BLESSED NOBLE AWAKENED ONE talked about desire and the six things by
which desire is gratified: sights, sounds, smells, tastes, touch and
mind-objects. Desire and lust for happiness, for suffering, for good,
for evil and so on, pervade everything!
there isn’t any sight that’s quite the same as that of a woman. Isn’t
that so? Doesn’t a really attractive woman make you want to look? One
with a really attractive figure comes walking along, “sak, sek, sak,
sek, sak, sek,” — you can’t help but stare! How about sounds? There’s no
sound that grips you more than that of a woman. It pierces your mind!
Smell is the same; a woman’s fragrance is the most alluring of all.
There’s no other smell that’s quite the same. Taste — even the taste of
the most delicious food cannot compare with that of a woman. Touch is
similar; when you caress a woman you are stunned, intoxicated and sent
spinning all around.
There was once a famous master of magical spells from
Taxila in ancient Jambudvipa That is The Great Prabuddha Bharath. He
taught his disciple all his knowledge of charms and incantations. When
the disciple was well-versed and ready to fare on his own, he left with
this final instruction from his teacher, “I have taught you all that I
know of spells, incantations and protective verses. Creatures with sharp
Antlers or horns, and even big tusks, you
have no need to fear. You will be guarded from all of these, I can
guarantee that. However, there is only one thing that I cannot ensure
protection against, and that is the charms of a woman. I can not help
you here. There’s no spell for protection against this one, you’ll have
to look after yourself.”
objects arise in the mind. They are born out of desire: desire for
valuable possessions, desire to be rich, and just restless seeking after
things in general. This type of greed isn’t all that deep or strong, it
isn’t enough to make you faint or lose control. However, when sexual
desire arises, you’re thrown off balance and lose your control. You
would even forget those raised and brought you up — your own parents!
The THE BLESSED NOBLE AWAKENED ONE
taught that the objects of our senses are a trap — a trap of the evil
one’s. Evil One should be understood as something which harms us. The
trap is something which binds us, the same as a snare. It’s a trap of
the evil one’s, a hunter’s snare, and the hunter is evil one.
animals are caught in the hunter’s trap, it’s a sorrowful predicament.
They are caught fast and held waiting for the owner of the trap snare
springs and “boop” — caught by the neck! A good strong string now holds
it fast. Wherever the bird flies, it cannot escape. It flies here and
flies there, but it’s held tight waiting for the owner of the snare.
When the hunter comes along, that’s it — the bird is struck with fear,
there’s no escape!
trap of sights, sounds, smells, tastes, touch and mind-objects is the
same. They catch us and bind us fast. If you attach to the senses,
you’re the same as a fish caught on a hook. When the fisherman comes,
struggle all you want, but you can’t get loose. Actually, you’re not
caught like a fish, it’s more like a frog — a frog gulps down the whole
hook right to its guts, a fish just gets caught in its mouth.
attached to the senses is the same. Like a drunk whose liver is not yet
destroyed — he doesn’t know when he has had enough. He continues to
indulge and drink carelessly. He’s caught and later suffers illness and
man comes walking along a road. He is very thirsty from his journey and
is craving for a drink of water. The owner of the water says, “You can
drink this water if you like; the color is good, the smell is good, the
taste is good, but if you drink it you will become ill. I must tell you
this beforehand, it’ll make you sick enough to die or nearly die.” The
thirsty man does not listen. He’s as thirsty as a person after an
operation that has been denied water for seven days — he’s crying for
It’s the same with a person thirsting after the senses. The THE BLESSED NOBLE AWAKENED ONE taught
that they are poisonous — sights, sounds, smells, tastes, touch and
mind-objects are poison; they are a dangerous trap. But this man is
thirsty and doesn’t listen; because of his thirst he is in tears,
crying, “Give me water, no matter how painful the consequences, let me
drink!” So he dips out a bit and swallows it down finding it very tasty.
He drinks his fill and gets so sick that he almost dies. He didn’t
listen because of his overpowering desire.
is how it is for a person caught in the pleasures of the senses. He
drinks in sights, sounds, smells, tastes, touch and mind-objects — they
are all very delicious! So he drinks without stopping and there he
remains, stuck fast until the day he dies.
the well-instructed disciple of the noble ones, when touched with a
feeling of pain, does not sorrow, grieve, or lament, does not beat his
breast or become distraught. So he feels one pain: physical, but not
mental. Just as if they were to shoot a man with an arrow and, right
afterward, did not shoot him with another one, so that he would feel the
pain of only one arrow. In the same way, when touched with a feeling of
pain, the well-instructed disciple of the noble ones does not sorrow,
grieve, or lament, does not beat his breast or become distraught. He
feels one pain: physical, but not mental.
he is touched by that painful feeling, he is not resistant. No
resistance-obsession with regard to that painful feeling obsesses him.
Touched by that painful feeling, he does not delight in sensual
pleasure. Why is that? Because the well-instructed disciple of the noble
ones discerns an escape from painful feeling aside from sensual
pleasure. As he is not delighting in sensual pleasure, no
passion-obsession with regard to that feeling of pleasure obsesses him.
He discerns, as it actually is present, the origination, passing away,
allure, drawback, and escape from that feeling. As he discerns the
origination, passing away, allure, drawback, and escape from that
feeling, no ignorance-obsession with regard to that feeling of
neither-pleasure-nor-pain obsesses him.
a feeling of pleasure, he senses it disjoined from it. Sensing a
feeling of pain, he senses it disjoined from it. Sensing a feeling of
neither-pleasure-nor-pain, he senses it disjoined from it. This is
called a well-instructed disciple of the noble ones disjoined from
birth, aging, & death; from sorrows, lamentations, pains,
distresses, & despairs. He is disjoined, I tell you, from suffering
is the difference, this distinction, this the distinguishing factor
between the well-instructed disciple of the noble ones and the
uninstructed run-of-the-mill person.”
The discerning person, learned,
Doesn’t sense a (mental) feeling of pleasure or pain:
This is the difference in skillfulness
Between the sage & the person run-of-the-mill.
For a learned person
Who has fathomed the Doctrine-Practice of the Path Shown by the Blessed, Noble, Awakened One,
Clearly seeing this world & the next,
Desirable things don’t charm the mind,
Undesirable ones bring no resistance.
& rejection are scattered,
Gone to their end,
Do not exist.
Knowing the dustless, sorrow less state,
He discerns rightly,
Has gone, beyond becoming,
To the Further Shore.
The rod of violence
Breeds danger & fear:
Look at people quarreling.
I will tell of how
Seeing people floundering
Like fish in small puddles,
Competing with one another —
As I saw this,
Fear came into me.
The world was entirely
All the directions
Were knocked out of line.
Wanting a haven for myself,
I saw nothing that wasn’t laid claim to.
Seeing nothing in the end
I felt discontent.
An arrow here,
So very hard to see,
Embedded in the heart.
Overcome by this arrow
You run in all directions.
But simply on pulling it out
You don’t run,
You don’t sink.
Whatever things are tied down in the world,
You shouldn’t be set on them.
Having totally penetrated
You should train for your own
Be truthful, not insolent,
Not deceptive, rid
Without anger, the sage
Should cross over the evil
Of greed & avarice.
He should conquer laziness,
Shouldn’t consort with heedlessness,
Shouldn’t stand firm in his pride —
The man with his mind set
He shouldn’t engage in lying,
Shouldn’t create a sense of allure in form,
Should fully fathom conceit,
And live refraining from impulsiveness;
Shouldn’t delight in what’s old,
Prefer what’s new,
Grieve over decline,
Get entangled in
What’s dazzling & bright?
A ‘great flood’;
Hunger, a swift current.
Preoccupations are ripples;
Sensuality, a bog
Hard to cross over.
Not deviating from truth,
A sage stands on high ground
: A brahman.
Having renounced all,
He is said to be at peace;
Having clearly known, he
Is an attainer-of-wisdom;
Knowing the Doctrine-Practice of the True Path Shown by the Awakened One, he’s
Moving rightly through the world,
He doesn’t envy
Whoever here has gone over & beyond
Sensual passions —
An attachment hard
To transcend in the world,
He, his stream cut, is free
Burn up what’s before,
And have nothing for after.
If you don’t grasp
At what’s in between,
You will go about, calm.
For whom, in name & form,
In every way,
There’s no sense of mine,
And who doesn’t grieve
Over what is not:
He, in the world,
Suffers no loss.
To whom there doesn’t occur
‘This is mine,’
For whom nothing is others,’
Feeling no sense of mine-ness,
Doesn’t grieve at the thought
‘I have nothing.’
Not greedy, not
This is the reward
— I say when asked —
For those who are free
For one unperturbed
— Who knows —?
There’s no accumulating.
He everywhere sees
Doesn’t speak of himself
As among those who are higher,
At peace, free of selfishness,
He doesn’t embrace, doesn’t
The Blessed One said.
abstaining from the taking of life leads to longevity, abstaining from
stealing to prosperity, abstaining from sexual misconduct to popularity,
abstaining from false speech to a good reputation, and abstaining from
intoxicants to mindfulness and wisdom.
For one who desires
Long life, health,
Beauty, heaven, & noble birth,
— lavish delights, one after another —
The wise praise heedfulness
In performing deeds 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 awakened,
But one awakened & knowing,
On acquiring wealth,
Enjoys it & performs his duties.
He, a bull among men,
Having supported his kin,
Goes to the land of heaven.
Spiritual Community of The Followers of The Path Shown by The Blessed,Noble,Awakened One-The Tathagata
Because the roots of ignorance are so intimately entwined
with the fabric of the psyche, the unawakened mind is capable of
deceiving itself with breathtaking ingenuity. The solution therefore
requires more than simply being kind, loving, and mindful in the present
moment. The practitioner must equip him- or herself with the expertise
to use a range of tools to outwit, outlast, and eventually uproot the
mind’s unskillful tendencies. For example, the practice of generosity (dana)
erodes the mind’s habitual tendencies towards craving and teaches
valuable lessons about the motivations behind, and the results of,
skillful action. The practice of virtue (sila) guards one against straying wildly off-course and into harm’s way. The cultivation of goodwill (metta) helps to undermine anger’s seductive grasp. The ten recollections
offer ways to alleviate doubt, bear physical pain with composure,
maintain a healthy sense of self-respect, overcome laziness and
complacency, and restrain oneself from unbridled lust. And there are
many more skills to learn.
The good qualities that emerge and mature from these
practices not only smooth the way for the journey to Nibbana; over time
they have the effect of transforming the practitioner into a more
generous, loving, compassionate, peaceful, and clear-headed member of
society. The individual’s sincere pursuit of Awakening is thus a
priceless and timely gift to a world in desperate need of help.
(An informal talk given to a group of newly ordained monks after the evening chanting, middle of the Rains Retreat, 1978)
Our way of practice is looking closely at things and making
them clear. We’re persistent and constant, yet not rushed or hurried.
Neither are we too slow. It’s a matter of gradually feeling our way and
bringing it together. However, all of this bringing it together is
working towards something, there is a point to our practice.
For most of us, when we first start to practice, it’s
nothing other than desire. We start to practice because of wanting. At
this stage our wanting is wanting in the wrong way. That is, it’s
deluded. It’s wanting mixed with wrong understanding.
If wanting is not mixed with wrong understanding like this,
we say that it’s wanting with wisdom (Pañña). It’s not deluded — it’s
wanting with right understanding. In a case like this we say that it’s
due to a person’s Parami or past accumulations. However, this isn’t the
case with everyone.
Some people don’t want to have desire, or they want not to
have desires, because they think that our practice is directed at not
wanting. However, if there is no desire, then there’s no way of
We can see this for ourselves. The Blessed,Noble,Awakened
One-The Tathagata and all His Disciples practiced to put an end to
defilements. We must want to practice and must want to put an end to
defilements. We must want to have peace of mind and want not to have
confusion. However, if this wanting is mixed with wrong understanding,
then it will only amount to more difficulties for us. If we are honest
about it, we really know nothing at all. Or, what we do know is of no
consequence, since we are unable to use it properly.
Everybody, including The Blessed,Noble,Awakened One-The
Tathagata , started out like this, with the desire to practice — wanting
to have peace of mind and wanting not to have confusion and suffering.
These two kinds of desire have exactly the same value. If not understood
then both wanting to be free from confusion and not wanting to have
suffering are defilements. They’re a foolish way of wanting — desire
In our practice we see this desire as either sensual
indulgence or self-mortification. It’s in this very conflict that our
Practitioner, the The Blessed,Noble,Awakened One-The Tathagata, was
caught up, just this dilemma. He followed many ways of practice which
merely ended up in these two extremes. And these days we are exactly the
same. We are still afflicted by this duality, and because of it we keep
falling from the Way.
However, this is how we must start out. We start out as
worldly beings, as beings with defilements, with wanting devoid of
wisdom, desire without right understanding. If we lack proper
understanding, then both kinds of desire work against us. Whether it’s
wanting or not wanting, it’s still craving (Tanha). If we don’t
understand these two things then we won’t know how to deal with them
when they arise. We will feel that to go forward is wrong and to go
backwards is wrong, and yet we can’t stop. Whatever we do we just find
more wanting. This is because of the lack of wisdom and because of
It’s right here, with this wanting and not wanting, that we
can understand the Doctrine-True Practice of The Path Shown by The
Blessed,Noble,Awakened One-The Tathagata. The Doctrine-True Practice of
The Path Shown by The Blessed,Noble,Awakened One-The Tathagata which we
are looking for exists right here, but we don’t see it. Rather, we
persist in our efforts to stop wanting. We want things to be a certain
way and not any other way. Or, we want them not to be a certain way, but
to be another way. Really these two things are the same. They are part
of the same duality.
Perhaps we may not realize that The Blessed,Noble,Awakened
One-The Tathagata and all of His Disciples had this kind of wanting.
However The Blessed,Noble,Awakened One-The Tathagata understood
regarding wanting and not wanting. He understood that they are simply
the activity of mind, that such things merely appear in a flash and then
disappear. These kinds of desires are going on all the time. When there
is wisdom, we don’t identify with them — we are free from clinging.
Whether it’s wanting or not wanting, we simply see it as such. In
reality it’s merely the activity of the natural mind. When we take a
close look, we see clearly that this is how it is.
The Blessed,Noble,Awakened One-The Tathagata
“With his mind thus concentrated, purified, & bright,
unblemished, free from defects, pliant, malleable, steady, &
attained to imperturbability, he directs and inclines it to knowledge
& vision. He discerns: ‘This body of mine is endowed with form,
composed of the four primary elements, born from mother & father,
nourished with rice & porridge, subject to inconstancy, rubbing,
pressing, dissolution, & dispersion. And this consciousness of mine
is supported here and bound up here.’ Just as
if there were a beautiful beryl gem of the purest water — eight
faceted, well polished, clear, limpid, consummate in all its aspects,
and going through the middle of it was a blue, yellow, red, white, or
brown thread — and a man with good eyesight, taking it in his hand, were
to reflect on it thus: ‘This is a beautiful beryl gem of the purest
water, eight faceted, well polished, clear, limpid, consummate in all
its aspects. And this, going through the middle of it, is a blue,
yellow, red, white, or brown thread.’ In the same way — with his mind
thus concentrated, purified, & bright, unblemished, free from
defects, pliant, malleable, steady, & attained to imperturbability —
the true Follower of The Path Shown by The Blessed,Noble,Awakened
One-The Tathagata directs & inclines it to knowledge & vision.
He discerns: ‘This body of mine is endowed with form, composed of the
four primary elements, born from mother & father, nourished with
rice & porridge, subject to inconstancy, rubbing, pressing,
dissolution, & dispersion. And this consciousness of mine is
supported here and bound up here.’ When a disciple of a teacher attains
this sort of grand distinction, Lohicca, that is a teacher not worthy of
criticism in the world, and if anyone were to criticize this sort of
teacher, the criticism would be false, unfactual, unrighteous, &
Stories of the Evil One’s attempts to lure the nuns away
from their meditation spots in the forest by asking them provocative
questions. Without exception, these wise women conquer Mara decisively.
Then, early in the morning, Alavika the nun put on her robes and,
taking her bowl & outer robe, went into Savatthi for alms. When she
had gone for alms in Savatthi and had returned from her alms round,
after her meal she went to the Grove of the Blind to spend the day.
Having gone deep into the Grove of the Blind, she sat down at the foot
of a tree for the day’s abiding.
Then the Evil One, wanting to arouse fear, horripilation, & terror in her, wanting to make her fall away from seclusion, approached her & addressed her in verse:
There’s no escape in the world, so what are you trying to do with solitude? Enjoy sensual delights. Don’t be someone who later regrets.
Then the thought occurred to Alavika the nun: “Now who has
recited this verse — a human being or a non-human one?” Then it occurred
to her: “This is the Evil One, who has recited this verse wanting to
arouse fear, horripilation, & terror in me, wanting to make me fall
away from seclusion.”
Then, having understood that “This is the Evil One,” she replied to him in verses:
Then the Evil One — sad & dejected at realizing, “Alavika the nun knows me” — vanished right there.