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MN 111 Anupadasutta: One by One

[Note: Today’s sutta is much longer and a bit more technical than usual, but it’s one of the few detailed accounts of the process leading to enlightenment by a disciple. It recounts all of the stages of meditation that Ven. Sāriputta went through on his way to become an arahant.]

So I have heard. At one time the Buddha was staying near Sāvatthī in Jeta’s Grove, Anāthapiṇḍika’s monastery. There the Buddha addressed the mendicants, “Mendicants!”

“Venerable sir,” they replied. The Buddha said this:

“Sāriputta is astute, mendicants. He has great wisdom, widespread wisdom, laughing wisdom, swift wisdom, sharp wisdom, and penetrating wisdom. For a fortnight he practiced discernment of phenomena one by one. And this is how he did it.

Quite secluded from sensual pleasures, secluded from unskillful qualities, he entered and remained in the first absorption, which has the rapture and bliss born of seclusion, while placing the mind and keeping it connected. And he distinguished the phenomena in the first absorption one by one: placing and keeping and rapture and bliss and unification of mind; contact, feeling, perception, intention, mind, enthusiasm, decision, energy, mindfulness, equanimity, and application of mind. He knew those phenomena as they arose, as they remained, and as they went away. He understood: ‘So it seems that these phenomena, not having been, come to be; and having come to be, they flit away.’ And he meditated without attraction or repulsion for those phenomena; independent, untied, liberated, detached, his mind free of limits. He understood: ‘There is an escape beyond.’ And by repeated practice he knew for sure that there is.

Furthermore, as the placing of the mind and keeping it connected were stilled, he entered and remained in the second absorption, which has the rapture and bliss born of immersion, with internal clarity and mind at one, without placing the mind and keeping it connected.

And he distinguished the phenomena in the second absorption one by one: internal confidence and rapture and bliss and unification of mind; contact, feeling, perception, intention, mind, enthusiasm, decision, energy, mindfulness, equanimity, and application of mind. He knew those phenomena as they arose, as they remained, and as they went away. He understood: ‘So it seems that these phenomena, not having been, come to be; and having come to be, they flit away.’ And he meditated without attraction or repulsion for those phenomena; independent, untied, liberated, detached, his mind free of limits. He understood: ‘There is an escape beyond.’ And by repeated practice he knew for sure that there is.

Furthermore, with the fading away of rapture, he entered and remained in the third absorption, where he meditated with equanimity, mindful and aware, personally experiencing the bliss of which the noble ones declare, ‘Equanimous and mindful, one meditates in bliss.’

And he distinguished the phenomena in the third absorption one by one: bliss and mindfulness and awareness and unification of mind; contact, feeling, perception, intention, mind, enthusiasm, decision, energy, mindfulness, equanimity, and application of mind. He knew those phenomena as they arose, as they remained, and as they went away. He understood: ‘So it seems that these phenomena, not having been, come to be; and having come to be, they flit away.’ And he meditated without attraction or repulsion for those phenomena; independent, untied, liberated, detached, his mind free of limits. He understood: ‘There is an escape beyond.’ And by repeated practice he knew for sure that there is.

Furthermore, with the giving up of pleasure and pain, and the ending of former happiness and sadness, he entered and remained in the fourth absorption, without pleasure or pain, with pure equanimity and mindfulness.

And he distinguished the phenomena in the fourth absorption one by one: equanimity and neutral feeling and mental unconcern due to tranquility and pure mindfulness and unification of mind; contact, feeling, perception, intention, mind, enthusiasm, decision, energy, mindfulness, equanimity, and application of mind. He knew those phenomena as they arose, as they remained, and as they went away. He understood: ‘So it seems that these phenomena, not having been, come to be; and having come to be, they flit away.’ And he meditated without attraction or repulsion for those phenomena; independent, untied, liberated, detached, his mind free of limits. He understood: ‘There is an escape beyond.’ And by repeated practice he knew for sure that there is.

Furthermore, going totally beyond perceptions of form, with the ending of perceptions of impingement, not focusing on perceptions of diversity, aware that ‘space is infinite’, he entered and remained in the dimension of infinite space.

And he distinguished the phenomena in the dimension of infinite space one by one: the perception of the dimension of infinite space and unification of mind; contact, feeling, perception, intention, mind, enthusiasm, decision, energy, mindfulness, equanimity, and application of mind. He knew those phenomena as they arose, as they remained, and as they went away. He understood: ‘So it seems that these phenomena, not having been, come to be; and having come to be, they flit away.’ And he meditated without attraction or repulsion for those phenomena; independent, untied, liberated, detached, his mind free of limits. He understood: ‘There is an escape beyond.’ And by repeated practice he knew for sure that there is.

Furthermore, going totally beyond the dimension of infinite space, aware that ‘consciousness is infinite’, he entered and remained in the dimension of infinite consciousness.

And he distinguished the phenomena in the dimension of infinite consciousness one by one: the perception of the dimension of infinite consciousness and unification of mind; contact, feeling, perception, intention, mind, enthusiasm, decision, energy, mindfulness, equanimity, and application of mind. He knew those phenomena as they arose, as they remained, and as they went away. He understood: ‘So it seems that these phenomena, not having been, come to be; and having come to be, they flit away.’ And he meditated without attraction or repulsion for those phenomena; independent, untied, liberated, detached, his mind free of limits. He understood: ‘There is an escape beyond.’ And by repeated practice he knew for sure that there is.

Furthermore, going totally beyond the dimension of infinite consciousness, aware that ‘there is nothing at all’, he entered and remained in the dimension of nothingness.

And he distinguished the phenomena in the dimension of nothingness one by one: the perception of the dimension of nothingness and unification of mind; contact, feeling, perception, intention, mind, enthusiasm, decision, energy, mindfulness, equanimity, and application of mind. He knew those phenomena as they arose, as they remained, and as they went away. He understood: ‘So it seems that these phenomena, not having been, come to be; and having come to be, they flit away.’ And he meditated without attraction or repulsion for those phenomena; independent, untied, liberated, detached, his mind free of limits. He understood: ‘There is an escape beyond.’ And by repeated practice he knew for sure that there is.

Furthermore, going totally beyond the dimension of nothingness, he entered and remained in the dimension of neither perception nor non-perception.

And he emerged from that attainment with mindfulness. Then he contemplated the phenomena in that attainment that had passed, ceased, and perished: ‘So it seems that these phenomena, not having been, come to be; and having come to be, they flit away.’ And he meditated without attraction or repulsion for those phenomena; independent, untied, liberated, detached, his mind free of limits. He understood: ‘There is an escape beyond.’ And by repeated practice he knew for sure that there is.

Furthermore, going totally beyond the dimension of neither perception nor non-perception, he entered and remained in the cessation of perception and feeling. And, having seen with wisdom, his defilements came to an end.

And he emerged from that attainment with mindfulness. Then he contemplated the phenomena in that attainment that had passed, ceased, and perished: ‘So it seems that these phenomena, not having been, come to be; and having come to be, they flit away.’ And he meditated without attraction or repulsion for those phenomena; independent, untied, liberated, detached, his mind free of limits. He understood: ‘There is no escape beyond.’ And by repeated practice he knew for sure that there is not.

And if there’s anyone of whom it may be rightly said that they have attained mastery and perfection in noble ethics, immersion, wisdom, and freedom, it’s Sāriputta.

And if there’s anyone of whom it may be rightly said that they’re the Buddha’s true-born child, born from his mouth, born of the teaching, created by the teaching, heir to the teaching, not the heir in things of the flesh, it’s Sāriputta.

Sāriputta rightly keeps rolling the supreme Wheel of Dhamma that was rolled forth by the Realized One.”

That is what the Buddha said. Satisfied, the mendicants approved what the Buddha said.


Read this translation of Majjhima Nikāya 111 Anupadasutta: One by One by Bhikkhu Sujato on SuttaCentral.net. Or read a different translation on SuttaCentral.net or DhammaTalks.org. Or listen on PaliAudio.com or SC-Voice.net. Or explore the Pali on DigitalPaliReader.online.

Or read a translation in বাংলা, Català, Deutsch, Español, हिन्दी, Magyar, Bahasa Indonesia, Italiano, 日本語, 한국어/조선말, မြန်မာဘာသာ, Norsk, Português, Русский, සිංහල, Slovenščina, Srpski, ไทย, Tiếng Việt, or 汉语. Learn how to find your language.

MN 142 From… Dakkhiṇāvibhaṅga Sutta: The Analysis of Giving—Gifts to an Individual

[NOTE: In the part of the sutta after this the Buddha goes on to explain that a gift to a saṅgha is always greater than a gift to an individual]

“…Now, Ānanda, gifts to the following individuals may be expected to yield the following returns. 

“Giving a gift to an animal, yields a return a hundred times over. 

“Giving a gift to an unvirtuous ordinary person, yields a return a thousand times over

“Giving a gift to a virtuous ordinary person, yields a return a hundred thousand times over (100,000). 

“Giving a gift to an outsider free of desire for sense pleasures, yields a return a trillion times over (1,000,000,000,000). 

“But giving a gift to someone practicing to realize the fruit of stream-entry yields incalculable, immeasurable returns. How much more so giving a gift to a stream-enterer? How much more so giving a gift to someone practicing to realize the fruit of once-return? How much more so giving a gift to a once-returner? How much more so giving a gift to someone practicing to realize the fruit of non-return? How much more so giving a gift to a non-returner? How much more so giving a gift to someone practicing to realize the fruit of arahantship? How much more so giving a gift to an arahant? How much more so giving a gift to a Private Buddha? 

“How much more so giving a gift to the Supreme Buddha?…”


Read the entire translation of Majjhima Nikāya 142 Dakkhiṇāvibhaṅga Sutta: The Analysis of Giving by Ven. Kiribathgoda Gnananda Thero on SuttaFriends.org. Or read a different translation on SuttaCentral.net, or Ancient-Buddhist-Texts.net. Or listen on PaliAudio.com or SC-Voice.net. Or explore the Pali on DigitalPaliReader.online.

Or read a translation in বাংলা, Deutsch, Español, Français, हिन्दी, Bahasa Indonesia, Italiano, 日本語, မြန်မာဘာသာ, Norsk, Português, Русский, සිංහල, Slovenščina, ไทย, Tiếng Việt, or 汉语. Learn how to find your language.

MN 53 From… Sekhasutta: A Trainee

…And how is a noble disciple accomplished in ethics? It’s when a noble disciple is ethical, restrained in the monastic code, conducting themselves well and seeking alms in suitable places. Seeing danger in the slightest fault, they keep the rules they’ve undertaken. That’s how a noble disciple is ethical.…


Read the entire translation of Majjhima Nikāya 53 Sekhasutta: A Trainee by Bhikkhu Sujato on SuttaCentral.net. Or read a different translation on DhammaTalks.org. Or listen on PaliAudio.com or SC-Voice.net. Or explore the Pali on DigitalPaliReader.online.

Or read a translation in Русский, বাংলা, Čeština, Deutsch, Español, Français, עִבְֿרִיתּ, हिन्दी, Bahasa Indonesia, Italiano, 日本語, မြန်မာဘာသာ, Norsk, Português, සිංහල, Slovenščina, Srpski, ไทย, Tiếng Việt, or 汉语. Learn how to find your language.

MN 10 From… Satipaṭṭhānasutta: Mindfulness Meditation—Part 2

[Note: This is the second half of the sutta. You can find a more detailed explanation of the Noble Truths in DN 22 Mahāsatipaṭṭhāna.]

2. Observing the Feelings

…And how does a mendicant meditate observing an aspect of feelings?

It’s when a mendicant who feels a pleasant feeling knows: ‘I feel a pleasant feeling.’

When they feel a painful feeling, they know: ‘I feel a painful feeling.’

When they feel a neutral feeling, they know: ‘I feel a neutral feeling.’

When they feel a pleasant feeling of the flesh, they know: ‘I feel a pleasant feeling of the flesh.’

When they feel a pleasant feeling not of the flesh, they know: ‘I feel a pleasant feeling not of the flesh.’

When they feel a material painful feeling, they know: ‘I feel a material painful feeling.’

When they feel a painful feeling not of the flesh, they know: ‘I feel a painful feeling not of the flesh.’

When they feel a material neutral feeling, they know: ‘I feel a material neutral feeling.’

When they feel a neutral feeling not of the flesh, they know: ‘I feel a neutral feeling not of the flesh.’

And so they meditate observing an aspect of feelings internally, externally, and both internally and externally. They meditate observing feelings as liable to originate, as liable to vanish, and as liable to both originate and vanish. Or mindfulness is established that feelings exist, to the extent necessary for knowledge and mindfulness. They meditate independent, not grasping at anything in the world.

That’s how a mendicant meditates by observing an aspect of feelings.

3. Observing the Mind

And how does a mendicant meditate observing an aspect of the mind?

It’s when a mendicant understands mind with greed as ‘mind with greed,’ and mind without greed as ‘mind without greed.’ They understand mind with hate as ‘mind with hate,’ and mind without hate as ‘mind without hate.’ They understand mind with delusion as ‘mind with delusion,’ and mind without delusion as ‘mind without delusion.’ They know constricted mind as ‘constricted mind,’ and scattered mind as ‘scattered mind.’ They know expansive mind as ‘expansive mind,’ and unexpansive mind as ‘unexpansive mind.’ They know mind that is not supreme as ‘mind that is not supreme,’ and mind that is supreme as ‘mind that is supreme.’ They know mind immersed in samādhi as ‘mind immersed in samādhi,’ and mind not immersed in samādhi as ‘mind not immersed in samādhi.’ They know freed mind as ‘freed mind,’ and unfreed mind as ‘unfreed mind.’

And so they meditate observing an aspect of the mind internally, externally, and both internally and externally. They meditate observing the mind as liable to originate, as liable to vanish, and as liable to both originate and vanish. Or mindfulness is established that the mind exists, to the extent necessary for knowledge and mindfulness. They meditate independent, not grasping at anything in the world.

That’s how a mendicant meditates by observing an aspect of the mind.

4. Observing Principles

4.1. The Hindrances

And how does a mendicant meditate observing an aspect of principles?

It’s when a mendicant meditates by observing an aspect of principles with respect to the five hindrances. And how does a mendicant meditate observing an aspect of principles with respect to the five hindrances?

It’s when a mendicant who has sensual desire in them understands: ‘I have sensual desire in me.’ When they don’t have sensual desire in them, they understand: ‘I don’t have sensual desire in me.’ They understand how sensual desire arises; how, when it’s already arisen, it’s given up; and how, once it’s given up, it doesn’t arise again in the future.

When they have ill will in them, they understand: ‘I have ill will in me.’ When they don’t have ill will in them, they understand: ‘I don’t have ill will in me.’ They understand how ill will arises; how, when it’s already arisen, it’s given up; and how, once it’s given up, it doesn’t arise again in the future.

When they have dullness and drowsiness in them, they understand: ‘I have dullness and drowsiness in me.’ When they don’t have dullness and drowsiness in them, they understand: ‘I don’t have dullness and drowsiness in me.’ They understand how dullness and drowsiness arise; how, when they’ve already arisen, they’re given up; and how, once they’re given up, they don’t arise again in the future.

When they have restlessness and remorse in them, they understand: ‘I have restlessness and remorse in me.’ When they don’t have restlessness and remorse in them, they understand: ‘I don’t have restlessness and remorse in me.’ They understand how restlessness and remorse arise; how, when they’ve already arisen, they’re given up; and how, once they’re given up, they don’t arise again in the future.

When they have doubt in them, they understand: ‘I have doubt in me.’ When they don’t have doubt in them, they understand: ‘I don’t have doubt in me.’ They understand how doubt arises; how, when it’s already arisen, it’s given up; and how, once it’s given up, it doesn’t arise again in the future.

And so they meditate observing an aspect of principles internally, externally, and both internally and externally. They meditate observing the principles as liable to originate, as liable to vanish, and as liable to both originate and vanish. Or mindfulness is established that principles exist, to the extent necessary for knowledge and mindfulness. They meditate independent, not grasping at anything in the world.

That’s how a mendicant meditates by observing an aspect of principles with respect to the five hindrances.

4.2. The Aggregates

Furthermore, a mendicant meditates by observing an aspect of principles with respect to the five grasping aggregates. And how does a mendicant meditate observing an aspect of principles with respect to the five grasping aggregates? It’s when a mendicant contemplates: ‘Such is form, such is the origin of form, such is the ending of form. Such is feeling, such is the origin of feeling, such is the ending of feeling. Such is perception, such is the origin of perception, such is the ending of perception. Such are choices, such is the origin of choices, such is the ending of choices. Such is consciousness, such is the origin of consciousness, such is the ending of consciousness.’

And so they meditate observing an aspect of principles internally …

That’s how a mendicant meditates by observing an aspect of principles with respect to the five grasping aggregates.

4.3. The Sense Fields

Furthermore, a mendicant meditates by observing an aspect of principles with respect to the six interior and exterior sense fields. And how does a mendicant meditate observing an aspect of principles with respect to the six interior and exterior sense fields?

It’s when a mendicant understands the eye, sights, and the fetter that arises dependent on both of these. They understand how the fetter that has not arisen comes to arise; how the arisen fetter comes to be abandoned; and how the abandoned fetter comes to not rise again in the future.

They understand the ear, sounds, and the fetter …

They understand the nose, smells, and the fetter …

They understand the tongue, tastes, and the fetter …

They understand the body, touches, and the fetter …

They understand the mind, ideas, and the fetter that arises dependent on both of these. They understand how the fetter that has not arisen comes to arise; how the arisen fetter comes to be abandoned; and how the abandoned fetter comes to not rise again in the future.

And so they meditate observing an aspect of principles internally …

That’s how a mendicant meditates by observing an aspect of principles with respect to the six internal and external sense fields.

4.4. The Awakening Factors

Furthermore, a mendicant meditates by observing an aspect of principles with respect to the seven awakening factors. And how does a mendicant meditate observing an aspect of principles with respect to the seven awakening factors?

It’s when a mendicant who has the awakening factor of mindfulness in them understands: ‘I have the awakening factor of mindfulness in me.’ When they don’t have the awakening factor of mindfulness in them, they understand: ‘I don’t have the awakening factor of mindfulness in me.’ They understand how the awakening factor of mindfulness that has not arisen comes to arise; and how the awakening factor of mindfulness that has arisen becomes fulfilled by development.

When they have the awakening factor of investigation of principles … energy … rapture … tranquility … immersion … equanimity in them, they understand: ‘I have the awakening factor of equanimity in me.’ When they don’t have the awakening factor of equanimity in them, they understand: ‘I don’t have the awakening factor of equanimity in me.’ They understand how the awakening factor of equanimity that has not arisen comes to arise; and how the awakening factor of equanimity that has arisen becomes fulfilled by development.

And so they meditate observing an aspect of principles internally, externally, and both internally and externally. They meditate observing the principles as liable to originate, as liable to vanish, and as liable to both originate and vanish. Or mindfulness is established that principles exist, to the extent necessary for knowledge and mindfulness. They meditate independent, not grasping at anything in the world.

That’s how a mendicant meditates by observing an aspect of principles with respect to the seven awakening factors.

4.5. The Truths

Furthermore, a mendicant meditates by observing an aspect of principles with respect to the four noble truths.

And how does a mendicant meditate observing an aspect of principles with respect to the four noble truths? It’s when a mendicant truly understands: ‘This is suffering’ … ‘This is the origin of suffering’ … ‘This is the cessation of suffering’ … ‘This is the practice that leads to the cessation of suffering.’

And so they meditate observing an aspect of principles internally, externally, and both internally and externally. They meditate observing the principles as liable to originate, as liable to vanish, and as liable to both originate and vanish. Or mindfulness is established that principles exist, to the extent necessary for knowledge and mindfulness. They meditate independent, not grasping at anything in the world.

That’s how a mendicant meditates by observing an aspect of principles with respect to the four noble truths.

Anyone who develops these four kinds of mindfulness meditation in this way for seven years can expect one of two results: enlightenment in the present life, or if there’s something left over, non-return.

Let alone seven years, anyone who develops these four kinds of mindfulness meditation in this way for six years … five years … four years … three years … two years … one year … seven months … six months … five months … four months … three months … two months … one month … a fortnight … Let alone a fortnight, anyone who develops these four kinds of mindfulness meditation in this way for seven days can expect one of two results: enlightenment in the present life, or if there’s something left over, non-return.

‘The four kinds of mindfulness meditation are the path to convergence. They are in order to purify sentient beings, to get past sorrow and crying, to make an end of pain and sadness, to discover the system, and to realize extinguishment.’ That’s what I said, and this is why I said it.”

That is what the Buddha said. Satisfied, the mendicants approved what the Buddha said.


Read the entire translation of Majjhima Nikāya 10 Satipaṭṭhānasutta: Mindfulness Meditation by Bhikkhu Sujato on SuttaCentral.net. Or read a different translation on SuttaCentral.net, SuttaFriends.org, DhammaTalks.org or AccessToInsight.org. Or listen on PaliAudio.com or SC-Voice.net. Or explore the Pali on DigitalPaliReader.online.

Or read a translation in Deutsch, Lietuvių Kalba, Polski, Русский, Srpski, বাংলা, Català, Čeština, Español, Suomi, Français, हिन्दी, Indonesian, Italiano, 日本語, 한국어/조선말, မြန်မာဘာသာ, Nederlands, Norsk, Português, සිංහල, Slovenščina, Svenska, ไทย, Tiếng Việt, or 汉语. Learn how to find your language.

MN 10 From… Satipaṭṭhānasutta: Mindfulness Meditation—Part 1

[Note: A month of meditation suttas would not be complete without the Satipaṭṭhāna Sutta. Today’s selection is the first half of the sutta. We can also learn about mindfulness of the body in MN 119 Kāyagatāsati.]

So I have heard. At one time the Buddha was staying in the land of the Kurus, near the Kuru town named Kammāsadamma. There the Buddha addressed the mendicants, “Mendicants!”

“Venerable sir,” they replied. The Buddha said this:

“Mendicants, the four kinds of mindfulness meditation are the path to convergence. They are in order to purify sentient beings, to get past sorrow and crying, to make an end of pain and sadness, to discover the system, and to realize extinguishment.

What four? It’s when a mendicant meditates by observing an aspect of the body—keen, aware, and mindful, rid of covetousness and displeasure for the world. They meditate observing an aspect of feelings—keen, aware, and mindful, rid of covetousness and displeasure for the world. They meditate observing an aspect of the mind—keen, aware, and mindful, rid of covetousness and displeasure for the world. They meditate observing an aspect of principles—keen, aware, and mindful, rid of covetousness and displeasure for the world.

1. Observing the Body

1.1. Mindfulness of Breathing

And how does a mendicant meditate observing an aspect of the body?

It’s when a mendicant—gone to a wilderness, or to the root of a tree, or to an empty hut—sits down cross-legged, sets their body straight, and establishes mindfulness in front of them. Just mindful, they breathe in. Mindful, they breathe out.

Breathing in heavily they know: ‘I’m breathing in heavily.’ Breathing out heavily they know: ‘I’m breathing out heavily.’

When breathing in lightly they know: ‘I’m breathing in lightly.’ Breathing out lightly they know: ‘I’m breathing out lightly.’

They practice like this: ‘I’ll breathe in experiencing the whole body.’ They practice like this: ‘I’ll breathe out experiencing the whole body.’

They practice like this: ‘I’ll breathe in stilling the physical process.’ They practice like this: ‘I’ll breathe out stilling the physical process.’

It’s like a deft carpenter or carpenter’s apprentice. When making a deep cut they know: ‘I’m making a deep cut,’ and when making a shallow cut they know: ‘I’m making a shallow cut.’

And so they meditate observing an aspect of the body internally, externally, and both internally and externally. They meditate observing the body as liable to originate, as liable to vanish, and as liable to both originate and vanish. Or mindfulness is established that the body exists, to the extent necessary for knowledge and mindfulness. They meditate independent, not grasping at anything in the world.

That’s how a mendicant meditates by observing an aspect of the body.

1.2. The Postures

Furthermore, when a mendicant is walking they know: ‘I am walking.’ When standing they know: ‘I am standing.’ When sitting they know: ‘I am sitting.’ And when lying down they know: ‘I am lying down.’ Whatever posture their body is in, they know it.

And so they meditate observing an aspect of the body internally, externally, and both internally and externally. They meditate observing the body as liable to originate, as liable to vanish, and as liable to both originate and vanish. Or mindfulness is established that the body exists, to the extent necessary for knowledge and mindfulness. They meditate independent, not grasping at anything in the world.

That too is how a mendicant meditates by observing an aspect of the body.

1.3. Situational Awareness

Furthermore, a mendicant acts with situational awareness when going out and coming back; when looking ahead and aside; when bending and extending the limbs; when bearing the outer robe, bowl and robes; when eating, drinking, chewing, and tasting; when urinating and defecating; when walking, standing, sitting, sleeping, waking, speaking, and keeping silent.

And so they meditate observing an aspect of the body internally …

That too is how a mendicant meditates by observing an aspect of the body.

1.4. Focusing on the Repulsive

Furthermore, a mendicant examines their own body, up from the soles of the feet and down from the tips of the hairs, wrapped in skin and full of many kinds of filth. ‘In this body there is head hair, body hair, nails, teeth, skin, flesh, sinews, bones, bone marrow, kidneys, heart, liver, diaphragm, spleen, lungs, intestines, mesentery, undigested food, feces, bile, phlegm, pus, blood, sweat, fat, tears, grease, saliva, snot, synovial fluid, urine.’

It’s as if there were a bag with openings at both ends, filled with various kinds of grains, such as fine rice, wheat, mung beans, peas, sesame, and ordinary rice. And someone with clear eyes were to open it and examine the contents: ‘These grains are fine rice, these are wheat, these are mung beans, these are peas, these are sesame, and these are ordinary rice.’

And so they meditate observing an aspect of the body internally …

That too is how a mendicant meditates by observing an aspect of the body.

1.5. Focusing on the Elements

Furthermore, a mendicant examines their own body, whatever its placement or posture, according to the elements: ‘In this body there is the earth element, the water element, the fire element, and the air element.’

It’s as if a deft butcher or butcher’s apprentice were to kill a cow and sit down at the crossroads with the meat cut into portions.

And so they meditate observing an aspect of the body internally …

That too is how a mendicant meditates by observing an aspect of the body.

1.6. The Charnel Ground Contemplations

Furthermore, suppose a mendicant were to see a corpse discarded in a charnel ground. And it had been dead for one, two, or three days, bloated, livid, and festering. They’d compare it with their own body: ‘This body is also of that same nature, that same kind, and cannot go beyond that.’ And so they meditate observing an aspect of the body internally …

That too is how a mendicant meditates by observing an aspect of the body.

Furthermore, suppose they were to see a corpse discarded in a charnel ground being devoured by crows, hawks, vultures, herons, dogs, tigers, leopards, jackals, and many kinds of little creatures. They’d compare it with their own body: ‘This body is also of that same nature, that same kind, and cannot go beyond that.’ And so they meditate observing an aspect of the body internally …

That too is how a mendicant meditates by observing an aspect of the body.

Furthermore, suppose they were to see a corpse discarded in a charnel ground, a skeleton with flesh and blood, held together by sinews …

A skeleton without flesh but smeared with blood, and held together by sinews …

A skeleton rid of flesh and blood, held together by sinews …

Bones rid of sinews scattered in every direction. Here a hand-bone, there a foot-bone, here a shin-bone, there a thigh-bone, here a hip-bone, there a rib-bone, here a back-bone, there an arm-bone, here a neck-bone, there a jaw-bone, here a tooth, there the skull …

White bones, the color of shells …

Decrepit bones, heaped in a pile …

Bones rotted and crumbled to powder. They’d compare it with their own body: ‘This body is also of that same nature, that same kind, and cannot go beyond that.’

And so they meditate observing an aspect of the body internally, externally, and both internally and externally. They meditate observing the body as liable to originate, as liable to vanish, and as liable to both originate and vanish. Or mindfulness is established that the body exists, to the extent necessary for knowledge and mindfulness. They meditate independent, not grasping at anything in the world.

That too is how a mendicant meditates by observing an aspect of the body.


Read the entire translation of Majjhima Nikāya 10 Satipaṭṭhānasutta: Mindfulness Meditation by Bhikkhu Sujato on SuttaCentral.net. Or read a different translation on SuttaCentral.net, SuttaFriends.org, DhammaTalks.org or AccessToInsight.org. Or listen on PaliAudio.com or SC-Voice.net. Or explore the Pali on DigitalPaliReader.online.

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MN 127 From… Anuruddhasutta: With Anuruddha

…[Master builder Pañcakaṅga:] “Sir, some senior mendicants have come to me and said, ‘Householder, develop the limitless release of heart.’ Others have said, ‘Householder, develop the expansive release of heart.’ Now, the limitless release of the heart and the expansive release of the heart: do these things differ in both meaning and phrasing? Or do they mean the same thing, and differ only in the phrasing?”

[Venerable Anuruddha:] “Well then, householder, let me know what you think about this. Afterwards you’ll get it without fail.”

“Sir, this is what I think. The limitless release of the heart and the expansive release of the heart mean the same thing, and differ only in the phrasing.”

“The limitless release of the heart and the expansive release of the heart differ in both meaning and phrasing. This is a way to understand how these things differ in both meaning and phrasing.

And what is the limitless release of the heart? It’s when a mendicant meditates spreading a heart full of love to one direction, and to the second, and to the third, and to the fourth. In the same way above, below, across, everywhere, all around, they spread a heart full of love to the whole world—abundant, expansive, limitless, free of enmity and ill will. They meditate spreading a heart full of compassion … They meditate spreading a heart full of rejoicing … They meditate spreading a heart full of equanimity to one direction, and to the second, and to the third, and to the fourth. In the same way above, below, across, everywhere, all around, they spread a heart full of equanimity to the whole world—abundant, expansive, limitless, free of enmity and ill will. This is called the limitless release of the heart.

And what is the expansive release of the heart? It’s when a mendicant meditates determined on pervading the extent of a single tree root as expansive. This is called the expansive release of the heart. Also, a mendicant meditates determined on pervading the extent of two or three tree roots … a single village district … two or three village districts … a single kingdom … two or three kingdoms … this land surrounded by ocean. This too is called the expansive release of the heart. This is a way to understand how these things differ in both meaning and phrasing.…


Read the entire translation of Majjhima Nikāya 127 Anuruddhasutta: With Anuruddha by Bhikkhu Sujato on SuttaCentral.net. Or listen on PaliAudio.com or SC-Voice.net. Or explore the Pali on DigitalPaliReader.online.

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MN 62 From… Mahārāhulovādasutta: The Longer Advice to Rāhula

[NOTE: This is just part of a larger sutta on meditation. If you have time please read the whole sutta.]

… Rāhula, meditate like the earth. For when you meditate like the earth, pleasant and unpleasant contacts will not occupy your mind. Suppose they were to toss both clean and unclean things on the earth, like feces, urine, spit, pus, and blood. The earth isn’t horrified, repelled, and disgusted because of this. In the same way, meditate like the earth. For when you meditate like the earth, pleasant and unpleasant contacts will not occupy your mind.

Meditate like water. For when you meditate like water, pleasant and unpleasant contacts will not occupy your mind. Suppose they were to wash both clean and unclean things in the water, like feces, urine, spit, pus, and blood. The water isn’t horrified, repelled, and disgusted because of this. In the same way, meditate like water. For when you meditate like water, pleasant and unpleasant contacts will not occupy your mind.

Meditate like fire. For when you meditate like fire, pleasant and unpleasant contacts will not occupy your mind. Suppose a fire were to burn both clean and unclean things, like feces, urine, spit, pus, and blood. The fire isn’t horrified, repelled, and disgusted because of this. In the same way, meditate like fire. For when you meditate like fire, pleasant and unpleasant contacts will not occupy your mind.

Meditate like wind. For when you meditate like wind, pleasant and unpleasant contacts will not occupy your mind. Suppose the wind were to blow on both clean and unclean things, like feces, urine, spit, pus, and blood. The wind isn’t horrified, repelled, and disgusted because of this. In the same way, meditate like the wind. For when you meditate like wind, pleasant and unpleasant contacts will not occupy your mind.

Meditate like space. For when you meditate like space, pleasant and unpleasant contacts will not occupy your mind. Just as space is not established anywhere, in the same way, meditate like space. For when you meditate like space, pleasant and unpleasant contacts will not occupy your mind.…


Read the entire translation of Majjhima Nikāya 62 Mahārāhulovādasutta: The Longer Advice to Rāhula by Bhikkhu Sujato on SuttaCentral.net. Or read a different translation on SuttaCentral.net, DhammaTalks.org or Ancient-Buddhist-Texts.net. Or listen on PaliAudio.com or SC-Voice.net. Or explore the Pali on DigitalPaliReader.online.

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MN 108 From… Gopakamoggallānasutta: With Moggallāna the Guardian

…Then Vassakāra said to Ānanda, “Where are you staying at present?”

“In the Bamboo Grove, brahmin.”

“I hope the Bamboo Grove is delightful, quiet and still, far from the madding crowd, remote from human settlements, and fit for retreat?”

“Indeed it is, brahmin. And it is like that owing to such protectors and guardians as yourself.”

“Surely, Master Ānanda, it is owing to the venerables who meditate, making a habit of meditating. For the venerables do in fact meditate and make a habit of meditating.

This one time, Master Ānanda, Master Gotama was staying near Vesālī, at the Great Wood, in the hall with the peaked roof. So I went there to see him. And there he spoke about meditation in many ways. He meditated, and made a habit of meditating. And he praised all kinds of meditation.”

No, brahmin, the Buddha did not praise all kinds of meditation, nor did he dispraise all kinds of meditation. And what kind of meditation did he not praise? It’s when someone’s heart is overcome and mired in sensual desire, and they don’t truly understand the escape from sensual desire that has arisen. Hiding sensual desire within, they meditate and concentrate and contemplate and ruminate. Their heart is overcome and mired in ill will … dullness and drowsiness … restlessness and remorse … doubt, and they don’t truly know and see the escape from doubt that has arisen. Hiding doubt within, they meditate and concentrate and contemplate and ruminate. The Buddha didn’t praise this kind of meditation.

And what kind of meditation did he praise? It’s when a mendicant, quite secluded from sensual pleasures, secluded from unskillful qualities, enters and remains in the first absorption, which has the rapture and bliss born of seclusion, while placing the mind and keeping it connected. As the placing of the mind and keeping it connected are stilled, they enter and remain in the second absorption, which has the rapture and bliss born of immersion, with internal clarity and mind at one, without placing the mind and keeping it connected. And with the fading away of rapture, they enter and remain in the third absorption, where they meditate with equanimity, mindful and aware, personally experiencing the bliss of which the noble ones declare, ‘Equanimous and mindful, one meditates in bliss.’ Giving up pleasure and pain, and ending former happiness and sadness, they enter and remain in the fourth absorption, without pleasure or pain, with pure equanimity and mindfulness. The Buddha praised this kind of meditation.”

“Well, Master Ānanda, it seems that Master Gotama criticized the kind of meditation that deserves criticism and praised that deserving of praise. Well, now, Master Ānanda, I must go. I have many duties, and much to do.…”


Read the entire translation of Majjhima Nikāya 108 Gopakamoggallānasutta: With Moggallāna the Guardian by Bhikkhu Sujato on SuttaCentral.net. Or read a different translation on SuttaCentral.net or DhammaTalks.org. Or listen on PaliAudio.com or SC-Voice.net. Or explore the Pali on DigitalPaliReader.online.

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MN 64 From… Mahāmālukyasutta: The Longer Discourse With Māluṅkya

There is a path and a practice for giving up the five lower fetters. It is possible to know and see and give up the five lower fetters by relying on that path and that practice.

Suppose there was a large tree standing with heartwood. It is possible to cut out the heartwood after having cut through the bark and the softwood. In the same way, there is a path and a practice for giving up the five lower fetters. It is possible to know and see and give up the five lower fetters by relying on that path and that practice.

Suppose the river Ganges was full to the brim so a crow could drink from it. Then along comes a feeble person, who thinks: ‘By swimming with my arms I’ll safely cross over to the far shore of the Ganges.’ But they’re not able to do so. In the same way, when the Dhamma is being taught for the cessation of substantialist view, someone whose mind isn’t secure, confident, settled, and decided should be regarded as being like that feeble person.

Suppose the river Ganges was full to the brim so a crow could drink from it. Then along comes a strong person, who thinks: ‘By swimming with my arms I’ll safely cross over to the far shore of the Ganges.’ And they are able to do so.

In the same way, when the Dhamma is being taught for the cessation of substantialist view, someone whose mind is secure, confident, settled, and decided should be regarded as being like that strong person.


Read the entire translation of Majjhima Nikāya 64 Mahāmālukyasutta: The Longer Discourse With Māluṅkya by Bhikkhu Sujato on SuttaCentral.net.

MN 63 Cūḷa Māluṅkyovāda Sutta: The Shorter Exhortation to Māluṅkya

[Note: Today’s selection is a complete sutta from the MN, so it is a bit longer than usual. However the simile is very famous and it’s good to see it in its full context. The simile itself is in bold below if you like to skip to that.]

I have heard that on one occasion the Blessed One was staying near Sāvatthī in Jeta’s Grove, Anāthapiṇḍika’s monastery. Then, as Ven. Māluṅkyaputta was alone in seclusion, this line of thinking arose in his awareness: “These positions that are undisclosed, set aside, discarded by the Blessed One—‘The cosmos is eternal,’ ‘The cosmos is not eternal,’ ‘The cosmos is finite,’ ‘The cosmos is infinite,’ ‘The soul & the body are the same,’ ‘The soul is one thing and the body another,’ ‘After death a Tathāgata exists,’ ‘After death a Tathāgata does not exist,’ ‘After death a Tathāgata both exists & does not exist,’ ‘After death a Tathāgata neither exists nor does not exist’—I don’t approve, I don’t accept that the Blessed One has not disclosed them to me. I’ll go ask the Blessed One about this matter. If he discloses to me that ‘The cosmos is eternal,’ that ‘The cosmos is not eternal,’ that ‘The cosmos is finite,’ that ‘The cosmos is infinite,’ that ‘The soul & the body are the same,’ that ‘The soul is one thing and the body another,’ that ‘After death a Tathāgata exists,’ that ‘After death a Tathāgata does not exist,’ that ‘After death a Tathāgata both exists & does not exist,’ or that ‘After death a Tathāgata neither exists nor does not exist,’ then I will live the holy life under him. If he does not disclose to me that ‘The cosmos is eternal,’ … or that ‘After death a Tathāgata neither exists nor does not exist,’ then I will renounce the training and return to the lower life.”

Then, emerging from his seclusion in the evening, Ven. Māluṅkyaputta 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, just now, as I was alone in seclusion, this line of thinking arose in my awareness: ‘These positions that are undisclosed, set aside, discarded by the Blessed One… I don’t approve, I don’t accept that the Blessed One has not disclosed them to me. I’ll go ask the Blessed One about this matter. If he discloses to me that “The cosmos is eternal,” … or that “After death a Tathāgata neither exists nor does not exist,” then I will live the holy life under him. If he does not disclose to me that “The cosmos is eternal,” … or that “After death a Tathāgata neither exists nor does not exist,” then I will renounce the training and return to the lower life.’

“Lord, if the Blessed One knows that ‘The cosmos is eternal,’ then may he disclose to me that ‘The cosmos is eternal.’ If he knows that ‘The cosmos is not eternal,’ then may he disclose to me that ‘The cosmos is not eternal.’ But if he doesn’t know or see whether the cosmos is eternal or not eternal, then, in one who is unknowing & unseeing, the straightforward thing is to admit, ‘I don’t know. I don’t see.’ … If he doesn’t know or see whether after death a Tathāgata exists… does not exist… both exists & does not exist… neither exists nor does not exist,’ then, in one who is unknowing & unseeing, the straightforward thing is to admit, ‘I don’t know. I don’t see.’”

“Māluṅkyaputta, did I ever say to you, ‘Come, Māluṅkyaputta, live the holy life under me, and I will disclose to you that ‘The cosmos is eternal,’ or ‘The cosmos is not eternal,’ or ‘The cosmos is finite,’ or ‘The cosmos is infinite,’ or ‘The soul & the body are the same,’ or ‘The soul is one thing and the body another,’ or ‘After death a Tathāgata exists,’ or ‘After death a Tathāgata does not exist,’ or ‘After death a Tathāgata both exists & does not exist,’ or ‘After death a Tathāgata neither exists nor does not exist’?”

“No, lord.”

“And did you ever say to me, ‘Lord, I will live the holy life under the Blessed One and (in return) he will disclose to me that ‘The cosmos is eternal,’ or ‘The cosmos is not eternal,’ or ‘The cosmos is finite,’ or ‘The cosmos is infinite,’ or ‘The soul & the body are the same,’ or ‘The soul is one thing and the body another,’ or ‘After death a Tathāgata exists,’ or ‘After death a Tathāgata does not exist,’ or ‘After death a Tathāgata both exists & does not exist,’ or ‘After death a Tathāgata neither exists nor does not exist’?”

“No, lord.”

“Then that being the case, foolish man, who are you to be claiming grievances/making demands of anyone?

“Māluṅkyaputta, if anyone were to say, ‘I won’t live the holy life under the Blessed One as long as he does not disclose to me that “The cosmos is eternal,” … or that “After death a Tathāgata neither exists nor does not exist,”’ the man would die and those things would still remain undisclosed by the Tathāgata.

“It’s just as if a man were wounded with an arrow thickly smeared with poison. His friends & companions, kinsmen & relatives would provide him with a surgeon, and the man would say, ‘I won’t have this arrow removed until I know whether the man who wounded me was a noble warrior, a brahman, a merchant, or a worker.’ He would say, ‘I won’t have this arrow removed until I know the given name & clan name of the man who wounded me… until I know whether he was tall, medium, or short… until I know whether he was dark, ruddy-brown, or golden-colored… until I know his home village, town, or city… until I know whether the bow with which I was wounded was a long bow or a crossbow… until I know whether the bowstring with which I was wounded was fiber, bamboo threads, sinew, hemp, or bark… until I know whether the shaft with which I was wounded was wild or cultivated… until I know whether the feathers of the shaft with which I was wounded were those of a vulture, a stork, a hawk, a peacock, or another bird… until I know whether the shaft with which I was wounded was bound with the sinew of an ox, a water buffalo, a langur, or a monkey.’ He would say, ‘I won’t have this arrow removed until I know whether the shaft with which I was wounded was that of a common arrow, a curved arrow, a barbed, a calf-toothed, or an oleander arrow.’ The man would die and those things would still remain unknown to him.

“In the same way, if anyone were to say, ‘I won’t live the holy life under the Blessed One as long as he does not disclose to me that “The cosmos is eternal,” … or that “After death a Tathāgata neither exists nor does not exist,”’ the man would die and those things would still remain undisclosed by the Tathāgata.

“Māluṅkyaputta, it’s not the case that when there is the view, ‘The cosmos is eternal,’ there is the living of the holy life. And it’s not the case that when there is the view, ‘The cosmos is not eternal,’ there is the living of the holy life. When there is the view, ‘The cosmos is eternal,’ and when there is the view, ‘The cosmos is not eternal,’ there is still the birth, there is the aging, there is the death, there is the sorrow, lamentation, pain, despair, & distress whose destruction I make known right in the here & now.

“It’s not the case that when there is the view, ‘The cosmos is finite,’ there is the living of the holy life. And it’s not the case that when there is the view, ‘The cosmos is infinite,’ there is the living of the holy life. When there is the view, ‘The cosmos is finite,’ and when there is the view, ‘The cosmos is infinite,’ there is still the birth, there is the aging, there is the death, there is the sorrow, lamentation, pain, despair, & distress whose destruction I make known right in the here & now.

“It’s not the case that when there is the view, ‘The soul & the body are the same,’ there is the living of the holy life. And it’s not the case that when there is the view, ‘The soul is one thing and the body another,’ there is the living of the holy life. When there is the view, ‘The soul & the body are the same,’ and when there is the view, ‘The soul is one thing and the body another,’ there is still the birth, there is the aging, there is the death, there is the sorrow, lamentation, pain, despair, & distress whose destruction I make known right in the here & now.

“It’s not the case that when there is the view, ‘After death a Tathāgata exists,’ there is the living of the holy life. And it’s not the case that when there is the view, ‘After death a Tathāgata does not exist,’ there is the living of the holy life. And it’s not the case that when there is the view, ‘After death a Tathāgata both exists & does not exist,’ there is the living of the holy life. And it’s not the case that when there is the view, ‘After death a Tathāgata neither exists nor does not exist’ there is the living of the holy life. When there is the view, ‘After death a Tathāgata exists’ … ‘After death a Tathāgata does not exist’ … ‘After death a Tathāgata both exists & does not exist’ … ‘After death a Tathāgata neither exists nor does not exist,’ there is still the birth, there is the aging, there is the death, there is the sorrow, lamentation, pain, despair, & distress whose destruction I make known right in the here & now.

“So, Māluṅkyaputta, remember what is undisclosed by me as undisclosed, and what is disclosed by me as disclosed. And what is undisclosed by me? ‘The cosmos is eternal,’ is undisclosed by me. ‘The cosmos is not eternal,’ is undisclosed by me. ‘The cosmos is finite’ … ‘The cosmos is infinite’ … ‘The soul & the body are the same’ … ‘The soul is one thing and the body another’ … ‘After death a Tathāgata exists’ … ‘After death a Tathāgata does not exist’ … ‘After death a Tathāgata both exists & does not exist’ … ‘After death a Tathāgata neither exists nor does not exist,’ is undisclosed by me.

“And why are they undisclosed by me? Because they are not connected with the goal, are not fundamental to the holy life. They do not lead to disenchantment, dispassion, cessation, calming, direct knowledge, self-awakening, unbinding. That’s why they are undisclosed by me.

“And what is disclosed by me? ‘This is stress,’ is disclosed by me. ‘This is the origination of stress,’ is disclosed by me. ‘This is the cessation of stress,’ is disclosed by me. ‘This is the path of practice leading to the cessation of stress,’ is disclosed by me. And why are they disclosed by me? Because they are connected with the goal, are fundamental to the holy life. They lead to disenchantment, dispassion, cessation, calming, direct knowledge, self-awakening, unbinding. That’s why they are disclosed by me.

“So, Māluṅkyaputta, remember what is undisclosed by me as undisclosed, and what is disclosed by me as disclosed.”

That is what the Blessed One said. Gratified, Ven. Māluṅkyaputta delighted in the Blessed One’s words.


Read this translation of Majjhima Nikāya 63 Cūḷa Māluṅkyovāda Sutta. The Shorter Exhortation to Māluṅkya by Bhikkhu Ṭhanissaro on DhammaTalks.org. Or read a different translation on SuttaCentral.net. Or listen on PaliAudio.com or SC-Voice.net. Or explore the Pali on DigitalPaliReader.online.

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MN 15 From… Anumānasutta: Measuring Up

[Note: Read the whole sutta to see the specific unwholesome traits being discussed.]

“…Suppose that, upon checking, a mendicant sees that they haven’t given up all these bad, unskillful qualities. Then they should make an effort to give them all up. But suppose that, upon checking, a mendicant sees that they have given up all these bad, unskillful qualities. Then they should meditate with rapture and joy, training day and night in skillful qualities.

Suppose there was a woman or man who was young, youthful, and fond of adornments, and they check their own reflection in a clean bright mirror or a clear bowl of water. If they see any dirt or blemish there, they’d try to remove it. But if they don’t see any dirt or blemish there, they’re happy, thinking: ‘How fortunate that I’m clean!’

In the same way, suppose that, upon checking, a mendicant sees that they haven’t given up all these bad, unskillful qualities. Then they should make an effort to give them all up. But suppose that, upon checking, a mendicant sees that they have given up all these bad, unskillful qualities. Then they should meditate with rapture and joy, training day and night in skillful qualities.…”


Read the entire translation of Majjhima Nikāya 15 Anumānasutta: Measuring Up by Bhikkhu Sujato on SuttaCentral.net. Or read a different translation on SuttaCentral.net. Or listen on PaliAudio.com or SC-Voice.net. Or explore the Pali on DigitalPaliReader.online.

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MN 39 From… Mahāassapurasutta: The Longer Discourse at Assapura

[This is an excerpt from a discourse where the Buddha is detailing the full path to enlightenment.]

…What more is there to do? Take a mendicant who frequents a secluded lodging—a wilderness, the root of a tree, a hill, a ravine, a mountain cave, a charnel ground, a forest, the open air, a heap of straw.

After the meal, they return from almsround, sit down cross-legged, set their body straight, and establish mindfulness in front of them. Giving up covetousness for the world, they meditate with a heart rid of covetousness, cleansing the mind of covetousness. Giving up ill will and malevolence, they meditate with a mind rid of ill will, full of compassion for all living beings, cleansing the mind of ill will. Giving up dullness and drowsiness, they meditate with a mind rid of dullness and drowsiness, perceiving light, mindful and aware, cleansing the mind of dullness and drowsiness. Giving up restlessness and remorse, they meditate without restlessness, their mind peaceful inside, cleansing the mind of restlessness and remorse. Giving up doubt, they meditate having gone beyond doubt, not undecided about skillful qualities, cleansing the mind of doubt.

Suppose a man who has gotten into debt were to apply himself to work, and his efforts proved successful. He would pay off the original loan and have enough left over to support his partner. Thinking about this, he’d be filled with joy and happiness.

Suppose a person was sick, suffering, and gravely ill. They’d lose their appetite and get physically weak. But after some time they’d recover from that illness, and regain their appetite and their strength. Thinking about this, they’d be filled with joy and happiness.

Suppose a person was imprisoned in a jail. But after some time they were released from jail, safe and sound, with no loss of wealth. Thinking about this, they’d be filled with joy and happiness.

Suppose a person was a bondservant. They would not be their own master, but indentured to another, unable to go where they wish. But after some time they’d be freed from servitude. They would be their own master, not indentured to another, an emancipated individual able to go where they wish. Thinking about this, they’d be filled with joy and happiness.

Suppose there was a person with wealth and property who was traveling along a desert road. But after some time they crossed over the desert, safe and sound, with no loss of wealth. Thinking about this, they’d be filled with joy and happiness.

In the same way, as long as these five hindrances are not given up inside themselves, a mendicant regards them as a debt, a disease, a prison, slavery, and a desert crossing. But when these five hindrances are given up inside themselves, a mendicant regards this as freedom from debt, good health, release from prison, emancipation, and a place of sanctuary at last.…


Read the complete translation of Majjhima Nikāya 39 Mahāassapurasutta: The Longer Discourse at Assapura by Bhikkhu Sujato on SuttaCentral.net. Or read a different translation on SuttaCentral.net or DhammaTalks.org. Or listen on PaliAudio.com or SC-Voice.net. Or explore the Pali on DigitalPaliReader.online.

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MN 128 From… Upakkilesasutta: Corruptions

[This is a small part of a longer sutta where the Buddha explains his experience with meditation before his enlightenment.]

…While meditating … ‘Excessive energy arose in me, and because of that my immersion fell away. When immersion falls away, the light and vision of forms vanish. Suppose a person was to grip a quail too tightly in their hands—it would die right there. I’ll make sure that neither doubt nor loss of focus nor dullness and drowsiness nor terror nor excitement nor discomfort nor excessive energy will arise in me again.’

While meditating … ‘Overly lax energy arose in me, and because of that my immersion fell away. When immersion falls away, the light and vision of forms vanish. Suppose a person was to grip a quail too loosely—it would fly out of their hands. I’ll make sure that neither doubt nor loss of focus nor dullness and drowsiness nor terror nor excitement nor discomfort nor excessive energy nor overly lax energy will arise in me again.’…


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MN 135 Cūḷakammavibhaṅgasutta: The Shorter Analysis of Deeds—Wisdom

…Take some woman or man who doesn’t approach an ascetic or brahmin to ask: ‘Sir, what is skillful and what is unskillful? What is blameworthy and what is blameless? What should be cultivated and what should not be cultivated? What kind of action will lead to my lasting harm and suffering? Or what kind of action will lead to my lasting welfare and happiness?’ Because of undertaking such deeds, after death they’re reborn in a place of loss … or if they return to the human realm, they’re witless …

But take some woman or man who does approach an ascetic or brahmin to ask: ‘Sir, what is skillful and what is unskillful? What is blameworthy and what is blameless? What should be cultivated and what should not be cultivated? What kind of action will lead to my lasting harm and suffering? Or what kind of action will lead to my lasting welfare and happiness?’ Because of undertaking such deeds, when their body breaks up, after death, they’re reborn in a good place, a heavenly realm. If they’re not reborn in a heavenly realm, but return to the human realm, then wherever they’re reborn they’re very wise. For asking questions of ascetics or brahmins is the path leading to wisdom.


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MN 129 From… Bālapaṇḍitasutta: The Foolish and the Astute—Simile for Hell

[Spoken by the Buddha:]

“…Having done bad things by way of body, speech, and mind, when their body breaks up, after death, they’re reborn in a place of loss, a bad place, the underworld, hell.

And if there’s anything of which it may be rightly said that it is utterly unlikable, undesirable, and disagreeable, it is of hell that this should be said. So much so that it’s not easy to give a simile for how painful hell is.”

When he said this, one of the mendicants asked the Buddha, “But sir, is it possible to give a simile?”

“It’s possible,” said the Buddha.

“Suppose they arrest a bandit, a criminal and present him to the king, saying, ‘Your Majesty, this is a bandit, a criminal. Punish him as you will.’ The king would say, ‘Go, my men, and strike this man in the morning with a hundred spears!’ The king’s men did as they were told. Then at midday the king would say, ‘My men, how is that man?’ ‘He’s still alive, Your Majesty.’ The king would say, ‘Go, my men, and strike this man in the midday with a hundred spears!’ The king’s men did as they were told. Then late in the afternoon the king would say, ‘My men, how is that man?’ ‘He’s still alive, Your Majesty.’ The king would say, ‘Go, my men, and strike this man in the late afternoon with a hundred spears!’ The king’s men did as they were told.

What do you think, mendicants? Would that man experience pain and distress from being struck with three hundred spears?”

“Sir, that man would experience pain and distress from being struck with one spear, let alone three hundred spears!”

Then the Buddha, picking up a stone the size of his palm, addressed the mendicants, “What do you think, mendicants? Which is bigger: the stone the size of my palm that I’ve picked up, or the Himalayas, the king of mountains?”

“Sir, the stone you’ve picked up is tiny. Compared to the Himalayas, it doesn’t count, it’s not worth a fraction, there’s no comparison.”

“In the same way, compared to the suffering in hell, the pain and distress experienced by that man due to being struck with three hundred spears doesn’t count, it’s not worth a fraction, there’s no comparison.…


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MN 12 From… Mahāsīhanādasutta: The Greater Discourse on the Lion’s Roar—The Path to the Ghost World

[Note: This is a short excerpt where the Buddha is explaining his psychic abilities.]

“By encompassing mind with mind I understand a certain person thus: ‘This person so behaves, so conducts himself, has taken such a path that on the dissolution of the body, after death, he will reappear in the realm of ghosts.’ And then later on…I see that…he has reappeared in the realm of ghosts and is experiencing much painful feeling.

Suppose there were a tree growing on uneven ground with scanty foliage casting a dappled shadow; and then a man scorched and exhausted by hot weather, weary, parched, and thirsty, came by a path going in one way only and directed to that same tree. Then a man with good sight on seeing him would say: ‘This person so behaves… that he will come to this same tree’; and then later on he sees that he is sitting or lying in the shade of that tree experiencing much painful feeling.

“So too, by encompassing mind with mind I understand a certain person thus: ‘This person so behaves, so conducts himself, has taken such a path that on the dissolution of the body, after death, he will reappear in the realm of ghosts.’ And then later on…I see that…he has reappeared in the realm of ghosts and is experiencing much painful feeling. …”


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MN 12 From… Mahāsīhanādasutta: The Longer Discourse on the Lion’s Roar—The Path to the Animal World

…When I’ve comprehended the mind of a certain person, I understand: ‘This person is practicing in such a way and has entered such a path that when their body breaks up, after death, they will be reborn in the animal realm.’ Then some time later I see that they have indeed been reborn in the animal realm, where they suffer painful feelings, sharp and severe.

Suppose there was a sewer deeper than a man’s height, full to the brim with feces. Then along comes a person struggling in the oppressive heat, weary, thirsty, and parched. And they have set out on a path that meets with that same sewer. If a person with clear eyes saw them, they’d say: ‘This person is proceeding in such a way and has entered such a path that they will arrive at that very sewer.’ Then some time later they see that they have indeed fallen into that sewer, where they suffer painful feelings, sharp and severe.

In the same way, when I’ve comprehended the mind of a person, I understand: ‘This person is practicing in such a way and has entered such a path that when their body breaks up, after death, they will be reborn in the animal realm.’ Then some time later I see that they have indeed been reborn in the animal realm, where they suffer painful feelings, sharp and severe. …


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MN 12 Mahāsīhanādasutta: The Longer Discourse on the Lion’s Roar—The Path to Hell

…When I’ve comprehended the mind of a certain person, I understand: ‘This person is practicing in such a way and has entered such a path that when their body breaks up, after death, they will be reborn in a place of loss, a bad place, the underworld, hell.’ Then some time later I see that they have indeed been reborn in hell, where they experience exclusively painful feelings, sharp and severe.

Suppose there was a pit of glowing coals deeper than a man’s height, full of glowing coals that neither flamed nor smoked. Then along comes a person struggling in the oppressive heat, weary, thirsty, and parched. And they have set out on a path that meets with that same pit of coals. If a person with clear eyes saw them, they’d say: ‘This person is proceeding in such a way and has entered such a path that they will arrive at that very pit of coals.’ Then some time later they see that they have indeed fallen into that pit of coals, where they experience exclusively painful feelings, sharp and severe.

In the same way, when I’ve comprehended the mind of a certain person, I understand: ‘This person is practicing in such a way and has entered such a path that when their body breaks up, after death, they will be reborn in a place of loss, a bad place, the underworld, hell.’ Then some time later I see that they have indeed been reborn in hell, where they experience exclusively painful feelings, sharp and severe.…


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MN 129 From… Bālapaṇḍitasutta: The Foolish and the Astute—Animal World

…There are, mendicants, animals that feed on grass. They eat by cropping fresh or dried grass with their teeth. And what animals feed on grass? Elephants, horses, cattle, donkeys, goats, deer, and various others. A fool who used to be a glutton here and did bad deeds here, when their body breaks up, after death, is reborn in the company of those sentient beings who feed on grass.

There are animals that feed on dung. When they catch a whiff of dung they run to it, thinking, ‘There we’ll eat! There we’ll eat!’ It’s like when brahmins smell a burnt offering, they run to it, thinking, ‘There we’ll eat! There we’ll eat!’ In the same way, there are animals that feed on dung. When they catch a whiff of dung they run to it, thinking, ‘There we’ll eat! There we’ll eat!’ And what animals feed on dung? Chickens, pigs, dogs, jackals, and various others. A fool who used to be a glutton here and did bad deeds here, after death is reborn in the company of those sentient beings who feed on dung.

There are animals who are born, live, and die in darkness. And what animals are born, live, and die in darkness? Moths, maggots, earthworms, and various others. A fool who used to be a glutton here and did bad deeds here, after death is reborn in the company of those sentient beings who are born, live, and die in darkness.

There are animals who are born, live, and die in water. And what animals are born, live, and die in water? Fish, turtles, crocodiles, and various others. A fool who used to be a glutton here and did bad deeds here, after death is reborn in the company of those sentient beings who are born, live, and die in water.

There are animals who are born, live, and die in filth. And what animals are born, live, and die in filth? Those animals that are born, live, and die in a rotten fish, a rotten carcass, rotten porridge, or a sewer. A fool who used to be a glutton here and did bad deeds here, after death is reborn in the company of those sentient beings who are born, live, and die in filth.

I could tell you many different things about the animal realm. So much so that it’s not easy to completely describe the suffering in the animal realm.…


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MN 65 From… Bhaddālisutta: With Bhaddāli

…When he said this, Venerable Bhaddāli said to the Buddha, “What is the cause, sir, what is the reason why they punish some monk, repeatedly pressuring him? And what is the cause, what is the reason why they don’t similarly punish another monk, repeatedly pressuring him?”

“Take a monk who is a frequent offender with many offenses. When admonished by the monks, he dodges the issue, distracting the discussion with irrelevant points. He displays annoyance, hate, and bitterness. He doesn’t proceed properly, he doesn’t fall in line, he doesn’t proceed to get past it, and he doesn’t say: ‘I’ll do what pleases the Saṅgha.’ In such a case, the monks say: ‘Reverends, this monk is a frequent offender, with many offenses. When admonished by the monks, he dodges the issue, distracting the discussion with irrelevant points. He displays annoyance, hate, and bitterness. He doesn’t proceed properly, he doesn’t fall in line, he doesn’t proceed to get past it, and he doesn’t say: “I’ll do what pleases the Saṅgha.” It’d be good for the venerables to examine this monk in such a way that this disciplinary issue is not quickly settled.’ And that’s what they do.

Take some other monk who is a frequent offender with many offenses. When admonished by the monks, he doesn’t dodge the issue, distracting the discussion with irrelevant points. He doesn’t display annoyance, hate, and bitterness. He proceeds properly, he falls in line, he proceeds to get past it, and he says: ‘I’ll do what pleases the Saṅgha.’ In such a case, the monks say: ‘Reverends, this monk is a frequent offender, with many offenses. When admonished by the monks, he doesn’t dodge the issue, distracting the discussion with irrelevant points. He doesn’t display annoyance, hate, and bitterness. He proceeds properly, he falls in line, he proceeds to get past it, and he says: ‘I’ll do what pleases the Saṅgha.’ It’d be good for the venerables to examine this monk in such a way that this disciplinary issue is quickly settled.’ And that’s what they do.

Take some other monk who is an occasional offender without many offenses. When admonished by the monks, he dodges the issue … In such a case, the monks say: ‘Reverends, this monk is an occasional offender without many offenses. When admonished by the monks, he dodges the issue … It’d be good for the venerables to examine this monk in such a way that this disciplinary issue is not quickly settled.’ And that’s what they do.

Take some other monk who is an occasional offender without many offenses. When admonished by the monks, he doesn’t dodge the issue … In such a case, the monks say: ‘Reverends, this monk is an occasional offender without many offenses. When admonished by the monks, he doesn’t dodge the issue … It’d be good for the venerables to examine this monk in such a way that this disciplinary issue is quickly settled.’ And that’s what they do.

Take some other monk who gets by with mere faith and love. In such a case, the monks say: ‘Reverends, this monk gets by with mere faith and love. If we punish him, repeatedly pressuring him—no, let him not lose what little faith and love he has!’

Suppose there was a person with one eye. Their friends and colleagues, relatives and kin would protect that one eye: ‘Let them not lose the one eye that they have!’ In the same way, some monk gets by with mere faith and love. In such a case, the monks say: ‘Reverends, this monk gets by with mere faith and love. If we punish him, repeatedly pressuring him—no, let him not lose what little faith and love he has!’ This is the cause, this is the reason why they punish some monk, repeatedly pressuring him. And this is the cause, this is the reason why they don’t similarly punish another monk, repeatedly pressuring him.”

What is the cause, sir, what is the reason why there used to be fewer training rules but more enlightened mendicants? And what is the cause, what is the reason why these days there are more training rules and fewer enlightened mendicants?”

“That’s how it is, Bhaddāli. When sentient beings are in decline and the true teaching is disappearing there are more training rules and fewer enlightened mendicants. The Teacher doesn’t lay down training rules for disciples as long as certain defiling influences have not appeared in the Saṅgha. But when such defiling influences appear in the Saṅgha, the Teacher lays down training rules for disciples to protect against them.

And they don’t appear until the Saṅgha has attained a great size, an abundance of material support and fame, learning, and seniority. But when the Saṅgha has attained these things, then such defiling influences appear in the Saṅgha, and the Teacher lays down training rules for disciples to protect against them.…



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MN 107 Gaṇakamoggallānasutta: With Moggallāna the Accountant

[Note: Today’s selection is unusually long, but it gives an example of the Buddha’s technique of gradual training for monastics as well as addresses the question of why some people achieve success and some do not. Finally it concludes with a reminder that not everyone ordains with the same good qualities and good intentions.]

So I have heard. At one time the Buddha was staying near Sāvatthī in the Eastern Monastery, the stilt longhouse of Migāra’s mother. Then the brahmin Moggallāna the Accountant went up to the Buddha, and exchanged greetings with him. When the greetings and polite conversation were over, he sat down to one side and said to the Buddha:

“Master Gotama, in this stilt longhouse we can see gradual progress down to the last step of the staircase. Among the brahmins we can see gradual progress in learning the chants. Among archers we can see gradual progress in archery. Among us accountants, who earn a living by accounting, we can see gradual progress in mathematics. For when we get an apprentice we first make them count: ‘One one, two twos, three threes, four fours, five fives, six sixes, seven sevens, eight eights, nine nines, ten tens.’ We even make them count up to a hundred. Is it possible to similarly describe a gradual training, gradual progress, and gradual practice in this teaching and training?”

“It is possible, brahmin. Suppose a deft horse trainer were to obtain a fine thoroughbred. First of all he’d make it get used to wearing the bit. In the same way, when the Realized One gets a person for training they first guide them like this: ‘Come, mendicant, be ethical and restrained in the monastic code, conducting yourself well and seeking alms in suitable places. Seeing danger in the slightest fault, keep the rules you’ve undertaken.’

When they have ethical conduct, the Realized One guides them further: ‘Come, mendicant, guard your sense doors. When you see a sight with your eyes, don’t get caught up in the features and details. If the faculty of sight were left unrestrained, bad unskillful qualities of covetousness and displeasure would become overwhelming. For this reason, practice restraint, protect the faculty of sight, and achieve restraint over it. When you hear a sound with your ears … When you smell an odor with your nose … When you taste a flavor with your tongue … When you feel a touch with your body … When you know a thought with your mind, don’t get caught up in the features and details. If the faculty of mind were left unrestrained, bad unskillful qualities of covetousness and displeasure would become overwhelming. For this reason, practice restraint, protect the faculty of mind, and achieve its restraint.’

When they guard their sense doors, the Realized One guides them further: ‘Come, mendicant, eat in moderation. Reflect rationally on the food that you eat: ‘Not for fun, indulgence, adornment, or decoration, but only to sustain this body, to avoid harm, and to support spiritual practice. In this way, I shall put an end to old discomfort and not give rise to new discomfort, and I will live blamelessly and at ease.’

When they eat in moderation, the Realized One guides them further: ‘Come, mendicant, be committed to wakefulness. Practice walking and sitting meditation by day, purifying your mind from obstacles. In the evening, continue to practice walking and sitting meditation. In the middle of the night, lie down in the lion’s posture—on the right side, placing one foot on top of the other—mindful and aware, and focused on the time of getting up. In the last part of the night, get up and continue to practice walking and sitting meditation, purifying your mind from obstacles.’

When they are committed to wakefulness, the Realized One guides them further: ‘Come, mendicant, have mindfulness and situational awareness. Act with situational awareness when going out and coming back; when looking ahead and aside; when bending and extending the limbs; when bearing the outer robe, bowl and robes; when eating, drinking, chewing, and tasting; when urinating and defecating; when walking, standing, sitting, sleeping, waking, speaking, and keeping silent.’

When they have mindfulness and situational awareness, the Realized One guides them further: ‘Come, mendicant, frequent a secluded lodging—a wilderness, the root of a tree, a hill, a ravine, a mountain cave, a charnel ground, a forest, the open air, a heap of straw.’ And they do so.

After the meal, they return from almsround, sit down cross-legged, set their body straight, and establish mindfulness in front of them. Giving up covetousness for the world, they meditate with a heart rid of covetousness, cleansing the mind of covetousness. Giving up ill will and malevolence, they meditate with a mind rid of ill will, full of compassion for all living beings, cleansing the mind of ill will. Giving up dullness and drowsiness, they meditate with a mind rid of dullness and drowsiness, perceiving light, mindful and aware, cleansing the mind of dullness and drowsiness. Giving up restlessness and remorse, they meditate without restlessness, their mind peaceful inside, cleansing the mind of restlessness and remorse. Giving up doubt, they meditate having gone beyond doubt, not undecided about skillful qualities, cleansing the mind of doubt.

They give up these five hindrances, corruptions of the heart that weaken wisdom. Then, quite secluded from sensual pleasures, secluded from unskillful qualities, they enter and remain in the first absorption, which has the rapture and bliss born of seclusion, while placing the mind and keeping it connected. As the placing of the mind and keeping it connected are stilled, they enter and remain in the second absorption, which has the rapture and bliss born of immersion, with internal clarity and mind at one, without placing the mind and keeping it connected. And with the fading away of rapture, they enter and remain in the third absorption, where they meditate with equanimity, mindful and aware, personally experiencing the bliss of which the noble ones declare, ‘Equanimous and mindful, one meditates in bliss.’ Giving up pleasure and pain, and ending former happiness and sadness, they enter and remain in the fourth absorption, without pleasure or pain, with pure equanimity and mindfulness.

That’s how I instruct the mendicants who are trainees—who haven’t achieved their heart’s desire, but live aspiring to the supreme sanctuary from the yoke. But for those mendicants who are perfected—who have ended the defilements, completed the spiritual journey, done what had to be done, laid down the burden, achieved their own goal, utterly ended the fetters of rebirth, and are rightly freed through enlightenment—these things lead to blissful meditation in the present life, and to mindfulness and awareness.”

When he had spoken, Moggallāna the Accountant said to the Buddha, “When his disciples are instructed and advised like this by Master Gotama, do all of them achieve the ultimate goal, extinguishment, or do some of them fail?

“Some succeed, while others fail.”

“What is the cause, Master Gotama, what is the reason why, though extinguishment is present, the path leading to extinguishment is present, and Master Gotama is present to encourage them, still some succeed while others fail?”

“Well then, brahmin, I’ll ask you about this in return, and you can answer as you like. What do you think, brahmin? Are you skilled in the road to Rājagaha?”

“Yes, I am.”

“What do you think, brahmin? Suppose a person was to come along who wanted to go to Rājagaha. He’d approach you and say: ‘Sir, I wish to go to Rājagaha. Please point out the road to Rājagaha.’ Then you’d say to them: ‘Here, mister, this road goes to Rājagaha. Go along it for a while, and you’ll see a certain village. Go along a while further, and you’ll see a certain town. Go along a while further and you’ll see Rājagaha with its delightful parks, woods, meadows, and lotus ponds.’ Instructed like this by you, they might still take the wrong road, heading west. But a second person might come with the same question and receive the same instructions. Instructed by you, they might safely arrive at Rājagaha. What is the cause, brahmin, what is the reason why, though Rājagaha is present, the path leading to Rājagaha is present, and you are there to encourage them, one person takes the wrong path and heads west, while another arrives safely at Rājagaha?”

“What can I do about that, Master Gotama? I am the one who shows the way.”

In the same way, though extinguishment is present, the path leading to extinguishment is present, and I am present to encourage them, still some of my disciples, instructed and advised like this, achieve the ultimate goal, extinguishment, while some of them fail. What can I do about that, brahmin? The Realized One is the one who shows the way.”

When he had spoken, Moggallāna the Accountant said to the Buddha, “Master Gotama, there are those faithless people who went forth from the lay life to homelessness not out of faith but to earn a livelihood. They’re devious, deceitful, and sneaky. They’re restless, insolent, fickle, scurrilous, and loose-tongued. They do not guard their sense doors or eat in moderation, and they are not committed to wakefulness. They don’t care about the ascetic life, and don’t keenly respect the training. They’re indulgent and slack, leaders in backsliding, neglecting seclusion, lazy, and lacking energy. They’re unmindful, lacking situational awareness and immersion, with straying minds, witless and stupid. Master Gotama doesn’t live together with these.

But there are those gentlemen who went forth from the lay life to homelessness out of faith. They’re not devious, deceitful, and sneaky. They’re not restless, insolent, fickle, scurrilous, and loose-tongued. They guard their sense doors and eat in moderation, and they are committed to wakefulness. They care about the ascetic life, and keenly respect the training. They’re not indulgent or slack, nor are they leaders in backsliding, neglecting seclusion. They’re energetic and determined. They’re mindful, with situational awareness, immersion, and unified minds; wise, not stupid. Master Gotama does live together with these.

Of all kinds of fragrant root, spikenard is said to be the best. Of all kinds of fragrant heartwood, red sandalwood is said to be the best. Of all kinds of fragrant flower, jasmine is said to be the best. In the same way, Master Gotama’s advice is the best of contemporary teachings.

Excellent, Master Gotama! Excellent! As if he were righting the overturned, or revealing the hidden, or pointing out the path to the lost, or lighting a lamp in the dark so people with clear eyes can see what’s there, Master Gotama has made the Teaching clear in many ways. I go for refuge to Master Gotama, to the teaching, and to the mendicant Saṅgha. From this day forth, may Master Gotama remember me as a lay follower who has gone for refuge for life.”


Read this translation of Majjhima Nikāya 107 Gaṇakamoggallānasutta: With Moggallāna the Accountant by Bhikkhu Sujato on SuttaCentral.net.

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MN 99 From… Subhasutta: With Subha

“…Master Gotama, the brahmins say: ‘Laypeople succeed in the system of the skillful teaching, not renunciates.’ What do you say about this?”

“On this point, student, I speak after analyzing the question, not definitively. I don’t praise wrong practice for either laypeople or renunciates. Because of wrong practice, neither laypeople nor renunciates succeed in the system of the skillful teaching. I praise right practice for both laypeople and renunciates. Because of right practice, both laypeople and renunciates succeed in the system of the skillful teaching.”

“Master Gotama, the brahmins say: ‘Since the work of the lay life has many requirements, duties, issues, and undertakings it is very fruitful. But since the work of the renunciate has few requirements, duties, issues, and undertakings it is not very fruitful.’ What do you say about this?”

“On this point, too, I speak after analyzing the question, not definitively. Some work has many requirements, duties, issues, and undertakings, and when it fails it’s not very fruitful. Some work has many requirements, duties, issues, and undertakings, and when it succeeds it is very fruitful. Some work has few requirements, duties, issues, and undertakings, and when it fails it’s not very fruitful. Some work has few requirements, duties, issues, and undertakings, and when it succeeds it is very fruitful.

And what work has many requirements, duties, issues, and undertakings, and when it fails it’s not very fruitful? Farming. And what work has many requirements, duties, issues, and undertakings, and when it succeeds it is very fruitful? Again, it is farming. And what work has few requirements, duties, issues, and undertakings, and when it fails it’s not very fruitful? Trade. And what work has few requirements, duties, issues, and undertakings, and when it succeeds it is very fruitful? Again, it’s trade.

The lay life is like farming in that it’s work with many requirements and when it fails it’s not very fruitful; but when it succeeds it is very fruitful. The renunciate life is like trade in that it’s work with few requirements and when it fails it’s not very fruitful; but when it succeeds it is very fruitful.”…


Read the entire translation of Majjhima Nikāya 99 Subhasutta: With Subha by Bhikkhu Sujato on SuttaCentral.net. Or listen on PaliAudio.com or SC-Voice.net. Or explore the Pali on DigitalPaliReader.online.

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MN 97 From… Dhanañjānisutta: With Dhanañjāni

…When Dhanañjāni had finished breakfast he went to Sāriputta and exchanged greetings with him. When the greetings and polite conversation were over, he sat down to one side. Sāriputta said to him, “I hope you’re diligent, Dhanañjāni?”

“How can I possibly be diligent, Master Sāriputta? I have to provide for my mother and father, my wives and children, and my bondservants and workers. And I have to make the proper offerings to friends and colleagues, relatives and kin, guests, ancestors, deities, and king. And then this body must also be fattened and built up.”

“What do you think, Dhanañjāni? Suppose someone was to behave in an unprincipled and unjust way for the sake of their parents. Because of this the wardens of hell would drag them to hell. Could they get out of being dragged to hell by pleading that they had acted for the sake of their parents? Or could their parents save them by pleading that the acts had been done for their sake?”

“No, Master Sāriputta. Rather, even as they were wailing the wardens of hell would cast them down into hell.”

“What do you think, Dhanañjāni? Suppose someone was to behave in an unprincipled and unjust way for the sake of their wives and children … bondservants and workers … friends and colleagues … relatives and kin … guests … ancestors … deities … king … fattening and building up their body. Because of this the wardens of hell would drag them to hell. Could they get out of being dragged to hell by pleading that they had acted for the sake of fattening and building up their body? Or could anyone else save them by pleading that the acts had been done for that reason?”

“No, Master Sāriputta. Rather, even as they were wailing the wardens of hell would cast them down into hell.”

Who do you think is better, Dhanañjāni? Someone who, for the sake of their parents, behaves in an unprincipled and unjust manner, or someone who behaves in a principled and just manner?”

“Someone who behaves in a principled and just manner for the sake of their parents. For principled and moral conduct is better than unprincipled and immoral conduct.”

“Dhanañjāni, there are other livelihoods that are both profitable and legitimate. By means of these it’s possible to provide for your parents, avoid bad deeds, and practice the path of goodness.

Who do you think is better, Dhanañjāni? Someone who, for the sake of their wives and children … bondservants and workers … friends and colleagues … relatives and kin … guests … ancestors … deities … king … fattening and building up their body, behaves in an unprincipled and unjust manner, or someone who behaves in a principled and just manner?”

“Someone who behaves in a principled and just manner. For principled and moral conduct is better than unprincipled and immoral conduct.”

“Dhanañjāni, there are other livelihoods that are both profitable and legitimate. By means of these it’s possible to fatten and build up your body, avoid bad deeds, and practice the path of goodness.”

Then Dhanañjāni the brahmin, having approved and agreed with what Venerable Sāriputta said, got up from his seat and left.…


Read the entire translation of Majjhima Nikāya 97 Dhanañjānisutta: With Dhanañjāni by Bhikkhu Sujato on SuttaCentral.net.

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MN 137 From… Saḷāyatanavibhaṅgasutta: The Analysis of the Six Sense Fields

[Please read the entire sutta to see the forms of renunciate happiness, sadness, and equanimity]

‘…The thirty-six positions of sentient beings should be understood.’ That’s what I said, but why did I say it? There are six kinds of lay happiness and six kinds of renunciate happiness. There are six kinds of lay sadness and six kinds of renunciate sadness. There are six kinds of lay equanimity and six kinds of renunciate equanimity.

And in this context what are the six kinds of lay happiness? There are sights known by the eye that are likable, desirable, agreeable, pleasing, connected with the worldly pleasures of the flesh. Happiness arises when you regard it as a gain to obtain such sights, or when you recollect sights you formerly obtained that have passed, ceased, and perished. Such happiness is called lay happiness. There are sounds known by the ear … Smells known by the nose … Tastes known by the tongue … Touches known by the body … Thoughts known by the mind that are likable, desirable, agreeable, pleasing, connected with the world’s material delights. Happiness arises when you regard it as a gain to obtain such thoughts, or when you recollect thoughts you formerly obtained that have passed, ceased, and perished. Such happiness is called lay happiness. These are the six kinds of lay happiness.

And in this context what are the six kinds of lay sadness? There are sights known by the eye that are likable, desirable, agreeable, pleasing, connected with the world’s material delights. Sadness arises when you regard it as a loss to lose such sights, or when you recollect sights you formerly lost that have passed, ceased, and perished. Such sadness is called lay sadness. There are sounds known by the ear … There are smells known by the nose … There are tastes known by the tongue … There are touches known by the body … There are thoughts known by the mind that are likable, desirable, agreeable, pleasing, connected with the worldly pleasures of the flesh. Sadness arises when you regard it as a loss to lose such thoughts, or when you recollect thoughts you formerly lost that have passed, ceased, and perished. Such sadness is called lay sadness. These are the six kinds of lay sadness.

And in this context what are the six kinds of lay equanimity? When seeing a sight with the eye, equanimity arises for the unlearned ordinary person—a foolish ordinary person who has not overcome their limitations and the results of deeds, and is blind to the drawbacks. Such equanimity does not transcend the sight. That’s why it’s called lay equanimity. When hearing a sound with the ear … When smelling an odor with the nose … When tasting a flavor with the tongue … When feeling a touch with the body … When knowing a thought with the mind, equanimity arises for the unlearned ordinary person—a foolish ordinary person who has not overcome their limitations and the results of deeds, and is blind to the drawbacks. Such equanimity does not transcend the thought. That’s why it’s called lay equanimity. These are the six kinds of lay equanimity.


Read the entire translation of Majjhima Nikāya 137 Saḷāyatanavibhaṅgasutta: The Analysis of the Six Sense Fields by Bhikkhu Sujato on SuttaCentral.net.

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MN 71 From… Tevijjavacchasutta: To Vacchagotta on the Three Knowledges

… When he said this, the wanderer Vacchagotta said to the Buddha, “Master Gotama, are there any laypeople who, without giving up the fetter of lay life, make an end of suffering when the body breaks up?”

“No, Vaccha.”

“But are there any laypeople who, without giving up the fetter of lay life, go to heaven when the body breaks up?”

“There’s not just one hundred laypeople, Vaccha, or two or three or four or five hundred, but many more than that who, without giving up the fetter of lay life, go to heaven when the body breaks up.…”


Read the entire translation of Majjhima Nikāya 71 Tevijjavacchasutta: To Vacchagotta on the Three Knowledges by Bhikkhu Sujato on SuttaCentral.net.

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MN 66 From… Laḍukikopama Sutta: The Quail Simile

[Note: This is part of a larger sutta that begins with a discussion on the Buddha’s rule for the monastics to only eat in the morning time.]

“Suppose a quail were snared by a rotting creeper, by which it could expect injury, captivity, or death, and someone were to say, ‘This rotting creeper by which this quail is snared, and by which she could expect injury, captivity, or death, is for her a weak snare, a feeble snare, a rotting snare, an insubstantial snare.’ Would the person speaking that way be speaking rightly?”

“No, lord. That rotting creeper… is for her a strong snare, a thick snare, a heavy snare, an unrotting snare, and a thick yoke.

“In the same way, Udāyin, there are some worthless men who, when I tell them, ‘Abandon this,’ say: ‘What? This little, trifling thing? He’s too much of a stickler, this contemplative.’ They don’t abandon it. They’re rude to me and to the monks keen on training. For them that’s a strong snare, a thick snare, a heavy snare, an unrotting snare, and a thick yoke.

“Now there are some clansmen who, when I tell them, ‘Abandon this,’ say: ‘What? The Blessed One has us abandon, the One Well-Gone has us relinquish this little, trifling thing?’ But they abandon it and are not rude to me or to the monks keen on training. Having abandoned it, they live unconcerned, unruffled, their wants satisfied, with their mind like a wild deer. For them that’s a weak snare, a feeble snare, a rotting snare, an insubstantial snare.

“Suppose a royal elephant—immense, pedigreed, accustomed to battles, its tusks like chariot poles—were snared with thick leather snares, but by twisting its body a bit it could break & burst those snares and go off wherever it liked. And suppose someone were to say, ‘Those thick leather snares by which the royal elephant… was snared, but which—by twisting its body a bit— it could break & burst and go off wherever it liked: for him they were a strong snare, a thick snare, a heavy snare, an unrotting snare, and a thick yoke.’ Would the person speaking that way be speaking rightly?’

“No, lord. Those thick leather snares… were for him a weak snare, a feeble snare, a rotting snare, an insubstantial snare.”

“In the same way, Udāyin, there are some clansmen who, when I tell them, ‘Abandon this,’ say: ‘What? The Blessed One has us abandon, the One Well-Gone has us relinquish this little, trifling thing?’ But they abandon it and are not rude to me or to the monks keen on training. Having abandoned it, they live unconcerned, unruffled, their wants satisfied, with their mind like a wild deer. For them that’s a weak snare, a feeble snare, a rotting snare, an insubstantial snare.

“Suppose there were a poor person, penniless & indigent, with a single little shack—dilapidated, open to the crows, not the best sort; and a single bed—dilapidated, not the best sort; and a single pot of rice & gourd seeds—not the best sort; and a single wife, not the best sort. He would go to a park and see a monk—his hands & feet washed, after a delightful meal, sitting in the cool shade, committed to the heightened mind. The thought would occur to him: How happy the contemplative state! How free of disease the contemplative state! O that I—shaving off my hair & beard and donning the ochre robe—might go forth from the household life into homelessness!’ But being unable to abandon his single little shack—dilapidated, open to the crows, not the best sort; to abandon his single bed—dilapidated, not the best sort; to abandon his single pot of rice & gourd seeds—not the best sort; and to abandon his single wife, not the best sort, he wouldn’t be able to shave off his hair & beard, to don the ochre robe, or to go forth from the household life into homelessness. And suppose someone were to say, ‘That single little shack—dilapidated, open to the crows, not the best sort; that single bed—dilapidated, not the best sort; that single pot of rice & gourd seeds—not the best sort; and that single wife, not the best sort by which that man was snared, which he was unable to abandon, and because of which he couldn’t shave off his hair & beard, don the ochre robe, and go forth from the household life into homelessness: for him they were a weak snare, a feeble snare, a rotting snare, an insubstantial snare.’ Would the person speaking that way be speaking rightly?”

“No, lord. That single hut… that single bed… that single pot… that single wife… were for that man a strong snare, a thick snare, a heavy snare, an unrotting snare, and a thick yoke.”

“In the same way, Udāyin, there are some worthless men who, when I tell them, ‘Abandon this,’ say: ‘What? This little, trifling thing? He’s too much of a stickler, this contemplative.’ They don’t abandon it. They’re rude to me and to the monks keen on training. For them that’s a strong snare, a thick snare, a heavy snare, an unrotting snare, and a thick yoke.

“Now suppose, Udāyin, that there were a householder or householder’s son—rich, prosperous, & wealthy—with vast amounts of gold ingots, vast amounts of grain, a vast number of fields, a vast amount of land, a vast number of wives, and a vast number of male & female slaves. He would go to a park and see a monk—his hands & feet washed, after a delightful meal, sitting in the cool shade, committed to the heightened mind. The thought would occur to him: How happy the contemplative state! How free of disease the contemplative state! O that I—shaving off my hair & beard and donning the ochre robe—might go forth from the household life into homelessness!’ And being able to abandon his vast amounts of gold ingots, his vast amounts of grain, his vast number of fields, his vast amount of land, his vast number of wives, and his vast number of male & female slaves, he would be able to shave off his hair & beard, to don the ochre robe, and to go forth from the household life into homelessness. Now suppose someone were to say, ‘Those vast amounts of gold ingots… and a vast number of male & female slaves by which that householder or householder’s son was snared but which he was able to abandon so that he could shave off his hair & beard, don the ochre robe, and go forth from the household life into homelessness: for him they were a strong snare, a thick snare, a heavy snare, an unrotting snare, and a thick yoke.’ Would the person speaking that way be speaking rightly?”

“No, lord. Those vast amounts of gold ingots… were for him a weak snare, a feeble snare, a rotting snare, an insubstantial snare.’

“In the same way, Udāyin, there are some clansmen who, when I tell them, ‘Abandon this,’ say: ‘What? The Blessed One has us abandon, the One Well-Gone has us relinquish this little, trifling thing?’ But they abandon it and are not rude to me or to the monks keen on training. Having abandoned it, they live unconcerned, unruffled, their wants satisfied, with their mind like a wild deer. For them that’s a weak snare, a feeble snare, a rotting snare, an insubstantial snare.



Read the entire translation of Majjhima Nikāya 66 Laḍukikopama Sutta. The Quail Simile by Bhikkhu Ṭhanissaro on DhammaTalks.org.

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MN 106 From… Āneñjasappāyasutta: Conducive to the Imperturbable

“…Mendicants, sensual pleasures are impermanent, hollow, false, and deceptive, made by illusion, cooed over by fools. Sensual pleasures in this life and in lives to come, sensual perceptions in this life and in lives to come; both of these are Māra’s domain, Māra’s realm, and Māra’s territory. They conduce to bad, unskillful qualities such as desire, ill will, and aggression. And they create an obstacle for a noble disciple training here.

A noble disciple reflects on this: ‘Sensual pleasures in this life and in lives to come, sensual perceptions in this life and in lives to come; both of these are Māra’s domain, Māra’s realm, and Māra’s territory. They conduce to bad, unskillful qualities such as desire, ill will, and aggression. And they create an obstacle for a noble disciple training here. Why don’t I meditate with an abundant, expansive heart, having mastered the world and stabilized the mind? Then I will have no more bad, unskillful qualities such as desire, ill will, and aggression. And by giving them up my mind, no longer limited, will become limitless and well developed.’

Practicing in this way and meditating on it often their mind becomes confident in this dimension. Being confident, they either attain the imperturbable now, or are freed by wisdom. When their body breaks up, after death, it’s possible that the consciousness headed that way will be reborn in the imperturbable. This is said to be the first way of practice suitable for attaining the imperturbable.…


Read the entire translation of Majjhima Nikāya 106 Āneñjasappāyasutta: Conducive to the Imperturbable by Bhikkhu Sujato on SuttaCentral.net.

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MN 145 From… Puṇṇovādasutta: Advice to Puṇṇa

So I have heard. At one time the Buddha was staying near Sāvatthī in Jeta’s Grove, Anāthapiṇḍika’s monastery.

Then in the late afternoon, Venerable Puṇṇa came out of retreat and went to the Buddha. He bowed, sat down to one side, and said to the Buddha, “Sir, may the Buddha please teach me Dhamma in brief. When I’ve heard it, I’ll live alone, withdrawn, diligent, keen, and resolute.”

“Well then, Puṇṇa, listen and apply your mind well, I will speak.”

“Yes, sir,” replied Puṇṇa. The Buddha said this:

“Puṇṇa, there are sights known by the eye that are likable, desirable, agreeable, pleasant, sensual, and arousing. If a mendicant approves, welcomes, and keeps clinging to them, this gives rise to relishing. Relishing is the origin of suffering, I say.

There are sounds known by the ear … smells known by the nose … tastes known by the tongue … touches known by the body … thoughts known by the mind that are likable, desirable, agreeable, pleasant, sensual, and arousing. If a mendicant approves, welcomes, and keeps clinging to them, this gives rise to relishing. Relishing is the origin of suffering, I say.

There are sights known by the eye that are likable, desirable, agreeable, pleasant, sensual, and arousing. If a mendicant doesn’t approve, welcome, and keep clinging to them, relishing ceases. When relishing ceases, suffering ceases, I say.

There are sounds known by the ear … smells known by the nose … tastes known by the tongue … touches known by the body … thoughts known by the mind that are likable, desirable, agreeable, pleasant, sensual, and arousing. If a mendicant doesn’t approve, welcome, and keep clinging to them, relishing ceases. When relishing ceases, suffering ceases, I say.…


Note: “Relishing is the origin of suffering” is the translation of “Nandīsamudayā dukkhasamudayo.” The sutta continues with Ven. Puṇṇa explaining how he will deal with harsh treatment by the locals in the place he is traveling to.

Read the entire translation of Majjhima Nikāya 145 Puṇṇovādasutta: Advice to Puṇṇa by Bhikkhu Sujato on SuttaCentral.net.

MN 54 From… Potaliyasutta: With Potaliya the Householder

[Note: These are very famous similes that are frequently mentioned in brief throughout the suttas. This is just part of a longer sutta.]

…“Householder, suppose a dog weak with hunger was hanging around a butcher’s shop. Then a deft butcher or their apprentice would toss them a skeleton scraped clean of flesh and smeared in blood. What do you think, householder? Gnawing on such a fleshless skeleton, would that dog still get rid of its hunger?”

“No, sir. Why not? Because that skeleton is scraped clean of flesh and smeared in blood. That dog will eventually get weary and frustrated.”

“In the same way, a noble disciple reflects: ‘With the simile of a skeleton the Buddha said that sensual pleasures give little gratification and much suffering and distress, and they are all the more full of drawbacks.’ Having truly seen this with right understanding, they reject equanimity based on diversity and develop only the equanimity based on unity, where all kinds of grasping to the world’s material delights cease without anything left over.

Suppose a vulture or a crow or a hawk was to grab a lump of meat and fly away. Other vultures, crows, and hawks would keep chasing it, pecking and clawing. What do you think, householder? If that vulture, crow, or hawk doesn’t quickly let go of that lump of meat, wouldn’t that result in death or deadly suffering for them?”

“Yes, sir.” …

“Suppose a person carrying a blazing grass torch was to walk against the wind. What do you think, householder? If that person doesn’t quickly let go of that blazing grass torch, wouldn’t they burn their hands or arm or other limb, resulting in death or deadly suffering for them?”

“Yes, sir.” …

“Suppose there was a pit of glowing coals deeper than a man’s height, full of glowing coals that neither flamed nor smoked. Then a person would come along who wants to live and doesn’t want to die, who wants to be happy and recoils from pain. Then two strong men would grab them by the arms and drag them towards the pit of glowing coals. What do you think, householder? Wouldn’t that person writhe and struggle to and fro?”

“Yes, sir. Why is that? For that person knows: ‘If I fall in that pit of glowing coals, that’d result in my death or deadly pain.’” …

“Suppose a person was to see delightful parks, woods, meadows, and lotus ponds in a dream. But when they woke they couldn’t see them at all. …

Suppose a man had borrowed some goods—a gentleman’s carriage and fine jewelled earrings—and preceded and surrounded by these he proceeded through the middle of Āpaṇa. When people saw him they’d say: ‘This must be a wealthy man! For that’s how the wealthy enjoy their wealth.’ But when the owners saw him, they’d take back what was theirs. What do you think? Would that be enough for that man to get upset?”

“Yes, sir. Why is that? Because the owners took back what was theirs.” …

“Suppose there was a dark forest grove not far from a town or village. And there was a tree laden with fruit, yet none of the fruit had fallen to the ground. And along came a person in need of fruit, wandering in search of fruit. Having plunged deep into that forest grove, they’d see that tree laden with fruit. They’d think: ‘That tree is laden with fruit, yet none of the fruit has fallen to the ground. But I know how to climb a tree. Why don’t I climb the tree, eat as much as I like, then fill my pouch?’ And that’s what they’d do. And along would come a second person in need of fruit, wandering in search of fruit, carrying a sharp axe. Having plunged deep into that forest grove, they’d see that tree laden with fruit. They’d think: ‘That tree is laden with fruit, yet none of the fruit has fallen to the ground. But I don’t know how to climb a tree. Why don’t I chop this tree down at the root, eat as much as I like, then fill my pouch?’ And so they’d chop the tree down at the root. What do you think, householder? If the first person, who climbed the tree, doesn’t quickly come down, when that tree fell wouldn’t they break their hand or arm or other limb, resulting in death or deadly suffering for them?”

“Yes, sir.”

“In the same way, a noble disciple reflects: ‘With the simile of the fruit tree the Buddha said that sensual pleasures give little gratification and much suffering and distress, and they are all the more full of drawbacks.’ Having truly seen this with right understanding, they reject equanimity based on diversity and develop only the equanimity based on unity, where all kinds of grasping to the world’s material delights cease without anything left over.…



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MN 75 From… Māgaṇḍiyasutta: With Māgaṇḍiya

[Note: This is from a longer that gives even more wonderful similes about sense pleasures. Please read the whole sutta if you are able.]

[The Buddha:] “…Suppose there was a person affected by leprosy, with sores and blisters on their limbs. Being devoured by worms, scratching with their nails at the opening of their wounds, they’d cauterize their body over a pit of glowing coals. Their friends and colleagues, relatives and kin would get a field surgeon to treat them. The field surgeon would make medicine for them, and by using that they’d be cured of leprosy. They’d be healthy, happy, autonomous, master of themselves, able to go where they wanted. Then they’d see another person affected by leprosy, with sores and blisters on their limbs, being devoured by worms, scratching with their nails at the opening of their wounds, cauterizing their body over a pit of glowing coals.

What do you think, Māgaṇḍiya? Would that person envy that other person affected by leprosy for their pit of glowing coals or for taking medicine?”

“No, Master Gotama. Why is that? Because you need to take medicine only when there’s a disease. When there’s no disease, there’s no need for medicine.”

“In the same way, Māgaṇḍiya, when I was still a layperson I used to entertain myself with sights … sounds … smells … tastes … touches known by the body that are likable, desirable, agreeable, pleasant, sensual, and arousing. Some time later—having truly understood the origin, ending, gratification, drawback, and escape of sensual pleasures, and having given up craving and dispelled passion for sensual pleasures—I live rid of thirst, my mind peaceful inside. I see other sentient beings who are not free from sensual pleasures being consumed by craving for sensual pleasures, burning with passion for sensual pleasures, indulging in sensual pleasures. I don’t envy them, nor do I hope to enjoy that. Why is that? Because there is a satisfaction that is apart from sensual pleasures and unskillful qualities, which even achieves the level of heavenly pleasure. Enjoying that satisfaction, I don’t envy what is inferior, nor do I hope to enjoy it.

Suppose there was a person affected by leprosy, with sores and blisters on their limbs. Being devoured by worms, scratching with their nails at the opening of their wounds, they’d cauterize their body over a pit of glowing coals. Their friends and colleagues, relatives and kin would get a field surgeon to treat them. The field surgeon would make medicine for them, and by using that they’d be cured of leprosy. They’d be healthy, happy, autonomous, master of themselves, able to go where they wanted. Then two strong men would grab them by the arms and drag them towards the pit of glowing coals.

What do you think, Māgaṇḍiya? Wouldn’t that person writhe and struggle to and fro?”

“Yes, Master Gotama. Why is that? Because that fire is really painful to touch, fiercely burning and scorching.”

“What do you think, Māgaṇḍiya? Is it only now that the fire is really painful to touch, fiercely burning and scorching, or was it painful previously as well?”

“That fire is painful now and it was also painful previously. That person was affected by leprosy, with sores and blisters on their limbs. Being devoured by worms, scratching with their nails at the opening of their wounds, their sense faculties were impaired. So even though the fire was actually painful to touch, they had a distorted perception that it was pleasant.”

In the same way, sensual pleasures of the past, future, and present are painful to touch, fiercely burning and scorching. These sentient beings who are not free from sensual pleasures—being consumed by craving for sensual pleasures, burning with passion for sensual pleasures—have impaired sense faculties. So even though sensual pleasures are actually painful to touch, they have a distorted perception that they are pleasant.…



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MN 146 From… Nandakovādasutta: Advice from Nandaka

…“Suppose a deft butcher or their apprentice was to kill a cow and carve it with a sharp meat cleaver. Without damaging the flesh inside or the hide outside, they’d cut, carve, sever, and slice through the connecting tendons, sinews, and ligaments, and then peel off the outer hide. Then they’d wrap that cow up in that very same hide and say: ‘This cow is joined to its hide just like before.’ Would they be speaking rightly?”

“No, sir. Why is that? Because even if they wrap that cow up in that very same hide and say: ‘This cow is joined to its hide just like before,’ still that cow is not joined to that hide.”

“I’ve made up this simile to make a point. And this is the point. ‘The inner flesh’ is a term for the six interior sense fields. ‘The outer hide’ is a term for the six exterior sense fields. ‘The connecting tendons, sinews, and ligaments’ is a term for greed and relishing. ‘A sharp meat cleaver’ is a term for noble wisdom. And it is that noble wisdom which cuts, carves, severs, and slices the connecting corruption, fetter, and bond.

Sisters, by developing and cultivating these seven awakening factors, a mendicant realizes the undefiled freedom of heart and freedom by wisdom in this very life. And they live having realized it with their own insight due to the ending of defilements. What seven? It’s when a mendicant develops the awakening factors of mindfulness, investigation of principles, energy, rapture, tranquility, immersion, and equanimity, which rely on seclusion, fading away, and cessation, and ripen as letting go. It is by developing and cultivating these seven awakening factors that a mendicant realizes the undefiled freedom of heart and freedom by wisdom in this very life. And they live having realized it with their own insight due to the ending of defilements.”…


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