Nagara sutra

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Nagarasūtra The city

Success!

Thus have I heard. On one occasion the Blessed One was staying at Sāvatthī in Jeta’s Grove, Anāthapiṇḍika’s Park. There the Blessed One addressed the monks:

“Monks, before my unexcelled full enlightenment, when I was not yet fully enlightened, while alone in seclusion, on retreat, this thought arose in my mind:

‘Alas, this world has fallen into trouble, in that it is born, become old, dies, passes away and is reborn, yet these beings do not understand in accord with reality the escape from old age and death.’

“Then it occurred to me: ‘When what exists does old age and death come to be? What is the condition for subsequent old age and death?’ When I paid careful attention to this, the breakthrough in accordance with reality arose: ‘When birth exists, old age and death come to be. Birth is the condition for subsequent old age and death.’

“Then it occurred to me: ‘When what exists does birth come to be? What is the condition for subsequent birth?’ When I paid careful attention to this, the breakthrough in accordance with reality arose: ‘When existence exists, birth comes to be. Existence is the condition for subsequent birth.’

“Then it occurred to me: ‘When what exists does existence come to be? What is the condition for subsequent existence?’ When I paid careful attention to this, the breakthrough in accordance with reality arose: ‘When grasping exists, existence comes to be. Grasping is the condition for subsequent existence.’

“Then it occurred to me: ‘When what exists does grasping come to be? What is the condition for subsequent grasping?’ When I paid careful attention to this, the breakthrough in accordance with reality arose: ‘When craving exists, grasping comes to be. Craving is the condition for subsequent grasping.’

“Then it occurred to me: ‘When what exists does craving come to be? What is the condition for subsequent craving?’ When I paid careful attention to this, the breakthrough in accordance with reality arose: ‘When feeling exists, craving comes to be. Feeling is the condition for subsequent craving.’

“Then it occurred to me: ‘When what exists does feeling come to be? What is the condition for subsequent feeling?’ When I paid careful attention to this, the breakthrough in accordance with reality arose: ‘When contact exists, feeling comes to be. Contact is the condition for subsequent feeling.’

“Then it occurred to me: ‘When what exists does contact come to be? What is the condition for subsequent contact?’ When I paid careful attention to this, the breakthrough in accordance with reality arose: ‘When the six sense fields exist, contact comes to be. The six sense fields are the condition for subsequent contact.’

“Then it occurred to me: ‘When what exists do the six sense fields come to be? What is the condition for subsequent six sense fields?’ When I paid careful attention to this, the breakthrough in accordance with reality arose: ‘When name-&-form exists, the six sense fields come to be. Name-&-form is the condition for subsequent six sense fields.’

“Then it occurred to me: ‘When what exists does name-&-form come to be? What is the condition for subsequent name-&-form?’ When I paid careful attention to this, the breakthrough in accordance with reality arose: ‘When consciousness exists, name-&-form comes to be. Consciousness is the condition for subsequent name-&-form.’

“Then it occurred to me: ‘When what exists does consciousness come to be? What is the condition for subsequent consciousness?’ When I paid careful attention to this, the breakthrough in accordance with reality arose: ‘When name-&-form exists, consciousness comes to be. Name-&-form is the condition for subsequent consciousness.’

“Then it occurred to me: ‘Mentality (mānasa) turns back from consciousness, it does not go beyond this.’

“That is to say: Consciousness is the condition for name-&-form. Name-&-form is the condition for the six sense fields. The six sense fields are the condition for contact. Contact is the condition for feeling. Feeling is the condition for craving. Craving is the condition for grasping. Grasping is the condition for existence. Existence is the condition for birth. Birth is the condition for old age & death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, dejection, and anguish to come to be. Such is the origin of this whole mass of suffering.

“Then it occurred to me: ‘When what does not exist do old age and death not come to be? Due to the cessation of what do old age and death cease?’ When I paid careful attention to this, the breakthrough in accordance with reality arose: ‘When there is no birth, old age and death do not come to be. Due to the cessation of birth, old age and death cease.’

“Then it occurred to me: ‘When what does not exist does birth not come to be? Due to the cessation of what does birth cease?’ When I paid careful attention to this, the breakthrough in accordance with reality arose: ‘When there is no existence, birth does not come to be. Due to the cessation of existence, birth ceases.’

“Then it occurred to me: ‘When what does not exist does existence not come to be? Due to the cessation of what does existence cease?’ When I paid careful attention to this, the breakthrough in accordance with reality arose: ‘When there is no grasping, existence does not come to be. Due to the cessation of grasping, existence ceases.’

“Then it occurred to me: ‘When what does not exist does grasping not come to be? Due to the cessation of what does grasping cease?’ When I paid careful attention to this, the breakthrough in accordance with reality arose: ‘When there is no craving, grasping does not come to be. Due to the cessation of craving, grasping ceases.’

“Then it occurred to me: ‘When what does not exist does craving not come to be? Due to the cessation of what does craving cease?’ When I paid careful attention to this, the breakthrough in accordance with reality arose: ‘When there is no feeling, craving does not come to be. Due to the cessation of feeling, craving ceases.’

“Then it occurred to me: ‘When what does not exist does feeling not come to be? Due to the cessation of what does feeling cease?’ When I paid careful attention to this, the breakthrough in accordance with reality arose: ‘When there is no contact, feeling does not come to be. Due to the cessation of contact, feeling ceases.’

“Then it occurred to me: ‘When what does not exist does contact not come to be? Due to the cessation of what does contact cease?’ When I paid careful attention to this, the breakthrough in accordance with reality arose: ‘When there is no six sense fields, contact does not come to be. Due to the cessation of the six sense fields, contact ceases.’

“Then it occurred to me: ‘When what does not exist do the six sense fields not come to be? Due to the cessation of what do the six sense fields cease?’ When I paid careful attention to this, the breakthrough in accordance with reality arose: ‘When there is no name-&-form, the six sense fields do not come to be. Due to the cessation of name-&-form, the six sense fields cease.’

“Then it occurred to me: ‘When what does not exist does name-&-form not come to be? Due to the cessation of what does name-&-form cease?’ When I paid careful attention to this, the breakthrough in accordance with reality arose: ‘When there is no consciousness, name-&-form does not come to be. Due to the cessation of consciousness, name-&-form ceases.’

“Then it occurred to me: ‘When what does not exist does consciousness not come to be? Due to the cessation of what does consciousness cease?’ When I paid careful attention to this, the breakthrough in accordance with reality arose: ‘When there are no volitional activities, consciousness does not come to be. Due to the cessation of volitional activities, consciousness ceases.’

“Then it occurred to me: ‘When what does not exist do volitional activities not come to be? Due to the cessation of what do volitional activities cease?’ When I paid careful attention to this, the breakthrough in accordance with reality arose: ‘When there is no ignorance, volitional activities do not come to be. Due to the cessation of ignorance, volitional activities cease.’

“Thus due to the cessation of ignorance, volitional activities cease. Due to the cessation of volitional activities, consciousness ceases. Due to the cessation of consciousness, name-&-form ceases. Due to the cessation of name-&-form, the six sense fields cease. Due to the cessation of the six sense fields, contact ceases. Due to the cessation of contact, feeling ceases. Due to the cessation of feeling, craving ceases. Due to the cessation of craving, grasping ceases. Due to the cessation of grasping, existence ceases. Due to the cessation of existence, birth ceases. Due to the cessation of birth, old age and death cease; and sorrow, lamentation, pain, dejection, and anguish cease. Such is the cessation of this whole mass of suffering.

“Then it occurred to me: ‘I have discovered this ancient path, an ancient road, an ancient way, travelled by sages of the past.’

“Suppose a man wandering through the wilderness, the untravelled forest were to discover an ancient path, an ancient road, an ancient way, travelled by people of the past. He follows it along. Following it along he sees an ancient city, an ancient capital, endowed with parks and groves and lotus ponds, beautiful, charming, delightful.

“It would occur to him: ‘Why don’t I go and announce this to the king?’ Then that man announces to the king: ‘Your Highness, you should know this. I have seen in the wilderness, the untravelled forest, an ancient path, an ancient road, an ancient way travelled by people of the past. I followed it along. Following it along I saw an ancient city, an ancient capital, endowed with groves and lotus ponds, beautiful, charming, delightful. Your Highness, you should renovate that city!’

“Then that king renovates that city. And after some time that capital becomes successful and prosperous, secure, with good food, and full of many people.

“In the same way I discovered that ancient path, ancient road, ancient way travelled by sages of the past.

“What is that ancient path, ancient road, ancient way travelled by sages of the past?

“It is that noble eightfold path, that is: right view, right intention, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, and right samādhi.

“That is that ancient path, ancient road, ancient way travelled by sages of the past.

“I followed it along. Following it along I saw old and age death, and I saw the origin of old age and death, the cessation of old age and death, and the practice leading to the cessation of old age and death.

“Thus I saw birth … existence … grasping … craving … feeling … contact … six sense fields … name-&-form … consciousness … volitional activities, I saw the origin of volitional activities, the cessation of volitional activities, and the practice leading to the cessation of volitional activities.

“So I declare this principle that I have realized with my own direct knowledge to the monks, nuns, laymen, laywomen, various followers of other religions, ascetics, brahmins, travellers, and wanderers.

“And the monks, practicing rightly, become confident, they gain confidence in the principled method that is skilful. So too the nuns, laymen, and laywomen, practicing rightly, become confident, they gain confidence in the principled method that is skilful.

“Thus this holy life becomes extended, popular, widespread, until it is well proclaimed among gods and humans.