Vammika Sutta

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Read The Vammika Sutta

Thus have I heard. On one occasion the blessed One was living in Savathi in Jeta’s Grove, Anathapindika’s Park. Now on that occasion the venerable Kumara Kassapa was living in the Blind Men’s Grove.

Then, when the night was well advanced, a certain deity of beautiful appearance who illuminated the whole of the Blind Men’s Grove approached the venerable Kumara Kassapa and stood at one side. So standing, the deity said to him:

“bhikku,

Bhikku, this ant–hill fumes by night and flames by day.

“Thus spoke the Brahmin:’Delve with knife,thou wise one saw a bar: ‘A bar, O venerable sir.’

“Thus spoke the Brahmin: ‘Throw ot the bar; devlve with the knife, thou wise one.’ Delving with the knife’ the wise one saw a toad: ‘A toad, O venerable sir.’

“Thus spoke the Brahmin: ‘Throw out the toad; delve with the knife, thou wise one.’ Delving with the knife, the wise one saw a fork: ‘A fork, O venerable Sir.’

“Thus spoke the Brahmin: ‘Throw out the fork; delve with the knife, thou wise one.’ Delving with the knife the wise one saw a sieve: ‘A sieve, O venerable sir.’

“Thus spoke the Brahmin: ‘Throw out the sieve; delve with the knife, thou wise one.’ Delving with the knife, the wise one saw a tortoise: ‘A tortoise, O venerable Sir.’

“Thus spoke the Brahmin: ‘Throw out the tortoise; delve with the knife, thou wise one.’ Delving with the knife, the wise one saw a butcher’s knife and a block: ‘A butcher’s knife and a block, O venerable Sir.’

“Thus spoke the Brahmin: ‘Throw out the  butcher’s knife and  block; delve with the knife, thou wise one.’ Delving with the knife, the wise one saw a piece of meat: ‘A piece of meat, O venerable Sir.’

“Thus spoke the Brahmin: ‘Throw out the piece of meat ; delve with the knife, thou wise one.’ Delving with the knife, the wise one saw a Naaga serpent : ‘A Naaga serpent, O venerable Sir.’

“Thus spoke the Brahmin: ‘Leave the Naaga serpent; do not harm the Naaga serpent; honour the Naaga serpent.’

“Bhikku, you should go to the Blessed One and ask him about this riddle. As the Blessed One tells you, so should you remember it. Bhikku, other than the Tathagata or a disciple of  the Tathagata or one who has leared it from them, I see no one in this world with its gods, its Maras, and its Brahmas, in this generation with its recluses and Brahmins, its princes and its people, whose explanation of this riddle might satisfy the mind.”

That is what was said by the deity, who thereupon vanished at once.

Then, when the night was over, the venerable Kumara Kassapa went to the Blessed One. After paying homage to the Blessed One, he sat down on one side and told the Blessed One what had occurred. Then he asked: “Venerable sir, what is the ant-hill, what  the fuming in the night, what  the flaming by day?, who is the Brahmin, who is the wise one? what is the knife, what  the delving, what the bar, what the toad, what the fork, what the sieve, what the tortoise, what the butchers knife and block, what the piece of meat, what the Naaga serpent?”

“Bhikku, the ant-hill is a symbol for this body, made of material form, consisting of the four great elements, procreated by a mother and father, built   up out of boiled rice and porridge, and subject to impermanence, to being worn and rubbed away, to dissolution and disintergration.

“What one thinks and ponders by night based upon one’s action during the day is the ‘fuming by night’.

“The actions one undertakes during the day by body, speech, and mind after thinking and pondering by night is the ‘flaming by day.’

“The Brahmin is a symbol for the Thathagatha, accomplished and fully enlightened. The wise one is a symbol for a bhikku in higher training. The knife is a symbol for noble wisdom. The delving is a symbol for the arousing of energy.

The  bar is a symbol  for ignorance. ‘Throw out the bar: abondon ignorance. Delve with knife, thou wise one.’ This is the meaning.

The toad is a symbol for anger, discontent and irritation.’Throw out the toad: abandon anger and irritation. Delve with knife, thou wise one.’ This is the meaning.

The sieve is a symbol for the five hindrances, namely, the hindrance of sensual desire, the hindrance of ill will, the hindrance of sloth and torpor, the hindrance of restlessness, the hindrance of restlessness and remorse, the hindrance of doubt. ‘Throw out the sieve: Delve with knife, thou wise one.’ This is the meaning.

The tortoise is a symbol for the five aggregates affected by clinging, namely, the material form aggregate affected by clinging, the perception aggregate affected by clinging, the formations aggregate affected, the consciousness aggregate affected by clinging.  Delve with knife, thou wise one.’ This is the meaning.

The butcher’s knife and block is a symbol for the five cords of sensual pleasure – forms cognizable by the eye that are wished for, desired, agreeable, and likeable, connected with sensual desire, and provocative of lust; sounds cognizable by the ear…. Odours cognizable by the nose… flavours cognizable by the tongue…tangibles cognizable by the body that are wished for, desired, agreeable, and likeable, connected with sensual desire, and provocative lust. ‘Throw out the butcher’s knife and block: abandon the five cords of sensual pleasure. Delve with knife, thou wise one.’ This is the meaning.

The piece of meat is a symbol for delight and lust. Throw out the piece of meat: abandon delight and lust. Delve with knife, thou wise one.’ This is the meaning.

The Naga serpent is a symbol for a bhikku who has destroyed the taints. ‘Leave the Naaga serpent; do not harm Naaga serpent; honour the Naaga serpent.’ This is the meaning.”

That is what the blessed One said. The venerable Kumara Kassapa was satisfied and delighted in the Blessed One’s words.

Translation by Venerble Bhikku Gnanamoli and Venerable Bhikku Bodhi in  “The middle Length Discourse of Buddha”

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