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You are here: Index Nonduality & Spirituality The Roots of Good and Evil: An Anthology by Nyanaponika Thera

The Roots of Good and Evil: An Anthology by Nyanaponika Thera
|Contents| I | II | III | IV | V | VI | VII |

II.General Texts

    6.    Overcoming Birth and Death
    7.    Mara's Prisoner
    8.    Crossing the Ocean
    9.    The Three Fires
           From the Commentary by Bhadantacariya Dhamapala
  10.    Three Inner Foes
           Comment

6. OVERCOMING BIRTH AND DEATH  

If three things were not found in the world, the Perfect One, the Holy One who is fully enlightened, would not appear in the world, nor would his teaching and discipline shed their light over the world.

    What are these three things? They are birth, old age and death. Because these three are found in the world, the Perfect One, the Holy One who is fully enlightened, has appeared in the world, and his teaching and discipline shed their light over the world.

    It is, however, impossible to overcome birth, old age and death without overcoming another three things, namely: greed, hatred and delusion.

Anguttara Nikaya, 10: 76


7. MARA'S PRISONER 6  

He who has not abandoned greed, hatred and delusion, is called Mira's prisoner, captured in Mira's snares, subject to the Evil One's will and pleasure.

    But he who has abandoned greed, hatred and delusion, is no longer Mara's prisoner; he is freed from Mara's snares, no longer subject to the Evil One's will and pleasure.

Itivuttaka 68


8. CROSSING THE OCEAN  

A monk or a nun who has not abandoned greed, hatred and delusion, such a one has not crossed the ocean (of samsara), with its waves and whirlpools, monsters and demons.

    But a monk or a nun who has abandoned greed, hatred and delusion, such a one has crossed the ocean (of samsara), with its waves and whirlpools, monsters and demons, has traversed it and gone to the other shore (Nibbana), standing on firm ground as a true saint.

Itivuttaka 69


9. THE THREE FIRES  

There are three fires: the fire of lust, the fire of hatred and the fire of delusion.

    The fire of lust burns lustful mortals
        Who are entangled in the sense-objects.
    The fire of hate burns wrathful men
        Who urged by hate slay living beings.
    Delusion's fire burns foolish folk
        Who cannot see the holy Dhamma.

    Those who delight in the embodied group7
        Do not know this triple fire.
    They cause the worlds of woe to grow:
        The hells, and life as animal,
    The ghostly and demoniac realms;
        Unfreed are they from Mara's chains.
    But those who live by day and night
        Devoted to the Buddha's law,
    They quench within the fire of lust
        By seeing the impurity of body.
    They quench within the fire of hate
        By loving-kindness, loftiest of men.
    Delusion's fire they also quench
        By wisdom ripening in penetration.8

    When they extinguish these three fires,
        Wise, unremitting day and night,
    Completely they are liberated,
        Completely they transcend all ill.

    Seers of the holy realm,9
        Through perfect knowledge10 wise,
    By direct vision ending all rebirth,
        They do not go to any new existence.

                                        Itivuttaka 93

From the commentary by Bhadantacariya Dhammapala  

Because greed, when it arises, burns and consumes living beings, therefore it is called a fire; and so it is with hatred and delusion. Just as a fire consumes the fuel through which it has arisen, and grows into a vast conflagration, similarly it is with greed, hatred and delusion: they consume the life-continuity in which they have arisen and grow into a vast conflagration that is hard to extinguish.

    Innumerable are the beings who, with hearts ablaze with the fire of lust, have come to death through the suffering of unfulfilled desire. This is greed's burning power. For the burning power of hatred, a special example is the 'deities ruined by their angry minds' (manopadosika-deva), and for delusion, the 'deities ruined by their playful pleasures' (khiddapadosika-deva).11  In their delusion, the latter become so forgetful that they miss their meal-time and die. This is the burning power of greed, hatred and delusion, as far as the present life is concerned. In future lives these three are still more terrible and hard to endure, in so far as greed, etc., may cause rebirth in the hells and the other worlds of woe.
 

10. THREE INNER FOES  

There are three inner taints, three inner foes, three inner enemies, three inner murderers, three inner antagonists. What are these three? Greed is an inner taint . . . . Hatred is an inner taint . . . . Delusion is an inner taint, an inner foe, an inner enemy, an inner murderer, an inner antagonist.

    Greed is a cause of harm,
        Unrest of mind it brings
    This danger that has grown within,
        Blind folk are unaware of it.

    A greedy person cannot see the facts,
        Nor can he understand the Dhamma.
    When greed has overpowered him,
        In complete darkness he is plunged.

    But he who does not crave and can forsake
        This greed and what incites to greed,
    From him quickly greed glides off
        Like water from a lotus leaf.

    Hate is a cause of harm,
        Unrest of mind it brings.
    This danger that has grown within,
        Blind folk are unaware of it.

    A hater cannot see the facts,
        Nor can he understand the Dhamma.
    When hate has overpowered him,
        In complete darkness he is plunged.

    But he who does not hate and can forsake
        This hatred and what incites to hate,
    From him quickly hatred falls off
        As from a palm tree falls the ripened fruit.

    Delusion is a cause of harm,
        Unrest of mind it brings.
    This danger that has grown within,
        Blind folk are unaware of it.

    He who is deluded cannot see the facts,
        Nor can he understand the Dhamma.
    If a man is in delusion's grip,
        In complete darkness he is plunged.

    But he who has shed delusion's veil
        Is undeluded where confusion reigns;
    He fully scatters all delusion,
        just as the sun dispels the night.

                                        Itivuttaka 88

Comment  

Greed, hatred and delusion strong enough to lead to sub-human rebirths are abandoned by the first path, that of stream-entry. Sensual desire and hatred, in their coarse forms, are abandoned by the second path (of once-return), and in their subtle forms, by the third path (of non-return). All remaining greed and delusion, along with their associated defilements, are abandoned by the fourth path - that of Arahatship.

|Contents| I | II | III | IV | V | VI | VII |

You are here: Index Nonduality & Spirituality The Roots of Good and Evil: An Anthology by Nyanaponika Thera



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