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Lekha Suttaṃ

(A.i.283)

Writing

“Monks, three kinds of individuals can be found in the world. What three? An individual who is like writing carved in stone. An individual who is like writing scratched on the ground. An individual who is like writing traced in the water

“What, monks, is the individual like writing carved in stone? Here, monks, a certain individual is always irritable, and his or her anger persists for a long time. Monks, it is like writing carved in stone that is not quickly erased by wind or rain, and remains for a long time; likewise, monks, a certain individual is always irritable, and his or her anger persists for a long time. This, monks, I call an individual like writing carved in stone.

“What, monks, is the individual like writing scratched on the ground? Here, monks, a certain individual is always irritable,² but his or her anger does not persist for long. Monks, it is like writing scratched on the ground that is quickly erased by wind or rain, and does not remain for long; likewise, monks, a certain individual is always irritable, but his or her anger does not persist for long. This, monks, I call an individual like writing scratched on the ground.

“What, monks, is the individual like writing traced in the water? Here, monks, a certain individual even when spoken to roughly, abusively, and unpleasantly remains friendly, united, and congenial. Monks, it is like writing traced in water that quickly disappears, and does not persist for long; likewise, monks, a certain individual even when spoken to roughly, abusively, and unpleasantly remains friendly, united, and congenial. This, monks, I call an individual like writing traced in the water.” (A.i.283)

Notes:

1. The Pāḷi text says an individual like writing on stone (pāsāṇalekhūpamo puggalo), an individual like writing on earth (pathavilekhūpamo puggalo), an individual like writing on water (udakalekhūpamo puggalo). I have added the words carved, scratched, and traced for emphasis.

2. Always irritable (abhiṇhaṃ kujjhati). The same expression is used regarding both the first and second individuals. Always (abhiṇhaṃ) here means repeatedly, often, habitually. Everyone who is not an Arahant or a Non-returner still has some latent tendency to anger remaining.

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