Itivuttaka 109 Purusapiyarupa Sutta
Delightful Nature

The Buddha gives a beautiful simile to describe to abandon lust and to head towards Nibbāna.

This discourse was taught by the Blessed One, taught by the Arahant, the fully enlightened Supreme Buddha. This is as I heard,

“Monks, suppose a person was carried along by the flow of a river and it seemed pleasant and delightful. Another person with good eyesight who was standing on the bank would say, ‘Hey, good man! Even though you are being carried along by the flow of the river and it seems pleasant and delightful, there is a pool further down with waves and whirlpools, with seizers and demons. On reaching that pool, you will die or suffer with deadly pain.’ Then, monks, the first person, on hearing the words of the other, would make an effort with his hands and feet to escape and would go against the flow.

Monks, I have given this simile to illustrate a meaning. The meaning is this: ‘The flow of the river’ is a synonym for craving. ‘Seeming pleasant and delightful is a synonym for the six internal sense-bases. ‘The pool further down’ is a synonym for the five lower fetters. ‘The waves’ is a synonym for anger and distress. ‘The whirlpool’ is a synonym for the five cords of sense pleasures. ‘The seizers and demons’ are a synonym for women. ‘Against the flow’ is a synonym for letting go of sense pleasures. ‘Making an effort with his hands and feet’ is a synonym for arousing energy. ‘The man with good eyesight standing on the bank’ is a synonym for the Tathāgata, the Arahant, the fully Enlightened Buddha.”

This is the meaning of what the Blessed One said. So, with regard to this, it was said:

If you wish to attain ultimate freedom, Nibbāna, the security from bondage, you should abandon sense desire, even if it is painful. Rightly comprehending with wisdom, with a mind that is well-liberated from defilements, one touches liberation now here, now there.

One who is a master of Dhamma Knowledge, who has fulfilled the holy life, is called one gone to the end of the world, one who has crossed over the cycle of rebirths.

This, too, is the meaning of what was said by the Blessed One. This is exactly as I heard.

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Itivuttaka 109 Purusapiyarupa Sutta: Delightful Nature

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