Aŋguttara Nikāya


 

Aŋguttara Nikāya
VIII. Aṭṭhaka Nipāta
III: Gahapati-Vagga

The Numerical Discourses of the Buddha
VIII. The Book of the Eights
III. Householders

Sutta 29

Akkhaṇa Suttaɱ

Inopportune Moments

Translated from the Pali by Bhikkhu Bodhi.

© 2012 Bhikkhu Bodhi
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[225] [1156]

[1][pts] "Bhikkhus, the uninstructed worldling says:

'The world has gained the opportunity!

The world has gained the opportunity!'

but he does not know what is an opportunity and what is not an opportunity.

There are, bhikkhus, these eight inopportune moments that are not right occasions for living the spiritual life.

What eight?

(1) "Here, a Tathāgata has arisen in the world, an arahant, perfectly enlightened, accomplished in true knowledge and conduct, fortunate, knower of the world, unsurpassed trainer of persons to be tamed, teacher of devas and humans, an Enlightened One, a Blessed One, and the Dhamma leading to peace, Nibbāna, and enlightenment is taught as proclaimed by a Fortunate One.

But a person has been reborn in hell.

This is the first inopportune moment that is not the right occasion for living the spiritual life.

[226](2) "Again, a Tathāgata has arisen in the world ... and the Dhamma leading to peace, Nibbāna, and enlightenment is taught as proclaimed by a Fortunate One.

But a person has been reborn in the animal realm.

This is the second inopportune moment that is not the right occasion for living the spiritual life.

(3) "Again, a Tathāgata has arisen in the world ... and the Dhamma leading to peace, Nibbāna, and enlightenment is taught as proclaimed by a Fortunate One.

But a person has been reborn in the sphere of afflicted spirits.

This is the third inopportune moment that is not the right occasion for living the spiritual life.

(4) "Again, a Tathāgata has arisen in the world ... and the Dhamma leading to peace, Nibbāna, and enlightenment is taught as proclaimed by a Fortunate One.

But a person has been reborn in a certain order of long-lived devas.

This is the fourth inopportune moment that is not the right occasion for living the spiritual life.

(5) "Again, a Tathāgata has arisen in the world ... and the Dhamma leading to peace, Nibbāna, and enlightenment is taught as proclaimed by a Fortunate One.

But a person has been reborn in the outlying provinces among the uncouth foreigners, [a place] to which bhikkhus, bhikkhunīs, male lay followers, and female lay followers do not travel.

This is the fifth inopportune moment that is not the right occasion for living the spiritual life.

(6) "Again, a Tathāgata has arisen in the world ... and the Dhamma leading to peace, Nibbāna, and enlightenment is taught as proclaimed by a Fortunate One.

A person has been reborn in the central provinces, but he holds wrong view and has a distorted perspective:

'There is nothing given,
nothing sacrificed,
nothing offered;
there is no fruit or result of good and bad actions;
there is no this world,
no other world;
there is no mother, no father;
there are no beings spontaneously reborn;
there are in the world no ascetics and brahmins of right conduct and right practice
who, having realized this world
and the other world
for themselves by direct knowledge,
make them known to others.'

This is the sixth inopportune moment that is not the right occasion for living the spiritual life.

(7) "Again, a Tathāgata has arisen in the world ... and the Dhamma leading to peace, Nibbāna, and enlightenment is taught as proclaimed by a Fortunate One.

A person has been reborn in the central provinces, but he is unwise, stupid, obtuse, unable to understand the meaning of what has been well stated and badly stated.

This is the seventh inopportune moment that is not the right occasion for living the spiritual life.

(8) "Again, a Tathāgata has not arisen in the world ... and the Dhamma [227] leading to peace, Nibbāna, and enlightenment is not taught as proclaimed by a Fortunate One.

But a person has been reborn in the central provinces, and he is wise, intelligent, astute, able to understand the meaning of what has been well stated and badly stated.

This is the eighth inopportune moment that is not the right occasion for living the spiritual life.

"These are the eight inopportune moments that are not the right occasions for living the spiritual life.

"There is, bhikkhus, one unique opportune moment that is the right occasion for living the spiritual life.

What is it?

Here, a Tathāgata has arisen in the world, an arahant, perfectly enlightened, accomplished in true knowledge and conduct, fortunate, knower of the world, unsurpassed trainer of persons to be tamed, teacher of devas and humans, an Enlightened One, a Blessed One, and the Dhamma leading to peace, Nibbāna, and enlightenment is taught as proclaimed by a Fortunate One.

And a person has been reborn in the central provinces, and he is wise, intelligent, astute, able to understand the meaning of what has been well stated and badly stated.

This, bhikkhus, is the one unique opportune moment that is the right occasion for living the spiritual life."

Having obtained the human state
when the good Dhamma has been well proclaimed,
those who do not seize the moment
have let the right moment slip by.

For many inopportune times are spoken of,
occasions obstructive to the path;
for it is only sometimes, on occasion,
that Tathāgata's arise in the world.

If one has directly encountered them,
[fortune] rarely gained in the world,
if one has obtained the human state,
and the good Dhamma is being taught,
for a person desiring his own good,
this is incentive enough to strive.

[228] How can one understand the good Dhamma,
so that the moment won't slip by?
For those who miss the moment grieve
when they are reborn in hell.

One here who has failed to obtain
the fixed course of the good Dhamma,
will come to regret it for a long time
like a merchant who has missed a profit.

A person hindered by ignorance
who has failed in the good Dhamma
will long experience wandering on
in [the round of] birth and death.

But those who gain the human state
when the good Dhamma is well proclaimed,
have accomplished the Teacher's word,
or will do so, or are doing so now.

Those who have practiced the path,
proclaimed by the Tathāgata,
have penetrated the right moment in the world
the unsurpassed spiritual life.

You should dwell without leakages,
guarded, ever-mindful in the restraints
taught by the One with Vision,
the Kinsman of the Sun.

Having cut off all underlying tendencies
that follow one drifting in Māra's domain,
those who attain the destruction of the taints,
though in the world, have gone beyond.


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