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A Lump of Salt —Bhikkhu Sujato

Numbered Discourses 3

10. A Lump of Salt

100. A Lump of Salt

1.1“Mendicants, suppose you say: 1.2‘No matter how this person performs a deed, they experience it the same way.’ This being so, the spiritual life could not be lived, and there’d be no chance of making a complete end of suffering.

1.3Suppose you say: 1.4‘No matter how this person performs a deed, they experience the result as it should be experienced.’ This being so, the spiritual life can be lived, and there is a chance of making a complete end of suffering.

1.5Take the case of a person who does a trivial bad deed, but it lands them in hell. 1.6Meanwhile, another person does the same trivial bad deed, but experiences it in the present life, without even a bit left over, not to speak of a lot.

2.1What kind of person does a trivial bad deed, but it lands them in hell? 2.2A person who hasn’t developed their physical endurance, ethics, mind, or wisdom. They’re small-minded and mean-spirited, living in suffering. 2.3That kind of person does a trivial bad deed, but it lands them in hell.

3.1What kind of person does the same trivial bad deed, but experiences it in the present life, without even a bit left over, not to speak of a lot? 3.2A person who has developed their physical endurance, ethics, mind, and wisdom. They’re not small-minded, but are big-hearted, living without limits. 3.3That kind of person does the same trivial bad deed, but experiences it in the present life, without even a bit left over, not to speak of a lot.

4.1Suppose a person was to drop a lump of salt into a small bowl of water. 4.2What do you think, mendicants? 4.3Would that small bowl of water become salty and undrinkable?”

4.4“Yes, sir. 4.5Why is that? 4.6Because there is only a little water in the bowl.”

4.7“Suppose a person was to drop a lump of salt into the Ganges river. 4.8What do you think, mendicants? 4.9Would the Ganges river become salty and undrinkable?”

4.10“No, sir. 4.11Why is that? 4.12Because the Ganges river is a vast mass of water.”

5.1“This is how it is in the case of a person who does a trivial bad deed, but it lands them in hell. 5.2Meanwhile, another person does the same trivial bad deed, but experiences it in the present life, without even a bit left over, not to speak of a lot. …

6.1 6.2 6.3

7.1 7.2 7.3

8.1Take the case of a person who is thrown in jail for stealing half a dollar, a dollar, or a hundred dollars. 8.2While another person isn’t thrown in jail for stealing half a dollar, a dollar, or a hundred dollars.

9.1What kind of person is thrown in jail for stealing half a dollar, a dollar, or a hundred dollars? 9.2A person who is poor, with few possessions and little wealth. 9.3That kind of person is thrown in jail for stealing half a dollar, a dollar, or a hundred dollars.

10.1What kind of person isn’t thrown in jail for stealing half a dollar, a dollar, or a hundred dollars? 10.2A person who is rich, affluent, and wealthy. 10.3That kind of person isn’t thrown in jail for stealing half a dollar, a dollar, or a hundred dollars.

10.4This is how it is in the case of a person who does a trivial bad deed, but they go to hell. 10.5 10.6Meanwhile, another person does the same trivial bad deed, but experiences it in the present life, without even a bit left over, not to speak of a lot. …

11.1 11.2 11.3

12.1 12.2 12.3

13.1 13.2 13.3It’s like a sheep dealer or butcher. They can execute, jail, fine, or otherwise punish one person who steals from them, but not another.

14.1What kind of person can they punish? 14.2A person who is poor, with few possessions and little wealth. 14.3That’s the kind of person they can punish.

15.1What kind of person can’t they punish? 15.2A person who is rich, affluent, and wealthy. 15.3That’s the kind of person they can’t punish. 15.4In fact, all they can do is raise their joined palms and ask: 15.5‘Please, good sir, give me my sheep or pay me for it.’

15.6This is how it is in the case of a person who does a trivial bad deed, but it lands them in hell. 15.7Meanwhile, another person does the same trivial bad deed, but experiences it in the present life, without even a bit left over, not to speak of a lot. …

16.1 16.2 16.3

17.1 17.2 17.3

18.1Mendicants, suppose you say: 18.2‘No matter how this person performs a deed, they experience it the same way.’ This being so, the spiritual life could not be lived, and there’d be no chance of making a complete end of suffering.

18.3Suppose you say: 18.4‘No matter how this person performs a deed, they experience the result as it should be experienced.’ This being so, the spiritual life can be lived, and there is a chance of making a complete end of suffering.”