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Samyutta Nikaya:
III. Khandha Vagga:
22: Khandha Samyutta
2.4. Thera Vagga

The Book of the Kindred Sayings
III: The Book Called The Khandha-Vagga
Containing Kindred Saings
on the Elements of Sensory Existence
and Other Subjects
XXII: Kindred Sayings on Elements (Khandha)
2.4: The Elders

Sutta 85

Yamaka

Yamaka[1]

Translated by F. L. Woodward
Edited by Mrs. Rhys Davids

Copyright The Pali Text Society
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[109] [93]

[1][wrrn][than][bodh][olds] Once the venerable Sariputta was staying near Savatthi at Jeta Grove, in Anathapindika's Park.

2. At that time there had arisen in the mind of a certain brother named Yamaka such an evil heresy as this:

'Thus do I understand the doctrine taught by the Exalted One:-
In so far as a brother has destroyed the asavas,[2] he is broken up and perishes when the body breaks up, he becomes not after death.'[3]

Now a number of brethren heard of this evil heresy that had arisen in the mind of the brother Yamaka, 'thus do I understand the doctrine taught by the Exalted One - in so far as a brother who has destroyed the asavas, he is broken up and perishes when the body is broken up, he becomes not after death.'

Then those brethren came to the venerable Yamaka, greeted him and exchanged with him the courtesy of civil words and sat down at one side.

So seated those brethren thus addressed the venerable Yamaka:-

'Is it true, as they say, friend Yamaka, that such an evil heresy as this has arisen in your mind: "Thus and thus do I understand the doctrine taught by the Exalted One"?'

6. 'Even so, friends, do I understand it.'

7. 'Say not so, friend Yamaka! Overstate not thus the Exalted One's word. It were ill-done to overstate the Exalted One's word. Surely he would not say: "A brother who has destroyed the asavas is broken up and perishes when the body breaks up: he becomes not after death."'

8. But the brother Yamaka, though thus rebuked by those brethren, still remained steadfast in his stubborn perversity,[4] maintaining: 'As I understand the doctrine taught by the Exalted One: "in so far as a brother has destroyed the asavas, he is broken up and perishes when the body breaks up, he becomes not after death."'

9. So, as those brethren could not move the venerable Yamaka from this evil heresy, they rose up and went to the venerable Sariputta, and said to him:

'Friend Sariputta, there has arisen in the mind of the venerable Yamaka this evil heresy: "in so far as a brother has destroyed the asavas, he is broken up and perishes when the body breaks up, he becomes not after death."' It were well if the venerable Sariputta went to the venerable Yamaka, out of compassion for him.'

So the venerable Sariputta consented by his silence.

Then at eventide the venerable Sariputta rose up from his solitude and went to the brother Yamaka, and greeting him with courtesy sat down at one side.

So seated the venerable Sariputta said to the venerable Yamaka: 'Is it true, friend Yamaka, as they say, that you hold this evil heresy:'

'It is true, friend, that thus do I understand the doctrine taught by the Exalted One: "that in so far as a brother has destroyed the asavas, he is broken up and perishes when the body breaks up, he becomes not after death."

'Now, as to this, friend Yamaka, what think you? Is body permanent or impermanent?'

'Impermanent, friend.'

'And feeling, perception, the activities, consciousness, are they permanent or impermanent ?'

'Impermanent, friend.'

'Wherefore ... one who thus sees ... he knows, for life in these conditions there is no hereafter.

Now herein, friend Yamaka, do you regard a Tathagata[5] as body?'

'Surely not, friend.'

'Do you regard a Tathagata as either feeling, or as perception, or as the activities, or as consciousness ?'

'Surely not, friend.'

'Now what think you as to this, friend? Is a Tathagata in the body?'

'Surely not, friend.'

'Do you regard a Tathagata as distinct from body?'

'Surely not, friend.'

'Do you regard him as in feeling,
or as distinct from feeling?

In perception,
or as distinct from perception?

In the activities,
or as distinct from the activities?

Do you regard a Tathagata as in consciousness
or as distinct from consciousness?'

'As none of these, friend

'Now as to this, friend, do you regard a Tathagata as body, feeling, perception, the activities, consciousness?'

'Surely not, friend.'

'Now as to this, friend Yamaka, do you regard a Tathagata as this one who has not a body, not feeling, not perception, not activities, not consciousness?'

'Surely not, friend.'

'Then, friend Yamaka, since in this very life[6] a Tathagata is not to be regarded as existing in truth, in reality,[7] is it [96] proper for you to assert: "As I understand the doctrine taught by the Exalted One, in so far as a brother has destroyed the asavas, he is broken up and perishes when body is broken up, he becomes not after death"?'

'It was in my folly, friend Sariputta, that I came to hold this evil heresy, but now that I have heard the explanation of the venerable Sariputta, this evil heresy is put away, and I am established in the Norm.'[8]

'Now, friend Yamaka, if they were to ask you: "As to that brother, friend, who has destroyed the asavas; when the body is broken up, does he become after death?" Thus questioned, friend, what would you assert?'

'If, friend, they were thus to question me, thus should I assert: "Body, friends, is impermanent. What is impermanent, that is woe. What is woe, has ceased, been destroyed. So with feeling, perception, the activities. Consciousness is impermanent. What is impermanent, that is woe. What is woe has ceased, been destroyed." That is what I should assert, friend, if I were questioned.'

'Well said ! Well said, friend Yamaka! Now I will show you a parable to show my meaning. Suppose, friend Yamaka, a housefather, or his son, a rich man, exceeding rich and prosperous, with a strong body-guard. Then suppose some fellow desirous of his loss and harm, desirous of troubling his serenity, longing to slay him, should say to himself: "Here is this housefather [or housefather's son], a rich man, exceeding rich and prosperous; but, as he has a strong body-guard, it would not be easy to slay him by force. What if I were to work my way in and so slay him?" Thereupon he approaches that housefather, or housefather's son, and says: "I would enter your service, master." So that housefather, or housefather's son, admits him to his service. And the other, by rising up early and so late taking rest, becomes a willing servant[9] to him, eager to please and well-spoken. Then that housefather, or [97] housefather's son, comes to trust him[10] as a friend and confidant, and thus makes a companion of him.[11]

Now when this fellow is assured: "This housefather, or housefather's son as it may be, is my boon companion," then, catching him in a lonely place, he slays him with a sharp sword.

Now as to this, friend Yamaka, what think you? When that fellow went to such and such a housefather, or housefather's son, and said to him: "I would enter your service, master," - was he not even then a murderer? But, though he was a murderer, was not his master unaware of this fact, "I have a murderer"[12] So also, when he entered his service, rose up early and late took rest, was a willing servant to him, eager to please and speaking affectionately, was he not even then a murderer, though his master knew it not?'

'He was, friend.'

'Even so, friend, the untaught Ariyan disciple, who discerns not those who are Ariyans; who is unskilled in the Ariyan Norm, untrained in the Ariyan Norm; who discerns not the worthy ones, who is unskilled in the worthy Norm, untrained in the worthy Norm, - such an one regards body as the Self, or the Self as having a body, or body as being in the Self, or the Self as being in the body. Likewise with regard to feeling, perception, the activities and consciousness ... he understands not the impermanent body as it really is, that it is impermanent. Of the impermanent feeling he understands not, as it really is, that it is impermanent. Of the impermanent perception, of the impermanent activities ... of the impermanent consciousness, he understands not, as it really is, that it is impermanent.

Of the woeful body he understands not ... that it is woeful. And so also of the other factors.

Of the Selfless body he understands not, as it really is, that it is Selfless ... and so of the other factors.

[98] Of the compounded body he understands not, as it really is, that it is a compound ... and so of the other factors.

Of the murderous body he understands not, as it really is, that it is murderous ... and so of the other factors.

He approaches a body, lays hold of it, and is assured: "It is the Self of me." He approaches feeling, approaches perception, the activities, consciousness, lays hold of it and is assured: "It is the Self of me." Thus the five graspinggroups are approached and laid hold of by him, and they turn to his loss and suffering for many a long day.

But the well-taught Ariyan disciple who discerns those that are Ariyans ... who is well trained in the worthy Norm ... regards not the body as the Self, nor the Self as having body, nor body as being in the Self, nor the Self as being in the body. He regards not feeling, perception, the activities and consciousness in this way.

He regards the impermanent body, as it really is, as impermanent; and so does he regard the other factors ... as impermanent.

He regards the woeful body, the woeful feeling, perception, the activities, and consciousness, as woeful, as they really are.

He regards the Selfless body as it really is, as Selfless. So also of feeling, perception, the activities and consciousness.

He regards the compounded body as it really is, as a compound. So also of the other factors.

He regards the murderous body as it really is, as murderous.
So also does he regard the other factors, as murderous.

He approaches not a body, lays not hold of a body, is not assured, "I have the Self." He approaches not feeling, perception and the other factors, lays not hold of them, is not assured "I have the Self."

Thus the five groups based on grasping are not approached, not laid hold of by him, and so they turn to his bliss and pleasure for many a long day.'

'Even so, happy, friend Sariputta, are those venerable ones who have such co-mates as thee in the righteous life, so compassionate, so anxious for their welfare, such teachers, such expounders! And now that I have heard this Norm-teaching [99] from the venerable Sariputta, my heart is released from the asavas without any grasping.'

So spake the venerable Sariputta, and the venerable Yamaka rejoiced thereat and welcomed the words of the venerable Sariputta.

 


[1] Trans. Warren. op. cit., 138-45. Cf. Dela Vallee Poussin, Bouddhisme, p. 172.

[2] Khinâsava - i.e., quâ Arahant, he is broken up, etc.

[3] Comy. says, 'if his view were this: "the aggregates rise and cease; there is a ceasing of the round of existence" - it would be no heresy, but expert knowledge of the teaching. But in so far as he thought: "a being is broken up and perishes," herein arises a heretical view.'

[4] Thamasa paramasasa. Comy.k, 'ditthi-thamena c'eva ditthi paramasena ca.' Cf. sup. 46.

[5] Tathâgato ti. Comy. here says it means 'Satto' (a being), 'massing together the five groups'; an entity. The word is translated by Warren as 'the saint'; by De la Vallée Poussin (loc. cit.), 'the Buddha, the real living Buddha' (following Oldenberg). It is possible to translate here as 'an entity' (satto), but the context perhaps demands the meaning uttama-puriso, arahant, superman, 'he who has done with rebirth and death.' Cf. R. Chalmers, 'Tathagata,' J.R.A.S., 1898, p. l03 f. It is worthy of notice that Satto is defined as 'that which clings, is diffused, hangs, cumbers' (see Nidd. i, 24. At Papanca 113 (Bodhisatta), 'Tathagato bodhiyan; satto, laggo.' And infra 190 (text) the word is defined).

[6] Ditth'eva dhamme.

[7] It is interesting to find the Kathavatthu (i, 1) here verbally anticipated.

[8] Supra, I 83, where Comy. says the phrase implies stream-winning or conversion.

[9] Kinkara, which Comy. explains as 'one who is always asking," What shall I do, master?"'

[10] Comy. reads saddaheyya.

[11] Comy., 'takes his meals with him.'

[12]Cf. I 79, rupena khajjami, and below, rupan vadhakan, etc. For this and other terms for body, see Vis. Magg. 479.


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