Saṃyutta Nikāya 46

Connected Discourses on the Factors of Enlightenment

55. Saṅgarava

At Savatthī. Then the brahmin Saṅgarava approached the Blessed One and exchanged greetings with him. When they had concluded their greetings and cordial talk, he sat down to one side and said to the Blessed One:

“Master Gotama, what is the cause and reason why sometimes even those hymns that have been recited over a long period do not recur to the mind, let alone those that have not been recited? What is the cause and reason why sometimes those hymns that have not been recited over a long period recur to the mind, let alone those that have been recited?”

i. Why the hymns do not recur to the mind

“Brahmin, when one dwells with a mind obsessed by sensual lust, overwhelmed by sensual lust, and one does not understand as it really is the escape from arisen sensual lust, on that occasion one neither knows nor sees as it really is one’s own good, or the good of others, or the good of both. Then even those hymns that have been recited over a long period do not recur to the mind, let alone those that have not been recited.

“Suppose, brahmin, there is a bowl of water mixed with lac, turmeric, blue dye, or crimson dye. If a man with good sight were to examine his own facial reflection in it, he would neither know nor see it as it really is. So too, brahmin, when one dwells with a mind obsessed by sensual lust … … on that occasion even those hymns that have been recited over a long period do not recur to the mind, let alone those that have not been recited.

“Again, brahmin, when one dwells with a mind obsessed by ill will, overwhelmed by ill will, and one does not understand as it really is the escape from arisen ill will, on that occasion one neither knows nor sees as it really is one’s own good, or the good of others, or the good of both. Then even those hymns that have been recited over a long period do not recur to the mind, let alone those that have not been recited.

“Suppose, brahmin, there is a bowl of water being heated over a fire, bubbling and boiling. If a man with good sight were to examine his own facial reflection in it, he would neither know nor see it as it really is. So too, brahmin, when one dwells with a mind obsessed by ill will … on that occasion even those hymns that have been recited over a long period do not recur to the mind, let alone those that have not been recited.

“Again, brahmin, when one dwells with a mind obsessed by sloth and torpor, overwhelmed by sloth and torpor, and one does not understand as it really is the escape from arisen sloth and torpor, on that occasion one neither knows nor sees as it really is one’s own good, or the good of others, or the good of both. Then even those hymns that have been recited over a long period do not recur to the mind, let alone those that have not been recited.

“Suppose, brahmin, there is a bowl of water covered over with water plants and algae. If a man with good sight were to examine his own facial reflection in it, he would neither know nor see it as it really is. So too, brahmin, when one dwells with a mind obsessed by sloth and torpor … on that occasion even those hymns that have been recited over a long period do not recur to the mind, let alone those that have not been recited.

“Again, brahmin, when one dwells with a mind obsessed by restlessness and remorse, overwhelmed by restlessness and remorse, and one does not understand as it really is the escape from arisen restlessness and remorse, on that occasion one neither knows nor sees as it really is one’s own good, or the good of others, or the good of both. Then even those hymns that have been recited over a long period do not recur to the mind, let alone those that have not been recited.

“Suppose, brahmin, there is a bowl of water stirred by the wind, rippling, swirling, churned into wavelets. If a man with good sight were to examine his own facial reflection in it, he would neither know nor see it as it really is. So too, brahmin, when one dwells with a mind obsessed by restlessness and remorse … on that occasion even those hymns that have been recited over a long period do not recur to the mind, let alone those that have not been recited.

“Again, brahmin, when one dwells with a mind obsessed by doubt, overwhelmed by doubt, and one does not understand as it really is the escape from arisen doubt, on that occasion one neither knows nor sees as it really is one’s own good, or the good of others, or the good of both. Then even those hymns that have been recited over a long period do not recur to the mind, let alone those that have not been recited.

“Suppose, brahmin, there is a bowl of water that is turbid, unsettled, muddy, placed in the dark. If a man with good sight were to examine his own facial reflection in it, he would neither know nor see it as it really is. So too, brahmin, when one dwells with a mind obsessed by doubt … on that occasion even those hymns that have been recited over a long period do not recur to the mind, let alone those that have not been recited.

“This, brahmin, is the cause and reason why even those hymns that have been recited over a long period do not recur to the mind, let alone those that have not been recited.

ii. Why the hymns recur to the mind

“Brahmin, when one dwells with a mind that is not obsessed by sensual lust, not overwhelmed by sensual lust, and one understands as it really is the escape from arisen sensual lust, on that occasion one knows and sees as it really is one’s own good, and the good of others, and the good of both. Then even those hymns that have not been recited over a long period recur to the mind, let alone those that have been recited.

“Suppose, brahmin, there is a bowl of water not mixed with lac, turmeric, blue dye, or crimson dye. If a man with good sight were to examine his own facial reflection in it, he would know and see it as it really is. So too, brahmin, when one dwells with a mind that is not obsessed by sensual lust … on that occasion even those hymns that have not been recited over a long period recur to the mind, let alone those that have been recited.

“Again, brahmin, when one dwells with a mind that is not obsessed by ill will … on that occasion even those hymns that have not been recited over a long period recur to the mind, let alone those that have been recited.

“Suppose, brahmin, there is a bowl of water not heated over a fire, not bubbling, not boiling. If a man with good sight were to examine his own facial reflection in it, he would know and see it as it really is. So too, brahmin, when one dwells with a mind that is not obsessed by ill will … on that occasion even those hymns that have not been recited over a long period recur to the mind, let alone those that have been recited.

“Again, brahmin, when one dwells with a mind that is not obsessed by sloth and torpor … on that occasion even those hymns that have not been recited over a long period recur to the mind, let alone those that have been recited.

“Suppose, brahmin, there is a bowl of water not covered over with water plants and algae. If a man with good sight were to examine his own facial reflection in it, he would know and see it as it really is. So too, brahmin, when one dwells with a mind that is not obsessed by sloth and torpor … on that occasion even those hymns that have not been recited over a long period recur to the mind, let alone those that have been recited.

“Again, brahmin, when one dwells with a mind that is not obsessed by restlessness and remorse … on that occasion even those hymns that have not been recited over a long period recur to the mind, let alone those that have been recited.

“Suppose, brahmin, there is a bowl of water not stirred by the wind, without ripples, without swirls, not churned into wavelets. If a man with good sight were to examine his own facial reflection in it, he would know and see it as it really is. So too, brahmin, when one dwells with a mind that is not obsessed by restlessness and remorse … on that occasion even those hymns that have not been recited over a long period recur to the mind, let alone those that have been recited.

“Again, brahmin, when one dwells with a mind that is not obsessed by doubt … on that occasion even those hymns that have not been recited over a long period recur to the mind, let alone those that have been recited.

“Suppose, brahmin, there is a bowl of water that is clear, serene, limpid, set out in the light. If a man with good sight were to examine his own facial reflection in it, he would know and see it as it really is. So too, brahmin, when one dwells with a mind that is not obsessed by doubt … on that occasion even those hymns that have not been recited over a long period recur to the mind, let alone those that have been recited.

“This, brahmin, is the cause and reason why even those hymns that have not been recited over a long period recur to the mind, let alone those that have been recited.

“These seven factors of enlightenment, brahmin, are nonobstructions, nonhindrances, noncorruptions of the mind; when developed and cultivated they lead to the realization of the fruit of true knowledge and liberation. What seven? The enlightenment factor of mindfulness is a nonobstruction … The enlightenment factor of equanimity is a nonobstruction.… These seven factors of enlightenment are nonobstructions, nonhindrances, noncorruptions of the mind; when developed and cultivated they lead to the realization of the fruit of true knowledge and liberation.”

When this was said, the brahmin Saṅgarava said to the Blessed One: “Magnificent, Master Gotama!… From today let Master Gotama remember me as a lay follower who has gone for refuge for life.”