me three times, and then disappeared right there.”

Respecting the Teacher

respecting the Dhamma,

and with fierce respect for the Saṅgha,

respecting concentration, ardent,

and with fierce respect for training,

a monk respecting heedfulness,

and with respect for hospitality

—incapable of decline—

is right in the presence of unbinding.

See also: SN 16:13

A Sense of Shame
Hirimā Sutta  (AN 7:32)

“Last night, monks, a certain devatā in the far extreme of the night, her extreme radiance lighting up the entirety of Jeta’s Grove, came to me and, on arrival, bowed down to me and stood to one side. As she was standing there, she said to me, ‘These seven qualities, lord, lead to a monk’s non-decline. Which seven? Respect for the teacher, respect for the Dhamma, respect for the Saṅgha, respect for training, respect for concentration, respect for shame, respect for compunction. These seven qualities, lord, lead to a monk’s non-decline.’

“That is what that devatā said. Having said it, she bowed down to me, circled me three times, and then disappeared right there.”

Respecting the Teacher

respecting the Dhamma,

and with fierce respect for the Saṅgha,

respecting concentration, ardent,

and with fierce respect for training,

consummate in shame & compunction,

deferential, respectful

—incapable of decline—

one is right in the presence of unbinding.

Compliance (1)
Sovacassatā Sutta  (AN 7:33)

“Last night, monks, a certain devatā in the far extreme of the night, her extreme radiance lighting up the entirety of Jeta’s Grove, came to me and, on arrival, bowed down to me and stood to one side. As she was standing there, she said to me, ‘These seven qualities, lord, lead to a monk’s non-decline. Which seven? Respect for the teacher, respect for the Dhamma, respect for the Saṅgha, respect for training, respect for concentration, compliance, having admirable friends. These seven qualities, lord, lead to a monk’s non-decline.’

“That is what that devatā said. Having said it, she bowed down to me, circled me three times, and then disappeared right there.”

Respecting the Teacher

respecting the Dhamma,

and with fierce respect for the Saṅgha,

respecting concentration, ardent,

and with fierce respect for training,

having admirable friends, compliant,

deferential, respectful

—incapable of decline—

one is right in the presence of unbinding.

Compliance (2)
Sovacassatā Sutta  (AN 7:34)

“Last night, monks, a certain devatā in the far extreme of the night, her extreme radiance lighting up the entirety of Jeta’s Grove, came to me and, on arrival, bowed down to me and stood to one side. As she was standing there, she said to me, ‘These seven qualities, lord, lead to a monk’s non-decline. Which seven? Respect for the teacher, respect for the Dhamma, respect for the Saṅgha, respect for training, respect for concentration, compliance, having admirable friends. These seven qualities, lord, lead to a monk’s non-decline.’

“That is what that devatā said. Having said it, she bowed down to me, circled me three times, and then disappeared right there.”

When this was said, Ven. Sāriputta said to the Blessed One, “This, lord, is how I understand the detailed meaning of the Blessed One’s brief statement.

“There is the case where a monk himself has respect for the Teacher. He speaks in praise of having respect for the Teacher. With regard to those other monks who don’t have respect for the Teacher, he gets them to undertake respect for the Teacher. As for those other monks who do have respect for the Teacher, he at the proper times speaks in praise of them—truly, accurately.

“There is the case where a monk himself has respect for the Dhamma.…

“There is the case where a monk himself has respect for the Saṅgha.…

“There is the case where a monk himself has respect for training.…

“There is the case where a monk himself has respect for concentration.…

“There is the case where a monk himself is compliant.…

“There is the case where a monk himself has admirable friends. He speaks in praise of having admirable friends. With regard to those other monks who don’t have admirable friends, he gets them to undertake admirable friendship. As for those other monks who do have admirable friends, he at the proper times speaks in praise of them—truly, accurately.

“This, lord, is how I understand the detailed meaning of the Blessed One’s brief statement.”

A Friend
Mitta Sutta  (AN 7:35)

“Monks, a friend endowed with seven qualities is worth associating with. Which seven? He gives what is hard to give. He does what is hard to do. He endures what is hard to endure. He reveals his secrets to you. He keeps your secrets. When misfortunes strike, he doesn’t abandon you. When you’re down & out, he doesn’t look down on you. A friend endowed with these seven qualities is worth associating with.

“He gives what is beautiful,

hard to give;

does what is hard to do;

endures painful, ill-spoken words.

His secrets he tells you;

your secrets he keeps.

When misfortunes strike,

he doesn’t abandon you;

when you’re down & out,

doesn’t look down on you.

A person in whom these traits are found,

is a friend to be cultivated

by anyone wanting a friend.”

See also: AN 2:31—32; AN 2:118; AN 4:32; AN 6:12; AN 8:54

Perceptions
Saññā Sutta  (AN 7:46)

“Monks, these seven perceptions, when developed & pursued, are of great fruit, of great benefit. They gain a footing in the deathless, have the deathless as their final end. Which seven? The perception of the unattractive, the perception of death, the perception of loathsomeness in food, the perception of distaste for every world, the perception of inconstancy, the perception of stress in what is inconstant, the perception of not-self in what is stressful.

[1] “‘The perception of the unattractive, when developed & pursued, is of great fruit, of great benefit. It gains a footing in the deathless, has the deathless as its final end’: Thus was it said. In reference to what was it said?

“When a monk’s awareness often remains steeped in the perception of the unattractive, his mind shrinks away from the completion of the sexual act, bends away, pulls back, and is not drawn in, and either equanimity or loathing take a stance. Just as a cock’s feather or a piece of tendon, when thrown into a fire, shrinks away, bends away, pulls back, and is not drawn in; in the same way, when a monk’s awareness often remains steeped in the perception of the unattractive, his mind shrinks away from the completion of the sexual act, bends away, pulls back, and is not drawn in, and either equanimity or loathing take a stance. If, when a monk’s awareness often remains steeped in the perception of the unattractive, his mind inclines to the completion of the sexual act, or if non-loathing takes a stance, then he should realize, ‘I have not developed the perception of the unattractive; there is no step-by-step distinction in me; I have not arrived at the fruit of (mental) development.’ In that way he is alert there. But if, when a monk’s awareness often remains steeped in the perception of the unattractive, his mind shrinks away from the completion of the sexual act, bends away, pulls back, and is not drawn in, and either equanimity or loathing take a stance, then he should realize, ‘I have developed the perception of the unattractive; there is a step-by-step distinction in me; I have arrived at the fruit of (mental) development.’ In that way he is alert there.

“‘The perception of the unattractive, when developed & pursued, is of great fruit, of great benefit. It gains a footing in the deathless, has the deathless as its final end’: Thus was it said, and in reference to this was it said.

[2] “‘The perception of death, when developed & pursued, is of great fruit, of great benefit. It gains a footing in the deathless, has the deathless as its final end’: Thus was it said. In reference to what was it said?

“When a monk’s awareness often remains steeped in the perception of death, his mind shrinks away from fervor for life, bends away, pulls back, and is not drawn in, and either equanimity or loathing take a stance. Just as a cock’s feather or a piece of tendon, when thrown into a fire, shrinks away, bends away, pulls back, and is not drawn in; in the same way, when a monk’s awareness often remains steeped in the perception of death, his mind shrinks away from fervor for life, bends away, pulls back, and is not drawn in, and either equanimity or loathing take a stance. If, when a monk’s awareness often remains steeped in the perception of death, his mind inclines to fervor for life, or if non-loathing takes a stance, then he should realize, ‘I have not developed the perception of death; there is no step-by-step distinction in me; I have not arrived at the fruit of (mental) development.’ In that way he is alert there. But if, when a monk’s awareness often remains steeped in the perception of death, his mind shrinks away from fervor for life, bends away, pulls back, and is not drawn in, and either equanimity or loathing take a stance, then he should realize, ‘I have developed the perception of death; there is a step-by-step distinction in me; I have arrived at the fruit of (mental) development.’ In that way he is alert there.

“‘The perception of death, when developed & pursued, is of great fruit, of great benefit. It gains a footing in the deathless, has the deathless as its final end’: Thus was it said, and in reference to this was it said.

[3] “‘The perception of loathsomeness in food, when developed & pursued, is of great fruit, of great benefit. It gains a footing in the deathless, has the deathless as its final end’: Thus was it said. In reference to what was it said?

“When a monk’s awareness often remains steeped in the perception of loathsomeness in food, his mind shrinks away from craving for flavors, bends away, pulls back, and is not drawn in, and either equanimity or loathing take a stance. Just as a cock’s feather or a piece of tendon, when thrown into a fire, shrinks away, bends away, pulls back, and is not drawn in; in the same way, when a monk’s awareness often remains steeped in the perception of loathsomeness in food, his mind shrinks away from craving for flavors, bends away, pulls back, and is not drawn in, and either equanimity or loathing take a stance. If, when a monk’s awareness often remains steeped in the perception of loathsomeness in food, his mind inclines to craving for flavors, or if non-loathing takes a stance, then he should realize, ‘I have not developed the perception of loathsomeness in food; there is no step-by-step distinction in me; I have not arrived at the fruit of (mental) development.’ In that way he is alert there. But if, when a monk’s awareness often remains steeped in the perception of loathsomeness in food, his mind shrinks away from craving for flavors, bends away, pulls back, and is not drawn in, and either equanimity or loathing take a stance, then he should realize, ‘I have developed the perception of loathsomeness in food; there is a step-by-step distinction in me; I have arrived at the fruit of (mental) development.’ In that way he is alert there.

“‘The perception of loathsomeness in food, when developed & pursued, is of great fruit, of great benefit. It gains a footing in the deathless, has the deathless as its final end’: Thus was it said, and in reference to this was it said.

[4] “‘The perception of distaste for every world, when developed & pursued, is of great fruit, of great benefit. It gains a footing in the deathless, has the deathless as its final end’: Thus was it said. In reference to what was it said?

“When a monk’s awareness often remains steeped in the perception of distaste for every world, his mind shrinks away from worldly embellishments, bends away, pulls back, and is not drawn in, and either equanimity or loathing take a stance. Just as a cock’s feather or a piece of tendon, when thrown into a fire, shrinks away, bends away, pulls back, and is not drawn in; in the same way, when a monk’s awareness often remains steeped in the perception of distaste for every world, his mind shrinks away from worldly embellishments, bends away, pulls back, and is not drawn in, and either equanimity or loathing take a stance. If, when a monk’s awareness often remains steeped in the perception of distaste for every world, his mind inclines to worldly embellishments, or if non-loathing takes a stance, then he should realize, ‘I have not developed the perception of distaste for every world; there is no step-by-step distinction in me; I have not arrived at the fruit of (mental) development.’ In that way he is alert there. But if, when a monk’s awareness often remains steeped in the perception of distaste for every world, his mind shrinks away from worldly embellishments, bends away, pulls back, and is not drawn in, and either equanimity or loathing take a stance, then he should realize, ‘I have developed the perception of distaste for every world; there is a step-by-step distinction in me; I have arrived at the fruit of (mental) development.’ In that way he is alert there.

“‘The perception of distaste for every world, when developed & pursued, is of great fruit, of great benefit. It gains a footing in the deathless, has the deathless as its final end’: Thus was it said, and in reference to this was it said.

[5] “‘The perception of inconstancy, when developed & pursued, is of great fruit, of great benefit. It gains a footing in the deathless, has the deathless as its final end’: Thus was it said. In reference to what was it said?

“When a monk’s awareness often remains steeped in the perception of inconstancy, his mind shrinks away from gains, offerings, & fame, bends away, pulls back, and is not drawn in, and either equanimity or loathing take a stance. Just as a cock’s feather or a piece of tendon, when thrown into a fire, shrinks away, bends away, pulls back, and is not drawn in; in the same way, when a monk’s awareness often remains steeped in the perception of inconstancy, his mind shrinks away from gains, offering, & fame, bends away, pulls back, and is not drawn in, and either equanimity or loathing take a stance. If, when a monk’s awareness often remains steeped in the perception of inconstancy, his mind inclines to gains, offering, & fame, or if non-loathing takes a stance, then he should realize, ‘I have not developed the perception of inconstancy; there is no step-by-step distinction in me; I have not arrived at the fruit of (mental) development.’ In that way he is alert there. But if, when a monk’s awareness often remains steeped in the perception of inconstancy, his mind shrinks away from gains, offering, & fame, bends away, pulls back, and is not drawn in, and either equanimity or loathing take a stance, then he should realize, ‘I have developed the perception of inconstancy; there is a step-by-step distinction in me; I have arrived at the fruit of (mental) development.’ In that way he is alert there.

“‘The perception of inconstancy, when developed & pursued, is of great fruit, of great benefit. It gains a footing in the deathless, has the deathless as its final end’: Thus was it said, and in reference to this was it said.

[6] “‘The perception of stress in what is inconstant, when developed & pursued, is of great fruit, of great benefit. It gains a footing in the deathless, has the deathless as its final end’: Thus was it said. In reference to what was it said?

“When a monk’s awareness often remains steeped in the perception of stress in what is inconstant, a fierce perception of danger & fear is established in him toward idleness, indolence, laziness, heedlessness, lack of commitment, & lack of reflection, as if toward a murderer with an upraised sword. If, when a monk’s awareness often remains steeped in the perception of stress in what is inconstant, a fierce perception of danger & fear is not established in him toward idleness, indolence, laziness, heedlessness, lack of commitment, & lack of reflection, as if toward a murderer with an upraised sword, then he should realize, ‘I have not developed the perception of stress in what is inconstant; there is no step-by-step distinction in me; I have not arrived at the fruit of (mental) development.’ In that way he is alert there. But if, when a monk’s awareness often remains steeped in the perception of stress in what is inconstant, a fierce perception of danger & fear is established in him toward idleness, indolence, laziness, heedlessness, lack of commitment, & lack of reflection, as if toward a murderer with an upraised sword, then he should realize, ‘I have developed the perception of stress in what is inconstant; there is a step-by-step distinction in me; I have arrived at the fruit of (mental) development.’ In that way he is alert there.

“‘The perception of stress in what is inconstant, when developed & pursued, is of great fruit, of great benefit. It gains a footing in the deathless, has the deathless as its final end’: Thus was it said, and in reference to this was it said.

[7] “‘The perception of not-self in what is stressful, when developed & pursued, is of great fruit, of great benefit. It gains a footing in the deathless, has the deathless as its final end’: Thus was it said. In reference to what was it said?

“When a monk’s awareness often remains steeped in the perception of not-self in what is stressful, his heart is devoid of I-making & my-making with regard to this conscious body and externally with regard to all themes, has transcended pride, is at peace, and is well released. If, when a monk’s awareness often remains steeped in the perception of not-self in what is stressful, his heart is not devoid of I-making & my-making with regard to this conscious body and externally with regard to all themes, has not transcended pride, is not at peace, and is not well released, then he should realize, ‘I have not developed the perception of not-self in what is stressful; there is no step-by-step distinction in me; I have not arrived at the fruit of (mental) development.’ In that way he is alert there. But if, when a monk’s awareness often remains steeped in the perception of not-self in what is stressful, his heart is devoid of I-making & my-making with regard to this conscious body and externally with regard to all themes, has transcended pride, is at peace, and is well released, then he should realize, ‘I have developed the perception of not-self in what is stressful; there is a step-by-step distinction in me; I have arrived at the fruit of (mental) development.’ In that way he is alert there.

“‘The perception of not-self in what is stressful, when developed & pursued, is of great fruit, of great benefit. It gains a footing in the deathless, has the deathless as its final end’: Thus was it said, and in reference to this was it said.

“Monks, these seven perceptions, when developed & pursued, are of great fruit, of great benefit. They gain a footing in the deathless, have the deathless as their final end.”

See also: MN 36; MN 152; SN 48:44; AN 6:19—20; AN 6:102—104; AN 7:70; AN 8:103; AN 9:16; AN 10:60

Copulation
Methuna Sutta  (AN 7:47)

Then Jāṇussoṇin the brahman went to the Blessed One and, on arrival, exchanged courteous greetings with him. After an exchange of friendly greetings & courtesies, he sat to one side. As he was sitting there, he said to the Blessed One, “Does Master Gotama claim to be one who leads the holy life?”

“If, brahman, one could rightly say of anyone, ‘He leads the holy life without gap, without break, without spot, without blemish—perfect & pure,’ it would rightly be said of me. I lead the holy life without gap, without break, without spot, without blemish—perfect & pure.”

“But what, Master Gotama, is a gap, a break, a spot, a blemish of the holy life?”

“There is the case, brahman, where a certain contemplative or brahman, while claiming to be one who rightly follows the holy life, doesn’t actually engage in copulating with a woman but he does consent to being anointed, rubbed down, bathed, or massaged by a woman. He enjoys that, wants more of that, and luxuriates in that. This is a gap, a break, a spot, a blemish of the holy life. He is called one who lives the holy life in an impure way, one who is fettered by the fetter of sexuality. He is not freed from birth, aging, & death, from sorrows, lamentations, pains, griefs, & despairs. He is not freed, I tell you, from suffering & stress.

“Or… he jokes, plays, and amuses himself with a woman. He enjoys that, wants more of that, and luxuriates in that.…

“Or… he stares into a woman’s eyes. He enjoys that, wants more of that, and luxuriates in that.…

“Or… he listens to the voices of women outside a wall as they laugh, speak, sing, or cry. He enjoys that, wants more of that, and luxuriates in that.…

“Or… he recollects how he used to laugh, converse, and play with a woman. He enjoys that, wants more of that, and luxuriates in that.…

“Or… he sees a householder or householder’s son enjoying himself endowed with the five strings of sensuality. He enjoys that, wants more of that, and luxuriates in that.…

“Or… he practices the holy life intent on being born in one or another of the deva hosts, (thinking) ‘By this virtue or practice or abstinence or holy life I will be a deva of one sort or another.’ He enjoys that, wants more of that, and luxuriates in that. This is a gap, a break, a spot, a blemish of the holy life. He is called one who lives the holy life in an impure way, one who is fettered by the fetter of sexuality. He is not freed from birth, aging, & death, from sorrows, lamentations, pains, griefs, & despairs. He is not freed, I tell you, from suffering & stress.

“And, brahman, as long as I saw that one or another of these seven fetters of sexuality was not abandoned in myself, I did not claim to have directly awakened to the right self-awakening unexcelled in the cosmos with its devas, Māras, & Brahmās, in this generation with its contemplatives & brahmans, their royalty & commonfolk. But when I did not see any one of these seven fetters of sexuality unabandoned in myself, then I did claim to have directly awakened to the right self-awakening unexcelled in the cosmos with its devas, Māras, & Brahmās, in this generation with its contemplatives & brahmans, their royalty & commonfolk. Knowledge & vision arose in me: ‘Unprovoked is my release. This is the last birth. There is now no further becoming.’”

When this was said, Jāṇussoṇin the brahman said to the Blessed One, “Magnificent, Master Gotama! Magnificent! Just as if he were to place upright what was overturned, to reveal what was hidden, to show the way to one who was lost, or to carry a lamp into the dark so that those with eyes could see forms, in the same way has Master Gotama—through many lines of reasoning—made the Dhamma clear. I go to Master Gotama for refuge, to the Dhamma, & to the Saṅgha of monks. May Master Gotama remember me as a lay follower who has gone for refuge from this day forward, for life.”

Bondage
Saññoga Sutta  (AN 7:48)

“Monks, I will teach you a Dhamma discourse on bondage & lack of bondage. Listen & pay close attention. I will speak.”

“Yes, lord,” the monks responded to the Blessed One.

The Blessed One said: “A woman attends inwardly to her feminine faculties, her feminine gestures, her feminine manners, feminine poise, feminine desires, feminine voice, feminine charms. She is excited by that, delighted by that. Being excited & delighted by that, she attends outwardly to masculine faculties, masculine gestures, masculine manners, masculine poise, masculine desires, masculine voices, masculine charms. She is excited by that, delighted by that. Being excited & delighted by that, she wants to be bonded to what is outside her, wants whatever pleasure & happiness that arise based on that bond. Delighting, caught up in her femininity, a woman goes into bondage with reference to men. This is how a woman does not transcend her femininity.

“A man attends inwardly to his masculine faculties, masculine gestures, masculine manners, masculine poise, masculine desires, masculine voice, masculine charms. He is excited by that, delighted by that. Being excited & delighted by that, he attends outwardly to feminine faculties, feminine gestures, feminine manners, feminine poise, feminine desires, feminine voices, feminine charms. He is excited by that, delighted by that. Being excited & delighted by that, he wants to be bonded to what is outside him, wants whatever pleasure & happiness that arise based on that bond. Delighting, caught up in his masculinity, a man goes into bondage with reference to women. This is how a man does not transcend his masculinity.

“This is how there is bondage.

“And how is there lack of bondage? A woman does not attend inwardly to her feminine faculties… feminine charms. She is not excited by that, not delighted by that… does not attend outwardly to masculine faculties… masculine charms. She is not excited by that, not delighted by that… does not want to be bonded to what is outside her, does not want whatever pleasure & happiness that arise based on that bond. Not delighting, not caught up in her femininity, a woman does not go into bondage with reference to men. This is how a woman transcends her femininity.

“A man does not attend inwardly to his masculine faculties… masculine charms. He is not excited by that, not delighted by that… does not attend outwardly to feminine faculties… feminine charms. He is not excited by that, not delighted by that… does not want to be bonded to what is outside him, does not want whatever pleasure & happiness that arise based on that bond. Not delighting, not caught up in his masculinity, a man does not go into bondage with reference to women. This is how a man transcends his masculinity.

“This is how there is lack of bondage. And this is the Dhamma discourse on bondage & lack of bondage.”

See also: MN 13–14; AN 5:75—76; AN 10:13; Sn 4:7; Thag 6:9; Thig 5:2; Thig 5:4;

Giving
Dāna Sutta  (AN 7:49)

This discourse discusses the possible motivations for generosity, and rates in ascending order the results they can lead to. The Commentary notes that the highest motivation, untainted by lower motivations and leading to non-returning, requires a certain level of mastery in concentration and insight to be one’s genuine motivation for giving.

* * *

I have heard that on one occasion the Blessed One was staying near Campā on the shore of Gaggarā Lake. Then a large number of lay followers from Campā went to Ven. Sāriputta and, on arrival, having bowed down to him, sat to one side. As they were sitting there they said to Ven. Sāriputta: “It has been a long time, venerable sir, since we have had a chance to hear a Dhamma talk in the Blessed One’s presence. It would be good if we could get to hear a Dhamma talk in the Blessed One’s presence.”

“Then in that case, my friends, come again on the next uposatha day, and perhaps you’ll get to hear a Dhamma talk in the Blessed One’s presence.”

“As you say, venerable sir,” the lay followers from Campā said to Ven. Sāriputta. Rising from their seats, bowing down to him, and then circling him—keeping him on their right—they left.

Then, on the following uposatha day, the lay followers from Campā went to Ven. Sāriputta and, on arrival, having bowed down to him, stood to one side. Then Ven. Sāriputta, together with the lay followers from Campā, went to the Blessed One and on arrival, having bowed down to him, sat to one side. As he was sitting there, he said to the Blessed One: “Might there be the case where a person gives a gift of a certain sort and it does not bear great fruit or great benefit, whereas another person gives a gift of the same sort and it bears great fruit and great benefit?”

“Yes, Sāriputta, there would be the case where a person gives a gift of a certain sort and it does not bear great fruit or great benefit, whereas another person gives a gift of the same sort and it bears great fruit and great benefit.”

“Lord, what is the cause, what is the reason, why a person gives a gift of a certain sort and it does not bear great fruit or great benefit, whereas another person gives a gift of the same sort and it bears great fruit and great benefit?”

“Sāriputta, there is the case where a person gives a gift seeking his own profit, with a mind attached (to the reward), seeking to store up for himself (with the thought), ‘I’ll enjoy this after death.’ He gives his gift—food, drink, clothing, a vehicle; a garland, perfume, & ointment; bedding, shelter, & a lamp—to a contemplative or a brahman. What do you think, Sāriputta? Might a person give such a gift as this?”

“Yes, lord.”

“Having given this gift seeking his own profit—with a mind attached (to the reward), seeking to store up for himself, (with the thought), ‘I’ll enjoy this after death’—on the break-up of the body, after death, he reappears in the company of the Four Great Kings. Then, having exhausted that action, that power, that status, that sovereignty, he is a returner, coming back to this world.

“Then there is the case of a person who gives a gift not seeking his own profit, not with a mind attached (to the reward), not seeking to store up for himself, nor (with the thought), ‘I’ll enjoy this after death.’ Instead, he gives a gift with the thought, ‘Giving is good.’ He gives his gift—food, drink, clothing, a vehicle; a garland, perfume, & ointment; bedding, shelter, & a lamp—to a contemplative or a brahman. What do you think, Sāriputta? Might a person give such a gift as this?”

“Yes, lord.”

“Having given this gift with the thought, ‘Giving is good,’ on the break-up of the body, after death, he reappears in the company of the Devas of the Thirty-three. Then, having exhausted that action, that power, that status, that sovereignty, he is a returner, coming back to this world.

“Or, instead of thinking, ‘Giving is good,’ he gives a gift with the thought, ‘This was given in the past, done in the past, by my father & grandfather. It would not be right for me to let this old family custom be discontinued’… on the break-up of the body, after death, he reappears in the company of the Devas of the Hours. Then, having exhausted that action, that power, that status, that sovereignty, he is a returner, coming back to this world.

“Or, instead… he gives a gift with the thought, ‘I am well-off. These are not well-off. It would not be right for me, being well-off, not to give a gift to those who are not well-off’ … on the break-up of the body, after death, he reappears in the company of the Contented Devas. Then, having exhausted that action, that power, that status, that sovereignty, he is a returner, coming back to this world.

“Or, instead… he gives a gift with the thought, ‘Just as there were the great sacrifices of the sages of the past—Aṭṭhaka, Vāmaka, Vāmadeva, Vessāmitta, Yamadaggi, Aṇgīrasa, Bhāradvāja, Vāseṭṭha, Kassapa, & Bhagu—in the same way will this be my distribution of gifts’ … on the break-up of the body, after death, he reappears in the company of the Devas who Delight in Creation. Then, having exhausted that action, that power, that status, that sovereignty, he is a returner, coming back to this world.

“Or, instead… he gives a gift with the thought, ‘When this gift of mine is given, it makes the mind serene. Gratification & joy arise’ … on the break-up of the body, after death, he reappears in the company of the Devas Wielding power over the creations of others. Then, having exhausted that action, that power, that status, that sovereignty, he is a returner, coming back to this world.

“Or, instead of thinking, ‘When this gift of mine is given, it makes the mind serene. Gratification & joy arise,’ he gives a gift with the thought, ‘This is an ornament for the mind, a support for the mind.’ He gives his gift—food, drink, clothing, a vehicle; a garland, perfume, & ointment; bedding, shelter, & a lamp—to a contemplative or a brahman. What do you think, Sāriputta? Might a person give such a gift as this?”

“Yes, lord.”

“Having given this, not seeking his own profit, not with a mind attached (to the reward), not seeking to store up for himself, nor (with the thought), ‘I’ll enjoy this after death,’

—nor with the thought, ‘Giving is good,’

—nor with the thought, ‘This was given in the past, done in the past, by my father & grandfather. It would not be right for me to let this old family custom be discontinued,’

—nor with the thought, ‘I am well-off. These are not well-off. It would not be right for me, being well-off, not to give a gift to those who are not well-off,’

—nor with the thought, ‘Just as there were the great sacrifices of the sages of the past—Aṭṭhaka, Vāmaka, Vāmadeva, Vessāmitta, Yamadaggi, Aṇgīrasa, Bhāradvāja, Vāseṭṭha, Kassapa, & Bhagu—in the same way this will be my distribution of gifts,’

—nor with the thought, ‘When this gift of mine is given, it makes the mind serene. Gratification & joy arise,’

—but with the thought, ‘This is an ornament for the mind, a support for the mind’—on the break-up of the body, after death, he reappears in the company of Brahmā’s Retinue. Then, having exhausted that action, that power, that status, that sovereignty, he is a non-returner. He does not come back to this world.

“This, Sāriputta, is the cause, this is the reason, why a person gives a gift of a certain sort and it does not bear great fruit or great benefit, whereas another person gives a gift of the same sort and it bears great fruit and great benefit.”

See also: MN 113; SN 3:24; AN 3:58; AN 5:148; AN 6:37

Undeclared
Abyākata Sutta  (AN 7:51)

Then a certain monk went to the Blessed One and, on arrival, having bowed down to him, sat to one side. As he was sitting there, he said to the Blessed One, “Lord, what is the cause, what is the reason, why uncertainty doesn’t arise in an instructed disciple of the noble ones over the undeclared issues?”

“Because of the cessation of views, monk, uncertainty doesn’t arise in an instructed disciple of the noble ones over the undeclared issues. The view-standpoint, ‘The Tathāgata exists after death,’ the view-standpoint, ‘The Tathāgata doesn’t exist after death,’ the view-standpoint, ‘The Tathāgata both does and doesn’t exist after death,’ the view-standpoint, ‘The Tathāgata neither does nor doesn’t exist after death’: The uninstructed run-of-the-mill person doesn’t discern view, doesn’t discern the origination of view, doesn’t discern the cessation of view, doesn’t discern the path of practice leading to the cessation of view, and so for him that view grows. He is not freed from birth, aging, & death; from sorrows, lamentations, pains, distresses, & despairs. He is not freed, I tell you, from suffering & stress. But the instructed disciple of the noble ones discerns view, discerns the origination of view, discerns the cessation of view, discerns the path of practice leading to the cessation of view, and so for him that view ceases. He is freed from birth, aging, & death; from sorrows, lamentations, pains, distresses, & despairs. He is freed, I tell you, from suffering & stress.

“Thus knowing, thus seeing, the instructed disciple of the noble ones doesn’t declare that ‘The Tathāgata exists after death,’ doesn’t declare that ‘The Tathāgata doesn’t exist after death,’ doesn’t declare that ‘The Tathāgata both does and doesn’t exist after death,’ doesn’t declare that ‘The Tathāgata neither does nor doesn’t exist after death.’ Thus knowing, thus seeing, he is thus of a nature not to declare the undeclared issues. Thus knowing, thus seeing, he isn’t paralyzed, doesn’t quake, doesn’t shiver or shake over the undeclared issues.

“‘The Tathāgata exists after death’—this craving-standpoint, this perception-standpoint, this product of conceiving, this product of elaboration, this clinging-standpoint: That’s anguish.1 ‘The Tathāgata doesn’t exist after death’: That’s anguish. ‘The Tathāgata both does and doesn’t exist after death’: That’s anguish. ‘The Tathāgata neither does nor doesn’t exist after death’: That’s anguish.2

The uninstructed run-of-the-mill person doesn’t discern anguish, doesn’t discern the origination of anguish, doesn’t discern the cessation of anguish, doesn’t discern the path of practice leading to the cessation of anguish, and so for him that anguish grows. He is not freed from birth, aging, & death; from sorrows, lamentations, pains, distresses, & despairs. He is not freed, I tell you, from suffering & stress. But the instructed disciple of the noble ones discerns anguish, discerns the origination of anguish, discerns the cessation of anguish, discerns the path of practice leading to the cessation of anguish, and so for him that anguish ceases. He is freed from birth, aging, & death; from sorrows, lamentations, pains, distresses, & despairs. He is freed, I tell you, from suffering & stress.

“Thus knowing, thus seeing, the instructed disciple of the noble ones doesn’t declare that ‘The Tathāgata exists after death,’ doesn’t declare that ‘The Tathāgata doesn’t exist after death,’ doesn’t declare that ‘The Tathāgata both does and doesn’t after death,’ doesn’t declare that ‘The Tathāgata neither does nor doesn’t exist after death.’ Thus knowing, thus seeing, he is thus of a nature not to declare the undeclared issues. Thus knowing, thus seeing, he isn’t paralyzed, doesn’t quake, doesn’t shiver or shake over the undeclared issues.”

Notes

1. “Anguish” here translates vippaṭisāra, which is usually rendered into English as “remorse” or “regret.” Here, however, the feeling of vippaṭisāra relates to concerns about the future, rather than the past, and so neither remorse nor regret are appropriate to the context. The anguish alluded to in this passage is based either on the fear that awakening would entail an end to existence or on the contrary fear that it wouldn’t.

2. In some manuscripts, this paragraph runs as follows: “‘The Tathāgata exists after death’—this craving-standpoint, this perception-standpoint, this product of conceiving, this product of elaboration, this clinging-standpoint: That’s anguish. ‘The Tathāgata doesn’t exist after death’ … ‘The Tathāgata both does and doesn’t exist after death’ … ‘The Tathāgata neither does nor doesn’t exist after death’—this craving- standpoint, this perception- standpoint, this product of conceiving, this product of elaboration, this clinging- standpoint: That’s anguish.

See also: DN 9; MN 63, MN 72; SN 12:20; SN 44; AN 10:93

To Kimila
Kimila Sutta  (AN 7:56)

I have heard that on one occasion the Blessed One was staying near Kimila in the Bamboo Forest. Then Ven. Kimila went to the Blessed One and, on arrival, having bowed down to him, sat to one side. As he was sitting there he said to the Blessed One: “What is the cause, lord, what is the reason why, when a Tathāgata has totally unbound, the true Dhamma does not last a long time?”

“Kimila, there is the case where, when a Tathāgata has totally unbound, the monks, nuns, male lay followers, & female lay followers live without respect, without deference, for the Teacher; live without respect, without deference, for the Dhamma… the Saṅgha… the Training [heightened virtue, heightened concentration, heightened discernment]… concentration… heedfulness; live without respect, without deference, for hospitality. This is the cause, this is the reason why, when a Tathāgata has totally unbound, the true Dhamma does not last a long time.”

“And what is the cause, what is the reason why, when a Tathāgata has totally unbound, the true Dhamma does last a long time?”

“Kimila, there is the case where, when a Tathāgata has totally unbound, the monks, nuns, male lay followers, & female lay followers live with respect, with deference, for the Teacher; live with respect, with deference, for the Dhamma… the Saṅgha… the Training… concentration… heedfulness; live with respect, with deference, for hospitality. This is the cause, this is the reason why, when a Tathāgata has totally unbound, the true Dhamma does last a long time.”

See also: DN 16; SN 6:2; SN 16:13; SN 20:7; AN 1:140—141; AN 5:79; AN 7:21

Nodding
Capala Sutta  (AN 7:58)

Once the Blessed One was living among the Bhaggas in the Deer Park at Bhesakaḷā Forest, near Crocodile Haunt. At that time Ven. Mahā Moggallāna [prior to his awakening] sat nodding near the village of Kallavālamutta, in Magadha. The Blessed One, with his purified divine eye, surpassing the human, saw Ven. Mahā Moggallāna as he sat nodding near the village of Kallavālamutta in Magadha. As soon as he saw this—just as a strong man might extend his flexed arm or flex his extended arm—he disappeared from among the Bhaggas in the Deer Park at Bhesakaḷā Forest near Crocodile Haunt and re-appeared near the village of Kallavālamutta in Magadha, right in front of Ven. Mahā Moggallāna. There he sat down on a prepared seat. As he was sitting there, the Blessed One said to Ven. Mahā Moggallāna, “Are you nodding, Moggallāna? Are you nodding?”

“Yes, lord.”

“Well then, Moggallāna, whatever perception you have in mind when drowsiness descends on you, don’t attend to that perception, don’t pursue it. It’s possible that by doing this you will shake off your drowsiness.

“But if by doing this you don’t shake off your drowsiness, then recall to your awareness the Dhamma as you have heard & memorized it, re-examine it, & ponder it over in your mind. It’s possible that by doing this you will shake off your drowsiness.

“But if by doing this you don’t shake off your drowsiness, then repeat aloud in detail the Dhamma as you have heard & memorized it. It’s possible that by doing this you will shake off your drowsiness.

“But if by doing this you don’t shake off your drowsiness, then pull both your earlobes and rub your limbs with your hands. It’s possible that by doing this you will shake off your drowsiness.

“But if by doing this you don’t shake off your drowsiness, then get up from your seat and, after washing your eyes out with water, look around in all directions and upward to the major stars & constellations. It’s possible that by doing this you will shake off your drowsiness.

“But if by doing this you don’t shake off your drowsiness, then attend to the perception of light, resolve on the perception of daytime, (dwelling) by night as by day, and by day as by night. By means of an awareness thus open & unhampered, develop a brightened mind. It’s possible that by doing this you will shake off your drowsiness.

“But if by doing this you don’t shake off your drowsiness, then—percipient of what lies in front & behind—set a distance to meditate walking back & forth, your senses inwardly immersed, your mind not straying outwards. It’s possible that by doing this you will shake off your drowsiness.

“But if by doing this you don’t shake off your drowsiness, then—reclining on your right side—take up the lion’s posture, one foot placed on top of the other, mindful, alert, with your mind set on getting up. As soon as you wake up, get up quickly, with the thought, ‘I won’t stay indulging in the pleasure of lying down, the pleasure of reclining, the pleasure of drowsiness.’ That is how you should train yourself.

“And further, Moggallāna, should you train yourself: ‘I will not visit families with my pride [literally: my trunk (i.e., an elephant’s trunk)] lifted high.’ That is how you should train yourself. Among families there are many jobs that have to be done, so that people don’t pay attention to a visiting monk. If a monk visits them with his trunk lifted high, the thought will occur to him, ‘Now who, I wonder, has caused a split between me and this family? The people seem to have no liking for me.’ Getting nothing, he becomes abashed. Abashed, he becomes restless. Restless, he becomes unrestrained. Unrestrained, his mind is far from concentration.

“And further, Moggallāna, should you train yourself: ‘I will speak no confrontational speech.’ That is how you should train yourself. When there is confrontational speech, a lot of discussion can be expected. When there is a lot of discussion, there is restlessness. One who is restless becomes unrestrained. Unrestrained, his mind is far from concentration.

“It’s not the case, Moggallāna, that I praise association of every sort. But it’s not the case that I dispraise association of every sort. I don’t praise association with householders and renunciates. But as for dwelling places that are free from noise, free from sound, their atmosphere devoid of people, appropriately secluded for resting undisturbed by human beings: I praise association with dwelling places of this sort.”

When this was said, Ven. Moggallāna said to the Blessed One: “Briefly, lord, in what respect is a monk released through the ending of craving, utterly complete, utterly free from bonds, a follower of the utterly holy life, utterly consummate: foremost among devas & human beings?”

“There is the case, Moggallāna, where a monk has heard, ‘All dhammas are unworthy of attachment.’ Having heard that all dhammas are unworthy of attachment, he directly knows every dhamma. Directly knowing every dhamma, he comprehends every dhamma. Comprehending every dhamma, then whatever feeling he experiences—pleasure, pain, neither pleasure nor pain—he remains focused on inconstancy, focused on dispassion, focused on cessation, focused on relinquishing with regard to that feeling. As he remains focused on inconstancy, focused on dispassion, focused on cessation, focused on relinquishing with regard to that feeling, he is unsustained by [doesn’t cling to] anything in the world. Unsustained, he isn’t agitated. Unagitated, he totally unbinds right within. He discerns: ‘Birth is ended, the holy life fulfilled, the task done. There is nothing further for this world.’

“It’s in this respect, Moggallāna, that a monk, in brief, is released through the ending of craving, utterly complete, utterly free from bonds, a follower of the utterly holy life, utterly consummate: foremost among devas & human beings.”

See also: SN 22:23; SN 35:23–24; SN 35:80; AN 3:137; AN 4:37; Dhp 277–279; Sn 2:10; Thag 1:84; Thag 2:37

An Angry Person
Kodhana Sutta  (AN 7:60)

“These seven things—pleasing to an enemy, bringing about an enemy’s aim—come to a man or woman who is angry. Which seven?

“There is the case where an enemy wishes of an enemy, ‘O, may this person be ugly!’ Why is that? An enemy is not pleased with an enemy’s good looks. Now, when a person is angry—overcome with anger, oppressed with anger—then even though that he may be well-bathed, well-anointed, dressed in white clothes, his hair & beard neatly trimmed, he is ugly nevertheless, all because he is overcome with anger. This is the first thing pleasing to an enemy, bringing about an enemy’s aim, that comes to a man or woman who is angry.

“And further, an enemy wishes of an enemy, ‘O, may this person sleep badly!’ Why is that? An enemy is not pleased with an enemy’s restful sleep. Now, when a person is angry—overcome with anger, oppressed with anger—then even though he sleeps on a bed spread with a white blanket, spread with a woolen coverlet, spread with a flower-embroidered bedspread, covered with a rug of deerskins, with a canopy overhead, or on a sofa with red cushions at either end, he sleeps badly nevertheless, all because he is overcome with anger. This is the second thing pleasing to an enemy, bringing about an enemy’s aim, that comes to a man or woman who is angry.

“And further, an enemy wishes of an enemy, ‘O, may this person not profit!’ Why is that? An enemy is not pleased with an enemy’s profits. Now, when a person is angry—overcome with anger, oppressed with anger—then even when he suffers a loss, he thinks, ‘I’ve gained a profit’; and even when he gains a profit, he thinks, ‘I’ve suffered a loss.’ When he has grabbed hold of these ideas that work in mutual opposition (to the truth), they lead to his long-term suffering & loss, all because he is overcome with anger. This is the third thing pleasing to an enemy, bringing about an enemy’s aim, that comes to a man or woman who is angry.

“And further, an enemy wishes of an enemy, ‘O, may this person not have any wealth!’ Why is that? An enemy is not pleased with an enemy’s wealth. Now, when a person is angry—overcome with anger, oppressed with anger—then whatever his wealth, earned through his efforts & enterprise, amassed through the strength of his arm, and piled up through the sweat of his brow—righteous wealth righteously gained—the king orders it sent to the royal treasury [in payment of fines levied for his behavior] all because he is overcome with anger. This is the fourth thing pleasing to an enemy, bringing about an enemy’s aim, that comes to a man or woman who is angry.

“And further, an enemy wishes of an enemy, ‘O, may this person not have any reputation!’ Why is that? An enemy is not pleased with an enemy’s reputation. Now, when a person is angry—overcome with anger, oppressed with anger—whatever reputation he has gained from being heedful, it falls away, all because he is overcome with anger. This is the fifth thing pleasing to an enemy, bringing about an enemy’s aim, that comes to a man or woman who is angry.

“And further, an enemy wishes of an enemy, ‘O, may this person not have any friends!’ Why is that? An enemy is not pleased with an enemy’s having friends. Now, when a person is angry—overcome with anger, oppressed with anger—his friends, companions, & relatives will avoid him from afar, all because he is overcome with anger. This is the sixth thing pleasing to an enemy, bringing about an enemy’s aim, that comes to a man or woman who is angry.

“And further, an enemy wishes of an enemy, ‘O, may this person, on the break-up of the body, after death, reappear in a plane of deprivation, a bad destination, a lower realm, hell!’ Why is that? An enemy is not pleased with an enemy’s going to heaven. Now, when a person is angry—overcome with anger, oppressed with anger—he engages in misconduct with the body, misconduct with speech, misconduct with the mind. Having engaged in misconduct with the body, misconduct with speech, misconduct with the mind, then—on the break-up of the body, after death—he reappears in a plane of deprivation, a bad destination, a lower realm, hell, all because he was overcome with anger. This is the seventh thing pleasing to an enemy, bringing about an enemy’s aim, that comes to a man or woman who is angry.

“These are the seven things—pleasing to an enemy, bringing about an enemy’s aim—that come to a man or woman who is angry.”

An angry person is ugly & sleeps poorly.

Gaining a profit, he turns it into a loss,

having done damage with word & deed.

A person overwhelmed with anger

destroys his wealth.

Maddened with anger,

he destroys his status.

Relatives, friends, & colleagues avoid him.

Anger brings loss.

Anger inflames the mind.

He doesn’t realize

that his danger is born from within.

An angry person

doesn’t know his own benefit.

An angry person

doesn’t see the Dhamma.

A man conquered by anger

is in a mass of darkness.

He takes pleasure in bad deeds

as if they were good,

but later, when his anger is gone,

he suffers as if burned with fire.

He is spoiled, blotted out,

like fire enveloped in smoke.

When anger spreads,

when a man becomes angry,

he has no shame, no compunction,

is not respectful in speech.

For a person overcome with anger,

nothing gives light.

I’ll list the deeds that bring remorse,

that are far from the teachings.

Listen!

An angry person

kills his father,

kills his mother,

kills Brahmans

& people run-of-the-mill.

It’s because of a mother’s devotion

that one sees the world,

yet an angry run-of-the-mill person

can kill this giver of life.

Like oneself, all beings hold themselves most dear,

yet an angry person, deranged,

can kill himself in many ways:

with a sword, taking poison,

hanging himself by a rope in a mountain glen.

Doing these deeds

that kill beings and do violence to himself,

the angry person doesn’t realize he’s ruined.

This snare of Māra, in the form of anger,

dwelling in the cave of the heart:

Cut it out with self-control,

discernment, persistence, right view.

The wise would cut out

each & every form of unskillfulness.

Train yourselves:

‘May we not be blotted out.’

Free from anger & untroubled,

free from greed, without longing,

tamed, your anger abandoned,

effluent-free, you will be

unbound.

See also: MN 21; SN 1:72; SN 3:23; SN 7:2; AN 3:133; AN 4:200; AN 5:161—162; AN 10:80; Dhp 37

The Fortress
Nagara Sutta  (AN 7:63)

“Monks, when a royal frontier fortress is well provided with the seven requisites of a fortress, and can obtain at will—without difficulty, without trouble—the four types of food, then it is said to be a royal frontier fortress that can’t be undone by external foes or duplicitous allies.

“And with which seven requisites of a fortress is it well provided?

“There is the case where a royal frontier fortress has a foundation post—deeply rooted, well embedded, immovable, & unshakable. With this first requisite of a fortress it is well provided for the protection of those within and to ward off those without.

“And further, the royal frontier fortress has a moat, both deep & wide. With this second requisite of a fortress it is well provided for the protection of those within and to ward off those without.

“And further, the royal frontier fortress has an encircling road, both high & wide. With this third requisite of a fortress it is well provided for the protection of those within and to ward off those without.

“And further, in the royal frontier fortress many weapons are stored, both arrows & things to be hurled. With this fourth requisite of a fortress it is well provided for the protection of those within and to ward off those without.

“And further, the royal frontier fortress has a large army stationed within—elephant soldiers, cavalry, charioteers, bowmen, standard-bearers, billeting officers, soldiers of the supply corps, noted princes, commando heroes, infantry, & slaves. With this fifth requisite of a fortress it is well provided for the protection of those within and to ward off those without.

“And further, the royal frontier fortress has a gatekeeper—wise, competent, intelligent—to keep out those he doesn’t know and to let in those he does. With this sixth requisite of a fortress it is well provided for the protection of those within and to ward off those without.

“And further, the royal frontier fortress has ramparts: high & thick & completely covered with plaster. With this seventh requisite of a fortress it is well provided for the protection of those within and to ward off those without.

“These are the seven requisites of a fortress with which it is well provided.

“And which are the four types of food that it can obtain at will, without difficulty, without trouble?

“There is the case where the royal frontier fortress has large stores of grass, timber & water for the delight, convenience, & comfort of those within, and to ward off those without. And further, it has large stores of rice & barley for the delight, convenience, & comfort of those within, and to ward off those without. And further, it has large stores of sesame, green gram, & other beans for the delight, convenience, & comfort of those within, and to ward off those without. And further, it has large stores of tonics—ghee, fresh butter, oil, honey, molasses, & salt—for the delight, convenience, & comfort of those within, and to ward off those without. These are the four types of food it can obtain at will, without difficulty, without trouble.

“When a royal frontier fortress is well provided with these seven requisites of a fortress, and can obtain at will—without difficulty, without trouble—these four types of food, then it is said to be a royal frontier fortress that can’t be undone by external foes or duplicitous allies.

“In the same way, monks, when a disciple of the noble ones is endowed with seven true qualities [saddhamma] and can obtain at will—without difficulty, without trouble—the four jhānas, heightened mental states that provide a pleasant abiding in the here & now, he is said to be a disciple of the noble ones who can’t be undone by Māra, can’t be undone by the Evil One.

“Now, with which seven true qualities is he endowed?

“Just as the royal frontier fortress has a foundation post—deeply rooted, well embedded, immovable, & unshakable—for the protection of those within and to ward off those without; in the same way a disciple of the noble ones has conviction, is convinced of the Tathāgata’s awakening: ‘Indeed, the Blessed One is worthy & rightly self-awakened, consummate in clear-knowing & conduct, well-gone, an expert with regard to the cosmos, unexcelled trainer of people fit to be tamed, teacher of devas & human beings, awakened, blessed.’ With conviction as his foundation post, the disciple of the noble ones abandons what is unskillful, develops what is skillful, abandons what is blameworthy, develops what is blameless, and looks after himself with purity. With this first true quality is he endowed.

“Just as the royal frontier fortress has a moat, both deep & wide, for the protection of those within and to ward off those without; in the same way, the disciple of the noble ones has a sense of shame. He feels shame at (the thought of engaging in) bodily misconduct, verbal misconduct, mental misconduct. He feels shame at falling into evil, unskillful actions. With a sense of shame as his moat, the disciple of the noble ones abandons what is unskillful, develops what is skillful, abandons what is blameworthy, develops what is blameless, and looks after himself with purity. With this second true quality is he endowed.

“Just as the royal frontier fortress has an encircling road, both high & wide, for the protection of those within and to ward off those without; in the same way, the disciple of the noble ones has a sense of compunction. He feels compunction at (the suffering that would result from) bodily misconduct, verbal misconduct, mental misconduct. He feels compunction at falling into evil, unskillful actions. With a sense of compunction as his encircling road, the disciple of the noble ones abandons what is unskillful, develops what is skillful, abandons what is blameworthy, develops what is blameless, and looks after himself with purity. With this third true quality is he endowed.

“Just as the royal frontier fortress has many weapons stored, both arrows & things to be hurled, for the protection of those within and to ward off those without; in the same way, the disciple of the noble ones has heard much, has retained what he has heard, has stored what he has heard. Whatever teachings are admirable in the beginning, admirable in the middle, admirable in the end, that—in their meaning & expression—proclaim the holy life that is entirely perfect, surpassingly pure: Those he has listened to often, retained, discussed, accumulated, examined with his mind, and well-penetrated in terms of his views. With learning as his weapons, the disciple of the noble ones abandons what is unskillful, develops what is skillful, abandons what is blameworthy, develops what is blameless, and looks after himself with purity. With this fourth true quality is he endowed.

“Just as the royal frontier fortress has a large army stationed within—elephant soldiers, cavalry, charioteers, bowmen, standard-bearers, billeting officers, soldiers of the supply corps, noted princes, commando heroes, infantry, & slaves—for the protection of those within and to ward off those without; in the same way a disciple of the noble ones keeps his persistence aroused for abandoning unskillful mental qualities and taking on skillful mental qualities, is steadfast, solid in his effort, not shirking his duties with regard to skillful mental qualities. With persistence as his army, the disciple of the noble ones abandons what is unskillful, develops what is skillful, abandons what is blameworthy, develops what is blameless, and looks after himself with purity. With this fifth true quality is he endowed.

“Just as the royal frontier fortress has a gatekeeper—wise, competent, intelligent—to keep out those he doesn’t know and to let in those he does, for the protection of those within and to ward off those without; in the same way a disciple of the noble ones is mindful, endowed with excellent proficiency in mindfulness, remembering & able to call to mind even things that were done & said long ago. With mindfulness as his gatekeeper, the disciple of the noble ones abandons what is unskillful, develops what is skillful, abandons what is blameworthy, develops what is blameless, and looks after himself with purity. With this sixth true quality is he endowed.

“Just as the royal frontier fortress has ramparts—high & thick & completely covered with plaster—for the protection of those within and to ward off those without; in the same way a disciple of the noble ones is discerning, endowed with discernment leading to the arising of the goal—noble, penetrating, leading to the right ending of stress. With discernment as his covering of plaster, the disciple of the noble ones abandons what is unskillful, develops what is skillful, abandons what is blameworthy, develops what is blameless, and looks after himself with purity. With this seventh true quality is he endowed.

“These are the seven true qualities with which he is endowed.

“And which are the four jhānas—heightened mental states that provide a pleasant abiding in the here & now—that he can obtain at will, without difficulty, without trouble?

“Just as a royal frontier fortress has large stores of grass, timber & water for the delight, convenience, & comfort of those within, and to ward off those without; in the same way the disciple of the noble ones, quite secluded from sensuality, secluded from unskillful qualities, enters & remains in the first jhāna—rapture & pleasure born of seclusion, accompanied by directed thought & evaluation—for his own delight, convenience, & comfort, and to alight on unbinding.

“Just as a royal frontier fortress has large stores of rice & barley for the delight, convenience, & comfort of those within, and to ward off those without; in the same way the disciple of the noble ones, with the stilling of directed thoughts & evaluations, enters & remains in the second jhāna—rapture & pleasure born of concentration, unification of awareness free from directed thought & evaluation—internal assurance—for his own delight, convenience, & comfort, and to alight on unbinding.

“Just as a royal frontier fortress has large stores of sesame, green gram, & other beans for the delight, convenience, & comfort of those within, and to ward off those without; in the same way the disciple of the noble ones, with the fading of rapture, remains equanimous, mindful, & alert, and senses pleasure with the body. He enters & remains in the third jhāna—of which the noble ones declare, ‘Equanimous & mindful, he has a pleasant abiding’—for his own delight, convenience, & comfort, and to alight on unbinding.

“Just as a royal frontier fortress has large stores of tonics—ghee, fresh butter, oil, honey, molasses, & salt—for the delight, convenience, & comfort of those within, and to ward off those without; in the same way the disciple of the noble ones, with the abandoning of pleasure & pain, as with the earlier disappearance of elation & distress, enters & remains in the fourth jhāna—purity of equanimity & mindfulness, neither pleasure nor pain—for his own delight, convenience, & comfort, and to alight on unbinding.

“These are the four jhānas—heightened mental states that provide a pleasant abiding in the here & now—that he can obtain at will, without difficulty, without trouble.

“When a disciple of the noble ones is endowed with these seven true qualities and can obtain at will—without difficulty, without trouble—these four jhānas, heightened mental states that provide a pleasant abiding in the here & now, he is said to be a disciple of the noble ones who can’t be undone by Māra, can’t be undone by the Evil One.”

See also: MN 117; SN 3:5; AN 4:28; AN 4:128; AN 4:245; AN 5:75—76; AN 6:20; AN 10:17

One With a Sense of Dhamma
Dhammaññū Sutta  (AN 7:64)

“A monk endowed with these seven qualities is deserving of gifts, deserving of hospitality, deserving of offerings, deserving of respect, an unexcelled field of merit for the world. Which seven? There is the case where a monk is one with a sense of Dhamma, a sense of meaning, a sense of himself, a sense of moderation, a sense of time, a sense of social gatherings, & a sense of distinctions among individuals.

“And how is a monk one with a sense of Dhamma? There is the case where a monk knows the Dhamma: dialogues, narratives of mixed prose and verse, explanations, verses, spontaneous exclamations, quotations, birth stories, amazing events, question & answer sessions [the earliest classifications of the Buddha’s teachings]. If he didn’t know the Dhamma—dialogues, narratives of mixed prose and verse, explanations, verses, spontaneous exclamations, quotations, birth stories, amazing events, question & answer sessions—he wouldn’t be said to be one with a sense of Dhamma. So it’s because he does know the Dhamma—dialogues… question & answer sessions—that he is said to be one with a sense of Dhamma. This is one with a sense of Dhamma.

“And how is a monk one with a sense of meaning? There is the case where a monk knows the meaning of this & that statement—‘This is the meaning of that statement; that is the meaning of this.’ If he didn’t know the meaning of this & that statement—‘This is the meaning of that statement; that is the meaning of this’—he wouldn’t be said to be one with a sense of meaning. So it’s because he does know the meaning of this & that statement—‘This is the meaning of that statement; that is the meaning of this’—that he is said to be one with a sense of meaning. This is one with a sense of Dhamma & a sense of meaning.

“And how is a monk one with a sense of himself? There is the case where a monk knows himself: ‘This is how far I have come in conviction, virtue, learning, generosity, discernment, quick-wittedness.’ If he didn’t know himself—‘This is how far I have come in conviction, virtue, learning, generosity, discernment, quick-wittedness’—he wouldn’t be said to be one with a sense of himself. So it’s because he does know himself—‘This is how far I have come in conviction, virtue, learning, generosity, discernment, quick-wittedness’—that he is said to be one with a sense of himself. This is one with a sense of Dhamma, a sense of meaning, & a sense of himself.

“And how is a monk one with a sense of moderation? There is the case where a monk knows moderation in accepting robes, almsfood, lodgings, & medicinal requisites for curing the sick. If he didn’t know moderation in accepting robes, almsfood, lodgings, & medicinal requisites for curing the sick, he wouldn’t be said to be one with a sense of moderation. So it’s because he does know moderation in accepting robes, almsfood, lodgings, & medicinal requisites for curing the sick, that he is said to be one with a sense of moderation. This is one with a sense of Dhamma, a sense of meaning, a sense of himself, & a sense of moderation.

“And how is a monk one with a sense of time? There is the case where a monk knows the time: ‘This is the time for recitation; this, the time for questioning; this, the time for making an effort (in meditation); this, the time for seclusion.’ If he didn’t know the time—‘This is the time for recitation; this, the time for questioning; this, the time for making an effort; this, the time for seclusion’—he wouldn’t be said to be one with a sense of time. So it’s because he does know the time—‘This is the time for recitation; this, the time for questioning; this, the time for making an effort; this, the time for seclusion’—that he is said to be one with a sense of time. This is one with a sense of Dhamma, a sense of meaning, a sense of himself, a sense of moderation, & a sense of time.

“And how is a monk one with a sense of social gatherings? There is the case where a monk knows his social gathering: ‘This is a social gathering of noble warriors; this, a social gathering of brahmans; this, a social gathering of householders; this, a social gathering of contemplatives; here one should approach them in this way, stand in this way, act in this way, sit in this way, speak in this way, stay silent in this way.’ If he didn’t know his social gathering—‘This is a social gathering of noble warriors; this, a social gathering of brahmans; this, a social gathering of householders; this, a social gathering of contemplatives; here one should approach them in this way, stand in this way, act in this way, sit in this way, speak in this way, stay silent in this way’—he wouldn’t be said to be one with a sense of social gatherings. So it’s because he does know his social gathering—‘This is a social gathering of noble warriors; this, a social gathering of brahmans; this, a social gathering of householders; this, a social gathering of contemplatives; here one should approach them in this way, stand in this way, act in this way, sit in this way, speak in this way, stay silent in this way’—that he is said to be one with a sense of social gatherings. This is one with a sense of Dhamma, a sense of meaning, a sense of himself, a sense of moderation, a sense of time, & a sense of social gatherings.

“And how is a monk one with a sense of distinctions among individuals? There is the case where people are known to a monk in terms of two categories.

“Of two people—one who wants to see noble ones and one who doesn’t—the one who doesn’t want to see noble ones is to be criticized for that reason, the one who does want to see noble ones is, for that reason, to be praised.

“Of two people who want to see noble ones—one who wants to hear the true Dhamma and one who doesn’t—the one who doesn’t want to hear the true Dhamma is to be criticized for that reason, the one who does want to hear the true Dhamma is, for that reason, to be praised.

“Of two people who want to hear the true Dhamma—one who listens with an attentive ear and one who listens without an attentive ear—the one who listens without an attentive ear is to be criticized for that reason, the one who listens with an attentive ear is, for that reason, to be praised.

“Of two people who listen with an attentive ear—one who, having listened to the Dhamma, remembers it, and one who doesn’t—the one who, having listened to the Dhamma, doesn’t remember it is to be criticized for that reason, the one who, having listened to the Dhamma, does remember the Dhamma is, for that reason, to be praised.

“Of two people who, having listened to the Dhamma, remember it—one who explores the meaning of the Dhamma he has remembered and one who doesn’t—the one who doesn’t explore the meaning of the Dhamma he has remembered is to be criticized for that reason, the one who does explore the meaning of the Dhamma he has remembered is, for that reason, to be praised.

“Of two people who explore the meaning of the Dhamma they have remembered—one who practices the Dhamma in line with the Dhamma, having a sense of Dhamma, having a sense of meaning, and one who doesn’t—the one who doesn’t practice the Dhamma in line with the Dhamma, having a sense of Dhamma, having a sense of meaning, is to be criticized for that reason, the one who does practice the Dhamma in line with the Dhamma, having a sense of Dhamma, having a sense of meaning is, for that reason, to be praised.

“Of two people who practice the Dhamma in line with the Dhamma, having a sense of Dhamma, having a sense of meaning—one who practices for both his own benefit and that of others, and one who practices for his own benefit but not that of others—the one who practices for his own benefit but not that of others is to be criticized for that reason, the one who practices for both his own benefit and that of others is, for that reason, to be praised.

“This is how people are known to a monk in terms of two categories. And this is how a monk is one with a sense of distinctions among individuals.

“A monk endowed with these seven qualities is deserving of gifts, deserving of hospitality, deserving of offerings, deserving of respect, an unexcelled field of merit for the world.”

See also: AN 4:95—96; AN 5:20; AN 10:54; AN 11:12

Araka’s Instructions
Arakenānusasani Sutta  (AN 7:70)

“Once, monks, there was a teacher named Araka, a sectarian leader who was free of passion for sensuality. He had many hundreds of students and he taught them the Dhamma in this way: ‘Next to nothing, brahmans, is the life of human beings—limited, trifling, of much stress & many despairs. One should touch this (truth) like a sage, do what is skillful, follow the holy life. For one who is born there is no freedom from death.

“‘Just as a dewdrop on the tip of a blade of grass quickly vanishes with the rising of the sun and does not stay long, in the same way, brahmans, the life of human beings is like a dewdrop—limited, trifling, of much stress & many despairs. One should touch this (truth) like a sage, do what is skillful, follow the holy life. For one who is born there is no freedom from death.

“‘Just as when the rain-devas send rain in fat drops, and a bubble on the water quickly vanishes and does not stay long, in the same way, brahmans, the life of human beings is like a water bubble—limited, trifling, of much stress & many despairs. One should touch this (truth) like a sage, do what is skillful, follow the holy life. For one who is born there is no freedom from death.

“‘Just as a line drawn in the water with a stick quickly vanishes and does not stay long, in the same way, brahmans, the life of human beings is like a line drawn in the water with a stick—limited, trifling, of much stress & many despairs. One should touch this (truth) like a sage, do what is skillful, follow the holy life. For one who is born there is no freedom from death.

“‘Just as a river flowing down from the mountains, going far, its current swift, carrying everything with it, so that there is not a moment, an instant, a second where it stands still, but instead it goes & rushes & flows, in the same way, brahmans, the life of human beings is like a river flowing down from the mountains—limited, trifling, of much stress & many despairs. One should touch this (truth) like a sage, do what is skillful, follow the holy life. For one who is born there is no freedom from death.

“‘Just as a strong man forming a drop of spit on the tip of his tongue would spit it out with little effort, in the same way, brahmans, the life of human beings is like a drop of spit—limited, trifling, of much stress & many despairs. One should touch this (truth) like a sage, do what is skillful, follow the holy life. For one who is born there is no freedom from death.

“‘Just as a sliver of meat thrown into an iron pan heated all day quickly vanishes and does not stay long, in the same way, brahmans, the life of human beings is like a sliver of meat—limited, trifling, of much stress & many despairs. One should touch this (truth) like a sage, do what is skillful, follow the holy life. For one who is born there is no freedom from death.

“‘Just as a cow to be slaughtered being led to the slaughterhouse, with every step of its foot closer to its slaughtering, closer to death, in the same way, brahmans, the life of human beings is like a cow to be slaughtered—limited, trifling, of much stress & many despairs. One should touch this (truth) like a sage, do what is skillful, follow the holy life. For one who is born there is no freedom from death.’

“Now at that time, monks, the human life span was 60,000 years, with girls marriageable at 500. And at that time there were (only) six afflictions: cold, heat, hunger, thirst, defecation, & urination. Yet even though people were so long-lived, long-lasting, with so few afflictions, that teacher Araka taught the Dhamma to his disciples in this way: ‘Next to nothing, brahmans, is the life of human beings—limited, trifling, of much stress & many despairs. One should touch this (truth) like a sage, do what is skillful, follow the holy life. For one who is born there is no freedom from death.’

“At present, monks, one speaking rightly would say, ‘Next to nothing is the life of human beings—limited, trifling, of much stress & many despairs. One should touch this (truth) like a sage, do what is skillful, follow the holy life. For one who is born there is no freedom from death.’ At present, monks, one who lives a long time is 100 years old or a little bit more. Living 100 years, one lives for 300 seasons: 100 seasons of cold, 100 seasons of heat, 100 seasons of rain. Living for 300 seasons, one lives for 1,200 months: 400 months of cold, 400 months of heat, 400 months of rain. Living for 1,200 months, one lives for 2,400 fortnights: 800 fortnights of cold, 800 fortnights of heat, 800 fortnights of rain. Living for 2,400 fortnights, one lives for 36,000 days: 12,000 days of cold, 12,000 days of heat, 12,000 days of rain. Living for 36,000 days, one eats 72,000 meals: 24,000 meals in the cold, 24,000 meals in the heat, 24,000 meals in the rain—counting the taking of mother’s milk and obstacles to eating. These are the obstacles to eating: when one doesn’t eat while angered, when one doesn’t eat while suffering or stressed, when one doesn’t eat while sick, when one doesn’t eat on the observance [uposatha] day, when one doesn’t eat while poor.

“Thus, monks, I have reckoned the life of a person living for 100 years: I have reckoned the life span, reckoned the seasons, reckoned the years,1 reckoned the months, reckoned the fortnights, reckoned the nights, reckoned the days, reckoned the meals, reckoned the obstacles to eating. Whatever a teacher should do—seeking the welfare of his disciples, out of sympathy for them—that have I done for you. Over there are the roots of trees; over there, empty dwellings. Practice jhāna, monks. Don’t be heedless. Don’t later fall into regret. This is our message to you all.”

Note

1. The actual reckoning does not mention years between seasons and months, although the number of years is implicit in the life span.

See also: MN 54; AN 5:57; AN 6:19—20; AN 6:102—104; Sn 4:6; Sn 5:16

The Teacher’s Instruction
Satthusāsana Sutta  (AN 7:80)

Then Ven. Upāli went to the Blessed One and, on arrival, having bowed down to him, sat to one side. As he was sitting there he said to the Blessed One: “It would be good, venerable sir, if the Blessed One would teach me the Dhamma in brief such that, having heard the Dhamma from the Blessed One, I might dwell alone, secluded, heedful, ardent, & resolute.”

“Upāli, the qualities of which you may know, ‘These qualities do not lead to utter disenchantment, to dispassion, to cessation, to stilling, to direct knowledge, to self-awakening, nor to unbinding’: You may categorically hold, ‘This is not the Dhamma, this is not the Vinaya, this is not the Teacher’s instruction.’

“As for the qualities of which you may know, ‘These qualities lead to utter disenchantment, to dispassion, to cessation, to stilling, to direct knowledge, to self-awakening, to unbinding’: You may categorically hold, ‘This is the Dhamma, this is the Vinaya, this is the Teacher’s instruction.’”

See also: MN 72; SN 56:1; AN 3:66; AN 8:53; AN 10:99