SN 35.191: Kotthita Sutta

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SN 35.191: Kotthita Sutta

Postby mikenz66 » Wed Jul 20, 2011 9:23 am

SN 35.191 PTS: S iv 162 CDB ii 1230 (corresponds to CDB SN 35.232)
Kotthita Sutta: To Kotthita
translated from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu


Ven. Sariputta explains to Ven. Maha Kotthita that our problem lies neither in the senses themselves nor in the objects to which the senses cling. Suffering comes from the passion that arises in dependence on both.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

Once, Ven. Sariputta and Ven. Maha Kotthita were living near Varanasi, at Isipatana in the Deer Park. Then Ven. Maha Kotthita, in the late afternoon, left his seclusion and went to Ven. Sariputta. On arrival, he exchanged courteous greetings with him. After an exchange of friendly greetings & courtesies, he sat to one side. As he was sitting there, he said to Ven. Sariputta, "Now tell me, friend Sariputta, is the eye the fetter of forms, or are forms the fetter of the eye? Is the ear... Is the nose... Is the tongue... Is the body... Is the intellect the fetter of ideas, or are ideas the fetter of the intellect?"

"No, my friend. The eye is not the fetter of forms, nor are forms the fetter of the eye. Whatever desire & passion arises in dependence on the two of them: That is the fetter there. The ear is not the fetter of sounds... The nose is not the fetter of aromas... The tongue is not the fetter of flavors... The body is not the fetter of tactile sensations... The intellect is not the fetter of ideas, nor are ideas the fetter of the intellect. Whatever desire & passion arises in dependence on the two of them: That is the fetter there.

"Suppose that a black ox and a white ox were joined with a single collar or yoke. If someone were to say, 'The black ox is the fetter of the white ox, the white ox is the fetter of the black' — speaking this way, would he be speaking rightly?"

"No, my friend. The black ox is not the fetter of the white ox, nor is the white ox the fetter of the black. The single collar or yoke by which they are joined: That is the fetter there."

"In the same way, the eye is not the fetter of forms, nor are forms the fetter of the eye. Whatever desire & passion arises in dependence on the two of them: That is the fetter there. The ear is not the fetter of sounds... The nose is not the fetter of aromas... The tongue is not the fetter of flavors... The body is not the fetter of tactile sensations... The intellect is not the fetter of ideas, nor are ideas the fetter of the intellect. Whatever desire & passion arises in dependence on the two of them: That is the fetter there.

"If the eye were the fetter of forms, or if forms were the fetter of the eye, then this holy life for the right ending of stress & suffering would not be proclaimed. But because whatever desire & passion arises in dependence on the two of them is the fetter there, that is why this holy life for the right ending of stress & suffering is proclaimed.

"If the ear were the fetter...

"If the nose were the fetter...

"If the tongue were the fetter...

"If the body were the fetter...

"If the intellect were the fetter of ideas, or if ideas were the fetter of the intellect, then this holy life for the right ending of stress & suffering would not be proclaimed. But because whatever desire & passion arises in dependence on the two of them is the fetter there, that is why this holy life for the right ending of stress & suffering is proclaimed.

"And through this line of reasoning one may know how the eye is not the fetter of forms, nor are forms the fetter of the eye, but whatever desire & passion arises in dependence on the two of them: That is the fetter there. The ear is not the fetter of sounds... The nose is not the fetter of aromas... The tongue is not the fetter of flavors... The body is not the fetter of tactile sensations... The intellect is not the fetter of ideas, nor are ideas the fetter of the intellect, but whatever desire & passion arises in dependence on the two of them: That is the fetter there. There is an eye in the Blessed One. The Blessed One sees forms with the eye. There is no desire or passion in the Blessed One. The Blessed One is well-released in mind.

"There is an ear in the Blessed One...

"There is a nose in the Blessed One...

"There is a tongue in the Blessed One...

"There is a body in the Blessed One...

"There is an intellect in the Blessed One. The Blessed One knows ideas with the intellect. There is no desire or passion in the Blessed One. The Blessed One is well-released in mind.

"It is through this line of reasoning that one may know how the eye is not the fetter of forms, nor are forms the fetter of the eye, but whatever desire & passion arises in dependence on the two of them: That is the fetter there. The ear is not the fetter of sounds... The nose is not the fetter of aromas... The tongue is not the fetter of flavors... The body is not the fetter of tactile sensations... The intellect is not the fetter of ideas, nor are ideas the fetter of the intellect, but whatever desire & passion arises in dependence on the two of them: That is the fetter there."
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Re: SN 35.191: Kotthita Sutta

Postby mikenz66 » Wed Jul 20, 2011 9:25 am

SN 35.191: Kotthita Sutta
translated from the Pali by Maurice O'Connell Walshe


http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .wlsh.html

[At Isipatana the Venerable Ko.t.thika the Great called on the Venerable Saariputta and said:]

"How is it, friend: Is the eye the fetter[1] of visual objects or are visual objects the fetter of the eye?... Is the tongue the fetter of tastes, or are tastes the fetter of the tongue?... Is mind the fetter of thoughts,[2] or are thoughts, the fetter of mind?"

"It is not, friend, that the eye is the fetter of visual objects, nor are visual objects the fetter of the eye, but that based on these two desire and lust[3] arise, and they are the fetter,... it is not that the tongue is the fetter of tastes,... that mind is the fetter of thoughts,... but that based on these two desire and lust arise, and they are the fetter.

"It is just as if there were a black and a white ox bound together by one rope or one yoke-tie: would it be right to say that the black ox is the fetter of the white one, or the white one of the black?"

"No, indeed, friend."

"Neither the black nor the white ox is the fetter of the other, but they are bound together by the same rope or the same yoke-tie, that is the fetter. So too friend, the eye is not the fetter of objects, nor are objects the fetter of eye,... the tongue,... the mind... but based on these two desire and lust arise, and they are the fetter.

"If, friend, the eye were the fetter of visual objects, or visual objects were the fetter of the eye,... if the tongue,... if the mind were the fetter of thoughts or thoughts were the fetter of mind,[4] then this holy life would not be discernible[5] for the utter destruction of suffering. But since it is not case..., therefore this holy life is discernible for the utter destruction of suffering.

"Thus it should be understood that the eye is not the fetter..., the tongue..., the mind..., but that based on these two desire and lust arise, and they are the fetter. The Blessed One, friend, has eyes, he sees objects with the eye. But in the Blessed One there is no desire or lust. The Blessed One's heart is completely liberated. The Blessed One has a tongue..., a mind, he knows thoughts with the mind. But in the Blessed One there is no desire or lust. The Blessed One's heart is completely liberated. Thus it should be understood that the eye is not the fetter..., the tongue..., the mind, but that based on these two desire and lust arise, and they are the fetter."[6]

Notes

1. The word used is sa.myojana, more technically employed for the ten fetters which must be successively broken on the path to enligthenment. The question here concerns the relation between the senses and their objects: which "fetters" which? The answer is: "Neither."

2. Dhammaa is here used in one of its specific senses: "mind-objects."

3. Chandaraaga. Chanda is, as such, an ethically neutral term for "intention," etc. But in combination with raaga "lust, greed," it is definitely unwholesome. It is this state, based on the coexistence of eye and sight-objects, etc., that constitutes the "fetter."

4. It is only possible because the eye is not the "fetter" of objects, and so on, that release is possible.

5. Na paññaayetha lit. "would not be perceived."

6. Woodward goes astray here. He translates: "The bond is the desire and lust which are in things." The whole point, however, is that the desire and lust are in the mind, and not in "things," or there would indeed be no deliverance.
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Re: SN 35.191: Kotthita Sutta

Postby rowyourboat » Thu Jul 21, 2011 4:01 pm

The Buddha sees it differently:

Tipitaka Samyutta Nikaya SN 4
SN 4.19PTS: S i 114CDB i 208
Kassaka Sutta: The Farmer
translated from the Pali by
Thanissaro Bhikkhu
© 1999–2011
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... 4/sn04.019

At Savatthi. Now at that time the Blessed One was instructing, urging, rousing, & encouraging the monks with a Dhamma talk concerning Unbinding. The monks — attentive, interested, lending ear, focusing their entire awareness — were listening to the Dhamma.

Then the thought occurred to Mara, the Evil One: "Gotama the contemplative is instructing, urging, rousing, & encouraging the monks with a Dhamma talk concerning Unbinding. The monks — attentive, interested, lending ear, focusing their entire awareness — are listening to the Dhamma. What if I were to go to Gotama the contemplative to obscure his vision?"

Then Mara the Evil One, taking on the form of a farmer with a large plowshare over his shoulder, carrying a long goad stick — his hair disheveled, his clothes made of coarse hemp, his feet splattered with mud — went to the Blessed One and, on arrival, said, "Hey, contemplative. Have you seen my oxen?"

"And what are your oxen, Evil One?"

"Mine alone is the eye, contemplative. Mine are forms, mine is the sphere of consciousness & contact at the eye. Where can you go to escape me? Mine alone is the ear... the nose... the tongue... the body... Mine alone is the intellect, contemplative. Mine are ideas, mine is the sphere of consciousness & contact at the intellect. Where can you go to escape me?"

"Yours alone is the eye, Evil One. Yours are forms, yours is the sphere of consciousness of contact at the eye. Where no eye exists, no forms exist, no sphere of consciousness & contact at the eye exists: there, Evil One, you cannot go. Yours alone is the ear... the nose... the tongue... the body... Yours alone is the intellect, Evil One. Yours are ideas, yours is the sphere of consciousness & contact at the intellect. Where no intellect exists, no ideas exist, no sphere of consciousness of contact at the intellect exists: there, Evil One, you cannot go."

[Mara:]Of what they say, 'This is mine'; and those who say, 'Mine': If your intellect's here, contemplative, you can't escape from me.

[The Buddha:]What they speak of isn't mine, and I'm not one of those who speak it. Know this, Evil One: you won't even see my tracks.

Then Mara the Evil One — sad & dejected at realizing, "The Blessed One knows me; the One Well-gone knows me" — vanished right there.
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Re: SN 35.191: Kotthita Sutta

Postby mikenz66 » Thu Jul 21, 2011 7:09 pm

rowyourboat wrote:The Buddha sees it differently:

Differently from what? Is there some contradiction that I'm not seeing (perhaps my eye is a fetter... :tongue: ).

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Re: SN 35.191: Kotthita Sutta

Postby rowyourboat » Thu Jul 21, 2011 8:57 pm

Hi Mike

Hmm the fetter is in the mind, rather than the eye :) - the former sutta thinks the problem is the craving for the eye- the latter sutta says the problem is deeper than that - it is the eye which belongs to Mara itself :)

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Re: SN 35.191: Kotthita Sutta

Postby mikenz66 » Thu Jul 21, 2011 9:06 pm

rowyourboat wrote:Hmm the fetter is in the mind, rather than the eye :) - the former sutta thinks the problem is the craving for the eye- the latter sutta says the problem is deeper than that - it is the eye which belongs to Mara itself :)

The way I read it, they eye, etc, is not really the problem in either sutta. It's how we regard the eye. SN35.191 talks about craving, SN 4.19 as regarding such things as "mine".

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Re: SN 35.191: Kotthita Sutta

Postby daverupa » Thu Jul 21, 2011 9:37 pm

I thought SN 4.19 was after a discourse on Unbinding, showing poetically how the Deathless is beyond Mara's reach, while SN 35.191 was a Q&A with Sariputta responding to a precise question. They strike me as having to do with separate topics.
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
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Re: SN 35.191: Kotthita Sutta

Postby mikenz66 » Thu Jul 21, 2011 9:58 pm

Thanks Dave,

As I said, I see no contradiction between the suttas. As you say, they are about different levels...

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Re: SN 35.191: Kotthita Sutta

Postby rowyourboat » Thu Jul 21, 2011 10:50 pm

mikenz66 wrote:Thanks Dave,
As I said, I see no contradiction between the suttas. As you say, they are about different levels...


No, no contradiction- but the former runs the risk of misleading the reader into believing that that is all there is. Avijja is the cause for the eye. Without avijja.. :o

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Re: SN 35.191: Kotthita Sutta

Postby mikenz66 » Fri Jul 22, 2011 12:56 am

rowyourboat wrote:... the former runs the risk of misleading the reader into believing that that is all there is

Sure, that applies to reading any sutta and thinking that it is the whole story...

How about some actual discussion about the points made in this particular sutta.... ?

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Re: SN 35.191: Kotthita Sutta

Postby phil » Fri Jul 22, 2011 2:59 am

My first reaction is to think of the SN sutta that describes the external ayatanas in such menacing terms, bandits raiding the empty village ofthe sense door ayatanas, etc. That imagery and common sense make me feel that the eye (etc) is assaulted and dominated by objects, that the lust (etc) arises in response, conditioned by the vipaka of the object, so that's where there is a fetter, and the eye is just a medium. Of course the eye door also arises as vipaka.

Do external and internal ayatanas that meet arise as vipaka from the same kamma, are they fettered in that way too? I guess that's not right, kamma/vipaka is not explained so neatly..,
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(The fool is characterized by his/her actions/the wise one is characterized by his/her actions/Wisdom shines forth in behaviour.)
(AN 3.2 Lakkhana Sutta)
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Re: SN 35.191: Kotthita Sutta

Postby mikenz66 » Sat Jul 23, 2011 9:03 am

From Bhikkhu Bodhi's notes to SN 35.234 (which corresponds to this Sutta).

"If, friend, the eye were the fetter of forms or if forms were the fetter of the eye, this living of the holy life could not be discerned for the complete destruction of suffering..."

BB: Because, as long as one has the six sense bases, one would always be fettered to the six sense objects and thus liberation would be impossible.
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Re: SN 35.191: Kotthita Sutta

Postby phil » Sat Jul 23, 2011 10:55 pm

mikenz66 wrote:From Bhikkhu Bodhi's notes to SN 35.234 (which corresponds to this Sutta).

"If, friend, the eye were the fetter of forms or if forms were the fetter of the eye, this living of the holy life could not be discerned for the complete destruction of suffering..."

BB: Because, as long as one has the six sense bases, one would always be fettered to the six sense objects and thus liberation would be impossible.


So what I wrote above about feeling that the sense objects dominate (fetter) the sense bases indicates that I need to understand the sense bases better. It is by seeing with wisdom that we are liberated. I have to say that I have never really tried to tackle D.O, sensing it over my head. Is it name and form ( sense bases, right?) conditon contact condition feeling condition the craving/clinging that are taught to be the fetter? So the fetter is the conditioned result of the eye and the object meeting through conditional processes? Sorry if that is off topic. I've always loved SN35, I'd like to (uncharacteristically for me) keep pressing at this point...thanks.
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(The fool is characterized by his/her actions/the wise one is characterized by his/her actions/Wisdom shines forth in behaviour.)
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Re: SN 35.191: Kotthita Sutta

Postby rowyourboat » Sat Jul 23, 2011 11:04 pm

Hi Mike, Phil,

My point is that eye and other sense bases cannot be let off easily - they are the 'tools of Mara'. Their drawbacks must be seen.
Cakkhu Sutta: The Eye
translated from the Pali by
Thanissaro Bhikkhu
© 2004–2011
At Savatthi. "Monks, the eye is inconstant, changeable, alterable. The ear... The nose... The tongue... The body... The mind is inconstant, changeable, alterable.

"One who has conviction & belief that these phenomena are this way is called a faith-follower: one who has entered the orderliness of rightness, entered the plane of people of integrity, transcended the plane of the run-of-the-mill. He is incapable of doing any deed by which he might be reborn in hell, in the animal womb, or in the realm of hungry shades. He is incapable of passing away until he has realized the fruit of stream-entry.

"One who, after pondering with a modicum of discernment, has accepted that these phenomena are this way is called a Dhamma-follower: one who has entered the orderliness of rightness, entered the plane of people of integrity, transcended the plane of the run-of-the-mill. He is incapable of doing any deed by which he might be reborn in hell, in the animal womb, or in the realm of hungry shades. He is incapable of passing away until he has realized the fruit of stream-entry.

"One who knows and sees that these phenomena are this way is called a stream-enterer, steadfast, never again destined for states of woe, headed for self-awakening."
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html


Another factor to keep in mind is that when the Buddha speaks of the eye, it is not the eye that we commonly consider - it is a momentary causally arisen eye (according to the DO). Hope this makes some sense.

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Re: SN 35.191: Kotthita Sutta

Postby phil » Sat Jul 23, 2011 11:51 pm

rowyourboat wrote:Hi Mike, Phil,

My point is that eye and other sense bases cannot be let off easily - they are the 'tools of Mara'. Their drawbacks must be seen.
Cakkhu Sutta: The Eye
translated from the Pali by
Thanissaro Bhikkhu
© 2004–2011
At Savatthi. "Monks, the eye is inconstant, changeable, alterable. The ear... The nose... The tongue... The body... The mind is inconstant, changeable, alterable.

"One who has conviction & belief that these phenomena are this way is called a faith-follower: one who has entered the orderliness of rightness, entered the plane of people of integrity, transcended the plane of the run-of-the-mill. He is incapable of doing any deed by which he might be reborn in hell, in the animal womb, or in the realm of hungry shades. He is incapable of passing away until he has realized the fruit of stream-entry.









"One who, after pondering with a modicum of discernment, has accepted that these phenomena are this way is called a Dhamma-follower: one who has entered the orderliness of rightness, entered the plane of people of integrity, transcended the plane of the run-of-the-mill. He is incapable of doing any deed by which he might be reborn in hell, in the animal womb, or in the realm of hungry shades. He is incapable of passing away until he has realized the fruit of stream-entry.

"One who knows and sees that these phenomena are this way is called a stream-enterer, steadfast, never again destined for states of woe, headed for self-awakening."
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html



Another factor to keep in mind is that when the Buddha speaks of the eye, it is not the eye that we commonly consider - it is a momentary causally arisen eye (according to the DO). Hope this makes some sense.

With metta

Matheesha



Hi Matheesha, yes got that re the eye base.


Do you think this sutta is "letting off" the ayatanas? The whole message of SN35 is hiw dangerous they are. Maybe the point of this sutta us to help us get away from thinking that the danger is intrinsic in sense objects or bases rather than in the whole round of suffering that is kicked off again and again through the ayatanas...does that make sense?
Kammalakkhano , bhikkhave, bālo, kammalakkhano pandito, apadānasobhanī paññāti
(The fool is characterized by his/her actions/the wise one is characterized by his/her actions/Wisdom shines forth in behaviour.)
(AN 3.2 Lakkhana Sutta)
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Re: SN 35.191: Kotthita Sutta

Postby paul » Sun Jul 24, 2011 11:39 pm

Since the way to a mind without responses of desire or lust is through practising the strategies of Right Effort, I am of the school which holds Right Effort to be the centre and heart of the Noble Eightfold Path.
An example of a mind without such responses is shown in the story of the Elder who was on his way to Anuradhapura for alms when "a certain daughter-in-law of a clan who had quarreled with her husband and had set out from Anuradhapura all dressed up and tricked out like a celestial nymph to go to her relatives' home, saw him on the road and being low-minded, she laughed a loud laugh. Wondering "What is that?", the Elder looked up and finding in the bones of her teeth the perception of foulness, he reached Arahantship." Vism.1, 53-59.
The Sri Lankan monk Pemasiri Thera, in the book of his teaching ("Walking the Tightrope", D.Young, BPS 2005, available through Wisdom Publications) refers to Right Effort as the central factor in the Noble Eightfold Path (p. 105).
In several trips to Sri Lanka where I stayed in monasteries and was a member of a group connected with Pemasiri Thera, that travel was interpreted by Australian authorities as for pedophilia and in subsequent legal proceedings and a psychologist's report, I was obliged to defend the strategies of Right Effort and Buddhist belief in general. I believe every practitioner must come through some form of crisis in order to test their beliefs against reality.
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Re: SN 35.191: Kotthita Sutta

Postby phil » Tue Jul 26, 2011 12:46 am

The clock is ticking on this thread. I don't know how you choose the suttas (Mike?) but if I could put in a personal request sonething from SN12 would be great in the future. I find that whole samyutta (?) difficult....
Kammalakkhano , bhikkhave, bālo, kammalakkhano pandito, apadānasobhanī paññāti
(The fool is characterized by his/her actions/the wise one is characterized by his/her actions/Wisdom shines forth in behaviour.)
(AN 3.2 Lakkhana Sutta)
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Re: SN 35.191: Kotthita Sutta

Postby mikenz66 » Tue Jul 26, 2011 1:06 am

Hi Phil,
phil wrote:The clock is ticking on this thread. I don't know how you choose the suttas (Mike?) but if I could put in a personal request sonething from SN12 would be great in the future. I find that whole samyutta (?) difficult....

See this plan: viewtopic.php?f=25&t=345&p=125192#p88300

SN12 is coming up soon. We are currently covering SN suttas to do with, generally, the truth of suffering, then we will do:
Bhikkhu Bodhi wrote:Then take Part II, the Nidana-samyutta [12]. This represents the noble
truths of the origin and cessation of suffering. You can also look at
Part IV-43 and 44-which again relate to the truth of cessation.


However, I'm alternating this SN plan with other suttas, such as the DN sutta I posted last week.

Further discussion should be directed to: viewtopic.php?f=25&t=345&p=125192#p125192

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Re: SN 35.191: Kotthita Sutta

Postby phil » Tue Jul 26, 2011 3:23 am

mikenz66 wrote:Hi Phil,
phil wrote:The clock is ticking on this thread. I don't know how you choose the suttas (Mike?) but if I could put in a personal request sonething from SN12 would be great in the future. I find that whole samyutta (?) difficult....

See this plan: viewtopic.php?f=25&t=345&p=125192#p88300

SN12 is coming up soon. We are currently covering SN suttas to do with, generally, the truth of suffering, then we will do:
Bhikkhu Bodhi wrote:Then take Part II, the Nidana-samyutta [12]. This represents the noble
truths of the origin and cessation of suffering. You can also look at
Part IV-43 and 44-which again relate to the truth of cessation.


However, I'm alternating this SN plan with other suttas, such as the DN sutta I posted last week.

Further discussion should be directed to: viewtopic.php?f=25&t=345&p=125192#p125192

:anjali:
Mike


Thanks Mike, wasn't aware of the study plan.
Kammalakkhano , bhikkhave, bālo, kammalakkhano pandito, apadānasobhanī paññāti
(The fool is characterized by his/her actions/the wise one is characterized by his/her actions/Wisdom shines forth in behaviour.)
(AN 3.2 Lakkhana Sutta)
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