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04/20/17
2204 Fri 21 Apr 2017 LESSONS Cakkavatti Sutta: The Wheel-turning Emperor
Filed under: Sutta Pitaka, Tipiṭaka, ತಿಪಿಟಕ (ಮೂಲ)
Posted by: site admin @ 10:57 pm



2204 Fri 21 Apr 2017 LESSONS


Cakkavatti Sutta: The Wheel-turning Emperor

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/dn/dn.26.0.than.html


DN 26

PTS: D iii 58
Cakkavatti Sutta: The Wheel-turning Emperor
translated from the Pali by
Thanissaro Bhikkhu


Translator’s Introduction

The body of this sutta consists of a narrative illustrating the power of skillful action.

In the past, unskillful behavior was unknown among the human race. As
a result, people lived for an immensely long time — 80,000 years —
endowed with great beauty, wealth, pleasure, and strength. Over the
course of time, though, they began behaving in various unskillful ways.
This caused the human life span gradually to shorten, to the point where
it now stands at 100 years, with human beauty, wealth, pleasure, and
strength decreasing proportionately. In the future, as morality
continues to degenerate, human life will continue to shorten to the
point were the normal life span is 10 years, with people reaching sexual
maturity at five. “Among those human beings, the ten courses of action
(see AN 10.176)
will have entirely disappeared… The word ’skillful’ will not exist,
so from where will there be anyone who does what is skillful? Those who
lack the honorable qualities of motherhood, fatherhood,
contemplative-hood, & brahman-hood will be the ones who receive
homage… Fierce hatred will arise, fierce malevolence, fierce rage,
& murderous thoughts: mother for child, child for mother, father for
child, child for father, brother for sister, sister for brother.”
Ultimately, conditions will deteriorate to the point of a
“sword-interval,” in which swords appear in the hands of all human
beings, and they hunt one another like game. A few people, however, will
take shelter in the wilderness to escape the carnage, and when the
slaughter is over, they will come out of hiding and resolve to take up a
life of skillful and virtuous action again. With the recovery of
virtue, the human life span will gradually increase again until it
reaches 80,000 years, with people attaining sexual maturity at 500. Only
three diseases will be known at that time: desire, lack of food, and
old age. Another Buddha — Metteyya (Maitreya) — will gain Awakening, his
monastic Sangha numbering in the thousands. The greatest king of the
time, Sankha, will go forth into homelessness and attain arahantship
under Metteyya’s guidance.

The story, after chronicling the ups and downs of human wealth, life
span, etc., concludes with the following lesson on kamma and skillful
action.

…”Monks, live with yourself as your island,
yourself as your refuge, with nothing else as your refuge. Live with the
Dhamma as your island, the Dhamma as your refuge, with nothing else as
your refuge. [1]
And how does a monk live with himself as his island, himself as his
refuge, with nothing else as his refuge; with the Dhamma as his island,
the Dhamma as his refuge, with nothing else as his refuge? There is the
case where a monk remains focused on the body in & of itself —
ardent, alert, & mindful — putting aside greed & distress with
reference to the world. He remains focused on feelings in & of
themselves… mind in & of itself… mental qualities in & of
themselves — ardent, alert, & mindful — putting aside greed &
distress with reference to the world. This is how a monk lives with
himself as his island, himself as his refuge, with nothing else as his
refuge; with the Dhamma as his island, the Dhamma as his refuge, with
nothing else as his refuge.

“Wander, monks, in your proper range, your own ancestral territory.
When you wander in your proper range, your own ancestral territory, you
will grow in long life, beauty, pleasure, wealth, & strength.

“And what constitutes a monk’s long life? [2]
There is the case where a monk develops the base of power endowed with
concentration founded on desire & the fabrications of exertion. He
develops the base of power endowed with concentration founded on
persistence… founded on intent… He develops the base of power
endowed with concentration founded on discrimination & the
fabrications of exertion. From the development & pursuit of these
four bases of power, he can stay (alive) for an aeon, if he wants, or
for the remainder of an aeon. This constitutes a monk’s long life.

“And what constitutes a monk’s beauty? 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. This constitutes a monk’s beauty.

“And what constitutes a monk’s pleasure? There is the case where a
monk — quite withdrawn from sensuality, withdrawn from unskillful mental
qualities — enters & remains in the first jhana: rapture &
pleasure born from withdrawal, accompanied by directed thought &
evaluation. With the stilling of directed thoughts & evaluations, he
enters & remains in the second jhana: rapture & pleasure born
of composure, unification of awareness free from directed thought &
evaluation — internal assurance. With the fading of rapture, he remains
equanimous, mindful, & alert, and senses pleasure with the body. He
enters & remains in the third jhana, of which the Noble Ones
declare, ‘Equanimous & mindful, he has a pleasant abiding.’ With the
abandoning of pleasure & pain — as with the earlier disappearance
of elation & distress — he enters & remains in the fourth jhana:
purity of equanimity & mindfulness, neither pleasure nor pain. This
constitutes a monk’s pleasure.

“And what constitutes a monk’s wealth? There is the case where a monk
keeps pervading the first direction [the east] — as well as the second
direction, the third, & the fourth — with an awareness imbued with
good will. Thus he keeps pervading above, below, & all around,
everywhere & in every respect the all-encompassing world with an
awareness imbued with good will: abundant, expansive, immeasurable, free
from hostility, free from ill will.

“He keeps pervading the first direction — as well as the second
direction, the third, & the fourth — with an awareness imbued with
compassion… imbued with appreciation…

“He keeps pervading the first direction — as well as the second
direction, the third, & the fourth — with an awareness imbued with
equanimity. Thus he keeps pervading above, below, & all around,
everywhere & in every respect the all-encompassing world with an
awareness imbued with equanimity: abundant, expansive, immeasurable,
free from hostility, free from ill will.

“This constitutes a monk’s wealth.

“And what constitutes a monk’s strength? There is the case where a
monk, through the ending of the mental fermentations, enters &
remains in the fermentation-free awareness-release &
discernment-release, having directly known & realized them for
himself right in the here & now. This constitutes a monk’s strength.

“Monks, I don’t envision any other single strength so hard to overcome as this: the strength of Mara. [3] And the adopting of skillful qualities is what causes this merit to increase.” [4]

That is what the Blessed One said. Gratified, the monks delighted in the Blessed One’s words.

Notes

1.
This can also be translated as: “Live with mental qualities
(dhammas) as your island, mental qualities as your refuge, with nothing
else as your refuge.”
2.
Literally, “what is in a monk’s long life?” This appears to be an
idiomatic usage of the locative case. The commentary interprets this
idiom as meaning, what causes a monk’s long life, beauty, etc.
From this reading, it explains, for example, that a monk attracts wealth
if he develops the four sublime attitudes. While this is true, it seems
to cheapen the message of this passage.
3.
This last passage is related to the opening passage of the sutta,
in which the Buddha says, “Wander, monks, in your proper range, your own
ancestral territory. When one wanders in his proper range, his own
ancestral territory, Mara gains no opening, Mara gains no foothold. And
it is because of adopting skillful qualities that this merit increases.”
See also SN 47.6-7.
4.
This is the refrain repeated with each stage in the account of how
human life will improve in the aftermath of the sword-interval. Here,
“merit” seems to have the meaning it has in Iti 22:
“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.

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