SUPPOSE a householder, or his son, or someone reborn in any family, hears the law; and after hearing the law he is filled with confidence in the Perfect One. And filled with this confidence, he thinks: "Full of hindrances is household life, a refuse heap; but pilgrim life is like the open air. Not easy is it, when one lives at home, to fulfill in all points the rules of the holy life. How, if now I were to cut off hair and beard, put on the yellow robe and go forth from home to the homeless life?" And in a short time, having given up his more or less extensive possessions, having forsaken a smaller or larger circle of relations, he cuts off hair and beard, puts on the yellow robe, and goes forth from home to the homeless life.
Having thus left the world, he fulfills the rules of the monks. He avoids the killing of living beings and abstains from it. Without stick or sword, conscientious, full of sympathy, he is anxious for the welfare of all living beings.- He avoids stealing, and abstains from taking what is not given to him. Only what is given to him he takes, waiting till it is given; and he lives with a heart honest and pure.- He avoids unchastity, living chaste, resigned, and keeping aloof from sexual intercourse, the vulgar way.- He avoids lying and abstains from it. He speaks the truth, is devoted to the truth, reliable, worthy of confidence, is not a deceiver of men.- He avoids tale-bearing and abstains from it. What he has heard here, he does not repeat there, so as to cause dissension there; and what he has heard there, he does not repeat here, so as to cause dissension here. Thus he unites those that are divided, and those that are united he encourages; concord gladdens him, he delights and rejoices in concord, and it is concord that he spreads by his words.- He avoids harsh language and abstains from it. He speaks such words as are gentle, soothing to the ear, loving, going to the heart, courteous and dear, and agreeable to many.- He avoids vain talk and abstains from it. He speaks at the right time, in accordance with facts, speaks what is useful, speaks about the law and the disciple; his speech is like a treasure, at the right moment accompanied by arguments, moderate, and full of sense.
He keeps aloof from dance, song, music and the visiting of shows; rejects flowers, perfumes, ointments, as well as every kind of adornment and embellishment. High and gorgeous beds he does not use. Gold and silver he does not accept. Raw corn and meat he does not accept. Women and girls he does not accept. He owns no male and female slaves, owns no goats, sheep, fowls, pigs, elephants, cows or horses, no land and goods. He does not go on errands and do the duties of a messenger. He keeps aloof from buying and selling things. He has nothing to do with false measures, metals and weights. He avoids the crooked ways of bribery, deception and fraud. He keeps aloof from stabbing, beating, chaining, attacking, plundering and oppressing.
He contents himself with the robe that protects his body, and with the alms with which he keeps himself alive. Wherever he goes, he is provided with these two things; just as a winged bird, in flying, carries his wings along with him. By fulfilling this noble Domain of Morality he feels in his heart an irreproachable happiness.
Now, in perceiving a form with the eye- a sound with the ear- an odor with the nose- a taste with the tongue- a touch with the body- an object with his mind, he sticks neither to the whole, nor to its details. And he tries to ward off that which, by being unguarded in his senses, might give rise to evil and unwholesome states, to greed and sorrow; he watches over his senses, keep his senses under control. By practicing this noble "Control of the Senses" he feels in his heart an unblemished happiness.
Clearly conscious is he in his going and coming; clearly conscious in looking forward and backward; clearly conscious in bending and stretching his body; clearly conscious in eating, drinking, chewing and tasting; clearly conscious in discharging excrement and urine; clearly conscious in walking, standing, sitting, falling asleep and awakening; clearly conscious in speaking and keeping silent.
Now, being equipped with this lofty Morality, equipped with this noble Control of the Senses, and filled with this noble "Attentiveness and Clear Consciousness," he chooses a secluded dwelling in the forest, at the foot of a tree, on a mountain, in a cleft, in a rock cave, on a burial ground, on a woody table-land, in the open air, or on a heap of straw. Having returned from his alms-round, after the meal, he sits himself down with legs crossed, body erect, with attentiveness fixed before him.
He has cast away Lust; he dwells with a heart free from lust; from lust he cleanses his heart.
He has cast away Ill-will; he dwells with a heart free from ill-will; cherishing love and compassion toward all living beings, he cleanses his heart from ill-will.
He has cast away Torpor and Dullness; he dwells free from torpor and dullness; loving the light, with watchful mind, with clear consciousness, he cleanses his mind from torpor and dullness.
He has cast away Restlessness and Mental Worry; dwelling with mind undisturbed, with heart full of peace, he cleanses his mind from restlessness and mental worry.
He has cast away Doubt; dwelling free from doubt, full of confidence in the good, he cleanses his heart from doubt.
He has put aside these five Hindrances and come to know the paralyzing corruptions of the mind. And far from sensual impressions, far from unwholesome things, he enters into the Four Trances.
But whatsoever there is of feeling, perception, mental formation, or consciousness- all these phenomena he regards as "impermanent," "subject to pain," as infirm, as an ulcer, a thorn, a misery, a burden, an enemy, a disturbance, as empty and "void of an Ego"; and turning away from these things, he directs his mind towards the abiding, thus: "This, verily, is the Peace, this is the Highest, namely the end of all formations, the forsaking of every substratum of rebirth, the fading away of craving; detachment, extinction: Nirvana." And in this state he reaches the "Cessation of Passions."
And his heart becomes free from sensual passion, free from the passion for existence, free from the passion of ignorance. "Freed am I!": this knowledge arises in the liberated one; and he knows: "Exhausted is rebirth, fulfilled the Holy Life; what was to be done, has been done; naught remains more for this world to do."
Forever am I liberated,
This is the last time that I'm born,
No new existence waits for me.
This, verily, is the highest, holiest wisdom: to know that all suffering has passed away.
This, verily, is the highest, holiest peace: appeasement of greed, hatred and delusion.
"I am" is a vain thought; "I am not" is a vain thought; "I shall be" is a vain thought; "I shall not be" is a vain thought. Vain thoughts are a sickness, an ulcer, a thorn. But after overcoming all vain thoughts, one is called "a silent thinker." And the thinker, the Silent One, does no more arise, no more pass away, no more tremble, no more desire. For there is nothing in him that he should arise again. And as he arises no more, how should he grow old again? And as he grows no more old, how should he die again? And as he dies no more, how should he tremble? And as he trembles no more, how should he have desire?
Hence, the purpose of the Holy Life does not consist in acquiring alms, honor, or fame, nor in gaining morality, concentration, or the eye of knowledge. That unshakable deliverance of the heart: that, verily, is the object of the Holy Life, that is its essence, that is its goal.
And those, who formerly, in the past, were Holy and Enlightened Ones, those Blessed Ones also have pointed out to their disciples this self-same goal, as has been pointed out by me to my disciples. And those, who afterwards, in the future, will be Holy and Enlightened Ones, those Blessed Ones also will point out to their disciples this self-same goal, as has been pointed out by me to my disciples.
However, Disciples, it may be that (after my passing away) you might think: "Gone is the doctrine of our Master. We have no Master more." But you should not think; for the Law and the Discipline, which I have taught you, will, after my death, be your master.
The Law be your light,
The Law be your refuge!
Do not look for any other refuge!
Therefore, Disciples, the doctrines, which I advised you to penetrate, you should well preserve, well guard, so that this Holy Life may take its course and continue for ages, for the weal and welfare of the many, as a consolation to the world, for the happiness, weal and welfare of heavenly beings and men.
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