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Patala Sutta

The Bottomless Chasm

Translated from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu
For free distribution only

"Monks, when an uninstructed run-of-the-mill person makes the statement, 'There is a bottomless chasm in the ocean,' he is talking about something that doesn't exist, that can't be found. The word 'bottomless chasm' is actually a designation for painful bodily feeling.

"When an uninstructed run-of-the-mill person is touched by a painful bodily feeling, he sorrows, grieves, and laments, beats his breast, becomes distraught. This is called an uninstructed run-of-the-mill person who has not risen up out of the bottomless chasm, who has not gained a foothold.

"When a well-instructed disciple of the noble ones is touched by a painful bodily feeling, he does not sorrow, grieve, or lament, does not beat his breast or become distraught. This is called a well-instructed disciple of the noble ones who has risen up out of the bottomless chasm, whose foothold is gained."

Whoever can't endure them
once they've arisen --
 painful bodily feelings
 that could kill living beings --
who trembles at their touch,
who cries and wails,
a weakling with no resilience:
 he hasn't risen up
 out of the bottomless chasm
 or even gained
 a foothold.

Whoever endures them
once they've arisen --
 painful bodily feelings
 that could kill living beings --
who doesn't tremble at their touch:
 hes risen up
 out of the bottomless chasm,
 his foothold is gained.

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