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Itivuttaka 50-99

The Group Of Threes


50.

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "There are these three roots of what is unskillful. Which three? Greed as a root of what is unskillful, aversion as a root of what is unskillful, delusion as a root of what is unskillful. These are the three roots of what is unskillful."

Greed, aversion, delusion destroy
the self-same person of evil-mind
from whom they are born,
    like the fruiting
    of the bamboo.

51.

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "There are these three properties. Which three? The property of form, the property of formlessness, & the property of cessation. These are the three properties."

Comprehending the property of form,
not taking a stance in the formless,
those released in cessation
are people who've left death     behind.
Having touched with his body
the deathless
property         free
from acquisitions,
having realized relinquishing
of acquisitions,
    fermentation-free,
the Rightly
Self-awakened One
teaches the state
        with     no sorrow,
            no dust.

52.

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "There are these three feelings. Which three? A feeling of pleasure, a feeling of pain, a feeling of neither pleasure nor pain. These are the three feelings."

    Centered,
    mindful,
    alert,
the Awakened One's
    disciple
discerns feelings,
how feelings come into play,
where they cease,
& the path to their ending.

With the ending of feelings, a monk
free of want
    is totally unbound.


53.

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "There are these three feelings. Which three? A feeling of pleasure, a feeling of pain, a feeling of neither pleasure nor pain. A feeling of pleasure should be seen as stressful. A feeling of pain should be seen as an arrow. A feeling of neither pleasure nor pain should be seen as inconstant. When a monk has seen a feeling of pleasure as stressful, a feeling of pain as an arrow, and a feeling of neither pleasure nor pain as inconstant, then he is called a monk who is noble, who has seen rightly, who has cut off craving, destroyed the fetters, and who -- from the right breaking-through of conceit -- has put an end to suffering & stress."

Whoever sees
    pleasure as stress,
sees    pain as an arrow,
sees    peaceful neither-pleasure-nor-pain
        as inconstant:
he is a monk
    who's seen rightly.
From that he is there set free.
    A master of direct knowing,
        at peace,
    he is a sage
    gone beyond bonds.

54.

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "There are these three searches. Which three? The search for sensuality, the search for becoming, the search for a holy life. These are the three searches."

    Centered,
    mindful,
    alert,
the Awakened One's
    disciple
discerns searches,
how searches come into play,
where they cease,
& the path to their ending.

With the ending of searches, a monk
free of want
    is totally unbound.


55.

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "There are these three searches. Which three? The search for sensuality, the search for becoming, the search for a holy life. These are the three searches."

Sensual search, becoming-search,
together with the holy-life search --
    i.e., grasping at truth
    based on an accumulation
        of viewpoints:
through the relinquishing of searches
& the abolishing of viewpoints
    of one dispassionate to
        all passion,
    and released in the ending
        of craving,
through the ending of searches, the monk
    is devoid of perplexity &
        desire.

56.

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "There are these three fermentations. Which three? The fermentation of sensuality, the fermentation of becoming, the fermentation of ignorance. These are the three fermentations."

    Centered,
    mindful,
    alert,
the Awakened One's
    disciple
discerns fermentations,
how fermentations come into play,
where they cease,
& the path to their ending.

With the ending of fermentations, a monk
free of want
    is totally unbound.


57.

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "There are these three fermentations. Which three? The fermentation of sensuality, the fermentation of becoming, the fermentation of ignorance. These are the three fermentations."

His fermentation of sensuality
    ended,
his ignorance
    washed away,
his fermentation of becoming
    exhausted:
one totally released, acquisition-free,
    bears his last body,
having conquered Mara
    along with his mount.

58.

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "There are these three cravings. Which three? Craving for sensuality, craving for becoming, craving for non-becoming. These are the three cravings."

Bound with the bondage of craving,
their minds smitten with becoming & non-,
they are bound with the bondage of Mara --
    people     with no safety from bondage,
    beings     going through the wandering-on,
            headed for birth & death.
While those who've abandoned craving,
free from the craving for becoming & non-,
reaching the ending of fermentations,
    though in the world,
    have gone        beyond.

59.

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "Endowed with three qualities a monk has passed beyond Mara's domain and shines like the sun. Which three? There is the case where a monk is endowed with the aggregate of virtue of one beyond training [i.e., an Arahant], the aggregate of concentration of one beyond training, the aggregate of discernment of one beyond training. Endowed with these three qualities a monk has passed beyond Mara's domain and shines like the sun."

Virtue, concentration, discernment:
one in whom these are well-developed,
passing beyond Mara's domain,
    shines, shines
    like the sun.

60.

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "There are these three grounds for meritorious activity. Which three? The ground for meritorious activity made of generosity, the ground for meritorious activity made of virtue, and the ground for meritorious activity made of development [meditation]. These are the three grounds for meritorious activity."

Train in acts of merit
that bring long-lasting bliss --
develop generosity,
    a life in tune,
    a mind of good-will.
Developing these
three things
that bring about bliss,
    the wise reappear
    in a world of bliss
        unalloyed.

61.

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "There are these three eyes. Which three? The eye of flesh, the divine eye [clairvoyance], & the eye of discernment. These are the three eyes."

    The eye of flesh,
    the eye divine,
    the eye of discernment
    unsurpassed:
these three eyes were taught
by the Person Superlative.
The arising of the eye of flesh
is the path to the eye divine.
When knowledge arises,
the eye of discernment unsurpassed:
whoever gains this eye
is -- from all suffering & stress --
        set free.

62.

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "There are these three faculties. Which three? The faculty of 'I am about to know what is not yet finally known,' the faculty of final knowledge, the faculty of one who has finally known. These are the three faculties."

For a learner in training
along the straight path:
first, the knowledge of ending;
then,     immediately,
    gnosis;
then, from the ending
of the fetter -- becoming --
there's the knowledge,
    the gnosis of one released
                who is Such:
    'My release is unshaken.'

One consummate in these faculties,
    peaceful,
enjoying the peaceful state,
    bears his last body,
having conquered Mara
    along with his mount.


63.

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "There are these three times. What three? Past time, future time, & present time. These are the three times."

Perceiving in terms of signs, beings
take a stand on signs.
Not fully comprehending signs, they
come into the bonds
        of death.
But fully comprehending signs, one
doesn't construe a signifier.
Touching liberation with the heart,
the state of peace unsurpassed,
consummate in terms of signs,
    peaceful,
    enjoying the peaceful state,
    judicious,
an attainer-of wisdom
makes use     of classifications
but can't     be classified.

64.

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "There are these three kinds of misconduct. Which three? Bodily misconduct, verbal misconduct, mental misconduct. These are the three kinds of misconduct."

Having engaged
    in bodily misconduct,
    verbal misconduct,
    misconduct of mind,
    or whatever else is flawed,
not having done what is skillful,
having done much that is not,
at the break-up of the body,
the undiscerning one reappears in
        hell.
[See AN X.176]

65.

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "There are these three kinds of good conduct. Which three? Bodily good conduct, verbal good conduct, mental good conduct. These are the three kinds of good conduct."

Having abandoned
    bodily misconduct,
    verbal misconduct,
    misconduct of mind,
    & whatever else is flawed,
not having done what's not skillful,
having done much that is,
at the break-up of the body,
the discerning one reappears
        in heaven.

66.

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "There are these three kinds of cleanliness. Which three? Bodily cleanliness, verbal cleanliness, mental cleanliness. These are the three kinds of cleanliness."

    Clean in body,
    clean in speech,
    clean in awareness
-- fermentation-free --
    one who is clean,
consummate in cleanliness,
    is said to have abandoned
        the All.

67.

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "There are these three forms of sagacity. Which three? Bodily sagacity, verbal sagacity, & mental sagacity. These are the three forms of sagacity."

A sage in body, a sage in speech,
a sage in mind, fermentation-free:
a sage consummate in sagacity
is said to be bathed
    of evil.
[Note: Compare the above two discourses with AN III.123.]

68.

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "Anyone whose passion is unabandoned, whose aversion is unabandoned, whose delusion is unabandoned is said to have gone over to Mara's camp, has come under Mara's power. The Evil One can do with that person as he likes. But anyone whose passion is abandoned, whose aversion is abandoned, whose delusion is abandoned is said not to have gone over to Mara's camp, has thrown off Mara's power. With that person, the Evil One cannot do as he likes."

One whose passion, aversion, & ignorance
    are washed away,
is said to be
    composed in mind,
    Brahma-become,
    awakened, Tathagata,
    one for whom fear & hostility
        are past,
    one who's abandoned
        the All.

[See SN XXXV.115]


69.

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "Anyone -- monk or nun -- in whom passion is unabandoned, aversion is unabandoned, & delusion is unabandoned, is said not to have crossed the ocean with its waves, breakers, & whirlpools, its monsters & demons. Anyone -- monk or nun -- in whom passion is abandoned, aversion is abandoned, & delusion is abandoned, is said to have crossed the ocean with its waves, breakers, & whirlpools, its monsters & demons. Having crossed over, having reached the far shore, he/she stands on high ground, a brahmin."

One whose passion, aversion, & ignorance
    are washed away,
has crossed over this ocean
with its sharks,
        demons,
dangerous waves,
    so hard to cross.

Free from acquisitions
    -- bonds surmounted
    death abandoned --
he has abandoned stress
with no further becoming.

Having gone to the goal
he     is undefined,
    has outwitted, I tell you,
        the King of Death.

[See Iti 109]

70.

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "I have seen beings who -- endowed with bodily misconduct, verbal misconduct, & mental misconduct; who reviled noble ones, held wrong views and undertook actions under the influence of wrong views -- at the break-up of the body, after death, have re-appeared in the plane of deprivation, the bad destination, the lower realms, in hell. It is not from having heard this from other priests & contemplatives that I tell you that I have seen beings who -- endowed with bodily misconduct, verbal misconduct, & mental misconduct; who reviled noble ones, held wrong views and undertook actions under the influence of wrong views -- at the break-up of the body, after death, have re-appeared in the plane of deprivation, the bad destination, the lower realms, in hell. It is from having known it myself, seen it myself, realized it myself that I tell you that I have seen beings who -- endowed with bodily misconduct, verbal misconduct, & mental misconduct; who reviled noble ones, held wrong views and undertook actions under the influence of wrong views -- at the break-up of the body, after death, have re-appeared in the plane of deprivation, the bad destination, the lower realms, in hell."

With mind wrongly directed,
speaking wrong speech,
doing wrong deeds with the body:
    a person here
of little learning,
a doer of evil
    here in this life so short,
at the break-up of the body,
    undiscerning,
    reappears in hell.

71.

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "I have seen beings who -- endowed with bodily good conduct, verbal good conduct, & mental good conduct; who did not revile noble ones, who held right views and undertook actions under the influence of right views -- at the break-up of the body, after death, have re-appeared in the good destination, the heavenly world. It is not from having heard this from other priests & contemplatives that I tell you that I have seen beings who -- endowed with bodily good conduct, verbal good conduct, & mental good conduct; who did not revile noble ones, who held right views and undertook actions under the influence of right views -- at the break-up of the body, after death, have re-appeared in the good destination, the heavenly world. It is from having known it myself, seen it myself, realized it myself that I tell you that I have seen beings who -- endowed with bodily good conduct, verbal good conduct, & mental good conduct; who did not revile noble ones, who held right views and undertook actions under the influence of right views -- at the break-up of the body, after death, have re-appeared in the good destination, the heavenly world."

With mind rightly directed,
speaking right speech,
doing right deeds with the body:
    a person here
of much learning,
a doer of merit
    here in this life so short,
at the break-up of the body,
    discerning,
    reappears in heaven.

72.

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "There are these three properties for escape. Which three? This is the escape from sensuality: renunciation. This is the escape from form: formlessness. And as for whatever has come into being, is fabricated & dependently co-arisen, the escape from that is cessation. These are the three properties for escape."

Knowing the escape from sensuality,
& the overcoming of forms
    -- ardent
    always --
touching the stilling
of all fabrications:

he is a monk
    who's seen rightly.
From that he is there set free.
    A master of direct knowing,
        at peace,
    he is a sage
    gone beyond bonds.


73.

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "Formless phenomena are more peaceful than forms; cessation, more peaceful than formless phenomena."

Those beings headed to forms,
and those standing in the formless,
with no knowledge of cessation,
return to further becoming.

But, comprehending form,
not taking a stance in formless things,
those released in cessation
are people who've left death     behind.
Having touched with his body
the deathless
property         free
from acquisitions,
having realized relinquishing
of acquisitions,
    fermentation-free,
the Rightly
Self-awakened One
teaches the state
        with     no sorrow,
            no dust.


74.

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "There are these three types of sons & daughters existing in the world. Which three? One of heightened birth, one of similar birth, one of lowered birth.

"And how is a son or daughter of heightened birth? There is the case where a son or daughter's parents have not gone to the Buddha for refuge, have not gone to the Dhamma for refuge, have not gone to the Sangha for refuge. They do not abstain from taking life, from stealing, from sexual misconduct, from false speech, from fermented & distilled liquors that cause heedlessness. They are unprincipled & evil by nature. However, their son or daughter has gone to the Buddha for refuge, has gone to the Dhamma for refuge, has gone to the Sangha for refuge. He/she abstains from taking life, from stealing, from sexual misconduct, from false speech, from fermented & distilled liquors that cause heedlessness. He/she is principled & admirable by nature. This is called a son or daughter of heightened birth.

"And how is a son or daughter of similar birth? There is the case where a son or daughter's parents have gone to the Buddha for refuge, have gone to the Dhamma for refuge, have gone to the Sangha for refuge. They abstain from taking life, from stealing, from sexual misconduct, from false speech, from fermented & distilled liquors that cause heedlessness. They are principled & admirable by nature. Their son or daughter has also gone to the Buddha for refuge, has gone to the Dhamma for refuge, has gone to the Sangha for refuge. He/she abstains from taking life, from stealing, from sexual misconduct, from false speech, from fermented & distilled liquors that cause heedlessness. He/she is principled & admirable by nature. This is called a son or daughter of similar birth.

"And how is a son or daughter of lowered birth? There is the case where a son or daughter's parents have gone to the Buddha for refuge, have gone to the Dhamma for refuge, have gone to the Sangha for refuge. They abstain from taking life, from stealing, from sexual misconduct, from false speech, from fermented & distilled liquors that cause heedlessness. They are principled & admirable by nature. However, their son or daughter has not gone to the Buddha for refuge, has not gone to the Dhamma for refuge, has not gone to the Sangha for refuge. He/she does not abstain from taking life, from stealing, from sexual misconduct, from false speech, from fermented & distilled liquors that cause heedlessness. He/she is unprincipled & evil by nature. This is called a son or daughter of lowered birth."

The wise hope for a child
of heightened or similar birth,
not for one
of lowered birth,
    a disgrace to the family.

These children in the world,
    lay followers,
consummate in virtue, conviction;
generous, free from stinginess,
shine forth in any gathering
    like the moon
    when freed from a cloud.


75.

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "These three types of persons can be found existing in the world. Which three? One like a cloud without rain, one who rains locally, and one who rains everywhere.

"And how is a person like a cloud without rain? There is the case where a person is not a giver of food, drink, clothing, vehicles, garlands, scents, ointments, beds, dwellings, or lights to any priests or contemplatives, to any of the miserable, the homeless, or beggars. This is how a person is like a cloud without rain.

"And how is a person one who rains locally? There is the case where a person is a giver of food, drink, clothing, vehicles, garlands, scents, ointments, beds, dwellings, & lights to some priests & contemplatives, to some of the miserable, the homeless, & beggars, and not to others. This is how a person one who rains locally.

"And how is a person one who rains everywhere? There is the case where a person gives food, drink, clothing, vehicles, garlands, scents, ointments, beds, dwellings, & lights to all priests & contemplatives, to all of the miserable, the homeless, & beggars. This is how a person one who rains everywhere.

"These are the three types of persons who can be found existing in the world."

Not to contemplatives,
to priests,
to the miserable,
nor to the homeless
does he share what he's gained:
    food,
    drinks,
    nourishment.
He, that lowest of people,
    is called a cloud with no rain.

To some he gives,
to others he doesn't:
    the intelligent call him
    one who rains locally.

A person responsive to requests,
sympathetic to all beings,
delighting in distributing alms:
    "Give to them!
    Give!"
    he says.
As a cloud -- resounding, thundering -- rains,
    filling with water, drenching
    the plateaus & gullies:
        a person like this
        is like that.
Having rightly amassed
wealth attained through initiative,
he satisfies fully with food & drink
those fallen into
the homeless state.


76.

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "Aspiring to these three forms of bliss, a wise person should guard his virtue. Which three? [Thinking,] 'May praise come to me,' a wise person should guard his virtue. [Thinking,] 'May wealth come to me,' a wise person should guard his virtue. [Thinking,] 'At the break-up of the body, after death, may I reappear in a good destination, in heaven,' a wise person should guard his virtue. Aspiring to these three forms of bliss, a wise person should guard his virtue."

    Intelligent,
you should guard your virtue,
aspiring to three forms of bliss:
    praise;
    the obtaining of wealth;
    and, after death, rejoicing
        in heaven.

Even if you do no evil
but seek out one who does,
you're suspected of evil.
Your bad reputation
    grows.

    The sort of person you make a friend,
    the sort you seek out,
that's the sort you yourself become --
for your living together is of
    that sort.

The one associated with,
the one who associates,
the one who's touched,
the one who touches another
    -- like an arrow smeared with poison --
contaminates the quiver.
So, fearing contamination, the enlightened
should not be comrades
with evil people.

A man who wraps rotting fish
in a blade of kusa grass
makes the grass smelly:
    so it is
    if you seek out fools.

But a man who wraps powdered incense
in the leaf of a tree
makes the leaf fragrant:
    so it is
    if you seek out
    the enlightened.

    So,
knowing your own outcome
as like the leaf-wrapper's,
you shouldn't seek out
those who aren't good.
The wise would associate
with those who are.
Those who aren't good
lead you to hell.
The good help you reach
a good destination.


77.

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "This body falls apart; consciousness is subject to fading; all acquisitions are inconstant, stressful, subject to change."

Knowing the body         as falling apart,
& consciousness         as dissolving away,
seeing the danger         in acquisitions,
    you've gone beyond
    birth & death.
Having reached the foremost peace,
you bide your time,
    composed.

78.

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "It is in accordance with their properties that beings come together & associate with one another. Beings of low dispositions come together & associate with beings of low dispositions. Beings of admirable dispositions come together & associate with beings of admirable dispositions. In the past, it was in accordance with their properties that beings came together & associated with one another .... In the future, it will be in accordance with their properties that beings will come together & associate with one another .... And now at present, it is in accordance with their properties that beings come together & associate with one another. Beings of low dispositions come together & associate with beings of low dispositions. Beings of admirable dispositions come together & associate with beings of admirable dispositions."

The underbrush born
of association
is cut away
by non-association.

Just as one riding
a small wooden plank
    would sink
in the great sea,
so does even one of right living
    sink,
associating with the lazy.

So avoid the lazy,
those with low persistence.
Live with the noble ones --
secluded, resolute, absorbed in jhana,
their persistence constantly aroused
        : the wise.


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Dhamma Essay:
Kamma is Intention by Ayya Khema


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