“Dhamma to Inspire” : The Buddha’s Words for Monastics : Vol I

For the past few years  I have been working on my goal to read through all the nikayas cover to cover. As I’ve read I have been copy/pasting hundreds of lines from the nikayas into a google keep compendium of dozens of dhamma topics.

One that I created were for selections I felt would be important for inspiration and reminders on the monastic path. I read through these every once in a while to remind myself what I’m doing and why. So that is what this series will be, simply randomly selected passages from the Nikayas related to monasticism.

Let us Begin:



Just as the ocean is stable and does not overstep its tideline, in the same way my disciples do not — even for the sake of their lives — overstep the training rules I have formulated for them.
— Ud 5.5



“It is in such a way, bhikkhus , that this clansman has gone forth. Yet he is covetous, inflamed by lust for sensual pleasures, with a mind full of ill will, with intentions corrupted by hate, muddle-minded, lacking clear comprehension, unconcentrated, scatter-brained, loose in his sense faculties. Just as a brand from a funeral pyre, burning at both ends and smeared with excrement in the middle, cannot be used as timber either in the village or in the forest, in just such a way do I speak about this person : he has missed out on the enjoyments of a householder, yet he does not fulfil the goal of asceticism.



94 (2) Flowers

At Sāvatthī. “Bhikkhus, I do not dispute with the world; rather, it is the world that disputes with me. A proponent of the Dhamma does not dispute with anyone in the world.



Silent in body, silent in speech,
silent in mind, without defilement,
blessed with silence is the sage.
One is truly washed of evil.

Itivuttaka 3.67



On one occasion the Blessed One was dwelling at Kosambī in Ghosita’s Park. Then, in the morning, the Blessed One dressed and, taking bowl and robe, entered Kosambī for alms. When he had walked for alms in Kosambī and had returned from the alms round, after his meal [95] he set his lodging in order himself, took his bowl and robe, and without informing his personal attendants, without taking leave of the Bhikkhu Saṅgha, he set out on tour alone, without a companion. 128

128 Spk assigns this sutta to the time of the famous quarrel at Kosambī. After he had failed in three attempts to reconcile the factious parties, the Buddha decided to set out alone. For a full account, see Vin I 337-57 and Ñāṇamoli, Life of the Buddha, pp. 109-19.

“Friend, whenever the Blessed One sets out like that he wishes to dwell alone. On such an occasion the Blessed One should not be followed by anyone.”



3 (1) With Yourselves as an Island At Sāvatthī. “Bhikkhus, dwell with yourselves as an island, with yourselves as a refuge, with no other refuge; with the Dhamma as an island, with the Dhamma as a refuge, with no other refuge. 53 When you dwell with yourselves as an island, with yourselves as a refuge, with no other refuge; with the Dhamma as an island, with the Dhamma as a refuge, with no other refuge,”



““He should speak and explain the Dhamma, He should raise high the seers’banner. Well-spoken words are the seers’banner: For the Dhamma is the banner of seers.””



““And how, Elder, is dwelling alone fulfilled in detail? Here, Elder, what lies in the past has been abandoned, what lies in the future has been relinquished, and desire and lust for present forms of individual existence has been thoroughly removed. 398 It is in such a way, Elder, that dwelling alone is fulfilled in detail.” [284]”



If one can find a worthy friend, A virtuous, steadfast companion, Then overcome all threats of danger And walk with him content and mindful. But if one finds no worthy friend, No virtuous, steadfast companion, Then as a king leaves his conquered realm, Walk like a tusker in the woods alone. Better it is to walk alone, There is no companionship with fools. Walk alone and do no evil, At ease like a tusker in the woods.
mn 128



Bhikkhus, dreadful are gain, honour, and praise, bitter, vile, obstructive to achieving the unsurpassed security from bondage.”



““Just so, Kassapa, in the past the elder bhikkhus were forest dwellers and spoke in praise of forest dwelling; they were almsfood eaters and spoke in praise of eating almsfood; they were rag-robe wearers and spoke in praise of wearing rag-robes; they were triple-robe users and spoke in praise of using the triple robe; they were of few wishes and spoke in praise of fewness of wishes; they were content and spoke in praise of contentment; they were secluded and spoke in praise of solitude; they were aloof from society and spoke in praise of aloofness from society; they were energetic and spoke in praise of arousing energy.”



Forgiveness in dhamma:

“But since you see your transgression as a transgression and make amends for it in accordance with the Dhamma, we pardon you for it. For it is growth in the Noble One’s Discipline when one sees one’s transgression as a transgression, makes amends for it in accordance with the Dhamma, and undertakes future restraint.””

“going forth as a thief of the Dhamma in such a well-expounded Dhamma and Discipline as this has results that are far more painful, far more bitter, and further, it leads to the nether world. But since you see your transgression as a transgression and make amends for it in accordance with the Dhamma, we pardon you for it. For it is growth in the Noble One’s Discipline when one sees one’s transgression as a transgression, makes amends for it in accordance with the Dhamma, and undertakes future restraint.””



the monk, nun, male lay follower, or female lay follower who keeps practicing the Dhamma in accordance with the Dhamma, who keeps practicing masterfully, who lives in accordance with the Dhamma: that is the person who worships, honors, respects, venerates, & pays homage to the Tathagata with the highest homage.” parinibbana



“The true Middle Way is not a comfortable highway built out of easy compromises, but a lonely, steep ascent, which requires the renunciation of craving and the ability to endure hardship and discomfort.” – Lives of the Buddha’s Disciples(not direct sutta quote)



Ochre-necks:  monks who don’t act like monks



Discipline is for the sake of restraint,
restraint for the sake of freedom from remorse,
freedom from remorse for the sake of joy,
joy for the sake of rapture,
rapture for the sake of tranquillity,
tranquillity for the sake of pleasure,
pleasure for the sake of concentration,
concentration for the sake of knowledge
and vision of things as they are,
knowledge and vision of things as they are
for the sake of disenchantment,
disenchantment for the sake of release,
release for the sake of knowledge and vision of release,
knowledge and vision of release
for the sake of total unbinding without clinging.
— Parivaara.XII.2 (BMC p.1)———————-



598 “One should resort to remote lodgings, Practise for release from the fetters. But if one does not find delight there, Guarded and mindful, dwell in the Saṅgha.



413 < 334 > 599 “Walking for alms from family to family,Faculties guarded, discreet, mindful, One should resort to remote lodgings, Freed from fear, liberated in the fearless.



414 600 “Where terrible serpents glide, Where lightning flashes and the sky thunders, In the thick darkness of the night There sits a bhikkhu devoid of terror. 415

SN 13 book of verses



However young,
The seeker who sets out upon the way
Shines bright over the world
But day and night

The man who is awake
Shines in the radiance of the spirit
Meditate.
Live purely.
Be quiet.
Do your work, with mastery
Like the moon,
Come out from behind the clouds!
Shine…



If gold and silver are allowable for anyone, the five cords of sensual pleasure are allowable for him. If the five cords of sensual pleasure are allowable for anyone, you can definitely consider him to be one who does not have the character of an ascetic or of a follower of the Sakyan son.



“Few are those among humankind Who go beyond to the far shore. The rest of the people merely run Up and down along the bank.   “When the Dhamma is rightly expounded Those who practise in accord with the Dhamma Are the people who will go beyond The realm of Death so hard to cross.   “Having left behind the dark qualities, The wise man should develop the bright ones. Having come from home into homelessness, Where it is hard to take delight—  “There in seclusion he should seek delight, Having left behind sensual pleasures. Owning nothing, the wise man Should cleanse himself of mental defilements.   “Those whose minds are well developed In the factors of enlightenment, Who through nonclinging find delight In the relinquishment of grasping: Those luminous ones with taints destroyed Are fully quenched in the world.”[25]



“And what, bhikkhus, is asceticism? It is this Noble Eightfold Path; that is, right view … right concentration. This is called asceticism.

“And what, bhikkhus, is the goal of asceticism? The destruction of lust, the destruction of hatred, the destruction of delusion. This is called the goal of asceticism.”

“And what, bhikkhus, are the fruits of asceticism? The fruit of stream-entry, the fruit of once-returning, the fruit of nonreturning, the fruit of arahantship. These are called the fruits of asceticism.”



“And what, bhikkhus, is the goal of the holy life? The destruction of lust, the destruction of hatred, the destruction of delusion. This is called the goal of the holy life.”

‘It is, friends, for the fading away of lust that the holy life is lived under the Blessed One.’

‘It is, friends , for the abandoning of the fetters … for the uprooting of the underlying tendencies … for the full understanding of the course 31 … for the destruction of the taints … for the realization of the fruit of true knowledge and liberation … for the sake of knowledge and vision … [29] … for the sake of final Nibbāna without clinging that the holy life is lived under the Blessed One.’



49 (1) Good Friend At Sāvatthı̄. “Bhikkhus, this is the forerunner and precursor of the rising of the sun, that is, the dawn. So too, bhikkhus, [30] for a bhikkhu this is the forerunner and precursor for the arising of the Noble Eightfold Path, that is, good friendship. 32 When a bhikkhu has a good friend, it is to be expected that he will develop and cultivate this Noble Eightfold Path.

At Sāvatthı̄. “Bhikkhus, one thing is very helpful for the arising of the Noble Eightfold Path. What one thing? Good friendship. [33] When a bhikkhu has a good friend, it is to be expected that he will develop and cultivate the Noble Eightfold Path.

“Bhikkhus, I do not see even one other thing by means of which the unarisen Noble Eightfold Path arises and the arisen Noble Eightfold Path goes to fulfilment by development so effectively as by this: good friendship. When a bhikkhu has a good friend, it is to be expected that he will develop and cultivate the Noble Eightfold Path.

12 (2) The Simile of the Sun (1) “Bhikkhus, this is the forerunner and precursor of the rising of the sun, that is, the dawn. So too, bhikkhus, for a bhikkhu this is the forerunner and precursor of the arising of the seven factors of enlightenment, that is, good friendship. When a bhikkhu has a good friend, it is to be expected that he will develop and cultivate the seven factors of enlightenment.

the dawn. So too , for a bhikkhu this is the forerunner and precursor of the arising of the seven factors of enlightenment , that is, good friendship.



At Sāvatthı̄. “Bhikkhus, just as the river Ganges slants, slopes, and inclines towards the east, so too a bhikkhu who develops and cultivates the Noble Eightfold Path slants, slopes, and inclines towards Nibbāna



“So too, bhikkhus, when a bhikkhu is developing and cultivating the Noble Eightfold Path, kings or royal ministers, friends or colleagues, relatives or kinsmen, might invite him to accept wealth, saying: ‘Come, good man, why let these saffron robes weigh you down? Why roam around with a shaven head and a begging bowl? Come, having returned to the lower life, enjoy wealth and do meritorious deeds.’Indeed, bhikkhus, when that bhikkhu is developing and cultivating the Noble Eightfold Path, it is impossible that he will give up the training and return to the lower life. For what reason? Because for a long time his mind has slanted, sloped, and inclined towards seclusion. Thus it is impossible that he will return to the lower life.



Now,
if the nature and purpose of this ascetic life becomes overwhelmingly clear to a householder or a householder’s son, he will become an ascetic of his own free will, following his inner urge. “Sunken I am in birth, in old age and death, in distress, lamentation and pain, in grief and despair; sunken in suffering, lost in suffering!
Oh! that it might be possible to make an end of this whole mass of
misery!” In such a state of mind, filled with confidence, he
renounces the worldly life, and such a renunciation is called in the
texts “right-minded renunciation”



The Buddha’s concern and goodwill towards fellow monk : “I hope you are bearing up, Kassapa, I hope you are getting better. I hope that your painful feelings are subsiding and not increasing, and that their subsiding, not their increase, is to be discerned.” [80]



“Bhikkhus, those bhikkhus who are newly ordained, not long gone forth, recently come to this Dhamma and Discipline, should be exhorted, settled, and established by you in the development of the four establishments of mindfulness. What four? “‘ Come, friends, dwell contemplating the body in the body, ardent, clearly comprehending, unified, with limpid mind, concentrated, with one-pointed mind, in order to know the body as it really is. Dwell contemplating feelings in feelings … in order to know feelings as they really are. Dwell contemplating mind in mind … in order to know mind as it really is. Dwell contemplating phenomena in phenomena … in order to know phenomena as they really are.’ [145]



6 (6) The Hawk “Bhikkhus, once in the past a hawk suddenly swooped down and seized a quail. 130 Then, while the quail was being carried off by the hawk, he lamented: ‘We were so unlucky, of so little merit! We strayed out of our own resort into the domain of others. If we had stayed in our own resort today, in our own ancestral domain, this hawk wouldn’t have stood a chance against me in a fight.’- ‘But what is your own resort, quail, what is your own ancestral domain?’- ‘The freshly ploughed field covered with clods of soil.’[147] “Then the hawk, confident of her own strength, not boasting of her own strength, 131 released the quail, saying: ‘Go now, quail, but even there you won’t escape me.’“Then, bhikkhus, the quail went to a freshly ploughed field covered with clods of soil.

Having climbed up on a large clod, he stood there and addressed the hawk: ‘Come get me now, hawk! Come get me now, hawk!’“Then the hawk, confident of her own strength, not boasting of her own strength, folded up both her wings and suddenly swooped down on the quail. But when the quail knew, ‘That hawk has come close,’he slipped inside that clod, and the hawk shattered her breast right on the spot. So it is, bhikkhus, when one strays outside one’s own resort into the domain of others.

“Therefore, bhikkhus, do not stray outside your own resort into the domain of others. Māra will gain access to those who stray outside their own resort into the domain of others; Māra will get a hold on them. 132 [148] “And what is not a bhikkhu’s own resort but the domain of others? It is the five cords of sensual pleasure.“Move in your own resort, bhikkhus, in your own ancestral domain. Māra will not gain access to those who move in their own resort, in their own ancestral domain; Māra will not get a hold on them. “And what is a bhikkhu’s resort, his own ancestral domain? It is the four establishments of mindfulness.



Venerable sir, since I heard that the Venerable Sāriputta has attained final Nibbāna, my body seems as if it has been drugged, I have become disoriented, the teachings are no longer clear to me.”159
“Why, Ānanda, when Sāriputta attained final Nibbāna, did he take away your aggregate of virtue, or your aggregate of concentration, or your aggregate of wisdom, or your aggregate of liberation, or your aggregate of the knowledge and vision of liberation?”160 “No, he did not, venerable sir. But for me the Venerable Sāriputta was an advisor and counsellor, one who instructed, exhorted, inspired, and gladdened me. 161 He was unwearying in teaching the Dhamma; he was helpful to his brothers in the holy life. We recollect the nourishment of Dhamma, the wealth of Dhamma, the help of Dhamma given by the Venerable Sāriputta.
“But have I not already declared, Ānanda, that we must be parted, separated, and severed from all who are dear and agreeable to us? [163] How, Ānanda, is it to be obtained here: ‘May what is born, come to be, conditioned, and subject to disintegration not disintegrate!’? That is impossible. It is just as if the largest branch would break off a great tree standing possessed of heartwood: so too, Ānanda, in the great Bhikkhu Saṅgha standing possessed of heartwood, Sāriputta has attained final Nibbāna.
How, Ānanda, is it to be obtained here: ‘May what is born, come to be, conditioned, and subject to disintegration not disintegrate!’? That is impossible.
“Therefore, Ānanda, dwell with yourselves as your own island, with yourselves as your own refuge, with no other refuge; dwell with the Dhamma as your island, with the Dhamma as your refuge, with no other refuge …(as in §9) …Those bhikkhus, Ānanda, either now or after I am gone, who dwell with themselves as their own island, with themselves as their own refuge, with no other refuge; who dwell with the Dhamma as their island, with the Dhamma as their refuge, with no other refuge—it is these bhikkhus, Ānanda, who will be for me topmost of those keen on the training.”



“It is wonderful, bhikkhus, on the part of the disciples, it is amazing on the part of the disciples, that they will act in accordance with the Teacher’s instructions and comply with his admonitions, that they will be dear and agreeable to the four assemblies, that they will be revered and esteemed by them



“Bhikkhus, once in the past an acrobat set up his bamboo pole and addressed his apprentice Medakathālikā thus: 167 ‘Come, dear Medakathālikā, climb the bamboo pole and stand on my shoulders.’Having replied, ‘Yes, teacher,’the apprentice Medakathālikā climbed up the bamboo pole and stood on the teacher’s shoulders. The acrobat then said to the apprentice Medakathālikā: ‘You protect me, dear Medakathālikā, and I’ll protect you. Thus [169] guarded by one another, protected by one another, we’ll display our skills, collect our fee, and get down safely from the bamboo pole.’When this was said, the apprentice Medakathālikā replied: ‘That’s not the way to do it, teacher.

You protect yourself, teacher, and I’ll protect myself. Thus, each self-guarded and self-protected, we’ll display our skills, collect our fee, and get down safely from the bamboo pole.’168 “That’s the method there,”the Blessed One said. “It’s just as the apprentice Medakathālikā said to the teacher. ‘I will protect myself,’bhikkhus: thus should the establishments of mindfulness be practised. ‘I will protect others,’bhikkhus: thus should the establishments of mindfulness be practised.

Protecting oneself, bhikkhus, one protects others; protecting others, one protects oneself. “And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation [of the four establishments of mindfulness]. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others. 169 “And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, lovingkindness, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself. 170

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