4:16  To Sāriputta

Ven. Sāriputta:

“Never before

have I seen or heard

from anyone

of a teacher with such lovely speech

come, together with his following

from Tusita heaven,1

as the One with Eyes

who appears to the world with its devas,

having dispelled all darkness,

having arrived at delight

all alone.

To that One Awakened—

unentangled, Such, un-


come with his following—

I have come desiring a question

on behalf of the many

here who are fettered:

For a monk disaffected,

frequenting a place remote—

the root of a tree,

a cemetery,

in mountain caves

various places to stay—

how many are the fears there

at which he shouldn’t tremble

—there in his noiseless abode—

how many the dangers in the world

for the monk          going the direction

he never has gone

over which he should prevail

there in his isolated abode?

What should be

the ways of his speech?

What should be

his range there of action?

What should be

a resolute monk’s

habits & practices?2

Undertaking what training

— mindful, astute, alone —

would he blow away

his own impurities

as a silver smith,

those in molten silver?”

The Buddha:

“I will tell you

as one who knows,

what is comfort

for one disaffected

if he’s resorting to a place remote,

desiring self-awakening

in line with the Dhamma.

An enlightened monk,

living circumscribed,


shouldn’t fear the five fears:

of horseflies, mosquitoes, snakes,

human contact, four-footed beings;

shouldn’t be fazed

by those following another’s teaching

even on seeing their manifold


should prevail over still other

further dangers

as he seeks what is skillful.


by the touch

of disease, hunger,

he should endure cold

& inordinate heat.

He with no home,

in many ways touched by these things,

striving, should make firm his persistence.

He shouldn’t commit a theft,

shouldn’t speak a lie,

should touch with thoughts of goodwill

beings firm & infirm.

Conscious of when

his mind is stirred up & turbid,

he should dispel it:

‘It’s on the side

of the Dark One.’

He shouldn’t come under the sway

of anger or pride.

Having dug up their root

he would stand firm.

Then, when prevailing


he’d prevail over notions of dear & undear.

Deferring          to discernment

enraptured          with what’s admirable,

he should overcome these dangers,

should conquer


in his isolated spot,

should conquer

these four

thoughts of lament:

‘What will I eat,

or where will I eat?

How badly I slept.

Tonight where will I sleep?’

These lamenting thoughts

he should subdue—

one under training,

wandering without home.

Receiving food & cloth

at appropriate times,

he should have a sense of enough

for the sake of contentment.3

Guarded in regard to these things

going restrained into a village,

even when harassed

he shouldn’t say a harsh word.

With eyes downcast,

& not footloose,

committed to jhāna,

he should be continually wakeful.4

Arousing equanimity,

centered within,

he should cut off any penchant

to conjecture or worry.

When reprimanded with words,

he should—mindful—


should smash any rigidity

toward his fellows in the holy life;

should utter skillful words

that are not untimely;

should give no mind

to the gossip people might say.

And then there are in the world

the five kinds of dust

for whose subduing, mindful,

he should train:

With regard to forms, sounds, tastes,

smells, & tactile sensations

he should conquer passion;

with regard to these things

he should subdue his desire.

A monk, mindful,

his mind well released,

contemplating the right Dhamma

at the right times,

on coming

to oneness6

should annihilate


the Blessed One said.

vv. 955–975


1. The Buddha spent his next-to-last lifetime in the Tusita heaven, one of the highest levels on the sensual plane.

2.The fact that the Buddha answers this question in a straightforward manner illustrates the point that abandoning habits and practices does not mean having undefined precepts or practices—or no precepts or practices at all. See Sn 4:13, note 3.

3. See AN 4:28, AN 4:37, and AN 7:64.

4. See AN 4:37.

5. See Dhp 76–77.

6. Ekodi-bhūto. A quality of concentration attained in the second jhāna.

See also: SN 35:117; SN 35:200; AN 4:28; Thag 3:8; Thag 5:8; Thag 6:2; Thag 18