Itivuttaka, Thus Said the Buddha

Buddha, the Founder of Buddhism

by John D. Ireland, by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

Contents

Introduction

The Group of Ones:

The Group of Twos:

The Group of Threes:

The Group of Fours:

Introduction [go to top]

The present work offers a translation of the Itivuttaka, a collection of 112 short discourses of the Buddha in both prose and verse. The text belongs to the Pali Canon of the Theravada school, being placed between the Udana and the Sutta Nipata. It was previously translated by F.L. Woodward and published together with his translation of the Udana in Minor Anthologies of the Pali Canon, Vol. II (London, 1935).

According to the commentarial tradition, the suttas or discourses of the Itivuttaka were collected by the woman lay-disciple Khujjuttara from sermons given by the Buddha while he was staying at Kosambi. Khujjuttara was a servant of Samavati, the consort of King Udena. She had become a stream-enterer after meeting the Buddha and subsequently converted the women of the palace headed by Samavati to the teaching. She used to go regularly to listen to the Buddha and then later repeated what she had heard to the other women. The collection of these sayings became the Itivuttaka. It is said that the emphatic statements at the beginning and end of each of the suttas, reproduced here only in the first and last, were made by Khujjuttara to stress that they were the Buddha's words and not her own.

Whether or not this story is true, the Itivuttaka is the only book in the Pali Canon that introduces and concludes its suttas in this fashion, and it is from the opening statement that the title is derived: "This was said (vuttam) by the Lord... so (iti) I heard" — hence Itivuttaka, "The So-was-said" or "Sayings."

These "Sayings" are grouped into four unequal sections arranged, like the Anguttara Nikaya, according to the number of items they contain, from one to four. Besides these four sections — The Ones, The Twos, The Threes, and The Fours — the text is further subdivided into vaggas, groups of roughly ten suttas. But to simplify the presentation, in this translation these sub-groupings have been ignored. Only the four main sections have been retained and the suttas numbered from 1 to 112, as in the PTS edition. A number of the suttas and verses are also found in other parts of the Sutta Pitaka, especially the Anguttara Nikaya, but many are unique to this collection.

In translating the Itivuttaka I have attempted to follow the text as closely as possible and to produce an exact and literal rendition. With the verses, however, while remaining faithful to the meaning, I occasionally found it necessary to depart from the syntax of the Pali. Although I did not attempt to produce a metrical translation, by transposing lines and words and controlling the number of syllables in the line, I aimed at producing a readable and rhythmic English rendering of the original Pali verse.

The Group of Ones [go to top]

§ 1. {Iti I.1; Iti 1}

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "Abandon one quality, monks, and I guarantee you nonreturn. Which one quality? Abandon greed as the one quality, and I guarantee you nonreturn."1 This is the meaning of what the Blessed One said. So with regard to this it was said:2

The greed with which
beings go to a bad destination,3
coveting:
from rightly discerning that greed,
those who see clearly
let go.
Letting go,
they never come to this world
again.

This, too, was the meaning of what was said by the Blessed One, so I have heard.4

Notes

1. Nonreturn: The third of the four levels of Awakening. On reaching this level, one will never be reborn in this world. A nonreturner who does not go on to attain arahantship in this lifetime will be reborn in the Brahma worlds called the Pure Abodes and will attain nibbana there.

2, 4. These two statements are repeated in each discourse. To avoid monotony, they are given here only in the first and last discourses.

3. The bad destinations rebirth in hell, as a hungry shade, as an angry demon, or as a common animal. As with the good destinations — rebirth as a human being, in heaven, or in the Brahma worlds — these states are impermanent and dependent on kamma.

§ 2. {Iti I.2; Iti 1}

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "Abandon one quality, monks, and I guarantee you nonreturn. Which one quality? Abandon aversion as the one quality, and I guarantee you nonreturn."

The aversion with which
beings go to a bad destination,
upset:
from rightly discerning that aversion,
those who see clearly
let go.
Letting go,
they never come to this world
again.

§ 3. {Iti I.3; Iti 2}

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "Abandon one quality, monks, and I guarantee you nonreturn. Which one quality? Abandon delusion as the one quality, and I guarantee you nonreturn."

§ 4. {Iti I.4; Iti 2}

The delusion with which
beings go to a bad destination,
confused:
from rightly discerning that delusion,
those who see clearly
let go.
Letting go,
they never come to this world
again.

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "Abandon one quality, monks, and I guarantee you nonreturn. Which one quality? Abandon anger as the one quality, and I guarantee you nonreturn."

The anger with which
beings go to a bad destination,
enraged:
from rightly discerning that anger,
those who see clearly
let go.
Letting go,
they never come to this world
again.

§ 5. {Iti I.5; Iti 3}

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "Abandon one quality, monks, and I guarantee you nonreturn. Which one quality? Abandon contempt as the one quality, and I guarantee you nonreturn."

The contempt with which
beings go to a bad destination,
disdainful:
from rightly discerning that contempt,
those who see clearly
let go.
Letting go,
they never come to this world
again.

§ 6. {Iti I.6; Iti 3}

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "Abandon one quality, monks, and I guarantee you nonreturn. Which one quality? Abandon conceit as the one quality, and I guarantee you nonreturn."

The conceit with which
beings go to a bad destination,
proud:
from rightly discerning that conceit,
those who see clearly
let go.
Letting go,
they never come to this world
again.

§ 7. {Iti I.7; Iti 3}

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "Monks, one who has not fully known & fully understood the All,1 whose mind has not been cleansed of passion for it, has not abandoned it, is incapable of putting an end to stress. But one who has fully known & fully understood the All, whose mind has been cleansed of passion for it, has abandoned it, is capable of putting an end to stress."

Knowing the All
from all around,
not stirred by passion
for anything at all:
he, having comprehended
the All,
has gone beyond
all stress.

Note

1. "The All" = the six senses (sight, hearing, smell, taste, touch, & ideation) and their respective objects. This covers every aspect of experience that can be described, but does not include nibbana. For a full discussion of this point, see The Mind Like Fire Unbound, pp. 30-32.

§ 8. {Iti I.8; Iti 4}

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "Monks, one who has not fully known & fully understood conceit, whose mind has not been cleansed of it, has not abandoned it, is incapable of putting an end to stress. But one who has fully known & fully understood conceit, whose mind has been cleansed of it, has abandoned it, is capable of putting an end to stress."

People are
possessed by conceit
tied up with conceit
delighted with becoming.
Not comprehending conceit,
they come to becoming again.
But those who, letting go of conceit,
are, in its destruction, released,
conquering the bond of conceit,
go beyond
all bonds.

§ 9. {Iti I.9; Iti 4}

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "Monks, one who has not fully known & fully understood greed, who has not detached his mind from it and let go of it, is incapable of putting an end to stress. But one who has fully known & fully understood greed, who has detached his mind from it and let go of it, is capable of putting an end to stress."

The greed with which
beings go to a bad destination,
coveting:
from rightly discerning that greed,
those who see clearly
let go.
Letting go,
they never come to this world
again.

§ 10-13. {Iti I.10; Iti 1}

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "Monks, one who has not fully known & fully understood aversion... delusion... anger... contempt, who has not detached his mind from it and let go of it, is incapable of putting an end to stress. But one who has fully known & fully understood aversion... delusion... anger... contempt, who has detached his mind from it and let go of it, is capable of putting an end to stress."

§ 14. {Iti I.14; Iti 7}

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "Monks, I don't envision even one other obstruction — obstructed by which people go wandering & transmigrating on for a long, long time — like the obstruction of ignorance. Obstructed with the obstruction of ignorance, people go wandering & transmigrating on for a long, long time."

No one other thing
so obstructs people
that they wander on, day & night,
as when they're ensnared
with delusion.
But those who, letting go of delusion,
shatter the mass of darkness,
wander no further.
Their cause isn't found.

§ 15. {Iti I.15; Iti 8}

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "Monks, I don't envision even one other fetter — fettered by which beings conjoined go wandering & transmigrating on for a long, long time — like the fetter of craving. Fettered with the fetter of craving, beings conjoined go wandering & transmigrating on for a long, long time."

With craving his companion, a man
wanders on a long, long time.
Neither in this state here
nor anywhere else
does he go beyond
the wandering- on.
Knowing this drawback —
that craving brings stress into play —
free from craving,
devoid of clinging,
mindful, the monk
lives the mendicant life.

§ 16. {Iti I.16; Iti 9}

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "With regard to internal factors, I don't envision any other single factor like appropriate attention1 as doing so much for a monk in training,2 who has not attained the heart's goal but remains intent on the unsurpassed safety from bondage.3 A monk who attends appropriately abandons what is unskillful and develops what is skillful.

Appropriate attention
as a quality
of a monk in training:
nothing else
does so much
for attaining the superlative goal.
A monk, striving appropriately,
attains the ending of stress.

Notes

1. Appropriate attention (yoniso manasikara) is the ability to focus attention on questions that lead to the end of suffering. MN 2 lists the following questions as not fit for attention: "Was I in the past? Was I not in the past? What was I in the past? How was I in the past?... Shall I be in the future? Shall I not be in the future? What shall I be in the future? How shall I be in the future?... Am I? Am I not? What am I? How am I? Where has this being come from? Where is it bound?" The discourse also lists the following issues as fit for attention: "This is stress. This is the origination of stress. This is the cessation of stress. This is the way leading to the cessation of stress."

2. A person "in training" is one who has attained at least the first level of Awakening, but not yet the final level.

3. Bondage = the four yokes: sensual passion, becoming, views, & ignorance.

§ 17. {Iti I.17; Iti 10}

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "With regard to external factors, I don't envision any other single factor like admirable friendship1 as doing so much for a monk in training, who has not attained the heart's goal but remains intent on the unsurpassed safety from bondage. A monk who is a friend with admirable people abandons what is unskillful and develops what is skillful."

A monk with admirable people
as friends
— who's reverential, respectful,
doing what his friends advise —
mindful, alert,
attains step by step
the ending of all fetters.

Note

1. In SN XLV.2 the Buddha says, "Admirable friendship... is actually the whole of the holy life...  It is in dependence on me as an admirable friend that beings subject to birth have gained release from birth... aging... death... sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair." As AN VIII.54 points out, admirable friendship means not only associating with good people, but also learning from them and emulating their good qualities.

§ 18. {Iti I.18; Iti 10}

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "One thing, when arising in the world, arises for the detriment of many, for the unhappiness of many, for the detriment & unhappiness of many beings, both human & divine. Which one thing? Schism in the Sangha. When the Sangha is split, there are arguments with one another, there is abuse of one another, ganging up on one another, abandoning of one another. Then those with little confidence [in the teaching] lose all confidence, while some of those who are confident become otherwise."

Doomed for an aeon
to deprivation,
to hell:
one who has split the Sangha.
Delighting in factions,
unjudicious —
he's barred
from safety from bondage.
Having split a Sangha in concord,
he cooks for an aeon
in hell.

§ 19. {Iti I.19; Iti 11}

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "One thing, when arising in the world, arises for the welfare of many, for the happiness of many, for the welfare & happiness of many beings, both human & divine. Which one thing? Concord in the Sangha. When the Sangha is in concord, there are no arguments with one another, no abuse of one another, no ganging up on one another, no abandoning of one another. Then those with little confidence [in the teaching] become confident, while those already confident become even more so."

Blissful is concord in the Sangha.
One who assists in concord —
delighting in concord,
judicious —
isn't barred from safety from bondage.
Having brought concord to the Sangha,
he rejoices for an aeon
in heaven.

§ 20. {Iti I.20; Iti 12}

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "There is the case where a certain person is a corrupt-minded. Having encompassed that mind with [my] awareness, I discern, 'If this person were to die at this instant, then as if he were to be carried off, he would thus be placed in hell.' Why is that? Because his mind is corrupt. It's because of corrupt-mindedness that there are cases where beings — at the break-up of the body, after death — reappear in the plane of deprivation, the bad destination, the lower realms, in hell."

Knowing the case
of a corrupt-minded person,
the One Awakened explained its meaning
in the presence of the monks.
If that person
were to die at this instant,
he'd reappear in hell
because his mind is corrupt —
as if he were carried off
and placed there.
It's because of corrupt-mindedness
that beings go
to a bad destination.

§ 21. {Iti I.21; Iti 13}

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "There is the case where a certain person is a clear-minded. Having encompassed that mind with [my] awareness, I discern, 'If this person were to die at this instant, then as if he were to be carried off, he would thus be placed in heaven.' Why is that? Because his mind is clear. It's because of clear-mindedness that there are cases where beings — at the break-up of the body, after death — reappear in the heavenly world."

Knowing the case
of a clear-minded person,
the One Awakened explained its meaning
in the presence of the monks.
If that person
were to die at this instant,
he'd reappear in heaven
because his mind is clear —
as if he were carried off
and placed there.
It's because of clear-mindedness
that beings go
to a good destination.

§ 22. {Iti I.22; Iti 14}

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "Monks, don't be afraid of acts of merit. This is another way of saying what is blissful, desirable, pleasing, endearing, charming — i.e., acts of merit. I am cognizant that, having long performed meritorious deeds, I long experienced desirable, pleasing, endearing, charming results. Having developed a mind of good will for seven years, then for seven aeons of contraction & expansion I didn't return to this world. Whenever the aeon was contracting, I went to the realm of Streaming Radiance. Whenever the aeon was expanding, I reappeared in an empty Brahma-abode. There I was the Great Brahman, the Unconquered Conqueror, All-seeing, & Wielder of Power. Then for thirty-six times I was Sakka, ruler of the gods. For many hundreds of times I was a king, a wheel-turning emperor, a righteous king of Dhamma, conqueror of the four corners of the earth, maintaining stable control over the countryside, endowed with the seven treasures1 — to say nothing of the times I was a local king. The thought occurred to me: 'Of what action of mine is this the fruit, of what action the result, that I now have such great power & might?' Then the thought occurred to me: 'This is the fruit of my three [types of] action, the result of three types of action, that I now have such great power & might: i.e., giving, self-control, & restraint.'"

Train in acts of merit
that bring long-lasting bliss —
develop giving,
a life in tune,
a mind of good-will.
Developing these
three things
that bring about bliss,
the wise reappear
in a world of bliss
unalloyed.

Note

1. The seven treasures are a divine wheel, an ideal jewel, an ideal elephant, an ideal horse, an ideal wife, an ideal treasurer, an ideal counselor.

§ 23. {Iti I.23; Iti 16}

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "This one quality, if developed & pursued, keeps both kinds of benefit secure: benefits in this life & benefits in lives to come. Which one quality? Heedfulness with regard to skillful qualities. This the one quality that, if developed & pursued, keeps both kinds of benefit secure: benefits in this life & benefits in lives to come."

They praise heedfulness, the wise,
in doing acts of merit.
When heedful, wise,
you achieve both kinds of benefit:
benefits in this life,
& benefits in lives to come.
By breaking through to your benefit,
you're called enlightened,
wise.

§ 24. {Iti I.24; Iti 17}

[Read an alternate translation by John D. Ireland]

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "If a single person were to wander & transmigrate on for an aeon, he/she would leave behind a chain of bones, a pile of bones, a heap of bones, as large as this Mount Vepulla, if there were someone to collect them and the collection were not destroyed."

The accumulation
of a single person's
bones for an aeon
would be a heap
on a par with the mountain,
so said the Great Seer.
(He declared this to be
the great Mount Vepulla
to the north of Vulture's Peak
in the mountain-ring
of the Magadhans.)1
But when that person sees
with right discernment
the four Noble Truths —
stress,
the cause of stress,
the transcending of stress,
& the Noble Eightfold Path,
the way to the stilling of stress —
having wandered on
seven times at most, then,
with the ending of all fetters,
he puts a stop
to stress.

Note

1. Magadha was a kingdom in the time of the Buddha, corresponding roughly to the present day state of Bihar. Its capital city, Rajagaha, was surrounded by a ring of five mountains. Vulture's Peak, a secluded rock outcrop in the middle of the ring, was a spot frequented by the Buddha.

§ 25. {Iti I.25; Iti 18}

[Read an alternate translation by John D. Ireland]

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "For the person who transgresses in one thing, I tell you, there is no evil deed that is not to be done. Which one thing? This: telling a deliberate lie."

The person who lies,
who transgress in this one thing,
transcending concern for the world beyond:
there's no evil
he might not do.

§ 26. {Iti I.26; Iti 18}

[Read an alternate translation by John D. Ireland]

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "If beings knew, as I know, the results of giving & sharing, they would not eat without having given, nor would the stain of selfishness overcome their minds. Even if it were their last bite, their last mouthful, they would not eat without having shared, if there were someone to receive their gift. But because beings do not know, as I know, the results of giving & sharing, they eat without having given. The stain of selfishness overcomes their minds."

If beings knew
what the Great Seer said,
how the result of sharing
has such great fruit,
then, subduing the stain of selfishness
with brightened awareness,
they'd give in season
to the noble ones,
where a gift bears great fruit.
Having given food
as an offering
to those worthy of offerings,
many donors,
when they pass away from here,
the human state,
go
to heaven.
They, having gone there
to heaven,
rejoice,
enjoying sensual pleasures.
Unselfish, they
partake of the result
of sharing.

§ 27. {Iti I.27; Iti 19}

[Read an alternate translation by John D. Ireland]

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "All the grounds for making merit leading to spontaneously arising (in heaven) do not equal one-sixteenth of the awareness-release through good will. Good will — surpassing them — shines, blazes, & dazzles.

"Just as the radiance of all the stars does not equal one-sixteenth of the radiance of the moon, as the moon — surpassing them — shines, blazes, & dazzles, even so, all the grounds for making merit leading to spontaneously arising in heaven do not equal one-sixteenth of the awareness-release through good will. Good will — surpassing them — shines, blazes, & dazzles.

"Just as in the last month of the rains, in autumn, when the sky is clear & cloudless, the sun, on ascending the sky, overpowers the space immersed in darkness, shines, blazes, & dazzles, even so, all the grounds for making merit leading to spontaneously arising in heaven do not equal one-sixteenth of the awareness-release through good will. Good will — surpassing them — shines, blazes, & dazzles.

"Just as in the pre-dawn darkness the morning star shines, blazes, & dazzles, even so, all the grounds for making merit leading to spontaneously arising in heaven do not equal one-sixteenth of the awareness-release through good will. Good will — surpassing them — shines, blazes, & dazzles."

When one develops — mindful —
good will without limit,
fetters are worn through,
on seeing the ending
of acquisitions.
If with uncorrupted mind
you feel good will
for even one being,
you become skilled from that.
But a Noble One produces
a mind of sympathy
for all beings,
an abundance of merit.
Kingly seers, who conquered the earth
swarming with beings,
went about making sacrifices:
the horse sacrifice, human sacrifice,
water rites, soma rites,
& the "Unobstructed,"
but these don't equal
one sixteenth
of a well-developed mind of good will —
as all the constellations don't,
one sixteenth
of the radiance of the moon.
One who neither kills
nor gets others to kill,
neither conquers,
nor gets others to conquer,
with good will for all beings,
has no hostility with anyone
at all.

The Group of Twos [go to top]

§ 28. {Iti II.1; Iti 22}

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "Endowed with two things, a monk lives in stress in the present life — troubled, distressed, & feverish — and at the break-up of the body, after death, a bad destination can be expected. Which two? A lack of guarding of the doors of the sense faculties, and knowing no moderation in food. Endowed with these two things, a monk lives in stress in the present life — troubled, distressed, & feverish — and at the break-up of the body, after death, a bad destination can be expected."

Eye & ear & nose,
tongue & body & mind:
when a monk leaves these doors unguarded
— knowing no moderation in food,
not restraining his senses —
he experiences stress:
stress in body, stress
in mind.
Burning in body
burning in mind,
whether by day or by night,
he lives
in suffering & stress.

§ 29. {Iti II.2; Iti 23}

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "Endowed with two things, a monk lives in ease in the present life — untroubled, undistressed, & unfeverish — and at the break-up of the body, after death, a good destination can be expected. Which two? A guarding of the doors of the sense faculties, and knowing moderation in food. Endowed with these two things, a monk lives in ease in the present life — untroubled, undistressed, & unfeverish — and at the break-up of the body, after death, a good destination can be expected."

Eye & ear & nose,
tongue & body & mind:
when a monk has these doors well guarded
— knowing moderation in food,
restraining his senses —
he experiences ease:
ease in body, ease
in mind.
Not burning in body,
not burning in mind,
whether by day or by night,
he lives
in ease.

§ 30. {Iti II.3; Iti 24}

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "There are these two things that cause remorse. Which two? There is the case of the person who has not done what is admirable, has not done what is skillful, has not given protection to those in fear, and instead has done what is evil, savage, & cruel. Thinking, 'I have not done what is admirable,' he feels remorse. Thinking, 'I have done what is evil,' he feels remorse. These are the two things that cause remorse."

Having engaged
in bodily misconduct,
verbal misconduct,
misconduct of mind,1
or whatever else is flawed,
not having done what is skillful,
having done much that is not,
at the break-up of the body,
the undiscerning one reappears in
hell.

Note

1. AN X.176 defines bodily misconduct as killing, stealing, and sexual misconduct; verbal misconduct as lies, divisive speech, harsh speech, and idle chatter; and mental misconduct as covetousness, ill will, and wrong views (see the note to §32).

§ 31. {Iti II.4; Iti 25}

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "There are these two things that cause no remorse. Which two? There is the case of the person who has done what is admirable, has done what is skillful, has given protection to those in fear, and has done nothing that is evil, savage, or cruel. Thinking, 'I have done what is admirable,' he feels no remorse. Thinking, 'I have not done what is evil,' he feels no remorse. These are the two things that cause no remorse."

Having abandoned
bodily misconduct,
verbal misconduct,
misconduct of mind,
& whatever else is flawed,
not having done what's not skillful,
having done much that is,
at the break-up of the body,
the discerning one reappears
in heaven.

§ 32. {Iti II.5; Iti 26}

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "Endowed with two things, a person — as if carried off — is thus placed in hell. Which two? Evil habits & evil views. Endowed with these two things, a person — as if carried off — is thus placed in hell."

Evil habits &
evil views:1
a person, undiscerning,
endowed with these two things,
at the break-up of the body
reappears in hell.

Note

1. MN 117 gives the following example of an evil view: "There is nothing given, nothing offered, nothing sacrificed. There is no fruit or result of good or bad actions. There is no this world, no next world, no mother, no father, no spontaneously reborn beings; no priests or contemplatives who, faring rightly &practicing rightly, proclaim this world & the next after having directly known & realized it for themselves."

§ 33. {Iti II.6; Iti 26}

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "Endowed with two things, a person — as if carried off — is thus placed in heaven. Which two? Auspicious habits & auspicious views. Endowed with these two things, a person — as if carried off — is thus placed in heaven."

Auspicious habits &
auspicious views:
a person, discerning,
endowed with these two things,
at the break-up of the body
reappears in heaven.

§ 34. {Iti II.7; Iti 27}

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "A person without ardor, without concern [for the results of doing evil], is incapable of self-awakening, incapable of Unbinding, incapable of attaining the unsurpassed safety from bondage. A person ardent & concerned is capable of self-awakening, capable of Unbinding, capable of attaining the unsurpassed safety from bondage."

With no ardor, no
concern,
lazy, with low persistence,
full of sloth & drowsiness,
shameless, without respect:
he's incapable,
a monk like this,
of touching superlative
self-awakening.
But whoever is mindful, masterful,
absorbed in jhana,
ardent, concerned, & heedful,
cutting the fetter of birth & aging,
touches right here
a self-awakening un-
surpassed.

§ 35. {Iti II.8; Iti 28}

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "Monks, this holy life is lived, not for the sake of deceiving people, not for the sake of inveigling people, not for the sake of the rewards of gain, offerings, & tribute, nor with the thought, 'Thus may people know me.' This holy life is lived for the sake of restraint & abandoning."

Note

1. "Not handed down": not derived from an ancient tradition, and not dependent on ancient tradition for its authority.

§ 36. {Iti II.9; Iti 29}

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "Monks, this holy life is lived, not for the sake of deceiving people, not for the sake of inveigling people, not for the sake of the rewards of gain, offerings, & tribute, nor with the thought, 'Thus may people know me.' This holy life is lived for the sake of direct knowledge1 & full comprehension."

For the sake of direct knowledge & full
comprehension,
he, the Blessed One, taught
a holy life not handed down,
coming to shore
in Unbinding.
Unbinding.
This path is pursued
by those great in purpose,
great seers.
Those who follow it,
as taught by the One Awakened,
heeding the Teacher's message,
will put an end
to suffering & stress.

Note

1. Direct knowledge = abhiñña. The Canon lists six types of abhiñña: psychic powers, clairaudience, the ability to read the minds of others, recollection of past lives, clairvoyance, and — most important of all — knowledge of the ending of the mental fermentations.

§ 37. {Iti II.10; Iti 29}

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "Endowed with two things, a monk lives in ease in the present life and is appropriately aroused for the ending of the fermentations. Which two? A sense of urgency & awe toward things that should inspire urgency & awe1 and, feeling urgency & awe, appropriate exertion. Endowed with two things, a monk lives in ease in the present life and is appropriately aroused for the ending of the fermentations."

Feeling urgency, awe,
toward what should inspire it,
the wise,
masterful,
ardent monk
should investigate
with discernment.
One who lives thus ardently,
not restlessly, at peace,
committed to awareness-tranquillity
would attain the ending
of suffering & stress.

Note

1. Urgency & awe = samvega. Other meanings for this term include shock, dismay, & alienation. In the Pali Canon, this emotion is often accompanied by fear and a sensed need to escape from overwhelming danger. The things that should inspire urgency & awe are the first four of the five reflections listed in AN V.57: "I am subject to aging, have not gone beyond aging. I am subject to illness, have not gone beyond illness. I am subject to death, have not gone beyond death. I will grow different, separate from all that is dear & appealing to me." Appropriate exertion is indicated by the fifth reflection: "I am the owner of my actions, heir to my actions, born of my actions, related through my actions, and have by actions as my arbitrator. Whatever I do, for good or for evil, to that will I fall heir."

§ 38. {Iti II.11; Iti 31}

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "Two trains of thought often occur to the Tathagata, worthy & rightly self-awakened: the thought of safety & that of seclusion.

"The Tathagata enjoys non-ill will, delights in non-ill will. To him — enjoying non-ill will, delighting in non-ill will — this thought often occurs: 'By this activity I harm no one at all, whether weak or firm.'

"The Tathagata enjoys seclusion, delights in seclusion. To him — enjoying seclusion, delighting in seclusion — this thought often occurs: 'Whatever is unskillful is abandoned.'

"Thus, monks, you too should live enjoying non-ill will, delighting in non-ill will. To you — enjoying non-ill will, delighting in non-ill will — this thought will often occur: 'By this activity we harm no one at all, whether weak or firm.'

"You too should live enjoying seclusion, delighting in seclusion. To you — enjoying seclusion, delighting in seclusion — this thought will often occur: 'What is unskillful? What is not yet abandoned? What are we abandoning?'"

To the Tathagata,
awakened,
who endured what is hard to endure,
two thoughts occur:
safety the first thought mentioned;
seclusion the second declared.
The dispeller of darkness, free
of fermentation,
the great seer
who has gone beyond,
reached attainment,
gained mastery,
crossed over the poisons;
who's released in the ending of craving:
that sage
bears his last body,
has shaken off Mara, I tell you,
has gone beyond aging.
As one standing on a rocky crag
would see the people all around below,
so the wise,
with the all-around eye,
having scaled the tower
made of Dhamma,
having crossed over sorrow,
gaze on those overwhelmed with sorrow,
conquered by aging & death.

§ 39. {Iti II.12; Iti 33}

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "The Tathagata — worthy & rightly self-awakened — has two Dhamma discourses given in sequence. Which two? 'See evil as evil.' This is the first Dhamma discourse. 'Having seen evil as evil, become disenchanted there, dispassionate there, released.' This is the second Dhamma discourse. These are the two Dhamma discourses that the Tathagata — worthy & rightly self-awakened — has given in sequence."

See the two statements,
declared in sequence,
by the Tathagata,
awakened, sympathetic
to all beings. The first:
Be dispassionate there
toward evil.
Then, with a mind dispassionate,
you will put an end
to suffering & stress.

§ 40. {Iti II.13; Iti 34}

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "Ignorance1 precedes the arrival of unskillful qualities; lack of conscience & lack of concern2 follow after. Clear knowing precedes the arrival of skillful qualities; conscience & concern follow after."

Any bad destinations
in this world, in the next,
are rooted in ignorance — all —
accumulations
of desire & greed.
And when a person of evil desires
lacks conscience & respect,
evil comes from that,
and by that he goes
to deprivation.
So cleansing away
ignorance, desire, & greed,
a monk giving rise to clear knowing
would abandon all bad destinations.

Notes

1. Ignorance (avijja) means ignorance of stress, its origination, its cessation, and the way leading to its cessation.

2. Conscience (hiri) means a healthy sense of shame — derived from self-esteem — at the idea of doing evil. Concern (ottappa) means fear of the consequences of doing evil.

§ 41. {Iti II.14; Iti 35}

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "Those beings are truly deprived who are deprived of noble discernment. They live in stress in the present life — troubled, distressed, & feverish — and at the break-up of the body, after death, a bad destination can be expected.

"Those beings are not deprived who are not deprived of noble discernment. They live in ease in the present life — untroubled, undistressed, & not feverish — and at the break-up of the body, after death, a good destination can be expected.

Look at the world
— including its heavenly beings:
deprived of discernment,
making an abode in name-&-form,
it conceives that 'This is the truth.'
The best discernment in the world
is what leads
to penetration,
for it rightly discerns
the total ending of birth & becoming.
Human & heavenly beings
hold them dear:
those who are self-awakened,
mindful,
bearing their last bodies
with joyful discernment.

§ 42. {Iti II.15; Iti 36}

[Read an alternate translation by John D. Ireland]

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "There are these two bright qualities that safeguard the world. Which two? Conscience & concern (for the results of unskillful actions). If these two bright qualities did not guard the world, there would be no recognition of 'mother' here, no recognition of 'mother's sister,' 'uncle's wife,' 'teacher's wife,' or 'wife of those who deserve respect.' The world would be immersed in promiscuity, like rams with goats, roosters with pigs, or dogs with jackals. But because these two bright qualities guard the world, there is recognition of 'mother,' 'mother's sister,' 'uncle's wife,' 'teacher's wife,' & 'wife of those who deserve respect.'"

Those in whom
concern & conscience
are not always found
have strayed
from the bright root,
are headed
to birth & death.
But those in whom
concern & conscience
are rightly established always,
who are mature in the holy life:
they are calm,
their further becoming
ended.

§ 43. {Iti II.16; Iti 37}

[Read an alternate translation by John D. Ireland]

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "There is, monks, an unborn — unbecome — unmade — unfabricated. If there were not that unborn — unbecome — unmade — unfabricated, there would not be the case that emancipation from the born — become — made — fabricated would be discerned. But precisely because there is an unborn — unbecome — unmade — unfabricated, emancipation from the born — become — made — fabricated is thus discerned."

The born, become, produced,
made, fabricated, impermanent,
composed of aging & death,
a nest of illnesses, perishing,
come from nourishment
and the guide [that is craving] —
is unfit for delight.
The escape from that
is
calm, permanent,
beyond inference,
unborn, unproduced,
the sorrowless, stainless state,
the cessation of stressful qualities,
the stilling of fabrications,
bliss.

§ 44. {Iti II.17; Iti 38}

[Read an alternate translation by John D. Ireland]

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "Monks, there are these two forms of the Unbinding property. Which two? The Unbinding property with fuel remaining, & the Unbinding property with no fuel remaining.

And what is the Unbinding property with fuel remaining? There is the case where a monk is an arahant whose fermentations have ended, who has reached fulfillment, finished the task, laid down the burden, attained the true goal, destroyed the fetter of becoming, and is released through right gnosis. His five sense faculties still remain and, owing to their being intact, he is cognizant of the pleasant & the unpleasant, and is sensitive to pleasure & pain. His ending of passion, aversion, & delusion is termed the Unbinding property with fuel remaining.1

And what is the Unbinding property with no fuel remaining? There is the case where a monk is an arahant whose fermentations have ended, who has reached fulfillment, finished the task, laid down the burden, attained the true goal, destroyed the fetter of becoming, and is released through right gnosis. For him, all that is sensed, being unrelished, will grow cold right here. This is termed the Unbinding property with no fuel remaining."2

These two proclaimed
by the one with vision,
Unbinding properties the one independent,
the one who is Such:3
one property, here in this life
with fuel remaining
from the destruction of craving,
the guide to becoming,
and that with no fuel remaining,
after this life,
in which all becoming
totally ceases.
Those who know
this state uncompounded,
their minds released
through the destruction of craving,
the guide to becoming,
they, attaining the Teaching's core,
delighting in ending,
have abandoned all becoming:
they, the Such.

Notes

1, 2. With fuel remaining (sa-upadisesa) and with no fuel remaining (anupadisesa): The analogy here is to a fire. In the first case, the flames are out, but the embers are still glowing. In the second, the fire is so thoroughly out that the embers have grown cold. The "fuel" here is the five aggregates (see the Glossary). While the arahant is still alive, he/she still experiences the five aggregates, but they do not burn with the fires of passion, aversion, or delusion. When the arahant passes away, there is no longer any experience of aggregates here or anywhere else. For a discussion of this point, see The Mind Like Fire Unbound, pp. 21-37.

3. Such (tadi): An adjective to describe one who has attained the goal. It indicates that the person's state is undefinable and not subject to change or influence of any sort.

§ 45. {Iti II.18; Iti 39}

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "Monks, live enjoying aloofness, delighting in aloofness, inwardly committed to awareness-tranquillity, not neglecting jhana, endowed with clear-seeing insight, and frequenting empty buildings. As you live enjoying aloofness, delighting in aloofness, inwardly committed to awareness-tranquillity, not neglecting jhana, endowed with clear-seeing insight, and frequenting empty buildings, then one of two fruits can be expected: either gnosis right in the present life, or — if there be any remnant of clinging-sustenance — nonreturn."

Those with calm minds —
masterful,
mindful,
absorbed in jhana —
clearly see things rightly,
not intent on sensual pleasures.
Delighting in heedfulness,
calm,
seeing danger in heedlessness, they
— incapable of falling away —
are right on the verge of Unbinding.
§ 46. {Iti II.19; Iti 40}
This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "Monks, live with the trainings [in heightened virtue, heightened mind, & heightened discernment] as your reward, with discernment uppermost, release the essence, & mindfulness the governing principle. As you live with the trainings as your reward, with discernment uppermost, release the essence, & mindfulness the governing principle, then one of two fruits can be expected: either gnosis right in the present life, or — if there be any remnant of clinging-sustenance — nonreturn."
Complete in the training,
not subject to falling away,
one with discernment
uppermost,
seeing the stopping, the ending of birth:
that sage
bears his last body,
has shaken off Mara, I tell you,
has gone beyond aging.
So, always
delighting in jhana,
centered,
ardent,
seeing the stopping, the ending of birth,
conquering Mara, along with his host,
monks,
be gone-beyond aging & death.

§ 47. {Iti II.20; Iti 41}

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "A monk should be wakeful: mindful, alert, centered, sensitive, clear, & calm. And there he should, at the appropriate times, see clearly into skillful mental qualities. For a monk who is wakeful — mindful, alert, centered, sensitive, clear, & calm, seeing clearly, at the appropriate times, into skillful mental qualities — one of two fruits can be expected: either gnosis right in the present life, or — if there be any remnant of clinging-sustenance — nonreturn."
Those who are wakeful, listen!
Those who are sleeping, wake up!
Wakefulness is better than sleep.
For those who are wakeful,
there's no danger, no fear.
Whoever is wakeful,
mindful, alert,
centered, sensitive,
calm, & clear,
rightly exploring the Dhamma
at appropriate times,
will — at oneness —
shatter the darkness.
So be devoted to wakefulness.
The ardent monk
— masterful, acquiring jhana,
cutting the fetter of birth & aging —
touches right here
a self-awakening un-
surpassed.

§ 48. {Iti II.21; Iti 42}

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "Monks, these two are doomed to deprivation, to hell, for not abandoning their conduct. Which two? One who, not living the celibate life, pretends to be one who lives the celibate life; and one who groundlessly accuses one who lives the celibate life perfectly & purely of uncelibate behavior. These are the two who are doomed to deprivation, to hell, for not abandoning their conduct."

He goes to hell,
the one who asserts
what didn't take place,
as does the one
who, having done,
says, 'I didn't.'
Both — low-acting people —
there become equal:
after death, in the world beyond.
An ochre robe tied 'round their necks,
many with evil qualities
— unrestrained, evil —
rearise, because of their evil acts,
in hell.
Better to eat an iron ball
— glowing, aflame —
than that, unprincipled &
unrestrained,
you should eat the alms of the country.

§ 49. {Iti II.22; Iti 43}

[Read an alternate translation by John D. Ireland]

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "Overcome by two viewpoints, some human & divine beings adhere, other human & divine beings slip right past, while those with vision see.

"And how do some adhere? Human & divine beings enjoy becoming, delight in becoming, are satisfied with becoming. When the Dhamma is being taught for the sake of the cessation of becoming, their minds do not take to it, are not calmed by it, do not settle on it or become resolved on it. This is how some adhere.

"And how do some slip right past? Some, feeling horrified, humiliated, & disgusted with that very becoming, relish non-becoming: 'When this self, at the break-up of the body, after death, perishes & is destroyed, and does not exist after death, that is peaceful, that is exquisite, that is sufficiency!' This is how some slip right past.

"And how do those with vision see? There is the case where a monk sees what has come into being as come into being. Seeing what has come into being as come into being, he practices for disenchantment with what has come into being, dispassion toward what has come into being, cessation of what has come into being. This is how those with vision see."1

Those, having seen
what's come to be
as what's come to be,
and what's gone beyond
what's come to be,
are released in line
with what's come to be,
through the exhaustion of craving
for becoming.
If they've comprehended
what's come to be,
and are free from the craving
for becoming & non-,
with the non-becoming
of what's come to be,
monks come
to no further becoming.

Note

1. This discourse illustrates, in a technical fashion, the function of appropriate attention explained in the note to §16. SN XII.15 presents the same point from a different perspective: "This world takes as its object a polarity, that of existence & non-existence. But when one sees the origination of the world (= the six senses and their objects) as it actually is with right discernment, 'non-existence' with reference to the world does not occur to one. When one sees the cessation of the world as it actually is with right discernment, 'existence' with reference to the world does not occur to one. By & large, this world is in bondage to attachments, clingings, & biases. But one such as this does not get involved with or cling to these attachments, clingings, fixations of awareness, biases, or obsessions; nor is he resolved on 'my self.' He has no uncertainty or doubt that, when there is arising, only stress is arising; and that when there is passing away, stress is passing away. In this, his knowledge is independent of others."

The Group of Threes [go to top]

§ 50. {Iti III.1; Iti 44}

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "There are these three roots of what is unskillful. Which three? Greed as a root of what is unskillful, aversion as a root of what is unskillful, delusion as a root of what is unskillful. These are the three roots of what is unskillful."

Greed, aversion, delusion destroy

the self-same person of evil mind

from whom they are born,

like the fruiting

of the bamboo.

§ 51. {Iti III.2; Iti 45}

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "There are these three properties. Which three? The property of form, the property of formlessness, & the property of cessation.1 These are the three properties."

Comprehending the property of form,

not taking a stance in the formless,

those released in cessation

are people who've left death behind.

Having touched with his body

the deathless

property free

from acquisitions,

having realized the relinquishing

of acquisitions,

fermentation-free,

the Rightly

Self-awakened One

teaches the state

with no sorrow,

no dust.

Note

1. The property of form corresponds to the experience of the form of the body as present in the first four levels of jhana (see Glossary). The property of formlessness corresponds to the formless experiences based on the fourth level of jhana: the dimension of the infinitude of space, the dimension of the infinitude of consciousness, the dimension of nothingness, and the dimension of neither perception nor non-perception. The property of cessation is the experience of the total cessation of stress.

§ 52. {Iti III.3; Iti 46}

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "There are these three feelings. Which three? A feeling of pleasure, a feeling of pain, a feeling of neither pleasure nor pain. These are the three feelings."

Centered,

mindful,

alert,

the Awakened One's

disciple

discerns feelings,

how feelings come into play,

where they cease,

& the path to their ending.

With the ending of feelings, a monk

free of want

is totally unbound.

§ 53. {Iti III.4; Iti 47}

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "There are these three feelings. Which three? A feeling of pleasure, a feeling of pain, a feeling of neither pleasure nor pain. A feeling of pleasure should be seen as stressful. A feeling of pain should be seen as an arrow. A feeling of neither pleasure nor pain should be seen as inconstant. When a monk has seen a feeling of pleasure as stressful, a feeling of pain as an arrow, and a feeling of neither pleasure nor pain as inconstant, then he is called a monk who is noble, who has seen rightly, who has cut off craving, destroyed the fetters, and who — from the right breaking-through of conceit — has put an end to suffering & stress."

Whoever sees

pleasure as stress,

sees pain as an arrow,

sees peaceful neither-pleasure-nor-pain

as inconstant:

he is a monk

who's seen rightly.

From that he is there set free.

A master of direct knowing,

at peace,

he is a sage

gone beyond bonds.

§ 54. {Iti III.5; Iti 48}

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "There are these three searches. Which three? The search for sensuality, the search for becoming, the search for a holy life. These are the three searches."

Centered,

mindful,

alert,

the Awakened One's

disciple

discerns searches,

how searches come into play,

where they cease,

& the path to their ending.

With the ending of searches, a monk

free of want

is totally unbound.

§ 55. {Iti III.6; Iti 48}

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "There are these three searches. Which three? The search for sensuality, the search for becoming, the search for a holy life. These are the three searches."

Sensual search, becoming-search,

together with the holy-life search —

i.e., grasping at truth

based on an accumulation

of viewpoints:

through the relinquishing of searches

& the abolishing of viewpoints

of one dispassionate to

all passion,

and released in the ending

of craving,

through the ending of searches, the monk

is devoid of perplexity &

desire.

§ 56. {Iti III.7; Iti 49}

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "There are these three fermentations. Which three? The fermentation of sensuality, the fermentation of becoming, the fermentation of ignorance. These are the three fermentations."

Centered,

mindful,

alert,

the Awakened One's disciple

discerns fermentations,

how fermentations come into play,

where they cease,

& the path to their ending.

With the ending of fermentations, a monk

free of want

is totally unbound.

§ 57. {Iti III.8; Iti 49}

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "There are these three fermentations. Which three? The fermentation of sensuality, the fermentation of becoming, the fermentation of ignorance. These are the three fermentations."

His fermentation of sensuality

ended,

his ignorance

washed away,

his fermentation of becoming

exhausted:

one totally released, acquisition-free,

bears his last body,

having conquered Mara

along with his mount.

§ 58. {Iti III.9; Iti 50}

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "There are these three cravings. Which three? Craving for sensuality, craving for becoming, craving for non-becoming. These are the three cravings."

Bound with the bondage of craving,

their minds smitten

with becoming & non-,

they are bound with the bondage of Mara —

people with no safety from bondage,

beings going through the wandering-on,

headed for birth & death.

While those who've abandoned craving,

free from the craving for becoming & non-,

reaching the ending of fermentations,

though in the world,

have gone beyond.

§ 59. {Iti III.10; Iti 50}

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "Endowed with three qualities a monk has passed beyond Mara's domain and shines like the sun. Which three? There is the case where a monk is endowed with the aggregate of virtue of one beyond training [i.e., an arahant], the aggregate of concentration of one beyond training, the aggregate of discernment of one beyond training. Endowed with these three qualities a monk has passed beyond Mara's domain and shines like the sun."

Virtue, concentration, discernment:

one in whom these are well-developed,

passing beyond Mara's domain,

shines, shines

like the sun.

§ 60. {Iti III.11; Iti 51}

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "There are these three grounds for meritorious activity. Which three? The ground for meritorious activity made of giving, the ground for meritorious activity made of virtue, and the ground for meritorious activity made of development [meditation]. These are the three grounds for meritorious activity."

Train in acts of merit

that bring long-lasting bliss —

develop giving,

a life in tune,

a mind of good-will.

Developing these

three things

that bring about bliss,

the wise reappear

in a world of bliss

unalloyed.

§ 61. {Iti III.12; Iti 52}

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "There are these three eyes. Which three? The eye of flesh, the divine eye [clairvoyance], & the eye of discernment. These are the three eyes."

The eye of flesh,

the eye divine,

the eye of discernment

unsurpassed:

these three eyes were taught

by the Superlative Person.

The arising of the eye of flesh

is the path to the eye divine.

When knowledge arises,

the eye of discernment unsurpassed:

whoever gains this eye

is — from all suffering & stress —

set free.

§ 62. {Iti III.13; Iti 52}

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "There are these three faculties. Which three? The faculty of 'I am about to know what is not yet finally known,' the faculty of final knowledge, the faculty of one who has finally known.1 These are the three faculties."

For a learner in training

along the straight path:

first, the knowledge of ending;

then, immediately,

gnosis;

then, from the ending

of the fetter — becoming —

there's the knowledge,

the gnosis of one released

who is Such:2

One consummate in these faculties,

peaceful,

enjoying the peaceful state,

bears his last body,

having conquered Mara

along with his mount.

Notes

1. According to the Commentary, the first of these faculties corresponds to the first noble attainment, the path to stream-entry; the second, to the next six attainments, ranging from the fruition of stream-entry to the path to arahantship; and the third, to the highest attainment, the fruition of arahantship.

2. Such (tadi): see the note to §44.

§ 63. {Iti III.14; Iti 53}

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "There are these three times. Which three? Past time, future time, & present time. These are the three times."

Perceiving in terms of signs, beings

take a stand on signs.

Not fully comprehending signs, they

come into the bonds

of death.

But fully comprehending signs, one

doesn't construe a signifier.

Touching liberation with the heart,

the state of peace unsurpassed,

consummate in terms of signs,

peaceful,

enjoying the peaceful state,

judicious,

an attainer-of wisdom

makes use of classifications

but can't be classified.1

Note

1. At first glance, the verses here do not bear much relationship to the prose introduction. However, if they are viewed in the context of MN 2(see the note to §16), their relationship becomes clear: the person who applies appropriate attention to the notion of past, present, and future time does not define him or herself in those terms, and so does not cling to any sense of self in those terms. Without clinging, one is liberated from birth and death.

§ 64. {Iti III.15; Iti 54}

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "There are these three kinds of misconduct. Which three? Bodily misconduct, verbal misconduct, mental misconduct.1 These are the three kinds of misconduct."

Having engaged

in bodily misconduct,

verbal misconduct,

misconduct of mind,

or whatever else is flawed,

not having done what is skillful,

having done much that is not,

at the break-up of the body,

the undiscerning one reappears in

hell.

Note

1. See the note to §30.

§ 65. {Iti III.16; Iti 55}

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "There are these three kinds of good conduct. Which three? Bodily good conduct, verbal good conduct, mental good conduct. These are the three kinds of good conduct."

Having abandoned

bodily misconduct,

verbal misconduct,

misconduct of mind,

& whatever else is flawed,

not having done what's not skillful,

having done much that is,

at the break-up of the body,

the discerning one reappears

in heaven.

§ 66. {Iti III.17; Iti 55}

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "There are these three kinds of cleanliness. Which three? Bodily cleanliness, verbal cleanliness, mental cleanliness. These are the three kinds of cleanliness."

Clean in body,

clean in speech,

clean in awareness

— fermentation-free —

one who is clean,

consummate in cleanliness,

is said to have abandoned

the All.

§ 67. {Iti III.18; Iti 56}

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "There are these three forms of sagacity. Which three? Bodily sagacity, verbal sagacity, & mental sagacity. These are the three forms of sagacity."

A sage in body, a sage in speech,

a sage in mind, fermentation-free:

a sage consummate in sagacity

is said to be bathed of evil.

§ 68. {Iti III.19; Iti 56}

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "Anyone whose passion is unabandoned, whose aversion is unabandoned, whose delusion is unabandoned is said to have gone over to Mara's camp, has come under Mara's power. The Evil One can do with that person as he likes. But anyone whose passion is abandoned, whose aversion is abandoned, whose delusion is abandoned is said not to have gone over to Mara's camp, has thrown off Mara's power. With that person, the Evil One cannot do as he likes."

One whose passion, aversion, & ignorance

are washed away,

is said to be

composed in mind,

Brahma-become,

awakened, Tathagata,

one for whom fear & hostility

are past,

one who's abandoned

the All.

§ 69. {Iti III.20; Iti 57}

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "Anyone — monk or nun — in whom passion is unabandoned, aversion is unabandoned, & delusion is unabandoned, is said not to have crossed the ocean with its waves, breakers, & whirlpools, its monsters & demons.1 Anyone — monk or nun — in whom passion is abandoned, aversion is abandoned, & delusion is abandoned, is said to have crossed the ocean with its waves, breakers, & whirlpools, its monsters & demons. Having crossed over, having reached the far shore, he/she stands on high ground, a brahman."

One whose passion, aversion, & ignorance

are washed away,

has crossed over this ocean

with its sharks,

demons,

dangerous waves,

so hard to cross.

Free from acquisitions

— bonds surmounted,

death abandoned —

he has abandoned stress

with no further becoming.

Having gone to the goal

he is undefined,2

has outwitted, I tell you,

the King of Death.

Notes

1. See §109.

2. See §63.

§ 70. {Iti III.21; Iti 58}

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "I have seen beings who — endowed with bodily misconduct, verbal misconduct, & mental misconduct; who reviled noble ones, held wrong views and undertook actions under the influence of wrong views — at the break-up of the body, after death, have re-appeared in the plane of deprivation, the bad destination, the lower realms, in hell. It is not from having heard this from other priests & contemplatives that I tell you that I have seen beings who — endowed with bodily misconduct, verbal misconduct, & mental misconduct; who reviled noble ones, held wrong views and undertook actions under the influence of wrong views — at the break-up of the body, after death, have re-appeared in the plane of deprivation, the bad destination, the lower realms, in hell. It is from having known it myself, seen it myself, realized it myself that I tell you that I have seen beings who — endowed with bodily misconduct, verbal misconduct, & mental misconduct; who reviled noble ones, held wrong views and undertook actions under the influence of wrong views — at the break-up of the body, after death, have re-appeared in the plane of deprivation, the bad destination, the lower realms, in hell."

With mind wrongly directed,

speaking wrong speech,

doing wrong deeds with the body:

a person here

of little learning,

a doer of evil

here in this life so short,

at the break-up of the body,

undiscerning,

reappears in hell.

§ 71. {Iti III.22; Iti 59}

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "I have seen beings who — endowed with bodily good conduct, verbal good conduct, & mental good conduct; who did not revile noble ones, who held right views and undertook actions under the influence of right views — at the break-up of the body, after death, have re-appeared in the good destination, the heavenly world. It is not from having heard this from other priests & contemplatives that I tell you that I have seen beings who — endowed with bodily good conduct, verbal good conduct, & mental good conduct; who did not revile noble ones, who held right views and undertook actions under the influence of right views — at the break-up of the body, after death, have re-appeared in the good destination, the heavenly world. It is from having known it myself, seen it myself, realized it myself that I tell you that I have seen beings who — endowed with bodily good conduct, verbal good conduct, & mental good conduct; who did not revile noble ones, who held right views and undertook actions under the influence of right views — at the break-up of the body, after death, have re-appeared in the good destination, the heavenly world. "

With mind rightly directed,

speaking right speech,

doing right deeds with the body:

a person here

of much learning,

a doer of merit

here in this life so short,

at the break-up of the body,

discerning,

reappears in heaven.

§ 72. {Iti III.23; Iti 61}

[Read an alternate translation by John D. Ireland]

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "There are these three properties for escape. Which three? This is the escape from sensuality: renunciation.1 This is the escape from form: formlessness. And as for whatever has come into being, is fabricated & dependently co-arisen, the escape from that is cessation. These are the three properties for escape."

Knowing the escape from sensuality,

& the overcoming of forms

— ardent

always —

touching the stilling

of all fabrications:

he is a monk

who's seen rightly.

From that he is there set free.

A master of direct knowing,

at peace,

he is a sage

gone beyond bonds.

Note

1. Renunciation here means the first level of jhana, which is attained when one is secluded from sensual passion and unskillful mental qualities. On formlessness and cessation, see the note to §51.

§ 73. {Iti III.24; Iti 62}

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "Formless phenomena are more peaceful than forms; cessation, more peaceful than formless phenomena."

Those beings headed to forms,

and those standing in the formless,

with no knowledge of cessation,

return to further becoming.

But, comprehending form,

not taking a stance in formless things,

those released in cessation

are people who've left death behind.

Having touched with his body

the deathless property free

from acquisitions,

having realized relinquishing

of acquisitions,

fermentation-free,

the Rightly Self-awakened One

teaches the state

with no sorrow,

no dust.

§ 74. {Iti III.25; Iti 62}

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "There are these three types of sons & daughters existing in the world. Which three? One of heightened birth, one of similar birth, one of lowered birth.

"And how is a son or daughter of heightened birth? There is the case where a son or daughter's parents have not gone to the Buddha for refuge, have not gone to the Dhamma for refuge, have not gone to the Sangha for refuge. They do not abstain from taking life, from stealing, from sexual misconduct, from false speech, from fermented & distilled liquors that cause heedlessness. They are unprincipled & evil by nature. However, their son or daughter has gone to the Buddha for refuge, has gone to the Dhamma for refuge, has gone to the Sangha for refuge. He/she abstains from taking life, from stealing, from sexual misconduct, from false speech, from fermented & distilled liquors that cause heedlessness. He/she is principled & admirable by nature. This is called a son or daughter of heightened birth.

"And how is a son or daughter of similar birth? There is the case where a son or daughter's parents have gone to the Buddha for refuge, have gone to the Dhamma for refuge, have gone to the Sangha for refuge. They abstain from taking life, from stealing, from sexual misconduct, from false speech, from fermented & distilled liquors that cause heedlessness. They are principled & admirable by nature. Their son or daughter has also gone to the Buddha for refuge, has gone to the Dhamma for refuge, has gone to the Sangha for refuge. He/she abstains from taking life, from stealing, from sexual misconduct, from false speech, from fermented & distilled liquors that cause heedlessness. He/she is principled & admirable by nature. This is called a son or daughter of similar birth.

"And how is a son or daughter of lowered birth? There is the case where a son or daughter's parents have gone to the Buddha for refuge, have gone to the Dhamma for refuge, have gone to the Sangha for refuge. They abstain from taking life, from stealing, from sexual misconduct, from false speech, from fermented & distilled liquors that cause heedlessness. They are principled & admirable by nature. However, their son or daughter has not gone to the Buddha for refuge, has not gone to the Dhamma for refuge, has not gone to the Sangha for refuge. He/she does not abstain from taking life, from stealing, from sexual misconduct, from false speech, from fermented & distilled liquors that cause heedlessness. He/she is unprincipled & evil by nature. This is called a son or daughter of lowered birth."

The wise hope for a child

of heightened or similar birth,

not for one

of lowered birth,

a disgrace to the family.

These children in the world,

lay followers,

consummate in virtue, conviction;

generous, free from stinginess,

shine forth in any gathering

like the moon

when freed from a cloud.

§ 75. {Iti III.26; Iti 64}

[Read an alternate translation by John D. Ireland]

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "These three types of persons can be found existing in the world. Which three? One like a cloud without rain, one who rains locally, and one who rains everywhere.

"And how is a person like a cloud without rain? There is the case where a person is not a giver of food, drink, clothing, vehicles, garlands, scents, ointments, beds, dwellings, or lights to any priests or contemplatives, to any of the miserable, the homeless, or beggars. This is how a person is like a cloud without rain.

"And how is a person one who rains locally? There is the case where a person is a giver of food, drink, clothing, vehicles, garlands, scents, ointments, beds, dwellings, & lights to some priests & contemplatives, to some of the miserable, the homeless, & beggars, and not to others. This is how a person one who rains locally.

"And how is a person one who rains everywhere? There is the case where a person gives food, drink, clothing, vehicles, garlands, scents, ointments, beds, dwellings, & lights to all priests & contemplatives, to all of the miserable, the homeless, & beggars. This is how a person one who rains everywhere.

"These are the three types of persons who can be found existing in the world."

Not to contemplatives,

to priests,

to the miserable,

nor to the homeless

does he share what he's gained:

food,

drinks,

nourishment.

He, that lowest of people,

is called a cloud with no rain.

To some he gives,

to others he doesn't:

the intelligent call him

one who rains locally.

A person responsive to requests,

sympathetic to all beings,

delighting in distributing alms:

"Give to them!

Give!"

he says.

As a cloud — resounding, thundering — rains,

filling with water, drenching

the plateaus & gullies:

a person like this

is like that.

Having rightly amassed

wealth attained through initiative,

he satisfies fully with food & drink

those fallen into

the homeless state.

§ 76. {Iti III.27; Iti 67}

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "Aspiring to these three forms of bliss, a wise person should guard his virtue. Which three? [Thinking,] 'May praise come to me,' a wise person should guard his virtue. [Thinking,] 'May wealth come to me,' a wise person should guard his virtue. [Thinking,] 'At the break-up of the body, after death, may I reappear in a good destination, in heaven,' a wise person should guard his virtue. Aspiring to these three forms of bliss, a wise person should guard his virtue."

Intelligent,

you should guard your virtue,

aspiring to three forms of bliss:

praise;

the obtaining of wealth;

and, after death, rejoicing

in heaven.

Even if you do no evil

but seek out one who does,

you're suspected of evil.

Your bad reputation

grows.

The sort of person you make a friend,

the sort you seek out,

that's the sort you yourself become —

for your living together is of

that sort.

The one associated with,

the one who associates,

the one who's touched,

the one who touches another

— like an arrow smeared with poison —

contaminates the quiver.

So, fearing contamination, the enlightened

should not be comrades

with evil people.

A man who wraps rotting fish

in a blade of kusa grass

makes the grass smelly:

so it is

if you seek out fools.

But a man who wraps powdered incense

in the leaf of a tree

makes the leaf fragrant:

so it is

if you seek out

the enlightened.

So,

knowing your own outcome

as like the leaf-wrapper's,

you shouldn't seek out

those who aren't good.

The wise would associate

with those who are.

Those who aren't good

lead you to hell.

The good help you reach

a good destination.

§ 77. {Iti III.28; Iti 69}

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "This body falls apart; consciousness is subject to fading; all acquisitions are inconstant, stressful, subject to change."

Knowing the body as falling apart,

& consciousness as dissolving away,

seeing the danger in acquisitions,

you've gone beyond

birth & death.

Having reached the foremost peace,

you bide your time,

composed.

§ 78. {Iti III.29; Iti 70}

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "It is in accordance with their properties that beings come together & associate with one another. Beings of low dispositions come together & associate with beings of low dispositions. Beings of admirable dispositions come together & associate with beings of admirable dispositions. In the past, it was in accordance with their properties that beings came together & associated with one another... In the future, it will be in accordance with their properties that beings will come together & associate with one another... And now at present, it is in accordance with their properties that beings come together & associate with one another. Beings of low dispositions come together & associate with beings of low dispositions. Beings of admirable dispositions come together & associate with beings of admirable dispositions."

The underbrush born

of association

is cut away

by non-association.

Just as one riding

a small wooden plank

would sink

in the great sea,

so does even one of right living

sink,

associating with the lazy.

So avoid the lazy,

those with low persistence.

Live with the noble ones —

secluded, resolute, absorbed in jhana,

their persistence constantly aroused

: the wise.

§ 79. {Iti III.30; Iti 71}

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "These three things lead to the falling away of a monk in training. Which three? There is the case where a monk in training enjoys activity,1 delights in activity, is intent on his enjoyment of activity. He enjoys chatter, delights in chatter, is intent on his enjoyment of chatter. He enjoys sleep, delights in sleep, is intent on his enjoyment of sleep. These are the three things that lead to the falling away of a monk in training.

"These three things lead to the non-falling away of a monk in training. Which three? There is the case where a monk in training doesn't enjoy activity, doesn't delight in activity, isn't intent on his enjoyment of activity. He doesn't enjoy chatter, doesn't delight in chatter, isn't intent on his enjoyment of chatter. He doesn't enjoy sleep, doesn't delight in sleep, isn't intent on his enjoyment of sleep. These are the three things that lead to the non-falling away of a monk in training."

Enjoying activity,

delighting in chatter,

enjoying sleep,

& restless:

he's incapable

— a monk like this —

of touching superlative

self-awakening.

So he should be a man of few duties,

of little sloth,

not restless.

He's capable

— a monk like this —

of touching superlative

self-awakening.

Note

1. Activity = work of various sorts, such as construction work, robe-making, etc.

§ 80. {Iti III.31; Iti 72}

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "There are these three kinds of unskillful thinking. Which three? Thinking concerned with not wanting to be despised; thinking concerned with gains, offerings, & tribute; thinking concerned with an empathy for others.1 There are three kinds of unskillful thinking."

Fettered

to not wanting to be despised;

to gains, offerings, respect;

to delight in companions:

you're far from the ending of fetters.

But whoever here,

having abandoned

sons,

cattle,

marriage,

intimates:

he's capable

— a monk like this —

of touching superlative

self-awakening.

Note

1. According to the Commentary, this refers to a monk's tendency to be overly intimate with lay people, overly susceptible to the rises and falls in their fortunes, "happy when they are happy, sad when they are sad, busying himself with their affairs."

§ 81. {Iti III.32; Iti 73}

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "I have seen beings conquered by receiving offerings — their minds overwhelmed — at the break-up of the body, after death, reappearing in the plane of deprivation, the bad destination, the lower realms, in hell. I have seen beings conquered by not receiving offerings — their minds overwhelmed — at the break-up of the body, after death, reappearing in the plane of deprivation, the bad destination, the lower realms, in hell. I have seen beings conquered both by receiving offerings & by not receiving offerings — their minds overwhelmed — at the break-up of the body, after death, reappearing in the plane of deprivation, the bad destination, the lower realms, in hell.

"It's not through having heard it from other priests or contemplatives that I say, 'I have seen beings conquered by receiving offerings — their minds overwhelmed — at the break-up of the body, after death, reappearing in the plane of deprivation, the bad destination, the lower realms, in hell. I have seen beings conquered by not receiving offerings — their minds overwhelmed — at the break-up of the body, after death, reappearing in the plane of deprivation, the bad destination, the lower realms, in hell. I have seen beings conquered both by receiving offerings & by not receiving offerings — their minds overwhelmed — at the break-up of the body, after death, reappearing in the plane of deprivation, the bad destination, the lower realms, in hell.'

"Instead, it's from having known it myself, seen it myself, observed it myself that I say, 'I have seen beings conquered by receiving offerings — their minds overwhelmed — at the break-up of the body, after death, reappearing in the plane of deprivation, the bad destination, the lower realms, in hell. I have seen beings conquered by not receiving offerings — their minds overwhelmed — at the break-up of the body, after death, reappearing in the plane of deprivation, the bad destination, the lower realms, in hell. I have seen beings conquered both by receiving offerings & by not receiving offerings — their minds overwhelmed — at the break-up of the body, after death, reappearing in the plane of deprivation, the bad destination, the lower realms, in hell.'"

Both when receiving offerings

& not:

his concentration

won't waver,

he remains

heedful:

he — continually absorbed in jhana,

subtle in view & clear-seeing,

enjoying the ending of clinging —

is called a man

of integrity.

§ 82. {Iti III.33; Iti 75}

[Read an alternate translation by John D. Ireland]

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "These three divine sounds sound forth among the devas on appropriate occasions. Which three? When a disciple of the noble ones, shaving off his hair & beard, clothing himself in the ochre robe, makes up his mind to go forth from the home life into homelessness, on that occasion the divine sound sounds forth among the devas: 'This disciple of the noble ones has made up his mind to do battle with Mara.' This is the first divine sound that sounds forth among the devas on appropriate occasions.

"When a disciple of the noble ones lives devoted to developing the seven [sets of] qualities that are wings to Awakening,1 on that occasion the divine sound sounds forth among the devas: 'This disciple of the noble ones is doing battle with Mara.' This is the second divine sound that sounds forth among the devas on appropriate occasions.

"When a disciple of the noble ones, through the ending of fermentations dwells in the awareness-release & discernment-release that are free from fermentation, having known & made them manifest for himself right in the present life, on that occasion the divine sound sounds forth among the devas: 'This disciple of the noble ones has won the battle. Having been in the front lines of the battle, he now dwells victorious.' This is the third divine sound that sounds forth among the devas on appropriate occasions.

"These are the three divine sounds that sound forth among the devas on appropriate occasions."

Seeing he's won the battle

— the disciple of the Rightly

Self-awakened One —

even the devas pay homage

to this great one, thoroughly mature.

"Homage to you, O thoroughbred man —

you who have won the hard victory,

defeating the army of Death,

unhindered in

emancipation."

Thus they pay homage, the devas,

to one who has reached the heart's goal,

for they see in him no means

that would bring him under Death's sway.

Note

1. The wings to Awakening are the four frames of reference, the four right exertions, the four bases for power, the five faculties, the five strengths, the seven factors for Awakening, and the noble eightfold path.

§ 83. {Iti III.34; Iti 76}

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard:

"When a deva is about to pass away from the company of devas, five omens appear: his garlands wither, his clothes get soiled, sweat comes out of his armpits, a dullness descends on his body, he no longer delights in his own deva-seat. The devas, knowing from this that 'This deva-son is about to pass away,' encourage him with three sayings: 'Go from here, honorable sir, to a good destination. Having gone to a good destination, gain the gain that is good to gain. Having gained the gain that is good to gain, become well-established.'"

When this was said, a certain monk said to the Blessed One, "What, lord, is the devas' reckoning of going to a good destination? What is their reckoning of the gain that is good to gain? What is their reckoning of becoming well-established?"

"The human state, monks, is the devas' reckoning of going to a good destination. Having become a human being, acquiring conviction in the Dhamma-&-Vinaya taught by the Tathagata: this is the devas' reckoning of the gain that is good to gain. When that conviction is settled within one — rooted, established, & strong, not to be destroyed by any priest or contemplative; deva, Mara, or Brahma; or anyone else in the world: this is the devas' reckoning of becoming well-established."

When a deva passes away

from the company of devas

through his life-span's ending,

three sounds sound forth

— the devas' encouragement.

'Go from here,

honorable sir,

to a good destination,

to companionship

with human beings.

On becoming a human being,

acquire a conviction

unsurpassed

in True Dhamma.

That conviction of yours

in True Dhamma, well-taught,

should be settled,

rooted,

established,

— undestroyed

as long as you live.

Having abandoned

bodily misconduct,

verbal misconduct,

mental misconduct,

and whatever else is flawed;

having done with the body what's skillful,

and much that is skillful with speech,

having done what's skillful

with a heart without limit,

with no acquisitions,

then — having made much

of that basis of merit

through giving —

establish other mortals

in True Dhamma &

the holy life.'

With this sympathy, the devas —

when they know a deva is passing away —

encourage him:

'Come back, deva,

again & again.'

§ 84. {Iti III.35; Iti 78}

[Read an alternate translation by John D. Ireland]

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "These three persons, appearing in the world, appear for the benefit of many, the happiness of many, in sympathy for the world — for the welfare, the benefit, the happiness of beings human & divine. Which three?

"There is the case where a Tathagata appears in the world, worthy & rightly self-awakened, consummate in clear knowing & conduct, well-gone, an expert with regard to the cosmos, unsurpassed trainer of tamable people, teacher of beings human & divine, awakened, blessed. He teaches the Dhamma admirable in its beginning, admirable in its middle, admirable in its end. He proclaims the holy life both in its particulars & in its essence, entirely perfect, surpassingly pure. This is the first person who, appearing in the world, appears for the benefit of many, the happiness of many, in sympathy for the world — for the welfare, the benefit, the happiness of beings human & divine.

"Furthermore, there is the disciple of that Teacher who is a worthy one, his mental fermentations ended, who has reached fulfillment, done the task, laid down the burden, attained the true goal, totally destroyed the fetter of becoming, and who is released through right gnosis. He teaches the Dhamma admirable in its beginning, admirable in its middle, admirable in its end. He proclaims the holy life both in its particulars & in its essence, entirely perfect, surpassingly pure. This is the second person who, appearing in the world, appears for the benefit of many, the happiness of many, in sympathy for the world — for the welfare, the benefit, the happiness of beings human & divine.

"Furthermore, there is the disciple of that Teacher who is a learner, following the way, erudite, endowed with [good] practices & principles. He, too, teaches the Dhamma admirable in its beginning, admirable in its middle, admirable in its end. He proclaims the holy life both in its particulars & in its essence, entirely perfect, surpassingly pure. This is the third person who, appearing in the world, appears for the benefit of many, the happiness of many, in sympathy for the world — for the welfare, the benefit, the happiness of beings human & divine.

"These are the three persons who, appearing in the world, appear for the benefit of many, the happiness of many, in sympathy for the world — for the welfare, the benefit, the happiness of beings human & divine."

The Teacher,

Great Seer,

is first in the world;

following him, the disciple

composed;

and then the learner,

erudite, following the way,

endowed with good virtue,

practices.

These three, chief

among beings divine & human,

giving light, proclaiming the Dhamma,

throw open the door to the Deathless,

release many from bondage.

Those who follow the path,

well-taught by the Caravan Leader

unsurpassed,

will put an end to stress

right here —

those heeding the message

of the One Well-gone.

§ 85. {Iti III.36; Iti 80}

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "Remain focused, monks, on the foulness of the body. Have mindfulness of in-&-out breathing well established to the fore within you. Remain focused on the inconstancy of all fabrications. For one who remains focused on the foulness of the body, the obsession with passion for the property of beauty is abandoned. For one who has mindfulness of in-&-out breathing well established to the fore within oneself, annoying external thoughts & inclinations don't exist. For one who remains focused on the inconstancy of all fabrications, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises."

Focusing on foulness

in the body,

mindful

of in & out breathing,

seeing

the stilling of all fabrications

— ardent

always:

he is a monk

who's seen rightly.

From that he is there set free.

A master of direct knowing,

at peace,

he is a sage

gone beyond bonds.

§ 86. {Iti III.37; Iti 81}

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "With reference to a monk who practices the Dhamma in accordance with the Dhamma, it is this way of according with the Dhamma that he should be described as practicing the Dhamma in accordance with the Dhamma. When speaking, he speaks Dhamma and not non-Dhamma. When thinking, he thinks about Dhamma and not about non-Dhamma. Avoiding both these things, he stays equanimous, mindful, alert."

Dhamma his dwelling,

Dhamma his delight,

a monk pondering Dhamma,

calling Dhamma to mind,

doesn't fall away

from true Dhamma.

Whether walking,

standing,

sitting, or

lying down

— his mind inwardly restrained —

he arrives

right at peace.

§ 87. {Iti III.38; Iti 82}

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "There are these three kinds of unskillful thinking that produce blindness, produce lack of vision, produce lack of knowledge, lead to the cessation of discernment, side with vexation, and are not conducive to Unbinding. Which three? Thinking imbued with sensuality... Thinking imbued with ill-will... Thinking imbued with harmfulness produces blindness, produces lack of vision, produces lack of knowledge, leads to the cessation of discernment, sides with vexation, and is not conducive to Unbinding. These are the three kinds of unskillful thinking that produce blindness, produce lack of vision, produce lack of knowledge, lead to the cessation of discernment, side with vexation, and are not conducive to Unbinding.

"There are these three kinds of skillful thinking that produce non-blindness, produce vision, produce knowledge, foster discernment, side with non-vexation, and are conducive to Unbinding. Which three? Thinking imbued with renunciation... Thinking imbued with non-ill-will... Thinking imbued with harmlessness produces non-blindness, produces vision, produces knowledge, fosters discernment, sides with non-vexation, and is conducive to Unbinding. These are the three kinds of skillful thinking that produce non-blindness, produce vision, produce knowledge, foster discernment, side with non-vexation, and are conducive to Unbinding."

Three skillful thoughts

should be thought,

three unskillful thoughts

rejected.

Whoever stills sustained thoughts

— as rain would, a cloud of dust —

through an awareness with thinking stilled,

attains right here

the state

of peace.

§ 88. {Iti III.39; Iti 83}

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "There are these three inside stains, inside enemies, inside foes, inside murderers, inside adversaries. Which three? Greed is an inside stain, inside enemy, inside foe, inside murderer, inside adversary. Aversion is an inside stain... Delusion is an inside stain, inside enemy, inside foe, inside murderer, inside adversary. These are the three inside stains, inside enemies, inside foes, inside murderers, inside adversaries."

Greed causes harm.

Greed provokes the mind.

People don't realize it

as a danger born from within.

A person, when greedy,

doesn't know his own welfare;

when greedy,

doesn't see Dhamma.

Overcome with greed,

he's in the dark, blind.

But when one, abandoning greed,

feels no greed

for what would merit greed,

greed gets shed from him —

like a drop of water

off a lotus leaf.

Aversion causes harm.

Aversion provokes the mind.

People don't realize it

as a danger born from within.

A person, when aversive,

doesn't know his own welfare;

when aversive,

doesn't see Dhamma.

Overcome with aversion

he's in the dark, blind.

But when one, abandoning aversion,

feels no aversion

for what would merit aversion,

aversion drops away from him —

like a palm leaf from its stem.

Delusion causes harm.

Delusion provokes the mind.

People don't realize it

as a danger born from within.

A person, when deluded,

doesn't know his own welfare;

when deluded,

doesn't see Dhamma.

Overcome with delusion

he's in the dark, blind.

But when one, abandoning delusion,

feels no delusion

for what would merit delusion,

he disperses all delusion —

as the rising of the sun, the dark.

§ 89. {Iti III.40; Iti 85}

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "Conquered by three forms of false Dhamma — his mind overwhelmed — Devadatta1 is incurably doomed to deprivation, to hell, for an aeon. Which three? Conquered by evil desires — his mind overwhelmed — Devadatta is incurably doomed to deprivation, to hell, for the duration of an aeon. Conquered by friendship with evil people — his mind overwhelmed — Devadatta is incurably doomed to deprivation, to hell, for the duration of an aeon. And, there being something further to be done, he nevertheless stopped halfway with a lower modicum of distinctive attainment. Conquered by these three forms of false Dhamma — his mind overwhelmed — Devadatta is incurably doomed to deprivation, to hell, for an aeon."

May no one in the world

ever be reborn

with evil desire.

Know that,

through that

evil desire,

his destination's that

of all who have evil desires.

I've heard how Devadatta,

— regarded as wise, composed,

incandescent with honor —

in the thrall of heedlessness

assaulted the Tathagata

and fell to the four-gated, fearful place:

Avici, unmitigated hell.

Whoever plots against

one free of corruption

who's done no evil deed:

that evil touches him himself,

corrupted in mind,

disrespectful.

Whoever might think

of polluting the ocean

with a pot of poison,

couldn't succeed,

for the mass of water is great.

So it is

when anyone attacks with abuse

the Tathagata

— rightly-gone,

of peaceful mind —

for abuse doesn't grow on him.

A wise person should make friends,

should associate,

with a person like him —

whose path a monk can pursue

and reach the ending

of suffering & stress.

Note

1. Devadatta, one of the Buddha's cousins, plotted to take over the Sangha, and ended up causing a schism. His story is told in Cv VII. [See also §18.] His "lower modicum of distinctive attainment" was his mastery of psychic powers.

§ 90. {Iti III.41; Iti 87}

[Read an alternate translation by John D. Ireland]

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "There are these three supreme objects of confidence. Which three?

"Among whatever beings there may be — footless, two-footed, four-footed, many footed; with form or formless; percipient, non-percipient, neither percipient nor non-percipient — the Tathagata, worthy & rightly self-awakened, is considered supreme. Those who have confidence in the Awakened One have confidence in what is supreme; and for those with confidence in the supreme, supreme is the result.

"Among whatever qualities there may be, fabricated or unfabricated, the quality of dispassion — the subduing of intoxication, the elimination of thirst, the uprooting of attachment, the breaking of the round, the destruction of craving, dispassion, cessation, the realization of Unbinding — is considered supreme. Those who have confidence in the quality of dispassion have confidence in what is supreme; and for those with confidence in the supreme, supreme is the result.

"Among whatever fabricated qualities there may be, the Noble Eightfold Path — right view, right resolve, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration — is considered supreme. Those who have confidence in the Noble Eightfold Path have confidence in what is supreme; and for those with confidence in the supreme, supreme is the result.

"Among whatever communities or groups there may be, the Sangha of the Tathagata's disciples is considered supreme — i.e., the four [groups of noble disciples] when taken as pairs, the eight when taken as persons.1 Those who have confidence in the Sangha have confidence in what is supreme; and for those with confidence in the supreme, supreme will be the result.

"These, monks, are the three supreme objects of confidence."

With

confidence,

realizing the supreme Dhamma

to be supreme,

confidence in the supreme Buddha,

unsurpassed

in deserving offerings;

confidence in the supreme Dhamma,

the stilling of dispassion,

bliss;

confidence in the supreme Sangha,

unsurpassed

as a field of merit;

having given gifts to the supreme,

one develops supreme merit,

supreme long life & beauty,

status, honor,

bliss, & strength.

Having given to the supreme,

the wise person, centered

in supreme Dhamma,

whether becoming a divine or human being,

rejoices,

having attained the supreme.

Note

1. The four groups of noble disciples when taken as pairs are those who have attained (1) the path to stream-entry and the fruition of stream-entry; (2) the path to once-returning and the fruition of once-returning; (3) the path to nonreturning and the fruition of nonreturning; and (4) the path to arahantship and the fruition of arahantship. Taking each attainment singly gives eight "individuals."

§ 91. {Iti III.42; Iti 89}

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "This is a lowly means of livelihood, alms gathering. It's a form of abuse in the world [to say], 'You go around as an alms gatherer with a bowl in your hand!' Yet sensible young men of good families have taken it up for a compelling reason. They have not been forced into it by kings or robbers, nor through debt, through fear, nor through the loss of their livelihood, but through the thought: 'We are beset by birth, aging, & death, by sorrows, lamentations, pains, distresses, & despairs, beset by stress, overcome with stress. O, that the end of this entire mass of suffering & stress might be known!' But this young man of good family, having gone forth in this way, may be greedy for sensual pleasures, strong in his passions, malevolent in mind, corrupt in his resolves, his mindfulness muddled, unalert, uncentered, his mind scattered, & his faculties uncontrolled. Just as a firebrand from a funeral pyre — burning at both ends, covered with excrement in the middle — is used as fuel neither in a village nor in the wilderness: I tell you that this is a simile for this person. He has missed out on the householder's enjoyments and does not fulfill the purpose of the contemplative life."

He's missed out

on the householder's enjoyment

& the purpose of the contemplative life

— unfortunate man!

Ruining it, he throws it away,

perishes

like a firebrand used at a funeral.

Better to eat an iron ball

— glowing, aflame —

than that, unprincipled &

unrestrained,

he should eat the alms of the country.

§ 92. {Iti III.43; Iti 91}

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "Even if a monk, taking hold of my outer cloak, were to follow right behind me, placing his feet in my footsteps, yet if he were to be greedy for sensual pleasures, strong in his passions, malevolent in mind, corrupt in his resolves, his mindfulness muddled, unalert, uncentered, his mind scattered, & his faculties uncontrolled, then he would be far from me, and I from him. Why is that? Because he does not see the Dhamma. Not seeing the Dhamma, he does not see me.

"But even if a monk were to live one hundred leagues away, yet if he were to have no greed for sensual objects, were not strong in his passions, not malevolent in mind, uncorrupt in his resolves, his mindfulness established, alert, centered, his mind at singleness, & his faculties well-restrained, then he would be near to me, and I to him. Why is that? Because he sees the Dhamma. Seeing the Dhamma, he sees me."

Though following right behind,

full of desire, vexation:

see how far he is! —

the perturbed

from the unperturbed,

the bound

from the Unbound,

the greedy one

from the one with no greed.

But the wise person who, through

direct knowledge of Dhamma,

gnosis of Dhamma,

grows still & unperturbed

like a lake unruffled by wind:

see how close he is! —

the unperturbed to the unperturbed,

the Unbound to the Unbound,

the greedless one

to the one with no greed.

§ 93. {Iti III.44; Iti 92}

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "Monks, there are these three fires. Which three? The fire of passion, the fire of aversion, the fire of delusion. These, monks, are the three fires."

The fire of passion burns in a mortal

excited, smitten

with sensual desires;

the fire of aversion, in a malevolent person

taking life;

the fire of delusion, in a bewildered person

ignorant

of the noble teaching.

Not understanding these fires, people

— fond of self-identity —

unreleased from Mara's shackles,

swell the ranks of hell,

the wombs of common animals, demons,

the realm of the hungry shades.

While those who, day & night,

are devoted

to the teachings

of the rightly self-awakened,

put out the fire of passion,

constantly perceiving the foul.

They, superlative people,

put out the fire of aversion

with good will,

and the fire of delusion

with the discernment leading

to penetration.

They, the masterful, by night & day,

having put out [the fires],

having, without remainder,

comprehended stress,

are, without remainder,

totally unbound.

They, the wise, with an attainer-of-wisdom's

noble vision,

right gnosis,

directly knowing

the ending of birth,

come to no further becoming.

§ 94. {Iti III.45; Iti 94}

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "A monk should investigate in such a way that — his consciousness neither externally scattered & diffused, nor internally fixated — he is, from lack of clinging/sustenance, unagitated, and there is no seed for the origination of future birth, aging, death, or stress."

For a monk who has abandoned

seven attachments

and cut the guide:1

the wandering-on in birth

is finished,

there is

no further becoming.

Note

1. The "seven attachments" are passion, aversion, delusion, views, conceit, defilement, & misconduct. The "guide" is craving, which leads to becoming.

§ 95. {Iti III.46; Iti 94}

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "There are these three ways of obtaining sensual pleasures. Which three? Those whose sensual pleasures are already provided, those who delight in creating, those with control over what is created by others.1 These are the three ways of obtaining sensual pleasures."

Devas whose pleasures are already provided,

those with control,

those who delight in creation,

and any others enjoying sensual pleasures

in this state here

or anywhere else,

don't go beyond

the wandering-on.

Knowing this drawback

in sensual pleasures, the wise

should abandon all sensual desires,

whether human

or divine.

Having cut the flow of greed

for lovely, alluring forms

so hard to transcend,

having, without remainder,

comprehended stress,

they are, without remainder,

totally unbound.

They, the wise, with an attainer-of-wisdom's

noble vision,

right gnosis,

directly knowing the ending of birth,

come to no further becoming.

Note

1. As the verse makes clear, these three categories denote three levels of devas in the heavens of sensual pleasure. "Those in control" are at the highest of these levels.

§ 96. {Iti III.47; Iti 95}

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "Tied by the yoke of sensuality & the yoke of becoming, one is a returner, returning to this state. Untied from the yoke of sensuality but tied by the yoke of becoming, one is a nonreturner, not returning to this state. Untied from [both] the yoke of sensuality & from the yoke of becoming, one is an arahant whose fermentations are ended."

Tied by both

the yoke of sensuality

& the yoke of becoming,

beings go to the wandering-on

leading to birth

& death.

Those who've abandoned the sensual

without reaching the ending of fermentations,

are tied by the yoke of becoming,

are said to be nonreturners.

While those who've cut off doubt

have no more conceit

or further becoming.

They who have reached

the ending of fermentations,

while in the world

have gone

beyond.

§ 97. {Iti III.48; Iti 96}

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "A monk who has admirable virtue, admirable qualities, & admirable discernment is called, in this Dhamma-&-Vinaya, one who is complete, fulfilled, a superlative person.

"And how is a monk a person with admirable virtue? There is the case where a monk is virtuous. He dwells restrained in accordance with the Patimokkha, consummate in his behavior & sphere of activity. He trains himself, having undertaken the training rules, seeing danger in the slightest faults. In this way a monk is a person with admirable virtue. Thus he is of admirable virtue.

"And how is a monk a person with admirable qualities? There is the case where a monk lives devoted to developing the seven [sets of] qualities that are wings to Awakening.1 In this way a monk is a person with admirable qualities. Thus he is of admirable virtue & admirable qualities.

"And how is a monk a person with admirable discernment? There is the case where a monk, through the ending of fermentations, dwells in the awareness-release & discernment-release that are free from fermentation, having known & made them manifest for himself right in the present life. In this way a monk is a person with admirable discernment. Thus he is of admirable virtue, admirable qualities, admirable discernment. In this Dhamma-&-Vinaya he is called one who is complete, fulfilled, a superlative person."

Devoid of wrong-doing

in thought, word, or deed,

he's called a person of admirable virtue:

the monk conscientious.

Well-developed in the qualities

that go to the attainment of self-awakening,

he's called a person of admirable qualities:

the monk unassuming.

Discerning right here for himself,

in himself,

the ending of stress

he's called a person of admirable discernment:

the monk with no fermentation.

Consummate in

these things,

untroubled, with doubt cut away,

unattached in all the world,

he's said to have abandoned

the All.

Note

1. See the note to §82.

§ 98. {Iti III.49; Iti 98}

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "There are these two kinds of gifts: a gift of material things & a gift of the Dhamma. Of the two, this is supreme: a gift of the Dhamma. There are these two kinds of sharing: sharing of material things & sharing of the Dhamma. Of the two, this is supreme: sharing of the Dhamma. There are these two kinds of assistance: assistance with material things & assistance with the Dhamma. Of the two, this is supreme: help with the Dhamma."

The gift he describes

as foremost & unsurpassed,

the sharing the Blessed One has extolled:

who — confident in the supreme field of merit,

wise, discerning —

wouldn't give it at appropriate times?

Both for those who proclaim it

and those who listen,

confident in the message of the One Well-gone:

it purifies their foremost benefit —

those heeding the message

of the One Well-gone.

§ 99. {Iti III.50; Iti 98}

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "It's on the strength of Dhamma that I describe [a person as] a brahman with threefold knowledge, and not another as measured by citing & reciting. And how is it on the strength of Dhamma that I describe [a person as] a brahman with threefold knowledge, and not another as measured by citing & reciting?

"There is the case where a monk recollects his manifold past lives, i.e., one birth, two... five, ten... fifty, a hundred, a thousand, a hundred thousand, many aeons of cosmic contraction, many aeons of cosmic expansion, many aeons of cosmic contraction & expansion: 'There I had such a name, belonged to such a clan, had such an appearance. Such was my food, such my experience of pleasure & pain, such the end of my life. Passing away from that state, I re-arose there. There too I had such a name, belonged to such a clan, had such an appearance. Such was my food, such my experience of pleasure & pain, such the end of my life. Passing away from that state, I re-arose here.' Thus he recollects his manifold past lives in their modes & details.

"This is the first knowledge he has attained. Ignorance has been destroyed; knowledge has arisen; darkness has been destroyed; light has arisen — as happens in one who is heedful, ardent, & resolute.

"Then again, the monk sees — by means of the divine eye, purified & surpassing the human — beings passing away & re-appearing, and I discerned how they are inferior & superior, beautiful & ugly, fortunate & unfortunate in accordance with their actions: 'These beings — who were endowed with bodily misconduct, verbal misconduct, & mental misconduct; who reviled noble ones, held wrong views and undertook actions under the influence of wrong views — at the break-up of the body, after death, have re-appeared in the plane of deprivation, the bad destination, the lower realms, in hell. But these beings — who were endowed with bodily good conduct, verbal good conduct, & mental good conduct; who did not revile noble ones, who held right views and undertook actions under the influence of right views — at the break-up of the body, after death, have re-appeared in the good destinations, in the heavenly world.' Thus — by means of the divine eye, purified & surpassing the human — he sees beings passing away & re-appearing, and discerns how they are inferior & superior, beautiful & ugly, fortunate & unfortunate in accordance with their actions.

"This is the second knowledge he has attained. Ignorance has been destroyed; knowledge has arisen; darkness has been destroyed; light has arisen — as happens in one who is heedful, ardent, & resolute.

"Then again, the monk — with the ending of fermentations — remains in the fermentation-free awareness-release & discernment-release, having directly known and made it manifest for himself right in the present life.

"This is the third knowledge he has attained. Ignorance has been destroyed; knowledge has arisen; darkness has been destroyed; light has arisen — as happens in one who is heedful, ardent, & resolute.

"It's in this way that, on the strength of Dhamma, I describe [a person as] a brahman with threefold knowledge, and not another as measured by citing & reciting."

He knows his former lives.

He sees heavens & states of woe,

has attained the ending of birth,

is a sage who has mastered full-knowing.

By means of these three knowledges

he becomes a three-knowledge brahman.1

He's what I call a three-knowledge man —

not another,

citing, reciting.

Note

1. In the brahmanical religion, a "three-knowledge man" was one who had memorized the three Vedas. This verse takes the brahmanical term and gives it a new, Buddhist meaning.

See also: MN 4 Dhp 423.

The Group of Fours [go to top]

§ 100. {Iti IV.1; Iti 101}

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "I am a brahman, responsive to requests, open-handed, bearing my last body, an unsurpassed doctor & surgeon. You are my children, my sons, born from my mouth, born of the Dhamma, created by the Dhamma, heirs to the Dhamma, not heirs in material things.

"There are these two kinds of gifts: a gift of material things & a gift of the Dhamma. Of the two, this is supreme: a gift of the Dhamma.

"There are these two kinds of sharing: sharing of material things & sharing of the Dhamma. Of the two, this is supreme: sharing of the Dhamma.

"There are these two kinds of assistance: assistance with material things & assistance with the Dhamma. Of the two, this is supreme: help with the Dhamma.

"There are these two kinds of mass-donations: a mass-donation of material things & a mass-donation of the Dhamma. Of the two, this is supreme: a mass-donation of the Dhamma."

He who, unstinting,

made the mass-donation of Dhamma,

the Tathagata,

sympathetic to all beings:

to one of that sort

— the best of beings, human & divine —

living beings pay homage —

to one gone

to the beyond

of becoming.

§ 101. {Iti IV.2; Iti 102}

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "These four things are next to nothing, both easy to gain & blameless. Which four? Cast-off cloth is next to nothing, both easy to gain & blameless. Alms food is next to nothing, both easy to gain & blameless. The root of a tree as a dwelling place is next to nothing, both easy to gain & blameless. Medicine made of smelly urine1 is next to nothing, both easy to gain & blameless. These are the four things that are next to nothing, both easy to gain & blameless. When a monk is content with what is next to nothing, easy to gain & blameless, then I say that he has one of the component factors of the contemplative life."

Content with what's blameless,

next-to-nothing,

easy to gain,

his mind not vexed

over lodging, clothing,

food, or drink:

the four directions offer him

no obstruction.

These things are declared

congenial for the contemplative life,

possessed by the monk

heedful, content.

Note

1. This is one of a monk's basic requisites. There is some disagreement as to whether it refers to medicine pickled in urine, or to the use of urine as a medicine (as is still practiced in parts of Asia today).

§ 102. {Iti IV.3; Iti 103}

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "For one knowing & seeing, I tell you, there is the ending of fermentations, not for one not knowing & seeing. For one knowing what & seeing what is there the ending of fermentations? For one knowing & seeing, 'This is stress,' there is the ending of fermentations. For one knowing & seeing, 'This is the origination of stress,' there is the ending of fermentations. For one knowing & seeing, 'This is the cessation of stress,' there is the ending of fermentations. For one knowing & seeing, 'This is the path of practice leading to the cessation of stress,' there is the ending of fermentations. For one knowing in this way and seeing in this way is there the ending of fermentations."

For a learner in training

along the straight path, there arises:

first, the knowledge of ending;

then, the gnosis unsurpassed;

then, the gnosis of one released —

release-knowledge, superlative,

the knowledge of ending:

'The fetters are ended.'

Certainly not by the lazy fool

uncomprehending,

is there attained

Unbinding,

the loosing of all ties.

§ 103. {Iti IV.4; Iti 105}

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "Any priests or contemplatives who do not discern, as it actually is present, that 'This is stress,'... that 'This is the origination of stress,'... that 'This is the cessation of stress,' who do not discern, as it actually is present, that 'This is the path of practice leading to the cessation of stress': to me these priests & contemplatives do not count as priests among priests or as contemplatives among contemplatives. Furthermore, they do not enter & remain in the goal of the priestly life or the goal of the contemplative life, having directly known & made it manifest for themselves right in the present life.

"But any priests or contemplatives who discern, as it actually is present, that 'This is stress,'... that 'This is the origination of stress,'... that 'This is the cessation of stress,' who discern, as it actually is present, that 'This is the path of practice leading to the cessation of stress': to me these priests & contemplatives count as priests among priests and as contemplatives among contemplatives. Furthermore, they enter & remain in the goal of the priestly life & the goal of the contemplative life, having directly known & made it manifest for themselves right in the present life."

Those who don't discern stress,

its cause,

& where it totally stops,

without trace,

who don't know the path,

the way to the stilling of stress:

lowly

in their awareness-release

& discernment-release,

incapable

of making an end,

they're headed

to birth & aging.

But those who discern stress,

its cause,

& where it totally stops,

without trace,

who discern the path,

the way to the stilling of stress:

consummate

in their awareness-release

& discernment-release,

capable

of making an end,

they are not headed

to birth & aging.

§ 104. {Iti IV.5; Iti 107}

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "Those monks who are consummate in virtue, consummate in concentration, consummate in discernment, consummate in release, consummate in the knowledge & vision of release; who exhort, demonstrate, instruct, urge, rouse & encourage; who are competent rightly to point out the true Dhamma: seeing them, I tell you, accomplishes a great deal; listening to them, approaching them, attending to them, recollecting them, following them in going forth accomplishes a great deal. Why is that?

"By associating with monks of this sort, sharing with them, attending on them, the as-yet-unculminated aggregate of virtue goes to the culmination of its development, the as-yet-unculminated aggregate of concentration goes to the culmination of its development, the as-yet-unculminated aggregate of discernment goes to the culmination of its development, the as-yet-unculminated aggregate of release goes to the culmination of its development, the as-yet-unculminated aggregate of knowledge & vision of release goes to the culmination of its development. Monks of this sort are said to be teachers, leaders, abandoners of harm, dispellers of darkness, makers of light, makers of radiance, makers of brightness, makers of brilliance, bringers of illumination, noble ones, endowed with eyes that see."

This is a condition

creating joy

for those who know:

living the Dhamma

of the noble ones,

composed,

who brighten the true Dhamma,

illumine it, shining brilliantly,

who are makers of light,

enlightened,

abandoners of harm,

who have eyes

that see.

Having heard their message

with right gnosis, the wise

directly knowing

the ending of birth,

come to no further becoming.

§ 105. {Iti IV.6; Iti 109}

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "There are these four birthplaces of craving where a monk's craving, when taking birth, takes birth. Which four? Either for the sake of cloth a monk's craving, when taking birth, takes birth. Or for the sake of alms food a monk's craving, when taking birth, takes birth. Or for the sake of lodging a monk's craving, when taking birth, takes birth. Or for the sake of becoming or not becoming this or that a monk's craving, when taking birth, takes birth. These are the four birthplaces of craving where a monk's craving, when taking birth, takes birth."

With craving his companion, a man

wanders on a long, long time.

Neither in this state here

nor anywhere else

does he go beyond

the wandering- on.

Knowing this drawback —

that craving brings stress into play —

free from craving,

devoid of clinging,

mindful, the monk

lives the mendicant life.

§ 106. {Iti IV.7; Iti 109}

[Read an alternate translation by John D. Ireland]

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "Living with Brahma are those families where, in the home, mother & father are revered by the children. Living with the first devas are those families where, in the home, mother & father are revered by the children. Living with the first teachers are those families where, in the home, mother & father are revered by the children. Living with those worthy of gifts are those families where, in the home, mother & father are revered by the children. 'Brahma' is a designation for mother & father. 'The first devas' is a designation for mother & father. 'The first teachers' is a designation for mother & father. 'Those worthy of gifts' is a designation for mother & father. Why is that? Mother & father do much for their children. They care for them, nourish them, introduce them to this world."

Mother & father,

compassionate to their family,

are called

Brahma,

first teachers,

those worthy of gifts

from their children.

So the wise should pay them

homage,

honor

with food & drink

clothing & bedding

anointing & bathing

& washing their feet.

Performing these services to their parents,

the wise

are praised right here

and after death

rejoice in heaven.

See also: AN II.31

§ 107. {Iti IV.8; Iti 111}

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "Monks, brahmans & householders are very helpful to you, as they provide you with the requisites of robes, alms food, lodgings, & medical requisites for the sick. And you, monks, are very helpful to brahmans & householders, as you teach them the Dhamma admirable in the beginning, admirable in the middle, admirable in the end; as you expound the holy life both in its particulars & in its essence, entirely complete, surpassingly pure. In this way the holy life is lived in mutual dependence, for the purpose of crossing over the flood, for making a right end to stress."

Householders & the homeless

in mutual dependence

both reach the true Dhamma:

the unsurpassed safety from bondage.

From householders, the homeless

receive requisites: robes, lodgings,

protection from inclemencies.

While in dependence on those well-gone,

home-loving householders

have conviction in arahants

of noble discernment,

absorbed in jhana.

Having practiced the Dhamma here —

the path leading to good destinations —

delighting in the deva world,

they rejoice,

enjoying sensual pleasures.

§ 108. {Iti IV.9; Iti 112}

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "Any monks who are deceitful, stubborn, talkers, frauds, arrogant, & uncentered are not followers of mine. They have turned away from this Dhamma-&-Vinaya. They attain, in terms of this Dhamma-&-Vinaya, no growth, increase, or abundance.

"But any monks who are not deceitful, not talkers, who are enlightened, pliant, & well-centered: they are followers of mine. They have not turned away from this Dhamma-&-Vinaya. They attain, in terms of this Dhamma-&-Vinaya, growth, increase, & abundance.

Deceitful, stubborn, talkers, frauds,

arrogant, uncentered:

they don't grow in the Dhamma

taught by the Rightly

Self-awakened One.

Not deceitful, not talkers,

enlightened, pliant,

well-centered:

they grow in the Dhamma

taught by the One

Rightly

Self-awakened.

§ 109. {Iti IV.10; Iti 114}

[Read an alternate translation by John D. Ireland]

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "Suppose a man was being carried along by the flow of a river, lovely & alluring. And then another man with good eyesight, standing on the bank, on seeing him would say: 'My good man, even though you are being carried along by the flow of a river, lovely & alluring, further down from here is a pool with waves & whirlpools, with monsters & demons. On reaching that pool you will suffer death or death-like pain.' Then the first man, on hearing the words of the second man, would make an effort with his hands & feet to go against the flow.

"I have given you this simile to illustrate a meaning. The meaning is this: the flow of the river stands for craving. Lovely & alluring stands for the six internal sense-media. The pool further down stands for the five lower fetters.1 The waves stand for anger & distress. The whirlpools stand for the five strings of sensuality. The monsters & demons stand for the opposite sex. Against the flow stands for renunciation. Making an effort with hands & feet stands for the arousing of persistence. The man with good eyesight standing on the bank stands for the Tathagata, worthy & rightly self-awakened."

Even if it's with pain,

you should abandon

sensual desires

if you aspire

to future safety from bondage.

Alert,

with a mind well-released,

touch release now here,

now there.

An attainer-of-wisdom,

having fulfilled the holy life,

is said to have gone

to the end of the world, gone

beyond.

Note

1. The five lower fetters are self-identity view, uncertainty, attachment to practices & precepts, sensual passion, & resistance.

§ 110. {Iti IV.11; Iti 115}

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "If, while he is walking, there arises in a monk a thought of sensuality, a thought of ill-will, or a thought of harmfulness, and he does not quickly abandon, dispel, demolish, or wipe that thought out of existence, then a monk walking with such a lack of ardency & concern is called continually & continuously lethargic & low in his persistence.

"If, while he is standing...

"If, while he is sitting...

"If, while he is lying down, there arises in a monk a thought of sensuality, a thought of ill-will, or a thought of harmfulness, and he does not quickly abandon, dispel, demolish, or wipe that thought out of existence, then a monk lying down with such a lack of ardency & concern is called continually & continuously lethargic & low in his persistence.

"But if, while he is walking, there arises in a monk a thought of sensuality, a thought of ill-will, or a thought of harmfulness, and he quickly abandons, dispels, demolishes, & wipes that thought out of existence, then a monk walking with such ardency & concern is called continually & continuously resolute, one with persistence aroused.

"If, while he is standing...

"If, while he is sitting...

"If, while he is lying down, there arises in a monk a thought of sensuality, a thought of ill-will, or a thought of harmfulness, and he quickly abandons, dispels, demolishes, & wipes that thought out of existence, then a monk lying down with such ardency & concern is called continually & continuously resolute, one with persistence aroused."

Whether walking, standing,

sitting, or lying down,

whoever thinks evil thoughts,

related to the household life,

is following no path at all,

smitten

with delusory things.

He's incapable,

a monk like this,

of touching superlative

self-awakening.

But whoever —

walking, standing,

sitting, or lying down —

overcomes thought,

delighting in the stilling of thought:

he's capable,

a monk like this,

of touching superlative

self-awakening.

§ 111. {Iti IV.12; Iti 118}

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "Be consummate in virtue, monks, and consummate in the Patimokkha. Dwell restrained in accordance with the Patimokkha, consummate in your behavior & sphere of activity. Train yourselves, having undertaken the training rules, seeing danger in the slightest faults.

"When one is consummate in virtue, consummate in the Patimokkha; dwelling restrained in accordance with the Patimokkha, consummate in one's behavior & sphere of activity; training oneself, having undertaken the training rules, seeing danger in the slightest faults — what more is to be done?

"If, while he is walking, any greed in a monk is done away with, any ill will, any sloth & drowsiness, any restlessness & anxiety, any uncertainty is done away with; if his persistence is aroused and not lax; if his mindfulness is established & unmuddled; if his body is calm & unaroused; if his mind is centered & unified: then a monk walking with such ardency & concern is called continually & continuously resolute, one with persistence aroused.

"If, while he is standing...

"If, while he is sitting...

"If, while he is lying down, any greed in a monk is done away with, any ill will, any sloth & drowsiness, any restlessness & anxiety, any uncertainty is done away with; if his persistence is aroused and not lax; if his mindfulness is established & unmuddled; if his body is calm & unaroused; if his mind is centered & unified: then a monk lying down with such ardency & concern is called continually & continuously resolute, one with persistence aroused."

Controlled in walking,

controlled in standing,

controlled in sitting,

controlled in lying down,

controlled in flexing & extending his limbs

— above, around, & below,

as far as the worlds extend —

observing the arising & passing away

of phenomena,

of aggregates:

a monk who dwells thus ardently,

not restlessly, at peace —

always

mindful,

training in the mastery

of awareness-tranquillity —

is said to be continually

resolute.

§ 112. {Iti IV.13; Iti 121}

[Read an alternate translation by John D. Ireland]

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "The world1 has been fully awakened to by the Tathagata. From the world, the Tathagata is disjoined. The origination of the world has been fully awakened to by the Tathagata. The origination of the world has, by the Tathagata, been abandoned. The cessation of the world has been fully awakened to by the Tathagata. The cessation of the world has, by the Tathagata, been realized. The path leading to the cessation of the world has been fully awakened to by the Tathagata. The path leading to the cessation of the world has, by the Tathagata, been developed.

"Whatever in this world — with its devas, Maras, & Brahmas, its generations complete with contemplatives & priests, princes & men — is seen, heard, sensed, cognized, attained, sought after, pondered by the intellect, that has been fully awakened to by the Tathagata. Thus he is called the Tathagata.

"From the night the Tathagata fully awakens to the unsurpassed Right Self-awakening to the night he is totally unbound in the Unbinding property with no fuel remaining, whatever the Tathagata has said, spoken, explained is just so (tatha) and not otherwise. Thus he is called the Tathagata.

"The Tathagata is one who does in line with (tatha) what he teaches, one who teaches in line with what he does. Thus he is called the Tathagata.

"In this world with its devas, Maras, & Brahmas, its generations complete with contemplatives & priests, princes & men, the Tathagata is the unconquered conqueror, all-seeing, the wielder of power.2 Thus he is called the Tathagata." This is the meaning of what the Blessed One said. So with regard to this it was said:

Directly knowing all the world,

all the world as is really is,

from all the world disjoined,

in all the world unmatched:

Conquering all

in all ways,

enlightened,

released from all bonds,

he touches the foremost peace —

Unbinding, free

from fear.

He is free of fermentation,

of trouble,

awakened,

his doubts cut through;

has attained the ending of action,

is released in the destruction of acquisitions.

He is blessed, awakened,

a lion, unsurpassed.

In the world with its devas

he set the Brahma-wheel going.3

Thus divine & human beings

who have gone to the Buddha for refuge,

gathering, pay homage

to the great one, thoroughly mature:

'Tamed, he's the best

of those who can be tamed;

calm, the seer

of those who can be calmed;

released, supreme

among those who can be released;

crossed, the foremost

of those who can cross.'

Thus they pay homage

to the great one, thoroughly mature:

'In this world with its devas,

there's no one

to compare

with you.'

This, too, was the meaning of what was said by the Blessed One, so I have heard.

Notes

1. SN XXXV.82 defines the "world" as the six sense spheres, their objects, consciousness at those spheres, contact at those spheres, and whatever arises in dependence on that contact, experienced as pleasure, pain, or neither-pleasure-nor-pain.

2. These are epithets usually associated with the Great Brahma. See § 22.

3. The Brahma-wheel = the Dhamma-wheel, the name of the Buddha's first sermon, so called because it contains a "wheel" that lists all twelve permutations of two sets of variables: the four noble truths — stress, its origination, its cessation, and the way leading to its cessation — and the three levels of knowledge appropriate to each truth: knowledge of the truth, knowledge of the task appropriate to the truth, and knowledge that the task has been completed. This wheel constitutes the Buddha's most central teaching.

The text of this page ("Itivuttaka: This Was Said (by the Buddha)", by Access to Insight) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. To view a copy of the license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/. Documents linked from this page may be subject to other restrictions. Last revised for Access to Insight on 30 November 2013.

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Glossary

Acquisition (upadhi). The mental "baggage" that the unawakened mind carries around. The Culaniddesa lists ten types of acquisition: craving, views, defilement, action, misconduct, nutriment (physical and mental), resistance, the four physical properties sustained in the body (earth, water, wind, and fire), the six external sense media (forms, sounds, smells, tastes, tactile sensations, and ideas), and the six forms of sensory consciousness (eye-consciousness, ear-, nose-, tongue-, body-, and intellect-consciousness). The state without acquisitions is Unbinding (see below).

Aggregate (khandha). Any one of the five bases for clinging to a sense of self: form (physical phenomena, including the body), feelings, perceptions (mental labels), thought-fabrications, consciousness.

Arahant. A "worthy one" or "pure one;" a person whose mind is free of defilement and thus is not destined for further rebirth. A title for the Buddha and the highest level of his noble disciples.

Avici. The lowest level of hell. Hells in Buddhism are places of temporary, not eternal, torment. A being goes to hell, not because any outside power has sent him/her there, but through the power of his/her own actions. When the results of the actions come to their end, the being is released from hell.

Becoming (bhava). States of being that develop first in the mind and allow for birth on any of three levels: the level of sensuality, the level of form, and the level of formlessness.

Brahma. An inhabitant of the highest, non-sensual levels of heaven. The Great Brahma is one of the more powerful inhabitants of these heavens. As an adjective, brahma means "sublime," "ideal," "embodying the best qualities. As such, it is often used to describe the arahant or the highest qualities of the Dhamma.

Brahman. The Brahmans of India have long maintained that they, by their birth, are worthy of the highest respect. Buddhists borrowed the term "brahman" to apply to arahants to show that respect is earned not by birth, race, or caste, but by spiritual attainment through following the right path of practice. Some of the passages in the Itivuttaka use the word brahman in this special sense; others in a more ordinary sense. The intended sense should be obvious from the context.

Deva. Literally, "shining one." An inhabitant of the heavenly realms.

Dhamma. (1) Event; a phenomenon in and of itself; (2) mental quality; (3) doctrine, teaching; (4) nibbana. Sanskrit form: Dharma.

Enlightened one (dhira). Throughout this translation I have rendered buddha as "Awakened," and dhira as "enlightened." As Jan Gonda points out in his book, The Vision of the Vedic Poets, the word dhira was used in Vedic and Buddhist poetry to mean a person who has the heightened powers of mental vision needed to perceive the "light" of the underlying principles of the cosmos, together with the expertise to implement those principles in the affairs of life and to reveal them to others. A person enlightened in this sense may also be awakened, but is not necessarily so.

Fabrication (sankhara). Sankhara literally means "putting together," and carries connotations of jerry-rigged artificiality. It is applied to physical and to mental processes, as well as to the products of those processes. In some contexts it functions as the fourth of the five aggregates — thought-fabrications; in others, it covers all five.

Fermentation (asava). One of four qualities — sensuality, views, becoming, and ignorance — that ferment in the mind and flow out of it, creating the flood of the round of death and rebirth.

Heart (manas). The mind in its role as will and intention.

Jhana. Meditative absorption. A state of strong concentration, devoid of sensuality or unskillful thoughts, focused on a single physical sensation or mental notion which is then expanded to fill the whole range of one's awareness. Jhana is synonymous with right concentration, the eighth factor in the noble eightfold path.

Kamma. Intentional act, bearing fruit in terms of states of becoming and birth. Sanskrit form: karma.

Mara. The personification of temptation and death.

Patimokkha. The basic code of monastic discipline, composed of 227 rules for monks and 310 for nuns.

Sakka. King of the devas in the Heaven of the Thirty-three.

Samsara. Transmigration; the "wandering-on"; the round of death and rebirth.

Sangha. On the conventional (sammati) level, this term denotes the communities of Buddhist monks and nuns; on the ideal (ariya) level, it denotes those followers of the Buddha, lay or ordained, who have attained at least stream-entry.

Stress (dukkha). Alternative translations for dukkha include suffering, burdensomeness, and pain. However — despite the unfortunate connotations it has picked up from programs in "stress-management" and "stress-reduction" — the English word stress, in its basic meaning as the reaction to strain on the body or mind, has the advantage of covering much the same range as the Pali word dukkha. It applies both to physical and mental phenomena, ranging from the intense stress of acute anguish or pain to the innate burdensomeness of even the most subtle mental or physical fabrications. It also has the advantage of being universally recognized as something directly experienced in all life, and is at the same time a useful tool for cutting through the spiritual pride that keeps people attached to especially refined or sophisticated forms of suffering: once all suffering, no matter how noble or refined, is recognized as being nothing more than stress, the mind can abandon the pride that keeps it attached to that suffering, and so gain release from it. Still, in some of the verses of the Itivuttaka, stress seems too weak to convey the meaning, so in those verses I have rendered dukkha as pain, suffering, or suffering & stress.

Tathagata. Literally, "one who has become authentic (tatha-agata)," or "one who is really gone (tatha-gata)," an epithet used in ancient India for a person who has attained the highest religious goal. (For other etymologies, see §112.) In Buddhism, it usually denotes the Buddha, although occasionally it also denotes any of his arahant disciples.

Unbinding (nibbana). Because nibbana is used to denote not only the Buddhist goal, but also the extinguishing of a fire, it is usually rendered as "extinguishing" or, even worse, "extinction." However, a study of ancient Indian views of the workings of fire (see The Mind Like Fire Unbound) reveals that people of the Buddha's time felt that a fire, in going out, did not go out of existence but was simply freed from its agitation, entrapment, and attachment to its fuel. Thus, when applied to the Buddhist goal, the primary connotation of nibbana is one of release, along with cooling and peace. Sanskrit form: nirvana.

Vinaya. The monastic discipline. The Buddha's name for his own teaching was, "this Dhamma-and Vinaya," this doctrine and discipline.

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