SN 3.25 Pabbatopama Sutta: The Simile of the Mountains

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SN 3.25 Pabbatopama Sutta: The Simile of the Mountains

Postby mikenz66 » Wed Feb 29, 2012 6:27 am

SN 3.25 PTS: S i 100 CDB i 192
Pabbatopama Sutta: The Simile of the Mountains
translated from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu


http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
The Buddha offers a powerful simile to King Pasenadi to underscore the imminence of death and the urgency of Dhamma practice.


At Savatthi. Then King Pasenadi Kosala approached the Blessed One in the middle of the day and, on arrival, having bowed down, sat to one side. As he was sitting there, the Blessed One said to him: "Well now, great king, where are you coming from in the middle of the day?"

"Just now, lord, I was engaged in the sort of royal affairs typical of head-anointed noble-warrior kings intoxicated with the intoxication of sovereignty, obsessed by greed for sensual pleasures, who have attained stable control in their country, and who rule having conquered a great sphere of territory on earth."

"What do you think, great king? Suppose a man, trustworthy and reliable, were to come to you from the east and on arrival would say: 'If it please your majesty, you should know that I come from the east. There I saw a great mountain, as high as the clouds, coming this way, crushing all living beings [in its path]. Do whatever you think should be done.' Then a second man were to come to you from the west... Then a third man were to come to you from the north... Then a fourth man were to come to you from the south and on arrival would say: 'If it please your majesty, you should know that I come from the south. There I saw a great mountain, as high as the clouds, coming this way, crushing all living beings. Do whatever you think should be done.' If, great king, such a great peril should arise, such a terrible destruction of human life — the human state being so hard to obtain — what should be done?"

"If, lord, such a great peril should arise, such a terrible destruction of human life — the human state being so hard to obtain — what else should be done but Dhamma-conduct, right conduct, skillful deeds, meritorious deeds?"

"I inform you, great king, I announce to you, great king: aging and death are rolling in on you. When aging and death are rolling in on you, great king, what should be done?"

"As aging and death are rolling in on me, lord, what else should be done but Dhamma-conduct, right conduct, skillful deeds, meritorious deeds?

"There are, lord, elephant battles [fought by] head-anointed noble-warrior kings intoxicated with the intoxication of sovereignty, obsessed by greed for sensual pleasures, who have attained stable control in their country, and who rule having conquered a great sphere of territory on earth; but there is no use for those elephant battles, no scope for them, when aging and death are rolling in. There are cavalry battles... chariot battles... infantry battles... but there is no use for those infantry battles, no scope for them, when aging and death are rolling in. In this royal court there are counselors who, when the enemies arrive, are capable of dividing them by their wits; but there is no use for those battles of wits, no scope for them, when aging and death are rolling in. In this royal court there is abundant bullion and gold stored in vaults and depositories, and with such wealth we are capable of buying off enemies when they come; but there is no use for those battles of wealth, no scope for them, when aging and death are rolling in. As aging and death are rolling in on me, lord, what else should be done but Dhamma-conduct, right conduct, skillful deeds, meritorious deeds?"

"So it is, great king! So it is, great king! As aging and death are rolling in on you, what else should be done but Dhamma-conduct, right conduct, skillful deeds, meritorious deeds?"

That is what the Blessed One said. Having said that, the One Well-Gone, the Teacher, further said this:

Like massive boulders,
mountains pressing against the sky,
moving in from all sides,
crushing the four directions,
so aging and death come rolling over living beings:
noble warriors, brahmans, merchants,
workers, outcastes, & scavengers.
They spare nothing.
They trample everything.

Here elephant troops can hold no ground,
nor can chariots or infantry,
nor can a battle of wits or wealth win out.

So a wise person,
seeing his own good, steadfast, secures confidence
in the Buddha, Dhamma, & Sangha.

One who practices the Dhamma
in thought, word, & deed,
receives praise here on earth
and after death rejoices in heaven.

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Re: SN 3.25 Pabbatopama Sutta: The Simile of the Mountains

Postby mikenz66 » Wed Feb 29, 2012 6:30 am

SN 3.25 PTS: S i 100 CDB i 192
Pabbatopama Sutta: Irresistible Force
translated from the Pali by Andrew Olendzki


http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .olen.html

Just as a mighty mountain range,
Scraping the sky with rocky crags,
Might advance from four directions,
Crushing everything before it —

So also do old age and death
Roll over all living beings.

Nobles, brahmans and working folk,
Peasants, outcastes and garbage men —
None of them can escape [this end]:
Everybody surely gets crushed.

Nothing on earth can defeat them:
Not elephants, chariots or troops;
Nor the use of a magic spell;
Nor [can you buy safety] with gold.

So the person who's firm and wise,
Seeing what is best for themselves,
Will place their faith in the Buddha,
The Dhamma and the Sangha too.

One who practices the teaching,
With body and speech and with mind —
That one is praised here in this world,
And after enjoys the pure realms.

Translator's note

This verse emerges from a discussion between the Buddha and the Kosala king Pasenadi, who generally feels secure behind his four-fold army (elephant, chariot, cavalry and infantry divisions), his conjurers and his treasury. The Buddha asks him to imagine a situation — the fantastic closing-in of four mountain ranges — where all his royal resources will not help him meet the foe.

Such is the situation in which we actually all find ourselves — rich or poor, aristocrat or laborer — though we are reluctant to face it. How do we respond to the inevitable onslaught of aging and death? The answer given in the body of the sutta is "What else is there to do, save to live righteously and justly and to work good and meritorious deeds?" The verse summarizes this phrase by saying one should have confidence (another way of translating the word saddham ) in the triple gem and practice the Buddha's teaching.

Ever practical, the Buddha often points out that in this way we are covering our bets: there are immediate benefits in this life, and in the next our chances are better of emerging well-off.

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Re: SN 3.25 Pabbatopama Sutta: The Simile of the Mountains

Postby Sam Vara » Wed Feb 29, 2012 10:15 am

I love this bit:

"Just now, lord, I was engaged in the sort of royal affairs typical of head-anointed noble-warrior kings intoxicated with the intoxication of sovereignty, obsessed by greed for sensual pleasures, who have attained stable control in their country, and who rule having conquered a great sphere of territory on earth."


It is very difficult to imagine any powerful "noble-warrior kings" of this day and age having such self-awareness and candour. Putin? Or the CEO of a huge multi-national company? Certainly not the dear political leader who holds sway in my bit of the planet....

The response to approaching death is interesting, because its validity is often at odds with what people today claim to believe. Lots of people I know who believe that "this life is all you get" (materialists? annihilationists?) claim that the "rational" response is to throw oneself whole-heartedly into intense sensual experience. When it is over, it is over, and it is foolish to worry about the consequences when there are no consequences.

Two examples of this. The first is a friend of mine whose husband died suddenly and unexpectedly while still young. She says that since then she has tried to fill every second of her life with pleasure and activity for its own sake - knowing that life is meaningless because it must end. The second example is of a work colleague who used to serve on nuclear-missile equipped submarines. I asked him what would have happened had armageddon broken out and orders were received to launch the missiles against Moscow or wherever. He said that all crew would have willingly complied, while trying to not think about the incineration of their own families back in port. "And then what?" I asked him. He said that the crew would have refused further orders, broken into the liquor store, and partied at cruising depth until the air gave out...

This sutta has a very potent ability to focus the mind on the essentials, doesn't it?

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Re: SN 3.25 Pabbatopama Sutta: The Simile of the Mountains

Postby Cittasanto » Wed Feb 29, 2012 1:00 pm

Here is my translation of part of the text
Pabbatopama-gāthā - The Mountain [SN3.25] Translation By Cittasanto wrote:[Yathāpi selā vipulā] nabhaṃ āhacca pabbatā,
Like giant boulders, mountains pressing against the sky,
Samantā anupariyeyyuṃ nippoṭhentā catuddisā.
Moving inward from all sides, crushing from all four directions.
Evaṃ jarā ca maccu ca adhivattanti pāṇino,
So to does aging and death come rolling over living beings,
Khattiye brāhmaṇe vesse sudde caṇḍālapukkuse,
Noble warriors, priests, merchants, workers, outcastes, & scavengers,
Na kiñci parivajjeti sabbamevābhimaddati.
They are spared nothing, trampled is everything.
Na tattha hatthinaṃ bhūmi na rathānaṃ na pattiyā,
Here troops of elephants can hold no ground, neither can chariots, or infantry,
Na cāpi mantayuddhena sakkā jetuṃ dhanena vā.
Not even a battle of wits or wealth win anything.
Tasmā hi paṇḍito poso sampassaṃ atthamattano,
So a wise person, seeing his own good,
Buddhe dhamme ca saṅghe ca dhīro saddhaṃ nivesaye.
Steadfast and secure in confidence toward the Buddha, Dhamma, & Sangha.
Yo dhammacārī kāyena vācāya uda cetasā,
One who practices the Dhamma through body, speech, & mind,
Idheva naṃ pasaṃsanti pecca sagge pamodatīti.
Receives praise here on earth and after death celebrates in heaven.
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."

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Re: SN 3.25 Pabbatopama Sutta: The Simile of the Mountains

Postby Cittasanto » Wed Feb 29, 2012 10:42 pm

This sutta reminds me of another passage not specifically related but when I think of this sutta I am always reminded of this sor some reason?
"Visakha Sutta: To Visakha" (Ud 8.8), translated from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu. Access to Insight, May 24, 2009, http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html (Offline Edition 2009.10.25.17). wrote:The sorrows, lamentations, the many kinds of suffering in the world, exist dependent on something dear. They don't exist when there's nothing dear. And thus blissful & sorrowless are those for whom nothing in the world is dear anywhere. So one who aspires to be stainless & sorrowless shouldn't make anything in the world dear anywhere.


"Pabbatopama Sutta: The Simile of the Mountains" (SN 3.25), translated from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu. Access to Insight, 12 February 2012, http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html . Retrieved on 29 February 2012. wrote:"So it is, great king! So it is, great king! As aging and death are rolling in on you, what else should be done but Dhamma-conduct, right conduct, skillful deeds, meritorious deeds?"

Aging and death rolling in could refer to paticcasamuppāda
Dhamma conduct would refer to practising/living in line with the Dhamma dhammanudhamma patipada
Right conduct could refer to personal etiquette or virtuousness
Skillful deeds could refer to morality as in the precepts, or the Sila training of the Noble Eightfold Path
Meritous deeds could refer to Generosity, or meditation specifically
However lists such as these (of four) tend to be found in oral traditions, emphasising a point, so are essentially pseudonyms, so this splitting and giving what they are is not essentially correct but I do have a sense that they refer to different angles of the same thing which is at the front of the list (Dhamma conduct). Lists of 7 tend to be found in the Abhidhamma.
SN 3.25 wrote:That is what the Blessed One said. Having said that, the One Well-Gone, the Teacher, further said this:

Like massive boulders,
mountains pressing against the sky,
moving in from all sides,
crushing the four directions,
so aging and death come rolling over living beings:
noble warriors, brahmans, merchants,
workers, outcastes, & scavengers.
They spare nothing.
They trample everything.


The view of self appears to be what gives mara the lord of death (equivilent to the use of the term satin in the Jewish Tradition, not the Christian view thereof)
"Mogharaja-manava-puccha: Mogharaja's Question" (Snp 5.15), translated from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu. Access to Insight, 11 July 2010, http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html . Retrieved on 29 February 2012. wrote:View the world, Mogharaja, as empty — always mindful to have removed any view about self. This way one is above & beyond death. This is how one views the world so as not to be seen by Death's king.

Or as the Buddha said elsewhere
DN16 Translated from the pali by Cittasanto wrote:Formations truly are transient, their nature to arise and cease;
Having arisen, they then subside, This calming and cessation—happiness.


SN 3.25 wrote:Here elephant troops can hold no ground,
nor can chariots or infantry,
nor can a battle of wits or wealth win out.

This passage has similarities to other passages referring to nibbana
Ud8.1 Translated from the Pali by Cittasanto wrote:Mendicants, there is that place where there is no earth, water, fire, nor air; no place consisting of the infinity of space, of the infinity of consciousness, of nothingness, nor of neither-perception-nor-non-perception; neither this world nor another world or both; neither sun or moon. Mendicants, here, I say there is no coming, no going, no staying, no passing away, nor re-arising. Without help, not existing, free from turmoil, unsupported. Just this, is the end of stress.

Although this is not a common verse found within the canon it is found in other places and the King may of know of it and be able to connect the two.
The Buddha may have been saying that all worldy things cease in the same way, they can not be protected, but with the ending of stress is something which no-one can take away (speculative context)

SN 3.25 wrote:So a wise person,
seeing his own good, steadfast, secures confidence
in the Buddha, Dhamma, & Sangha.

One who practices the Dhamma
in thought, word, & deed,
receives praise here on earth
and after death rejoices in heaven.


These last two verses seam to indicate the four factors of stream entry so the rejoicing in heaven seams a contrast to this suttas description of
"Raja Sutta: The Emperor" (SN 55.1), translated from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu. Access to Insight, 1 July 2010, http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html . Retrieved on 29 February 2012. wrote:At Savatthi. There the Blessed One said, "Monks, even though a wheel-turning emperor, having exercised sovereign lordship over the four continents, on the break-up of the body, after death, reappears in the good destination, the heavenly world, in the company of the devas of the Thirty-three, and enjoys himself there in the Nandana grove, surrounded by a consort of nymphs, supplied and endowed with the five strings of heavenly sensual pleasure, still — because he is not endowed with four qualities — he is not freed from [the possibility of going to] hell, not freed from the animal womb, not freed from the realm of hungry shades, not freed from the plane of deprivation, the bad destinations, the lower realms.
"And even though a disciple of the noble ones lives off lumps of alms food and wears rag-robes, still — because he is endowed with four qualities — he is freed from hell, freed from the animal womb, freed from the realm of hungry shades, freed from the plane of deprivation, the bad destinations, the lower realms.
There is the case where the disciple of the noble ones is endowed with verified confidence in the Awakened One
"He/she is endowed with verified confidence in the Dhamma:
"He/she is endowed with verified confidence in the Sangha:
"He/she is endowed with virtues that are appealing to the noble ones:

This may appear to be a contrast to the worldly (sensual) enjoyments of the former wheel turning monarch.

"And between the gaining of the four continents and the gaining of these four qualities, the gaining of the four continents is not equal to one sixteenth of the gaining of these four qualities."

[The mathmatical sequence may follow a set pattern, as noted by Venerable Analayo in one of his comparative lectures (first group of 20 suttas).]
These lines show that a stream winner may actually gain more pleasure by continuing to live as they did when they were in the human realm, having found greater pleasure in renunciation (one of the Upright Intentions)

The gaining of a greater pleasure by giving up a lesser one is quite a common
"Pakinnakavagga: Miscellany" (Dhp XXI), Verse 290, translated from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu. Access to Insight, 19 September 2010, http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html . Retrieved on 29 February 2012. wrote:If, by forsaking a limited ease, he would see an abundance of ease, the enlightened man would forsake the limited ease for the sake of the abundant.

and is seen in the practice of meditation over and over again in the form of the Jhanas.

However, there is another sutta which details aiming for the supreme goal by practicing for sensual pleasure of a finer form than one could obtain in this world
"Nanda Sutta: About Nanda" (Ud 3.2), translated from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu. Access to Insight, 8 July 2010, http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html . Retrieved on 29 February 2012. wrote:The monks heard, "They say that Ven. Nanda — the Blessed One's brother, son of his maternal aunt — is leading the holy life for the sake of nymphs. They say that the Blessed One is his guarantee for getting 500 dove-footed nymphs."
Then the monks who were friends of Ven. Nanda went around addressing him as they would a hired hand and a dealer: "Our friend Nanda, they say, is a hired hand. Our friend Nanda, they say, is a dealer. He's leading the holy life for the sake of nymphs. The Blessed One is his guarantee for getting 500 dove-footed nymphs."
Then Ven. Nanda — humiliated, ashamed, and disgusted that the monks who were his friends were addressing him as they would a hired hand and a dealer — went to dwell alone, secluded, heedful, ardent, and resolute. He in no long time entered and remained in the supreme goal of the holy life for which clansmen rightly go forth from home into homelessness, knowing and realizing it for himself in the here and now. He knew: "Birth is ended, the holy life fulfilled, the task done. There is nothing further for the sake of this world." And thus Ven. Nanda became another one of the arahants.

Then, when the night had passed, Ven. Nanda went to the Blessed One and, on arrival, having bowed down to him, sat to one side. As he was sitting there, he said to the Blessed One: "Lord, about the Blessed One's being my guarantee for getting 500 dove-footed nymphs, I hereby release the Blessed One from that promise."

This shows having high spiritual ideals does not always mean we are capable of living up to the duties of gaining the highest goal, we may see things which are more appealing so are can not overcome them due to their allure, but taking a more apparent or lesser goal may be useful to practising fully what we were earlier unable to.

As mentioned in the footnotes to the Raja Sutta there appears in the Dhammapada what could be a summary of the final verse
"Lokavagga: Worlds" (Dhp XIII), Verse 178, translated from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu. Access to Insight, 19 September 2010, http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html . Retrieved on 29 February 2012. wrote:Sole dominion over the earth, going to heaven, lordship over all worlds: the fruit of stream-entry excels them.

This also demonstrates that the benefits of being on the path is superior than the benefits of the worldly pleasures that can be attained in any realm.

hope this is of use?
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."

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Re: SN 3.25 Pabbatopama Sutta: The Simile of the Mountains

Postby mikenz66 » Fri Mar 02, 2012 6:51 am

“Just now, venerable sir, I have been engaged in those affairs of kingship typical for head-anointed khattiya kings, who are intoxicated with the intoxication of sovereignty, who are obsessed by greed for sensual pleasures, who have attained stable control in their country, and who rule having conquered a great sphere of territory on earth.”

    BB: Spk says that Pasenadi arrived after he had just finished impaling a band of criminals that he had arrested when they tried to ambush him and usurp the kingdom. The Buddha thought, “If I reprimand him for such a terrible deed, he will feel too dismayed to associate closely with me. Instead I will instruct him by an indirect method.” I agree with C.Rh.D that the story does not fit well, and I would add that it even detracts from the solemn dignity of the Buddha’s discourse.

What has always struck me about this paragraph is how it puts in King Pasenadi's mouth the realisation that he is thoroughly entangled with the world. This sutta is part of a whole samyutta featuring Pasenadi:

There is a long article about him in the Dictionary of Proper Pali Names:
http://www.aimwell.org/DPPN/pasenadi.htm
He had a long association with the Buddha, but, presumably due to his being "engaged in those affairs of kingship...", he does not seem to have any attainments.

:anjali:
Mike

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Re: SN 3.25 Pabbatopama Sutta: The Simile of the Mountains

Postby mikenz66 » Mon Mar 05, 2012 8:43 am

“If, venerable sir, such a great peril should arise, such a terrible destruction of human life, the human state being so difficult to obtain, what else should be done but to live by the Dhamma, to live righteously, and to do wholesome and meritorious deeds?”

BB: Spk explains dhammacariyā as the ten wholesome courses of kamma and says that samacariyā, righteous conduct, means the same.




“There are, venerable sir, elephant battles [fought by] head-anointed khattiya kings, who are intoxicated with the intoxication of sovereignty, who are obsessed by greed for sensual pleasures, who have attained stable control in their country, and who rule having conquered a great sphere of territory on earth; but there is no place for those elephant battles, no scope for them, when aging and death are rolling in."

Commentary and sub-commentary: The point is that there is no success to be achieved by battle for it is not possible to ward off aging and death by these battles.

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Re: SN 3.25 Pabbatopama Sutta: The Simile of the Mountains

Postby mikenz66 » Mon Mar 05, 2012 8:44 am

Bhikkhu Bodhi's translation of the verses:

“Just as mountains of solid rock,
Massive, reaching to the sky,
Might draw together from all sides,
Crushing all in the four quarters—
So aging and death come
Rolling over living beings—
Khattiyas, brahmins, vessas, suddas,
Caṇḍālas and scavengers:
They spare none along the way
But come crushing everything.

“There’s no ground there for elephant troops,
For chariot troops and infantry.
One can’t defeat them by subterfuge,
Or buy them off by means of wealth.

“Therefore a person of wisdom here,
Out of regard for his own good,
Steadfast, should settle faith
In the Buddha, Dhamma, and Saṅgha.

“When one conducts oneself by Dhamma
With body, speech, and mind,
They praise one here in the present life,
And after death one rejoices in heaven.”


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