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 74

Dutiya Maraṇa-Sati Suttaɱ

Mindfulness of Death (b)[1]

Translated from the Pali by E.M. Hare.

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[214]

[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.

 

§

 

And how, monks, is mindfulness of death,
when made become,
developed
very fruitful,
of great advantage,
merging and ending in the deathless?

Take the case of a monk, who,
when the day declines and night sets in,
reflects thus:

'Many indeed are the chances[2] of death for me.

A snake or a scorpion or a centipede might bite me
and might cause my death;
that would be a hindrance[3] to me.

I might stumble and fall;
the food I have eaten might make me ill;
bile might convulse me;
phlegm choke me;
winds (within me) with their scissor-like cuts give me ague;
or men or non-humans might attack me
and might cause my death.

That would be a hindrance to me.'

Monks, that monk must reflect thus:

'Are there any evil and wrong states within me
that have not been put away
and that would be a hindrance to me
were I to die tonight?'

If, monks, on consideration
he realize that there are evil and wrong states within
that have not been put away
then to put away just those evil and wrong states
an intense resolution,
effort,
endeavour,
exertion,
struggle,
mindfulness
and self-possession
must be made by that monk.

Monks, just[4] as a man whose turban is on fire,
or whose hair is burning,
would make an intense resolution,
effort,
endeavour,
exertion,
struggle,
mindfulness
and self-possession to put out[5] his (burning) turban or hair;
even so, monks,
an intense resolution,
effort,
endeavour,
exertion,
struggle,
mindfulness
and self-possession must be made by that monk
to put away just those evil and wrong states.

But if that monk, on review,
realize that there are no such states within him
that have not been put away
which would be a hindrance to him,
were he to die that night -
then let that monk live verily in joy and gladness,
training himself day and night
in the ways of righteousness.[6]

 

§

 

Take the case of a monk, who,
when the night is spent and day breaks,
reflects thus:

'Many indeed are the chances of death for me.

A snake or a scorpion or a centipede might bite me
and might cause my death;
that would be a hindrance to me.

I might stumble and fall;
the food I have eaten might make me ill;
bile might convulse me;
phlegm choke me;
winds (within me) with their scissor-like cuts give me ague;
or men or non-humans might attack me
and might cause my death.

That would be a hindrance to me.'

Monks, that monk must reflect thus:

'Are there any evil and wrong states within me
that have not been put away
and that would be a hindrance to me
were I to die tonight?'

If, monks, on consideration
he realize that there are evil and wrong states within
that have not been put away
then to put away just those evil and wrong states
an intense resolution,
effort,
endeavour,
exertion,
struggle,
mindfulness
and self-possession
must be made by that monk.

Monks, just as a man whose turban is on fire,
or whose hair is burning,
would make an intense resolution,
effort,
endeavour,
exertion,
struggle,
mindfulness
and self-possession to put out his (burning) turban or hair;
even so, monks,
an intense resolution,
effort,
endeavour,
exertion,
struggle,
mindfulness
and self-possession must be made by that monk
to put away just those evil and wrong states.

But if that monk, on review,
realize that there are no such states within him
that have not been put away
which would be a hindrance to him,
were he to die that night -
then let that monk live verily in joy and gladness,
training himself day and night
in the ways of righteousness.

Monks, mindfulness of death
when so made become,
so developed
is very fruitful,
of great advantage,
merging and ending in the deathless."

 


[1] Cf. the whole of this sutta with A. iii, 306 f.; also 100 f.

[2] Paccayā.

[3] Comy. (to my progress) in the Way.

[4] This simile recurs at A. ii, 93; iii, 308; v, 93, 99; in verse at K.S. i, 19, 136.

[5] Nibbāpanāya.

[6] This passage recurs at M. i, 100.


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