Sūtra on the Reception of Defilement of Dharmas

Sūtra on the Reception of Defilement of Dharmas, Spoken by the Buddha

Taishō no. 792

Translated into Chinese by the Parthian Trepiṭaka,

Ān Shìgāo, (c. 143–170) in the latter Han Dynasty


Translated into English by Shaku Shingan

Thus have I heard: At one time the Buddha was travelling to Anāthapiṇḍada’s Park in Jeta’s Grove in Śrāvastī. The Buddha said:

O bhikṣus!

The bhikṣus said:

We will receive your teaching!

And they listened to the Buddha. The Buddha said:

O bhikṣus! Ordinary people, for the sake of a single dharma, receive defilement and pollute themselves; their delusion and sorrow have no limit, and I see that they cannot attain the unexcelled noble path.

Thus, as a man who desires to see a woman’s form: such a man attracted to her form becomes defiled, drunk, greedy, polluted, confused, attached, fixated, and fettered. Due to following the words of a lustful woman, he will proceed to transmigrate back and forth for a long time, receiving suffering. Due to his ears always desiring to hear the voice of a lustful woman; his nose desiring to smell her scent; his tongue desire to taste her; his body desiring to touch her skin, he will proceed to transmigrate back and forth for a long time, receiving suffering. Therefore, you must not be defiled by the form, voice, scent, taste, or touch of the skin of a woman, and you should awaken to this.

Again, O bhikṣus! Ordinary people, for the sake of a single dharma, receive defilement and pollute themselves; their delusion and sorrow have no limit, and I see that they cannot attain the unexcelled noble path.

Thus, as a woman who desires to see a man’s form: such a woman attracted to his form becomes defiled, drunk, greedy, polluted, confused, attached, fixated, and fettered. Due to following the words of a man, she will proceed to transmigrate back and forth for a long time, receiving suffering. Due to her ears always desiring to hear the voice of a man; her nose desiring to smell his scent; her tongue desire to taste him; her body desiring to touch his skin, she will proceed to transmigrate back and forth for a long time, receiving suffering. Therefore, you must not be defiled by the form, voice, scent, taste, or touch of the skin of a man, and you should awaken to this.

After the Buddha said this, they all rejoiced, accepted, and practised it.

Note: This sūtra bears resemblance, for instance, to the Cittapariyādānavagga AN 1.1.1-10 and Ekottarikāgama 9.7-8 (T125, fascicle 4).