Saṃyutta Nikāya 47

Connected Discourses on the Establishments of Mindfulness

6. The Hawk

“Bhikkhus, once in the past a hawk suddenly swooped down and seized a quail. Then, while the quail was being carried off by the hawk, he lamented: ‘We were so unlucky, of so little merit! We strayed out of our own resort into the domain of others. If we had stayed in our own resort today, in our own ancestral domain, this hawk wouldn’t have stood a chance against me in a fight.’—‘But what is your own resort, quail, what is your own ancestral domain?’—‘The freshly ploughed field covered with clods of soil.’

“Then the hawk, confident of her own strength, not boasting of her own strength, released the quail, saying: ‘Go now, quail, but even there you won’t escape me.’

“Then, bhikkhus, the quail went to a freshly ploughed field covered with clods of soil. Having climbed up on a large clod, he stood there and addressed the hawk: ‘Come get me now, hawk! Come get me now, hawk!’

“Then the hawk, confident of her own strength, not boasting of her own strength, folded up both her wings and suddenly swooped down on the quail. But when the quail knew, ‘That hawk has come close,’ he slipped inside that clod, and the hawk shattered her breast right on the spot. So it is, bhikkhus, when one strays outside one’s own resort into the domain of others.

“Therefore, bhikkhus, do not stray outside your own resort into the domain of others. Mara will gain access to those who stray outside their own resort into the domain of others; Mara will get a hold on them.

“And what is not a bhikkhu’s own resort but the domain of others? It is the five cords of sensual pleasure. What five? Forms cognizable by the eye that are desirable, lovely, agreeable, pleasing, sensually enticing, tantalizing. Sounds cognizable by the ear … Odours cognizable by the nose … Tastes cognizable by the tongue … Tactile objects cognizable by the body that are desirable, lovely, agreeable, pleasing, sensually enticing, tantalizing. These are the five cords of sensual pleasure. This is what is not a bhikkhu’s own resort but the domain of others.

“Move in your own resort, bhikkhus, in your own ancestral domain. Mara will not gain access to those who move in their own resort, in their own ancestral domain; Mara will not get a hold on them.

“And what is a bhikkhu’s resort, his own ancestral domain? It is the four establishments of mindfulness. What four? Here, bhikkhus, a bhikkhu dwells contemplating the body in the body, ardent, clearly comprehending, mindful, having removed covetousness and displeasure in regard to the world. He dwells contemplating feelings in feelings … mind in mind … phenomena in phenomena, ardent, clearly comprehending, mindful, having removed covetousness and displeasure in regard to the world. This is a bhikkhu’s resort, his own ancestral domain.”