WARREN: BUDDHISM IN TRANSLATIONS
§ 88. The Colorless Life
Translated from the Milindapañha (76.23)
Said the king, "Bhante Nāgasena, what is the difference between one who has passion and one who is free from passion?"
"Your majesty, the one clings, the other does not cling."
"Bhante, what do you mean by 'clings' and 'does not cling'?"
"Your majesty, the one covets, the other does not covet."
"Bhante, this is the way I look at the matter: both he who has passion and he who is free from passion have the same wish, that his food, whether hard or soft, should be good; neither wishes for what is bad."
"Your majesty, he that is not free from passion experiences both the taste of that food, and also passion due to that taste; while he who is free from passion experiences the taste of that food, but no passion due to that taste."[fnmo1]
"You are an able man, bhante Nāgasena."
[fnmo1]We really need the Pali here: what are the words for "clings," "covets," and "passion"? To both the Arahant and the Common man the thought occurs: O that I might receive tasty food. The difference at this point is that the common man acts on that thought; wishing, or asking, or acting in such a way as to bring about the desired result. The Arahant lets it go as soon as it appears. Again upon receipt of tasty food in the bowl, both the Arahant and the common man experience pleasant sensations. The difference between the Arahant and the common man is that the common man, experiencing pleasure, allows desire to continue or repeat the pleasure to take hold. The Arahant lets the sensations pass as soon as they appear.