Majjhima Nikàya 13

Maha-Dukkhakkhandha Sutta

The Greater Discourse
on the Mass of Suffering

(excerpt)

For free distribution only, as a gift of Dhamma

...

"Now what is the allure of sensuality? There are, monks, these five strands of sensuality. Which five? Forms cognizable via the eye -- agreeable, pleasing, charming, endearing, fostering desire, enticing. Sounds cognizable via the ear...Aromas cognizable via the nose...Flavors cognizable via the tongue...Tactile sensations cognizable via the body -- agreeable, pleasing, charming, endearing, fostering desire, enticing. Now whatever pleasure or joy arises in dependence on these five strands of sensuality, that is the allure of sensuality.

"And what is the drawback of sensuality? There is the case where, on account of the occupation by which a clansman makes a living -- whether checking or accounting or calculating or plowing or trading or cattle tending or archery or as a king's man, or whatever the occupation may be -- he faces cold; he faces heat; being harassed by mosquitoes, flies, wind, sun, and creeping things; dying from hunger and thirst.

"Now this drawback in the case of sensuality, this mass of stress visible here and now, has sensuality for its reason, sensuality for its source, sensuality for its cause, the reason being simply sensuality.

"If the clansman gains no wealth while thus working and striving and making effort, he sorrows, grieves and laments, beats his breast, becomes distraught: 'My work is in vain, my efforts are fruitless!' Now this drawback too in the case of sensuality, this mass of stress visible here and now, has sensuality for its reason...

"If the clansman gains wealth while thus working and striving and making effort, he experiences pain and distress in protecting it: 'How shall neither kings nor thieves make off with my property, nor fire burn it, nor water sweep it away nor hateful heirs make off with it?' And as he thus guards and watches over his property, kings or thieves make off with it, or fire burns it, or water sweeps it away, or hateful heirs make off with it. And he sorrows, grieves and laments, beats his breast, becomes distraught: 'What was mine is no more!' Now this drawback too in the case of sensuality, this mass of stress visible here and now, has sensuality for its reason...

"Furthermore, it is with sensuality for the reason, sensuality for the source, sensuality for the cause, the reason being simply sensuality, that kings quarrel with kings, nobles with nobles, priests with priests, householders with householders, mother with child, child with mother, father with child, child with father, brother with brother, sister with sister, brother with sister, sister with brother, friend with friend. And then in their quarrels, brawls, and disputes, they attack one another with fists or with clods or with sticks or with knives, so that they incur death or deadly pain. Now this drawback too in the case of sensuality, this mass of stress visible here and now, has sensuality for its reason...

"Furthermore, it is with sensuality for the reason, sensuality for the source...that (men), taking swords and shields and buckling on bows and quivers, charge into battle massed in double array while arrows and spears are flying and swords are flashing; and there they are wounded by arrows and spears, and their heads are cut off by swords, so that they incur death or deadly pain. Now this drawback too in the case of sensuality, this mass of stress visible here and now, has sensuality for its reason...

"Furthermore, it is with sensuality for the reason, sensuality for the source...that (men), taking swords and shields and buckling on bows and quivers, charge slippery bastions while arrows and spears are flying and swords are flashing; and there they are splashed with boiling cow dung and crushed under heavy weights, and their heads are cut off by swords, so that they incur death or deadly pain. Now this drawback too in the case of sensuality, this mass of stress visible here and now, has sensuality for its reason, sensuality for its source, sensuality for its cause, the reason being simply sensuality.

"And what is the emancipation from sensuality? Whatever is the subduing of passion and desire, the abandoning of passion and desire for sensuality, that is the emancipation from sensuality."

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Revised: Fri 3 December 1999
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/canon/majjhima/mn13.html