Alavaka Sutta

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Alavaka Sutta

Postby jcsuperstar » Tue Jan 05, 2010 2:29 pm

Snp 1.10 PTS: Sn 181-192
Alavaka Sutta: Discourse to Alavaka
translated from the Pali by
Piyadassi Thera
Thus have I heard:

On one occasion the Blessed One was living in the abode of Alavaka, the Yakkha (demon), at Alavi. Then Alavaka approached the Blessed One and said: "Get out, recluse (samana)." — "Very well, friend," so saying the Blessed One went out.

"Come in, recluse." — "Very well, friend," so saying the Blessed One entered.

"Get out, recluse," said Alavaka to the Blessed One a second time. — "Very well, friend," so saying the Blessed One went out.

"Come in, recluse." — "Very well, friend," so saying the Blessed One entered.

"Get out, recluse," said Alavaka to the Blessed One a third time. — "Very well, friend," so saying the Blessed One went out.

"Come in, recluse." — "Very well, friend," so saying the Blessed One entered.

"Get out recluse," said Alavaka to the Blessed One a fourth time. — "No, O friend, I will not get out. Do what you will."

"I will ask you a question, recluse. If you do not answer me, I will confound your mind (thoughts), or cleave your heart, or take you by your feet and fling you over to the further shore of the ocean (para gangaya).

"Well, friend, I do not see anyone in the world of Devas, Maras, Brahmas, or among the generation of recluses, brahmanas, deities, and humans, who could either confound my mind or cleave my heart, or take me by the feet and fling me over to the further shore of the ocean; nevertheless, friend, ask what you will."

Then Alavaka addressed the Blessed One in verse:


1. What wealth here is best for man?
What well practiced will happiness bring?
What taste excels all other tastes?
How lived is the life they say is best?

[The Buddha:]
2. Faith is the wealth here best for man;
Dhamma well practiced shall happiness bring;
Truth indeed all other tastes excels;
Life wisely lived they say is best.

[Alavaka:]
3. How does one the currents1 cross?
How is ocean's2 existence crossed?
How is one's suffering quelled?
How is one purified?

[The Buddha:]
4. By faith are currents crossed;
By diligence is the ocean crossed;
By effort is one's suffering quelled;
By wisdom is one purified;

[Alavaka:]
5. How does one wisdom win?
How does one wealth obtain?
How does one come to fame?
How does one friendship win?
How does one without sorrow fare
When from this world to another he's gone?

[The Buddha:]
6. The mindful and discerning one,
Who in the Dhamma plead his faith;
By his will to hear that Dhamma
Wins the wisdom of Nibbana.

7. Who is tactful and energetic,
And gains wealth by his own effort;
Fame will he acquire by truth,
And friendship by his giving.

8. He who has faith and is also truthful,
virtuous, firm, and fond of giving;
By virtue of these four conditions
Will never in the hereafter grieve.

9. Truth and Restraint,
Charity and Forbearance,
Are the great reformers of man;
If there be any better
Ask of other samanas and brahmanas.

[Alavaka:]
10. Why should I now try to ask
From other samanas and brahmanas
When this day I came to learn
What weal is here and hereafter?

11. This for my weal indeed
The Buddha to Alavi came;
A gift always bears a fruit;
This too I learned today.

12. From village to village and town to town
I shall now wander along
Praising that Supreme Buddha
And the Dhamma well preached by him.
Having thus spoken, Alavaka said to the Blessed One:

"Most excellent, O Gotama, is thy teaching, most excellent. Just as a man would set upright what is overturned, reveal what is concealed, point out the way to one gone astray, bring an oil lamp into the darkness so that those with eyes could see objects; even so the Dhamma (doctrine) has been declared in many a manner by the Venerable Gotama. I take refuge in the Venerable Gotama (the Buddha), in the Dhamma and in the Sangha (the Order). May the Venerable Gotama accept me as a disciple who has taken refuge, from this day forth while life lasts."

Notes

1.
"Current" stands for the Pali word 'ogha' which is fourfold — sense pleasures, becoming, wrong views and ignorance (kama-ogha, bhava-o., ditthi-o., avijja-o).
2.
"Ocean" stands for the Pali word 'annavam' which is metaphorically used to signify repeated existence, or samsara.
สัพเพ สัตตา สุขีตา โหนตุ

the mountain may be heavy in and of itself, but if you're not trying to carry it it's not heavy to you- Ajaan Suwat
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Re: Alavaka Sutta

Postby jcsuperstar » Tue Jan 05, 2010 2:30 pm

Snp 1.10 PTS: Sn 181-192
Alavaka Sutta: To the Alavaka Yakkha
translated from the Pali by
Thanissaro Bhikkhu
Translator's note: This discourse is the source of many proverbs frequently quoted in Theravadin countries. In 1982, when Thailand was celebrating the 200th anniversary of the founding of the current dynasty, His Majesty the King structured his chief address to the Thai people around the four qualities mentioned in the Buddha's last verse.

I have heard that on one occasion the Blessed One was staying at Alavi in the haunt of the Alavaka yakkha. Then the Alavaka yakkha went to the Blessed One and on arrival said to him: "Get out, contemplative!"

[Saying,] "All right, my friend," the Blessed One went out.

"Come in, contemplative!"

[Saying,] "All right, my friend," the Blessed One went in.

A second time... A third time, the Alavaka yakkha said to the Blessed One, "Get out, contemplative!"

[Saying,] "All right, my friend," the Blessed One went out.

"Come in, contemplative!"

[Saying,] "All right, my friend," the Blessed One went in.

Then a fourth time, the Alavaka yakkha said to the Blessed One, "Get out, contemplative!"

"I won't go out, my friend. Do what you have to do."

"I will ask you a question, contemplative. If you can't answer me, I will possess your mind or rip open your heart or, grabbing you by the feet, hurl you across the Ganges."

"My friend, I see no one in the cosmos with its devas, Maras & Brahmas, its contemplatives & priests, its royalty & commonfolk, who could possess my mind or rip open my heart or, grabbing me by the feet, hurl me across the Ganges. But nevertheless, ask me what you wish."


[Alavaka:]
What is a person's highest wealth?
What, when well-practiced, brings bliss?
What is the highest of savors?
Living in what way
is one's life called the best?

[The Buddha:]
Conviction is a person's highest wealth.
Dhamma, when well-practiced, brings bliss.
Truth is the highest of savors.1
Living with discernment,
one's life is called best.

[Alavaka:]
How does one cross over the flood?
How cross over the sea?
How does one overcome suffering & stress?
How is a person purified?

[The Buddha:]
Through conviction one crosses over the flood.
Through heedfulness, the sea.
Through persistence one overcomes
suffering & stress.
Through discernment a person is purified.

[Alavaka:]
How does one gain discernment?
How does one find wealth?
How does one attain honor?
How bind friends to oneself?
Passing from this world
to
the next world,
how does one not grieve?

[The Buddha:]
Convinced of the arahants' Dhamma
for attaining Unbinding,
— heedful, observant —
one listening well
gains discernment.
Doing what's fitting,
enduring burdens,
one with initiative
finds wealth.
Through truth
one attains honor.
Giving
binds friends to oneself.

Endowed with these four qualities,
— truth,
self-control,
stamina,
relinquishment —
a householder of conviction,
on passing away, doesn't grieve.

Now, go ask others,
common priests & contemplatives,
if anything better than
truth,
self-control,
endurance,
& relinquishment
here can be found.

[Alavaka:]
How could I go ask
common priests & contemplatives? —
now that today I understand
what benefits
the next life.

It was truly for my well-being
that the Awakened One came
to stay in Alavi.
Today I understand
where what is given
bears great fruit.

I will wander from village to village,
town to town,
paying homage to the Self-awakened One
& the true rightness of the Dhamma.
Note

1.
This is apparently a reference to the concept of "savor" (rasa) in Indian aesthetic theory. For more on this topic, see the Introduction to Dhammapada: A Translation.
สัพเพ สัตตา สุขีตา โหนตุ

the mountain may be heavy in and of itself, but if you're not trying to carry it it's not heavy to you- Ajaan Suwat
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jcsuperstar
 
Posts: 1915
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 5:15 am
Location: alaska


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