Khuddaka Nikaya


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Udāna
III.2: Nanda Suttaṃ

About Nanda

Translated from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.
For free distribution only.

 


 

[III-2.1][irel]I have heard that on one occasion the Blessed One was staying near Savatthi, in Jeta's Grove, Anathapindika's monastery. Now at that time Ven. Nanda -- the Blessed One's brother, son of his maternal aunt -- told a large number of monks, "I don't enjoy leading the holy life, my friends. I can't endure the holy life. Giving up the training, I will return to the common life."

Then a certain monk went to the Blessed One and, on arrival, having bowed down to him, sat to one side. As he was sitting there, he told the Blessed One: "Lord, Ven. Nanda -- the Blessed One's brother, son of his maternal aunt -- has told a large number of monks, 'I don't enjoy leading the holy life, my friends. I can't endure the holy life. Giving up the training, I will return to the common life.'"

Then the Blessed One told a certain monk, "Come, monk. In my name, call Nanda, saying, 'The Teacher calls you, my friend.'"

"As you say, lord," the monk answered and, having gone to Ven. Nanda, on arrival he said, "The Teacher calls you, my friend."

"As you say, my friend," Ven. Nanda replied. Then he went to the Blessed One and, on arrival, having bowed down to him, sat to one side. As he was sitting there, the Blessed One said to him, "Is it true, Nanda, that you have told a large number of monks, 'I don't enjoy leading the holy life, my friends. I can't endure the holy life. Giving up the training, I will return to the common life.'?"

"Yes, lord."

"But why, Nanda, don't you enjoy leading the holy life?"

"Lord, as I was leaving home, a Sakyan girl -- the envy of the countryside -- glanced up at me, with her hair half-combed, and said, 'Hurry back, master.' Recollecting that, I don't enjoy leading the holy life. I can't endure the holy life. Giving up the training, I will return to the common life."

Then, taking Ven. Nanda by the arm -- as a strong man might flex his extended arm or extend his flexed arm -- the Blessed One disappeared from Jeta's Grove and reappeared among the devas of the Tavatimsa Heaven. Now at that time about 500 dove-footed nymphs had come to wait upon Sakka, the ruler of the devas. And the Blessed One said to Ven. Nanda, "Nanda, do you see those 500 dove-footed nymphs?"

"Yes, lord."

"What do you think, Nanda: Which is lovelier, better looking, more charming -- the Sakyan girl, the envy of the countryside, or these 500 dove-footed nymphs?"

"Lord, compared to these 500 dove-footed nymphs, the Sakyan girl, the envy of the countryside, is like a cauterized monkey with its ears and nose cut off. She doesn't count. She's not even a small fraction. There's no comparison. The 500 dove-footed nymphs are lovelier, better looking, more charming."

"Then take joy, Nanda. Take joy! I am your guarantee for getting 500 dove-footed nymphs."

"If the Blessed One is my guarantee for getting 500 dove-footed nymphs, I will enjoy leading the holy life under the Blessed One."

Then, taking Ven. Nanda by the arm -- as a strong man might flex his extended arm or extend his flexed arm -- the Blessed One disappeared from among the devas of the Tavatimsa Heaven and reappeared in Jeta's Grove. The monks heard, "They say that Ven. Nanda -- the Blessed One's brother, son of his maternal aunt -- is leading the holy life for the sake of nymphs. They say that the Blessed One is his guarantee for getting 500 dove-footed nymphs."

Then the monks who were friends of Ven. Nanda went around addressing him as they would a hired hand and a dealer: "Our friend Nanda, they say, is a hired hand. Our friend Nanda, they say, is a dealer. He's leading the holy life for the sake of nymphs. The Blessed One is his guarantee for getting 500 dove-footed nymphs."

Then Ven. Nanda -- humiliated, ashamed, and disgusted that the monks who were his friends were addressing him as they would a hired hand and a dealer -- went to dwell alone, secluded, heedful, ardent, and resolute. He in no long time entered and remained in the supreme goal of the holy life for which clansmen rightly go forth from home into homelessness, knowing and realizing it for himself in the here and now. He knew: "Birth is ended, the holy life fulfilled, the task done. There is nothing further for the sake of this world." And thus Ven. Nanda became another one of the arahants.

Then a certain devata, in the far extreme of the night, her extreme radiance lighting up the entirety of Jeta's Grove, approached the Blessed One. On arrival, having bowed down to him, she stood to one side. As she was standing there, she said to the Blessed One: "Lord, Ven. Nanda -- the Blessed One's brother, son of his maternal aunt -- through the ending of the effluents, has entered and remains in the effluent-free awareness-release and discernment-release, knowing and realizing it for himself in the here and now." And within the Blessed One, the knowledge arose: "Nanda, through the ending of the effluents, has entered and remains in the effluent-free awareness-release and discernment-release, knowing and realizing it for himself in the here and now."

Then, when the night had passed, Ven. Nanda went to the Blessed One and, on arrival, having bowed down to him, sat to one side. As he was sitting there, he said to the Blessed One: "Lord, about the Blessed One's being my guarantee for getting 500 dove-footed nymphs, I hereby release the Blessed One from that promise."

"Nanda, having comprehended your awareness with my own awareness, I realized that 'Nanda, through the ending of the effluents, has entered and remains in the effluent-free awareness-release and discernment-release, knowing and realizing it for himself in the here and now.' And a devata informed me that 'Ven. Nanda, through the ending of the effluents, has entered and remains in the effluent-free awareness-release and discernment-release, knowing and realizing it for himself in the here and now.' When your mind, through lack of clinging, was released from the effluents, I was thereby released from that promise."

Then, on realizing the significance of that, the Blessed One on that occasion exclaimed:

One who has
    crossed over the mire,
    crushed the thorn of sensuality,
    reached the ending of delusion,
is a monk undisturbed
by bliss and pain.


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