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Anguttara Nikaya

Aṅguttara Nikāya
7.67 Nagarūpama Sutta
Well Protected Kingdom

A grand simile to explain the qualities of a noble disciple.

“Monks, when a king’s kingdom is well protected by seven protective strategies and gets four kinds of necessities when needed, without trouble or difficulty, that kingdom cannot be captured by outside foes and enemies.

With what seven protective strategies is a kingdom well protected?

1. “Firstly, a kingdom has a very tall tower with deep foundations, firmly grounded, extremely strong and unshakable. This is the first protective strategy with which a king’s kingdom is well protected, to guard its citizens and defeat outside enemies.

2.“Also, a kingdom has a trench that is deep and wide and filled with water and deadly crocodiles. This is the second protective strategy…

3. “Also, a kingdom has a wide, raised, patrol wall going all around. This is the third protective strategy…

4. “Also, a kingdom has multiple storages of weapons. This is the fourth protective strategy…

5.“Also, many kinds of armed forces reside in a kingdom, such as elephant riders, hose riders, cart riders, archers, bannermen, assembly officers, food servers, soldiers, commandos, special forces, and equipment suppliers. This is the fifth protective strategy…

6. “Also, a kingdom has a gatekeeper who is wise, experienced, and intelligent. He keeps strangers out and lets known people in. This is the sixth protective strategy…

7. “Also, a kingdom has a wall that’s high and wide, covered with cement. This is the seventh protective strategy with which a king’s kingdom is well protected, to guard its citizens and defeat outside enemies.

“With these seven protective strategies a kingdom is well protected.

What are the four kinds of necessities the kingdom gets when needed, without trouble or difficulty?

1. “Firstly, a king’s kingdom has much hay, wood, and water stored up for the enjoyment, relief, and comfort of his citizens and to defeat outside enemies.

2. “Also, a king’s kingdom has much rice and barley stored up…

3. “Also, a king’s kingdom has much food such as sesame, mung bean, and black lentil stored up…

4. “Also, a king’s kingdom has much medicine—ghee, butter, oil, honey, sugar cubes, and salt—stored up for the enjoyment, relief, and comfort of his citizens and to defeat outside enemies.

“These are the four kinds of necessities the kingdom gets when needed, without trouble or difficulty.

“When a king’s kingdom is well protected by seven protective strategies and gets four kinds of necessities when needed, without trouble or difficulty, that kingdom cannot be captured by outside foes and enemies.

“In the same way, a noble disciple has seven good qualities, and he or she reaches the four stages of concentration. These jhānas lead to peace in the present life and to the attainment of a developed mind. A noble disciple gets these jhānas whenever he wants, without trouble or difficulty. Such a noble disciple who has seven good qualities and four jhānas cannot be captured by Māra, the Evil One.

What are the seven good qualities that such a noble disciple has?

1. “Just as a kingdom has a very tall tower with deep foundations, firmly grounded, extremely strong and unshakable to guard its citizens and defeat outside enemies, in the same way a noble disciple has faith in the enlightenment of the Buddha: ‘The Buddha is liberated, self enlightened, gained true knowledge and lives a pure life, reached Nibbana, the knower of the world, the supreme trainer of beings, the teacher of gods and humans, the most generous one, the most fortunate one.’ A noble disciple with faith as his strong tower, gives up unwholesome things and develops wholesome things, he gives up wrong things and develops right things, and he keeps himself pure. This is the first good quality he has.

2. “Just as a kingdom has a trench that is deep and wide and filled with water and deadly crocodiles… in the same way a noble disciple has shame of wrongdoing. He’s ashamed of wrongdoing by body, speech, and mind, and is ashamed of having any bad, unwholesome qualities. A noble disciple with shame of wrongdoing as his trench, gives up unwholesome things and develops wholesome things, he gives up wrong things and develops right things, and he keeps himself pure. This is the second good quality he has.

3. “Just as a kingdom has a wide raised patrol wall going all around… in the same way a noble disciple has fear of wrongdoing. He’s afraid of wrongdoing by body, speech, and mind, and is afraid of any bad, unwholesome qualities. A noble disciple with fear of wrongdoing as his patrol wall, gives up the unwholesome things and develops wholesome things, he gives up wrong things and develops right things, and he keeps himself pure. This is the third good quality he has.

4. “Just as a kingdom has multiple storehouses of weapons… in the same way a noble disciple has learned a lot of Dhamma. He remembers and memorizes what he’s learned. These teachings are excellent in the beginning, excellent in the middle, and excellent in the end, meaningful and well phrased, describing the complete pure path to Nibbana. He is very learned in such teachings, remembering them, reciting them, mentally examining them, and understanding the true meaning. A noble disciple with vast knowledge of the Dhamma as his weapon, gives up unwholesome things and develops wholesome things, he gives up wrong things and develops right things, and he keeps himself pure. This is the fourth good quality he has.

5. “Just as many kinds of armed forces reside in a kingdom… in the same way a noble disciple is energetic. He lives with energy roused up for giving up unwholesome qualities and developing wholesome qualities. He is strong, dedicated, and not lazy in developing wholesome qualities. A noble disciple with energy as his armed forces, gives up unwholesome things and develops wholesome things, he gives up wrong things and develops right things, and he keeps himself pure. This is the fifth good quality he has.

6. “Just as a kingdom has a gatekeeper who is wise, experienced, and intelligent, who keeps strangers out and lets known people in… in the same way a noble disciple is mindful. He has utmost mindfulness and alertness, and can remember and recall what was said and done long ago. A noble disciple with mindfulness as his gatekeeper, gives up unwholesome things and develops wholesome things, he gives up wrong things and develops right things, and he keeps himself pure. This is the sixth good quality he has.

7. “Just as a kingdom has a wall that’s high and wide, covered with cement, to guard its citizens and defeat outside enemies, in the same way, a noble disciple is wise. He has the wisdom of seeing the arising and passing away of formations. This wisdom is noble, and leads to detachment and complete ending of suffering. A noble disciple with wisdom as his wall, gives up unwholesome things and develops wholesome things, he gives up wrong things and develops right things, and he keeps himself pure. This is the seventh good quality he has. These are the seven good qualities that he has.

And what are the four stages of concentration, the four jhānas, he gets whenever he wants, without trouble or difficulty that lead to peace in the present life and to the attainment of a developed mind?

1. “Just as a king’s kingdom has much hay, wood, and water stored up for the enjoyment, relief, and comfort of its citizens and to defeat outside enemies, in the same way, a noble disciple, abandoning worldly desires, and unwholesome qualities, enters and remains in the first stage of concentration, which has the happiness and pleasure born of letting go of hindrances. This concentration is born due to placing the mind on the meditation object and effort to keeping it connected with the object. This is for his own enjoyment, ease, and comfort, and for attaining Nibbana.

2. “Just as a king’s kingdom has much rice and barley stored up… in the same way, as the placing of the mind on the meditation object and effort to keeping it connected with the object are stilled, a noble disciple enters and remains in the second stage of concentration, which has the happiness and pleasure born of concentration. This has internal clarity and confidence, and a unified mind. This state of mind is free of placing the mind on the meditation object and effort to keeping it connected to the object. This is for his own enjoyment, relief, and comfort, and for attaining Nibbana.

3. “Just as a king’s kingdom has much food such as sesame, mung beans, and black lentils stored up… in the same way, due to non-clinging to happiness, a noble disciple enters and remains in the third stage of concentration, where he meditates with equanimity, mindful and aware, experiencing the bodily pleasure of which the noble ones declare, ‘Equanimous and mindful, one meditates joyfully.’ This is for his own enjoyment, relief, and comfort, and for attaining Nibbana.

4. “Just as a king’s kingdom has much medicine—ghee, butter, oil, honey, sugar cubes, and salt—stored up for the enjoyment, relief, and comfort of its citizens and to defeat outside enemies, in the same way, giving up pleasure and pain, and ending former happiness and sadness, a noble disciple enters and remains in the fourth stage of concentration, without pain or pleasure, with pure equanimity and mindfulness. This is for his own enjoyment, relief, and comfort, and for attaining Nibbana.

“These are the four stages of concentration he gets whenever he wants, without trouble or difficulty that lead to peace in the present life and to the attainment of a developed mind.

“When a noble disciple has these seven good qualities, and the four stages of concentration which he attains whenever he wants, without trouble or difficulty that leads to peace in the present life and to the attainment of a developed mind, then such a noble disciple cannot be captured by Māra, the Evil One.”

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Aṅguttara Nikāya 7.67 Nagarūpama Sutta: Well Protected Kingdom

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