Ekottarikāgama 19.2

Two Extremes

Thus have I heard. At one time the Buddha was staying in the Vārāṇasī District, at the Ṛṣis’ Deer Park. Then the Exalted One said to the monks:

“There are two modes of behaviour which a person in quest of the highest truth should avoid. Which are the two? Desiring, craving for objects of sensual pleasure which by its nature is low, vulgar and unprofitable. On the other hand, all sorts of mortification, many acts of harming and endless tormenting thoughts. These are the two modes of behaviour which a person in quest of the highest truth should avoid. Having given up these two modes of behaviour, on my own I gained the highest truth and became fully enlightened. Vision arose, super-knowledge arose, my mind became truly calm. I obtained all supernormal powers and realised the fruition of recluseship—Nirvāṇa.

“Now what is the supreme path leading to Full Enlightenment, making for vision, for super-knowledge, for one’s mind to become truly calm, for obtaining all supernormal powers and for realising the fruition of recluseship—Nirvāṇa? It is this very noble eightfold path, viz. extraordinary views, extraordinary prevention, extraordinary speech, extraordinary bodily action, extraordinary livelihood, extraordinary skill in means, extraordinary mindfulness, extraordinary concentration. This is what is called the supreme path.

“At this time I have become fully enlightened, vision has arisen, my mind has become truly calm, I have obtained all supernormal powers and realised the fruition of recluseship—Nirvāṇa. Therefore, O monks, one should train to give up the above-mentioned two modes of behaviour and practice in accordance with the supreme path.”

After listening to the Buddha’s words, the monks were pleased and respectfully applied themselves to practice.