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AN 8.85 Samaṇasutta: Terms for the Realized One

[Happy Vesak to everyone!]

“‘Ascetic’ is a term for the Realized One, the perfected one, the fully awakened Buddha. ‘Brahmin’, ‘Knowledge Master’, ‘Healer’, ‘Unstained’, ‘Immaculate’, ‘Knower’, and ‘Freed’ are terms for the Realized One, the perfected one, the fully awakened Buddha.

The supreme should be attained by an ascetic,
a brahmin who has lived the life;
it should be attained by a knowledge master,
a healer.

The supreme should be attained by the unstained,
stainless and pure;
it should be attained by a knower,
who is free.

I am victorious in battle!
Released, I release others from their chains.
I am a dragon completely tamed,
an adept, I am extinguished.”


Read this translation of Aṅguttara Nikāya 8.85 Samaṇasutta: Terms for the Realized One by Bhikkhu Sujato on SuttaCentral.net. Or listen on SC-Voice.net. Or explore the Pali on DigitalPaliReader.online.

Or read a translation in Deutsch, বাংলা, Bahasa Indonesia, 日本語, မြန်မာဘာသာ, Русский, සිංහල, ไทย, Tiếng Việt, or 汉语. Learn how to find your language.

AN 6.55 From… Soṇasutta: With Soṇa

[Note: In this sutta we see the Buddha’s great skill in giving a teaching based on the listener’s experience. Below is only the first half of the sutta. Read the entire sutta on SuttaCentral.net.]

So I have heard. At one time the Buddha was staying near Rājagaha, on the Vulture’s Peak Mountain.

Now at that time Venerable Soṇa was staying near Rājagaha in the Cool Grove. Then as he was in private retreat this thought came to his mind, “I am one of the Buddha’s most energetic disciples. Yet my mind is not freed from defilements by not grasping. But my family has wealth. I could enjoy that wealth and make merit. Why don’t I resign the training and return to a lesser life, so I can enjoy my wealth and make merit?”

Then the Buddha knew what Venerable Soṇa was thinking. As easily as a strong person would extend or contract their arm, he vanished from the Vulture’s Peak and reappeared in the Cool Grove in front of Soṇa, and sat on the seat spread out. Soṇa bowed to the Buddha and sat down to one side.

The Buddha said to him, “Soṇa, as you were in private retreat didn’t this thought come to your mind: ‘I am one of the Buddha’s most energetic disciples. Yet my mind is not freed from defilements by not grasping. But my family has wealth. I could enjoy that wealth and make merit. Why don’t I resign the training and return to a lesser life, so I can enjoy my wealth and make merit?’”

“Yes, sir.”

“What do you think, Soṇa? When you were still a layman, weren’t you a good player of the arched harp?”

“Yes, sir.”

“When your harp’s strings were tuned too tight, was it resonant and playable?”

“No, sir.”

“When your harp’s strings were tuned too slack, was it resonant and playable?”

“No, sir.”

“But when your harp’s strings were tuned neither too tight nor too slack, but fixed at an even tension, was it resonant and playable?”

“Yes, sir.”

“In the same way, Soṇa, when energy is too forceful it leads to restlessness. When energy is too slack it leads to laziness. So, Soṇa, you should apply yourself to energy and serenity, find a balance of the faculties, and learn the pattern of this situation.”

“Yes, sir,” Soṇa replied.

After advising Soṇa like this, the Buddha, as easily as a strong person would extend or contract their arm, vanished from the Cool Grove and reappeared on the Vulture’s Peak.

After some time Soṇa applied himself to energy and serenity, found a balance of the faculties, and learned the pattern of this situation. Then Soṇa, living alone, withdrawn, diligent, keen, and resolute, soon realized the supreme culmination of the spiritual path in this very life. He lived having achieved with his own insight the goal for which gentlemen rightly go forth from the lay life to homelessness.

He understood: “Rebirth is ended; the spiritual journey has been completed; what had to be done has been done; there is no return to any state of existence.” And Venerable Soṇa became one of the perfected.

Then, when Soṇa had attained perfection, he thought, “Why don’t I go to the Buddha and declare my enlightenment in his presence?” Then Soṇa went up to the Buddha, bowed, sat down to one side, and said to him: …


Read the entire translation of Aṅguttara Nikāya 6.55 Soṇasutta: With Soṇa by Bhikkhu Sujato on SuttaCentral.net. Or read a different translation on SuttaCentral.net or DhammaTalks.org. Or listen on SC-Voice.net. Or explore the Pali on DigitalPaliReader.online.

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AN 1.277: One Buddha

“It is impossible, mendicants, it cannot happen for two perfected ones, fully awakened Buddhas to arise in the same solar system at the same time. But it is possible for just one perfected one, a fully awakened Buddha, to arise in one solar system.”


Read this translation of Aṅguttara Nikāya 1.277 by Bhikkhu Sujato on SuttaCentral.net. Or read another translation on SuttaFriends.org. Or read the Pāli on DigitalPaliReader.online.

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AN 2.54: Deaths Regretted by Many

“There are two people, mendicants, whose death is regretted by many people. What two? The Realized One, the perfected one, the fully awakened Buddha; and the wheel-turning monarch. These are the two people, mendicants, whose death is regretted by many people.”


Read this translation of Aṅguttara Nikāya 2.54 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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AN 5.133 Dhammarājāsutta: A Principled King

[Note: The word “principle” below is a translation for the Pali word Dhamma.]

“Mendicants, even a wheel-turning monarch, a just and principled king, does not wield power without having their own king.”

When he said this, one of the mendicants asked the Buddha, “But who is the king of the wheel-turning monarch, the just and principled king?”

“It is principle, monk,” said the Buddha.

“Monk, a wheel-turning monarch provides just protection and security for his court, relying only on principle—honoring, respecting, and venerating principle, having principle as his flag, banner, and authority.

He provides just protection and security for his aristocrats, vassals, troops, brahmins and householders, people of town and country, ascetics and brahmins, beasts and birds. When he has done this, he wields power only in a principled manner. And this power cannot be undermined by any human enemy.

In the same way, monk, a Realized One, a perfected one, a fully awakened Buddha, a just and principled king, provides just protection and security for the monks, relying only on principle—honoring, respecting, and venerating principle, having principle as his flag, banner, and authority. ‘This kind of bodily action should be cultivated. This kind of bodily action should not be cultivated. This kind of verbal action should be cultivated. This kind of verbal action should not be cultivated. This kind of mental action should be cultivated. This kind of mental action should not be cultivated. This kind of livelihood should be cultivated. This kind of livelihood should not be cultivated. This kind of market town should be cultivated. This kind of market town should not be cultivated.’

In the same way, monk, a Realized One, a perfected one, a fully awakened Buddha, a just and principled king, provides just protection and security for the nuns … laymen … laywomen, relying only on principle—honoring, respecting, and venerating principle, having principle as his flag, banner, and authority. ‘This kind of bodily action should be cultivated. This kind of bodily action should not be cultivated. This kind of verbal action should be cultivated. This kind of verbal action should not be cultivated. This kind of mental action should be cultivated. This kind of mental action should not be cultivated. This kind of livelihood should be cultivated. This kind of livelihood should not be cultivated. This kind of market town should be cultivated. This kind of market town should not be cultivated.’

When a Realized One, a perfected one, a fully awakened Buddha has provided just protection and security for the monks, nuns, laymen, and laywomen, he rolls forth the supreme Wheel of Dhamma only in a principled manner. And that wheel cannot be rolled back by any ascetic or brahmin or god or Māra or Brahmā or by anyone in the world.”


Read this translation of Aṅguttara Nikāya 5.133 Dhammarājāsutta: A Principled King by Bhikkhu Sujato on SuttaCentral.net. Or read a different translation on SuttaCentral.net. Or listen on SC-Voice.net. Or explore the Pali on DigitalPaliReader.online.

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MN 36 From… Mahāsaccakasutta: The Greater Discourse to Saccaka

[Note: The events in this selection take place while the Bodhisatta was striving unsuccessfully for enlightenment.]

“I thought: ‘Suppose I practise entirely cutting off food.’ Then deities came to me and said: ‘Good sir, do not practise entirely cutting off food. If you do so, we shall infuse heavenly food into the pores of your skin and you will live on that.’ I considered: ‘If I claim to be completely fasting while these deities infuse heavenly food into the pores of my skin and I live on that, then I shall be lying.’ So I dismissed those deities, saying: ‘There is no need.’

“I thought: ‘Suppose I take very little food, a handful each time, whether of bean soup or lentil soup or vetch soup or pea soup.’ So I took very little food, a handful each time, whether of bean soup or lentil soup or vetch soup or pea soup. While I did so, my body reached a state of extreme emaciation. Because of eating so little my limbs became like the jointed segments of vine stems or bamboo stems. Because of eating so little my backside became like a camel’s hoof. Because of eating so little the projections on my spine stood forth like corded beads. Because of eating so little my ribs jutted out as gaunt as the crazy rafters of an old roofless barn. Because of eating so little the gleam of my eyes sank far down in their sockets, looking like the gleam of water that has sunk far down in a deep well. Because of eating so little my scalp shrivelled and withered as a green bitter gourd shrivels and withers in the wind and sun. Because of eating so little my belly skin adhered to my backbone; thus if I touched my belly skin I encountered my backbone and if I touched my backbone I encountered my belly skin. Because of eating so little, if I defecated or urinated, I fell over on my face there. Because of eating so little, if I tried to ease my body by rubbing my limbs with my hands, the hair, rotted at its roots, fell from my body as I rubbed.

“Now when people saw me, some said: ‘The recluse Gotama is black.’ Other people said: ‘The recluse Gotama is not black, he is brown.’ Other people said: ‘The recluse Gotama is neither black nor brown, he is golden-skinned.’ So much had the clear, bright colour of my skin deteriorated through eating so little.

“I thought: ‘Whatever recluses or brahmins in the past have experienced painful, racking, piercing feelings due to exertion, this is the utmost, there is none beyond this. And whatever recluses and brahmins in the future will experience painful, racking, piercing feelings due to exertion, this is the utmost, there is none beyond this. And whatever recluses and brahmins at present experience painful, racking, piercing feelings due to exertion, this is the utmost, there is none beyond this. But by this racking practice of austerities I have not attained any superhuman states, any distinction in knowledge and vision worthy of the noble ones. Could there be another path to enlightenment?’

“I considered: ‘I recall that when my father the Sakyan was occupied, while I was sitting in the cool shade of a rose-apple tree, quite secluded from sensual pleasures, secluded from unwholesome states, I entered upon and abided in the first jhāna, which is accompanied by applied and sustained thought, with rapture and pleasure born of seclusion. Could that be the path to enlightenment?’ Then, following on that memory, came the realisation: ‘That is indeed the path to enlightenment.’

“I thought: ‘Why am I afraid of that pleasure that has nothing to do with sensual pleasures and unwholesome states?’ I thought: ‘I am not afraid of that pleasure since it has nothing to do with sensual pleasures and unwholesome states.’

“I considered: ‘It is not easy to attain that pleasure with a body so excessively emaciated. Suppose I ate some solid food—some boiled rice and porridge.’ And I ate some solid food—some boiled rice and porridge. Now at that time five bhikkhus were waiting upon me, thinking: ‘If our recluse Gotama achieves some higher state, he will inform us.’ But when I ate the boiled rice and porridge, the five bhikkhus were disgusted and left me, thinking: ‘The recluse Gotama now lives luxuriously; he has given up his striving and reverted to luxury.’…


Read the entire translation of Majjhima Nikāya 36 Mahāsaccakasutta: The Greater Discourse to Saccaka by Bhikkhu Bodhi 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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SN 22.94 Pupphasutta: Flowers

At Savatthi. “Bhikkhus, I do not dispute with the world; rather, it is the world that disputes with me. A proponent of the Dhamma does not dispute with anyone in the world. Of that which the wise in the world agree upon as not existing, I too say that it does not exist. And of that which the wise in the world agree upon as existing, I too say that it exists.

“And what is it, bhikkhus, that the wise in the world agree upon as not existing, of which I too say that it does not exist? Form that is permanent, stable, eternal, not subject to change: this the wise in the world agree upon as not existing, and I too say that it does not exist. Feeling … Perception … Volitional formations … Consciousness that is permanent, stable, eternal, not subject to change: this the wise in the world agree upon as not existing, and I too say that it does not exist.

“That, bhikkhus, is what the wise in the world agree upon as not existing, of which I too say that it does not exist.

“And what is it, bhikkhus, that the wise in the world agree upon as existing, of which I too say that it exists? Form that is impermanent, suffering, and subject to change: this the wise in the world agree upon as existing, and I too say that it exists. Feeling … Perception … Volitional formations … Consciousness that is impermanent, suffering, and subject to change: this the wise in the world agree upon as existing, and I too say that it exists.

“That, bhikkhus, is what the wise in the world agree upon as existing, of which I too say that it exists.

“There is, bhikkhus, a world-phenomenon in the world to which the Tathagata has awakened and broken through. Having done so, he explains it, teaches it, proclaims it, establishes it, discloses it, analyses it, elucidates it.

“And what is that world-phenomenon in the world to which the Tathagata has awakened and broken through? Form, bhikkhus, is a world-phenomenon in the world to which the Tathagata has awakened and broken through. Having done so, he explains it, teaches it, proclaims it, establishes it, discloses it, analyses it, elucidates it. When it is being thus explained … … and elucidated by the Tathagata, if anyone does not know and see, how can I do anything with that foolish worldling, blind and sightless, who does not know and does not see?

“Feeling … Perception … Volitional formations … Consciousness is a world-phenomenon in the world to which the Tathagata has awakened and broken through. Having done so, he explains it, teaches it, proclaims it, establishes it, discloses it, analyses it, elucidates it. When it is being thus explained … and elucidated by the Tathagata, if anyone does not know and see, how can I do anything with that foolish worldling, blind and sightless, who does not know and does not see?

“Bhikkhus, just as a blue, red, or white lotus is born in the water and grows up in the water, but having risen up above the water, it stands unsullied by the water, so too the Tathagata was born in the world and grew up in the world, but having overcome the world, he dwells unsullied by the world.”


Read this translation of Saṁyutta Nikāya 22.94 Pupphasutta: Flowers by Bhikkhu Bodhi on SuttaCentral.net. Or read a different translation on SuttaCentral.net or DhammaTalks.org. Or listen on SC-Voice.net. Or explore the Pali on DigitalPaliReader.online.

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AN 4.22 Dutiyauruvelasutta: Uruvelā (2)

“Bhikkhus, on one occasion I was dwelling at Uruvelā, by the goatherds’ banyan tree on the bank of the Neranjarā River, just after I had attained full enlightenment. Then a number of brahmins, old, aged, burdened with years, advanced in life, come to the last stage, approached me and exchanged greetings with me. When they had concluded their greetings and cordial talk, they sat down to one side and said to me:

“‘We have heard, Master Gotama: “The ascetic Gotama does not pay homage to brahmins who are old, aged, burdened with years, advanced in life, come to the last stage; nor does he stand up for them or offer them a seat.” This is indeed true, for Master Gotama does not pay homage to brahmins who are old, aged, burdened with years, advanced in life, come to the last stage; nor does he stand up for them or offer them a seat. This is not proper, Master Gotama.’

“It then occurred to me: These venerable ones do not know what an elder is or what the qualities that make one an elder are. Even though someone is old—eighty, ninety, or a hundred years from birth—if he speaks at an improper time, speaks falsely, speaks what is unbeneficial, speaks contrary to the Dhamma and the discipline, if at an improper time he speaks words that are worthless, unreasonable, rambling, and unbeneficial, then he is reckoned as a foolish childish elder.

“But even though someone is young, a youth with black hair, endowed with the blessing of youth, in the prime of life, if he speaks at a proper time, speaks what is truthful, speaks what is beneficial, speaks on the Dhamma and the discipline, and if at a proper time he speaks words that are worth recording, reasonable, succinct, and beneficial, then he is reckoned as a wise elder.

“There are, bhikkhus, these four qualities that make one an elder. What four?

(1) “Here, a bhikkhu is virtuous; he dwells restrained by the Pātimokkha, possessed of good conduct and resort, seeing danger in minute faults. Having undertaken the training rules, he trains in them.

(2) “He has learned much, remembers what he has learned, and accumulates what he has learned. Those teachings that are good in the beginning, good in the middle, and good in the end, with the right meaning and phrasing, which proclaim the perfectly complete and pure spiritual life—such teachings as these he has learned much of, retained in mind, recited verbally, investigated with the mind, and penetrated well by view.

(3) “He is one who gains at will, without trouble or difficulty, the four jhānas that constitute the higher mind and are pleasant dwellings in this very life.

(4) “With the destruction of the taints, he has realized for himself with direct knowledge, in this very life, the taintless liberation of mind, liberation by wisdom, and having entered upon it, he dwells in it.

“These are the four qualities that make one an elder.”

The dullard with a restless mind
who speaks much chatter,
his thoughts unsettled,
delighting in a bad teaching,
holding bad views, disrespectful,
is far from an elder’s stature.

But one accomplished in virtue,
learned and discerning,
self-controlled in the factors of firmness,
who clearly sees the meaning with wisdom;
gone beyond all phenomena,
not barren, discerning;

who has abandoned birth and death,
consummate in the spiritual life,
in whom there are no taints—
he is the one I call an elder.
With the destruction of the taints
a bhikkhu is called an elder.



Read this translation of Aṅguttara Nikāya 4.22 Dutiyauruvelasutta: Uruvelā (2) by Bhikkhu Bodhi 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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Ud 4.8 Sundarī Sutta: Sundarī

I have heard that on one occasion the Blessed One was staying near Sāvatthī at Jeta’s Grove, Anāthapiṇḍika’s monastery. Now at that time the Blessed One was worshipped, revered, honored, venerated, and given homage–a recipient of robes, alms food, lodgings, & medicinal requisites for the sick. The community of monks was also worshipped, revered, honored, venerated, and given homage–a recipient of robes, alms food, lodgings, & medicinal requisites for the sick. But the wanderers of other sects were not worshipped, revered, honored, venerated, or given homage; nor were they recipients of robes, alms food, lodgings, or medicinal requisites for the sick.

So the wanderers of other sects–unable to stand the veneration given to the Blessed One and the community of monks–went to Sundarī the female wanderer and, on arrival, said to her, “Sundarī, would you dare to do something for the benefit of your kinsmen?”

“What shall I do, masters? What can I not do? I have given up even my life for the benefit of my kinsmen!”

“In that case, sister, go often to Jeta’s Grove.”

Responding, “As you say, masters,” to those wanderers of other sects, Sundarī the female wanderer went often to Jeta’s Grove. When the wanderers of other sects knew that many people had seen Sundarī the female wanderer going often to Jeta’s Grove, then–having murdered her and buried her right there in the moat-ditch surrounding Jeta’s Grove–they went to King Pasenadi Kosala and, on arrival, said to him, “Great king, we can’t find Sundarī the female wanderer.”

“But where do you suspect she is?”

“At Jeta’s Grove, great king.”

“Then in that case, search Jeta’s Grove.”

Then those wanderers of other sects, having searched Jeta’s Grove, having dug up what they had buried in the surrounding moat-ditch, having mounted it on a litter, took it into Sāvatthī and went from street to street, crossroad to crossroad, stirring up people’s indignation: “See, masters, the handiwork of the Sakyan-son contemplatives. They’re shameless, these Sakyan-son contemplatives: unvirtuous, evil-natured, liars, unholy, though they claim to be practicing the Dhamma, practicing what is harmonious, practicing the holy life, speakers of the truth, virtuous, fine-natured. They have no quality of a contemplative, no holy quality. Destroyed is their quality of a contemplative! Destroyed is their holy quality! From where is their quality of a contemplative? From where, their holy quality? Gone are they from any quality of a contemplative! Gone from any holy quality! How can a man, having done a man’s business with a woman, take her life?”

So on that occasion, people seeing monks in Sāvatthī would insult, revile, irritate, & harass them with discourteous, abusive language: “They’re shameless, these Sakyan-son contemplatives: unvirtuous, evil-natured, liars, unholy, though they claim to be practicing the Dhamma, practicing what is harmonious, practicing the holy life, speakers of the truth, virtuous, fine-natured. They have no quality of a contemplative, no holy quality. Destroyed is their quality of a contemplative! Destroyed is their holy quality! From where is their quality of a contemplative? From where, their holy quality? Gone are they from any quality of a contemplative! Gone from any holy quality! How can a man, having done a man’s business with a woman, take her life?”

Then, early in the morning, a large number of monks adjusted their under robes and–carrying their bowls & robes–went into Sāvatthī for alms. Then, having gone for alms in Sāvatthī, after the meal, returning from their alms round, they went to the Blessed One and, on arrival, having bowed down to him, sat to one side. As they were sitting there they said to the Blessed One, “At present, lord, people seeing monks in Sāvatthī insult, revile, irritate, & harass them with discourteous, abusive language: ‘They’re shameless, these Sakyan-son contemplatives: unvirtuous, evil-natured, liars, unholy…. How can a man, having done a man’s business with a woman, take her life?’”

“Monks, this noise will not last long. It will last only seven days. With the passing of seven days, it will disappear. So in that case, when those people, on seeing monks, insult, revile, irritate, & harass them with discourteous, abusive language, counter their accusation with this verse:

“He goes to hell,
the one who asserts
what didn’t take place,
as does the one
who, having done,
says, ‘I didn’t.’
Both–low-acting people–
there become equal:
after death, in the world beyond.”

So, having learned this verse in the Blessed One’s presence, the monks–whenever people, on seeing monks in Sāvatthī, insulted, reviled, irritated, & harassed them with discourteous, abusive language–countered the accusation with this verse:

“He goes to hell,
the one who asserts
what didn’t take place,
as does the one
who, having done,
says, ‘I didn’t.’
Both–low-acting people–
there become equal:
after death, in the world beyond.”

The thought occurred to those people, “They’re innocent, these Sakyan-son contemplatives. It wasn’t done by them. They’re taking an oath, these Sakyan-son contemplatives.” And so that noise didn’t last long. It lasted only seven days. With the passing of seven days, it disappeared.

Then a large number of monks went to the Blessed One and, on arrival, having bowed down to him, sat to one side. As they were sitting there, they said to him, “It’s amazing, lord. It’s astounding–how well-said that was by the Blessed One: ‘Monks, this noise will not last long. It will last only seven days. With the passing of seven days, it will disappear.’ Lord, that noise has disappeared.”

Then, on realizing the significance of that, the Blessed One on that occasion exclaimed:

They stab with their words
–people unrestrained–
as they do, with arrows,
a tusker gone into battle.
Hearing abusive words spoken,
one should endure them:
a monk with unbothered mind.


Read this translation of Udāna 4.8 Sundarī Sutta. Sundarī by Bhikkhu Ṭhanissaro on DhammaTalks.org. Or read a different translation on SuttaCentral.net, SuttaFriends.org, or Ancient-Buddhist-Texts.net. Or listen on SC-Voice.net. Or explore the Pali on DigitalPaliReader.online.

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AN 1.175–186 From… Ekapuggalavagga: One Person

“With the appearance of one person, mendicants, there is

  • the appearance of a great eye,
  • a great light,
  • a great radiance,
  • and the six unsurpassable things;
  • the realization of the four kinds of textual analysis;
  • the penetration of many and diverse elements;
  • the realization of the fruit of knowledge and freedom;
  • the realization of the fruits of stream-entry,
  • once-return,
  • non-return,
  • and perfection.

What one person? The Realized One, the perfected one, the fully awakened Buddha. This is the one person whose appearance brings the appearance of a great eye, a great light, a great radiance, and the six unsurpassable things; the realization of the four kinds of textual analysis; the penetration of many and diverse elements; the realization of the fruit of knowledge and release; the realization of the fruits of stream-entry, once-return, non-return, and perfection.”


Read the entire translation of Aṅguttara Nikāya 1.170–187 Ekapuggalavagga: 170 by Bhikkhu Sujato on SuttaCentral.net. Or read another translation on SuttaFriends.org. Or read the Pāli on DigitalPaliReader.online.

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AN 5.7 Kāmasutta: Sensual Pleasures

“Bhikkhus, beings for the most part are captivated by sensual pleasures. When a clansman has forsaken the sickle and carrying-pole and gone forth from the household life into homelessness, he can be described as a clansman who has gone forth out of faith. For what reason? Sensual pleasures, whether of this or that kind, can be obtained by a youth. Inferior sensual pleasures, middling sensual pleasures, and superior sensual pleasures are all reckoned simply as sensual pleasures.

“Suppose a young infant boy, ignorant, lying on his back, were to put a stick or pebble in his mouth because of his nurse’s heedlessness. His nurse would quickly attend to him and try to take it out. If she could not quickly take it out, she would brace the boy’s head with her left hand and, hooking a finger of her right hand, she would take it out even if she had to draw blood. For what reason? There would be some distress for the boy—this I don’t deny—but the nurse has to do so for his good and welfare, out of compassion for him. However, when the boy has grown up and has enough sense, the nurse would be unconcerned about him, thinking: ‘The boy can now look after himself. He won’t be heedless.’

“So too, so long as a bhikkhu is still not accomplished in faith in cultivating wholesome qualities, in a sense of shame in cultivating wholesome qualities, in moral dread in cultivating wholesome qualities, in energy in cultivating wholesome qualities, and in wisdom in cultivating wholesome qualities, I must still look after him. But when that bhikkhu is accomplished in faith in cultivating wholesome qualities … accomplished in wisdom in cultivating wholesome qualities, then I am unconcerned about him, thinking: ‘The bhikkhu can now look after himself. He won’t be heedless.’”


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AN 8.64 Gayāsīsasutta: At Gayā Head

[Note: In today’s selection we get a rare glimpse into the Buddha’s struggle for enlightenment. While it may not relate very directly to our own practice, it is important for us to have an idea of what the Buddha achieved.]

At one time the Buddha was staying near Gayā on Gayā Head. There the Buddha addressed the mendicants:

“Mendicants, before my awakening—when I was still not awake but intent on awakening—I perceived light but did not see forms.

Then it occurred to me, ‘What if I were to both perceive light and see forms? Then my knowledge and vision would become even more purified.’

So after some time, living alone, withdrawn, diligent, keen, and resolute, I perceived light and saw visions. But I didn’t associate with those deities, converse, or engage in discussion.

Then it occurred to me, ‘What if I were to perceive light and see forms; and associate with those deities, converse, and engage in discussion? Then my knowledge and vision would become even more purified.’

So after some time … I perceived light and saw visions. And I associated with those deities, conversed, and engaged in discussion. But I didn’t know which orders of gods those deities came from.

Then it occurred to me, ‘What if I were to perceive light and see forms; and associate with those deities, converse, and engage in discussion; and find out which orders of gods those deities come from? Then my knowledge and vision would become even more purified.’

So after some time … I perceived light and saw visions. And I associated with those deities … And I found out which orders of gods those deities came from. But I didn’t know what deeds caused those deities to be reborn there after passing away from here.

So after some time … I found out what deeds caused those deities to be reborn there after passing away from here. But I didn’t know what deeds caused those deities to have such food and such an experience of pleasure and pain.

So after some time … I found out what deeds caused those deities to have such food and such an experience of pleasure and pain. But I didn’t know that these deities have a life-span of such a length.

So after some time … I found out that these deities have a life-span of such a length. But I didn’t know whether or not I had previously lived together with those deities.

Then it occurred to me, ‘What if I were to perceive light and see forms; and associate with those deities, converse, and engage in discussion; and find out which orders of gods those deities come from; and what deeds caused those deities to be reborn there after passing away from here; and what deeds caused those deities to have such food and such an experience of pleasure and pain; and that these deities have a life-span of such a length; and whether or not I have previously lived together with those deities? Then my knowledge and vision would become even more purified.’

So after some time … I found out whether or not I have previously lived together with those deities.

As long as my knowledge and vision about the deities was not fully purified from these eight perspectives, I didn’t announce my supreme perfect awakening in this world with its gods, Māras, and Brahmās, this population with its ascetics and brahmins, its gods and humans.

But when my knowledge and vision about the deities was fully purified from these eight perspectives, I announced my supreme perfect awakening in this world with its gods, Māras, and Brahmās, this population with its ascetics and brahmins, its gods and humans. Knowledge and vision arose in me: ‘My freedom is unshakable; this is my last rebirth; now there’ll be no more future lives.’”


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SN 46.16 Tatiyagilānasutta: Ill (3)

On one occasion the Blessed One was dwelling at Rajagaha in the Bamboo Grove, the Squirrel Sanctuary. Now on that occasion the Blessed One was sick, afflicted, gravely ill. Then the Venerable Mahacunda approached the Blessed One, paid homage to him, and sat down to one side. The Blessed One then said to the Venerable Mahacunda:

“Recite the factors of enlightenment, Cunda.”

“These seven factors of enlightenment, venerable sir, have been rightly expounded by the Blessed One; when developed and cultivated, they lead to direct knowledge, to enlightenment, to Nibbāna. What seven? The enlightenment factor of mindfulness has been rightly expounded by the Blessed One; when developed and cultivated, it leads to direct knowledge, to enlightenment, to Nibbāna…. The enlightenment factor of discrimination of states … The enlightenment factor of energy … The enlightenment factor of rapture … The enlightenment factor of tranquillity … The enlightenment factor of concentration …The enlightenment factor of equanimity has been rightly expounded by the Blessed One; when developed and cultivated, it leads to direct knowledge, to enlightenment, to Nibbāna. These seven factors of enlightenment, venerable sir, have been rightly expounded by the Blessed One; when developed and cultivated, they lead to direct knowledge, to enlightenment, to Nibbāna.”

“Surely, Cunda, they are factors of enlightenment! Surely, Cunda, they are factors of enlightenment!”

This is what the Venerable Mahacunda said. The Teacher approved. And the Blessed One recovered from that illness. In such a way the Blessed One was cured of his illness.


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Ud 8.7 Dvidhapatha Sutta: A Fork in the Path

I have heard that on one occasion the Blessed One was journeying along a road in the Kosalan country with Ven. Nāgasamāla as his junior companion. Ven. Nāgasamāla, while going along the road, saw a fork in the path. On seeing it, he said to the Blessed One, “That, lord Blessed One, is the route. We go that way.” When this was said, the Blessed One said, “This, Nāgasamāla, is the route. We go this way.”

A second time… A third time, Ven. Nāgasamāla said to the Blessed One, “That, lord Blessed One, is the route. We go that way.” And for a third time, the Blessed One said, “This, Nāgasamāla, is the route. We go this way.”

Then Ven. Nāgasamāla, placing the Blessed One’s bowl & robes right there on the ground, left, saying, “This, lord Blessed One, is the bowl & robes.”

Then as Ven. Nāgasamāla was going along that route, thieves–jumping out in the middle of the road–pummeled him with their fists & feet, broke his bowl, and ripped his outer robe to shreds.

So Ven. Nāgasamāla–with his bowl broken, his outer robe ripped to shreds–went to the Blessed One and, on arrival, bowed down to him and sat to one side. As he was sitting there he said to the Blessed One, “Just now, lord, as I was going along that route, thieves jumped out in the middle of the road, pummeled me with their fists & feet, broke my bowl, and ripped my outer robe to shreds.”

Then, on realizing the significance of that, the Blessed One on that occasion exclaimed:

When traveling together,
mixed together
with a person who doesn’t know,
an attainer-of-wisdom,
on realizing that the person is evil,
abandons him
as a milk-feeding heron,
a bog.


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Dhp 353 From… Tanhavagga: Craving

[Note: This verse was spoken by the Buddha. See also this selection from MN 26.]

A victor am I over all, all have I known. Yet unattached am I to all that is conquered and known. Abandoning all, I am freed through the destruction of craving. Having thus directly comprehended all by myself, whom shall I call my teacher?


Read the complete translation of Dhammapada 334–359 Tanhavagga: Craving by Acharya Buddharakkhita on accesstoinsight.org. Or read a different translation on SuttaCentral.net, SuttaFriends.org, DhammaTalks.org, or Ancient-Buddhist-Texts.net. Or listen on SC-Voice.net. Or explore the Pali on DigitalPaliReader.online.

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SN 35.13 Paṭhamapubbesambodhasutta: Before My Enlightenment (1)

At Savatthi. “Bhikkhus, before my enlightenment, while I was still a bodhisatta, not yet fully enlightened, it occurred to me: ‘What is the gratification, what is the danger, what is the escape in the case of the eye? What is the gratification, what is the danger, what is the escape in the case of the ear … the nose … the tongue … the body … the mind?’

“Then, bhikkhus, it occurred to me: ‘The pleasure and joy that arise in dependence on the eye: this is the gratification in the eye. That the eye is impermanent, suffering, and subject to change: this is the danger in the eye. The removal and abandonment of desire and lust for the eye: this is the escape from the eye.

“‘The pleasure and joy that arise in dependence on the ear … the nose … the tongue … the body … the mind: this is the gratification in the mind. That the mind is impermanent, suffering, and subject to change: this is the danger in the mind. The removal and abandonment of desire and lust for the mind: this is the escape from the mind.’

“So long, bhikkhus, as I did not directly know as they really are the gratification, the danger, and the escape in the case of these six internal sense bases, I did not claim to have awakened to the unsurpassed perfect enlightenment in this world with its devas, Mara, and Brahma, in this generation with its ascetics and brahmins, its devas and humans. But when I directly knew all this as it really is, then I claimed to have awakened to the unsurpassed perfect enlightenment in this world with … its devas and humans.

“The knowledge and vision arose in me: ‘Unshakable is my liberation of mind; this is my last birth; now there is no more renewed existence.’”


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AN 8.69 Parisāsutta: Assemblies

“Mendicants, there are these eight assemblies. What eight? The assemblies of aristocrats, brahmins, householders, and ascetics. An assembly of the gods under the Four Great Kings. An assembly of the gods under the Thirty-Three. An assembly of Māras. An assembly of Brahmās.

I recall having approached an assembly of hundreds of aristocrats. There I used to sit with them, converse, and engage in discussion. And my appearance and voice became just like theirs. I educated, encouraged, fired up, and inspired them with a Dhamma talk. But when I spoke they didn’t know: ‘Who is this that speaks? Is it a god or a human?’ And when my Dhamma talk was finished I vanished. But when I vanished they didn’t know: ‘Who was that who vanished? Was it a god or a human?’

I recall having approached an assembly of hundreds of brahmins … householders … ascetics … the gods under the Four Great Kings … the gods under the Thirty-Three … Māras … Brahmās. There too I used to sit with them, converse, and engage in discussion. And my appearance and voice became just like theirs. I educated, encouraged, fired up, and inspired them with a Dhamma talk. But when I spoke they didn’t know: ‘Who is this that speaks? Is it a god or a human?’ And when my Dhamma talk was finished I vanished. But when I vanished they didn’t know: ‘Who was that who vanished? Was it a god or a human?’ These are the eight assemblies.”


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Ud 5.2 Appāyukasutta: Short-lived

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 Ānanda came out of retreat and went to the Buddha. He bowed, sat down to one side, and said to him: “It’s incredible, sir, it’s amazing! How short-lived was the Blessed One’s mother! For seven days after the Blessed One was born, his mother passed away and was reborn in the host of Joyful Gods.”

“That’s so true, Ānanda! For the mothers of beings intent of awakening are short-lived. Seven days after the beings intent on awakening are born, their mothers pass away and are reborn in the host of Joyful Gods.”

Then, understanding this matter, on that occasion the Buddha expressed this heartfelt sentiment:

“Whether born or to be born,
all depart, leaving the body behind.
The skillful, understanding that all is lost,
would keenly practice the spiritual life.”


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Thag 15.2 Udāyittheragāthā: Udāyī

[Here the Arahant Udāyī praises the Supreme Buddha. Here “giant” is the translation of the word “nāga.”]

Awakened as a human being,
self-tamed and immersed in samādhi,
following the spiritual path,
he loves peace of mind.

Revered by people,
gone beyond all things,
even the gods revere him;
so I’ve heard from the perfected one.

He has transcended all fetters,
and escaped from entanglements.
Delighting to renounce sensual pleasures,
he’s freed like gold from stone.

That giant outshines all,
like the Himalaya beside other mountains.
Of all those named “giant”,
he is truly named, supreme.

I shall extol the giant for you,
for he does nothing monstrous.
Gentleness and harmlessness
are two feet of the giant.

Mindfulness and awareness
are his two other feet.
Faith is the giant’s trunk,
and equanimity his white tusks.

Mindfulness is his neck, his head is wisdom—
investigation and thinking about principles.
His belly is the sacred hearth of the Dhamma,
and his tail is seclusion.

Practicing absorption, enjoying the breath,
he is serene within.
The giant is serene when walking,
the giant is serene when standing,

the giant is serene when lying down,
and when sitting, the giant is serene.
The giant is restrained everywhere:
this is the accomplishment of the giant.

He eats blameless things,
he doesn’t eat blameworthy things.
When he gets food and clothes,
he avoids storing them up.

Having severed all bonds,
fetters large and small,
wherever he goes,
he goes without concern.

A white lotus,
fragrant and delightful,
sprouts in water and grows there,
but the water doesn’t cling to it.

Just so the Buddha is born in the world,
and lives in the world,
but the world doesn’t stick to him,
as water does not stick to the lotus.

A great blazing fire
dies down when the fuel runs out.
And when the coals have gone out
it’s said to be “extinguished”.

This simile is taught by the discerning
to express the meaning clearly.
Great giants will understand
what the giant taught the giant.

Free of greed, free of hate,
free of delusion, undefiled;
the giant, giving up his body,
undefiled, will be fully extinguished.



Read this translation of Theragāthā 15.2 Udānaāyittheragāthā: Udāyī by Bhikkhu Sujato on SuttaCentral.net. Or read a different translation on SuttaFriends.org or DhammaTalks.org. Or listen on SC-Voice.net. Or explore the Pali on DigitalPaliReader.online.

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SN 47.12 Nālandasutta: Nalanda

On one occasion the Blessed One was dwelling at Nalanda in Pavarika’s Mango Grove. Then the Venerable Sāriputta approached the Blessed One, paid homage to him, sat down to one side, and said to him:

“Venerable sir, I have such confidence in the Blessed One that I believe there has not been nor ever will be nor exists at present another ascetic or brahmin more knowledgeable than the Blessed One with respect to enlightenment.”

“Lofty indeed is this bellowing utterance of yours, Sāriputta, you have roared a definitive, categorical lion’s roar: ‘Venerable sir, I have such confidence in the Blessed One that I believe there has not been nor ever will be nor exists at present another ascetic or brahmin more knowledgeable than the Blessed One with respect to enlightenment.’ Have you now, Sāriputta, encompassed with your mind the minds of all the Arahants, the Perfectly Enlightened Ones, arisen in the past and known thus: ‘Those Blessed Ones were of such virtue, or of such qualities, or of such wisdom, or of such dwellings, or of such liberation’?”

“No, venerable sir.”

“Then, Sāriputta, have you encompassed with your mind the minds of all the Arahants, the Perfectly Enlightened Ones, who will arise in the future and known thus: ‘Those Blessed Ones will be of such virtue, or of such qualities, or of such wisdom, or of such dwellings, or of such liberation’?”

“No, venerable sir.”

“Then, Sāriputta, have you encompassed with your mind my own mind—I being at present the Arahant, the Perfectly Enlightened One—and known thus: ‘The Blessed One is of such virtue, or of such qualities, or of such wisdom, or of such dwellings, or of such liberation’?”

“No, venerable sir.”

“Sāriputta, when you do not have any knowledge encompassing the minds of the Arahants, the Perfectly Enlightened Ones of the past, the future, and the present, why do you utter this lofty, bellowing utterance and roar this definitive, categorical lion’s roar: ‘Venerable sir, I have such confidence in the Blessed One that I believe there has not been nor ever will be nor exists at present another ascetic or brahmin more knowledgeable than the Blessed One with respect to enlightenment’?”

“I do not have, venerable sir, any knowledge encompassing the minds of the Arahants, the Perfectly Enlightened Ones of the past, the future, and the present, but still I have understood this by inference from the Dhamma. Suppose, venerable sir, a king had a frontier city with strong ramparts, walls, and arches, and with a single gate. The gatekeeper posted there would be wise, competent, and intelligent; one who keeps out strangers and admits acquaintances. While he is walking along the path that encircles the city he would not see a cleft or an opening in the walls even big enough for a cat to slip through. He might think: ‘Whatever large creatures enter or leave this city, all enter and leave through this one gate.’

“So too, venerable sir, I have understood this by inference from the Dhamma: Whatever Arahants, Perfectly Enlightened Ones arose in the past, all those Blessed Ones had first abandoned the five hindrances, corruptions of the mind and weakeners of wisdom; and then, with their minds well established in the four establishments of mindfulness, they had developed correctly the seven factors of enlightenment; and thereby they had awakened to the unsurpassed perfect enlightenment. And, venerable sir, whatever Arahants, Perfectly Enlightened Ones will arise in the future, all those Blessed Ones will first abandon the five hindrances, corruptions of the mind and weakeners of wisdom; and then, with their minds well established in the four establishments of mindfulness, they will develop correctly the seven factors of enlightenment; and thereby they will awaken to the unsurpassed perfect enlightenment. And, venerable sir, the Blessed One, who is at present the Arahant, the Perfectly Enlightened One, first abandoned the five hindrances, corruptions of the mind and weakeners of wisdom; and then, with his mind well established in the four establishments of mindfulness, he developed correctly the seven factors of enlightenment; and thereby he has awakened to the unsurpassed perfect enlightenment.”

“Good, good, Sāriputta! Therefore, Sāriputta, you should repeat this Dhamma exposition frequently to the bhikkhus and the bhikkhunis, to the male lay followers and the female lay followers. Even though some foolish people may have perplexity or uncertainty regarding the Tathagata, when they hear this Dhamma exposition their perplexity or uncertainty regarding the Tathagata will be abandoned.”


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DN 30 From… Lakkhana Sutta: The Marks of a Great Man

[The Lakkhana Sutta details the the actions the Buddha did to obtained the 32 Marks and their corresponding wholesome qualities.]

“…Monks, in some past lives the Buddha was reborn as a human being. He approached virtuous and knowledgeable people and asked: ‘Sirs, what is wholesome? What is unwholesome? What is blameworthy? What is blameless? What should be cultivated? What should not be cultivated? Doing what leads to my lasting harm and suffering? Doing what leads to my lasting welfare and happiness?’ Due to performing those deeds he was reborn in heaven. When he passed away from there and was reborn here as a human, he obtained this mark: he has smooth skin, so smooth that dust and dirt don’t stick to his body.

Possessing this mark, if this great man continues to live in the palace, he becomes a universal king. And what does he obtain as a king? He has great wisdom. Of those who enjoy worldly pleasures, no one is equal to him or surpasses him in wisdom. That’s what he obtains as a king.

And what does he obtain as the Buddha? He has great wisdom, widespread wisdom, joyful wisdom, fast wisdom, sharp wisdom, and penetrating wisdom. No being is equal to him or surpasses him in wisdom. That’s what he obtains as Buddha.”

That is what the Buddha said. On this it is said:

“In olden days, in past lives,
He was eager to understand things, he asked questions.
He was keen to learn things, he waited on virtuous people,
listening to their explanation with pure intent.

Due to that good kamma of searching for wisdom,
When he was reborn in the human world, his skin was smooth.
At his birth the mark-readers who are experts in mark-reading predicted:
‘He’ll understand even very subtle things of life.

If he doesn’t choose the monk-life,
he’ll rule the earth righteously.
Among those who instruct and who investigate things,
none is equal or better than him.

But if he chooses the monk-life,
and wisely loves that simple life,
Gaining wisdom that’s supreme and unparalleled,
The Supreme One attains enlightenment.…’”



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AN 10.26 Kāḷīsutta: With Kāḷī

[Note: We met the laywoman Kāḷī of Kuraraghara in yesterdays selection declaring her foremost of laywomen whose confidence is based on oral transmission. In this sutta, she is asking about a statement found in SN 4.25 Māradhītu Sutta. The meditations on universals mentioned below are the kasina meditations. The answer that Arahant Mahākaccāna gives shows that deep Dhamma was taught to lay people as well as monastics.]

At one time Venerable Mahākaccāna was staying in the land of the Avantis near Kuraraghara on Steep Mountain.

Then the laywoman Kāḷī of Kurughara went up to Venerable Mahākaccāna, bowed, sat down to one side, and said to him, “Sir, this was said by the Buddha in ‘The Maidens’ Questions’:

‘I’ve reached the goal, peace of heart.
Having conquered the army
of the likable and pleasant,
alone, practicing absorption, I awakened to bliss.
That’s why I don’t get too close to people,
and no-one gets too close to me.’

How should we see the detailed meaning of the Buddha’s brief statement?”

“Sister, some ascetics and brahmins regard the attainment of the meditation on universal earth to be the ultimate. Thinking ‘this is the goal’, they are reborn. The Buddha directly knew the extent to which the attainment of the meditation on universal earth was the ultimate. Directly knowing this he saw the beginning, the drawback, and the escape. And he saw the knowledge and vision of the variety of paths. Because he saw the beginning, the drawback, and the escape, and he saw the knowledge and vision of the variety of paths, he knew that he had reached the goal, peace of heart.

Some ascetics and brahmins regard the attainment of the meditation on universal water to be the ultimate. Thinking ‘this is the goal’, they are reborn. … Some ascetics and brahmins regard the attainment of the meditation on universal fire … universal air … universal blue … universal yellow … universal red … universal white … universal space … universal consciousness to be the ultimate. Thinking ‘this is the goal’, they are reborn. The Buddha directly knew the extent to which the attainment of the meditation on universal consciousness was the ultimate. Directly knowing this he saw the beginning, the drawback, and the escape. And he saw the knowledge and vision of the variety of paths. Because he saw the beginning, the drawback, and the escape, and he saw the knowledge and vision of the variety of paths, he knew that he had reached the goal, peace of heart.

So, sister, that’s how to understand the detailed meaning of what the Buddha said in brief in ‘The Maiden’s Questions’:

‘I’ve reached the goal, peace of heart.
Having conquered the army
of the likable and pleasant,
alone, practicing absorption, I awakened to bliss.
That’s why I don’t get too close to people,
and no-one gets too close to me.’”


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AN 10.30 Dutiyakosalasutta: Kosala (2)

On one occasion the Blessed One was dwelling at Sāvatthī in Jeta’s Grove, Anāthapiṇḍika’s Park. Now on that occasion King Pasenadi of Kosala had returned from the war front, victorious in battle, his purpose having been achieved. Then King Pasenadi of Kosala set out for the park. He went by carriage as far as the ground was suitable for a carriage, and then he dismounted from his carriage and entered the park on foot. Now on that occasion a number of bhikkhus were walking back and forth in the open air. Then King Pasenadi of Kosala approached those bhikkhus and asked them:

“Bhante, where is the Blessed One, the Arahant, the Perfectly Enlightened One now dwelling? For I wish to see the Blessed One, the Arahant, the Perfectly Enlightened One.”

“Great king, that is his dwelling with the closed door. Approach it quietly. Without hurrying, enter the porch, clear your throat, and tap on the bolt. The Blessed One will open the door for you.”

Then, King Pasenadi of Kosala went quietly up to the dwelling with the closed door. Without hurrying, he entered the porch, cleared his throat, and tapped on the bolt. The Blessed One opened the door.

Then King Pasenadi of Kosala entered the dwelling, prostrated himself with his head at the Blessed One’s feet, and covered the Blessed One’s feet with kisses and caressed them with his hands, pronouncing his name: “Bhante, I am King Pasenadi of Kosala! Bhante, I am King Pasenadi of Kosala!”

“But, great king, what reasons do you have for showing such supreme honor to this body and displaying such an offering of loving-kindness?”

“Bhante, it is out of my gratitude and thankfulness that I show such supreme honor toward the Blessed One and display such an offering of loving-kindness to him.

(1) “For, Bhante, the Blessed One is practicing for the welfare of many people, for the happiness of many people; he has established many people in the noble method, that is, in the way of the good Dhamma, in the way of the wholesome Dhamma. This is one reason I show such supreme honor toward the Blessed One and display such an offering of loving-kindness to him.

(2) “Again, Bhante, the Blessed One is virtuous, of mature behavior, of noble behavior, of wholesome behavior, possessing wholesome behavior. This is another reason I show such supreme honor toward the Blessed One….

(3) “Again, Bhante, for a long time the Blessed One has been a forest-dweller who resorts to remote lodgings in forests and jungle groves. Since that is so, this is another reason I show such supreme honor toward the Blessed One….

(4) “Again, Bhante, the Blessed One is content with any kind of robe, almsfood, lodging, and medicines and provisions for the sick. This is another reason I show such supreme honor toward the Blessed One….

(5) “Again, Bhante, the Blessed One is worthy of gifts, worthy of hospitality, worthy of offerings, worthy of reverential salutation, an unsurpassed field of merit for the world. This is another reason I show such supreme honor toward the Blessed One….

(6) “Again, Bhante, the Blessed One gets to hear at will, without trouble or difficulty, talk concerned with the austere life that leads to the elimination of defilements, that is conducive to opening up the heart, that is, talk on fewness of desires, on contentment, on solitude, on not getting bound up with others, on arousing energy, on virtuous behavior, on concentration, on wisdom, on liberation, on the knowledge and vision of liberation. This is another reason I show such supreme honor toward the Blessed One….

(7) “Again, Bhante, the Blessed One gains at will, without trouble or difficulty, the four jhānas that constitute the higher mind and are pleasant dwellings in this very life. This is another reason I show such supreme honor toward the Blessed One….

(8) “Again, Bhante, the Blessed One recollects his manifold past abodes, that is, one birth, two births, three births, four births, five births, ten births, twenty births, thirty births, forty births, fifty births, a hundred births, a thousand births, a hundred thousand births, many eons of world-dissolution, many eons of world-evolution, many eons of world-dissolution and world-evolution thus: ‘There I was so named, of such a clan, with such an appearance, such was my food, such my experience of pleasure and pain, such my life span; passing away from there, I was reborn elsewhere, and there too I was so named, of such a clan, with such an appearance, such was my food, such my experience of pleasure and pain, such my life span; passing away from there, I was reborn here.’ Thus he recollects his manifold past abodes with their aspects and details. Since that is so, this is another reason I show such supreme honor toward the Blessed One….

(9) “Again, Bhante, with the divine eye, which is purified and surpasses the human, the Blessed One sees beings passing away and being reborn, inferior and superior, beautiful and ugly, fortunate and unfortunate, and he understands how beings fare in accordance with their kamma thus: ‘These beings who engaged in misconduct by body, speech, and mind, who reviled the noble ones, held wrong view, and undertook kamma based on wrong view, with the breakup of the body, after death, have been reborn in the plane of misery, in a bad destination, in the lower world, in hell; but these beings who engaged in good conduct by body, speech, and mind, who did not revile the noble ones, who held right view, and undertook kamma based on right view, with the breakup of the body, after death, have been reborn in a good destination, in the heavenly world.’ Thus with the divine eye, which is purified and surpasses the human, he sees beings passing away and being reborn, inferior and superior, beautiful and ugly, fortunate and unfortunate, and he understands how beings fare in accordance with their kamma. Since that is so, this is another reason I show such supreme honor toward the Blessed One….

(10) “Again, Bhante, with the destruction of the taints, the Blessed One has realized for himself with direct knowledge, in this very life, the taintless liberation of mind, liberation by wisdom, and having entered upon it, he dwells in it. Since that is so, this is another reason I show such supreme honor toward the Blessed One and display such an offering of loving-kindness to him.

“And now, Bhante, we must be going. We are busy and have much to do.”

“You may go, great king, at your own convenience.”

Then King Pasenadi of Kosala rose from his seat, paid homage to the Blessed One, circumambulated him keeping the right side toward him, and departed.


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AN 4.24 Kāḷakārāmasutta: At Kāḷaka’s Monastery

At one time the Buddha was staying near Sāketa, in Kāḷaka’s monastery. There the Buddha addressed the mendicants, “Mendicants!”

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

“In this world—with its gods, Māras and Brahmās, this population with its ascetics and brahmins, its gods and humans—whatever is seen, heard, thought, known, attained, sought, and explored by the mind: that I know.

In this world—with its gods, Māras, and Brahmās, this population with its ascetics and brahmins, its gods and humans—whatever is seen, heard, thought, known, attained, sought, and explored by the mind: that I have insight into. That has been known by a Realized One, but a Realized One is not subject to it.

If I were to say that ‘I do not know … the world with its gods’, I would be lying.

If I were to say that ‘I both know and do not know … the world with its gods’, that would be just the same.

If I were to say that ‘I neither know nor do not know … the world with its gods’, that would be my fault.

So a Realized One sees what is to be seen, but does not identify with what is seen, does not identify with what is unseen, does not identify with what is to be seen, and does not identify with a seer. He hears what is to be heard, but does not identify with what is heard, does not identify with what is unheard, does not identify with what is to be heard, and does not identify with a hearer. He thinks what is to be thought, but does not identify with what is thought, does not identify with what is not thought, does not identify with what is to be thought, and does not identify with a thinker. He knows what is to be known, but does not identify with what is known, does not identify with what is unknown, does not identify with what is to be known, and does not identify with a knower.

Since a Realized One is poised in the midst of things seen, heard, thought, and known, he is the poised one. And I say that there is no better or finer poise than this.

Such a one does not take anything
seen, heard, or thought to be ultimately true or false.
But others get attached, thinking it’s the truth,
limited by their preconceptions.

Since they’ve seen this dart
to which people are attached and cling,
saying, ‘I know, I see, that’s how it is’,
the Realized Ones have no attachments.”


Read this translation of Aṅguttara Nikāya 4.24 Kāḷakārāmasutta: At Kāḷaka’s Monastery by Bhikkhu Sujato on SuttaCentral.net.

SN 45.14 Paṭhamauppādasutta: Arising (1st)

At Sāvatthī.

“Mendicants, these eight things don’t arise to be developed and cultivated except when a Realized One, a perfected one, a fully awakened Buddha has appeared. What eight? They are: right view, right thought, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, and right immersion. These eight things don’t arise to be developed and cultivated except when a Realized One, a perfected one, a fully awakened Buddha has appeared.”



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AN 5.30 Nāgitasutta: With Nāgita

So I have heard. At one time the Buddha was wandering in the land of the Kosalans together with a large Saṅgha of mendicants when he arrived at a village of the Kosalan brahmins named Icchānaṅgala. He stayed in a forest near Icchānaṅgala. The brahmins and householders of Icchānaṅgala heard:

“It seems the ascetic Gotama—a Sakyan, gone forth from a Sakyan family—has arrived at Icchānaṅgala. He is staying in a forest near Icchānaṅgala. He has this good reputation: ‘That Blessed One is perfected, a fully awakened Buddha, accomplished in knowledge and conduct, holy, knower of the world, supreme guide for those who wish to train, teacher of gods and humans, awakened, blessed.’ He has realized with his own insight this world—with its gods, Māras and Brahmās, this population with its ascetics and brahmins, gods and humans—and he makes it known to others. He teaches Dhamma that’s good in the beginning, good in the middle, and good in the end, meaningful and well-phrased. And he reveals a spiritual practice that’s entirely full and pure. It’s good to see such perfected ones.”

Then, when the night had passed, they took many fresh and cooked foods and went to the forest near Icchānaṅgala, where they stood outside the gates making a dreadful racket.

Now, at that time Venerable Nāgita was the Buddha’s attendant. Then the Buddha said to Nāgita, “Nāgita, who’s making that dreadful racket? You’d think it was fishermen hauling in a catch!”

“Sir, it’s these brahmins and householders of Icchānaṅgala. They’ve brought many fresh and cooked foods, and they’re standing outside the gates wanting to offer it specially to the Buddha and the mendicant Saṅgha.”

“Nāgita, may I never become famous. May fame not come to me. There are those who can’t get the bliss of renunciation, the bliss of seclusion, the bliss of peace, the bliss of awakening when they want, without trouble or difficulty like I can. Let them enjoy the filthy, lazy pleasure of possessions, honor, and popularity.”

“Sir, may the Blessed One please relent now! May the Holy One relent! Now is the time for the Buddha to relent. Wherever the Buddha now goes, the brahmins and householders will incline the same way, as will the people of town and country. It’s like when it rains heavily and the water flows downhill. In the same way, wherever the Buddha now goes, the brahmins and householders will incline the same way, as will the people of town and country. Why is that? Because of the Buddha’s ethics and wisdom.”

“Nāgita, may I never become famous. May fame not come to me. There are those who can’t get the bliss of renunciation, the bliss of seclusion, the bliss of peace, the bliss of awakening when they want, without trouble or difficulty like I can. Let them enjoy the filthy, lazy pleasure of possessions, honor, and popularity.

What you eat, drink, chew, and taste ends up as excrement and urine. This is its outcome.

When loved ones decay and perish, sorrow, lamentation, pain, sadness, and distress arise. This is its outcome.

When you pursue meditation on the feature of ugliness, revulsion at the feature of beauty becomes stabilized. This is its outcome.

When you meditate observing impermanence in the six fields of contact, revulsion at contact becomes stabilized. This is its outcome.

When you meditate observing rise and fall in the five grasping aggregates, revulsion at grasping becomes stabilized. This is its outcome.”


Note: To learn more about the dangers of gain and praise, check out SN 17 Lābhasakkāra Saṁyutta.

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Thag 16.3 Telakānittheragāthā: Telakāni

Note: In these verses the monk Telākani relates his struggles on the path to enlightenment using beautiful similes and metaphors. You may find that the translation on SuttaFriends.org gives more information on the meaning behind them. The Buddha is the teacher he talks about as the one who truly offers him help.


For a long time, sadly,
though I keenly contemplated the teaching,
I gained no peace of mind.
So I asked this of ascetics and brahmins:

“Who has crossed over the world?
Whose attainment culminates in the deathless?
Whose teaching do I accept
to understand the ultimate goal?

I was hooked inside,
like a fish gulping bait;
bound like the demon Vepaciti
in Mahinda’s trap.

Dragging it along, I’m not free
from grief and lamentation.
Who will free me from bonds in the world,
so that I may know awakening?

What ascetic or brahmin
points out what is frail?
Whose teaching do I accept
to sweep away old age and death?

Tied up with uncertainty and doubt,
secured by the power of pride,
stiff as a mind beset by anger;
the arrow of covetousness,

propelled by the bow of craving,
is stuck in my twice-fifteen ribs—
see how it stands in my breast,
breaking my strong heart.

Speculative views are not abandoned,
they are sharpened by memories and intentions;
and pierced by this I tremble,
like a leaf blowing in the wind.

Having arisen within,
what belongs to me burns quickly,
in that place where the body always heads
with its six sense-fields of contact.

I don’t see a healer
who can pull out my dart of doubt
without a lance
or some other blade.

Without knife or wound,
who will pull out this dart
that’s stuck inside me,
without harming any part of my body?

He really would be the Lord of the Dhamma,
the best one to cure the damage of poison;
when I have fallen into deep waters,
he would give me his show me the shore.

I’ve plunged into a lake,
and I can’t wash off the mud and dirt.
It’s full of fraud, jealousy, pride,
and dullness and drowsiness.

Like a thunder-cloud of restlessness,
like a rain-cloud of fetters;
lustful thoughts are winds
that sweep off a person with bad views.

The streams flow everywhere;
a weed springs up and remains.
Who will block the streams?
Who will cut the weed?”

“Venerable sir, build a dam
to block the streams.
Don’t let your mind-made streams
cut you down suddenly like a tree.”

That is how the teacher whose weapon is wisdom,
surrounded by the Saṅgha of seers,
was my shelter when I was full of fear,
seeking the far shore from the near.

As I was being swept away,
he gave me a strong, simple ladder,
made of the heartwood of Dhamma,
and he said to me: “Do not fear.”

I climbed the tower of mindfulness meditation,
and checked back down
at people delighting in identity,
as I’d obsessed over in the past.

When I saw the path,
as I was embarking on the ship,
without fixating on the self,
I saw the supreme landing-place.

The dart that arises in oneself,
and that which stems from the conduit to rebirth:
he taught the supreme path
for the canceling of these.

For a long time it had lain within me;
for a long time it was fixed in me:
the Buddha cast off the knot,
curing the damage of poison.


Note: “Deathless” is a term for Nibbāna. SN 11.4 Vepacitti tells the story of the asura being captured by Sakka (Mahinda)

Read this translation of Theragāthā 16.3 Telakānittheragāthā: Telakāni by Bhikkhu Sujato on SuttaCentral.net. Or read a different translation on SuttaFriends.org. Or listen on SC-Voice.net. Or explore the Pali on DigitalPaliReader.online.

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Ud 1.4 Huṁhuṅkasutta: Whiny

So I have heard. At one time, when he was first awakened, the Buddha was staying near Uruvelā at the goatherd’s banyan tree on the bank of the Nerañjarā River. There the Buddha sat cross-legged for seven days without moving, experiencing the bliss of freedom. When seven days had passed, the Buddha emerged from that state of immersion.

Then a certain brahmin of the whiny sort went up to the Buddha and exchanged greetings with him. When the greetings and polite conversation were over, he stood to one side, and said, “Master Gotama, how do you define a brahmin? And what are the things that make one a brahmin?”

Then, understanding this matter, on that occasion the Buddha expressed this heartfelt sentiment:

“A brahmin who has banished bad qualities—
not whiny, not stained, but self-controlled,
a complete knowledge master
   who has completed the spiritual journey—
may rightly proclaim the brahmin doctrine,
not proud of anything in the world.”


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SN 48.41 Jarā Sutta: Old Age

I have heard that on one occasion the Blessed One was staying near Sāvatthī in the Eastern Monastery, the palace of Migāra’s mother. Now on that occasion the Blessed One, on emerging from his seclusion in the evening, sat warming his back in the western sun.

Then Ven. Ānanda went to the Blessed One and, on arrival, having bowed down to the Blessed One, massaged the Blessed One’s limbs with his hand and said, “It’s amazing, lord. It’s astounding, how the Blessed One’s complexion is no longer so clear & bright; his limbs are flabby & wrinkled; his back, bent forward; there’s a discernible change in his faculties—the faculty of the eye, the faculty of the ear, the faculty of the nose, the faculty of the tongue, the faculty of the body.”

“That’s the way it is, Ānanda. When young, one is subject to aging; when healthy, subject to illness; when alive, subject to death. The complexion is no longer so clear & bright; the limbs are flabby & wrinkled; the back, bent forward; there’s a discernible change in the faculties—the faculty of the eye, the faculty of the ear, the faculty of the nose, the faculty of the tongue, the faculty of the body.”

That is what the Blessed One said. Having said that, the One Well-Gone, the Teacher, said further:

“I spit on you, wretched old age—
old age that makes for ugliness.
The bodily image, so charming,
      is trampled by old age.
Even those who live to a hundred
are headed—all—to an end in death,
      which spares no one,
      which tramples all.”


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AN 3.104 Paṭhamaassādasutta: Gratification (1st)

“Mendicants, I went in search of the world’s gratification, and I found it. I’ve seen clearly with wisdom the full extent of gratification in the world. I went in search of the world’s drawbacks, and I found them. I’ve seen clearly with wisdom the full extent of the drawbacks in the world. I went in search of escape from the world, and I found it. I’ve seen clearly with wisdom the full extent of escape from the world.

As long as I didn’t truly understand the world’s gratification, drawback, and escape for what they are, I didn’t announce my supreme perfect awakening in this world with its gods, Māras, and Brahmās, this population with its ascetics and brahmins, its gods and humans.

But when I did truly understand the world’s gratification, drawback, and escape for what they are, I announced my supreme perfect awakening in this world with its gods, Māras, and Brahmās, this population with its ascetics and brahmins, its gods and humans.

Knowledge and vision arose in me: ‘My freedom is unshakable; this is my last rebirth; now there’ll be no more future lives.’”


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AN 10.81 Vāhanasutta: With Bāhuna

At one time the Buddha was staying near Campā on the banks of the Gaggarā Lotus Pond. Then Venerable Bāhuna went up to the Buddha, bowed, sat down to one side, and said to him:

“Sir, how many things has the Realized One escaped from, so that he lives unattached, liberated, his mind free of limits?”

“Bāhuna, the Realized One has escaped from ten things, so that he lives unattached, liberated, his mind free of limits. What ten? Form … feeling … perception … choices … consciousness … rebirth … old age … death … suffering … defilements … Suppose there was a blue water lily, or a pink or white lotus. Though it sprouted and grew in the water, it would rise up above the water and stand with no water clinging to it. In the same way, the Realized One has escaped from ten things, so that he lives unattached, liberated, his mind free of limits.”


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