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Sutta Nipata V.1

Ajita-manava-puccha

Ajita's Questions

Read an alternate translation


Ajita:
    With what
is the world shrouded?
    Because of what
doesn't it shine?
    With what
is it smeared? Tell me.
    What
is its great danger & fear?
The Buddha:
    With ignorance
the world is shrouded.
    Because of stinginess,
heedlessness,
it doesn't shine.
    With longing
it's smeared -- I tell you.
Suffering-stress:
its great danger & fear.
Ajita:
They flow every which way,
    the streams.
What is their blocking,
what their restraint -- tell me --
with what are they finally stopped?
The Buddha:
Whatever streams
there are in the world:
    their blocking is
    mindfulness, mindfulness
    is their restraint -- I tell you --
with discernment
    they're finally stopped.
Ajita:
Discernment & mindfulness,
name & form, dear sir:
Tell me, when asked this,
    where are they brought to a halt?
The Buddha:
This question you've asked, Ajita,
I'll answer it for you --
where name & form
    are brought to a halt
    without trace:
With the cessation of consciousness
    they're brought
    to a halt.
Ajita:
Those here who have fathomed the Dhamma,
    those who are learners,
    those who are run-of-the-mill:
When you, dear sir, astute,
    are asked this,
tell me their manner of life.
The Buddha:
He should not hanker
        for sensual pleasures,
    should be limpid in mind.
Skilled in all mental qualities,
he, the monk, should live his life
        mindfully.


Note

According to the Culaniddesa (Nd.II), the streams that "flow every which way" are the streams of craving, views, conceit, defilement, corruption, and ignorance that flow out the six sense media. The first two lines in Ven. Ajita's second set of questions (the first half-line in the Pali) is identical to the first half-line in Dhp. 340.

For a more detailed answer to Ajita's last set of questions, see SN XII.31.

Source: ATI - For Free Distribution Only, as a Gift of Dhamma.

Dhamma Essay:
A Note on Openness by Bhikkhu Bodhi


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