Aŋguttara Nikāya


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Aŋguttara Nikāya
X. Dasaka-Nipāta
XXI: Kara-Ja-Kāya-Vagga

The Numerical Discourses of the Buddha
X. The Book of the Tens
XXI. The Deed-Born Body

Sutta 208 (WP: #219)

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Kara-Ja-Kāya Suttaɱ

The Deed-Born Body

Translated from the Pali by Bhikkhu Bodhi.

© 1995 Bhikkhu Bodhi
Published by
Wisdom Publications
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[299] [1541]

[pts][than][olds] Bhikkhus, I do not say that there is a termination of volitional kamma
that has been done and accumulated
so long as one has not experienced [its results],
and that may be in this very life,
or in the [next] rebirth,
or on some subsequent occasion.

But I do not say that there is making an end of suffering
so long as one has not experienced [the results of] volitional kamma
that has been done and accumulated.[1]

"This noble disciple, bhikkhus,
who is thus devoid of longing,
devoid of ill will,
unconfused,
clearly comprehending
ever mindful,
dwells pervading one quarter
with a mind imbued with loving-kindness,
likewise the second quarter,
the third quarter,
and the fourth quarter.

Thus above, below, across, and everywhere,
and to all as to himself,
he dwells pervading the entire world
with a mind imbued with loving-kindness,
vast, exalated, measureless,
without enmity,
without ill will.

He understands thus:

'Previously, my mind was limited and undeveloped,
but now it is measureless and well developed.

No measurable kamma remains or persists there.'[2]

"What do you think, bhikkhus,
if a youth were to develop
the liberation of mind by loving-kindness
from his childhood on,
would he do a bad deed?"[3]

"No, Bhante."

"Could suffering affectd him
if he does no bad deed?"

"No, Bhante.

For on what account
could suffering affect one
who does not bad deed?"[4]

"A woman or a man
should develop this liberation of mind
by loving-kindness.

A woman or a man
cannot take this body with them
when they go.

Mortals have mind as their core.[5]

[The noble disciple] understands:

'Whatever bad deed I did here in the past
with this deed-born body[6]
is all to be experienced here.

It will not follow along.'[7]

When the liberation of mind by loving-kindness
has been developed in this way,
it leads to non-returning
for a wise bhikkhu here[8]
who does not penetrate to a further liberation.[9]

"This noble disciple, bhikkhus,
who is thus devoid of longing,
devoid of ill will,
unconfused,
clearly comprehending
ever mindful,
dwells pervading one quarter
with a mind imbued with compassion,
likewise the second quarter,
the third quarter,
and the fourth quarter.

Thus above, below, across, and everywhere,
and to all as to himself,
he dwells pervading the entire world
with a mind imbued with compassion,
vast, exalated, measureless,
without enmity,
without ill will.

He understands thus:

'Previously, my mind was limited and undeveloped,
but now it is measureless and well developed.

No measurable kamma remains or persists there.'

"What do you think, bhikkhus,
if a youth were to develop
the liberation of mind by compassion
from his childhood on,
would he do a bad deed?"

"No, Bhante."

"Could suffering affectd him
if he does no bad deed?"

"No, Bhante.

For on what account
could suffering affect one
who does not bad deed?"

"A woman or a man
should develop this liberation of mind
by compassion.

A woman or a man
cannot take this body with them
when they go.

Mortals have mind as their core.

[The noble disciple] understands:

'Whatever bad deed I did here in the past
with this deed-born body
is all to be experienced here.

It will not follow along.'

When the liberation of mind by compassion
has been developed in this way,
it leads to non-returning
for a wise bhikkhu here
who does not penetrate to a further liberation.

"This noble disciple, bhikkhus,
who is thus devoid of longing,
devoid of ill will,
unconfused,
clearly comprehending
ever mindful,
dwells pervading one quarter
with a mind imbued with altruistic joy,
likewise the second quarter,
the third quarter,
and the fourth quarter.

Thus above, below, across, and everywhere,
and to all as to himself,
he dwells pervading the entire world
with a mind imbued with altruistic joy,
vast, exalated, measureless,
without enmity,
without ill will.

He understands thus:

'Previously, my mind was limited and undeveloped,
but now it is measureless and well developed.

No measurable kamma remains or persists there.'

"What do you think, bhikkhus,
if a youth were to develop
the liberation of mind by altruistic joy
from his childhood on,
would he do a bad deed?"

"No, Bhante."

"Could suffering affectd him
if he does no bad deed?"

"No, Bhante.

For on what account
could suffering affect one
who does not bad deed?"

"A woman or a man
should develop this liberation of mind
by altruistic joy.

A woman or a man
cannot take this body with them
when they go.

Mortals have mind as their core.

[The noble disciple] understands:

'Whatever bad deed I did here in the past
with this deed-born body
is all to be experienced here.

It will not follow along.'

When the liberation of mind by altruistic joy
has been developed in this way,
it leads to non-returning
for a wise bhikkhu here
who does not penetrate to a further liberation.

"This noble disciple, bhikkhus,
who is thus devoid of longing,
devoid of ill will,
unconfused,
clearly comprehending
ever mindful,
dwells pervading one quarter
with a mind imbued with equanimity,
likewise the second quarter,
the third quarter,
and the fourth quarter.

Thus above, below, across, and everywhere,
and to all as to himself,
he dwells pervading the entire world
with a mind imbued with equanimity,
vast, exalated, measureless,
without enmity,
without ill will.

He understands thus:

'Previously, my mind was limited and undeveloped,
but now it is measureless and well developed.

No measurable kamma remains or persists there.'

"What do you think, bhikkhus,
if a youth were to develop
the liberation of mind by equanimity
from his childhood on,
would he do a bad deed?"

"No, Bhante."

"Could suffering affectd him
if he does no bad deed?"

"No, Bhante.

For on what account
could suffering affect one
who does not bad deed?"

"A woman or a man
should develop this liberation of mind
by equanimity.

A woman or a man
cannot take this body with them
when they go.

Mortals have mind as their core.

[The noble disciple] understands:

'Whatever bad deed I did here in the past
with this deed-born body
is all to be experienced here.

It will not follow along.'

When the liberation of mind by equanimity
has been developed in this way,
it leads to non-returning
for a wise bhikkhu here
who does not penetrate to a further liberation.

 


[1] 2185 Although the text of the sutta (in the three editions) does not include a peyyāla here, indicating an elision, it was probably right here that the sutta originally included the passage on the ten courses of kamma (as in the preceding two suttas). Only in this way would its inclusion in the Tens make sense. Further, the transition to sa kho so ... ariyasāvako evaɱ vigatābhijjho vigatabyāpado asammūḷho in the next paragraph, with the reference to a definite subject, implies that it had been preceded by a passage that already spoke about the noble disciple. We find the full passage, in fact, in the Chinese parallel, MĀ 15, which is a synthesis of 10:217-18 and the present sutta.

The structure of MĀ 15 is as follows: Following the opening statement, the Buddha defines the ten kinds of unwholesome kamma of body, speech, and mind. He then says that an instructed noble disciple discards the threefold unwholesome types of kamma (bodily, verbal, and mental) and cultivates the threefold wholesome types. At this point "that instructed noble disciple" chinese characters, possessing such energy and virtue, has purified his kamma of body, speech, and mind. He is without anger and hostility, has dispelled drowsiness, eliminated restlessness and arrogance, abandoned doubt, and gone beyond conceit. He is mindful, possesses clear comprehension, and is unconfused. He then pervades the ten directions and the entire world with a mind of loving-kindness and the other three immeasurables.

[2] 2186 Yaɱ kho pana kiñci pamāṇakataɱ kammaɱ, na taɱ tatrāvasissati, na taɱ tatrāvatiṭṭhati. Mp identifies "measurable kamma" with sense-sphere kamma (kāmāvacarakamma), that is, kamma due to produce its results in the sense sphere. Since the disciple being described is presumably a non-returner (or one bound to become a non-returner), he or she will take rebirth in the form realm and never again descend to the sense sphere. Thus the sense-sphere kamma cannot find an opportunity to ripen.

[3] 2187 As pointed out earlier, the Pāli word kamma bears two senses often difficult to distinguish: the etymological sense, simply an action or deed, and the soteriological sense, a deed considered as a moral force that can bring retributive consequences. It is strange that the text says unequivocally that one who develops the liberation of mind by loving-kindness can do no bad deed. It seems to me that although such a person might not commit bad deeds motivated by hatred and ill will, they could still do bad deeds, even minor ones, motivated by greed and delusion.

[4] 2188 This statement, too, seems counterintuitive. Those who do no bad deeds in this life certainly can suffer the kammic effects of bad deeds done in previous lives. Thus Moggallāna was assassinated and the Buddha himself was badly injured by a sharp stone that broke off from the boulder hurled at him by Devadatta. Virtuous people who are not arahants might also undergo psychological suffering, and not merely physical pain, as a consequence of undesirable situations. For example, Ānanda, a virtuous monk, felt grief and worry when the Buddha fell ill and Visākha, a stream-enterer, lamented the death of her grandchild.

[5] 2189 Cittantaro ayam bhikkhave macco. Mp: "They have mind as their cause, or their interior is due to mind (cittakāraṇo, atha vā citten'eva antariko). For with the mind at rebirth that follows without interval the mind at death, one becomes a deva, a hell-being, or an animal."

[6] 2190 Karajakāya. I translate the expression literally but it may imply much the same thing as such English expressions as "this mortal body" or "this corporeal body." DOP sv kara, says: "A body produced by action, the physical body." SN 12:37, II 65,l, speaks of the body as "old kamma" (purāṇamidaɱ. ..kammaɱ). The Chinese parallel has nothing that corresponds to this term.

[7] 2191 Mp: "By means of loving-kindness, the feeling that would have been experienced upon rebirth is cut off, and thus it does not follow one along. This is the reflection of a noble person who is a stream-enterer or a once-returner." Presumably, the bad kamma is all to be experienced here (sabbaɱ taɱ idha vedanīyaɱ), in this life, and will not follow along (na taɱ anugaɱ bhavissati) because his next rebirth will be in the form realm, where there is no painful experience, and he will attain nibbana in the form realm without returning to this world.

[8] 2192 Idha paññassa bhikkhuno uttariɱ vimuttiɱ appaṭivijjhato. Mp: "A wise bhikkhu here: The wisdom in this teaching is called 'wisdom here.' The meaning [of a wise one here] is a noble disciple who is settled in the noble wisdom that pertains to the teaching" (imasmiɱ sāsane paññā idhapaññā nāma, sāsanacaritāya ariyapaññāya ṭhitassa ariyasāvakassā ti attho).

[9] 2193 Mp calls this the state of a "jhāna non-returner" (jhānānāgāmitā). Such persons have realized the lower two fruits and attained the jhānas, but have not yet really reached the stage of non-returner. By the karmic power of their jhānas they will be reborn in the form realm, where they will attain the higher two paths and fruits without ever returning to the sense sphere; thus they are called "jhāna non-returners." The "further liberation" (uttariɱ vimutti) is arahantship. See too p. 1664, note 539:
[This phrase ("there is no fetter bound by which he might return to this world") normally denotes the attainment of non-returning, Mp, however, identifies this disciple as a "jhāna non-returner" (jhānānāgāmī), that is, a stream-enterer or once-returner who also attains jhāna. Though such a practitioner has not yet eliminated the two fetters of sensual desire and ill will, by attaining jhāna he or she is bound to be reborn in the form realm and attain nibbāna there, without taking another rebirth in the sense sphere.]


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