SN 22:80 Going Begging: A Stern Admonition (part)
Translated from the Pali by M. O' C. Walshe
“This, monks, is the meanest of callings—that of one who goes begging! It is a term of abuse in the world to say: ’You scrap-gatherer, wandering about bowl in hand!’ This is the life undertaken by young men of good family seeking their own good because it is good, not compelled by rulers, not compelled by robbers, not on account of debts, not through fear, not for a livelihood, but with the thought: ’Here I am, plunged into birth, decay-and-death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief and despair, thrown into suffering, overcome with suffering! Surely there must be a way of bringing this entire mass of suffering to an end!’
“So, monks, a young man of good family leaves the world, but he is greedy for sense pleasures, with fierce passions, with hate in his heart, corruptly motivated, lacking in mindfulness, inattentive, unconcentrated, scatter-brained, his faculties uncontrolled. Just as, monks, a funeral-torch lit at both ends and smeared in the middle with dung is no good as fuel either in the village or in the forest—that is how I would describe that man who has lost his home and wealth without satisfying the demands of the recluse life. There are, monks, three unskilled ways of thought: thoughts of lust, thoughts of ill will, thoughts of hurting. And these three unskilled states disappear utterly in him whose heart is well established in the four foundations of mindfulness, or who practises concentration on the signless.
“Indeed, monks, this concentration on the signless is greatly to be commended; the concentration on the signless, if developed and frequently practised, is of great fruit, of great profit.
“There are, monks, these two views: the existence view and the non-existence view. And the well-taught Ariyan disciple deliberates: ’Is there anything in the world that I can cling to without being at fault?’ And he realises: ’There is nothing in the world that I can cling to without being at fault. Suppose I were to grasp and cling to the body,… to feelings,… perceptions,… the mental formations,… consciousness. Conditioned by my clinging, becoming would arise; conditioned by becoming, birth; conditioned by birth; decay-and-death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief and despair. In that way the whole mass of suffering would arise.’”