AN 7.67 Nagaropama Sutta, The Simile of the Citadel

“Mendicants, when a king’s frontier citadel is well provided with seven essentials and gets four kinds of sustenance when needed, without trouble or difficulty, it is then called a king’s frontier citadel that cannot be overrun by external foes and enemies.

With what seven essentials is a citadel well provided?

Firstly, a citadel has a pillar with deep foundations, firmly embedded, imperturbable and unshakable. This is the first essential with which a king’s frontier citadel is well provided, to defend those within and repel those outside.

Furthermore, a citadel has a moat that is deep and wide. This is the second essential …

Furthermore, a citadel has a patrol path that is high and wide. This is the third essential …

Furthermore, a citadel has stores of many weapons, both projectile and hand-held. This is the fourth essential …

Furthermore, many kinds of armed forces reside in a citadel, such as elephant riders, cavalry, charioteers, archers, bannermen, adjutants, food servers, warrior-chiefs, princes, chargers, great warriors, heroes, leather-clad soldiers, and sons of bondservants. This is the fifth essential …

Furthermore, a citadel has a gatekeeper who is astute, competent, and intelligent. He keeps strangers out and lets known people in. This is the sixth essential …

Furthermore, a citadel has a wall that’s high and wide, covered with plaster. This is the seventh essential with which a king’s frontier citadel is well provided, to defend those within and repel those outside.

With these seven essentials a citadel is well provided.

What are the four kinds of sustenance it gets when needed, without trouble or difficulty?

Firstly, a king’s frontier citadel has much hay, wood, and water stored up for the enjoyment, relief, and comfort of those within and to repel those outside.

Furthermore, a king’s frontier citadel has much rice and barley stored up for those within.

Furthermore, a king’s frontier citadel has much food such as sesame, green gram, and black gram stored up for those within.

Furthermore, a king’s frontier citadel has much medicine—ghee, butter, oil, honey, molasses, and salt—stored up for the enjoyment, relief, and comfort of those within and to repel those outside.

These are the four kinds of sustenance it gets when needed, without trouble or difficulty.

When a king’s frontier citadel is well provided with seven essentials and gets four kinds of sustenance when needed, without trouble or difficulty, it is then called a king’s frontier citadel that cannot be overrun by external foes and enemies. In the same way, when a noble disciple has seven good qualities, and they get the four absorptions—blissful meditations in the present life that belong to the higher mind—when they want, without trouble or difficulty, they are then called a noble disciple who cannot be overrun by Māra, who cannot be overrun by the Wicked One. What are the seven good qualities that they have?

Just as a king’s frontier citadel has a pillar with deep foundations, firmly embedded, imperturbable and unshakable, to defend those within and repel those outside, in the same way a noble disciple has faith in the Realized One’s awakening: ‘That Blessed One is perfected, a fully awakened Buddha, accomplished in knowledge and conduct, holy, knower of the world, supreme guide for those who wish to train, teacher of gods and humans, awakened, blessed.’ A noble disciple with faith as their pillar gives up the unskillful and develops the skillful, they give up the blameworthy and develop the blameless, and they keep themselves pure. This is the first good quality they have.

Just as a citadel has a moat that is deep and wide, in the same way a noble disciple has a conscience. They’re conscientious about bad conduct by way of body, speech, and mind, and conscientious about having any bad, unskillful qualities. A noble disciple with a conscience as their moat gives up the unskillful and develops the skillful, they give up the blameworthy and develop the blameless, and they keep themselves pure. This is the second good quality they have.

Just as a citadel has a patrol path that is high and wide, in the same way a noble disciple is prudent. They’re prudent when it comes to bad conduct by way of body, speech, and mind, and prudent when it comes to acquiring any bad, unskillful qualities. A noble disciple with prudence as their patrol path gives up the unskillful and develops the skillful, they give up the blameworthy and develop the blameless, and they keep themselves pure. This is the third good quality they have.

Just as a citadel has stores of many weapons, both projectile and hand-held, in the same way a noble disciple is very learned. They remember and keep what they’ve learned. These teachings are good in the beginning, good in the middle, and good in the end, meaningful and well-phrased, describing a spiritual practice that’s entirely full and pure. They are very learned in such teachings, remembering them, reciting them, mentally scrutinizing them, and comprehending them theoretically. A noble disciple with learning as their weapon gives up the unskillful and develops the skillful, they give up the blameworthy and develop the blameless, and they keep themselves pure. This is the fourth good quality they have.

Just as many kinds of armed forces reside in a citadel … in the same way a noble disciple is energetic. They live with energy roused up for giving up unskillful qualities and embracing skillful qualities. They are strong, staunchly vigorous, not slacking off when it comes to developing skillful qualities. A noble disciple with energy as their armed forces gives up the unskillful and develops the skillful, they give up the blameworthy and develop the blameless, and they keep themselves pure. This is the fifth good quality they have.

Just as a citadel has a gatekeeper who is astute, competent, and intelligent, who keeps strangers out and lets known people in, in the same way a noble disciple is mindful. They have utmost mindfulness and alertness, and can remember and recall what was said and done long ago. A noble disciple with mindfulness as their gatekeeper gives up the unskillful and develops the skillful, they give up the blameworthy and develop the blameless, and they keep themselves pure. This is the sixth good quality they have.

Just as a citadel has a wall that’s high and wide, covered with plaster, to defend those within and repel those outside, in the same way a noble disciple is wise. They have the wisdom of arising and passing away which is noble, penetrative, and leads to the complete ending of suffering. A noble disciple with wisdom as their wall gives up the unskillful and develops the skillful, they give up the blameworthy and develop the blameless, and they keep themselves pure. This is the seventh good quality they have. These are the seven good qualities that they have.

And what are the four absorptions—blissful meditations in the present life that belong to the higher mind—that they get when they want, without trouble or difficulty? Just as a king’s frontier citadel has much hay, wood, and water stored up for the enjoyment, relief, and comfort of those within and to repel those outside, in the same way a noble disciple, quite secluded from sensual pleasures, secluded from unskillful qualities, enters and remains in the first absorption, which has the rapture and bliss born of seclusion, while placing the mind and keeping it connected. This is for their own enjoyment, relief, and comfort, and for alighting upon extinguishment.

Just as a king’s frontier citadel has much rice and barley stored up, in the same way, as the placing of the mind and keeping it connected are stilled, a noble disciple enters and remains in the second absorption, which has the rapture and bliss born of immersion, with internal clarity and confidence, and unified mind, without placing the mind and keeping it connected. This is for their own enjoyment, relief, and comfort, and for alighting upon extinguishment.

Just as a king’s frontier citadel has much food such as sesame, green gram, and black gram stored up, in the same way with the fading away of rapture, a noble disciple enters and remains in the third absorption, where they meditate with equanimity, mindful and aware, personally experiencing the bliss of which the noble ones declare, ‘Equanimous and mindful, one meditates in bliss.’ This is for their own enjoyment, relief, and comfort, and for alighting upon extinguishment.

Just as a king’s frontier citadel has much medicine—ghee, butter, oil, honey, molasses, and salt—stored up for the enjoyment, relief, and comfort of those within and to repel those outside, in the same way, giving up pleasure and pain, and ending former happiness and sadness, a noble disciple enters and remains in the fourth absorption, without pleasure or pain, with pure equanimity and mindfulness. This is for their own enjoyment, relief, and comfort, and for alighting upon extinguishment. These are the four absorptions—blissful meditations in the present life that belong to the higher mind—which they get when they want, without trouble or difficulty.

When a noble disciple has seven good qualities, and they get the four absorptions—blissful meditations in the present life that belong to the higher mind—when they want, without trouble or difficulty, they are then called a noble disciple who cannot be overrun by Māra, who cannot be overrun by the Wicked One.”

Based on the translation by Bhikkhu Sujato. Read the original on SuttaCentral.net

AN 5:50 Themes

The Buddha gave us a set of five recollections for everyone to practice. He teaches us the benefit that comes from this recollection, and he explains how it leads directly to Nibbana.

“Bhikkhus, there are these five themes that should often be reflected upon by a woman or a man, by a householder or one gone forth. What five?
(1) A woman or a man, a householder or one gone forth, should often reflect thus: ‘I am subject to old age; I am not exempt from old age.’
(2) A woman or a man, a householder or one gone forth, should often reflect thus: ‘I am subject to illness; I am not exempt from illness.’
(3) A woman or a man, a householder or one gone forth, should often reflect thus: ‘I am subject to death; I am not exempt from death.’
(4) A woman or a man, a householder or one gone forth, should often reflect thus: ‘I must be parted and separated from everyone and everything dear and agreeable to me.’
(5) A woman or a man, a householder or one gone forth, should often reflect thus: ‘I am the owner of my kamma, the heir of my kamma; I have kamma as my origin, kamma as my relative, kamma as my resort; I will be the heir of whatever kamma, good or bad, that I do.’

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MN 135 Culakammavibhanga Sutta, The Shorter Analysis of Action

Have you ever wondered why we see different kinds of people in the world? The Supreme Buddha understood exactly why this is.

Reading Time: 5 minutes

So I have heard. At one time the Buddha was staying near Sāvatthī in Jeta’s Grove, Anāthapiṇḍika’s monastery.

Then the brahmin student Subha, Todeyya’s son, approached the Buddha, and exchanged greetings with him. When the greetings and polite conversation were over, he sat down to one side and said to the Buddha:

“What is the cause, Master Gotama, what is the reason why even among those who are human beings some are seen to be inferior and superior? For people are seen who are short-lived and long-lived, sickly and healthy, ugly and beautiful, insignificant and illustrious, poor and rich, from low and eminent families, witless and wise. What is the reason why even among those who are human beings some are seen to be inferior and superior?”

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Paticca Samuppada Samudayo and Nirodho, Arising and Cessation of Causality

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Avijjā paccayā saṅkhārā. Saṅkhāra paccayā viññāṇaṁ. Viññāṇa paccayā nāmarūpaṁ. Nāma rūpa paccayā saḷāyatanaṁ. Saḷāyatana paccayā phasso. Phassa paccayā vedanā. Vedanā paccayā taṇhā. Taṇhā paccayā upādānaṁ. Upādāna paccayā bhavo. Bhava paccayā jāti. Jāti paccayā jarā maraṇaṁ soka parideva dukkha domanassupāyāsā sambhavanti. Evametassa kevalassa dukkhakhandassa samudayo hoti.
Dependent on ignorance, arises formations.
Dependent on formations, arises consciousness.
Dependent on consciousness, arises mentality-materiality.
Dependent on mentality-materiality, arise the six-sense bases.
Dependent on the six-sense bases, arises contact.
Dependent on contact, arises feeling.
Dependent on feeling, arises craving.
Dependent on craving, arises clinging.
Dependent on clinging, / arises the arranging of kamma.
Dependent on the arranging of kamma, / arises birth.
Dependent on birth, arises aging, death, sorrow, lamentation, / pain, grief and despair.
Thus, there is the arising of this whole mass of suffering.

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Angulimala Paritta

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Parittaṁ yaṁ bhaṇantassa – nisinnaṭṭhāna dhovanaṁ
Udaka’mpi vināseti – sabbameva parissayaṁ
Sotthinā gabbha vuṭṭhānaṁ – yañ ca sādheti taṁ khaṇe
Therassaṅgulimālassa – lokanāthena bhāsitaṁ
Kappaṭṭhāyiṁ mahātejaṁ – parittaṁ taṁ bhaṇāmahe

Even the water that is used to wash / the seat which Arahant Aṅgulimāla sat on / and recited this paritta, / that water can end all sufferings. If a pregnant mother suffers from any pain, / she will be well and be strong enough / to stand instantly. Now we shall recite that very powerful paritta / taught by the Buddha, / to Arahant Aṅgulimāla / which will hold its power for an aeon.

Yato’haṁ bhagini, ariyāya jātiya jāto nā’bhijānāmi saṁcicca pāṇaṁ jīvitā voropetā, tena saccena sotthi te hotu, sotthi gabbhassā’ti.
“Sister, from the day I was born / in the Noble Birth / which leads to supreme Nibbāna, / from that day on / I am not aware of myself / killing any living beings deliberately. By this truth / may you be well! / May the delivery of your child / be peaceful!”

Etena saccena suvatthi hotu!
By this truth, may there be well-being!

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Translation from The Mahamevnawa Pali English Paritta Chanting Book.

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AN 5:235 Anukampa, A Monk with Compassion

Learn the five ways a monk can practice compassion towards lay people.

Reading Time: < 1 minute

“Monks, a resident monk with five qualities shows compassion to the lay people. What five?

  1. They encourage them in higher ethics.
  2. They equip them to see the truth of the teachings.
  3. When they are sick, they go to them and prompt their mindfulness, saying: ‘Establish your mindfulness, good sirs, in what is worthy.’
  4. When a large monk Saṅgha is arriving with monks from abroad, they go to the lay people and announce: ‘A large monk Saṅgha is arriving with monks from abroad. Make merit! Now is the time to make merit!’
  5. And they eat whatever food they give them, coarse or fine, not wasting a gift given in faith.

A resident monk with these five qualities shows compassion to the lay people.”

Based on the translation by Bhikkhu Sujato, 2018. Read the original on SuttaCentral.net

AN 5:50 Sokasallaharana Sutta, Pulling Out the Dart of Sorrow

How does a wise person experience death?

Reading Time: 7 minutes

At one time Venerable Nārada was staying at Pāṭaliputta, in the Chicken Monastery.

Now at that time King Muṇḍa’s dear and beloved Queen Bhaddā had just passed away. And since that time, the king did not bathe, anoint himself, eat his meals, or apply himself to his work. Day and night he brooded over Queen Bhaddā’s corpse.

Then King Muṇḍa addressed his treasurer, Piyaka,

“So, my good Piyaka, please place Queen Bhaddā’s corpse in an iron case filled with oil. Then close it up with another case, so that we can view Queen Bhaddā’s body even longer.”

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AN 9:2 With Meghiya

What should we do to prepare the mind for wisdom?

Reading Time: 4 minutes

At one time the Buddha was staying near Cālikā, on the Cālikā mountain.

Now, at that time Venerable Meghiya was the Buddha’s attendant. Then Venerable Meghiya went up to the Buddha, bowed, stood to one side, and said to him, “Sir, I’d like to enter Jantu village for alms.”

“Please, Meghiya, go when it’s convenient.”

Then Meghiya robed up in the morning and, taking his bowl and robe, entered Jantu village for alms. After the meal, on his return from alms-round in Jantu village, he went to the shore of Kimikālā river. As he was going for a walk along the shore of the river he saw a lovely and delightful mango grove.

It occurred to him, “Oh, this mango grove is lovely and delightful! It’s truly good enough for meditation for a kinsman who wants to meditate. If the Buddha allows me, I’ll come back to this mango grove to meditate.”

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SN 2:10 Suriya Paritta, Discourse Given to the Sun Deity

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Evaṁ me sutaṁ. Ekaṁ samayaṁ Bhagavā Sāvatthiyaṁ viharati Jetavane Anāthapiṇḍikassa ārāme. Tena kho pana samayena Suriyo devaputto Rāhunā asurindena gahito hoti. Atha kho Suriyo devaputto Bhagavantaṁ anussaramāno tāyaṁ velāyaṁ imaṁ gāthaṁ abhāsi.
Thus have I heard: On one occasion the Blessed One was living in Sāvatthi, at Jetavana, at Anāthapiņḍika’s monastery. At that time Sūriya, the sun deity, was captured by Rāhu, one of the kings of the Asuras. Thereupon calling to mind the Blessed One, Sūriya, the sun deity, recited this stanza:

Namo te Buddha vīra’tthu – Vippamutto’si sabbadhi
Sambādhapaṭipanno’smi – Tassa me saraṇaṁ bhavā’ti.

Oh Buddha, the Hero I pay homage to you. You are completely free from all suffering. I have fallen into trouble. Please be my refuge and help me.

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SN 2:9 Canda Paritta, Discourse Given to the Moon Deity

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Evaṁ me sutaṁ. Ekaṁ samayaṁ Bhagavā Sāvatthiyaṁ viharati Jetavane Anāthapiṇḍikassa ārāme. Tena kho pana samayena Candimā devaputto Rāhunā asurindena gahito hoti. Atha kho Candimā devaputto Bhagavantaṁ anussaramāno tāyaṁ velāyaṁ imaṁ gāthaṁ abhāsi.
Thus have I heard: On one occasion the Blessed One was living in Sāvatthi, at Jetavana, at Anāthapiņḍika’s monastery. At that time Candima, the moon deity, was captured by Rāhu, one of the kings of the Asurās. Thereupon, calling to mind the Blessed One, Candima, the moon deity, recited this stanza:

Namo te Buddha vīra’tthu – Vippamutto’si sabbadhi
Sambādhapaṭipanno’smi – Tassa me saraṇaṁ bhavā’ti

Oh Buddha, the Hero, I pay homage to you. You are completely free from all suffering. I have fallen into trouble. Please be my refuge and help me.

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