Moths to a Flame

This is an old sutra from the Pali Canon, the Adhipataka Sutta (Ud 6.9), that I think about sometimes. The sutra in full is:

One time the Buddha was staying near Savatthi, in Jeta’s grove, at the garden of Anathapindika. At that time he was seated under the open sky, on a night of blinding darkness, while oil lamps were burning. And also at that time a great number of winged insects were flying around and falling into those oil lamps, thus meeting with misfortune, meeting with ruin, meeting with both misfortune and ruin. The Buddha saw those great number of winged insects flying around and falling into those oil lamps… And then the Buddha, understanding the meaning of this, gave utterance — at that moment — to this profound utterance:

Rushing up but then too far, they miss the point; Only causing ever newer bonds to grow. So obsessed are some by what is seen and heard, They fly just like these moths — straight into the flames.

translated from the Pali by Andrew Olendzki

It’s a powerful imagery to imagine when applied to people around you, and society as a whole, especially during these difficult times.

Published by Doug

🎵Toss a coin to your Buddhist-Philhellenic-D&D-playing-Japanese-studying-dad-joke-telling-Trekker, O Valley of Plentyyy!🎵He/him

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: