Thus have I heard. At one time the Buddha was staying in Śrāvastī, at Jetṛ’s Grove, in Anāthapiṇḍada’s Park. Then the Exalted One said to the monks:
“If a monk is possessed of three qualities he will well experience happiness in this life and realise, through great perseverance and energy, the end of existential constituents under the sway of malign influences. Which are the three? There is a monk who a) is composed with respect to the sense faculties, b) moderate in eating and c) who does not neglect his walking-exercises.
“How is a monk composed with respect to the sense faculties? In this regard, when seeing a form with the eye, he neither starts indulging in notions concerning that form nor does he recall any notions. Thus, by seeing with perfect mindfulness, he realises purification regarding the faculty of the eye. By means of this achievement he aspires to ultimate freedom, always guarding the faculty of the eye. When hearing a sound with the ear, smelling a scent with the nose, recognising a flavour with the tongue, feeling tangibles with the body or being aware of mental objects with his mind, he neither starts indulging in notions nor does he recall any notions. Thus, by … being aware with perfect mindfulness, he realises purification regarding the faculty of … the mind, and by means of this achievement he aspires to ultimate freedom, always guarding each sense faculty. Thus a monk is composed with regard to the sense faculties.
“How is a monk moderate in eating? In this regard he takes his food, thinking where it has come from, and not in order to become plump and beautiful. He eats only with a view to supporting the body and keeping the four physical elements in shape, reflecting: Now I should check former pangs of hunger and prevent new ones from arising, letting the body have enough strength to practise the Noble Path and lest the holy life be impeded; take for example a bad abscess that has developed on a man or woman’s body to which a salve is applied for the sole purpose of occasioning a cure. Similarly, O monks, a monk is moderate in eating, thinking where the food that he is taking has come from; he does not take it in order to become stout … and he eats only with a view to supporting the body … lest the holy life be impeded. Take again for example, a cart carrying heavy loads. Its wheels are greased for the sole purpose of delivering heavy loads at their destinations. Similarly, a monk is moderate in eating, thinking … he does not take food in order to become stout … Thus a monk is moderate in eating.
“How does a monk not neglect his walking-exercises? In this regard, in the first and last watches of the night he diligently and mindfully takes his walking-exercises without being mistaken about the periods of day and night. Continually he directs his attention to making use of the aids of enlightenment. During daytime, whether he is walking or sitting, he wisely reflects on the eminent Teaching and thus rids himself of hindrances diminishing all his efforts. Again, in the first watch of the night, whether he is walking or sitting, he wisely reflects … and rids himself … ; in the middle watch of the night, lying on his right side, he directs his attention to waking up again; in the last watch of the night he rises and starts walking; he wisely reflects on the profound Teaching, ridding himself of the hindrances diminishing his efforts. Thus a monk does not neglect his walking-exercises.
“If a monk is composed with respect to the sense faculties, moderate in eating and if he does not neglect his walking-exercises, always mindful and directing his attention to making use of the aids of enlightenment, he will surely reap two results: in this life he will realise the state of a non-returner. Just as a skilled charioteer drives his chariot pulled by four horses, keeping to the smooth surface of the middle of the road, and thus definitely proceeds without delay wherever he wishes to go, even so this monk will definitely reap excellent results. If he is composed … making use of the aids of enlightenment, he will surely reap two results: in this life he will be rid of the malign influences and become a non-returner.”
After listening to the Buddha’s words, the monks were pleased and respectfully applied themselves to practice.