Aŋguttara Nikāya


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Aŋguttara Nikāya
Pañcaka Nipāta
VI: Nīvaraṇa Vagga

The Book of Fives

Sutta 52

Akusala-Rāsi Suttaɱ

A Constillation of Ineptitudes

Translated from the Pali

 


 

Translators Introduction

Some things should be kept in mind when thinking over and pondering the meaning of this sutta while in the first jhāna: The Nivaraṇas are not 'obstructions', they are 'diversions'. The simile [see AN 5.51] is of something that is diverting, not obstructing, the forward momentum of a stream. Then think about the fact that that which obstructs does not involve the will of the individual or necessarily reduce his strength, whereas diversions are by their nature participated in by the individual and weaken his strength and diminish his individual willpower. The point is the need to take responsibility. Don Juan would call these 'self-indulgences'. Thinking this way of the nivaraṇa one has allowed the possibility of their removal by putting them under the control of the individual. Obstructions come from the outside and their appearance cannot be controlled, diversions are self-created and can be abstained from. No action required. Just not-doing. The trick is to be fast enough to see where one is, one's self, allowing the mind to become diverted from the goal.

 


 

[1][pts][bodh] I HEAR TELL:

Once upon a time the Lucky Man,
Sāvatthi-town came a revisit'n
Anāthapiṇḍika's Jeta Grove.

There then, the Lucky Man addressed the beggars:

"Beggars!"

And the beggars responding "Elder!" the Lucky Man said:

Speaking thoughtfully, beggars,
describing these five diversions as:
"A constillation of ineptitudes",
one would be speaking accurately.

For indeed, beggars, these are
a constillation of ineptitudes,
that is to say the five diversions.

What five?

Indulging[1] in sensual-desires
indulging in deviance,
indulging in sluggish-stupidity,
indulging in anxious confusion,
indulging in scatterbrained second thoughts.

Speaking thoughtfully, beggars,
describing these five diversions as:
"A constillation of ineptitudes",
one would be speaking accurately.

For indeed, beggars, these are
a constillation of ineptitudes,
that is to say the five diversions.

 


[1] Nivaraṇa. Diverting the mind by way of.

 


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