Majjhima Nikaya


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Majjhima Nikāya
I. Mūlapaņņāsa
3. Tatiya Vagga

Sutta 21

Kakacūpama Suttaŋ

The Simile of the Saw

Translated from the Pali by Sister Upalavanna

 


 

[1][chlm][pts][ntbb][than] I heard thus:

At one time the Blessed One lived in the monastery offered by Anathapindika in Jeta's grove in Savatthi. At that time venerable Moliyaphagguna spent much time associating the bhikkhunis. This association was such that if any bhikkhu blamed the bhikkhunis in the presence of venerable Moliyaphagguna, he was annoyed and spoke much in favour of them and if any bhikkhu blamed venerable Moliyaphagguna in the presence of the bhikkhunis, they were annoyed and spoke much in favour of him. Venerable Moliyaphagguna and the bhikkhunis maintained such an association. Then a certain bhikkhu approached the Blessed One, worshipped the Blessed One, sat on a side and said thus: 'Venerable sir, venerable Moliyaphagguna spends much time associating the bhikkhunis. This association is such that if any bhikkhu blamed the bhikkhunis in the presence of venerable Moliyaphagguna, he gets annoyed and speaks much in favour of them. And if any bhikkhu blamed venerable Moliyaphagguna in the presence of the bhikkhunis, they were annoyed and spoke much in favour of him. Venerable Moliyaphagguna maintains such an association with the bhikkhunis.'

Then the Blessed One addressed a certain bhikkhu 'Come here bhikkhu. In my words, call Bhikkhu Moliyaphagguna, say, 'The Teacher wants you.' He consented and approached venerable Moliyaphagguna and said, 'The Teacher calls you venerable Phagguna.' He said 'Yes, venerable one,' and approached the Blessed One worshipped and sat on a side. Then the Blessed One said thus:

'Phagguna, is it true, that you spend much time with the bhikkhunis. Do you maintain such an association with the bhikkhunis that when a bhikkhu blames the bhikkhunis in your presence, you get annoyed and talk in favour of the bhikkhunis, and when a bhikkhu blames you in the presence of the bhikkhnis, they get annoyed and talk in favour of you. Phagguna, do you maintain such an association with the bhikkhunis?'

'Yes, venerable sir.'

'Aren't you the son of a clansman who has gone forth as a homeless out of faith?'

'I am, venerable sir.'

'Phagguna, it is not suitable for the son of a clansman, who has gone forth as a homeless to spend much time with the bhikkhunis. Therefore Phagguna, when anyone blames the bhikkhunis in your presence, you should give up that worldly interest and worldly thoughts. Phagguna, there you should train like this: 'My mind will not change, I will not utter evil words, I will abide with compassion and loving kindness without an angry thought.'

'Again Pagguna, if anyone beat those bhikkhunis with their hands or with clods, or sticks, or weapons, you should train as above. Again Phagguna, if anyone blames you in the face, you should train as above. If anyone beats you with hands, or clods, or sticks, or weapons, you should give up that worldly interest and worldly thoughts. Phagguna, there you should train like this: 'My mind will not change, I will not utter evil words, I will abide with compassion and loving kindness, without an angry thought'.'

Then the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus. 'O! Bhikkhus, at one time I convinced the minds of the bhikkhus to partake of one meal a day, this is what I said: 'Bhikkhus, I partake of one meal a day, partaking one meal a day I experienced few ailments, few disorders, lightness, power, and a comfortable abiding. Bhikkhus, you too partake of one meal a day and experience few ailments, few disorders, lightness, power, and a comfortable abiding.' There wasn't a need to advise those bhikkhus; the mere arousing of mindfulness was enough. Like a cart with thoroughbreds yoked, stationed on the four crossroads in some even land: then a clever tamer of horses, a charioteer comes and mounting the cart takes the reins in the left hand and the whip in the right hand, proceeds and receeds as he likes and where he likes. Even so there wasn't a need to advise those bhikkhus, only arousing mindfulness was necessary. Therefore bhikkhus, dispel demerit and pursue merit. In that manner, you come to growth and development in this dispensation of the Teaching. Like a Sal grove near a village or hamlet would have an undergrowth of weeds. Then a certain man, desiring their welfare, uproots all the weeds which rob the moisture and throws them out and the Sal trees grow straight and well. Thus in the meantime the Sal trees grow and develop well. Bhikkhus, in the same manner, dispel demerit and pursue merit. So you too grow and develop in this dispensation.

'At one time in this same Savatthi there was a househodler's wife named Vedehikā, and there was such praise given to her 'Vedehikā is gentle, humble, and calm.' This householder's wife had a slave named Kāli. She was clever, not lazy, and well-arranged in her work. It occured to Kāli, 'My mistress is praised as gentle, humble, and calm, What, is my mistress really calm that she does not show the anger within, or is she not calm? Or is it because I am well-arranged in my work that my mistress does not show her anger, or is she not calm? What if I examined my mistress?' So the slave Kāli got up late in the day.

The householder's wife Vedehikā called out, 'Hey Kāli! Why do you get up late?'

'For no reason, Lady.'

'Evil one why do you get up late, without a reason?' Saying this she was angry and showed displeasure. Then to the slave Kāli it occured thus: 'Does my mistress have anger within, which she does not show or hasn't she? Is it because am well-arranged in my work that my mistress does not show anger and not that she hasn't? What if I examine her further?' Then the slave Kāli got up still more late. Then the householder's wife Vedehikā called out: 'Hey Kāli! Why do you get up late?' 'For no reason, lady.' 'Evil one, why do you get up late, without a reason"' Saying this she was angry, showed displeasure, and uttered distasteful words. Then it occured to the slave Kāli, 'My lady indeed has anger within which she does not put out, it is not that she hasn't. It is because I am well-arranged in my work, that she does not show her anger, and it is not that she hasn't anger. What if I examine my mistress further?' So she got up still more late. Then the householder's wife Vedehikā called out, 'Hey Kāli! Why do you get up late?' 'For no reason, lady.' 'Evil one, why do you get up late for no reason?' saying this she showed anger, took a rolling pin and hit Kāli on her head. Then Kāli with her head split, blood oozing and dripping called out to the neighbours: 'Ladies, look at the gentle one's work, look at the humble one's work, look at the calm one's work! How could she hit the head, and split the head of her only slave, for getting up late?' Then the householder's wife Vedehika's ill fame spread: 'Vedehika the householder's wife is rough, not humble, and not calm.' Bhikkhus, in the same manner a certain bhikkhu would be gentle, humble, and calm until he is touched by disagreeable words. It is when touched by disagreeable words that it should be known whether the bhikkhu is gentle, humble, and calm. Bhikkhus, in the same manner a bhikkhu may become calm with the gain of robes, morsel food, dwellings and requisites when ill, not gaining robes, morsel food, dwellings and requissites when ill, he would not be calm any more.

'The bhikkhu who becomes calm honouring the Teaching and according to the Teaching, is calm and suave.

'Therefore you should train, we honouring the Teaching, and living according to the Teaching, will be calm and suave.

'Bhikkhus, others speaking would speak in this fivefold way. At the right time, or not at the right time, the false or the truth, with kindness or roughly, for the good of someone, or for his disaster, with thoughts of loving kindness, or with anger. Then you should train thus: 'Our minds will not change, we will not utter evil words, We will abide compassionate with thoughts of loving kindness, not angry. We will pervade that person who uttered those words, with thoughts of loving kindness. With that same thought of loving kindness grown great and measureless, without enmity we will abide pervading everywhere.' Bhikkhus, thus you should train.

'Like a man who comes with hoe and basket saying, I will make this great earth go without earth. Then he would dig here and there, throw earth here and there, spit here and there, urinate here and there and would say, be without earth. Yet would he be able to make this great earth without earth? This great earth is deep and immearsurable and it would not be possible to make this great earth go without earth, it will only bring fatigue to that man. In the same manner fivefold is the ways of speech. It would be at the right time or not at the right time, the false or the truth, with kindness or roughly, for the good of someone or for his disaster, with thoughts of loving kindness or with anger. Then you should train thus.: 'Our minds will not change, we will not utter evil words. We will abide compassionate with thoughts of loving kindness not angry. We will pervade that person who uttered those words with thoughts of loving kindness. With that same sign, grown great and developed extensively as much as the world I pervade and abide.' Bhikkhus, you should train thus.

'Like a man who comes with various colours of dye, red, yellow, blue, and orange saying, 'I will draw pictures in space. I will make them appear in space.' Yet would he be able to draw pictures in space, to make them appear. In immaterial space? He cannot draw pictures and make them appear, it is not easy, it will bring him only fatigue. In the same manner fivefold is the ways of speech. It would be at the right time ... thoughts of loving kindness or with anger. Then you should train thus: 'Our minds will not change, we will not utter evil words. We will abide compassionate with thoughts of loving kindness not angry. We will pervade that person who uttered those words with thoughts of loving kindness. With that same sign, grown great and developed extensively as much as space I pervade and abide.' Bhikkhus, you should train thus.

'Like a man who comes with a burning grass torch saying, 'I will heat, scorch, and dry up river Ganges. Yet would he be able to heat, scorch, and dry up river Ganges. As immense as the waters of river Ganges it is not posssible to heat, scorch and dry her up, it will cause that man only fatigue. In the same manner fivefold is the ways of speech. It would be at the right time ... thoughts of loving kindness or with anger. Then you should train thus. 'Our minds will not change, we will not utter evil words. We will abide compassionate with thoughts of loving kindness not angry. We will pervade that person who uttered those words with thoughts of loving kindness. With that same sign, grown great and developed extensively as much as the water of Ganges, I pervade and abide.' Bhikkhus, you should train thus.

'Like a man who comes with a catskin bag threshed, polished and tested for soundlessness, saying I will make a sound with this catskin bag with a stick or stone. Yet would he be able to make a sound with the catskin bag with a stick or stone. That catskin bag is threshed, polished and tested for soundlessness, it would not be possible to make a sound with it, he will only gain fatigue on account of it. In the same manner fivefold is the ways of speech. It would be at the right time or not at the right time. The false or the truth. With kindness or roughly. For the good of someone or for his disaster. With thoughts of loving kindness or with anger. Then you should train thus. Our minds will not change, we will not utter evil words. We will abide compassionate with thoughts of loving kindness not angry. We will pervade that person who uttered those words with thoughts of loving kindness. With that same sign, grown great and developed extensively as much as the catskin bag, I pervade and abide. Bhikkhus, you should train thus.

'O! Bhikkhus, even if robbers cut your limbs one after another with a two handled saw, if your mind be defiled on account of that, you have not done the duty in my dispensation Then too you should train thus. Our minds will not change, we will not utter evil words. We will abide compassionate with thoughts of loving kindness not angry. We will pervade that person with thoughts of loving kindness. With that same sign, grown great and developed extensively, I pervade and abide. Bhikkhus, you should train thus.

'Bhikkhus, you should constantly attend to the advice on the simile of the saw. Is there anything small or large in those words of others which you would not endure. Therefore bhikkhus, constantly attend to the advice on the simile of the saw, it will be for your welfare and happiness for a long time.'

The Blessed One said thus and those bhikkhus delighted in the words of the Blessed One.


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