Majjhima Nikaya


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Majjhima Nikāya
I. Mūlapaṇṇāsa
2. Sīhanāda Vagga

The Middle Length Discourses of the Buddha

Sutta 19

Madhu-Piṇḍika Suttaɱ

Two Kinds of Thought

Translated from the Pali by Ñanamoli Thera.
edited and revised by Bhikkhu Bodhi.

© 1995 Bhikkhu Bodhi
Published by
Wisdom Publications
Boston, MA 02115

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License

Also from The Lion's Roar: Two Discourses of the Buddha (WH 390/391),
edited and revised by Bhikkhu Bodhi,
(Kandy: Buddhist Publication Society, 1993).
Copyright ©1993 Buddhist Publication Society.

Also: Used here based on the conditions for publication on Access to Insight for which see: Provenance, terms and conditons

 


 

[1][chlm][pts][than][olds][upal][pnji] THUS HAVE I HEARD.

On one occasion the Blessed One was living at Sāvatthī in Jeta's Grove,
Anāthapiṇḍika's Park.

There he addressed the bhikkhus thus:
"Bhikkhus."

"Venerable sir," they replied.

The Blessed One said this:

[2][than][olds][upal] "Bhikkhus, before my enlightenment,
while I was still only an unenlightened Bodhisatta,
it occurred to me:

'Suppose that I divide my thoughts into two classes.'[235]

Then I set on one side thoughts of sensual desire,
thoughts of ill will,
and thoughts of cruelty,
and I set on the other side thoughts of renunciation,
thoughts of non-ill will,
and thoughts of non-cruelty.[236]

[3][than][olds][upal] "As I abided thus,
diligent,
ardent,
and resolute,
a thought of sensual desire arose in me.

I understood thus:
'This thought of sensual desire has arisen in me.

This leads to my own affliction,
to others' affliction,
and to the affliction of both;
it obstructs wisdom,
causes difficulties,
and leads away from Nibbāna.'

When I considered:
'This leads to my own affliction,'
it subsided in me;
when I considered:
'This leads to others' affliction,'
it subsided in me;
when I considered:
'This leads to the affliction of both,'
it subsided in me;
when I considered:
'This obstructs wisdom,
causes difficulties,
and leads away from Nibbāna,'
it subsided in me.

Whenever a thought of sensual desire arose in me,
I abandoned it,
removed it,
did away with it.

[4][than][olds][upal] "As I abided thus,
diligent,
ardent,
and resolute,
a thought of ill will arose in me.

I understood thus:
'This thought of ill will has arisen in me.

This leads to my own affliction,
to others' affliction,
and to the affliction of both;
it obstructs wisdom,
causes difficulties,
and leads away from Nibbāna.

'When I considered thus:
'This leads to my own affliction,'
it subsided in me;
when I considered:
'This leads to others' affliction,'
it subsided in me;
when I considered:
'This leads to the affliction of both,'
it subsided in me;
when I considered:
'This obstructs wisdom,
causes difficulties,
and leads away from Nibbāna,'
it subsided in me.

Whenever a thought of ill will arose in me,
I abandoned it,
removed it,
did away with it.

[5][than][olds][upal] "As I abided thus,
diligent,
ardent,
and resolute,
a thought of cruelty arose in me.

I understood thus:
'This thought of cruelty has arisen in me.

This leads to my own affliction,
to others' affliction,
and to the affliction of both;
it obstructs wisdom,
causes difficulties,
and leads away from Nibbāna.

'When I considered thus:
'This leads to my own affliction,'
it subsided in me;
when I considered:
'This leads to others' affliction,'
it subsided in me;
when I considered:
'This leads to the affliction of both,'
it subsided in me;
when I considered:
'This obstructs wisdom,
causes difficulties,
and leads away from Nibbāna,'
it subsided in me.

Whenever a thought of cruelty arose in me, I abandoned it, removed it, did away with it.

[6][than][olds][upal] "Bhikkhus, whatever a bhikkhu frequently thinks and ponders upon,
that will become the inclination of his mind.

If he frequently thinks and ponders upon thoughts of sensual desire,
he has abandoned the thought of renunciation to cultivate the thought of sensual desire,
and then his mind inclines to thoughts of sensual desire.

If he frequently thinks and ponders upon thoughts of ill will,
he has abandoned the thought of non-ill will to cultivate the thought of ill will,
and then his mind inclines to thoughts of ill will.

If he frequently thinks and ponders upon thoughts of cruelty,
he has abandoned the thought of non-cruelty to cultivate the thought of cruelty,
and then his mind inclines to thoughts of cruelty.

[7][than][olds][upal] "Just as in the last month of the rainy season,
in the autumn,
when the crops thicken,
a cowherd would guard his cows by constantly tapping and poking them on this side and that with a stick to check and curb them.

Why is that?

Because he sees that he could be flogged,
imprisoned,
fined,
or blamed [if he let them stray into the crops].

So too I saw in unwholesome states danger,
degradation,
and defilement,
and in wholesome states the blessing of renunciation,
the aspect of cleansing.

[8][than][olds][upal] "As I abided thus,
diligent,
ardent,
and resolute,
a thought of renunciation arose in me.

I understood thus:
'This thought of renunciation has arisen in me.

This does not lead to my own affliction,
or to others' affliction,
or to the affliction of both;
it aids wisdom,
does not cause difficulties,
and leads to Nibbāna.

If I think and ponder upon this thought even for a night,
even for a day,
even for a night and day,
I see nothing to fear from it.

But with excessive thinking and pondering I might tire my body,
and when the body is tired,
the mind becomes disturbed,
and when the mind is disturbed,
it is far from concentration.'

So I steadied my mind internally,
quieted it,
brought it to singleness,
and concentrated it.

Why is that?

So that my mind should not be disturbed.[237]

[9][than][olds][upal] "As I abided thus,
diligent,
ardent,
and resolute,
a thought of non-ill will arose in me.

I understood thus:
'This thought of non-ill will has arisen in me.

This does not lead to my own affliction,
or to others' affliction,
or to the affliction of both;
it aids wisdom,
does not cause difficulties,
and leads to Nibbāna.

If I think and ponder upon this thought even for a night,
even for a day,
even for a night and day,
I see nothing to fear from it.

But with excessive thinking and pondering I might tire my body,
and when the body is tired,
the mind becomes disturbed,
and when the mind is disturbed,
it is far from concentration.'

So I steadied my mind internally,
quieted it,
brought it to singleness,
and concentrated it.

Why is that?

So that my mind should not be disturbed.

[10][than][olds][upal] "As I abided thus,
diligent,
ardent,
and resolute,
a thought of non-cruelty will arose in me.

I understood thus:
'This thought of non-cruelty will has arisen in me.

This does not lead to my own affliction,
or to others' affliction,
or to the affliction of both;
it aids wisdom,
does not cause difficulties,
and leads to Nibbāna.

If I think and ponder upon this thought even for a night,
even for a day,
even for a night and day,
I see nothing to fear from it.

But with excessive thinking and pondering I might tire my body,
and when the body is tired,
the mind becomes disturbed,
and when the mind is disturbed,
it is far from concentration.'

So I steadied my mind internally,
quieted it,
brought it to singleness,
and concentrated it.

Why is that?

So that my mind should not be disturbed.

[11][than][olds][upal] "Bhikkhus, whatever a bhikkhu frequently thinks and ponders upon,
that will become the inclination of his mind.

If he frequently thinks and ponders upon thoughts of renunciation,
he has abandoned the thought of sensual desire to cultivate the thought of renunciation,
and then his mind inclines to thoughts of renunciation.

If he frequently thinks and ponders upon thoughts of non-ill will,
he has abandoned the thought of ill will to cultivate the thought of non­ill will,
and then his mind inclines to thoughts of non-ill will.

If he frequently thinks and ponders upon thoughts of non-cruelty,
he has abandoned the thought of cruelty to cultivate the thought of non­cruelty,
and then his mind inclines to thoughts of non-cruelty.

[12][than][olds][upal] "Just as in the last month of the hot season,
when all the crops have been brought inside the villages,
a cowherd would guard his cows while staying at the root of a tree or out in the open,
since he needs only to be mindful that the cows are there;
so too, there was need for me only to be mindful that those states were there.

[13][than][olds][upal] "Tireless energy was aroused in me and unremitting mindfulness was established,
my body was tranquil and untroubled,
my mind concentrated and unified.

[14][than][olds][upal] "Quite secluded from sensual pleasures,
secluded from unwholesome states,
I entered upon and abided in the first jhāna,
which is accompanied by applied and sustained thought,
with rapture and pleasure born of seclusion.

[15][than][olds][upal] "With the stilling of applied and sustained thought,
I entered upon and abided in the second jhāna,
which has self­confidence and singleness of mind without applied and sustained thought,
with rapture and pleasure born of concentration.

[16][than][olds][upal] "With the fading away as well of rapture,
I abided in equanimity,
and mindful and fully aware,
still feeling pleasure with the body,
I entered upon and abided in the third jhāna,
on account of which noble ones announce:

'He has a pleasant abiding who has equanimity and is mindful.'

[17][than][olds][upal] "With the abandoning of pleasure and pain,
and with the previous disappearance of joy and grief,
I entered upon and abided in the fourth jhāna,
which has neither-pain-nor-pleasure and purity of mindfulness due to equanimity.

[18][than][olds][upal] "When my concentrated mind was thus purified,
bright,
unblemished,
rid of imperfection,
malleable,
wieldy,
steady,
and attained to imperturbability,
I directed it to knowledge of the recollection of past lives.

I recollected my manifold past lives,
that is,
one birth,
two births,
three births,
four births,
five births,
ten births,
twenty births,
thirty births,
forty births,
fifty births,
a hundred births,
a thousand births,
a hundred thousand births,
many aeons of world-contraction,
many aeons of world-expansion,
many aeons of world-contraction and expansion:

'There I was so named,
of such a clan,
with such an appearance,
such was my nutriment,
such my experience of pleasure and pain,
such my life-term;
and passing away from there,
I reappeared elsewhere;
and there too I was so named,
of such a clan,
with such an appearance,
such was my nutriment,
such my experience of pleasure and pain,
such my life-term;
and passing away from there,
I reappeared here.'

Thus with their aspects and particulars I recollected my manifold past lives.

[19][than][olds][upal] "This was the first true knowledge attained by me in the first watch of the night.

Ignorance was banished and true knowledge arose,
darkness was banished and light arose,
as happens in one who abides diligent,
ardent,
and resolute.

[20][than][olds][upal] "When my concentrated mind was thus purified,
bright,
unblemished,
rid of imperfection,
malleable,
wieldy,
steady,
and attained to imperturbability,
I directed it to knowledge of the passing away and reappearance of beings.

With the divine eye,
which is purified and surpasses the human,
I saw beings passing away and reappearing,
inferior and superior,
fair and ugly,
fortunate and unfortunate.

I understood how beings pass on according to their actions thus:

'These worthy beings who were ill conducted in body,
speech,
and mind,
revilers of noble ones,
wrong in their views,
giving effect to wrong view in their actions,
on the dissolution of the body,
after death,
have reappeared in a state of deprivation,
in a bad destination,
in perdition,
even in hell;
but these worthy beings who were well conducted in body,
speech,
and mind,
not revilers of noble ones,
right in their views,
giving effect to right view in their actions,
on the dissolution of the body,
after death,
have reappeared in a good destination,
even in the heavenly world.'

Thus with the divine eye,
which is purified and surpasses the human,
I saw beings passing away and reappearing,
inferior and superior,
fair and ugly,
fortunate and unfortunate,
and I understood how beings pass on according to their actions.

[21][than][olds][upal] "This was the second true knowledge attained by me in the middle watch of the night.

Ignorance was banished and true knowledge arose,
darkness was banished and light arose,
as happens in one who abides diligent,
ardent,
and resolute.

[22][than][olds][upal] "When my concentrated mind was thus purified,
bright,
unblemished,
rid of imperfection,
malleable,
wieldy,
steady,
and attained to imperturbability,
I directed it to knowledge of the destruction of the taints.

I directly knew as it actually is:
'This is suffering';
I directly knew as it actually is:
'This is the origin of suffering';
I directly knew as it actually is:
'This is the cessation of suffering';
I directly knew as it actually is:
'This is the way leading to the cessation of suffering.'

I directly knew as it actually is:
'These are the taints';
I directly knew as it actually is:
'This is the origin of the taints';
I directly knew as it actually is:
'This is the cessation of the taints';
I directly knew as it actually is:
'This is the way leading to the cessation of the taints.'

[23][than][olds][upal] "When I knew and saw thus,
my mind was liberated from the taint of sensual desire,
from the taint of being,
and from the taint of ignorance.

When it was liberated,
there came the knowledge:
'It is liberated.'
I directly knew:
'Birth is destroyed,
the holy life has been lived,
what had to be done has been done,
there is no more coming to any state of being.'

[24][than][olds][upal] "This was the third true knowledge attained by me in the last watch of the night.

Ignorance was banished and true knowledge arose,
darkness was banished and light arose,
as happens in one who abides diligent,
ardent,
and resolute.

[25][than][olds][upal] "Suppose, bhikkhus,
that in a wooded range there was a great low-lying marsh near which a large herd of deer lived.

Then a man appeared desiring their ruin,
harm,
and bondage,
and he closed off the safe and good path that led to their happiness,
and he opened up a false path,
and he put out a decoy
and set up a dummy
so that the large herd of deer
might later come upon calamity,
disaster,
and loss.

But another man came desiring their good,
welfare,
and protection,
and he reopened the safe and good path that led to their happiness,
and he closed off the false path,
and he removed the decoy
and destroyed the dummy,
so that the large herd of deer
might later come to growth,
increase,
and fulfilment.

[26][than][olds][upal] "Bhikkhus, I have given this simile in order to convey a meaning.

This is the meaning:

'The great low-lying marsh'
is a term for sensual pleasures.

'The large herd of deer'
is a term for beings.

'The man desiring their ruin, harm, and bondage'
is a term for Māra the Evil One.

'The false path'
is a term for the wrong eightfold path, that is:
wrong view,
wrong intention,
wrong speech,
wrong action,
wrong livelihood,
wrong effort,
wrong mindfulness,
and wrong concentration.

'The decoy'
is a term for delight and lust.

'The dummy'
is a term for ignorance.

'The man desiring their good, welfare, and protection'
is a term for the Tathāgata, accomplished and fully enlightened.

'The safe and good path that led to their happiness'
is a term for the Noble Eightfold Path, that is:
right view,
right intention,
right speech,
right action,
right livelihood,
right effort,
right mindfulness,
and right concentration.

[27][than][olds][upal] "So, bhikkhus, the safe and good path that leads to happiness has been reopened by me,
the wrong path has been closed off,
the decoy removed,
the dummy destroyed.

"What should be done for his disciples out of compassion by a teacher who seeks their welfare and has compassion for them,
that I have done for you, bhikkhus.

There are these roots of trees,
these empty huts.

Meditate, bhikkhus,
do not delay or else you will regret it later.

This is our instruction to you.

"That is what the Blessed One said.

The bhikkhus were satisfied and delighted in the Blessed One's words.

 


 

[235] The Bodhisatta's twofold division of thought occurred during his six-year struggle for enlightenment.

[236] Thoughts of non-ill will and thoughts of non-cruelty may also be explained positively as thoughts of loving­kindness (mettā) and thoughts of compassion (karuṇā).

[237] MA: Excessive thinking and pondering leads to agitation. To tame and soften the mind, the Bodhisatta would enter a meditative attainment, then he would emerge from it and develop insight.


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