Majjhima Nikaya


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Majjhima Nikaya
II. Majjhima-Pannasa
5. Brahmana Vagga

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

Further Dialogues of the Buddha
Volume II

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

London
Humphrey Milford
Oxford University Press
1927
Public Domain

Sutta 97

Dhananjani Suttam

The World's Claims

 


[184] [103]

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

Once when the Lord was staying at Rajagaha
in the Bamboo grove where the squirrels were fed,
the reverend Sariputta was making an alms-pilgrimage
with a great train of Almsmen
among the Southern Hills,
where he was found [185] by an Almsman
who had spent the rainy season at Rajagaha.

After interchange of the greetings of friendliness and civility,
Sariputta enquired after the Master's health
and was told he was well,
as too was the Confraternity, -
and also the brahmin Dhananjani of Tandula-palla Gate in Rajagaha
concerning whose health too Sariputta had made enquiries.

And is the brahmin zealous and earnest? -
asked Sariputta further of the Almsman.

How could earnest zeal possibly dwell in Dhananjani?

He uses the king to fleece the brahmins and householders,
and uses them to fleece the king.

Also, his pious wife
who came of a pious stock
is dead now;
and he has taken to himself another wife
who is not pious
and comes of no pious stock.

This is bad news,
very bad news,
to hear of Dhananjani's lack of zeal.

Perhaps, however, at some time [104] and place
I may meet him;
I should like to have a talk wiih him.

After staying as long as he wanted in the Southern Hills,
Sariputta proceeded on his alms-pilgrimage
till he reached Rajagaha,
where he took up his abode in the Bamboo grove.

Early in the morning,
bowl in hand and duly robed,
he went into Rajagaha for alms,
[186] at a time when the brahmin Dhananjani was out of the city
seeing his cows milked in the byre.

On his return
after his round and meal,
Sariputta sought out the brahmin,
who, seeing him coming,
came to meet him with the remark
that they had time for a draught of milk
before meal-time.

Not so, brahmin.

I have had my meal to-day,
and shall be resting
under the shade of a tree
during the noontide.

Come to me there.

Dhananjani agreed
and after his own meal
joined Sariputta,
seating himself by him after friendly greetings.

Said Sariputta: -

May I rest assured, Dhananjani,
that zeal and earnestness are yours?

How can that be,
when I have to support my parents,
my wife and family,
and my slaves and serving folk;
and have to entertain my acquaintances and friends,
my kith and kin,
and guests,
and have also to provide for my kinsfolk dead and gone,
and for the deities,
and for the king, -
not to speak of supporting myself in meat and drink?

What think you,
Dhananjani?

If we suppose a man who,
for his parents' sake,
has departed from righteousness and equity
and is being hauled off to purgatory by its wardens, -
would it avail him
either to plead on his own behalf
that it was for his parents' sake
that he had departed from righteousness and equity
and that therefore they should not haul him off,
or [187] for his parents to plead
that it was for their sake
he had departed from righteousness and equity?

No; despite all appeals,
the wardens would cast him into purgatory.

[105] Would it avail him either
to plead on his own behalf,
or to have his wife and family plead for him,
that it was for their sake
he had departed from righteousness and equity?

No; despite all appeals,
the wardens would cast him into purgatory.

Would it avail him
if he pleaded his slaves and serving folk?

Not a whit.

Or if he pleaded his friends and acquaintances?

Not a whit.

Or if he pleaded his kith and kin,
or his guests?

Not a whit.

[188] Or if he pleaded his kinsfolk dead and gone,
or the deities,
or his monarch's claims on him?

Not a whit.

Would it avail him to plead on his own behalf
or to have others pleading for him
that it was to support himself in meat and drink
that he departed from righteousness and equity?

No; despite all appeals,
they would cast him into purgatory.

What think you, Dhananjani?

Which is the better man? -

He that for the sake of his parents
departs from righteousness and equity?

Or he that for their sake
walks in righteousness and equity?

The latter.

For, to walk in righteousness and equity
is better than to depart therefrom.

Moreover, Dhananjani,
there are other courses of action
which are justified
and righteous in themselves,
whereby he can support his parents
and yet avoid evil-doing
and walk uprightly.

Now, does the same reasoning apply to the support of wife and family,
[189 -191] and everything else?

It does, Sariputta.

Hereupon, the brahmin
rejoicing in what the reverend Sariputta had said,
thanked him,
rose up and went his way.

A time came when the brahmin Dhananjani,
being ill and in pain and in grave danger,
sent a man [192] [106] to go in his name to the Lord
and, bowing his head at the Lord's feet,
to say how ill he was
and how he bowed his head at the feet of the Lord;
and further to carry the same message to the reverend Sariputta,
with the added request to the latter
to be so good as to come to the house.

The two messages having been duly delivered,
Sariputta came to Dhananjani's house and,
seating himself on the seat set for him,
asked the brahmin whether he was getting better
and able to hold on,
whether his pains were leaving him
and not coming on,
and whether he found himself progressing
and not losing ground with his pain.

Not at all, Sariputta;
I am getting not better but worse;
my pains grow worse and worse;
I am losing ground.

It is just like [198] a strong man
boring my skull with a sword's sharp point,
so violent are the winds which rack my head.

I am getting worse and not better.

My head is racked with violent winds
as though a strong man had twisted a leather thong round my head.

I am getting worse and not better.

My inwards are being pierced through and through by violent winds,
just as if a butcher or his man
were hacking them.

I am getting worse and not better.

So violent is the fire within me
that it is just as though a couple of strong men,
taking a weaker man by both arms,
were to roast and burn him up in a fiery furnace.

No, Sariputta;
I am not getting better but worse;
I am losing ground;
my pains grow on me.

What think you?

Is it better to go to purgatory
or to be reborn as an animal?

The latter.

Is it better to be reborn as an animal
or as a ghost?

The latter.

Is it better to be reborn as a ghost
or as a human being?

The latter.

[194] As a human being
or as one of the Four Regents of the world?

[107] The latter.

As one of the Four Regents
or as one of the Thirty-three Gods?

The latter.

As one of the Thirty-three
or as a God in the Yama heaven?

The latter.

As a God in the Yama
or in the Tusita heaven?

The latter.

As a God in the Tusita
or in the Nimmanarati heaven?

The latter.

As a God in the Nimmanarati
or the Paranimmita-vasavatti heaven?

The latter.

As a God in the Paranimmita-vasavatti heaven
or in the heaven of Brahma?

You speak of the heaven of Brahma!

Ah! the heaven of Brahma!

Thought Sariputta to himself: -

These brahmins' hearts are set on the heaven of Brahma;
I might do well to indicate the path
to union with Brahmas.

Accordingly he said he would indicate it to the brahmin and thus began:

[195] What is the path to union with the Brahmas?

Take the case of an Almsman
who dwells with radiant thoughts of love
pervading one quarter of the world -
a second quarter -
a third quarter -
the fourth quarter;
who dwells with radiant thoughts of love
pervading the whole length and breadth of the world,
above,
below,
around,
everywhere, -
with thoughts of love all-embracing
and vast beyond measure,
untinged by hatred or malice. -

This is a path to union with the Brahmas! -

And as with thoughts of love,
so does the Almsman pervade the whole length and breadth of the world with compassion. -

This is the path to union with Brahmas!

Well, Sariputta,
bow down your head in my name at the Lord's feet
and tell him how ill I am
and that I bow my head at his feet.

[108] After thus stablishing the brahmin's heart
not in the highest things of all
but only in the humble heaven of Brahma,
Sariputta rose
and went his way.

Nor had he been gone long
before the brahmin died and passed away
to a heaven of Brahma.

Said the Lord to the Almsmen: -

Sariputta has risen from his seat and gone his way,
after stablishing the heart of the brahmin Dhananjani
not in the highest things of all
but only in the humble heaven of Brahma.

When Sariputta came up
and delivered the brahmin's message,
the Lord asked him to state
why [196] it was not in the highest things of all
but only in a humble heaven of Brahma
that he had stablished the brahmin's heart
before leaving him.

I thought, sir, that,
as these brahmins' hearts are set on the heaven of Brahma,
I would indicate the path to union with Brahmas.

Yes, and the brahmin has died since, Sariputta,
and has passed away to a heaven of Brahma.


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