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Valahaka Sutta

Thunderheads

Translated from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu
For free distribution only

"There are these four types of thunderheads. Which four? One that thunders but doesn't rain, one that rains but doesn't thunder, one that neither thunders nor rains, and one that both thunders and rains. These are the four types of thunderheads.

"In the same way, these four types of persons resembling thunderheads are to be found existing in the world. Which four? The one that thunders but doesn't rain, the one that rains but doesn't thunder, the one that neither thunders nor rains, and the one that both thunders and rains.

"And how is one the type of person who thunders but doesn't rain? There is the case where a person has mastered the Dhamma: dialogues, narratives of mixed prose and verse, explanations, verses, spontaneous exclamations, quotations, birth stories, amazing events, question and answer sessions [the earliest classifications of the Buddha's teachings]. Yet he doesn't discern, as it actually is present, that 'This is stress.' He doesn't discern, as it actually is present that 'This is the origination of stress.' He doesn't discern, as it actually is present that 'This is the cessation of stress.' He doesn't discern, as it actually is present that 'This is the path of practice leading to the cessation of stress.' This is the type of person who thunders but doesn't rain. This type of person, I tell you, is like the thunderhead that thunders but doesn't rain.

"And how is one the type of person who rains but doesn't thunder? There is the case where a person has not mastered the Dhamma: dialogues... question and answer sessions. Yet he does discern, as it actually is present, that 'This is stress.' He discerns, as it actually is present that 'This is the origination of stress.' He discerns, as it actually is present that 'This is the cessation of stress.' He discerns, as it actually is present that 'This is the path of practice leading to the cessation of stress.' This is the type of person who rains but doesn't thunder. This type of person, I tell you, is like the thunderhead that rains but doesn't thunder.

"And how is one the type of person who neither thunders nor rains? There is the case where a person has not mastered the Dhamma: dialogues... question and answer sessions. He doesn't discern, as it actually is present, that 'This is stress.'... 'This is the origination of stress.'... 'This is the cessation of stress.'... 'This is the path of practice leading to the cessation of stress.' This is the type of person who neither thunders nor rains. This type of person, I tell you, is like the thunderhead that neither thunders nor rains.

"And how is one the type of person who both thunders and rains? There is the case where a person has mastered the Dhamma: dialogues... question and answer sessions. He discerns, as it actually is present, that 'This is stress.'... 'This is the origination of stress.'... 'This is the cessation of stress.'... 'This is the path of practice leading to the cessation of stress.' This is the type of person who both thunders and rains. This type of person, I tell you, is like the thunderhead that both thunders and rains.

"There are these four types of people to be found existing in the world."



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