APPENDIX The Ariyavamsa Sutta Introduction There follows a translation which is based on t

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APPENDIX ~~~~~~~~ The Ariyavamsa Sutta Introduction There follows a translation which is based on the Pali text (PTS), Woodwards' translation in //Gradual Sayings II// and the Thai translation of the Anguttara Nikaya. In this retranslation, great help has been given by Ven. Nagasena Bhikkhu of Wat Benchamabopitr in Bangkok. This sutta which we call the Discourse on the Noble Lineages has a very celebrated history. It will be immediately obvious that its content is an inspiration for the thudong bhikkhu, and for those who are neither thudong nor bhikkhu, it has as its message: that of contentment with a sufficiency of this world's goods while warning any who cultivate this attitude to guard against pride arising, ("I am pure, they are not..."). The Commentary states that under the first three of the Noble Lineages, all of the Vinaya Collection (of rules and regulations for the Sangha) may be expounded. Under the fourth heading, which concerns mental development by way of meditation and the subsequently arising desire to relinquish all states connected with the unskilful (//akusala//) factors, under this Lineage may be explained all the Discourses (//sutta//) and Buddhist psychology (//Abhidhamma//). That such expositions actually took place is attested by many references in the history of Ceylon. It seems that such was the fame of this Discourse, that thousands would flock from near and far to hear skilled bhikkhus expound it. As the reader will see, it is a short sutta but evidently during its preaching practically all topics in the vast range of the Pali Canon could be brought under the headings which it gives. Such preaching sometimes continued for many days and was a popular subject for exposition during the rains retreat. Some traces of this tradition are still to be found in Sri Lanka. (For this information, se Ven. W. Rahula's "History of Buddhism in Ceylon"). Long before the days of the Commentaries (c. 5th Century CE), there is another possible reference to this sutta. It occurs in the list of seven Dhamma passages recommended for study by bhikkhus and bhikkhunis (nuns), upasakas and upasikas (lay men and women), by the Emperor Asoka in his Bhabru Edict. There it is called the `Aliyavasani' which many scholars equate with the Ariyavamsa Sutta. That the great Emperor should have singled out this text for the study of those who follow the Buddha Way, is indeed fitting and it is as appropriate for their study now as it was over two thousand years ago. In Thailand at the present time, it is one of a selection of Discourses and other chants which come up regularly each month for chanting in temples after the evening puja. Needless to say, it is highly esteemed by thudong bhikkhus, many of whom know it by heart. In the translation following, passages in brackets are explanations drawn from the Commentary or from the Thai translation which somewhat enlarges upon the Pali text. It is hoped that this most ancient teaching upon the thudong life will be of some interest after the preceding account of the Noble Lineages in the present time. THE DISCOURSE ON THE NOBLE LINEAGE Thus have I heard: At one time the Lord was dwelling near Savatthi at the Jeta Wood in Anathapindika's Park. Then the Lord addressed the bhikkhus saying: O bhikkhus! Yes, Lord, responded those bhikkhus. Then the Lord said -- Here, O bhikkhus, are these Four Lineages of the Noble Ones (Fully Awakened Ones, Silent Buddhas and Disciples) -- foremost (among lineages such as nobles, priests, merchants, etc.), (practised from) days of old, traditional (to the family of Noble Ones), (handed down from) time immemorial, neither separated from them now nor were they separated in the past (as inseparable from the life of Noble Ones), neither stained now nor shall they be reckoned impure in the future, and never are they despised by wise recluses and brahmins. 1. Here, O bhikkhus, a bhikkhu is content with this or that robe and he speaks in praise of contentment with any kind of robe (as those made up from rags cast off, oddments of cloth, corpse-wrappings, etc.). He does not search for robes in an unbecoming way (by hints, indications, round-about talk, or any other intimations) and if he does not obtain them, he is not cast down. When he has got them, he is not attached to them, is not fascinated by them, nor has he any desire for them. Seeing the peril (in robes acquired by wrong means) and skilled in avoiding this, he just makes use of them. Yet he does not exalt himself because of his contentment with any kind of robes, (thinking, I wear rag-robes, etc.), nor does he look down upon others (thinking, these bhikkhus wear fine robes made up by house-holders, etc.) O bhikkhus, whatever bhikkhu is skilled in this (matter of contentment and in explaining to others the advantages of contentment), who is not lazy (slipping thereby into luxurious living), who clearly comprehends and is mindful (of the fact that he wears the robes only to ward off cold, heat, the sting of fly and mosquito, the touch of wind and burning sun and creeping thins, and to conceal the body), then he is indeed well established in this foremost Noble Lineage as handed down from time immemorial. 2. Then again, O bhikkhus, a bhikkhu is content with this or that almsfood and he speaks in praise of contentment with any kind of almsfood (as that collected from door to door, not favouring the rich, nor discriminating against the poor man's food). He does not search for almsfood in an unbecoming way (by hints, by indicating his like, etc.) and if he does not obtain it, he is not cast down. When he has got it, he is not attached to it, is not fascinated by it, nor has he any desire for it. Seeing the peril (in almsfood acquired by wrong means) and skilled in avoiding this, he just makes use of it. Yet he does not exalt himself because of his contentment with any kind of almsfood, (thinking, I eat only almsfood and only once a day, etc.), nor does he look down upon others (thinking these bhikkhus take meals by invitation and eat twice before noon, etc.). O bhikkhus, whatever bhikkhu is skilled in this (matter of contentment and in explaining to others the advantages of contentment), who is not lazy (slipping thereby into luxurious living), who clearly comprehends and is mindful (of the fact that he eats almsfood not for amusement, intoxication, beauty or embellishment but just enough for the support and continuance of his body, for the ending of discomfort and for helping on the life of purity), then indeed he is well established in this foremost Noble Lineage as handed down from time immemorial. 3. Then again, O bhikkhus, a bhikkhu is content with this or that shelter and he speaks in praise of contentment with any kind of shelter (as living at a tree-root, in the forest, or in a cave, etc.). He does not search for shelters in an unbecoming way (by asking supporters to provide him with spacious quarters, furnished, etc.) and if he does not obtain it, he is not cast down. When he has got it, he is not attached to it, is not fascinated by it, nor has he any desire for it. Seeing the peril (in a shelter acquired by wrong means) and skilled in avoiding this, he just makes use of it. Yet he does not exalt himself because of his contentment with any kind of shelter (thinking, I sleep in any place available), nor does he look down upon others (thinking, these bhikkhus live in well-built, well-furnished quarters, in viharas, etc.). O bhikkhus, whatever bhikkhu is skilled in this (matter of contentment and in explaining to others the advantages of contentment), who is not lazy, (slipping thereby into luxurious living), who clearly comprehends and is mindful (of the fact that the shelter is only to ward off cold, heat, the sting of fly and mosquito, the touch of wind and burning sun and creeping things, and for protection against adverse climatic conditions and for abiding in seclusion) then he is indeed well established in this foremost Noble Lineage as handed down from time immemorial. 4. Then again, O bhikkhus, a bhikkhu has development (of wholesome mental states) as a source of happiness and he delights in it; he has abandoning (of evil mental states) as a source of happiness and he delights in it. By having the happiness from development and by the delight thereof; by having the happiness from abandoning and the delight thereof, he does not exalt himself (thinking, I enjoy the tranquillity of transic concentration, or of insight, etc.), nor does he look down upon others (thinking, these bhikkhus are not striving to develop the supermind or for the superwisdom -- (adhicitta, adhipanna, etc.). O bhikkhus, whatever bhikkhu is skilled in this (matter concerning Restraint of the Senses, the Threefold Good Conduct in thought, word and action, the Four Foundations of Mindfulness, the Seven Factors of Enlightenment, leading to Deliverance by Wisdom; who is therefore also skilled in abandoning the Five Hindrances and who has finally rid himself of the Three Roots of Unskill -- Greed, Hatred, Delusion; and who can explain the Way whereby all this is accomplished for the benefit of others), who is not lazy (thereby giving up striving for attainment), who clearly comprehends and is mindful (that both development and abandoning are practised only for the one purpose of insight and Enlightenment -- never for gaining magic posers, etc.), then he is indeed well established in this foremost Noble Lineage as handed down from time immemorial. These, O bhikkhus, are the Four Lineages of the Noble Ones, they are foremost, practised from days of old, traditional, handed down from time immemorial, neither separated from the life of Noble Ones now nor in the past, neither stained now nor shall they be reckoned impure in future, and are never despised by wise recluses and brahmins. Moreover, bhikkhus, possessing these Four Lineages of the Noble Ones, a bhikkhu may dwell in the East, or in the West, in the North or in the South, and in whatever place he dwells, accidie (boredom in matters spiritual) cannot overpower him, but he will overcome accidie. Why so? O bhikkhus, such a one is a steadfast sage who has overcome both accidie (with seclusion, quietness, etc., and with skilled mental states) and delight (in evil ones that arise while living in seclusion and practising meditation. That is, by the contentment plus humility taught in the first three Noble Lineages, the evil of accidie is overcome -- a truly contented mind is never bored; and by development, abandoning and humility taught in the fourth Noble Lineage, the bond of delighted attachment is broken). Thus spoke the Lord. The Welfarer, the Teacher then said further: Accidie does not overpower the sage. (Because of its weakness) it cannot overpower him. (Instead), the sage overcomes accidie, It is he alone who overcomes it. What hindrances can obstruct one for whom All kamma is dispelled and given up? Who could blame one as pure As ornament of Jambu gold? Even the gods of him speak praise! Even by Brahmas is he praised! * * *

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