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Title: Maha Kassapa
PTS: Thag 1051-90
translated from the Pali by
Alternate translation: Olendzki (excerpt)
One shouldn't go about surrounded, revered by a company: one gets distracted; concentration is hard to gain. Fellowship with many people is painful. Seeing this, one shouldn't approve of a company. A sage shouldn't visit families: one gets distracted; concentration is hard to gain. He's eager & greedy for flavors, whoever misses the goal that brings bliss. They know it's a bog — the reverence & veneration of families — a subtle arrow, hard to extract. Offerings are hard for a worthless man to let go. * * * Coming down from my dwelling place, I entered the city for alms, stood courteously next to a leper eating his meal. He, with his rotting hand, tossed me a morsel of food, and as the morsel was dropping, a finger fell off right there. Sitting next to a wall, I ate that morsel of food, and neither while eating it, nor having eaten, did I feel any disgust. Whoever has mastered left-over scraps for food, smelly urine for medicine, the foot of a tree for a dwelling, cast-off rags for robes: He is a man of the four directions. * * * Where some are exhausted climbing the mountain, there the Awakened One's heir — mindful, alert, buoyed by his psychic power — Kassapa climbs. Returning from his alms round, climbing the peak, Kassapa does jhana with no sustenance/clinging, having abandoned terror & fear. Returning from his alms round, climbing the peak, Kassapa does jhana with no sustenance/clinging, unbound among those who burn. Returning from his alms round, climbing the peak, Kassapa does jhana with no sustenance/clinging, free of fermentation, his duty done. Spread with garlands of vines, places delighting the mind, resounding with elephants, appealing: those rocky crags refresh me. The color of blue-dark clouds, glistening, cooled with the waters of clear-flowing streams covered with ladybugs: those rocky crags refresh me. Like the peaks of blue-dark clouds, like excellent peaked-roof buildings, resounding with tuskers, appealing: those rocky crags refresh me. Their lovely surfaces wet with rain, mountains frequented by seers & echoing with peacocks: those rocky crags refresh me. This is enough for me — desiring to do jhana, resolute, mindful; enough for me — desiring the goal, resolute, a monk; enough for me — desiring comfort, resolute, in training; enough for me — desiring my duty, resolute, Such. Flax-flower blue, like the sky covered over with clouds; filled with flocks of various birds: those rocky crags refresh me. Uncrowded by householders, frequented by herds of deer filled with flocks of various birds: those rocky crags refresh me. With clear waters & massive boulders, frequented by monkeys & deer, covered with moss & water weeds: those rocky crags refresh me. There is no such pleasure for me in the music of a five-piece band as there is when my mind is at one, seeing the Dhamma aright. * * * One shouldn't do lots of work, should avoid people, shouldn't busy oneself. He's eager & greedy for flavors, whoever misses the goal that brings bliss. One shouldn't do lots of work, should avoid what doesn't lead to the goal. The body gets wearied, fatigued. Aching, one finds no tranquillity. * * * Simply by flapping the mouth one doesn't see even oneself. One goes around stiff- necked, thinking, 'I'm better than they.' Not better, he thinks himself better, the fool: the wise don't praise him, the stiff-necked man. But whoever isn't stirred by the modes of 'I'm better, not better. I'm worse. I'm like that'; one who's discerning, who acts as he says, well-centered in virtues, committed to tranquillity of awareness, he is the one the wise would praise. One with no respect for his fellows in the holy life, is as far from the true Dhamma as the earth is from the sky. But those whose conscience & fear of evil are always rightly established: they have flourished in the holy life. For them there's no further becoming. A monk conceited & vain, even though clad in a robe of cast-off rags, like a monkey in a lion's skin, doesn't shine because of it. But a monk not conceited or vain, masterful, his faculties restrained, shines because of his robe of cast-off rags, like a lion in the cleft of a mountain. * * * These many devas, powerful, prestigious — 10,000 devas — all of Brahma's retinue, stand with their hands over their hearts, paying homage to Sariputta, the Dhamma-general, enlightened, centered, great master of jhana, [saying:] 'Homage to you, O thoroughbred man. Homage to you, O superlative man — of whom we have no direct knowledge even of that in dependence on which you do jhana. 'How very amazing: the awakened ones' very own deep range — of which we have no direct knowledge, though we have come as hair-splitting archers.' Seeing Sariputta, a man worthy of worship, worshipped by deva retinues, Kappina smiled. * * * As far as this buddha-field extends — except for the great sage himself — I'm the one outstanding in ascetic qualities. There's no one else like me. The Teacher has been served by me; the Awakened One's bidding, done; the heavy load, laid down; the guide to becoming, uprooted. Neither to robe, nor dwelling, nor food does he cling: Gotama, like a lotus unspotted by water, inclining to renunciation, detached from the three planes of becoming.(1) He, the great sage, has the frames of reference as his neck, conviction as hands, discernment as head. The great master of jhana he goes about always unbound.
The three planes of becoming are the sensual, form, and formlessness. See SN 12.1.
See also: AN 4.259.