Māluṅkyaputtasuttaṁ (Saṁ 35. 95)
The Discourse Concerning Māluṅkyaputta

Edited & Translated by Ānandajoti Bhikkhu

PDFEPUBMOBI

 

The Request

Atha kho āyasmā Māluṅkyaputto yena Bhagavā tenupasaṅkami,
Then venerable Māluṅkyaputta approached the Gracious One,

upasaṅkamitvā Bhagavantaṁ abhivādetvā ekamantaṁ nisīdi.
and after approaching and worshipping the Gracious One, he sat down on one side.

Ekamantaṁ nisinno kho āyasmā Māluṅkyaputto
While sitting on one side the venerable Māluṅkyaputta

Bhagavantaṁ etad-avoca:
said this to the Gracious One:

“Sādhu me bhante Bhagavā saṅkhittena dhammaṁ desetu,
“Please, reverend Sir, may the Gracious One preach the Dhamma to me in brief,

yam-ahaṁ Bhagavato dhammaṁ sutvā,
then I, having heard the Gracious One's Dhamma,

eko vūpakaṭṭho appamatto ātāpī pahitatto vihareyyan”-ti.
may dwell solitary, secluded, heedful, ardent, and resolute.”

“Etthadāni Māluṅkyaputta kiṁ dahare bhikkhū vakkhāma,
“Now what shall we say to the young monks, Māluṅkyaputta,

yatra hi nāma tvaṁ bhikkhu jiṇṇo
if you, who are an old monk,

vuddho mahallako addhagato vayo anuppatto,
elderly, of great age, far gone, advanced in years,

saṅkhittena ovādaṁ yācasī” ti.
ask for advice in brief?” The commentary says the Buddha speaks like this both to reproach Māluṅkyaputta, and to encourage him, for while on the one hand he had been heedless during his youth, here he was in his old age dwelling in the wilderness and asking for a meditation subject.01

“Kiñcāpahaṁ bhante jiṇṇo
“Although I, reverend Sir, am old,

vuddho mahallako addhagato vayo anuppatto,
elderly, of great age, far gone, advanced in years,

desetu me bhante Bhagavā saṅkhittena dhammaṁ,
let the Gracious One preach the Dhamma to me in brief, reverend Sir,

desetu me Sugato saṅkhittena dhammaṁ,
let the Fortunate One preach the Dhamma to me in brief,

appeva nāmāhaṁ Bhagavato bhāsitassa atthaṁ ājāneyyaṁ,
I will surely understand the meaning of what is spoken by the Gracious One,

appeva nāmāhaṁ Bhagavato bhāsitassa dāyādo assan” ti.
I will surely be an heir to what is spoken by the Gracious One.”

 

The Questions

“Taṁ kim-maññasi Māluṅkyaputta,
“Then what do you think, Māluṅkyaputta,

ye te cakkhuviññeyyā rūpā adiṭṭhā
those forms cognizable by the eye, which have not been seen

- adiṭṭhapubbā, na ca passasi, na ca te hoti passeyyan-ti -
- which formerly have not been seen, (which) you are not seeing, and which you do not expect to see -

atthi te tattha chando vā rāgo vā pemaṁ vā?” ti.
can there be desire or passion or love relating to them?”

“No hetaṁ bhante.”
“Surely not, reverend Sir.”

 

“Ye te sotaviññeyyā saddā assutā
“Those sounds cognizable by the ear, which have not been heard

- assutapubbā, na ca suṇāsi, na ca te hoti suṇeyyan-ti -
- which formerly have not been heard, (which) you are not hearing, and which you do not expect to hear -

atthi te tattha chando vā rāgo vā pemaṁ vā?” ti.
can there be desire or passion or love relating to them?”

“No hetaṁ bhante.”
“Surely not, reverend Sir.”

 

“Ye te ghānaviññeyyā gandhā aghāyitā
“Those smells cognizable by the nose, which have not been smelt

- aghāyitapubbā, na ca sāyasi, na ca te hoti ghāyeyyan-ti -
- which formerly have not been smelt, (which) you are not smelling, and which you do not expect to smell -

atthi te tattha chando vā rāgo vā pemaṁ vā?” ti.
can there be desire or passion or love relating to them?”

“No hetaṁ bhante.”
“Surely not, reverend Sir.”

 

“Ye te jivhāviññeyyā rasā asāyitā
“Those tastes cognizable by the tongue, which have not been tasted

- asāyitapubbā, na ca sāyasi, na ca te hoti ghāyeyyan-ti -
- which formerly have not been tasted, (which) you are not tasting, and which you do not expect to taste -

atthi te tattha chando vā rāgo vā pemaṁ vā?” ti.
can there be desire or passion or love relating to them?”

“No hetaṁ bhante.”
“Surely not, reverend Sir.”

 

“Ye te kāyaviññeyyā phoṭṭhabbā asamphuṭṭhā
“Those tangibles cognizable by the body, which have not been touched

- asamphuṭṭhapubbā, na ca phusasi, na ca te hoti phuseyyan-ti -
- which formerly have not been touched, (which) you are not touching, and which you do not expect to touch -

atthi te tattha chando vā rāgo vā pemaṁ vā?” ti.
can there be desire or passion or love relating to them?”

“No hetaṁ bhante.”
“Surely not, reverend Sir.”

 

“Ye te manoviññeyyā dhammā aviññātā
“Those thoughts cognizable by the mind, which have not been cognized

- aviññātapubbā, na ca vijānāsi, na ca te hoti vijāneyyan-ti, -
- which formerly have not been cognized, (which) you are not cognizing, and which you do not expect to cognize -

atthi te tattha chando vā rāgo vā pemaṁ vā?” ti.
can there be desire or passion or love relating to them?”

“No hetaṁ bhante.”
“Surely not, reverend Sir.”

 

The Instruction The instruction given here is identical to that given to Bahiya in the Udāna (Ud 1. 10). The latter, who immediately understood the teaching, and put it into practice, attained to Arahantship then and there. Note that some of the notes given here are drawn from the Udāna commentary.02

“Ettha ca te Māluṅkyaputta,
“Now here for you, Māluṅkyaputta,

diṭṭhasutamutaviññātabbesu dhammesu
in regard to things that are seen, heard, sensed, or cognized,

diṭṭhe diṭṭhamattaṁ bhavissati,
in what is seen there must be only what is seen,

sute sutamattaṁ bhavissati,
in what is heard there must be only what is heard,

mute mutamattaṁ bhavissati,
in what is sensed there must be only what is sensed,

viññāte viññātamattaṁ bhavissati.
in what is cognized there must be only what is cognized. Commentary: Just as when a form comes into focus eye consciousness is not excited (not impassioned), not tainted, not deluded, so, being devoid of passion etc., in regard to the measure of eye consciousness there must be no impulsion.

Translator: Ethically impulsion (javana) is the most important stage in the cognitive series, because it is in the seven mind moments that are termed javana that wholesome and unwholesome volition takes place, and kamma is made. According to the instruction given here the cognitive process should be checked by mindfulness before it reaches the javana stage.
03

 

The Result

Yato kho te Māluṅkyaputta
And since for you, Māluṅkyaputta,

diṭṭhasutamutaviññātabbesu dhammesu
in regard to things that are seen, heard, sensed, or cognized,

diṭṭhe diṭṭhamattaṁ bhavissati,
in what is seen there will be only what is seen,

sute sutamattaṁ bhavissati,
in what is heard there will be only what is heard,

mute mutamattaṁ bhavissati,
in what is sensed there will be only what is sensed,

viññāte viññātamattaṁ bhavissati,
in what is cognized there will be only what is cognized,

tato tvaṁ Māluṅkyaputta na tena,
therefore, Māluṅkyaputta, you will not be with that,

yato tvaṁ māluṅkaputta na tena,
and since, Māluṅkyaputta, you will not be with that,

tato tvaṁ Māluṅkyaputta na tattha,
therefore, Māluṅkyaputta, you will not be in that,

yato tvaṁ Māluṅkyaputta na tattha,
and since, Māluṅkyaputta, you will not be in that, Udāna commentary: ...since you will not be excited with passion, tainted with hate, or confused with delusion...therefore you will not be in that which is seen etc. Or, you will not be adhering to, or established on, that which is seen, heard, (sensed), or cognized by way of craving, conceit, or views, thinking: ‘this is mine, this I am, this is my self’...04

tato tvaṁ Māluṅkyaputta nevidha na huraṁ na ubhayamantarena
therefore, Māluṅkyaputta, you will not be here or hereafter or in between the two The commentary to the Udāna is at pains to point out that in the Abhidhamma (and the tradition it embodies) there is no intermediate becoming ‘between the two’, but that what is meant here is either ‘you will not be here or hereafter or in both’ - which seems a bit strained - or, ‘you will not be here or hereafter, and nor is there anywhere in between the two.’05

- esevanto dukkhassāti.
- just this is the end of suffering.”

 

Verses on Passion 06

Imassa khohaṁ bhante Bhagavatā saṅkhittena bhāsitassa
“Of this, reverend Sir, that was spoken in brief by the Gracious One

evaṁ vitthārena atthaṁ ājānāmi.
thus do I understand the meaning in detail:

 

Rūpaṁ disvā sati muṭṭhā,
Having seen a form and forgotten mindfulness,

Piyaṁ nimittaṁ manasī karoto,
Applying the mind to an object held dear,

Sārattacitto vedeti, ~ tañ-ca ajjhesāya tiṭṭhati:
He feels (it) with an excited mind, and persists in indulging it:

Tassa vaḍḍhanti vedanā ~ anekā rūpasambhavā,
So for him increase various feelings that originate with form,

Abhijjhā ca vihesā ca ~ cittam-assūpahaññati -
And by covetousness and by violence is his mind destroyed -

Evaṁ ācinato dukkhaṁ ~ ārā nibbānaṁ vuccati.
For one heaping up suffering like this nibbāna is said to be far away. These verses bring out very clearly the crucial finction that mindfulness (sati) plays in meditation practice, and in particular its relation to restraint (saṁvara), one of the four right endeavours. Someone who is un-mindful, or who for the moment forgets to be mindful, is liable to fall prey to all sorts of proliferation (papañca), which can very quickly end up in giving an opening to one of the unwholesome roots (akusalamūla) of lust (lobha), hate (dosa), or delusion (moha). It is for this reason that mindfulness, which when properly understood and applied, protects the aspirant from these roots, is regarded as basic to the practice of meditation.07

 

Saddaṁ sutvā sati muṭṭhā,
Having heard a sound and forgotten mindfulness,

Piyaṁ nimittaṁ manasī karoto,
Applying the mind to an object held dear,

Sārattacitto vedeti tañ-ca, ~ ajjhosāya tiṭṭhati:
He feels (it) with an excited mind, and persists in indulging it:

Tassa vaḍḍhanti vedanā ~ anekā saddasambhavā,
So for him increase various feelings that originate with sound,

Abhijjhā ca vihesā ca ~ cittamassūpahaññati -
And by covetousness and by violence is his mind destroyed -

Evaṁ ācinato dukkhaṁ ~ ārā nibbānaṁ vuccati.
For one heaping up suffering like this nibbāna is said to be far away.

 

Gandhaṁ ghātvā sati muṭṭhā,
Having smelt a smell and forgotten mindfulness,

Piyaṁ nimittaṁ manasī karoto,
Applying the mind to an object held dear,

Sārattacitto vedeti tañ-ca, ~ ajjhesāya tiṭṭhati:
He feels (it) with an excited mind, and persists in indulging it:

Tassa vaḍḍhanti vedanā ~ anekā gandhasambhavā,
So for him increase various feelings that originate with smells,

Abhijjhā ca vihesā ca ~ cittamassūpahaññati -
And by covetousness and by violence is his mind destroyed -

Evaṁ ācinato dukkhaṁ ~ ārā nibbānaṁ vuccati.
For one heaping up suffering like this nibbāna is said to be far away.

 

Rasaṁ bhotvā sati muṭṭhā,
Having savoured a taste and forgotten mindfulness,

Piyaṁ nimittaṁ manasī karoto,
Applying the mind to an object held dear,

Sārattacitto vedeti tañ-ca, ~ ajjhosāya tiṭṭhati:
He feels (it) with an excited mind, and persists in indulging it:

Tassa vaḍḍhanti vedanā ~anekā rasasambhavā,
So for him increase various feelings that originate with tastes,

Abhijjhā ca vihesā ca ~ cittamassūpahaññati -
And by covetousness and by violence is his mind destroyed -

Evaṁ ācinato dukkhaṁ ~ ārā nibbānaṁ vuccati.
For one heaping up suffering like this nibbāna is said to be far away.

 

Phassaṁ phussa sati muṭṭhā,
Having touched a tangible and forgotten mindfulness,

Piyaṁ nimittaṁ manasī karoto,
Applying the mind to an object held dear,

Sārattacitto vedeti tañ-ca, ~ ajjhosāya tiṭṭhati:
He feels (it) with an excited mind, and persists in indulging it:

Tassa vaḍḍhanti vedanā ~ anekā phassasambhavā,
So for him increase various feelings that originate with tangibles,

Abhijjhā ca vihesā ca ~ cittamassūpahaññati -
And by covetousness and by violence is his mind destroyed -

Evaṁ ācinato dukkhaṁ ~ ārā nibbānaṁ vuccati.
For one heaping up suffering like this nibbāna is said to be far away.

 

Dhammaṁ ñatvā sati muṭṭhā,
Having cognized a thought and forgotten mindfulness,

Piyaṁ nimittaṁ manasī karoto,
Applying the mind to an object held dear,

Sārattacitto vedeti tañ-ca, ~ ajjhesāya tiṭṭhati:
He feels (it) with an excited mind, and persists in indulging it:

Tassa vaḍḍhanti vedanā ~ anekā dhammasambhavā,
So for him increase various feelings that originate with thoughts,

Abhijjhā ca vihesā ca ~ cittamassūpahaññati -
And by covetousness and by violence is his mind destroyed -

Evaṁ ācinato dukkhaṁ ~ ārā nibbānaṁ vuccati.
For one heaping up suffering like this nibbāna is said to be far away.

 

Verses on Dispassion

Na so rajjati rūpesu, ~ rūpaṁ disvā patissato,
Not being excited by forms, having seen a form he is mindful,

Virattacitto vedeti tañ-ca, ~ nājjhosāya tiṭṭhati:
He feels (it) with an unexcited mind, and does not persist in indulging it:

Yathāssa passato rūpaṁ, ~ sevato cāpi vedanaṁ,
For he who sees a form and experiences the feeling in this way,

Khīyati nopacīyati, ~ evaṁ so caratī sato -
(Corruptions) are destroyed, not heaped up, he thus lives mindfully -

Evaṁ apacinato dukkhaṁ ~ santike nibbānaṁ vuccati.
For one reducing suffering like this nibbāna is said to be near. This and the following verse show how important it is to maintain a balanced and objective state of mind if one wishes to establish mindfulness. One who is initially dispassionate in regard to sensory contact can easily attend to mindfulness. In that case there is simply the feeling (vedanā), but it doesn't lead to craving (taṇhā), and so the arising of the whole mass of suffering as outlined in conditional arising (paṭiccasamuppāda) is terminated at this point.08

 

Na so rajjati saddesu, ~ saddaṁ sutvā patissato,
Not being excited by sounds, having heard a sound he is mindful,

Virattacitto vedeti tañ-ca, ~ nājjhosāya tiṭṭhati:
He feels (it) with an unexcited mind, and does not persist in indulging it:

Yathāssa suṇato saddaṁ ~ sevato cāpi vedanaṁ.
For he who hears a sound and experiences the feeling in this way,

Khīyati no pacīyatim ~ evaṁ so caratī sato -
(Corruptions) are destroyed, not heaped up, he thus lives mindfully -

Evaṁ apacinato dukkhaṁ ~ santike nibbānaṁ vuccati.
For one reducing suffering like this nibbāna is said to be near.

 

Na so rajjati gandhesu, ~ gandhaṁ ghātvā patissato,
Not being excited by smells, having smelt a smell he is mindful,

Virattacitto vedeti tañ-ca, ~ nājjhosāya tiṭṭhati:
He feels (it) with an unexcited mind, and does not persist in indulging it:

Yathāssa ghāyato gandhaṁ ~ sevato cāpi vedanaṁ.
For he who smells a smell and experiences the feeling in this way,

Khīyati no pacīyati, ~ evaṁ so caratī sato -
(Corruptions) are destroyed, not heaped up, he thus lives mindfully -

Evaṁ apacinato dukkhaṁ ~ santike nibbānaṁ vuccati.
For one reducing suffering like this nibbāna is said to be near.

 

Na so rajjati rasesu, ~ rasaṁ bhotvā patissato,
Not being excited by tastes, having savoured a taste he is mindful,

Virattacitto vedeti tañ-ca, ~ nājjhosāya tiṭṭhati:
He feels (it) with an unexcited mind, and does not persist in indulging it:

Yathāssa sāyato rasaṁ ~ sevato cāpi vedanaṁ.
For he who tastes a taste and experiences the feeling in this way,

Khīyati no pacīyati ~ evaṁ so caratī sato -
(Corruptions) are destroyed, not heaped up, he thus lives mindfully -

Evaṁ apacinato dukkhaṁ ~ santike nibbānaṁ vuccati.
For one reducing suffering like this nibbāna is said to be near.

 

Na so rajjati phassesu, ~ phassaṁ phussa patissato,
Not being excited by tangibles, having touched a tangible he is mindful,

Virattacitto vedeti tañ-ca, ~ nājjhosāya tiṭṭhati:
He feels (it) with an unexcited mind, and does not persist in indulging it:

Yathāssa phusato phassaṁ ~ sevato cāpi vedanaṁ.
For he who touches a tangible and experiences the feeling in this way,

Khīyati no pacīyati ~ evaṁ so caratī sato -
(Corruptions) are destroyed, not heaped up, he thus lives mindfully -

Evaṁ apacinato dukkhaṁ ~ santike nibbānaṁ vuccati.
For one reducing suffering like this nibbāna is said to be near.

 

Na so rajjati dhammesu, ~ dhammaṁ ñatvā patissato,
Not being excited by thoughts, having cognized a thought he is mindful,

Virattacitto vedeti tañ-ca, ~ nājjhosāya tiṭṭhati:
He feels (it) with an unexcited mind, and does not persist in indulging it:

Yathāssa vijānato dhammaṁ ~ sevato cāpi vedanaṁ.
For he who cognizes a thought and experiences the feeling in this way,

Khīyati no pacīyati, ~ evaṁ so caratī sato -
(Corruptions) are destroyed, not heaped up, he thus lives mindfully -

Evaṁ apacinato dukkhaṁ ~ santike nibbānaṁ vuccatī ti.
For one reducing suffering like this nibbāna is said to be near.

 

Imassa khohaṁ bhante Bhagavatā saṅkhittena bhāsitassa
Of this, reverend Sir, that was spoken in brief by the Gracious One

evaṁ vitthārena atthaṁ ājānāmī” ti.
so do I understand the meaning in detail.”

“Sādhu sādhu Māluṅkyaputta sādhu kho tvaṁ Māluṅkyaputta
“Good, good, Māluṅkyaputta, it is good, Māluṅkyaputta,

mayā saṅkhittena bhāsitassa vitthārena atthaṁ ājānāsi:
of what was spoken in brief by me so do you understand the meaning in detail:

 

(The Buddha here repeats all 12 verses that were spoken
by venerable Māluṅkyaputta, and then adds:)

 

Imassa kho Māluṅkyaputta mayā saṅkhittena bhāsitassa
Of this, Māluṅkyaputta, that was spoken in brief by me

evaṁ vitthārena attho daṭṭhabbo” ti.
so should you understand the meaning in detail.”

 

Atha kho āyasmā Māluṅkyaputto
Then venerable Māluṅkyaputta

Bhagavato bhāsitaṁ abhinanditvā anumoditvā,
having rejoiced in and been gladdened by the Gracious One's speech,

uṭṭhāyāsanā Bhagavantaṁ abhivādetvā, padakkhiṇaṁ katvā pakkāmi.
having risen from his seat and worshipped the Gracious One, after circumambulating (him) departed.

 

Atha kho āyasmā Māluṅkyaputto
Then venerable Māluṅkyaputta

eko vūpakaṭṭho appamatto ātāpī pahitatto viharanto,
while dwelling solitary, secluded, heedful, ardent, and resolute,

na cirasseva yassatthāya kulaputtā
after no long time (attained) that good for which young gentlemen

sammad-eva āgārasmā anagāriyaṁ pabbajanti,
rightly go forth from the house to the houseless life,

tad-anuttaraṁ brahmacariyapariyosānaṁ,
that unsurpassed conclusion to the spiritual life,

diṭṭheva dhamme sayaṁ abhiññā sacchikatvā upasampajja vihāsi.
and dwelt having known, experienced, and attained (it) himself in this very life.

Khīṇā jāti,
Destroyed is (re)birth

vusitaṁ brahmacariyaṁ,
accomplished is the spiritual life

kataṁ karaṇīyaṁ,
done is what ought to be done

nāparaṁ itthattāyāti abbhaññāsi.
there is no more of being in this mundane state - this he knew.

Aññataro ca panāyasmā Māluṅkyaputto arahataṁ ahosī ti.
And venerable Māluṅkyaputta became another of the Worthy Ones.