SN 35.95
PTS: S iv 72
CDB ii 1175
Maalunkyaputta Sutta: Maalunkyaputta
translated from the Pali by
Maurice O'Connell Walshe
Alternate translation: Thanissaro
The Pali title of this sutta is based on the SLTP edition.

[The Ven. Maalu"nkyaputta said:] "It would be well for me, Lord, if the Blessed One would teach me briefly a doctrine so that having heard it I might dwell alone, in seclusion, unwearied, ardent and resolute."

"Well now, Maalu"nkyaputta, what am I to say to the younger monks if you, a frail, aged, venerable man, far gone in years, at the end of your life, ask for instruction in brief?"

"What do you think, Maalu"nkyaputta? Objects cognizable by the eye, not seen, which you have not seen before, which you do not see now and do not wish to see — have you any desire, lust and fondness for them?"

"No indeed, Lord."

[Similarly for sounds, scents, flavors, tangible things, mental objects.]

"Well then, Maalu"nkyaputta, in things seen, heard, sensed,[1] cognized: in the seen there will only be the seen, in the heard only the heard, in the sensed only the sensed, in the cognized only the cognized... Then, Maalu"nkyaputta, there will be no 'thereby' for you.[2] Having no 'thereby' you have no 'there.'[3] Having no 'there,' Maalu"nkyaputta, there is for you neither this world, nor the next, nor anywhere in between.[4] That in itself is the end of suffering."

"Indeed, Lord, I understand in full the meaning of what the Blessed One has stated in brief."

Forms perceived cause loss of mindfulness, If we dwell on their endearing charms, Passion grips the heart, and feeling flows, Clinging has us firmly in its grip: So emotions rise and grow in strength, Of divers kinds, all based on what was seen. Some of greed and some of hatred born — Grievously they all afflict the heart of man, Heaping up his store of pain and woe: Thus for him Nibbaana's far away.

[Similarly for sounds, scents, tastes, tangibles, thoughts.]

He who's not inflamed by things he sees, Seeing forms retains his mindfulness, Not in passion's grip, simply feels, On him clinging cannot get a hold. If he just observes the things he sees, Not reacting to their shape or form, He'll pull down the pile, not build it up. Mindfully proceeding on his way, Heaping up no store of pain and woe: Then for him Nibbaana's very near.

[Similarly for sounds, scents, tastes, tangibles, thoughts.]

"Indeed, Lord, I understand in full the meaning of what the Blessed One has stated in brief."

[The Buddha confirms Maalu"nkyaputta's words; in due course Maalu"nkyaputta becomes an Arahant.]


Muta: i.e., smelt, tasted or touched.
This is almost impossible to translate adequately. There is no agent, i.e., no "seer," "feeler," "knower." "There will be no 'thereby' whereby one will be lustful, hating or deluded (SA [SN commentary])."
If there is no agent (i.e., "self"), then there is nowhere such an agent can be located. "You will have no 'there'": you will not be bound "there" or attached "there," i.e., with regard to the seen, heard, sensed and cognized (SA).
"You will realize that nothing is really reborn."