Ekottara Agama 21.7

 

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 [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:

There are three [kinds of] severe affliction. Which are the three?

There are the severe afflictions [caused by] a) the windy humour of the body (vāta), b) the phlegmatic humour (śleṣman) and c) cold (śīta). These are, O bhikṣus, the three [kinds of] severe affliction.

But there also are available three [kinds of] effective medicine for the three severe afflictions. Which are the three?

When somebody is affected with the windy humour of the body, an effective medicine will be a) ghee (ghṛta); what one does in this case is to take ghee. When somebody is afflicted with the phlegmatic humour, an effective medicine will be b) honey (madhu); what one does in this case is to take honey, and when somebody is afflicted with cold, an effective medicine will be c) sesame oil (taila); what one does in this case is to take[ii] sesame oil.  These are, bhikṣus, the three [kinds of] severe affliction and their respective cure.

Similarly, bhikṣus, there are the following three [kinds of] severe affliction. Which are the three?

a) Covetousness (lobha)/attachment (anunaya), b) hatred (dveṣa)/aversion (pratigha) and c) ignorance (avidyā)/delusion (moha) – these, bhikṣus are the three [kinds of] severe affliction. But there also are available three [kinds of] effective medicine for the three severe afflictions. Which are the three?

When there are covetousness and attachment, one [should] have recourse to a) repulsiveness (aśubha) as remedy (pratikāra) by way of reflecting on what is repulsive.

[When] one is afflicted with hatred and aversion, one [should] have recourse to b) friendliness (maitrī)[iii] as remedy by way of cultivating friendliness in one’s heart.

[When] one is afflicted with ignorance and delusion, one [should] have recourse to c) wisdom (prajñā) as remedy by way of [insight into] dependent origination (pratītyasamutpāda).

These are, bhikṣus, the three [kinds of] severe affliction and respective cure. Accordingly, bhikṣus, you should aspire to skill in means to avail yourselves of[iv] the three [kinds of] remedy. Thus, bhikṣus, you should train.

After listening to the Buddha’s words, the bhikṣus were pleased… to practice.’ 



[i] CBETA, T02, no. 125, p. 604, a28-b15. This translation originally published as Ekottarāgama XXXII, Buddhist Studies Review 20.2, 2003, p 208-209. Translated from the Chinese version by Thích Huyên-Vi and Bhikkhu Pāsādika in collaboration with Sara Boin-Webb.

[ii]‘To take’, according to the Chinese, in the sense of ‘to drink’. As regards actual practice, however, one should expect that sesame oil is ‘applied’, for the third ‘severe affliction’ is ‘cold’ (#), i.e. ‘low temperature’ – it is not # ‘the common cold’ that one catches.

[iii] Cf. Karashima, p. 56, s.v. ##

[iv] Lit.: ‘to link up with’.