Sutra Collection (L)
Unknown
Buddhist
9:36 h
Sutra (Sanskrit: सूत्र, romanized: sūtra, lit. 'string, thread') in Indian literary traditions refers to an aphorism or a collection of aphorisms in the form of a manual or, more broadly, a condensed manual or text. In Buddhism, sutras, also known as suttas, are canonical scriptures, many of which are regarded as records of the oral teachings of Gautama Buddha. They are not aphoristic, but are quite detailed, sometimes with repetition.
Sutra Collection
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Ladukikopama Sutta

The Quail Simile

Translated from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.

I have heard that on one occasion the Blessed One was staying among the Anguttarapans at an Anguattarapan town named Apana. Then, early in the morning, having put on his robes and carrying his outer robe & bowl, went into Apana for alms. Having wandered for alms in Apana and returning from his alms round after his meal, he went to a certain forest grove for the day’s abiding. Plunging into the grove, he sat down for his day’s abiding at the root of a certain tree.

Ven. Udayin, too, early in the morning, having put on his robes and carrying his outer robe & bowl, went into Apana for alms. Having wandered for alms in Apana and returning from his alms round after his meal, he went to that forest grove for the day’s abiding. Plunging into the grove, he sat down for his day’s abiding at the root of a certain tree. Then, as he was alone in seclusion, this train of thought arose in his awareness: “So many painful things has the Blessed One taken away from us! So many pleasant things has he brought us! So many unskillful qualities has the Blessed One taken away from us! So many skillful qualities has he brought us!”

Then, in the evening, Ven. Udayin left seclusion and went to the Blessed One. On arrival, having bowed down to him, he sat to one side. As he was sitting there he said to the Blessed One: “Just now, lord, as I was alone in seclusion, this train of thought arose in my awareness: ‘So many painful things has the Blessed One taken away from us! So many pleasant things has he brought us! So many unskillful qualities has the Blessed One taken away from us! So many skillful qualities has he brought us!’ For in the past, lord, we used to eat in the morning, in the evening, and in the day at the wrong time (the afternoon). Then there was the time when the Blessed One addressed the monks, saying, ‘Monks, please discontinue that daytime meal at the wrong time.’ At the time I was upset, at the time I was sad, [thinking], ‘The exquisite staple & non-staple foods that faithful householders give us during the day at the wrong time: even those the Blessed One has us abandon; even those the One Well-gone has us relinquish!’ But, out of consideration for our love & respect for the Blessed One, out of consideration for shame & fear of wrongdoing, we abandoned that daytime meal at the wrong time.

“So we ate both in the evening & in the morning. Then there was the time when the Blessed One addressed the monks, saying, ‘Monks, please discontinue that evening meal at the wrong time.’ At the time I was upset, at the time I was sad, [thinking], ‘The more exquisitely prepared of our two meals: even that the Blessed One has us abandon; even that the One Well-gone has us relinquish! It has happened, lord, that a man obtaining some good curry ingredients during the day would say to his wife, ‘Put this aside and we’ll all eat it together in the evening.’ All fine cooking is done in the evening, and next to none during the day. But, out of consideration for our love & respect for the Blessed One, out of consideration for shame & fear of wrongdoing, we abandoned that evening meal at the wrong time.”

“It has happened, lord, that monks wandering for alms in the pitch dark of the night have walked into a waste-water pool, fallen into a cesspool, stumbled over a thorn patch, or stumbled over a sleeping cow. They have encountered young hooligans on the way to or from a crime. They have been sexually propositioned by women. Once I went for alms in the pitch dark of night. A woman washing a pot saw me by a lightning flash and, on seeing me, screamed out: ‘I’m done for! A demon is after me!’ When this was said, I said to her, ‘I’m no demon, sister. I’m a monk waiting for alms.’ ‘Then you’re a monk whose daddy’s dead and whose momma’s dead. Better for you, monk, that your belly be slit open with a sharp butcher’s knife than this prowling for alms for your belly’s sake in the pitch dark of night!’ On recollecting that, lord, the thought occurred to me: ‘So many painful things has the Blessed One taken away from us! So many pleasant things has he brought us! So many unskillful qualities has the Blessed One taken away from us! So many skillful qualities has he brought us!’”

“In the same way, Udayin, there are some worthless men who, when I tell them, ‘Abandon this,’ say: ‘Why this petty, elementary thing? He’s too much of a stickler, this contemplative.’ They don’t abandon it. They’re rude to me and to the monks keen on training. For them that’s a strong snare, a thick snare, a heavy snare, an unrotting snare, and a thick yoke.”

“Suppose a quail were snared by a rotting creeper, by which it could expect injury, capture, or death, and someone were to say, ‘This rotting creeper by which this quail is snared, and by which she could expect injury, capture, or death, is for her a weak snare, a feeble snare, a rotting snare, an insubstantial snare.’ Would the person speaking that way be speaking rightly?”

“No, lord. That rotting creeper… is for her a strong snare, a thick snare, a heavy snare, an unrotting snare, and a thick yoke.”

“In the same way, Udayin, there are some worthless men who, when I tell them, ‘Abandon this,’ say: ‘Why this petty, elementary thing? He’s too much of a stickler, this contemplative.’ They don’t abandon it. They’re rude to me and to the monks keen on training. For them that’s a strong snare, a thick snare, a heavy snare, an unrotting snare, and a thick yoke.”

“Now there are some clansmen who, when I tell them, ‘Abandon this,’ say: ‘Why does the Blessed One have us abandon this? Why does the One Well-gone have us relinquish this petty, elementary thing?’ But they abandon it and are not rude to me or to the monks keen on training. Having abandoned it, they live unconcerned, unruffled, their wants satisfied, with their mind like a wild deer. For them that’s a weak snare, a feeble snare, a rotting snare, an insubstantial snare.”

“Suppose a royal elephant immense, pedigreed, accustomed to battles, its tusks like chariot poles were snared with thick leather snares, but by twisting its body a bit it could break & burst those snares and go off wherever it liked. And suppose someone were to say, ‘Those thick leather snares by which the royal elephant… was snared, but which by twisting its body a bit it could break & burst and go off wherever it liked: for him they were a strong snare, a thick snare, a heavy snare, an unrotting snare, and a thick yoke.’ Would the person speaking that way be speaking rightly?”

“No, lord. Those thick leather snares… were for him a weak snare, a feeble snare, a rotting snare, an insubstantial snare.”

“In the same way, Udayin, there are some clansmen who, when I tell them, ‘Abandon this,’ say: ‘Why does the Blessed One have us abandon this? Why does the One Well-gone have us relinquish this petty, elementary thing?’ But they abandon it and are not rude to me or to the monks keen on training. Having abandoned it, they live unconcerned, unruffled, their wants satisfied, with their mind like a wild deer. For them that’s a weak snare, a feeble snare, a rotting snare, an insubstantial snare.”

“Suppose there were a poor person, penniless & indigent, with a single little shack dilapidated, open to the crows, not the best sort; and a single bed dilapidated, not the best sort; and a single pot of rice & gourd seeds not the best sort; and a single wife not the best sort. He would go to a park and see a monk his hands & feet washed after a delightful meal, sitting in the cool shade, committed to the heightened mind. The thought would occur to him: ‘How happy the contemplative state! How free of disease the contemplative state! O that I shaving off my hair & beard and donning the ochre robe might go forth from the household life into homelessness!’ But being unable to abandon his single little shack dilapidated, open to the crows, not the best sort; his single bed dilapidated, not the best sort; his single pot of rice & gourd seeds not the best sort; and his single wife not the best sort he wouldn’t be able to shave off his hair & beard, to don the ochre robe, or to go forth from the household life into homelessness. And suppose someone were to say, ‘That single little shack… that single bed… that single pot… and that single wife not the best sort by which that man was snared, which he was unable to abandon, and because of which he couldn’t shave off his hair & beard, don the ochre robe, and go forth from the household life into homelessness: for him they were a weak snare, a feeble snare, a rotting snare, an insubstantial snare.’ Would the person speaking that way be speaking rightly?”