Anguttara Nikaya


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Anguttara Nikaya

Sutta 33

Aññataro Brāhmaṇo Sutta

A Certain Brahman

Translated from the Pali by K. Nizamis
Provenance, terms and conditons



[33][pts] Then a certain brahman approached the Blessed One. Having approached the Blessed One, he exchanged friendly greetings. After pleasant conversation had passed between them, he sat to one side. Having sat to one side, the brahman spoke to the Blessed One thus:

"What does the Venerable Gotama assert, what does he preach?"

"I am one who asserts that which ought to be done, brahman, and one who asserts that which ought not to be done."[1]

"But in what way is the Venerable Gotama one who asserts that which ought to be done, and one who asserts that which ought not to be done?"

"I say 'that which ought not to be done', brahman, of wrong-doing by body, wrong-doing by speech, wrong-doing by the thinking mind; of manifold evil and unwholesome thoughts, I say 'that which ought not to be done'.

"I say 'that which ought to be done', brahman, of doing good by body, doing good by speech, doing good by the thinking mind; of manifold wholesome thoughts, I say 'that which ought to be done'. In this way, brahman, I am one who preaches 'that which ought to be done' and one who preaches 'that which ought not to be done'."

"Superb, Venerable Gotama! Superb, Venerable Gotama! Venerable Gotama has made the Dhamma clear in many ways, as though he were turning upright what had been turned upside down, revealing what had been concealed, showing the way to one who was lost, or holding up a lamp in the dark: 'Those who have eyes see forms!' Just so, the Venerable Gotama has illuminated the Dhamma in various ways. I go to Venerable Gotama as refuge, and to the Dhamma, and to the assembly of monks. From this day, for as long as I am endowed with breath, let Venerable Gotama remember me as a lay follower who has gone to him for refuge."


[1] "Kiriyavādī cāhaɱ, brāhmaṇa, akiriyavādī cā ti." The two crucial terms, here, are kiriya and akiriya. They could quite satisfactorily be translated as "action" and "non-action", or as "doing" and "non-doing"; and in some contexts, they would be better translated in that way. However, in this present context, I give credence to Duroiselle's hypothesis that the term kiriya (also spelt kiriyā, kriyā) is formed with a suffix of the future passive participle (k.r + ya), very much like the closely-related Pāli word kicca, "that which ought to be done" (from k.r + tya), and has the same meaning. (See C. Duroiselle, A Practical Grammar of the Pāli Language, §577.) This sense of necessity or obligation is very much to the point, as is evident from the argument of the present sutta. Strong support is given by W. Geiger, A Pāli Grammar, §202, and T. Oberlies, Pāli: A Grammar of the Language of the Theravāda Tipiṭaka, §55, who refer to a future passive participle suffix -ya of the very early language. As one example, they refer to the word akāriya in Dhammapada verse 176 ("musāvādissa jantuno... natthi pāpaɱ akāriyaɱ", "for a lie-telling person... there is no evil that is not to be done"), and kicca in Dhammapada verse 276 ("tumhehi kiccaɱ ātappaɱ, akkhātaro Tathāgatā", "by you the effort should be done, the Tathāgatas are but teachers").

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