400 verses | Āryadeva | 6
400 Verses on the Middle Path
by Āryadeva c. 3rd century
Part 6 | of 16
for Ridding Yourself of Disturbing Emotions
Since pleasurable things cause desire to increase
and painful things cause anger to expand,
why are pleasurable things not included as ascetic practices
and why are painful things included as (these) practices?
The activity of desire is to gather (things);
the activity of anger is to dispute;
and the activity of naivety is like wind
for all the elements (such as fire)
– it causes (the other disturbing emotions) to flare up.
Not meeting with (what you cherish),
you have suffering due to desire.
From not having the force (to overcome enemies),
you have suffering due to anger.
From not fully understanding (reality), you have naivety.
(Being overpowered) by those (3 poisonous emotions),
you don’t comprehend those (sufferings they cause you as suffering).
Just as you see that (people) do not
simultaneously meet with phlegm and bile;
likewise, you see that (people) do not
simultaneously meet with desire and anger (toward the same object).
(A spiritual mentor) should use (disciples with) attachment as servants.
Why? Because not to be deferential (with them)
is a medicine for their (attachment).
But for those with anger, he should treat them as lords,
because the medicine for their (anger) is (showing them) deference.
First (in the morning), there comes (the) total naivety (of dullness).
Intermediately (during the daytime),
there comes anger (and annoyance with work).
Lastly (at night), desire arises.
Thus the day has these 3 stages.
Although desire is not a friend, it (appears) like a friend.
Therefore shouldn’t you fear it?
Since it has no benefits, shouldn’t people
especially rid themselves of this (seeming) friend?
Desire arises from causes (namely, the habit of familiarity)
and desire arises from circumstances
(namely, meeting with an object of desire).
For the desire that arises from circumstances,
it’s easier to establish (the opponents),
but that’s not the case with the other sort.
When anger is firm, it definitely (harms oneself and others).
Destructive, it brings about great faults.
By knowing the characteristics of all these types (of disturbing emotions),
you’ll be able to bring such emotions to an end.
Just as the cognitive power of the body
(pervades the whole) body,
naivety abides in all (disturbing emotions).
Therefore, by destroying naivety,
all disturbing emotions will be destroyed.
When (it’s the case that things) come about by dependently arising,
(they cannot be truly existent). Seeing (this), naivety will not arise.
Therefore, you should make all efforts (in this,
since) only this topic shall be related in this (text).
The characteristics of always liking to dance and so on,
giving and receiving (presents),
and keeping (fastidiously) clean and the like
appear in people having desire.
The Buddhas have said that those with desire
should in all ways give up
having excellent, good food, clothing and shelter,
and should always abide in the vicinity of their spiritual mentors.
To become angry with someone
you have no ability (to affect) only makes your face ugly.
And not to have love for someone
you have the ability (to help) – this is said to be vile.
Unpleasant sounds (of abuse) are said to put an end
to your previously built up negative karmic debts.
(It’s only) those bewildered,
by nature, (about cause and effect) and who aren’t upright,
who do not accept (them as) a purification.
And even unpleasant (words of abuse) that you hear,
by their essential nature, do you no harm.
Therefore, as (the harm) comes from your own prejudiced thoughts,
it’s the vain who think that it comes from others.
Just as it says (in worldly texts)
that you should punish someone who abuses (you);
likewise, then why shouldn’t you reward (this same person)
if he says something pleasant (to you)?
Even if no one has spoken
of your rebuke-worthy (faults, they are obvious to everyone.
Therefore) if others should come to know of them,
it’s improper to become angry with the one who’s spoken (of them).
As (this is the case), is there need to mention
(not becoming angry with) those who speak (accusing you) falsely?
(After all), unpleasant (words of abuse) from your inferiors
do not give rise to anything serious.
Therefore, treat unpleasant (words) from inferiors
as something petty and insignificant (coming from a child) to someone above him.
Since (retaliating) has not even the slightest benefit
(in reversing) harm already done by others,
it’s only an extension of my (self-)clinging to show you respect
(O mind,) who becomes angry for no benefit.
If, with patience, you can attain
great positive force, without effort,
then who would be foolish enough
to prevent this (by becoming angry)?
You especially don’t generate so-called “anger”
toward those more powerful (than yourself).
So, how could you possibly be respected for your anger
(directed) at smashing those who are weaker?
Patience toward an object for anger
gives rise to meditation (on love) for him.
You’re but a fool if you think to discard
this basis for all good qualities
(because of fearing the opinions of others).
Who can put an end to being slighted
(even) if you go to your next life?
Therefore, since (if you retaliate,
you build up) negative karmic debts for yourself,
you should think that (being patient with) abuse is better.
(In short,) any (yogi) having the understanding that, in actuality,
consciousness (is devoid of a truly existing) abiding and so on
will have no place in his intelligent (mind)
for disturbing emotions to reside.