The Discourse about the Noble Search

[12. The Five Strands of Sense Pleasure]

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There are these five strands, monks, of sense pleasure.

Which five?

Forms cognizable by the eye, which are wanted, lovely, pleasant, likeable, sensual, enticing, sounds cognizable by the ear, which are wanted, lovely, pleasant, likeable, sensual, enticing, smells cognizable by the nose, which are wanted, lovely, pleasant, likeable, sensual, enticing, tastes cognizable by the tongue, which are wanted, lovely, pleasant, likeable, sensual, enticing, tangibles cognizable by the body, which are wanted, lovely, pleasant, likeable, sensual, enticing, these, monks, are the five strands of sense pleasure.

Whichever ascetics or brāhmaṇas, monks, are tied, infatuated, and indulging in these five strands of sense pleasure, who use them not seeing the danger in them, not knowing the escape from them, of them this should be known:

‘They have fallen upon misfortune, they have fallen upon destruction, the Wicked One can do whatever he likes with them.’

Just as, monks, if there were a wild deer lying bound in a snare, about him you could know:

‘He has fallen upon misfortune, he has fallen upon destruction, the hunter can do whatever he likes with him, and when the hunter comes he cannot depart as he desires.’

Just so, monks, whichever ascetics or brāhmaṇas are tied, infatuated, and indulging in these five strands of sense pleasure, who use them not seeing the danger in them, not knowing the escape from them, of them this should be known:

‘They have fallen upon misfortune, they have fallen upon destruction, the Wicked One can do whatever he likes with them.’

And, monks, whichever ascetics or brāhmaṇas are not tied, not infatuated, and do not indulge in these five strands of sense pleasure, who use them seeing the danger in them, knowing the escape from them, of them this should be known:

‘They have not fallen upon misfortune, they have not fallen upon destruction, the Wicked One cannot do whatever he likes with them.’

Just as, monks, if there were a wild deer not lying bound in a snare, about him you could know:

‘He has not fallen upon misfortune, he has not fallen upon destruction, the hunter cannot do whatever he likes with him, and when the hunter comes he can depart as he desires.’

Just so, monks, whichever ascetics or brāhmaṇas are not tied, not infatuated, and do not indulge in these five strands of sense pleasure, who use them seeing the danger in them, knowing the escape from them, of them this should be known:

‘They have not fallen upon misfortune, they have not fallen upon destruction, the Wicked One cannot do whatever he likes with them.’

Just as, monks, if there were a wild deer wandering in a forest wilderness, he goes confidently, he stands confidently, he sits confidently, he lies down confidently.

What is the reason for that?

He is not, monks, within the range of a hunter.

Just so, monks, a monk quite secluded from sense desires, secluded from unwholesome things, having thinking, reflection, and the happiness and rapture born of seclusion, dwells having attained the first absorption.

It is said of this monk, monks, he has made Māra blind and footless, he has destroyed Māra’s eye, the Wicked One wanders without seeing him.

Furthermore, monks, a monk, with the ending of thinking and reflection, with internal clarity, and one-pointedness of mind, being without thinking, without reflection, having the happiness and rapture born of concentration, dwells having attained the second absorption.

It is said of this monk, monks, he has made Māra blind and footless, he has destroyed Māra’s eye, the Wicked One wanders without seeing him.

Furthermore, monks, a monk, with the fading away of rapture dwells equanimous, mindful, clearly knowing, experiencing happiness through the body, about which the Noble Ones declare: “He lives pleasantly, mindful, and equanimous,” thus he dwells having attained the third absorption.

It is said of this monk, monks, he has made Māra blind and footless, he has destroyed Māra’s eye, the Wicked One wanders without seeing him.

Furthermore, monks, a monk, having given up pleasure, given up pain, and with the previous disappearence of mental well-being and sorrow, without pain, without pleasure, and with complete purity of mindfulness owing to equanimity, dwells having attained the fourth absorption.

It is said of this monk, monks, he has made Māra blind and footless, he has destroyed Māra’s eye, the Wicked One wanders without seeing him.

Furthermore, monks, a monk, having completely transcended perceptions of form, with the disappearance of perceptions of sensory impact, not attending to perceptions of variety, understanding: ‘This is endless space’, abides in the sphere of endless space.

It is said of this monk, monks, he has made Māra blind and footless, he has destroyed Māra’s eye, the Wicked One wanders without seeing him.

Furthermore, monks, a monk, having completely transcended the sphere of endless space, understanding: ‘This is endless consciousness,’ abides in the sphere of endless consciousness.

It is said of this monk, monks, he has made Māra blind and footless, he has destroyed Māra’s eye, the Wicked One wanders without seeing him.

Furthermore, monks, a monk, having completely transcended the sphere of endless consciousness, understanding: ‘This is nothing,’ abides in the sphere of nothingness.

It is said of this monk, monks, he has made Māra blind and footless, he has destroyed Māra’s eye, the Wicked One wanders without seeing him.

Furthermore, monks, a monk, having completely transcended the sphere of nothingness, abides in the sphere of neither-perception-nor-non-perception.

It is said of this monk, monks, he has made Māra blind and footless, he has destroyed Māra’s eye, the Wicked One wanders without seeing him.

Furthermore, monks, a monk, having completely transcended the sphere of neither-perception-nor-non-perception, abides in the cessation of perception and feeling, and having seen with wisdom, his pollutants are totally destroyed.

It is said of this monk, monks, he has made Māra blind and footless, he has destroyed Māra’s eye, the Wicked One wanders without seeing him.

He has crossed over the world, he goes confidently, he stands confidently, he sits confidently, he lies down confidently.

What is the reason for that?

He is not within the range, monks, of the Wicked One.

The Gracious One said this,

and those monks were uplifted and greatly rejoiced in what was said by the Gracious One.

The Discourse about the Noble Search is Finished