Saṃyutta Nikāya 16

Connected Discourses with Kassapa

2. Unafraid of Wrongdoing

Thus have I heard. On one occasion the Venerable Mahakassapa and the Venerable Sāriputta were dwelling at Baraṇasī in the Deer Park at Isipatana. Then, in the evening, the Venerable Sāriputta emerged from seclusion and approached the Venerable Mahakassapa. He exchanged greetings with the Venerable Mahakassapa and, when they had concluded their greetings and cordial talk, he sat down to one side and said to him:

“Friend, it is said that one who is not ardent and who is unafraid of wrongdoing is incapable of enlightenment, incapable of Nibbāna, incapable of achieving the unsurpassed security from bondage; but one who is ardent and afraid of wrongdoing is capable of enlightenment, capable of Nibbāna, capable of achieving the unsurpassed security from bondage. In what way is this so, friend?”

“Here, friend, a bhikkhu does not arouse ardour by thinking: ‘If unarisen evil unwholesome states arise in me, this may lead to my harm’; nor by thinking: ‘If evil unwholesome states that have arisen in me are not abandoned, this may lead to my harm’; nor by thinking: ‘If unarisen wholesome states do not arise in me, this may lead to my harm’; nor by thinking: ‘If wholesome states that have arisen in me cease, this may lead to my harm.’ Thus he is not ardent.

“And how, friend, is he unafraid of wrongdoing? Here, friend, a bhikkhu does not become afraid at the thought: ‘If unarisen evil unwholesome states arise in me, this may lead to my harm’ … nor at the thought: ‘If wholesome states that have arisen in me cease, this may lead to my harm.’ Thus he is unafraid of wrongdoing.

“It is in this way, friend, that one who is not ardent and who is unafraid of wrongdoing is incapable of enlightenment, incapable of Nibbāna, incapable of achieving the unsurpassed security from bondage.

“And how, friend, is one ardent? Here, friend, a bhikkhu arouses ardour by thinking: ‘If unarisen evil unwholesome states arise in me, this may lead to my harm’ … and by thinking: ‘If wholesome states that have arisen in me cease, this may lead to my harm.’ Thus he is ardent.

“And how, friend, is he afraid of wrongdoing? Here, friend, a bhikkhu becomes afraid at the thought: ‘If unarisen evil unwholesome states arise in me, this may lead to my harm’; … and at the thought: ‘If wholesome states that have arisen in me cease, this may lead to my harm.’ Thus he is afraid of wrongdoing.

“It is in this way, friend, that one who is ardent and afraid of wrongdoing is capable of enlightenment, capable of Nibbāna, capable of achieving the unsurpassed security from bondage.”