Anguttara Nikaya


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Aŋguttara Nikāya
Dasaka-Nipāta
X: Upāsaka-Vagga

Sutta 95

Uttiya Sutta

To Uttiya

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

 


 

[1][pts] Then Uttiya the wanderer went to the Blessed One and, on arrival, exchanged courteous greetings with him. After an exchange of friendly greetings and courtesies, he sat to one side. As he was sitting there, he said to the Blessed One,

"Master Gotama, is it the case that 'The cosmos is eternal: Only this is true; anything otherwise is worthless'?"

"Uttiya, I haven't declared that 'The cosmos is eternal: Only this is true; anything otherwise is worthless.'"

"Very well, then, Master Gotama, is it the case that: 'The cosmos is not eternal: Only this is true; anything otherwise is worthless'?"

"Uttiya, I haven't declared that 'The cosmos is not eternal: Only this is true; anything otherwise is worthless.'"

"Very well, then, Master Gotama, is it the case that 'The cosmos is finite...' ... 'The cosmos is infinite...' ... 'The soul and the body are the same...' ... 'The soul is one thing and the body another...' ... 'After death a Tathagata exists...' ... 'After death a Tathagata does not exist...' ... 'After death a Tathagata both does and does not exist...' ... 'After death a Tathagata neither does nor does not exist. Only this is true; anything otherwise is worthless'?"

"Uttiya, I haven't declared that 'After death a Tathagata neither does nor does not exist: Only this is true; anything otherwise is worthless.'"

"But, Master Gotama, on being asked, 'Is it the case that "The cosmos is eternal: Only this is true; anything otherwise is worthless"?' you inform me, 'Uttiya, I haven't declared that "The cosmos is eternal: Only this is true; anything otherwise is worthless."' On being asked, 'Is it the case that "The cosmos is not eternal..." ... "The cosmos is finite..." ... "The cosmos is infinite..." ... "The soul and the body are the same..." ... "The soul is one thing and the body another..." ... "After death a Tathagata exists..." ... "After death a Tathagata does not exist..." ... "After death a Tathagata both does and does not exist..." ... "After death a Tathagata neither does nor does not exist. Only this is true; anything otherwise is worthless"?' you inform me, 'Uttiya, I haven't declared that "After death a Tathagata neither does nor does not exist. Only this is true; anything otherwise is worthless."' Now is there anything you have declared?"

"Uttiya, having directly known it, I teach the Dhamma to my disciples for the purification of beings, for the overcoming of sorrow and lamentation, for the disappearance of pain and distress, for the attainment of the right method, and for the realization of Unbinding."

"And, Master Gotama, when having directly known it, you teach the Dhamma to your disciples for the purification of beings, for the overcoming of sorrow and lamentation, for the disappearance of pain and distress, for the attainment of the right method, and for the realization of Unbinding, will all the cosmos be led to release, or a half of it, or a third?"

When this was said, the Blessed One was silent.

Then the thought occurred to Ven. Ananda: "Don't let Uttiya the wanderer acquire the evil viewpoint that, 'When I asked him an all-encompassing question, Gotama the contemplative faltered and didn't reply. Perhaps he was unable to.' That would be for his long-term harm and suffering." So he said to Uttiya, "In that case, my friend, I will give you an analogy, for there are cases where it is through the use of analogy that intelligent people can understand the meaning of what is being said.

"Suppose that there were a royal frontier city with strong ramparts, strong walls and arches, and a single gate. In it would be a wise, competent, and knowledgeable gatekeeper to keep out those he didn't know and to let in those he did. Walking along the path encircling the city, he wouldn't see a crack or an opening in the walls big enough for even a cat to slip through. Although he wouldn't know that 'So-and-so many creatures enter or leave the city,' he would know this: 'Whatever large creatures enter or leave the city all enter or leave it through this gate.'

"In the same way, the Tathagata does not endeavor to have all the cosmos or half of it or a third of it led to release by means of [his Dhamma]. But he does know this: 'All those who have been led, are being led, or will be led to release from the cosmos have done so, are doing so, or will do so after having abandoned the five hindrances — those defilements of awareness that weaken discernment — having well-established their minds in the four frames of reference, and having developed, as they actually are, the seven factors for awakening. When you asked the Blessed One this question, you had already asked it in another way.[1] That's why he didn't respond."

 


[1]The question as to whether all the cosmos or only a part of it would be led to release is another way of asking whether the cosmos is eternal or not. Notice that Ven. Ananda mentions those who have been led to release from the cosmos. He doesn't mention the cosmos as being led to release. For his use of the word, "cosmos," here, see SN 4.35.82.

 


 

References:

See also:
AN IV.24.


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