The holy life is not lived for the advantages that come from gains, honours or fame; it is not lived for the advantages that come from morality; it is not lived for the advantages that come from concentration, nor is it lived for the advantages that come from knowledge and vision. But that which is unshakable freedom of mind – that is the aim of the holy life, that is the goal, that is it’s culmination.
One who is clever should make no friends
Amongst the malicious, the angry, the envious
Or those who delight in the misfortunes of others.
Truly, contact with the bad is evil.
One who is clever should make friends
With those with faith, the pleasant, the wise,
And those with great learning.
Truly, contact with the good is blessed.
In giving food, one gives five things. What five? One gives life, beauty, happiness, strength and intelligence. And in giving these things, one partakes in the qualities of life, beauty, happiness, strength and intelligence, both here and hereafter.
Concerning those internal things, one who is a learner and who has not yet come to mastery of mind, but who dwells aspiring for freedom from bonds, I know of no other thing so helpful as giving close attention to the mind.
By defilement of mind, beings are defiled; by purification of mind, beings are purified.
Develop the meditation called mindfulness of in-and-out breathing because it is of great fruit, of great advantage. And how is mindfulness of in-and-out breathing developed, how is it made much of, how is it of great fruit, great advantage? Concerning this, one who has gone to the forest, to the root of a tree or to an empty place, sits down cross-legged with the back straight, establishing mindfulness in front of him. Mindfully one breathes in, mindfully one breathes out. Breathing in a long breath one knows: ‘I am breathing in a long breath;’ breathing out a long breath one knows: ‘I am breathing out a long breath.’ Breathing in a short breath one knows: ‘I am breathing in a short breath;’ breathing out a short breath one knows: ‘I am breathing out a short breath.’ One trains oneself, thinking: ‘Breathing in I shall experience the whole body.’ One trains oneself, thinking: ‘Breathing out I shall experience the whole body.’ One trains oneself, thinking: ‘Breathing in I will tranquillize bodily activities.’ One trains oneself, thinking: ‘Breathing out I will tranquillize bodily activities.’
If a word has five marks it is well-spoken, not ill-spoken, not blameworthy or condemned by the wise. It is spoken at the right time, it is spoken in truth, it is spoken gently, it is spoken about goal and it is spoken with love.
Those families where the mother and father are worshipped in the home are said to be like Brahma, like teachers of old, they are ranked with the ancient gods. Truly worthy of offerings are those families where the mother and father are worshipped in the home. ‘Brahma,’ ‘teachers of old,’ ‘teachers of old,’ ‘gods of old,’ and ‘worthy of offerings’ are terms for a mother and father. And why is this? Because a mother and father do much for their children – they bring them up, nourish them and introduce them to the world.
There are these five strands of sense pleasure. What five? Material shapes cognizable with the eye, pleasant, liked, enticing, connected with sensual pleasures, alluring. Sounds cognizable with the ear, smells cognizable with the nose, tastes cognizable with the tongue, and touches cognizable with the body, all of them agreeable, pleasant, liked, enticing, connected with sensual pleasures, alluring. These are the five strands of sense pleasure.
Whatever happiness or joy arises as a result of these five strands of sense pleasure, that is called the happiness of sense of pleasure. It is a common happiness, a happiness of the average person, an ignoble happiness. It should not be pursued, developed or emphasized. It is a happiness to be feared, I say.
One who is intent on developing higher thought should attend to five things from time to time. What five? If, while attending to something, evil unskillful thoughts associated with greed, hatred and delusion should arise, then one should attend instead to something that is skillful. Then these evil unskillful thoughts will subside and the mind will be steady, calmed, one-pointed and concentrated. It is just as if a carpenter or his apprentice might knock out, drive out, draw out a large peg with a small one.
If, while attending to something that is skilled, evil unskillful thoughts associated with greed, hatred and delusion still arise, then one should ponder the disadvantages of those thoughts, thinking: ‘Truly, these thoughts are unskillful, blameworthy and conducive to suffering.’ Then those evil unskillful thoughts will subside and the mind will be steady, calm, one-pointed and concentrated. It is just as if a well-dressed young man or woman, on having the carcass of a snake, a dog or a human being hung around his or her neck would be repelled, ashamed and disgusted.
If, however, while pondering the disadvantages of these thoughts, evil unskilled thoughts associated with greed, hatred and delusion still arise, then one should forget about them, pay them no attention. Then those evil unskillful thoughts will subside and the mind will be steady, calm, one-pointed and concentrated. It is just as if a man with sight might shut his eyes or turn away in order to avoid seeing something.
But if, while trying to forget about and pay attention to those thoughts, evil unskillful thoughts associated with greed, hatred and delusion still arise, then one should allow them to settle. Then those evil unskillful thoughts will subside and the mind will be steady, calm, one-pointed and concentrated. It is just as if a man, finding no reason for running, walks; then finding no reason for walking, stands; then finding no reason for standing, sits down; then finding no reason for sitting, lies down. Thus he goes from a strenuous posture to a more relaxed one.
But if, while allowing those thoughts to settle, evil unskillful thoughts associated with greed, hatred and delusion still arise, then, with teeth clenched and tongue pressed against the palate one should restrain, subdue and suppress the mind with the mind. Then those evil unskillful thoughts will subside and the mind will be steady, calm, one-pointed and concentrated. It is just as if a strong man should hold down a weaker one by seizing his head and shoulders.
One who does these things is called a master of the pathways of thought. The thought he wants to think, he thinks; the thought he does not want to think, he does not think. He has cut off craving, removed the fetters, mastered pride and put an end to suffering.
When one with a mind of love
Feels compassion for
all the world,
Above, below and across,
Filled with infinite kindness,
Complete and developed,
Any limited actions one
may have done
Do not linger in the mind.
Having seen a shape with the eye, smelt a smell with the nose, savored a taste with the tongue, felt a touch with the body or cognized a thought with the mind, one is not entranced by its general appearance or its detail. For if one lived with the sense organs uncontrolled, attraction, repulsion and evil unskilled states of mind would grow. So, one controls the sense organs, and having this noble control of the sense organs, one experiences the happiness of being unruffled.
There are these five debasements of gold, because of which gold is not pliable, not workable or glistening, but is brittle and not fit of perfect workmanship. What five? Iron, copper, tin, lead and silver. But when gold is free from these five debasements it becomes pliable, workable, glistening, not brittle and fit of perfect workmanship. Then whatever sort of ornament one wants, a signet ring, ear-ring, necklace or a gold chain, it can be used for that.
In the same way, there are these five debasements of the mind because of which the mind is not pliable, workable, or glistening, but is brittle and not rightly composed for the destruction of the defilements. What five? Sense desire, ill-will, sloth and laziness, restlessness and worry, and doubt. But when the mind is free from these five debasements it is pliable, workable, glistening, not brittle but rightly composed for the destruction of the defilements. Then one can direct the mind to the realization by psychic knowledge of whatever can be realized by psychic knowledge and can see it directly, whatever its range might be.
The Lord said to the monks who were quarrelling: “If animals can be courteous, deferential and polite to each other so should you be.”
This concentration on in-and-out breathing, if cultivated and developed, is something peaceful and excellent, something perfect in itself and a pleasant way of living also.
More than that, it dispels evil thoughts that have arisen and makes them vanish in a moment.
It is just as when, in the last month of the hot season, the dust and dirt fly up and suddenly a great shower of rain lays it and makes it settle in a moment.
When a good person is reborn into a family, it is for the welfare, the happiness and the benefit of many – for that person’s parents, their spouse and children, their servants and workers, and their friends and companions. It is also for the welfare, the happiness and the benefit of monks and brahmans.
The householder Nakulapita and his wife Nakulamata came to see the Lord and having sat down, Nakulapita said: “Lord, since my wife was brought home to me when I was a mere boy, she being a mere girl, I have not been unfaithful to her even in thought, much less in body. Lord we desire to behold each other, not just in this life, but in the next life also.”
Then Nakulamata said: “Lord, since I was brought to my husband’s house when I was a mere girl, he being a mere boy, I have not been unfaithful to him even in thought, much less in body. Lord, we desire to behold each other, not just in this life, but in the next life also.”
At this, the Lord said: “If both husband and wife desire to behold each other in both this life and the next life too, and both are equal in faith, equal in virtue, equal in generosity and equal in wisdom, then they will behold each other in this life and the next life also.”
One remembers and turns over in the mind thoughts about things based on desire in the past, present and future. As one does so, desire is generated, and being desirous, one is fettered by those things. And a mind full of lust is what I call a fetter.
There are these five disadvantages of wealth. What five? Wealth is in danger of fire, flood, kings, robbers and unloved heirs. Then, there are these five advantages of wealth. What five? With the help of wealth one can make oneself happy, one’s parents happy, one’s spouse, children, servants, and workers happy, and one’s friends and companions happy. And to monks and Brahmins one can make offerings with lofty aim, connected with a happy future, resulting in happiness, leading to heaven.
Siha asked the Lord: “Is it possible, Lord, to see the results of generosity?” And the Lord said: “Yes, it is possible to see the results of generosity. The giver, the generous one, is liked and dear to many. This is a result of generosity that is observable. Good and wise people follow the generous person. This is a result of generosity that is observable. The generous person earns a good reputation. This also is a result of generosity that is observable. Once again, in whatever company he enters, be it nobles, brahmins, householders or monks, the generous person enters with confidence and without trouble. This is a result of giving that is observable. And finally, the giver, the generous person, is reborn in heaven after death. This is a result of generosity that can only be seen hereafter.”
Come, live with the doors of the senses guarded, watchfully mindful, carefully mindful with the ways of the mind well-watched, possessed of a mind that is awake and observing.
Akkosaka of the Bharadvaja Brahmin clan came to know that the leader of the clan had joined the Sangha of the monk Gotama. Angry and displeased, he went to where the Lord was and reviled and abused him with rude, harsh words. When he had finished, the Lord said: “What do you think, brahmin? Do you receive visits from friends and acquaintances, kith and kin and other guests?”
“Yes, Gotama, sometimes I do.”
“And do you prepare for them food both hard and soft and give them rest?”
“Yes, Gotama, sometimes I do.”
“And if they do not accept these things from you, whose do these things become?”
“They become mine.”
“It is the same here, brahmin. That with which you revile, scold and abuse me, who does not revile, scold or abuse you, that I do not accept from you. It is yours, brahmin, it belongs to you. One who reviles when reviled, who scolds when scolded, who abuses when abused – it is as if a host and a visitor dined together and made good. We, brahmin, have not dined together nor have we made good. It is yours, brahmin. It belongs to you.”
Sense desire is an obstruction and a hindrance which enshrouds the mind and weakens wisdom. Ill-will, sloth and torpor, restlessness and worry and doubt are all obstructions and hindrances which enshroud the mind and weaken wisdom. Surely it is possible that one, after abandoning these obstructions and hindrances which grow in and up over the mind and weaken wisdom, being strong in wisdom, should know his own good, the good of others, the good of both, and attain that knowledge and vision befitting the Noble Ones and transcending human states.
Just as a pot without support is easily upset while one with support is difficult to upset, in the same way, the mind without support is easily upset and the mind with support is difficult to upset. And what is the support of the mind? It is the Noble Eightfold Path: Perfect View, Perfect Thought, Perfect Speech, Perfect Action, Perfect Livelihood, Perfect Effort, Perfect Mindfulness and Perfect Concentration.
When a cloth that is stained and dirty cloth is dipped in green, yellow, red or crimson dye, it will not be properly dyed. And why? Because it is not clean. In the same way, a bad destiny can be expected when the mind is stained. When a cloth that is quite clean and is dipped in green, yellow, red or crimson dye, it will be properly dyed. And why? Because it is clean. In the same way, a good destiny may be expected when the mind is pure.
One who would rightly use the terms ‘noble way of life,’ ‘sublime state,’ ‘the Tathagata’s way of life’ would do so to describe the intent concentration on in-and-out breathing.
Do not think lightly of evil, saying:
‘It will not come to me.’
A drop at a time is the water pot filled.
Likewise, little by little
The fool is filled with evil.
Do not think lightly of good, saying:
‘It will not come to me.’
A drop at a time is the water pot filled.
Likewise, little by little
The wise one is filled with good.
Of little importance is the loss of such things as wealth. But a terrible thing it is to lose wisdom. Of little importance is the gaining of such things as wealth. Great is the importance of gaining wisdom.