Dharma Pearls

Translating Classical Buddhism to Modern English

The Medium Discourses

Chapter 7: King Dīrghāyu

76. [Ugracelā]

1. Thus I have heard:[1] One time, the Buddha traveled to [Ugracelā] and stayed on the shore of Gaṅgā Lake.

2. It was then that a monk rose from sitting in reflection in the afternoon and went to the Buddha. He bowed his head at the Buddha’s feet, withdrew to sit to one side, and said, “Bhagavān, please teach for me the essentials of the Dharma. After hearing the teaching from the Bhagavān, I’ll live alone in seclusion, my mind will be without carelessness, and I’ll cultivate diligence. As a result of living alone in seclusion, my mind being without carelessness, and cultivating diligence, I’ll become a clansman who shaves off his beard and hair, puts on the reddish-brown robes, becomes faithful, leaves home, goes homeless, and trains on the path. When the unsurpassed religious practice is finished, then I’ll know and recognize for myself the accomplishment of self-realization in the present life: ‘Birth has been ended, the religious practice has been established, and the task has been accomplished.’ I’ll no longer be subject to existence and know it as it really is.”

3. The Bhagavān told him, “Monk, you should thus train: ‘Let my mind abide in an inner and unperturbed cultivation of measureless goodness.’ Again, contemplate the inner body as body, applying the utmost diligence. Establishing right mindfulness and right knowledge, well steer your own mind; make it free of greed and without grief.

4. “Again, contemplate the outer body as body, applying the utmost diligence. Establishing right mindfulness and right knowledge, well steer your own mind; make it free of greed and without grief.

5. “Again, contemplate the inner and outer body as body, applying the utmost diligence. Establishing right mindfulness and right knowledge, well steer your own mind; make it free of greed and without grief.

6. “Monk, according to these concentrations, when you depart and arrive, cultivate goodness. When you’re standing, sitting, lying, asleep, awake, and waking up, you should also cultivate it.

7. “Furthermore, you should cultivate concentration with perception and contemplation, concentration with no perception and some contemplation, and concentration without perception or contemplation. You should also cultivate concentration together with joy, concentration together with happiness, concentration together with concentration, and concentration together with equanimity.

8. “Monk, suppose you cultivate these concentrations and the utmost goodness. Monk, you should again contemplate inner feelings as feelings, applying the utmost diligence. Establishing right mindfulness and right knowledge, well steer your own mind; make it free of greed and without grief.

9. “Again, contemplate outer feelings as feelings, applying the utmost diligence. Establishing right mindfulness and right knowledge, well steer your own mind; make it free of greed and without grief.

10. “Again, contemplate inner and outer feelings as feelings, applying the utmost diligence. Establishing right mindfulness and right knowledge, well steer your own mind; make it free of greed and without grief.

11. “Monk, according to these concentrations, when you depart and arrive, cultivate goodness. When you’re standing, sitting, lying, asleep, awake, and waking up, you should also cultivate it.

12. “Furthermore, you should cultivate concentration with perception and contemplation, concentration with no perception and some contemplation, and concentration without perception or contemplation. You should also cultivate concentration together with joy, concentration together with happiness, concentration together with concentration, and concentration together with equanimity.

13. “Monk, suppose you cultivate these concentrations and the utmost goodness. Monk, you should again contemplate the inner mind as mind, applying the utmost diligence. Establishing right mindfulness and right knowledge, well steer your own mind; make it free of greed and without grief.

14. “Again, contemplate the outer mind as mind, applying the utmost diligence. Establishing right mindfulness and right knowledge, well steer your own mind; make it free of greed and without grief.

15. “Again, contemplate the inner and outer mind as mind, applying the utmost diligence. Establishing right mindfulness and right knowledge, well steer your own mind; make it free of greed and without grief.

16. “Monk, according to these concentrations, when you depart and arrive, cultivate goodness. When you’re standing, sitting, lying, asleep, awake, and waking up, you should also cultivate it.

17. “Furthermore, you should cultivate concentration with perception and contemplation, concentration with no perception and some contemplation, and concentration without perception or contemplation. You should also cultivate concentration together with joy, concentration together with happiness, concentration together with concentration, and concentration together with equanimity.

18. “Monk, suppose you cultivate these concentrations and the utmost goodness. Monk, you should again contemplate inner mental objects as mental objects, applying the utmost diligence. Establishing right mindfulness and right knowledge, well steer your own mind; make it free of greed and without grief.

19. “Again, contemplate outer mental objects as mental objects, applying the utmost diligence. Establishing right mindfulness and right knowledge, well steer your own mind; make it free of greed and without grief.

20. “Again, contemplate inner and outer mental objects as mental objects, applying the utmost diligence. Establishing right mindfulness and right knowledge, well steer your own mind; make it free of greed and without grief.

21. “Monk, according to these concentrations, when you depart and arrive, cultivate goodness. When you’re standing, sitting, lying, asleep, awake, and waking up, you should also cultivate it.

22. “Furthermore, you should cultivate concentration with perception and contemplation, concentration with no perception and some contemplation, and concentration without perception or contemplation. You should also cultivate concentration together with joy, concentration together with happiness, concentration together with concentration, and concentration together with equanimity.

23. “Monk, suppose you cultivate these concentrations of utmost goodness. Monk, you pervade one direction with your mind together with kindness. You do so in two, three, and four directions, the four counterpoints, and up and down. You completely pervade them all with their mind together with kindness without bondage, without enmity, without anger, and without quarrel. It’s broadly, greatly, and measurelessly well cultivated, and you accomplish the filling of the whole world. Thus, your mind together with compassion, joy, and equanimity is without bondage, without enmity, without anger, and without quarrel. It’s broadly, greatly, and measurelessly well cultivated, and you accomplish the filling of the whole world.

24. “Monk, suppose you cultivate these concentrations of utmost goodness. If you travel east, you’ll surely attain well-being and not have any distress. If you travel south, west, or north, you’ll surely attain well-being and not have any distress. Monk, if you cultivate these concentrations and the utmost goodness, then even if I did not say you abide in good qualities, how could I say they would decline? Day and night, those good qualities will only grow and not decline.

25. “Monk, if you cultivate these concentrations of utmost goodness, you’ll surely attain one of two fruits. You might attain ultimate knowledge in the present life, or you might instead become a non-returner with some remainder.”

26. Hearing what the Buddha taught, that monk well accepted and well retained it. He then rose from his seat, bowed his head at the Buddha’s feet, circled him three times, and left. Having accepted and retained the Buddha’s instructions, he went to live alone in seclusion, his mind was without carelessness, and he cultivated diligence. As a result of living alone in seclusion, his mind being without carelessness, and cultivating diligence, he became a clansman. He shaved off his beard and hair, put on the reddish-brown robes, became faithful, left home, went homeless, and trained on the path.

27. It was only when the unsurpassed religious practice was finished that he knew and recognized for himself the accomplishment of self-realization in the present life: ‘Birth has been ended, the religious practice has been established, and the task has been accomplished.’ He was no longer subject to existence and knew it as it really was. After knowing the Dharma, that venerable became an arhat.

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

Notes

  1. Parallels include AN 8.63 and SN 47.3. [Back]

Translator: Charles Patton

Last Revised: 14 September 2020