On Cave Abiding
Guhaṭṭhaka Sutta


Abiding in a cave,
Attached to existence,
Covered in defilement and immersed in delusion,
A man is truly far from solitude(1).
Detaching from the pleasures of the world is truly difficult.

Satto guhāyaṃ bahunābhichanno tiṭṭhaṃ naro mohanasmiṃ pagāḷho
Dūre vivekā hi tathāvidho so kāmā hi loke na hi suppahāyā


Those fettered by desire,
Bound to the pleasures of existence,
Are not easily liberated.
Indeed, there is no liberation
Except in regard to such ties.

Longing for what’s over
Or for what’s to come,
Yearning for pleasures of the future
And pleasures of the past:
Those who are greedy for pleasure,
Hunting for it,
Stupified by it,
Become selfish about it,
Have entered upon a difficult path.
When drawn into difficulty, they lament:
“What will become of us in the hereafter?”

Icchānidānā bhavasātabaddhā te duppamuñcā na hi aññamokkhā
Pacchā pure vāpi apekkhamānā imeva kāme purimeva jappaṃ
Kāmesu giddhā pasutā pamūḷhā avadāniyā te visame niviṭṭhā
Dukkhūpanītā paridevayanti kiṃsū bhavissāma ito cutāse


So, people should indeed train themselves in this world.
Whatever one knows to be wrong,
Do not for its sake engage in misconduct.
For the wise say that life is short.

Tasmā hi sikkhetha idheva jantu yaṃ kiñci jaññā visamanti loke
Na tassa hetū visamaṃ careyya appañhidaṃ jīvitamāhu dhīrā


I see people in this world writhing,
Wishing for existence,
Wretched characters wailing in the face of death
With their wishes for various forms of existence unallayed.

Passāmi loke pariphandamānaṃ pajaṃ imaṃ taṇhagataṃ bhavesu
Hīnā narā maccumukhe lapanti avītataṇhāse bhavābhavesu


Look at them,
Writhing amidst their beloved possessions
Like fish in a dwindling stream.
Having seen this,
You should live without possessiveness
And not get attached to existence.

Mamāyite passatha phandamāne maccheva appodake khīṇasote
Etampi disvā amamo careyya bhavesu āsattimakubbamāno


You should subdue longing for all that is past or to come.
Having understood sense contact,
Being free of greed,
A wise person does nothing for which he would blame himself.
For whatever he sees or hears
He is not stained by possessiveness.

Ubhosu antesu vineyya chandaṃ phassaṃ pariññāya anānugiddho
Yadattagarahī tadakubbamāno na lippatī diṭṭhasutesu dhīro


Having understood the notion ‘I am’,
Not stained by possessiveness,
The sage crosses the flood of sorrow.
With the arrow of suffering removed.
Living diligently,
He longs for neither this world or the next.

Saññaṃ pariññā vitareyya oghaṃ pariggahesu muni nopalitto
Abbūḷhasallo caramappamatto nāsīsatī lokamimaṃ parañcāti

Notes for Readers:

Notes on Translation:

  • Verse 772) Verse 777 says attachment (satto) is in relation to existence (bhavesu), therefore I call satto 'attached to existence'.
  • Verse 778) Verse 779 says the 'stain' is that of possessiveness, so I call it that here.
  • Verse 779) In verse 771, I called oghaṃ 'the flood of sorrow'; so here, too.
  • Verse 779) Verse 767 says the 'arrow' is the suffering experienced when pleasure diminishes in someone who craves for it. Therefore I call sallo 'the arrow of suffering'.

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