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Aṅguttara Nikāya - The Numerical Discourses

8: The Book of the Eights

29. Inopportune Moments

1"Bhikkhus, the uninstructed worldling says: ‘The world has gained the opportunity! The world has gained the opportunity!’[n.1688] Khaṇakicco loko. Lit., "moment-task world." Mp: "One does one's tasks at the moment. Having gained this opportunity, one does one's tasks." but he does not know what is an opportunity and what is not an opportunity. There are, bhikkhus, these eight inopportune moments that are not right occasions for living the spiritual life. What eight?

(1) "Here, a Tathāgata has arisen in the world, an arahant, perfectly enlightened, accomplished in true knowledge and conduct, fortunate, knower of the world, unsurpassed trainer of persons to be tamed, teacher of devas and humans, an Enlightened One, a Blessed One, and the Dhamma leading to peace, nibbāna, and enlightenment is taught as proclaimed by a Fortunate One. But a person has been reborn in hell. This is the first inopportune moment that is not the right occasion for living the spiritual life.


2(2) "Again, a Tathāgata has arisen in the world … and the Dhamma leading to peace, nibbāna, and enlightenment is taught as proclaimed by a Fortunate One. But a person has been reborn in the animal realm. This is the second inopportune moment that is not the right occasion for living the spiritual life.


3(3) "Again, a Tathāgata has arisen in the world … and the Dhamma leading to peace, nibbāna, and enlightenment is taught as proclaimed by a Fortunate One. But a person has been reborn in the sphere of afflicted spirits. This is the third inopportune moment that is not the right occasion for living the spiritual life.

4(4) "Again, a Tathāgata has arisen in the world … and the Dhamma leading to peace, nibbāna, and enlightenment is taught as proclaimed by a Fortunate One. But a person has been reborn in a certain order of long-lived devas.[n.1689] Dīghāyukaṁ devanikāyaṁ. Mp: "This is said with reference to the order of non-percipient devas (asaññaṁ devanikāyaṁ)." However, it also seems to apply to the devas of the formless realm, who (because they lack bodies) cannot hear the Buddha or his disciples teach the Dhamma and thus cannot attain even the path of stream-entry. This is the fourth inopportune moment that is not the right occasion for living the spiritual life.


5(5) "Again, a Tathāgata has arisen in the world … and the Dhamma leading to peace, nibbāna, and enlightenment is taught as proclaimed by a Fortunate One. But a person has been reborn in the outlying provinces among the uncouth foreigners, a place to which bhikkhus, bhikkhunīs, male lay followers, and female lay followers do not travel. This is the fifth inopportune moment that is not the right occasion for living the spiritual life.

6(6) "Again, a Tathāgata has arisen in the world … and the Dhamma leading to peace, nibbāna, and enlightenment is taught as proclaimed by a Fortunate One. A person has been reborn in the central provinces, but he holds wrong view and has a distorted perspective: ‘There is nothing given, nothing sacrificed, nothing offered; there is no fruit or result of good and bad actions; there is no this world, no other world; there is no mother, no father; there are no beings spontaneously reborn; there are in the world no ascetics and brahmins of right conduct and right practice who, having realized this world and the other world for themselves by direct knowledge, make them known to others.’ This is the sixth inopportune moment that is not the right occasion for living the spiritual life.

7(7) "Again, a Tathāgata has arisen in the world … and the Dhamma leading to peace, nibbāna, and enlightenment is taught as proclaimed by a Fortunate One. A person has been reborn in the central provinces, but he is unwise, stupid, obtuse, unable to understand the meaning of what has been well stated and badly stated. This is the seventh inopportune moment that is not the right occasion for living the spiritual life.

8(8) "Again, a Tathāgata has not arisen in the world … and the Dhamma leading to peace, nibbāna, and enlightenment is not taught as proclaimed by a Fortunate One. But a person has been reborn in the central provinces, and he is wise, intelligent, astute, able to understand the meaning of what has been well stated and badly stated. This is the eighth inopportune moment that is not the right occasion for living the spiritual life.


9"These are the eight inopportune moments that are not the right occasions for living the spiritual life.

10"There is, bhikkhus, one unique opportune moment that is the right occasion for living the spiritual life. What is it? Here, a Tathāgata has arisen in the world, an arahant, perfectly enlightened, accomplished in true knowledge and conduct, fortunate, knower of the world, unsurpassed trainer of persons to be tamed, teacher of devas and humans, an Enlightened One, a Blessed One, and the Dhamma leading to peace, nibbāna, and enlightenment is taught as proclaimed by a Fortunate One. And a person has been reborn in the central provinces, and he is wise, intelligent, astute, able to understand the meaning of what has been well stated and badly stated. This, bhikkhus, is the one unique opportune moment that is the right occasion for living the spiritual life."

11Having obtained the human state
when the good Dhamma has been well proclaimed,
those who do not seize the moment
have let the right moment slip by.

12For many inopportune times are spoken of,
occasions obstructive to the path;
for it is only sometimes, on occasion,
that Tathāgatas arise in the world.

13If one has directly encountered them,
(fortune) rarely gained in the world,
if one has obtained the human state,
and the good Dhamma is being taught,
for a person desiring his own good,
this is incentive enough to strive.

14How can one understand the good Dhamma,
so that the moment won’t slip by?
For those who miss the moment grieve
when they are reborn in hell.

15One here who has failed to obtain
the fixed course of the good Dhamma,[n.1690] Saddhammassa niyāmataṁ. Mp glosses as the noble path (ariyaṁ maggaṁ).
will come to regret it for a long time
like a merchant who has missed a profit.

16A person hindered by ignorance
who has failed in the good Dhamma
will long experience wandering on
in (the round of) birth and death.

17But those who gain the human state
when the good Dhamma is well proclaimed,
have accomplished the Teacher's word,
or will do so, or are doing so now.

18Those who have practiced the path,
proclaimed by the Tathāgata,
have penetrated the right moment in the world
the unsurpassed spiritual life.

19You should dwell without leakages,
guarded, ever-mindful in the restraints
taught by the One with Vision,
the Kinsman of the Sun.

20Having cut off all underlying tendencies
that follow one drifting in Māra's domain,[n.1691] I read with Ce and Ee māradheyyasarānuge, as against Be māradheyyaparānuge. Mp: "That accompany saṁsāra, called ‘Māra's realm’" (māradheyyasaṅkhātaṁ saṁsāraṁ anugate).
those who attain the destruction of the taints,
though in the world, have gone beyond.

1"‘Khaṇakicco loko, khaṇakicco loko’ti, bhikkhave, assutavā puthujjano bhāsati, no ca kho so jānāti khaṇaṁ vā akkhaṇaṁ vā. Aṭṭhime, bhikkhave, akkhaṇā asamayā brahmacariyavāsāya. Katame aṭṭha?

Idha, bhikkhave, tathāgato ca loke uppanno hoti arahaṁ sammāsambuddho vijjācaraṇasampanno sugato lokavidū anuttaro purisadammasārathi satthā devamanussānaṁ buddho bhagavā, dhammo ca desiyati opasamiko parinibbāniko sambodhagāmī sugatappavedito; ayañca puggalo nirayaṁ upapanno hoti. Ayaṁ, bhikkhave, paṭhamo akkhaṇo asamayo brahmacariyavāsāya. (1)


2Puna caparaṁ, bhikkhave, tathāgato ca loke uppanno hoti … pe … satthā devamanussānaṁ buddho bhagavā, dhammo ca desiyati opasamiko parinibbāniko sambodhagāmī sugatappavedito; ayañca puggalo tiracchānayoniṁ upapanno hoti … pe …. (2)


3Puna caparaṁ, bhikkhave … pe … ayañca puggalo pettivisayaṁ upapanno hoti … pe …. (3)

4Puna caparaṁ, bhikkhave … pe … ayañca puggalo aññataraṁ dīghāyukaṁ devanikāyaṁ upapanno hoti … pe …. (4)


5Puna caparaṁ, bhikkhave … pe … ayañca puggalo paccantimesu janapadesu paccājāto hoti, so ca hoti aviññātāresu milakkhesu, yattha natthi gati bhikkhūnaṁ bhikkhunīnaṁ upāsakānaṁ upāsikānaṁ … pe …. (5)

6Puna caparaṁ, bhikkhave … pe … ayañca puggalo majjhimesu janapadesu paccājāto hoti, so ca hoti micchādiṭṭhiko viparītadassano:  ‘Natthi dinnaṁ, natthi yiṭṭhaṁ, natthi hutaṁ, natthi sukatadukkaṭānaṁ kammānaṁ phalaṁ vipāko, natthi ayaṁ loko, natthi paro loko, natthi mātā, natthi pitā, natthi sattā opapātikā, natthi loke samaṇabrāhmaṇā sammaggatā sammā paṭipannā ye imañca lokaṁ parañca lokaṁ sayaṁ abhiññā sacchikatvā pavedentī’ti … pe …. (6)

7Puna caparaṁ, bhikkhave … pe … ayañca puggalo majjhimesu janapadesu paccājāto hoti, so ca hoti duppañño jaḷo eḷamūgo appaṭibalo subhāsitadubbhāsitassa atthamaññātuṁ. Ayaṁ, bhikkhave, sattamo akkhaṇo asamayo brahmacariyavāsāya. (7)

8Puna caparaṁ, bhikkhave, tathāgato ca loke anuppanno hoti arahaṁ sammāsambuddho … pe … satthā devamanussānaṁ buddho bhagavā. Dhammo ca na desiyati opasamiko parinibbāniko sambodhagāmī sugatappavedito. Ayañca puggalo majjhimesu janapadesu paccājāto hoti, so ca hoti paññavā ajaḷo aneḷamūgo paṭibalo subhāsitadubbhāsitassa atthamaññātuṁ. Ayaṁ, bhikkhave, aṭṭhamo akkhaṇo asamayo brahmacariyavāsāya. (8)


9Ime kho, bhikkhave, aṭṭha akkhaṇā asamayā brahmacariyavāsāya.

10Ekova kho, bhikkhave, khaṇo ca samayo ca brahmacariyavāsāya. Katamo eko? Idha, bhikkhave, tathāgato ca loke uppanno hoti arahaṁ sammāsambuddho vijjācaraṇasampanno sugato lokavidū anuttaro purisadammasārathi satthā devamanussānaṁ buddho bhagavā. Dhammo ca desiyati opasamiko parinibbāniko sambodhagāmī sugatappavedito. Ayañca puggalo majjhimesu janapadesu paccājāto hoti, so ca hoti paññavā ajaḷo aneḷamūgo paṭibalo subhāsitadubbhāsitassa atthamaññātuṁ. Ayaṁ, bhikkhave, ekova khaṇo ca samayo ca brahmacariyavāsāyāti.

11Manussalābhaṁ laddhāna,
saddhamme suppavedite;
Ye khaṇaṁ nādhigacchanti,
atināmenti te khaṇaṁ.

12Bahū hi akkhaṇā vuttā,
maggassa antarāyikā;
Kadāci karahaci loke,
uppajjanti tathāgatā.

13Tayidaṁ sammukhībhūtaṁ,
yaṁ lokasmiṁ sudullabhaṁ;
Manussapaṭilābho ca,
saddhammassa ca desanā;
Alaṁ vāyamituṁ tattha,
attakāmena jantunā.

14Kathaṁ vijaññā saddhammaṁ,
khaṇo ve mā upaccagā;
Khaṇātītā hi socanti,
nirayamhi samappitā.

15Idha ce naṁ virādheti,
saddhammassa niyāmataṁ;
Vāṇijova atītattho,
cirattaṁ anutapissati.

16Avijjānivuto poso,
saddhammaṁ aparādhiko;
Jātimaraṇasaṁsāraṁ,
ciraṁ paccanubhossati.

17Ye ca laddhā manussattaṁ,
saddhamme suppavedite;
Akaṁsu satthu vacanaṁ,
karissanti karonti vā.

18Khaṇaṁ paccaviduṁ loke,
brahmacariyaṁ anuttaraṁ;
Ye maggaṁ paṭipajjiṁsu,
tathāgatappaveditaṁ.

19Ye saṁvarā cakkhumatā,
desitādiccabandhunā;
Tesu gutto sadā sato,
vihare anavassuto.

20Sabbe anusaye chetvā,
māradheyyaparānuge;
Te ve pāraṅgatā loke,
ye pattā āsavakkhayan"ti.

Navamaṁ.