Saturday, September 25

The Bottomless Chasm


Samyutta Nikaya XXXVI.4
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, & 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 & wails,
a weakling with no resiliance:
    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:
    he's risen up
    out of the bottomless chasm,
    his foothold is gained.

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