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Abhiṇhapaccavekkhitabbaṭhāna Suttaṃ

(A.iii.71)

Facts for Constant Recollection

“Monks, these five facts ¹ should be constantly ² recollected by a woman or a man, by a householder or by one gone forth. What five? ‘I am subject to aging, I have not gone beyond aging.’ This should be constantly recollected by a woman or a man, by a householder or by one gone forth. ‘I am subject to disease, I have not gone beyond disease.’ This should be constantly recollected by a woman or a man, by a householder or by one gone forth. ‘I am subject to death, I have not gone beyond death.’ This should be constantly recollected by a woman or a man, by a householder or by one gone forth. ‘All that is mine, beloved and pleasing, will become otherwise, will be separated from me.’ This should be constantly recollected by a woman or a man, by a householder or by one gone forth. ‘I am the owner of my kamma,³ the heir of my kamma, born from my kamma, I have kamma as my relatives, and kamma is my only refuge; whatever kamma I will do — for good or for ill — of that I will become the heir.’ This should be constantly recollected by a woman or a man, by a householder or by one gone forth.

“Why, monks, dependent on what purpose, should: ‘I am subject to aging, I have not gone beyond aging,’ be constantly recollected by a woman or a man, by a householder or by one gone forth? There are young beings, monks, intoxicated by youth, who due to that intoxication perform bodily, verbal, and mental misconduct. If they constantly recollect [that they are subject to aging] they will abandon that intoxication with youth or it will become weaker. Monks, dependent on this purpose should ‘I am subject to aging, I have not gone beyond aging,’ be constantly recollected by a woman or a man, by a householder or by one gone forth.

“Why, monks, dependent on what purpose, should: ‘I am subject to disease, I have not gone beyond disease,’ be constantly recollected by a woman or a man, by a householder or by one gone forth? There are healthy beings, monks, intoxicated by health, who due to that intoxication perform bodily, verbal, and mental misconduct. If they constantly recollect [that they are subject to disease] they will abandon that intoxication with health or it will become weaker. Monks, dependent on this purpose should ‘I am subject to disease, I have not gone beyond disease,’ be constantly recollected by a woman or a man, by a householder or by one gone forth.

“Why, monks, dependent on what purpose, should: ‘I am subject to death, I have not gone beyond death,’ be constantly recollected by a woman or a man, by a householder or by one gone forth? There are beings, monks, intoxicated by life, who due to that intoxication perform bodily, verbal, and mental misconduct. If they constantly recollect [that they are subject to death] they will abandon that intoxication with life or it will become weaker. Monks, dependent on this purpose should ‘I am subject to death, I have not gone beyond death,’ be constantly recollected by a woman or a man, by a householder or by one gone forth.

“Why, monks, dependent on what purpose, should: ‘All that is mine, beloved and pleasing, will become otherwise, will be separated from me,’ be constantly recollected by a woman or a man, by a householder or by one gone forth? There are beings, monks, with sensual passion for what is beloved and pleasing, who perform bodily, verbal, and mental misconduct. If they constantly recollect [that everything beloved and pleasing will become otherwise] they will abandon that sensual passion for what is beloved and pleasing or it will become weaker. Monks, dependent on this purpose should ‘All that is mine, beloved and pleasing, will become otherwise, will be separated from me,’ be constantly recollected by a woman or a man, by a householder or by one gone forth.

“Why, monks, dependent on what purpose, should: ‘I am the owner of my kamma, the heir of my kamma, born from my kamma, I have kamma as my relatives, and kamma is my only refuge; whatever kamma I will do — for good or for ill — of that I will become the heir,’ be constantly recollected by a woman or a man, by a householder or by one gone forth? There are beings, monks, who perform bodily, verbal, and mental misconduct. If they constantly recollect [that they are the owners of their kamma] they will abandon all misconduct or it will become weaker. Monks, dependent on this purpose should ‘I am the owner of my kamma, the heir of my kamma, born from my kamma, I have kamma as my relatives, and kamma is my only refuge; whatever kamma I will do — for good or for ill — of that I will become the heir,’ be constantly recollected by a woman or a man, by a householder or by one gone forth.

"Monks, a disciple of the noble ones reflects: ‘I am not the only one subject to aging, who has not gone beyond aging. To the extent that there are beings, all beings deceasing and being reborn are subject to aging, they have not gone beyond aging.’ When he or she constantly recollects this, the path is born. He or she practices that path, develops it, and makes much of it. As that path is practised, developed, and made much of, the fetters are all abandoned, the latent tendencies are destroyed.

"Monks, a disciple of the noble ones reflects: ‘I am not the only one subject to disease, who has not gone beyond disease. To the extent that there are beings, all beings deceasing and being reborn are subject to disease, they have not gone beyond disease.’ When he or she constantly recollects this, the path is born. He or she practices that path, develops it, and makes much of it. As that path is practised, developed, and made much of, the fetters are all abandoned, the latent tendencies are destroyed.

"Monks, a disciple of the noble ones reflects: ‘I am not the only one subject to death, who has not gone beyond death. To the extent that there are beings, all beings deceasing and being reborn are subject to death, they have not gone beyond death.’ When he or she constantly recollects this, the path is born. He or she practices that path, develops it, and makes much of it. As that path is practised, developed, and made much of, the fetters are all abandoned, the latent tendencies are destroyed.

"Monks, a disciple of the noble ones reflects: ‘I am not the only one for whom all that is beloved and pleasing will become otherwise, will become separated from me. To the extent that there are beings, all beings deceasing and being reborn for whom all that is beloved and pleasing will become otherwise, will become separated from them.’ When he or she constantly recollects this, the path is born. He or she practices that path, develops it, and makes much of it. As that path is practised, developed, and made much of, the fetters are all abandoned, the latent tendencies are destroyed.

"Monks, a disciple of the noble ones reflects: ‘I am not the only one who is the owner of my kamma, the heir of my kamma, born from my kamma, who has kamma as my relatives, and kamma is my only refuge; whatever kamma I will do — for good or for ill — of that I will become the heir. To the extent that there are beings, all beings deceasing and being reborn are the owners of their kamma, the heirs of their kamma, born from their kamma, have kamma as their relatives, and kamma is their only refuge; whatever kamma they do — for good or for ill — of that they will become the heirs.’ When he or she constantly recollects this, the path is born. He or she practices that path, develops it, and makes much of it. As that path is practised, developed, and made much of, the fetters are all abandoned, the latent tendencies are destroyed.”

“Themselves being subject to disease, aging, and death,
Ordinary people are disgusted by beings subject to those things.
If I were to be disgusted by beings subject to these things,
That would not be proper since I am the same as them.

“While dwelling thus, I knew the state free from passion,
Intoxication with youth, health, and life,
I overcame all intoxication, having seen the security of nibbāna.

“Then zeal arose in me, having seen nibbāna,
It was no longer possible for me to indulge in sensual pleasures,
There will be no turning back from the highest goal of the holy life.”

Notes

1. Facts (ṭhānāni). This word has many meanings. Its negative form (aṭṭhāna) is used in the Book of Ones for things that are impossible, so here it is translated as facts. They are not only possibilities, but certainties.

2. Constantly (abhiṇhaṃ), whenever one is awake and not actively engaged in contemplating some other meditation object.

3. See the Ledi Sayādaw’s “A Manual of the Path Factors” for a full explanation of the right-view of ownership of one’s own kamma.

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