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Aṅguttara Nikāya - The Numerical Discourses

8: The Book of the Eights

74. Mindfulness of Death (2)

1On one occasion the Blessed One was dwelling at Nādika in the brick hall. There the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus: "Bhikkhus!"

"Venerable sir!" those bhikkhus replied. The Blessed One said this:

"Bhikkhus, mindfulness of death, when developed and cultivated, is of great fruit and benefit, culminating in the deathless, having the deathless as its consummation.


2And how is this so?


"Here, bhikkhus, when day has receded and night has approached, a bhikkhu reflects thus: ‘I could die on account of many causes. (1) A snake might bite me, or a scorpion or centipede might sting me, and I might thereby die; that would be an obstacle for me. (2) I might stumble and fall down, or (3) my food might disagree with me, or (4) my bile might become agitated, or (5) my phlegm might become agitated, or (6) sharp winds in me might become agitated, or (7) people might attack me, or (8) wild spirits might attack me, and I might die; that would be an obstacle for me.’

3"This bhikkhu should reflect thus: ‘Do I have any bad unwholesome qualities that have not been abandoned, which might become an obstacle for me if I were to die tonight?’ If, upon review, the bhikkhu knows: ‘I have bad unwholesome qualities that have not been abandoned, which might become an obstacle for me if I were to die tonight,’ then he should put forth extraordinary desire, effort, zeal, enthusiasm, indefatigability, mindfulness, and clear comprehension to abandon those bad unwholesome qualities.


4Just as one whose clothes or head had caught fire would put forth extraordinary desire, effort, zeal, enthusiasm, indefatigability, mindfulness, and clear comprehension to extinguish the fire on his clothes or head, so that bhikkhu should put forth extraordinary desire, effort, zeal, enthusiasm, indefatigability, mindfulness, and clear comprehension to abandon those bad unwholesome qualities.

5"But if, upon review, the bhikkhu knows: ‘I do not have any bad unwholesome qualities that have not been abandoned, which might become an obstacle for me if I were to die tonight,’ then he should dwell in that same rapture and joy, training day and night in wholesome qualities.


6"But when night has receded and day has approached, a bhikkhu reflects thus: ‘I could die on account of many causes. A snake might bite me … or wild spirits might attack me, and I might die; that would be an obstacle for me.’

"This bhikkhu should reflect thus: ‘Do I have any bad unwholesome qualities that have not been abandoned which might become an obstacle for me if I were to die this day?’


7If, upon review, the bhikkhu knows: ‘I have bad unwholesome qualities that I have not yet abandoned, which might become an obstacle for me if I were to die this day,’ then he should put forth extraordinary desire, effort, zeal, enthusiasm, indefatigability, mindfulness, and clear comprehension to abandon those bad unwholesome qualities.

8Just as one whose clothes or head had caught fire would put forth extraordinary desire, effort, zeal, enthusiasm, indefatigability, mindfulness, and clear comprehension to extinguish the fire on his clothes or head, so that bhikkhu should put forth extraordinary desire, effort, zeal, enthusiasm, indefatigability, mindfulness, and clear comprehension to abandon those bad unwholesome qualities.

9"But if, upon review, the bhikkhu knows: ‘I do not have any bad unwholesome qualities that I have not yet abandoned, which might become an obstacle for me if I were to die this day,’ then he should dwell in that same rapture and joy, training day and night in wholesome qualities.

"It is, bhikkhus, when mindfulness of death is developed and cultivated in this way that it is of great fruit and benefit, culminating in the deathless, having the deathless as its consummation."

1Ekaṁ samayaṁ bhagavā nātike viharati giñjakāvasathe. Tatra kho bhagavā bhikkhū āmantesi … pe … maraṇassati, bhikkhave, bhāvitā bahulīkatā mahapphalā hoti mahānisaṁsā amatogadhā amatapariyosānā.


2Kathaṁ bhāvitā ca, bhikkhave, maraṇassati kathaṁ bahulīkatā mahapphalā hoti mahānisaṁsā amatogadhā amatapariyosānā?


Idha, bhikkhave, bhikkhu divase nikkhante rattiyā patihitāya iti paṭisañcikkhati:  ‘bahukā kho me paccayā maraṇassa – ahi vā maṁ ḍaṁseyya, vicchiko vā maṁ ḍaṁseyya, satapadī vā maṁ ḍaṁseyya; tena me assa kālakiriyā. So mama assa antarāyo. Upakkhalitvā vā papateyyaṁ, bhattaṁ vā me bhuttaṁ byāpajjeyya, pittaṁ vā me kuppeyya, semhaṁ vā me kuppeyya, satthakā vā me vātā kuppeyyuṁ, manussā vā maṁ upakkameyyuṁ, amanussā vā maṁ upakkameyyuṁ; tena me assa kālakiriyā. So mama assa antarāyo’ti. Tena, bhikkhave, bhikkhunā iti paṭisañcikkhitabbaṁ:  ‘atthi nu kho me pāpakā akusalā dhammā appahīnā ye me assu rattiṁ kālaṁ karontassa antarāyāyā’ti.

3Sace, bhikkhave, bhikkhu paccavekkhamāno evaṁ jānāti:  ‘atthi me pāpakā akusalā dhammā appahīnā ye me assu rattiṁ kālaṁ karontassa antarāyāyā’ti, tena, bhikkhave, bhikkhunā tesaṁyeva pāpakānaṁ akusalānaṁ dhammānaṁ pahānāya adhimatto chando ca vāyāmo ca ussāho ca ussoḷhī ca appaṭivānī ca sati ca sampajaññañca karaṇīyaṁ.


4Seyyathāpi, bhikkhave, ādittacelo vā ādittasīso vā tasseva celassa vā sīsassa vā nibbāpanāya adhimattaṁ chandañca vāyāmañca ussāhañca ussoḷhiñca appaṭivāniñca satiñca sampajaññañca kareyya; evamevaṁ kho, bhikkhave, tena bhikkhunā tesaṁyeva pāpakānaṁ akusalānaṁ dhammānaṁ pahānāya adhimatto chando ca vāyāmo ca ussāho ca ussoḷhī ca appaṭivānī ca sati ca sampajaññañca karaṇīyaṁ.

5Sace pana, bhikkhave, bhikkhu paccavekkhamāno evaṁ jānāti:  ‘Natthi me pāpakā akusalā dhammā appahīnā ye me assu rattiṁ kālaṁ karontassa antarāyāyā’ti, tena, bhikkhave, bhikkhunā teneva pītipāmojjena vihātabbaṁ ahorattānusikkhinā kusalesu dhammesu.


6Idha pana, bhikkhave, bhikkhu rattiyā nikkhantāya divase patihite iti paṭisañcikkhati:  ‘bahukā kho me paccayā maraṇassa – ahi vā maṁ ḍaṁseyya, vicchiko vā maṁ ḍaṁseyya, satapadī vā maṁ ḍaṁseyya; tena me assa kālakiriyā. So mama assa antarāyo.

Upakkhalitvā vā papateyyaṁ, bhattaṁ vā me bhuttaṁ byāpajjeyya, pittaṁ vā me kuppeyya, semhaṁ vā me kuppeyya, satthakā vā me vātā kuppeyyuṁ, manussā vā maṁ upakkameyyuṁ, amanussā vā maṁ upakkameyyuṁ; tena me assa kālakiriyā. So mama assa antarāyo’ti. Tena, bhikkhave, bhikkhunā iti paṭisañcikkhitabbaṁ:  ‘atthi nu kho me pāpakā akusalā dhammā appahīnā ye me assu divā kālaṁ karontassa antarāyāyā’ti.


7Sace, bhikkhave, bhikkhu paccavekkhamāno evaṁ jānāti:  ‘atthi me pāpakā akusalā dhammā appahīnā ye me assu divā kālaṁ karontassa antarāyāyā’ti, tena, bhikkhave, bhikkhunā tesaṁyeva pāpakānaṁ akusalānaṁ dhammānaṁ pahānāya adhimatto chando ca vāyāmo ca ussāho ca ussoḷhī ca appaṭivānī ca sati ca sampajaññañca karaṇīyaṁ.

8Seyyathāpi, bhikkhave, ādittacelo vā ādittasīso vā tasseva celassa vā sīsassa vā nibbāpanāya adhimattaṁ chandañca vāyāmañca ussāhañca ussoḷhiñca appaṭivāniñca satiñca sampajaññañca kareyya; evamevaṁ kho, bhikkhave, tena bhikkhunā tesaṁyeva pāpakānaṁ akusalānaṁ dhammānaṁ pahānāya adhimatto chando ca vāyāmo ca ussāho ca ussoḷhī ca appaṭivānī ca sati ca sampajaññañca karaṇīyaṁ.

9Sace pana, bhikkhave, bhikkhu paccavekkhamāno evaṁ jānāti:  ‘Natthi me pāpakā akusalā dhammā appahīnā ye me assu divā kālaṁ karontassa antarāyāyā’ti, tena, bhikkhave, bhikkhunā teneva pītipāmojjena vihātabbaṁ ahorattānusikkhinā kusalesu dhammesu.

Evaṁ bhāvitā kho, bhikkhave, maraṇassati evaṁ bahulīkatā mahapphalā hoti mahānisaṁsā amatogadhā amatapariyosānā"ti.

Catutthaṁ.