T 1670B Nāgasena Bhikṣu Sūtra

Part 2: Dialogues

2.63. Aim of Sramanahood

The king asked Nāgasena again. “For what purpose do your people learn the Dharma and become monks?”

Nāgasena replied, “For the purpose of eradicating past suffering, present suffering, and not wanting to experience it again in the future, I learned the Dharma and become a monk.”

“Future suffering has not yet happened, so why do you prepare to learn the Dharma and become a monk?”

Then Nāgasena asked the king, “Are there, great king, rival countries and opponents who might rise up against you?”

“Yes, there are rival countries and opponents who frequently rise up to fight with me.”

“Then, is it when the enemies are coming, that you, great king, set to work to have weapons prepared, watch towers erected, and moats dug, or are they all prepared earlier?”

“All these had been prepared beforehand.”

“But why had they been prepared beforehand?”

“Because the enemies might come at any time.”

“The enemy has not come yet, why do you prepare?”

Nāgasena again asked the king, “Is it when you are hungry, that you then sow, or when you are thirsty, that you then dig a well?”

The king said, “It should be done beforehand.”

Then Nāgasena said, “For a man who is not thirsty, why should he prepare beforehand?”

“Excellent, Nāgasena.”