Sabbāsavasutta – All Dangers

I have heard that one time the Blessed One was staying near Savatthi in Jeta’s Grove, Anathapindika’s monastery. There he addressed the monks: “Monks!”

“Yes, Bhante,” the monks replied to him. 

The Blessed One said, “Monks, I will teach you about six different ways of removing all dangers. Listen and pay close attention, I will speak.” 

“Yes, Bhante!”

The Blessed One said this:

Monks, it is in one who knows and sees that all dangers and troubles are ended; not for one who is unseeing and unknowing. 

For one who knows what? One who sees what? 

Wise attention, and unwise attention. 

When a monk pays attention unwisely, dangers and sufferings arise and grow.  When a monk pays attention wisely, dangers and sufferings do not arise and grow further, and those that are already there are removed. 

There are dangers and sufferings that are to be removed of by seeing, those that are to be let go by guarding, those to be removed by correct using, those to be removed by tolerating, those to be removed by wisely avoiding, those to be removed by cutting off, and those to be removed by developing.

Seeing

 What are the dangers and sufferings that are to be removed by seeing? 

The case of the unlearned person

In this, in the case of an ordinary person who has no respect for wise people, does not know their teaching and is not disciplined in their teaching, who has no respect for people of truth, does not know their teaching and is not disciplined in their teaching: 

He does not know the right way to think and the wrong way to think. 

Therefore, not knowing the right and wrong way to think, his attention is directed on the wrong things, and he does not pay attention to what he should. 

What are the wrong things that he pays attention to?

Whatever ideas, thoughts, qualities or intentions that lead to wrongdoing arising and increasing, that lead to continued rebirth, and that lead to ignorance arising and increasing. These are the things he should not pay attention to, but does.  

What are the things he should pay attention to, but does not?

Whatever ideas, thoughts, qualities or intentions that lead to wrongdoing not arising, or decreasing if it is already there; that lead towards the end of birth, that lead towards the end of ignorance. These are the things he should pay attention to, but does not. 

This is his unwise and wrong way of thinking:

 “Did I exist in the past? Did I not exist in the past? What was I in the past? How was I in the past? What I do/ say/ think/ see in the past? Having been something else, what did I become in the past? 

Will I exist in the future? Will I not exist in the future? What will I be in the future? How will I be in the future? What will I become in the future?” 

Or else he is confused about the present moment: 

“Am I ? Am I not? What am I, who am I? How am I? Where has this being come from? Where is it going to?”

As he thinks wrongly in this way, he comes to see with one of these six kinds of views: The view I have a self arises in him as true and fixed, or the view I have no self… or the view I am aware of a self through having a self… or the view it is through self that I see non-self… or the view it is through non-self that I see a self – any of these ways of seeing is born in him, seen as true and fixed . Or else he has such a view as this: 

“This self of mine is he who speaks and feels and experiences the results of good and bad deeds in all the different worlds. This self is permanent, everlasting, eternal, and imperishable, and will last forever and ever.’‘ 

This is called wrong view, the labyrinth of views, the desert of views, the trickery of views, the cheating of views, the chain of views. 

An uneducated ordinary person who is chained by views is not freed from rebirth, old age, and death, from sorrow, lamentation, pain, sadness, and distress. 

They’re not freed from sufferings and dangers, I say.

The case of the student of the noble ones

Yet, the well-taught student of the noble ones – who has respect for noble ones, knows well their teaching and is well-disciplined in their teaching; who has respect for people of truth, knows well and is well disciplined in their Dhamma- 

He knows the right way to think and the wrong way to think. 

Therefore he gives attention where he should, and does not give attention to what he should not.

And what are the wrong things to which he does not give attention? Whatever ideas, thoughts, qualities or intentions lead to wrongdoing arising and increasing, lead to birth arising and continuing, and lead to ignorance arising and increasing. This is what he does not pay attention to.

And what are the things worthy of attention, and to which he does pay attention?

Whatever ideas, thoughts, qualities or intentions that lead to wrongdoing not arising or decreasing if it is already there; that lead towards the end of birth, that lead towards the end of ignorance. This is what he wisely pays attention to. 

Because of not unwisely giving attention to what he should not, and wisely giving attention to what he should, dangers and sufferings weaken and decrease in him. 

This is how he thinks rightly and wisely:  This, here and now is suffering – this, here and now, is the cause of suffering…  here and now, this is the possibility for the end of suffering, and this here and now is the way to end suffering, (by letting go of the cause here and now). 

As he thinks rightly and wisely in this way, three barriers are broken in him: identification with a self, doubt, and the practice of rites and rituals. These are called the kilesa that are uprooted by seeing. 

 Guarding

What are the dangers and sources of suffering that are removed by guarding? 

In this, monks, a monk of wise judgement lives constantly with an observer and guard, at the door of the eye. For the impurities, desires and sufferings that are automatically born of contact at the eye when the mind has no guard, are not born wherever there is an observer and guard over the door of the eye. 

A monk of wise judgement lives constantly with an observer and guard at the door of the ear. For the impurities, desires and sufferings that are automatically born from contact at the ear when the mind has no guard, are not born wherever there is an observer and guard over the door of the ear. 

A monk of wise judgement lives constantly with an observer and guard at the door of the nose. For the impurities, desires and sufferings that are automatically born from contact at the nose when the mind has no guard, are not born wherever there is an observer and guard over the door of the nose. 

A monk of wise judgement lives constantly with an observer and guard at the door of the tongue. For the impurities, desires and sufferings that are automatically born from contact at the ear when the mind has no guard, are not born wherever there is an observer and guard over the door of the tongue. 

A monk of wise judgement lives constantly with an observer and guard at the door of the body. For the impurities, desires and sufferings that are automatically born from contact at the body when the mind has no guard, are not born wherever there is an observer and guard over the door of the body. 

A monk of wise judgement lives constantly with an observer and guard at the door of the mind. For the impurities, desires and sufferings that are automatically born from contact at the mind when the mind has no guard, are not born wherever there is an observer and guard over the mind. 

This is how sufferings and impurities are removed through guarding. 

Using

What are the dangers and sources of suffering to be removed by wisely using? 

In this, a monk of good judgement makes wise use of a robe: using it only for the sake of protection from cold and heat; protection from flies, mosquitos, wind, sun and reptiles, and for the sake of modesty. (not for the sake of looking good, not for the sake of showing off, not as a source of respect from laypeople, not as the definition of one’s “monkhood”; not as a symbol of one’s purity, not as a thing one owns to which one is attached.) 

Again, a monk with good judgement makes wise use of alms food, using it, not for the sake of enjoyment, for indulgence, or for appearance, but only:

  • to sustain the body
  • to avoid sickness
  • to support one’s practice.  

He sees it in this way: “With this food I will put an end to old discomfort of hunger, and not cause new discomfort from overeating, and so I will live blamelessly and comfortably.”

Further, a monk with good judgement makes wise use of lodgings, a place to stay: only for the sake of protection from cold and heat; protection from flies, mosquitos, wind, sun and reptiles, to shelter from harsh weather in the peace of solitude. (Not as a comfort zone, not as a home, not as a place to gather belongings, not as something that belongs to you.) 

Further, a monk with good judgement makes wise use of medicines and supplies for the sick, only for the sake of easing the pain of sickness and to promote good health for the sake of practice. (not for the sake of prolonging life and continuing to live, not for the sake of a beautiful body, not by attachment to the body.) 

For the troubled mind and sufferings that arise in someone who does not use these things or who uses them unwisely, do not arise in someone who makes wise use of these things.

 Tolerating

And what are the troubles, dangers and sources of suffering to be removed by tolerating? 

In this, a monk tolerates cold, heat, hunger and thirst with good judgement and wisdom ( that is, when necessary, when unavoidable, not to live in hardship for its own sake, not to prove one’s toughness, and not to the point of causing harm to himself). 

He tolerates flies, mosquitos, wind, sun and reptiles. 

He tolerates insults and unwelcome criticism, and endures physical pain – whether it be sharp, severe, acute, unpleasant, disagreeable or even life threatening. 

The troubled mind and sufferings that are born in someone who does not know how to endure such discomforts, do not arise in someone who is able to endure them by the right observation of the mind.  

Avoiding

And what are the troubles, dangers and sources of suffering that are to be removed by wisely avoiding?

In this, a monk through good judgement wisely avoids dangers and sources of harm and trouble: he avoids wild elephants, wild horses, wild oxen,  wild dogs, snakes, stumps, thorny ground, pits, cliffs, swamps and sewers.

With good judgement, he avoids sitting on inappropriate seats, walking in unsuitable places, and associating with fools; he avoids whatever places or associations would be blamed or criticised by wise practitioners and friends. 

For the troubles and sufferings that arise through unwisely walking in dangerous or unsuitable places or associating with the wrong people, do not arise when one wisely avoids these things. 

Cutting off

And what are the dangers, troubles and sufferings that are to be removed by cutting off and removing?

In this a monk through wise judgement, does not accept a sensual thought that arises: he cuts it off, refuses it, eliminates it, destroys it, wipes it out of existence. 

He does not tolerate any thought of anger or hatred that arises: he cuts it off, refuses it, eliminates it, destroys it, wipes it out of existence. 

He does not tolerate any evil that arises in him, he cuts it off, refuses it, eliminates it, destroys it, wipes it out of existence. 

For the dangers, troubles and sufferings that arise through accepting these and not removing them, do not arise when they are cut off and not tolerated. 

Developing

And what are the troubles and sufferings that are to be removed by developing?

In this, a monk, with wise judgement, develops sati as a factor of awakening, analytical mind as a factor of awakening, joy as a factor of awakening, calm as a factor of awakening, energy as a factor of awakening, concentration as a factor of awakening, and equanimity as a factor of awakening.

These factors of awakening depend on living in solitude, detachment and renunciation, and when brought to maturity they result in letting go. 

Any remaining troubles, dangers and sufferings that would arise when these are not developed cannot arise when they are developed. 

Now whatever monk who by seeing, has removed the dangers to be given up by seeing; by guarding has removed the dangers to be removed by guarding; by using has removed the dangers to be removed by using, by tolerating has removed the dangers to be removed by tolerating, by avoiding has removed the dangers to be removed by avoiding, by cutting off has removed the dangers to be removed by cutting off; and by developing has removed the dangers to be removed by developing  – this monk is called one who lives having removed all dangers, who has cut out craving, undone the chains, and by full and complete understanding, has made an end of suffering.  

This is what the Blessed One said. The monks delighted in the Blessed One’s words.