Long Discourses

Chapter on the Virtues

6. To Mahāli

The Aim Of The Brethren

Thus have I heard. The Blessed One was once staying at Vesālī at the Gabled Hall in the Great Wood. Now at that time a number of Brahmans, who had been sent on pressing business of one kind or another from Kosala and Magadhā, were lodging at Vesālī.

And they heard the news: ‘They say that the Samaṇa Gotama of the Sākya clan, who went out from a Sākya family to adopt the religious life, is now staying at Vesālī at the Gabled Hall in the Great Wood. Now regarding that Venerable Gotama, such is the high reputation that has been noised abroad: “That Blessed One is an Arahat, a fully awakened one, abounding in wisdom and goodness, happy, who knows all worlds, unsurpassed as a guide to mortals willing to be led, a teacher for gods and men, a Blessed One, a Buddha. He, by himself, thoroughly knows and sees, as it were, face to face this universe—including the worlds above of the gods, the Brahmās, and the Māras, and the world below with its recluses and Brahmans, its princes and peoples—and having known it, he makes his knowledge known to others. The truth, lovely in its origin, lovely in its progress, lovely in its consummation, doth he proclaim, both in the spirit and in the letter, the higher life doth he make known, in all its fullness and in all its purity. And good is it to pay visits to Arahats like that.”’

So those Brahmans from Kosala and Magadhā went out to the Great Wood, and to the Gabled Hall. Now at that time the Venerable Nāgita was acting as the personal attendant on the Blessed One. And they went to him, and said: ‘Where is it, Nāgita, that that Venerable Gotama is lodging now, for we wish to see him.

‘It is not a fitting time, Sirs, to call upon the Blessed One. He has retired into solitude.’

Then they sat down round about, saying, ‘We will not go away without seeing the Venerable Gotama.’

And Hare-lip the Licchavi, too, came to the Great Wood, and to the Gabled Hall, with a retinue of his clan; and going up to the Venerable Nāgita, he saluted him, and reverently standing apart, he said to him: ‘Where, Venerable Nāgita, is the Blessed One now lodging, the Arahat, the Buddha; for we wish to see him?’ And on receiving a similar reply he, too, sat down apart, saying: ‘I will not go till I have seen the August One, the Arahat, the Buddha.’

But Sīha, a novice, came up to the Venerable Nāgita, and saluted him, and standing reverently apart, he said to him: ‘These envoys of the Brahmans from Kosala and Magadhā, many of them, have come, O Kassapa, to call upon the Blessed One; and Hare-lip the Licchavi, too, with a retinue of his clan, has come to do the same. ‘Twere best, O Kassapa, that all this folk should be allowed to see the Blessed One.’

‘Very well, then, Sīha. Tell the Blessed One yourself.’

‘Very good, Sir,’ said Sīha the novice in assent to the Venerable Nāgita. And he went where the Blessed One was, and saluted him, and standing reverently apart, he said to him even as he had said to Nāgita.

‘Very well, Sīha. Spread out a mat for me in the shade in front of the house.’

And Sīha did so. And the Blessed One came out from the house, and sat down. And the Brahmans from Kosala and Magadhā exchanged with him the greetings and compliments of politeness and courtesy, and took their seats on one side. And Hare-lip the Licchavi also, with the retinue of his clan, bowed down to the Blessed One, and seated himself on one side. And when he was thus seated he addressed the Blessed One, and said:

‘Some few days ago, Sir, Sunakkhatta of the Licchavis came to me, and said: “It is only three years, Mahāli, since I first came under the Blessed One, and I can see heavenly forms, pleasant to behold, fitted to satisfy all one’s desires, exciting longing in one’s heart. But I cannot hear heavenly sounds like that.” Now, Sir, are there such heavenly sounds, which he could not hear, or have they no existence?’

‘They are real, those heavenly sounds, pleasant, fitted to satisfy one’s desires, exciting longing in one’s heart, which he could not hear. They are not things of nought.’

‘But what then is the proximate, and what the ultimate cause, why he could not hear them, they being thus real and not things of nought?’

‘Suppose a recluse, Mahāli, to have practised one-sided concentration of mind with the object of seeing such heavenly forms in any one direction—in the East, or the South, or the West, or the North, or above; or below, or across—and not with the object of hearing such heavenly sounds. Then since he has practised one-sided concentration, with the one object only in view, he only sees the sights, he hears not the sounds. And why not? Because of the nature of his self-concentration [samādhi].

‘And so also, Mahāli, if he have practised one-sided concentration with the object of hearing, in any one direction, the heavenly sounds. Then, and for the same reason, he hears the sounds, but he sees not the sights.

‘But suppose, Mahāli, he has practised self-concentration with the double object in view of seeing and hearing, in any one direction, those heavenly sights and those heavenly sounds. Then since he has practised self-concentration with the double object in view, he both sees the sights and hears the sounds. And why so? Because of the nature of his self-concentration.’

‘Then, Sir, is it for the sake of attaining to the practice of such self-concentration that the brethren lead the religious life under the Blessed One?’

‘No, Mahāli. There are things, higher and sweeter than that, for the sake of which they do so.’

‘And what, Sir, may those other things be?’

‘In the first place, Mahāli, a brother by the complete destruction of the Three Bonds (the Delusions of self, Doubt, and Trust in the efficacy of good works and ceremonies) becomes a converted man, one who cannot be reborn in any state of woe, and is assured of attaining to the Insight (of the stages higher still). That, Mahāli, is a condition, higher and sweeter, for the sake of which the brethren lead the religious life under me.

‘And then further, Mahāli, a brother by the complete destruction of those Three Bonds, and by reducing to a minimum lust, ill-will, and dullness, becomes a Once-returner, one who on his first return to this world shall make an end of pain. That, Mahāli, is a condition higher still and sweeter, for the sake of which the brethren lead the religious life under me.

‘And then further, Mahāli, a brother by the complete destruction of the Five Bonds that bind people to this world becomes an inheritor of the highest heavens, there to pass away, thence never to return. That, Mahāli, is a condition higher still and sweeter, for the sake of which the brethren lead the religious life under me.

‘And then further. Mahāli, when a brother by the destruction of the Deadly Floods (or Intoxications—Lusts, Becomings, Delusion, and Ignorance) has, by himself, known and realised and continues to abide here, in this visible world, in that emancipation of mind, that emancipation of heart, which is Arahatship—that, Mahāli, is a condition higher still and sweeter still, for the sake of which the brethren lead the religious life under me.

‘Such, Mahāli, are the conditions higher and sweeter (than seeing heavenly sights and hearing heavenly sounds), for the sake of which the brethren lead the religious life under me.’

‘But is there, Sir, a path, is there a method, for the realisation of these conditions?’

‘Yes, Mahāli, there is.’

‘And what, Sir, may be that path, what that method?’

‘Verily it is this Noble Eightfold Path, that is to say: Right views, right aspirations, right speech, right action, a right means of livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, and right ecstasy in self-concentration. This, Mahāli, is the path, and this the method, for the realisation of these conditions.

‘One day, Mahāli, I was staying at Kosambī, in the Ghosita pleasaunce. There two recluses, Maṇḍissa the wandering mendicant, and Jāliya the pupil of Dārupattika (the man with the wooden bowl), came to me, and exchanged with me the greetings and compliments of politeness and courtesy, and stood reverently apart. And so standing they said to me:

‘How is it then, O Venerable Gotama, is the soul the same thing as the body? Or is the soul one thing and the body another?’

‘Listen then, Sirs, and give heed attentively, and I will speak.’

‘Very good, Sir’ said those two mendicants in assent, and I spake as follows;

The next section in the Pali text is greatly abbreviated. The following is a fully expanded version, based on the text of DN 2, Sāmaññaphala Sutta as translated by Bhikkhu Bodhi. Note that it is not always possible to determine exactly how the expansion should be done.

“Herein, Sirs, a Tathāgata arises in the world, a worthy one, perfectly enlightened, endowed with clear knowledge and conduct, accomplished, a knower of the world, unsurpassed trainer of men to be tamed, teacher of gods and men, enlightened and exalted. Having realized by his own direct knowledge this world with its gods, its Māras, and its Brahmās, this generation with its recluses and brahmins, its rulers and people, he makes it known to others. He teaches the Dhamma that is good in the beginning, good in the middle, and good in the end, possessing meaning and phrasing; he reveals the holy life that is fully complete and purified.

“A householder, or a householder’s son, or one born into some other family, hears the Dhamma. Having heard the Dhamma, he gains faith in the Tathāgata. Endowed with such faith, he reflects: ‘The household life is crowded, a path of dust. Going forth is like the open air. It is not easy for one dwelling at home to lead the perfectly complete, perfectly purified holy life, bright as a polished conch. Let me then shave off my hair and beard, put on saffron robes, and go forth from home to homelessness.’

“After some time he abandons his accumulation of wealth, be it large or small; he abandons his circle of relatives, be it large or small; he shaves off his hair and beard, puts on saffron robes, and goes forth from home to homelessness.

“When he has thus gone forth, he lives restrained by the restraint of the Pātimokkha, possessed of proper behaviour and resort. Having taken up the rules of training, he trains himself in them, seeing danger in the slightest faults. He comes to be endowed with wholesome bodily and verbal action, his livelihood is purified, and he is possessed of conduct. He guards the doors of his sense faculties, is endowed with mindfulness and clear comprehension, and is content.

The Small Section on Moral Discipline

“And how, Sirs, is the bhikkhu possessed of moral discipline? Herein, Sirs, having abandoned the destruction of life, the bhikkhu abstains from the destruction of life. He has laid down the rod and weapon and dwells conscientious, full of kindness, sympathetic for the welfare of all living beings.

“Having abandoned taking what is not given, he abstains from taking what is not given. Accepting and expecting only what is given, he lives in honesty with a pure mind.

“Having abandoned incelibacy, he leads the holy life of celibacy. He dwells aloof and abstains from the vulgar practice of sexual intercourse.

“Having abandoned false speech, he abstains from falsehood. He speaks only the truth, he lives devoted to truth; trustworthy and reliable, he does not deceive anyone in the world.

“Having abandoned slander, he abstains from slander. He does not repeat elsewhere what he has heard here in order to divide others from the people here, nor does he repeat here what he has heard elsewhere in order to divide these from the people there. Thus he is a reconciler of those who are divided and a promoter of friendships. Rejoicing, delighting, and exulting in concord, he speaks only words that are conducive to concord.

“Having abandoned harsh speech, he abstains from harsh speech. He speaks only such words as are gentle, pleasing to the ear, endearing, going to the heart, polite, amiable and agreeable to the manyfolk.

“Having abandoned idle chatter, he abstains from idle chatter. He speaks at the right time, speaks what is factual and beneficial, speaks on the Dhamma and the Discipline. His words are worth treasuring; they are timely, backed by reasons, measured, and connected with the good.

“He abstains from damaging seed and plant life.

“He eats only in one part of the day, refraining from food at night and from eating at improper times.

“He abstains from dancing, singing, instrumental music, and from witnessing unsuitable shows.

“He abstains from wearing garlands, embellishing himself with scents, and beautifying himself with unguents.

“He abstains from high and luxurious beds and seats.

“He abstains from accepting gold and silver.

“He abstains from accepting uncooked grain, raw meat, women and girls, male and female slaves, goats and sheep, fowl and swine, elephants, cattle, horses and mares.

“He abstains from accepting fields and lands.

“He abstains from running messages and errands.

“He abstains from buying and selling.

“He abstains from dealing with false weights, false metals, and false measures.

“He abstains from the crooked ways of bribery, deception, and fraud.

“He abstains from mutilating, executing, imprisoning, robbery, plunder, and violence.

“This too pertains to his moral discipline.

The Intermediate Section on Moral Discipline

“Whereas some recluses and brahmins, while living on food offered by the faithful, continually cause damage to seed and plant life—to plants propagated from roots, stems, joints, buds, and seeds—he abstains from damaging seed and plant life.

“Whereas some recluses and brahmins, while living on food offered by the faithful, enjoy the use of stored-up goods, such as stored-up food, drinks, garments, vehicles, bedding, scents, and comestibles—he abstains from the use of stored-up goods.

“Whereas some recluses and brahmins, while living on food offered by the faithful, attend unsuitable shows, such as:

  • shows featuring dancing, singing, or instrumental music;
  • theatrical performances;
  • narrations of legends
  • music played by hand-clapping, cymbals, and drums;
  • picture houses;
  • acrobatic performances;
  • combats of elephants, horses, buffaloes, bulls, goats, rams, cocks and quails;
  • stick-fights, boxing, and wrestling;
  • sham-fights, roll-calls, battle-arrays, and regimental reviews—

he abstains from attending such unsuitable shows.

“Whereas some recluses and brahmins, while living on food offered by the faithful, indulge in the following games and recreations:

  • aṭṭhapada (a game played on an eight-row chessboard);
  • dasapada (a game played on a ten-row chessboard);
  • ākāsa (played by imagining a board in the air);
  • parihārapatha (“hopscotch,” a diagram is drawn on the ground and one has to jump in the allowable spaces avoiding the lines);
  • santika (“spillikins,” assembling the pieces in a pile, removing and returning them without disturbing the pile);
  • khalika (dice games);
  • ghaṭika (hitting a short stick with a long stick);
  • salākahattha (a game played by dipping the hand in paint or dye, striking the ground or a wall, and requiring the participants to show the figure of an elephant, a horse etc.);
  • akkha (ball games);
  • paṅgacīra (blowing through toy pipes made of leaves);
  • vaṅkaka (ploughing with miniature ploughs);
  • mokkhacika (turning somersaults);
  • ciṅgulika (playing with paper windmills);
  • pattāḷaka (playing with toy measures);
  • rathaka (playing with toy chariots);
  • dhanuka (playing with toy bows);
  • akkharika (guessing at letters written in the air or on one’s back);
  • manesika (guessing others’ thoughts);
  • yathāvajja (games involving mimicry of deformities)—

he abstains from such games that are a basis for negligence.

“Whereas some recluses and brahmins, while living on food offered by the faithful, enjoy the use of high and luxurious beds and seats, such as:

  • spacious couches;
  • thrones with animal figures carved on the supports;
  • long-haired coverlets;
  • multi-colored patchwork coverlets;
  • white woollen coverlets
  • woollen coverlets embroidered with flowers;
  • quilts stuffed with cotton;
  • woollen coverlets embroidered with animal figures;
  • woollen coverlets with hair on both sides or on one side;
  • bedspreads embroidered with gems;
  • silk coverlets;
  • dance-hall carpets;
  • elephant, horse, or chariot rugs;
  • rugs of antelope-skins;
  • choice spreads made of kadali-deer hides;
  • spreads with red awnings overhead;
  • couches with red cushions for head and feet—

he abstains from the use of such high and luxurious beds and seats.

“Whereas some recluses and brahmins, while living on food offered by the faithful, enjoy the use of such devices for embellishing and beautifying themselves as the following:

  • rubbing scented powders into the body
  • massaging with oils
  • bathing in perfumed water
  • kneading the limbs
  • mirrors
  • ointments
  • garlands
  • scents
  • unguents
  • face-powders
  • make-up
  • bracelets
  • head-bands
  • decorated walking sticks
  • ornamented medicine-tubes
  • rapiers
  • sunshades
  • embroidered sandals
  • turbans
  • diadems
  • yaktail whisks
  • and long-fringed white robes—

he abstains from the use of such devices for embellishment and beautification.

“Whereas some recluses and brahmins, while living on the food offered by the faithful, engage in frivolous chatter, such as:

  • talk about kings, thieves, and ministers of state
  • talk about armies, dangers, and wars
  • talk about food, drink, garments, and lodgings;
  • talk about garlands and scents;
  • talk about relations, vehicles, villages, towns, cities, and countries;
  • talk about women and talk about heroes;
  • street talk and talk by the well;
  • talk about those departed in days gone by;
  • rambling chit-chat;
  • speculations about the world and about the sea;
  • talk about gain and loss—

he abstains from such frivolous chatter.

“Whereas some recluses and brahmins, while living on the food offered by the faithful, engage in wrangling argumentation, (saying to one another):

‘You don’t understand this doctrine and discipline. It is I who understand this doctrine and discipline.’

‘How can you understand this doctrine and discipline?’

‘You’re practising the wrong way. I’m practicing the right way.’

‘I’m being consistent. You’re inconsistent.’

‘What should have been said first you said last, what should have been said last you said first.’

‘What you took so long to think out has been confuted.’

‘Your doctrine has been refuted. You’re defeated. Go, try to save your doctrine, or disentangle yourself now if you can’—

he abstains from such wrangling argumentation.

“Whereas some recluses and brahmins, while living on the food offered by the faithful, engage in running messages and errands for kings, ministers of state, khattiyas, brahmins, householders, or youths, (who command them): ‘Go here, go there, take this, bring that from there’—he abstains from running such messages and errands.

“Whereas some recluses and brahmins, while living on the food offered by the faithful, engage in scheming, talking, hinting, belittling others, and pursuing gain with gain, he abstains from such kinds of scheming and talking.

The Large Section on Moral Discipline

“Whereas some recluses and brahmins, while living on the food offered by the faithful, earn their living by a wrong means of livelihood, by such debased arts as:

  • prophesying long life, prosperity etc., or the reverse, from the marks on a person’s limbs, hands, feet, etc.;
  • divining by means of omens and signs;
  • making auguries on the basis of thunderbolts and celestial portents;
  • interpreting ominous dreams;
  • telling fortunes from marks on the body;
  • making auguries from the marks on cloth gnawed by mice;
  • offering fire oblations;
  • offering oblations from a ladle;
  • offering oblations of husks, rice powder, rice grains, ghee and oil to the gods;
  • offering oblations from the mouth;
  • offering blood-sacrifices to the gods;
  • making predictions based on the fingertips;
  • determining whether the site for a proposed house or garden is propitious or not;
  • making predictions for officers of state;
  • laying demons in a cemetery;
  • laying ghosts;
  • knowledge of charms to be pronounced by one living in an earthen house;
  • snake charming;
  • the poison craft, scorpion craft, rat craft, bird craft, crow craft;
  • foretelling the number of years that a man has to live;
  • reciting charms to give protection from arrows;
  • reciting charms to understand the language of animals—

he abstains from such wrong means of livelihood, from such debased arts.

“Whereas some recluses and brahmins, while living on the food offered by the faithful, earn their living by a wrong means of livelihood, by such debased arts as interpreting the significance of the colour, shape, and other features of the following items to determine whether they portend fortune or misfortune for their owners: gems, garments, staffs, swords, spears, arrows, bows, other weapons, women, men, boys, girls, slaves, slave-women, elephants, horses, buffaloes, bulls, cows, goats, rams, fowl, quails, lizards, earrings (or house-gables), tortoises, and other animals—

he abstains from such wrong means of livelihood, from such debased arts.

“Whereas some recluses and brahmins, while living on the food offered by the faithful, earn their living by a wrong means of livelihood, by such debased arts as making predictions to the effect that:

  • the king will march forth;
  • the king will return;
  • our king will attack and the enemy king will retreat;
  • the enemy king will attack and our king will retreat;
  • our king will triumph and the enemy king will be defeated;
  • the enemy king will triumph and our king will be defeated;
  • thus there will be victory for one and defeat for the other—

he abstains from such wrong means of livelihood, from such debased arts.

“Whereas some recluses and brahmins, while living on the food offered by the faithful, earn their living by a wrong means of livelihood, by such debased arts as predicting:

  • there will be an eclipse of the moon, an eclipse of the sun, an eclipse of a constellation
  • the sun and the moon will go on their proper courses
  • there will be an aberration of the sun and moon
  • the constellations will go on their proper courses
  • there will be an aberration of a constellation
  • there will be a fall of meteors
  • there will be a skyblaze
  • there will be an earthquake
  • there will be an earth-roar
  • there will be a rising and setting, a darkening and brightening of the moon, sun, and constellations
  • such will be the result of the moon’s eclipse, such the result of the sun’s eclipse, (and so on down to) such will be the result of the rising and setting, darkening and brightening of the moon, sun, and constellations—

he abstains from such wrong means of livelihood, from such debased arts.

“Whereas some recluses and brahmins, while living on the food offered by the faithful, earn their living by a wrong means of livelihood, by such debased arts as predicting:

  • there will be abundant rain
  • there will be a drought
  • there will be a good harvest
  • there will be a famine
  • there will be security
  • there will be danger
  • there will be sickness
  • there will be health
  • or they earn their living by accounting, computation, calculation, the composing of poetry, and speculations about the world—

he abstains from such wrong means of livelihood, from such debased arts.

“Whereas some recluses and brahmins, while living on the food offered by the faithful, earn their living by a wrong means of livelihood, by such debased arts as:

  • arranging auspicious dates for marriages, both those in which the bride is brought home and those in which she is sent out
  • arranging auspicious dates for betrothals and divorces
  • arranging auspicious dates for the accumulation or expenditure of money
  • reciting charms to make people lucky or unlucky
  • rejuvenating the foetuses of abortive women
  • reciting spells to bind a man’s tongue, to paralyze his jaws, to make him lose control over his hands, or to bring on deafness
  • obtaining oracular answers to questions by means of a mirror, a girl, or a god
  • worshipping the sun
  • worshipping Mahābrahmā
  • bringing forth flames from the mouth
  • invoking the goddess of luck—

he abstains from such wrong means of livelihood, from such debased arts.

“Whereas some recluses and brahmins, while living on the food offered by the faithful, earn their living by a wrong means of livelihood, by such debased arts as:

  • promising gifts to deities in return for favours
  • fulfilling such promises
  • demonology
  • reciting spells after entering an earthen house
  • inducing virility and impotence
  • preparing and consecrating sites for a house
  • giving ceremonial mouthwashes and ceremonial bathing
  • offering sacrificial fires
  • administering emetics, purgatives, expectorants, and phlegmagogues
  • administering medicines through the ear and through the nose, administering ointments and counter-ointments, practising fine surgery on the eyes and ears, practising general surgery on the body, practising as a children’s doctor—

he abstains from such wrong means of livelihood, from such debased arts.

“Sirs, the bhikkhu who is thus possessed of moral discipline sees no danger anywhere in regard to his restraint by moral discipline. Just as a head-anointed noble warrior who has defeated his enemies sees no danger anywhere from his enemies, so the bhikkhu who is thus possessed of moral discipline sees no danger anywhere in regard to his restraint by moral discipline. Endowed with this noble aggregate of moral discipline, he experiences within himself a blameless happiness. In this way, Sirs, the bhikkhu is possessed of moral discipline.

Restraint of the Sense Faculties

“And how, Sirs, does the bhikkhu guard the doors of his sense faculties? Herein, Sirs, having seen a form with the eye, the bhikkhu does not grasp at the sign or the details. Since, if he were to dwell without restraint over the faculty of the eye, evil unwholesome states such as covetousness and grief might assail him, he practises restraint, guards the faculty of the eye, and achieves restraint over the faculty of the eye.

Having heard a sound with the ear the bhikkhu does not grasp at the sign or the details. Since, if he were to dwell without restraint over the faculty of the ear, evil unwholesome states such as covetousness and grief might assail him, he practises restraint, guards the faculty of the ear, and achieves restraint over the faculty of the ear.

Having smelled an odour with the nose the bhikkhu does not grasp at the sign or the details. Since, if he were to dwell without restraint over the faculty of the nose, evil unwholesome states such as covetousness and grief might assail him, he practises restraint, guards the faculty of the nose, and achieves restraint over the faculty of the nose.

Having tasted a flavour with the tongue the bhikkhu does not grasp at the sign or the details. Since, if he were to dwell without restraint over the faculty of the tongue, evil unwholesome states such as covetousness and grief might assail him, he practises restraint, guards the faculty of the tongue, and achieves restraint over the faculty of the tongue.

Having touched a tangible object with the body the bhikkhu does not grasp at the sign or the details. Since, if he were to dwell without restraint over the faculty of the body, evil unwholesome states such as covetousness and grief might assail him, he practises restraint, guards the faculty of the body, and achieves restraint over the faculty of the body.

Having cognized a mind-object with the mind, the bhikkhu does not grasp at the sign or the details. Since, if he were to dwell without restraint over the faculty of the mind, evil unwholesome states such as covetousness and grief might assail him, he practises restraint, guards the faculty of the mind, and achieves restraint over the faculty of the mind. Endowed with this noble restraint of the sense faculties, he experiences within himself an unblemished happiness. In this way, Sirs, the bhikkhu guards the doors of the sense faculties.

Mindfulness and Clear Comprehension

“And how, Sirs, is the bhikkhu endowed with mindfulness and clear comprehension? Herein, Sirs, in going forward and returning, the bhikkhu acts with clear comprehension. In looking ahead and looking aside, he acts with clear comprehension. In bending and stretching the limbs, he acts with clear comprehension. In wearing his robes and cloak and using his alms-bowl, he acts with clear comprehension. In eating, drinking, chewing, and tasting, he acts with clear comprehension. In defecating and urinating, he acts with clear comprehension. In going, standing, sitting, lying down, waking up, speaking, and remaining silent, he acts with clear comprehension. In this way, Sirs, the bhikkhu is endowed with mindfulness and clear comprehension.

Contentment

“And how, Sirs, is the bhikkhu content? Herein, Sirs, a bhikkhu is content with robes to protect his body and almsfood to sustain his belly; wherever he goes he sets out taking only (his requisites) along with him. Just as a bird, wherever it goes, flies with its wings as its only burden, in the same way a bhikkhu is content with robes to protect his body and almsfood to sustain his belly; wherever he goes he sets out taking only (his requisites) along with him. In this way, Sirs, the bhikkhu is content.

The Abandoning of the Hindrances

“Endowed with this noble aggregate of moral discipline, this noble restraint over the sense faculties, this noble mindfulness and clear comprehension, and this noble contentment, he resorts to a secluded dwelling—a forest, the foot of a tree, a mountain, a glen, a hillside cave, a cremation ground, a jungle grove, the open air, a heap of straw. After returning from his alms-round, following his meals, he sits down, crosses his legs, holds his body erect, and sets up mindfulness before him.

“Having abandoned covetousness for the world, he dwells with a mind free from covetousness; he purifies his mind from covetousness. Having abandoned ill will and hatred, he dwells with a benevolent mind, sympathetic for the welfare of all living beings; he purifies his mind from ill will and hatred. Having abandoned dullness and drowsiness, he dwells perceiving light, mindful and clearly comprehending; he purifies his mind from dullness and drowsiness. Having abandoned restlessness and worry, he dwells at ease within himself, with a peaceful mind; he purifies his mind from restlessness and worry. Having abandoned doubt, he dwells as one who has passed beyond doubt, unperplexed about wholesome states; he purifies his mind from doubt.

“Sirs, suppose a man were to take a loan and apply it to his business, and his business were to succeed, so that he could pay back his old debts and would have enough money left over to maintain a wife. He would reflect on this, and as a result he would become glad and experience joy.

“Again, Sirs, suppose a man were to become sick, afflicted, gravely ill, so that he could not enjoy his food and his strength would decline. After some time he would recover from that illness and would enjoy his food and regain his bodily strength. He would reflect on this, and as a result he would become glad and experience joy.

“Again, Sirs, suppose a man were locked up in a prison. After some time he would be released from prison, safe and secure, with no loss of his possessions. He would reflect on this, and as a result he would become glad and experience joy.

“Again, Sirs, suppose a man were a slave, without independence, subservient to others, unable to go where he wants. After some time he would be released from slavery and gain his independence; he would no longer be subservient to others but a free man able to go where he wants. He would reflect on this, and as a result he would become glad and experience joy.

“Again, Sirs, suppose a man with wealth and possessions were travelling along a desert road where food was scarce and dangers were many. After some time he would cross over the desert and arrive safely at a village which is safe and free from danger. He would reflect on this, and as a result he would become glad and experience joy.

“In the same way, Sirs, when a bhikkhu sees that these five hindrances are unabandoned within himself, he regards that as a debt, as a sickness, as confinement in prison, as slavery, as a desert road.

“But when he sees that these five hindrances have been abandoned within himself, he regards that as freedom from debt, as good health, as release from prison, as freedom from slavery, as a place of safety.

“When he sees that these five hindrances have been abandoned within himself, gladness arises. When he is gladdened, rapture arises. When his mind is filled with rapture, his body becomes tranquil; tranquil in body, he experiences happiness; being happy, his mind becomes concentrated.

The First Jhāna

“Quite secluded from sense pleasures, secluded from unwholesome states, he enters and dwells in the first jhāna, which is accompanied by applied and sustained thought and filled with the rapture and happiness born of seclusion.

Now, Sirs, when a bhikkhu knows thus and sees thus, would that make him ready to take up the subject: “Is the soul the same thing as the body, or is the soul one thing and the body another?”’

‘Yes, it would, Sir.’

‘But I, Sirs, know thus and see thus; and nevertheless I do not say either the one or the other,’

The Second Jhāna

“Further, Sirs, with the subsiding of applied and sustained thought, the bhikkhu enters and dwells in the second jhāna, which is accompanied by internal confidence and unification of mind, is without applied and sustained thought, and is filled with the rapture and happiness born of concentration.

Now, Sirs, when a bhikkhu knows thus and sees thus, would that make him ready to take up the subject: “Is the soul the same thing as the body, or is the soul one thing and the body another?”’

‘Yes, it would, Sir.’

‘But I, Sirs, know thus and see thus; and nevertheless I do not say either the one or the other,’

The Third Jhāna

“Further, Sirs, with the fading away of rapture, the bhikkhu dwells in equanimity, mindful and clearly comprehending, and experiences happiness with the body. Thus he enters and dwells in the third jhāna, of which the noble ones declare: ‘He dwells happily with equanimity and mindfulness.’

Now, Sirs, when a bhikkhu knows thus and sees thus, would that make him ready to take up the subject: “Is the soul the same thing as the body, or is the soul one thing and the body another?”’

‘Yes, it would, Sir.’

‘But I, Sirs, know thus and see thus; and nevertheless I do not say either the one or the other,’

The Fourth Jhāna

“Further, Sirs, with the abandoning of pleasure and pain, and with the previous passing away of joy and grief, the bhikkhu enters and dwells in the fourth jhāna, which is neither pleasant nor painful and contains mindfulness fully purified by equanimity.

Now, Sirs, when a bhikkhu knows thus and sees thus, would that make him ready to take up the subject: “Is the soul the same thing as the body, or is the soul one thing and the body another?”’

‘Yes, it would, Sir.’

‘But I, Sirs, know thus and see thus; and nevertheless I do not say either the one or the other,’

Insight Knowledge

“When his mind is thus concentrated, pure and bright, unblemished, free from defects, malleable, wieldy, steady and attained to imperturbability, he directs and inclines it to knowledge and vision. He understands thus: ‘This is my body, having material form, composed of the four primary elements, originating from father and mother, built up out of rice and gruel, impermanent, subject to rubbing and pressing, to dissolution and dispersion. And this is my consciousness, supported by it and bound up with it.’

Now, Sirs, when a bhikkhu knows thus and sees thus, would that make him ready to take up the subject: “Is the soul the same thing as the body, or is the soul one thing and the body another?”’

‘Yes, it would, Sir.’

‘But I, Sirs, know thus and see thus; and nevertheless I do not say either the one or the other,’

The Knowledge of the Mind-made Body

“When his mind is thus concentrated, pure and bright, unblemished, free from defects, malleable, wieldy, steady, and attained to imperturbability, he directs and inclines it to creating a mind-made body. From this body he creates another body having material form, mind-made, complete in all its parts, not lacking any faculties.

Now, Sirs, when a bhikkhu knows thus and sees thus, would that make him ready to take up the subject: “Is the soul the same thing as the body, or is the soul one thing and the body another?”’

‘Yes, it would, Sir.’

‘But I, Sirs, know thus and see thus; and nevertheless I do not say either the one or the other,’

The Knowledge of the Modes of Supernormal Power

“When his mind is thus concentrated, pure and bright, unblemished, free from defects, malleable, wieldy, steady, and attained to imperturbability, he directs and inclines it to the modes of supernormal power. He exercises the various modes of supernormal power: having been one, he becomes many and having been many, he becomes one; he appears and vanishes; he goes unimpeded through walls, ramparts, and mountains as if through space; he dives in and out of the earth as if it were water; he walks on water without sinking as if it were earth; sitting cross-legged he travels through space like a winged bird; with his hand he touches and strokes the sun and the moon, so mighty and powerful; he exercises mastery over the body as far as the Brahma-world.

Now, Sirs, when a bhikkhu knows thus and sees thus, would that make him ready to take up the subject: “Is the soul the same thing as the body, or is the soul one thing and the body another?”’

‘Yes, it would, Sir.’

‘But I, Sirs, know thus and see thus; and nevertheless I do not say either the one or the other,’

The Knowledge of the Divine Ear

“When his mind is thus concentrated, pure and bright, unblemished, free from defects, malleable, wieldy, steady, and attained to imperturbability, he directs and inclines it to the divine ear-element. With the divine ear-element, which is purified and surpasses the human, he hears both kinds of sound, the divine and the human, those which are distant and those which are near.

Now, Sirs, when a bhikkhu knows thus and sees thus, would that make him ready to take up the subject: “Is the soul the same thing as the body, or is the soul one thing and the body another?”’

‘Yes, it would, Sir.’

‘But I, Sirs, know thus and see thus; and nevertheless I do not say either the one or the other,’

The Knowledge Encompassing the Minds of Others

“When his mind is thus concentrated, pure and bright, unblemished, free from defects, malleable, wieldy, steady, and attained to imperturbability, he directs and inclines it to the knowledge of encompassing the minds (of others). He understands the minds of other beings and persons, having encompassed them with his own mind. He understands a mind with lust as a mind with lust and a mind without lust as a mind without lust; he understands a mind with hatred as a mind with hatred and a mind without hatred as a mind without hatred; he understands a mind with delusion as a mind with delusion and a mind without delusion as a mind without delusion; he understands a contracted mind as a contracted mind and a distracted mind as a distracted mind; he understands an exalted mind as an exalted mind and an unexalted mind as an unexalted mind; he understands a surpassable mind as a surpassable mind and an unsurpassable mind as an unsurpassable mind; he understands a concentrated mind as a concentrated mind and an unconcentrated mind as an unconcentrated mind; he understands a liberated mind as a liberated mind and an unliberated mind as an unliberated mind.

Now, Sirs, when a bhikkhu knows thus and sees thus, would that make him ready to take up the subject: “Is the soul the same thing as the body, or is the soul one thing and the body another?”’

‘Yes, it would, Sir.’

‘But I, Sirs, know thus and see thus; and nevertheless I do not say either the one or the other,’

The Knowledge of Recollecting Past Lives

“When his mind is thus concentrated, pure and bright, unblemished, free from defects, malleable, wieldy, steady, and attained to imperturbability, he directs and inclines it to the knowledge of recollecting past lives. He recollects his numerous past lives, that is, one birth, two births, three, four, or five births; ten, twenty, thirty, forty, or fifty births; a hundred births, a thousand births, a hundred thousand births; many aeons of world contraction, many aeons of world expansion, many aeons of world contraction and expansion, (recollecting): ‘There I had such a name, belonged to such a clan, had such an appearance; such was my food, such my experience of pleasure and pain, such my span of life. Passing away from that state, I re-arose there. There too I had such a name, belonged to such a clan, had such an appearance; such was my food, such my experience of pleasure and pain, such my span of life. Passing away from that state I re-arose here.’ Thus he recollects his numerous past lives in their modes and their details.

Now, Sirs, when a bhikkhu knows thus and sees thus, would that make him ready to take up the subject: “Is the soul the same thing as the body, or is the soul one thing and the body another?”’

‘Yes, it would, Sir.’

‘But I, Sirs, know thus and see thus; and nevertheless I do not say either the one or the other,’

The Knowledge of the Divine Eye

“When his mind is thus concentrated, pure and bright, unblemished, free from defects, malleable, wieldy, steady, and attained to imperturbability, he directs and inclines it to the knowledge of the passing away and reappearance of beings. With the divine eye, which is purified and surpasses the human, he sees beings passing away and reappearing—inferior and superior, beautiful and ugly, fortunate and unfortunate—and he understands how beings fare according to their kamma, thus: ‘These beings—who were endowed with bad conduct of body, speech, and mind, who reviled the noble ones, held wrong views, and undertook actions governed by wrong views—with the breakup of the body, after death, have reappeared in the plane of misery, the bad destinations, the lower realms, in hell. But these beings—who were endowed with good conduct of body, speech, and mind, who did not revile the noble ones, held right views, and undertook actions governed by right views—with the breakup of the body, after death, have reappeared in the good destinations, in the heavenly world.’ Thus with the divine eye, which is purified and surpasses the human, he sees beings passing away and reappearing—inferior and superior, beautiful and ugly, fortunate and unfortunate—and he understands how beings fare in accordance with their kamma.

Now, Sirs, when a bhikkhu knows thus and sees thus, would that make him ready to take up the subject: “Is the soul the same thing as the body, or is the soul one thing and the body another?”’

‘Yes, it would, Sir.’

‘But I, Sirs, know thus and see thus; and nevertheless I do not say either the one or the other,’

The Knowledge of the Destruction of the Cankers

“When his mind is thus concentrated, pure and bright, unblemished, free from defects, malleable, wieldy, steady, and attained to imperturbability, he directs and inclines it to the knowledge of the destruction of the cankers. He understands as it really is: ‘This is suffering.’ He understands as it really is: ‘This is the origin of suffering.’ He understands as it really is: ‘This is the cessation of suffering.’ He understands as it really is: ‘This is the way leading to the cessation of suffering.’ He understands as it really is: ‘These are the cankers.’ He understands as it really is: ‘This is the origin of the cankers.’ He understands as it really is: ‘This is the cessation of the cankers.’ He understands as it really is: ‘This is the way leading to the cessation of the cankers.’

“Knowing and seeing thus, his mind is liberated from the canker of sensual desire, from the canker of existence, and from the canker of ignorance. When it is liberated, the knowledge arises: ‘It is liberated.’ He understands: ‘Destroyed is birth, the holy life has been lived, what had to be done has been done, there is nothing further beyond this.’

Now, Sirs, when a bhikkhu knows thus and sees thus, would that make him ready to take up the subject: “Is the soul the same thing as the body, or is the soul one thing and the body another?”’

‘Yes, it would, Sir.’

‘But I, Sirs, know thus and see thus; and nevertheless I do not say either the one or the other,’

Thus spake the Blessed One; and Hare-lip the Licchavi, pleased at heart, exalted the word of the Blessed One.

Here ends the Mahāli Sutta.