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Subjects for Regular Reviewing —Bhikkhu Sujato

Numbered Discourses 5

6. Hindrances

57. Subjects for Regular Reviewing

1.1“Mendicants, a woman or a man, a layperson or a renunciate should often review these five subjects. 1.2What five?

1.3‘I am liable to grow old, I am not exempt from old age.’ A woman or a man, a layperson or a renunciate should often review this.

1.4‘I am liable to get sick, I am not exempt from sickness.’ …

1.5‘I am liable to die, I am not exempt from death.’ …

1.6‘I must be parted and separated from all I hold dear and beloved.’ …

1.7‘I am the owner of my deeds and heir to my deeds. Deeds are my womb, my relative, and my refuge.

1.8I shall be the heir of whatever deeds I do, whether good or bad.’ 1.9A woman or a man, a layperson or a renunciate should often review this.

2.1What is the advantage for a woman or a man, a layperson or a renunciate of often reviewing this: ‘I am liable to grow old, I am not exempt from old age’? 2.2There are sentient beings who, intoxicated with the vanity of youth, do bad things by way of body, speech, and mind. 2.3Reviewing this subject often, they entirely give up the vanity of youth, or at least reduce it. 2.4This is the advantage for a woman or a man, a layperson or a renunciate of often reviewing this: ‘I am liable to grow old, I am not exempt from old age’.

3.1What is the advantage of often reviewing this: ‘I am liable to get sick, I am not exempt from sickness’? 3.2There are sentient beings who, drunk on the vanity of health, do bad things by way of body, speech, and mind. 3.3Reviewing this subject often, they entirely give up the vanity of health, or at least reduce it. 3.4This is the advantage of often reviewing this: ‘I am liable to get sick, I am not exempt from sickness’.

4.1What is the advantage of often reviewing this: ‘I am liable to die, I am not exempt from death’? 4.2There are sentient beings who, drunk on the vanity of life, do bad things by way of body, speech, and mind. 4.3Reviewing this subject often, they entirely give up the vanity of life, or at least reduce it. 4.4This is the advantage of often reviewing this: ‘I am liable to die, I am not exempt from death’.

5.1What is the advantage of often reviewing this: ‘I must be parted and separated from all I hold dear and beloved’? 5.2There are sentient beings who, aroused by desire and lust for their dear and beloved, do bad things by way of body, speech, and mind. 5.3Reviewing this subject often, they entirely give up desire and lust for their dear and beloved, or at least reduce it. 5.4This is the advantage of often reviewing this: ‘I must be parted and separated from all I hold dear and beloved’.

6.1What is the advantage of often reflecting like this: ‘I am the owner of my deeds and heir to my deeds. Deeds are my womb, my relative, and my refuge. 6.2I shall be the heir of whatever deeds I do, whether good or bad’? 6.3There are sentient beings who do bad things by way of body, speech, and mind. 6.4Reviewing this subject often, they entirely give up bad conduct, or at least reduce it. 6.5This is the advantage for a woman or a man, a layperson or a renunciate of often reflecting like this: ‘I am the owner of my deeds and heir to my deeds. Deeds are my womb, my relative, and my refuge. 6.6I shall be the heir of whatever deeds I do, whether good or bad.’ 6.7

7.1Then that noble disciple reflects: 7.2‘It’s not just me who is liable to grow old, not being exempt from old age. For all sentient beings grow old according to their nature, as long as they come and go, pass away and are reborn.’ 7.3When they review this subject often, the path is born in them. 7.4They cultivate, develop, and make much of it. 7.5By doing so, they give up the fetters and eliminate the underlying tendencies.

8.1‘It’s not just me who is liable to get sick, not being exempt from sickness. For all sentient beings get sick according to their nature, as long as they come and go, pass away and are reborn.’ 8.2When they review this subject often, the path is born in them. 8.3They cultivate, develop, and make much of it. 8.4By doing so, they give up the fetters and eliminate the underlying tendencies.

9.1‘It’s not just me who is liable to die, not being exempt from death. For all sentient beings die according to their nature, as long as they come and go, pass away and are reborn.’ 9.2When they review this subject often, the path is born in them. 9.3They cultivate, develop, and make much of it. 9.4By doing so, they give up the fetters and eliminate the underlying tendencies.

10.1‘It’s not just me who must be parted and separated from all I hold dear and beloved. For all sentient beings must be parted and separated from all they hold dear and beloved, as long as they come and go, pass away and are reborn.’ 10.2When they review this subject often, the path is born in them. 10.3They cultivate, develop, and make much of it. 10.4By doing so, they give up the fetters and eliminate the underlying tendencies.

11.1‘It’s not just me who shall be the owner of my deeds and heir to my deeds. 11.2For all sentient beings shall be the owners of their deeds and heirs to their deeds, as long as they come and go, pass away and are reborn.’ 11.3When they review this subject often, the path is born in them. 11.4They cultivate, develop, and make much of it. 11.5By doing so, they give up the fetters and eliminate the underlying tendencies.

12.1For others, sickness is natural,
12.2and so are old age and death.
12.3Though this is how their nature is,
12.4ordinary people feel disgusted.

13.1If I were to be disgusted
13.2with creatures whose nature is such,
13.3it would not be appropriate for me,
13.4since my life is just the same.

14.1Living in such a way,
14.2I understood the reality without attachments.
14.3I mastered all vanities—
14.4of health, of youth,

15.1and even of life—
15.2seeing safety in renunciation.
15.3Zeal sprang up in me
15.4as I looked to extinguishment.

16.1Now I’m unable
16.2to indulge in sensual pleasures;
16.3there’s no turning back,
16.4until the spiritual life is complete.”