The sorrows, lamentations, the many kinds of suffering in the world,
exist dependent on something dear. They don't exist when there's nothing dear.
And thus blissful & sorrowless are those for whom nothing in the world is dear anywhere.
So one who aspires to be stainless & sorrowless
shouldn't make anything in the world dear anywhere.1
"So it is, great king! So it is, great king! As aging and death are rolling in on you, what else should be done but Dhamma-conduct, right conduct, skillful deeds, meritorious deeds?"2
Aging and death rolling in could refer to paticcasamuppāda
Dhamma conduct would refer to practising/living in line with the Dhamma dhammanudhamma patipada
Right conduct could refer to personal etiquette or virtuousness
Skillful deeds could refer to morality as in the precepts, or the Sila training of the Noble Eightfold Path
Meritorious deeds could refer to Generosity, or meditation specifically
However lists such as these (of four) tend to be found in oral traditions, emphasising a point, so are essentially pseudonyms, so this splitting and giving what they are is not essentially correct but I do have a sense that they refer to different angles of the same thing which is at the front of the list (Dhamma conduct). Lists of 7 tend to be found in the Abhidhamma.
That is what the Blessed One said. Having said that, the One Well-Gone, the Teacher, further said this:
Like massive boulders,
mountains pressing against the sky,
moving in from all sides,
crushing the four directions,
so aging and death come rolling over living beings:
noble warriors, brahmans, merchants,
workers, outcastes, & scavengers.
They spare nothing.
They trample everything.
The view of self appears to be what gives mara the lord of death (equivalent to the use of the term satin in the Jewish Tradition, not the Christian view thereof)
View the world, Mogharaja, as empty —
always mindful to have removed any view about self.
This way one is above & beyond death.
This is how one views the world so as not to be seen by Death's king.3
Or as the Buddha said elsewhere
Formations truly are transient, their nature to arise and cease;
Having arisen, they then subside, This calming and cessation—happiness.4
Here elephant troops can hold no ground,
nor can chariots or infantry,
nor can a battle of wits or wealth win out.
This passage has similarities to other passages referring to nibbana
Mendicants, there is that place where there is no earth, water, fire, nor air; no place consisting of the infinity of space, of the infinity of consciousness, of nothingness,
nor of neither-perception-nor-non-perception;
neither this world nor another world or both; neither sun or moon.
Mendicants, here, I say there is no coming, no going,
no staying, no passing away, nor re-arising.
Without help, not existing, free from turmoil, unsupported.
Just this, is the end of stress.5
Although this is not a common verse found within the canon it is found in other places and the King may of know of it and be able to connect the two.
The Buddha may have been saying that all worldly things cease in the same way, they can not be protected, but with the ending of stress is something which no-one can take away (speculative context)
So a wise person,
seeing his own good, steadfast, secures confidence
in the Buddha, Dhamma, & Sangha.
One who practices the Dhamma
in thought, word, & deed,
receives praise here on earth
and after death rejoices in heaven.
These last two verses seam to indicate the four factors of stream entry so the rejoicing in heaven seams a contrast to this suttas description of
At Savatthi. There the Blessed One said, "Monks, even though a wheel-turning emperor, having exercised sovereign lordship over the four continents, on the break-up of the body, after death, reappears in the good destination, the heavenly world, in the company of the devas of the Thirty-three, and enjoys himself there in the Nandana grove, surrounded by a consort of nymphs, supplied and endowed with the five strings of heavenly sensual pleasure, still — because he is not endowed with four qualities — he is not freed from [the possibility of going to] hell, not freed from the animal womb, not freed from the realm of hungry shades, not freed from the plane of deprivation, the bad destinations, the lower realms.
"And even though a disciple of the noble ones lives off lumps of alms food and wears rag-robes, still — because he is endowed with four qualities — he is freed from hell, freed from the animal womb, freed from the realm of hungry shades, freed from the plane of deprivation, the bad destinations, the lower realms.
There is the case where the disciple of the noble ones is endowed with verified confidence in the Awakened One
"He/she is endowed with verified confidence in the Dhamma:
"He/she is endowed with verified confidence in the Sangha:
"He/she is endowed with virtues that are appealing to the noble ones:6
This may appear to be a contrast to the worldly (sensual) enjoyments of the former wheel turning monarch.
"And between the gaining of the four continents and the gaining of these four qualities, the gaining of the four continents is not equal to one sixteenth of the gaining of these four qualities."
[The mathematical sequence may follow a set pattern, as noted by Venerable Analayo in one of his comparative lectures (first group of 20 suttas).]
These lines show that a stream winner may actually gain more pleasure by continuing to live as they did when they were in the human realm, having found greater pleasure in renunciation (one of the Upright Intentions)
The gaining of a greater pleasure by giving up a lesser one is quite a common If, by forsaking a limited ease, he would see an abundance of ease, the enlightened man would forsake the limited ease for the sake of the abundant.7
and is seen in the practice of meditation over and over again in the form of the Jhanas. However, there is another sutta which details aiming for the supreme goal by practicing for sensual pleasure of a finer form than one could obtain in this world
The monks heard, "They say that Ven. Nanda — the Blessed One's brother,
son of his maternal aunt — is leading the holy life for the sake of nymphs.
They say that the Blessed One is his guarantee for getting 500 dove-footed nymphs."
Then the monks who were friends of Ven. Nanda went around
addressing him as they would a hired hand and a dealer:
"Our friend Nanda, they say, is a hired hand.
Our friend Nanda, they say, is a dealer.
He's leading the holy life for the sake of nymphs.
The Blessed One is his guarantee for getting 500 dove-footed nymphs."
Then Ven. Nanda — humiliated, ashamed, and disgusted that the monks
who were his friends were addressing him as they would a hired hand and a dealer -
went to dwell alone, secluded, heedful, ardent, and resolute.
He in no long time entered and
remained in the supreme goal of the holy life
for which clansmen rightly go forth from home into homelessness,
knowing and realizing it for himself in the here and now.
He knew: "Birth is ended, the holy life fulfilled, the task done.
There is nothing further for the sake of this world."
And thus Ven. Nanda became another one of the arahants.…
Then, when the night had passed, Ven. Nanda went to the Blessed One and,
on arrival, having bowed down to him, sat to one side.
As he was sitting there, he said to the Blessed One:
"Lord, about the Blessed One's being my guarantee for getting 500 dove-footed nymphs,
I hereby release the Blessed One from that promise."8
This shows having high spiritual ideals does not always mean we are capable of living up to the duties of gaining the highest goal, we may see things which are more appealing so are can not overcome them due to their allure, but taking a more apparent or lesser goal may be useful to practising fully what we were earlier unable to.
As mentioned in the footnotes to the Raja Sutta there appears in the Dhammapada what could be a summary of the final verse
Sole dominion over the earth, going to heaven, lordship over all worlds:
the fruit of stream-entry excels them.9
This also demonstrates that the benefits of being on the path is superior than the benefits of the worldly pleasures that can be attained in any realm.
1 "Visakha Sutta: To Visakha" (Ud 8.8), translated from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu. Access to Insight, May 24, 2009, http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/kn/ud/ud.8.08.than.html (Offline Edition 2009.10.25.17).
2 "Pabbatopama Sutta: The Simile of the Mountains" (SN 3.25), translated from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu. Access to Insight, 12 February 2012, http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn03/sn03.025.than.html . Retrieved on 29 February 2012.
3 "Mogharaja-manava-puccha: Mogharaja's Question" (Snp 5.15), translated from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu. Access to Insight, 11 July 2010, http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/kn/snp/snp.5.15.than.html . Retrieved on 29 February 2012.
4 DN16 Translated from the pali by Cittasanto
5 Udana 8.1 Translated from the Pali by Cittasanto"
6 "Raja Sutta: The Emperor" (SN 55.1), translated from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu. Access to Insight, 1 July 2010, http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn55/sn55.001.than.html . Retrieved on 29 February 2012."
7 "Pakinnakavagga: Miscellany" (Dhp XXI), Verse 290, translated from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu. Access to Insight, 19 September 2010, http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/kn/dhp/dhp.21.than.html . Retrieved on 29 February 2012.
8 "Nanda Sutta: About Nanda" (Ud 3.2), translated from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu. Access to Insight, 8 July 2010, http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/kn/ud/ud.3.02.than.html . Retrieved on 29 February 2012.
9 "Lokavagga: Worlds" (Dhp XIII), Verse 178, translated from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu. Access to Insight, 19 September 2010, http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/kn/dhp/dhp.13.than.html . Retrieved on 29 February 2012.