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The Original Words of the Buddha

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Iti 50-99

§ 50. {Iti 3.1; Iti 44}

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "There are these three roots of what is unskillful. Which three? Greed as a root of what is unskillful, aversion as a root of what is unskillful, delusion as a root of what is unskillful. These are the three roots of what is unskillful."

Greed, aversion, delusion destroy the self-same person of evil mind from whom they are born, like the fruiting of the bamboo.

§ 51. {Iti 3.2; Iti 45}

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "There are these three properties. Which three? The property of form, the property of formlessness, & the property of cessation.[1] These are the three properties."

Comprehending the property of form, not taking a stance in the formless, those released in cessation are people who've left death behind. Having touched with his body the deathless property free from acquisitions, having realized the relinquishing of acquisitions, fermentation-free, the Rightly Self-awakened One teaches the state with no sorrow, no dust.

Note

1.
The property of form corresponds to the experience of the form of the body as present in the first four levels of jhana (see Glossary). The property of formlessness corresponds to the formless experiences based on the fourth level of jhana: the dimension of the infinitude of space, the dimension of the infinitude of consciousness, the dimension of nothingness, and the dimension of neither perception nor non-perception. The property of cessation is the experience of the total cessation of stress.

§ 52. {Iti 3.3; Iti 46}

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "There are these three feelings. Which three? A feeling of pleasure, a feeling of pain, a feeling of neither pleasure nor pain. These are the three feelings."

Centered, mindful, alert, the Awakened One's disciple discerns feelings, how feelings come into play, where they cease, & the path to their ending. With the ending of feelings, a monk free of want is totally unbound.

§ 53. {Iti 3.4; Iti 47}

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "There are these three feelings. Which three? A feeling of pleasure, a feeling of pain, a feeling of neither pleasure nor pain. A feeling of pleasure should be seen as stressful. A feeling of pain should be seen as an arrow. A feeling of neither pleasure nor pain should be seen as inconstant. When a monk has seen a feeling of pleasure as stressful, a feeling of pain as an arrow, and a feeling of neither pleasure nor pain as inconstant, then he is called a monk who is noble, who has seen rightly, who has cut off craving, destroyed the fetters, and who — from the right breaking-through of conceit — has put an end to suffering & stress."

Whoever sees pleasure as stress, sees pain as an arrow, sees peaceful neither-pleasure-nor-pain as inconstant: he is a monk who's seen rightly. From that he is there set free. A master of direct knowing, at peace, he is a sage gone beyond bonds.

§ 54. {Iti 3.5; Iti 48}

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "There are these three searches. Which three? The search for sensuality, the search for becoming, the search for a holy life. These are the three searches."

Centered, mindful, alert, the Awakened One's disciple discerns searches, how searches come into play, where they cease, & the path to their ending. With the ending of searches, a monk free of want is totally unbound.

§ 55. {Iti 3.6; Iti 48}

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "There are these three searches. Which three? The search for sensuality, the search for becoming, the search for a holy life. These are the three searches."

Sensual search, becoming-search, together with the holy-life search — i.e., grasping at truth based on an accumulation of viewpoints: through the relinquishing of searches & the abolishing of viewpoints of one dispassionate to all passion, and released in the ending of craving, through the ending of searches, the monk is devoid of perplexity & desire.

§ 56. {Iti 3.7; Iti 49}

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "There are these three fermentations. Which three? The fermentation of sensuality, the fermentation of becoming, the fermentation of ignorance. These are the three fermentations."

Centered, mindful, alert, the Awakened One's disciple discerns fermentations, how fermentations come into play, where they cease, & the path to their ending. With the ending of fermentations, a monk free of want is totally unbound.

§ 57. {Iti 3.8; Iti 49}

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "There are these three fermentations. Which three? The fermentation of sensuality, the fermentation of becoming, the fermentation of ignorance. These are the three fermentations."

His fermentation of sensuality ended, his ignorance washed away, his fermentation of becoming exhausted: one totally released, acquisition-free, bears his last body, having conquered Mara along with his mount.

§ 58. {Iti 3.9; Iti 50}

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "There are these three cravings. Which three? Craving for sensuality, craving for becoming, craving for non-becoming. These are the three cravings."

Bound with the bondage of craving, their minds smitten with becoming & non-, they are bound with the bondage of Mara — people with no safety from bondage, beings going through the wandering-on, headed for birth & death. While those who've abandoned craving, free from the craving for becoming & non-, reaching the ending of fermentations, though in the world, have gone beyond.

§ 59. {Iti 3.10; Iti 50}

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "Endowed with three qualities a monk has passed beyond Mara's domain and shines like the sun. Which three? There is the case where a monk is endowed with the aggregate of virtue of one beyond training [i.e., an arahant], the aggregate of concentration of one beyond training, the aggregate of discernment of one beyond training. Endowed with these three qualities a monk has passed beyond Mara's domain and shines like the sun."

Virtue, concentration, discernment: one in whom these are well-developed, passing beyond Mara's domain, shines, shines like the sun.

§ 60. {Iti 3.11; Iti 51}

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "There are these three grounds for meritorious activity. Which three? The ground for meritorious activity made of giving, the ground for meritorious activity made of virtue, and the ground for meritorious activity made of development [meditation]. These are the three grounds for meritorious activity."

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.

§ 61. {Iti 3.12; Iti 52}

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "There are these three eyes. Which three? The eye of flesh, the divine eye [clairvoyance], & the eye of discernment. These are the three eyes."

The eye of flesh, the eye divine, the eye of discernment unsurpassed: these three eyes were taught by the Superlative Person. The arising of the eye of flesh is the path to the eye divine. When knowledge arises, the eye of discernment unsurpassed: whoever gains this eye is — from all suffering & stress — set free.

§ 62. {Iti 3.13; Iti 52}

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "There are these three faculties. Which three? The faculty of 'I am about to know what is not yet finally known,' the faculty of final knowledge, the faculty of one who has finally known.[1] These are the three faculties."

For a learner in training along the straight path: first, the knowledge of ending; then, immediately, gnosis; then, from the ending of the fetter — becoming — there's the knowledge, the gnosis of one released who is Such:[2] One consummate in these faculties, peaceful, enjoying the peaceful state, bears his last body, having conquered Mara along with his mount.

Notes

1.
According to the Commentary, the first of these faculties corresponds to the first noble attainment, the path to stream-entry; the second, to the next six attainments, ranging from the fruition of stream-entry to the path to arahantship; and the third, to the highest attainment, the fruition of arahantship.
2.
Such (tadi): see the note to §44.

§ 63. {Iti 3.14; Iti 53}

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "There are these three times. Which three? Past time, future time, & present time. These are the three times."

Perceiving in terms of signs, beings take a stand on signs. Not fully comprehending signs, they come into the bonds of death. But fully comprehending signs, one doesn't construe a signifier. Touching liberation with the heart, the state of peace unsurpassed, consummate in terms of signs, peaceful, enjoying the peaceful state, judicious, an attainer-of wisdom makes use of classifications but can't be classified.[1]

Note

1.
At first glance, the verses here do not bear much relationship to the prose introduction. However, if they are viewed in the context of MN 2 (see the note to §16), their relationship becomes clear: the person who applies appropriate attention to the notion of past, present, and future time does not define him or herself in those terms, and so does not cling to any sense of self in those terms. Without clinging, one is liberated from birth and death.

§ 64. {Iti 3.15; Iti 54}

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "There are these three kinds of misconduct. Which three? Bodily misconduct, verbal misconduct, mental misconduct.[1] These are the three kinds of misconduct."

Having engaged in bodily misconduct, verbal misconduct, misconduct of mind, or whatever else is flawed, not having done what is skillful, having done much that is not, at the break-up of the body, the undiscerning one reappears in hell.

Note

1.
See the note to §30.

§ 65. {Iti 3.16; Iti 55}

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "There are these three kinds of good conduct. Which three? Bodily good conduct, verbal good conduct, mental good conduct. These are the three kinds of good conduct."

Having abandoned bodily misconduct, verbal misconduct, misconduct of mind, & whatever else is flawed, not having done what's not skillful, having done much that is, at the break-up of the body, the discerning one reappears in heaven.

§ 66. {Iti 3.17; Iti 55}

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "There are these three kinds of cleanliness. Which three? Bodily cleanliness, verbal cleanliness, mental cleanliness. These are the three kinds of cleanliness."

Clean in body, clean in speech, clean in awareness — fermentation-free — one who is clean, consummate in cleanliness, is said to have abandoned the All.

§ 67. {Iti 3.18; Iti 56}

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "There are these three forms of sagacity. Which three? Bodily sagacity, verbal sagacity, & mental sagacity. These are the three forms of sagacity."

A sage in body, a sage in speech, a sage in mind, fermentation-free: a sage consummate in sagacity is said to be bathed of evil.

§ 68. {Iti 3.19; Iti 56}

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "Anyone whose passion is unabandoned, whose aversion is unabandoned, whose delusion is unabandoned is said to have gone over to Mara's camp, has come under Mara's power. The Evil One can do with that person as he likes. But anyone whose passion is abandoned, whose aversion is abandoned, whose delusion is abandoned is said not to have gone over to Mara's camp, has thrown off Mara's power. With that person, the Evil One cannot do as he likes."

One whose passion, aversion, & ignorance are washed away, is said to be composed in mind, Brahma-become, awakened, Tathagata, one for whom fear & hostility are past, one who's abandoned the All.

§ 69. {Iti 3.20; Iti 57}

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "Anyone — monk or nun — in whom passion is unabandoned, aversion is unabandoned, & delusion is unabandoned, is said not to have crossed the ocean with its waves, breakers, & whirlpools, its monsters & demons.[1] Anyone — monk or nun — in whom passion is abandoned, aversion is abandoned, & delusion is abandoned, is said to have crossed the ocean with its waves, breakers, & whirlpools, its monsters & demons. Having crossed over, having reached the far shore, he/she stands on high ground, a brahman."

One whose passion, aversion, & ignorance are washed away, has crossed over this ocean with its sharks, demons, dangerous waves, so hard to cross. Free from acquisitions — bonds surmounted, death abandoned — he has abandoned stress with no further becoming. Having gone to the goal he is undefined,[2] has outwitted, I tell you, the King of Death.

Notes

1.
See §109.
2.
See §63.

§ 70. {Iti 3.21; Iti 58}

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "I have seen beings who — endowed with bodily misconduct, verbal misconduct, & mental misconduct; who reviled noble ones, held wrong views and undertook actions under the influence of wrong views — at the break-up of the body, after death, have re-appeared in the plane of deprivation, the bad destination, the lower realms, in hell. It is not from having heard this from other brahmans & contemplatives that I tell you that I have seen beings who — endowed with bodily misconduct, verbal misconduct, & mental misconduct; who reviled noble ones, held wrong views and undertook actions under the influence of wrong views — at the break-up of the body, after death, have re-appeared in the plane of deprivation, the bad destination, the lower realms, in hell. It is from having known it myself, seen it myself, realized it myself that I tell you that I have seen beings who — endowed with bodily misconduct, verbal misconduct, & mental misconduct; who reviled noble ones, held wrong views and undertook actions under the influence of wrong views — at the break-up of the body, after death, have re-appeared in the plane of deprivation, the bad destination, the lower realms, in hell."

With mind wrongly directed, speaking wrong speech, doing wrong deeds with the body: a person here of little learning, a doer of evil here in this life so short, at the break-up of the body, undiscerning, reappears in hell.

§ 71. {Iti 3.22; Iti 59}

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "I have seen beings who — endowed with bodily good conduct, verbal good conduct, & mental good conduct; who did not revile noble ones, who held right views and undertook actions under the influence of right views — at the break-up of the body, after death, have re-appeared in the good destination, the heavenly world. It is not from having heard this from other brahmans & contemplatives that I tell you that I have seen beings who — endowed with bodily good conduct, verbal good conduct, & mental good conduct; who did not revile noble ones, who held right views and undertook actions under the influence of right views — at the break-up of the body, after death, have re-appeared in the good destination, the heavenly world. It is from having known it myself, seen it myself, realized it myself that I tell you that I have seen beings who — endowed with bodily good conduct, verbal good conduct, & mental good conduct; who did not revile noble ones, who held right views and undertook actions under the influence of right views — at the break-up of the body, after death, have re-appeared in the good destination, the heavenly world. "

With mind rightly directed, speaking right speech, doing right deeds with the body: a person here of much learning, a doer of merit here in this life so short, at the break-up of the body, discerning, reappears in heaven.

§ 72. {Iti 3.23; Iti 61}

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "There are these three properties for escape. Which three? This is the escape from sensuality: renunciation.[1] This is the escape from form: formlessness. And as for whatever has come into being, is fabricated & dependently co-arisen, the escape from that is cessation. These are the three properties for escape."

Knowing the escape from sensuality, & the overcoming of forms — ardent always — touching the stilling of all fabrications: he is a monk who's seen rightly. From that he is there set free. A master of direct knowing, at peace, he is a sage gone beyond bonds.

Note

1.
Renunciation here means the first level of jhana, which is attained when one is secluded from sensual passion and unskillful mental qualities. On formlessness and cessation, see the note to §51.

§ 73. {Iti 3.24; Iti 62}

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "Formless phenomena are more peaceful than forms; cessation, more peaceful than formless phenomena."

Those beings headed to forms, and those standing in the formless, with no knowledge of cessation, return to further becoming. But, comprehending form, not taking a stance in formless things, those released in cessation are people who've left death behind. Having touched with his body the deathless property free from acquisitions, having realized relinquishing of acquisitions, fermentation-free, the Rightly Self-awakened One teaches the state with no sorrow, no dust.

§ 74. {Iti 3.25; Iti 62}

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "There are these three types of sons & daughters existing in the world. Which three? One of heightened birth, one of similar birth, one of lowered birth.

"And how is a son or daughter of heightened birth? There is the case where a son or daughter's parents have not gone to the Buddha for refuge, have not gone to the Dhamma for refuge, have not gone to the Sangha for refuge. They do not abstain from taking life, from stealing, from sexual misconduct, from false speech, from fermented & distilled liquors that cause heedlessness. They are unprincipled & evil by nature. However, their son or daughter has gone to the Buddha for refuge, has gone to the Dhamma for refuge, has gone to the Sangha for refuge. He/she abstains from taking life, from stealing, from sexual misconduct, from false speech, from fermented & distilled liquors that cause heedlessness. He/she is principled & admirable by nature. This is called a son or daughter of heightened birth.

"And how is a son or daughter of similar birth? There is the case where a son or daughter's parents have gone to the Buddha for refuge, have gone to the Dhamma for refuge, have gone to the Sangha for refuge. They abstain from taking life, from stealing, from sexual misconduct, from false speech, from fermented & distilled liquors that cause heedlessness. They are principled & admirable by nature. Their son or daughter has also gone to the Buddha for refuge, has gone to the Dhamma for refuge, has gone to the Sangha for refuge. He/she abstains from taking life, from stealing, from sexual misconduct, from false speech, from fermented & distilled liquors that cause heedlessness. He/she is principled & admirable by nature. This is called a son or daughter of similar birth.

"And how is a son or daughter of lowered birth? There is the case where a son or daughter's parents have gone to the Buddha for refuge, have gone to the Dhamma for refuge, have gone to the Sangha for refuge. They abstain from taking life, from stealing, from sexual misconduct, from false speech, from fermented & distilled liquors that cause heedlessness. They are principled & admirable by nature. However, their son or daughter has not gone to the Buddha for refuge, has not gone to the Dhamma for refuge, has not gone to the Sangha for refuge. He/she does not abstain from taking life, from stealing, from sexual misconduct, from false speech, from fermented & distilled liquors that cause heedlessness. He/she is unprincipled & evil by nature. This is called a son or daughter of lowered birth."

The wise hope for a child of heightened or similar birth, not for one of lowered birth, a disgrace to the family. These children in the world, lay followers, consummate in virtue, conviction; generous, free from stinginess, shine forth in any gathering like the moon when freed from a cloud.

§ 75. {Iti 3.26; Iti 64}

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "These three types of persons can be found existing in the world. Which three? One like a cloud without rain, one who rains locally, and one who rains everywhere.

"And how is a person like a cloud without rain? There is the case where a person is not a giver of food, drink, clothing, vehicles, garlands, scents, ointments, beds, dwellings, or lights to any brahmans or contemplatives, to any of the miserable, the homeless, or beggars. This is how a person is like a cloud without rain.

"And how is a person one who rains locally? There is the case where a person is a giver of food, drink, clothing, vehicles, garlands, scents, ointments, beds, dwellings, & lights to some brahmans & contemplatives, to some of the miserable, the homeless, & beggars, and not to others. This is how a person one who rains locally.

"And how is a person one who rains everywhere? There is the case where a person gives food, drink, clothing, vehicles, garlands, scents, ointments, beds, dwellings, & lights to all brahmans & contemplatives, to all of the miserable, the homeless, & beggars. This is how a person one who rains everywhere.

"These are the three types of persons who can be found existing in the world."

Not to contemplatives, to brahmans, to the miserable, nor to the homeless does he share what he's gained: food, drinks, nourishment. He, that lowest of people, is called a cloud with no rain. To some he gives, to others he doesn't: the intelligent call him one who rains locally. A person responsive to requests, sympathetic to all beings, delighting in distributing alms: "Give to them! Give!" he says. As a cloud — resounding, thundering — rains, filling with water, drenching the plateaus & gullies: a person like this is like that. Having rightly amassed wealth attained through initiative, he satisfies fully with food & drink those fallen into the homeless state.

§ 76. {Iti 3.27; Iti 67}

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "Aspiring to these three forms of bliss, a wise person should guard his virtue. Which three? [Thinking,] 'May praise come to me,' a wise person should guard his virtue. [Thinking,] 'May wealth come to me,' a wise person should guard his virtue. [Thinking,] 'At the break-up of the body, after death, may I reappear in a good destination, in heaven,' a wise person should guard his virtue. Aspiring to these three forms of bliss, a wise person should guard his virtue."

Intelligent, you should guard your virtue, aspiring to three forms of bliss: praise; the obtaining of wealth; and, after death, rejoicing in heaven. Even if you do no evil but seek out one who does, you're suspected of evil. Your bad reputation grows. The sort of person you make a friend, the sort you seek out, that's the sort you yourself become — for your living together is of that sort. The one associated with, the one who associates, the one who's touched, the one who touches another — like an arrow smeared with poison — contaminates the quiver. So, fearing contamination, the enlightened should not be comrades with evil people. A man who wraps rotting fish in a blade of kusa grass makes the grass smelly: so it is if you seek out fools. But a man who wraps powdered incense in the leaf of a tree makes the leaf fragrant: so it is if you seek out the enlightened. So, knowing your own outcome as like the leaf-wrapper's, you shouldn't seek out those who aren't good. The wise would associate with those who are. Those who aren't good lead you to hell. The good help you reach a good destination.

§ 77. {Iti 3.28; Iti 69}

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "This body falls apart; consciousness is subject to fading; all acquisitions are inconstant, stressful, subject to change."

Knowing the body as falling apart, & consciousness as dissolving away, seeing the danger in acquisitions, you've gone beyond birth & death. Having reached the foremost peace, you bide your time, composed.

§ 78. {Iti 3.29; Iti 70}

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "It is in accordance with their properties that beings come together & associate with one another. Beings of low dispositions come together & associate with beings of low dispositions. Beings of admirable dispositions come together & associate with beings of admirable dispositions. In the past, it was in accordance with their properties that beings came together & associated with one another... In the future, it will be in accordance with their properties that beings will come together & associate with one another... And now at present, it is in accordance with their properties that beings come together & associate with one another. Beings of low dispositions come together & associate with beings of low dispositions. Beings of admirable dispositions come together & associate with beings of admirable dispositions."

The underbrush born of association is cut away by non-association. Just as one riding a small wooden plank would sink in the great sea, so does even one of right living sink, associating with the lazy. So avoid the lazy, those with low persistence. Live with the noble ones — secluded, resolute, absorbed in jhana, their persistence constantly aroused : the wise.

§ 79. {Iti 3.30; Iti 71}

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "These three things lead to the falling away of a monk in training. Which three? There is the case where a monk in training enjoys activity,[1] delights in activity, is intent on his enjoyment of activity. He enjoys chatter, delights in chatter, is intent on his enjoyment of chatter. He enjoys sleep, delights in sleep, is intent on his enjoyment of sleep. These are the three things that lead to the falling away of a monk in training.

"These three things lead to the non-falling away of a monk in training. Which three? There is the case where a monk in training doesn't enjoy activity, doesn't delight in activity, isn't intent on his enjoyment of activity. He doesn't enjoy chatter, doesn't delight in chatter, isn't intent on his enjoyment of chatter. He doesn't enjoy sleep, doesn't delight in sleep, isn't intent on his enjoyment of sleep. These are the three things that lead to the non-falling away of a monk in training."

Enjoying activity, delighting in chatter, enjoying sleep, & restless: he's incapable — a monk like this — of touching superlative self-awakening. So he should be a man of few duties, of little sloth, not restless. He's capable — a monk like this — of touching superlative self-awakening.

Note

1.
Activity = work of various sorts, such as construction work, robe-making, etc.

§ 80. {Iti 3.31; Iti 72}

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "There are these three kinds of unskillful thinking. Which three? Thinking concerned with not wanting to be despised; thinking concerned with gains, offerings, & tribute; thinking concerned with an empathy for others.[1] There are three kinds of unskillful thinking."

Fettered to not wanting to be despised; to gains, offerings, respect; to delight in companions: you're far from the ending of fetters. But whoever here, having abandoned sons, cattle, marriage, intimates: he's capable — a monk like this — of touching superlative self-awakening.

Note

1.
According to the Commentary, this refers to a monk's tendency to be overly intimate with lay people, overly susceptible to the rises and falls in their fortunes, "happy when they are happy, sad when they are sad, busying himself with their affairs."

§ 81. {Iti 3.32; Iti 73}

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "I have seen beings conquered by receiving offerings — their minds overwhelmed — at the break-up of the body, after death, reappearing in the plane of deprivation, the bad destination, the lower realms, in hell. I have seen beings conquered by not receiving offerings — their minds overwhelmed — at the break-up of the body, after death, reappearing in the plane of deprivation, the bad destination, the lower realms, in hell. I have seen beings conquered both by receiving offerings & by not receiving offerings — their minds overwhelmed — at the break-up of the body, after death, reappearing in the plane of deprivation, the bad destination, the lower realms, in hell.

"It's not through having heard it from other brahmans or contemplatives that I say, 'I have seen beings conquered by receiving offerings — their minds overwhelmed — at the break-up of the body, after death, reappearing in the plane of deprivation, the bad destination, the lower realms, in hell. I have seen beings conquered by not receiving offerings — their minds overwhelmed — at the break-up of the body, after death, reappearing in the plane of deprivation, the bad destination, the lower realms, in hell. I have seen beings conquered both by receiving offerings & by not receiving offerings — their minds overwhelmed — at the break-up of the body, after death, reappearing in the plane of deprivation, the bad destination, the lower realms, in hell.'

"Instead, it's from having known it myself, seen it myself, observed it myself that I say, 'I have seen beings conquered by receiving offerings — their minds overwhelmed — at the break-up of the body, after death, reappearing in the plane of deprivation, the bad destination, the lower realms, in hell. I have seen beings conquered by not receiving offerings — their minds overwhelmed — at the break-up of the body, after death, reappearing in the plane of deprivation, the bad destination, the lower realms, in hell. I have seen beings conquered both by receiving offerings & by not receiving offerings — their minds overwhelmed — at the break-up of the body, after death, reappearing in the plane of deprivation, the bad destination, the lower realms, in hell.'"

Both when receiving offerings & not: his concentration won't waver, he remains heedful: he — continually absorbed in jhana, subtle in view & clear-seeing, enjoying the ending of clinging — is called a man of integrity.

§ 82. {Iti 3.33; Iti 75}

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "These three divine sounds sound forth among the devas on appropriate occasions. Which three? When a disciple of the noble ones, shaving off his hair & beard, clothing himself in the ochre robe, makes up his mind to go forth from the home life into homelessness, on that occasion the divine sound sounds forth among the devas: 'This disciple of the noble ones has made up his mind to do battle with Mara.' This is the first divine sound that sounds forth among the devas on appropriate occasions.

"When a disciple of the noble ones lives devoted to developing the seven [sets of] qualities that are wings to Awakening,[1] on that occasion the divine sound sounds forth among the devas: 'This disciple of the noble ones is doing battle with Mara.' This is the second divine sound that sounds forth among the devas on appropriate occasions.

"When a disciple of the noble ones, through the ending of fermentations dwells in the awareness-release & discernment-release that are free from fermentation, having known & made them manifest for himself right in the present life, on that occasion the divine sound sounds forth among the devas: 'This disciple of the noble ones has won the battle. Having been in the front lines of the battle, he now dwells victorious.' This is the third divine sound that sounds forth among the devas on appropriate occasions.

"These are the three divine sounds that sound forth among the devas on appropriate occasions."

Seeing he's won the battle — the disciple of the Rightly Self-awakened One — even the devas pay homage to this great one, thoroughly mature. "Homage to you, O thoroughbred man — you who have won the hard victory, defeating the army of Death, unhindered in emancipation." Thus they pay homage, the devas, to one who has reached the heart's goal, for they see in him no means that would bring him under Death's sway.

Note

1.
The wings to Awakening are the four frames of reference, the four right exertions, the four bases for power, the five faculties, the five strengths, the seven factors for Awakening, and the noble eightfold path.

§ 83. {Iti 3.34; Iti 76}

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard:

"When a deva is about to pass away from the company of devas, five omens appear: his garlands wither, his clothes get soiled, sweat comes out of his armpits, a dullness descends on his body, he no longer delights in his own deva-seat. The devas, knowing from this that 'This deva-son is about to pass away,' encourage him with three sayings: 'Go from here, honorable sir, to a good destination. Having gone to a good destination, gain the gain that is good to gain. Having gained the gain that is good to gain, become well-established.'"

When this was said, a certain monk said to the Blessed One, "What, lord, is the devas' reckoning of going to a good destination? What is their reckoning of the gain that is good to gain? What is their reckoning of becoming well-established?"

"The human state, monks, is the devas' reckoning of going to a good destination. Having become a human being, acquiring conviction in the Dhamma-&-Vinaya taught by the Tathagata: this is the devas' reckoning of the gain that is good to gain. When that conviction is settled within one — rooted, established, & strong, not to be destroyed by any brahman or contemplative; deva, Mara, or Brahma; or anyone else in the world: this is the devas' reckoning of becoming well-established."

When a deva passes away from the company of devas through his life-span's ending, three sounds sound forth — the devas' encouragement. 'Go from here, honorable sir, to a good destination, to companionship with human beings. On becoming a human being, acquire a conviction unsurpassed in True Dhamma. That conviction of yours in True Dhamma, well-taught, should be settled, rooted, established, — undestroyed as long as you live. Having abandoned bodily misconduct, verbal misconduct, mental misconduct, and whatever else is flawed; having done with the body what's skillful, and much that is skillful with speech, having done what's skillful with a heart without limit, with no acquisitions, then — having made much of that basis of merit through giving — establish other mortals in True Dhamma & the holy life.' With this sympathy, the devas — when they know a deva is passing away — encourage him: 'Come back, deva, again & again.'

§ 84. {Iti 3.35; Iti 78}

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "These three persons, appearing in the world, appear for the benefit of many, the happiness of many, in sympathy for the world — for the welfare, the benefit, the happiness of beings human & divine. Which three?

"There is the case where a Tathagata appears in the world, worthy & rightly self-awakened, consummate in clear knowing & conduct, well-gone, an expert with regard to the cosmos, unsurpassed trainer of tamable people, teacher of beings human & divine, awakened, blessed. He teaches the Dhamma admirable in its beginning, admirable in its middle, admirable in its end. He proclaims the holy life both in its particulars & in its essence, entirely perfect, surpassingly pure. This is the first person who, appearing in the world, appears for the benefit of many, the happiness of many, in sympathy for the world — for the welfare, the benefit, the happiness of beings human & divine.

"Furthermore, there is the disciple of that Teacher who is a worthy one, his mental fermentations ended, who has reached fulfillment, done the task, laid down the burden, attained the true goal, totally destroyed the fetter of becoming, and who is released through right gnosis. He teaches the Dhamma admirable in its beginning, admirable in its middle, admirable in its end. He proclaims the holy life both in its particulars & in its essence, entirely perfect, surpassingly pure. This is the second person who, appearing in the world, appears for the benefit of many, the happiness of many, in sympathy for the world — for the welfare, the benefit, the happiness of beings human & divine.

"Furthermore, there is the disciple of that Teacher who is a learner, following the way, erudite, endowed with [good] practices & principles. He, too, teaches the Dhamma admirable in its beginning, admirable in its middle, admirable in its end. He proclaims the holy life both in its particulars & in its essence, entirely perfect, surpassingly pure. This is the third person who, appearing in the world, appears for the benefit of many, the happiness of many, in sympathy for the world — for the welfare, the benefit, the happiness of beings human & divine.

"These are the three persons who, appearing in the world, appear for the benefit of many, the happiness of many, in sympathy for the world — for the welfare, the benefit, the happiness of beings human & divine."

The Teacher, Great Seer, is first in the world; following him, the disciple composed; and then the learner, erudite, following the way, endowed with good virtue, practices. These three, chief among beings divine & human, giving light, proclaiming the Dhamma, throw open the door to the Deathless, release many from bondage. Those who follow the path, well-taught by the Caravan Leader unsurpassed, will put an end to stress right here — those heeding the message of the One Well-gone.

§ 85. {Iti 3.36; Iti 80}

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "Remain focused, monks, on the foulness of the body. Have mindfulness of in-&-out breathing well established to the fore within you. Remain focused on the inconstancy of all fabrications. For one who remains focused on the foulness of the body, the obsession with passion for the property of beauty is abandoned. For one who has mindfulness of in-&-out breathing well established to the fore within oneself, annoying external thoughts & inclinations don't exist. For one who remains focused on the inconstancy of all fabrications, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises."

Focusing on foulness in the body, mindful of in & out breathing, seeing the stilling of all fabrications — ardent always: he is a monk who's seen rightly. From that he is there set free. A master of direct knowing, at peace, he is a sage gone beyond bonds.

§ 86. {Iti 3.37; Iti 81}

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "With reference to a monk who practices the Dhamma in accordance with the Dhamma, it is this way of according with the Dhamma that he should be described as practicing the Dhamma in accordance with the Dhamma. When speaking, he speaks Dhamma and not non-Dhamma. When thinking, he thinks about Dhamma and not about non-Dhamma. Avoiding both these things, he stays equanimous, mindful, alert."

Dhamma his dwelling, Dhamma his delight, a monk pondering Dhamma, calling Dhamma to mind, doesn't fall away from true Dhamma. Whether walking, standing, sitting, or lying down — his mind inwardly restrained — he arrives right at peace.

§ 87. {Iti 3.38; Iti 82}

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "There are these three kinds of unskillful thinking that produce blindness, produce lack of vision, produce lack of knowledge, lead to the cessation of discernment, side with vexation, and are not conducive to Unbinding. Which three? Thinking imbued with sensuality... Thinking imbued with ill-will... Thinking imbued with harmfulness produces blindness, produces lack of vision, produces lack of knowledge, leads to the cessation of discernment, sides with vexation, and is not conducive to Unbinding. These are the three kinds of unskillful thinking that produce blindness, produce lack of vision, produce lack of knowledge, lead to the cessation of discernment, side with vexation, and are not conducive to Unbinding.

"There are these three kinds of skillful thinking that produce non-blindness, produce vision, produce knowledge, foster discernment, side with non-vexation, and are conducive to Unbinding. Which three? Thinking imbued with renunciation... Thinking imbued with non-ill-will... Thinking imbued with harmlessness produces non-blindness, produces vision, produces knowledge, fosters discernment, sides with non-vexation, and is conducive to Unbinding. These are the three kinds of skillful thinking that produce non-blindness, produce vision, produce knowledge, foster discernment, side with non-vexation, and are conducive to Unbinding."

Three skillful thoughts should be thought, three unskillful thoughts rejected. Whoever stills sustained thoughts — as rain would, a cloud of dust — through an awareness with thinking stilled, attains right here the state of peace.

§ 88. {Iti 3.39; Iti 83}

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "There are these three inside stains, inside enemies, inside foes, inside murderers, inside adversaries. Which three? Greed is an inside stain, inside enemy, inside foe, inside murderer, inside adversary. Aversion is an inside stain... Delusion is an inside stain, inside enemy, inside foe, inside murderer, inside adversary. These are the three inside stains, inside enemies, inside foes, inside murderers, inside adversaries."

Greed causes harm. Greed provokes the mind. People don't realize it as a danger born from within. A person, when greedy, doesn't know his own welfare; when greedy, doesn't see Dhamma. Overcome with greed, he's in the dark, blind. But when one, abandoning greed, feels no greed for what would merit greed, greed gets shed from him — like a drop of water off a lotus leaf. Aversion causes harm. Aversion provokes the mind. People don't realize it as a danger born from within. A person, when aversive, doesn't know his own welfare; when aversive, doesn't see Dhamma. Overcome with aversion he's in the dark, blind. But when one, abandoning aversion, feels no aversion for what would merit aversion, aversion drops away from him — like a palm leaf from its stem. Delusion causes harm. Delusion provokes the mind. People don't realize it as a danger born from within. A person, when deluded, doesn't know his own welfare; when deluded, doesn't see Dhamma. Overcome with delusion he's in the dark, blind. But when one, abandoning delusion, feels no delusion for what would merit delusion, he disperses all delusion — as the rising of the sun, the dark.

§ 89. {Iti 3.40; Iti 85}

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "Conquered by three forms of false Dhamma — his mind overwhelmed — Devadatta[1] is incurably doomed to deprivation, to hell, for an aeon. Which three? Conquered by evil desires — his mind overwhelmed — Devadatta is incurably doomed to deprivation, to hell, for the duration of an aeon. Conquered by friendship with evil people — his mind overwhelmed — Devadatta is incurably doomed to deprivation, to hell, for the duration of an aeon. And, there being something further to be done, he nevertheless stopped halfway with a lower modicum of distinctive attainment. Conquered by these three forms of false Dhamma — his mind overwhelmed — Devadatta is incurably doomed to deprivation, to hell, for an aeon."

May no one in the world ever be reborn with evil desire. Know that, through that evil desire, his destination's that of all who have evil desires. I've heard how Devadatta, — regarded as wise, composed, incandescent with honor — in the thrall of heedlessness assaulted the Tathagata and fell to the four-gated, fearful place: Avici, unmitigated hell. Whoever plots against one free of corruption who's done no evil deed: that evil touches him himself, corrupted in mind, disrespectful. Whoever might think of polluting the ocean with a pot of poison, couldn't succeed, for the mass of water is great. So it is when anyone attacks with abuse the Tathagata — rightly-gone, of peaceful mind — for abuse doesn't grow on him. A wise person should make friends, should associate, with a person like him — whose path a monk can pursue and reach the ending of suffering & stress.

Note

1.
Devadatta, one of the Buddha's cousins, plotted to take over the Sangha, and ended up causing a schism. His story is told in Cv VII. [See also §18.] His "lower modicum of distinctive attainment" was his mastery of psychic powers.

§ 90. {Iti 3.41; Iti 87}

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "There are these three supreme objects of confidence. Which three?

"Among whatever beings there may be — footless, two-footed, four-footed, many footed; with form or formless; percipient, non-percipient, neither percipient nor non-percipient — the Tathagata, worthy & rightly self-awakened, is considered supreme. Those who have confidence in the Awakened One have confidence in what is supreme; and for those with confidence in the supreme, supreme is the result.

"Among whatever qualities there may be, fabricated or unfabricated, the quality of dispassion — the subduing of intoxication, the elimination of thirst, the uprooting of attachment, the breaking of the round, the destruction of craving, dispassion, cessation, the realization of Unbinding — is considered supreme. Those who have confidence in the quality of dispassion have confidence in what is supreme; and for those with confidence in the supreme, supreme is the result.

"Among whatever fabricated qualities there may be, the Noble Eightfold Path — right view, right resolve, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration — is considered supreme. Those who have confidence in the Noble Eightfold Path have confidence in what is supreme; and for those with confidence in the supreme, supreme is the result.

"Among whatever communities or groups there may be, the Sangha of the Tathagata's disciples is considered supreme — i.e., the four [groups of noble disciples] when taken as pairs, the eight when taken as persons.[1] Those who have confidence in the Sangha have confidence in what is supreme; and for those with confidence in the supreme, supreme will be the result.

"These, monks, are the three supreme objects of confidence."

With confidence, realizing the supreme Dhamma to be supreme, confidence in the supreme Buddha, unsurpassed in deserving offerings; confidence in the supreme Dhamma, the stilling of dispassion, bliss; confidence in the supreme Sangha, unsurpassed as a field of merit; having given gifts to the supreme, one develops supreme merit, supreme long life & beauty, status, honor, bliss, & strength. Having given to the supreme, the wise person, centered in supreme Dhamma, whether becoming a divine or human being, rejoices, having attained the supreme.

Note

1.
The four groups of noble disciples when taken as pairs are those who have attained (1) the path to stream-entry and the fruition of stream-entry; (2) the path to once-returning and the fruition of once-returning; (3) the path to non-returning and the fruition of non-returning; and (4) the path to arahantship and the fruition of arahantship. Taking each attainment singly gives eight "individuals."

§ 91. {Iti 3.42; Iti 89}

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "This is a lowly means of livelihood, alms gathering. It's a form of abuse in the world [to say], 'You go around as an alms gatherer with a bowl in your hand!' Yet sensible young men of good families have taken it up for a compelling reason. They have not been forced into it by kings or robbers, nor through debt, through fear, nor through the loss of their livelihood, but through the thought: 'We are beset by birth, aging, & death, by sorrows, lamentations, pains, distresses, & despairs, beset by stress, overcome with stress. O, that the end of this entire mass of suffering & stress might be known!' But this young man of good family, having gone forth in this way, may be greedy for sensual pleasures, strong in his passions, malevolent in mind, corrupt in his resolves, his mindfulness muddled, unalert, uncentered, his mind scattered, & his faculties uncontrolled. Just as a firebrand from a funeral pyre — burning at both ends, covered with excrement in the middle — is used as fuel neither in a village nor in the wilderness: I tell you that this is a simile for this person. He has missed out on the householder's enjoyments and does not fulfill the purpose of the contemplative life."

He's missed out on the householder's enjoyment & the purpose of the contemplative life — unfortunate man! Ruining it, he throws it away, perishes like a firebrand used at a funeral. Better to eat an iron ball — glowing, aflame — than that, unprincipled & unrestrained, he should eat the alms of the country.

See also: SN 22.80

§ 92. {Iti 3.43; Iti 91}

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "Even if a monk, taking hold of my outer cloak, were to follow right behind me, placing his feet in my footsteps, yet if he were to be greedy for sensual pleasures, strong in his passions, malevolent in mind, corrupt in his resolves, his mindfulness muddled, unalert, uncentered, his mind scattered, & his faculties uncontrolled, then he would be far from me, and I from him. Why is that? Because he does not see the Dhamma. Not seeing the Dhamma, he does not see me.

"But even if a monk were to live one hundred leagues away, yet if he were to have no greed for sensual objects, were not strong in his passions, not malevolent in mind, uncorrupt in his resolves, his mindfulness established, alert, centered, his mind at singleness, & his faculties well-restrained, then he would be near to me, and I to him. Why is that? Because he sees the Dhamma. Seeing the Dhamma, he sees me."

Though following right behind, full of desire, vexation: see how far he is! — the perturbed from the unperturbed, the bound from the Unbound, the greedy one from the one with no greed. But the wise person who, through direct knowledge of Dhamma, gnosis of Dhamma, grows still & unperturbed like a lake unruffled by wind: see how close he is! — the unperturbed to the unperturbed, the Unbound to the Unbound, the greedless one to the one with no greed.

§ 93. {Iti 3.44; Iti 92}

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "Monks, there are these three fires. Which three? The fire of passion, the fire of aversion, the fire of delusion. These, monks, are the three fires."

The fire of passion burns in a mortal excited, smitten with sensual desires; the fire of aversion, in a malevolent person taking life; the fire of delusion, in a bewildered person ignorant of the noble teaching. Not understanding these fires, people — fond of self-identity — unreleased from Mara's shackles, swell the ranks of hell, the wombs of common animals, demons, the realm of the hungry shades. While those who, day & night, are devoted to the teachings of the rightly self-awakened, put out the fire of passion, constantly perceiving the foul. They, superlative people, put out the fire of aversion with good will, and the fire of delusion with the discernment leading to penetration. They, the masterful, untiring by day & night, having put out [the fires], having, without remainder, comprehended stress, are, without remainder, totally unbound. They, the wise, with an attainer-of-wisdom's noble vision, right gnosis, directly knowing the ending of birth, come to no further becoming.

§ 94. {Iti 3.45; Iti 94}

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "A monk should investigate in such a way that — his consciousness neither externally scattered & diffused, nor internally fixated — he is, from lack of clinging/sustenance, unagitated, and there is no seed for the origination of future birth, aging, death, or stress."

For a monk who has abandoned seven attachments and cut the guide:[1] the wandering-on in birth is finished, there is no further becoming.

Note

1.
The "seven attachments" are passion, aversion, delusion, views, conceit, defilement, & misconduct. The "guide" is craving, which leads to becoming.

§ 95. {Iti 3.46; Iti 94}

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "There are these three ways of obtaining sensual pleasures. Which three? Those whose sensual pleasures are already provided, those who delight in creating, those with control over what is created by others.[1] These are the three ways of obtaining sensual pleasures."

Devas whose pleasures are already provided, those with control, those who delight in creation, and any others enjoying sensual pleasures in this state here or anywhere else, don't go beyond the wandering-on. Knowing this drawback in sensual pleasures, the wise should abandon all sensual desires, whether human or divine. Having cut the flow of greed for lovely, alluring forms so hard to transcend, having, without remainder, comprehended stress, they are, without remainder, totally unbound. They, the wise, with an attainer-of-wisdom's noble vision, right gnosis, directly knowing the ending of birth, come to no further becoming.

Note

1.
As the verse makes clear, these three categories denote three levels of devas in the heavens of sensual pleasure. "Those in control" are at the highest of these levels.

§ 96. {Iti 3.47; Iti 95}

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "Tied by the yoke of sensuality & the yoke of becoming, one is a returner, returning to this state. Untied from the yoke of sensuality but tied by the yoke of becoming, one is a non-returner, not returning to this state. Untied from [both] the yoke of sensuality & from the yoke of becoming, one is an arahant whose fermentations are ended."

Tied by both the yoke of sensuality & the yoke of becoming, beings go to the wandering-on leading to birth & death. Those who've abandoned the sensual without reaching the ending of fermentations, are tied by the yoke of becoming, are said to be non-returners. While those who've cut off doubt have no more conceit or further becoming. They who have reached the ending of fermentations, while in the world have gone beyond.

§ 97. {Iti 3.48; Iti 96}

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "A monk who has admirable virtue, admirable qualities, & admirable discernment is called, in this Dhamma-&-Vinaya, one who is complete, fulfilled, a superlative person.

"And how is a monk a person with admirable virtue? There is the case where a monk is virtuous. He dwells restrained in accordance with the Patimokkha, consummate in his behavior & sphere of activity. He trains himself, having undertaken the training rules, seeing danger in the slightest faults. In this way a monk is a person with admirable virtue. Thus he is of admirable virtue.

"And how is a monk a person with admirable qualities? There is the case where a monk lives devoted to developing the seven [sets of] qualities that are wings to Awakening.[1] In this way a monk is a person with admirable qualities. Thus he is of admirable virtue & admirable qualities.

"And how is a monk a person with admirable discernment? There is the case where a monk, through the ending of fermentations, dwells in the awareness-release & discernment-release that are free from fermentation, having known & made them manifest for himself right in the present life. In this way a monk is a person with admirable discernment. Thus he is of admirable virtue, admirable qualities, admirable discernment. In this Dhamma-&-Vinaya he is called one who is complete, fulfilled, a superlative person."

Devoid of wrong-doing in thought, word, or deed, he's called a person of admirable virtue: the monk conscientious. Well-developed in the qualities that go to the attainment of self-awakening, he's called a person of admirable qualities: the monk unassuming. Discerning right here for himself, in himself, the ending of stress he's called a person of admirable discernment: the monk with no fermentation. Consummate in these things, untroubled, with doubt cut away, unattached in all the world, he's said to have abandoned the All.

Note

1.
See the note to §82.

§ 98. {Iti 3.49; Iti 98}

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "There are these two kinds of gifts: a gift of material things & a gift of the Dhamma. Of the two, this is supreme: a gift of the Dhamma. There are these two kinds of sharing: sharing of material things & sharing of the Dhamma. Of the two, this is supreme: sharing of the Dhamma. There are these two kinds of assistance: assistance with material things & assistance with the Dhamma. Of the two, this is supreme: help with the Dhamma."

The gift he describes as foremost & unsurpassed, the sharing the Blessed One has extolled: who — confident in the supreme field of merit, wise, discerning — wouldn't give it at appropriate times? Both for those who proclaim it and those who listen, confident in the message of the One Well-gone: it purifies their foremost benefit — those heeding the message of the One Well-gone.

§ 99. {Iti 3.50; Iti 98}

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "It's on the strength of Dhamma that I describe [a person as] a brahman with threefold knowledge, and not another as measured by citing & reciting. And how is it on the strength of Dhamma that I describe [a person as] a brahman with threefold knowledge, and not another as measured by citing & reciting?

"There is the case where a monk recollects his manifold past lives, i.e., one birth, two... five, ten... fifty, a hundred, a thousand, a hundred thousand, many aeons of cosmic contraction, many aeons of cosmic expansion, many aeons of cosmic contraction & expansion: 'There I had such a name, belonged to such a clan, had such an appearance. Such was my food, such my experience of pleasure & pain, such the end of my life. Passing away from that state, I re-arose there. There too I had such a name, belonged to such a clan, had such an appearance. Such was my food, such my experience of pleasure & pain, such the end of my life. Passing away from that state, I re-arose here.' Thus he recollects his manifold past lives in their modes & details.

"This is the first knowledge he has attained. Ignorance has been destroyed; knowledge has arisen; darkness has been destroyed; light has arisen — as happens in one who is heedful, ardent, & resolute.

"Then again, the monk sees — by means of the divine eye, purified & surpassing the human — beings passing away & re-appearing, and I discerned how they are inferior & superior, beautiful & ugly, fortunate & unfortunate in accordance with their actions: 'These beings — who were endowed with bodily misconduct, verbal misconduct, & mental misconduct; who reviled noble ones, held wrong views and undertook actions under the influence of wrong views — at the break-up of the body, after death, have re-appeared in the plane of deprivation, the bad destination, the lower realms, in hell. But these beings — who were endowed with bodily good conduct, verbal good conduct, & mental good conduct; who did not revile noble ones, who held right views and undertook actions under the influence of right views — at the break-up of the body, after death, have re-appeared in the good destinations, in the heavenly world.' Thus — by means of the divine eye, purified & surpassing the human — he sees beings passing away & re-appearing, and discerns how they are inferior & superior, beautiful & ugly, fortunate & unfortunate in accordance with their actions.

"This is the second knowledge he has attained. Ignorance has been destroyed; knowledge has arisen; darkness has been destroyed; light has arisen — as happens in one who is heedful, ardent, & resolute.

"Then again, the monk — with the ending of fermentations — remains in the fermentation-free awareness-release & discernment-release, having directly known and made it manifest for himself right in the present life.

"This is the third knowledge he has attained. Ignorance has been destroyed; knowledge has arisen; darkness has been destroyed; light has arisen — as happens in one who is heedful, ardent, & resolute.

"It's in this way that, on the strength of Dhamma, I describe [a person as] a brahman with threefold knowledge, and not another as measured by citing & reciting."

He knows his former lives. He sees heavens & states of woe, has attained the ending of birth, is a sage who has mastered full-knowing. By means of these three knowledges he becomes a three-knowledge brahman.[1] He's what I call a three-knowledge man — not another, citing, reciting.

Note

1.
In the brahmanical religion, a "three-knowledge man" was one who had memorized the three Vedas. This verse takes the brahmanical term and gives it a new, Buddhist meaning.

See also: MN 4; Dhp 423.