Dhamma Talk by Bhikkhu Muditananda

December 16, 2017

The Sutta “Fearless”, Aṅguttara Nikāya 184.4

Summary

Someone who is not free from sensual pleasures, who is attached to their body, who has not done any good or wholesome actions, and who is doubtful in the Dhamma, is frightened and terrified of death.

Someone who is free from sensual pleasures, who is not attached to their body, who has not done evil actions, and who has confidence in the Dhamma, is not frightened and terrified of death.

 

Complete Sutta

Fearless

Then the brahmin Jāṇussoṇī approached the Blessed One and exchanged greetings with him…. Then, sitting to one side, he said to the Blessed One:

“Master Gotama, I hold the thesis and view that there is no one subject to death who is not frightened and terrified of death.”

“Brahmin, there are those subject to death that are frightened and terrified of death, but there are also those subject to death that are not frightened and terrified of death.

“And, brahmin, who are those subject to death that are frightened and terrified of death?

(1) “Here, someone is not devoid of lust, desire, [174] affection, thirst, passion, and craving for sensual pleasures. When he incurs a severe and debilitating illness, he thinks: ‘Alas, the sensual pleasures dear to me will leave me, and I will have to leave those sensual pleasures.’ He sorrows, languishes, and laments; he weeps beating his breast and becomes confused. This is one subject to death who is frightened and terrified of death.

(2) “Again, someone is not devoid of lust, desire, affection, thirst, passion, and craving for the body. When he incurs a severe and debilitating illness, he thinks: ‘Alas, this body dear to me will leave me, and I will have to leave this body.’ He sorrows, languishes, and laments; he weeps beating his breast and becomes confused. This, too, is one subject to death who is frightened and terrified of death.

(3) “Again, someone has not done what is good and wholesome or made a shelter for himself, but he has done what is evil, cruel, and defiled. When he incurs a severe and debilitating illness, he thinks: ‘Alas, I have not done anything good and wholesome, nor have I made a shelter for myself, but I have done what is evil, cruel, and defiled. When I pass on, I will meet the appropriate fate.’ He sorrows, languishes, and laments; he weeps beating his breast and becomes confused. This, too, is one subject to death who is frightened and terrified of death.

(4) “Again, someone here is perplexed, doubtful, and undecided about the good Dhamma. When he incurs a severe and debilitating illness, he thinks: ‘Alas, I am perplexed, doubtful, and undecided about the good Dhamma.’He sorrows, languishes, and laments; he weeps beating his breast and becomes confused. This, too, is one subject to death who is frightened and terrified of death.

“These are four subject to death that are frightened and terrified of death. [175]

“And, brahmin, who are those subject to death that are not frightened and terrified of death?

(1) “Here, someone is devoid of lust, desire, affection, thirst, passion, and craving for sensual pleasures. When he incurs a severe and debilitating illness, he does not think: ‘Alas, the sensual pleasures dear to me will leave me, and I will have to leave those sensual pleasures.’ He does not sorrow, languish, and lament; he does not weep beating his breast and become confused. This is one subject to death who is not frightened and terrified of death.

(2) “Again, someone is devoid of lust, desire, affection, thirst, passion, and craving for the body. When he incurs a severe and debilitating illness, he does not think:  ‘Alas, this body dear to me will leave me, and I will have to leave this body.’ He does not sorrow, languish, and lament; he does not weep beating his breast and become confused. This, too, is one subject to death who is not frightened and terrified of death.

(3) “Again, someone has not done what is evil, cruel, and defiled, but has done what is good and wholesome and made a shelter for himself. When he incurs a severe and debilitating illness, he thinks: ‘Indeed, I have not done anything evil, cruel, and defiled, but I have done what is good and wholesome and made a shelter for myself. When I pass on, I will meet the appropriate fate.’ He does not sorrow, languish, and lament; he does not weep beating his breast and become confused. This, too, is one subject to death who is not frightened and terrified of death.

(4) “Again, someone is unperplexed, doubt-free, and decided about the good Dhamma. When he incurs a severe and debilitating illness, he thinks: ‘I am unperplexed, doubt-free, and decided about the good Dhamma.’ He does not sorrow, languish, and lament; he does not weep beating his breast and become confused. [176] This, too, is one subject to death who is not frightened and terrified of death.

“These, brahmin, are four subject to death that are not frightened and terrified of death.”

“Excellent, Master Gotama! …[as at 4: 100] …Let Master Gotama consider me a lay follower who from today has gone for refuge for life.”

 

Source: The Numerical Discourses of the Buddha: A Translation of the   Aṅguttara Nikāya by Bhikkhu Bodhi. The Book of the Fours 184(4). Wisdom Publications, 2012.

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