On Violence
Attadaṇḍa Sutta

The Buddha

Violence breeds fear.
Looking at people in conflict, I will tell you of my dismay,
How moved I was.

Attadaṇḍā bhayaṃ jātaṃ janaṃ passatha medhagaṃ
Saṃvegaṃ kittayissāmi yathā saṃvijitaṃ mayā


I saw people writhing,
Feuding with each another like fish in a small pool.
When I realised this, dread arose in me.

Phandamānaṃ pajaṃ disvā macche appodake yathā
Aññamaññehi byāruddhe disvā maṃ bhayamāvisi


The world is entirely worthless.
Every quarter is in turmoil.
Wanting somewhere for myself,
I saw nowhere that wasn’t taken.

Samantamasāro loko disā sabbā sameritā
Icchaṃ bhavanamattano nāddasāsiṃ anositaṃ


Seeing nothing in the end but competition, I became disgusted.
Then I saw a spike,
Hard to see, embedded in people’s hearts.

Osānetveva byāruddhe disvā me aratī ahu
Athettha sallamaddakkhiṃ duddasaṃ hadayanissitaṃ


A person affected by this spike rushes about in all directions.
But on pulling it out he neither rushes about nor falls away.

Yena sallena otiṇṇo disā sabbā vidhāvati
Tameva sallamabbuyha na dhāvati na sīdati

Now follows the recitation of the training rules:

Whatever is binding in the world you should not pursue it.
Having wisely seen sensual pleasures,
You should train yourself for Nibbana.

Tattha sikkhānugīyanti
Yāni loke gadhitāni na tesu pasuto siyā
Nibbijjha sabbaso kāme sikkhe nibbānamattano


A sage should be truthful,
Unassuming, and not deceitful;
He should be rid of malicious speech
And free of anger.
He should overcome greed and acquisitiveness.

Sacco siyā appagabbho amāyo rittapesuṇo
Akkodhano lobhapāpaṃ vevicchaṃ vitare muni


He should conquer sleepiness, weariness and sloth.
He should not live negligently.
The man whose heart is set on Nibbana should not be arrogant.

Niddaṃ tandiṃ sahe thīnaṃ pamādena na saṃvase
Atimāne na tiṭṭheyya nibbānamanaso naro


He should not sink to false speech,
Nor should he cultivate lust for physical forms.
He should comprehend pride
And should abstain from impetuous behaviour.

Mosavajje na nīyetha rūpe snehaṃ na kubbaye
Mānañca parijāneyya sāhasā virato care


He should not be nostalgic about the past.
Nor relish what is new.
He should not grieve for what is lost
Nor be bound to whatever comes forth.

Purāṇaṃ nābhinandeyya nave khantiṃ na kubbaye
Hiyyamāne na soceyya ākāsaṃ na sito siyā


I call greed the ‘great deluge’.
Lust I call the ‘torrent’.
Concocted religious teachings are the ‘foothold’.
Sense pleasure is ‘hard-to-cross mud’.

Gedhaṃ brūmi mahoghoti ājavaṃ brūmi jappanaṃ
Ārammaṇaṃ pakappanaṃ kāmapaṅko duraccayo


Not falling away from Truth,
The sage, the Brahman, stands on high ground.
Having detached from everything
He is truly called peaceful.

Saccā avokkamma muni thale tiṭṭhati brāhmaṇo
Sabbaṃ so paṭinissajja sa ve santoti vuccati


He indeed is wise.
He is of perfect insight.
Having found Truth, he is untethered.
Wandering through the world in the right way
He does not envy anyone here.

Sa ve vidvā sa vedagū ñatvā dhammaṃ anissito
Sammā so loke iriyāno na pihetīdha kassaci


Whoever here transcends sensual pleasure -
An attachment hard to overcome -
Is free of sorrow and anxiety.
He has cut the stream of wishes.
He is free of bonds.

Yodha kāme accatari saṅgaṃ loke duraccayaṃ
Na so socati nājjheti chinnasoto abandhano


Let wither what is gone.
Let there not be for you anything to come.
If you do not grasp at what is in between
You will live at peace.

Yaṃ pubbe taṃ visosehi pacchā te māhu kiñcanaṃ
Majjhe ce no gahessasi upasanto carissasi


For whom there is nothing beloved in this body/mind complex
And who does not grieve because of what does not exist,(1)
He suffers no loss in the world.

Sabbaso nāmarūpasmiṃ yassa natthi mamāyitaṃ
Asatā ca na socati sa ve loke na jīyati


For whoever there is no thought “This is mine”
Or “This belongs to others”,
Who has no feelings of possessiveness,
He does not grieve for anything, thinking:
“It is not mine”.

Yassa natthi idaṃ meti paresaṃ vāpi kiñcanaṃ
Mamattaṃ so asaṃvindaṃ natthi meti na socati


Being free of cruelty, greed and lust,
And being everywhere tranquil:
When asked,
I say that these are the blessings for those who are unshakeable.

Aniṭṭhurī ananugiddho anejo sabbadhī samo
Tamānisaṃsaṃ pabrūmi pucchito avikampinaṃ


For a person without lust,
One of discernment,
There is no accumulation of kamma.
He abstains from initiating new kamma.
He sees safety everywhere.

Anejassa vijānato natthi kāci nisaṅkhiti
Virato so viyārambhā khemaṃ passati sabbadhi


The sage does not speak of himself as someone equal, inferior or superior.
At peace, unselfish,
He neither clings nor relinquishes.

Na samesu na omesu na ussesu vadate muni
Santo so vītamaccharo nādeti na nirassatī ti

Notes for Readers:

  • Note (1) what does not exist: socati in vv.851 and 944 refers to the past. See note to Verse 861.

Notes on Translation:

  • Verse 939) nor falls away: I take sīdati to be a synonym of avokkamma in v.946, meaning ‘not falling away from Truth’.
  • Verse 945) concocted religious teachings (pakappanaṃ): ‘concoct’ is related in the Octads to a variety of objects: views about existence (diṭṭhi bhavābhavesu) (v.786); religious teachings (dhammā) (v.784); concepts about what is seen, heard or cognised (v.802); opinions (vinicchayā) (v.838); views (diṭṭhi) (v.910). The simile here indicates a difficult attempt to cross over greed, lust and sense pleasures. A difficult foothold indicates that concocted religious teachings are being used to achieve this. So this is how I translate pakappanaṃ.
  • Verse 948) stream: called the stream of taṇhā at S.4.292.
  • Verse 954) clings nor relinquishes: I take the meaning of nādeti na nirassatī ti from attā vāpi nirattā at v.858.

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