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Chappāṇakopama Suttaṃ

(S.iv.198)

The Simile of the Six Animals

247. “It is as if, monks, a man with festering wounds on his body would enter a clump of sharp reeds. There, sharp blades of grass would pierce his feet and the reeds would cut his limbs. Thus, monks, that man would experience even more pain and sorrow because of that. Likewise, monks, a monk, having gone to the village or the forest gets someone who reproves him: ‘The way this venerable behaves and conducts himself defiles the village;¹ he is a thorn in the village.’ Having understood that he is a thorn, restraint and non-restraint should be understood.

“And what, monks is non-restraint? Here, monks, a monk, having seen a sight with the eye gets attached to a pleasing sight and is repelled by a displeasing one. Not having established mindfulness of the body, he dwells with a limited mind, not knowing as it really is the liberation of mind and liberation by wisdom whereby the arising of evil unwholesome states ceases without remainder. Having heard a sound with the ear … having smelt an odour with the nose … having tasted a flavour with the tongue … having felt a touch with the body … having known an idea with the mind he gets attached to a pleasing idea and is repelled by a displeasing one. Not having established mindfulness of the body, he dwells with a limited mind, not knowing as it really is the liberation of mind and liberation by wisdom whereby the arising of evil unwholesome states ceases without remainder.

“It is as if, monks, a man, having caught six animals with different territories and feeding grounds would bind them with a rope. He would bind a snake (ahi), a crocodile (susumāra), a heron (pakkhi),² a dog (kukkura), [199] a jackal (siṅgāla), and a monkey (makkaṭa) with a rope, and having tied the ropes together with a knot, he would release them. Then, monks, each of the six animals would pull towards its own territory and feeding ground. The snake would pull thinking, ‘I will enter an ant-hill,’ the crocodile would pull thinking, ‘I will enter the water,’ the heron would pull thinking, ‘I will enter the sky,’ the dog would pull thinking, ‘I will enter the village,’ the jackal would pull thinking, ‘I will enter the cemetery,’ the monkey would pull thinking, ‘I will enter the forest.’

“Then, monks, when those animals were weary and exhausted, they would follow and submit to whichever was the strongest, and fall under its control. In the same way, monks, in whatever monk who has not developed and cultivated mindfulness of the body, the eye pulls towards pleasing sights and is repelled by displeasing sights ... the mind pulls towards pleasing ideas and is repelled by displeasing ideas. Thus, monks, is non-restraint.

“And what, monks, is restraint? Here, monks, a monk having seen a sight with the eye he does not get attached to a pleasing sight nor repelled by a displeasing one. [200] Having established mindfulness of the body, he dwells with an immeasurable mind, knowing as it really is the liberation of mind and liberation by wisdom whereby the evil unwholesome states cease without remainder. Having heard a sound with the ear … having smelt an odour with the nose … having tasted a flavour with the tongue … having felt a touch with the body … having known an idea with the mind, he does not get attached to a pleasing idea nor repelled by a displeasing one. Having established mindfulness of the body he dwells with an immeasurable mind, knowing as it really is the liberation of mind and liberation by wisdom whereby the evil unwholesome states cease without remainder.

“It is as if, monks, a man, having caught six animals with different territories and feeding grounds would bind them with a rope. He would bind a snake, a crocodile, a heron, a dog, [199] a jackal, and a monkey with a rope, and tie the ropes to a strong post or pillar. Then, monks, each of the six animals would pull towards its own territory and feeding ground. The snake would pull thinking, ‘I will enter an ant-hill,’ the crocodile would pull thinking, ‘I will enter the water,’ the heron would pull thinking, ‘I will enter the sky,’ the dog would pull thinking, ‘I will enter the village,’ the jackal would pull thinking, ‘I will enter the cemetery,’ the monkey would pull thinking, ‘I will enter the forest.’

“Then, monks, when those animals were weary and exhausted, they will stand by that post or pillar, sit by it, or lie down by it. In the same way, monks, in whatever monk who has developed and cultivated mindfulness of the body, the eye does not pull towards pleasing sights and is not repelled by displeasing sights. ... the ear is not pulled towards pleasing sounds ... the tongue is not pulled towards pleasing flavours ... the body is not pulled towards pleasing touches ... the mind is not pulled towards pleasing ideas nor repelled by displeasing ones. Thus, monks, is restraint.

“A strong post or pillar, monks, is an expression for mindfulness of the body. Therefore, monks, you should train yourselves thus: ‘We will develop mindfulness of the body, cultivate it, make it our vehicle, make it our foundation, become experienced in it, augment it, and undertake it fully.’ Thus, monks, you should train yourselves.” [201]

Notes

1. The Commentary says that the monk acts as a physician or messenger. See twenty-one wrong kinds of livelihood for a monk.

2. The Commentary glosses: Pakkhinti hatthisoṇḍasakuṇaṃ. A bird means with a cry like an elephant trumpeting.