The Ocean of Waves, Whirlpools, Sharks and Demons

Saṃyutta Nikaya 35.228
Connected Discourses on the Six Sense Bases

Samuddo Sutta
(The Ocean)

“Bhikkhus, the uninstructed worldly person speaks of ‘the ocean, the ocean.’ But that is not the ocean in the Noble One’s Discipline; that is only a great mass of water, a great expanse of water.

“The eye, bhikkhus, is the ocean for a person; its current consists of visible forms. One who withstands that current consisting of visible forms is said to have crossed the ocean of the eye with its waves, whirlpools, sharks and demons. Crossed over, gone beyond, the brahmin stands on high ground.

“The ear, bhikkhus, is the ocean for a person; its current consists of sounds. One who withstands that current consisting of sounds is said to have crossed the ocean of the ear with its waves, whirlpools, sharks and demons. Crossed over, gone beyond, the brahmin stands on high ground.

“The nose, bhikkhus, is the ocean for a person; its current consists of odors. One who withstands that current consisting of odors is said to have crossed the ocean of the nose with its waves, whirlpools, sharks and demons. Crossed over, gone beyond, the brahmin stands on high ground.

“The tongue, bhikkhus, is the ocean for a person; its current consists of flavors. One who withstands that current consisting of flavors is said to have crossed the ocean of the tongue with its waves, whirlpools, sharks and demons. Crossed over, gone beyond, the brahmin stands on high ground.

“The body, bhikkhus, is the ocean for a person; its current consists of tactile objects. One who withstands that current consisting of tactile objects is said to have crossed the ocean of the body with its waves, whirlpools, sharks and demons. Crossed over, gone beyond, the brahmin stands on high ground.

“The mind is the ocean for a person; its current consists of mental phenomena. One who withstands that current consisting of mental phenomena is said to have crossed the ocean of the mind with its waves, whirlpools, sharks and demons. Crossed over, gone beyond, the brahmin stands on high ground.”

This is what the Blessed One said. Having said this, the Fortunate One, the Teacher, further said this:

“One who has crossed this ocean so hard to cross,
With its dangers of sharks, demons, waves,
The knowledge-master who has lived the holy life,
Reached the world’s end, is called one gone beyond.”

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