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Non-violence

A Study Guide


by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

 

Introduction   

When embraced, the rod of violence breeds danger & fear: Look at people quarreling. I will tell of how I experienced dismay. Seeing people floundering like fish in small puddles, competing with one another — as I saw this, fear came into me. The world was entirely without substance. All the directions were knocked out of line. Wanting a haven for myself, I saw nothing that wasn't laid claim to. Seeing nothing in the end but competition, I felt discontent. And then I saw an arrow here, so very hard to see, embedded in the heart. Overcome by this arrow you run in all directions. But simply on pulling it out you don't run, you don't sink... Whatever things are tied down in the world, you shouldn't be set on them. Having totally penetrated sensual pleasures, sensual passions, you should train for your own Unbinding.

— Sn 4.15

In this short autobiographical passage, the Buddha describes his sense of dismay at the violence in the world, together with his important discovery: that the only escape from violence is to remove the causes of violence from one's own heart. To remove these causes, one must first refrain from violence on the external level so as to create the proper karmic context — more peaceful and honest — for extracting the causes of violence on the internal level. The following passages from the Pali canon illustrate these two levels of the practice, starting first with a few considerations on the principle of kamma (karma). For a more complete background on kamma, see the study guide on that topic. The concluding passages in this collection focus on the concept of "papañca," or objectification, as the internal cause of conflict. For a discussion of this concept, see the Introduction to MN 18.

§ 1

All tremble at the rod, all are fearful of death. Drawing the parallel to yourself, neither kill nor get others to kill. All tremble at the rod, all hold their life dear. Drawing the parallel to yourself, neither kill nor get others to kill. Whoever takes a rod to harm living beings desiring ease, when he himself is looking for ease, will meet with no ease after death. Whoever doesn't take a rod to harm living beings desiring ease, when he himself is looking for ease, will meet with ease after death. Speak harshly to no one, or the words will be thrown right back at you. Contentious talk is painful, for you get struck by rods in return. If, like a flattened metal pot you don't resound, you've attained an Unbinding; in you there's found no contention.

— Dhp 129-134

§ 2

On one occasion the Blessed One was staying near Nalanda in the Pavarika Mango Grove. Then Asibandhakaputta the headman 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: "The brahmans of the Western lands, lord — those who carry water pots, wear garlands of water plants, purify with water, & worship fire — can take [the spirit of] a dead person, lift it out, instruct it, & send it to heaven. But the Blessed One, worthy & rightly self-awakened, can arrange it so that all the world, at the break-up of the body, after death, reappears in a good destination, the heavenly world."

"Very well, then, headman, I will question you on this matter. Answer as you see fit. What do you think: There is the case where a man is one who takes life, steals, indulges in illicit sex; is a liar, one who speaks divisive speech, harsh speech, & idle chatter; is greedy, bears thoughts of ill-will, & holds to wrong views. Then a great crowd of people, gathering & congregating, would pray, praise, & circumambulate with their hands palm-to-palm over the heart [saying,] 'May this man, at the break-up of the body, after death, reappear in a good destination, the heavenly world!' What do you think: would that man — because of the prayers, praise, & circumambulation of that great crowd of people — at the break-up of the body, after death, reappear in a good destination, the heavenly world?"

"No, lord."

"Suppose a man were to throw a large boulder into a deep lake of water, and a great crowd of people, gathering & congregating, would pray, praise, & circumambulate with their hands palm-to-palm over the heart [saying,] 'Rise up, O boulder! Come floating up, O boulder! Come float to the shore, O boulder!' What do you think: would that boulder — because of the prayers, praise, & circumambulation of that great crowd of people — rise up, come floating up, or come float to the shore?"

"No, lord."

"So it is with any man who takes life, steals, indulges in illicit sex; is a liar, one who speaks divisive speech, harsh speech, & idle chatter; is greedy, bears thoughts of ill-will, & holds to wrong views. Even though a great crowd of people, gathering & congregating, would pray, praise, & circumambulate with their hands palm-to-palm over the heart — [saying,] 'May this man, at the break-up of the body, after death, reappear in a good destination, the heavenly world!' — still, at the break-up of the body, after death, he would reappear in destitution, a bad destination, the lower realms, hell.

— SN 42.6

§ 3

Beings are the owners of their actions (karma), heir to their actions, born of their actions, related through their actions, and have their actions as their arbitrator. Action is what creates distinctions among beings in terms of coarseness & refinement...

There is the case where a certain woman or man is one who takes life — brutal, bloody-handed, violent, cruel, merciless to living beings. From adopting & carrying out such actions, then on the break-up of the body, after death, this person re-appears in the plane of deprivation, the bad destination, the lower realms, in hell. Or, if he/she does not reappear in the plane of deprivation, the bad destination, the lower realms, in hell, but instead returns to the human state, then he/she is short-lived wherever reborn. This is the way leading to short life, namely being one who takes life...

But there is the case where a certain woman or man, abandoning the taking of life, abstains from the taking of life, dwelling with rod laid down, knife laid down, scrupulous, merciful, sympathetic for the benefit of all living beings. From adopting & carrying out such actions, then on the break-up of the body, after death, this person re-appears in the good destinations, in the heavenly world. Or, if he/she does not reappear in the good destinations, in the heavenly world, but instead returns to the human state, then he/she is long-lived wherever reborn. This is the way leading to long life, namely being one who, abandoning the taking of life, abstains from taking life...

Furthermore, there is the case where a certain woman or man has a tendency to injure living beings with the hand, with a clod, with a stick, or with a knife. From adopting & carrying out such actions, then on the break-up of the body, after death, this person re-appears in the plane of deprivation, the bad destination, the lower realms, in hell. Or, if he/she does not reappear in the plane of deprivation, the bad destination, the lower realms, in hell, but instead returns to the human state, then he/she is sickly wherever reborn. This is the way leading to being sickly, namely being one who has a tendency to injure living beings with the hand, with a clod, with a stick, or with a knife...

But there is the case where a certain woman or man does not have a tendency to injure living beings with the hand, with a clod, with a stick, or with a knife. Or, if he/she does not reappear in the good destinations, in the heavenly world, but instead returns to the human state, then he/she is healthy wherever reborn. This is the way leading to being healthy, namely being one who, abandoning the taking of life, abstains from taking life does not have a tendency to injure living beings with the hand, with a clod, with a stick, or with a knife...

— MN 135

§ 4

A man may plunder as long as it serves his ends, but when others are plundered, he who has plundered gets plundered in turn. A fool thinks, 'Now's my chance,' as long as his evil has yet to ripen. But when it ripens, the fool falls into pain. Killing, you gain your killer. Conquering, you gain one who will conquer you; insulting, insult; harassing, harassment. And so, through the cycle of action, he who has plundered gets plundered in turn.

— SN 3.15

§ 5

And how is one made impure in three ways by bodily action? There is the case where a certain person takes life, is brutal, bloody-handed, devoted to killing & slaying, showing no mercy to living beings. He takes what is not given. He takes, in the manner of a thief, things in a village or a wilderness that belong to others and have not been given by them. He engages in sensual misconduct. He gets sexually involved with those who are protected by their mothers, their fathers, their brothers, their sisters, their relatives, or their Dhamma; those with husbands, those who entail punishments, or even those crowned with flowers by another man. This is how one is made impure in three ways by bodily action...

And how is one made impure in four ways by verbal action? There is the case where a certain person engages in false speech. When he has been called to a town meeting, a group meeting, a gathering of his relatives, his guild, or of the royalty [i.e., a royal court proceeding], if he is asked as a witness, 'Come & tell, good man, what you know': If he doesn't know, he says, 'I know.' If he does know, he says, 'I don't know.' If he hasn't seen, he says, 'I have seen.' If he has seen, he says, 'I haven't seen.' Thus he consciously tells lies for his own sake, for the sake of another, or for the sake of a certain reward. He engages in divisive speech. What he has heard here he tells there to break those people apart from these people here. What he has heard there he tells here to break these people apart from those people there. Thus breaking apart those who are united and stirring up strife between those who have broken apart, he loves factionalism, delights in factionalism, enjoys factionalism, speaks things that create factionalism. He engages in abusive speech. He speaks words that are harsh, cutting, bitter to others, abusive of others, provoking anger and destroying concentration. He engages in idle chatter. He speaks out of season, speaks what isn't factual, what isn't in accordance with the goal, the Dhamma, & the Vinaya, words that are not worth treasuring. This is how one is made impure in four ways by verbal action.

And how is one made pure in three ways by bodily action? There is the case where a certain person, abandoning the taking of life, abstains from the taking of life. He dwells with his rod laid down, his knife laid down, scrupulous, merciful, compassionate for the welfare of all living beings. Abandoning the taking of what is not given, he abstains from taking what is not given. He does not take, in the manner of a thief, things in a village or a wilderness that belong to others and have not been given by them. Abandoning sensual misconduct, he abstains from sensual misconduct. He does not get sexually involved with those who are protected by their mothers, their fathers, their brothers, their sisters, their relatives, or their Dhamma; those with husbands, those who entail punishments, or even those crowned with flowers by another man. This is how one is made pure in three ways by bodily action."

And how is one made pure in four ways by verbal action? There is the case where a certain person, abandoning false speech, abstains from false speech. When he has been called to a town meeting, a group meeting, a gathering of his relatives, his guild, or of the royalty, if he is asked as a witness, 'Come & tell, good man, what you know': If he doesn't know, he says, 'I don't know.' If he does know, he says, 'I know.' If he hasn't seen, he says, 'I haven't seen.' If he has seen, he says, 'I have seen.' Thus he doesn't consciously tell a lie for his own sake, for the sake of another, or for the sake of any reward. Abandoning false speech, he abstains from false speech. He speaks the truth, holds to the truth, is firm, reliable, no deceiver of the world. Abandoning divisive speech he abstains from divisive speech. What he has heard here he does not tell there to break those people apart from these people here. What he has heard there he does not tell here to break these people apart from those people there. Thus reconciling those who have broken apart or cementing those who are united, he loves concord, delights in concord, enjoys concord, speaks things that create concord. Abandoning abusive speech, he abstains from abusive speech. He speaks words that are soothing to the ear, that are affectionate, that go to the heart, that are polite, appealing & pleasing to people at large. Abandoning idle chatter, he abstains from idle chatter. He speaks in season, speaks what is factual, what is in accordance with the goal, the Dhamma, & the Vinaya. He speaks words worth treasuring, seasonable, reasonable, circumscribed, connected with the goal. This is how one is made pure in four ways by verbal action.

— AN 10.176

§ 6

Then Yodhajiva (Professional Warrior) the headman 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, I have heard that it has been passed down by the ancient teaching lineage of professional warriors that 'When a professional warrior strives & exerts himself in battle, if others then strike him down & slay him while he is striving & exerting himself in battle, then with the breakup of the body, after death, he is reborn in the company of devas slain in battle.' What does the Blessed One have to say about that?"

"Enough, headman, put that aside. Don't ask me that."

A second time... A third time Yodhajiva the headman said: "Lord, I have heard that it has been passed down by the ancient teaching lineage of professional warriors that 'When a professional warrior strives & exerts himself in battle, if others then strike him down & slay him while he is striving & exerting himself in battle, then with the breakup of the body, after death, he is reborn in the company of devas slain in battle.' What does the Blessed One have to say about that?"

"Apparently, headman, I haven't been able to get past you by saying, 'Enough, headman, put that aside. Don't ask me that.' So I will simply answer you. When a professional warrior strives & exerts himself in battle, his mind is already seized, debased, & misdirected by the thought: 'May these beings be struck down or slaughtered or annihilated or destroyed. May they not exist.' If others then strike him down & slay while he is thus striving & exerting himself in battle, then with the breakup of the body, after death, he is reborn in the hell called the realm of those slain in battle. But if he holds such a view as this: 'When a professional warrior strives & exerts himself in battle, if others then strike him down & slay him while he is striving & exerting himself in battle, then with the breakup of the body, after death, he is reborn in the company of devas slain in battle,' that is his wrong view. Now, there are two destinations for a person with wrong view, I tell you: either hell or the animal womb."

When this was said, Yodhajiva the headman sobbed & burst into tears. [The Blessed One said:] "That is what I couldn't get past you by saying, 'Enough, headman, put that aside. Don't ask me that.'"

"I'm not crying, lord, because of what the Blessed One said to me, but simply because I have been deceived, cheated, & fooled for a long time by that ancient teaching lineage of professional warriors who said: 'When a professional warrior strives & exerts himself in battle, if others then strike him down & slay him while he is striving & exerting himself in battle, then with the breakup of the body, after death, he is reborn in the company of devas slain in battle.'

"Magnificent, lord! Magnificent! Just as if he were to place upright what was overturned, to reveal what was hidden, to show the way to one who was lost, or to carry a lamp into the dark so that those with eyes could see forms, in the same way has the Blessed One — through many lines of reasoning — made the Dhamma clear. I go to the Blessed One for refuge, to the Dhamma, and to the Community of monks. May the Blessed One remember me as a lay follower who has gone to him for refuge, from this day forward, for life."

— SN 42.3

§ 7

As he was sitting to one side, King Pasenadi Kosala said to the Blessed One: "Just now, lord, while I was alone in seclusion, this train of thought arose in my awareness: 'Who have themselves protected, and who leave themselves unprotected?' Then it occurred to me: 'Those who engage in bodily misconduct, verbal misconduct, & mental misconduct leave themselves unprotected. Even though a squadron of elephant troops might protect them, a squadron of cavalry troops, a squadron of chariot troops, a squadron of infantry troops might protect them, still they leave themselves unprotected. Why is that? Because that's an external protection, not an internal one. Therefore they leave themselves unprotected. But those who engage in good bodily conduct, good verbal conduct, & good mental conduct have themselves protected. Even though neither a squadron of elephant troops, a squadron of cavalry troops, a squadron of chariot troops, nor a squadron of infantry troops might protect them, still they have themselves protected. Why is that? Because that's an internal protection, not an external one. Therefore they have themselves protected.'"

"That's the way it is, great king! That's the way it is! Those who engage in bodily misconduct, verbal misconduct, & mental misconduct leave themselves unprotected. Even though a squadron of elephant troops might protect them, a squadron of cavalry troops, a squadron of chariot troops, a squadron of infantry troops might protect them, still they leave themselves unprotected. Why is that? Because that's an external protection, not an internal one. Therefore they leave themselves unprotected. But those who engage in good bodily conduct, good verbal conduct, & good mental conduct have themselves protected. Even though neither a squadron of elephant troops, a squadron of cavalry troops, a squadron of chariot troops, nor a squadron of infantry troops might protect them, still they have themselves protected. Why is that? Because that's an internal protection, not an external one. Therefore they have themselves protected."

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

Restraint with the body is good, good is restraint with speech. Restraint with the heart is good, good is restraint everywhere. Restrained everywhere, conscientious, one is said to be protected.

— SN 3.5

§ 8

And what is right resolve? Being resolved on renunciation, on freedom from ill will, on harmlessness: This is called right resolve.

— SN 45.8

§ 9

The first precept:

I undertake the training rule to refrain from taking life.

— Khp 2

From the instructions to every new monk:

§ 10

"A monk who has been accepted should not deprive a living being of life, even if it is only a black or white ant. Any monk who purposely deprives a human being of life, even to the extent of causing an abortion, is not a contemplative, not a son of the Sakyan.

"Just as a solid block of stone broken in two cannot be joined together again, in the same way a monk who has purposely deprived a human being of life is not a contemplative, not a son of the Sakyan. You are not to do this for the rest of your life."

— Mv I.78.2

§ 11

There is the case where a disciple of the noble ones, abandoning the taking of life, abstains from taking life. In doing so, he gives freedom from danger, freedom from animosity, freedom from oppression to limitless numbers of beings. In giving freedom from danger, freedom from animosity, freedom from oppression to limitless numbers of beings, he gains a share in limitless freedom from danger, freedom from animosity, and freedom from oppression. This is the first gift, the first great gift — original, long-standing, traditional, ancient, unadulterated, unadulterated from the beginning — that is not open to suspicion, will never be open to suspicion, and is unfaulted by knowledgeable contemplatives & priests.

— AN 8.39

§ 12

On one occasion the Blessed One was staying near Savatthi at Jeta's Grove, Anathapindika's monastery. There he addressed the monks, "Monks!"

"Yes, lord," the monks responded.

The Blessed One said, "Once in the past the devas & asuras [1] were arrayed for battle. Then Vepacitti the asura-king said to Sakka the deva-king: 'Let there be victory through what is well spoken.'

"'Yes, Vepacitti, let there be victory through what is well spoken.'

"So the devas & asuras appointed a panel of judges, [thinking,] 'These will decide for us what is well spoken & poorly spoken.'

"Then Vepacitti the asura-king said to Sakka the deva-king, 'Say a verse, deva-king!'

"When this was said, Sakka the deva-king said to Vepacitti the asura-king, 'But you are the senior deity here, Vepacitti. You say a verse.'

"When this was said, Vepacitti recited this verse:

'Fools would flare up even more if there were no constraints. Thus an enlightened one should restrain the fool with a heavy stick.'

"When Vepacitti had said this verse, the asuras applauded but the devas were silent. So Vepacitti said to Sakka, 'Say a verse, deva-king!'

"When this was said, Sakka recited this verse:

'This, I think, is the only constraint for a fool: When, knowing the other's provoked, you mindfully grow calm.'

"When Sakka had said this verse, the devas applauded but the asuras were silent. So Sakka said to Vepacitti, 'Say a verse, Vepacitti!'

"When this was said, Vepacitti recited this verse:

'Vasava,[2] I see a fault in this very forbearance: When the fool thinks, "He's forbearing out of fear of me," the idiot pursues you even more — as a cow, someone who runs away.'

"When Vepacitti had said this verse, the asuras applauded but the devas were silent. So Vepacitti said to Sakka, 'Say a verse, deva-king!'

"When this was said, Sakka recited this verse:

'It doesn't matter whether he thinks, "He's forbearing out of fear of me." One's own true good is the foremost good. Nothing better than patience is found. Whoever, when strong, is forbearing to one who is weak: that's the foremost patience. The weak must constantly endure. They call that strength no strength at all: whoever's strength is the strength of a fool. There's no reproach for one who is strong, guarding — guarded by — Dhamma. You make things worse when you flare up at someone who's angry. Whoever doesn't flare up at someone who's angry wins a battle hard to win. You live for the good of both — your own, the other's — when, knowing the other's provoked, you mindfully grow calm. When you work the cure of both — your own, the other's — those who think you a fool know nothing of Dhamma.'

"When Sakka had said this verse, the devas applauded but the asuras were silent. Then the deva & asura panel of judges said, 'The verses said by Vepacitti the asura-king lie in the sphere of swords & weapons — thence arguments, quarrels, & strife. Whereas the verses said by Sakka the deva-king lies outside the sphere of swords & weapons — thence no arguments, no quarrels, no strife. The victory through what is well spoken goes to Sakka the deva-king.'

"And that, monks, is how the victory through what was well spoken went to Sakka the deva-king."

— SN 11.5

Notes

1.
The devas & asuras were two groups of deities who fought for control of heaven (like the gods & titans in Greek mythology). The devas eventually won. The asuras, known for their fierce anger, later became classed as angry demons and, in some Buddhist cosmologies, are regarded as a class of being lower than human.
2.
Vasava — "Powerful" — is one of Sakka's epithets.

§ 13

Winning gives birth to hostility. Losing, one lies down in pain. The calmed lie down with ease, having set winning & losing aside.

— SN 3.14

§ 14

Hostilities aren't stilled through hostility, regardless. Hostilities are stilled through non-hostility: this, an unending truth. Unlike those who don't realize that we're here on the verge of perishing, those who do: their quarrels are stilled.

— Dhp 5-6

§ 15

"Having killed what do you sleep in ease? Having killed what do you not grieve? Of the slaying of what one thing does Gotama (the Buddha) approve?"

[The Buddha:]

"Having killed anger
	you sleep in ease.
Having killed anger
	you do not grieve.
The noble ones praise
the slaying of anger
	—  with its honeyed crest
	& poison root  —
for having killed it
	you do not grieve."

— SN 1.71

§ 16

These seven things — pleasing to an enemy, bringing about an enemy's aim — come to a man or woman who is angry. Which seven?

There is the case where an enemy wishes of an enemy, 'O, may this person be ugly!' Why is that? An enemy is not pleased with an enemy's good looks. Now, when a person is angry — overcome with anger, oppressed with anger — then even though that he may be well-bathed, well-anointed, dressed in white clothes, his hair & beard neatly trimmed, he is ugly nevertheless, all because he is overcome with anger. This is the first thing pleasing to an enemy, bringing about an enemy's aim, that comes to a man or woman who is angry.

Furthermore, an enemy wishes of an enemy, 'O, may this person sleep badly!' Why is that? An enemy is not pleased with an enemy's restful sleep. Now, when a person is angry — overcome with anger, oppressed with anger — then even though he sleeps on a bed spread with a white blanket, spread with a woolen coverlet, spread with a flower-embroidered bedspread, covered with a rug of deerskins, with a canopy overhead, or on a sofa with red cushions at either end, he sleeps badly nevertheless, all because he is overcome with anger. This is the second thing pleasing to an enemy, bringing about an enemy's aim, that comes to a man or woman who is angry.

Furthermore, an enemy wishes of an enemy, 'O, may this person not profit!' Why is that? An enemy is not pleased with an enemy's profits. Now, when a person is angry — overcome with anger, oppressed with anger — then even when he suffers a loss, he thinks, 'I've gained a profit'; and even when he gains a profit, he thinks, 'I've suffered a loss.' When he has grabbed hold of these ideas that work in mutual opposition [to the truth], they lead to his long-term suffering & loss, all because he is overcome with anger. This is the third thing pleasing to an enemy, bringing about an enemy's aim, that comes to a man or woman who is angry.

Furthermore, an enemy wishes of an enemy, 'O, may this person not have any wealth!' Why is that? An enemy is not pleased with an enemy's wealth. Now, when a person is angry — overcome with anger, oppressed with anger — then whatever his wealth, earned through his efforts & enterprise, amassed through the strength of his arm, and piled up through the sweat of his brow — righteous wealth righteously gained — the king orders it sent to the royal treasury [in payment of fines levied for his behavior] all because he is overcome with anger. This is the fourth thing pleasing to an enemy, bringing about an enemy's aim, that comes to a man or woman who is angry.

Furthermore, an enemy wishes of an enemy, 'O, may this person not have any reputation!' Why is that? An enemy is not pleased with an enemy's reputation. Now, when a person is angry — overcome with anger, oppressed with anger — whatever reputation he has gained from being heedful, it falls away, all because he is overcome with anger. This is the fifth thing pleasing to an enemy, bringing about an enemy's aim, that comes to a man or woman who is angry.

Furthermore, an enemy wishes of an enemy, 'O, may this person not have any friends!' Why is that? An enemy is not pleased with an enemy's having friends. Now, when a person is angry — overcome with anger, oppressed with anger — his friends, companions, & relatives will avoid him from afar, all because he is overcome with anger. This is the sixth thing pleasing to an enemy, bringing about an enemy's aim, that comes to a man or woman who is angry.

Furthermore, an enemy wishes of an enemy, 'O, may this person, on the break-up of the body, after death, reappear in the plane of deprivation, the bad bourn, the lower realms, in hell!' Why is that? An enemy is not pleased with an enemy's going to heaven. Now, when a person is angry — overcome with anger, oppressed with anger — he engages in misconduct with the body, misconduct with speech, misconduct with the mind. Having engaged in misconduct with the body, misconduct with speech, misconduct with the mind, then — on the break-up of the body, after death — he reappears in the plane of deprivation, the bad bourn, the lower realms, in hell, all because he was overcome with anger. This is the seventh thing pleasing to an enemy, bringing about an enemy's aim, that comes to a man or woman who is angry.

These are the seven things — pleasing to an enemy, bringing about an enemy's aim — that come to a man or woman who is angry.

An angry person is ugly & sleeps poorly. Gaining a profit, he turns it into a loss, having done damage with word & deed. A person overwhelmed with anger destroys his wealth. Maddened with anger, he destroys his status. Relatives, friends, & colleagues avoid him. Anger brings loss. Anger inflames the mind. He doesn't realize that his danger is born from within. An angry person doesn't know his own benefit. An angry person doesn't see the Dhamma. A man conquered by anger is in a mass of darkness. He takes pleasure in bad deeds as if they were good, but later, when his anger is gone, he suffers as if burned with fire. He is spoiled, blotted out, like fire enveloped in smoke. When anger spreads, when a man becomes angry, he has no shame, no fear of evil, is not respectful in speech. For a person overcome with anger, nothing gives light. I'll list the deeds that bring remorse, that are far from the teachings. Listen! An angry person kills his father, kills his mother, kills Brahmans & people run-of-the-mill. It's because of a mother's devotion that one sees the world, yet an angry run-of-the-mill person can kill this giver of life. Like oneself, all beings hold themselves most dear, yet an angry person, deranged, can kill himself in many ways: with a sword, taking poison, hanging himself by a rope in a mountain glen. Doing these deeds that kill beings and do violence to himself, the angry person doesn't realize that he's ruined. This snare of Mara, in the form of anger, dwelling in the cave of the heart: cut it out with self-control, discernment, persistence, right view. The wise man would cut out each & every form of unskillfulness. Train yourselves: 'May we not be blotted out.' Free from anger & untroubled, free from greed, without longing, tamed, your anger abandoned, free from fermentation, you will be unbound.

— AN 7.60

§ 17

I have heard that on one occasion the Blessed One was staying near Rajagaha in the Bamboo Grove, the Squirrels' Sanctuary. Then the brahman Akkosaka ("Insulter") Bharadvaja heard that a brahman of the Bharadvaja clan had gone forth from the home life into homelessness in the presence of the Blessed One. Angered & displeased, he went to the Blessed One and, on arrival, insulted & cursed him with rude, harsh words.

When this was said, the Blessed One said to him: "What do you think, brahman: Do friends & colleagues, relatives & kinsmen come to you as guests?"

"Yes, Master Gotama, sometimes friends & colleagues, relatives & kinsmen come to me as guests."

"And what do you think: Do you serve them with staple & non-staple foods & delicacies?"

"Yes, sometimes I serve them with staple & non-staple foods & delicacies."

"And if they don't accept them, to whom do those foods belong?"

"If they don't accept them, Master Gotama, those foods are all mine."

"In the same way, brahman, that with which you have insulted me, who is not insulting; that with which you have taunted me, who is not taunting; that with which you have berated me, who is not berating: that I don't accept from you. It's all yours, brahman. It's all yours.

"Whoever returns insult to one who is insulting, returns taunts to one who is taunting, returns a berating to one who is berating, is said to be eating together, sharing company, with that person. But I am neither eating together nor sharing your company, brahman. It's all yours. It's all yours."

"The king together with his court know this of Master Gotama — 'Gotama the contemplative is an arahant' — and yet still Master Gotama gets angry." [1]

[The Buddha:]

Whence is there anger
for one free from anger,
	tamed,
	living in tune  —
one released through right knowing,
	calmed
	& Such.

You make things worse
when you flare up
at someone who's angry.
Whoever doesn't flare up
at someone who's angry
	wins a battle
	hard to win.

You live for the good of both
	—  your own, the other's  —
when, knowing the other's provoked,
	you mindfully grow calm.
When you work the cure of both
	—  your own, the other's  —
those who think you a fool
know nothing of Dhamma.

— SN 7.2

§ 18

Now as for a person who is impure in his bodily behavior but pure in his verbal behavior, how should one subdue hatred for him? Just as when a monk who makes use of things that are thrown away sees a rag in the road: Taking hold of it with his left foot and spreading it out with his right, he would tear off the sound part and go off with it. In the same way, when the individual is impure in his bodily behavior but pure in his verbal behavior, one should at that time pay no attention to the impurity of his bodily behavior, and instead pay attention to the purity of his verbal behavior. Thus the hatred for him should be subdued.

And as for a person who is impure in his verbal behavior, but pure in his bodily behavior, how should one subdue hatred for him? Just as when there is a pool overgrown with slime & water plants, and a person comes along, burning with heat, covered with sweat, exhausted, trembling, & thirsty. He would jump into the pool, part the slime & water plants with both hands, and then, cupping his hands, drink the water and go on his way. In the same way, when the individual is impure in his verbal behavior but pure in his bodily behavior, one should at that time pay no attention to the impurity of his verbal behavior, and instead pay attention to the purity of his bodily behavior. Thus the hatred for him should be subdued.

And as for a person who is impure in his bodily behavior & verbal behavior, but who periodically experiences mental clarity & calm, how should one subdue hatred for him? Just as when there is a little puddle in a cow's footprint, and a person comes along, burning with heat, covered with sweat, exhausted, trembling, & thirsty. The thought would occur to him, 'Here is this little puddle in a cow's footprint. If I tried to drink the water using my hand or cup, I would disturb it, stir it up, & make it unfit to drink. What if I were to get down on all fours and slurp it up like a cow, and then go on my way?' So he would get down on all fours, slurp up the water like a cow, and then go on his way. In the same way, when an individual is impure in his bodily behavior & verbal behavior, but periodically experiences mental clarity & calm, one should at that time pay no attention to the impurity of his bodily behavior... the impurity of his verbal behavior, and instead pay attention to the fact that he periodically experiences mental clarity & calm. Thus the hatred for him should be subdued.

And as for a person who is impure in his bodily behavior & verbal behavior, and who does not periodically experience mental clarity & calm, how should one subdue hatred for him? Just as when there is a sick man — in pain, seriously ill — traveling along a road, far from the next village & far from the last, unable to get the food he needs, unable to get the medicine he needs, unable to get a suitable assistant, unable to get anyone to take him to human habitation. Now suppose another person were to see him coming along the road. He would do what he could out of compassion, pity, & sympathy for the man, thinking, 'O that this man should get the food he needs, the medicine he needs, a suitable assistant, someone to take him to human habitation. Why is that? So that he won't fall into ruin right here.' In the same way, when a person is impure in his bodily behavior & verbal behavior, and who does not periodically experience mental clarity & calm, one should do what one can out of compassion, pity, & sympathy for him, thinking, 'O that this man should abandon wrong bodily conduct and develop right bodily conduct, abandon wrong verbal conduct and develop right verbal conduct, abandon wrong mental conduct and develop right mental conduct. Why is that? So that, on the break-up of the body, after death, he won't fall into the plane of deprivation, the bad destination, the lower realms, purgatory.' Thus the hatred for him should be subdued.

And as for a person who is pure in his bodily behavior & verbal behavior, and who periodically experiences mental clarity & calm, how should one subdue hatred for him? Just as when there is a pool of clear water — sweet, cool, & limpid, with gently sloping banks, & shaded on all sides by trees of many kinds — and a person comes along, burning with heat, covered with sweat, exhausted, trembling, & thirsty. Having plunged into the pool, having bathed & drunk & come back out, he would sit down or lie down right there in the shade of the trees. In the same way, when an individual is pure in his bodily behavior & verbal behavior, and periodically experiences mental clarity & calm, one should at that time pay attention to the purity of his bodily behavior... the purity of his verbal behavior, and to the fact that he periodically experiences mental clarity & calm. Thus the hatred for him should be subdued. An entirely inspiring individual can make the mind grow serene.

— AN 5.162

§ 19

'He insulted me, hit me, beat me, robbed me' — for those who brood on this, hostility isn't stilled. 'He insulted me, hit me, beat me, robbed me' — for those who don't brood on this, hostility is stilled.

— Dhp 3-4

§ 20

"Once, monks, in this same Savatthi, there was a lady of a household named Vedehika. This good report about Lady Vedehika had circulated: 'Lady Vedehika is gentle. Lady Vedehika is even-tempered. Lady Vedehika is calm.' Now, Lady Vedehika had a slave named Kali who was diligent, deft, & neat in her work. The thought occurred to Kali the slave: 'This good report about my Lady Vedehika has circulated: "Lady Vedehika is even-tempered. Lady Vedehika is gentle. Lady Vedehika is calm." Now, is anger present in my lady without showing, or is it absent? Or is it just because I'm diligent, deft, & neat in my work that the anger present in my lady doesn't show? Why don't I test her?'

"So Kali the slave got up after daybreak. Then Lady Vedehika said to her: 'Hey, Kali!'

"'Yes, madam?'

"'Why did you get up after daybreak?'

"'No reason, madam.'

"'No reason, you wicked slave, and yet you get up after daybreak?' Angered & displeased, she scowled.

Then the thought occurred to Kali the slave: 'Anger is present in my lady without showing, and not absent. And it's just because I'm diligent, deft, & neat in my work that the anger present in my lady doesn't show. Why don't I test her some more?'

"So Kali the slave got up later in the day. Then Lady Vedehika said to her: 'Hey, Kali!'

"'Yes, madam?'

"'Why did you get up later in the day?'

"'No reason, madam.'

"'No reason, you wicked slave, and yet you get up later in the day?' Angered & displeased, she grumbled.

Then the thought occurred to Kali the slave: 'Anger is present in my lady without showing, and not absent. And it's just because I'm diligent, deft, & neat in my work that the anger present in my lady doesn't show. Why don't I test her some more?'

"So Kali the slave got up even later in the day. Then Lady Vedehika said to her: 'Hey, Kali!'

"'Yes, madam?'

"'Why did you get up even later in the day?'

"'No reason, madam.'

"'No reason, you wicked slave, and yet you get up even later in the day?' Angered & displeased, she grabbed hold of a rolling pin and gave her a whack over the head, cutting it open.

Then Kali the slave, with blood streaming from her cut-open head, went and denounced her mistress to the neighbors: 'See, ladies, the gentle one's handiwork? See the even-tempered one's handiwork? See the calm one's handiwork? How could she, angered & displeased with her only slave for getting up after daybreak, grab hold of a rolling pin and give her a whack over the head, cutting it open?'

After that this evil report about Lady Vedehika circulated: 'Lady Vedehika is vicious. Lady Vedehika is foul-tempered. Lady Vedehika is violent.'

"In the same way, monks, a monk may be ever so gentle, ever so even-tempered, ever so calm, as long as he is not touched by disagreeable aspects of speech. But it is only when disagreeable aspects of speech touch him that he can truly be known as gentle, even-tempered, & calm. I don't call a monk easy to admonish if he is easy to admonish and makes himself easy to admonish only by reason of robes, almsfood, lodging, & medicinal requisites for curing the sick. Why is that? Because if he doesn't get robes, almsfood, lodging, & medicinal requisites for curing the sick, then he isn't easy to admonish and doesn't make himself easy to admonish. But if a monk is easy to admonish and makes himself easy to admonish purely out of esteem for the Dhamma, respect for the Dhamma, reverence for the Dhamma, then I call him easy to admonish. Thus, monks, you should train yourselves: 'We will be easy to admonish and make ourselves easy to admonish purely out of esteem for the Dhamma, respect for the Dhamma, reverence for the Dhamma.' That's how you should train yourselves.

"Monks, there are these five aspects of speech by which others may address you: timely or untimely, true or false, affectionate or harsh, beneficial or unbeneficial, with a mind of good-will or with inner hate. Others may address you in a timely way or an untimely way. They may address you with what is true or what is false. They may address you in an affectionate way or a harsh way. They may address you in a beneficial way or an unbeneficial way. They may address you with a mind of good-will or with inner hate. In any event, you should train yourselves: 'Our minds will be unaffected and we will say no evil words. We will remain sympathetic to that person's welfare, with a mind of good will, and with no inner hate. We will keep pervading him with an awareness imbued with good will and, beginning with him, we will keep pervading the entire world with an awareness imbued with good will — abundant, expansive, immeasurable, free from hostility, free from ill will.' That's how you should train yourselves.

"Suppose that a man were to come along carrying a hoe & a basket, saying, 'I will make this great earth be without earth.' He would dig here & there, scatter soil here & there, spit here & there, urinate here & there, saying, 'Be without earth. Be without earth.' Now, what do you think — would he make this great earth be without earth?"

"No, lord. Why is that? Because this great earth is deep & enormous. It can't easily be made to be without earth. The man would reap only a share of weariness & disappointment."

"In the same way, monks, there are these five aspects of speech by which others may address you: timely or untimely, true or false, affectionate or harsh, beneficial or unbeneficial, with a mind of good-will or with inner hate. Others may address you in a timely way or an untimely way. They may address you with what is true or what is false. They may address you in an affectionate way or a harsh way. They may address you in a beneficial way or an unbeneficial way. They may address you with a mind of good-will or with inner hate. In any event, you should train yourselves: 'Our minds will be unaffected and we will say no evil words. We will remain sympathetic to that person's welfare, with a mind of good will, and with no inner hate. We will keep pervading him with an awareness imbued with good will and, beginning with him, we will keep pervading the entire world with an awareness imbued with good will equal to the great earth — abundant, expansive, immeasurable, free from hostility, free from ill will.' That's how you should train yourselves.

"Suppose that a man were to come along carrying lac, yellow orpiment, indigo, or crimson, saying, 'I will draw pictures in space, I will make pictures appear.' Now, what do you think — would he draw pictures in space & make pictures appear?"

"No, lord. Why is that? Because space is formless & featureless. It's not easy to draw pictures there and to make them appear. The man would reap only a share of weariness & disappointment."

"In the same way, monks, there are these five aspects of speech by which others may address you: timely or untimely, true or false, affectionate or harsh, beneficial or unbeneficial, with a mind of good-will or with inner hate. Others may address you in a timely way or an untimely way. They may address you with what is true or what is false. They may address you in an affectionate way or a harsh way. They may address you in a beneficial way or an unbeneficial way. They may address you with a mind of good-will or with inner hate. In any event, you should train yourselves: 'Our minds will be unaffected and we will say no evil words. We will remain sympathetic to that person's welfare, with a mind of good will, and with no inner hate. We will keep pervading him with an awareness imbued with good will and, beginning with him, we will keep pervading the entire world with an awareness imbued with good will equal to space — abundant, expansive, immeasurable, free from hostility, free from ill will.' That's how you should train yourselves.

"Suppose that a man were to come along carrying a burning grass torch and saying, 'With this burning grass torch I will heat up the river Ganges and make it boil.' Now, what do you think — would he, with that burning grass torch, heat up the river Ganges and make it boil?"

"No, lord. Why is that? Because the river Ganges is deep & enormous. It's not easy to heat it up and make it boil with a burning grass torch. The man would reap only a share of weariness & disappointment."

"In the same way, monks, there are these five aspects of speech by which others may address you: timely or untimely, true or false, affectionate or harsh, beneficial or unbeneficial, with a mind of good-will or with inner hate. Others may address you in a timely way or an untimely way. They may address you with what is true or what is false. They may address you in an affectionate way or a harsh way. They may address you in a beneficial way or an unbeneficial way. They may address you with a mind of good-will or with inner hate. In any event, you should train yourselves: 'Our minds will be unaffected and we will say no evil words. We will remain sympathetic to that person's welfare, with a mind of good will, and with no inner hate. We will keep pervading him with an awareness imbued with good will and, beginning with him, we will keep pervading the entire world with an awareness imbued with good will equal to the river Ganges — abundant, expansive, immeasurable, free from hostility, free from ill will.' That's how you should train yourselves.

"Suppose there were a catskin bag — beaten, well-beaten, beaten through & through, soft, silky, free of rustling & crackling — and a man were to come along carrying a stick or shard and saying, 'With this stick or shard I will take this catskin bag — beaten, well-beaten, beaten through & through, soft, silky, free of rustling & crackling — and I will make it rustle & crackle.' Now, what do you think — would he, with that stick or shard, take that catskin bag — beaten, well-beaten, beaten through & through, soft, silky, free of rustling & crackling — and make it rustle & crackle?"

"No, lord. Why is that? Because the catskin bag is beaten, well-beaten, beaten through & through, soft, silky, free of rustling & crackling. It's not easy to make it rustle & crackle with a stick or shard. The man would reap only a share of weariness & disappointment."

"In the same way, monks, there are these five aspects of speech by which others may address you: timely or untimely, true or false, affectionate or harsh, beneficial or unbeneficial, with a mind of good-will or with inner hate. Others may address you in a timely way or an untimely way. They may address you with what is true or what is false. They may address you in an affectionate way or a harsh way. They may address you in a beneficial way or an unbeneficial way. They may address you with a mind of good-will or with inner hate. In any event, you should train yourselves: 'Our minds will be unaffected and we will say no evil words. We will remain sympathetic to that person's welfare, with a mind of good will, and with no inner hate. We will keep pervading him with an awareness imbued with good will and, beginning with him, we will keep pervading the entire world with an awareness imbued with good will equal to a catskin bag — abundant, expansive, immeasurable, free from hostility, free from ill will.' That's how you should train yourselves.

"Monks, even if bandits were to carve you up savagely, limb by limb, with a two-handled saw, he among you who let his heart get angered even at that would not be doing my bidding. Even then you should train yourselves: 'Our minds will be unaffected and we will say no evil words. We will remain sympathetic, with a mind of good will, and with no inner hate. We will keep pervading these people with an awareness imbued with good will and, beginning with them, we will keep pervading the entire world with an awareness imbued with good will — abundant, expansive, immeasurable, free from hostility, free from ill will.' That's how you should train yourselves.

"Monks, if you attend constantly to this admonition on the simile of the saw, do you see any aspects of speech, slight or gross, that you could not endure?"

"No, lord."

"Then attend constantly to this admonition on the simile of the saw. That will be for your long-term welfare & happiness."

That is what the Blessed One said. Gratified, the monks delighted in the Blessed One's words.

— MN 21

§ 21

"Well then, Punna. Now that I have instructed you with a brief instruction, in which country are you going to live?"

"Lord, there is a country called Sunaparanta. I am going to live there."

"Punna, the Sunaparanta people are fierce. They are rough. If they insult and ridicule you, what will you think?"

"If they insult and ridicule me, I will think, 'These Sunaparanta people are civilized, very civilized, in that they don't hit me with their hands.' That is what I will think, O Blessed One. That is what I will think, O One Well-gone."

"But if they hit you with their hands, what will you think?"

"...I will think, 'These Sunaparanta people are civilized, very civilized, in that they don't hit me with a clod'..."

"But if they hit you with a clod...?"

"...I will think, 'These Sunaparanta people are civilized, very civilized, in that they don't hit me with a stick'..."

"But if they hit you with a stick...?"

"...I will think, 'These Sunaparanta people are civilized, very civilized, in that they don't hit me with a knife'..."

"But if they hit you with a knife...?"

"...I will think, 'These Sunaparanta people are civilized, very civilized, in that they don't take my life with a sharp knife'..."

"But if they take your life with a sharp knife...?"

"If they take my life with a sharp knife, I will think, 'There are disciples of the Blessed One who — horrified, humiliated, and disgusted by the body and by life — have sought for an assassin, but here I have met my assassin without searching for him.' That is what I will think, O Blessed One. That is what I will think, O One Well-gone."

"Good, Punna, very good. Possessing such calm and self-control you are fit to dwell among the Sunaparantans. Now it is time to do as you see fit."

— SN 35.88

§ 22

I have heard that on one occasion the Blessed One was staying near Rajagaha in the Bamboo Grove, the Squirrels' Sanctuary.

Then Prince Abhaya went to Nigantha Nataputta and on arrival, having bowed down to him, sat to one side. As he was sitting there, Nigantha Nataputta said to him, "Come, now, prince. Refute the words of Gotama the contemplative, and this admirable report about you will spread afar: 'The words of Gotama the contemplative — so mighty, so powerful — were refuted by Prince Abhaya!'"

"But how, venerable sir, will I refute the words of Gotama the contemplative — so mighty, so powerful?"

"Come now, prince. Go to Gotama the contemplative and on arrival say this: 'Lord, would the Tathagata say words that are unendearing & disagreeable to others?' If Gotama the contemplative, thus asked, answers, 'The Tathagata would say words that are unendearing & disagreeable to others,' then you should say, 'Then how is there any difference between you, lord, and run-of-the-mill people? For even run-of-the-mill people say words that are unendearing & disagreeable to others.' But if Gotama the contemplative, thus asked, answers, 'The Tathagata would not say words that are unendearing & disagreeable to others,' then you should say, 'Then how, lord, did you say of Devadatta that "Devadatta is headed for destitution, Devadatta is headed for hell, Devadatta will boil for an eon, Devadatta is incurable"? For Devadatta was upset & disgruntled at those words of yours.' When Gotama the contemplative is asked this two-pronged question by you, he won't be able to swallow it down or spit it up. Just as if a two-horned chestnut[1] were stuck in a man's throat: he would not be able to swallow it down or spit it up. In the same way, when Gotama the contemplative is asked this two-pronged question by you, he won't be able to swallow it down or spit it up."

Responding, "As you say, venerable sir," Prince Abhaya got up from his seat, bowed down to Nigantha Nataputta, circumambulated him, and then went to the Blessed One. On arrival, he bowed down to the Blessed One and sat to one side. As he was sitting there, he glanced up at the sun and thought, "Today is not the time to refute the Blessed One's words. Tomorrow in my own home I will overturn the Blessed One's words." So he said to the Blessed One, "May the Blessed One, together with three others, acquiesce to my offer of tomorrow's meal."

The Blessed One acquiesced with silence.

Then Prince Abhaya, understanding the Blessed One's acquiescence, got up from his seat, bowed down to the Blessed One, circumambulated him, and left.

Then, after the night had passed, the Blessed One early in the morning put on his robes and, carrying his bowl and outer robe, went to Prince Abhaya's home. On arrival, he sat down on a seat made ready. Prince Abhaya, with his own hand, served & satisfied the Blessed One with fine staple & non-staple foods. Then, when the Blessed One had eaten and had removed his hand from his bowl, Prince Abhaya took a lower seat and sat to one side. As he was sitting there he said to the Blessed One, "Lord, would the Tathagata say words that are unendearing & disagreeable to others?"

"Prince, there is no categorical yes-or-no answer to that."

"Then right here, lord, the Niganthas are destroyed."

"But prince, why do you say, 'Then right here, lord, the Niganthas are destroyed'?"

"Just yesterday, lord, I went to Nigantha Nataputta and... he said to me... 'Come now, prince. Go to Gotama the contemplative and on arrival say this: "Lord, would the Tathagata say words that are unendearing & disagreeable to others?"... Just as if a two-horned chestnut were stuck in a man's throat: he would not be able to swallow it down or spit it up. In the same way, when Gotama the contemplative is asked this two-pronged question by you, he won't be able to swallow it down or spit it up.'"

Now at that time a baby boy was lying face-up on the prince's lap. So the Blessed One said to the prince, "What do you think, prince: If this young boy, through your own negligence or that of the nurse, were to take a stick or a piece of gravel into its mouth, what would you do?"

"I would take it out, lord. If I couldn't get it out right away, then holding its head in my left hand and crooking a finger of my right, I would take it out, even if it meant drawing blood. Why is that? Because I have sympathy for the young boy."

"In the same way, prince:

[1] In the case of words that the Tathagata knows to be unfactual, untrue, unbeneficial (or: not connected with the goal), unendearing & disagreeable to others, he does not say them.

[2] In the case of words that the Tathagata knows to be factual, true, unbeneficial, unendearing & disagreeable to others, he does not say them.

[3] In the case of words that the Tathagata knows to be factual, true, beneficial, but unendearing & disagreeable to others, he has a sense of the proper time for saying them.

[4] In the case of words that the Tathagata knows to be unfactual, untrue, unbeneficial, but endearing & agreeable to others, he does not say them.

[5] In the case of words that the Tathagata knows to be factual, true, unbeneficial, but endearing & agreeable to others, he does not say them.

[6] In the case of words that the Tathagata knows to be factual, true, beneficial, and endearing & agreeable to others, he has a sense of the proper time for saying them. Why is that? Because the Tathagata has sympathy for living beings."

"Lord, when wise nobles or priests, householders or contemplatives, having formulated questions, come to the Tathagata and ask him, does this line of reasoning appear to his awareness beforehand — 'If those who approach me ask this, I — thus asked — will answer in this way' — or does the Tathagata come up with the answer on the spot?"

"In that case, prince, I will ask you a counter-question. Answer as you see fit. What do you think: are you skilled in the parts of a chariot?"

"Yes, lord. I am skilled in the parts of a chariot."

"And what do you think: When people come & ask you, 'What is the name of this part of the chariot?' does this line of reasoning appear to your awareness beforehand — 'If those who approach me ask this, I — thus asked — will answer in this way' — or do you come up with the answer on the spot?"

"Lord, I am renowned for being skilled in the parts of a chariot. All the parts of a chariot are well-known to me. I come up with the answer on the spot."

"In the same way, prince, when wise nobles or priests, householders or contemplatives, having formulated questions, come to the Tathagata and ask him, he comes up with the answer on the spot. Why is that? Because the property of the Dhamma is thoroughly penetrated by the Tathagata. From his thorough penetration of the property of the Dhamma, he comes up with the answer on the spot."

When this was said, Prince Abhaya said to the Blessed One: "Magnificent, lord! Magnificent! Just as if he were to place upright what was overturned, to reveal what was hidden, to show the way to one who was lost, or to carry a lamp into the dark so that those with eyes could see forms, in the same way has the Blessed One — through many lines of reasoning — made the Dhamma clear. I go to the Blessed One for refuge, to the Dhamma, and to the Sangha of monks. May the Blessed One remember me as a lay follower who has gone to him for refuge, from this day forward, for life."

— MN 58

Note

1.
A two-horned chestnut is the nut of a tree (Trapa bicornis) growing in south and southeast Asia. Its shell looks like the head of a water buffalo, with two nasty, curved "horns" sticking out of either side.

§ 23

Whereas some priests and contemplatives, living off food given in faith, are addicted to debates such as these — 'You understand this doctrine and discipline? I'm the one who understands this doctrine and discipline. How could you understand this doctrine and discipline? You're practicing wrongly. I'm practicing rightly. I'm being consistent. You're not. What should be said first you said last. What should be said last you said first. What you took so long to think out has been refuted. Your doctrine has been overthrown. You're defeated. Go and try to salvage your doctrine; extricate yourself if you can!' — he (the ideal monk) abstains from debates such as these. This, too, is part of his virtue.

— DN 2

Five qualities to establish in oneself before accusing another of wrong doing:

§ 24

"I will speak at the right time, not at the wrong time."

"I will say what is factual, not what is not factual."

"I will speak gently, and not harshly."

"I will say what is connected with the goal [the matter at hand], not what is unconnected to the goal [the matter at hand]."

"I will speak with an attitude of good will, and not with inner aversion."

— Cv IX.5.2

§ 25

There is the case, headman, where a Tathagata appears in the world, worthy & rightly self-awakened, consummate in clear knowing & conduct, well-gone, a knower of the cosmos, unexcelled trainer of those to be tamed, teacher of human & divine beings, awakened, blessed. He, in various ways, criticizes & censures the taking of life, and says, 'Abstain from taking life.' He criticizes & censures stealing, and says, 'Abstain from stealing.' He criticizes & censures indulging in illicit sex, and says, 'Abstain from indulging in illicit sex.' He criticizes & censures the telling of lies, and says, 'Abstain from the telling of lies.'

A disciple has faith in that teacher and reflects: 'The Blessed One in a variety of ways criticizes & censures the taking of life, and says, "Abstain from taking life." There are living beings that I have killed, to a greater or lesser extent. That was not right. That was not good. But if I become remorseful for that reason, that evil deed of mine will not be undone.' So, reflecting thus, he abandons right then the taking of life, and in the future refrains from taking life. This is how there comes to be the abandoning of that evil deed. This is how there comes to be the transcending of that evil deed.

[He reflects:] 'The Blessed One in a variety of ways criticizes & censures stealing... indulging in illicit sex... the telling of lies, and says, "Abstain from the telling of lies." There are lies I have told, to a greater or lesser extent. That was not right. That was not good. But if I become remorseful for that reason, that evil deed of mine will not be undone.' So, reflecting thus, he abandons right then the telling of lies, and in the future refrains from telling lies. This is how there comes to be the abandoning of that evil deed. This is how there comes to be the transcending of that evil deed.

Having abandoned the taking of life, he refrains from taking life... he refrains from stealing... he refrains from illicit sex... he refrains from lies... he refrains from divisive speech... he refrains from abusive speech... he refrains from idle chatter. Having abandoned covetousness, he becomes uncovetous. Having abandoned malevolence & anger, he becomes one with a mind of no malevolence. Having abandoned wrong views, he becomes one who has right views.

That disciple of the noble ones, headman — thus devoid of covetousness, devoid of malevolence, unbewildered, alert, mindful — keeps pervading the first direction [the east] with an awareness imbued with good will, likewise the second, likewise the third, likewise the fourth. Thus above, below, & all around, everywhere, in its entirety, he keeps pervading the all-encompassing cosmos with an awareness imbued with good will — abundant, expansive, immeasurable, without hostility, without malevolence. Just as a strong conch-trumpet blower can notify the four directions without any difficulty, in the same way, when the awareness-release through good will is thus developed, thus pursued, any deed done to a limited extent no longer remains there, no longer stays there.

That disciple of the noble ones... keeps pervading the first direction with an awareness imbued with compassion... appreciation... equanimity, likewise the second, likewise the third, likewise the fourth. Thus above, below, & all around, everywhere, in its entirety, he keeps pervading the all-encompassing cosmos with an awareness imbued with equanimity — abundant, expansive, immeasurable, without hostility, without malevolence. Just as a strong conch-trumpet blower can notify the four directions without any difficulty, in the same way, when the awareness-release through equanimity is thus developed, thus pursued, any deed done to a limited extent no longer remains there, no longer stays there.

— SN 42.8

§ 26

Think: Happy, at rest, may all beings be happy at heart. Whatever beings there may be, weak or strong, without exception, long, large, middling, short, subtle, blatant, seen & unseen, near & far, born & seeking birth: May all beings be happy at heart. Let no one deceive another or despise anyone anywhere, or through anger or resistance wish for another to suffer. As a mother would risk her life to protect her child, her only child, even so should one cultivate a limitless heart with regard to all beings. With good will for the entire cosmos, cultivate a limitless heart: Above, below, & all around, unobstructed, without hostility or hate. Whether standing, walking, sitting, or lying down, as long as one is alert, one should be resolved on this mindfulness. This is called a sublime abiding here & now.

— Sn 1.8

§ 27

For one whose awareness-release through good will is cultivated, developed, pursued, handed the reins and taken as a basis, given a grounding, steadied, consolidated, and well-undertaken, eleven benefits can be expected. Which eleven?

One sleeps easily, wakes easily, dreams no evil dreams. One is dear to human beings, dear to non-human beings. The devas protect one. Neither fire, poison, nor weapons can touch one. One's mind gains concentration quickly. One's complexion is bright. One dies unconfused and — if penetrating no higher — is headed for the Brahma worlds.

— AN 11.16

§ 28

Wise & mindful, you should develop immeasurable concentration [i.e., concentration based on immeasurable good will, compassion, appreciation, or equanimity]. When, wise & mindful, one has developed immeasurable concentration, five realizations arise right within oneself. Which five?

The realization arises right within oneself that 'This concentration is blissful in the present and will result in bliss in the future.'

The realization arises right within oneself that 'This concentration is noble & not connected with the baits of the flesh.'

The realization arises right within oneself that 'This concentration is not obtained by base people.'

The realization arises right within oneself that 'This concentration is peaceful, exquisite, the acquiring of serenity, the attainment of unity, not kept in place by the fabrications of forceful restraint.'

The realization arises right within oneself that 'I enter into this concentration mindfully, and mindfully I emerge from it.'

Wise & mindful, you should develop immeasurable concentration. When, wise & mindful, one has developed immeasurable concentration, these five realizations arise right within oneself.

— AN 5.27

§ 29

It's with sensuality for the reason, sensuality for the source, sensuality for the cause, the reason being simply sensuality, that kings quarrel with kings, nobles with nobles, priests with priests, householders with householders, mother with child, child with mother, father with child, child with father, brother with brother, sister with sister, brother with sister, sister with brother, friend with friend. And then in their quarrels, brawls, & disputes, they attack one another with fists or with clods or with sticks or with knives, so that they incur death or deadly pain. Now this drawback too in the case of sensuality, this mass of stress visible here & now, has sensuality for its reason, sensuality for its source, sensuality for its cause, the reason being simply sensuality.

Furthermore, it's with sensuality for the reason, sensuality for the source... that (men), taking swords & shields and buckling on bows & quivers, charge into battle massed in double array while arrows & spears are flying and swords are flashing; and there they are wounded by arrows & spears, and their heads are cut off by swords, so that they incur death or deadly pain. Now this drawback too in the case of sensuality, this mass of stress visible here & now, has sensuality for its reason...

Furthermore, it's with sensuality for the reason, sensuality for the source... that (men), taking swords & shields and buckling on bows & quivers, charge slippery bastions while arrows & spears are flying and swords are flashing; and there they are splashed with boiling cow dung and crushed under heavy weights, and their heads are cut off by swords, so that they incur death or deadly pain. Now this drawback too in the case of sensuality, this mass of stress visible here & now, has sensuality for its reason, sensuality for its source, sensuality for its cause, the reason being simply sensuality.

— MN 13

§ 30

It's with a cause, monks, that sensual thinking occurs, and not without a cause... And how is it, monks, that sensual thinking occurs with a cause and not without a cause? In dependence on the property of sensuality there occurs the perception of sensuality. In dependence on the perception of sensuality there occurs the consideration of sensuality... the desire for sensuality... the fever for sensuality... the quest for sensuality. Questing for sensuality, monks, an uninstructed, run-of-the-mill person conducts himself wrongly through three means: through body, through speech, & through mind.

Just as if a man were to throw a burning firebrand into a dry, grassy wilderness and not quickly stamp it out with his hands & feet, and thus whatever animals inhabiting the grass & timber would come to ruin & loss; even so, monks, any contemplative or priest who does not quickly abandon, dispel, demolish, & wipe out of existence any wrong-headed, unwise perceptions once they have arisen, will dwell in stress in the present life — troubled, despairing, & feverish — and on the break-up of the body, after death, can expect a bad destination.

— SN 14.12

§ 31

Now, craving is dependent on feeling, seeking is dependent on craving, acquisition is dependent on seeking, ascertainment is dependent on acquisition, desire and passion is dependent on ascertainment, attachment is dependent on desire and passion, possessiveness is dependent on attachment, stinginess is dependent on possessiveness, defensiveness is dependent on stinginess, and because of defensiveness, dependent on defensiveness, various evil, unskillful phenomena come into play: the taking up of sticks and knives; conflicts, quarrels, and disputes; accusations, divisive speech, and lies.

— DN 15

§ 32

Having been given leave by the Blessed One, Sakka the deva-king asked him his first question: "Fettered with what, dear sir — though they think, 'May we live free from hostility, free from violence, free from rivalry, free from ill will, free from those who are hostile' — do devas, human beings, asuras, nagas, gandhabbas, & whatever other many kinds of beings there are, nevertheless live in hostility, violence, rivalry, ill will, with those who are hostile?"

Thus Sakka asked his first question of the Blessed One, and the Blessed One, when asked, replied: "Devas, human beings, asuras, nagas, gandhabbas, & whatever other many kinds of beings there are, are fettered with envy & stinginess, which is why — even though they think, 'May we live free from hostility, free from violence, free from rivalry, free from ill will, free from those who are hostile — they nevertheless live in hostility, violence, rivalry, ill will, with those who are hostile."

Thus the Blessed One answered, having been asked by Sakka the deva-king. Gratified, Sakka was delighted in & expressed his approval of the Blessed One's words: "So it is, O Blessed One. So it is, O One Well-gone. Hearing the Blessed One's answer to my question, my doubt is now cut off, my perplexity is overcome."

Then Sakka, having delighted in & expressed his approval of the Blessed One's words, asked him a further question: "But what, dear sir, is the cause of envy & stinginess, what is their origination, what gives them birth, what is their source? When what exists do they come into being? When what doesn't exist do they not?"

"Envy & stinginess have dear-&-not-dear as their cause, have dear-&-not-dear as their origination, have dear-&-not-dear as what gives them birth, have dear-&-not-dear as their source. When dear-&-not-dear exist, they come into being. When dear-&-not-dear are not, they don't."

"But what, dear sir, is the cause of dear-&-not-dear, what is their origination, what gives them birth, what is their source? When what exists do they come into being? When what doesn't exist do they not?"

"Dear-&-not-dear have desire as their cause, have desire as their origination, have desire as what gives them birth, have desire as their source. When desire exists, they come into being. When desire is not, they don't."

"But what, dear sir, is the cause of desire, what is its origination, what gives it birth, what is its source? When what exists does it come into being? When what doesn't exist does it not?"

"Desire has thinking as its cause, has thinking as its origination, has thinking as what gives it birth, has thinking as its source. When thinking exists, desire comes into being. When thinking is not, it doesn't."

"But what, dear sir, is the cause of thinking, what is its origination, what gives it birth, what is its source? When what exists does it come into being? When what doesn't exist does it not?"

"Thinking has the perceptions & categories of objectification[1] as its cause, has the perceptions & categories of objectification as its origination, has the perceptions & categories of objectification as what gives it birth, has the perceptions & categories of objectification as its source. When the perceptions & categories of objectification exists, thinking comes into being. When the perceptions & categories of objectification are not, it doesn't."

"And how has he practiced, dear sir: the monk who has practiced the practice leading to the right cessation of the perceptions & categories of objectification?"

"Joy is of two sorts, I tell you, deva-king: to be pursued & not to be pursued. Grief is of two sorts: to be pursued & not to be pursued. Equanimity is of two sorts: to be pursued & not to be pursued.

"'Joy is of two sorts, I tell you, deva-king: to be pursued & not to be pursued.' Thus was it said. And in reference to what was it said? When one knows of a feeling of joy, 'As I pursue this joy, unskillful mental qualities increase, and skillful mental qualities decline,' that sort of joy is not to be pursued. When one knows of a feeling of joy, 'As I pursue this joy, unskillful mental qualities decline, and skillful mental qualities increase,' that sort of joy is to be pursued. And this sort of joy may be accompanied by directed thought & evaluation or free of directed thought & evaluation. Of the two, the latter is the more refined. 'Joy is of two sorts, I tell you, deva-king: to be pursued & not to be pursued.' Thus was it said. And in reference to this was it said.

"'Grief is of two sorts, I tell you: to be pursued & not to be pursued.' Thus was it said. And in reference to what was it said? When one knows of a feeling of grief, 'As I pursue this grief, unskillful mental qualities increase, and skillful mental qualities decline,' that sort of grief is not to be pursued. When one knows of a feeling of grief, 'As I pursue this grief, unskillful mental qualities decline, and skillful mental qualities increase,' that sort of grief is to be pursued. And this sort of grief may be accompanied by directed thought & evaluation or free of directed thought & evaluation. Of the two, the latter is the more refined. 'Grief is of two sorts, I tell you: to be pursued & not to be pursued.' Thus was it said. And in reference to this was it said.

"'Equanimity is of two sorts, I tell you: to be pursued & not to be pursued.' Thus was it said. And in reference to what was it said? When one knows of a feeling of equanimity, 'As I pursue this equanimity, unskillful mental qualities increase, and skillful mental qualities decline,' that sort of equanimity is not to be pursued. When one knows of a feeling of equanimity, 'As I pursue this equanimity, unskillful mental qualities decline, and skillful mental qualities increase,' that sort of equanimity is to be pursued. And this sort of equanimity may be accompanied by directed thought & evaluation or free of directed thought & evaluation. Of the two, the latter is the more refined. 'Equanimity is of two sorts, I tell you: to be pursued & not to be pursued.' Thus was it said. And in reference to this was it said.

"This is how he has practiced, deva-king: the monk who has practiced the practice leading to the right cessation of the perceptions & categories of objectification."

Thus the Blessed One answered, having been asked by Sakka the deva-king. Gratified, Sakka was delighted in & expressed his approval of the Blessed One's words: "So it is, O Blessed One. So it is, O One Well-gone. Hearing the Blessed One's answer to my question, my doubt is now cut off, my perplexity is overcome."

Then Sakka, having delighted in & expressed his approval of the Blessed One's words, asked him a further question: "But how has he practiced, dear sir: the monk who has practiced for restraint in the Patimokkha?"

"Bodily conduct is of two sorts, I tell you, deva-king: to be pursued & not to be pursued. Verbal conduct is of two sorts: to be pursued & not to be pursued. Searching is of two sorts: to be pursued & not to be pursued.

"'Bodily conduct is of two sorts, I tell you, deva-king: to be pursued & not to be pursued.' Thus was it said. And in reference to what was it said? When one knows of bodily conduct, 'As I pursue this bodily conduct, unskillful mental qualities increase, and skillful mental qualities decline,' that sort of bodily conduct is not to be pursued. When one knows of bodily conduct, 'As I pursue this bodily conduct, unskillful mental qualities decline, and skillful mental qualities increase,' that sort of bodily conduct is to be pursued. 'Bodily conduct is of two sorts, I tell you, deva-king: to be pursued & not to be pursued.' Thus was it said. And in reference to this was it said.

"'Verbal conduct is of two sorts, I tell you, deva-king: to be pursued & not to be pursued.' Thus was it said. And in reference to what was it said? When one knows of verbal conduct, 'As I pursue this verbal conduct, unskillful mental qualities increase, and skillful mental qualities decline,' that sort of verbal conduct is not to be pursued. When one knows of verbal conduct, 'As I pursue this verbal conduct, unskillful mental qualities decline, and skillful mental qualities increase,' that sort of verbal conduct is to be pursued. 'Verbal conduct is of two sorts, I tell you, deva-king: to be pursued & not to be pursued.' Thus was it said. And in reference to this was it said.

"'Searching is of two sorts, I tell you, deva-king: to be pursued & not to be pursued.' Thus was it said. And in reference to what was it said? When one knows of a search, 'As I pursue this search, unskillful mental qualities increase, and skillful mental qualities decline,' that sort of search is not to be pursued. When one knows of a search, 'As I pursue this search, unskillful mental qualities decline, and skillful mental qualities increase,' that sort of search is to be pursued. 'Searching is of two sorts, I tell you, deva-king: to be pursued & not to be pursued.' Thus was it said. And in reference to this was it said.

"This is how has he practiced, deva-king: the monk who has practiced the practice for restraint in the Patimokkha."

Thus the Blessed One answered, having been asked by Sakka the deva-king. Gratified, Sakka was delighted in & expressed his approval of the Blessed One's words: "So it is, O Blessed One. So it is, O One Well-gone. Hearing the Blessed One's answer to my question, my doubt is now cut off, my perplexity is overcome."

Then Sakka, having delighted in & expressed his approval of the Blessed One's words, asked him a further question: "But how has he practiced, dear sir: the monk who has practiced for restraint with regard to the sense faculties?"

"Forms cognizable by the eye are of two sorts, I tell you, deva-king: to be pursued & not to be pursued. Sounds cognizable by the ear... Aromas cognizable by the nose... Flavors cognizable by the tongue... Tactile sensations cognizable by the body... Ideas cognizable by the intellect are of two sorts: to be pursued & not to be pursued."

When this was said, Sakka the deva-king said to the Blessed One, "Dear sir, I understand the detailed meaning of the Blessed One's brief statement. If, as one pursues a certain type of form cognizable by the eye, unskillful mental qualities increase, and skillful mental qualities decline, that sort of form cognizable by the eye is not to be pursued. But if, as one pursues a certain type of form cognizable by the eye, unskillful mental qualities decline, and skillful mental qualities increase, that sort of form cognizable by the eye is to be pursued.

"If, as one pursues a certain type of sound cognizable by the ear...

"If, as one pursues a certain type of aroma cognizable by the nose...

"If, as one pursues a certain type of flavor cognizable by the tongue...

"If, as one pursues a certain type of tactile sensation cognizable by the body...

"If, as one pursues a certain type of idea cognizable by the intellect, unskillful mental qualities increase, and skillful mental qualities decline, that sort of idea cognizable by the intellect is not to be pursued. But if, as one pursues a certain type of idea cognizable by the intellect, unskillful mental qualities decline, and skillful mental qualities increase, that sort of idea cognizable by the intellect is to be pursued.

"This is how I understand the detailed meaning of the Blessed One's brief statement. Hearing the Blessed One's answer to my question, my doubt is now cut off, my perplexity is overcome."

— DN 21

Note

1.
Objectification = papañca. As one writer has noted, the word papañca has had a wide variety of meanings in Indian thought, with only one constant: in Buddhist philosophical discourse it carries negative connotations, usually of falsification and distortion. The word itself is derived from a root that means diffuseness, spreading, proliferating. The Pali Commentaries define papañca as covering three types of thought: craving, conceit, and views. They also note that it functions to slow the mind down in its escape from samsara. Because its categories begin with the objectifying thought, "I am the thinker," I have chosen to render the word as "objectification," although some of the following alternatives might be acceptable as well: self-reflexive thinking, reification, proliferation, complication, elaboration, distortion. The word offers some interesting parallels to the postmodern notion of logocentric thinking, but it's important to note that the Buddha's program of deconstructing this process differs sharply from that of postmodern thought.

For a fuller explanation of this term, see the introduction to MN 18.

§ 33

I have heard that on one occasion the Blessed One was living among the Sakyans near Kapilavatthu in the Banyan Park. Then in the early morning, having put on his robes and carrying his bowl & outer robe, he went into Kapilavatthu for alms. Having gone for alms in Kapilavatthu, after the meal, returning from his alms round, he went to the Great Wood for the day's abiding. Plunging into the Great Wood, he sat down at the root of a bilva sapling for the day's abiding.

Dandapani ("Stick-in-hand") the Sakyan, out roaming & rambling for exercise, also went to the Great Wood. Plunging into the Great Wood, he went to where the Blessed One was under the bilva sapling. On arrival, he exchanged courteous greetings with him. After an exchange of friendly greetings & courtesies, he stood to one side. As he was standing there, he said to the Blessed One, "What is the contemplative's doctrine? What does he proclaim?"

"The sort of doctrine, friend, where one does not keep quarreling with anyone in the cosmos with its deities, Maras, & Brahmas, with its contemplatives & priests, its royalty & commonfolk; the sort [of doctrine] where perceptions no longer obsess the brahman who remains dissociated from sensuality, free from perplexity, his uncertainty cut away, devoid of craving for becoming & non-. Such is my doctrine, such is what I proclaim."

When this was said, Dandapani the Sakyan — shaking his head, wagging his tongue, raising his eyebrows so that his forehead was wrinkled in three furrows — left, leaning on his stick.

Then, when it was evening, the Blessed One rose from his seclusion and went to the Banyan Park. On arrival, he sat down on a seat made ready. As he was sitting there, he [told the monks what had happened]. When this was said, a certain monk said to the Blessed One, "Lord, what sort of doctrine is it where one does not keep quarreling with anyone in the cosmos with its deities, Maras, & Brahmas, with its contemplatives & priests, its royalty & commonfolk; where perceptions no longer obsess the brahman who remains dissociated from sensuality, free from perplexity, his uncertainty cut away, devoid of craving for becoming & non-?"

"If, monk, with regard to the cause whereby the perceptions & categories of objectification assail a person, there is nothing there to relish, welcome, or remain fastened to, then that is the end of the obsessions of passion, the obsessions of resistance, the obsessions of views, the obsessions of uncertainty, the obsessions of conceit, the obsessions of passion for becoming, & the obsessions of ignorance. That is the end of taking up rods & bladed weapons, of arguments, quarrels, disputes, accusations, divisive tale-bearing, & false speech. That is where these evil, unskillful things cease without remainder." That is what the Blessed One said. Having said it, the One Well-gone got up from his seat and went into his dwelling.

Then, not long after the Blessed One had left, this thought occurred to the monks: "This brief statement the Blessed One made, after which he went into his dwelling without analyzing the detailed meaning — i.e., 'If, with regard to the cause whereby the perceptions & categories of objectification assail a person, there is nothing to relish... that is where these evil, unskillful things cease without remainder': now who might analyze the unanalyzed detailed meaning of this brief statement?" Then the thought occurred to them, "Ven. Maha Kaccana is praised by the Teacher and esteemed by his knowledgeable companions in the holy life. He is capable of analyzing the unanalyzed detailed meaning of this brief statement. Suppose we were to go to him and, on arrival, question him about this matter."

So the monks went to Ven. Maha Kaccana and, on arrival exchanged courteous greetings with him. After an exchange of friendly greetings & courtesies, they sat to one side. As they were sitting there, they [told him what had happened, and added,] "Analyze the meaning, Ven. Maha Kaccana!"

[He replied:] "Friends, it's as if a man needing heartwood, looking for heartwood, wandering in search of heartwood — passing over the root & trunk of a standing tree possessing heartwood — were to imagine that heartwood should be sought among its branches & leaves. So it is with you, who — having bypassed the Blessed One when you were face to face with him, the Teacher — imagine that I should be asked about this matter. For knowing, the Blessed One knows; seeing, he sees. He is the Eye, he is Knowledge, he is Dhamma, he is Brahma. He is the speaker, the proclaimer, the elucidator of meaning, the giver of the Deathless, the lord of the Dhamma, the Tathagata. That was the time when you should have questioned him about this matter. However he answered, that was how you should have remembered it."

"Yes, friend Kaccana: knowing, the Blessed One knows; seeing, he sees. He is the Eye, he is Knowledge, he is Dhamma, he is Brahma. He is the speaker, the proclaimer, the elucidator of meaning, the giver of the Deathless, the lord of the Dhamma, the Tathagata. That was the time when we should have questioned him about this matter. However he answered, that was how we should have remembered it. But you are praised by the Teacher and esteemed by your knowledgeable companions in the holy life. You are capable of analyzing the unanalyzed detailed meaning of this brief statement. Analyze the meaning, Ven. Maha Kaccana!"

"In that case, my friends, listen & pay close attention. I will speak."

"As you say, friend," the monks responded.

Ven. Maha Kaccana said this: "Concerning the brief statement the Blessed One made, after which he went into his dwelling without analyzing the detailed meaning — i.e., 'If, with regard to the cause whereby the perceptions & categories of objectification assail a person, there is nothing there to relish, welcome, or remain fastened to, then that is the end of the obsessions of passion, the obsessions of resistance, the obsessions of views, the obsessions of uncertainty, the obsessions of conceit, the obsessions of passion for becoming, & the obsessions of ignorance. That is the end of taking up rods & bladed weapons, of arguments, quarrels, disputes, accusations, divisive tale-bearing, & false speech. That is where these evil, unskillful things cease without remainder' — I understand the detailed meaning to be this:

"Dependent on eye & forms, eye-consciousness arises. The meeting of the three is contact. With contact as a requisite condition, there is feeling. What one feels, one perceives (labels in the mind). What one perceives, one thinks about. What one thinks about, one objectifies. Based on what a person objectifies, the perceptions & categories of objectification assail him/her with regard to past, present, & future forms cognizable via the eye.

"Dependent on ear & sounds, ear-consciousness arises...

"Dependent on nose & aromas, nose-consciousness arises...

"Dependent on tongue & flavors, tongue-consciousness arises...

"Dependent on body & tactile sensations, body-consciousness arises...

"Dependent on intellect & ideas, intellect-consciousness arises. The meeting of the three is contact. With contact as a requisite condition, there is feeling. What one feels, one perceives (labels in the mind). What one perceives, one thinks about. What one thinks about, one objectifies. Based on what a person objectifies, the perceptions & categories of objectification assail him/her with regard to past, present, & future ideas cognizable via the intellect.

"Now, when there is the eye, when there are forms, when there is eye-consciousness, it is possible that one will delineate a delineation of contact.[1] When there is a delineation of contact, it is possible that one will delineate a delineation of feeling. When there is a delineation of feeling, it is possible that one will delineate a delineation of perception. When there is a delineation of perception, it is possible that one will delineate a delineation of thinking. When there is a delineation of thinking, it is possible that one will delineate a delineation of being assailed by the perceptions & categories of objectification.

"When there is the ear...

"When there is the nose...

"When there is the tongue...

"When there is the body...

"When there is the intellect, when there are ideas, when there is intellect-consciousness, it is possible that one will delineate a delineation of contact. When there is a delineation of contact, it is possible that one will delineate a delineation of feeling. When there is a delineation of feeling, it is possible that one will delineate a delineation of perception. When there is a delineation of perception, it is possible that one will delineate a delineation of thinking. When there is a delineation of thinking, it is possible that one will delineate a delineation of being assailed by the perceptions & categories of objectification.

"Now, when there is no eye, when there are no forms, when there is no eye-consciousness, it is impossible that one will delineate a delineation of contact. When there is no delineation of contact, it is impossible that one will delineate a delineation of feeling. When there is no delineation of feeling, it is impossible that one will delineate a delineation of perception. When there is no delineation of perception, it is impossible that one will delineate a delineation of thinking. When there is no delineation of thinking, it is impossible that one will delineate a delineation of being assailed by the perceptions & categories of objectification.

"When there is no ear...

"When there is no nose...

"When there is no tongue...

"When there is no body...

"When there is no intellect, when there are no ideas, when there is no intellect-consciousness, it is impossible that one will delineate a delineation of contact. When there is no delineation of contact, it is impossible that one will delineate a delineation of feeling. When there is no delineation of feeling, it is impossible that one will delineate a delineation of perception. When there is no delineation of perception, it is impossible that one will delineate a delineation of thinking. When there is no delineation of thinking, it is impossible that one will delineate a delineation of being assailed by the perceptions & categories of objectification.

"So, concerning the brief statement the Blessed One made, after which he entered his dwelling without analyzing the detailed meaning — i.e., 'If, with regard to the cause whereby the perceptions & categories of objectification assail a person, there is nothing there to relish, welcome, or remain fastened to, then that is the end of the obsessions of passion, the obsessions of resistance, the obsessions of views, the obsessions of uncertainty, the obsessions of conceit, the obsessions of passion for becoming, & the obsessions of ignorance. That is the end of taking up rods & bladed weapons, of arguments, quarrels, disputes, accusations, divisive tale-bearing, & false speech. That is where these evil, unskillful things cease without remainder' — this is how I understand the detailed meaning. Now, if you wish, having gone to the Blessed One, question him about this matter. However he answers is how you should remember it."

Then the monks, delighting & approving of Ven. Maha Kaccana's words, rose from their seats and went to the Blessed One. On arrival, having bowed down to him, they sat to one side. As they were sitting there, they [told him what had happened after he had gone into his dwelling, and ended by saying,] "Then Ven. Maha Kaccana analyzed the meaning using these words, statements, & phrases."

"Maha Kaccana is wise, monks. He is a person of great discernment. If you had asked me about this matter, I too would have answered in the same way he did. That is the meaning of this statement. That is how you should remember it."

When this was said, Ven. Ananda said to the Blessed One, "Lord, it's as if a man — overcome with hunger, weakness, & thirst — were to come across a ball of honey. Wherever he were to taste it, he would experience a sweet, delectable flavor. In the same way, wherever a monk of capable awareness might investigate the meaning of this Dhamma discourse with his discernment, he would experience gratification, he would experience confidence. What is the name of this Dhamma discourse?"

"Then, Ananda, you can remember this Dhamma discourse as the 'Ball of Honey Discourse.'"

That is what the Blessed One said. Gratified, Ven. Ananda delighted in the Blessed One's words.

— MN 18

Note

1.
The artificiality of this phrase — "delineate a delineation" — seems intentional. It underlines the artifice implicit in the process by which the mind, in singling out events, turns them into discrete things.

§ 34

"From where have there arisen quarrels, disputes, lamentation, sorrows, along with selfishness, conceit & pride, along with divisiveness? From where have they arisen? Please tell me." "From what is dear there have arisen quarrels, disputes, lamentation, sorrows, along with selfishness, conceit & pride, along with divisiveness. Tied up with selfishness are quarrels & disputes. In the arising of disputes is divisiveness." "Where is the cause of things dear in the world, along with the greeds that go about in the world? And where is the cause of the hopes & fulfillments for the sake of a person's next life?" "Desires are the cause of things dear in the world, along with the greeds that go about in the world. And it too is the cause of the hopes & fulfillments for the sake of a person's next life." "Now where is the cause of desire in the world? And from where have there arisen decisions, anger, lies, & perplexity, and all the qualities described by the Contemplative?" "What they call 'appealing' & 'unappealing' in the world: in dependence on that desire arises. Having seen becoming & not- with regard to forms, a person gives rise to decisions in the world; anger, lies, & perplexity: these qualities, too, when that pair exists. A person perplexed should train for the path of knowledge, for it's in having known that the Contemplative has spoken of qualities/dhammas."[1] "Where is the cause of appealing & un-? When what isn't do they not exist? And whatever is meant by becoming & not- : tell me, Where is its cause?" "Contact is the cause of appealing & un-. When contact isn't they do not exist. And whatever is meant by becoming & not- : this too is its cause." "Now where is the cause of contact in the world, and from where have graspings, possessions, arisen? When what isn't does mine-ness not exist. When what has disappeared do contacts not touch?" "Conditioned by name & form is contact. In longing do graspings, possessions have their cause. When longing isn't mine-ness does not exist. When forms have disappeared contacts don't touch." "For one arriving at what does form disappear? How do pleasure & pain disappear? Tell me this. My heart is set on knowing how they disappear." "One not percipient of perceptions not percipient of aberrant perceptions, not unpercipient, nor percipient of what's disappeared: [2] for one arriving at this, form disappears — for objectification-classifications[3] have their cause in perception." "What we have asked, you have told us. We ask one more thing. Please tell it. Do some of the wise say that just this much is the utmost, the purity of the spirit[4] is here? Or do they say that it's other than this?" "Some of the wise say that just this much is the utmost, the purity of the spirit is here. But some of them, who say they are skilled, say it's the moment with no clinging remaining. Knowing, 'Having known, they still are dependent,'[5] the sage, ponders dependencies. On knowing them, released, he doesn't get into disputes, doesn't meet with becoming & not- : he's enlightened."

— Sn 4.11

Notes

1.
As other passages in this poem indicate (see note 5, below), the goal is not measured in terms of knowledge, but as this passage points out, knowledge is a necessary part of the path to the goal.
2.
According to Nd.I, this passage is describing the four formless jhanas, but as the first three of the formless jhanas involve perception (of infinite space, infinite consciousness, and nothingness), only the fourth of the formless jhanas — the dimension of neither perception nor non-perception — would fit this description.
3.
Objectification-classifications (papañca-sankha): The mind's tendency to read distinctions and differentiations even into the simplest experience of the present, thus giving rise to views that can issue in conflict. As Sn 4.14 points out, the root of these classifications is the perception, "I am the thinker." For further discussion of this point, see note 1 to that discourse and the introduction to MN 18.
4.
"Spirit" is the usual rendering of the Pali word, yakkha. According to Nd.I, however, in this context the word yakkha means person, individual, human being, or living being.
5.
In other words, the sage knows that both groups in the previous stanza fall back on their knowledge as a measure of the goal, without comprehending the dependency still latent in their knowledge. The sages in the first group are mistaking the experience of neither perception nor non-perception as the goal, and so they are still dependent on that state of concentration. The sages in the second group, by the fact that they claim to be skilled, show that there is still a latent conceit in their Awakening-like experience, and thus it is not totally independent of clinging. (For more on this point, see MN 102, quoted in The Mind Like Fire Unbound, pp. 81-82.) Both groups still maintain the concept of a "spirit" that is purified in the realization of purity. Once these dependencies are comprehended, one gains release from disputes and from states of becoming and not-becoming. It is in this way that knowledge is a means to the goal, but the goal itself is not measured or defined in terms of knowledge.

§ 35

"I ask the kinsman of the Sun, the great seer, about seclusion & the state of peace. Seeing in what way is a monk unbound, clinging to nothing in the world?" "He should put an entire stop to the root of objectification-classifications: 'I am the thinker.' [1] He should train, always mindful, to subdue any craving inside him. Whatever truth he may know, within or without, he shouldn't get entrenched in connection with it, for that isn't called Unbinding by the good. He shouldn't, because of it, think himself better, lower, or equal. Touched by contact in various ways, he shouldn't keep conjuring self. Stilled right within, a monk shouldn't seek peace from another, from anything else. For one stilled right within, there's nothing embraced, so how rejected? Nothing that's self, so from whence would there be against-self?[2] As in the middle of the sea it is still, with no waves upwelling, so the monk — unperturbed, still — should not swell himself anywhere."

— Sn 4.14

Notes

1.
On objectification-classifications and their role in leading to conflict, see Sn 4.11 and the introduction to MN 18. The perception, "I am the thinker" lies at the root of these classifications in that it reads into the immediate present a set of distinctions — I/not-I; being/not-being; thinker/thought; identity/non-identity — that then can proliferate into mental and physical conflict. The conceit inherent in this perception thus forms a fetter on the mind. To become unbound, one must learn to examine these distinctions — which we all take for granted — to see that they are simply assumptions that are not inherent in experience, and that we would be better off to be able to drop them.
2.
"Embraced/rejected, self/against-self" — a pun on the pair of Pali words, atta/nirattam.

 
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