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 II

Speculation about the Past

End'n'o-Enders[ 1 ]

[53][pts][wp] There are, Beggars, some shaman and Brahmans who are End'n'o'Enders, who, on four grounds state the world ends or has no end.

What four grounds?

[54][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 perceives the end of the world and he concludes: "The world ends; it is such as could be encircled by a path. How do I know? Because by means of energy, of exertion, of application, of earnestness, of careful thought, I have reached up to such single-mindedness of intent that, rapt in mind, I am able to perceive the end of the world. That's how I know."

That is the first case.

[55][pts][wp] In the case of the second 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 perceives the world as having no end and he concludes: "The world has no end; those shaman and Brahman who conclude that the world ends, is of such a nature and could be encircled by a path are mistaken. How do I know? Because by means of energy, of exertion, of application, of earnestness, of careful thought I have reached up to such single-mindedness of intent that, rapt in mind, I am able to perceive the world as having no end. That's how I know."

That is the second case.

[56][pts][wp] In the case of the third 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 perceives the end of the world in the upward and downward directions but having no end on the horizontal plane and he concludes: "The world both ends and has no end; those shaman and Brahman who conclude that the world ends are mistaken and those shaman and Brahman who conclude that the world has not end are mistaken. How do I know? Because by means of energy, of exertion, of application, of earnestness, of careful thought I have reached up to such single-mindedness of intent that, rapt in mind, I am able to perceive the end of the world in the upward and downward directions but as having no end on the horizontal plane. That's how I know.

That is the third case.

[57][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 world neither comes to an end nor does it not come to an end; those shaman and Brahman who hold that the world comes to an end or that the world does not come to an end or that it both comes to an end and does not come to an end are mistaken."

This is the fourth case.

[58][pts][wp] These, Beggars, are the shaman and Brahmans who are End'n'o'Enders, who, on four grounds state the world ends or has no end. 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.

[59][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.

Eel-Wrigglers

[60][pts][wp] There are, Beggars, some shaman and Brahmans who are Eel-Wrigglers, who evade answering, wriggling like eels, and this they do in four ways.

What four?

[61][pts][wp] In the case of the first case, Beggars, some shaman or Brahman does not understand what is skillful or what is not skillful as it really is and he thinks: "Since I do not understand either what is skillful or what is not, if I were to state that thus and such is skillful or thus and such is not skillful and I were to be influenced by my wishes or lusts or angers or dislikes I might say something wrong. If I were to say something wrong I would regret it and regret is a hindrance." Thus because he fears blame and has a sense of shame, when he is asked, he neither states that a thing is skillful or unskillful, but equivocates, saying: "I do not say it is thus. I do not say it is so. I do not say it is not so. I do not say it is not. I do not not say it is not."

This is the first case.

[62][pts][wp] In the case of the second case, Beggars, some shaman or Brahman does not understand what is skillful or what is not skillful as it really is and he thinks: "Since I do not understand either what is skillful or what is not, if I were to state that thus and such is skillful or thus and such is not skillful and I were to be influenced by my wishes or lusts or angers or dislikes I might say something reflecting attachment. If I were to say something reflecting attachment I would regret it and regret is a hindrance." Thus because he fears attachment, when he is asked, he neither states that a thing is skillful or unskillful, but equivocates, saying: "I do not say it is thus. I do not say it is so. I do not say it is not so. I do not say it is not. I do not not say it is not."

This is the second case.

[63][pts][wp] In the case of the third case, Beggars, some shaman or Brahman does not understand what is skillful or what is not skillful as it really is and he thinks: "There are out there wise shaman and Brahman, skillful, trained debaters, able to split hairs, able to tear apart the views of others. Since I do not understand either what is skillful or what is not, if I were to state that thus and such is skillful or thus and such is not skillful and they were to question me on my logic, I might be unable to explain my reasoning. If I were unable to explain my reasoning, I would regret having spoken, and regret is a hindrance." Thus because he fears contention, when he is asked, he neither states that a thing is skillful or unskillful, but equivocates, saying: "I do not say it is thus. I do not say it is so. I do not say it is not so. I do not say it is not. I do not not say it is not."

This is the third case.

[64][pts][wp] In the case of the fourth case, Beggars, some shaman or Brahman is simply dull-witted and stupid. Thus because he is dull-witted and stupid when he is asked a question, he evades the issue and equivocates, saying: "If you ask: 'Is there a world hereafter?', if I thought there was, I would say 'There is a world hereafter.' I do not say it is thus. I do not say it is so. I do not say it is not so. I do not say it is not. I do not not say it it is not."

And he responds in the same way to each of the following questions:
Is there no world hereafter?
Is there both a world hereafter and no world hereafter?
Is there neither a world hereafter nor no world hereafter?

Are there beings that are spontaneously reborn without benefit of parents?
Do beings that are spontaneously reborn without benefit of parents not exist?
Do beings that are spontaneously reborn without benefit of parents both exist and not exist?
Do beings that are spontaneously reborn without benefit of parents neither exist nor not exist?

Is there giving, offering, sacrifice, result or consequence from doing good deeds or bad?
Is there no giving, offering, sacrifice, result or consequence from doing good deeds or bad?
Is there both giving, offering, sacrifice, result or consequence from doing good deeds or bad and no giving, offering, sacrifice, result or consequence from doing good deeds or bad?
Is their neither giving, offering, sacrifice, result or consequence from doing good deeds or bad nor no giving, offering, sacrifice, result or consequence from doing good deeds or bad?

Does a Tathagata exist after the death of the body?
Does a Tathagata not exist after the death of the body?
Does a Tathagata both exist and not exist after the death of the body?
Does a Tathagata neither exist nor not exist after the death of the body?

This is the fourth case.

[65][pts][wp] These, Beggars, are the shaman and Brahmans who are are Eel-Wrigglers, who evade answering questions, wriggling like eels in four ways. Whatever shaman or Brahman, Beggars, are Eel-Wrigglers, are such in one of these four ways and no other.

[66][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.

Caused-by-Chancers

[67][pts][wp] There are, beggars some shaman and Brahmans who believe in Chance, who, on two grounds state that the Self and the World originated without a cause.

What two?

[68][pts][wp] In the case of the first case, Beggars, there are gods named The Non-Percipient Beings.[2] At such a time as a thought occurs to them they fall from that state, and it may be that one finds consciousness 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 the idea that caused his current rebirth but no further, and he concludes: "The Self and the World arise by Chance. How do I know? Because before now I did not exist and now I do. From not existing I have come to be."

This is the first case.

[69][pts][wp] In the case of the second 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 arise by Chance."

This is the second case.

[70][pts][wp] These, Beggars, are the shaman and Brahmans who are Caused-by-Chancers, who, on two grounds state the Self and the World arise by Chance. Whatever shaman or Brahman, Beggars, hold such views do so in one of these two ways, and there is no other way in which these views are reached.

[71][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.

[72][pts][wp] These, beggars, are the shaman and Brahmans 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.

[73][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 III ]


 [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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