Khuddaka Nikaya

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Sutta Nipāta
Sutta 4. Mettagu-manava-puccha Sutta

[pali] [faus]

Mettagu's Questions

Translated from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.

For free distribution only.




I ask you, O Blessed One.
Please tell me.
I regard you as knowledgeable,
with your self developed.
From what have the many
forms of stress and suffering
arisen in the world?

The Buddha:

    If you ask me
the coming-into-being
of stress and suffering,
I will tell it to you
    as one who discerns.
From acquisition[1] as cause
the many forms of stress and suffering
come into being in the world.
Whoever, unknowing, makes acquisitions
    -- the fool --
comes to stress and suffering
    and again.

So one who's discerning,
    focused on the birth
    of stress and suffering,
    their coming-into-being,
should make no acquisitions.


What we asked, you've expounded.
Now we ask something else.
    Please tell us.
How do the prudent
cross over the flood of
    birth and aging,
    lamentation and sorrow?
Please, sage, declare this to me
    as this Dhamma has
    been known by you.

The Buddha:

I will teach you the Dhamma
    -- in the here and now,
    not quoted words --
knowing which, living mindfully,
you'll cross over beyond
entanglement in the world.


And I relish, Great Seer,
that Dhamma     supreme,
knowing which, living mindfully,
I'll cross over beyond
entanglement in the world.

The Buddha:

Whatever you're alert to,
    above, below,
    across, in between:[2]
dispelling any delight,
        any laying claim
        to those things,
consciousness should not take a stance
        in becoming.
The monk who dwells thus
    -- mindful, heedful --
letting go of his sense of mine,
knowing right here would abandon
        birth and aging,
    lamentation and sorrow,
        stress and suffering.


I relish, Gotama, the Great Seer's words
well-expounded, without acquisition,
for yes, O Blessed One,
you've abandoned stress and suffering
as this Dhamma has
been known by you.
And they, too, would abandon stress and suffering
    those whom you, sage,
    would admonish unceasingly.
Having met you, I bow down to you,
        Great One.
Perhaps you will admonish me

The Buddha:

Whoever you recognize
as a knowledgeable brahman,
    possessing nothing,
    in sensuality and becoming
yes, he has crossed over the flood.
Having crossed to the far shore,
    he is without
    harshness or doubt.

And any one who has realized,
who is knowledgeable here,
    having unentangled the bond
    to becoming and non-,[3]
free of craving,
    undesiring -- he,
I tell you, has crossed over birth
            and aging.


[1] The term "acquisition" (upadhi), in its everyday sense, denotes the possessions, baggage, and other paraphernalia that a nomadic family might carry around with it in its wanderings. On the psychological level, it denotes anything for which one might have a sense of "I" or "mine" and which, consequently, one would carry around as a kind of mental baggage.

[2] Nd.II gives six different valid interpretations for "above, below, across, in between":
above = the future; below = the past; across and in between = the present
above = the deva world; below = hell; across and in between = the human world
above = skillfulness; below = unskillfulness; across and in between = indeterminate mental qualities
above = the property of formlessness; below = the property of sensuality; across and in between = the property of form
above = feelings of pleasure; below = feelings of pain; across and in between = feelings of neither pleasure nor pain
above = the body from the feet on up; below = the body from the crown of the head on down; across and in between = the middle of the body

[3] Becoming and non-becoming (or dis-becoming) are the two most subtle objects of craving that lead on to continued existence -- and suffering -- in the round of birth and death.


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