Aŋguttara Nikāya


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Aŋguttara-Nikāya
III. Tika Nipāta
III. Puggala Vagga

The Book of the Gradual Sayings
or
More-Numbered Suttas

III. The Book of the Threes
III. On Persons

Sutta 30

Avakujja Suttaɱ

Topsy-turvy[1]

Translated from the Pali by
F.L. Woodward, M.A.

Copyright The Pali Text Society
Commercial Rights Reserved
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[112]

[1][bodh] Thus have I heard:

On a certain occasion the Exalted One was staying near Sāvatthi at Jeta Grove,
in Anāthapiṇḍika's Park.

Then the Exalted One addressed the monks, saying:

"Monks."

"Yes, Lord," replied those monks to the Exalted One.

The Exalted One said this:

"Monks, there are these three persons
found existing in the world.

What three?

The topsy-turvy-brained,[2]
the scatter-brained,[3]
and the man of comprehensive brain.

 

§

 

[113] And of what sort, monks,
is the topsy-turvy-brained?

Herein a certain person
frequents the monastery[4]
to hear Dhamma from the lips of the monks.

The monks teach him Dhamma
that is lovely in the beginning,
lovely in the middle,
lovely in the ending,
both in spirit
and in letter.

They make plain the holy life
perfectly fulfilled
in all its purity.

But as he sits there
he pays no heed to that talk
in its beginning,
pays no heed to its middle,
pays no heed to its ending.

Also when he has risen from his seat
he pays no heed to that talk
in its beginning,
pays no heed to its middle,
pays no heed to its ending.

Just as when a pot is turned upside down,[5]
the water poured thereon
runs off
and does not stay in the pot,
even so in this case
a certain person frequents the monastery
to hear Dhamma from the lips of the monks.

The monks teach him Dhamma
that is lovely in the beginning,
lovely in the middle,
lovely in the ending,
both in spirit
and in letter.

They make plain the holy life
perfectly fulfilled
in all its purity.

But as he sits there
he pays no heed to that talk
in its beginning,
pays no heed to its middle,
pays no heed to its ending.

Also when he has risen from his seat
he pays no heed to that talk
in its beginning,
pays no heed to its middle,
pays no heed to its ending.

This one is called
'the topsy-turvy-brained.'

And of what sort, monks,
is the scatter-brained?

In this case a certain person frequents the monastery
to hear Dhamma from the lips of the monks.

The monks teach him Dhamma
that is lovely in the beginning,
lovely in the middle,
lovely in the ending,
both in spirit
and in letter.

They make plain the holy life
perfectly fulfilled
in all its purity.

As he sits
he pays heed to that talk in its beginning,
its middle
and its end,
but when he has risen up from his seat
he pays no heed to that talk
in its beginning,
pays no heed to its middle,
pays no heed to its ending.

Just as when in a man's lap
divers kinds of food are piled together,
such as sesamum,
rice,
sweetmeats
and jujube fruits.

When he rises from his seat
he scatters all abroad
through absent-mindedness, -
even so, monks,
in this case a certain person
frequents the monastery
to hear Dhamma from the lips of the monks.

The monks teach him Dhamma
that is lovely in the beginning,
lovely in the middle,
lovely in the ending,
both in spirit
and in letter.

They make plain the holy life
perfectly fulfilled
in all its purity.

As he sits
he pays heed to that talk in its beginning,
its middle and its end,
but when he has risen up from his seat
he pays no heed to that talk
in its beginning,
pays no heed to its middle,
pays no heed to its ending.

This one is called 'the scatter-brained.'

And of what sort, monks,
is the man of comprehensive mind?

In this case a certain person
frequents the monastery
to hear Dhamma from the lips of the monks.

They teach him Dhamma
that is lovely in the beginning,
lovely in the middle,
lovely in the ending,
both in its spirit and its letter.

They make plain the holy life
perfectly fulfilled
in all its purity.

As he sits there
he pays heed to that talk in its beginning,
he pays heed to that talk in its middle,
he pays heed to its ending.

[114] Also when he rises from his seat
he still bears it in mind
in its beginning,
in its middle,
in its ending.

Just as when a pot is set upright
the water poured therein
accumulates
and does not run away,
even so in this case
a certain person frequents the monastery
to hear Dhamma from the lips of the monks.

They teach him Dhamma
that is lovely in the beginning,
lovely in the middle,
lovely in the ending,
both in its spirit and its letter.

They make plain the holy life
perfectly fulfilled
in all its purity.

As he sits there
he pays heed to that talk in its beginning,
he pays heed to that talk in its middle,
he pays heed to its ending.

Also when he rises from his seat
he still bears it in mind
in its beginning,
in its middle,
in its ending.

This one, monks, is called
'the man of comprehensive mind.'

Such, monks, are the three persons
found existing in the world."

 


 

The topsy-turvy-biained, the fool and blind,
Tho'oft and oft resorting to the monks,
Hearing their talk, beginning, middle, end,
Can never grasp it. Wisdom is not his.

Better than he the man of scattered brains.
He, oft and oft resorting to the monks,
Hears all their talk, beginning, middle, end,
And, while he sits, can grasp the letter of it:
But, rising from his seat, misunderstands,
Forgetting even what he grasped before.

Better the man of comprehensive brain.
He, oft and oft resorting to the monks,
Hears all their talk, beginning, middle, end:
And, while he sits, grasping the letter of it,
Keeps it, with best intent, unwavering,
In Dhamma skilled and what conforms thereto.
This is the man to make an end of Ill.

 


[1] Cf. Pugg., p. 31.

[2] Avakujja-pañño = adho-mukha-p. (head downwards). Comy. Cf. S. v, 89; K.S. v, 75, where it is equal to udaya-vaya.

[3] Ucchanga-pañño, lit. 'lap-brained,' explained below in the simile.

[4] Ārāma, a park or garden where Wanderers and monks resorted: sometimes with a rest-house for travellers, as in Anāthapiṇḍika's Park.

[5] Cf. S. v, 48.


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