Suppose an innocent baby boy lying on his back were, because of the carelessness of his nurse, to put a stick or a stone into his mouth. His nurse would immediately do something to remove it. And if she could not get it out immediately, she would hold the child’s head with her left hand, and with the finger of her right hand, get it out even if she had to draw blood. And why? Because such a thing is a danger to the child, by no means harmless. Also, the nurse would do such a thing out of love for the child’s benefit, out of kindness and compassion. But when that boy is older and more wise, then the nurse no longer needs look after him, thinking: ‘The boy can look after himself, he is done with foolishness.’ In the same way, if, due to lack of faith, self-respect, fear of blame, energy or wisdom, good things are not practiced by one, then one must be watched over by me. But when good things are practiced, then I need not look after one, thinking: ‘He can now look after himself, he is done with foolishness.’
When you are living together, in harmony and without contention, a certain person might do something wrong or transgress. Concerning this, you should not hasten to reproof. The person should be examined. In correcting him you might think: ‘I won’t get annoyed, nor will he, for he is without irritation and anger, he is quick to see and easy to convince. I have the power to raise this person from the unskillful and establish him in the skillful.’ If you think this then it is right to speak. If you think: ‘I won’t get annoyed but he will, for he is irritable, angry, slow to see but easy to convince. I have the power to raise this person from the unskillful and establish him in the skillful. His annoyance is but a small thing, the great thing is that I will be able to establish him in the skilled.’ If you think this then it is right to speak. If you think: ‘I will get annoyed but he won’t, for he is not prone to irritability or anger, he is quick to see but difficult to convince. But I have the power to raise this person from the unskillful and establish him in the skillful. My annoyance is but a small thing, the great thing is that I will be able to establish him in the skilled.’ If you think this then it is right to speak. If you think: ‘I will get annoyed and so will he, for he is irritable, angry, slow to see and hard to convince. But still, I have the power to raise this person from the unskillful and establish him in the skillful. My annoyance is but a small thing, the great thing is that I will be able to establish him in the skilled.’ If you think this then it is right to speak. However, if you think: ‘I will get annoyed and so will he, for he is irritable, angry, slow to see and difficult to convince, and I don’t think I have the power to raise him from the unskillful and establish him in the skillful.’ Then in this case have equanimity towards that person.
Four things shine in the world,
You will not find a fifth.
The sun shines by day and the moon by night.
Fire gives light both day and night,
Both here and there.
But of all things that shine,
The Buddha is the best.
What sort of person should not be followed? In this case, a person who is inferior to oneself in morality, concentration and wisdom is not to be followed, served or honoured except out of consideration and compassion for him. And what sort of person should be followed? In this case, a person who is equal to oneself in morality, concentration and wisdom should be followed, served and honoured, thinking: ‘As we are both proficient in morality, concentration and wisdom, our conversation will center on these things and this will contribute to our profit and comfort.’ And what sort of person is to be followed, served, honoured, and worshipped with reverence? In this case, a person who is superior to oneself in morality, concentration and wisdom should first be reverently worshipped and then followed, served, and honoured, thinking: ‘In this way I shall complete the morality, concentration and wisdom which is not yet complete and supplement that which is.’
If, for as long as it takes to snap a finger, a monk thinks, develops and gives attention to the thought of love, then he is called a true monk. His meditation is not barren, he lives by the Teacher’s instructions, he is one who takes good advice and eats the country’s alms-food to good purpose. What then could I say of one who makes much of such a thought?
When walking, he is aware: ‘I am walking,’ or when he is standing still, he is aware: ‘I am standing still,’ or when he is sitting down, he is aware: ‘I am sitting down,’ or when he is lying down, he is aware: ‘I am lying down.’ So however his body is disposed, he is aware that it is like that. Again, when he is going or coming, he acts in a clearly conscious way; when he is looking in front or behind, when he has bent or stretched out his arm, when he is carrying his cloak, robe and bowl, he is one who acts in a clearly conscious way. When he is eating, drinking, chewing and tasting, when he is going to the toilet, when he is walking, standing, sitting, asleep or awake, talking or silent, he is one who acts in a clearly conscious way. While he is practicing this, diligent, ardent and self-resolute, those memories and plans that are worldly are got rid of, and so by itself the mind is inwardly settled, calmed, focused and concentrated. In this way does one develop mindfulness of the body.
The Lord said: “Suppose people were to flock together, crying: ‘The fairest girl in all the land. The fairest in the land!’ That girl, displaying all her charms, would dance and sing for them and even more people would gather. Then suppose a man came along, fond of life, not liking death, fond of happiness, averse to pain, and they were to say to him: ‘Here’s a bowl full of oil. You must carry it through the crowd. A man will come behind you with an uplifted sword and if you spill a drop of oil he will chop off your head.’ Now, what do you think? Would that man become inattentive and pay attention to what was going on around him rather than to the bowl?’
“Surely not, Lord.”
“Well, this is an analogy I have made for your understanding and this is what it means. The bowl brimful of oil is a term for mindfulness of the body. So, this is how you should train yourself: ‘We shall cultivate mindfulness of the body, we shall make much of it, make it a vehicle, establish it, make it effective.It shall be increased and well applied.’”
The Venerable Sariputta said: “When a teacher wishes to instruct another, let him arouse five things in himself and then instruct. What five? Let him think: ‘I will speak at the right time, not at the wrong time. I will speak about what is, not about what is not. I will speak with gentleness, not with harshness. I will speak about the goal, not about what is not the goal. I will speak with a mind filled with love, not with a mind filled with ill-will.’ When a teacher wishes to instruct another, let him first establish well these five things.”
When the night was fading, Rohitassa, a son of the gods, came to see the Lord, lighting up all the Jeta Grove with a surpassing brilliance, and saluting him stood to one side and asked: “Lord, is it possible by going far to know, to see, to reach the end of the world, that is, where there is no more being born, growing old and dying, no more trudging on from one existence to another?”
“I say that the end of the world cannot be known, seen or reached by going.”
“Wonderful! Marvelous! This is well said by the Lord. In my last life I was a sage named Rohitassa, son of Bhoja. I had such psychic power that I could walk in the sky and my speed was such that I could go faster than an arrow. The extent of my stride was the distance between the east and west ocean. And I thought to myself: ‘I am going to reach the end of the world.’ Except for time spent eating, drinking and answering the call of nature, except for struggles to shake off sleep and weariness, though I lived and traveled for a hundred years, I never reached the end of the world. I died trying.”
Then the Lord said: “I say that the ending of suffering cannot be found without going to the end of the world. And within this fathom-high body with its perceptions and thoughts is the world, the origin of the world, the ending of the world and the practice leading to the end of the world.”
It is said that the Sakyans and the Koliyans dammed the waters of the Rohini River between Kapilavatthu and Koliya and cultivated the fields on both sides of the river. During the month of Jetthamula, the crops began to wilt, and the workers employed by both cities assembled. Those of Koliya said: “If the water is diverted to both sides of the river there will not be enough for both of us. As our crops will ripen with a single watering, let us have the water.” But the Sakyans replied: “After your granaries are full, we will not be able to face taking our valuables and with basket and bags in hand, go begging from your doors. Our crops will ripen with a single watering, so let us have the water.”
“We will not give it to you.”
“And we will not let you have it.”
Talk grew bitter, one person struck another, the blow was returned, fighting broke out, and as they fought they cast aspersions upon the origin of the each other’s royal families. The Koliyans workers said: “Take your brats and go where you belong. How can we be harmed by the elephants, horses, shields and weapons of those have slept with their own sisters like dogs and jackals?” The Sakyan workers replied: “You lepers, take your brats and go where you belong. How can we be harmed by the elephants, horses, shields and weapons of miserable outcasts who live up jujube trees like animals.” Both groups went and reported the quarrel to the ministers who were in charge of the work, who in turn reported it to the royal households. The Sakyans prepared for battle, saying: “We will show them the strength and power of those who have slept with their sisters.” The Koliyans prepared for battle, saying: “We will show them the strength and power of those who live up jujube trees.”
As the Lord surveyed the world at dawn he saw his kinsmen and thought: “If I do not go, these people will destroy each other. It is my duty to go to them.” He passed through the air to where his kinsmen were gathered, and seated himself cross-legged in the air in the middle of the Rohini River. When the Lord’s kinsmen saw him they put down their weapons and worshipped him. Then the Lord said: “What is this quarrel about, great king?”
“We know not, reverend sir.”
“Then who would know?”
“The commander-in-chief of the army will know.”
When asked, the commander-in-chief suggested the viceroy might know. Thus the Lord asked one after the other with none of them knowing the cause of the quarrel, until the workers were asked. They replied: “The quarrel is about the water.”
Then the Lord said to the king: “What is the value of water, great king?”
“Very little, reverend sir.”
“What is the value of a warrior?”
“A warrior, reverend sir, is beyond price.” Then the Lord said: “Then is it right that for a little water you should kill warriors who are beyond price?”
They were all silent. Then the Lord said: “Great kings, why do you act thus? Were I not here today, you would cause a river of blood to flow. Your actions are unworthy. You live in hatred, given to the five kinds of hatred. I live full of love. You live sick with passions. I live free from sickness. You live chasing after the five kinds of sense pleasures. I live in contentment.”
Conquer anger with love,
Evil with good,
Meanness with generosity,
And lies with truth.
“He abused me, he hit me,
He oppressed me, he robbed me.”
Those who hold on to such thoughts
Never still their hatred.
“He abused me, he hit me,
He oppressed me, he robbed me.”
Those who do not hold such thoughts
Soon still their hatred.
For in this world,
Hatred is never appeased by more hatred;
It is love that conquers hatred.
This is an eternal law.
Kasi cloth has a beautiful colour, it is pleasant to touch and it is of great value. Even Kasi cloth of middling quality or worn out Kasi cloth is the same. People use worn out Kasi cloth to wrap gems in, or they lay it up in a scented chest. In the same way, if a beginner is virtuous and of lovely nature, this I call his beautiful colour. Those who follow him and keep his company, who pay deference to him and come to share his views find it to their welfare and happiness for a long time. This I call his being pleasant to touch. Also those who give him gifts find it to their advantage. This I call his being of great value. And it is the same for a disciple of middling standing and an elder. Now suppose an elder is speaking to an assembly. As he speaks, the audience would say: ‘Silence, this elder is teaching Dhamma and discipline.’ Thus, his words become a treasure to be laid up, just as people lay up Kasi cloth in a scented chest. So, this is how you should train yourselves: ‘We will be like Kasi cloth, not like coarse cloth.’
The enlightened person serves as a guide to the blind, showing them the right path. He gives the deaf signals by hand gestures, and in that way benefits them with good. He does the same with the dumb. To cripples he gives a chair vehicle or other means of conveyance. He strives to develop faith in the faithless, zeal in the lazy, mindfulness in the distracted, concentration in those whose minds wander, and wisdom in the dull. He strives to dispel sense desire, ill-will, sloth and laziness, restlessness and worry, and doubt in those obsessed by these hindrances. He strives to dispel thoughts of sensuality, ill-will and violence in those oppressed by such thoughts. Out of gratitude to those who have helped him, he helps and respects them with the same or greater benefits in return. His speech is friendly and his words are endearing.
At one time, the Lord was staying near Alavi, at the cow path in the Simsapa Grove, lodging on the leaf-strewn ground. Now, Hatthaka of Alavi was walking about and he saw the Lord seated among the leaves so he approached him and asked: “Good sir, do you live happily?”
“Yes, my boy, I live happily. Of all the people in the world, I am the happiest.”
“But sir, these winter nights are cold, the dark half of the month is a time of frost. The ground has been trampled hard by the cattle’s hooves, the carpet of fallen leaves is thin, there are few leaves on the trees, your yellow robe is thin and the winds blow cold.”
“Despite this, I still live happily. I will ask you a question, answer as you wish. What do you think about this? Suppose a man has a house with a gabled roof, plastered inside and out and with well-fitting doors and windows. Inside is a couch spread with a fleecy woolen rug, a bedspread of white wool, a cover embroidered with flowers, spread with a costly antelope skin, with a canopy above and scarlet cushions at each end. The lamp is burning and four wives wait on him with all their charms. Would such a man be happy or not?”
“Yes, sir, he would be happy.”
“Well, what do you think about this? Is it possible that distress of body and mind due to greed, hatred or delusion could arise in him, causing him to feel unhappy?”
“Yes, sir, that is possible.”
“Well, my boy, that greed, hatred and delusion that could cause distress of body and mind has been abandoned by the Tathagata, cut off at the root, made like a palm tree stump that cannot grow again in the future. And that is why I live happily.”
The Dhamma protects those who practice the Dhamma, as a great umbrella protects in time of rain.
The Lord is awakened, he teaches the Dhamma for awakening. The Lord is tamed, he teaches the Dhamma for taming. The Lord is calmed, he teaches the Dhamma for calming. The Lord has crossed over, he teaches the Dhamma for crossing over. The Lord has attained Nirvana, he teaches the Dhamma for the attaining of Nirvana.
At one time, a certain monk went to his fellow monk and asked: “Friend, how is understanding fully purified?” and the other replied: “When one sees as it really is the arising and ceasing of the six-fold sense base, then understanding is fully purified.” Dissatisfied with that answer, that monk went on to another monk and asked the same question, and he was told: “Friend, when one sees as it really is arising and ceasing of the clinging aggregates, then understanding is fully purified.” But again that monk was dissatisfied with that answer, so he went to another monk, asked the same question, and was told: “Friend, when one sees as it really is the arising and ceasing of the four great elements, then understanding is fully purified.” But still dissatisfied with that answer, he went to yet another monk, put his question again and that monk replied: “Friend, when one sees as it really is that everything that arises also passes away, then understanding is fully purified.” Dissatisfied with all these answers, that monk approached the Lord and told him of the question he had asked and the replies he had received.
Then he addressed the Lord and said: “Lord, how is understanding fully purified?” The Lord said: “Suppose a man has never seen a kimsuka tree so he goes to a man who has, and asks: ‘What is a kimsuka tree like?’ and that man replies: ‘Well, my man, a kimsuka tree is blackish, something like a charred stump.’ So for the time being, the tree is to him as the other man sees it. Not satisfied with this answer to his question he goes to another man who has seen one, and again puts his question. And the other man answers: ‘Well, my man, a kimsuka tree is reddish, something like a lump of meat.’ So, for the time being, the tree is to him as the other man sees it.
Still not satisfied, he goes to another man who has seen a kimsuka tree and puts his question to him. And the other man answers: ‘A kimsuka tree has no bark and its seed pods burst something like an acacia tree.’ So, for the time being, the tree is to him as the other man sees it. Still dissatisfied, he goes to another man who has seen a kimsuka tree and puts his question yet again. And that man answers: ‘Well, a kimsuka has thick leaves and gives close shade something like a banyan tree.’ So, for the time being, the tree is to him as the other man sees it. All these good folks have given their explanations according to the clarity of their understanding. In the same way, the understanding of the monks you have asked has been purified according to their individual inclinations and they have given their explanations accordingly.”
At that time there was a fierce elephant in Rajagaha, a man-killer called Nalagiri. Then Devadatta entered Rajagaha and went to the elephant stable and said to the mahouts: “I am a relative of the king. I am capable of putting one who is in low position into a high position, and arranging for an increase in food and wages. So, my good fellows, when the monk Gotama is coming along the carriage road, let loose Nagaliri and send him down the road.” “Very well, honoured sir,” those mahouts said to Devadatta. In the morning the Lord dressed, and taking his robe, entered the city for alms-food, together with several other monks. As they went down the road, the mahouts released Nalagiri. The elephant saw the Lord coming in the distance, and lifting up his trunk and making his ears and tail erect, he rushed towards him. The monks saw Nagaliri coming and said to the Lord: “Lord, this elephant is a fierce man-killer. Turn back!” The Lord replied: “Do not be afraid, monks, for it is impossible, it cannot happen that someone could kill the Tathagata. The Tathagata cannot attain final Nirvana due to violence.” A second and third time they spoke to the Lord. People climbed on to the roofs of the houses to see what would happen. Those with little faith, those who were not believers, said: “This great monk is beautiful indeed, but he will be harmed by that bull elephant.” But those with faith, those who were believers, said: “Good sirs, soon this great being will confront a truly great being.” Then the Lord suffused Nalagiri with a mind full of love, and the elephant lowered his trunk and went up to the Lord and stood beside him. The Lord stroked Nalagiri’s forehead with his right hand and addressed these verses to him:
“O elephant, do not strike a truly great being,
For to do so is painful indeed.
For one who slays a great being, O elephant,
There is no good rebirth, when one departs from here.
Be not proud, be not reckless,
Or there will be no good rebirth.
Act in such a way as to have a good rebirth.”
Then Nalagiri took dust from the Lord’s feet with his trunk, sprinkled it over his own head, and then backed away, bowing, and keeping his gaze on the Lord. He returned to the stable and stood in his own place, and in this way was finally tamed. Then people at that time sang this verse:
“Some are tamed by sticks, by goads or by whips.
The elephant was tamed by the great seer,
Without stick or weapon.”
People disparaged and criticized Devadatta widely, saying: “This Devadatta is evil and inauspicious in that he tried to murder the monk Gotama who is of such great psychic power and majesty.” And Devadatta’s reputation declined while the Lord’s grew.
Of the tree in whose shade one sits or lies, not a branch of it should he break, for if he did he would be a betrayer of a friend, an evil doer.
What is the treasure of learning? Concerning this, a noble disciple has learnt much, there is a retaining and a storing up of things learnt, those things lovely in the beginning, lovely in the middle and lovely at the end, which set forth the letter and the spirit of the holy life, are all learnt by him, retained in mind, familiarized by discussion, pondered over and well penetrated with Perfect View. This is the treasure of learning.
Possessed of five qualities, a sick person is of much help to himself. What five? He knows what medicine is good for him, he knows the right measure in his treatment, he takes the medicine, he describes his illness to the nurse who cares for him out of kindness, saying: ‘It comes like this. It goes like this. When it is there it is like this,’ and he endures the various pains of the sickness.
Say one dwells contemplating mental states; ardent, clearly conscious and mindful – having put aside the attraction and repulsion of the world. As he does this, either some bodily feeling arises, some bodily discomfort arises, or drowsiness scatters his thoughts to outward things. Then he should direct his attention to some pleasurable object or thought. Having done that, gladness arises, from gladness comes joy, because of joy the body is tranquil, with a tranquil body one is happy, and the mind of one who is happy becomes concentrated. Then he thinks: ‘The aim on which I set my mind is now attained. So let me withdraw my mind from that pleasant thought.’ Then he withdraws his mind from that, and neither starts nor carries on contemplating thought processes. Then he is mindful and knows, ‘Logical and wandering thoughts have stopped, I am inwardly mindful and happy.’
Possessing five qualities, one who nurses the sick is fit to nurse the sick. What five? He can prepare the medicine; he knows what is good and what is not. What is good he offers, and what is not he does not; he nurses the sick out of love, not out of hope for gain; he is unmoved by excrement, urine, vomit and spittle; and from time to time, he can instruct, inspire, gladden and comfort the sick with talk on Dhamma.
The naked ascetic Kassapa said to the Lord: “Reverend Gotama, it is hard to be a true monk, it is hard to be a true brahmin.”
The Lord said: “That is what the world says Kassapa. But if a naked ascetic was to practice all kinds of self- mortification, and if this was the measure of difficulty, then it would not be true to say that it is hard to be a true ascetic or a true brahmin. Because anyone, a householder, his son, even a slave girl who draws water, could go naked and practice self-mortification. But there is another type of asceticism about which it is true to say that it is hard to be a true ascetic, a true brahmin. When a monk develops a mind free from hatred or ill-will, full of love, and by the destruction of the defilements, dwells with a mind freed through insight, then that monk is a true ascetic, a true brahman.”
Learn this from the waters;
In mountain clefts and chasms,
Loud gushes the streamlets,
But great rivers flow silently.
Empty things make a noise,
The full is always quiet.
The fool is like a half-filled pot,
The wise one is like a deep still pool.
Humility means being humble in mind and unassuming in manner. A person possessing it has put away pride and arrogance, he resembles a foot-wiping cloth, a bull with its horns cut off, a snake with its fangs removed. He is gentle, cheerful and easy to speak to.
Although this wish may arise in the heart of one who is meditating: ‘May my mind be free from the defilements and be without attachments,’ yet it will not happen. And why? Because he has not developed the four foundations of mindfulness, the four right efforts, the four psychic powers, the five faculties, the five spiritual powers, the seven factors of enlightenment and the Noble Eightfold Path. It is just as if a batch of hen’s eggs were not fully sat upon, not fully warmed, not fully brooded. Although that mother hen might wish: ‘Oh, that my chicks might break the shell with claw and beak and hatch out safely,’ it will not happen. And why? Because the eggs are not fully sat upon, not fully warmed, not fully developed.
Although the wish ‘May my mind be free from the defilements and be without attachments,’ does not arise in one who is developing the four foundations of mindfulness, the four right efforts, the four psychic powers, the five faculties, the spiritual powers, the seven factors of enlightenment and the Noble Eightfold Path, yet his mind will be freed. And why? Because he has fully developed these things. It is just as if a batch of hen’s eggs were fully sat upon, fully warmed, fully developed. That hen need not wish: ‘Oh, that my chicks might hatch,’ and yet her eggs will hatch anyway. And why? Because they are fully warmed, fully developed.
There are these five timely gifts. What five? One gives to the one who has just arrived, to one who is leaving, to the sick, when food is hard to get, and the first-fruits of field and orchard one gives to the virtuous.
The Lord said: “Monks, did you hear that mangy old jackal howling as the sun came up?”
“We did, Lord.”
“Well, there may be at least some gratefulness and thankfulness in that old jackal, but there is none at all in a certain person here claiming to be my disciple. Therefore you should train yourselves like this: ‘We will be grateful and thankful. We will not forget even the smallest favor done for us.’ This is how you should train yourselves.”
Where there is pain,
Pleasure is to be strived for.
In the same way,
Where there is becoming,
Non-becoming is to be desired.
Where there is heat,
There must be cool.
In the same way,
Where there are the three fires,
There must also be Nirvana.
Where there is evil,
There is also the good.
In the same way,
Where there is birth,
Non-birth can be inferred.