KN Iti 109 simile to show what is blocking first jhāna and nirvana

(thanissaro trans.)

KN Iti 109 nadīsota

♦ 10. nadīsota-suttaṃ (KN 4.109)
♦ 109. vuttañhetaṃ bhagavatā, vuttamarahatāti me sutaṃ --
§109. This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard:
♦ “seyyathāpi, bhikkhave, puriso nadiyā sotena ovuyheyya piyarūpasātarūpena. tamenaṃ cakkhumā puriso tīre ṭhito disvā evaṃ vadeyya — ‘kiñcāpi kho tvaṃ, ambho purisa, nadiyā sotena ovuyhasi piyarūpasātarūpena, atthi cettha heṭṭhā rahado saūmi sāvaṭṭo sagaho sarakkhaso yaṃ tvaṃ, ambho purisa, rahadaṃ pāpuṇitvā maraṇaṃ vā nigacchasi maraṇamattaṃ vā dukkhan’ti. atha kho so, bhikkhave, puriso tassa purisassa saddaṃ sutvā hatthehi ca pādehi ca paṭisotaṃ vāyameyya.
“Monks, suppose a man were being carried along by the flow of a river, lovely & alluring. And then another man with good eyesight, standing on the bank, on seeing him would say, ‘My good man, even though you are being carried along by the flow of a river, lovely & alluring, further down from here is a pool with waves & whirlpools, with seizers & demons. On reaching that pool you will suffer death or death-like pain.’ Then the first man, on hearing the words of the second man, would make an effort with his hands & feet to go against the flow.
♦ “upamā kho me ayaṃ, bhikkhave, katā atthassa viññāpanāya. ayaṃ cettha VAR attho — ‘nadiyā soto’ti kho, bhikkhave, taṇhāyetaṃ adhivacanaṃ.
“I have given you this simile to illustrate a meaning. The meaning is this: the flow of the river stands for craving.
♦ “‘piyarūpaṃ sātarūpan’ti kho, bhikkhave, channetaṃ ajjhattikānaṃ āyatanānaṃ adhivacanaṃ.
Lovely & alluring stands for the six internal sense-media.
♦ “‘heṭṭhā rahado’ti kho, bhikkhave, pañcannaṃ orambhāgiyānaṃ saṃyojanānaṃ adhivacanaṃ.
The pool further down stands for the five lower fetters.--1--
♦ “‘ūmibhayan’ti kho VAR, bhikkhave, kodhupāyāsassetaṃ adhivacanaṃ.
The waves stand for anger & distress.
♦ “‘āvaṭṭan’ti kho VAR, bhikkhave, pañcannetaṃ kāmaguṇānaṃ adhivacanaṃ.
The whirlpools stand for the five strings of sensuality.
♦ “‘gaharakkhaso’ti kho VAR, bhikkhave, mātugāmassetaṃ adhivacanaṃ.
The seizers & demons stand for the opposite sex.
♦ “‘paṭisoto’ti kho, bhikkhave, nekkhammassetaṃ adhivacanaṃ.
Against the flow stands for renunciation.
♦ “‘hatthehi ca pādehi ca vāyāmo’ti kho, bhikkhave, vīriyārambhassetaṃ adhivacanaṃ.
Making an effort with hands & feet stands for the arousing of persistence.
♦ “‘cakkhumā puriso tīre ṭhitoti kho, bhikkhave, tathāgatassetaṃ adhivacanaṃ arahato sammāsambuddhassā”ti. etamatthaṃ bhagavā avoca. tatthetaṃ iti vuccati —
The man with good eyesight standing on the bank stands for the Tathāgata, worthy & rightly self-awakened.”


♦ “sahāpi dukkhena jaheyya kāme,
Even if it’s with pain, you should abandon sensual desires
Yogak-khemaṃ āyatiṃ patthayāno.
if you aspire to future safety from bondage.
♦ sammap-pajāno su-vimutta-citto,
Rightly discerning, with a mind well-released,
vimuttiyā phassaye tattha tatth.
touch release now here, now there.
♦ sa vedagū vūsita-brahmacariyo,
An attainer-of-wisdom, having fulfilled the holy life,
lokantagū pāragatoti vuccatī”ti.
is said to have gone to the end of the world, gone beyond.
♦ ayampi attho vutto bhagavatā, iti me sutanti. dasamaṃ.
that was said by the-blessed-one, so I heard.
Notes: 1. The five lower fetters are self-identity view, uncertainty, attachment to habits & practices, sensual passion, and resistance. See also AN 7:48 and AN 10:13.