The Wings to Awakening

PART III D. CONCENTRATION: ABANDONING THE HINDRANCES

Several discourses in the Canon [such as D.2] state that the first step in concentration practice is to abandon the five hindrances, which we have already discussed in conjunction with the seven factors of Awakening [II/G]. They are: sensual desire, ill will, sloth and drowsiness, restlessness and anxiety, and uncertainty. These hindrances need to be abandoned because they function as intermediate levels of the three roots of unskillfulness [3]. Sensual desire is a form of greed; ill will, a form of aversion; and the remaining three hindrances, forms of delusion. All five, in their various ways, block concentration and weaken discernment by making it difficult to realize what is beneficial for oneself, for others, or for both. This last point makes them particularly tricky to deal with, for one needs to have a sense that they are unbeneficial states of mind before one can work at abandoning them, yet while one is overcome with them, they impair one's ability to see that they are in fact unbeneficial [133]. For instance, when one feels sensual desire for another person, it is hard to focus on the unattractive side of that person or on the drawbacks of the desire itself. Similarly, when one feels anger, it is hard not to feel that the anger is justified; when one feels sleepy, it is hard not to feel that one should get some sleep; when one is worried, it is hard not to believe that one needs to worry, and so forth.

Although the hindrances cannot be totally relinquished prior to the various stages of Awakening, they can be lessened on a preliminary level to the point where the mind can settle down in jhana. This preliminary level is the focus of the passages in this section. Passage 159 lists five methods for dealing with unskillful thoughts in the course of meditation. The passages included in this section focus almost exclusively on using the first two of those methods-replacing the unskillful thoughts with skillful ones, and contemplating the drawbacks of the unskillful thoughts until one feel repulsed by them-so as to escape from the power of any hindrances that have overcome the mind. Examples of the first method include focusing on the unattractive side of any sensual object to which one may be attracted [30, 140, 142]; focusing on the good qualities of a person who has aroused thoughts of ill will [144]; focusing on the foolishness of expecting all people to act in line with one's wants [145]; and changing one's object of concentration when finding that the current object is inducing sleepiness [147]. Examples of the second method include realizing that the hindrance is placing the mind in a state of bondage and limitation [134, 137-138], and that one can find freedom only by releasing oneself from its power. In practice, these are not the only ways of applying these two general approaches. The examples in the texts can act as inspiration for any similar techniques that a meditator might devise to obtain the desired effect.

To escape the double bind mentioned above-the fact that the hindrances blind one to one's own true best interests, and yet one needs to see those true interests if one is to overcome the hindrances-one must depend on all five faculties as one has been able to develop them. Conviction is needed so that one will listen to the advice of those who point out the drawbacks of the hindrances. A certain momentum of persistence, as right exertion, is needed so that one will make the effort to abandon the hindrance as soon as one is aware that it has arisen and before it grows into anything stronger. Mindfulness, based on the frames of reference, is needed so that one can be alert to the arising of the hindrances and can remember why they should be abandoned in the first place. This mindfulness can be strengthened by remembering the teachings of others who have pointed out the drawbacks of the hindrances-the many similes for the hindrances given in passages 131-134 and 138 serve the purpose of keeping those memories vivid. It can also be strengthened by remembering the drawbacks of the hindrances as encountered in one's own personal experience: the damage that has come when another person has given in to them, and the things that one regrets having done oneself when under their influence.

Because preliminary levels of concentration and discernment are present in right exertion and the practice of the frames of reference, these faculties play a role in abandoning the hindrances as well. As they develop strength, they make one more and more skilled in cutting off the hindrances as effectively as possible. The seven factors of Awakening, which are developed in concentration, act as direct antidotes to the hindrances [76], while discernment-combined with concentrated mindfulness-helps in mastering what is probably the most effective tool for not being fooled by the hindrances: the ability to separate the hindrance, as an act of the mind, from its object. For instance, discernment makes one able to see the feeling of sensual desire as one thing, and the object of the desire as something separate. This ability is crucial in a number of ways. To begin with, it helps separate the positive qualities of the object from the act of desiring the object, so that one does not confuse the two. The tendency to confuse the two is what makes it hard to see the drawbacks of the desire when it is present in the mind, and at the same time, serves to harden the mind in general against the Buddha's admonishments against sensuality.

There is a widespread feeling that Buddhism gives an unfair valuation of sensuality and is blind to the positive beauties of sensual objects, but this is simply not true. The Buddha admitted that sensual objects have their beauty and can give a measure of satisfaction [M.13]. He pointed out, however, that the beauty of an object is not the whole story, for all beautiful objects must decay. If one's happiness is based on them, that happiness is in for a fall. More importantly, though, the Buddha defined sensuality not as the objects of the senses, but as the passion and delight that one feels for such objects [A.VI.63; MFU, p. 53]. Although the objects of the senses are neither good nor evil per se, the act of passion and delight forms a bond on the mind, disturbing its immediate peace and ensuring its continued entrapment in the round of rebirth and redeath. Only by separating the desire from its object can one directly perceive the truth of these teachings.

This point applies to the other hindrances as well. For instance, when one can separate the object of one's anger from the anger itself as a mental event, one can see the obvious drawbacks of allowing anger to take over the mind.

In addition, the ability to separate the act from its object enables one to become sensitive to the act before it becomes overpowering, at the same time allowing one to regard it simply as a mental quality in and of itself. One can then engage in the practice outlined in 30-that of observing the coming and going of the hindrances as one tries to bring the mind to concentration. In this way, one eventually becomes so familiar with the patterns underlying their occurrence that one can undercut them and eliminate them from the mind for good. Passage 137 gives an example of one of the patterns that one will see when sensual desire arises: sexual attraction for another person begins with a sense of attraction for one's own sexuality. Passage 96, in a more abstract fashion, lists other patterns of mind that feed the hindrances. By perceiving such patterns, one can take one's analysis of the roots of unskillfulness in the mind to ever more subtle levels. In this way, the skill of being able to abandon the hindrances will go beyond simply the preliminary level of concentration practice, exercising all five of the faculties to the point where they issue in Awakening.


131. These are the five hindrances and obstructions that overcome awareness and weaken discernment. Which five? Sensual desire is a hindrance and obstruction that overcomes awareness and weakens discernment. Ill will... Sloth and drowsiness...Restlessness and anxiety...Uncertainty is a hindrance and obstruction that overcomes awareness and weakens discernment....

Suppose there were a river, flowing down from the mountains, going far, its current swift, carrying everything with it: If a man were to open watercourses leading off from both sides, the current in the middle of the river would be interrupted, diverted, and dispersed. The river would not go far, its current would not be swift, and it would not carry everything with it. In the same way, if a monk has not rid himself of these five hindrances...there is no possibility that he can know what is for his own benefit, or the benefit of others, or both, or that he should come to realize a superior human attainment, a truly noble knowledge and vision....

But suppose there were a river, flowing down from the mountains, going far, its current swift, carrying everything with it: If a man were to close off the watercourses leading off from both sides, the current in the middle of the river would not be interrupted, diverted, or dispersed. The river would go far, its current swift, carrying everything with it. In the same way, if a monk has rid himself of these five hindrances...there is the possibility that he can know what is for his own benefit, or the benefit of others, or both, and that he should come to realize a superior human attainment, a truly noble knowledge and vision.
A.V.51

132. When gold is debased by these five impurities, it is not pliant, malleable, or luminous. It is brittle and not ready to be worked. Which five? Iron, copper, tin, lead, and silver....But when gold is not debased by these five impurities, it is pliant, malleable, and luminous. It is not brittle and is ready to be worked. Then whatever sort of ornament one has in mind-whether a belt, an earring, a necklace, or a gold chain-it would serve one's purpose.

In the same way, when the mind is debased by these five impurities, it is not pliant, malleable, or luminous. It is brittle and not rightly concentrated for the ending of the effluents. Which five? Sensual desire, ill will, sloth and drowsiness, restlessness and anxiety, and uncertainty....But when the mind is not debased by these five impurities, it is pliant, malleable, and luminous. It is not brittle and is rightly concentrated for the ending of the effluents. Then whichever of the six higher knowledges [64] one turns one's mind to know and realize, one can witness them for oneself whenever there is an opening....
A.V.23

133. Similes for the Hindrances. Imagine a bowl of water mixed with lac, yellow orpiment, indigo, or crimson, such that a man with good eyesight examining the reflection of his face in it would not be able to know or see his face as it actually is. In the same way, when one remains with awareness possessed by sensual passion, overcome with sensual passion, and neither knows nor sees the escape, as it is actually present, from sensual passion once it has arisen, then one neither knows nor sees what is for one's own benefit, or for the benefit of others, or for the benefit of both....

Now imagine a bowl of water heated on a fire, boiling and bubbling over, such that a man with good eyesight examining the reflection of his face in it would not be able to know or see his face as it actually is. In the same way, when one remains with awareness possessed by ill will, overcome with ill will, and neither knows nor sees the escape, as it is actually present, from ill will once it has arisen, then one neither knows nor sees what is for one's own benefit, or for the benefit of others, or for the benefit of both....

Now imagine a bowl of water covered with algae and slime, such that a man with good eyesight examining the reflection of his face in it would not be able to know or see his face as it actually is. In the same way, when one remains with awareness possessed by sloth and drowsiness, overcome with sloth and drowsiness, and neither knows nor sees the escape, as it is actually present, from sloth and drowsiness once it has arisen, then one neither knows nor sees what is for one's own benefit, or for the benefit of others, or for the benefit of both....

Now imagine a bowl of water ruffled by the wind, disturbed, and covered with waves, such that a man with good eyesight examining the reflection of his face in it would not be able to know or see his face as it actually is. In the same way, when one remains with awareness possessed by restlessness and anxiety, overcome with restlessness and anxiety, and neither knows nor sees the escape, as it is actually present, from restlessness and anxiety once it has arisen, then one neither knows nor sees what is for one's own benefit, or for the benefit of others, or for the benefit of both....

Now imagine a bowl of water stirred up, turbid, muddied, and left in the dark, such that a man with good eyesight examining the reflection of his face in it would not be able to know or see his face as it actually is. In the same way, when one remains with awareness possessed by uncertainty, overcome with uncertainty, and neither knows nor sees the escape, as it is actually present, from uncertainty once it has arisen, then one neither knows nor sees what is for one's own benefit, or for the benefit of others, or for the benefit of both....
S.XLVI.55

134. Suppose that a man, taking a loan, invests it in his business affairs. His business affairs succeed. He repays his old debts and there is extra left over for maintaining his wife. The thought would occur to him, 'Before, taking a loan, I invested it in my business affairs. Now my business affairs have succeeded. I have repaid my old debts and there is extra left over for maintaining my wife.' Because of that he would experience joy and happiness.

Now suppose that a man falls sick-in pain and seriously ill. He does not enjoy his meals, and there is no strength in his body. As time passes, he eventually recovers from that sickness. He enjoys his meals and there is strength in his body. The thought would occur to him, 'Before, I was sick....Now I am recovered from that sickness. I enjoy my meals and there is strength in my body.' Because of that he would experience joy and happiness.

Now suppose that a man is bound in prison. As time passes, he eventually is released from that bondage, safe and sound, with no loss of property. The thought would occur to him, 'Before, I was bound in prison. Now I am released from that bondage, safe and sound, with no loss of my property.' Because of that he would experience joy and happiness.

Now suppose that a man is a slave, subject to others, not subject to himself, unable to go where he likes. As time passes, he eventually is released from that slavery, subject to himself, not subject to others, freed, able to go where he likes. The thought would occur to him, 'Before, I was a slave....Now I am released from that slavery, subject to myself, not subject to others, freed, able to go where I like.' Because of that he would experience joy and happiness.

Now suppose that a man, carrying money and goods, is traveling by a road through desolate country. As time passes, he eventually emerges from that desolate country, safe and sound, with no loss of property. The thought would occur to him, 'Before, carrying money and goods, I was traveling by a road through desolate country. Now I have emerged from that desolate country, safe and sound, with no loss of my property.' Because of that he would experience joy and happiness.
In the same way, when these five hindrances are not abandoned in himself, the monk regards it as a debt, a sickness, a prison, slavery, a road through desolate country. But when these five hindrances are abandoned in himself, he regards it as unindebtedness, good health, release from prison, freedom, a place of security.
M.39

135. Sensual desire. I have heard that on one occasion the Blessed One was staying near Savatthi in Jeta's Grove, Anathapindika's Park. Now on that occasion the Blessed One was sitting out in the open in the pitch black of the night, while oil lamps were burning. Many flying insects were meeting their downfall and misfortune in those oil lamps. Seeing this...the Blessed One exclaimed,

Rushing headlong, missing what is worthwhile,
bringing on one new bond after another,
like insects falling into the flame,
some are intent only on what is seen and heard.
UD.VI.9

136. Clinging to sense pleasures, to sensual ties,
seeing no blame in the fetter,
never will those tied up in the fetter
cross over the flood so great and wide.
UD.VII.3

137. I will teach you a Dhamma discourse on bondage and lack of bondage....A woman attends inwardly to her feminine faculties, her feminine gestures, her feminine manners, feminine poise, feminine desires, feminine voice, feminine charms. She is excited by that, delighted by that. Being excited and delighted by that, she attends outwardly to masculine faculties, masculine gestures, masculine manners, masculine poise, masculine desires, masculine voices, masculine charms. She is excited by that, delighted by that...wants to be bonded to what is outside her, wants whatever pleasure and happiness that arise based on that bond. Delighting, caught up in her femininity, a woman goes into bondage with reference to men. This is how a woman does not transcend her femininity.

A man attends inwardly to his masculine faculties, masculine gestures, masculine manners, masculine poise, masculine desires, masculine voice, masculine charms. He is excited by that, delighted by that. Being excited and delighted by that, he attends outwardly to feminine faculties, feminine gestures, feminine manners, feminine poise, feminine desires, feminine voices, feminine charms. He is excited by that, delighted by that...wants to be bonded to what is outside him, wants whatever pleasure and happiness that arise based on that bond. Delighting, caught up in his masculinity, a man goes into bondage with reference to women. This is how a man does not transcend his masculinity.

And how is there lack of bondage? A woman does not attend inwardly to her feminine faculties...feminine charms. She is not excited by that, not delighted by that...does not attend outwardly to masculine faculties...masculine charms. She is not excited by that, not delighted by that...does not want to be bonded to what is outside her, does not want whatever pleasure and happiness that arise based on that bond. Not delighting, not caught up in her femininity, a woman does not go into bondage with reference to men. This is how a woman transcends her femininity.

A man does not attend inwardly to his masculine faculties...masculine charms. He is not excited by that, not delighted by that...does not attend outwardly to feminine faculties...feminine charms. He is not excited by that, not delighted by that...does not want to be bonded to what is outside him, does not want whatever pleasure and happiness that arise based on that bond. Not delighting, not caught up in his masculinity, a man does not go into bondage with reference to women. This is how a man transcends his masculinity.

This is how there is lack of bondage. And this is the Dhamma discourse on bondage and lack of bondage.
A.VII.48

138. 'Suppose a dog, overcome with weakness and hunger, were to come across a slaughterhouse, and there a skilled butcher or butcher's apprentice were to fling him a chain of bones-thoroughly scraped, without any flesh, smeared with blood. What do you think: Would the dog, gnawing on that chain of bones-thoroughly scraped, without any flesh, smeared with blood-appease his weakness and hunger?'

'No, lord. And why is that? Because the chain of bones is thoroughly scraped, without any flesh, and smeared with blood. The dog would get nothing but weariness and vexation.'

'In the same way, householder, a noble disciple considers this point: "The Blessed One has compared sensuality to a chain of bones, of much stress, much despair, and greater drawbacks." Seeing this with right discernment, as it actually is, then avoiding the equanimity coming from multiplicity, dependent on multiplicity, he develops the equanimity coming from singleness, dependent on singleness [III/G], where sustenance/clinging for the baits of the world ceases entirely.

'Now suppose a vulture, a kite, or a hawk were to take off, having seized a lump of flesh, and other vultures, kites, or hawks-following right after it-were to tear at it and pull at it. What do you think: If that vulture, kite, or hawk were not quickly to drop that lump of flesh, would it meet with death from that cause, or with death-like pain?'

'Yes, lord.'

'In the same way, householder, a noble disciple considers this point: "The Blessed One has compared sensuality to a lump of flesh, of much stress, much despair, and greater drawbacks"....He develops the equanimity coming from singleness, dependent on singleness, where sustenance/clinging for the baits of the world ceases entirely.

'Now suppose a man were to come against the wind, carrying a burning grass torch. What do you think: If he were not quickly to drop that grass torch, would he burn his hand or his arm or some other part of his body, so that he would meet with death from that cause, or with death-like pain?'

'Yes, lord.'

'In the same way, householder, a noble disciple considers this point: "The Blessed One has compared sensuality to a grass torch, of much stress, much despair, and greater drawbacks"....He develops the equanimity coming from singleness, dependent on singleness, where sustenance/clinging for the baits of the world ceases entirely.

'Now suppose there were a pit of glowing embers, deeper than a man's height, full of embers that were neither flaming nor smoking, and a man were to come along-loving life, hating death, loving pleasure, abhorring pain-and two strong men, having grabbed him with their arms, were to drag him to the pit of embers. What do you think: Wouldn't the man twist his body this way and that?'

'Yes, lord.

And why is that? Because he would realize, "If I fall into this pit of glowing embers, I will meet with death from that cause, or with death-like pain."'

'In the same way, householder, a noble disciple considers this point: "The Blessed One has compared sensuality to a pit of glowing embers, of much stress, much despair, and greater drawbacks"....He develops the equanimity coming from singleness, dependent on singleness, where sustenance/clinging for the baits of the world ceases entirely.

'Now suppose a man, when dreaming, were to see delightful parks, delightful forests, delightful stretches of land, and delightful lakes, and on awakening were to see nothing. In the same way, householder, a noble disciple considers this point: "The Blessed One has compared sensuality to a dream, of much stress, much despair, and greater drawbacks"....He develops the equanimity coming from singleness, dependent on singleness, where sustenance/clinging for the baits of the world ceases entirely.

'Now suppose a man having borrowed some goods-a manly carriage, fine jewels, and ear ornaments-were to go into the market preceded and surrounded by his borrowed goods, and people seeing him would say, "How wealthy is this man, for this is how the wealthy enjoy their possessions," but the actual owners, wherever they might see him, would strip him then and there of what is theirs.

What do you think: Should the man rightly be surprised?'

'No, lord. And why is that? The owners are stripping him of what is theirs.'

'In the same way, householder, a noble disciple considers this point: "The Blessed One has compared sensuality to borrowed goods, of much stress, much despair, and greater drawbacks"....He develops the equanimity coming from singleness, dependent on singleness, where sustenance/clinging for the baits of the world ceases entirely.

'Now suppose that, not far from a village or town, there were a dense forest grove, and there in the grove was a tree with delicious fruit, abundant fruit, but with no fruit fallen to the ground. A man would come along, desiring fruit, looking for fruit, searching for fruit. Plunging into the forest grove, he would see the tree...and the thought would occur to him, "This is a tree with delicious fruit, abundant fruit, and there is no fruit fallen to the ground, but I know how to climb a tree. Why don't I climb the tree, eat what I like, and fill my clothes with the fruit?" So, having climbed the tree, he would eat what he liked and fill his clothes with the fruit. Then a second man would come along, desiring fruit...searching for fruit and carrying a sharp ax. Plunging into the forest grove, he would see the tree...and the thought would occur to him, "...I don't know how to climb a tree. Why don't I chop down this tree at the root, eat what I like, and fill my clothes with the fruit?" So he would chop the tree at the root. What do you think: If the first man who climbed the tree didn't quickly come down, wouldn't the falling tree crush his hand or foot or some other part of his body, so that he would meet with death from that cause, or with death-like pain?'

'Yes, lord.'

'In the same way, householder, a noble disciple considers this point: "The Blessed One has compared sensuality to the fruits of a tree, of much stress, much despair, and greater drawbacks." Seeing this with right discernment, as it actually is present, then avoiding the equanimity coming from multiplicity, dependent on multiplicity, he develops the equanimity coming from singleness, dependent on singleness, where sustenance/clinging for the baits of the world ceases entirely.
M.54

139. The Buddha: Magandiya, suppose that there was a leper covered with sores and infections, devoured by worms, picking the scabs off the openings of his wounds with his nails, cauterizing his body over a pit of glowing embers. Then suppose his friends, companions, and relatives brought a doctor to treat him. The doctor would concoct medicine, and by means of that medicine he would be cured of his leprosy: well and happy, free, master of himself, going wherever he liked. Then suppose two strong men, having seized hold of him with their arms, were to drag him to a pit of glowing embers. What do you think? Wouldn't he twist his body this way and that?

Magandiya: Yes, lord. Why is that? The fire is painful to the touch, very hot and scorching.

The Buddha: Now what do you think? Is the fire painful to the touch, very hot and scorching, only now, or was it also that way before?

Magandiya: Both now and before is it painful to the touch, very hot and scorching. It's just that when the man was a leper...his faculties were impaired, which was why, even though the fire was actually painful to the touch, he had the skewed perception of 'pleasant.'

The Buddha: In the same way, sensual pleasures in the past were painful to the touch, very hot and scorching; sensual pleasures in the future will be painful to the touch, very hot and scorching; sensual pleasures at present are painful to the touch, very hot and scorching; but when beings are not free from passion for sensual pleasures-devoured by sensual craving, burning with sensual fever-their faculties are impaired, which is why, even though sensual pleasures are actually painful to the touch, they have the skewed perception of 'pleasant.'

Now suppose that there was a leper covered with sores and infections, devoured by worms, picking the scabs off the openings of his wounds with his nails, cauterizing his body over a pit of glowing embers. The more he cauterized his body over the pit of glowing embers, the more disgusting, foul-smelling, and putrid the openings of his wounds would become, and yet he would feel a modicum of enjoyment and satisfaction because of the itchiness of his wounds. In the same way, beings not free from passion for sensual pleasures-devoured by sensual craving, burning with sensual fever-indulge in sensual pleasures. The more they indulge in sensual pleasures, the more their sensual craving increases and the more they burn with sensual fever, and yet they feel a modicum of enjoyment and satisfaction dependent on the five strands of sensuality.

Now what do you think? Have you ever seen or heard of a king or king's minister-enjoying himself, provided and endowed with the five strands of sensual pleasure, without abandoning sensual craving, without removing sensual fever-who has dwelt or will dwell or is dwelling free from thirst, his mind inwardly at peace?

Magandiya: No, Master Gotama.

The Buddha: Very good, Magandiya. Neither have I....But whatever priests or contemplatives who have dwelt or will dwell or are dwelling free from thirst, their minds inwardly at peace, all have done so having realized-as it actually is present-the origination and disappearance, the allure, the danger, and the escape from sensual pleasures, having abandoned sensual craving and removed sensual fever.
M.75

140. Look at the beautified image,
a heap of festering wounds, shored up:
ill, but the object
of many resolves,
where there is nothing
lasting or sure.

A city made of bones,
plastered over with flesh and blood,
whose hidden treasures are:
pride and deceit,
aging and death.
DHP.147, 150

141. Not even if it rained gold coins
would we have our fill
of sensual pleasures.
'Stressful,
they give little enjoyment'-
knowing this, the wise one
finds no delight
even in heavenly sensual pleasures.

He is one who delights
in the ending of craving,
a disciple of the Rightly
Self-Awakened One.

DHP.186-87

142. As Subha the nun was going through Jivaka's delightful mango grove, a libertine [a goldsmith's son] blocked her path, so she said to him:

'What wrong have I done you
that you stand in my way?
It's not proper, my friend,
that a man should touch
a woman gone forth.
I respect the Master's message,
the training pointed out by the one well-gone.
I am pure, without blemish:
Why do you stand in my way?
You  -your mind agitated, impassioned;
I - unagitated, unimpassioned,
without blemish,
with a mind entirely freed:
Why do you stand in my way?'
'You are young and not bad-looking,
what need do you have for going forth?
Throw off your ochre robe-

Come, let's delight in the flowering grove.
A sweetness they exude everywhere,
the towering trees with their pollen.
The beginning of spring is a pleasant season-
Come, let's delight in the flowering grove.
The trees with their blossoming tips
moan, as it were, in the breeze:
What delight will you have
if you plunge into the grove alone?
Frequented by herds of wild beasts,
disturbed by elephants rutting and aroused:
you want to go
unaccompanied
into the great, lonely, frightening grove?
Like a doll made of gold, you will go about,
like a goddess in the gardens of heaven.
With delicate, smooth Kasi fabrics,
you will shine, O beauty without compare.
I would gladly do your every bidding
if we were to dwell in the glade.
For there is no creature dearer to me
than you,
O nymph with the languid regard.
If you do as I ask, happy, come live in my house.
Dwelling in the calm of a palace,
have women wait on you,
wear delicate Kasi fabrics,
adorn yourself with garlands and creams.
I will make you many and varied ornaments
of gold, jewels, and pearls.
Climb onto a costly bed,
scented with sandalwood carvings,
with a well-washed coverlet, beautiful,
spread with a woolen quilt, brand new.
Like a blue lotus rising from the water,
where there dwell non-human spirits,
(or: where no human beings dwell)
you will go to old age with your limbs unseen,
if you stay as you are in the holy life.'
'What do you assume of any essence,
here in this cemetery grower, filled with corpses,
this body destined to break up?
What do you see when you look at me,
you who are out of your mind?'
'Your eyes are like those of a fawn,
like those of a sprite in the mountains.
Seeing your eyes, my sensual delight
grows all the more.
Like tips they are, of blue lotuses,
in your golden face
-spotless:
Seeing your eyes, my sensual delight
grows all the more.
Even if you should go far away,
I will think only of your pure,
long-lashed gaze,
for there is nothing dearer to me
than your eyes,
O nymph with the languid regard.'
'You want to stray from the road,
you want the moon as a plaything,
you want to jump over Mount Sineru,
you who have designs on one born of the Buddha.
For there is nothing anywhere at all
in the world with its gods,
that would be an object of passion for me.
I don't even know what that passion would be,
for it's been killed, root and all, by the path.
Like embers from a pit-scattered,
like a bowl of poison-evaporated,
I don't even see what that passion would be,
for it's been killed, root and all, by the path.
Try to seduce one who hasn't reflected on this,
or who has not followed the Master's teaching.
But try it with this one who knows
and you suffer.
For in the midst of praise and blame,
pleasure and pain,
my mindfulness stands firm.
Knowing the unattractiveness
of things compounded,
my heart adheres to nothing at all.
I am a follower of the one well-gone,
riding the vehicle of the eightfold way:
My arrow removed, effluent-free,
I delight, having gone to an empty dwelling.
For I have seen well-painted puppets,
hitched up with sticks and strings,
made to dance in various ways.
When the sticks and strings are removed,
thrown away, scattered, shredded,
smashed into pieces, not to be found,
in what will the mind there make its home?
This body of mine, which is just like that,
when devoid of dhammas doesn't function.
When, devoid of dhammas, it doesn't function,
in what will the mind there make its home?
Like a mural you've seen, painted on a wall,
smeared with yellow orpiment,
there your vision has been distorted,
meaningless your perception of a human being.
Like an evaporated mirage,
like a tree of gold in a dream,
like a magic show in the midst of a crowd-
you run blind after what is unreal.
Resembling a ball of sealing wax,
set in a hollow,
with a bubble in the middle
and bathed with tears,
eye secretions are born there too:
The parts of the eye
are rolled all together
in various ways.'

Plucking out her lovely eye,
with mind unattached
she felt no regret.
'Here, take this eye. It's yours.'
Straightaway she gave it to him.
Straightaway his passion faded right there,
and he begged her forgiveness.
'Be well, follower of the holy life.
This sort of thing
won't happen again.
Harming a person like you
is like embracing a blazing fire,
It is as if I have seized a poisonous snake.
So may you be well. Forgive me.'
And released from there, the nun
went to the excellent Buddha's presence.
When she saw the mark of his excellent merit,
her eye became
as it was before.
THIG.XIV

143. Ill will. These are five ways of subduing hatred by which, when hatred arises in a monk, he should wipe it out completely.

Which five?

When one gives birth to hatred for an individual, one should develop good will for that individual. Thus the hatred for that individual should be subdued.

When one gives birth to hatred for an individual, one should develop compassion for that individual...equanimity toward that individual...one should pay him no mind and pay him no attention....When one gives birth to hatred for an individual, one should direct one's thoughts to the fact of his being the product of his kamma: 'This venerable one is the doer of his kamma, heir of his kamma, born of his kamma, related by his kamma, and is dependent on his kamma. Whatever kamma he does, for good or for evil, to that will he fall heir.' Thus the hatred for that individual should be subdued.

These are five ways of subduing hatred by which, when hatred arises in a monk, he should wipe it out completely.
A.V.161

144. Sariputta: There are some people who are impure in their bodily behavior but pure in their verbal behavior. Hatred for a person of this sort should be subdued.

There are some people who are impure in their verbal behavior but pure in their bodily behavior. Hatred for a person of this sort should also be subdued.

There are some people who are impure in their bodily behavior and verbal behavior, but who periodically experience mental clarity and calm. Hatred for a person of this sort should also be subdued.

There are some people who are impure in their bodily behavior and verbal behavior, and who do not periodically experience mental clarity and calm. Hatred for a person of this sort should also be subdued.

There are some people who are pure in their bodily behavior and their verbal behavior, and who periodically experience mental clarity and calm. Hatred for a person of this sort should also be subdued.

Now as for a person who is impure in his bodily behavior but pure in his verbal behavior, how should one subdue hatred for him? Just as when a monk who makes use of things that are thrown away sees a rag in the road: Taking hold of it with his left foot and spreading it out with his right, he would tear off the sound part and go off with it. In the same way, when the individual is impure in his bodily behavior but pure in his verbal behavior, one should at that time pay no attention to the impurity of his bodily behavior, and instead pay attention to the purity of his verbal behavior. Thus the hatred for him should be subdued.

And as for a person who is impure in his verbal behavior, but pure in his bodily behavior, how should one subdue hatred for him? Just as when there is a pool overgrown with slime and water plants, and a person comes along, burning with heat, covered with sweat, exhausted, trembling, and thirsty. He would jump into the pool, part the slime and water plants with both hands, and then, cupping his hands, drink the water and go on his way. In the same way, when the individual is impure in his verbal behavior but pure in his bodily behavior, one should at that time pay no attention to the impurity of his verbal behavior, and instead pay attention to the purity of his bodily behavior. Thus the hatred for him should be subdued.

And as for a person who is impure in his bodily behavior and verbal behavior, but who periodically experiences mental clarity and calm, how should one subdue hatred for him? Just as when there is a little puddle in a cow's footprint, and a person comes along, burning with heat, covered with sweat, exhausted, trembling, and thirsty. The thought would occur to him, 'Here is this little puddle in a cow's footprint. If I tried to drink the water using my hand or cup, I would disturb it, stir it up, and make it unfit to drink. What if I were to get down on all fours and slurp it up like a cow, and then go on my way?' So he would get down on all fours, slurp up the water like a cow, and then go on his way. In the same way, when an individual is impure in his bodily behavior and verbal behavior, but periodically experiences mental clarity and calm, one should at that time pay no attention to the impurity of his bodily behavior...the impurity of his verbal behavior, and instead pay attention to the fact that he periodically experiences mental clarity and calm. Thus the hatred for him should be subdued.

And as for a person who is impure in his bodily behavior and verbal behavior, and who does not periodically experience mental clarity and calm, how should one subdue hatred for him? Just as when there is a sick man-in pain, seriously ill-traveling along a road, far from the next village and far from the last, unable to get the food he needs, unable to get the medicine he needs, unable to get a suitable assistant, unable to get anyone to take him to human habitation. Now suppose another person were to see him coming along the road. He would do what he could out of compassion, pity, and sympathy for the man, thinking, 'O that this man should get the food he needs, the medicine he needs, a suitable assistant, someone to take him to human habitation. Why is that? So that he won't fall into ruin right here.' In the same way, when a person is impure in his bodily behavior and verbal behavior, and who does not periodically experience mental clarity and calm, one should do what one can out of compassion, pity, and sympathy for him, thinking, 'O that this man should abandon wrong bodily conduct and develop right bodily conduct, abandon wrong verbal conduct and develop right verbal conduct, abandon wrong mental conduct and develop right mental conduct. Why is that? So that, on the break-up of the body, after death, he won't fall into the plane of deprivation, the bad destination, the lower realms, purgatory.' Thus the hatred for him should be subdued.

And as for a person who is pure in his bodily behavior and verbal behavior, and who periodically experiences mental clarity and calm, how should one subdue hatred for him? Just as when there is a pool of clear water-sweet, cool, and limpid, with gently sloping banks, and shaded on all sides by trees of many kinds-and a person comes along, burning with heat, covered with sweat, exhausted, trembling, and thirsty. Having plunged into the pool, having bathed and drunk and come back out, he would sit down or lie down right there in the shade of the trees. In the same way, when an individual is pure in his bodily behavior and verbal behavior, and periodically experiences mental clarity and calm, one should at that time pay attention to the purity of his bodily behavior...the purity of his verbal behavior, and to the fact that he periodically experiences mental clarity and calm. Thus the hatred for him should be subdued. An entirely inspiring individual can make the mind grow serene.

These are five ways of subduing hatred by which, when hatred arises in a monk, he should wipe it out completely.
A.V.162

145. There are these ten ways of subduing hatred. Which ten? 1) Thinking, 'He has done me harm. But what should I expect?' one subdues hatred. 2) Thinking, 'He is doing me harm. But what should I expect?... 3) He is going to do me harm. But what should I expect?... 4) He has done harm to people who are dear and pleasing to me. But what should I expect?... 5) He is doing harm to people who are dear and pleasing to me. But what should I expect?... 6) He is going to do harm to people who are dear and pleasing to me. But what should I expect?... 7) He has aided people who are not dear or pleasing to me. But what should I expect?... 8) He is aiding people who are not dear or pleasing to me. But what should I expect?... 9) He is going to aid people who are not dear or pleasing to me. But what should I expect?' one subdues hatred. 10) One does not get worked up over impossibilities. These are ten ways of subduing hatred.
A.X.80

146. 'He insulted me,
hit me,
beat me,
robbed me'
-for those who brood on this,
hostility isn't stilled.
'He insulted me,
hit me,
beat me,
robbed me'-
for those who don't brood on this,
hostility is stilled.
Hostilities aren't stilled
through hostility,
regardless.
Hostilities are stilled
through non-hostility:
this, an unending truth.

DHP.3-5

147. Sloth and drowsiness. Once the Blessed One was living among the Bhaggas in the Deer Park at Bhesakala Grove, near Crocodile Haunt. At that time Ven. Maha Moggallana [prior to his Awakening] sat nodding near the village of Kallavalaputta, in Magadha. The Blessed One saw this with his purified divine eye, surpassing the human, and as soon as he saw this-just as a strong man might extend out his flexed arm or flex his extended arm-disappeared from the Deer Park...appeared right in front of Ven. Maha Moggallana, and sat down on a prepared seat. As he was sitting there, the Blessed One said to Ven. Maha Moggallana, 'Are you nodding, Moggallana? Are you nodding?'

'Yes, lord.'

'Well then, Moggallana, whatever perception you have in mind when drowsiness descends on you, don't attend to that perception, don't pursue it. It's possible that by doing this you will shake off your drowsiness.

'But if by doing this you don't shake off your drowsiness, then recall to your awareness the Dhamma as you have heard and memorized it, re-examine it and ponder it over in your mind. It's possible that by doing this you will shake off your drowsiness.

'But if by doing this you don't shake off your drowsiness, then repeat aloud in detail the Dhamma as you have heard and memorized it. It's possible that by doing this you will shake off your drowsiness.

'But if by doing this you don't shake off your drowsiness, then pull both you earlobes and rub your limbs with your hands. It's possible that by doing this you will shake off your drowsiness.

'But if by doing this you don't shake off your drowsiness, then get up from your seat and, after washing your eyes out with water, look around in all directions and upward to the major stars and constellations. It's possible that by doing this you will shake off your drowsiness.

'But if by doing this you don't shake off your drowsiness, then attend to the perception of light, resolve on the perception of daytime, [dwelling] by night as by day, and by day as by night. By means of an awareness thus open and unhampered, develop a brightened mind [66]. It's possible that by doing this you will shake off your drowsiness.

'But if by doing this you don't shake off your drowsiness, then-percipient of what lies in front and behind-set a distance to meditate walking back and forth, your senses inwardly immersed, your mind not straying outwards. It's possible that by doing this you will shake off your drowsiness.

'But if by doing this you don't shake off your drowsiness, then-reclining on your right side-take up the lion's posture, one foot placed on top of the other, mindful, alert, with your mind set on getting up. As soon as you wake up, get up quickly, with the thought, "I won't stay indulging in the pleasure of lying down, the pleasure of reclining, the pleasure of drowsiness."

'Thus, Moggallana, should you train yourself....'
A.VII.58


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