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Mettagu-manava-puccha: Mettagu's Questions


Summary: url=index.html#snp.5.04.than How does one cross the flood of birth and old age, sorrow and grief.

Sn 5.4 PTS: Sn 1049-1060

Mettagu-manava-puccha: Mettagu's Questions

translated from the Pali by

Thanissaro Bhikkhu

Alternate translation: Ireland

Alternate format:


I ask you, O Blessed One. Please tell me. I regard you as knowledgeable, with your self developed. From what have the many forms of stress & suffering arisen in the world?

[The Buddha:]

If you ask me the coming-into-being of stress & suffering, I will tell it to you

as one who discerns.

From acquisition(1) as cause the many forms of stress & suffering come into being in the world. Whoever, unknowing, makes acquisitions

— the fool —

comes to stress & suffering

& again.

So one who's discerning,

focused on the birth
of stress & suffering,
their coming-into-being,

should make no acquisitions.


What we asked, you've expounded. Now we ask something else.

Please tell us.

How do the prudent cross over the flood of

birth & aging,
lamentation & sorrow?

Please, sage, declare this to me

as this Dhamma has
been known by you.

[The Buddha:]

I will teach you the Dhamma

— in the here & now,
not quoted words —

knowing which, living mindfully, you'll cross over beyond entanglement in the world.


And I relish, Great Seer, that Dhamma supreme, knowing which, living mindfully, I'll cross over beyond entanglement in the world.

[The Buddha:]

Whatever you're alert to,

above, below,
across, in between:<span notetag #fnt-2>([[#fn-2|2]])</span> 

dispelling any delight,

	any laying claim
	to those things,

consciousness should not take a stance

	in becoming.

The monk who dwells thus

— mindful, heedful —

letting go of his sense of mine, knowing right here would abandon

	birth & aging,
lamentation & sorrow,
	stress & suffering.


I relish, Gotama, the Great Seer's words well-expounded, without acquisition, for yes, O Blessed One, you've abandoned stress & suffering as this Dhamma has been known by you. And they, too, would abandon stress & suffering

those whom you, sage,
would admonish unceasingly.

Having met you, I bow down to you,

	Great One.

Perhaps you will admonish me


[The Buddha:]

Whoever you recognize as a knowledgeable brahman,

possessing nothing,
in sensuality & becoming

yes, he has crossed over the flood. Having crossed to the far shore,

he is without
harshness or doubt.

And any one who has realized, who is knowledgeable here,

having unentangled the bond
to becoming and non-,<span notetag #fnt-3>([[#fn-3|3]])</span> 

free of craving,

undesiring — he,

I tell you, has crossed over birth

		& aging.



The term “acquisition” (upadhi), in its everyday sense, denotes the possessions, baggage, and other paraphernalia that a nomadic family might carry around with it in its wanderings. On the psychological level, it denotes anything for which one might have a sense of “I” or “mine” and which, consequently, one would carry around as a kind of mental baggage.


Nd.II gives six different valid interpretations for “above, below, across, in between”:


  • above = the future; below = the past; across and in between = the present
  • above = the deva world; below = hell; across and in between = the human world
  • above = skillfulness; below = unskillfulness; across and in between = indeterminate mental qualities
  • above = the property of formlessness; below = the property of sensuality; across and in between = the property of form
  • above = feelings of pleasure; below = feelings of pain; across and in between = feelings of neither pleasure nor pain
  • above = the body from the feet on up; below = the body from the crown of the head on down; across and in between = the middle of the body

Becoming and non-becoming (or dis-becoming) are the two most subtle objects of craving that lead on to continued existence — and suffering — in the round of birth & death.

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en/tipitaka/sut/kn/snp/snp.5.04.than.txt · Last modified: 2022/03/24 13:46 by Johann