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Tipitaka >> Sutta Pitaka >> Khuddaka Nikaya >> Milindapanha >> Book VII: The Similes - Opammakatha Panha Chapter 3


Translated by T. W. Rhys Davids


21. THE EARTH.

1. 'Venerable Nâgasena, those five qualities of the earth which you say he ought to take, which are they?'

'Just, O king, as the earth remains just the same whether one scatter upon it desirable things or the reverse--whether camphor and aloes and jasmine and sandal-wood and saffron, or whether bile and phlegm and pus and blood and sweat and fat and saliva and mucus and the fluid which lubricates the joints and urine and faeces--still it is the same; just so, O king, should the strenuous Bhikshu, earnest in effort, remain the same, unmoved at support or neglect, at fame or dishonour, at blame or praise, in happiness or in woe. This, O king, is the first of the qualities of the earth he ought to have.

2. 'And again, O king, as the earth has no adornment, no garlands, but is suffused with the odour of itself; just so, O king, should the strenuous Bhikshu, earnest in effort, wear no finery, but rather be set round with the sweet savour of his own righteousness of life. This, O king, is the second quality of the earth he ought to have.

3. 'And again, O king, as the earth is solid, without holes or interstices, thick, dense, and spreads itself out on every side; just so, O king, should the strenuous Bhikshu, earnest in effort, be endowed with an unbroken righteousness of life with no gaps

or cracks in it, thick, dense, and spreading itself out on every side. This, O king, is the third quality of the earth he ought to have.

4. 'And again, O king, as the earth is never weary, though it bears up the villages and towns and cities and countries, the trees and hills and rivers and ponds and lakes, the wild creatures and birds and men, multitudes of men and women; just so, O king, should the strenuous Bhikshu, earnest in effort, be never weary in giving exhortation and admonition and instruction and education, in rousing and inciting and gladdening, and at the expositions of the faith. This, O king, is the fourth quality of the earth he ought to have.

5. 'And again, O king, as the earth is free alike from fawning and from ill-will ; just so, O king, should the strenuous Bhikshu, earnest in effort, continue in spirit, like the earth, free alike from fawning upon any man, from ill-will to any man. This is the fifth quality of the earth he ought to have. For it was said, O king, by the devoted woman, Kulla Subhaddâ, when she was exalting the recluses of her own sect :

Were one, enraged, to cut their one arm with an axe, Another, pleased, to anoint the other with sweet scent, No ill-will would they bear the one, nor love the other. Their hearts are like the earth, unmoved are my recluses ."' 22. WATER.

6. 'Venerable Nâgasena, the five qualities of water which you say he ought to take, which are they?'

'Just, O king, as water is firmly fixed (in pools, wells, &c.), shakes not, and (in its ordinary state) is not disturbed, and is pure by nature; just so, O king, should the strenuous Bhikshu, earnest in effort, putting away hypocrisy, and whining, and intimating their wants, and improper influences of all sorts, be fixed, unshaken, undisturbed, and pure in nature. This, O king, is the first quality of water he ought to have.

7. 'And again, O king, as water is always of a refreshing nature; just so, O king, should the strenuous Bhikshu, earnest in effort, be full of pity, and love, and kindness to all beings, seeking the good of all, in mercy to all. This, O king, is the second quality of water he ought to have.

8. 'And again, O king, as water makes the dirty clean; just so, O king, should the strenuous Bhikshu,

earnest in effort, be in all places, whether in the village or in the forest, free from disputes with, free from offence against his teachers, his masters, or those standing towards him like a teacher. This, O king, is the third quality of water he ought to have.

9. 'And again, O king, as water is desired of all men; just so, O king, should the strenuous Bhikshu, earnest in effort, wishing for little, content, given to solitude and retirement, be always an object of desire to all the world. This, O king, is the fourth quality of water he ought to have.

10. 'And again, O king, as water works no harm to any man; just so, O king, should the strenuous Bhikshu, earnest in effort, never do any wrong, whether in deed or word or thought, which would produce in others either strife, or quarrel, or contention, or dispute, or a feeling of emptiness, or anger , or discontent. This, O king, is the fifth quality of water he ought to have. For it was said, O king, by the Blessed One, the god over all gods, in the Kanha Gâtaka :

"If you would grant a boon to me, O Sakka, lord of every creature,-- Let none, Sakka, on my account, Be harmed, whether in mind or body, At any time or place. This, Sakka, This would I choose as boon of boons ."'


23. FIRE.

11. 'Venerable Nâgasena, those five qualities of fire which you say he ought to take, which are they?'

'just, O king, as fire burns grass, and sticks, and branches, and leaves; just so, O king, should the strenuous Bhikshu, earnest in effort, burn out in the fire of wisdom all evil dispositions which feed on objects of thought, whether subjective or objective, whether desirable or the reverse. This, O king, is the first quality of fire he ought to have.

12. 'And again, O king, as fire has no pity, neither mercy; just so, O king, should the strenuous Bhikshu, earnest in effort, show no pity, neither mercy, to any evil dispositions. This, O king, is the second quality of fire he ought to have.

13. 'And again, O king, as fire destroys cold; just so, O king, should the strenuous Bhikshu, earnest in effort, lighting up in his heart the burning fire of zeal, destroy all evil dispositions therein. This, O king, is the third quality of fire he ought to have.

14. 'And again, O king, as fire, seeking no favour of any man, bearing no ill-will to any man, makes heat for all; just so, O king, should the strenuous Bhikshu, earnest in effort, dwell in spirit like the fire, fawning on none, bearing ill-will to none. This, O king, is the fourth quality of fire he ought to have.

15. 'And again, O king, as fire dispels darkness, and makes the light appear; just so, O king, should the strenuous Bhikshu, earnest in effort, dispel the

darkness of ignorance, and make the light of knowledge to appear. This is the fifth quality of fire he ought to have. For it was said, O king, by the Blessed One, the god over all gods, in his exhortation to Râhula, his son:

"Practise thyself, Râhula, in that meditation which acts like fire. Thereby shall no wrong dispositions, which have not yet arisen, arise within thee, nor shall they that have arisen bear sway over thy heart ."' 24. WIND.

16. 'Venerable Nâgasena, those five qualities of wind which you say he ought to take, which are they?'

'Just, O king, as wind pervades the spaces in the woods and groves in flowering time; so, O king, should the strenuous Bhikshu, earnest in effort, rejoice in the groves of meditation that are all in blossom with the sweet flowers of emancipation. This, O king, is the first quality of wind he ought to have.

17. 'And again, O king, as wind sets all the trees that grow upon the earth in agitation, bends them

down; just so, O king, should the strenuous Bhikshu, earnest in effort, retiring into the midst of the woods, there examining into the true nature of all existing things (all phenomena, Samkhâras), beat down all evil dispositions. This, O king, is the second quality of wind he ought to have.

18. 'And again, O king, as the wind wanders through the sky; just so, O king, should the strenuous Bhikshu, earnest in effort, accustom his mind to wander among transcendental things. This is the third quality of wind he ought to have.

19. 'And again, O king, as wind carries perfume along; just so, O king, should the strenuous Bhikshu, earnest in effort, carry along with him alway the fragrant perfume of his own righteousness of life. This, O king, is the fourth quality of wind he ought to have.

20. 'And again, O king, as wind has no house, no home to dwell in; just so, O king, should the strenuous Bhikshu, earnest in effort, remain alway without a house, without a home to dwell in, not addicted to society, set free in mind. This, O king, is the fifth quality of wind he ought to have. For it was said, O king, by the Blessed One, the god over all gods, in the Sutta Nipâta:

"In friendship of the world anxiety is born, In household life distraction's dust lies thick; The state set free from home and friendship's ties-- That, and that only, is the recluse's aim ."'


25. THE ROCK.

21. 'Venerable Nâgasena, the five qualities of the rock that you say he ought to have, which are they?'

'Just, O king, as rock is firm, unshaken, immoveable; just so, O king, should the strenuous Bhikshu, earnest in effort, never be excited by alluring things--forms, or sounds, or scents, or tastes, or touch--by veneration or contempt, by support or by neglect, by reverence or its absence, by honour or dishonour, by praise or blame, nor should he be offended by things that give offence, nor bewildered on occasions of bewilderment, neither should he quake nor tremble, but like a rock should he be firm. This, O king, is the first quality of the rock he ought to have. For it was said, O king, by the Blessed One, the god over all gods:

"The solid rock's not shaken by the wind, Just so the wise man falters not, nor shakes,

At praise or blame ."

22. 'And again, O king, as a rock is firm, unmixed with extraneous things; just so, O king, should the strenuous Bhikshu, earnest in effort, be firm and independent, given to association with none. This, O king, is the second quality of the rock he ought to have. For it was said, O king, by the Blessed One, the god over all gods:

The man who mixes not with householders, Nor with the ascetics, but who wanders lone, Without a home, and touched by few desires,-- That is the man I call a Brâhmana ."


23. 'And again, O king, as on the rock no seed will take root; just so, O king, should the strenuous Bhikshu, earnest in effort, never permit evil dispositions to take root in his mind. This, O king, is the third quality of rock that he ought to have. For it was said, O king, by Subhûti, the Elder:

"When lustful thoughts arise within my heart, Examining myself, alone I beat them down. Thou who'rt by lust excited, who by things That give offence, allowest of offence, Feeling bewildered when strange things occur, Thou shouldst retire far from the lonely woods. For they're the dwelling-place of men made pure, Austere in life, free from the stains of sin. Defile not that pure place. Leave thou the woods ."

24. 'And again, just as the rock rises aloft, just so should the strenuous Bhikshu, earnest in effort, rise aloft through knowledge. This is the fourth quality of the rock he ought to have. For it was said, O king, by the Blessed One, the god over all gods:

When the wise man by earnestness has driven Vanity far away, the terraced heights Of wisdom doth he climb, and, free from care, Looks over the vain world, the careworn crowd-- As he who standing on the mountain top Can watch his fellow-men still toiling on the plain ."

25. 'And again, O king, just as the rock cannot

be lifted up nor bent down; just so, O king, should the strenuous Bhikshu, earnest in effort, be neither lifted up nor depressed. This, O king, is the fifth quality of the rock he ought to have. For it was said, O king, by the devout woman, Kulla Subhaddâ, when she was exalting the recluses of her own sect:

"The world is lifted up by gain, depressed by loss. My Samanas remain alike in gain or loss."'


26. SPACE.

26. 'Venerable Nâgasena, those five qualities of space which you say he ought to have, which are they?'

'Just, O king, as space is everywhere impossible to grasp; just so, O king, should it be impossible for the strenuous Bhikshu, earnest in effort, to be anywhere taken hold of by evil dispositions. This, O king, is the first quality of space he ought to have.

27. 'And again, O king, as space is the familiar resort of Rishis, and ascetics, and gods , and flocks of birds; just so, O king, should the strenuous Bhikshu, earnest in effort, make his mind wander easily over all things with the knowledge that each individual (Samkhâra) is impermanent, born to sorrow, and without any abiding principle (any soul). This, O king, is the second quality of space he ought to have.

28. 'And again, O king, as space inspires terror; just so, O king , should the strenuous Bhikshu, earnest in effort, train his mind to be in terror of rebirths in any kind of existence. To seek no happiness therein. This, O king, is the third quality of space he ought to have.

29. 'And again, O king, as space is infinite, boundless, immeasurable; just so, O king, should the righteousness of the strenuous Bhikshu, earnest in effort, know no limit, and his knowledge be beyond measure. This, O king, is the fourth quality of space he ought to have.

30. 'And again, O king, as space does not hang on to anything, does not cling to anything, does not rest on anything, is not stopped by anything; just so, O king, should the strenuous Bhikshu, earnest in effort, neither in any way depend on, nor cling to, nor rest on, nor be hindered by either the families that minister to him, or the pupils who resort to him, or the support he receives, or the dwelling he occupies, or any obstacles to the religious life, or any requisites that he may want, or any kind of evil inclination. This, O king, is the fifth quality of space he ought to have. For it was said, O king, by the Blessed One, the god over all gods, in his exhortation to Râhula, his son:

"Just, Râhula, as space rests nowhere on anything, so shouldst thou practise thyself in that meditation which is like space. Thereby shall neither pleasant nor unpleasant sensations, as they severally arise, bear sway over thy heart ."'

27. THE MOON.

31. 'Venerable Nâgasena, those five qualities of the moon which you say he ought to have, which are they?'

'Just, O king, as the moon, rising in the bright fortnight, waxes more and more; just so, O king, should the strenuous Bhikshu, earnest in effort, grow more and more in good conduct and righteousness and virtue and the constant performance of duty, and in knowledge of the scriptures and study , and in the habit of retirement, and in self-possession, and in keeping the doors of his senses guarded, and in moderation in food, and in the practice of vigils. This, O king, is the first quality of the moon he ought to have.

32. 'And again, O king, as the moon is a mighty lord ; just so, O king, should the strenuous Bhikshu, earnest in effort, be a mighty lord over his own will.

well, or a mountain precipice, or a river in flood, would be abashed alike in body and in mind; so be ye, O brethren, as the moon in your visits to the laity. Holding alike in your outward demeanour and your inward spirit, be ye alway, as strangers on their first visit, retiring in the presence of the laity] ."' 28. THE SUN.

36. 'Venerable Nâgasena, the seven qualities of the sun you say he ought to have, which are they?'

'Just, O king, as the sun evaporates all water; just so, O king, should the strenuous Bhikshu, earnest in effort, cause all evil inclinations, without any exception, to dry up within him. This, O king, is the first quality of the sun he ought to have.

37. 'And again, O king, as the sun dispels the darkness; just so, O king, should the strenuous Bhikshu, earnest in effort, dispel all the darkness of lust, and of anger, and of dullness, and of pride, and of heresy, and of evil, and of all unrighteousness. This, O king, is the second quality of the sun he ought to have.

38. 'And again, O king, as the sun is always in motion; just so, O king, should the strenuous Bhikshu, earnest in effort, be ever thoughtful. This,

[paragraph continues] O king, is the third quality of the sun he ought to have.

39. 'And again, O king, as the sun has a halo of rays; just so, O king, should the strenuous Bhikshu, earnest in effort, have a halo of meditation. This, O king, is the fourth quality of the sun he ought to have.

40. 'And again, O king, as the sun continually warms multitudes of people; just so, O king, should the strenuous Bhikshu, earnest in effort, rejoice the whole world of gods and men with good conduct, and righteousness, and virtue, and the performance of duty, and with the Ghânas, and the Vimokkhas, and Samâdhi, and the Samâpattis (various modes of transcendental meditation or ecstacy), and with the five moral powers, and the seven kinds of wisdom, and the four modes of being mindful and self-possessed, and the fourfold great struggle against evil, and the pursuit of the four roads to saintship. This, O king, is the fifth quality of the sun he ought to have.

41. 'And again, O king, as the sun is terrified with the fear of Râhu (the demon of eclipses); just so, O king, should the strenuous Bhikshu, earnest in effort, seeing how beings are entangled in the waste wildernesses of evil life and rebirth in states of woe, caught in the net of the mournful results here of evil done in former births, or of punishment in purgatory, or of evil inclinations, terrify his mind with a great anxiety and fear. This, O king, is the sixth quality of the sun he ought to have.

42. 'And again, O king, as the sun makes manifest the evil and the good; just so, O king, should the strenuous Bhikshu, earnest in effort, make manifest

the moral powers, and the kinds of wisdom, and the modes of being mindful and self-possessed, and the struggle against evil, and the paths to saintship, and all qualities temporal and spiritual. This, O king, is the seventh quality of the sun he ought to have. For it was said, O king, by Vangîsa, the Elder:

"As the rising sun makes plain to all that live Forms pure and impure, forms both good and bad, So should the Bhikshu, like the rising orb, Bearing the scriptures ever in his mind, Make manifest to men, in ignorance blind, The many-sided Noble Path of bliss ."' 29. SAKKA.

43. 'Venerable Nâgasena, the three qualities of Sakka (the king of the gods) which you say he ought to take, which are they?'

'Just, O king, as Sakka enjoys perfect bliss; just so, O king, should the strenuous Bhikshu, earnest in effort, rejoice in the perfect bliss of retirement. This, O king, is the first quality of Sakka he ought to have.

44. 'And again, O king, as when Sakka when he sees his gods around him keeps them in his favour, fills them with joy; just so, O king, should the strenuous Bhikshu, earnest in effort, keep his mind detached, alert, and tranquil, should make joy spring up within him, should rouse himself, exert himself, be full of zeal. This, O king is the second quality of Sakka he ought to have.

45. 'And again, O king, as Sakka feels no discontent; just so, O king, should the strenuous Bhikshu, earnest in effort, never allow himself to become discontented with solitude. This, O king, is the third quality of Sakka he ought to have. For it was said, O king, by Subhûti, the Elder:

"Since I, great hero, have renounced the world, According to the doctrine that you teach, I will not grant that any thought of lust Or craving care has risen in my breast ."' 30. THE SOVRAN OVERLORD.

46. 'Venerable Nâgasena, the four qualities of the sovran overlord which you say he ought to take, which are they?'

'Just, O king, as the sovran overlord gains the favour of the people by the four elements of popularity (liberality, affability, justice, and impartiality); just so, O king, should the strenuous Bhikshu, earnest in effort, find favour with, please, and gladden the hearts of the brethren and rulers of the Order and the laity of either sex. This, O king, is the quality of the sovran overlord he ought to have.

47. 'And again, O king, as the sovran overlord allows no robber bands to form in his realm; just so, O king, should the strenuous Bhikshu, earnest in effort, never allow lustful or angry or cruel ideas to arise within him. This, O king, is the second quality of the sovran overlord he ought to have. For it was said, O king, by the Blessed One, the god over all gods:

"The man who takes delight in the suppression Of evil thoughts, and alway self-possessed, Reflects on the impurity of things The world thinks beautiful, he will remove-- Nay, cleave in twain, the bonds of the Evil One ."

48. 'And again, O king, as the sovran overlord travels through the whole world even to its ocean boundary, examining into the evil and the good; just so, O king, should the strenuous Bhikshu, earnest in effort, examine himself day by day as to his acts and words and thoughts, saying to himself: "How may I pass the day blameless in these three directions?" This, O king, is the third quality of the sovran overlord he ought to have. For it was said, O king, by the Blessed One, the god over all gods, in the most excellent Ekuttara Nikâya:

"With constant care should the recluse Himself examine day by day-- 'As days and nights pass quickly by How have they found me? and how left ?'"


49. 'And again, O king, as the sovran overlord is completely provided with protection, both within and without; just so, O king, should the strenuous Bhikshu, earnest in effort, keep self-possession as his door-keeper for a protection against all evil, subjective and objective. This, O king, is the fourth quality of the sovran overlord he ought to have. For it was said, O king, by the Blessed One, the god over all gods:

"With self-possession as his door-keeper, O brethren, the disciple of the noble ones puts away evil and devotes himself to goodness, puts away what is matter of offence and devotes himself to blamelessness, preserves himself in purity of life ."'

Here ends the Third Chapter.

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