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Tipitaka >> Sutta Pitaka >> Samyutta Nikaya >> Gaddula Sutta

SN 22:100 The Leash (2)

Translated from the Pali by John D. Ireland

“Unimaginable, Bhikkhus, is a beginning to the round of births [and deaths]. For beings obstructed by ignorance and fettered by craving, migrating and going the round of births, a starting point is not evident.

“Just as a dog, Bhikkhus, tied with a leash to a strong stake or post; if he moves, he moves towards that stake or post; if he stands still, he stands close to that stake or post; if he sits down, he sits close to that stake or post; if he lies down, he lies close to that stake or post.

“Similarly, Bhikkhus, the uninstructed ordinary person looks upon the body as, ’This is mine,’ ’I am this,’ ’This is myself,’ … He looks upon feeling … perception … mental activities … consciousness as, ’This is mine,’ ’I am this,’ ’This is myself.’ If he moves, he moves towards these five aggregates of grasping; if he stands still, he stands close to these five aggregates of grasping; if he sits down, he sits close to these five aggregates of grasping; if he lies down, he lies close to these five aggregates of grasping.

“Hence, Bhikkhus, I say one should constantly reflect upon one’s own mind thus: ’For a long time this mind has been corrupted by greed, aversion and delusion.’ Through a corrupt mind, Bhikkhus, beings are corrupted; from purity of mind beings become pure. Have you seen, Bhikkhus, an elaborate painting?”

“Yes, Sir.”

“Now that elaborate painting, Bhikkhus, was devised by mind. Therefore mind is even more intricate than that elaborate painting. Hence, Bhikkhus, I say one should constantly reflect upon one’s own mind thus: ’For a long time this mind has been corrupted by greed, aversion and delusion.’ Through a corrupt mind, Bhikkhus, beings are corrupted; from purity of mind beings become pure.

“I perceive no other single group, Bhikkhus, so diverse as the creatures of the animal world. These creatures of the animal world are diversified by mind. Therefore mind is even more diverse than the creatures of the animal world.

“Hence, Bhikkhus, I say a Bhikkhu should constantly reflect upon his own mind thus: ’For a long time this mind has been corrupted by greed, aversion and delusion.’ Through a corrupt mind, Bhikkhus, beings are corrupted; from purity of mind beings become pure.

“Just as a dyer or a painter, with dye or lac or turmeric or indigo or madder, and a well-smoothed wooden panel or wall or piece of cloth, can reproduce the form (rupa) of a woman or a man complete in every detail—similarly, Bhikkhus, the uninstructed ordinary person brings body (rupa) into existence too … brings feeling … perception … mental activities … brings consciousness into existence too.”

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