Majjhima Nikaya


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Majjhima Nikaya
I. Mulapannasa
3. Tatiya Vagga

The Middle Length Sayings
I. The First Fifty Discourses
3. The Third Division

Sutta 24

Ratha-Vinita Suttam[1]

Discourse on the Relays of Chariots

Translated from the Pali by I.B. Horner, M.A.
Associate of Newham College, Cambridge
First Published in 1954

Copyright The Pali Text Society
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[1][chlm][than][upal] Thus have I heard:

At one time the Lord was staying near Raagaha in the Bamboo Grove at the squirrels' feeding place.

Then a number of monks, living in their native district,[2] having kept the rains locally,[2] approached the Lord; having approached, having greeted the Lord, they sat down at a respectful distance.

The Lord spoke thus to these monks as they were sitting down at a respectful distance:

"Who, monks, among the monks living in their native district, is esteemed by his local fellow Brahma-farers in this way: both as one desiring little for himself and as being one who talks to the monks on desiring little; both as one who is content for himself and as one who talks to the monks on contentment; both as one who is aloof himself and as one who talks to the monks on aloofness; both as one who is not sociable[3] himself and as one who talks to the monks about not being sociable; both as one of stirred up energy himself and as one who talks to the monks on stirring up energy; both as one who is himself endowed with moral habit and as one who talks to the monks on the attainment of moral habit; both as one who is himself endowed with concentration and as one who talks to the monks on the attainment of concentration; both as one who is himself endowed with intuitive wisdom[4] and as one who talks to monks on the attainment of intuitive wisdom; both as one who is himself endowed with freedom and as one who talks to monks on the attainment of freedom; both as one who is himself endowed with the knowledge and vision of freedom and as one who talks to [188] the monks on the attainment of the knowledge and vision of freedom;[5] an exhorter,[6] instructor, one who can gladden, arouse, incite, delight his fellow Brahma-farers?"

"Lord, the venerable Punna, Mantani's son[7], is among the monks living in their native district, is esteemed by his local fellow Brahma-farers in this way: both as one desiring little for himself and as being one who talks to the monks on desiring little; both as one who is content for himself and as one who talks to the monks on contentment; both as one who is aloof himself and as one who talks to the monks on aloofness; both as one who is not sociable himself and as one who talks to the monks about not being sociable; both as one of stirred up energy himself and as one who talks to the monks on stirring up energy; both as one who is himself endowed with moral habit and as one who talks to the monks on the attainment of moral habit; both as one who is himself endowed with concentration and as one who talks to the monks on the attainment of concentration; both as one who is himself endowed with intuitive wisdom and as one who talks to monks on the attainment of intuitive wisdom; both as one who is himself endowed with freedom and as one who talks to monks on the attainment of freedom; both as one who is himself endowed with the knowledge and vision of freedom and as one who talks to the monks on the attainment of the knowledge and vision of freedom; an exhorter, instructor, one who can gladden, arouse, incite, delight his fellow Brahma-farers."

Now at that time the venerable Sariputta was sitting close to the Lord.

Then it occurred to the venerable Sariputta: "It is profitable for the venerable Punna, Mantani's son, it is well gotten for the venerable Punna, Mantani's son, that his well informed fellow Brahma-farers praise him point by point when they are face-to-face with the Teacher, and that the Teacher approves of him.

Perhaps I might meet the venerable Punna, Mantani's, somewhere sometime.

Perhaps there might be some conversation (with him)."

Then the Lord, having stayed near Rajagaha for as long as he found suitable, set out on tour for Savatthi; in due coursae, walking on tour, he arrived at Savatthi.

The Lord stayed here near Savatthi in the Jeta Grove in Anathapindika's monastery.

Then the venerable Punna, Mantani's son, heard: "They say the Lord has reached Savatthi and is staying near Savatthi in the Jeta Grove in Anathapindika's monastery." Then the venerable Punna, Mantani's son, having packed away his bedding[8] taking his bowl and robe, set out on tour for Savatthi; in due course, walking on tour, he approached Savatthi, the Jeta Grove, Anathapindika's monastery, and the Lord; having approached, having greeted the Lord, he sat down at a respectful distance.

The Lord gladdened, roused, incited, delighted the venerable Punna, Mantani's son, with talk on Dhamma as he was sitting down at a respectful distance.

Then the venerable Punna, Mantani's son, gladdened, roused, incited, delighted by the Lord's talk on Dhamma, having rejoiced and being satisfied, rising from his seat, having greeted the Lord, and keeping [189] his right side towards him, set out for the day-sojourn in the Blind Men's Grove.[9]

Then a certain monk approached the venerable Sariputta; having approached, he spoke thus to the venerable Sariputta: "Inasmuch as you, reverend Sariputta, are continually extolling the monk called Punna, Mantani's son, he gladdened, roused, incited, delighted by theLord's talk on Dhamma, having rejoiced in what the Lord had said, and being satisfied, rising from his seat, having greeted the Lord and keeping his right side towards him, is setting out for the Blind Men's Grove for the day-sojourn."

Then the venerable Sariputta, hurriedly taking his piece of cloth to sit upon[10], followed close after the venerable Punna, Mantani's son, keeping him in sight.

Then the venerable Punna, Mantani's son, having plunged into the Blind men's grove, sat down at the root of a tree for the day-sojourn.

Then the venerable Sariputta, having also plunged into the Blind Men's Grove, sat down at the root of a tree for the day-sojourn.

Then the venerable Sariputta, having emerged from solitary meditation towards evening, approached the venerable Punna, Mantani's son; having approached, he exchanged greeting with the venerable Punna, Mantani's son; having exchanged greetings of friendliness and courtesy, he sat down at one side.

As he was sitting down at one side, the venerable Sariputta spoke thus to the venerable Punna, Mantani's son:

"Your reverence, is the Brahma-faring lived under our Lord?"

"Yes, your reverence."

"Your reverence, is the Brahma-faring lived under the Lord for purity of moral habit?"[11]

"Not for this, your reverence."

"Then, your reverence, is not the Brahman-faring lived under the Lord for purity of mind?"

"Not for this, your reverence."

"Then, your reverence, is the Brahma-faring lived under the Lord for purity of view?"[12]

"Not for this, your reverence."

[190] "Then, your reverence, is not the Brahma-faring lived under the Lord for purity through crossing over doubt?"[13]

"Not for this, your reverence."

"Then, your reverence, is the Brahma-faring lived under the Lord for purity of knowledge and insight into the Way and what is not the Way?"

"Not for this, your reverence."

"Then, your reverence, is not the Brahma-faring lived under the Lord for purity of knowledge and insight into the course?"[14]

"Not for this, your reverence."

"Then, your reverence, is not the Brahma-faring lived under the Lord for purity arising from knowledge and insight?"[15]

"Not for this, your reverence."

But when you, your reverence, are being asked: "Your reverence, is the Brahma-faring lived under the Lord for purity of moral habit?"
You say: "Not for this, your reverence."

And when you, your reverence, are being asked: "Then, your reverence, is not the Brahman-faring lived under the Lord for purity of mind?"
You say: "Not for this, your reverence."

And when you, your reverence, are being asked: "Then, your reverence, is the Brahma-faring lived under the Lord for purity of view?"
You say: "Not for this, your reverence."

And when you, your reverence, are being asked: "Then, your reverence, is not the Brahma-faring lived under the Lord for purity through crossing over doubt?"
You say: "Not for this, your reverence."

And when you, your reverence, are being asked: "Then, your reverence, is the Brahma-faring lived under the Lord for purity of knowledge and insight into the Way and what is not the Way?"
You say: "Not for this, your reverence."

And when you, your reverence, are being asked: "Then, your reverence, is not the Brahma-faring lived under the Lord for purity of knowledge and insight into the course?"
You say: "Not for this, your reverence."

And when you, your reverence, are being asked: "Then, your reverence, is not the Brahma-faring lived under the Lord for purity arising from knowledge and insight?"
You say: "Not for this, your reverence."

What is the reason, then, your reverence, that the Brahma-faring is lived under the Lord?

"The Brahma-faring under the Lord, your reverence, is lived for utter Nibbana without attachment."[16]

"Your reverence, is purity of moral habit utter Nibbana without attachment?"

It is not this, your reverence."

"Your reverence, is not purity of mind utter Nibbana without attachment?"

It is not this, your reverence."

[191] "Then your reverence, is purity of view utter Nibbana without attachment?"

It is not this, your reverence."

"Then your reverence, is not purity through crossing over doubt utter Nibbana without attachment?"

It is not this, your reverence."

"Then your reverence, is purity of knowledge and insight into the Way and what is not the Way utter Nibbana without attachment?"

It is not this, your reverence."

"Then your reverence, is not purity of knowledge and insight into the course utter Nibbana without attachment?"

It is not this, your reverence."

"Then your reverence, is purity arising from knowledge and insight utter Nibbana without attachment?"

It is not this, your reverence."

But, your reverence, what is utter Nibbana without attachment except these states?

It is not this, your reverence."

"But when you, your reverence, are being asked: "Your reverence, is purity of moral habit utter Nibbana without attachment?"
you say: "It is not this, your reverence."

And when you, your reverence, are being asked: "Your reverence, is not purity of mind utter Nibbana without attachment?"
you say: "It is not this, your reverence."

And when you, your reverence, are being asked: "Then your reverence, is purity of view utter Nibbana without attachment?"
you say: "It is not this, your reverence."

And when you, your reverence, are being asked: "Then your reverence, is not purity through crossing over doubt utter Nibbana without attachment?"
you say: "It is not this, your reverence."

And when you, your reverence, are being asked: "Then your reverence, is purity of knowledge and insight into the Way and what is not the Way utter Nibbana without attachment?"
you say: "It is not this, your reverence."

And when you, your reverence, are being asked: "Then your reverence, is not purity of knowledge and insight into the course utter Nibbana without attachment?"
you say: "It is not this, your reverence."

And when you, your reverence, are being asked: "Then your reverence, is purity arising from knowledge and insight utter Nibbana without attachment?"
you say: "It is not this, your reverence."

And when you, your reverence, are being asked: "But, your reverence, what is utter Nibbana without attachment except these states?
you say: "It is not this, your reverence."

But, your reverence, the meaning of what has been said should have been shown as it was spoken."

"If, your reverence, the Lord had laid down that purity of moral habit was utter Nibbana without attachment, he would have laid down that utter Nibbana without attachment is the same as that with attachment.

"If, your reverence, the Lord had laid down that purity of mind was utter Nibbana without attachment, he would have laid down that utter Nibbana without attachment is the same as that with attachment.

"If, your reverence, the Lord had laid down that purity of view was utter Nibbana without attachment, he would have laid down that utter Nibbana without attachment is the same as that with attachment.

"If, your reverence, the Lord had laid down that purity through crossing over doubt was utter Nibbana without attachment, he would have laid down that utter Nibbana without attachment is the same as that with attachment.

"If, your reverence, the Lord had laid down that purity of knowledge and insight into the Way and what is not the Way was utter Nibbana without attachment, he would have laid down that utter Nibbana without attachment is the same as that with attachment.

"If, your reverence, the Lord had laid down that purity of knowledge and insight into the course was utter Nibbana without attachment, he would have laid down that utter Nibbana without attachment is the same as that with attachment.

"If, your reverence, the Lord had laid down that purity arising from knowledge and insight was utter Nibbana without attachment, he would have laid down that utter Nibbana without attachment is the same as [192] that with attachment.

And, your reverence, if there were utter Nibbana without attachment apart from these states, the average person would be (attained to) utter Nibbana, for the average person, your reverence, is apart from these states.

Well then, your reverence, I will make you a parable, for by a parable well-informed men here understand the meaning of what is said.

Your reverence, it is as though while King Pasenadi of Kosala was staying in Savatthi, something to be done urgently should arise in Saketa, and seven relays of chariots would be arranged for him between Savatthi and Saketa.

Then, your reverence, King Pasenadi of Kosala, having left Savatthi by the palace-gate, might mount the first chariot in the relay, and by means of the first chariot in the relay he would reach the second chariot in the relay.

He would dismiss the first chariot in the relay and would mount the second chariot in the relay he would reach the third chariot in the relay ...

the fourth ...

the fifth ...

the sixth ...

and would mount the seventh chariot in the relay, and by means of the seventh chariot in the relay he would reach the palace-gate in Saketa.

While he was at the palace gate, the chief ministers and his kith and kin would question him thus:

Have you, sire, reached the palace-gate at Saketa by means of this relay of chariots from Savatthi?' Answering in what way, your reverence, would King Pasenadi of Kosala when answering answer rightly?

"Answering thus, your reverence, would King Pasenadi of Kosala when answering answer rightly: 'Now, as I was staying in Savatthi something to be done urgently arose in Saketa.

For this they had sevenrelays of chariots arranged for me between Savatthi and Saketa.

Then I, having left Savatthi by the palace-gate, mounted the first chariot in the relay, and by means of the first chariot in the relay reached the second chariot in the relay.

I dismissed the first chariot in the relay and mounted the second chariot in the relay.

By means of the second chariot in the relay I reached the third chariot in the relay ...

the fourth ...

the fifth ...

the sixth ...

By means of the sixth chariot in the relay I reached the seventh chariot in the relay.

I dismissed the sixth chariot in the relay and mounted the seventh chariot in the relay.

By means of the seventh chariot in the relay I reached the palace-gate in Saketa.

Answering, thus, your reverence, King Pasenadi of Kosala when answering would andswer rightly."

"Even so, your reverence, purity of moral habit is of purpose as [193] far as purity of mind;[17] purity of mind is of purpose as far as purity of view; purity of view is of purpose as far as purity through crossing over doubt; purity through crossing over doubt is of purpose as far as purity of knowledge and insight into the Way and what is not the Way; purity of knowledge and insight into the Way and what is not the Way is of purpose as far as purity of knowledge and insight into the course; purity of knowledge and insight into the course is of purpose as far as purity arising from knowledge and insight; purity arising from knowledge and insight is of purpose as far as utter Nibbana without attachment.

Your reverence, the Brahma-faring under the Lord is lived for the purpose of utter Nibbana without attachment."

When this had been said, the venerable Sariputta spoke thus to the venerable Punna, Mantani's son: "What is the venerable one's name? And how do the fellow Brahma-farers know the venerable one?"

"Punna is my name, your reverence, and the fellow Brahma-farers know me as Mantani's son."

"It is wonderful, your reverence, it is marvelous, your reverence, that the very deep questions were explained step by step by an instructed disciple who knows the Teacher's instruction properly, namely by the venerable Punna, Mantani's son.

It is profitable for the fellow Brahma-farers, it is well gotten for the fellow Brahma-farers that they have a chance to see, that they have a chance to visit the venerable Punna, Mantani's son.

Also, if the fellow Brahma-farers, carrying the venerable Punna, Mantani's son, on a roll of cloth on their heads,[18] should get a chance to see him, should get a chance to visit him, this would be profitable for them and this would be well gotten for them.

It is profitable for us and it is well gotten for us that we have a chance to see, that we have a chance to visit the venerable Punna, Mantani's son."

When this had been said, the venerable Punna, Mantani's son, spoke thus to the venerable Sariputta:

"What is the venerable one's name? And how do the fellow-Brahma-farers know the venerable one?"

"Upatissa is my name, your reverence, and the fellow-Brahma-farers know me as Sariputta."

[194] "I have been counseling the worthy disciple whom they liken to the Teacher without knowing that it was the venerable Sariputta.

If I had known that it was the venerable Sariputta, I would not have spoken at such length.

"It is wonderful, your reverence, it is marvelous, your reverence, that the very deep questions were asked step by step by an instructed disciple who knows the Teacher's instruction properly, namely by the venerable Sariputta.

It is profitable for the fellow Brahma-farers, it is well gotten for the fellow Brahma-farers that they have a chance to see, that they have a chance to visit the venerable Sariputta.

Also, if the fellow Brahma-farers, carrying the venerable Sariputta, on a roll of cloth on their heads, should get a chance to see him, should get a chance to visit him, this would be profitable for them and this would be well gotten for them.

It is profitable for us and it is well gotten for us that we have a chance to see, that we have a chance to visit the venerable Sariputta."

In this way these two great beings applauded what theother had so well said.[19]

 


[1] Referred to at MA. i. 92, ii. 246, iii. 6; Vism. 93, 671; SnA. 446; MT. 553.

[2] jatibhumaka and jatibhumiyam. Both words occur at A. iii. 366. MA. ii. 135 says jatatthana, and instances Kapilavatthu as the jatatthana of the Buddha, and hence his jatibhumi.

[3] asansattha. See on sansattha viharati B.D. iii. 207. n. 1. MA. ii. 143 gives five kinds of sansagga: association through hearing, seeing, conversation, eating with, body.

[4] panna; MA. ii. 147 says this is worldly and other-worldly knowledge, nana.

[5] These five "attainments," sampada, also at Pug. 54; cf. S. i. 139, A. iii. 12 ff; and as khandha at S. v. 162

[6] This and the following epithets are at S. v. 162 applied to Sariputta (who had just died); see also Miln. 373.

[7] At A. i. 23, S. ii. 156 called chief of speakers on Dhamma. Mentioned at S. iii. 105. His verse is at Thag. 4.

[8] See B.D. i. 153, n. 4; and cf. Pac. 14, 15 (Vin. iv. 39 ff). Also Vin. ii. 211, quoted MA. ii. 152.

[9] MA. ii. 154, "the Jeta grove was crowded after the meal with nobles, brahmans and so on, and it was impossible to find solitude. But the Blind Men's grove was secluded, like a place for striving."

[10] nisidana see Vin. iii. 207, 232, and B.D. ii. p. 34, n. 1; p. 87, n. 2.

[11] MA. ii. 155 refers to the fourfold purity in moral habit spoken of at length at Vism. (p. 15 f.).

[12] sila- and ditthi-visuddhi at D. iii. 214; A. i. 95.

[13] Cf. Ud. 60

[14] patipada Quoted MA. ii. 115.

[15] All these seven acts of purity are found also at D. iii. 288 with two added: purification through wisdom and through freedom. See Dial. iii. 262, n. 3.

[16] Cf. S. iv. 48, v. 29; A. i. 44, iv. 74, v. 65. MA. ii. 156 says that in the view of those who assert that attachment is due to a condition, utter Nibbana with no attachment means utter Nibbana due to no condition; if the incomposite realm of deathlessness has not arisen on account of a condition, they speak of it as utter Nibbana without attachment. This is the end, the peak, the goal (nittha)

[17] Whatever is purity of mind, this is the goal (attha), this the peak, this the culmination of purity of moral habit, MA. ii. 157.

[18] MA. ii. 158, so that the crowd should see him and be able to question him and hear Dhamma, instead of running about here and there asking where he was.

[19] As at Sutta 5.


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