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Sukhamala Sutta

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Title: Sukhamala Sutta: Refinement

Summary: The Buddha describes the insights that led him as a young man to go forth, and how those insights apply to the conduct of our own lives.

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AN 3.38

PTS: A i 145

Thai 3.39; BJT 3.39

Sukhamala Sutta: Refinement

translated from the Pali by

Thanissaro Bhikkhu

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<!– jtb 020513: AG calls this sutta III.39; I follow PTS numbering and call it III.38. –>

<p><b>Translator's note:</b> The Pali Text Society editions treat this discourse as two discourses — III.38 & III.39 — divided at the triple asterisk. Asian editions treat it as one, numbered III.39. The autobiographical verse at the end of the second half — which is identical with the verse concluding AN 5.57 — fits neatly with the autobiographical first half of the discourse, suggesting that the two halves were meant to go together.</p>

<p>“Monks, I lived in refinement, utmost refinement, total refinement. My father even had lotus ponds made in our palace: one where red-lotuses bloomed, one where white lotuses bloomed, one where blue lotuses bloomed, all for my sake. I used no sandalwood that was not from Varanasi. My turban was from Varanasi, as were my tunic, my lower garments, & my outer cloak. A white sunshade was held over me day & night to protect me from cold, heat, dust, dirt, & dew.

“I had three palaces: one for the cold season, one for the hot season, one for the rainy season. During the four months of the rainy season I was entertained in the rainy-season palace by minstrels without a single man among them, and I did not once come down from the palace. Whereas the servants, workers, & retainers in other people's homes are fed meals of lentil soup & broken rice, in my father's home the servants, workers, & retainers were fed wheat, rice, and meat.

“Even though I was endowed with such fortune, such total refinement, the thought occurred to me: 'When an untaught, run-of-the-mill person, himself subject to aging, not beyond aging, sees another who is aged, he is horrified, humiliated, & disgusted, oblivious to himself that he too is subject to aging, not beyond aging. If I — who am subject to aging, not beyond aging — were to be horrified, humiliated, & disgusted on seeing another person who is aged, that would not be fitting for me.' As I noticed this, the [typical] young person's intoxication with youth entirely dropped away.

“Even though I was endowed with such fortune, such total refinement, the thought occurred to me: 'When an untaught, run-of-the-mill person, himself subject to illness, not beyond illness, sees another who is ill, he is horrified, humiliated, & disgusted, oblivious to himself that he too is subject to illness, not beyond illness. And if I — who am subject to illness, not beyond illness — were to be horrified, humiliated, & disgusted on seeing another person who is ill, that would not be fitting for me.' As I noticed this, the healthy person's intoxication with health entirely dropped away.

“Even though I was endowed with such fortune, such total refinement, the thought occurred to me: 'When an untaught, run-of-the-mill person, himself subject to death, not beyond death, sees another who is dead, he is horrified, humiliated, & disgusted, oblivious to himself that he too is subject to death, not beyond death. And if I — who am subject to death, not beyond death — were to be horrified, humiliated, & disgusted on seeing another person who is dead, that would not be fitting for me.' As I noticed this, the living person's intoxication with life entirely dropped away.</p> <p align=“center”>* * *

“Monks, there are these three forms of intoxication. Which three? Intoxication with youth, intoxication with health, intoxication with life.

“Drunk with the intoxication of youth, an uninstructed, run-of-the-mill person engages in bodily misconduct, verbal misconduct, & mental misconduct. Having engaged in bodily misconduct, verbal misconduct, & mental misconduct, he — on the break-up of the body, after death — reappears in the plane of deprivation, the bad destination, the lower realms, in hell.

“Drunk with the intoxication of health, an uninstructed, run-of-the-mill person engages in bodily misconduct, verbal misconduct, & mental misconduct. Having engaged in bodily misconduct, verbal misconduct, & mental misconduct, he — on the break-up of the body, after death — reappears in the plane of deprivation, the bad destination, the lower realms, in hell.

“Drunk with the intoxication of life, an uninstructed, run-of-the-mill person engages in bodily misconduct, verbal misconduct, & mental misconduct. Having engaged in bodily misconduct, verbal misconduct, & mental misconduct, he — on the break-up of the body, after death — reappears in the plane of deprivation, the bad destination, the lower realms, in hell.

“Drunk with the intoxication of youth, a monk leaves the training and returns to the lower life. Drunk with the intoxication of health, a monk leaves the training and returns to the lower life. Drunk with the intoxication of life, a monk leaves the training and returns to the lower life.”</p>

'Subject to birth, subject to aging,

subject to death,

run-of-the-mill people are repelled by those who suffer from that to which they are subject. And if I were to be repelled by beings subject to these things, it would not be fitting for me,

living as they do.'

As I maintained this attitude — knowing the Dhamma without acquisitions — I overcame all intoxication with health, youth, & life

as one who sees
renunciation as rest.

For me, energy arose, Unbinding was clearly seen. There's now no way I could partake of sensual pleasures. Having followed the holy life,

I will not return.

<p>See also: Sn 4.15</p>

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<b>Provenance:</b>

	<div id="F_sourceCopy">The source of this work is the gift within Access to Insight "Offline Edition 2012.09.10.14", last replication 12. March 2013, generously given by John Bullitt and mentioned as: ©1997 Thanissaro Bhikkhu.</div>
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	<div id="F_sourceTitle">Transcribed from a file provided by the translator.</div>
	<div id="F_atiCopy">This Zugang zur Einsicht edition is <img width="8" src="./../../../img/d2.png" alt="[dana/©]" class='cd'/>2013-2014 (ATI 1997-2014).</div>
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<div id="F_citation"><b>How to cite this document</b> (one suggested style): "Sukhamala Sutta: Refinement" (AN 3.38), translated from the Pali by  Thanissaro Bhikkhu. <i>Access to Insight</i>, 10 December 2011, [[http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/an/an03/an03.038.than.html|http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/an/an03/an03.038.than.html]] . Retrieved on 10 September 2012 (Offline Edition 2012.09.10.14), republished by <i>Zugang zur Einsicht</i> on &nbsp;

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Anumodanā puñña kusala!

en/tipitaka/sut/an/an03/an03.038.than.txt · Last modified: 2018/11/14 04:26 by Johann