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Tipitaka >> Sutta Pitaka >> Anguttara Nikaya >> Getting Rid of Drowsiness

AN 7:58A Getting Rid of Drowsiness

Translated from the Pali by Nyanaponika Thera and Bhikkhu Bodhi


Thus have I heard. On one occasion the Blessed One was dwelling in the Bhagga country near the town of Sumsumaragiri, in the Deer Park at the Bhesakala Grove. On that occasion the Venerable Mahamoggallana, dwelling in Magadha near the village of Kallavalamutta, was nodding in his seat.

The Blessed One saw this with the divine eye, purified and superhuman. Having seen this, he vanished from the Deer Park at the Bhesakala Grove and, as speedily as a strong man might stretch his bent arm or bend his stretched arm, he appeared before the Venerable Mahamoggallana. The Blessed One sat down on the seat prepared for him and said to the Venerable Mahamoggallana:

“Are you nodding, Moggallana, are you nodding?”—”Yes, Lord.”

(1) “Well then, Moggallana, at whatever thought drowsiness befalls you, you should not give attention to that thought. Then, by doing so, it is possible that your drowsiness will vanish.

(2) “But if, by doing so, your drowsiness does not vanish, then you should ponder the Dhamma as you have learnt it and mastered it, you should examine it and investigate it closely in your mind. Then, by doing so, it is possible that your drowsiness will vanish.

(3) “But if, by doing so, your drowsiness does not vanish, then you should recite in detail the Dhamma as you have learnt it and mastered it. Then, by doing so, it is possible that your drowsiness will vanish.

(4) “But if, by doing so, your drowsiness does not vanish, then you should pull both ear-lobes and rub your limbs with your hand. Then, by doing so, it is possible that your drowsiness will vanish.

(5) “But if, by doing so, your drowsiness does not vanish, you should get up from your seat and, after washing your eyes with water, you should look around in all directions and upwards to the stars and constellations. Then, by doing so, it is possible that your drowsiness will vanish.

(6) “But if, by doing so, your drowsiness does not vanish, then you should attend to the perception of light, resolve upon the perception of daytime: as by day, so at night, as at night, so by day. Thus, with an open and unencumbered heart, you should develop a luminous mind. Then, by doing so, it is possible that your drowsiness will vanish.

(7) “But if, by doing so, your drowsiness does not vanish, then, with your senses turned inward and your mind not straying outward, you should take to walking up and down, being aware of going to and fro. Then, by doing so, it is possible that your drowsiness will vanish.

“But if, by doing so, your drowsiness does not vanish, then, mindful and clearly comprehending, you may lie down, lion-like, on your right side, placing one foot on the other, keeping in mind the thought of rising; and on awakening, you should quickly get up, thinking, ’I must not indulge in the pleasure of resting and reclining, in the pleasure of sleep.’

“Thus, Moggallana, should you train yourself.

“Further, Moggallana, you should train yourself by thinking: You should think, ’When calling at families (on the alms round), I shall not be given to pride.’ Thus should you train yourself.

“For in families it may happen that people are busy with work and may not notice that a monk has come. Then a monk (if given to pride) may think, ’Who, I wonder, has estranged me from this family? These people seem to be displeased with me.’ Thus, by not receiving (alms-food from them), he is perturbed; being perturbed, he becomes excited; being excited, he loses self-control; and if he is uncontrolled, his mind will be far from concentration.

“Further, Moggallana, you should train yourself in this way: ’I shall not speak contentious talk.’ Thus should you train yourself. If there is contentious talk, there is sure to be much wordiness; with much wordiness, there will be excitement; he who is excited will loose self-control; and if he is uncontrolled, his mind will be far from concentration.

“I do not, Moggallana, praise all companionship, nor do I blame all companionship. I do not praise companionship with monks and lay folk. But companionship with dwellings where there are few sounds and little noise, which are fanned by cool breezes, remote from human habitation, suitable for seclusion—this do I praise.”

After these words the Venerable Mahamoggallana said to the Blessed One: “In what way, Lord, can it be explained briefly how a monk is liberated through the elimination of craving—one who has reached the final end, the final security from bondage, the final holy life, the final consummation, and is foremost among devas and humans?”

“Here, Moggallana, a monk has learnt this: ’Nothing is fit to be clung to.’If a monk has learnt that nothing is fit to be clung to, he directly knows everything; by directly knowing everything, he fully understands everything; when he fully understands everything, whatever feeling he experiences, be it pleasant, painful or neither-painful-nor-pleasant, in regard to those same feelings he dwells contemplating impermanence, contemplating dispassion, contemplating cessation, contemplating relinquishment. When he thus abides contemplating impermanence, dispassion, cessation, and relinquishment in regard to those feelings, he does not cling to anything in the world; without clinging he is not agitated; being unagitated, he personally attains Nibbana. He understands: ’Destroyed is birth, the holy life has been lived, what had to be done has been done, there is no more for this world.’

“That, Moggallana, briefly put, is how a monk is liberated through the elimination of craving—one who has reached the final end, the final security from bondage, the final holy life, the final consummation, and is foremost among devas and humans.”

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