The Atthakavagga on Desire and Attachment

Sutta Nipata 4:2
The Cave Octet

Staying attached to the cave,
covered heavily over,
a person sunk in confusion
is far from seclusion—
for sensual pleasures
sensual desires
in the world
are not lightly let go.

Those chained by desire,
bound by becoming’s allure,
aren’t easily released
for there’s no liberation by others.
Intent, in front or behind,
on hunger for sensual pleasures
here or before—
for sensual pleasures,
busy, deluded, ungenerous,
entrenched in the discordant way,
they—impelled into pain—lament:
“What will we be
when we pass on from here?”

So a person should train
right here-&-now.
Whatever you know
as discordant in the world,
don’t, for its sake, act discordantly,
for that life, the enlightened say,
is short.

I see them,
in the world, floundering around,
people immersed in craving
for states of becoming.
Base people moan in the mouth of death,
their craving, for states of becoming & not-,
See them,
floundering in their sense of mine,
like fish in the puddles
of a dried-up stream—
and, seeing this,
live with no mine,
not forming attachment
for states of becoming.
Subdue desire
for both sides,
comprehending sensory contact,
with no greed.

Doing nothing for which
he himself
would rebuke himself,
the enlightened person doesn’t adhere
to what’s seen,
to what’s heard.
Comprehending perception,
he’d cross over the flood—
the sage not stuck
on possessions.
Then, with arrow removed,
living heedfully, he longs for neither—
this world,
the next.

Thanissaro Bhikkhu translation


This sutta is like balm for a belaboured mind. :slightly_smiling_face:


True, however its important not to contemplate dukkha so much that we add to the suffering already present. If the mind is inclined to note dukkha to excess, incline it to note the pleasant stimuli that arise, as well.

In the Buddha’s teachings suffering is something that happens to us. A degree of contemplation is required to admit (to counteract the limitless -and baseless- positive outlook on life) that suffering is real. That it requires looking at its root, and removing that root; not just covering up with blissful meditation. The actual focus on suffering comes only after that, with focusing on the five aggregates arising and passing away. This is performed in a state of samadhi, so the mind is thrown into emotional suffering- but is able to grasp intellectually, inherent (the Truth of…) dukkha.

I agree, it is a very nice poem.

with metta