Nanda 2 - Nanda is praised
Translation of BZA 006. First version published in Buddhist Studies Review vol. 23-1 (2006).
Thus have I heard, once, the Buddha was staying at Sāvatthī at the Jeta Grove in the Anāthapiṇḍika Park.
At that time the venerable Nanda went to the Buddha, paid homage to his feet and sat to one side. There the World-honored One said to the monk: ‘Among those preaching the Dhamma, Nanda is the best. Among those of good family, upright, endowed with pleasant appearance, he is the best. When it comes to cut off strong desire, Nanda is the best. When it comes to harnessing the senses, to knowing one’s fill, to practising the way diligently throughout the night, striving for enlightenment, constantly aware of the present, in this Nanda is the best.
What is meant by saying Nanda harnesses the senses? He does not get attached to any form, sound, scent, taste, touch, or any mental phenomena, this is what is meant by saying he harnesses his senses.
What is meant by saying Nanda knows when he had his fill? He eats merely to stop hunger, not because he wants to be attractive. He practises celibacy, and by restricting himself he finds contentment, [eating is but] like greasing a chariot. For the same reason one seeks cure for a skin disease, not because one wants to be attractive, to look glossy and strong. This is what is meant by saying Nanda knows his fill.
What is meant by saying Nanda practises the way diligently throughout the night? By day he wanders calmly about, by night he sits in meditation, dispelling the hindrances in his mind. In the first part of the night, having washed his feet, he sits upright, his mind focused in front of him, he enters the stages of [jhāna] meditation. In the middle part of the night he lays down on his right side, leg resting on leg. His mind is focused on clarity, practicing mindfulness. When the last part of the night begins, he sits again upright, his mind focused in front of him. This is how Nanda, with firm mind practises evenly throughout the night. Sons of good family, Nanda has attained highest enlightenment. The mind of monk Nanda is focused, not distracted, like seeing clearly in every direction: East, South, West, and North [and knowing the direction]. With focused mind he practises insight, does not allow himself to become distracted. Pleasant sensations, unpleasant sensation, or sensations neither pleasant or unpleasant, he knows they are all dependently arisen. He knows the arising and passing away of all these sensations sometimes takes longer, sometimes happens sooner. He also knows that the arising and passing away of all thoughts is according to this or that reason or circumstance, that all mental states are based on this or that reason or circumstance.
Let the monks practise like this, let them harness their senses, know their fill with eating and drinking, throughout the night practise diligently and strive for enlightenment like Nanda’.
The Buddha said to the monks: ‘I tell you to emulate Nanda’s way of practice, [though] whenever a monk’s way of practice is like that of Nanda, I tell you to emulate his ways too’.
Then the World-honored One spoke this verse:
If one can harness one’s senses well / concentrate one’s mind and eat and drink with measure,//
then I call this person a wise person / knowing well essence and phenomena of the arising of the mind;//
for this I commend Nanda / you [too] should strive like this.//
When the Buddha had finished, the monks, having listened to what he had said, were happy and practised accordingly.
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