MN 21 The Analogy of the Saw

MN 21 The Analogy of the Saw

 

Kakacūpama Sutta #

 

A teaching on respectful behavior, truthfulness, forgiving others even through unpleasant situations, practicing unconditional Love, to the depth at which the Buddha truly meant it.

 

Thus I have heard,

 

Once, the Awakened One was living at Sāvatthi,

In Jeta’s grove, Anāthapiṇḍika’s monastery.

 

At that time,

the Venerable Moliya Phagguna

was spending a lot of time frequenting the nuns. [1]

 

He was associating in such a way with the nuns

That if anyone spoke impolitely to the nuns in front of him;

He would become angry and offended

and would cause a commotion.[2]

 

And if anyone spoke impolitely to him in front of those nuns;

The nuns would become angry and offended

and would cause a commotion.

 

This is how much the Venerable Moliya Phagguna

was spending time frequenting with nuns.

 

Then, a certain monk went to the Awakened One

Paid loving respects,

            sat down next to him

            and told the Awakened One.

 

[…Repeating the whole situation…]

 

Then, the Awakened One told the monk:

“Go monk,

tell the monk Moliya Phagguna in my name:

            ‘The Teacher calls you friend Phagguna.’

 

“Yes Bhante” the monk agreed.

            And he did so.

 

‘Yes friend’ the Venerable Phagguna agreed.

 

Then, the Venerable Phagguna went to the Awakened One.

Paid loving respects

            sat down next to him,

            and the Awakened One said:

“Is it true that you, Phagguna,

are spending a lot of time frequenting the nuns?’ […]

 

            “Yes Bhante”

 

‘Are you not a son of respected family,

Gone forth out of determination, [3]

From the homelife into homelessness?’ [4]

 

            ‘Indeed Bhante’

 

‘It is not proper, Phagguna,

for a son of respected family,

gone forth with determination

from the homelife into homelessness,

to spend so much time frequenting the nuns.’

 

[Mind Unshaken] #

 

[Impolite Speech to Dear Ones] #

 

‘Phagguna,

If anyone speaks impolitely to those nuns in front of you,

You should abandon any urge or thoughts

Connected with regular house-life. [5]

 

Then you should train:

‘My mind will be unshaken,

And I will not retaliate with hurtful speech,

I will dwell with a heart full of Love,

Caring for their well-being,

Not obsessed by anger.[6]

 

This is how you should train.’

 

[Violence to Dear Ones] #

 

‘Phagguna,

If anyone were

to hit the nuns with their hand in front of you;

to hit them with stones;

to hit them with a stick;

to hit them with a knife; [7]

 

Then you should abandon any urge or thoughts

Connected with regular house-life.

Then you should train:

‘My mind will be unshaken,

And I will not retaliate with hurtful speech,

I will dwell with a heart full of Love,

Caring for their well-being,

Not obsessed by anger.’

 

‘This is how you should train.’

 

[Impolite Speech to Oneself] #

 

‘Phagguna,

If anyone were to come up and speak impolitely to you,

Then you should abandon any urge or thoughts

Connected with regular house-life.

 

Then you should train:

‘My mind will be unshaken,

And I will not retaliate with hurtful speech,

I will dwell with a heart full of Love,

Caring for their well-being,

Not obsessed by anger.’

‘This is how you should train.’

 

[Violence to Oneself] #

 

‘Phagguna,

If anyone were to hit you with their hand

Hit you with stones,

Hit you with a stick,

Hit you with a knife;

 

Then you should abandon any urge or thoughts

Connected with regular house-life.

Then you should train:

‘My mind will be unshaken,

And I will not retaliate with hurtful speech,

I will dwell with a heart full of Love,

Caring for their well-being,

Not obsessed by anger.’

This is how you should train.’

 

[Respect & Listening] #

 

[Eating One Meal]

 

Then the Bhagavā addressed the monks:

‘Once, the monks pleased my mind by their manners.’[8]

When, at a certain time I said:

 

‘Monks, I eat food only once a day.

By eating only a single meal per day

I know of no disease,

I live at ease,

free from sickness,

with lightness and strength.[9]

 

In the same way monks,

Eat only a single meal per day.

Then also you will know of no disease,

You will live at ease,

Free from sickness,

With lightness and strength.

And I did not have to repeatedly teach the monks,

I only had to arouse awareness [10] in them.

 

[Analogy of the Chariot]

 

‘Just as if there were,

at a crossroad,

on level grounds,

a chariot tied to swift horses standing,

            with a goad ready.

 

Then a skilled charioteer, a trainer of horses would climb in:

He would grab the reins in his left hand,

Grab the goad in his right hand,

And he could go wherever he liked.’

 

In the same way monks,

I did not have to repeatedly teach the monk,

I only had to spark their attention.

 

[Wholesome Mental Development] #

 

Monks,

Abandon unwholesome states, [11]

And be relentless in wholesome states. [12]

This is how you will come upon

            growth,

            increase

            and prosperity [13]

            in this Dhamma and way of life. [14]

 

[Analogy of the Grove] #

 

‘Monks, just as if, close to a village or town

There was a great Sal tree grove,

Covered with castor bean plant.[15]

Then someone would come up

Wanting it to live,

Wanting it to thrive,

Wanting its liberation.

 

That person would cut down the saplings that were

frail,

crooked

and drawing vitality,

and would bring them away,

completely clearing the inner-grove.[16]

And that person would carefully tend

            to the young saplings

            which were strong and upright.

 

Then, the Sal tree grove,

Would quickly come to

growth,

increase

and prosperity.’

In the same way monks,

Abandon unwholesome states, [17]

And be relentless in wholesome states

This is how you will come upon growth,

increase and prosperity

in this Dhamma and way of life.

 

[Vedehika’s Story] #

 

‘In the past monks, in this very Sāvatthi

There was an influential countess named Vedehikā.[18]

 

The countess Vedehikā’s beautiful renown was such:

The countess Vedehikā is pious,

The countess Vedehikā is humble,

The countess Vedehikā is serene.[19]

 

Now, countess Vedehikā had a servant named Kālī,

who was skilled,

steadfast

and well organized in her work.[20]

 

One day, the servant Kālī thought:

‘The beautiful renown of my noble lady’s is such:

The countess Vedehikā is pious,

The countess Vedehikā is humble,

The countess Vedehikā is serene.’

 

‘But how is it in reality?’

 

‘Is my noble lady really peaceful

though she harbors anger within

and it is simply not showing.’ [21]

 

‘Is it only because my work is well-organized

that my noble lady appears peaceful,

though she harbors anger within

and it is simply not showing?’

‘What if I were to test my noble lady?’[22]

 

Then, the servant Kālī decided to get up after sunrise. [23]

 

The countess Vedehikā said to Kālī:

‘Hey Kālī’

            ‘Yes noble lady’

 

‘Why do you wake up pass sunrise?’

            ‘For nothing lady’

 

‘You wake up pass sunrise for nothing you say uh!

You wicked slave!’

She shouted, angry and enraged. [24]

 

Then the servant Kālī thought:

‘Surely,

there is anger within my noble lady

     and it is simply not showing.’

 

But because my work is well-organized,

my noble lady looks peaceful,

though she harbors anger within

     and it is simply not showing.’

 

‘What if I were to test my noble lady a little further?’

 

Then the servant Kālī got up even later in the day.

 

Countess Vedehikā said to Kālī:

‘Hey Kālī’

            ‘Yes, noble lady?’

 

‘Why do you get up still later in the day?’

            ‘For nothing noble lady’

 

‘You wake up even later for nothing you say, uh!

You wicked slave!’

She shouted, angry and enraged

            and launched into spiteful speech.

 

Then the servant Kālī thought:

‘Surely,

there is anger within my noble lady

and it is simply not showing.

     It is not absent within her.’

 

‘But it is because my work is well-organized

That my noble lady looks peaceful

though she harbors anger within,

and it is simply not showing.’

 

‘What if I were to test my noble lady a little further?’

 

Then the servant Kālī got up even later in the day.

 

Countess Vedehikā said to Kālī:

‘Hey Kālī’

            ‘Yes, noble lady?’

 

‘Why do you get up still later in the day?’

            ‘For nothing noble lady’

 

‘You wake up even later in the day for nothing you say uh!

You wicked slave!’

She shouted, angry and enraged,

she grabbed a long bolt

gave her a blow on the head

            and cut her head open. [25]

 

Shocked,

with the cut on her head bleeding profusely,

Kālī went up to the neighbors and said:

‘Look at the pious lady’s work,

Look at the humble lady’s work,

Look at the serene lady’ work.’

 

‘In what name can she become angry and enraged

at her only servant for waking up late?

To then grab a long bolt and hit her on the head

and cut her head open?’

 

Then, not long after, a terrible report spread about:

‘Countess Vedehikā is violent,

Countess Vedehikā is fierce,

Countess Vedehikā is unstoppable.[26]

 

[Contact with Coarse Speech] #

 

Similarly, monks,

Should there be a monk here who looks

Kinder than kindness,

Gentler than gentleness,

Calmer than calmness;

 

He may well be so,

as long as he does not come upon

            unpleasant speech. [27]

 

But it is when that monk

comes upon unpleasant speech that

it can be known if he is

truly kind,

truly gentle

and truly calm.


[Respect]
#

 

[Disrespectful]

 

I call not a monk ‘respectful,’

He who is respectful only for the sake of

robes,

food,

shelter

and medicine,

and who pretends to be respectful.[28]

Why?

Because that monk,

when he does not get

robes,

food,

shelter

and medicine

is not respectful,

And he stops pretending to be respectful.

 

[Respectful]

 

But a monk who is respectful because he

Esteems the Dhamma,

Respects the Dhamma,

Thinks highly of the Dhamma,

Reveres the Dhamma,

Praises the Dhamma;

 

That monk behaves respectfully.

Him I call respectful.[29]

Therefore monks [thinking]:

‘We will be respectful because we

Esteem the Dhamma,

Respect the Dhamma,

Think highly of the Dhamma,

Revere the Dhamma,

Praise the Dhamma;

‘This is how you should train monks.’

 

[Love as a Practice] #

 

These are five possible manners of speech

That others people could say to you, [their speech may be]:

Timely or untimely

True or false

Soft or harsh

Bent on goodness or bent on harm

With a Loving mind or inner hate.[30]

If others should speak to you [in any of these ways],

At that time, you should train in this way:

‘Our minds will be unshaken,

And I will not retaliate with hurtful words,

We will dwell with a heart full of Love,

Caring for their well-being,

Not obsessed by anger’

 

We will dwell, suffusing that person

with a heart filled with Love

And with this as a support,

We will dwell suffusing the all-encompassing universe.

With a heart filled with Love

Vast, expanded

Boundless

without anger or resentment[31]

 

‘This is how you should train monks.’

 

[Analogy of the Earth] #

 

Just as if a person would arrive

            with a shovel and a basket and say:

‘I shall take away the earth

from this great big Earth.’

He would dig some soil here and there

He would scatter some soil here and there,

He would spit here and there,

He would urinate here and there, saying:

‘Be without earth!’

‘Be without earth.!’ [32]

‘What do you think monks?

Could that person take away the earth

     from this great big earth?’

            ‘No Bhante’

 

Why?

 

Because Bhante,

this great big earth is deep and immeasurable.[33]

            It is not possible to take away its earth.

That person could only reap misery

     and disappointment. [34]

 

[Training]

 

These are five possible manners of speech

That others people could say to you, [their speech may be]:

Timely or untimely

True or false

Soft or harsh

Bent on goodness or bent on harm

With a Loving mind or inner hate.

 

If others should speak to you [in any of these ways],

At that time, you should train in this way:

 

‘Our minds will be unshaken,

And I will not retaliate with hurtful words,

We will dwell with a heart full of Love,

Caring for their well-being,

Not obsessed by anger’

 

We will dwell, suffusing that person

with a heart filled with Love

And with this as a support,

We will dwell suffusing the all-encompassing universe.

With a heart like the Earth[35]

Vast, expanded

Boundless

without anger or resentment.

 

This is how you should train monks.

 

[Analogy of the Painter] #

 

Just as if a person were to come

With yellow, blue and red paint

And he would say:

‘I will paint shapes in the air.’

‘I shall make forms appear.’ [36]

What do you think monks?

‘Could the person paint shapes in the air,

            and make forms appear?’

‘No Bhante’

 

Why?

 

‘Because Bhante,

space is without form,

            without attribute[37]

It is not possible to paint shapes on it,

and make forms appear on it.

 

That person could only reap misery

            and disappointment.’

 

[Training]

 

These are five possible manners of speech

That others people could say to you, [their speech may be]:

Timely or untimely

True or false

Soft or harsh

Bent on goodness or bent on harm

With a Loving mind or inner hate.

 

If others should speak to you [in any of these ways],

At that time, you should train in this way:

‘Our minds will be unshaken,

And I will not retaliate with hurtful words,

We will dwell with a heart full of Love,

Caring for their well-being,

Not obsessed by anger’

 

We will dwell, suffusing that person

with a heart filled with Love

And with this as a support,

We will dwell suffusing the all-encompassing universe.

With a heart like Space[38]

Vast, expanded

Boundless

without anger or resentment.

 

This is how you should train monks.

 

[Analogy of the River Ganges] #

 

Just as if a person were to come

            with a blazing grass torch

            and would say:

‘With my blazing grass torch,

I shall burn away and dry up the river Ganges.’

‘What do you think monks?’

‘Could that person, burn away and dry up

the river Ganges with a blazing grass torch?’

            ‘No Bhante’

 

“Why?”

 

‘Because Bhante,

the River Ganges is deep and immeasurable.

It is not possible to burn it away and dry it up

            with a blazing grass-torch.

 

That person could only reap misery

            and disappointment.’

 

[Training]

 

These are five possible manners of speech

That others people could say to you, [their speech may be]:

Timely or untimely

True or false

Soft or harsh

Bent on goodness or bent on harm

With a Loving mind or inner hate.

 

If others should speak to you [in any of these ways],

At that time, you should train in this way:

 

‘Our minds will be unshaken,

And I will not retaliate with hurtful words,

We will dwell with a heart full of Love,

Caring for their well-being,

Not obsessed by anger’

 

We will dwell, suffusing that person

with a heart filled with Love

And with this as a support,

We will dwell suffusing the all-encompassing universe.

With a heart like the River Ganges[39]

Vast, expanded

Boundless

without anger or resentment.

 

This is how you should train monks.

 

[Analogy of Skin Bag] #

 

Just as there was a skin bag which was

polished,

smoothly polished

and thoroughly smoothly-polished

soft and silky,

oiled and not dry. [40]

 

And a person came

            with a stick

                        and a pebble

                        and he would say:

‘I shall make this […] skin bag rustle and crackle.’

 

What do you think monks?

‘Could that person make this

thoroughly smoothly polished skin bag

rustle a crackle with a stick and a pebble?’

            ‘No Bhante’

 

Why?

 

‘Because Bhante,

that skin bag is polished,

smoothly polished,

thoroughly smoothly-polished

     Soft and silky,

     Oiled and not dry.

 

It is not possible to make it rustle and crackle

            with a stick and a pebble.

 

That person could only reap misery

            and disappointment.’

 

[Training]

 

These are five possible manners of speech

That others people could say to you, [their speech may be]:

Timely or untimely

True or false

Soft or harsh

Bent on goodness or bent on harm

With a Loving mind or inner hate.

 

If others should speak to you [in any of these ways],

At that time, you should train in this way:

 

‘Our minds will be unshaken,

And I will not retaliate with hurtful words,

We will dwell with a heart full of Love,

Caring for their well-being,

Not obsessed by anger’

 

We will dwell, suffusing that person

with a heart filled with Love

And with this as a support,

We will dwell suffusing the all-encompassing universe.

With a heart like a skin bag[41]

Vast, expanded

Boundless

without anger or resentment.

 

This is how you should train monks.

 

[Analogy of the Saw] #

 

Monks, even if brigands or spies were to come

and severe you,

     limb after limb

                 with a two-hand saw; [42]

At that time,

He who would harbor a hateful mind

Would not be practicing my teaching.[43]

[Training]

At that time, you should train in this way:

 

‘Our minds will be unshaken,

And I will not retaliate with hurtful words,

We will dwell with a heart full of Love,

Caring for their well-being,

Not obsessed by anger’

 

We will dwell, suffusing that person

with a heart filled with Love

And with this as a support,

We will dwell suffusing the all-encompassing universe.

With a heart filled with Love

Vast, expanded

Boundless

without anger or resentment.

 

This is how you should train monks.

 

[Keep in Mind]

 

“Monks, you should frequently call to mind

this analogy of the saw.” [44]

 

“Seeing in such a way, monks,

Could there be any manner of speech,

Subtle or rough,

That you could not endure?” [45]

 

            ‘No Bhante’

 

‘Then frequently call to mind

            this analogy of the saw.’

‘This will be for your welfare

                                                and happiness

                                                            for a long time.’ [46]

This is what the Awakened One said.

The monks were uplifted by the Awakened One’s words.

 

[1] bhikkhunīhi saddhiṃ ativelaṃ saṃsaṭṭho viharati.

[2] tenāyasmā moḷiyaphagguno kupito anattamano adhikaraṇampi karoti.

[3] Going forth is done for the sake of awakening, the final goal, realizing the highest truth, not for the sake of being lazy.

[4] “Nanu tvaṃ, phagguna, kulaputto  saddhā agārasmā anagāriyaṃ pabbajito”ti

[5] tatrāpi tvaṃ … ye gehasitā chandā ye gehasitā vitakkā te pajaheyyāsi.

[6] ‘na ceva me cittaṃ vipariṇataṃ bhavissati, na ca pāpikaṃ vācaṃ nicchāressāmi, hitānukampī ca viharissāmi mettacitto, na dosantaro’ti.

[7] pāṇinā  pahāraṃ  dadeyya, leḍḍunā  pahāraṃ dadeyya, daṇḍena pahāraṃ dadeyya,  satthena pahāraṃ dadeyya.

[8] “ārādhayiṃsu vata me, bhikkhave,  bhikkhū ekaṃ samayaṃ cittaṃ.

[9] ahaṃ kho, bhikkhave, ekāsanabhojanaṃ bhuñjāmi. Ekāsanabhojanaṃ kho ahaṃ, bhikkhave, bhuñjamāno appābādhatañca sañjānāmi   appātaṅkatañca  lahuṭṭhānañca  balañca phāsuvihārañca.

[10] Satuppādakaraṇīyameva me

[11] Akusalaṃ pajahatha

[12] Kusalesu dhammesu āyogaṃ karotha.

[13] Vuddhiṃ virūḷhiṃ vepullaṃ āpajjissatha.

[14] Dhammavinaye

[15] Tañcassa eḷaṇḍehi  sañchannaṃ.

[16] Beautiful analogy with the “inner graove.”

[17] akusalaṃ pajahatha

[18] vedehikā nāma gahapatānī

[19] evaṃ kalyāṇo kittisaddo abbhuggato ‘soratā vedehikā gahapatānī, nivātā vedehikā gahapatānī, upasantā vedehikā gahapatānī’ti.

[20] kāḷī nāma dāsī ahosi dakkhā analasā   susaṃvihitakammantā.

[21] Kiṃ nu kho me ayyā santaṃyeva nu kho ajjhattaṃ kopaṃ na pātukaroti

udāhu asantaṃ udāhu mayhamevete kammantā susaṃvihitā yena me ayyā santaṃyeva ajjhattaṃ kopaṃ na pātukaroti, no asantaṃ

[22] Kiṃ nu kho me ayyā santaṃyeva nu kho ajjhattaṃ kopaṃ na pātukaroti udāhu asantaṃ udāhu mayhamevete kammantā susaṃvihitā yena me ayyā santaṃyeva ajjhattaṃ kopaṃ na pātukaroti, no asantaṃ.

[23] kāḷī dāsī divā uṭṭhāsi

[24] ‘No vata re kiñci, pāpi dāsi, divā uṭṭhāsī’ti kupitā anattamanā bhākuṭiṃ akāsi.

[25] kupitā anattamanā aggaḷasūciṃ gahetvā sīse pahāraṃ adāsi, sīsaṃ vobhindi.

[26] ‘caṇḍī vedehikā gahapatānī, anivātā vedehikā gahapatānī, anupasantā vedehikā gahapatānī’ti.

[27] Evameva kho, bhikkhave, idhekacco bhikkhu tāvadeva soratasorato  hoti   nivātanivāto  hoti upasantūpasanto  hoti  yāva na amanāpā vacanapathā phusanti.

[28] Yato ca, bhikkhave, bhikkhuṃ amanāpā vacanapathā phusanti,

 atha bhikkhu ‘sorato’ti veditabbo, ‘nivāto’ti veditabbo, ‘upasanto’ti veditabbo.

Nāhaṃ taṃ, bhikkhave, bhikkhuṃ ‘suvaco’ti  vadāmi yo cīvarapiṇḍapātasenāsanagilānappaccayabhesajjaparikkhārahetu suvaco hoti,  sovacassataṃ  āpajjati.

[29] dhammaṃyeva sakkaronto, dhammaṃ garuṃ karonto, dhammaṃ mānento, dhammaṃ pūjento, dhammaṃ apacāyamāno suvaco hoti,   sovacassataṃ āpajjati,  tamahaṃ ‘suvaco’ti vadāmi.

[30]  kālena vā akālena vā; bhūtena vā abhūtena vā; saṇhena  vā pharusena vā; atthasaṃhitena vā anatthasaṃhitena vā;  mettacittā vā dosantarā vā.

[31] Tañca puggalaṃ mettāsahagatena cetasā pharitvā viharissāma, tadārammaṇañca  sabbāvantaṃ lokaṃ mettāsahagatena cittena vipulena mahaggatena appamāṇena averena abyābajjhena   pharitvā viharissāmā’ti.

[32] So tatra tatra vikhaṇeyya, tatra tatra vikireyya, tatra tatra oṭṭhubheyya, tatra tatra omutteyya  ‘apathavī bhavasi, apathavī bhavasī’ti.

[33] “Ayañhi, bhante, mahāpathavī gambhīrā   appameyyā.

[34] Sā na sukarā apathavī kātuṃ;  yāvadeva ca pana so puriso kilamathassa vighātassa bhāgī assā”ti.

[35] pathavisamena cittena

[36] ahaṃ imasmiṃ ākāse rūpaṃ likhissāmi, rūpapātubhāvaṃ karissāmī

[37] “Ayañhi, bhante, ākāso arūpī anidassano.

[38] ākāsasamena cittena

[39] gaṅgāsamena cittena

[40] Seyyathāpi, bhikkhave, biḷārabhastā madditā sumadditā suparimadditā, mudukā  tūlinī   chinnasassarā  chinnabhabbharā.

[41] biḷārabhastāsamena cittena

[42] Ubhatodaṇḍakena cepi kakacena corā ocarakā aṅgamaṅgāni okanteyyuṃ,

[43] tatrāpi yo mano padūseyya, na me so tena sāsanakaro.

[44] Imañca tumhe, bhikkhave, kakacūpamaṃ ovādaṃ

abhikkhaṇaṃ manasi kareyyātha.

[45] Passatha no tumhe, bhikkhave, taṃ vacanapathaṃ, aṇuṃ  vā thūlaṃ   vā,  yaṃ tumhe nādhivāseyyāthā”ti

[46] Taṃ vo bhavissati dīgharattaṃ hitāya sukhāyā”ti.