Namo tassa bhagavato arahato sammāsambuddhassa

Introduction to 3.5.3
Upālisuttaṃ- 2 - How to Avoid Wrong Action?

"Sīlamevidha1 sikkhetha, asmiṃ loke susikkhitaṃ;
Sīlaṃ hi sabbasampattiṃ, upanāmeti sevitaṃ2.
Sīlaṃ rakkheyya medhāvī, patthayāno3 tayo sukhe;
Pasaṃsaṃ vittilābhañca4, pecca sagge pamodanaṃ
.” 5

You should train yourself here in this world in sīla well,
Because based on applied sīla, everything can be achieved that is within our reach.
Therefore the wise should protect sīla well who aspire the three kinds of happiness,
Praise, attainment of prosperity and rejoicing in heavenly fields hereafter.

One should think it evident that these rousing verses would stir people to follow their example. Everyone is keen to live in peace, happiness and prosperity!

One would further imagine that the effort of performing any heinous act entails immense disregard of human nature, and in addition such unwholesome disposition could be found rather rarely. It further seems apparent that breakage of any, but especially the first, of the five sikkhāpada seem to be most difficult as mentioned in Khuddakapāṭha-aṭṭhakathā: Purimāni cettha pañca ekantaakusalacittasamuṭṭhānattā6 pāṇātipātādīnaṃ pakativajjato7 veramaṇiyā…...8 – The first five abstentions are what is considered blameable by natural disposition since killing living beings and the rest always originate in unwholesome states of mind.

One should also think to live one’s life in line with intellectual human achievements, at peace and in harmony with one’s fellow beings by realizing everyone’s deep desire for amity and freedom alike, much easier than violating these deep mental aspirations. Still - this world is full of occurrences that seem to prove the opposite! Apparently the mental impurities rooted in craving, aversion and illusion undermine, with all their force, individual and social ethical consciousness. Strategies of ways, and likewise construction of means, arms and weapons to enable mankind to theoretically dominate everywhere else and to overcome anyone who could be perceived as an enemy seem to be boundless. Often the first precept, the principal precondition for peace and harmony for individual and social concord, seems to get dearly neglected, causing endless agony, misery and anguish to so many beings.

A meditator is fortunate enough to detect, by looking into oneself, that the outside world can not be made responsible as the only source of this unhappiness. In spite of firm determination to avoid unwholesomeness he constantly faces an ongoing surge of attacks by minor or major impurities that may – if neglected – easily turn into mild or stronger breakage of the moral precepts. Therefore constant alertness is demanded:

‘‘Idheva kittiṃ labhati, pecca sagge ca summano;
Sabbattha sumano dhīro, sīlesu susamāhito.
Sīlameva idha aggaṃ, paññavā pana uttamo;
Manussesu ca devesu, sīlapaññāṇato jaya’’nti.9

“Here in this world a wise man attains good report, heavenly fields give happiness to him in the next,
Such the wise is happy everywhere, with his sīla well protected.
Being established in sīla is foremost, but wisdom makes him supreme,
And amongst mankind and gods by sīla and wisdom he is victorious.”
[1] sīlamevidha: sīlaṃ + eva + idha: morality + thus + here

[2] sevitaṃ: sevati(pp.): practiced, associated with

[3] patthayāno: patthayati/pattheti (ppr.): aspiring, wishing

[4] vittilābhañca: vitti + lābhaṃ + ca: joy, prosperity + gain, attainment + and

[5] Sīlavattheragāthā, Dvādasakanipāto, Theragāthā

[6] ekantaakusalacittasamuṭṭhānattā: ekanta + akusala + citta + samuṭṭhānattā: one side + unwholesome + mind + origination

[7] pakativajjato: pakata + i + vajjato: natural state + blamable

[8] Sikkhāpadavaṇṇanā, Khuddakanikāye, Khuddakapāṭha-aṭṭhakathā

[9] Sīlavattheragāthā, Dvādasakanipāto, Theragāthā

Pāli lesson (with audio) 3.5.3

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Last modified: Thursday, 28 December 2023, 10:41 AM