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Sutra on Transforming Violence and Fear

King Virudhaka Sutra no.16 of the Arthapada Taisho 198 (corresponding to Attadanda Sutta, Sutta Nipata no. 935-954)

  1. Let us listen and observe to understand how, from a peaceful and secure situation, we have brought society into a state of terrorism and violence. How have successive generations behaved for the situation to become like this? I want to talk to you about this suffering and tell you how I have been able to let go of fear. 
  2. People in the world experience one suffering after another like a fish living in a pond that is drying up day by day. In this situation, violent thoughts arise, and out of ignorance, people seek to relieve their suffering by terrorizing and punishing others. 
  3. The whole world is on fire with violence. Every part of the world is troubled. Nowhere is really safe and secure. Everyone sees himself as superior to others. Few people know how to let go of attachment. Unable to see this, people continue to nurture their wrong perceptions. 
  4. We tie ourselves up in our wrong perceptions which just bring more darkness and pain into our lives. I have looked deeply into the minds of unhappy people, and I have seen hidden under their suffering a sharp-pointed knife. Because they cannot see that sharp-pointed knife in their mind, it is difficult for them to bear the pain. 
  5. The pain brought about by the sharp-pointed knife lasts a long time and does not change, and because they hold on to that knife wherever they go, their pain spills out into the world. Only when they have a chance to recognize the knife and take it out of their hearts, will their suffering cease, and only then will they stop causing suffering.
  6. Do not allow yourself to be caught in any of the entanglements of the world. The roots of disturbance in our mind have to be cut off. Let go of what disturbs you; stop leaning on it. If you can let go of wrong desires, you can overcome all misfortune. Only when the practitioner can break free from the cycle of suffering can she succeed in realizing liberation.
  7. The true practitioner must have a sincere mind, not doing anything based on his wrong perception. He goes straight on his path and does not speak divisively. He knows how to put out the flames of hatred and anger and break the bonds of ambition. If you are able to untie the bonds of the afflictions, you will begin to see the shore of liberation. 
  8. We should let go of pride, not sleep too much, nor fall into a state of torpor. We should live and work with moderation, and not let ourselves be carried away in conversation. We should not be caught by dazzling appearances and know how to turn our back on them. We should frequently meditate on the empty nature of all things and realize the silence of nirvana
  9. Do not insult anyone. Do not be attracted and deceived by deceptive outer appearances. Do not plunge into all kinds of amusements, forgetting that the aim of your practice is to rescue yourself and others from suffering.
  10. Do not think about what belongs to the past and do not daydream about what belongs to the future. Recognize what is happening in the present moment so as not to be carried away by it. In this way, you will be able to walk alone in a space as great as the five continents and the four oceans without anyone being jealous of you.
  11. I say that craving and desire for sense pleasure is the power that brings about the most destruction. They are the floodwaters that engulf the whole world. If you can see that, you can master all doubts. It is necessary to meditate on conditioned co-arising in order to end the misfortune caused by the defilement of desire.
  12. In any epoch, the number of people who have the strength to let go of desire for pleasure is very small. However, once the practitioner has let go of desire, she does not feel any loss and has no need to go to another place. The flood subsides all by itself, and nothing can bind her anymore. 
  13. Relying on the power of seeing the truth as his vehicle, the Muni crosses to the other shore. Thanks to his understanding, he has no more anxiety and is safe. Birth, death, disasters, and jealousy cannot assail him anymore. By the power of Right Diligence, he realizes true peace. 
  14. When we are no longer caught in views, our suffering ends. The practitioner meditates on the emptiness of all phenomena and is not caught in any of them. Having seen directly the great way of peace, she is no longer caught in any of the views that exist in the world. 
  15. When the practitioner is not caught in the view “This body is myself” and sees that there is nothing that can be grasped to and that there is no real existence of a separate self, then there is nothing more for him to worry about.
  16. When old ignorance is uprooted, and any new shoots of ignorance that spring up are also uprooted and given no chance to grow, the practitioner does not cling to anything anymore and does not discriminate between friend and enemy.
  17. No longer caught in the concepts of psyche and soma as separate from each other, no longer caught in any concept, not seeing anything to grasp, understanding that space and objects are not separate entities, nothing in the three times can make the practitioner complain in anger.
  18. Having let go of all concepts about everything, including the idea of mind and object as separate, then we are able to realize all the wholesome practices. Having practiced and eloquently taught the teachings of non-desire, we are not hesitant in responding to questions put to us.
  19. Having attained understanding, we no longer need to be a follower of anyone. No longer yearning for nor hating anything, we attain inner peace and realize the silence of nirvana. 
  20. Standing on high, the Muni doesn’t feel proud. In a lowly position he has no complex. He dwells in equanimity and is not caught in any view. In him all disputing has ended; hatred and jealousy have ceased. Although he has realized great understanding, he does not feel any pride. 
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Thich Nhat Hanh January 15, 2020

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