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AN 10.99 Upālisutta: With Upāli

[Note: Ven. Upāli was declared by the Buddha to be foremost of all the monks in regards to the Vinaya, the monastic code.]

Then Venerable Upāli went up to the Buddha, bowed, sat down to one side, and said to him, “Sir, I wish to frequent remote lodgings in the wilderness and the forest.”

“Upāli, remote lodgings in the wilderness and the forest are challenging. It’s hard to maintain seclusion and hard to find joy in it. Staying alone, the forests seem to rob the mind of a mendicant who isn’t immersed in samādhi. If someone should say this, ‘Though I don’t have immersion, I’m going to frequent remote lodgings in the wilderness and the forest.’ You can expect that they’ll sink down or float away.

Suppose there was a large lake, and along comes a bull elephant with a height of seven or eight cubits. He’d think, ‘Why don’t I plunge into this lake and play around while washing my ears and back? When I’ve bathed and drunk, I’ll emerge from the water and go wherever I want.’ And that’s just what he does. Why is that? Because his large life-form finds a footing in the depths.

Then along comes a rabbit or a cat. They’d think, ‘What difference is there between me and a bull elephant? Why don’t I plunge into this lake and play around while washing my ears and back? When I’ve bathed and drunk, I’ll emerge from the water and go wherever I want.’ They jump into the lake rashly, without thinking. You can expect that they’ll sink down or float away. Why is that? Because their little life-form finds no footing in the depths. If someone should say this, ‘Though I don’t have immersion, I’m going to frequent remote lodgings in the wilderness and the forest.’ You can expect that they’ll sink down or float away.…


Read this translation of Aṅguttara Nikāya 10.99 Upālisutta: With Upāli by Bhikkhu Sujato on SuttaCentral.net. Or read a different translation on SuttaCentral.net or DhammaTalks.org. Or listen on Voice.SuttaCentral.net. Or explore the Pali on DigitalPaliReader.online.

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