This sutta is identical with SN 10:3.
In have heard that on one occasion the Blessed One was staying in Gayā at Ṭaṁkitamañca, the haunt of Suciloma [NeedleHair] the yakkha. And on that occasion Khara [Rough] the yakkha and Suciloma the yakkha passed by not far from the Blessed One.
Khara the yakkha said to Suciloma the yakkha, “That’s a contemplative.”
“That’s not a contemplative. That’s a fake contemplative. I’ll find out whether that’s a contemplative or a fake contemplative.”
So Suciloma the yakkha approached the Blessed One and on arrival leaned his body up against the Blessed One. The Blessed One leaned his body away. So Suciloma the yakkha said to the Blessed One, “Are you afraid of me, contemplative?”
“No, I’m not afraid of you, friend, just that your touch is evil.”
“I will ask you a question, contemplative. If you can’t answer me, I will hurl out your mind or rip open your heart or, grabbing you by the feet, hurl you across the Ganges.”
“My friend, I see no one in the cosmos with its devas, Māras, & Brahmās, its contemplatives & brahmans, its royalty & commonfolk, who could hurl out my mind or rip open my heart or, grabbing me by the feet, hurl me across the Ganges. But nevertheless, ask me what you wish.”
So Suciloma the yakkha addressed the Blessed One in verse:
Passion & aversion
come from what cause?
are born from what?
Arising from what
do thoughts fling the mind around,
as boys, a (captive) crow?
Passion & aversion
come from this1 as a cause;
are born from this;
arising from this
thoughts fling the mind around,
as boys, a (captive) crow:
They’re born from affection
arisen from the mind,
like the trunk-born (shoots)
of a banyan tree,
thick, attached to sensuality,
like a māluva vine spread in a forest.
Those who discern where it’s born
drive it out—listen, yakkha!
They cross over this flood,
so hard to cross,
never crossed before,
for the sake of no further becoming.
1. According to SnA, “this” is one’s own self-state (attabhāva), left unidentified in the verse. However, it seems more likely that “this” refers to the affection born, in turn, from one’s own mind/self (see note 2) as mentioned after the simile of the boys with the captive crow. See DN 21, Sn 4:11, and the introduction to MN 18.
2. “The mind, oneself”: Two meanings of the word, attan.