Dharma Pearls

Translating Classical Buddhism to Modern English

The Medium Discourses

51. The Origin

1. Thus I have heard:[1] One time, the Buddha traveled to the country of Śrāvastī and stayed at Anāthapiṇḍada Park in Jeta Grove.

2. It was then that the Bhagavān addressed the monks, “The origin of the craving for existence isn’t knowable. In the past, there was no craving for existence, but now the craving for existence has arisen, and it’s readily knowable what the cause of the craving for existence is.

3. “The craving for existence has its cultivation; it’s not without cultivation. What’s called the cultivation of the craving for existence?”

They answered, “Ignorance is its cultivation.”

4. “Ignorance also has its cultivation; it’s not without cultivation. What’s called the cultivation of ignorance?”

They answered, “The five hindrances are its cultivation.”

5. “The five hindrances also have their cultivation; they’re not without cultivation. What’s called the cultivation of the five hindrances?”

They answered, “The three bad conducts are their cultivation.”

6. “The three bad conducts also have their cultivation; they’re not without cultivation. What’s called the cultivation of the three bad conducts?”

They answered, “Unguarded faculties are their cultivation.”

7. “Unguarded faculties have their cultivation; they’re not without cultivation. What’s called the cultivation of unguarded faculties?”

They answered, “Incorrect mindfulness and incorrect knowledge are their cultivation.”

8. “Incorrect mindfulness and incorrect knowledge have their cultivation; they’re not without cultivation. What’s called the cultivation of incorrect mindfulness and incorrect knowledge?”

They answered, “Incorrect thinking is their cultivation.”

9. “Incorrect thinking has its cultivation; it’s not without cultivation. What’s called the cultivation of incorrect thinking?”

They answered, “Disbelief is its cultivation.”

10. “Disbelief has its cultivation; it’s not without cultivation. What’s called the cultivation of disbelief?”

They answered, “Hearing bad teachings is its cultivation.”

11. “Hearing bad teachings has its cultivation; it’s not without cultivation. What’s called the cultivation of hearing bad teachings?”

They answered, “Associating with bad friends is its cultivation.”

12. “Associating with bad friends has its cultivation; it’s not without cultivation. What’s called the cultivation of associating with bad friends?

They answered, “Bad people are its cultivation.”

13. “Having been endowed with bad people, one is readily endowed with association with bad friends. Having been endowed with association with bad friends, one is readily endowed with hearing bad teachings. Having heard bad teachings, one is readily endowed with disbelief. Having been endowed with the arising of disbelief, one is readily endowed with incorrect thinking. Having been endowed with incorrect thinking, one is readily endowed with incorrect mindfulness and incorrect knowledge. Having been endowed with incorrect mindfulness and incorrect knowledge, one is readily endowed with unguarded faculties. Having been endowed with unguarded faculties, one is readily endowed with the three bad conducts. Having been endowed with the three bad conducts, one is readily endowed with the five hindrances. Having been endowed with the five hindrances, one is readily endowed with ignorance. Having been endowed with ignorance, one is readily endowed with the craving for existence. Thus, this craving for existence develops and becomes fully formed.

14. “Insight and liberation [487c] also have their cultivation; they’re not without cultivation. What’s called the cultivation of insight and liberation?”

They answered, “The seven factors of awakening are their cultivation.”

15. “The seven factors of awakening also have their cultivation; they’re not without cultivation. What’s called the cultivation of the seven factors of awakening?”

They answered, “The four abodes of mindfulness are their cultivation.”

16. “The four abodes of mindfulness also have their cultivation; they’re not without cultivation. What’s called the cultivation of the four abodes of mindfulness?”

They answered, “The three marvelous conducts are their cultivation.”

17. “The three marvelous conducts also have their cultivation; they’re not without cultivation. What’s called the cultivation of the three marvelous conducts?”

They answered, “Guarded faculties are their cultivation.”

18. “Guarded faculties also have their cultivation; they’re not without cultivation. What’s called the cultivation of guarded faculties?”

They answered, “Right mindfulness and right knowledge are their cultivation.”

19. “Right mindfulness and right knowledge also have their cultivation; they’re not without cultivation. What’s called the cultivation of right mindfulness and right knowledge?”

They answered, “Right thinking is their cultivation.”

20. “Right thinking also has its cultivation; it’s not without cultivation. What’s called the cultivation of right thinking?”

They answered, “Faith is its cultivation.”

21. “Faith has its cultivation; it’s not without cultivation. What’s called the cultivation of faith?”

They answered, “Hearing the good teaching is its cultivation.”

22. “Hearing the good teaching also has its cultivation; it’s not without cultivation. What’s called the cultivation of hearing the good teaching?”

They answered, “Associating with good friends is its cultivation.”

23. “Associating with good friends also has its cultivation; it’s not without cultivation. What’s called the cultivation of associating with good friends?”

They answered, “Good people are its cultivation.”

24. “Having been endowed with good people, one is readily endowed with association with good friends. Having been endowed with association with good friends, one is readily endowed with hearing the good teaching. Having heard the good teaching, one is readily endowed with faith. Having been endowed with the arising of faith, one is readily endowed with right thinking. Having been endowed with right thinking, one is readily endowed with right mindfulness and right knowledge. Having been endowed with right mindfulness and right knowledge, one is readily endowed with guarded faculties. Having been endowed with guarded faculties, one is readily endowed with the three marvelous conducts. Having been endowed with the three marvelous conducts, one is readily endowed with the four abodes of mindfulness. Having been endowed with the four abodes of mindfulness, one is readily endowed with the seven factors of awakening. Having been endowed with the seven factors of awakening, one is readily endowed with insight and liberation. Thus, this insight and liberation develops and becomes fully formed.”

25. The Buddha spoke thus. Those monks who had heard what the Buddha taught rejoiced and approved.

Notes

  1. Parallels include AN 10.62. [Back]

Translator: Charles Patton

Last Revised: 14 September 2020