Aṅguttara Nikāya

The Book of the Fours

38. Drawn Back

“Bhikkhus, a bhikkhu who has dispelled personal truths, totally renounced seeking, and tranquilized bodily activity is said to have drawn back.

(1) “And how, bhikkhus, has a bhikkhu dispelled personal truths? Here, whatever ordinary personal truths may be held by ordinary ascetics and brahmins—that is, ‘The world is eternal’ or ‘The world is not eternal’; ‘The world is finite’ or ‘The world is infinite’; ‘The soul and the body are the same’ or ‘The soul is one thing, the body another’; ‘The Tathāgata exists after death,’ or ‘The Tathāgata does not exist after death,’ or ‘The Tathāgata both exists and does not exist after death,’ or ‘The Tathāgata neither exists nor does not exist after death’—a bhikkhu has discarded and dispelled them all, given them up, rejected them, let go of them, abandoned and relinquished them. It is in this way that a bhikkhu has dispelled personal truths.

(2) “And how has a bhikkhu totally renounced seeking? Here, a bhikkhu has abandoned the search for sensual pleasures and the search for existence and has allayed the search for a spiritual life. It is in this way that a bhikkhu has totally renounced seeking.

(3) “And how has a bhikkhu tranquilized bodily activity? Here, with the abandoning of pleasure and pain, and with the previous passing away of joy and dejection, a bhikkhu enters and dwells in the fourth jhāna, neither painful nor pleasant, which has purification of mindfulness by equanimity. It is in this way that a bhikkhu has tranquilized bodily activity.

(4) “And how has a bhikkhu drawn back? Here, a bhikkhu has abandoned the conceit ‘I am,’ cut it off at the root, made it like a palm stump, obliterated it so that it is no longer subject to future arising. It is in this way that a bhikkhu has drawn back.

“Bhikkhus, a bhikkhu who has dispelled personal truths, totally renounced seeking, and tranquilized bodily activity is said to have drawn back.”

Seeking for sense pleasures,
seeking for existence,
seeking for a spiritual life;
the tight grasp “Such is the truth,”
viewpoints that are swellings:

for one entirely detached from lust,
liberated by the destruction of craving,
such seeking has been relinquished,
and viewpoints are uprooted.

That peaceful, mindful bhikkhu,
tranquil, undefeated, enlightened
by breaking through conceit,
is called “one who has drawn back.”