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Parisa Vagga—Bhikkhu Sujato

Numbered Discourses 2

5. Assemblies

42

42.1.1“There are, mendicants, these two assemblies. 42.1.2What two? 42.1.3A shallow assembly and a deep assembly. 42.1.4And what is a shallow assembly? 42.1.5An assembly where the mendicants are restless, insolent, fickle, gossipy, loose-tongued, unmindful, lacking situational awareness and immersion, with straying minds and undisciplined faculties. 42.1.6This is called a shallow assembly.

42.2.1And what is a deep assembly? 42.2.2An assembly where the mendicants are not restless, insolent, fickle, gossipy, or loose-tongued, but have established mindfulness, situational awareness, immersion, unified minds, and restrained faculties. 42.2.3This is called a deep assembly. 42.2.4These are the two assemblies. 42.2.5The better of these two assemblies is the deep assembly.”

43.1.1“There are, mendicants, these two assemblies. 43.1.2What two? 43.1.3A divided assembly and a harmonious assembly. 43.1.4And what is a divided assembly? 43.1.5An assembly where the mendicants argue, quarrel, and fight, continually wounding each other with barbed words. 43.1.6This is called a divided assembly.

43.2.1And what is a harmonious assembly? 43.2.2An assembly where the mendicants live in harmony, appreciating each other, without quarreling, blending like milk and water, and regarding each other with kindly eyes. 43.2.3This is called a harmonious assembly. 43.2.4These are the two assemblies. 43.2.5The better of these two assemblies is the harmonious assembly.”

44.1.1“There are, mendicants, these two assemblies. 44.1.2What two? 44.1.3An assembly of the worst and an assembly of the best. 44.1.4And what is an assembly of the worst? 44.1.5An assembly where the senior mendicants are indulgent and slack, leaders in backsliding, neglecting seclusion, not rousing energy for attaining the unattained, achieving the unachieved, and realizing the unrealized. 44.1.6Those who come after follow their example. 44.1.7They too become indulgent and slack, leaders in backsliding, neglecting seclusion, not rousing energy for attaining the unattained, achieving the unachieved, and realizing the unrealized. 44.1.8This is called an assembly of the worst.

44.2.1And what is an assembly of the best? 44.2.2An assembly where the senior mendicants are not indulgent or slack, nor are they backsliders; instead, they take the lead in seclusion, rousing energy for attaining the unattained, achieving the unachieved, and realizing the unrealized. 44.2.3Those who come after follow their example. 44.2.4They too are not indulgent or slack, nor are they backsliders; instead, they take the lead in seclusion, rousing energy for attaining the unattained, achieving the unachieved, and realizing the unrealized. 44.2.5This is called an assembly of the best. 44.2.6These are the two assemblies. 44.2.7The better of these two assemblies is the assembly of the best.”

45.1.1“There are, mendicants, these two assemblies. 45.1.2What two? 45.1.3An ignoble assembly and a noble assembly. 45.1.4And what is an ignoble assembly? 45.1.5An assembly where the mendicants don’t truly understand: ‘This is suffering’ … ‘This is the origin of suffering’ … ‘This is the cessation of suffering’ … ‘This is the practice that leads to the cessation of suffering’. 45.1.6This is called an ignoble assembly.

45.2.1And what is a noble assembly? 45.2.2An assembly where the mendicants truly understand: ‘This is suffering’ … ‘This is the origin of suffering’ … ‘This is the cessation of suffering’ … ‘This is the practice that leads to the cessation of suffering’. 45.2.3This is called a noble assembly. 45.2.4These are the two assemblies. 45.2.5The better of these two assemblies is the noble assembly.”

46.1.1“There are, mendicants, these two assemblies. 46.1.2What two? 46.1.3An assembly of the dregs and an assembly of the cream. 46.1.4And what is an assembly of the dregs? 46.1.5An assembly where the mendicants make decisions prejudiced by favoritism, hostility, stupidity, and cowardice. 46.1.6This is called an assembly of the dregs.

46.2.1And what is an assembly of the cream? 46.2.2An assembly where the mendicants make decisions unprejudiced by favoritism, hostility, stupidity, and cowardice. 46.2.3This is called an assembly of the cream. 46.2.4These are the two assemblies. 46.2.5The better of these two assemblies is the assembly of the cream.”

47.1.1“There are, mendicants, these two assemblies. 47.1.2What two? 47.1.3An assembly educated in fancy talk, not in questioning, and an assembly educated in questioning, not in fancy talk. 47.1.4And what is an assembly educated in fancy talk, not in questioning? 47.1.5It is an assembly where, when discourses spoken by the Realized One—deep, profound, transcendent, dealing with emptiness—are being recited the mendicants do not want to listen. They don’t pay attention or apply their minds to understand them, nor do they think those teachings are worth learning and memorizing. 47.1.6But when discourses composed by poets—poetry, with fancy words and phrases, composed by outsiders or spoken by disciples—are being recited the mendicants do want to listen. They pay attention and apply their minds to understand them, and they think those teachings are worth learning and memorizing. But when they’ve learned those teachings they don’t question or examine each other, saying: 47.1.7‘Why does it say this? What does that mean?’ 47.1.8So they don’t clarify what is unclear, or reveal what is obscure, or dispel doubt regarding the many doubtful matters. 47.1.9This is called an assembly educated in fancy talk, not in questioning.

47.2.1And what is an assembly educated in questioning, not in fancy talk? 47.2.2It is an assembly where, when discourses composed by poets—poetry, with fancy words and phrases, composed by outsiders or spoken by disciples—are being recited the mendicants do not want to listen. They don’t pay attention or apply their minds to understand them, nor do they think those teachings are worth learning and memorizing. 47.2.3But when discourses spoken by the Realized One—deep, profound, transcendent, dealing with emptiness—are being recited the mendicants do want to listen. They pay attention and apply their minds to understand them, and they think those teachings are worth learning and memorizing. 47.2.4And when they’ve learned those teachings they question and examine each other, saying: 47.2.5‘Why does it say this? What does that mean?’ 47.2.6So they clarify what is unclear, reveal what is obscure, and dispel doubt regarding the many doubtful matters. 47.2.7This is called an assembly educated in questioning, not in fancy talk. 47.2.8These are the two assemblies. 47.2.9The better of these two assemblies is the assembly educated in questioning, not in fancy talk.”

48.1.1“There are, mendicants, these two assemblies. 48.1.2What two? 48.1.3An assembly that values material things, not the true teaching, and an assembly that values the true teaching, not material things. 48.1.4And what is an assembly that values material things, not the true teaching? 48.1.5It is an assembly where the mendicants praise each other in front of the white-clothed laypeople, saying: 48.1.6‘The mendicant so-and-so is freed both ways; so-and-so is freed by wisdom; so-and-so is a personal witness; so-and-so is attained to view; so-and-so is freed by faith; so-and-so is a follower of the teachings; so-and-so is a follower by faith; so-and-so is ethical, of good character; so-and-so is unethical, of bad character.’ 48.1.7In this way they get material things. 48.1.8And when they get these things, they use them tied, infatuated, attached, blind to the drawbacks, and not understanding the escape. 48.1.9This is called an assembly that values material things, not the true teaching.

48.2.1And what is an assembly that values the true teaching, not material things? 48.2.2It is an assembly where the mendicants don’t praise each other in front of the white-clothed laypeople, saying: 48.2.3‘The mendicant so-and-so is freed both ways; so-and-so is freed by wisdom; so-and-so is a personal witness; so-and-so is attained to view; so-and-so is freed by faith; so-and-so is a follower of the teachings; so-and-so is a follower by faith; so-and-so is ethical, of good character; so-and-so is unethical, of bad character.’ 48.2.4In this way they get material things. 48.2.5And when they get these things, they use them untied, uninfatuated, unattached, seeing the drawbacks, and understanding the escape. 48.2.6This is called an assembly that values the true teaching, not material things. 48.2.7These are the two assemblies. 48.2.8The better of these two assemblies is the assembly that values the true teaching, not material things.”

49.1.1“There are, mendicants, these two assemblies. 49.1.2What two? 49.1.3An unjust assembly and a just assembly. 49.1.4And what is an unjust assembly? 49.1.5An assembly where legal acts against the teaching proceed, while legal acts in line with the teaching don’t proceed. Legal acts against the training proceed, while legal acts in line with the training don’t proceed. Legal acts against the teaching are explained, while legal acts in line with the teaching aren’t explained. Legal acts against the training are explained, while legal acts in line with the training aren’t explained. 49.1.6This is called an unjust assembly.

49.2.1And what is a just assembly? 49.2.2An assembly where legal acts in line with the teaching proceed, while legal acts against the teaching don’t proceed. Legal acts in line with the training proceed, while legal acts against the training don’t proceed. Legal acts in line with the teaching are explained, while legal acts against the teaching aren’t explained. Legal acts in line with the training are explained, while legal acts against the training aren’t explained. 49.2.3This is called a just assembly. 49.2.4These are the two assemblies. 49.2.5The better of these two assemblies is the just assembly.”

50.1.1“There are, mendicants, these two assemblies. 50.1.2What two? 50.1.3An unprincipled assembly and a principled assembly … 50.1.4The better of these two assemblies is the principled assembly.”

51.1.1“There are, mendicants, these two assemblies. 51.1.2What two? 51.1.3An assembly with unprincipled speech, and an assembly with principled speech. 51.1.4And what is an assembly with unprincipled speech? 51.1.5It is an assembly where the mendicants take up disciplinary issues, whether legitimate or not. 51.1.6But they don’t persuade each other or allow themselves to be persuaded, nor do they convince each other or allow themselves to be convinced. 51.1.7Unable to persuade or convince each other, they can’t let go of their opinions. They obstinately stick to that disciplinary issue, insisting that: 51.1.8‘This is the only truth, other ideas are silly.’ 51.1.9This is called an assembly with unprincipled speech.

51.2.1And what is an assembly with principled speech? 51.2.2It is an assembly where the mendicants take up disciplinary issues, whether legitimate or not. 51.2.3Then they persuade each other or allow themselves to be persuaded, and they convince each other or allow themselves to be convinced. 51.2.4Since they are able to persuade and convince each other, they let go of their opinions. They don’t obstinately stick to that disciplinary issue or insist that: 51.2.5‘This is the only truth, other ideas are silly.’ 51.2.6This is called an assembly with principled speech. 51.2.7These are the two assemblies. 51.2.8The better of these two assemblies is the assembly with principled speech.”

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