Majjhima Nikaya


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Majjhima Nikaya
II. Majjhima Pannasa
1. Gahapati 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 56

Upali Suttam

A Jain's Conversion

 


[371] [267]

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

Once when the Lord was staying Nalanda in Pavarika's mango-grove, Nataputta the Nigantha was at Nalanda with a great following of Niganthas.

After his round for alms in the city,
the Nigantha Digha Tapassi, having finished his meal,
betook him to the grove where the Lord was,
[372] and there after courteous greetings
stood to one side.

As he stood, the Lord said to him:

There is sitting room, Tapassi;
be seated, if you will.

So the Nigantha sat down on a low seat
and was addressed by the Lord as follows:

How many kinds of acts, Tapassi,
effect and start Demerit,
according to Nataputta the Nigantha?

It is not his usage, Gotama,
to employ the term acts;
he speaks of inflictions (danda[1]).

How many kinds of inflictions,
according to him,
effect and start Demerit?

Three, Gotama, -
those of deed,
word,
and mind.

Are these three distinct
each from the other two?

Yes.

Which of the three kinds
in this classification
does Nataputta declare to be the most criminal
in effecting and starting Demerit?

Those of deed, -
the other two being less criminal.

Those of deed you say, Tapassi?

Yes.

Those of deed you say?

Yes.

Those of deed you say?

Yes.

[268] In this wise
did the Lord three times
pin the Nigantha down to the issue.

[373] At this point Digha Tapassi the Nigantha said to the Lord:

And how many kinds of inflictions,
according to you, Gotama,
effect and start Demerit?

It is not the Truth-finders usage, Tapassi,
to employ the term inflictions;
he speaks of acts.

How many kinds of acts,
according to you,
effect and start Demerit?

Three, Tapassi, -
those of deed,
word,
and mind.

Are these three distinct
each from the other two?

Yes.

Which of the three kinds
in this classification
do you declare to be the most criminal, Gotama,
in effecting and starting Demerit?

Those of mind, -
the other two being less criminal.

Those of mind you say, Gotama?

Yes.

Those of mind you say?

Yes.

Those of mind you say?

Yes.

In this wise did Digha Tapassi the Nigantha
pin the Lord down to the issue.

Then he rose up and went off to Nataputta the Nigantha,
who was sitting among a large gathering of lay-folk
from the village of Balaka (noodle)
with Upali at their head.

When Nataputta saw Digha Tapassi a little way off,
he asked where he had come from in the heat of the day
and was told he had been with the recluse Gotama.

Asking next whether he had had a talk with him,
[374]
and learning that he had,
Nataputta enquired what had been their topic.

On being told the whole conversation, Nataputta said:

Quite right, Tapassi; quite right.

You answered Gotama like a well-informed disciple
who understands his master's teachings.

For, what show can minds infliction make
as compared with the stupendous inflictions of deed?

Yes; the inflictions of deed
are the most criminal
in effecting and starting Demerit, -
those of word and mind being less criminal!

Said the householder Upali at this point:

Quite right, Tapassi; quite right.

You answered Gotama like a well-informed disciple ...
less criminal.

And [269] now I am off
to refute Gotama on this issue.

If he takes his stand with me
on the lines taken up by him
with the right reverend Tapassi,
then, point by point,
will I shake him to and fro
and haul him about ...
(etc., as in Sutta No. 35)
... [375] so will I disport myself with the recluse Gotama.

I am off to refute him on this issue.

Go then, householder,
and refute him on the issue.

I or Digha Tapassi, or you can do that.

Said Tapassi at this point:

I do not like Upali's going to refute Gotama,
who is a cozening person,
expert in seducing others' disciples over to himself.

It is quite impossible and inconceivable, Tapassi,
that Upali should go over to be a disciple of Gotama;
what is possible
is that Gotama will come over to be a disciple of Upali!

Go then, householder,
and refute him on the issue.

I or Digha Tapassi, or you can do that.

A second time,Digha Tapassiand even a third timeDigha Tapassidid Tapassi remonstrate, -
only to be met by the same rejoinder from Nataputta.

Yes, sir, I will go and refute him,
said the householder Upali,
as he rose from his seat,
with salutations and profound obeisance to Nataputta the Nigantha,
to betake himself to the Lord
in Pavarika's mango-grove.

[376] Arrived there,
he made his salutations to the Lord
and took his seat to one side,
enquiring whether Digha Tapassi, the Nigantha had been there,
and whether he had had a talk,
and what it had been about.

Having been told by the Lord
all that had passed between them,
Upali said:

Tapassi, sir, was right, quite right.

His answer to the Lord
was that of a well-informed disciple
who understands his masters teachings.

For, what show can mind's infliction make
as compared with the stupendous inflictions of deed?

Yes; the inflictions of deed
are the most criminal
in effecting and starting Demerit, -
those of word and mind being less criminal!

If, householder, you were to speak
as one grounded in the Truth,
we might have a talk about it.

[270] I will speak as one grounded in the Truth, sir;
let us have a talk about it.

What think you, householder?

Take the case of a Nigantha
who, being sick and ill,
very ill indeed,
refuses cold water[2]
and will only take warm water,
so that he dies
in the act of refusing to touch cold water.

Where, according to Nataputta the Nigantha,
will he be reborn next?

There are gods, sir, called Mind's devotees;
and it is among these
that he is reborn.

And why?

Because he dies in devotion to an idea.

Householder! householder!

Take heed what you are saying.

What went before
does not tally with what comes later,
nor does what comes later
tally with what went before.

And yet you represented you could speak
as one grounded in the Truth
and able to discuss it.

Albeit the Lord says this, yet the inflictions of deed
are the most criminal
in effecting and starting Demerit, -
those of word and mind being less criminal.

What think you, [377] householder?

instinct with. Powered by, charged with, motivated by, filled with.

p.p. explains it all - p.p.

Take the case of a Nigantha
who, being restrained with the restraint of the fourfold check,
resists evil with every form of resistance,
is absorbed in resisting evil,
has shaken off evil by resistance,
and is instinct with the spirit of resistance to evil.

Suppose now that,
in going out or in coming in,
he destroys the lives of numerous tiny creatures.

What, according to Nataputta,
is the result to which this ripens?

He says it is unintentional
and therefore not criminal.

But if it be intentional?

Then it is criminal indeed.

Where does Nataputta classify intention?

In inflictions of mind.

Householder! Householder! ... being less criminal.

[271] What think you, householder?

Is this city of Nalanda rich and wealthy,
populous and crowded with folk?

Yes, sir, it is.

What think you, householder?

Suppose there came a man with a drawn sword
who declared that he would -
in an instant,
in a second -
make all Nalanda's living beings
into one heap
and one mass of flesh.

Could he do it?

Why, ten, or twenty, or thirty, or forty, or fifty men could not do it.

What kind of a show
could one sorry individual make alone?

What think you, householder?

Suppose there came along a recluse or brahmin of super-normal powers
and psychic attainments
who said he would make Nalanda into a cinder
by a single paroxysm of mental wrath.

Could he do it?

[378] Yes, - ten, twenty, thirty, forty, or fifty Nalandas.

What kind of a show
could one sorry Nalanda make alone?

Householder ! Householder! ... being less criminal.

What think you, householder?

Have you ever heard tell
who made the wildernesses of Dandaka and Kalinga and Mejjha and Matanga?

I have heard it was done by sages' paroxysms of mental wrath.

Householder! householder!

Take heed what you are saying.

What went before
does not tally writh what comes later,
nor does what comes later
tally with what went before.

And yet you represented
you could speak as one grounded in the Truth
and able to discuss it.

I was pleased and won over
by the very first of the Lord's illustrations;
it was only because I wanted to listen
to his nimble versatility in questioning
that I thought I must maintain a hostile attitude.

Wonderful, sir; wonderful!

Just as a man might set upright again
what had been cast down ... [379] while life lasts.

Proceed circumspectly, householder;
it behoves well-known men like yourself
to be circumspect.

Still more am I pleased and won over
by the Lord's last remark.

For, if those of other creeds had secured me as an adherent,
they would keep on parading their banner round Nalanda
to announce that I had joined them.

But all the Lord does
is to counsel me to proceed circumspectly,
as it behoves well-known men like myself
to be circumspect!

For the second time
I betake myself to the Lord as my refuge
and to his Doctrine
and to his Confraternity,
asking him to accept me as a follower
who has found an abiding refuge
from this day onward while life lasts.

For a long time, householder,
your family has been an unfailing well-spring for Niganthas;
you will bethink you
to continue your alms to them
when they come to your doors.

Still more am I pleased and won over
by the Lord's last remark.

What I had heard
was that you had laid it down
that gifts were to be given exclusively to you
and your disciples
but never to others
and their disciples,
and that, while there was an abundant blessing
on what was bestowed on you and yours,
no blessing on what was bestowed elsewhere.

Yet, now the Lord is urging me
to include the Niganthas as well
in my bounty, -
a matter in which I shall observe the proper occasion.

For the third time I betake myself ... while life lasts.

Then the Lord delivered a progressive discourse to Upali,
namely, on giving,
on virtue,
on heaven,
on the perils of
vanity
and foulness
of pleasures of sense,
and on the gains to be won
by renouncing worldly things.

As soon as the Lord recognized
Upali's heart to have become [380] sound
and malleable
and free from the Hindrances,
uplifted and believing,
then he unfolded the exposition of the Doctrine
which only the Enlightened have elaborated, -
regarding Ill
and its origin
and its cessation
and the Path.

Just as spotless cloth
without speck or stain
will readily take the dye,
even so, while he was sitting there,
did the householder Upali
come by the pure and spotless Eye Of Truth
so that he realized how
whatsoever has a [273] beginning
must have an end.

When that he had thus seen,
won, grasped, and penetrated the Doctrine,
when he had passed beyond all doubt
and had left all questionings behind him,
when certitude was his
and a direct personal conviction in the Masters teachings, -
Upali said to the Lord
that now he must begoing,
as he had much to do and attend to.

At your own good time, answered the Lord.

Then with grateful thanks to the Lord,
Upali rose,
saluted him,
and with profound obeisance
betook himself to his own abode.

Arrived there,
he said to the porter:

From to-day onward
I close my doors to male and female Niganthas;
they are open only to men and women
who are the Lord's disciples
or lay-followers.

If any Nigantha comes here,
stop him and don't let him in,
but tell him that I have from to-day
gone over to be a follower of the recluse Gotama;
that I have closed my doors to male and female Niganthas;
that my doors are open only
to men and women who are the Lord's disciples
or lay-followers;
and that, if he wants alms,
he should stop where he is
and it will be brought to him.

Very good, sir,
replied the porter to his master Upali.

When it reached the ears of the Nigantha Digha Tapassi,
that Upali had gone over to be a follower of the recluse Gotama,
away he went to Nataputta with the news.

It is quite impossible, Tapassi,
said Nataputta,
that this could happen;
what is possible
is for the recluse Gotama to go over
to be a disciple of the householder Upali.

scout3. To address scornfully, derisively.

p.p. explains it all - p.p.

[381] A second time,
and yet a third time,
did Tapassi report the fact,
only to be scouted as before
by Nataputta.

Shall I go, sir, said Tapassi,
and ascertain for myself
whether or no Upali has gone over?

Yes, do, said Nataputta.

So Tapassi betook him to Upali's abode.

Seeing him coming some way off,
Upali's porter stopped him
and would not let him in,
telling that his master had [274] from to-day
gone over to be a follower of the recluse Gotama;
that he had closed his doors to male and female Niganthas;
that his doors were open only to men and women who were the Lords disciples
or lay-followers;
but that, if Tapassi wanted alms,
he should stop where he was
and food would be brought to him.

No, sir; I do not want alms, rejoined Tapassi,
who then turned back to Nataputta
and reported that as follows:

It is quite true, sir,
that Upali has gone over to Gotama.

I told you I did not like the idea of Upali's going to refute Gotama -
who is a cozening person,
expert in seducing others' disciples over to himself,
and has indeed succeeded with Upali.

It is quite impossible and inconceivable, Tapassi,
that Upali should go over to be a disciple of Gotama;
what is possible
is that Gotama will come over to be a disciple of Upali.

A second time,
and yet a third time,
did Tapassi repeat his statement,
only to be answered as before by Nataputta,
[382] - who at last added
that he would go and ascertain for himself
whether or no Upali had gone over.

Hereupon, Nataputta betook him
with a large train of Niganthas
to Upali's abode.

Seeing him coming some way off,
Upali's porter ... food would be brought him.

My good porter,
go to the householder Upali
and tell him that Nataputta the Nigantha
with a large train of Niganthas
is standing in the gateway to see him.

Yes, sir, said the porter and took the message to his master,
who directed him to put seats in the hall
by the middle door of the house.

When this had been duly done
and reported to him,
Upali [383] proceeded to that hall
and sat himself on the finest, best, and choicest seat there,
telling the porter now
to tell Nataputta he could come in if he wanted to.

This message having been faithfully conveyed to him,
Nataputta made his way into the hall
with his large train of Niganthas.

As he saw Nataputta advancing,
the [275] householder Upali went to meet him
and invite him to be seated,
ostentatiously dusting with his robe
the finest, best, and choicest seat,
and then promptly sitting down on it himself -
as he said to Nataputta:

There are seats available, sir;
be seated, if you will.

Hereon Nataputta said to Upali:

You are a dolt and a dullard, householder.

After proclaiming that you would go and refute the recluse Gotama,
you retired from the encounter in great discomfiture.

When you sallied forth
you were going to refute Gotama
and to return triumphant
like a gelder who successfully returns with a pair of testicles removed
or the gouger who returns with a pair of eyeballs excised; -
instead of which you retire from the encounter
in great discomfiture yourself,
cozened by Gotama's wizardry.

Excellent, sir, and lovely
is that wizardry of his!

Were my dear kith and kin but cozened by that same wizardry,
it would be to their abiding weal and welfare too!

If all Nobles were so cozened,
it would be to their abiding [384] weal and welfare too, -
as also it would be for all brahmins
and middle-class men
and peasants too,
yea for all the world,
with its gods, Maras, Brahmas,
recluses and brahmins,
embracing all gods and mankind!

Accordingly, I will give you an illustration;
for, an illustration often helps an intelligent person
to understand the meaning of what is said.

Once on a time, sir,
there was an old and aged brahmin,
well advanced in years,
who had a young brahmin wife
who was with child
and nearing her confinement.

She besought her husband
to buy in the bazaar, and bring home,
a young monkey to amuse her child.

You had better wait, my dear,
replied the brahmin,
till your baby has been born.

Then, if it is a boy,
I will buy you a young male monkey
for him to play with,
or a young female monkey,
if you have a girl.

A second time the wife pressed her request
and a second time got the same answer from her husband.

But when she asked him a third time,
he, because of [276] his passion for his young wife,
went away to the bazaar
and bought a young male monkey
which [385] he presented to his wife
for her baby boy to play with.

Now go, said she,
to Ratta-pani the dyer
and tell him you want this young monkey dyed a bright yellow,
thoroughly pressed all over,
and suppled both inside and out.

Because of his passion for his young wife,
the brahmin took the monkey to the dyer's
and asked that all this should be done, -
only to receive the answer that,
though the monkey could be dyed,
it could not stand being pressed and suppled.

It is just the same, sir,
with the doctrine of the foolish Niganthas,
which will take colour from fools
though not from the wise,
but will not stand practice or suppling.

Later on, sir, that same brahmin
came to that dyer with a couple of lengths of new cloth
to be dyed a bright yellow,
thoroughly pressed all over,
and suppled both inside and out.

And the dyer told him
that his new cloth could not only be dyed
but also pressed and suppled inside and out.

It is just the same, sir,
with the Doctrine of the Lord,
Arahat all-enlightened,
which will not only take colour -
from the wise,
though not from fools -
but will also stand practice and suppling.

Householder, this gathering,
including the rulers present,
was under the impression you were a follower of Nataputta the Nigantha.

Whose follower are we to consider you?

At these words the householder Upali
arose from his seat
and, with his outer robe over one shoulder
and the other bared,
[386] stretched forth folded palms of obeisance
in the direction where the Lord was,
and said to Nataputta the Nigantha:

Hear then whose follower I am!

I follow him, high Wisdoms faultless lord,
whose mind is till'd, triumphant o'er his foes,
purged of besetting Ill, stedfast in poise,
in virtue stablished, wisest of the wise,
trampling down passion, Lord immaculate.

[277] I follow him, whose tranquil mind serene,
by doubts untroubled, earthly joys disdains,
saintly and sainted, human, made like men,
yet peerless, Lord of utter purity.

I follow him, certain guide and sure,
foremost of teachers, matchless charioteer,
pride's potent queller, Victor, Lord of all.

I follow him of boundless might, profound
in insight, bringing peace, in lore adept,
self-masterd, freedom's Lord emancipate,

I follow him, who lives aloof, alone,
whose bonds are broken, who in freedom dwells,
error's refuter, spotless, meek, unstained
by passion, Lord of high self-mastery.

I follow him, of seven Sages last,[3]
Being consummate, versed in threefold lore,
thoughts school'd accomplished master absolute,
potent Lord who storms the citadel.[4]

I follow him whose noble culture won
perfection, truth's exponent, quick to see
and store, - eschewing pleasure, not its thrall,
the Lord beyond all cravings, passion-free.

I follow him, the blameless, rapt in thought,
whose undefiled heart no trammels knows
nor bondage, void of littleness, detach'd,
consummate Lord who 0 er the Flood has passed
and pilots in his train mankind across.

I follow him, th'unshackled, infinite
in wisdom, covetous of naught, who comes
to bless, Truth-finder without peer, the sole
and peerless, Lord of subtle mind abstruse.

I follow him of all-enlightend mind,
from cravings cleansed, unclouded, clear, undimmed,
[278] of meet oblations worthy,[5] chief of men,
th'unequalled Lord of majesty supreme.

Pray, when, householder,
did you compose this eulogy of the recluse Gotama?

Like [387] a vast heap of divers flowers, sir,
from which a skilled garland-maker
or his apprentice
might weave a garland manifold, -
even so in the Lord
there is full many a beauty,
yes, many hundreds of beauties,
to praise.

Who will refuse praise where praise is due?

Then and there,
from the mouth of Nataputta the Nigantha,
who could not bear to hear the Lord extolled, -
there gushed hot blood.[6]

 


[1] Lit. stick, and so penalty. At S.B.E. XLV, pp. xvi-xvii, Jacobi suggests sins, while Jaini at p. xxxi of Outlines speaks of hurtful acts. Bu. here says the Jain idea was that citta (the mano-danda) did not come into bodily acts or into words, - which were irresponsible and mechanical, like the stirring and soughing of boughs in the wind.

[2] The Jains do not drink cold water because of the jivas, or souls in it. See Dial. 1, 74-5 for this and for what follows. Bu. explains sabba-vari-varito here not only with reference to cold water, but also (alternatively) as sabbena papa-varanena, which is adopted in the translation infra.

[3] See list of the seven Buddhas in the 14th Sutta of the Digha Nikaya (Dial. II, 2-7). This pioneer list was amplified later (Jataka I, 44) by inventing eighteen extra predecessors for Gotama, so that he became the twenty-fifth. The Jain Mahavira had twenty-three predecessors.

[4] I.e. Indra or Sakka. The Buddhist commy. interprets this as Sakka who gave gifts in one earlier existence after another. Cf. Burlinghame's Buddhist Legends, Part I, p. 314.

[5] Lit. a yakkha (or fairy) worthy to receive oblations, - the term yakkha being applied to Gotama here as it is applied to the great Sakka in Sutta No. 37.

[6] Here, as elsewhere, the Buddhist Canon makes Nataputta pre-decease Gotama. These symptoms, like those of the equally ascetic Devadatta, suggest rupture of the pulmonary bloodvessels. Bu. says here that Nataputta was carried away on a litter to Pava, where he died shortly afterwards.


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