Classic and Contemporary Buddhist Works

The Numerical Discourses of the Buddha - Selections

II. Walking

11 (1) Walking
(1) “Bhikkhus, if a sensual thought, a thought of ill will, or a thought of harming arises in a bhikkhu while walking, and he tolerates it, does not abandon it, dispel it, terminate it, and obliterate it, then that bhikkhu is said to be devoid of ardor and moral dread; he is constantly and continuously lazy and lacking in energy while walking.
    (2) “If a sensual thought … arises in a bhikkhu while standing … (3) If a sensual thought … arises in a bhikkhu while sitting … (4) If a sensual thought, a thought of ill will, or a thought of harming arises in a bhikkhu while wakefully lying down, and he tolerates it, does not abandon it, dispel it, terminate it, and obliterate it, then that bhikkhu is said to be devoid of ardor and moral dread; he is constantly and continuously lazy and lacking in energy while wakefully lying down.
    (1) “But, bhikkhus, if a sensual thought, a thought of ill will, or a thought of harming arises in a bhikkhu while walking, and he does not tolerate it but abandons it, dispels it, terminates it, and obliterates it, then that bhikkhu is said to be ardent and to dread wrongdoing; he is constantly and continuously energetic and resolute while walking.
    (2) “If a sensual thought … arises in a bhikkhu while standing … (3) If a sensual thought … arises in a bhikkhu while sitting … (4) If a sensual thought, a thought of ill will, or a thought of harming arises in a bhikkhu while wakefully lying down, and he does not tolerate it but abandons it, dispels it, terminates it, [14] and obliterates it, then that bhikkhu is said to be ardent and to dread wrongdoing; he is constantly and continuously energetic and resolute while walking.”

Whether walking or standing,
sitting or lying down,
one who thinks bad thoughts
connected with the household life
has entered upon a dire path,
infatuated by delusive things:
such a bhikkhu cannot reach
the highest enlightenment.

But one who, whether walking,
standing, sitting, or lying down,
has calmed his thoughts
and delights in the stilling of thought:
a bhikkhu such as this can reach
the highest enlightenment.

12 (2) Virtuous Behavior
“Bhikkhus, dwell observant of virtuous behavior, observant of the Pātimokkha. Dwell restrained by the Pātimokkha, possessed of good conduct and resort, seeing danger in minute faults. Having undertaken them, train in the training rules. When you have done so, what further should be done?
    (1) “Bhikkhus, if a bhikkhu has gotten rid of longing and ill will while walking; if he has abandoned dullness and drowsiness, restlessness and remorse, and doubt; if his energy is aroused without slackening; if his mindfulness is established and unmuddled; if his body is tranquil and undisturbed; if his mind is concentrated and one-pointed, then that bhikkhu is said to be ardent and to dread wrongdoing; he is constantly and continuously energetic and resolute while walking.
    (2) “If a bhikkhu has gotten rid of longing and ill will while standing … (3) If a bhikkhu has gotten rid of longing and ill will while sitting … [15] … (4) If a bhikkhu has gotten rid of longing and ill will while wakefully lying down; if he has abandoned dullness and drowsiness, restlessness and remorse, and doubt; if his energy is aroused without slackening; if his mindfulness is established and unmuddled; if his body is tranquil and undisturbed; if his mind is concentrated and one-pointed, then that bhikkhu is said to be ardent and to dread wrongdoing; he is constantly and continuously energetic and resolute while wakefully lying down.”

Controlled in walking, controlled in standing,
controlled in sitting and in lying down;
controlled, a bhikkhu draws in the limbs,
and controlled, he stretches them out.

Above, across, and below,
as far as the world extends,
he is one who scrutinizes the arising and vanishing
of such phenomena as the aggregates.

Training in what is conducive
to serenity of mind, always mindful,
they call such a bhikkhu
one constantly resolute.

13 (3) Striving
“Bhikkhus, there are these four right strivings. What four? (1) Here, a bhikkhu generates desire for the non-arising of unarisen bad unwholesome states; he makes an effort, arouses energy, applies his mind, and strives. (2) He generates desire for the abandoning of arisen bad unwholesome states; he makes an effort, arouses energy, applies his mind, and strives. (3) He generates desire for the arising of unarisen wholesome states; he makes an effort, arouses energy, applies his mind, and strives. (4) He generates desire for the persistence of arisen wholesome states, for their non-decline, increase, expansion, and fulfillment by development; he makes an effort, arouses energy, applies his mind, and strives. These are the four right strivings.”

Those who strive rightly
overcome the realm of Māra;
they are unattached,
gone beyond fear of birth and death.

They are contented and unstirred,
having conquered Māra and his mount;
those happy ones have overcome
all Namuci’s armies. [16]

14 (4) Restraint
“Bhikkhus, there are these four strivings. What four? Striving by restraint, striving by abandonment, striving by development, and striving by protection.
    (1) “And what, bhikkhus, is striving by restraint? Here, having seen a form with the eye, a bhikkhu does not grasp its marks and features. Since, if he left the eye faculty unrestrained, bad unwholesome states of longing and dejection might invade him, he practices restraint over it, he guards the eye faculty, he undertakes the restraint of the eye faculty. Having heard a sound with the ear … Having smelt an odor with the nose … Having tasted a taste with the tongue … Having felt a tactile object with the body … Having cognized a mental phenomenon with the mind, a bhikkhu does not grasp its marks and features. Since, if he left the mind faculty unrestrained, bad unwholesome states of longing and dejection might invade him, he practices restraint over it, he guards the mind faculty, he undertakes the restraint of the mind faculty. This is called striving by restraint.
    (2) “And what is striving by abandonment? Here, a bhikkhu does not tolerate an arisen sensual thought; he abandons it, dispels it, terminates it, and obliterates it. He does not tolerate an arisen thought of ill will … an arisen thought of harming … bad unwholesome states whenever they arise; he abandons them, dispels them, terminates them, and obliterates them. This is called striving by abandonment.
    (3) “And what is striving by development? Here, a bhikkhu develops the enlightenment factor of mindfulness, which is based upon seclusion, dispassion, and cessation, maturing in release. He develops the enlightenment factor of discrimination of phenomena … the enlightenment factor of energy … the enlightenment factor of rapture … the enlightenment factor of tranquility … the enlightenment factor of concentration … the enlightenment factor of equanimity, which is based upon seclusion, dispassion, and cessation, maturing in release. This is called striving by development. [17]
    (4) “And what is striving by protection? Here, a bhikkhu protects an arisen excellent object of concentration: the perception of a skeleton, the perception of a worm-infested corpse, the perception of a livid corpse, the perception of a festering corpse, the perception of a fissured corpse, the perception of a bloated corpse. This is called striving by protection.
    “These, bhikkhus, are the four kinds of striving.”

Restraint and abandonment,
development and protection:
these four strivings were taught
by the Kinsman of the Sun.
By these means an ardent bhikkhu here
can attain the destruction of suffering.

15 (5) Proclamations
“Bhikkhus, there are these four proclamations of the foremost. What four?
    (1) “The foremost of those with bodies is Rāhu, lord of the asuras. (2) The foremost of those who enjoy sensual pleasures is King Mandhātā. (3) The foremost of those who exercise authority is Māra the Evil One. (4) In this world with its devas, Māra, and Brahmā, among this population with its ascetics and brahmins, its devas and humans, the Tathāgata, the Arahant, the Perfectly Enlightened One is declared foremost. These are the four proclamations of those who are foremost.”

Rāhu is the foremost of those with bodies,
Mandhātā, of those enjoying sense pleasures;
Māra is the foremost of rulers,
blazing with power and glory.

In this world together with its devas
above, across, and below,
as far as the world extends,
the Buddha is declared foremost.

16 (6) Exquisiteness
“Bhikkhus, there are these four kinds of exquisiteness. What four? (1) Here, a bhikkhu possesses supreme exquisiteness of form. He does not perceive any other exquisiteness of form more excellent or sublime than that one; he does not yearn for any other exquisiteness of form more excellent or sublime than that one. (2) He possesses supreme exquisiteness of feeling [18] … (3) … supreme exquisiteness of perception … (4) … supreme exquisiteness of volitional activities. He does not perceive any other exquisiteness of volitional activities more excellent or sublime than that one; he does not yearn for any other exquisiteness of volitional activities more excellent or sublime than that one.
    “These are the four kinds of exquisiteness.”

Having known the exquisiteness of form,
the origination of feelings,
and where perception arises,
and where it disappears.

Having known volitional activities
as alien, suffering, and not self,
that bhikkhu sees rightly;
peaceful, delighting in the state of peace,
he bears his final body,
having conquered Māra and his mount.

17 (7) Wrong Courses (1)
“Bhikkhus, there are these four ways of taking a wrong course. What four? One takes a wrong course because of desire, because of hatred, because of delusion, or because of fear. These are the four ways of taking a wrong course.”

If through desire, hate, fear, or delusion
one transgresses against the Dhamma,
one’s fame diminishes like the moon
in the dark fortnight.

18 (8) Wrong Courses (2)
“Bhikkhus, there are these four ways of not taking a wrong course. What four? One does not take a wrong course because of desire, because of hatred, because of delusion, or because of fear. These are the four ways of not taking a wrong course.”

If one does not transgress the Dhamma
through desire, hate, fear, or delusion,
one’s fame becomes full like the moon
in the bright fortnight.

19 (9) Wrong Courses (3)
“Bhikkhus, there are these four ways of taking a wrong course. What four? [19] One takes a wrong course because of desire … [as in 4:17] … These are the four ways of taking a wrong course.
    “Bhikkhus, there are these four ways of not taking a wrong course. What four? One does not take a wrong course because of desire … [as in 4:18] … These are the four ways of taking a wrong course.”

If through desire, hate, fear, or delusion
one transgresses against the Dhamma,
one’s fame diminishes like the moon
in the dark fortnight.

If one does not transgress the Dhamma
through desire, hate, fear, or delusion,
one’s fame becomes full like the moon
in the bright fortnight.

20 (10) An Assigner of Meals
“Bhikkhus, if an assigner of meals possesses four qualities, he is deposited in hell as if brought there. What four? He takes a wrong course because of desire, because of hatred, because of delusion, or because of fear. If an assigner of meals possesses these four qualities, he is deposited in hell as if brought there.
    “Bhikkhus, if an assigner of meals possesses four qualities, he is deposited in heaven as if brought there. What four? He does not take a wrong course because of desire, because of hatred, because of delusion, or because of fear. If an assigner of meals possesses these four qualities, he is deposited in heaven as if brought there.”

Those people uncontrolled in sensual pleasures,
who are unrighteous, not revering the Dhamma,
gone [astray] through desire, hate, and fear
are called a stained assembly.
Such is said by the Ascetic who knows.

Therefore those good persons who are praiseworthy,
firm in the Dhamma, who do nothing bad,
unswayed by desire, hate, and fear,
are called an elite assembly.
Such is said by the Ascetic who knows. [20]
 

How to cite this document:
© Bhikkhu Bodhi, The Numerical Discourses of the Buddha (Wisdom Publications, 2012)

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