Avarana Sutta (Obstacles)

AN 5.51
PTS: A iii 63
Avarana Sutta
(Obstacles)

THUS HAVE I HEARD.

On one occasion the Blessed One was dwelling at Sāvatthī in Jeta’s Grove, Anāthapiṇḍika’s Park. There he addressed the bhikkhus thus: “Bhikkhus.”—“Venerable sir,” they replied. The Blessed One said this:

“Bhikkhus, there are these five obstacles, hindrances, impediments that obstruct the mind and weaken wisdom. What five? Sensual desire is an obstacle, a hindrance, an impediment that obstructs the mind and weakens wisdom. Ill will is an obstacle, a hindrance, an impediment that obstructs the mind and weakens wisdom. Dullness and drowsiness are obstacles, hindrances, impediments that obstruct the mind and weaken wisdom. Restlessness and worry are obstacles, hindrances, impediments that obstruct the mind and weaken wisdom. Doubt is an obstacle, a hindrance, an impediment that obstructs the mind and weakens wisdom. These are the five obstacles, hindrances, impediments that obstruct the mind and weaken wisdom.

“Bhikkhus, when a bhikkhu is without strength, is weak in wisdom, and has not abandoned these five obstacles, hindrances, impediments that obstruct the mind and weaken wisdom, it is not possible for him to know what is for his own benefit, to know what is for the benefit of others, to know what is for the benefit of both, or to realize a superhuman distinction in knowledge and vision worthy of the noble ones.

“Imagine a river, flowing down from a mountain, traveling a long distance, its current swift and strong, carrying along everything with it. And imagine a man opening many irrigation channels on both sides of the river, leading away from it, dividing, dispersing, spreading out the swift and strong current in the middle of the river in many directions. As a result, the current of the river is no longer swift and strong, the river no longer carries along everything with it, and it does not travel a long distance. So, too, when a bhikkhu is without strength, is weak in wisdom, and has not abandoned these five obstacles, hindrances, impediments that obstruct the mind and weaken wisdom, it is not possible for him to know what is for his own benefit, to know what is for the benefit of others, to know what is for the benefit of both, or to realize a superhuman distinction in knowledge and vision worthy of the noble ones.

“But, bhikkhus, when a bhikkhu has strength, is strong in wisdom, and has abandoned these five obstacles, hindrances, impediments that obstruct the mind and weaken wisdom, it is possible for him to know what is for his own benefit, to know what is for the benefit others, to know what is for the benefit of both, and to realize a superhuman distinction in knowledge and vision worthy of the noble ones.

“Imagine a river, flowing down from a mountain, but then, because there were many irrigation channels on both sides of the river, leading away from it, dividing, dispersing, spreading out the swift and strong current in the middle of the river in many directions, its current were no longer swift or strong, nor carrying along everything with it, and it were not traveling a long distance. And imagine a man closing up the irrigation channels on both sides of the river so that the river would no longer be divided and dispersed, and the current in the middle of the river would no longer be spread out in many directions. As a result, the current of the river could again be swift and strong, again able to carry along everything with it, and the river could again travel a long distance. So, too, when a bhikkhu has strength, is strong in wisdom, and has abandoned these five obstacles, hindrances, impediments that obstruct the mind and weaken wisdom, it is possible for him to know what is for his own benefit, to know what is for the benefit others, to know what is for the benefit of both, and to realize a superhuman distinction in knowledge and vision worthy of the noble ones.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>