MN 17: Vanapattha Sutta – The Discourse on the Wilderness Grove

Translated by Bhante Suddhāso
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Thus have I heard. On one occasion the Blessed One was dwelling at Sāvatthi, at Jeta’s Grove, in Anāthapiṇḍika’s Park. There the Blessed One addressed the monks: “Monks!” “Auspicious sir,” those monks replied to the Blessed One. The Blessed One said this: “Monks, I will teach you a discourse about wilderness groves. Listen to this and carefully pay attention; I will speak.” “Yes, Bhante,” those monks replied to the Blessed One. The Blessed One said this:

“Monks, here a monk lives in a particular wilderness grove. While living in that wilderness grove, his unestablished mindfulness does not become established, his unconcentrated mind does not become concentrated, his uneliminated corruptions do not become eliminated, and the unsurpassable security from limitation which he has not attained is not being attained. And the basic necessities of life which he needs to procure – robes, almsfood, dwelling-places, medicines and medical supplies – are difficult to obtain. Monks, that monk is to reflect, ‘I am living in this wilderness grove. While I am living here, my unestablished mindfulness does not become established, my unconcentrated mind does not become concentrated, my uneliminated corruptions do not become eliminated, and the unsurpassable security from limitation which I have not attained is not being attained. And the basic necessities of life which I need to procure – robes, almsfood, dwelling-places, medicines and medical supplies – are difficult to obtain.’ Monks, that monk is to leave that wilderness grove that very day or that very night; he is not to live there.

“Monks, here a monk lives in a particular wilderness grove. While living in that wilderness grove, his unestablished mindfulness does not become established, his unconcentrated mind does not become concentrated, his uneliminated corruptions do not become eliminated, and the unsurpassable security from limitation which he has not attained is not being attained. And the basic necessities of life which he needs to procure – robes, almsfood, dwelling-places, medicines and medical supplies – are easy to obtain. Monks, that monk is to reflect, ‘I am living in this wilderness grove. While I am living here, my unestablished mindfulness does not become established, my unconcentrated mind does not become concentrated, my uneliminated corruptions do not become eliminated, and the unsurpassable security from limitation which I have not attained is not being attained. And the basic necessities of life which I need to procure – robes, almsfood, dwelling-places, medicines and medicinal supplies – are easy to obtain. However, I did not leave the household life for the sake of robes… almsfood… dwelling-places… medicines and medical supplies. And while I am living this wilderness grove, my unestablished mindfulness does not become established, my unconcentrated mind does not become concentrated, my uneliminated corruptions do not become eliminated, and the unsurpassable security from limitation which I have not attained is not being attained.’ Monks, after consideration, that monk is to leave that wilderness grove; he is not to live there.

“Monks, here a monk lives in a particular wilderness grove. While living in that wilderness grove, his unestablished mindfulness becomes established, his unconcentrated mind becomes concentrated, his uneliminated corruptions become eliminated, and the unsurpassable security from limitation which he has not attained is being attained. And the basic necessities of life which he needs to procure – robes, almsfood, dwelling-places, medicines and medical supplies – are difficult to obtain. Monks, that monk is to reflect, ‘I am living in this wilderness grove. While I am living here, my unestablished mindfulness does not become established, my unconcentrated mind does not become concentrated, my uneliminated corruptions do not become eliminated, and the unsurpassable security from limitation which I have not attained is not being attained. And the basic necessities of life which I need to procure – robes, almsfood, dwelling-places, medicines and medical supplies – are difficult to obtain. However, I did not leave the household life for the sake of robes… almsfood… dwelling-places… medicines and medical supplies. And while I am living this wilderness grove, my unestablished mindfulness becomes established, my unconcentrated mind becomes concentrated, my uneliminated corruptions become eliminated, and the unsurpassable security from limitation which I have not attained is being attained.’ Monks, after consideration, that monk is to live in that wilderness grove; he is not to leave.

“Monks, here a monk lives in a particular wilderness grove. While living in that wilderness grove, his unestablished mindfulness becomes established, his unconcentrated mind becomes concentrated, his uneliminated corruptions become eliminated, and the unsurpassable security from limitation which he has not attained is being attained. And the basic necessities of life which he needs to procure – robes, almsfood, dwelling-places, medicines and medical supplies – are easy to obtain. Monks, that monk is to reflect, ‘I am living in this wilderness grove. While I am living here, my unestablished mindfulness does not become established, my unconcentrated mind does not become concentrated, my uneliminated corruptions do not become eliminated, and the unsurpassable security from limitation which I have not attained is not being attained. And the basic necessities of life which I need to procure – robes, almsfood, dwelling-places, medicines and medical supplies – are easy to obtain.’ Monks, that monk is to live in that wilderness grove for the rest of his life; he is not to leave.

“Monks, here a monk lives in a particular village… town… city… country…

“Monks, here a monk lives in dependence on a particular person. While living in dependence on that person, his unestablished mindfulness does not become established… the basic necessities of life… are difficult to obtain… Monks, that monk is to leave that person that very day or that very night without taking leave; he is not to follow that person.

“Monks, here a monk lives in dependence on a particular person. While living in dependence on that person, his unestablished mindfulness does not become established… the basic necessities of life… are easy to obtain… Monks, after consideration, that monk is to leave that person after taking leave; he is not to follow that person.

“Monks, here a monk lives in dependence on a particular person. While living in dependence on that person, his established mindfulness becomes established… the basic necessities of life… are difficult to obtain… Monks, after consideration, that monk is to follow that person; he is not to leave.

“Monks, here a monk lives in dependence on a particular person. While living in dependence on that person, his established mindfulness becomes established… the basic necessities of life… are easy to obtain… Monks, that monk is to follow that person for the rest of his life; he is not to leave even if dismissed.”

This is what the Blessed One said. Satisfied, those monks delighted in the Blessed One’s speech.