Majjhima Nikaya


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Majjhima Nikaya
I. Mulapannasa
4. Maha Yamaka Vagga

Sacred Books of the Buddhists
Volume V
Dialogues of the Buddha
Part IV

Further Dialogues of the Buddha
Volume I

Translated from the Pali
by Lord Chalmers, G.C.B.
Sometime Governor of Ceylon

London
Humphrey Milford
Oxford University Press
1926
Public Domain

Sutta 32

Maha-Gosinga Suttam

The Shining Light

 


 

[1][pts][ntbb][upal] THUS have I heard:

Once when the Lord was staying in Gosinga wood where the sal-trees stand,
in the company of the reverend Sariputta,
the reverend Maha-Moggallana,
the reverend Maha-Kassapa,
the reverend Anuruddha,
the reverend Revata,
the reverend Ananda,
and many other Elders and disciples of eminence.

Rising up at eventide from his meditations,
Maha-Moggallana went to Maha-Kassapa
with the suggestion that they should go to hear Sariputta expound.

Accordingly, with Anuruddha,
these went off;
and Ananda, seeing their reverences start off,
got Revata to follow with him to hear Sariputta.

Seeing Ananda and Revata approaching at a distance,
Sariputta bade Ananda draw near,
welcoming him as the Lords attendant and companion, and saying:

Fair is Gosinga wood in the clear moonlight,
with the sal-trees loaded with blossom,
with heaven's perfumes, methinks, wafted around!

What type of Almsman would illumine Gosinga wood?

Take an Almsman, answered Ananda,
who has been taught much,
who treasures and hoards what he has been taught,
who learns and knows by heart
the ideas which, beginning aright
and proceeding aright
and ending aright,
both in letter and in spirit,
declare the higher life
in all its perfection and purity,
who with his lips repeats these ideas,
scrutinizes them with his mind,
plumbs them with his philosophy,
and preaches them both to Almsmen and Almswomen
and to the faithful laity of both sexes
with an exposition which is at once comprehensive,
precise,
and fluent,
so as to eradicate propensities.

Such an Almsman, reverend Sariputta,
would illumine Gosinga wood.

[154] Hereupon, Sariputta said to Revata:

Ananda has expressed his view;
what would be your answer to my question?

Take an Almsman, answered Revata,
who delights in meditation
and whose delight is therein,
who is set on tranquillizing his heart within him,
who scorns not the Ecstasies,
who is endowed with discernment,
and has his habitation in the abodes of solitude; -
such an Almsman, reverend Sariputta,
would illumine Gosinga wood.

With the same question put to him,
Anuruddha made this answer: -

Take an Almsman who with the Eye Celestial,
which is pure and excels the human eye,
surveys a thousand worlds,
even as a man with eyes to see
might mount to the topmost height of a palace
and survey thence
a thousand concentric distances
girdling him round; -
such an Almsman, reverend Sariputta,
would illumine Gosinga wood.

In his turn, Maha-Kassapa made this answer:

Take an Almsman who, himself living in the forest,
commends the forest life to others;
who, himself subsisting on alms begged,
commends subsistence on alms to others;
who, himself clad in rags from the dust-heap,
commends to others the wearing of such rags;
who, himself owning but three garments,
commends the like limitation to others;
who, himself having few wants,
commends the like temperance to others;
who, contented himself,
commends contentment to others;
who, a solitary himself,
commends solitude to others;
who, himself shunning lay society,
commends the like reserve to others;
who, strenuous himself,
commends the strenuous life to others;
who, virtuous himself,
commends the life of virtue to others;
who, having won rapt concentration for himself,
exhorts others to win it too;
who, having won wisdom for himself,
exhorts others to win it too;
who, having won Deliverance for himself,
exhorts others to win it too;
who, having himself won the knowledge and the vision
which Deliverance gives,
exhorts others to win [155] the same. -
Such an Almsman, reverend Sariputta,
would illumine Gosinga wood.

Lastly, turning to Maha-Moggallana,
Sariputta put the same question to him,
and he made this answer:

Take two Almsmen who hold discourse on quintessential Doctrine (abhidhamma);
they put questions one to the other,
furnishing answers and not collapsing,
but gaining edification by their talk on doctrine; -
such an Almsman, reverend Sariputta,
would illumine Gosinga wood.

Moggallana added that, now all of them had expressed their views,
they would like to hear Sariputta's.

Moggallana, said he,
let us take an Almsman who is master of his heart
and is not under its mastery.

He chooses the plane of thought
in which he wishes to dwell in the morning,
and in that precise plane in the morning he dwells; -
and so for the midday
and for the eventide.

It is just as if a King or great noble,
with a clothes-chest filled with clothes of divers colours,
were in the morning to wear the suit he had selected for morning wear;
at midday to wear the suit he had selected for midday wear;
and at eventide to wear the suit he had chosen for the evening; -
in just the same way the Almsman is master of his heart ...
for the eventide. -
Such an Almsman, reverend Moggallana,
would illumine Gosinga wood.

Now that we have all of us expressed our views, added Sariputta,
let us go to the Lord
and lay the matter before him,
treasuring up as final
what he may declare.

The others assenting,
to the Lord they went
and after due obeisance
took their seats to one side,
while Sariputta described the visit of the others to hear him expound,
and repeated his question to Ananda
as to the Brother who would illumine Gosinga wood,
together with Ananda's answer.

Good, Sariputta,
very good.

Ananda has given the best answer he could.

For, Ananda is one who has been taught much,
who treasures ...
to eradicate propensities.

Then Sariputta gave Revata's answer,
and the Lord [156] said: -

Good, Sariputta,
very good.

Revata has given the best answer he could.

For, Revata is one who delights in meditation ...
abodes of solitude.

Next, Sariputta gave Anuruddha's answer,
and the Lord said:

Good, Sariputta,
very good.

Anuruddha has given the best answer he could.

For, Anuruddha is one who with the Eye Celestial ...
girdling him round.

Hereupon, Sariputta gave Maha-Kassapa's answer,
and the Lord said:

Good, Sariputta,
very good.

Kassapa has given the best answer he could.

For, Kassapa is one who, himself living in the forest, ...
exhorts others to win the same.

Lastly, Sariputta gave Maha-Moggallana's answer,
and the Lord said:

Good, Sariputta,
very good.

Moggallana has given the best answer he could.

For Moggallana expounds doctrine.

Then Maha-Moggallana related to the Lord how,
when they had all expressed their several views,
they had asked Sariputta for his own answer;
and he repeated to the Lord the answer Sariputta had given.

Said the Lord:

Good, Moggallana, very good.

Sariputta has given the best answer he could.

For, Sariputta is master of his heart ...
for the eventide.

At this point the venerable Sariputta asked who had spoken well.

All of you, said the Lord, have spoken well,
each in his turn.

Now hear from me what type of Almsman would illumine Gosinga wood.

Take an Almsman who, after his meal on return from his round for alms,
seats himself,
with legs crossed,
with body upright,
with mindfulness on the alert,
and with the resolve not to leave his seat
till, by starving them of subsistence,
his heart is Delivered from Cankers.

Such an Almsman, Sariputta, would illumine Gosinga wood.

Thus spoke the Lord.

Glad at heart, these reverend ones rejoiced in what the Lord had said.


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