Nagasena Bhiksu Sutra 2.59

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T 1670B Nāgasena Bhikṣu Sūtra

Part 2: Dialogues 2.59. Memory and Mindfulness

The king again asked Nāgasena, “Why does one recollect what is past and done long ago?”

Nāgasena replied, “When a man is sorrowful, he recollects the things that took place in the distant past.”

“How does he recollect it, by the mind or by the memory?”

“Do you recollect business that you have done in the past?”

“Yes, I have learned something, but later I forgot it.”

“At that time, great king, were you without a mind and thus have forgotten?”

“At that time, I was without mindfulness.”

“So then, great king, you have mindfulness.” said Nāgasena.

The king again asked Nāgasena, “Is there mindfulness when a man does something, be it in the past or present? Are all things known by mindfulness?”

“The past things are remembered by memory, and the present things are also remembered by memory.”

“Thus people only remember past things, but can’t they remember new things?”

“If things newly done cannot be remembered, then there is no mindfulness.”

“Do people who newly learn books and crafts remember?”

“People who newly learn books and arts have memory. So the disciples who have learned would know. Therefore there is memory.”

“Excellent, Nāgasena.”