THE FIRE SERMON 1

{Adittapariyaya-sutta}

 

Thus have I heard. The Blessed One was once living at Gayasisa in Gaya with a thousand bhikkhus. There he addressed the bhikkhus:

        ‘Bhikkhus, all is burning. And what is the all that is burning?

        ‘Bhikkhus, the eye is burning, visible forms are burning, visual consciousness is burning, visual impression is burning, also whatever sensation, or painful or neither-

painful-nor-pleasant, arises on account of the visual impression, that too is burning, Burning with what? Burning with the fire of lust, with the fire of hate, with the fire of delusion; I say it is burning with birth, aging and death, with sorrows, with lamentat-

ions, with pains, with griefs, with despairs.

        ‘The ear is burning, sounds are burning, auditory conscious-ness is burning, auditory impression is burning, also whatever sensation, pleasant or painful or neither      -painful-nor-pleasant, arises on account of the auditory impression, that too is burning. Burning with what? Burning with the fire of lust.

        ‘The nose is burning, odours are burning, olfactory conscious-ness is burning, olf

actory impression is burning, also whatever sensation, pleasant or neither-painful-nor-

pleasant, arises on account of the olfactory impression, that too is burning. Butning with what? Burning with the fire of lust.

‘The tongue is burning, flavours are burning, gustative consciousness is burning, gustaive impression is burning, also whatever sensation, pleasant or painful or neither-painful-nor-pleasant, arises on account of the gustative impression, that too is burning. Burning with what ? Burning with the fire of lust.

‘The body is burning, tangible things are burning, tactile consciousness is burning, tactile impression is burning, also whatever sensation, pleasant or painful or neither-painful-nor-pleasant, arises on account of the tactile sensation, that too is burning. Burning with what? Burning with the fire of lust.

‘The mind is burning, mental objects {ideas, etc.}are burning, mental consciousness is burning, mental impression is burning, also whatever sensation, pleasant or painful or neither-painful-nor-pleasant, arises on account of the mental impression, that too is burning. Burning with what ? Burning with the fire of lust, with the fire of hate, with the fire of delusion; I say it is burning with birth, aging and death, with sorrows, with lamentations, with pains, with griefs, with despairs.

‘Bhikkhus, a learned and noble disciple, who sees {things} thus, becomes dispassionate with regard to the eye, becomes dispassionate with regard to visible forms, becomes dispassionate with regard to the visual consciousness, becomes dispassionate with regard to the visual impression, also whatever sensation, pleasant or painful or neither-painful-nor-pleasant, arises on account of the visual impression, with regard to that too he becomes dispassionate. He becomes dispassionate with regard to the ear, with regard to sounds He becomes dispassionate with regard to the nose  with regard to odours He becomes dispassionate with regard to the tongue with regard to flavours He becomes dispassionate with regard to the body with regard to tangible things He becomes dispassionate with regard to the mind, becomes dispassionate with regard to mental objects {ideas, etc.} becomes dispassionate with regard to mental consciousness, becomes dispassionate with regard

to mental impression, also whatever sensation, pleasant or painful or neither-painful-

nor-pleasant, arises on account of mental impression, with regard to that too he becomes dispassionate.

‘Being dispassionate, he becomes detached; through detachment he is liberated..

When liberated there is knowledge that he is liberated. And he knows: Birth is exhausted, the holy life has been lived, what has to be done is done, there is no more left to be done on this account.’

This the Blessed One said. The bhikkhus were glad, and they rejoiced at his words.

While this exposition was being delivered, the minds of those thousand bhikkhus were liberated from impurities, without attachment.

( Samyutta-nikaya, xxxv, 28 )

 

1 It is interesting to note here that Section III of The Waste Land by T. S. Eliotis is called The Fire Sermon. In the note to line 308: Burning burning burning burning , Eliot writes: ‘The complete text of the Buddha`s Fire Sermon {which corresponds in importance to the Sermon on the Mount }from which these words are taken ,will be found translated in the late Henry Clarke Warren`s Buddbism in Transtat-

ion {Harvard Oriental Series }. Mr. Warren was one of the great pioneers of Buddhist studies in the Occident.’

The translation of the sutta given here, made by the present author specially for this edition, is from the original Pali of the samyutta-nikaya of the sutta-pitaka .Warren`s translation was of the narrative as found in the Mabavagga of the V inaya-pitaka

.

 

燃燒經   

林兆 中譯

如是我聞:當時,世尊住在伽耶的象頭山,在一起的有一千位比丘。世尊對他們說:

比丘,一切都在燃燒。究竟燒的是什麼呢?

比丘,眼在燒;可見到的表象在燒;可見到的識覺在燒;可見到的印象在燒。以至由那些因見到的印象而產生的感覺:不管是喜樂的、或是苦惱的、甚或是不喜不苦的,都在燒。因什麼來燒呢?因慾念的火、仇恨的火、妄想的火來燒。我也說是因生、老、死、以至悲戚、哀傷、苦痛、憂鬱、望來燒的。

耳在燒;聲在燒;聽覺在燒;聽到的印象在燒。以至由那些因聽到的印象而產生的感覺:不管是喜樂的、或是苦惱的、甚或是不喜不苦的,都在燒。因什麼來燒呢?因慾念的火、仇恨的火、妄想的火來燒。我也說是因生、老、死、以至悲戚、哀傷、苦痛、憂鬱、望來燒的。

鼻在燒;氣味在燒;嗅覺在燒;嗅到的印象在燒。以至由那些因嗅到的印象而產生的感覺:不管是喜樂的、或是苦惱的、甚或是不喜不苦的,都在燒。因什麼來燒呢?因慾念的火、仇恨的火、妄想的火來燒。我也說是因生、老、死、以至悲戚、哀傷、苦痛、憂鬱、望來燒的。

舌在燒;味道在燒;味覺在燒;嚐到的印象在燒。以至由那些因嚐到的印象而產生的感覺:不管是喜樂的、或是苦惱的、甚或是不喜不苦的,都在燒。因什麼來燒呢?因慾念的火、仇恨的火、妄想的火來燒。我也說是因生、老、死、以至悲戚、哀傷、苦痛、憂鬱、望來燒的。

身在燒;觸感在燒;觸覺在燒;觸到的印象在燒。以至由那些因觸到的印象而產生的感覺:不管是喜樂的、或是苦惱的、甚或是不喜不苦的,都在燒。因什麼來燒呢?因慾念的火、仇恨的火、妄想的火來燒。我也說是因生、老、死、以至悲戚、哀傷、苦痛、憂鬱、望來燒的。

意在燒;意念在燒;意覺在燒;意會到的印象在燒。以至由那些因意會到的印象而產生的感覺:不管是喜樂的、或是苦惱的、甚或是不喜不苦的,都在燒。因什麼來燒呢?因慾念的火、仇恨的火、妄想的火來燒。我也說是因生、老、死、以至悲戚、哀傷、苦痛、憂鬱、望來燒的。

比丘,有學問又高尚的聖弟子看見了這些,便學會對眼不起衝動、對見到的表象不會衝動、對見到的識覺不會衝動、對見到的印印象不會衝動。以至由那些因見到的印象而產生的感覺:不管是喜樂的、或是苦惱的、甚或是不喜不苦的,都不會衝動。聖弟子也對耳不會衝動

既然不會衝動,聖弟子就會疏離情慾。既疏離情慾就解脫了。既解脫了就認識到已解脫。自知所作已作,梵行已立,不再受後有,以至無學。

這就是聖者所說的。比丘聽了都很高興。為聖者說法感到欣喜。比丘聽聞此法,都從所有妄念解脫出來,變得毫無執取了。

 

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