Anguttara Nikaya


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Aŋguttara Nikāya
VIII. Aṭṭhaka Nipāta
I: Mettā Vagga

Sutta 8

Uttara Sutta

About Uttara

Translated from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.
Provenance, terms and conditons

 


 

[1][pts][bodh] On one occasion Ven. Uttara was staying in Mahisavatthu [Water Buffalo Ground] on Sankheyyaka Mountain in Dhavajalika. There he addressed the monks:

"Friends, it's good for a monk periodically to have reflected on his own failings. It's good for a monk periodically to have reflected on the failings of others. It's good for a monk periodically to have reflected on his own attainments. It's good for a monk periodically to have reflected on the attainments of others."

Now on that occasion the Great King Vessavana had gone from the north to the south on some business or other. He heard Ven. Uttara in Mahisavatthu on Sankheyyaka Mountain in Dhavajalika teaching the monks the Dhamma in this way: "Friends, it's good for a monk periodically to have reflected on his own failings. It's good for a monk periodically to have reflected on the failings of others. It's good for a monk periodically to have reflected on his own attainments. It's good for a monk periodically to have reflected on the attainments of others." So — just as a strong man might extend his flexed arm or flex his extended arm — the Great King Vessavana disappeared from Dhavajalika on Sankheyyaka Mountain in Mahisavatthu and reappeared among the devas of the Heaven of the Thirty-three. Then he went to Sakka the deva-king and, on arrival, said, "You should know, dear sir, that Ven. Uttara in Mahisavatthu on Sankheyyaka Mountain in Dhavajalika is teaching the monks the Dhamma in this way: 'Friends, it's good for a monk periodically to have reflected on his own failings... on the failings of others... on his own attainments... on the attainments of others.'"

So Sakka the deva-king — just as a strong man might extend his flexed arm or flex his extended arm — disappeared from the devas of the Heaven of the Thirty-three and reappeared in Mahisavatthu on Sankheyyaka Mountain in Dhavajalika in Ven. Uttara's presence. Then he went to Ven. Uttara and, on arrival, bowed down to him and stood to one side. As he was standing there, he said to Ven. Uttara, "Is it true, venerable sir, that Ven. Uttara is teaching the monks the Dhamma in this way: 'Friends, it's good for a monk periodically to have reflected on his own failings... on the failings of others... on his own attainments... on the attainments of others'?"

"Yes, deva-king."

"But is this Ven. Uttara's own extemporaneous invention, or is it the saying of the Blessed One, the Worthy One, the Rightly Self-awakened One?"

"Very well, then, deva-king, I will give you an analogy, for there are cases where it's through an analogy that observant people can understand the meaning of what is being said. Suppose that not far from a village or town there was a great pile of grain, from which a great crowd of people were carrying away grain on their bodies, on their heads, in their laps, or in their cupped hands. If someone were to approach that great crowd of people and ask them, 'From where are you carrying away grain?' answering in what way would that great crowd of people answer so as to be answering rightly?"

"Venerable sir, they would answer, 'We are carrying it from that great pile of grain,' so as to be answering rightly."

"In the same way, deva-king, whatever is well said is all a saying of the Blessed One, the Worthy One, the Rightly Self-awakened One. Adopting it again & again from there do we & others speak."

"Amazing, venerable sir. Astounding, venerable sir — how well that has been said by Ven. Uttara: 'Whatever is well said is all a saying of the Blessed One, the Worthy One, the Rightly Self-awakened One. Adopting it again & again from there do we & others speak.' On one occasion the Blessed One was staying near Rajagaha on Vulture Peak Mountain, not long after Devadatta's departure. There, referring to Devadatta, he addressed the monks: 'Monks, it's good for a monk periodically to have reflected on his own failings. It's good for a monk periodically to have reflected on the failings of others. It's good for a monk periodically to have reflected on his own attainments. It's good for a monk periodically to have reflected on the attainments of others.

"'Conquered by eight untrue dhammas, his mind overcome, Devadatta is headed for a state of deprivation, headed for hell, there to stay for an eon, incurable. Which eight?

"'Conquered by material gain, his mind overcome, Devadatta is headed for a state of deprivation, headed for hell, there to stay for an eon, incurable.

"'Conquered by lack of material gain...

"'Conquered by status...

"'Conquered by lack of status...

"'Conquered by offerings...

"'Conquered by lack of offerings...

"'Conquered by evil ambition...

"'Conquered by evil friendship, his mind overcome, Devadatta is headed for a state of deprivation, headed for hell, there to stay for an eon, incurable.

"'Monks, it's good for a monk to keep conquering again & again any arisen material gain. It's good for a monk to keep conquering again & again any arisen lack of material gain... any arisen status... any arisen lack of status... any arisen offerings... any arisen lack of offerings... any arisen evil ambition... any arisen evil friendship.

"'And for what compelling reason should a monk keep conquering again & again any arisen material gain... any arisen evil friendship? Because when one dwells not having conquered any arisen material gain, effluents arise, along with vexations & fevers. But when one dwells having conquered any arisen material gain, those effluents, vexations, & fevers are not.

[Similarly with any arisen lack of material gain, any arisen status, any arisen lack of status, any arisen offerings, any arisen lack of offerings, any arisen evil ambition, & any arisen evil friendship.]

"'It's for this compelling reason that a monk should keep conquering again & again any arisen material gain... any arisen evil friendship.

"'Therefore, monks, you should train yourselves: 'We will keep conquering again & again any arisen material gain... any arisen lack of material gain... any arisen status... any arisen lack of status... any arisen offerings... any arisen lack of offerings... any arisen evil ambition... any arisen evil friendship.' That's how you should train yourselves.'

"Up to now, Ven. Uttara, the four companies — monks, nuns, lay men, & lay women — have not established this Dhamma-discourse among human beings. Take up this Dhamma-discourse, Ven. Uttara! Master this Dhamma-discourse, Ven. Uttara! Remember this Dhamma-discourse, Ven. Uttara! Connected with the goal is this Dhamma-discourse, and basic to the holy life!"

 


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