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Anangana Sutta

Without Blemishes

Thus have I heard:

On one occasion the Blessed One was living at Savatthi in Jeta’s Grove, Anathapindika’s Park. There the venerable Shariputra addressed the Monks thus, "Friends, Monks." – "Friend," they replied. The venerable Shariputra said this,

"Friends, there are these four kinds of persons found existing in the world. What four? Here some person with a blemish does not understand it as it actually is thus, ‘I have a blemish in myself.’ Here some person with a blemish understands it as it actually is thus, ‘I have a blemish in myself.’ Here some person with no blemish does not understand it as it actually is thus, ‘I have no blemish in myself.’ Here some person with no blemish understands it as it actually is thus, ‘I have no blemish in myself.’

"Herein, the person with a blemish who does not understand it as it actually is thus, ‘I have a blemish in myself’ is called the inferior of the two persons with a blemish. Herein, the person with a blemish who understands it as it actually is thus, ‘I have a blemish in myself’ is called the superior of these two persons with a blemish.

"Herein, the person with no blemish who does not understand it as it actually is thus, ‘I have no blemish’ is called the inferior of these two persons with no blemish. Herein, the person with no blemish who understands it as it actually is thus, ‘I have no blemish’ is called the superior of these two persons with no blemish."

When this was said, the venerable Maha Moggallana asked the venerable Shariputra, "Friend Shariputra, what is the cause and reason why, of these two persons with a blemish, one is called the inferior man and one is called the superior man? What is the cause and reason why, of these two persons with no blemish, one is called the inferior man and one is called the superior man?"

"Herein, friend, when a person with a blemish does not understand it as it is thus, ‘I have a blemish in myself,’ it can be expected that he will not arouse zeal, make effort, or instigate energy to abandon that blemish, and that he will die with lust, hate, and delusion, with a blemish, with mind defiled. Suppose a bronze dish were brought from a shop or a smithy covered with dirt and stains, and the owners neither used it nor had it cleaned, but put it away in a dusty corner. Would the bronze dish thus get more defiled and stained later on?" – "Yes, friend." – "So too, Friend, when a person with a blemish does not understand it as it is actually thus, ‘I have a blemish in myself,’ it can be expected that he will not arouse zeal, make effort, or instigate energy to abandon that blemish, and that he will die with lust, hate, and delusion, with a blemish, with mind defiled.

"Herein, when a person with a blemish understands it as it actually is thus, ‘I have a blemish in myself,’ it can be expected that he will arouse zeal, make effort, instigate energy to abandon that blemish, and that he will die without lust, hate, and delusion, without blemish, with mind undefiled. Suppose a bronze dish were brought from a shop or a smithy covered with dirt and stains, and the owners had cleaned it and did not put it in a dusty corner. Would the bronze dish get cleaner and brighter later on?" – "Yes, Friend." – "So too, friend, when a person with a blemish understands it as it actually is thus, ‘I have a blemish in myself,’ it can be expected that he will arouse zeal, make effort, instigate energy to abandon that blemish, and that he will die without lust, hate, and delusion, without blemish, with mind undefiled.

"Herein, when a person with no blemish does not understand it as it is actually thus, ‘I have no blemish in myself,’ it can be expected that he will give attention to the sign of the beautiful, that by his doing so lust will infect his mind, and that he will die with lust, hate, and delusion, with a blemish, with mind defiled. Suppose a bronze dish were brought from a shop or smithy clean and bright, and the owners neither used it nor had it cleaned, but put it in a dusty corner. Would the bronze dish thus get more defiled and more stained later on?" – "Yes, friend." – "So too, friend, when a person with no blemish does not understand it as it is actually thus, ‘I have no blemish in myself,’ it can be expected that he will give attention to the sign of the beautiful, that by his doing so lust will infect his mind, and that he will die with lust, hate, and delusion, with a blemish, with mind defiled.

"Herein, when a person with no blemish understands it as it actually is thus, ‘I have no blemish in myself,’ it can be expected that he will not give attention to the sign of the beautiful, that by his not doing so lust will not infect his mind, and that he will die without lust, hate, and delusion, without blemish, with mind undefiled. Suppose a bronze dish were brought from a shop or smithy clean and bright, and the owners used it and had it cleaned, and did not put it in a dusty corner. Would the bronze dish thus get cleaner and brighter later on?" – "Yes, friend." – "So too, friend, when a person with no blemish understands it as it is actually thus, ‘I have no blemish in myself,’ it can be expected that he will not give attention to the sign of the beautiful, that by his doing so lust will not infect his mind, and that he will die without lust, hate, and delusion, with no blemish, with mind undefiled.

"This is the cause and reason why, of these two persons with a blemish, one is called the inferior man and one is called the superior man. This is the cause and reason why, of these two persons with no blemish, one is called the inferior man and one is called the superior man.

"Blemish, blemish, is said friend, but what is this word Blemish a term for?"

"Blemish, friend, is a term for the spheres of evil unwholesome wishes.

"It is possible that a Monk here might wish, ‘If I commit an offence, let the Monks not know that I have committed an offence.’ And it is possible that the Monks come to know that that Monk has committed an offence. So he is angry and bitter thus, ‘The Monks know that I have committed an offence.’ The anger and bitterness are both a blemish.

"It is possible that a Monk here might wish, ‘I have committed an offence, the monks should admonish me in private, not in the midst of the Sangha.’ And it is possible that the monks admonish that monk in the midst of the Sangha, not in private. So he is angry and bitter thus, ‘The monks admonished me in the midst of the Sangha, not in private.’ The anger and bitterness are both a blemish.

"It is possible that a monk here might wish, ‘I have committed an offence. A person who is my equal should admonish me, not a person who is not my equal.’ And it is possible that a person not his equal admonishes him, not a person his equal. So he is angry and bitter thus, ‘A person not my equal admonishes me, not a person my equal.’ The anger and bitterness are both a blemish.

"It is possible that a monk here might wish, ‘O that the teacher might teach the Dhamma to the monks by asking a series of questions of me, not of some other monk!’ And it is possible the teacher teaches the Dhamma to the monks by asking a series of questions of some other monk, not of that monk. So he is angry and bitter thus, ‘The teacher teaches the Dhamma to the monks by asking a series of questions of some other monk, not of me!’ The anger and bitterness are both a blemish.

"It is possible that a monk here might wish, ‘O that the monks might enter a village for alms putting me in the forefront not some other monk!’ And it is possible that the monks enter a village for alms putting some other monk in the forefront, not that monk. So he is angry and bitter thus, ‘The monks enter the village for alms putting some other monk in the forefront, not me!’ The anger and bitterness are both a blemish.

"It is possible that a monk here might wish, ‘O that I might get the best seat, the best water, the best alms food in the monastery, not some other monk!’ And it is possible that some other monk gets the best seat, the best water, and the best alms food in the monastery, not that monk. So he is angry and bitter thus, ‘Some other monk got the best seat, the best water, and the best alms food in the monastery, not me!’ The anger and bitterness are both a blemish.

"It is possible that a monk here might wish, ‘O that I might give the blessing in the monastery after the meal, not some other monk!’ And it is possible that some other monk gives the blessing, not that monk. So he is angry and bitter thus, ‘Some other monk gave the blessing in the monastery after the meal, not me!’ The anger and bitterness are both a blemish.

"It is possible that a monk here might wish, ‘O that I might teach the Dhamma to the monks, that I might teach the Dhamma to the nuns, that I might teach the Dhamma to the men lay followers, that I might teach the Dhamma to the women lay followers, not some other monk.’ And it is possible that some other monk teaches the Dhamma to the monks and nuns, laymen and laywomen. So he is angry and bitter thus, ‘Some other monk gives the teachings to the monks, nuns, laymen and laywomen, not me!’ The anger and bitterness are both a blemish.

"It is possible that a monk here might wish, ‘O that the monks, nuns, laymen and laywomen might honor, respect, revere and venerate me, not some other monk.’ And it is possible that they honor, respect, revere and venerate some other monk, not that monk. So he is angry and bitter thus, "Some other monk gets the honor, respect, reverence, and veneration, not me!’ The anger and bitterness are both a blemish.

"It is possible that a monk here might wish, ‘O that I might be the one to get a superior robe, superior alms food, a superior resting place, superior medicinal requisites, not some other monk!’ And it is possible that some other monk is the one to get a superior robe, superior alms food, a superior resting place and superior medicinal requisites, not that monk. So he is angry and bitter thus, ‘Another monk has received a superior robe, superior alms food, a superior resting place, and superior medicinal requisites, not me!’ The anger and the bitterness are both a blemish. Blemish, friend, is a term for the spheres of these evil, unwholesome wishes.

"If the spheres of these evil, unwholesome wishes are seen and heard to be un-abandoned in any monk, then for all that he may be a forest dweller, a frequenter of remote abodes, an alms food eater, a house to house seeker, a refuse rag wearer, a wearer of rough robes, still his fellows in the holy life do not honor, respect, revere, and venerate him. Why is that? Because the spheres of these evil unwholesome wishes are seen and heard to be un-abandoned in that venerable one.

"Suppose a metal bowl were brought from a shop or a smithy, clean and bright; and the owners put the carcass of a snake or a dog or a human being in it and, covering it with another bowl, went back to the market; then people seeing it said, ‘What is that you are carrying about like a treasure?’ Then, raising the lid and uncovering it, they looked in, and as soon as they saw they were inspired with such loathing, repugnance, and disgust, that even those who were hungry would not want to eat, not to speak of those who were full.

"So too if the spheres of these evil unwholesome wishes are seen and heard to be un-abandoned in any monk, then for all that he may be a forest dweller, a frequenter of remote abodes, an alms food eater, a house to house seeker, a refuse rag wearer, a wearer of rough robes, still his fellows in the holy life do not honor, respect, revere, and venerate him. Why is that? Because the spheres of these evil unwholesome wishes are seen and heard to be un-abandoned in that venerable one.

"If the spheres of these evil unwholesome wishes are seen and heard to be abandoned in any monk, then for all that he may be a village dweller, an accepter of invitations, a wearer of robes given him by householders, yet his fellows in the holy life honor, respect, revere and venerate him. Why is that? Because the spheres of these evil unwholesome wishes are seen and heard to be abandoned in that venerable one.

"Suppose a metal bow were brought from a shop or a smithy, clean and bright; and the owners put clean boiled rice and various soups and sauces into it, and covering it with another bowl went back to the market; then people seeing it said, , ‘What is that you are carrying about like a treasure?’ Then, raising the lid and uncovering it they looked in, and as soon as they saw they were inspired with such liking, appetite, and relish, that even those who were full would want to eat, not to speak of those who were hungry. So too, friend, If the spheres of these evil unwholesome wishes are seen and heard to be abandoned in any monk, then for all that he may be a village dweller, an accepter of invitations, a wearer of robes given him by householders, yet his fellows in the holy life honor, respect, revere and venerate him. Why is that? Because the spheres of these evil unwholesome wishes are seen and heard to be abandoned in that venerable one.

When this was said, the Venerable Maha Moggallana said to the Venerable Shariputra, "A simile occurs to me friend Shariputra." – "State it friend Moggallana."

"On one occasion, friend, I was living at the Hill Fort at Rajagaha. Then, when it was morning, I dressed, and taking my bowl and outer robe, I went into Rajagaha for alms. Now on that occasion Samiti, the Cartwright’s Son, was smoothing a beam of wood and the Ajivaka [A rival sect that practices severe austerities and believed in the concept of fate.] Panduputta, son of a former Cartwright was standing by. Then this thought arose in the Ajivaka Panduputta’s mind, ‘O that this Samiti, the Cartwright Son might plane this bend, this twist, this fault out of the wood so that it would be without bends, twists, or faults and come to consist purely of heartwood.’ And just as this thought came to pass in his mind so did Samiti, the Cartwright’s Son plane that bend, that twist, that fault, out of the wood. Then the Ajivaka Panduputta, son of a former Cartwright was glad and he voiced his gladness thus, ‘He planes just as if he knew my heart with his heart!’

"So too friend, there are persons who are faithless and have gone forth from the home life into homelessness not out of faith, but seeking a livelihood, who are fraudulent, deceitful, treacherous, haughty, hollow, personally vain, rough tongued, loose spoken, unguarded in the sense faculties, immoderate in eating, un-devoted to wakefulness, unconcerned with recluse-ship, not greatly respectful of training, luxurious, careless, leaders in backsliding, neglectful of seclusion, lazy, wanting in energy, unmindful, not fully aware, un-concentrated, with straying minds, devoid of wisdom, drivellers. The venerable Shariputra with his discourse on the Dhamma planes out their faults just as if he knew my heart with his heart!"

"But there are clansmen who have gone forth out of faith from the home life into homelessness, who are not fraudulent, deceitful, treacherous, haughty, hollow, personally vain, rough tongued, or loose spoken; who are guarded in their sense faculties, moderate in eating, devoted to wakefulness, concerned with recluse-ship, greatly respectful of training, not luxurious or careless, who are keen to avoid backsliding, leaders in seclusion, energetic, resolute, established in mindfulness, fully aware, concentrated, with unified minds, possessing wisdom, not drivellers. These, on hearing the venerable Shariputra’s discourse on the Dhamma drink it in and eat it as it were by word and thought. Good indeed it is that he makes his fellows in the holy life emerge from the unwholesome and establish themselves in the wholesome.

"Just as a woman or a man, young, youthful, fond of adornments, with head bathed, having received a garland of lotuses, jasmine, or roses would take it with both hands and place it on the head, so too there are clansmen who have gone forth out of faith from the home life into homelessness who are not fraudulent, deceitful, treacherous, haughty, hollow, personally vain, rough tongued, or loose spoken; who are guarded in their sense faculties, moderate in eating, devoted to wakefulness, concerned with recluse-ship, greatly respectful of training, not luxurious or careless, who are keen to avoid backsliding, leaders in seclusion, energetic, resolute, established in mindfulness, fully aware, concentrated, with unified minds, possessing wisdom, not drivellers. These, on hearing the venerable Shariputra discourse on the Dhamma drink it in and eat it as it were by word and thought. Good indeed it is that he makes his fellows in the holy life emerge from the unwholesome and establish himself in the wholesome."

Thus it was that these two great beings rejoiced in each others good words.

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