The Numerical Discourses
Chapter 10: The Guarded Mind
1. No Pride
1. Thus I have heard: One time, the Buddha was staying at Anāthapiṇḍada’s Park in Jeta’s Grove of Śrāvastī.
2. It was then that the Bhagavān addressed the monks, “One should cultivate one thing and disseminate one thing. Having cultivated one thing and disseminated one thing, they’ll attain spiritual knowledge, pacify their conditioned thinking, attain the fruits of the ascetic, and reach the abode of Nirvāṇa. What’s that one thing? It’s the practice of carefulness. What is the practice of carefulness? It’s guarding the mind. And what is guarding the mind?
3. “Here, a monk always guards his mind against being contaminated and contaminating things. When he guards his mind against being contaminated and contaminating things, then he’ll feel comfortable around contaminating things. He’ll also become confident, remain unmoved, keep his thinking focused, and encourage himself.
4. “Thus, monks, his practice is careful and he’s always cautious with himself. Then, the contaminants of desire that have yet to arise don’t arise, and the contaminants of desire that have arisen can cease. The contaminants of existence that have yet to arise don’t arise, and the contaminants of existence that have arisen can cease. The contaminants of ignorance that have yet to arise don’t arise, and the contaminants of ignorance that have arisen can cease.
5. While practicing that carefulness, a monk secludes himself in a quiet place, and he’s constantly aware of himself and explores himself. He’s freed from thoughts contaminated by desire and freed from thoughts contaminated by existence and ignorance. Once he’s freed from them, he attains knowledge of that liberation: ‘Birth and death has been ended, the religious life has been established, and the task has been accomplished. I truly know that I won’t be subject to another existence.’”
6. The Bhagavān then spoke in verse:
- “The path of sweet dew lacks pride;
Carelessness is the road of death.
Without pride, one doesn’t die,
While the prideful do die.
7. “Therefore, monks, one must mindfully cultivate the practice of carefulness. Thus, monks, you should train yourselves.”
8. When the monks heard what the Buddha taught, they rejoiced and approved.
- This sūtra and the next are similar to Iti 23, but the Pali sutta includes less context. [back]
- cultivate one thing … realm of Nirvāṇa. This passage is nearly verbatim the passage found in the introductions of EĀ 2.1-10. The main variation is that “dispel their confused ideas” (去衆亂想) has been replaced with “pacify their conditioned thinking” (諸行寂靜), and the “abode of Nirvāṇa” has become the “realm of Nirvāṇa” (S. nirvāṇadhātu). The former is repeated in the next sūtra, but the latter appears spurious. I’ve translated 諸行 with the prior passage in mind as “conditioned thinking” since it seems to be a synomym of “confused ideas” (亂想). Another possibility is that it refers to modes of conduct (e.g., mental, verbal, and physical). [back]
Translator: Charles Patton
Last Revised: 20 March 2023