Aŋguttara Nikāya


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Aŋguttara Nikāya
VIII. Aṭṭhaka Nipāta
VIII. Yamaka-Vagga

The Book of the Gradual Sayings
VIII. The Book of the Eights
Chapter VIII: The Pairs

Sutta 73

Paṭhama Maraṇa-Sati Suttaɱ

Mindfulness of Death (a)[1]

Translated from the Pali by E.M. Hare.

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[1] Thus have I heard:

Once the Exalted One was staying in the Brick Hall at Nādika.

There the Exalted One addressed the monks, saying:

"Monks!"

"Lord," they replied;
and the Exalted One said:

2. "Mindfulness of death, monks,
when made become,
developed
is very fruitful,
of great advantage,
merging and ending in the deathless.

Monks, do ye make become
mindfulness of death."

 

§

 

3. And when he had thus spoken,
a certain monk said to him:

"Lord, I make become mindfulness of death."

"How, monk, do you make it become?"

"Herein, lord, such is my thought:

'Surely were I to live but one day and night,
an I were to ponder over the word of the Exalted One,
much indeed would be done by me' -

thus, lord, I make become mindfulness of death."

4. And another monk said to him:

"Lord, I make become mindfulness of death."

"How, monk, do you make it become?"

"Herein, lord, such is my thought:

'Surely were I to live for a day only,
an I were to ponder over the word of the Exalted One,
much indeed would be done by me' -

thus, lord, I make become mindfulness of death."

5. And another monk said to him:

"Lord, I make become mindfulness of death."

"How, monk, do you make it become?"

"Herein, lord, such is my thought:

'Surely were I to live live half a day,
an I were to ponder over the word of the Exalted One,
much indeed would be done by me' -

thus, lord, I make become mindfulness of death."

6. And another monk said to him:

"Lord, I make become mindfulness of death."

"How, monk, do you make it become?"

"Herein, lord, such is my thought:

'Surely were I to live long enough to eat one alms-meal,
an I were to ponder over the word of the Exalted One,
much indeed would be done by me' -

thus, lord, I make become mindfulness of death."

7. And another monk said to him:

"Lord, I make become mindfulness of death."

"How, monk, do you make it become?"

"Herein, lord, such is my thought:

'Surely were I to live long enough to eat half an alms-meal,
an I were to ponder over the word of the Exalted One,
much indeed would be done by me' -

thus, lord, I make become mindfulness of death."

8. And another monk said to him:

"Lord, I make become mindfulness of death."

"How, monk, do you make it become?"

"Herein, lord, such is my thought:

'Surely were I to live long enough to swallow four or five morsels of food,
which I have munched,
an I were to ponder over the word of the Exalted One,
much indeed would be done by me' -

thus, lord, I make become mindfulness of death."

9. And another monk said to him:

"Lord, I make become mindfulness of death."

"How, monk, do you make it become?"

"Herein, lord, such is my thought:

'Surely were I to live long enough to swallow one morsel of food,
an I were to ponder over the word of the Exalted One,
much indeed would be done by me' -

thus, lord, I make become mindfulness of death."

10. And another monk said to him:

"Lord, I make become mindfulness of death."

"How, monk, do you make it become?"

"Herein, lord, such is my thought:

'Surely were I to live but long enough to breathe in after breathing out,
or to breathe out after breathing in,
an I were to ponder over the word of the Exalted One,
much indeed would be done by me' -

thus, lord, I make become mindfulness of death."

And when he had thus spoken, the Exalted One said to those monks:

"This monk who makes become mindfulness of death thus:

'Surely were I to live but one day and night,
an I were to ponder over the word of the Exalted One,
much indeed would be done by me';

and he who make it become thus:

'Surely were I to live for a day only,
an I were to ponder over the word of the Exalted One,
much indeed would be done by me'

and he who make it become thus:

'Surely were I to live live half a day,
an I were to ponder over the word of the Exalted One,
much indeed would be done by me'

and he who make it become thus:

'Surely were I to live long enough to eat one alms-meal,
an I were to ponder over the word of the Exalted One,
much indeed would be done by me'

and he who make it become thus:

'Surely were I to live long enough to eat half an alms-meal,
an I were to ponder over the word of the Exalted One,
much indeed would be done by me'

and he who make it become thus:

'Surely were I to live long enough to swallow four or five morsels of food,
which I have munched,
an I were to ponder over the word of the Exalted One,
much indeed would be done by me' -

these monks are said to live indolently;
and slackly they make mindfulness of death become
for the destruction of the cankers.

But he who makes become mindfulness of death thus:

'Surely were I to live long enough to swallow one morsel of food,
an I were to ponder over the word of the Exalted One,
much indeed would be done by me'

or thus:

'Surely were I to live but long enough to breathe in after breathing out,
or to breathe out after breathing in,
an I were to ponder over the word of the Exalted One,
much indeed would be done by me' -

these monks are said to live diligently;
and keenly they make mindfulness of death become
for the destruction of cankers.[2]

Wherefore, monks, train yourselves thus:

We will live diligently
and keenly make mindfulness of death become
to the end that we may destroy the cankers.

Train yourselves thus, monks."

 


[1] Cf. the whole of this sutta with A. iii, 303; also above, p. 28.

[2] This is quoted at Vism. 237; trsl. 273.


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