Digha Nikaya


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Dīgha Nikāya

The Longs Basket

Sutta 1

The Brahma-Jāla Suttanta

BrahmaNet Spell

Partly translated from the Pali by Michael Olds, partly 'adapted/edited' from the Rhys Davids' translation

 


 

On Higher Dhamma I

[28][pts][wp][ati] But there are advanced things, Beggars, matters that are deep, difficult to see, difficult to grasp, subtle, leading one who follows to tranquility and the sublime; things not to be arrived at by mere logic and reasoning, comprehensible only by the wise. These, Beggars are the things the Tathagata teaches, having seen them for himself. These are the things which should be spoken of by one when he speaks in praise of the Tathagata.

And what are these advanced things which should be spoken of by one when he speaks in praise of the Tathagata?

Speculation about the Past

[29][pts][wp] There are shaman and Brahmans, Beggars, who speculate about the ultimate beginnings of things, whose speculations are about the ultimate past, and who on eighteen grounds put forward various assertions regarding it.

What eighteen grounds?

Eternalists

[30][pts][wp] There are, Beggars, some shaman and Brahmans who are Eternalists, and who, on four grounds, state that both the soul and the world are eternal.

What four grounds?

[31][pts][wp] In the case of the first case, Beggars, some shaman or Brahman by means of energy, of exertion, of application, of earnestness, of careful thought, reaches up to such single-mindedness of intent that, rapt in mind, he remembers his various habitations in times gone by: one previous birth, or in two, or three, or four, or five, or ten, or twenty, or thirty, or forty, or fifty, or a hundred, or a thousand, or several hundreds or thousands or laks [lak = 100,000] of births, recollecting that: "There I went by such and such a name, was of such and such a family and class, lived on such and such food, experienced such and such pains and pleasures, and such and such was the length of my life there. And when I deceased there, I was reborn in such and such a place and there I went by such and such a name, was of such and such a family and class, lived on such and such food, experienced such and such pains and pleasures, and such and such was the length of my life there. And when I deceased there, I was reborn here." In this way he remembers in great detail the conditions of his previous existences and he concludes: "The Self and the World are Eternal; Older than the Hills, like a firmly fixed Pillar; There is Nothing New Under the Sun, and though beings are born and die off, fall from one state of existence and spring up in another, yet they are for ever and ever. How do I know? Because I by means of energy, of exertion, of application, of earnestness, of careful thought, reached up to such single-mindedness of intent that, rapt in mind, I remembered my various habitations in times gone by. That's how."

This Beggars, is the first ground based on which, starting from which, some shaman and Brahmans are Eternalists, and state that both the soul and the world are eternal.

[32][pts][wp] In the case of the second case, Beggars, some shaman or Brahman reaches the same conclusion for the same reasons except that he has been able to recall as much as 10 evolutions and devolutions of the world system.

[33][pts][wp] In the case of the third case, Beggars, some shaman or Brahman reaches the same conclusion for the same reasons except that he has been able to recall as much as 40 evolutions and devolutions of the world system.

[34][pts][wp] In the case of the fourth case, Beggars, some shaman or Brahman is a believer in logic and reasoning. He batters out his theory reasoning from ideas that appeal to his mind and counter arguments and he concludes: "The Self and the World are Eternal; Older than the Hills, like a firmly fixed Pillar; There is Nothing New Under the Sun, and though beings are born and die off, fall from one state of existence and spring up in another, yet they are for ever and ever."

[35][pts][wp] These, Beggars, are the shaman and Brahmans who are Eternalists, and who, on four grounds, state that both the soul and the world are eternal. Whatever shaman or Brahman, Beggars, hold such views do so in one of these four ways, and there is no other way in which these views are reached.

[36][pts][wp] But of these, Beggars, the Tathagata knows that arriving at such views, holding such views, believing such views, trusting such views will have such and such a consequence in terms of rebirth in the hereafter. This and much more the Tathagata is able to see, for he knows as it really is the coming to be and the passing away of sense experience, the satisfaction of sense experience and the way of escape from sense experience. And because he does not cling to what he sees he is objectively detached and he experiences for himself the peace of utter freedom.

[37][pts][wp] These are advanced things, Beggars, matters that are deep, difficult to see, difficult to grasp, subtle, leading one who follows to tranquility and the sublime; things not to be arrived at by mere logic and reasoning, comprehensible only by the wise. These, Beggars are the things the Tathagata teaches, having seen them for himself. These are the things which should be spoken of by one when he speaks in praise of the Tathagata.

Partial Eternalists

[38][pts][wp] [2.1] There are, Beggars, some shaman and Brahmans who are Eternalists with regard to some things, and in regard to others Non-Eternalists; and who, on four grounds state that the soul and the world are partly eternal and partly not.

What four grounds?

[39][pts][wp] In the case of the first case, Beggars, there comes a time, after a long long time, but sooner or later, when this old world-system begins to pass away. At this time, Beggars, beings are, for the most part, reborn in the Abhassara Realm. And there they live made of mind, feeding on Friendly vibrations, radiating light, traversing the air, uttering cries of joy — a truly glorious life. And there they remain for a long long time.

[40][pts][wp] Then there comes a time, Beggars, after a long long time, but sooner or later, when this old world-system begins to re-evolve. At this time the Palace of Maha Brahma appears, but it is empty. Then, after a time, either because he has reached the end of his lifetime there, or because his good kamma has done run out, some being falls from the Abhassara Realm and is reborn again in the Palace of Maha Brahma. And there he lives, made of mind, feeding on friendly vibrations, radiating light, traversing the air — a truly glorious life. And thus he remains for a long long time.

[41][pts][wp] Then, after a long long time, but sooner or later, there arises in this being a vague sorta wanta needa gotta hafta hava type-a yearning that develops into the wish: "O! O! O! if Only there were other beings here Just Like Me!"
And then, as if by Magic, either because they had reached the end of their lifetime there, or because their good kamma had done run out, other beings fell from the Abhassara Realm and found consciousness again in the company of Brahma in the Palace of Maha Brahma. And these beings were, in every way, identical in appearance with he who had arisen there first.

[42][pts][wp] Then that being who had first appeared in the Palace of Maha Brahma thinks: "It is I that am Brahma! Maha Brahma. The One on High. The Glory. The Mighty. The All-Seeing. The King. The Lord of All. The Maker. The Creator. The Chief. The Thousand Named. Appointing to each his Rounds. The Ancient of Days. The Father of All there is and All there is to Be. How do I know? Because these beings came to be as I wished them to come to be."
And in their turn, those beings too thought: "This is Brahma! Maha Brahma. The One on High. The Glory. The Mighty. The All-Seeing. The King. The Lord of All. The Maker. The Creator. The Chief. The Thousand Named. Appointing to each his Rounds. The Ancient of Days. The Father of All there is and All there is to Be. How do we know? Because we came to be as Brahma wished us to come to be."

[43][pts][wp] Well, as far as this goes, those who were earliest born in the Palace of Maha Brahma were more excellent than those who followed after in terms of length of life, power, and radiance.

So then it might happen, Beggars, that some being falls from that existence with Maha Brahma and finds consciousness again here. And having come to this state of things, he might give up the household life and take up the homeless life and become a shaman.

And he, by means of energy, of exertion, of application, of earnestness, of careful thought, reaches up to such single-mindedness of intent that, rapt in mind, he remembers back to his previous habitation but no further, and he concludes: "That Brahma! Maha Brahma. The One on High. The Glory. The Mighty. The All-Seeing. The King. The Lord of All. The Maker. The Creator. The Chief. The Thousand Named. Appointing to each his Rounds. The Ancient of Days. The Father of All there is and All there is to Be. He is unchanging, eternal, unshakable, of a nature to last forever and ever, but those of us created by him are subject to change, impermanent, subject to time, of limited lifespan."

This Beggars, is the first ground based on which, starting from which, some shaman and Brahmans are Eternalists with regard to some things, and regard to others Non-Eternalists; and who state that the soul and the world are partly eternal and partly not.

[44][pts][wp] In the case of the second case, Beggars, there are gods who become known as "Corrupted by Pleasure". For a long long time they live filled with happiness and indulging in the pleasures of the senses. The result is that their self-control becomes weak and because their self-control is weak they trip, stumble and fall from that state and it could happen that one ends up here.

[45][pts][wp] And having come to this state of things, he might give up the household life and take up the homeless life and become a shaman.

And he, by means of energy, of exertion, of application, of earnestness, of careful thought, reaches up to such single-mindedness of intent that, rapt in mind, he remembers back to his previous habitation but no further, and he concludes:

[46][pts][wp] "Those gods who have not become corrupted by pleasure are eternal, unshakable, of a nature to last forever and ever, but those of us who have become corrupted by pleasure are subject to change, impermanent, subject to time, of limited lifespan."

This Beggars, is the second ground based on which, starting from which, some shaman and Brahmans are Eternalists with regard to some things, and regard to others Non-Eternalists; and who state that the soul and the world are partly eternal and partly not.

[47][pts][wp] In the case of the third case, Beggars, there are gods who become known as "Corrupted in Mind". For a long long time they live filled with pride in themselves and envy of others. The result is that their hearts become corroded with irritability, and they turn against one another in anger, and because their thoughts become idiotic, their bodies become feeble and they trip, stumble and fall from that state and it could happen that one ends up here.

[48][pts][wp] And having come to this state of things, he might give up the household life and take up the homeless life and become a shaman.

And he, by means of energy, of exertion, of application, of earnestness, of careful thought, reaches up to such single-mindedness of intent that, rapt in mind, he remembers back to his previous habitation but no further, and he concludes:

[40][pts][wp] "Those gods who have not become corrupted in mind are eternal, unshakable, of a nature to last forever and ever, but those of us who have become corrupted in mind are subject to change, impermanent, subject to time, of limited lifespan."

This Beggars, is the third ground based on which, starting from which, some shaman and Brahmans are Eternalists with regard to some things, and regard to others Non-Eternalists; and who state that the soul and the world are partly eternal and partly not.

[50][pts][wp] In the case of the fourth case, Beggars, some shaman or Brahman is a believer in logic and reasoning. He batters out his theory reasoning from ideas that appeal to his mind and counter arguments and he concludes: "This Self made up from eye, ear, nose, tongue, and body is subject to change, impermanent, subject to time, of limited lifespan, but that Self which is made of Mind or Heart, that is eternal, unshakable, or a nature to last forever and ever."

[51][pts][wp] These, Beggars, are the shaman and Brahmans who are Eternalists with regard to some things, and in regard to others Non-Eternalists; and who, on four grounds state that the soul and the world are partly eternal and partly not.

Whatever shaman or Brahman, Beggars, hold such views do so in one of these four ways, and there is no other way in which these views are reached.

[52][pts][wp] But of these, Beggars, the Tathagata knows that arriving at such views, holding such views, believing such views, trusting such views will have such and such a consequence in terms of rebirth in the hereafter. This and much more the Tathagata is able to see, for he knows as it really is the coming to be and the passing away of sense experience, the satisfaction of sense experience and the way of escape from sense experience. And because he does not cling to what he sees he is objectively detached and he experiences for himself the peace of utter freedom.

These are advanced things, Beggars, matters that are deep, difficult to see, difficult to grasp, subtle, leading one who follows to tranquility and the sublime; things not to be arrived at by mere logic and reasoning, comprehensible only by the wise. These, Beggars are the things the Tathagata teaches, having seen them for himself. These are the things which should be spoken of by one when he speaks in praise of the Tathagata.


[ Next: Higher Dhamma Part II ]


 [Notes]  [Nidana]  [Basic Ethics I]  [Basic Ethics II]  [On Earning a Living]  [On Higher Dhamma]  [About the Past]  [Eternalists]  [Partial Eternalists]  [End'n'o-Enders]  [Eel-Wrigglers]  [Caused-by-Chancers]  [About the Future]  [Conscious after Death]  [Unconscious after Death]  [Neither Conscious nor Unconscious]  [Annihilationist]  [Nibbana-Now]  [Conclusion]


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