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SN 9.1 Viveka Sutta: Seclusion

[NOTE: Devatā is the Pali word for a type of god. Some devatās are bound to the earth and live in forests like the one in this sutta.]

I have heard that on one occasion a certain monk was staying among the Kosalans in a forest grove. Now at that time, as he had gone to spend the day in the grove, he was thinking unskillful thoughts, connected with the household life.

Then the devatā inhabiting the forest grove, feeling sympathy for the monk, desiring his benefit, desiring to bring him to his senses, approached him and addressed him with this verse:

“Desiring seclusion
you’ve entered the forest,
and yet your mind
goes running outside.
You, a person:
subdue your desire for people.
Then you’ll be happy, free
          from passion.
Dispel discontent,
be mindful.
Let me remind you
of that which is good—
for the dust
of the regions below
     is hard to transcend.
Don’t let the dust
of the sensual
pull
     you
          down.

     As a bird
spattered with dirt
sheds the adhering dust with a shake,
     so a monk
—energetic & mindful—
sheds the adhering dust.”

The monk, chastened by the devatā, came to his senses.


Read this translation of Saṁyutta Nikāya 9.1 Viveka Sutta. Seclusion by Bhikkhu Ṭhanissaro on DhammaTalks.org. Or read a different translation on SuttaCentral.net. Or listen on PaliAudio.com or Voice.SuttaCentral.net. Or explore the Pali on DigitalPaliReader.online.

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