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MN 114 Sevitabbāsevitabba Sutta - To Be Cultivated and Not to Be Cultivated

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1. Thus have I heard. On one occasion the Blessed One was living at Sāvatthī in Jeta’s Grove, Anāthapiṇḍika’s Park. There he addressed the bhikkhus thus: “Bhikkhus.” ― “Venerable sir,” they replied. The Blessed One said this:

2. “Bhikkhus, I shall teach you a discourse on what should be cultivated and what should not be cultivated. Listen and attend closely to what I shall say.” ― “Yes, venerable sir,” the bhikkhus replied. The Blessed One said this:

(FIRST EXPOSITION)

3. “Bhikkhus, bodily conduct is of two kinds, I say: to be cultivated and not to be cultivated. And bodily conduct is either the one or the other. Verbal conduct is of two kinds, I say: to be cultivated and not to be cultivated. And verbal conduct is either the one or the other. Mental conduct is of two kinds, I say: to be cultivated and not to be cultivated. And mental conduct is either the one or the other. Inclination of mind is of two kinds, I say: to be cultivated and not to be cultivated. And inclination of mind is either the one or the other. The acquisition of view is of two kinds, I say: to be cultivated and not to be cultivated. And the acquisition of view is either the one or the other. The acquisition of individuality is of two kinds, I say: to be cultivated and not to be cultivated. And the acquisition of individuality is either the one or the other.”

(FIRST ELABORATION)

4. When this was said, the venerable Sāriputta said to the Blessed One: “Venerable sir, I understand the detailed meaning of the Blessed One’s utterance, which he has spoken in brief without expounding the detailed meaning, to be thus:

5. “‘Bhikkhus, bodily conduct is of two kinds, I say: to be cultivated and not to be cultivated. And bodily conduct is either the one or the other.’ So it was said by the Blessed One. And with reference to what was this said?

“Venerable sir, such bodily conduct as causes unwholesome states to increase and wholesome states to diminish in one who cultivates it should not be cultivated. But such bodily conduct as causes unwholesome states to diminish and wholesome states to increase in one who cultivates it should be cultivated.

“And what kind of bodily conduct causes unwholesome states to increase and wholesome states to diminish in one who cultivates it? Here someone kills living beings; he is murderous, bloody-handed, given to blows and violence, merciless to living beings. He takes what is not given; he takes by way of theft the wealth and property of others in the village or in the forest. He misconducts himself in sensual pleasures; he has intercourse with such women as are protected by their mother, father, mother and father, brother, sister, or relatives, who have a husband, who are protected by law, and even with those who are garlanded in token of betrothal. Such bodily conduct causes unwholesome states to increase and wholesome states to diminish in one who cultivates it.

“And what kind of bodily conduct causes unwholesome states to diminish and wholesome states to increase in one who cultivates it? Here someone, abandoning the killing of living beings, abstains from killing living beings; with rod and weapon laid aside, gently and kindly, he abides compassionate to all living beings. Abandoning the taking of what is not given, he abstains from taking what is not given; he does not take by way of theft the wealth and property of others in the village or in the forest. Abandoning misconduct in sensual pleasures, he abstains from misconduct in sensual pleasures; he does not have intercourse with such women as are protected by their mother, father, mother and father, brother, sister, or relatives, who have a husband, who are protected by law, or with those who are garlanded in token of betrothal. Such bodily conduct causes unwholesome states to diminish and wholesome states to increase in one who cultivates it.

“So it was with reference to this that it was said by the Blessed One: ‘Bhikkhus, bodily conduct is of two kinds, I say: to be cultivated and not to be cultivated. And bodily conduct is either the one or the other.’

6. “‘Bhikkhus, verbal conduct is of two kinds, I say: to be cultivated and not to be cultivated. And verbal conduct is either the one or the other. So it was said by the Blessed One. And with reference to what was this said?

“Venerable sir, such verbal conduct as causes unwholesome states to increase and wholesome states to diminish in one who cultivates it should not be cultivated. But such verbal conduct as causes unwholesome states to diminish and wholesome states to increase in one who cultivates it should be cultivated.

“And what kind of verbal conduct as causes unwholesome states to increase and wholesome states to diminish in one who cultivates it? Here someone speaks falsehood; when summoned to a court, or to a meeting, or to his relatives’ presence, or to his guild, or to the royal family’s presence, and questioned as a witness thus: ‘So, good man, tell what you know,’ not knowing, he says, ‘I know,’ or knowing, he says, ‘I do not know’; not seeing, he says, ‘I see,’ or seeing, he says, ‘I do not see’; in full awareness he speaks falsehood for his own ends, or for another’s ends, or for some trifling worldly end. He speaks maliciously; he repeats elsewhere what he has heard here in order to divide [those people] from these, or he repeats to these people what he has heard elsewhere in order to divide [these people] from those; thus he is one who divides those who are united, a creator of divisions, who enjoys discord, rejoices in discord, delights in discord, a speaker of words that create discord. He speaks harshly; he utters such words as are rough, hard, hurtful to others, offensive to others, bordering on anger, unconducive to concentration. He is a gossip; he speaks at the wrong time, speaks what is not fact, speaks what is useless, speaks contrary to the Dhamma and the Discipline; at the wrong time he speaks such words as are worthless, unreasonable, immoderate, and unbeneficial. Such verbal conduct causes unwholesome states to increase and wholesome states to diminish in one who cultivates it.

“And what kind of verbal conduct as causes unwholesome states to diminish and wholesome states to increase in one who cultivates it? Here someone, abandoning false speech, abstains from false speech; when summoned to a court, or to a meeting, or to his relatives’ presence, or to his guild, or to the royal family’s presence, and questioned as a witness thus: ‘So, good man, tell what you know,’ not knowing, he says, ‘I do not know,’ or knowing, he says, ‘I know’; not seeing, he says, ‘I do not see,’ or seeing, he says, ‘I see’; he does not in full awareness speak falsehood for his own ends, or for another’s ends, or for some trifling worldly end. Abandoning malicious speech, he abstains from malicious speech; he does not repeat elsewhere what he has heard here in order to divide [those people] from these, nor does he repeat to these people what he has heard elsewhere in order to divide [these people] from those; thus he is one who reunites those who are divided, a promoter of friendships, who enjoys concord, rejoices in concord, delights in concord, a speaker of words that promote concord. Abandoning harsh speech, he abstains from harsh speech; he speaks such words as are gentle, pleasing to the ear, and loveable, as go to the heart, are courteous, desired by many, and agreeable to many. Abandoning gossip, he abstains from gossip; he speaks at the right time, speaks what is fact, speaks on what is good, speaks the Dhamma and the Discipline; at the right time he speaks such words as are worth recording, reasonable, moderate, and beneficial. Such verbal conduct causes unwholesome states to diminish and wholesome states to increase in one who cultivates it.

“So it was with reference to this that it was said by the Blessed One: ‘Bhikkhus, verbal conduct is of two kinds, I say: to be cultivated and not to be cultivated. And verbal conduct is either the one or the other.’

7. “‘Mental conduct is of two kinds, I say: to be cultivated and not to be cultivated. And mental conduct is either the one or the other.’ So it was said by the Blessed One. And with reference to what was this said?

“Venerable sir, such mental conduct as causes unwholesome states to increase and wholesome states to diminish in one who cultivates it should not be cultivated. But such mental conduct as causes unwholesome states to diminish and wholesome states to increase in one who cultivates it should be cultivated.

“And what kind of mental conduct as causes unwholesome states to increase and wholesome states to diminish in one who cultivates it? Here someone is covetous; he covets the wealth and property of others thus: ‘Oh, may what belongs to another be mine!’ Or he has a mind of ill will and intentions of hate thus: ‘May these beings be slain and slaughtered, may they be cut off, perish, or be annihilated!’ Such mental conduct causes unwholesome states to increase and wholesome states to diminish in one who cultivates it.

“And what kind of mental conduct as causes unwholesome states to diminish and wholesome states to increase in one who cultivates it? Here someone is not covetous; he does not covet the wealth and property of others thus: ‘Oh, may what belongs to another be mine!’ His mind is without ill will and he has intentions free from hate thus: ‘May these beings be free from enmity, affliction, and anxiety! May they live happily!’ Such mental conduct causes unwholesome states to diminish and wholesome states to increase in one who cultivates it.

“So it was with reference to this that it was said by the Blessed One: ‘Bhikkhus, mental conduct is of two kinds, I say: to be cultivated and not to be cultivated. And mental conduct is either the one or the other.’

8. “‘Inclination of mind is of two kinds, I say: to be cultivated and not to be cultivated. And inclination of mind is either the one or the other.’ So it was said by the Blessed One. And with reference to what was this said?

“Venerable sir, such inclination of mind as causes unwholesome sates to increase and wholesome states to diminish in one who cultivates it should not be cultivated. But such inclination of mind as causes unwholesome states to diminish and wholesome states to increase in one who cultivates it should be cultivated.

“And what kind of inclination of mind causes unwholesome states to increase and wholesome states to diminish in one who cultivates it? Here someone is covetous and abides with his mind imbued with covetousness; he has ill will and abides with his mind imbued with ill will; he is cruel and abides with his mind imbued with cruelty. Such inclination of mind causes unwholesome states to increase and wholesome states to diminish in one who cultivates it.

“And what kind of inclination of mind causes unwholesome states to diminish and wholesome states to increase in one who cultivates it? Here someone is uncovetous and abides with his mind detached from covetousness; he is without ill will and abides with his mind detached from ill will; he is uncruel and abides with his mind detached from cruelty. Such inclination of mind causes unwholesome states to diminish and wholesome states to increase in one who cultivates it.

“So it was with reference to this that it was said by the Blessed One: ‘Bhikkhus, inclination of mind is of two kinds, I say: to be cultivated and not to be cultivated. And inclination of mind is either the one or the other.’

9. “‘The acquisition of perception is of two kinds, I say: to be cultivated and not to be cultivated. And the acquisition of perception is either the one or the other.’ So it was said by the Blessed One. And with reference to what was this said?

“Venerable sir, such acquisition of perception as causes unwholesome sates to increase and wholesome states to diminish in one who cultivates it should not be cultivated. But such acquisition of perception as causes unwholesome states to diminish and wholesome states to increase in one who cultivates it should be cultivated.

“And what kind of acquisition of perception causes unwholesome states to increase and wholesome states to diminish in one who cultivates it? Here someone is covetous and abides with his perception imbued with covetousness; he has ill will and abides with his perception imbued with ill will; he is cruel and abides with his perception imbued with cruelty. Such acquisition of perception causes unwholesome states to increase and wholesome states to diminish in one who cultivates it.

“And what kind of acquisition of perception causes unwholesome states to diminish and wholesome states to increase in one who cultivates it? Here someone is uncovetous and abides with his perception detached from covetousness; he is without ill will and abides with his perception detached from ill will; he is uncruel and abides with his perception detached from cruelty. Such acquisition of perception causes unwholesome states to diminish and wholesome states to increase in one who cultivates it.

“So it was with reference to this that it was said by the Blessed One: ‘Bhikkhus, the acquisition of perception is of two kinds, I say: to be cultivated and not to be cultivated. And the acquisition of perception is either the one or the other.’

10. “‘The acquisition of view is of two kinds, I say: to be cultivated and not to be cultivated. And the acquisition of view is either the one or the other.’ So it was said by the Blessed One. And with reference to what was this said?

“Venerable sir, such acquisition of view as causes unwholesome sates to increase and wholesome states to diminish in one who cultivates it should not be cultivated. But such acquisition of view as causes unwholesome states to diminish and wholesome states to increase in one who cultivates it should be cultivated.

“And what kind of acquisition of view causes unwholesome states to increase and wholesome states to diminish in one who cultivates it? Here someone holds such a view as this: ‘There is nothing given, nothing offered, nothing sacrificed; no fruit or result of good and bad actions; no this world, no other world; no mother, no father; no beings who are reborn spontaneously; no good and virtuous recluses and brahmins in the world who have realised for themselves by direct knowledge and declare this world and the other world.’ Such acquisition of view causes unwholesome states to increase and wholesome sates to diminish in one who cultivates it.

“And what kind of acquisition of view causes unwholesome states to diminish and wholesome states to increase in one who cultivates it? Here someone holds such a view as this: ‘There is what is given and what is offered and what is sacrificed; there is fruit and result of good and bad actions; there is this world and the other world; there is mother and father; there are beings who are reborn spontaneously; there are good and virtuous recluses and brahmins in the world who have realised for themselves by direct knowledge and declare this world and the other world.’ Such acquisition of view causes unwholesome states to diminish and wholesome sates to increase in one who cultivates it.

“So it was with reference to this that it was said by the Blessed One: ‘Bhikkhus, the acquisition of view is of two kinds, I say: to be cultivated and not to be cultivated. And the acquisition of view is either the one or the other.’

11. “‘The acquisition of individuality is of two kinds, I say: to be cultivated and not to be cultivated. And the acquisition of individuality is either the one or the other.’ So it was said by the Blessed One. And with reference to what was this said?

“Venerable sir, such acquisition of individuality as causes unwholesome sates to increase and wholesome states to diminish in one who cultivates it should not be cultivated. But such acquisition of individuality as causes unwholesome states to diminish and wholesome states to increase in one who cultivates it should be cultivated.

“And what kind of acquisition of individuality causes unwholesome states to increase and wholesome states to diminish in one who cultivates it? When a person generates an acquisition of individuality that is subject to affliction, unwholesome states increase and wholesome states diminish in him, preventing him from reaching the consummation.

“And what kind of acquisition of individuality causes unwholesome states to diminish and wholesome states to increase in one who cultivates it? When a person generates an acquisition of individuality that is free from affliction, unwholesome states increase and wholesome states diminish in him, enabling him to reach the consummation.

“So it was with reference to this that it was said by the Blessed One: ‘Bhikkhus, the acquisition of individuality is of two kinds, I say: to be cultivated and not to be cultivated. And the acquisition of individuality is either the one or the other.’

12. “Venerable sir, I understand the detailed meaning of the Blessed One’s utterance, which he has spoken in brief without expounding the detailed meaning, to be thus.”

(FIRST APPROVAL AND RECAPITULATION)

13. “Good, good, Sāriputta! It is good that you understand the detailed meaning of my utterance, which I spoke in brief without expounding the detailed meaning, to be thus.

14-20. (In these paragraphs the Buddha repeats verbatim §§5-11, with the substitution of Sāriputta” for “venerable sir” and of “by me” for “by the Blessed One.”)

21. “Sāriputta, the detailed meaning of my utterance, which I spoke in brief, should be regarded thus.

(SECOND EXPOSITION)

22. “Sāriputta, forms cognizable by the eye are of two kinds, I say: to be cultivated and not to be cultivated. Sounds cognizable by the ear are of two kinds, I say: to be cultivated and not to be cultivated. Odours cognizable by the nose are of two kinds, I say: to be cultivated and not to be cultivated. Flavours cognizable by the tongue are of two kinds, I say: to be cultivated and not to be cultivated. Tangibles cognizable by the body are of two kinds, I say: to be cultivated and not to be cultivated. Mind-objects cognizable by the mind are of two kinds, I say: to be cultivated and not to be cultivated.”

(SECOND ELABORATION)

23. When this was said, the venerable Sāriputta said to the Blessed One: “Venerable sir, I understand the detailed meaning of the Blessed One’s utterance, which he has spoken in brief without expounding the detailed meaning, to be thus:

24. “‘Sāriputta, forms cognizable by the eye are of two kinds, I say: to be cultivated and not to be cultivated.’ So it was said by the Blessed One. And with reference to what was this said?

“Venerable sir, such forms cognizable by the eye as cause unwholesome states to increase and wholesome states to diminish in one who cultivates them should not be cultivated. But such forms cognizable by the eye as cause unwholesome states to diminish and wholesome states to increase in one who cultivates them should be cultivated.

“So it was with reference to this that it was said by the Blessed One: ‘Sāriputta, forms cognizable by the eye are of two kinds, I say: to be cultivated and not to be cultivated.’

25. “‘Sounds cognizable by the ear are of two kinds, I say’...

26. “‘Odours cognizable by the nose are of two kinds, I say’...

27. “‘Flavours cognizable by the tongue are of two kinds, I say’...

28. “‘Tangibles cognizable by the body are of two kinds, I say’...

29. “‘Mind-objects cognizable by the mind are of two kinds, I say’: to be cultivated and not to be cultivated.’ So it was said by the Blessed One. And with reference to what was this said?

“Venerable sir, such mind-objects cognizable by the mind as cause unwholesome states to increase and wholesome states to diminish in one who cultivates them should not be cultivated. But such mind-objects cognizable by the mind as cause unwholesome states to diminish and wholesome states to increase in one who cultivates them should be cultivated.

“So it was with reference to this that it was said by the Blessed One: ‘Sāriputta, mind-objects cognizable by the mind are of two kinds, I say: to be cultivated and not to be cultivated.’

30. “Venerable sir, I understand the detailed meaning of the Blessed One’s utterance, which he has spoken in brief without expounding the detailed meaning, to be thus.”

(SECOND APPROVAL AND RECAPITULATION)

31. “Good, good, Sāriputta! It is good that you understand the detailed meaning of my utterance, which I spoke in brief without expounding the detailed meaning, to be thus.

32-37. (In these paragraphs the Buddha repeats verbatim §§24-29, with the necessary substitutions.)

38. “Sāriputta, the detailed meaning of my utterance, which I spoke in brief, should be regarded thus.

(THIRD EXPOSITION)

39. “Sāriputta, robes are of two kinds, I say: to be cultivated and not to be cultivated. Almsfood is of two kinds, I say: to be cultivated and not to be cultivated. Resting places are of two kinds, I say: to be cultivated and not to be cultivated. Villages are of two kinds, I say: to be cultivated and not to be cultivated. Towns are of two kinds, I say: to be cultivated and not to be cultivated. Cities are of two kinds, I say: to be cultivated and not to be cultivated. Districts are of two kinds, I say: to be cultivated and not to be cultivated. Persons are of two kinds, I say: to be cultivated and not to be cultivated.”

40. When this was said, the venerable Sāriputta said to the Blessed One: “Venerable sir, I understand the detailed meaning of the Blessed One’s utterance, which he has spoken in brief without expounding the detailed meaning, to be thus:

41. “‘Sāriputta, robes are of two kinds, I say: to be cultivated and not to be cultivated. So it was said by the Blessed One. And with reference to what was this said?

“Venerable sir, such robes as cause unwholesome states to increase and wholesome states to diminish in one who cultivates them should not be cultivated. But such robes as cause unwholesome states to diminish and wholesome states to increase in one who cultivates them should be cultivated.

“So it was with reference to this that it was said by the Blessed One: ‘Sāriputta, robes are of two kinds, I say: to be cultivated and not to be cultivated.’

42. “‘Almsfood is of two kinds, I say’...

43. “‘Resting places are of two kinds, I say’...

44. “‘Villages are of two kinds, I say’...

45. “‘Towns are of two kinds, I say’...

46. “‘Cities are of two kinds, I say’...

47. “‘Districts are of two kinds, I say’...

48. “‘Persons are of two kinds, I say: to be cultivated and not to be cultivated.’ So it was said by the Blessed One. And with reference to what was this said?

“Venerable sir, [association with] such persons as causes unwholesome states to increase and wholesome states to diminish in one who cultivates it should not be cultivated. But [association with] such persons as causes unwholesome states to diminish and wholesome states to increase in one who cultivates them should be cultivated.

“So it was with reference to this that it was said by the Blessed One: ‘Persons are of two kinds, I say: to be cultivated and not to be cultivated.’

49. “Venerable sir, I understand the detailed meaning of the Blessed One’s utterance, which he has spoken in brief without expounding the detailed meaning, to be thus.”

(THIRD APPROVAL AND RECAPITULATION)

50. “Good, good, Sāriputta! It is good that you understand the detailed meaning of my utterance, which I spoke in brief without expounding the detailed meaning, to be thus.

51-58. (In these paragraphs the Buddha repeats verbatim §§41-48, with the necessary substitutions.)

59. “Sāriputta, the detailed meaning of my utterance, which I spoke in brief, should be regarded thus.

(CONCLUSION)

60. “Sāriputta, if all nobles understood thus the detailed meaning of my utterance, which I spoke in brief, it would lead to their welfare and happiness for a long time. If all brahmins...all merchants...all workers understood thus the meaning of my utterance, which I spoke in brief, it would lead to their welfare and happiness for a long time. If the world with its gods, its Māras, and its Brahmās, this generation with its recluses and brahmins, its princes and its people, understood thus the detailed meaning of my utterance, which I spoke in brief, it would lead to the welfare and happiness of the world for a long time.”

That is what the Blessed One said. The venerable Sāriputta was satisfied and delighted in the Blessed One’s words.


Majjhima Nikāya 114
Part Three– The Final Fifty Discourses (Uparipaṇṇāsapāḷi) 
The Division at Devadaha (Devadahavagga)
Translated by Bhikkhu Ñāṇamoli and Bhikkhu Bodhi
Contributed by Chris Burke

 

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