400 verses | Āryadeva | 7


400 Verses on the Middle Path
by Āryadeva c. 3rd century

Part 7 | of 16

Indicating Methods for Ridding Yourself
of Craving for Pleasurable Objects That People Enjoy


This ocean of suffering has no end at all.
Childish one, why do you not generate fear
at being immersed in it?


Your youth (of the present) has come
behind (your old age of the past)
and will come once again ahead (of it, just after death).
Even if (you’re proud of your youth, thinking) it’ll last,
yet, in this world, (youth, old age, and death)
are like competitors in a race (vying to come) first.


Since, in compulsive Saṁsāra, you don’t have (the power
to guarantee) another (better) rebirth as you wish,
what intelligent person would not have fear,
being under the power of something else,
(namely, karmic impulses and disturbing emotions)?


There’ll be no end in the future
(to your recurring Saṁsāra rebirths, if you make no effort now)
– indeed, in all lives (you’ve remained) an ordinary being
– so, make your life (be not meaningless) like that.
Don’t become the same as you’ve been in the past.


The occurrence of a (proper) listener,
(teachings) to be listened to, and one to explain them
- is extremely rare to find. Therefore, in short,
though recurring Saṁsāra won’t be endless
(if these conditions come together),
it’ll have no end (if they’re not).


Most people are not pure, but
are fully inclined toward the direction (of destructive behaviour).
Therefore most ordinary people
will definitely go to worse rebirth states.


(The suffering of) people on (this) earth,
(which is) the ripening of their negative karmic debts,
is seen to vie only (with that of the joyless hell realms).
Therefore, compulsive Saṁsāra existence
appears the same as a slaughtering ground to the hallowed (Āryas).


If you become mad
from your mind not remaining (under your control),
what wise person would consider as not mad
someone still living a compulsive Saṁsāra existence?


When you try to turn away from the suffering
of (excessive) walking and so on
(by sitting down and so forth,
the pleasure of relief) is seen (eventually) to decline.
Therefore, those with intelligence
should enhance their minds to exhaust all their (throwing) karma.


When a first cause of even one result
(such as the mind) does not appear, at such a time,
at seeing the extensive (results) of even a single (negative action),
in whom would the fear (of recurring Saṁsāra existence) not arise?


There’s no certainty that all (worldly karmic) fruits
(such as prosperity) will come about.
And since even if they do come about,
they will come to an end,
why destroy yourself for their sake?


(Worldly) actions, done with effort,
once they are done, will disintegrate without any effort.
As this (naturally) happens,
won’t you ever distance yourself
from attachment to (worldly) actions?


There’s no happiness to be had
(in the consciousness) of the past (since it’s already ceased),
nor is there in that of the future (for it hasn’t yet occurred).
It’s (the same) with that of the present too, since it will come to pass.
Therefore, for what reason do you (make
all this effort) in karmic actions (for worldly pleasure)?


The wise generate fear even for higher status (states of rebirth)
the same as (they do) for the joyless hell realms.
It’s rare for them not to generate fear for any situation
anywhere in compulsive Saṁsāra existence.


If even childish beings come to understand
the sufferings of recurring Saṁsāra in all situations,
(as the Āryas do, who realize voidness),
at that very moment, their minds (as ordinary beings)
will simultaneously cease for sure.


Limited beings with arrogance aren’t rare,
and, as those with arrogance have no compassion,
it’s therefore said that it’s extremely hard for them
to go from brighter to brighter (rebirth states).


When you turn your mind
(from pleasurable objects) in this (life)
(because of wishing for higher rebirth),
it’s well known that (in future lives)
you’ll still be focused on them.
As this is a distorted Dharma (practice),
for what reason should this be accepted as correct?


(After all), when you have luxurious objects
as the result of positive karmic force,
you must protect them from (being stolen by) others.
So, how can anyone who must always guard (his wealth)
from (being ruined even by) other (factors, such as the elements),
ever become his own (master)?


Although you may follow as a Dharma (practice)
any kind of worldly social custom (such as a marriage ceremony),
yet, (customs change and) because of that,
although) worldly (customs) may seem stronger than Dharma ones,
- (don’t be lured).


Although (pleasurable) objects may come
to your mind’s (enjoyment as a result) of constructive acts;
nevertheless, as even those objects
are considered badly (by those wishing liberation),
what need (for them) for those who would accomplish (something constructive)?
Anyone who gives up (these sources of distraction, really) becomes virtuous.


Anyone who (due to his having control of his mind)
has no need for (worldly) power and authority,
for him, Dharma practices (to gain such power) become meaningless.
Anyone who has interest in worldly power and authority
is called but a fool among the people.


If you crave and desire (to practice) the Dharma
from seeing fruits (of prosperity coming from it) in the future;
well, if you, who are so desirous, could see
(the worse rebirths that are awaiting)
at the end of this future (prosperous life),
how could you do (this) and not be afraid?


Doing positive actions for a reward
is in all ways the same as (being attached to) a salary.
How could anyone who accepts that any constructive actions (done like that
are also only causes for further Saṁsāra) ever commit destructive acts?


But those who see wandering beings to be like illusory people,
similar to (creations from) a collection of mechanical devises,
go to a hallowed, extremely radiant
state of the supreme achievement (Enlightenment).


(Therefore) for those who, (seeing reality,) find no joy whatsoever
in any (pleasurable) object of recurring Saṁsāra,
joy in any situation in it
is something totally inappropriate.