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Pilahaka Sutta

The Dung Beetle

Translated from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu
For free distribution only

Dwelling at Savatthi. "Monks, gains, offerings, and fame are a cruel thing, a harsh, bitter obstacle to the attainment of the unexcelled rest from bondage. Suppose there were a beetle, a dung-eater, full of dung, gorged with dung, with a huge pile of dung in front of him. He, because of that, would look down on other beetles: 'Yes, sirree! I am a dung-eater, full of dung, gorged with dung, with a huge pile of dung in front of me!' In the same way, there is the case where a certain monk -- conquered by gains, offerings, and fame, his mind consumed -- puts on his robes and, carrying his bowl and outer robe, goes into a village or town for alms. Having eaten there as much as he likes -- full of alms-food and invited again for the next day -- he goes to the monastery and, in the midst of a group of monks, boasts, 'I have eaten as much as I like, I am full of alms-food and have been invited again for tomorrow. I am a recipient of robes, alms-food, lodgings, and medicinal requisites for curing illness. These other monks, though, have next to no merit, next to no influence. They aren't recipients of robes, alms-food, lodgings, and medicinal requisites for curing illness.' Conquered by gains, offerings, and fame, his mind consumed, he looks down on other well-behaved monks. That will be for this worthless man's long-term suffering and harm. That's how cruel gains, offerings, and fame are: a harsh, bitter obstacle to the attainment of the unexcelled rest from bondage.

"Thus you should train yourselves: 'We will put aside any gains, offerings, and fame that have arisen; and we will not let any gains, offerings, and fame that have arisen keep our minds consumed.' That's how you should train yourselves."

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