Sn 5.4
Mettagu-manava-puccha: Mettagu's Questions
translated from the Pali by
John D. Ireland
Alternate translation: Thanissaro
Alternate format: [ icon]

[The Venerable Mettagu:]

"I ask the Lord this question, may he tell me the answer to it. I know him to be a master of knowledge and a perfected being. From whence have arisen these many sufferings evident in the world?"

[The Lord:]

"You have asked me the source of suffering. Mettagu, I will tell it to you as it has been discerned by me. These many sufferings evident in the world have arisen from worldly attachments. Whoever ignorantly creates an attachment, that stupid person comes upon suffering again and again. Therefore a man of understanding should not create attachment, seeing it is the source of suffering."


"What I did ask you have explained, now I ask another question. Come tell me this: how do the wise cross the flood, birth and old age, sorrow and grief? Explain it thoroughly to me, O sage, for this Dhamma has been understood[1] by you."

The Lord: "I will set forth the Dhamma, Mettagu, a teaching to be directly perceived,[2] not something based on hearsay, by experiencing which and living mindfully one may pass beyond the entanglements of the world."

Mettagu: "I rejoice in the thought of that highest Dhamma, great sage, by experiencing which and living mindfully one may pass beyond the entanglements of the world."

[The Lord:]

"Whatever you clearly comprehend, Mettagu, above, below, across and in between, get rid of delight in it. Rid yourself of habitual attitudes[3] and (life affirming) consciousness.[4] Do not continue in existence. Living thus, mindful and vigilant, a bhikkhu who has forsaken selfish attachments may, by understanding, abandon suffering, birth and old age, sorrow and grief, even here in this life."


"I rejoice in the words of the great sage. Well explained, O Gotama, is the state of non-attachment.[5] The Lord has surely abandoned suffering as this Dhamma has been realized by him. They will certainly abandon suffering who are constantly admonished by you, O Sage. Having understood, I venerate it, Noble One. May the Lord constantly admonish me also."

[The Lord:]

"Whom you know as a true brahmana, a master of knowledge, owning nothing, not attached to sensual (-realm) existence, he has certainly crossed this flood. Having crossed beyond he is untainted and freed from doubt. One who has discarded this clinging (leading) to renewal of existence is a man who has realized the highest knowledge. Free from craving, undistressed, desireless, he has crossed beyond birth and old age, I say."


The Pali word "vidito" also means, found out, discovered.
Ditthe dhamme: to be seen for oneself in this life or here and now. It is an expression used of Nibbana.
Or, "fixed views."
Or, "kamma-producing consciousness."
I.e., Nibbana.