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Capala Sutta

Nodding

Translated from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu
For free distribution only

Once the Blessed One was living among the Bhaggas in the Deer Park at Bhesakala Grove, near Crocodile Haunt. At that time Ven. Maha Moggallana prior to his Awakening sat nodding near the village of Kallavalaputta, in Magadha. The Blessed One, with his purified divine eye, surpassing the human, saw Ven. Maha Moggallana as he sat nodding near the village of Kallavalaputta, in Magadha. As soon as he saw this -- just as a strong man might extend his flexed arm or flex his extended arm -- he disappeared from among the Bhaggas in the Deer Park at Bhesakala Grove, near Crocodile Haunt, and re-appeared near the village of Kallavalaputta, in Magadha, right in front of Ven. Maha Moggallana. There he sat down on a prepared seat. As he was sitting there, the Blessed One said to Ven. Maha Moggallana, "Are you nodding, Moggallana? Are you nodding?"

"Yes, lord."

"Well then, Moggallana, whatever perception you have in mind when drowsiness descends on you, don't attend to that perception, don't pursue it. It's possible that by doing this you will shake off your drowsiness.

"But if by doing this you don't shake off your drowsiness, then recall to your awareness the Dhamma as you have heard and memorized it, re-examine it and ponder it over in your mind. It's possible that by doing this you will shake off your drowsiness.

"But if by doing this you don't shake off your drowsiness, then repeat aloud in detail the Dhamma as you have heard and memorized it. It's possible that by doing this you will shake off your drowsiness.

"But if by doing this you don't shake off your drowsiness, then pull both you earlobes and rub your limbs with your hands. It's possible that by doing this you will shake off your drowsiness.

"But if by doing this you don't shake off your drowsiness, then get up from your seat and, after washing your eyes out with water, look around in all directions and upward to the major stars and constellations. It's possible that by doing this you will shake off your drowsiness.

"But if by doing this you don't shake off your drowsiness, then attend to the perception of light, resolve on the perception of daytime, dwelling by night as by day, and by day as by night. By means of an awareness thus open and unhampered, develop a brightened mind. It's possible that by doing this you will shake off your drowsiness.

"But if by doing this you don't shake off your drowsiness, then -- percipient of what lies in front and behind -- set a distance to meditate walking back and forth, your senses inwardly immersed, your mind not straying outwards. It's possible that by doing this you will shake off your drowsiness.

"But if by doing this you don't shake off your drowsiness, then -- reclining on your right side -- take up the lion's posture, one foot placed on top of the other, mindful, alert, with your mind set on getting up. As soon as you wake up, get up quickly, with the thought, 'I won't stay indulging in the pleasure of lying down, the pleasure of reclining, the pleasure of drowsiness.' That is how you should train yourself.

"Furthermore, Moggallana, should you train yourself: 'I will not visit families with my pride [literally, "my trunk" (i.e., a elephant's trunk)] lifted high.' That is how you should train yourself. Among families there are many jobs that have to be done, so that people don't pay attention to a visiting monk. If a monk visits them with his trunk lifted high, the thought will occur to him, 'Now who, I wonder, has caused a split between me and this family? The people seem to have no liking for me.' Getting nothing, he becomes abashed. Abashed, he becomes restless. Restless, he becomes unrestrained. Unrestrained, his mind is far from concentration.

"Furthermore, Moggallana, should you train yourself: 'I will speak no confrontational speech.' That is how you should train yourself. When there is confrontational speech, a lot of discussion can be expected. When there is a lot of discussion, there is restlessness. One who is restless becomes unrestrained. Unrestrained, his mind is far from concentration.

"It's not the case, Moggallana, that I praise association of every sort. But it's not the case that I dispraise association of every sort. I don't praise association with householders and renunciates. But as for dwelling places that are free from noise, free from sound, their atmosphere devoid of people, appropriately secluded for resting undisturbed by human beings: I praise association with dwelling places of this sort."

When this was said, Ven. Moggallana said to the Blessed One: "Briefly, lord, in what respect is a monk released through the ending of craving, utterly complete, utterly free from bonds, a follower of the utterly holy life, utterly consummate: foremost among human and heavenly beings?"

"There is the case, Moggallana, where a monk has heard, 'All things are unworthy of attachment.' Having heard that all things are unworthy of attachment, he fully knows all things. Fully knowing all things, he fully comprehends all things. Fully comprehending all things, then whatever feeling he experiences -- pleasure, pain, neither pleasure nor pain -- he remains focused on inconstancy, focused on dispassion, focused on cessation, focused on relinquishing with regard to that feeling. As he remains focused on inconstancy, focused on dispassion, focused on cessation, focused on relinquishing with regard to that feeling, he is un-sustained by (does not cling to) anything in the world. Un-sustained, he is not agitated. Un-agitated, he is unbound right within. He discerns: 'Birth is ended, the holy life fulfilled, the task done. There is nothing further for this world.'

"It is in this respect, Moggallana, that a monk, in brief, is released through the ending of craving, utterly complete, utterly free from bonds, a follower of the utterly holy life, utterly consummate: foremost among human and heavenly beings."

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