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Nava Sutta: “Just Do It”

December 18, 2009

From Access To Insight

At Savatthi. There the Blessed One said, “I tell you, monks: It is for one who knows & sees that there is the ending of the effluents. For one who knows what & sees what is there the ending of the effluents? ‘Such is form, such its origination, such its passing away. Such is feeling… Such is perception… Such are fabrications… Such is consciousness, such its origination, such its passing away.’ It is for one who knows & sees in this way that there is the ending of the effluents.

“Even though this wish may occur to a monk who dwells without devoting himself to development — ‘O that my mind might be released from effluents through lack of clinging!’ — still his mind is not released from the effluents through lack of clinging. Why is that? From lack of developing, it should be said. Lack of developing what? The four frames of reference, the four right exertions, the four bases of power, the five faculties, the five strengths, the seven factors for Awakening, the noble eightfold path.

“Suppose a hen has eight, ten, or twelve eggs: If she doesn’t cover them rightly, warm them rightly, or incubate them rightly, then even though this wish may occur to her — ‘O that my chicks might break through the egg shells with their spiked claws or beaks and hatch out safely!’ — still it is not possible that the chicks will break through the egg shells with their spiked claws or beaks and hatch out safely. Why is that? Because the hen has not covered them rightly, warmed them rightly, or incubated them rightly. In the same way, even though this wish may occur to a monk who dwells without devoting himself to development — ‘O that my mind might be released from effluents through lack of clinging!’ — still his mind is not released from the effluents through lack of clinging. Why is that? From lack of developing, it should be said. Lack of developing what? The four frames of reference, the four right exertions, the four bases of power, the five faculties, the five strengths, the seven factors for Awakening, the noble eightfold path.

“Even though this wish may not occur to a monk who dwells devoting himself to development — ‘O that my mind might be released from effluents through lack of clinging!’ — still his mind is released from the effluents through lack of clinging. Why is that? From developing, it should be said. Developing what? The four frames of reference, the four right exertions, the four bases of power, the five faculties, the five strengths, the seven factors for Awakening, the noble eightfold path.

“Just as when a carpenter or carpenter’s apprentice sees the marks of his fingers or thumb on the handle of his adze but does not know, ‘Today my adze handle wore down this much, or yesterday it wore down that much, or the day before yesterday it wore down this much,’ still he knows it is worn through when it is worn through. In the same way, when a monk dwells devoting himself to development, he does not know, ‘Today my effluents wore down this much, or yesterday they wore down that much, or the day before yesterday they wore down this much,’ still he knows they are worn through when they are worn through.

“Just as when an ocean-going ship, rigged with masts & stays, after six months on the water, is left on shore for the winter: Its stays, weathered by the heat & wind, moistened by the clouds of the rainy season, easily wither & rot away. In the same way, when a monk dwells devoting himself to development, his fetters easily wither & rot away.”

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