Before the Body’s Destruction
Purābheda Sutta


Having what vision,
Being of what character,
Is one called peaceful?
Gotama, tell me about the supreme person.

Kathaṃdassī kathaṃsīlo upasantoti vuccati
Taṃ me gotama pabrūhi pucchito uttamaṃ naraṃ

The Buddha

A person who is free of wishes
Before the body’s destruction,
Who is not tethered to the past,
Who cannot be reckoned in terms of the present,
And in whom there are no yearnings for the future;

Vītataṇho purā bhedā pubbamantamanissito
Vemajjhe nupasaṅkheyyo tassa natthi purakkhataṃ


A person who is not angered,
Not frightened,
Not boastful, not fretful,
Who gives wise advice,
Who is calm,
Restrained in speech,
Who is indeed a sage;

Akkodhano asantāsī avikatthī akukkuco
Mantabhāṇī anuddhato sa ve vācāyato muni


A person who is not attached to the future
Who does not sorrow over the past,
Who finds solitude amidst sense contact(1)
And is not guided by fixed views;

Nirāsatti anāgate atītaṃ nānusocati
Vivekadassī phassesu diṭṭhīsu ca na nīyati


A person who is retiring,
Not deceitful,
Not covetous, not greedy,
Not impudent, not arousing contempt,
Who does not engage in malicious speech;

Patilīno akuhako apihālu amaccharī
Appagabbho ajeguccho pesuṇeyye ca no yuto


A person who does not relish pleasure,
Who is not arrogant,
Who is mild and of ready wit,
Who is not credulous,
Who by nothing is repelled;

Sātiyesu anassāvī atimāne ca no yuto
Saṇho ca paṭibhānavā na saddho na virajjati


A person who does not take on the training in hopes of material gain,
Who is unperturbed if he gets nothing,
Who is not hampered by wishes,
And not greedy for flavours;

Lābhakamyā na sikkhati alābhe ca na kuppati
Aviruddho ca taṇhāya rasesu nānugijjhati


A person who is even-tempered,
Ever attentive,
Who does not suppose that in the world he is equal, superior or inferior,
Who is free of conceit;

Upekkhako sadā sato na loke maññate samaṃ
Na visesī na nīceyyo tassa no santi ussadā


A person for whom there are no tethers,
Who, knowing Truth, is not tethered in any way;
And in whom no wishes are found for existence or non-existence:

Yassa nissayatā natthi ñatvā dhammaṃ anissito
Bhavāya vibhavāya vā taṇhā yassa na vijjati


This is someone I call peaceful.
He is indifferent to sensual pleasure.
In him, bonds are not found;
He has overcome attachment.

Taṃ brūmi upasantoti kāmesu anapekkhinaṃ
Ganthā tassa na vijjanti atarī so visattikaṃ


He has no children, cattle, fields or property.
For him there is nothing clung to,
And nothing to relinquish.

Na tassa puttā pasavo khettaṃ vatthuñca vijjati
Attā vāpi nirattā vā na tasmiṃ upalabbhati


He has no yearning for those things
Of which either ordinary people,
Ascetics or religious people might talk.
Therefore he is unmoved by their disputes.

Yena naṃ vajjuṃ puthujjanā atho samaṇabrāhmaṇā
Taṃ tassa apurakkhataṃ tasmā vādesu nejati


The sage,
Free of greed and selfishness,
Does not speak of himself as among those who are superior, equal or inferior.
He does not return to the process of time;
He is delivered from the phenomenon of time.

Vītagedho amaccharī na ussesu vadate muni
Na samesu na omesu kappaṃ neti akappiyo


He regards nothing in the world as his own.
He does not grieve because of what does not exist.(2)
He does not blindly follow religious teachings.
He is truly called peaceful.

Yassa loke sakaṃ natthi asatā ca na socati
Dhammesu ca na gacchati sa ve santoti vuccatīti

Notes for Readers:

  • Note (1) Solitude implies freedom from passion, clinging to nothing in the world (v.915). For further notes on solitude, see Appendix 1.
  • Note (2) 'What does not exist': socati in vv.851 and 944 refers to the past. But in M.1.137 'what does not exist externally' (bahiddhā asati paritassanāti) means whatever one had in the past that is lost, or whatever one wants that one has not gained; 'what does not exist internally' (ajjhattaṃ asati paritassanāti) means one's presumed Self. Any of these meanings would fit here.

Notes on Translation:

  • Verse 849) no yearning for the future: natthi purakkhataṃ is explained like this by Venerable Mahakaccana (S.3.11).
  • Verse 856) ‘in any way’: a phrase adopted from v.811, where anissito is said to be sabbattha. The phrase seems necessary here too, where anissito occurs again.
  • Verse 861) Dhammesu ca na gacchati: Norman has “does not go [astray] among mental phenomena”. But in the Octads, dhamma usually means ‘religious teaching/s’ or the ‘Buddha’s teaching’ or ‘Truth’ (see translation notes in Appendix 7). Here I take it as ‘religious teachings’. And although Norman has taken dhammesu as the locative case, it may be functionally an ablative case (Duroiselle, para.601, xvi). The phrase would therefore mean “Go by means of religious teachings” or, in other words “Follow religious teachings”. Therefore I have taken the phrase to be a synonym of dhammā purakkhatā of v.784: not blindly follow religious teachings.

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