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Hopes —Bhikkhu Sujato

Numbered Discourses 3

2. The Chariot-maker

13. Hopes

1.1“These three kinds of people are found in the world. 1.2What three? 1.3The hopeless, the hopeful, and the one who has done away with hope. 1.4And what, mendicants, is a hopeless person? 1.5It’s when some person is reborn in a low family—a family of outcastes, bamboo-workers, hunters, chariot-makers, or waste-collectors—poor, with little to eat or drink, where life is tough, and food and shelter are hard to find. 1.6And they’re ugly, unsightly, deformed, chronically ill—one-eyed, crippled, lame, or half-paralyzed. They don’t get to have food, drink, clothes, and vehicles; garlands, fragrances, and makeup; or bed, house, and lighting. 1.7They hear this: 1.8‘They say the aristocrats have anointed the aristocrat named so-and-so as king.’ 1.9It never occurs to them: 1.10‘Oh, when will the aristocrats anoint me too as king?’ 1.11This is called a hopeless person.

2.1And what, mendicants, is a hopeful person? 2.2It’s when some person is the eldest son of an anointed king. He has not yet been anointed, but is eligible, and has been confirmed in the succession. 2.3He hears this: 2.4‘They say that the aristocrats have anointed the aristocrat named so-and-so as king.’ 2.5It occurs to him: 2.6‘Oh, when will the aristocrats anoint me too as king?’ 2.7This is called a hopeful person.

3.1And what, mendicants, is a person who has done away with hope? 3.2It’s when a king has been anointed. 3.3He hears this: 3.4‘They say that the aristocrats have anointed the aristocrat named so-and-so as king.’ 3.5It never occurs to him: 3.6‘Oh, when will the aristocrats anoint me too as king?’ 3.7Why is that? 3.8Because the former hope he had to be anointed has now died down. 3.9This is called a person who has done away with hope.

3.10These are the three kinds of people found in the world.

4.1In the same way, these three kinds of people are found among the mendicants. 4.2What three? 4.3The hopeless, the hopeful, and the one who has done away with hope. 4.4And what, mendicants, is a hopeless person? 4.5It’s when some person is unethical, of bad qualities, filthy, with suspicious behavior, underhand, no true ascetic or spiritual practitioner—though claiming to be one—rotten inside, corrupt, and depraved. 4.6They hear this: 4.7‘They say that the mendicant named so-and-so has realized the undefiled freedom of heart and freedom by wisdom in this very life. And they live having realized it with their own insight due to the ending of defilements.’ 4.8It never occurs to them: 4.9‘Oh, when will I too realize the undefiled freedom of heart and freedom by wisdom in this very life, and live having realized it with my own insight due to the ending of defilements.’ 4.10This is called a hopeless person.

5.1And what, mendicants, is a hopeful person? 5.2It’s when a mendicant is ethical, of good character. 5.3They hear this: 5.4‘They say that the mendicant named so-and-so has realized the undefiled freedom of heart and freedom by wisdom in this very life. And they live having realized it with their own insight due to the ending of defilements.’ 5.5It occurs to them: 5.6‘Oh, when will I too realize the undefiled freedom of heart and freedom by wisdom in this very life, and live having realized it with my own insight due to the ending of defilements.’ 5.7This is called a hopeful person.

6.1And what, mendicants, is a person who has done away with hope? 6.2It’s when a mendicant is a perfected one, who has ended all defilements. 6.3They hear this: 6.4‘They say that the mendicant named so-and-so has realized the undefiled freedom of heart and freedom by wisdom in this very life. And they live having realized it with their own insight due to the ending of defilements.’ 6.5It never occurs to them: 6.6‘Oh, when will I too realize the undefiled freedom of heart and freedom by wisdom in this very life, and live having realized it with my own insight due to the ending of defilements.’ 6.7Why is that? 6.8Because the former hope they had to be freed has now died down. 6.9This is called a person who has done away with hope.

6.10These are the three people found among the mendicants.”