Majjhima Nikaya


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Majjhima Nikāya
II. Majjhima-Paṇṇāsa
2. Bhikkhu Vagga

The Middle Length Sayings
II. The Middle Fifty Discourses
2. The Division on Monks

Sutta 64

Mahā Māluŋkya Suttaɱ

Greater Discourse to Māluŋkya (Putta)

Translated from the Pali by I.B. Horner, M.A.
Associate of Newham College, Cambridge
First Published in 1954

Copyright The Pali Text Society
Commercial Rights Reserved
Creative Commons Licence
For details see Terms of Use.

 


 

[1][chlm][ntbb][upal] THUS have I heard:

At one time the Lord was staying near Sāvatthī
in the Jeta Grove in Anāthapiṇḍika's monastery.

While he was there the Lord addressed the monks, saying:

"Monks."

"Revered One," these monks answered the Lord in assent.

The Lord spoke thus:

"Do you, monks, remember
that I taught you about the five fetters
binding to the lower (shore)?"

When this had been said,
the venerable Māluŋkyāputta spoke thus to the Lord:

"Yes, I, revered sir, remember
that the Lord taught that there are five fetters
binding to the lower (shore)."

"But do you, Māluŋkyāputta, remember it
as it was spoken by me
when I taught you about the five fetters
binding to the lower (shore)?"

 


 

"I, revered sir, remember
that the Lord taught that
false view of own body[1]
is a fetter binding to the lower (shore).

I, revered sir, remember
that perplexity
is a fetter binding to the lower (shore).

I, revered sir, remember
that clinging to rites and customs
is a fetter binding to the lower (shore).

I, revered sir, remember
that desire for sense-pleasures
is a fetter binding to the lower (shore).

I, revered sir, remember
that malevolence
is a fetter binding to the lower (shore).

It is thus that I, revered sir, remember
the five fetters binding to the lower (shore)
as taught by the Lord."

 


 

"And about whom do you, Māluŋkyāputta, remember
that I thus taught the five fetters binding to the lower (shore)?

Would not wanderers belonging to other sects
chide[2] you with the simile of the baby?[3]

For, Māluŋkyāputta,
if there were not 'own body'
for an innocent baby boy lying on his back,
whence could there arise for him the view of 'own body'?

A leaning to the view of 'own body'
indeed lies latent in him.

Māluŋkyāputta, if there were not 'things'[4]
for an innocent baby boy lying on his back,
[103] whence could there arise for him
perplexity about things!

A leaning to perplexity
indeed lies latent in him.

Māluŋkyāputta, if there were not 'habits'[5]
for an innocent baby boy lying on his back,
whence could there arise for him
clinging to rites and customs?

A leaning to clinging to rites and customs
indeed lies latent in him.

Māluŋkyāputta, if there were not 'sense-pleasures'
for an innocent baby boy lying on his back,
whence could there arise for him
desire for sense-pleasures
among the sense-pleasures?

A leaning to attachment to sense-pleasures
indeed lies latent in him.

Māluŋkyāputta, if there were not 'beings'
for an innocent baby boy lying on his back,
whence could there arise for him
malevolence towards beings?

A leaning to malevolence
indeed lies latent in him.

Now, Māluŋkyāputta,
would not wanderers belonging to other sects
chide you with this simile of the baby?"

 


 

When this had been said,
the venerable Ānanda spoke thus to the Lord:

"Lord, this is the time,
Well-farer, this is the time
that the Lord might teach (us)
about the five fetters binding to the lower (shore).

When the monks have heard the Lord
they will remember."

"Well then, Ānanda, listen,
attend carefully,
and I will speak."

"Yes, revered sir,"
the venerable Ānanda answered the Lord in assent.

The Lord spoke thus:

"Herein, Ānanda, an uninstructed ordinary person,
taking no count of the pure ones,
unskilled in the dhamma of the pure ones,
untrained in the dhamma of the pure ones;
taking no count of the true men,
unskilled in the dhamma of the true men,
untrained in the dhamma of the true men,
lives with his mind obsessed
by false view as to 'own body,'
overcome by false view as to 'own body,'
and he does not comprehend the escape,[6]
as it really is,
from the false view of 'own body'
that has arisen.

That false view of his of 'own body,'
resistant,
not dispelled,
is a fetter binding to the lower (shore).

He lives with his mind obsessed
by perplexity
overcome by perplexity,
and he does not comprehend the escape,
as it really is,
from perplexity
that has arisen.

That perplexity
resistant,
not dispelled,
is a fetter binding to the lower (shore).

He lives with his mind obsessed
by clinging to rites and customs
overcome by clinging to rites and customs,
and he does not comprehend the escape,
as it really is,
from clinging to rites and customs
that has arisen.

That clinging to rites and customs,
resistant,
not dispelled,
is a fetter binding to the lower (shore).

He lives with his mind obsessed
by attachment to sense-pleasures
overcome by attachment to sense-pleasures,
and he does not comprehend the escape,
as it really is,
from attachment to sense-pleasures
that has arisen.

That attachment to sense-pleasures,
resistant,
not dispelled,
is a fetter binding to the lower (shore).

He lives with his mind obsessed
by malevolence
overcome by malevolence,
and he does not comprehend the escape,
as it really is,
from malevolence
that has arisen.

That malevolence,
resistant,
not dispelled,
is a fetter binding to the lower (shore).

But, Ānanda,
an instructed disciple of the pure ones,
taking count [104] of the pure ones,
skilled in the dhamma of the pure ones,
trained in the dhamma of the pure ones;
taking count of the true men,
skilled in the dhamma of the true men,
trained in dhamma of the true men,
does not live with his mind obsessed
by false view as to 'own body,'
overcome by false view as to 'own body,'
and he comprehends the escape,
as it really is,
from the false view of 'own body'
that has arisen.

That ` of his, together with the leaning towards it, is got rid of.

p.p. explains it all — p.p.

That false view of his of 'own body'
is got rid of
with the leaning[7] towards it.

He does not live with his mind obsessed
by perplexity
overcome by perplexity,
and he comprehends the escape,
as it really is,
from perplexity
that has arisen.

That perplexity,
is got rid of
with the leaning towards it.

He does not live with his mind obsessed
by clinging to rites and customs
overcome by clinging to rites and customs,
and he comprehends the escape,
as it really is,
from clinging to rites and customs
that has arisen.

That clinging to rites and customs,
is got rid of
with the leaning towards it.

He does not live with his mind obsessed
by attachment to sense-pleasures
overcome by attachment to sense-pleasures,
and he comprehends the escape,
as it really is,
from attachment to sense-pleasures
that has arisen.

That attachment to sense-pleasures,
is got rid of
with the leaning towards it.

He does not live with his mind obsessed
by malevolence
overcome by malevolence,
and he comprehends the escape,
as it really is,
from malevolence
that has arisen.

That malevolence,
is got rid of
with the leaning towards it.

Whatever, Ānanda, is the way,
whatever the course
for getting rid of the five fetters binding to the lower (shore) -
that one could know
or see
or get rid of
the five fetters binding to the lower (shore)
irrespective of that way,
that course -
this situation does not occur.

Just as this situation does not occur, Ānanda,
that without having cut off the bark
of a great,
stable
and pithy tree,
without having cut out the softwood,
there can be no cutting out of the pith,[8]
even so, Ānanda,
whatever is the way,
whatever the course
for getting rid of the five fetters binding to the lower (shore) -
that one could know
or see
or get rid of
the five fetters binding to the lower (shore)
irrespective of this way,
this course -
this situation does not occur.

But, Ānanda, whatever is the way,
whatever the course
for getting rid of the five fetters binding to the lower (shore) -
that one could know
or see
or get rid of
the five fetters binding to the lower (shore)
because of that way,
that course -
this situation occurs.

Just as this situation occurs, Ānanda,
that having cut off the bark
of a great,
stable
and pithy tree,
having cut out the softwood,
there can be a cutting out of the pith,
even so, Ānanda,
whatever is the way,
whatever the course
for getting rid of the five fetters binding to the lower (shore) -
that one could know
or see
or get rid of
the five fetters binding to the lower (shore)
because of this way,
this course -
this situation occurs.

It is as if, Ānanda,
the river Ganges were full of [105] water,
overflowing,
so that a crow could drink from it,
and a feeble man should come along, thinking:

Here and below this is not: "He cuts across the Ganges and then using his arms goes safely beyond." It is: "He cuts across the Ganges using his arms, and goes safely beyond."

p.p. explains it all — p.p.

'Having cut across the stream of the river Ganges using my arms,
I am going safely beyond,'

yet he would not be able,
having cut across the stream of the river Ganges
and using his arms,
to go safely beyond.

Even so, Ānanda,
whoever
while dhamma is being taught to him
for the stopping of 'own body'
does not rejoice,
is not pleased
and composed,
he is not freed,[9]
even as this
is to be understood of that feeble man.

But, Ānanda, if the river Ganges were full of water,
overflowing,
so that a crow could drink from it,
and a strong man should come along, thinking:

'Having cut across the stream of the river Ganges,
using my arms,
I am going safely beyond,'
he would be able,
having cut across the stream of the river Ganges
and using his arms,
to go safely beyond.

Even so, Ānanda, whoever while dhamma is being taught to him
for the stopping of 'own body'
rejoices,
is pleased
and composed,
he is freed,
even as this
is to be understood of that strong man.

And what, Ānanda, is the way,
what the course
for getting rid of these five fetters binding to the lower (shore)?

Here, Ānanda, a monk,
by aloofness from 'clinging,'[10]
by getting rid of unskilled states of mind,
by allaying every bodily impropriety,
aloof from pleasures of the senses,
aloof from unskilled states of mind,
enters and abides in the first meditation
which is accompanied by initial thought
and discursive thought,
is born of aloofness
and is rapturous and joyful.

Whatever is there of material shape,
feeling,
perception,
the habitual tendencies,
consciousness -
he beholds these things as impermanent,
suffering,
as a disease,
an imposthume,
a dart,
a misfortune,
an affliction,
as other,
as decay,
empty,
not-self.[11]

He [106] turns his mind from these things;[12]
and when he has turned his mind from these things
he focuses his mind on the deathless element,
thinking:

'This is the real,[13]
this the excellent,[14]
that is to say
the tranquillising of all the activities,
the casting out of all clinging,
the destruction of craving,
dispassion,
stopping,
nibbāna.'[15]

If he is steadfast therein,
he achieves destruction of the cankers;
if he does not achieve destruction of the cankers,
then through his attachment to dhamma,
his delight in dhamma,
through his utter destruction
of the five fetters binding to the lower (shore),
he is of spontaneous uprising,
one who attains nibbāna there,
not liable to return from that world.

This, Ānanda, is the way,
this the course
for getting rid of the five fetters binding to the lower (shore).

And again, Ānanda, a monk,
by allaying initial and discursive thought,
with the mind subjectively tranquillised
and fixed on one point,
enters and abides in the second meditation
which is devoid of initial and discursive thought,
is born of concentration
and is rapturous and joyful

Whatever is there of material shape,
feeling,
perception,
the habitual tendencies,
consciousness -
he beholds these things as impermanent,
suffering,
as a disease,
an imposthume,
a dart,
a misfortune,
an affliction,
as other,
as decay,
empty,
not-self.

He turns his mind from these things;
and when he has turned his mind from these things
he focuses his mind on the deathless element,
thinking:

'This is the real,
this the excellent,
that is to say
the tranquillising of all the activities,
the casting out of all clinging,
the destruction of craving,
dispassion,
stopping,
nibbāna.'

If he is steadfast therein,
he achieves destruction of the cankers;
if he does not achieve destruction of the cankers,
then through his attachment to dhamma,
his delight in dhamma,
through his utter destruction
of the five fetters binding to the lower (shore),
he is of spontaneous uprising,
one who attains nibbāna there,
not liable to return from that world.

This, Ānanda, is the way,
this the course
for getting rid of the five fetters binding to the lower (shore).

And again, Ānanda, a monk,
by the fading out of rapture,
dwells with equanimity,
attentive and clearly conscious,
and experiences in his person
that joy of which the ariyans say:
'Joyful lives he who has equanimity and is mindful,'
and he enters on
and abides in
the third meditation.

Whatever is there of material shape,
feeling,
perception,
the habitual tendencies,
consciousness -
he beholds these things as impermanent,
suffering,
as a disease,
an imposthume,
a dart,
a misfortune,
an affliction,
as other,
as decay,
empty,
not-self.

He turns his mind from these things;
and when he has turned his mind from these things
he focuses his mind on the deathless element,
thinking:

'This is the real,
this the excellent,
that is to say
the tranquillising of all the activities,
the casting out of all clinging,
the destruction of craving,
dispassion,
stopping,
nibbāna.'

If he is steadfast therein,
he achieves destruction of the cankers;
if he does not achieve destruction of the cankers,
then through his attachment to dhamma,
his delight in dhamma,
through his utter destruction
of the five fetters binding to the lower (shore),
he is of spontaneous uprising,
one who attains nibbāna there,
not liable to return from that world.

This, Ānanda, is the way,
this the course
for getting rid of the five fetters binding to the lower (shore).

And again, Ānanda, a monk
by getting rid of joy,
by getting rid of anguish,
by the going down of his former pleasures and sorrows,
enters on
and abides in
the fourth meditation
which has neither anguish nor joy,
and which is entirely purified
by equanimity and mindfulness.

Whatever is there of material shape,
feeling,
perception,
the habitual tendencies,
consciousness -
he beholds these things as impermanent,
suffering,
as a disease,
an imposthume,
a dart,
a misfortune,
an affliction,
as other,
as decay,
empty,
not-self.

He turns his mind from these things;
and when he has turned his mind from these things
he focuses his mind on the deathless element,
thinking:

'This is the real,
this the excellent,
that is to say
the tranquillising of all the activities,
the casting out of all clinging,
the destruction of craving,
dispassion,
stopping,
nibbāna.'

If he is steadfast therein,
he achieves destruction of the cankers;
if he does not achieve destruction of the cankers,
then through his attachment to dhamma,
his delight in dhamma,
through his utter destruction
of the five fetters binding to the lower (shore),
he is of spontaneous uprising,
one who attains nibbāna there,
not liable to return from that world.

This, Ānanda, is the way,
this the course
for getting rid of the five fetters binding to the lower (shore).

And again, Ānanda, a monk
by wholly transcending perception of material shapes,
by the going down of perception due to sensory impressions,
by not attending to perception of variety,
thinking:
'Ether is unending,'
enters on
and abides in the plane of infinite ether.

Whatever is there of material shape,
feeling,
perception,
the habitual tendencies,
consciousness -
he beholds these things as impermanent,
suffering,
as a disease,
an imposthume,
a dart,
a misfortune,
an affliction,
as other,
as decay,
empty,
not-self.

He turns his mind from these things;
and when he has turned his mind from these things
he focuses his mind on the deathless element,
thinking:

'This is the real,
this the excellent,
that is to say
the tranquillising of all the activities,
the casting out of all clinging,
the destruction of craving,
dispassion,
stopping,
nibbāna.'

If he is steadfast therein,
he achieves destruction of the cankers;
if he does not achieve destruction of the cankers,
then through his attachment to dhamma,
his delight in dhamma,
through his utter destruction
of the five fetters binding to the lower (shore),
he is of spontaneous uprising,
one who attains nibbāna there,
not liable to return from that world.

This, Ānanda, is the way,
this the course
for getting rid of the five fetters binding to the lower (shore).

And again, Ānanda, a monk
by wholly transcending the plane of infinite ether,
thinking:
'Consciousness is unending,'
enters on
and abides in
the plane of infinite consciousness.

Whatever is there of material shape,
feeling,
perception,
the habitual tendencies,
consciousness -
he beholds these things as impermanent,
suffering,
as a disease,
an imposthume,
a dart,
a misfortune,
an affliction,
as other,
as decay,
empty,
not-self.

He turns his mind from these things;
and when he has turned his mind from these things
he focuses his mind on the deathless element,
thinking:

'This is the real,
this the excellent,
that is to say
the tranquillising of all the activities,
the casting out of all clinging,
the destruction of craving,
dispassion,
stopping,
nibbāna.'

If he is steadfast therein,
he achieves destruction of the cankers;
if he does not achieve destruction of the cankers,
then through his attachment to dhamma,
his delight in dhamma,
through his utter destruction
of the five fetters binding to the lower (shore),
he is of spontaneous uprising,
one who attains nibbāna there,
not liable to return from that world.

This, Ānanda, is the way,
this the course
for getting rid of the five fetters binding to the lower (shore).

And again, Ānanda, a monk,
by wholly transcending the plane of infinite consciousness,
thinking:
'There is no thing,'
enters on
and abides in
the plane of no-thing.

Whatever is there of material shape,
feeling,
perception,
the habitual tendencies,
consciousness -
he beholds these things as impermanent,
suffering,
as a disease,
an imposthume,
a dart,
a misfortune,
an affliction,
as other,
as decay,
empty,
not-self.

He turns his mind from these things;
and when he [107] has turned his mind from these things
he focuses his mind on the deathless element,
thinking:

'This is the real,
this the excellent,
that is to say
the tranquillising of all the activities,
the casting out of all clinging,
the destruction of craving,
dispassion,
stopping,
nibbāna.'

If he is steadfast therein,
he achieves destruction of the cankers;
if he does not achieve destruction of the cankers,
then through his attachment to dhamma,
his delight in dhamma,
through his utter destruction
of the five fetters binding to the lower (shore),
he is of spontaneous uprising,
one who attains nibbāna there,
not liable to return from that world.

This, Ānanda, is the way,
this the course
for getting rid of the five fetters binding to the lower (shore).

"If this, revered sir, is the way,
this the course
for getting rid of the five fetters binding to the lower (shore),
then how is it
that some monks here
are those who have freedom of mind
while others are those
who have freedom through intuitive wisdom?"[16]

"As to this, I, Ānanda, say
that there is a difference in their faculties."[17]

Thus spoke the Lord.

Delighted, the venerable Ānanda rejoiced in what the Lord had said.

Greater Discourse to Mālunkyā(putta)
The Fourth

 


[1] sakkāya. Cf. M. i 300.

[2] iminā taruṇūpamena upārambhena upārambhissanti (the last word so corrected at M. i. 574 from upārambhismti of the text, and so reading at M. i. 433).

[3] Cf. M. i 459.

[4] dhammā, things, phenomena; mental states, objects or contents of thought or consciousness.

[5] sīlā.

[6] MA. iii. 144 says that the escape from false view is nibbāna.

[7] sānsayā. MA. iii. 144 says, in effect, that the fetter and the "leaning" are the same.

[8] MA. iii. 145 says cutting off the bark is like attaining, cutting out the softwood is like insight, cutting out the pith is like the Way.

[9] Cf. M. i. 186, where the na vimuccati of above reads adhimuccati, is set on, intent on, and which Trenckner says (M. i. 566) he should have adopted here. But I think na vimuccati (and vimuccati a little lower) are certainly right here, for to cross over is to be freed. Moreover at M. i. 186 adhimuccati is part of the sequence of verbs all referring to the same subject, whereas above na vimuccati is not. Thus the compilers were right to vary the last of the four verbs in these two contexts however much the first three are identical.

[10] upadhi is the basis, attachment or bond tying one to birth and continued existence.

[11] As at M. i. 600; A. iv. 422-423; cf. A. ii. 128, and for notes on this paragraph see G.S. iv. 284, 286. It is said at MA. iii. 146 that the suffering-mark is sixfold, the impermanence-mark twofold (with 'decay,' palokata) and the not-self-mark threefold; other, empty, not-self.

[12] MA. iii. 146, from the five khandhas all of which have the threefold mark.

[13] santa is both 'real' and 'peace.'

[14] As at M. ii. 235, 263; A. iv. 423, v. 8, 110, 320, 322, 354 ff.

[15] As at M. i. 136.

[16] MA. iii. 147-8; If when a monk goes after calm, one-pointedness of mind is to the forefront - this monk is called freed in mind; but if wisdom is to the forefront - such a monk is called freed through wisdom. When one goes after insight, if wisdom is to the forefront, such a monk is called freed through wisdom; if his one-pointedness of mind is to the forefront, he is called freed in mind. The two chief disciples attained arahantship with calm and insight to the forefront; Sāriputta was freed through wisdom and Moggallāna was freed in mind.

[17] indriya. On the various groups, sec P.E.D. The Comy. here does not explain. Cf. M. i. 453.

 


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