The Discourse to Prince Bodhi

[5. The Similes]



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Then, Prince, still searching for what was wholesome, the unsurpassed, noble and peaceful state, while walking gradually on walking tour I entered Magadha, and arrived at the Army town at Uruvelā.

There I saw a delightful piece of land, and a pleasing jungle thicket, with a clear river flowing and lovely banks, and nearby a village suitable for collecting alms.

Then, Prince, this occurred to me: ‘Delightful is this piece of land, with its pleasing jungle thicket, and a clear river flowing and lovely banks, and it is near a village suitable for collecting alms.

I thought: ‘This is surely enough for the striving of a son of a good family who is seeking to strive.’ Then, Prince, I sat down right there, thinking: ‘This is enough for striving.’

Then, Prince, these three wonderful similes occurred to me, that were unheard of in the past.

Suppose, Prince, there were a green, sappy timber, lying in water, and a man would come with an upper kindling wood, thinking: ‘I will make fire, I will engender heat.’

What do you think, Prince, would that man with that green, sappy timber, lying in water, through rubbing with the upper kindling wood be able to make fire, to engender heat?”

“Surely not, dear Gotama. What is the reason for that? Because, dear Gotama, it is a green, sappy timber, and it is lying in water. That man would only get a fair share of weariness and vexation.”

Just so, Prince, whatever ascetics and priests live unsecluded from sensual pleasures with their body and mind, who, in regard to sensual desire for sensual pleasures, love for sensual pleasures, infatuation for sensual pleasures, thirst for sensual pleasures and fever for sensual pleasures, without having completely abandoned them on the inside, without having completely allayed them, even if those good ascetics and priests feel acute pain, sharp, harsh, and bitter feelings, they are incapable of knowledge and insight into the supreme and complete Awakening, and even if those good ascetics and priests do not feel acute pain, sharp, harsh, and bitter feelings, still they are incapable of knowledge and insight into the supreme and complete Awakening.

This, Prince, is the first wonderful simile that occurred to me, that was unheard of in the past.

Then, Prince, a second wonderful simile occurred to me, that was unheard of in the past.

Suppose, Prince, there were a green, sappy timber, far from the water, lying on the ground, and a man would come with an upper kindling wood, thinking: ‘I will make fire, I will engender heat.’

What do you think, Prince, would that man with that green, sappy timber, far from the water, lying on the ground, through rubbing with the upper kindling wood be able to make fire, to engender heat?”

“Surely not, dear Gotama. What is the reason for that? Because, dear Gotama, it is still a green, sappy timber, however far it is from the water, lying on the ground. That man would only get a fair share of weariness and vexation.”

“Just so, Prince, whatever ascetics and priests live secluded from sensual pleasures with their body and mind, who, in regard to sensual desire for sensual pleasures, love for sensual pleasures, infatuation for sensual pleasures, thirst for sensual pleasures and fever for sensual pleasures, without having completely abandoned them on the inside, without having completely allayed them, even if those good ascetics and priests feel acute pain, sharp, harsh, and bitter feelings, they are incapable of knowledge and insight into the supreme and complete Awakening; and even if those good ascetics and priests do not feel acute pain, sharp, harsh, and bitter feelings, still they are incapable of knowledge and insight into the supreme and complete Awakening.

This, Prince, is the second wonderful simile that occurred to me, that was unheard of in the past.

Then, Prince, a third wonderful simile occured to me, that was unheard of in the past.

Suppose, Prince, there were a dry, sapless timber, far from the water, lying on the ground, and a man would come with an upper kindling wood, thinking: ‘I will make fire, I will engender heat.’

What do you think, Prince, would that man with that dry, sapless timber, far from the water, lying on the ground, through rubbing with the upper kindling wood be able to make fire, to engender heat?”

“Surely, dear Gotama. What is the reason for that? Because, dear Gotama, it is a dry, sapless timber, and it is far from the water, lying on the ground.”

“Just so, Prince, whatever ascetics and priests live secluded from sensual pleasures with their body and mind, who, in regard to sensual desire for sensual pleasures, love for sensual pleasures, infatuation for sensual pleasures, thirst for sensual pleasures and fever for sensual pleasures, have completely abandoned them on the inside, completely allayed them, even if those good ascetics and priests feel acute pain, sharp, harsh, and bitter feelings, they are capable of knowledge and insight into the supreme and complete Awakening; and even if those good ascetics and priests do not feel acute pain, sharp, harsh, and bitter feelings, still they are capable of knowledge and insight into the supreme and complete Awakening.

This, Prince, is the third wonderful simile that occurred to me, that was unheard of in the past.

These, Prince, are the three wonderful similes that occurred to me, that were unheard of in the past.