Translating Classical Buddhism to Modern English

The Long Discourses

9. The Gathered Saṅgha

1. Thus I have heard:[1] One time, the Buddha was travelling among the Mallas. Accompanied by a large assembly of 1,250 monks, he eventually arrived at Cunda’s Mango Grove of Pāvā.

2. It was the fifteenth-day full moon when the Bhagavān sat in an open area with the assembly of monks both in front and behind him. After he had given them many discourses on the Dharma that evening, the Bhagavān addressed Śāriputra: “The monks have gathered today from the four directions to diligently apply themselves together. They aren’t sleepy yet, but I’m suffering from back pain. I’d like to take a break for a while. Perhaps you can explain the Dharma for the monks now?”

Śāriputra replied, “Very well. I’ll explain the noble teaching.”

3. The Bhagavān folded his outer robe four times and laid on his right side like a lion with his feet together.

4. Śāriputra then told the monks, “Now, here in this city of Pāvā, it hasn’t been long since Nirgrantha Jñātaputra’s life ended. Since then, his disciples have split into two factions that constant argue and look for shortcomings to reproach each other. They contradict each other, saying: ‘I know this teaching.’ ‘You don’t know this.’ ‘You hold wrong views.’ ‘I hold to the right teaching.’ Their words are confused and without proper order. They consider statements praising themselves to be true, saying: ‘My statement is the winner; your words are defeated. I’m the one who gives discourses now. Come and ask me when you have questions.’

5. “Monks, the people of the country who make offerings to the Nirgranthas are weary and troubled by the noise of their fighting. As a result, they consider their teaching to be untrue. A teaching that’s untrue has no way to escape, just as a ruined shrine cannot be repainted. It’s not the teaching of a completely awakened one. Monks, only we Śākyans have the unsurpassed, noble teaching that’s truest and can lead to the escape, just as a newly built shrine is easily decorated. It’s the teaching of a completely awakened one.

6. “Monks, today, we ought to collect the Dharma and Vinaya to safeguard them from disputes, establish the religious life for a long time, and benefit many people so gods and humans will obtain peace.

Sets of One

7. “Monks, the Tathāgata teaches one correct thing: All sentient beings look to food for their sustenance.

8. “There’s another thing taught by the Tathāgata: All sentient beings are reborn as a result of their actions. [2]

9. “These are the single things taught by the Tathāgata that we ought to collect to safeguard them from dispute, establish the religious life for a long time, and benefit many people so gods and people will obtain peace.

Sets of Two

10. “Monks, the Tathāgata has taught two correct things: One is name, and the second is form.

11. “There are another two things: One is delusion, and the second is craving.

12. “There are another two things: The view of existence and view of non-existence.

13. “There are another two things: One is lacking conscience, and the second is lacking modesty.

14. “There are another two things: One is having conscience, and the second is having modesty.

15. “There are another two things: One is knowledge of the end [of contaminants], and the second is knowledge of no more birth.

16. “There are another two things, which are two causes and two conditions that give rise to craving: One is pure and sublime form, and the second is inattention.

17. “There are another two things, which are two causes and two conditions that give rise to anger: One is hatred, and the second is inattention.

18. “There are another two things, which are two causes and two conditions that give rise to wrong view: One is hearing it from others, and the second is wrong thought.

19. “There are another two things, which are two causes and two conditions that give rise to right view: One is hearing it from others, and the second is right thought.

20. “There are another two things, which are two causes and two conditions: One is learning about liberation, and the second is having nothing more to learn about liberation.

21. “There are another two things, which are two causes and two conditions: One is the conditioned element, and the second is the unconditioned element.

22. “Monks, these are the sets of two taught by the Tathāgata that we ought to collect to safeguard them from dispute, establish the religious life for a long time, and benefit many people so gods and people will obtain peace.

Sets of Three

23. “Monks, the Tathāgata has taught three correct things, which are known as three roots of what’s not good: 1. Craving, 2. anger, and 3. delusion.

24. “There are another three things, which are known as three roots of goodness: 1. not craving, 2. not being angry, and 3. not being deluded.

25. “There are another three things, which are known as unskillful practices: 1. Unskillful physical conduct, 2. unskillful verbal conduct, and 3. unskillful mental conduct.

26. “There are another three things, which are known as three unskillful practices: 1. Physical unskillful conduct, 2. verbal unskillful conduct, and 3. mental unskillful conduct.

27. “There are another three things, which are three bad practices: Physical bad conduct, verbal bad conduct, and mental bad conduct.

28. “There are another three things, which are three good practices: Physical good conduct, verbal good conduct, and mental good conduct.

29. “There are another three things, which are three unskillful perceptions: Perceptions of desire, perceptions of anger, and perceptions of harmfulness.

30. “There are another three things, which are three good perceptions: Perceptions without desire, perceptions without anger, and perceptions without harmfulness.

31. “There are another three things, which are three unskillful intentions: Intentions of desire, intentions of anger, and intentions of harmfulness.

32. “There are another three things, which are three good intentions: Intentions without desire, intentions without anger, and intentions without harmfulness.

33. “There are another three things, which are three meritorious acts: The act of giving, act of impartiality, and act of contemplation.

34. “There are another three things, which are three feelings: Pleasant feelings, painful feelings, and neither pleasant nor painful feelings.

35. “There are another three things, which are three cravings: Craving for desires, craving for existence, and craving for non-existence.

36. “There are another three things, which are three contaminations: Contaminants of desire, contaminants of existence, and contaminants of ignorance.

37. “There are another three things, which are three fires: The fire of desire, fire of anger, and fire of delusion.

38. “There are another three things, which are three pursuits: The pursuit of desire, pursuit of existence, and pursuit of the religious life.

39. “There are another three things, which are three growths: The growth of self, growth of the world, and growth of Dharma.

40. “There are another three things, which are three elements: The element of desire, element of anger, and element of harmfulness.

41. “There are another three things, which are three elements: The element of escape, element lacking anger, and element lacking harmfulness.

42. “There are another three things, which are three elements: Element of form, element of formlessness, and element of cessation.

43. “There are another three things, which are three categories: The category of precepts, category of concentration, and category of wisdom.

44. “There are another three things, which are three precepts: The growth of precepts, growth of mind, and growth of wisdom.

45. “There are another three things, which are three samādhis: The samādhi of emptiness, samādhi of no aspirations, and samādhi of no [perceived] attributes.

46. “There are another three things, which are three attributes: The attribute of calm, attribute of diligence, and attribute of equanimity.

47. “There are another three things, which are three insights: The insight that’s the knowledge of one’s own past lives, the insight that’s the knowledge of the heavenly eye, and the insight that’s the knowledge of the contaminants being ended.

48. “There are another three things, which are three transformations: 1. The spiritual ability of transformation, 2. knowing another’s mind and explaining the teaching as they wish, and 3. teaching.

49. “There are another three things, which are three roots of desiring birth: 1. Being born as a human or god as a result of present desire, 2. being born in the Nirmāṇarati Heaven as a result of desiring transformation, and 3. being born in the Paranirmitavaśavartin Heaven because of desiring the transformation of others.

50. “There are another three things, which are three things that create comfort: 1. Happiness that arises from the natural accomplishments of sentient beings, such as when the Ābhāsvara gods are first born. 2. Some sentient beings consider thought to be pleasant and declare it ‘Good!’ like the Ābhāsvara gods. 3. Pleasure that’s attained from calmness like the Śubhakṛtsnā gods.

51. “There are another three things, which are three pains: The pain of conditioning, pain of pain, and pain of change.

52. “There are another three things, which are three faculties: The faculty of wanting to know what’s yet to be known, faculty of knowing, and faculty of having known.

53. “There are another three things, which are three temples: The noble temple, heavenly temple, and Brahma temple.

54. “There are another three things, which are three issuances [of rebuke]: Issuance regarding what’s seen, issuance regarding what’s heard, and issuance regarding doubts.

55. “There are another three things, which are three discussions. There are discussions such as: ‘The past had such events as these.’ There are discussions such as: ‘The future will have such events as these.’ There are discussions such as: ‘The present has such events as these.’

56. “There are another three things, which are three categories: The category of right samādhi, category of wrong samādhi, and the category of what’s not samādhi.

57. “There are another three things, which are three sorrows: Physical sorrow, verbal sorrow, and mental sorrow.

58. “There are another three things, which are three seniorities: Seniority in years, seniority in Dharma, and seniority in accomplishment.

59. “There are another three things, which are three eyes: The flesh eye, heavenly eye, and wisdom eye.

60. “Monks, these are the correct teachings taught by the Tathāgata that we ought to compile together to safeguard them from dispute, establish the religious life for a long time, and benefit many people so gods and people will obtain peace.

Sets of Four

61. “Monks, the Tathāgata has taught four correct things, which are four verbal bad practices: 1. False speech, 2. duplicity, 3. harsh speech, and 4. frivolous speech.

62. “There are another four things, which are four verbal good practices: 1. Truthful speech, 2. gentle speech, 3. speech that isn’t frivolous, and 4. speech that isn’t duplicitous.

63. “There are another four things, which are four ignoble kinds of speech: Claiming to have seen what wasn’t seen, claiming to have heard what wasn’t heard, claiming to have perceived what wasn’t perceived, and claiming to have known what wasn’t known.

64. “There are another four things, which are four noble kinds of speech: Claiming to have seen what was seen, claiming to have heard what was heard, claiming to have perceived what was perceived, and claiming to have known what was known.

65. “There are another four things, which are four kinds of food: physical food, food of contact, food of thought, and food of consciousness.

66. “There are another four things, which are four feelings. Doing something painful in the present and later feeling pain as a result. Doing something painful in the present and later feeling pleasure as a result. Doing something pleasant in the present and later feeling something painful as a result. Doing something pleasant in the present and feeling pleasure as a result.

67. “There are another four things, which are four acquisitions: Acquisition of desire, acquisition of self, acquisition of precepts, and acquisition of views.

68. “There are another four things, which are four fetters: Fettering oneself with craving, fettering oneself with anger, fettering oneself with misapplied precepts,[3] and fettering oneself with self view.

69. “There are another four things, which are four thorns: The thorn of desire, thorn of anger, thorn of views, and thorn of arrogance.

70. “There are another four things, which are four births: Birth from an egg, birth from a womb, birth from moisture, and spontaneous birth.

71. “There are another four things, which are four abodes of mindfulness. [1] Here, a monk observes internal body as body diligently and not negligently. He’s mindful, not forgetful, and casts off worldly craving and sadness … observes external body as body diligently and not negligently. He’s mindful, not forgetful, and casts off worldly craving and sadness … observes internal and external body as body diligently and not negligently. He’s mindful, not forgetful, and casts off worldly craving and sadness. He observes [2] feelings, [3] mind, and [4] principles in the same way.

72. “There are another four things, which are four mental abandonments. Here, a monk applies effort to make bad qualities that have yet to arise to not arise … applies effort to make bad qualities that have arisen to cease … applies effort to make good qualities that have yet to arise to arise … applies effort to make good qualities that have arisen to increase.

73. “There are another four things, which are four miraculous abilities. [1] Here, a monk contemplates the samādhi of desire and accomplishes the practice of cessation. [2] The samādhi of effort, [3] samādhi of mind, and [3] samādhi of contemplation are likewise.

74. “There are another four things, which are four dhyānas. Here, a monk rids himself of desire and bad and unskillful things. With perception and contemplation, this seclusion gives rise to joy and happiness, and he enters the first dhyāna. He ceases having perception and contemplation. With inner belief and unified mind, he has no perception or contemplation. His concentration gives rise to joy and happiness, and he enters the second dhyāna. Parting with joy, he cultivates equanimity, mindfulness, and effort, knowing his own happiness is what’s sought by the noble ones. Mindful, detached, and happy, he enters the third dhyāna. Parting with painful and pleasant formations, his previous sorrow and joy ceases. Neither discomforted nor happy, he’s detached, mindful, and pure, and he enters the fourth dhyāna.

75. “There are another four things, which are four Brahma temples: 1. Kindness, 2. compassion, 3. joy, and 4. equanimity.

76. “There are another four things, which are four formless samādhis. [1] Here, a monk goes beyond all perception of form, and all his previous perceptions of anger. Not being mindful of different perceptions, he contemplates the abode of measureless emptiness. [2] Abandoning the abode of emptiness, he enters the abode of consciousness. [3] Abandoning the abode of consciousness, he enters the abode of nothingness. [4] Abandoning the abode of nothingness, he enters the abode with and without perception.

77. “There are another four things, which are four foundations of Dharma: The Dharma foundation of not craving, Dharma foundation of not being angry, Dharma foundation of right mindfulness, and Dharma foundation of right samādhi. [4]

78. “There are another four things, which are four noble clans. [1] Here, a monk is satisfied with his clothing. He isn’t pleased with obtaining fine clothes and isn’t saddened when having ugly clothes. He isn’t defiled or attached, knows what shouldn’t be done, and knows the way to the escape. He’s diligent and not negligent about these rules and accomplishes these things without fault or loss. He also teaches people to accomplish these things. This is the first of the noble clan’s way of satisfied living. From the past until the present, he’s never troubled. It’s impossible for gods like Māra or Brahmā, ascetics and priests, or spirits and worldly people to reproach him. He’s satisfied in the same way regarding [2] meals, [3] bedding, and [4] medicines for illness.

79. “There are another four things, which are four principles of cooperation: Bestowing gifts, affectionate speech, benefiting others, and sharing benefits equally.

80. “There are another four things, which are four factors of stream entry: [1] A monk attains an unbreakable faith in the Buddha … [2] in the Dharma … [3] in the Saṅgha, and [4] attains an unbreakable faith in the precepts.

81. “There are another four things, which are four proofs: The proof of seeing forms, proof of the body’s cessation, proof of recollecting past lives, and proof of knowing the contaminants are ended.

82. “There are another four things, which are four paths: That obtained slowly with hardship, that obtained quickly with hardship, that obtained slowly and pleasantly, and that obtained quickly and pleasantly.

83. “There are another four things, which are four noble truths: The noble truth of suffering, noble truth of suffering’s formation, noble truth of suffering’s cessation, and noble truth of the escape from suffering.

84. “There are another four things, which are four fruits of an ascetic: The fruit of stream entry, fruit of once-returning, fruit of non-returning, and fruit of the arhat.

85. “There are another four things, which are four bases: The basis of truth, basis of generosity, basis of knowledge, and basis of calm.

86. “There are another four things, which are four knowledges: Dharma knowledge, knowledge not yet known, full knowledge, and knowledge of other people’s minds.

87. “There are another four things, which are four eloquences: Dharma eloquence, eloquence of meaning, eloquence of admonishment, and eloquence of advice.

88. “There are another four things, which are four abiding places of consciousness: [1] Consciousness abides in form, is conditioned by form, remains in form, and grows together with craving. [2] Feeling, [3] perception, and [4] volition are likewise.

89. “There are another four things, which are four yokes: The yoke of desire, yoke of existence, yoke of views, and yoke of ignorance.

90. “There are another four things, which are four absent yokes: The absence of the yoke of desire, absence of the yoke of existence, absence of the yoke of views, and absence of the yoke of ignorance.

91. “There are another four things, which are four purities: Purity of precepts, purity of mind, purity of views, and purity of going beyond doubt.

92. “There are another four things, which are four recognitions: Recognizing what’s acceptable and accepting it, recognizing what’s practicable and practicing it, recognizing what’s enjoyable and enjoying it, and recognizing what’s rejectable and rejecting it.

93. “There are another four things, which are four postures: Recognizing what’s walkable and walking, recognizing where one can stand and standing, recognizing what can be sat on and sitting, and recognizing what can be laid upon and lying down.

94. “There are another four things, which are four contemplations: Contemplation of a little, contemplation of what’s broad, contemplation of what’s measureless, and contemplation of nothingness.

95. “There are another four things, which are four explanations: Definite explanation, analytical explanation, explanation by questioning, and explanation by setting it aside.

96. “There are another four things, which are four things the Buddha doesn’t guard against: [1] The Tathāgata’s physical conduct is pure and lacking any contamination he could guard himself against. [2] His verbal conduct is pure, [3] mental conduct is pure, and [4] his livelihood is pure in the same way.

97. “Monks, these are the correct teachings taught by the Tathāgata that we ought to compile together to safeguard them from dispute, establish the religious life for a long time, and benefit many people so gods and people will obtain peace.

Sets of Five

98. “Moreover, monks, the Tathāgata has taught five correct things, which are five senses: The eye and images, ear and sounds, nose and odors, tongue and flavors, and body and touches.

99. “There are another five things, which are five acquired aggregates: The acquired aggregate of form … feeling … perception … volition, and the acquired aggregate of consciousness.

100. “There are another five things, which are five hindrances: The hindrance of desire, hindrance of anger, hindrance of sleepiness, hindrance of agitation, and hindrance of doubt.

101. “There are another five things, which are five lower bonds: The bond of personality view, bond of misapplied precepts, bond of doubt, bond of desire, and bond of anger.

102. “There are another five things, which are five higher bonds: Craving of form, craving of formlessness, ignorance, pride, and agitation.

103. “There are another five things, which are five faculties: The faculty of faith, faculty of effort, faculty of mindfulness, faculty of samādhi, and faculty of wisdom.

104. “There are another five things, which are five powers: Power of faith, power of effort, power of mindfulness, power of samādhi, and power of wisdom.

105. “There are another five things, which are the five factors of complete cessation: 1. A monk believes in the Buddha, Tathāgata, Arhat, and Completely Awakened One who perfected the ten epithets, 2. lacks illness and is physically healthy, 3. is honest, lacks any deception, and heads down the Tathāgata’s clear path to nirvāṇa, 4. focuses his mind so that he’s not confused, retains the recitations, and doesn’t forget them, and 5. is skilled in observing the arising and perishing of things and ends the root of suffering with the noble practice.

106. “There are another five things, which are five issuances [of rebuke]: Untimely issuance, false issuance, meaningless issuance, issuance of vain words, and unkind issuance.

107. “There are another five things, which are five skillful issuances [of rebuke]: timely issuance, true issuance, meaningful issuance, issuance with gentle words, and kind issuance.

108. “There are another five things, which are five hatreds: Hatred of a residence, hatred of a donor, hatred of profit, hatred of form, and hatred of teachings.

109. “There are another five things, which are five ways to head for liberation: 1. The perception of the body’s impurity, 2. perception of food’s impurity, 3. perception that all formations are impermanent, 4. perception that all worlds are unpleasing, and 5. perception of death.

110. “There are another five things, which are five spheres of escape: [1] A monk doesn’t enjoy, isn’t moved by, and doesn’t stay near desires. He’s only mindful of escaping them, enjoys seclusion, and befriends those who aren’t indolent. His mind is flexible, leaving and parting with desire and what causes the desires that produce the web of contaminants. He also ends, abandons, and ceases them to attain liberation. This is the escape from desire. [2] The escape from anger, [3] escape from jealousy, [4] escape from form, and [5] escape from personality view are likewise.

111. “There are another five things, which are five kinds of joy from entering liberation: If a monk is diligent and not negligent, happily lives in seclusion, focuses his attention, and unifies his mind, he’ll understand what he doesn’t yet understand, end what he hasn’t yet ended, and become peaceful where he isn’t yet peaceful. What are the five? [1] Here, a monk hears the Tathāgata teach the Dharma, hears a religious practitioner teach it, or hears a senior teacher teach the Dharma. He contemplates, investigates, and discerns the meaning of that Dharma, and his mind becomes joyous. After his mind becomes joyous, he attains love of Dharma. After he attains love of Dharma, he’s comfortable in body and mind. After he’s comfortable in body and mind, then he attains the samādhi of dhyāna. After he attains the samādhi of dhyāna, he attains true knowing and seeing. This is the first way to enter liberation.

112. “[2] Here, after a monk hears Dharma and rejoices, he accepts, retains, and recites it … [3] rejoices and teaches it for other people … [4] rejoices, contemplates, and discerns it … [5] rejoices and attains samādhi regarding the Dharma in the same way.

113. “There are another five things, which are five people: Those whose parinirvāṇa is in the interim, whose parinirvāṇa is at birth, whose parinirvāṇa is without practice, whose parinirvāṇa is with practice, and whose parinirvāṇa is upstream in Akaniṣṭha.

114. “Monks, these are the correct teachings taught by the Tathāgata that we ought to compile together to safeguard them from dispute, establish the religious life for a long time, and benefit many people so gods and people will obtain peace.

Sets of Six

115. “Moreover, monks, the Tathāgata has taught six correct things, which are six inner senses: The eye sense, ear sense, nose sense, tongue sense, body sense, and mind sense.

116. “There are another six things, which are six outer senses: The sense of images, sense of sounds, sense of odors, sense of flavors, sense of touches, and sense of notions.

117. “There are another six things, which are the six groups of consciousness: The group of visual consciousness … auditory … olfactory … gustatory … somatic, and group of mental consciousness.

118. “There are another six things, which are six groups of contact: The group of visual contact … auditory … olfactory … gustatory … somatic, and group of mental contact.

119. “There are another six things, which are six groups of feeling: The group of visual feeling … auditory … olfactory … gustatory … somatic, and group of mental feeling.

120. “There are another six things, which are six groups of perception: The group of image perception … sound … odor … flavor … touch, and group of notion perception.

121. “There are another six things, which are six groups of intention: The group of image intention … sound … odor … flavor … touch, and group of notion intention.

122. “There are another six things, which are six groups of craving: The group of image craving … sound … odor … flavor … touch, and group of notion craving.

123. “There are another six things, which are six sources of conflict: [1] If a monk is extremely angry and doesn’t let it go, he doesn’t respect the Tathāgata, doesn’t respect the Dharma, and doesn’t respect the Saṅgha. His precepts are breached, and he’s defiled and impure. When he creates many conflicts in the Saṅgha, he’s disliked by people, disrupts the pure assembly, and gods and people don’t attain peace.

124. “Monks, you must look within yourselves. If you find resentments like those that are disruptive, you must gather as a unified assembly and employ broad methods to root out these sources of conflict. Moreover, you must focus your attention and observe yourselves. If the bond of resentment has ceased, you should employ methods to restrain your minds. Don’t let it arise again.

125. “Monks, [2] wayward dishonesty, [3] stingy jealousy, [4] fraud and falsehoods, [5] not abandoning mistakes because of one’s own views, and [6] being deluded by wrong and extreme views are likewise.

126. “There are another six things, which are six elements: The earth element, fire element, water element, air element, space element, and consciousness element.

127. “There are another six things, which are six observations: The eye observing forms, ear observing sounds, nose … odors … tongue … flavors … body … touches … mind observing notions.

128. “There are another six things, which are six spheres of escape: [1] Suppose a monk makes this statement: ‘I cultivate kindness, and then I become angry.’ The other monks say, ‘Don’t say that! Don’t misrepresent the Tathāgata. The Tathāgata doesn’t make the statement, “Wishing to cultivate the liberation of kindness, the perception of anger then arises.” That’s impossible! The Buddha says, “Once anger is gone, then you’ll become kind afterward.”’

129. “Suppose a monk says, [2] ‘I practice the liberation of compassion, and I become hateful … [3] practice the liberation of joy, and I become grief-stricken … [4] practice the liberation of equanimity, and I either dislike or love … [5] cultivate the practice of non-self, and I become suspicious … [6] cultivate the practice without perception, and I perceive many distractions.’ These cases are likewise.

130. “There are another six things, which are six unsurpassed things: Vision that’s unsurpassed, learning that’s unsurpassed, support that’s unsurpassed, precepts that are unsurpassed, respect that’s unsurpassed, and memory that’s unsurpassed.

131. “There are another six things, which are six recollections: Recollection of the Buddha, recollection of the Dharma, recollection of the Saṅgha, recollection of precepts, recollection of generosity, and recollection of the gods.

132. “Monks, these are the correct teachings taught by the Tathāgata that we ought to compile together to safeguard them from dispute, establish the religious life for a long time, and benefit many people so gods and people will obtain peace.

Sets of Seven

133. “Monks, the Tathāgata has taught seven correct things, which are seven things that aren’t Dharma: Lack of faith, lack of conscience, lack of modesty, little learning, negligence, forgetfulness, and lack of knowledge.

134. “There are another seven things, which are seven correct Dharmas: Having faith, having conscience, having modesty, being well-versed, making effort, good memory, and being knowledgeable.

135. “There are another seven things, which are seven abodes of consciousness. [1] Sometimes, sentient beings have either diverse bodies or diverse perceptions. These gods and humans are the first abode of consciousness. [2] Sometimes, sentient beings might have diverse bodies but the same perception. When the Brahmas of the Ābhāsvara Heaven are first born there, that’s the second abode of consciousness. [3] Sometimes, sentient beings have the same bodies but might have diverse perceptions. These Ābhāsvara gods are the third abode of consciousness. [4] Sometimes, sentient beings have same bodies and the same perceptions. These Śubhakṛtsnā gods are the fourth abode of consciousness. [5] Sometimes, sentient beings dwell in the abode of emptiness … [6] dwell in the abode of consciousness … [7] dwell in the abode of nothingness.

136. “There are another seven things, which are seven ways of diligence: 1. A monk is diligent in practicing the precepts, 2. diligently ceases his desires, 3. diligently refutes wrong views, 4. diligently learns much, 5. diligently makes effort, 6. is diligent in correct mindfulness, and 7. diligent in meditation.

137. “There are another seven things, which are seven perceptions: The perception of impurity, perception of food’s impurity, perception that all the world is not pleasing, perception of death, perception of impermanence, perception of the pain of impermanence, and perception of the lack of self in pain.

138. “There are another seven things, which are seven requisites of samādhi: Right view, right intention, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right method, and right mindfulness.

139. “There are another seven things, which are seven factors of awakening: The awakening factor of mindfulness, awakening factor of teachings, awakening factor of effort, awakening factor of joy, awakening factor of calm, awakening factor of samādhi, and awakening factor of equanimity.

140. “Monks, these are the correct teachings taught by the Tathāgata that we ought to compile together to safeguard them from dispute, establish the religious life for a long time, and benefit many people so gods and people will obtain peace.

Sets of Eight

141. “Monks, the Tathāgata has taught eight correct things, which are eight rules of the world: Profit, decline, censure, praise, admiration, blame, pain, and pleasure.

142. “There are another eight things, which are right liberations: Form observed as form is the first liberation. Observing form externally without an internal perception of form is the second liberation. The liberation of purity is the third liberation. Going beyond perception of forms, ceasing perceptions of anger, and abiding in the abode of emptiness is the fourth liberation. Going beyond the abode of emptiness 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 perception is the seventh liberation. Going beyond the abode with and without perception and abiding in the cessation of perception and recognition is the eighth liberation.

143. “There are another eight things which are the eightfold noble path: Right view, right intention, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right method, right mindfulness, and right samādhi.

144. “There are another eight things, which are eight persons: Those headed for stream entry and stream entrants, those headed for once-returning and once-returners, those headed for non-returning and non-returners, and those headed to becoming arhats and arhats.

145. “Monks, these are the correct teachings taught by the Tathāgata that we ought to compile together to safeguard them from dispute, establish the religious life for a long time, and benefit many people so gods and people will obtain peace.

A Set of Nine

146. “There’s another nine things, which are nine abodes of sentient beings. Some sentient beings have diverse bodies and diverse perceptions. These gods and humans are the first abode of sentient beings. Some sentient beings have diverse bodies but the same perception. 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 perceptions. This Ābhāsvara Heaven is the third abode of sentient beings. Some sentient beings have the same body and the same perception. This Śubhakṛtsnā Heaven is the fourth abode of sentient beings. Lacking perception or anything to feel or recognize, the Asāṃjñika Heaven is the fifth abode of sentient beings. Some sentient beings dwell in the abode of emptiness, which is the sixth abode of sentient beings. Some sentient beings dwell in the abode of consciousness, which is the seventh abode of sentient beings. Some sentient beings dwell in the abode of nothingness, which is the eighth abode of sentient beings. Some sentient beings dwell in the abode with and without perception, which is the ninth abode of sentient beings.

147. “Monks, these are the correct teachings taught by the Tathāgata that we ought to compile together to safeguard them from dispute, establish the religious life for a long time, and benefit many people so gods and people will obtain peace.

A Set of Ten

148. “Monks, the Tathāgata has taught ten correct things, which are ten ways of having nothing more to learn: Having nothing more to learn about right view … right intention … right speech … right action … right livelihood … right mindfulness … right method … right samādhi … right knowledge … right liberation.

149. “Monks, these are the correct teachings taught by the Tathāgata that we ought to compile together to safeguard them from dispute, establish the religious life for a long time, and benefit many people so gods and people will obtain peace.

150. At that point, the Bhagavān gave his approval of what Śāriputra had taught. When the monks heard what Śāriputra taught, they rejoiced and approved.

Notes

  1. The direct parallels for this sutra are DN 33 and T 12. We should also note that there’s substantial overlap with DN 34, DĀ 10, DĀ 11, and T13. All of these sutras collect teachings into a numerically organized list. [back]
  2. All sentient beings are reborn as a result of their actions. Ch. 一切眾生皆由行往. There is an alternate reading of this line in the Ming edition that substitutes 住 for 往, which would indeed more closely match Skt. sarvasatvāḥ saṃskārasthāyinaḥ. The Japanese translators chose to amend the Taisho here, but I’m less convinced given how often DĀ diverges from later Skt. and P. sources. If I were to amend 往 to 住, the passage would read “All sentient beings abide as a result of their actions.” The difference is not great; both readings point to the conditioned genesis of beings. [back]
  3. Misapplied precepts. Literally, the Chinese reads “thief of precepts” (戒盜). [back]
  4. foundations. The Chinese translates Skt. pada literally as “foot,” but it’s likely a figurative expression for a support like the individual legs of a chair. [back]

Translator: Charles Patton

Last Revised: 2 July 2021