Translating Classical Buddhism to Modern English

The Long Discourses

10. Going Up to Ten

1. Thus I have heard:[1] One time, the Buddha traveled to Aṅga accompanied by a large group of 1,250 monks. They went to the city of Campā and stayed near Lake Gargarā.[2]

2. On the fifteenth-day full moon, the Bhagavān sat in an open area with a large assembly surrounding him. After teaching the Dharma all night, he addressed Śāriputra, “The monks have gathered today from the four directions. They each have diligently shaken off their sleepiness and want to listen to a Dharma teaching, but I’m suffering from back pain and going to take a break. You can teach the Dharma for the monks now.”

3. Śāriputra accepted the Buddha’s instruction. The Bhagavān then folded his outer robe four times and laid on his right side like a lion with his feet together.

4. The senior Śāriputra then addressed the monks, “Now, I will teach the Dharma. Its words are true in the beginning, middle, and ending, its content and meaning are complete, and it purifies the religious life. All of you, listen closely, and well consider it. I will teach it for you.” The monks accepted his instructions and listened.

5. Śāriputra told the monks, “There are teachings that go up to ten which remove the manifold bonds, reach Nirvāṇa, and completely end suffering.[3] They also perfect 550 things. Now, I will discern them. All of you, listen well!

The Ones

6. “Monks, there’s one thing to be achieved, one thing to be cultivated, one thing to be recognized, one thing to be ceased, one thing that retreats, one thing that advances, one thing that’s difficult to understand, one thing to produce, one thing to know, and one thing to be realized.

7. “What’s one thing to be achieved? Not being careless about good qualities. What’s one thing to be cultivated? Constant mindfulness of oneself.[4] What’s one thing to be recognized? Contaminated contact. What’s one thing to be ceased? The conceit of self. What’s one thing that retreats? Not contemplating the foul discharges. What’s one thing that advances? Contemplation of the foul discharges.[5] What’s one thing that’s difficult to understand? Uninterrupted samādhi. What’s one thing to know? Sentient beings look to food for their subsistence. What’s one thing to be realized? The freedom of an unobstructed mind.

The Twos

8. “Monks, there are two things to be achieved, two things to be cultivated, two things to be recognized, two things to be ceased, two things that retreat, two things that advance, two things that are difficult to understand, two things to produce, two things to know, and two things to be realized.

9. “What are two things to be achieved? Knowing conscience and knowing modesty. What are two things to be cultivated? Calm and contemplation. What are two things to be recognized? Name and form. What are two things to be ceased? Ignorance and craving. What are two things that retreat? Violating precepts and breaking with [right] view. What are two things that advance? Being complete in precepts and complete in view. What are two things that are hard to understand? The causes and conditions for sentient beings to be defiled and the causes and conditions for sentient beings to be purified. What are two things to produce? Knowledge of ending [the contaminants] and knowledge of no birth. What are two things to know? What’s possible and what’s impossible. What are two things to be realized? Insight and liberation.

The Threes

10. “There are also three things to be achieved, three things to be cultivated, three things to be recognized, three things to be ceased, three things that retreat, three things that advance, three things that are hard to understand, three things to produce, three things to know, and three things to be realized.

11. “What are three things to be achieved? Making good friends, listening to the voice of Dharma, and accomplishing [consecutive] teachings.

12. “What are three things to be cultivated? The three samādhis: The samādhi of emptiness, the samādhi without attributes, and the samādhi without actions.

13. “What are three things to be recognized? The three feelings: Painful feelings, pleasant feelings, and feelings that are neither painful nor pleasant.

14. “What are three things to be ceased? The three cravings: Craving for desires, craving for existence, and craving to not exist.

15. “What are three things that retreat? The three roots of unskillfulness: The unskillful root of greed, unskillful root of anger, and the unskillful root of delusion.

16. “What are three things that advance? The three roots of skillfulness: The skillful root of having no greed, skillful root of having no anger, and the skillful root of having no delusion.

17. “What are three things that are hard to understand? Three difficult understandings: Noble people are difficult to understand, learning teachings that are difficult to understand, and the Tathāgata is difficult to understand.

18. “What are three things to produce? Three modes: The mode of calm, mode of diligence, and mode of detachment.

19. “What are three things to know? Three realms of escape: Escaping desire to the realm of form, escaping the realm of form to the formless realm, and detaching from all conditioned things, which is called the end [of realms].

20. “What are the three things to be realized? The three insights: The knowledge of past lives, the knowledge of the heavenly eye, and the knowledge that the contaminants are ended.

21. “Monks, these thirty things are true and not false. They’ve been known by the Tathāgata who teaches the Dharma equally.

The Fours

22. “There are also four things to be achieved, four things to be cultivated, four things to be recognized, four things to be ceased, four things that retreat, four things that advance, four things that are difficult to understand, four things to produce, four things to know, and four things to be realized.

23. “What are four things to be achieved? The four wheels: Living in a central country,[6] being close to good friends, guarding oneself, and having planted roots of goodness in the past.

24. “What are four things to be cultivated? The four abodes of mindfulness: [1] A monk observes internal body as body, diligently and not negligently. He doesn’t lose that recollection and abandons worldly greed and sorrow. He observes external body as body, diligently and not negligently. He doesn’t lose that recollection and abandons worldly greed and sorrow. He observes internal and external body as body, diligently and not negligently. He doesn’t lose that recollection and abandons worldly greed and sorrow. He likewise observes [2] feelings, [3] mind, and [4] teachings.

25. “What are four things to be recognized? The four foods: Physical food, food of contact, food of thought, and food of consciousness.

26. “What are four things to be ceased? The four acquisitions: the acquisition of desires, acquisition of self, acquisition of precepts, and acquisition of views.

27. “What are four things that retreat? The four yokes: The yoke of desire, yoke of existence, yoke of views, and yoke of ignorance.

28. “What are four things that advance? The absence of four yokes: The absence of the yoke of desire, yoke of existence, yoke of views, and yoke of ignorance.

29. “What are four things that are hard to understand? The four noble truths: The truth of suffering, truth of its formation, truth of its cessation, and truth of the path.

30. “What are four things to be produced? The four knowledges: Knowledge of principles, knowledge of what’s yet to be known, knowledge of equality, and knowledge of other minds.

31. “What are four things to know? The four kinds of eloquence: Eloquence of teachings, eloquence of meaning, eloquence of expression, and eloquence of responses.

32. “What are four things to be realized? The four fruits of the ascetic: The fruit of stream-entry, fruit of once-returning, fruit of non-returning, and fruit of the arhat.

33. “Monks, these forty things are true and not false. They’ve been known by the Tathāgata who teaches Dharma equally.

The Fives

34. “There are also five things to be achieved, five things to be cultivated, five things to be recognized, five things to be ceased, five things that retreat, five things that advance, five things that are difficult to understand, five things to produce, five things to know, and five things to be realized.

35. “What are five things to be achieved? The five factors of complete cessation: 1. Faith in the Buddha, Tathāgata, and Arhat who perfected the ten epithets, 2. having no illness and being at peace, 3. being honest and not deceptive about heading straight down the Tathāgata’s road to Nirvāṇa, 4. mental focus that’s not confused and doesn’t forget the recitations, and 5. skill in investigating the arising and cessation of things and ending the root of suffering with the noble practice.

36. “What are five things to be cultivated? The five faculties: the faculty of faith, faculty of effort, faculty of mindfulness, faculty of samādhi, and faculty of wisdom.

37. “What are five things to be recognized? The five acquired aggregates: the acquired aggregate of form … feeling … conception … volition … and the acquired aggregate of consciousness.

38. “What are five things to be ceased? The five hindrances: The hindrance of greed, hindrance of anger, hindrance of drowsiness, hindrance of restlessness, and hindrance of doubt.

39. “What are five things that retreat? The five mental obstructions: 1. A monk doubts the Buddha. Doubting the Buddha, he doesn’t befriend him. Not befriending him, he doesn’t respect him. This is the first mental obstruction. 2. A monk has practices that are penetrated by contaminants, practices that aren’t true, and practices that are defiled regarding the teaching … 3. saṃgha … 4. precepts. He doesn’t befriend the precepts and doesn’t respect them. This is the fourth mental obstruction. 5. A monk produces bad inclinations toward religious practitioners. His mind doesn’t delight in them, his words are harsh, and he criticizes them. This is the fifth mental obstruction.

40. “What are five things that advance? The five roots of joy: delight, mindfulness, calm, happiness, and samādhi.

41. “What are five things that are difficult to understand? The five entries to liberation: If a monk is diligent and not negligent, is happy living in seclusion, focus his attention, and unifies his mind, he’ll free what’s yet to be freed, end what’s yet to be ended, and calm what’s yet to be calmed. What are the five? [1] If a monk hears the Buddha teach Dharma, hears a teaching by a religious practitioner, or hears a teaching by a senior teacher, he considers, investigates, and discerns the teaching and its meaning, and his heart rejoices. Once he rejoices, he gains a love of Dharma. Once he gains a love of Dharma, his body and mind become peaceful. Once his body and mind are peaceful, he attains samādhi. Once he attains samādhi, he attains true knowledge. This is the first entry to liberation.

42. “[2] Likewise, a monk who rejoices upon hearing the teaching does so when accepting, retaining, and reciting it. [3] He rejoices when explaining it for other people. [4] He rejoices when considering and discerning it. [5] He also rejoices when he attains samādhi with the teaching.

43. “What are five things to produce? The noble person’s five knowledges regarding samādhi: The internal and external knowledge that arises from the present and future happiness of cultivating samādhi. The internal and external knowledge that arises from the noble person’s lack of craving. The internal and external knowledge that arises from the practices cultivated by Buddhas and noble people. The internal and external knowledge that arises from the state of tranquility while alone and without a companion. The internal and external knowledge that arises from entering and emerging from samādhi with a unified mind.

44. “What are five things to know? The five spheres of escape: 1. A monk doesn’t enjoy, give attention to, or befriend desires. He’s only mindful of escaping them, enjoys being far from them. He befriends non-negligence and disciplines his mind. Escaping and being free of desires, the arising of contaminants caused by those desires are also entirely abandoned and ceased, and he becomes liberated. This is the escape from desire. [2] The escape from anger, [3] escape from jealousy, [4] escape from form, and [5] escape from belief in the individual are likewise.

45. “What are five things to be realized? The five collections of the adept: The adept’s collection of precepts, collection of samādhi, collection of wisdom, collection of liberation, and collection of knowing and seeing liberation.

46. “These fifty things are true and not false. They’ve been known by the Tathāgata who teaches Dharma equally.

The Sixes

47. “There are also six things to be achieved, six things to be cultivated, six things to be recognized, six things to be ceased, six things that retreat, six things that advance, six things that are difficult to understand, six things to know, and six things to be realized.

48. “What are six things to be achieved? The six honored things: If a monk cultivates six honored things that are respectable and honorable, he’ll be unified with the community without quarrels, and he’ll practice alone without mixing [with others].

49. “What are the six? [1] A monk’s physical conduct is always kind, respecting religious practitioners and abiding with benevolence. This is called an honored thing that’s respectable and honorable. It unifies him with the community without any quarrels, and he practices alone without mixing with others.

50. “Furthermore, a monk is [2] verbally kind … [3] mentally kind … [4] shares with other people the leftover alms in his bowl that were gotten according to the Dharma. He doesn’t favor certain people when doing so …

51. “Furthermore, [5] a monk doesn’t violate, criticize, or defile the precepts that are practiced by noble people. He’s commended by wise people for skillfully perfecting the observance of precepts, and he achieves a settled mind …

52. “Furthermore, [6] a monk accomplishes the noble escape, completely ends suffering, and attains various religious practices with right view. This is called an honored thing that’s respectable and honorable. It unifies him with the community without any quarrels, and he practices alone without mixing with others.

53. “What are six things to be cultivated? The six recollections: recollection of the Buddha, recollection of the Dharma, recollection of the Saṅgha, recollection of the precepts, recollection of generosity, and recollection of the gods.

54. “What are six things to be recognized? They are the six internal senses: The eye sense, ear sense, nose sense, tongue sense, body sense, and mental sense.

55. “What are six things to be ceased? The six cravings: craving for sights, craving for sounds, craving for odors, craving for flavors, craving for touches, and craving for notions.

56. “What are six things that retreat? The six disrespects: disrespecting the Buddha, disrespecting the Dharma, disrespecting the Saṅgha, disrespecting the precepts, disrespecting samādhi, and disrespecting one’s parents.

57. “What are six things that advance? The six respects: respecting the Buddha, respecting the Dharma, respecting the Saṅgha, respecting the precepts, respecting samādhi, and respecting one’s parents.

58. “What are the six things difficult to understand? The six unsurpassed things: unsurpassed view, unsurpassed learning, unsurpassed support, unsurpassed precepts, unsurpassed respect, and unsurpassed memory.

59. “What are six things to produce? The six equanimities: Here, a monk sees form without sorrow or joy and abides detached with focused attention. Hearing sounds … smelling odors … tasting flavors … cognizing notions, he’s neither joyous nor sorrowful and abides detached with focused attention.

60. “What are six things to know? The six spheres of escape: [1] Suppose a monk says, ‘I’d cultivate kindness, but then I become angry.’ The other monks say, ‘Don’t say that! Don’t misrepresent the Tathāgata. The Tathāgata doesn’t say, “I’d like to cultivate the liberation of kindness, but then notions of anger arise.” That’s impossible. The Buddha says, “Once anger is gone, then one becomes kind afterward.”’

61. “Suppose a monk says, [2] ‘I’d practice the liberation of compassion, but then I have hateful thoughts.’… [3] ‘practice the liberation of joy, but then I have sorrowful thoughts.’ … [4] ‘practice the liberation of equanimity, but then I either thoughts of like or dislike.’ … [5] ‘cultivate the practice of non-self, but then I have suspicious thoughts’ … [6] ‘cultivate the practice without conception, but then I have many distracting notions.’ Those cases are likewise.

62. “What are six things to be realized? The six spiritual penetrations: Realization of miraculous abilities, realization of the heavenly ear, realization of knowing others’ minds, realization of perceiving past lives, realization of the heavenly eye, and realization of perceiving the end of the contaminants.

63. “These sixty things, monks, are true and not false. They’ve been known by the Tathāgata who teaches Dharma equally.

The Sevens

64. “There are also seven things to be achieved, seven things to be cultivated, seven things to be recognized, seven things to be ceased, seven things that retreat, seven things that advance, seven things that are difficult to understand, seven things to produce, seven things to know, and seven things to be realized.

65. “What are seven things to be achieved? The seven kinds of wealth: Wealth in faith, wealth in precepts, wealth in conscience, wealth in modesty, wealth in learning, wealth in generosity, and wealth in wisdom are the seven kinds of wealth.

66. “What are seven things to be cultivated? The seven awakenings: Here, a monk cultivates the awakening of mindfulness, which depends on being desireless, tranquil, and secluded … cultivates the teaching … cultivates effort … cultivates joy … cultivates mildness … cultivates samādhi … cultivates equanimity, which depends on being desireless, tranquil, and secluded.

67. “What are seven things to be recognized? The seven dwelling places of consciousness: There are sentient beings of diverse bodies and diverse notions. These gods and humans are the first abode of consciousness. Again, there are sentient beings of diverse bodies but the same notions. When the Brahmas of the Ābhāsvara Heaven are first born there, that’s the second abode of consciousness. Again, there are sentient beings of the same body but diverse notions. These Ābhāsvara gods are the third abode of consciousness. Again, there are sentient beings of the same body and the same notions. These Śubhakṛtsnā gods are the fourth abode of consciousness. Again, there are sentient beings that dwell in the abode of space. This is the fifth abode of consciousness. Some dwell in the abode of consciousness. This is the sixth abode of consciousness. Some are in the abode of nothingness. This is the seventh abode of consciousness.

68. “What are seven things to be ceased? The seven tendencies: The tendency of craving desires, tendency of craving existence, tendency of views, tendency of pride, tendency of anger, tendency of ignorance, and tendency of doubt.

69. “What are seven things that retreat? The seven wrong things: Here, a monk has no faith, no conscience, no modesty, little learning, he falls into laziness, and he forgets much and lacks wisdom.

70. “What are seven things that advance? The seven proper things: Here, a monk has faith, conscience, modesty, much learning, he doesn’t fall into laziness, and he has a good memory and wisdom.

71. “What are seven things that are difficult to understand? The seven right and skillful things: Here, a monk likes meaning, likes Dharma, likes knowing the occasion, likes knowing what’s enough, likes being composed, likes gathering with assemblies, and likes discerning people.

72. “What are seven things to produce? The seven concepts: The concept of impurity, concept that food is impure, concept that nothing in the world is enjoyable, concept of death, concept of impermanence, concept of the pain of impermanence, and concept of the lack of self in pain.[7]

73. “What are seven things to know? The seven diligences: diligence in practicing precepts, diligence in ceasing craving, diligence in destroying wrong views, diligence in learning much, diligence in effort, diligence in right mindfulness, and diligence in meditation.

74. “What are seven things to be realized? The seven powers of ending the contaminants: Here, a monk who has ended the contaminants [1] really knows and sees all kinds of suffering and their formation, cessation, enjoyment, defect, and escape. [2] He observes desire to be like a fire pit or a sword. He knows desire and sees desire. He isn’t greedy for desires, and his mind doesn’t dwell on desire. [3] Again, skillfully examining it, having really known and really seen it, worldly lust and bad and unskillful things don’t arise and defile him. [4] He cultivates the four abodes of mindfulness, often cultivating and practicing them … [5] the five faculties and five powers … [6] the seven awakenings … [7] the noble eightfold path, often cultivating and practicing it.

75. “Monks, these seventy things are true and not false. They’ve been known by the Tathāgata, who teaches Dharma equally.

The Eights

76. “There are also eight things to be achieved, eight things to be cultivated, eight things to be recognized, eight things to be ceased, eight things that retreat, eight things that advance, eight things that are difficult to understand, eight things to produce, eight things to know, and eight things to be realized.

77. “What are eight things to be achieved? The eight causes and conditions that gain knowledge before the religious life is attained and that increase knowledge once it has been attained.

78. “What are the eight? Here, a monk lives according to the Bhagavān, or he might live according to a teacher, elder, or a wise religious practitioner. He becomes conscientious and modest, and he possesses affection and respect for them. This is the first cause and condition that gains knowledge before the religious life is attained and that increases knowledge once it has been attained.

79. “Furthermore, living according to the Bhagavān … he asks questions at the appropriate time: ‘What does this teaching mean? What’s the aim of it?’ The venerable elders immediately disclose its profound meaning. This is the second cause and condition …

80. “Once he has heard this, both his body and mind are pleasant and calm. This is the third cause and condition …

81. “He doesn’t engage in unbeneficial discussions that obstruct the path. When he goes into a community, he either discusses the teaching himself or asks another to discuss it, but he doesn’t otherwise abandon the noble silence. This is the fourth cause and condition …

82. “His learning becomes extensive, and he retains and doesn’t lose the profundities of the teaching. It’s good in the beginning, middle, and end, genuine in content and expression, and perfects the religious life. Having heard it, it enters his mind, and his [right] view doesn’t waver. This is the fifth cause and condition …

83. “He trains diligently, desisting from unskillful conduct and increasing his skillful conduct daily. He exerts himself to be worthy and doesn’t abandon this teaching. This is the sixth cause and condition …

84. “Also, he recognizes the law of arising and cessation with wisdom and heads for the noble end of suffering. This is the seventh cause and condition …

85. “Also, he observes the arising and ceasing nature of the five acquired aggregates: ‘This is form, form’s coming together, and form’s cessation. This is feeling … conception … volition … consciousness, consciousness’s coming together, and consciousness’s cessation.’ This is the eighth cause and condition that gains knowledge before the religious life is attained and that increases knowledge once it has been attained.

86. “What are eight things to be cultivated? The noble eightfold path: right view, right intention, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right method, right mindfulness, and right samādhi.

87. “What are eight things to be recognized? The eight ways of the world: profit and decline, criticism and praise, admiration and censure, and pain and pleasure.

88. “What are eight things to be ceased? The eightfold wrong [path]: wrong view, wrong intent, wrong speech, wrong action, wrong livelihood, wrong method, wrong mindfulness, and wrong samādhi.

89. “What are eight things that retreat? The eight kinds of indolence: What are the eight kinds of indolence? A monk soliciting alms doesn’t get alms. He then thinks, ‘Today, I went to town to solicit alms and didn’t get any. My body feels weak and incapable of sitting in meditation or walking back and forth. Now, I ought to lie down and rest.’ That indolent monk then lies down to rest, refusing to diligently attempt to attain what he has yet to attain, obtain what he has yet to obtain, and realize what he has yet to realize. This is the first indolence.

90. “An indolent monk gets too much food. Again, he thinks, ‘This morning, I went to town to solicit alms, and I got too much food. My body feels heavy and incapable of sitting in meditation or walking back and forth. Now, I ought to lie down to rest.’ That indolent monk then lies down to rest. He can’t diligently attempt to attain what he has yet to attain, obtain what he has yet to obtain, and realize what he has yet to realize. [This is the second indolence.]

91. “An indolent monk thinks about some minor attachment, ‘Today, I’m attached to something. My body is weak and incapable of sitting in meditation or walking back and forth. Now, I ought to lie down to rest.’ That indolent monk lies down to rest … [This is the third indolence.]

92. “An indolent monk thinks about some attachment he’s going to have, ‘Clearly, I’ll be attached to this. Surely, I’ll be weak, so I won’t be able sit in meditation or walk back and forth. I’ll lie down to rest.’ That indolent monk then lies down to rest … [This is the fourth indolence.]

93. “An indolent monk thinks about some minor trip, ‘In the morning, I’ll be traveling. My body will be weak and incapable of sitting in meditation or walking back and forth. Now, I ought to lie down and rest.’ That indolent monk then lies down to rest … [This is the fifth indolence.]

94. “An indolent monk thinks about some trip he’s going to take, ‘Clearly, I will be traveling. Surely, I’ll be weak, so I can’t sit in meditation or walk back and forth now. I’ll lie down to rest.’ That indolent monk lies down to rest. He can’t diligently attempt to attain what he has yet to attain, obtain what he has yet to obtain, and realize what he has yet to realize. This is the sixth indolence.

95. “[An indolent monk] encounters some minor pain, and then he thinks, ‘I’ve become seriously ill. I’m feeble and weak, incapable of sitting in meditation or walking back and forth. I need to lie down and rest.’ That indolent monk then lies down to rest. He can’t diligently attempt to attain what he has yet to attain, obtain what he has yet to obtain, and realize what he has yet to realize. [This is the seventh indolence.]

96. “An indolent monk recovers from some pain and then he thinks, ‘I’ve only recently recovered from that illness. My body is weak, and I can’t sit in meditation or walk back and forth. I ought to lie down and rest.’ That indolent monk then lies down to rest. He can’t diligently attempt to attain what he has yet to attain, obtain what he has yet to obtain, and realize what he has yet to realize. [This is the eighth indolence.]

97. “What are eight things that advance? The eight ways of not being indolent. What are these eight efforts? A monk goes to town to solicit alms, doesn’t get any food, and returns. He then thinks, ‘Today, my body is weak, and I’m a little sleepy. Now, I ought to make effort by sitting in meditation and walking back and forth.’ He attains what he has yet to attain, obtains what he has yet to obtain, and realizes what he has yet to realize. That monk then immediately makes effort. This is the first effort.

98. “[A monk] solicits alms and gets enough. He then thinks, ‘Now, I went to town to solicit alms, and the food I got was filling. My strength is restored, so I ought to make effort by sitting in meditation and walking back and forth.’ He attains what he has yet to attain, obtains what he has yet to obtain, and realizes what he has yet to realize. That monk then immediately makes effort. [This is the second effort.]

99. “If a diligent monk has a task to do, he thinks, ‘I have this task to do that will interrupt my practice. I ought to make effort by sitting in meditation and walking back and forth now.’ He will attain what he has yet to attain, obtain what he has yet to obtain, and realize what he has yet to realize. That monk then immediately makes effort. [This is the third effort.]

100. “If a diligent monk has a task to do, he thinks, ‘I have this task to do tomorrow that will interrupt my practice. I ought to make effort by sitting in meditation and walking back and forth now.’ He will attain what he has yet to attain, obtain what he has yet to obtain, and realize what he has yet to realize. That monk then immediately makes effort. [This is the fourth effort.]

101. “If a diligent monk has somewhere to go, he thinks, ‘I have somewhere to go this morning, which will interrupt my practice. I ought to make effort by sitting in meditation and walking back and forth now.’ He will attain what he has yet to attain, obtain what he has yet to obtain, and realize what he has yet to realize. That monk then immediately makes effort. [This is the fifth effort.]

102. “If a diligent monk has somewhere to go, he thinks, ‘I will be traveling tomorrow, which will interrupt my practice. I ought to make effort by sitting in meditation and walking back and forth.’ He will attain what he has yet to attain, obtain what he has yet to obtain, and realize what he has yet to realize. That monk then immediately makes effort. [This is the sixth effort.]

103. “When a diligent monk becomes ill, he thinks, ‘I’ve become seriously ill. Maybe my life will end! I ought to make effort[by sitting in meditation and walking back and forth now.]’ He will attain what he has yet to attain, obtain what he has yet to obtain, and realize what he has yet to realize. That monk then immediately makes effort. [This is the seventh effort.]

104. “If a diligent monk recovers a little from an illness, he thinks, ‘I’ve begun to recover from that illness. It might get worse, which would interrupt my practice. I ought to make effort by sitting in meditation and walking back and forth now.’ He will attain what he has yet to attain, obtain what he has yet to obtain, and realize what he has yet to realize. Thereupon, that monk then immediately makes effort by sitting in meditation and walking. [This is the eighth effort.]

105. “What are eight things that are difficult to understand? The eight cases of having no opportunity to cultivate the religious practice. What are the eight? [1] The Tathāgata, the Arhat, arises in the world and teaches the sublime teaching that’s quiescent, unconditioned, and leads to the path of awakening. A person who’s born in Hell has no opportunity there to cultivate the religious practice.

106. “[2] The Tathāgata, the Arhat, arises in the world and teaches the sublime teaching that’s quiescent, unconditioned, and leads to the path of awakening. There are sentient beings born among animals … [3] among hungry ghosts … [4] among long-lived gods … [5] in border lands where they are unaware of it. The Buddha’s teaching doesn’t exist in such places, so there’s no opportunity to cultivate the religious practice.

107. “[6] The Tathāgata, the Arhat, arises in the world and teaches the sublime teaching that’s quiescent, unconditioned, and leads to the path of awakening. Some sentient beings are born in a central country, but they have wrong views, harbor deluded thoughts, and commit evil actions. They’ll surely go to Hell where there’s no opportunity to cultivate the religious practice.

108. “[7] The Tathāgata, the Arhat, arises in the world and teaches the sublime teaching that’s quiescent and unconditioned and leads to the path of awakening. Some sentient beings are born in a central country, but they’re deaf, blind, or mute and can’t learn the teaching. They have no opportunity to cultivate the religious practice.

109. “[8] The Tathāgata, the Arhat, doesn’t arise in the world, and no one teaches the sublime teaching that’s quiescent, unconditioned, and leads to the path of awakening. Some sentient beings are born in a central country, and their faculties are complete. They are worthy of the noble teaching, but they don’t meet a Buddha, so they can’t cultivate the religious practice. This is the eighth case of having no opportunity.

110. “What are eight things to produce? The eight awakenings of the great person: The path should have few desires; having many desires is not the path. The path should be satisfying; being unsatisfied is not the path. The path should be secluded; enjoying company is not the path. The path should be to restrain oneself; playing around is not the path. The path should be diligent; indolence is not the path. The path should be focused attention; forgetfulness is not the path. The path should be a focused mind; a distracted mind is not the path. The path should be wise; foolishness is not the path.

111. “What are eight things to know? The eight changes to the senses.[8] Having an inner perception of form, one observes external form to be small. Whether it’s beautiful or ugly, they continuously observe and attend to it. This is the first change to the senses.

112. “Having an inner perception of form, one observes external form to be measureless. Whether it’s beautiful or ugly, they continuously observe and attend to it. This is the second change to the senses.

113. “Without an inner perception of form, one observes external form to be small. Whether it’s beautiful or ugly, they continuously observe and attend to it. This is the third change to the senses.

114. “Without an inner perception of form, one observes external form to be measureless. Whether it’s beautiful or ugly, they continuously observe and attend to it. This is the fourth change to the senses.

115. “Without an inner perception of form, one observes external form to be blue. The blue form, blue reflection, and blue sight are like a blue lotus flower or a blue Vārāṇasī cloth. They are completely blue forms, blue reflections, and blue sights. Creating such a perception, one continuously observes and attends to it. This is the fifth change to the senses.

116. “Without an inner perception of form, one observes external form to be yellow. The yellow form, yellow reflection, and yellow sight are like a yellow flower or a yellow Vārāṇasī cloth. They are completely yellow forms, yellow reflections, and yellow sights. Creating such a perception, one continuously observes and attends to it. This is the sixth change to the senses.

117. “Without an inner perception of form, one observes external form that’s red. The red form, red reflection, and red sight are like a red flower or a red Vārāṇasī cloth. They are completely red forms, red reflections, and red sights. Creating such a perception, one continuously observes and attends to it. This is the seventh change to the senses.

118. “Without an inner perception of form, one observes external form to be white. The white form, white reflection, and white sight are like a white flower or a white Vārāṇasī cloth. They are completely white forms, white reflections, and white sights. Creating such a perception, one continuously observes and attends to it. This is the eighth change to the senses.

119. “What are eight things to be realized? They are the eight liberations. Form observed to be form is the first liberation. Observing external form without an internal perception of form is the second liberation. The liberation of purity is the third liberation. Going beyond notions of form, ceasing notions of anger, and abiding in the abode of space is the fourth liberation. Going beyond the abode of space and abiding in the abode of consciousness is the fifth liberation. Going beyond the abode of consciousness and abiding in the abode of nothingness is the sixth liberation. Going beyond the abode of nothingness and abiding the abode with and without conception is the seventh liberation. Going beyond the abode with and without conception and abiding in the cessation of concepts and perceptions is the eighth liberation.

120. “Monks, these eighty things are true and not false. They’ve been known by the Tathāgata, who teaches Dharma equally.

The Nines

121. “There are also nine things to be achieved, nine things to be cultivated, nine things to be recognized, nine things to be ceased, nine things that retreat, nine things that advance, nine things that are difficult to understand, nine things to produce, nine things to know, and nine things to be realized.

122. “What are the nine things to be achieved? The nine factors of purified cessation: the precepts as a factor of purified cessation, the mind as a factor of purified cessation, views as a factor of purified cessation, going beyond doubt as a factor of purified cessation, discernment as a factor of purified cessation, the path as a factor of purified cessation, elimination as a factor of purified cessation, being desireless as a factor of purified cessation, and liberation as a factor of purified cessation.

123. “What are the nine things to be cultivated? They are the nine sources of joy: 1. joy, 2. love, 3. delight, 4. pleasure, 5. samādhi, 6. real knowledge, 7. indifference, 8. being without desire, and 9. liberation.

124. “What are the nine things to be recognized? They are the nine abodes of sentient beings. Some sentient beings have diverse bodies and diverse notions. These gods and humans are the first abode of sentient beings. Some sentient beings have diverse bodies but the same notions. When the Brahmas of the Ābhāsvara Heaven are first born there, that’s the second abode of sentient beings. Some sentient beings have the same body but diverse notions. This Ābhāsvara Heaven is the third abode of sentient beings. Some sentient beings have the same body and the same notions. This Śubhakṛtsnā Heaven is the fourth abode of sentient beings. Some sentient beings lack conception or anything to perceive. This Asāṃjñika Heaven is the fifth abode of sentient beings. Again, some sentient beings dwell in the abode of space, which is the sixth abode of sentient beings. Again, some sentient beings dwell in the abode of consciousness, which is the seventh abode of sentient beings. Again, some sentient beings dwell in the abode of nothingness, which is the eighth abode of sentient beings. Again, some sentient beings dwell in the abode with and without conception, which is the ninth abode of sentient beings.

125. “What are the nine things to be ceased? They are nine sources of craving: Because of craving, there’s pursuit. Because of pursuit, there’s gain. Because of gain, there’s use. Because of use, there’s desire. Because of desire, there’s attachment. Because of attachment, there’s jealousy. Because of jealousy, there’s clinging. Because of clinging, there’s guarding.

126. “What are the nine things that retreat? They are the nine vexations: A person [1] once troubled me, [2] is troubling me, or [3] will trouble me. Someone dear to me [4] has been troubled, [5] is being troubled, or [6] will be troubled. Someone I dislike [7] has been loved and respected, [8] is being loved and respected, or [9] will be loved and respected.

127. “What are the nine things that advance? They are the nine non-vexations: That person has harassed me, but what benefit is there in being troubled by it? [1] It didn’t trouble me then, [2] doesn’t trouble me now, and [3] won’t trouble me in the future. Someone dear to me has been harassed, but what benefit is there in my being troubled by it? [4] It didn’t trouble me then, [5] doesn’t trouble me now, and [6] won’t trouble me in the future. Someone I dislike has been loved and respected, but what benefit is there in my being troubled by it? [7] It didn’t trouble me then, [8] doesn’t trouble me now, and [9] won’t trouble me in the future.

128. “What are the nine things that are difficult to understand? They are nine religious practices: [1] If a monk has faith but doesn’t observe the precepts, then his religious practice is incomplete. [2] When a monk has faith and the precepts, then his religious practice is complete.

129. “[3] If a monk has faith and precepts but doesn’t learn much, then his religious practice is incomplete. When a monk has faith, precepts, and much learning, then his religious practice is complete.

130. “[4] If a monk has faith, precepts, and much learning but can’t teach Dharma, then his religious practice is incomplete. When a monk has faith, precepts, much learning, and can teach Dharma, then his religious practice is complete.

131. “[5] If a monk has faith, precepts, much learning, and can teach Dharma but can’t train the assembly, then his religious practice is incomplete. When a monk has faith, precepts, much learning, can teach Dharma, and can train the assembly, then his religious practice is complete.

132. “[6] If a monk has faith, precepts, much learning, can teach Dharma, and can train the assembly but can’t explain the Dharma’s words in detail to a large assembly, then his religious practice is incomplete. When a monk has faith, precepts, much learning, can teach Dharma, can train the assembly, and can explain the Dharma’s words in detail to a large assembly, then his religious practice is complete.

133. “[7] If a monk has faith, precepts, much learning, can teach Dharma, can train the community, and can explain the Dharma’s words in detail to a large assembly but hasn’t attained the four dhyānas, then his religious practice is incomplete. When a monk has faith, precepts, much learning, can teach Dharma, can train the assembly, can explain the Dharma’s words in detail to a large assembly, and has attained the four dhyānas, then his religious practice is complete.

134. “[8] If a monk has faith, precepts, much learning, can teach Dharma, can train the assembly, can explain the Dharma’s words in detail to a large assembly and has attained the four dhyānas but hasn’t traversed the eight liberations forward and backward, then his religious practice is incomplete. when a monk has faith, precepts, much learning, can teach Dharma, can train the assembly, can explain the Dharma’s words in detail to a large assembly, has attained the four dhyānas, and has traversed the eight liberations forward and backward, then his religious practice is complete.

135. “[9] Suppose a monk has faith, precepts, much learning, can teach Dharma, can train the assembly, can explain the Dharma’s words in detail to a large assembly, has attained the four dhyānas, and has traversed the eight liberations forward and backward. Still, he can’t end being contaminated, become uncontaminated, liberate his mind and wisdom, and personally realize in the present life, ‘Birth has been ended, the religious practice has been established, and the task has been accomplished. I won’t be subject to another existence.’ His religious practice is incomplete. Suppose a monk has faith, precepts, much learning, can teach Dharma, can train the assembly, can explain the Dharma’s words in detail to a large assembly, has attained the four dhyānas, and has traversed the eight liberations forward and backward. He also has abandoned being contaminated, become uncontaminated, liberated his mind and wisdom, and personally realized in the present life, ‘Birth has been ended, the religious practice has been established, and the task has been accomplished. I won’t be subject to another existence.’ His religious practice is complete.

136. “What are the nine things to produce? Nine concepts: The concept of impurity, concept that food is impure, concept that nothing in the world is enjoyable, concept of death, concept of impermanence, concept of the pain of impermanence,[9] concept of the lack of self in pain,[10] concept of the end [of suffering], and concept of having no desire.

137. “What are nine things to know? The nine various things:[11] [1] Various contacts arise because of [2] various [sensory] elements. [3] Various feelings arise because of various contacts. [4] Various concepts arise because of various feelings. [5] Various formations arise because of various concepts.[] [6] Various desires arise because of various formations.[12] [7] Various profits arise because of various desires. [8] Various pursuits arise because of various profits. [9] Various afflictions arise because of various pursuits.

138. “What are the nine things to be realized? The nine kinds of cessation: When the first dhyāna is entered, the thorn of sound is ceased. When the second dhyāna is entered, the thorns of perception and examination are ceased. When the third dhyāna is entered, the thorn of joy is ceased. When the fourth dhyāna is entered, the thorn of breathing is ceased. When the abode of space is entered, the thorn of perceiving form is ceased. When the abode of consciousness is entered, the thorn of perceiving space is ceased. When the abode of nothingness is entered, the thorn of perceiving consciousness is ceased. When the abode with and without conception is entered, the thorn of perceiving nothingness is ceased. When the samādhi of complete cessation is entered, the thorns of conception and feeling are ceased.

139. “Monks, these 90 things are true and not false. They’ve been known by the Tathāgata, who teaches Dharma equally.

The Tens

140. “There are also ten things to be achieved, ten things to be cultivated, ten things to be recognized, ten things to be ceased, ten things that retreat, ten things that advance, ten things that are difficult to understand, ten things to produce, ten things to know, and ten things to be realized.

141. “What are the ten things to be achieved? The ten ways of salvation: 1. A monk is perfect regarding the 250 precepts and perfect in his behavior. He feels great anxiety when he sees a small infraction. He fully learns the precepts, and he doesn’t have any inclination to corruption. 2. He makes good friends. 3. His language is proper, and he has a great deal of patience.[13] 4. He prefers to pursue the good teaching and disseminates it generously. 5. When religious practitioners undertake a task, he immediately goes to help them. He doesn’t regard it as troublesome, deals with difficulties, and instructs others to do the same. 6. He’s well-versed, able to retain what he learns, and isn’t ever forgetful. 7. He’s diligent in desisting from unskillful qualities and developing skillful qualities. 8. He constantly focuses on his own mindfulness without any other ideas, recalling his previous good conduct as though it were right in front of his eyes. 9. His wisdom is accomplished. He observes the law of arising and cessation and stops the source of suffering with the noble discipline. 10. He’s happy in a secluded dwelling focusing his attention and contemplating, and he isn’t agitated while he meditates.

142. “What are the ten things to be cultivated? The ten right practices: right view, right intent, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right method, right samādhi, right liberation, and right knowledge.

143. “What are the ten things to be recognized? The ten physical senses: the eye sense, ear sense, nose sense, tongue sense, body sense, sight sense, sound sense, odor sense, flavor sense, and touch sense.

144. “What are the ten things to be ceased? The ten wrong practices: wrong view, wrong intent, wrong speech, wrong action, wrong livelihood, wrong method, wrong samādhi, wrong liberation, and wrong knowledge.

145. “What are the ten things that retreat? The path of ten unskillful actions: Physical killing, stealing, and engaging in sex; verbal divisiveness, abusiveness, false speech, and fancy speech; and mental greed, jealousy, and wrong view.

146. “What are the ten things that advance? The ten skillful actions: Physical not killing, stealing, or engaging in sex; verbal non-divisiveness, abusiveness, false speech, or fancy speech; and mental non-greed, jealousy, or wrong view.

147. “What are the ten things that are difficult to understand? The ten noble dwellings:[14] A monk 1. eliminates five limbs, 2. achieves six limbs, 3. guards one,[15] 4. supports four, 5. ceases heterodox truths, 6. has a surpassing and marvelous pursuit, 7. perceives the unmuddied, 8. has stopped physical conduct, 9. his mind is liberated, and 10. his wisdom is liberated.

148. “What are the ten things to be produced? The ten points of praise: When a monk has himself attained faith, he teaches it to other people, and commends those who’ve attained faith. When he has himself observed precepts, he teaches them to other people, and he commends those who observe precepts. When he has few desires himself, he teaches it to other people, and he commends those with few desires. When he is himself satisfied, he teaches it to other people, and he commends those who are satisfied. When he himself enjoys seclusion, he teaches it to other people, and he commends those who enjoy seclusion. When he himself has learned much, he teaches it to other people, and he commends those who learn much. When he has himself made effort, he teaches it to other people, and he commends those who make effort. When he has himself focused his attention, he teaches it to other people, and he commends those who focus their attention. When he has himself attained samādhi, he teaches it to other people, and he commends those who attain samādhi. When he has himself attained wisdom, he teaches it to other people, and he commends those who attain wisdom.

149. “What are the ten things to know? The ten things to cease: A person of right view ceases wrong view. The numberless evils produced by the conditions of wrong view are all eliminated, and the numberless virtues produced by the causes of right view are all accomplished. Right intent … right speech … right action … right livelihood … right method … right mindfulness … right samādhi … right liberation … right knowledge. A person of right knowledge ceases wrong knowledge. The numberless evils produced by the causes of wrong knowledge are all eliminated, and the numberless virtues produced by the causes of right knowledge are all accomplished.

150. “What are the ten things to be realized? The ten ways of an adept: right view, right intent, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right method, right samādhi, right liberation, and right knowledge.

151. “Monks, these hundred things are true and not false. They’ve been known by the Tathāgata, who teaches Dharma equally.”

152. The Buddha then approved of what Śāriputra said. When the monks heard what Śāriputra taught, they rejoiced and approved.

Notes

  1. Direct parallels include DN 34, DĀ 9, and T13. [back]
  2. Gargarā. Ch. 伽伽 (MCh. g’ia-g’ia), P. Gaggarā, Skt. Gargarā, BHS Gargā. The Chinese transliteration appears to be an old Pkt *Gaggā, which in BHS became Gargā, and in Skt. Gargarā, which begs the question whether P. Gaggarā was a translation from Skt. I’ve adopted the Skt. attestation. [back]
  3. Śāriputra’s opening statement is a gāthā in both DN 34 and an extent Skt. edition of this sutra, but it’s in prose both here and in the older Chinese translation by An Shigao. [back]
  4. Constant mindfulness of oneself. Ch. 常自念身, P. kāyagatā sati sātasahagatā, Skt. kāyagatā smrtiḥ. The Chinese might also be read “Constant mindfulness of one’s body.” [back]
  5. Contemplation of the foul discharges. Ch. 惡露觀. This is synonymous with the contemplation of foulness (P. asubha bhāvana) according to a passage in the Dharmaguptaka Vinaya (T1428.582a4-6). [back]
  6. central country. I.e., a civilized region rather than a frontier region that’s barbaric. The conditions in lawless regions in the ancient world was not conducive to practicing. In India, a central country would be places like Śrāvastī and Magadha. [back]
  7. This list differs from that found in Theravada and Sarvâstivāda parallels. There is a lengthy commentary on this version of the seven concepts found in the Śāriputra Abhidharma (cf. T1548.638b9ff). [back]
  8. Changes to the senses. Ch. 除入, P. abhibhāyatanāni, Skt. abhibhvāyatanāni. On the face of it, the Chinese translation appears to read “eliminated” or “removed,” as these are the most common readings for 除. In Pali and Sanskrit sources, the term is interpreted as P. abhibhā, or “mastery,” and this is confirmed by later Chinese translations of Sanskrit Abhidharma. Interestingly, an equivalent reading (除處) is found in MĀ 215 (T26.799c25) for these eight perceptions. However, the Śāriputra Abhidharma (cf. 1548.642a19ff.) calls the list 勝入 (“overcoming the senses”), so both readings existed in translations of pre-Sanskrit texts. Given this situation, it’s important to note that 除 has less frequent readings in classical Chinese as “to govern, fix, correct” and “to change, turn over (e.g., a new year),” and they may be closer to the intended meaning in these older translations than the usual readings. I’ve translated the term accordingly. [back]
  9. The Śāriputra Abhidharma (T1548.639b16ff.) describes the oppressive fear that arises when one’s death is imminent to explain the concept of the pain of impermanence. Thus, it’s the unpleasant feelings one has when facing one’s mortality.[back]
  10. The Śāriputra Abhidharma (T1548.639c2ff.) describes the lack of tranquility and right liberation that results from supposing that the consciousness, body, and external things are oneself or belong to oneself.[back]
  11. This list occurs in the Śāriputra Abhidharma (T1548.654c27) without elaboration. I’ve corrected the reading of the first item by adopting an alternate reading that agrees with the Abhidharma passage and deleted the repetition at the end. It would appear that a well-meaning editor didn’t understand that the items were being counted rather than the statements and revised the list to create a ninth statement. [back]
  12. formations. Ch. 集. The parallel in T1548 has 覺 instead, which suggests S. vitarka or saṃkalpa in the Indic original. The meaning in that case would be along the lines of perception, idea, or awareness. [back]
  13. Patience. Ch. 含受, P. khama. The same passage in DĀ 11 reads 堪忍 instead, which agrees with the Pali parallel. 含受 is unclear in meaning. Perhaps the 堪忍in DĀ 11 was an improved translation that didn’t replace this earlier attempt.[back]
  14. The items in this list are discussed in the Śāriputra Abhidharma (T1548.588b23 ff).[back]
  15. guards. Ch. 捨, P. rakkha. It would seem 捨 is a mistake for 護, which would be understandable if a copyist thought the intended meaning was equanimity, given that these two terms were common translations of Skt. upekṣa. However, various Abhidharma definitions, including the one found in the Śāriputra Abhidharma, agree that the meaning is to guard one thing. I’ve translated accordingly.[back]

Translator: Charles Patton

Last Revised: 9 June 2022