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Majjhima NikÓya I
3. 9. MahÓsÓropamasuttaŘ
(29) The Major Discourse on Heartwood

This translation was based upon a translation from the Pali by Sister Upalavanna.

Edited for readability and sensitive to the language of gnosis and cognition, August 21, 2005, by the contemplative recluse monk Sotapanna Jhanananda (Jeffrey S, Brooks)

For free distribution only.

I heard thus.

At one time the Blessed One lived on Vulture's Peak in RÓjagaha. Soon after Devadatta had left the community of homeless contemplatives (samana), the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus on account of Devadatta.

"Here, bhikkhus, a certain son of a clansman who was victimised by birth, decay and death leaves the household life out of faith and becomes a homeless contemplative (samana) thinking, 'I am submerged in grief, lamentation, unpleasantness, displeasure, anxiety and death, even though only a few declare the complete ending of this mass of unpleasantness (dukkha).' Gone forth thus, he is reborn in gain, honor and fame. Satisfied with it, his aspirations are fulfilled with that gain, honor and fame. He praises himself and disparages others. He says, 'I have gained hospitality, these other bhikkhus are impotent and not wise.' He becomes intoxicated and negligent on account of that gain, honor and fame and abides in unpleasantness (dukkha). [1] Like a man in need of heartwood, wandering in search of heartwood, coming to a standing tree with heartwood would ignore the heartwood, sapwood, bark and limbs, and cutting off the twiggs and leaves would carry them away thinking, 'It is the heartwood.'

"A wise man seeing him would say, 'This good man does not know the heartwood, sapwood, bark, limbs, twiggs or leaves. So this man in need of heartwood, wandering in search of heartwood, coming to a standing tree with heartwood has ignored the heartwood, sapwood, bark and limbs. He has cut off the twiggs and leaves and has carried them away thinking that is the heartwood. Whatever work he has to do with the heartwood, that he would not find.'

"Bhikkhus, in the same manner, a certain son of a clansman, victimised by birth, decay and death leaves the household life out of faith. He becomes a homeless contemplative (samana) thinking, "I am submerged in grief, lamentation, unpleasantness, displeasure, distress and death" and says, 'Only a few declare the complete ending of this mass of unpleasanatness (dukkha).' Gone forth he is reborn in gain, honor and fame. Satisfied with that, and with his aspirations fulfilled, he praises himself and disparages others saying, 'I have gained hospitality. These other bhikkhus are impotent and not wise.' Thus he becomes intoxicated and negligent on account of that gain, honor and fame and lives in unpleasanatness (dukkha). Bhikkhus, to this is said, 'The bhikkhu has come to the end of the holy life among the twiggs and leaves.'

"Here, bhikkhus, a certain son of a clansman victimised by birth, decay and death leaves the household life out of faith and becomes a homeless contemplative (samana) thinking, 'I am submerged in grief, lamentation, unpleasantness, displeasure, distress and death.' He says, 'Only a few declare the complete ending of this mass of unpleasantness.' Gone forth thus he is reborn in gain, honor and fame. Satisfied with it, his aspirations are not fulfilled with that gain, honor and fame. He does not praise himself or disparage others. He is not intoxicated and not negligent on account of that gain, honor and fame, and he takes upon himself to observe the virtues. Satisfied with observing the virtues, and his aspirations are fulfilled by it, he praises himself and disparages others. He says, 'My virtues are pure, these others are evil.' He becomes intoxicated and negligent and abides in unpleasantness*. Like a man in need of heartwood wandering in search of heartwood, coming to a standing tree with heartwood he would ignore the heartwood and sapwood. Cutting off the limbs he would carry them away thinking that is the heartwood.

"A wise man seeing him would say, 'This good man does not know the heartwood, sapwood, bark, limbs, twiggs or leaves. So this man; in need of heartwood, wandering in search of heartwood, coming to a standing tree with heartwood; has ignored the heartwood, sapwood, and bark. Cutting the limbs he carries them away thinking that they is heartwood. Whatever work he has to do with the heartwood, that he would not find.'

"Bhikkhus, in the same manner, a certain son of a clansman, victimised by birth, decay and death would leave the household life out of faith. Becoming a homeless contemplative (samana) thinking, 'I am submerged in grief, lamentation, unpleasantness, displeasure, distress and death,' he would say, 'Only a few make known the complete ending of this mass of unpleasantness.' Having gone forth thus he is reborn in gain, honor and fame. Satisfied with it and his aspirations are not fulfilled he would not praise himself nor disparage others. He would take it upon himself to observe the virtues. Satisfied with observing the virtues and his aspirations fulfilled by that he would praise himself and disparage others saying, 'My virtues are pure, these others are evil and without virtues.' Becoming intoxicated and negligent, he abides in unpleasanatness (dukkha)*. Bhikkhus, to this is said, 'The bhikkhu has come to the end of the holy life among the limbs.'

"Here, bhikkhus, a certain son of a clansman victimised by birth, decay and death leaves the household life out of faith. Becoming a homeless contemplative (samana) he thinks, "I am submerged in grief, lamentation, unpleasantness, displeasure, distress and death, only a few make known the complete ending of this mass of unpleasantness." Having gone forth thus he is reborn in gain, honor and fame. Satisfied with it, yet his aspirations not fulfilled with that gain, honor and fame does not praise himself or disparage others. He is not intoxicated and not negligent on account of that gain, honor and fame. He takes it upon himself to observe the virtues. Satisfied with it and his aspirations are not fulfilled with the endowment of virtues, does not praise himself and disparage others. Not intoxicated and not negligent he takes upon himself the endowment of meditative absorption (jhana). Satisfied with this and his aspirations fulfilled with the endowment of meditative absorption (jhana), he praises himself and disparages others. He says, 'I have meditative absorption with the mind upon one point other bhikkhus are with distracted minds.' Intoxicated and negligent, on account of the endowment of meditative absorption he abides in unpleasantness*. Like a man in need of heartwood wandering in search of heartwood, coming to a standing tree with heartwood ignoring the heartwood and the sapwood would cut the bark and carry it away thinking that is the heartwood.

"A wise man seeing him would say, 'This good man does not know the heartwood, sapwood, bark, limbs, and the twiggs and leaves. So this man in need of heartwood, wandering in search of heartwood, coming to a standing tree with heartwood has ignored the heartwood and the sapwood has cut the bark and is carrying it away thinking, 'It is the heartwood.' Whatever work he has to do with the heartwood, he would not find.

"Bhikkhus, in the same manner, a certain son of a clansman, victimised by birth, decay and death would leave the household life out of faith and become a homeless contemplative (samana) thinking, 'I'm submerged in grief, lamentation, unpleasantness, displeasure, distress and death,' he would say, 'Only a few declare the complete ending of this mass of unpleasanatness (dukkha).' Gone forth thus he is reborn in gain, honor and fame. Satisfied with it and his aspirations not fulfilled with that gain, honor and fame, he would not praise himself nor disparage others. He would take upon himself to observe the virtues. Satisfied with observing the virtues, and his aspirations not fulfilled with the endowment of virtues, would not praise himself nor disparage others. Not intoxicated and not negligent he would take upon himself the endowment of meditative absorption. Satisfied and with his aspirations fulfilled with the endowment of meditative absorption he would praise himself and disparage others saying, 'I have meditative absorption with the mind upon one point, other bhikkhus are with distracted minds.' Intoxicated and negligent on account of the endowment of meditative absorption he would abide in unpleasanatness (dukkha). Bhikkhus, to this it is said, 'The bhikkhu has come to the end of the holy life in the bark.'

"Here, bhikkhus, a certain son of a clansman victimised by birth, decay and death would leave the household life out of faith and would become a homeless contemplative (samana) , thinking, 'I am submerged in grief, lamentation, unpleasantness, displeasure, distress and death,' saying, 'Only a few declare the complete ending of this mass of unpleasantness.' Having gone forth thus, he is reborn in gain, honor and fame. Satisfied with it and his aspirations unfulfilled would not praise himself or disparage others, and not intoxicated nor negligent on account of that gain, honor and fame, would diligently takes upon himself to observe the virtues. Satisfied with observing the virtues, and his aspirations not fulfilled with the endowment of virtues, would not praise himself and disparage others. Not intoxicated nor negligent he would take upon himself the endowment of meditative absorption. Satisfied and his aspirations not fulfilled with the endowment of meditative absorption he would not praise himself or disparage others. Not intoxicated and not negligent he would take upon himself the attainment of knowledge and vision. Satisfied and his aspirations fulfilled with the endowment of knowledge and vision he would praise himself and disparages others, saying, 'I abide in knowing and seeing. Other bhikkhus abide not knowing and not seeing.' intoxicated and negligent on account of the endowment of knowledge and vision he would abide in unpleasantness*. Like a man in need of heartwood wandering in search of heartwood, coming to a standing tree with heartwood would ignore the heartwood, cut the sapwood and carry it away thinking, it is the heartwood.

"A wise man seeing him would say, 'This good man does not know the heartwood, sapwood, bark, limbs, the twiggs and leaves. So this man in need of heartwood, wandering in search of heartwood, coming to a standing tree with heartwood ignoring the heartwood has cut the sapwood and is carrying it away thinking, 'It is the heartwood.' Whatever work he has to do with the heartwood, to that he would not find.

Bhikkhus, in the same manner, a certain son of a clansman, victimised by birth, decay and death would leave the household life out of faith and become a homeless contemplative (samana) . thinking, 'I am submerged in grief, lamentation, unpleasantness, displeasure, distress and death,' and say, 'Only a few declare the complete ending of this mass of unpleasantness.' Gone forth thus, he is reborn in gain, honor and fame. Satisfied with it, yet his aspirations are not fulfilled with that gain, honor and fame he would not praise himself or disparage others. He would take upon himself to observe the virtues. Satisfied with it and his aspirations unfulfilled, with the endowment of virtues he would not praise himself nor disparage others. Not intoxicated and not negligent he would take upon himself the endowment of meditative absorption. Satisfied with it and his aspirations not fulfilled with the endowment of meditative absorption he would not praise himself nor disparage others. Not intoxicated and not negligent he would take upon himself to develop knowledge and vision. Satisfied, and aspirations fulfilled he would thinks, 'I abide knowing and seeing, these other bhikkhus abide not knowing and not seeing. Intoxicated and negligent on account of the endowment of knowledge and vision he would abide in unpleasantness (dukkha). Bhikkhus, to this is said, 'The bhikkhu has come to the end of the holy life in the sapwood.'

"Here, bhikkhus, a certain son of a clansman victimised by birth, decay and death would leave the household life out of faith and become a homeless contemplative (samana) thinking, 'I am submerged in grief, lamentation, unpleasantness, displeasure, distress and death,' would say, 'Only a few declare the complete ending of this mass of unpleasantness. Gone forth thus heis reborn in gain, honor and fame. Satisfied with it, and his aspirations unfulfilled with that gain, honor and fame he would not praise himself or disparage others. Not intoxicated nor negligent on account of that gain, honor and fame he would take upon himself to observe the virtues. Satisfied with it and his aspirations not fulfilled with the endowment of virtues, he would not praise himself and disparage others. Not intoxicated and not negligent he would take upon himself the endowment of meditative absorption. Satisfied with it and his aspirations unfulfilled with the endowment of meditative absorption he would not praise himself or disparage others. Not intoxicated and not negligent he would take upon himself to attain knowledge and vision. Satisfied with it and his aspirations not fulfilled with the endowment of knowledge and vision he would not praise himself nor disparage others. Not intoxicated nor negligent on account of the endowment of knowledge and vision he would take upon himself to attain the timeless release of mind.

"Bhikkhus, it is not possible that the bhikkhu should fall from the timeless release of mind. Like a man in need of heartwood wandering in search of heartwood, coming to a standing tree with heartwood he would cut the heartwood and carry it away knowing it is heartwood. A wise man seeing him would say: This good man, knows the heartwood, sapwood, bark, limbs, twiggs and leaves. So this man in need of heartwood, wandering in search of heartwood, coming to a standing tree with heartwood, has cut the heartwood and is carrying it away knowing that it is the heartwood. Whatever work he has to do with the heartwood, to that end he would come.

"Bhikkhus, in the same manner, a certain son of a clansman, victimised by birth, decay and death would leave the household life out of faith. Become a homeless contemplative (samana) he would think 'I am submerged in grief, lamentation, unpleasantness, displeasure, distress and death,' he would say, 'Only a few declare the complete ending of this mass of unpleasantness.' Gone forth thus, he is reborn in gain, honor and fame. Satisfied with it and his aspirations not fulfilled with that gain, honor and fame, he would not praise himself nor disparage others. He would take it upon himself to observe the virtues. Satisfied with it and his aspirations not fulfilled with the endowment of virtues he would not praise himself nor disparage others. Not intoxicated nor negligent, he would take upon himself the endowment of meditative absorption. Satisfied with it and his aspirations not fulfilled with the endowment of meditative absorption he would not praise himself nor disparage others. Not intoxicated and not negligent he would take upon himself to develop knowledge and vision. Satisfied with it and his aspirations unfulfilled with the endowment of knowledge and vision he would take upon himself to attain the timeless release of mind. Bhikkhus, it is not possible that the bhikkhu should fall from the timeless release of mind. [2]

"So then, bhikkhus, the holy life is led not for, gain, honor and fame, not for the endowment of virtues, not for the endowment of meditative absorption, not for the endowment of knowledge and vision. Bhikkhus, it is for the unshakeable release of mind that is the essence and end of the holy life .

The Blessed One said thus and those bhikkhus delighted in the words of the Blessed One.


[1] Intoxicated and negligent on account of the endowment of meditative absorption abides in unpleasantness. `so tÓya samÓdhisampadÓya majjati pamajjati pamÓdaŘ Ópajjati pamatto samÓno dhukkhaŘ viharati' We see the bhikkhu abiding in unpleasÓntness on several occasions when he is intoxicated and negligent over his gain, honor and fame, attainment of virtues, attainment of meditative absorption, attainment of knowledge and vision. The person who has realised the timeless release of mind only does not abide in unpleasentness. The lessening of unpleasantness starts with the attainment of the entry into the stream of the Teaching and reaches the climax with the attainment of extinction, Arahatta.

[2] The timeless release of mind, the unshakeable release of mind. `asamaya vimokkhaŘ ÓrÓdeti' `akuppÓcetovimutti' This is the attainment of extinction, when attained to it, unpleasantness (dukkha) is not experienced any more.


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