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Akaranga Sutra

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The Cleaning

First lesson.


He who is awakened amongst men, preaches; the man to whom all these classes of lives are well known, preaches the unparalleled wisdom. He praises the road to liberation for those who well exert themselves, who have forsworn cruelty, are zealous and endowed with knowledge. Thus some great heroes are victorious; but, look, some others who are wanting in control do not understand (the welfare of) their souls. Thus I say.


As in a lake a greedy leaf-covered tortoise cannot rise tip; as the trees do not leave their-place (though shaken by storms): thus men, born in various families, cry bitterly because they are attached to the objects of the senses; on account of their sinfulness they do not reach liberation.


Now look at those who are born in these families to reap the fruit of their own acts:


Bolls and leprosy, consumption, falling sickness, blindness and stiffness, lameness and hump-backedness,


Dropsy and dumbness, look! apoplexy(?) and eye-disease, trembling and crippledness, elephantiasis and diabetes,


These are the sixteen diseases enumerated in due order; besides them many illnesses and wounds occur.


Contemplating their (i.e. the creatures') death, knowing their births in higher and lower regions, contemplating the fruit (of their acts), hear about this according to truth.


There are said to be blind beings dwelling in darkness; once or frequently meeting this lot, they experience pleasant and unpleasant feelings. This has been declared by the awakened ones.


There are beings endowed with voice, with taste, waterbeings dwelling in water, beings living in the air: 'beings torment beings. See the great danger in this world;' many pains (are the lot) of the creatures. Men who are given to their lusts, come to destruction through their weak, frail body. 'The fool works hard, thinking' that the unhappy one suffers many pains. 'Knowing that these diseases are many, should the afflicted search after (remedies)?' See! they are of no avail, have done with them! Sage! see this great danger! Do not hurt anybodyl Contemplate. Be attentive! I shall proclaim the doctrine of renunciation.


To reap the fruit of their acts they are born in these various families, they increase, are born, grow up, become awakened, and leave the world in due order as great sages. The lamenting parents say to them who proceed on the glorious road: 'Do not leave us!'


He should always maintain this knowledge! Thus I say.

Second lesson.


Though some know the misery of the world, have relinquished their former connections, have given up case, live in chastity, and, whether monk or layman, thoroughly understand the law, they are not able (to persevere in a religious life). The ill-disposed, giving up the robe, alms-bowl, blanket, and broom, do not bear the continuous hardships that are difficult to bear. He who prefers pleasures will, now or after an hour, be deprived (of the body, not to recover it) for an infinite space of time. And thus they do not cross (the samsara), for the sake of these pleasures which entail evil consequences and are associated with others of their kind.


But some who embrace the law, will practise it, being careful about its outward signs; not giving way to worldliness, but bein- firin. Knowing (and renouncing) all lust, a devout man becomes a great sage when he breaks all bonds, thinking: Nothing belongs to me. A man who, thinking, I am I, exerts himself for this (creed), ceases (to act), is houseless, walks about bald-headed. The naked, fasting (monk), who combats the flesh, will be abused, or struck, or hurt; he will be upbraided with his former trade, or reviled with untrue reproaches. Accounting (for this treatment) by his former sins, knowing pleasant and unpleasant occurrences, he should patiently wander about. Quitting all worldliness one should bear all (disagreeable) feelings, being possessed of the right view.


Those are called naked, who in this world, never returning (to a worldly state), (follow) my religion according to the commandinent. This highest doctrine has here been declared for men. Delighted with this, destroying that (i.e. the effect of works), he will successively give up sinfulness, after having come to a knowledge of it. Here (in our religion) some live as single mendicants. Therefore a wise man should lead the life of an ascetic by collecting pure alms or any alms in all sorts of families. 'If (the food) be of good or bad smell, or if dreadful beasts inflict pain on (other) beings' - all that happens to you, you will firmly bear it. Thus I say.

Third lesson.


A sage who is well instructed in the law and leads a life of abstinence, is always a destroyer of the effects of works. To a mendicant who is little clothed and firm in control, it will not occur (to think): My clothes are torn, I shall beg for (new) clothes; I shall beg for thread; I shall beg for a needle; I shall mend (my clothes); I shall darn them; I shall repair them; I shall put them on; I shall wrap myself in them.


The unclothed one, who excels in this (abstinence), will often be molested by (sharp blades of) grass, by cold, heat, gnats, and mosquitoes. The unclothed one, who effects scarcity (of his wants or of his karman), bears these and various other hardships. He is fit for penance, as has been declared by the Revered One. Understanding this in all respects and with his whole mind, he should perfectly know righteousness. The great heroes (i.e. the Tirthakaras) who for a long time walked in the former years, the worthy ones bore the troubles (mentioned above); endowed with perfect knowledge they had lean arms and very little flesh and blood. He who discontinues (to sin) and is enlightened, is said to have crossed (the samsara), to be liberated, and to have ceased (to act). Thus I say.


But can discontent lay hold of a mendicant, who has ceased to act and leads a religious life, for a long time controlling himself? He advances in his spiritual career and exerts himself. As an island which is never covered with water, so is the law taught by the noble ones (a safe refuge for those in danger). They are free from desires, free from murder, beloved, wise, learned. For their benefit has been the exertion of the Revered One; as birds (feed) their young ones, so are the disciples regularly to be instructed day and night. Thus I say.

Fourth lesson.


The disciples are thus regularly instructed, day and night, by the knowledge-endowed great heroes, receiving knowledge from them. Some, being seduced from the calmness of the mind, adopt rough manners. Some, living in chastity, dispute the authority (of the teacher), others hear and understand his words; they intend to lead a godly life, but having left the world, they are not qualified (for a religious life). Others, being incensed by lusts, greedy, sensual, 'do not care for abstract meditation and religious instruction: these men speak harshly unto the teacher.' It is a second folly of the slow-minded to call virtuous, calm, religiously living men worthless.


Some, turning from (control), assign its difficulty as their reason (for doing so); others, falling from the pure knowledge and defiling the creed, though not without devotion, for the love of life. change (their vows). 'When they feel the hardships (of a religious life) they slide back, for their love of life.' Their leaving the world is a bad leaving.


Those who deserve to be called fools, are born again and again. Standing low (in learning or control) they will exalt themselves (and say) in their pride: I am learned. They speak harshly unto the passionless; they upbraid them with their former trades, or revile them with untrue reproaches . The wise, therefore, should know the law. Thou lovest unrighteousness, because thou art young, and lovest acts, and sayest: 'Kill beings;' thou killest them or consentest to their being killed by others. (Such a man) thinks contemptuously: A very severe religion has been proclaimed. Sinking in opposition to the law, he is called murderer. Thus I say.


Some think: What have I to do with this or that man? Thus they leave father and mother, kith and kin, like heroes exerting themselves, free from murder. Look! the pious and calm become desponding; the rising, cast down. Those troubled with sensuality, the cowardly men become perverters of the faith. Therefore the reputation of some becomes bad. He is an apostate ascetic! He is an apostate ascetic I


Look! Some, though living with religious, pious, calm, and worthy (monks), are not religious, nor pious, nor calm, nor worthy. Knowing them, the learned, the wise, the steadfast hero will always be victorious through the right faith. Thus I say.

Fifth lesson.


Staying in or between houses, in or between villages, in or between towns, in or between counties, a monk is attacked by murderers, or is subject to the hardships (of a mendicant's life). A hero should bear these hardships.


A Saint, with right intuition, who cherishes compassion for the world, in the east, west, south, and north, should preach, spread, and praise (the faith), knowing the sacred lore. He should proclaim it among those who exert themselves, and those who do not, among those who are willing to hear (the word).


Not neglecting tranquillity, indifference, patience, liberation, purity, uprightness, gentleness, and freedom from worldly cares, one should, with due consideration, preach the law of the mendicants to all sorts of creatures.


With due consideration preaching the law of the mendicants, one should do no injury to one's self, nor to anybody else, nor to any of the four kinds of living beings. But a great sage, neither injuring nor injured, becomes a shelter for all sorts of afflicted creatures, even as an island, which is never covered with water.


Thus a man who exerts himself, and is of a steady mind, without attachment, unmoved (by passion) but restless (in wandering about), having no worldly desires, should lead the life of an ascetic.


Having contemplated the beautiful law, the discerning one is liberated.


Therefore look at worldliness, ye men, fettered in fetters!


Those whom lust conquers, sink; therefore do not shrink from the hard (control)! He who knows (and renounces) perfectly and thoroughly these injurious acts, from whom the injurers do not shrink, 'who has shaken off wrath, pride,' delusion, and greed, 'he is called a removed one.' Thus I say.


On the decay of the body (he does not despond, but deserves) his appellation, 'the leader of the battle.' The sage who has reached the other side, unafflicted and unmoved like a beam, being in the power of death, desires death as the dissolution of the body. Thus I say.


End of the Sixth Lecture, called the Cleaning.

The Cleaning

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