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The Original Words of the Buddha

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Iti 1-27

§ 1. {Iti 1.1; Iti 1}

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "Abandon one quality, monks, and I guarantee you non-return. Which one quality? Abandon greed as the one quality, and I guarantee you non-return."[1] This is the meaning of what the Blessed One said. So with regard to this it was said:[2]

The greed with which beings go to a bad destination,[3] coveting: from rightly discerning that greed, those who see clearly let go. Letting go, they never come to this world again.

This, too, was the meaning of what was said by the Blessed One, so I have heard.[4]

Notes

1.
Non-return: The third of the four levels of Awakening. On reaching this level, one will never be reborn in this world. A non-returner who does not go on to attain arahantship in this lifetime will be reborn in the Brahma worlds called the Pure Abodes and will attain nibbana there.

2, 4. These two statements are repeated in each discourse. To avoid monotony, they are given here only in the first and last discourses.

3.
The bad destinations rebirth in hell, as a hungry shade, as an angry demon, or as a common animal. As with the good destinations — rebirth as a human being, in heaven, or in the Brahma worlds — these states are impermanent and dependent on kamma.

§ 2. {Iti 1.2; Iti 1}

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "Abandon one quality, monks, and I guarantee you non-return. Which one quality? Abandon aversion as the one quality, and I guarantee you non-return."

The aversion with which beings go to a bad destination, upset: from rightly discerning that aversion, those who see clearly let go. Letting go, they never come to this world again.

§ 3. {Iti 1.3; Iti 2}

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "Abandon one quality, monks, and I guarantee you non-return. Which one quality? Abandon delusion as the one quality, and I guarantee you non-return."

The delusion with which beings go to a bad destination, confused: from rightly discerning that delusion, those who see clearly let go. Letting go, they never come to this world again.

§ 4. {Iti 1.4; Iti 2}

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "Abandon one quality, monks, and I guarantee you non-return. Which one quality? Abandon anger as the one quality, and I guarantee you non-return."

The anger with which beings go to a bad destination, enraged: from rightly discerning that anger, those who see clearly let go. Letting go, they never come to this world again.

§ 5. {Iti 1.5; Iti 3}

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "Abandon one quality, monks, and I guarantee you non-return. Which one quality? Abandon contempt as the one quality, and I guarantee you non-return."

The contempt with which beings go to a bad destination, disdainful: from rightly discerning that contempt, those who see clearly let go. Letting go, they never come to this world again.

§ 6. {Iti 1.6; Iti 3}

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "Abandon one quality, monks, and I guarantee you non-return. Which one quality? Abandon conceit as the one quality, and I guarantee you non-return."

The conceit with which beings go to a bad destination, proud: from rightly discerning that conceit, those who see clearly let go. Letting go, they never come to this world again.

§ 7. {Iti 1.7; Iti 3}

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "Monks, one who has not fully known & fully understood the All,[1] whose mind has not been cleansed of passion for it, has not abandoned it, is incapable of putting an end to stress. But one who has fully known & fully understood the All, whose mind has been cleansed of passion for it, has abandoned it, is capable of putting an end to stress."

Knowing the All from all around, not stirred by passion for anything at all: he, having comprehended the All, has gone beyond all stress.

Note

1.
"The All" = the six senses (sight, hearing, smell, taste, touch, & ideation) and their respective objects. This covers every aspect of experience that can be described, but does not include nibbana. For a full discussion of this point, see The Mind Like Fire Unbound, pp. 30-32.

§ 8. {Iti 1.8; Iti 4}

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "Monks, one who has not fully known & fully understood conceit, whose mind has not been cleansed of it, has not abandoned it, is incapable of putting an end to stress. But one who has fully known & fully understood conceit, whose mind has been cleansed of it, has abandoned it, is capable of putting an end to stress."

People are possessed by conceit tied up with conceit delighted with becoming. Not comprehending conceit, they come to becoming again. But those who, letting go of conceit, are, in its destruction, released, conquering the bond of conceit, go beyond all bonds.

§ 9. {Iti 1.9; Iti 4}

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "Monks, one who has not fully known & fully understood greed, who has not detached his mind from it and let go of it, is incapable of putting an end to stress. But one who has fully known & fully understood greed, who has detached his mind from it and let go of it, is capable of putting an end to stress."

The greed with which beings go to a bad destination, coveting: from rightly discerning that greed, those who see clearly let go. Letting go, they never come to this world again.

§ 10-13. {Iti 1.10; Iti 5}

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "Monks, one who has not fully known & fully understood aversion... delusion... anger... contempt, who has not detached his mind from it and let go of it, is incapable of putting an end to stress. But one who has fully known & fully understood aversion... delusion... anger... contempt, who has detached his mind from it and let go of it, is capable of putting an end to stress."

[The verses for these discourses = those for discourses 2-5.]

§ 14. {Iti 1.14; Iti 7}

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "Monks, I don't envision even one other obstruction — obstructed by which people go wandering & transmigrating on for a long, long time — like the obstruction of ignorance. Obstructed with the obstruction of ignorance, people go wandering & transmigrating on for a long, long time."

No one other thing so obstructs people that they wander on, day & night, as when they're ensnared with delusion. But those who, letting go of delusion, shatter the mass of darkness, wander no further. Their cause isn't found.

§ 15. {Iti 1.15; Iti 8}

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "Monks, I don't envision even one other fetter — fettered by which beings conjoined go wandering & transmigrating on for a long, long time — like the fetter of craving. Fettered with the fetter of craving, beings conjoined go wandering & transmigrating on for a long, long time."

With craving his companion, a man wanders on a long, long time. Neither in this state here nor anywhere else does he go beyond the wandering- on. Knowing this drawback — that craving brings stress into play — free from craving, devoid of clinging, mindful, the monk lives the mendicant life.

§ 16. {Iti 1.16; Iti 9}

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "With regard to internal factors, I don't envision any other single factor like appropriate attention[1] as doing so much for a monk in training,[2] who has not attained the heart's goal but remains intent on the unsurpassed safety from bondage.[3] A monk who attends appropriately abandons what is unskillful and develops what is skillful.

Appropriate attention as a quality of a monk in training: nothing else does so much for attaining the superlative goal. A monk, striving appropriately, attains the ending of stress.

Notes

1.
Appropriate attention (yoniso manasikara) is the ability to focus attention on questions that lead to the end of suffering. MN 2 lists the following questions as not fit for attention: "Was I in the past? Was I not in the past? What was I in the past? How was I in the past?... Shall I be in the future? Shall I not be in the future? What shall I be in the future? How shall I be in the future?... Am I? Am I not? What am I? How am I? Where has this being come from? Where is it bound?" The discourse also lists the following issues as fit for attention: "This is stress. This is the origination of stress. This is the cessation of stress. This is the way leading to the cessation of stress."
2.
A person "in training" is one who has attained at least the first level of Awakening, but not yet the final level.
3.
Bondage = the four yokes: sensual passion, becoming, views, & ignorance.

§ 17. {Iti 1.17; Iti 10}

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "With regard to external factors, I don't envision any other single factor like admirable friendship[1] as doing so much for a monk in training, who has not attained the heart's goal but remains intent on the unsurpassed safety from bondage. A monk who is a friend with admirable people abandons what is unskillful and develops what is skillful."

A monk with admirable people as friends — who's reverential, respectful, doing what his friends advise — mindful, alert, attains step by step the ending of all fetters.

Note

1.
In SN 45.2 the Buddha says, "Admirable friendship... is actually the whole of the holy life... It is in dependence on me as an admirable friend that beings subject to birth have gained release from birth... aging... death... sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair." As AN 8.54 points out, admirable friendship means not only associating with good people, but also learning from them and emulating their good qualities.

§ 18. {Iti 1.18; Iti 10}

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "One thing, when arising in the world, arises for the detriment of many, for the unhappiness of many, for the detriment & unhappiness of many beings, both human & divine. Which one thing? Schism in the Sangha. When the Sangha is split, there are arguments with one another, there is abuse of one another, ganging up on one another, abandoning of one another. Then those with little confidence [in the teaching] lose all confidence, while some of those who are confident become otherwise."

Doomed for an aeon to deprivation, to hell: one who has split the Sangha. Delighting in factions, unjudicious — he's barred from safety from bondage. Having split a Sangha in concord, he cooks for an aeon in hell.

§ 19. {Iti 1.19; Iti 11}

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "One thing, when arising in the world, arises for the welfare of many, for the happiness of many, for the welfare & happiness of many beings, both human & divine. Which one thing? Concord in the Sangha. When the Sangha is in concord, there are no arguments with one another, no abuse of one another, no ganging up on one another, no abandoning of one another. Then those with little confidence [in the teaching] become confident, while those already confident become even more so."

Blissful is concord in the Sangha. One who assists in concord — delighting in concord, judicious — isn't barred from safety from bondage. Having brought concord to the Sangha, he rejoices for an aeon in heaven.

§ 20. {Iti 1.20; Iti 12}

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "There is the case where a certain person is corrupt-minded. Having encompassed that mind with [my] awareness, I discern, 'If this person were to die at this instant, then as if he were to be carried off, he would thus be placed in hell.' Why is that? Because his mind is corrupt. It's because of corrupt-mindedness that there are cases where beings — at the break-up of the body, after death — reappear in the plane of deprivation, the bad destination, the lower realms, in hell."

Knowing the case of a corrupt-minded person, the One Awakened explained its meaning in the presence of the monks. If that person were to die at this instant, he'd reappear in hell because his mind is corrupt — as if he were carried off and placed there. It's because of corrupt-mindedness that beings go to a bad destination.

§ 21. {Iti 1.21; Iti 13}

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "There is the case where a certain person is clear-minded. Having encompassed that mind with [my] awareness, I discern, 'If this person were to die at this instant, then as if he were to be carried off, he would thus be placed in heaven.' Why is that? Because his mind is clear. It's because of clear-mindedness that there are cases where beings — at the break-up of the body, after death — reappear in the heavenly world."

Knowing the case of a clear-minded person, the One Awakened explained its meaning in the presence of the monks. If that person were to die at this instant, he'd reappear in heaven because his mind is clear — as if he were carried off and placed there. It's because of clear-mindedness that beings go to a good destination.

§ 22. {Iti 1.22; Iti 14}

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "Monks, don't be afraid of acts of merit. This is another way of saying what is blissful, desirable, pleasing, endearing, charming — i.e., acts of merit. I am cognizant that, having long performed meritorious deeds, I long experienced desirable, pleasing, endearing, charming results. Having developed a mind of good will for seven years, then for seven aeons of contraction & expansion I didn't return to this world. Whenever the aeon was contracting, I went to the realm of Streaming Radiance. Whenever the aeon was expanding, I reappeared in an empty Brahma-abode. There I was the Great Brahman, the Unconquered Conqueror, All-seeing, & Wielder of Power. Then for thirty-six times I was Sakka, ruler of the gods. For many hundreds of times I was a king, a wheel-turning emperor, a righteous king of Dhamma, conqueror of the four corners of the earth, maintaining stable control over the countryside, endowed with the seven treasures[1] — to say nothing of the times I was a local king. The thought occurred to me: 'Of what action of mine is this the fruit, of what action the result, that I now have such great power & might?' Then the thought occurred to me: 'This is the fruit of my three [types of] action, the result of three types of action, that I now have such great power & might: i.e., giving, self-control, & restraint.'"

Train in acts of merit that bring long-lasting bliss — develop giving, a life in tune, a mind of good-will. Developing these three things that bring about bliss, the wise reappear in a world of bliss unalloyed.

Note

1.
The seven treasures are a divine wheel, an ideal jewel, an ideal elephant, an ideal horse, an ideal wife, an ideal treasurer, an ideal counselor.

§ 23. {Iti 1.23; Iti 16}

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "This one quality, if developed & pursued, keeps both kinds of benefit secure: benefits in this life & benefits in lives to come. Which one quality? Heedfulness with regard to skillful qualities. This is the one quality that, if developed & pursued, keeps both kinds of benefit secure: benefits in this life & benefits in lives to come."

They praise heedfulness, the wise, in doing acts of merit. When heedful, wise, you achieve both kinds of benefit: benefits in this life, & benefits in lives to come. By breaking through to your benefit, you're called enlightened, wise.

§ 24. {Iti 1.24; Iti 17}

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "If a single person were to wander & transmigrate on for an aeon, he/she would leave behind a chain of bones, a pile of bones, a heap of bones, as large as this Mount Vepulla, if there were someone to collect them and the collection were not destroyed."

The accumulation of a single person's bones for an aeon would be a heap on a par with the mountain, so said the Great Seer. (He declared this to be the great Mount Vepulla to the north of Vulture's Peak in the mountain-ring of the Magadhans.)[1] But when that person sees with right discernment the four Noble Truths — stress, the cause of stress, the transcending of stress, & the Noble Eightfold Path, the way to the stilling of stress — having wandered on seven times at most, then, with the ending of all fetters, he puts a stop to stress.

Note

1.
Magadha was a kingdom in the time of the Buddha, corresponding roughly to the present day state of Bihar. Its capital city, Rajagaha, was surrounded by a ring of five mountains. Vulture's Peak, a secluded rock outcrop in the middle of the ring, was a spot frequented by the Buddha.

§ 25. {Iti 1.25; Iti 18}

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "For the person who transgresses in one thing, I tell you, there is no evil deed that is not to be done. Which one thing? This: telling a deliberate lie."

The person who lies, who transgress in this one thing, transcending concern for the world beyond: there's no evil he might not do.

§ 26. {Iti 1.26; Iti 18}

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "If beings knew, as I know, the results of giving & sharing, they would not eat without having given, nor would the stain of selfishness overcome their minds. Even if it were their last bite, their last mouthful, they would not eat without having shared, if there were someone to receive their gift. But because beings do not know, as I know, the results of giving & sharing, they eat without having given. The stain of selfishness overcomes their minds."

If beings knew what the Great Seer said, how the result of sharing has such great fruit, then, subduing the stain of selfishness with brightened awareness, they'd give in season to the noble ones, where a gift bears great fruit. Having given food as an offering to those worthy of offerings, many donors, when they pass away from here, the human state, go to heaven. They, having gone there to heaven, rejoice, enjoying sensual pleasures. Unselfish, they partake of the result of sharing.

§ 27. {Iti 1.27; Iti 19}

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "All the grounds for making merit leading to spontaneously arising (in heaven) do not equal one-sixteenth of the awareness-release through good will. Good will — surpassing them — shines, blazes, & dazzles.

"Just as the radiance of all the stars does not equal one-sixteenth of the radiance of the moon, as the moon — surpassing them — shines, blazes, & dazzles, even so, all the grounds for making merit leading to spontaneously arising in heaven do not equal one-sixteenth of the awareness-release through good will. Good will — surpassing them — shines, blazes, & dazzles.

"Just as in the last month of the rains, in autumn, when the sky is clear & cloudless, the sun, on ascending the sky, overpowers the space immersed in darkness, shines, blazes, & dazzles, even so, all the grounds for making merit leading to spontaneously arising in heaven do not equal one-sixteenth of the awareness-release through good will. Good will — surpassing them — shines, blazes, & dazzles.

"Just as in the pre-dawn darkness the morning star shines, blazes, & dazzles, even so, all the grounds for making merit leading to spontaneously arising in heaven do not equal one-sixteenth of the awareness-release through good will. Good will — surpassing them — shines, blazes, & dazzles."

When one develops — mindful — good will without limit, fetters are worn through, on seeing the ending of acquisitions. If with uncorrupted mind you feel good will for even one being, you become skilled from that. But a Noble One produces a mind of sympathy for all beings, an abundance of merit. Kingly seers, who conquered the earth swarming with beings, went about making sacrifices: the horse sacrifice, human sacrifice, water rites, soma rites, & the "Unobstructed," but these don't equal one sixteenth of a well-developed mind of good will — as all the constellations don't, one sixteenth of the radiance of the moon. One who neither kills nor gets others to kill, neither conquers, nor gets others to conquer, with good will for all beings, has no hostility with anyone at all.

See also: AN 11.16; Sn 1.8.