Ekottara Agama 21.6



[i]‘Thus have I heard.

At one time the Buddha was staying in Śrāvastī, at Jetṛ’s Grove, in Anāthapiṇḍada’s Park.

Then the Exalted One said to the bhikṣus:

If a bhikṣu  is possessed of three qualities (dharma), he will well experience happiness in this life (dṛṣṭe dharme) and realise, through great perseverance and energy, the end of the existential constituents under the sway of the malign influences (sāsravadharma)[ii]. Which are the three? There is a bhikṣu  who a) is composed (samāhita) with respect to the sense faculties (indriya)[iii], b) moderate in eating[iv] and c) who does not neglect his walking exercises (caṅkrama)[v].

How is a bhikṣu composed with respect to the sense faculties? In this regard, when seeing a form with the eye, he neither starts indulging in notions (samjñā) [concerning that form] nor does he recall [any notions][vi]. [Thus, by seeing with perfect mindfulness,] he realises purification (viśuddhi) regarding the faculty of the eye.  By means [of achievement] he aspires to [ultimate] freedom (vimukti), always guarding the faculty of the eye.

When hearing a sound with the ear, smelling a scent with the nose, recognising a flavour with the tongue, feeling tangibles[vii] with the body, or being aware of mental objects with his mind, he neither starts indulging in notions nor does he recall [any notions].

[Thus, by… being aware with perfect mindfulness,] he realises purification regarding the faculty of… the mind, and by means [of this achievement] he aspires to [ultimate] freedom, always guarding the faculty of… the mind.

Thus a bhikṣu is composed with regard to the sense faculties.

How is a bhikṣu moderate in eating? In this regard [he takes his food,] thinking where it has come from, and not in order to become plump (sthūla) and beautiful (gaura). [He eats] only[viii] with a view to supporting (T2, 604a) the body and keeping the four physical elements (caturmahābhūta)[ix] in shape (sakala), [reflecting:] Now I should check former pangs [of hunger] and prevent new ones from arising, letting the body have [enough] strength to practice the [Noble] Path and lest the holy life (brahmacarya) be impeded.

[Take] for example a bad abscess that has developed on a man’s or woman’s body. Someone applies a salve to that abscess, and his [salve] is applied for the [sole] purpose of occasioning a cure.

Similarly, O bhikṣus, a bhikṣu is moderate in eating, thinking where the food [that he is taking] has come from; he does not [take it] in order to become stout… and [he eats] only with a view to supporting the body… lest the holy life be impeded.

[Take again] for example a cart [carrying] heavy loads. Its wheels are greased for the [sole] purpose of delivering heavy [loads] at their destinations.

Similarly, a bhikṣu is moderate in eating, thinking… he does not [take food] in order to become stout… Thus a bhikṣu is moderate in eating.

How does a bhikṣu not neglect his walking-exercises? In this regard, in the first and last [watches of] the night he diligently and mindfully takes his walking-exercises without being mistaken about the periods [of day and night]. Continually he directs his attention to making use of[x] the aids to enlightenment (bodhipakṣa)[xi].

During daytime, whether he is walking of sitting, he wisely reflects on the eminent Teaching (praṇītadharma) [and thus] rids himself of the hindrances (nivaraṇa) diminishing [all his efforts][xii].

Again, in the first [watch of] the night, whether he is walking or sitting, he wisely reflects… and rids himself…; in the middle [watch of] the night, lying on his right side[xiii], he directs his attention to waking up[xiv] [again]; in the last [watch of ] the night he rises [and starts] walking; he wisely reflects on the profound Teaching, ridding himself of the hindrances diminishing [his efforts].  Thus a bhikṣu does not neglect his walking-exercises.

If a bhikṣu is composed with respect to the sense faculties, moderate in eating and if he does not neglect his walking-exercises, always mindful and directing his attention to making use of the aids to enlightenment, he will surely reap two results: in this life he will realise the [state of] a non-returner (anāgāmin)[xv].

Just as a skilled charioteer drives his chariot [pulled] by four horses, keeping to the smooth surface of the middle of the road, and [thus] definitely [proceeds] without delay wherever he wishes to go, - even so this bhikṣu will definitely [reap excellent results].

If he is composed…making use of the aids to enlightenment, he will surely reap two results: in this life he will be rid of the malign influences (kṣīnasrava) and becomes a non-returner.

After listening to the Buddha’s words, the bhikṣus were pleased and respectfully applied themselves to practice.[xvi]

[i]  CBETA, T02, no. 125, p. 603, c18-p. 604, a27; Hayashi, p. 196 ff. This translation originally published as Ekottarāgama XXXII, Buddhist Studies Review 20.2, 2003, p 205-208. Translated from the Chinese version by Thích Huyên-Vi and Bhikkhu Pāsādika in collaboration with Sara Boin-Webb.

[ii]  Cf.BSR 19, 2 (2002), p.184, where this technical term also occurs against the usual non-technical āsravakṣaya at T2,  582b28/BSR 10, 2 (1993), p.220 and passim. 

[iii]  Rendering indriyeṣu guptadvāratā peculiar to EĀ (cf .SWTF fasc. 5,p. 330b; fasc. 11, p.182a).

[iv]  As for bhojane mātrajñatā with references, see SWTF fasc. 11, ibid.; for mātrajṇatā (s.v. guptadvāratā) read mātrajñatā (not indicated in the review at BSR 19, 1 (2002), p.64 ff.).

[v]  Rather a free rendering of jāgaryam/ °yām (?) anuyukata  (‘given to wakefulness’); see BHSD, p.240a; SWTF fasc. 12, p.291b.

[vi]  As for ##,   anu - √smṛ, see Karashima, pp.405, 595 f. For Pāli parallels to this rather deviating āgama version or quite free Chinese rendering of EĀ see CPD 1, p.220, s.v. anu-vyañjana-ggāhi (n), eg. D I, p.70: bhikkhu cakkhunā rūpaṁ disvā na nimittaggāhī hoti nānuvyañjanaggāhī. What in EĀ are notions presenting themselves and not to be indulged in and past notions that should not be recalled, is very correctly explained in Buddhaghosa. See Bhadanta Revatadhamma (ed), Visuddhimaggo,  Vol. 1, with Paramatthamañjūsāṭīkā, Varanasi 1969, p.65 f.: itthipurisanimittaṁ vā subhanimittādikaṁ vā kilesavatthubhūtaṁ nimittaṁ na gaṇhāti, diṭṭhamatte yeva saṇṭhāti / nānuvyañjanaggāhīti… hatthapadasitahasitakathita… bhedaṁ ākāraṁ na gaṇhāti i… Bhikkhu Ñāṇamoḷi, The Path of Purification, Colombo 1956, p. 21: ‘… he does not apprehend the sign of woman or man, or any sign that is a basis for defilement such as the sign of beauty, etc.: he stops at what is merely seen.  Nor the particulars: he does not apprehend any aspect classed as hand, foot, smile, laughter, talk…’

In connection with samjñā in EĀ cf., n.232 on the important passage at MI, p.111 f. (Madhupiṇḍikasutta) in Bh. Nanamoli, Bh. Bodhi, The Middle Length Discourses of the Buddha, Boston 1995, 2001, p.1205: “This passage shows how papañca, emerging from the process of cognition, gives rise to perceptions and notions that overwhelm and victimise their hapless creator… What is perceived as ‘this’ is thought about in its differences and is thus diversified from ‘that’ and from ‘me’. This diversification – involving craving for form, wrong view about permanence of form, etc., and the conceit ‘I am’ – leads to preoccupation with calculating the desirability of past and present forms with a view to obtaining desirable forms in the future.”

As for ‘notions and recalled notions’ in EĀ, see Alex Wayman, ‘Regarding the Translation of the Buddhist Terms saññā / samjñā viññāṇa / vijñāna’  in: O.H. de A. Wijesekera (ed.), Malalasekera Commemoration Volume, Colombo 1976, pp. 324-35, for critical appraisal.  Interestingly, in the given context Wayman quotes David Hume: ‘All ideas are borrowed from preceding perceptions. Our ideas are borrowed from preceding perceptions. Our ideas of objects, therefore, are derived from that source’ (loc.cit., p.327)

[vii] I.e.spraṣṭavya; cf. Karashima, p.483:### … sparśa.

[viii]  For this special meaning of # see Karashima, p.338

[ix]  See Nyanatiloka, pp.44 (s.v. dhātu), 87 (s.v. mahā-bhūta).

[x]  Lit.: ‘mindfully he keeps his mind staying in’.

[xi]  See BHSD, p.402b; Nyanatiloka, p.31 (s.v. bodhipakkhiya-dhamma).

[xii]  Lit.: ‘overshadowing hindrances’; cf. Karashima, p.546: ##, ‘covering; covering for the sake of concealment’?  As for nivaraṇa, nīvaraṇa, see BHSD, p.311a.

[xiii]  # = ‘rib’; here the character renders pārśva, ‘region of the ribs, side’; cf. Mahāvyut. 4006 (77).

[xiv]   Lit.: ‘bright, clear; to understand’.

[xv]  Inconsistently here the text does not make it clear which is the second result.  In the above first para, of this sūtra, however, it says that a) happiness will be experienced in this life and b) the malign influences be brought to an end. Cf. also below the second last sentence of this EĀ discourse.

[xvi] Cf. A I, p. 113 f.: Tīhi bhikkhave dhammehi samannāgato bhikkhu apaṇṇakataṁ paṭipadaṁ paṭipanno hoti yoni c’assa āraddhā hoti āsavānaṁ khayāya…;  F. L. Woodward, Gradual sayings I PTS, 1932, p. 97 ff.: ‘Monks, possessed of three qualities a monk is proficient in the practice leading to the Sure Course, and he has strong grounds for the destruction of the āsavas…’