Sacred Text Reading Group
Date(s) - 01/30/2021
4:00 pm - 5:00 pm

A weekly online sacred text reading group with Amy

Using a spiritual-practice approach, in each session we will explore a different brief scriptural text in depth. The aims of the sessions are educational (learning something about the texts and traditions), spiritual/moral (discovering what the texts ask of us), and community-building (getting to know each other better). Amy will have a version of the text available to share; “bring” your own if you like. All are welcome, as are your suggestions of future texts. About half our readings so far have been those suggested by group members.

Our text for Saturday, January 30, is a poem from the Majjhima Nikaya 131, from Theravada Buddhism (the Pali canon). The most literal translation of the Pali word ahoratta may be “day and night.”

Here are four translations:


Bhikkhu Bodhi’s version:

A Single Excellent Night

Let me not revive the past

Or on the future build my hopes;

For the past has been left behind

And the future has not been reached.

Instead with insight let me see

Each presently arisen state;

Let me know that and be sure of it,

Invincibly, unshakeably.

Today the effort must be made;

Tomorrow Death may come, who knows?

No bargain with Mortality

Can keep him and his hordes away,

But one who dwells thus ardently,

Relentlessly, by day, by night—

It is he, the Peaceful Sage has said,

Who has had a single excellent night.


by Gil Fronsdal:

An Auspicious Day

Don’t chase the past

Or long for the future.

The past is left behind;

The future is not yet reached.

Have insight into whatever phenomenon is present,

Right where it is;

Not faltering and not agitated,

By knowing whatever is present

One develops the mind.

Ardently do what should be done today–

Who knows, death may come tomorrow.

There is no bargaining with Mortality

And his great army.

Whoever dwells thus ardent,

–active day and night–

Is, says the peaceful sage,

One who has an auspicious day.


by Thanissaro Bhikkhu:

An Auspicious Day

You shouldn’t chase after the past or place expectations on the future. What is past is left behind. The future is as yet unreached. Whatever quality is present you clearly see right there, right there. Not taken in, unshaken, that’s how you develop the heart. Ardently doing what should be done today, for — who knows? — tomorrow death. There is no bargaining with Mortality & his mighty horde. Whoever lives thus ardently, relentlessly both day & night, has truly had an auspicious day: so says the Peaceful Sage.  


And by Ñanananda:

The Ideal Lover of Solitude

Let one not trace back the past
Or yearn for the future-yet-to-come.
That which is past is left behind
Unattained is the “yet-to-come.”
But that which is present he discerns —
With insight as and when it comes.

The Immovable — the-non-irritable.

In that state should the wise one grow

Today itself should one bestir

Tomorrow death may come — who knows?

For no bargain can we strike

With Death who has his mighty hosts.

But one who dwells thus ardently

By day, by night, untiringly

Him the Tranquil Sage has called

The Ideal Lover of Solitude.


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