SN 22.122: Sīlavanta Sutta – The Virtuous One

Translated by Bhante Suddhāso
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On one occasion Venerable Sāriputta and Venerable Mahākoṭṭhita were living at Vārāṇasi, in the deer park at Isipatana. Then in the evening Venerable Mahākoṭṭhita emerged from retreat, approached Venerable Sāriputta, and said to him, “Venerable Sāriputta, what phenomena are to be paid wise attention to by a virtuous monk?”

“Venerable Koṭṭhita, a virtuous monk is to wisely pay attention to the five components of attachment as impermanent, unsatisfactory, disease, cancer, stabbing, misfortune, affliction, alien, disintegrating, empty1, and impersonal2. What are the five? The physical form component of attachment, the feeling component of attachment, the recognition component of attachment, the thought component of attachment, and the consciousness component of attachment. Venerable Koṭṭhita, a virtuous monk is to wisely pay attention to these five components of attachment as impermanent, unsatisfactory, disease, cancer, stabbing, misfortune, affliction, alien, disintegrating, empty, and impersonal. Venerable, it is possible that a virtuous monk who wisely pays attention to these five components of attachment as impermanent, unsatisfactory, disease, cancer, stabbing, misfortune, affliction, alien, disintegrating, empty, and impersonal can realize the fruit of stream-entry.”

“But, Venerable Sāriputta, what phenomena are to be paid wise attention to by a monk who is a stream-enterer?”

“Venerable Koṭṭhita, a monk who is a stream-enterer is also to wisely pay attention to the five components of attachment as impermanent, unsatisfactory, disease, cancer, stabbing, misfortune, affliction, alien, disintegrating, empty, and impersonal… Venerable, it is possible that a monk who is a stream-enterer that wisely pays attention to these five components of attachment as impermanent, unsatisfactory, disease, cancer, stabbing, misfortune, affliction, alien, disintegrating, empty, and impersonal can realize the fruit of once-return.”

“But, Venerable Sāriputta, what phenomena are to be paid wise attention to by a monk who is a once-returner?”

“Venerable Koṭṭhita, a monk who is a once-returner is also to wisely pay attention to the five components of attachment as impermanent, unsatisfactory, disease, cancer, stabbing, misfortune, affliction, alien, disintegrating, empty, and impersonal… Venerable, it is possible that a monk who is a once-returner that wisely pays attention to these five components of attachment as impermanent, unsatisfactory, disease, cancer, stabbing, misfortune, affliction, alien, disintegrating, empty, and impersonal can realize the fruit of non-return.”

“But, Venerable Sāriputta, what phenomena are to be paid wise attention to by a monk who is a non-returner?”

“Venerable Koṭṭhita, a monk who is a non-returner is also to wisely pay attention to the five components of attachment as impermanent, unsatisfactory, disease, cancer, stabbing, misfortune, affliction, alien, disintegrating, empty, and impersonal… Venerable, it is possible that a monk who is a non-returner that wisely pays attention to these five components of attachment as impermanent, unsatisfactory, disease, cancer, stabbing, misfortune, affliction, alien, disintegrating, empty, and impersonal can realize the fruit of Arahant.”

“But, Venerable Sāriputta, what phenomena are to be paid wise attention to by a monk who is an Arahant?”

“Venerable Koṭṭhita, a monk who is an Arahant is also to wisely pay attention to the five components of attachment as impermanent, unsatisfactory, disease, cancer, stabbing, misfortune, affliction, alien, disintegrating, empty, and impersonal. Venerable, it is not there is anything more for an Arahant to do or to accumulate; however, when these are developed and cultivated, they are conducive to a pleasant life here and now, and to mindfulness and clear awareness.”

1 Suññatā.

2 Anattatā