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Samuddo (1) Sutta: The Ocean (1)

Samuddo (1) Sutta

Summary: What does it mean to cross over the ocean of the six senses.

SN 35.187 PTS: S iv 157 CDB ii 1226 (corresponds to CDB 35.228)

Samuddo (1) Sutta: The Ocean (1)

translated from the Pali by

Maurice O'Connell Walshe

The Pali title of this sutta is based on the PTS (Feer) edition.

“'The ocean, the ocean!,' monks, says the ignorant worldling. But that is not the ocean in the Ariyan discipline, that is just a great heap of water, a great flood of water.

“The human eye, monks, is the ocean; its impulsion is produced by visible forms. Whoever withstands its buffeting produced by visible forms, is said to have 'crossed over': 'the Brahman(1) has traversed and passed over the ocean of the eye with its waves and whirlpools, its crocodiles(2) and monsters and stands on dry land.'”

[Similarly with ear, nose, tongue, body (touch), mind.]

The teacher declared:

He who's crossed this monster-teeming sea, Hardly to be crossed for mighty waves. Wisdom's his,(3) the holy life he's lived, The world's end he's reached, and gone beyond.



The term is used in two different ways in the Pali Canon: (1) to denote a member of the Brahman caste, often depicted rather like the Pharisees in the New Testament; and (2) in the positive sense of one leading a pure life, even an Arahant. Cf. inter alia the Braahma.navagga of the Dhammapada.


Sagaaha.m: ”(with) sharks“: Woodward. Gaaha lit. “grabber” is given in the PED [Pali-English Dictionary, by T.W. Rhys Davids & William Stede, PTS 1921-25] as “crocodile”: in fact the estuarine crocodile swims far out to sea and so could well be meant here. Another word for “crocodile,” su.msumaara, is used in SN 35.206.


So vedaguu: lit. “he is well-versed in the Vedas,” but this word too, like (n. 1), is often given a different, Buddhist, sense.

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en/tipitaka/sut/sn/sn35/sn35.187.wlsh.txt · Last modified: 2022/03/24 13:47 by Johann