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[229] At the top, Beggars, of those of my Beggars who advises the Female Beggars (bhikkhun'ovadakanam) is Nandako.

Nandako

PTS; Horner, trans., The Middle Length Sayings, III, #146, pp322 [No editing. Parentheses and ellipses are trans. I have made occasional remarks in square brackets.]

Thus have I heard: At one time the Lord was staying near Savatthi in the Jeta Grove in Anathapindika's monastery. Then Mahapajapati the Gotamid with as many as five hundred nuns approached the Lord; having approached and greeted the Lord, she stood at a respectful distance. As she was standing at a respectful distance, Mahapajapati the Gotamid spoke thus to the Lord: "Revered sir, let the Lord exhort the nuns; revered sir, let the Lord instruct the nuns; revered sir, let the Lord make a talk on Dhamma for the nuns."

Now at that time the monks who were elders used to exhort the nuns in turn; but the venerable Nandaka did not want to exhort the nuns in (his) turn. (Footnote: This was because in a previous birth he had been a king and they his concubines. He feared that anyone with recollection of former "habitations" would know this, and accuse him of wanting to see his former companions again.) So the Lord addressed the venerable Ananda, saying: "Ananda, whose turn is it today to exhort the nuns by turn?"

"It is Nandaka's turn, revered sir, to exhort the nuns by turn; but this venerable Nandaka, revered sir, does not want to exhort the nuns in (his) turn." Then the Lord addressed the venerable Nandaka, saying:

"Exhort the nuns, Nandaka; instruct the nuns, Nandaka; do you, brahman, make a talk on Dhamma for the nuns."

"Yes, revered sir," answered the venerable Nandaka in assent to the Lord. He dressed in the early morning and, taking his bowl and robe, entered Savatthi for alms food. When he had walked for almsfood in Savatthi, on returning from the alms-gathering after the meal he approached the King's monastery without a companion. Those nuns saw the venerable Nandaka coming in the distance, and on seeing him they made ready a seat and set out water for (washing) the feet. The venerable Nandaka sat down on the seat made ready and as he was sitting down he washed his feet. And when those nuns had greeted the venerable Nandaka they sat down at a respectful distance. The venerable Nandaka spoke thus to those nuns as they were sitting down at a respectful distance:

"Sisters, there will be a talk by way of putting questions. Those who understand (each question) should say: 'We understand'; those who do not understand should say: 'We do not understand.' But if anyone has any doubt or perplexity I should be questioned about it thus: 'How is this, revered sir? What is the meaning of that?'"

"So far, revered sir, we are pleased and satisfied with the master Nandaka in that the master Nandaka invites us."

"What do you think about this, sisters? Is the eye permanent or impermanent?"

"Impermanent, revered sir."

"But is what is impermanent, anguish [dukkha] or happiness?"

"Anguish, revered sir."

"It is right to regard that which is impermanent, anguish and liable to alteration as, 'This is mine, this am I, this is my self.'?" [This idea sometimes escapes the western mind: the thinking is that that which can be rightly claimed to me "me" or "mine" must be within one's control.]

"No, revered sir."

"What do you think about this, sisters? Is the ear ... the nose ... the tongue ... the body ... the mind permanent or impermanent? ... Is it right to regard that which is impermanent, anguish and liable to alteration as 'This is mine, this am I, this is my self'?"

"No, revered sir. What is the reason for this? Already, revered sir, by means of perfect intuitive wisdom [panna — not vipassana] it has been well seen by us as it really is that 'These six internal sense-fields are impermanent.'"

"It is good, sisters, it is good. For it is thus, sisters, that by means of perfect intuitive wisdom this is seen by an ariyan disciple as it really is. What do you think about this, sisters? Are material shapes ... sounds ... smells ... tastes ... touches ... mental states permanent or impermanent? ... Is it right to regard that which is impermanent, anguish and liable to alteration as 'This is mine, this am I, this is my self'?"

"No, revered sir. What is the reason for this? Already, revered sir, by means of perfect intuitive wisdom it has been well see by us as it really is that 'These six external sense-fields are impermanent.'"

"It is good, sisters, it is good. For it is thus, sisters, that by means of perfect intuitive wisdom this is seen by an ariyan disciple as it really is. What do you think about this, sisters? Is visual consciousness ... auditory consciousness ... olfactory consciousness ... gustatory consciousness ... tactile consciousness ... mental consciousness permanent or impermanent?"

"Impermanent, revered sir."

"But is what is impermanent, anguish or happiness?"

"Anguish, revered sir."

"It is right to regard that which is impermanent, anguish and liable to alterations as 'This is mine, this am I, this is my self'?"

"No, revered sir. What is the reason for this? Already, revered sir, by means of perfect intuitive wisdom it has been well seen by us as it really is that 'These six classes of consciousness are impermanent.'"

"It is good, sisters, it is good. For it is thus, sisters, that by means of perfect intuitive wisdom this is seen by an ariyan disciple as it really is. It is, sisters, like the oil for lighting an oil-lamp which is impermanent and liable to alteration, and like the wick which is impermanent and liable to alteration, and like the flame which is impermanent and liable to alteration, and like the light which is impermanent and liable to alteration. If anyone, sisters, were to speak thus: 'The oil for lighting this oil-lamp is impermanent and liable to alteration, and the wick ... and the flame is impermanent and liable to alteration, but that which is the light — that is permanent, lasting, eternal, not liable to alteration,' speaking thus sisters, would he be speaking rightly?"

"No, revered sir. What is the reason for this? It is, revered sir, that if the oil for lighting this oil-lamp be impermanent and liable to alteration, and if the wick ... and if the flame be impermanent and liable to alteration, all the more is the light impermanent and liable to alteration."

"Even so, sisters, if anyone should speak thus: 'These six internal sense-fields are impermanent and liable to alteration, but whatever pleasure or pain or neither pain nor pleasure I experience as a result of these six internal sense-fields — that is permanent, lasting, eternal, not liable to alteration,' speaking this, sisters, would he be speaking rightly?'

"No, revered sir. What is the reason for this? As a result of this or that condition, revered sir, these or those feeling arise. From the stopping of this or that condition these or those feelings are stopped."

"It is good, sisters, it is good. For it is thus, sisters, that by means of perfect intuitive wisdom this is seen by an ariyan disciple as it really is. It is, sisters, like the roots of a great, stable and pithy tree ... like the trunk ... the branches and foliage which are impermanent and liable to alteration, and like the shade which is impermanent and liable to alteration. If anyone, sisters, were to speak thus: 'The roots ... the trunk ... the branches and foliage of this great, stable and pithy tree are impermanent and liable to alteration, but that which is its shade — that is permanent, lasting, eternal, not liable to alteration, speaking thus, sisters, would he be speaking rightly?'

"No, revered sir. What is the reason for this? It is, revered sir, that if the roots ... the trunk ... the foliage and branches of this great, stable and pithy tree are impermanent and liable to alteration, all the more is the shade impermanent and liable to alteration."

"Even so, sisters, if anyone should speak thus: 'These six external sense-fields are impermanent and liable to alteration, but whatever pleasure or pain or neither pain nor pleasure I experience as a result of these six external sense-fields — that is permanent, lasting, eternal, not liable to alteration,' speaking thus, sisters, would he be speaking rightly?"

"No, revered sir. What is the reason for this? As a result of this or that condition, revered sir, these or those feeling arise. From the stopping of this or that condition these or those feelings are stopped."

"It is good, sisters, it is good. For it is thus, sisters, that by means of perfect intuitive wisdom this is seen by an ariyan disciple as it really is. It is, sisters, as if a clever cattle-butcher or cattle-butcher's apprentice, having killed a cow, should dissect the cow with a butcher's sharp knife without spoiling the flesh within, without spoiling the outer hide, and with the butcher's sharp knife should cut, should cut around, should cut all around whatever tendons, sinews and ligaments there are there within; and having cut, cut around, cut all around and removed the outer hide and, having clothed that cow in that self-same hide again, should then speak thus: 'This cow is conjoined with this hide as before.' Speaking thus, sisters, would he be speaking rightly?"

"No, revered sir. What is the reason for this? Although, revered sir, that clever cattle-butcher or cattle-butcher's apprentice, having killed a cow ... having clothed that cow in that self-same hide again, might then speak thus: "This cow is conjoined with this hide as before,' yet that cow is not conjoined with that hide."

"I have made this simile for you, sisters, so as to illustrate the meaning. This is the meaning here: 'the flesh within,' sisters, is a synonym for the six internal sense-fields. 'The outer hide,' sisters, is a synonym for the six external sense-fields. 'The tendons, sinews and ligaments within,' sisters, is a synonym for delight [interesting that nandi — delight — is also a term for a knot, or binding — mo] and attachment. 'The butcher's sharp knife,' sisters, is a synonym for the ariyan intuitive wisdom [again panna, not vipassana ], the ariyan intuitive wisdom by which one cuts, cuts around and cuts all around the inner defilement's the inner fetters and the inner bonds.

There are, sisters, these seven links in awakening from the development and making much of which a monk, by the destruction of the cankers [asavas], having here and now realized by his own super-knowledge the freedom of mind and the freedom through intuitive wisdom that are cankerless, entering on them abides therein. What are the seven? Herein, sisters, a monk develops the link in awakening that is mindfulness and is dependent on cessation, ending in abandoning; he develops the link in awakening that is investigation into things ... that is energy ... that is rapture ... that is impassability ... that is concentration ... he develops the link in awakening that is equanimity and is dependent on aloofness, dependent on detachment, dependent on cessation, ending in abandoning. These, sisters, are the seven links in awakening from the development and making much of which a monk ... entering on them abides therein." [The point is made here, in a footnote that the seven bojjhangas are taught here because "wisdom alone --note that that includes both freedom of mind and freedom through intuitive wisdom-- ... is unable to cut off the defilements." I agree with this interpretation; the bojjhangas, while not neglecting the building of wisdom, also teach the other necessary aspect of attaining awakening: doing something about it, namely, not doing, or letting go. Since I agree with this statement, I must alter my translation in The Course, of the term bojjhanga. I have "The seven dimensions of awakening one's own Wisdom.", I should now translate the term: "The Seven dimensions of Awakening" period.]

Then the venerable Nandaka, having exhorted the nuns with this exhortation, dismissed them, saying: "Go, sisters, it is time."

Then these nuns, having rejoiced in what the venerable Nandaka had said and having given thanks, rose from their seats, greeted the venerable Nandaka keeping their right sides towards him, and approached the Lord; having approached and greeted the Lord, they stood at a respectful distance. The Lord spoke thus to these nuns as they were standing at a respectful distance: "Go, nuns, it is time." Then these nuns, having greeted the Lord, departed keeping their right sides towards him. Not long after these nuns had departed the Lord addressed the monks, saying:

"Monks, as on an Observance day, a fourteenth, there is neither doubt nor perplexity among the populace as to whether the moon is not full or whether the moon is full, for the moon is then not full, even so, monks, although these nuns were delighted [see below] with Nandaka;'s teaching on Dhamma, their aspirations were not fulfilled."

Then the Lord addressed the venerable Nandaka, saying: "Well then, Nandaka, you may exhort these nuns with this same exhortation again tomorrow."

"Yes, revered sir," the venerable Nandaka answered the Lord in assent.

Then the venerable Nandaka dressed in the early morning towards the end of that night and, taking his bowl and robe, entered Savathi for alms food ... (as above, p. to p) ... "Go, nuns, it is time." Not long after these nuns had departed the Lord addressed the monks, saying:

"Monks, as on an Observance day, a fifteenth, there is neither doubt nor perplexity among the populace as to whether the moon is not full or whether the moon is full, for the moon is then quite full, even so, monks, these nuns were delighted with Nandaka's teaching on Dhamma and their aspirations were fulfilled. She who is the last nun of these five hundred nuns is a stream-attainer, not liable to the Downfall; she is assured, bound for self-awakening."

Thus spoke the Lord. Delighted, these monks rejoiced in what the Lord had said.


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