Surveying the World

[Photo copyright by Hardwig Kopp Delaney via Flickr under creative commons licence]

Having finally reached enlightenment, the Buddha stands up and looks at the world with new eyes. He now can see everything clearly and he comments on what he sees in an unusual, very personal tone, which – to my knowledge – is very rare in the Pali Canon. It’s one of my favorite suttas. 


Ayaṃ loko santāpajāto,
Phassapareto rogaṃ vadati attato.

     This world is full of torment,
     Afflicted by this contact it speaks of sickness to be self.

Yena yena hi maññati,
Tato taṃ hoti aññathā.

     For, however one conceives it to be,
     it turns out to be otherwise.

Aññathābhāvī bhavasatto loko,
Bhavapareto bhava­mevā­bhi­nandati.

     Becoming otherwise, the world is attached to becoming,
     Afflicted by becoming and yet delights in that very becoming.

Yadabhinandati taṃ bhayaṃ,
Yassa bhāyati taṃ dukkhaṃ.

    Where there is delight, there is fear,
    Whatever one fears is dukkha.

Bhava­vip­pahānāya kho,
Panidaṃ brahmacariyaṃ vussati.

    It is indeed for the total abandonment of becoming
    that this holy life is lived.

Evametaṃ yathābhūtaṃ, Sammappaññāya passato.
Bhavataṇhā pahīyati, Vibhavaṃ nābhinandati.

    See this – as it really is – with right discernment.
    One abandons craving for becoming, and doesn’t delight in non-becoming.

Sabbaso taṇhānaṃ khayā,
Asesa­virāga­nirodho nibbānaṃ.

    Through the total destruction of craving there is nibanna,
    entire cessation without a remainder.

Tassa nibbutassa bhikkhuno,
Anupādā punabbhavo na hoti;

    For that monk who has attained nibbana,
    through non-clinging, there is no further becoming.

Abhibhūto māro vijitasaṅgāmo,
Upaccagā sabbabhavāni tādī”ti.

    He has conquered Māra, won the battle,
    such having gone beyond becomings.


[Excerpt from Khuddaka Nikāya – Nanda Vagga – Udāna 3.10 – Lokavolokanasuttaṃ
(The Discourse about surveying the World)]

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