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Tipitaka >> Sutta Pitaka >> Khuddaka Nikaya >> Milindapanha >> Book VII: The Similes - Opammakatha Panha Chapter 6


Translated by T. W. Rhys Davids


51. THE ROAD SPIDER.

1. 'Venerable Nâgasena, that one quality of the road spider you say he ought to have, which is it?'

'Just, O king, as the road spider weaves the curtain of its net on the road, and whatsoever is caught therein, whether worm, or fly, or beetle, that does he catch and eat; just so, O king, should the strenuous Bhikshu, earnest in effort, spread the curtain of the net of self-possession over the six doors (of his six senses), and if any of the flies of evil are caught therein, there should he seize them. This, O king, is the quality of the road spider he ought to have. For it was said, O king, by Anuruddha, the Elder:

"His heart should he shut in, at its six doors, By self-possession, best and chief of gifts, Should any evil thoughts be caught within, Them by the sword of insight should he slay ."' 52. THE CHILD AT THE BREAST.

2. 'Venerable Nâgasena, that one quality of the child at the breast you say he ought to take, which is it?'

'Just, O king, as the child at the breast sticks to its own advantage, and if it wants milk, cries for it;

just so, O king, should the strenuous Bhikshu, earnest in effort, adhere to his own good, and in everything--in teaching, in asking and answering questions, in the conduct of life, in the habit of solitude, in association with his teachers, in the cultivation of the friendship of the good--should he act with knowledge of the Truth. This, O king, is the quality of the child at the breast he ought to have. For it was said, O king, by the Blessed One, the god over all gods, in the Dîgha Nikâya, in the Suttanta of the Great Decease:

"Be zealous, rather, I beseech you, Ânanda, in your own behalf. Devote yourselves to your own good. Be earnest, all aglow, intent on your own good !"' 53. THE LAND TORTOISE .

3. 'Venerable Nâgasena, that one quality of the land tortoise which you say he ought to take, which is it?'

'Just, O king, as the land tortoise, being afraid of the water, frequents places far from it, and by that habit of avoiding water its length of life is kept undiminished; just so, O king, should the strenuous Bhikshu, earnest in effort, seeing the danger in the want of earnestness, be mindful of the advantages that distinguish earnestness. For by that perception of

danger in carelessness, his Samanaship fades not away, but rather does he go forward to Nirvâna itself. This, O king, is the quality of the land tortoise he ought to have. For it was said, O king, by the Blessed One, the god over all gods, in the Dhammapada:

"The Bhikshu who in earnestness delights, Who sees the danger of indifference, Shall fall not from his high estate away, But in the presence of Nirvâna dwell ."' 54. THE MOUNTAIN HEIGHT.

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

'Just, O king, as the mountain height is a hiding-place for the wicked; just so, O king, should the strenuous Bhikshu, earnest in effort, keep secret the offences and failings of others, revealing them not. This, O king, is the first of the qualities of the mountain height he ought to have.

5. 'And again, O king, just as the mountain height is void of many people; just so, O king, should the strenuous Bhikshu, earnest in effort, be void of lust, angers, follies, and pride, of the net of (wrong) views , and of all evil dispositions. This, O king,

is the second quality of the mountain height he ought to have.

6. 'And again, O king, just as the mountain height is a lonely spot, free from crowding of men; just so, O king, should the strenuous Bhikshu, earnest in effort, be given to solitude, and free from evil, unworthy qualities, from those that are not noble. This, O king, is the third quality of the mountain height he ought to have.

7. 'And again, O king, just as the mountain height is clean and pure; just so, O king, should the strenuous Bhikshu, earnest in effort, be good and pure, happy, and without self-righteousness. This, O king, is the fourth quality of the mountain height he ought to have.

8. 'And again, O king, just as the mountain height is the resort of the noble ones; just so, O king, should the strenuous Bhikshu, earnest in effort, be sought after by the noble ones. This, O king, is the fifth quality of the mountain height he ought to have. For it was said, O king, by the Blessed One, the god over all gods, in the most excellent Samyutta Nikâya:

"With solitary men, those noble ones, Whose minds, on Arahatship strictly bent, Rise easily to contemplation's heights, Stedfast in zeal and wise in holy writ-- With such should he resort, with such commune ."'


55. THE TREE.

9. 'Venerable Nâgasena, those three qualities of the tree you say he ought to take, which are they?'

'Just, O king, as the tree bears fruits and flowers; just so, O king, should the strenuous Bhikshu, earnest in effort, bear the flowers of emancipation and the fruits of Samanaship . This, O king, is the first quality of the tree he ought to have.

10. 'And again, O king, as the tree casts its shadow over the men who come to it, and stay beneath it; just so, O king, should the strenuous Bhikshu, earnest in effort, receive with kindness, both as regards their bodily wants and their religious necessities, those that wait upon him, and remain near by him. This, O king, is the second quality of the tree he ought to have.

11. 'And again, O king, just as the tree makes no kind of distinction in the shadow it affords; just so, O king, should the strenuous Bhikshu, earnest in effort, make no distinctions between all men, but nourish an equal love to those who rob, or hurt, or bear enmity to him, and to those who are like unto himself, This, O king, is the third quality of the tree he ought to have. For it was said, O king, by Sâriputta, the Elder, the Commander of the Faith:

"Devadatta, who tried to murder him; Angulimâla, highway robber chief; The elephant set loose to take his life; And Râhula, the good, his only son-- The sage is equal-minded to them all ."'

56. THE RAIN.

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

'Just, O king, as the rain lays any dust that arises; just so, O king, should the strenuous Bhikshu, earnest in effort, lay the dust and dirt of any evil dispositions that may arise within him. This, O king, is the first quality of the rain he ought to have.

13. 'And again, O king, just as the rain allays the heat of the ground; just so, O king, should the strenuous Bhikshu, earnest in effort, soothe the whole world of gods and men, with the feeling of his love. This, O king, is the second quality of the rain he ought to have.

14. 'And again, O king, as the rain makes all kinds of vegetation to grow; just so, O king, should the strenuous Bhikshu, earnest in effort, cause faith to spring up in all beings, and make that seed of faith grow up into the three Attainments, not only the lesser attainments of glorious rebirths in heaven or on earth, but also the attainment of the highest good, the bliss of Arahatship . This, O king, is the third quality of the rain he ought to have.

15. 'And again, O king, just as the rain-cloud, rising up in the hot season, affords protection to the grass, and trees, and creepers, and shrubs, and medicinal herbs, and to the monarchs of the woods that grow on the surface of the earth; just so, O king, should the strenuous Bhikshu, earnest in effort,

cultivating the habit of thoughtfulness, afford protection by his thoughtfulness to his condition of Samanaship, for in thoughtfulness is it that all good qualities have their root. This, O king, is the fourth quality of the rain he ought to have.

16. 'And again, O king, as the rain when it pours down fills the rivers, and reservoirs, and artificial lakes, the caves, and chasms, and ponds, and holes, and wells, with water; just so, O king, should the strenuous Bhikshu, earnest in effort, pour down the rain of the Dhamma--according to the texts handed down by tradition, and so fill to satisfaction the mind of those who are longing for instruction. This, O king, is the fifth quality of the rain he ought to have. For it was said, O king, by Sâriputta, the Elder, the Commander of the Faith:

"When the Great Sage perceives a man afar, Were it a hundred or a thousand leagues, Ripe for enlightenment, straightway he goes And guides him gently to the path of Truth ."' 57. THE DIAMOND.

17. 'Venerable Nâgasena, those three qualities of the diamond you say he ought to take, which are they?'

'Just, O king, as the diamond is pure throughout; just so, O king, should the strenuous Bhikshu, earnest in effort, be perfectly pure in his means of livelihood. This, O king, is the first quality of the diamond he ought to have.

18. 'And again, O king, as the diamond cannot

be alloyed with any other substance; just so, O king, should the strenuous Bhikshu, earnest in effort, never mix with wicked men as friends. This, O king, is the second quality of the diamond he ought to have.

19. 'And again, O king, just as the diamond is set together with the most costly gems; just so, O king, should the strenuous Bhikshu, earnest in effort, associate with those of the higher excellence, with men who have entered the first or the second or the third stage of the Noble Path, with the jewel treasures of the Arahats, of the recluses, of the threefold Wisdom, or of the sixfold Insight. This, O king, is the third quality of the diamond he ought to have. For it was said, O king, by the Blessed One, the god over all gods, in the Sutta Nipâta:

"Let the pure associate with the pure, Ever in recollection firm; Dwelling harmoniously wise Thus shall ye put an end to griefs ."' 58. THE HUNTER.

20. 'Venerable Nâgasena, those four qualities of the hunter you say he ought to have, which are they?'

'Just, O king, as the hunter is indefatigable, so also, O king, should the strenuous Bhikshu, earnest in effort, be indefatigable. This, O king, is the first quality of the hunter he ought to have.

21. 'And again, O king, just as the hunter keeps his attention fixed on the deer; just so, O king, should the strenuous Bhikshu, earnest in effort, keep his

attention fixed on the particular object which is the subject of his thought. This, O king, is the second quality of the hunter he ought to have.

22. 'And again, O king, just as the hunter knows the right time for his work; just so, O king, should the strenuous Bhikshu, earnest in effort, know the right time for retirement, saying to himself: "Now is the right time to retire. Now is the right time to come out of retirement." This, O king, is the third quality of the hunter he ought to have.

23. 'And again, O king, just as the hunter on catching sight of a deer experiences joy at the thought: "Him shall I get!" just so, O king, should the strenuous Bhikshu, earnest in effort, rejoice at the sight of an object for contemplation, and experience joy at the thought: "Thereby shall I grasp the specific idea of which I am in search ." This, O king, is the fourth quality of the hunter he ought to have. For it was said, O king, by Mogharâga, the Elder:

"The recluse who, with mind on Nirvâna bent, Has acquired an object his thoughts to guide, Should be filled with exceeding joy at the hope: 'By this my uttermost aim shall I gain .'"' 59. THE FISHERMAN.

24. 'Venerable Nâgasena, those two qualities of the fisherman you say he ought to take, which are they?'

'Just, O king, as the fisherman draws up the fish on his hook; just so, O king, should the strenuous Bhikshu, earnest in effort, draw up by his knowledge, and that to the uttermost, the fruits of Samanaship. This, O king, is the first quality of the fisherman he ought to have.

25. 'And again, O king, just as the fisherman by the sacrifice of a very little comes to great gain ; just so, O king, should the strenuous Bhikshu, earnest in effort, renounce the mean baits of worldly things; then by that renunciation will he gain the mighty fruits of Samanaship. This, O king, is the second quality of the fisherman he ought to have. For it was said, O king, by Râhula, the Elder:

"Renouncing the baits of the world he shall gain The state that is void of lust, anger, and sin,-- Those conditions of sentient life--and be free, Free from the cravings that mortals feel, And the fruits of the stages of th' Excellent Way And the six modes of Insight shall all be his ."'


60. THE CARPENTER.

26. 'Venerable Nâgasena, those two qualities of the carpenter he ought to take, which are they?'

'Just, O king, as the carpenter saws off the wood along the line of the blackened string (he has put round it to guide him) ; just so, O king, should the strenuous Bhikshu, earnest in effort, standing on righteousness as a basis, and holding in the hand of faith the saw of knowledge, cut off his evil dispositions according to the doctrine laid down by the Conquerors. This, O king, is the first quality of the carpenter he ought to have.

27. 'And again, O king, just as the carpenter, discarding the soft parts of the wood , takes the hard parts; just so, O king, should the strenuous Bhikshu, earnest in effort, forsaking the path of the discussion of useless theses, to wit:--the everlasting life theory--the let-us-eat-and-drink-for-tomorrow-we-die theory --the theory that the soul and the body are one and the same--that the soul is one thing, the body another--that all teachings are alike

excellent --that what is not done is of no avail--that men's actions are of no importance--that holiness of life does not matter--that on the destruction of beings nine new sorts of beings appear--that the constituent elements of being are eternal --that he who commits an act experiences the result thereof--that one acts and another experiences the result of this action--and other such theories of Karma or wrong views on the result of actions--forsaking, I say, all such theses, paths which lead to heresy, he should learn what is the real nature of those constituent elements of which each individuality is, for the short term of its individuality, put together, and so reach forward to that state which is void of lusts, of malice, and of dullness, in which the excitements of individuality are known no more, and which is therefore designated the Void Supreme .

This, O king, is the second quality of the carpenter he ought to have. For it was said, O king, by the Blessed One, the god over all gods, in the Sutta Nipâta:

"Get rid of filth ! Put aside rubbish from you!
Winnow away the chaff , the men who hold
Those who are not so, as true Samanas!
Get rid of those who harbour evil thoughts,
Who follow after evil modes of life!
Thoughtful yourselves, and pure, with those resort,
With those associate, who are pure themselves !"'

Here ends the Sixth Chapter.

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