T 1670B Nāgasena Bhikṣu Sūtra

Part 2: Dialogues

2.20. Different Kinds of Feelings

The king asked, “If a person is happy, is it wholesome or unwholesome? If a person is unhappy, is it wholesome or unwholesome?”

Nāgasena replied, “As the Buddha has attained non-activity, he does not speak of suffering or happiness.”

“If so,” the king asked, “is it as if there is no suffering in conditioned dharmas?”

Nāgasena asked the king, “Now, what do you think, suppose a man were to hold in one hand a red-hot ball of iron, and in the other hand, a lump of ice. Would they both burn him?”

“Yes, both hands will get hurt.”

“But, Great King, are the iron and the ice both hot in his two hands?”

“Certainly not, both are not hot.”

“But, are they both cold?”

“No, both are not cold.”

“But, are both hands burnt? I ask you again, if the heat hurts, both hands should be hot. If the cold hurts, both hands should be cold. How then can they both be burnt, since they are not both hot, nor both cold?”

“I am not intelligent enough to argue with you. Be so good, Nāgasena, as to explain how the matter stands?”

Nāgasena said, “In a the Buddhist sutras it is said, ‘There are six things arousing internal joyful feelings in men, six things arousing internal sorrowful feelings in men, six things arousing neither pleasant nor unpleasant feelings in men, and six external things arousing sorrowful feelings in men.’”

(a) The king asked, “What are the six things arousing internal joyful feelings in men?”

“They are:

(1) when the eyes see (pleasant) forms which causes hope to see them again, thus arousing internal joyful feelings in men;

(2) when the ears hear pleasant sounds which causes hope to hear them again, thus arousing internal joyful feelings in men;

(3) when the nose smells pleasant odors which causes hope to smell them again, thus arousing internal joyful feelings in men;

(4) when the tongue tastes nice flavors which causes hope to taste them again, thus arousing internal joyful feelings in men;

(5) when the body touches smoothness and softness which causes hope to touch them again, thus arousing internal joyful feelings in men;

(6) and when the mind obtains pleasant thoughts which causes hope to obtain them again, thus arousing internal joyful feelings in men. These six things arouse internal pleasant feelings.”

(b) “What are the six external things arousing joyful feelings in men?”

“They are:

(1) when the eyes see pleasant material forms, one thinks of them as not easily to be obtained and therefore they should be discarded. Thus having pondered and analyzed impermanence, there arouses external joyful feelings;

(2) when the ears hear good sounds, one thinks of them as not easily to be obtained and therefore they should be discarded, thus there arouses external joyful feelings;

(3) when the nose smells good scents, one thinks of them as not easily to be obtained and therefore they should be discarded, there arouses external joyful feelings;

(4) when the tongue tastes nice flavors, one thinks of them as not easily to be obtained and therefore they should be discarded, there arouses external joyful feelings;

(5) when the body touches smoothness and softness, one thinks of them as not easily to be obtained and therefore they should be discarded, there arouses external joyful feelings;

(6) and when the mind indulges in lustful craving, one ponders it over that all things are impermanent and therefore they should be discarded, thinking thus, there arouses external joyful feelings. These are the six external things arousing pleasant feelings.”

(c) “What are the six internal things arousing internal sorrowful feelings in men?” asked again the king.

“They are:

(1) when we see what our eyes dislike to see, there arises internal sorrowful feelings;

(2) when we hear what our ears dislike to hear, there arises internal sorrowful feelings;

(3) when we smell what our nose dislikes to smell, there arises internal sorrowful feelings;

(4) when we taste what our tongue dislikes to taste, there arises internal sorrowful feelings;

(5) when we touch what our body dislikes to touch, there arises internal sorrowful feelings;

(6) and when we think what the mind dislikes to think, there arises internal sorrowful feelings.”

(d) “What are the six external things arousing sad feelings in men?”

“They are;

(1) when the eyes see evil material forms, this arouses sad feelings in men;

(2) when the ears hear unpleasant sounds, this arouses sad feelings in men;

(3) when the nose smells bad odors, this arouses sad feelings in men;

(4) when the tongue tastes bitter taste, this arouses sad feelings in men;

(5) when the body touches the roughness and hardness, this arouses sad feelings in men;

(6) and when the mind hates something, this arouses sad feelings in men. These are the six external things arousing sad feelings in men.”

(e) The king asked, “What are the six things arousing neither sorrowful nor joyful feelings in people?”

“They are:

(1) when the eyes see things, this arouses neither pleasant nor unpleasant feelings;

(2) when the ears hear sounds, this arouses neither pleasant nor unpleasant feelings;

(3) when the nose smells odors, this arouses neither pleasant nor unpleasant feelings;

(4) when the tongue tastes something, this arouses neither pleasant nor unpleasant feelings;

(5) when the body touches something, this arouses neither pleasant feelings nor unpleasant feelings;

(6) and when the mind thinks over something, this arouses neither pleasant feelings nor unpleasant feelings. These are the six internal things that arouse neither pleasant nor unpleasant feelings.”

(f) “What are the six external things which arouse sorrowful feelings in people?”

“They are:

(1) when the eyes see a dead body and one ponders over the impermanence of the body and of all external matters, then he thinks to himself, ‘Having pondered over this, why have I not attained emancipation?’ Thus there arise external sorrowful feelings in him.

(2) When one does not like to hear the good sounds, he thinks to himself, ‘If I have such a thought, why have I not attained emancipation?’ Thus there arise external sorrowful feelings.

(3) When the nose dislikes to smell both good and bad odors, he thinks to himself, ‘If I have such a thought, why have I not attained emancipation?’ Thus there arise external sorrowful feelings.

(4) When tongue tastes bitterness and sweetness indifferently, he thinks himself, ‘If I have such a thought, why have I not attained emancipation?’ Thus there arise external sorrowful feelings.

(5) When body touches neither smoothness and softness nor roughness and hardness, then he thinks himself, ‘If I have such a thought, why have I not attained emancipation?’ Thus there arise external sorrowful feelings.

(6) When the mind dislikes craving, he thinks himself, ‘If I have such a thought, why I have not attained emancipation.’ Thus there arise external sorrowful feelings. These are the six things arousing external sorrowful feelings.”

“Excellent, Nāgasena.”