Majjhima Nikaya


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Majjhima Nikāya
II. Majjhima-Paṇṇāsa
3. Paribbājaka Vagga

Sutta 74

Dīghanakha Suttaɱ

Longnail, the Naked Ascetic

Translated from the Pali by Michael Olds

 


 

[1][chlm][pts][than][upal] I HEAR TELL:

Once Upon a Time, The Lucky Man, Rajagaha revisiting,
Vulture Mount,
Sow's Digs.

2. There then Longnail the naked ascetic
approached The Lucky Man.

Having approached The Lucky Man,
he exchanged friendly greetings.

Having exchanged friendly greetings
he stood to one side.[1]

Standing to one side then,
Longnail the naked ascetic said this to The Lucky Man:

"I, Good Gotama, speak thus,
see it thus:

'All pleases me not'."

"Well, Fire-clad,[2]
as to this way you see it:

'All pleases me not,'

does this view
not please you?"

"If, Good Gotama, this view were pleasing to me,
that would indeed be a bit of this and a bit of that,
that would indeed be a bit of this and a bit of that!"[3]

3. "Now, Fire-clad, many are the many of the world
who speak thus:

'That would indeed be a bit of this and a bit of that,
that would indeed be a bit of this and a bit of that,'

yet by[4] not abandoning their view,
they take up another view.

Now, Fire-clad, few are the few of this world
who speak thus:

'That would indeed be a bit of this and a bit of that,
that would indeed be a bit of this and a bit of that,'

and by abandoning the way they see it
they do not take up another way of seeing it.

4. There is, Fire-clad, one sort of shaman and brahman
that speaks thus, holds this view:

'All pleases me.'

There is, Fire-clad, one sort of shaman and brahman
that speaks thus, holds this view:

'All pleases me not.'

There is, Fire-clad, one sort of shaman and brahman
that speaks thus, holds this view:

'Some things please me,
some things do not please me.'

Now then Fire-clad,
as to those shamans and brahmans that speak thus,
hold this view:

'All pleases me,'

that view of theirs
is on the side of lust,
is on the side of self-yoking,
is on the side of taking delight,
is on the side of adherance,
is on the side of being bound up.

Now then Fire-clad,
as to those shamans and brahmans that speak thus,
hold this view:

'All pleases me not,'

that way of seeing it of theirs
is on the side of non-lust,
is on the side of non-self-yoking,
is on the side of not-taking delight,
is on the side of non-adherance,
is on the side of not being bound up."

When this was said,
Longnail the naked ascetic
said this to the Lucky Man:

"The accomplished[5] Gotama
is in agreement with the way I see it;
the accomplished Gotama
is complimentary to the way I see it!"

"Now then Fire-clad,
as to those shamans and brahmans
that speak thus,
hold this view:

'Some things please me,
some things please me not,'

whatever part of the way they see it that agrees with that[6]
is on the side of lust,
is on the side of self-yoking,
is on the side of taking delight,
is on the side of adherance,
is on the side of being bound up;
whatever part of the way they see it that does not agree
is on the side of non-lust,
is on the side of non-self-yoking,
is on the side of non-taking delight,
is on the side of non-adherance,
is on the side of not being bound up.

Now then Fire-clad,
as to those shamans and brahmans
that speak thus,
hold this view:

'All pleases me,'

those of these as are intelligent good men
reflect thus to themselves:

'If, of my view:

'All pleases me,'

fixing on that,
tenaciously holding to it,
I were to state:

'This is the truth
anything else is foolishness.'

there would result conflict with two —
those shamans and brahmans
who speak thus,
hold this view:

'All is not pleasing to me,'

and those shamans and brahmans
who speak thus,
Hold this view:

'Some things please me,
some things please me not,'

there are these two
with whom I would come into conflict.

This disputation is quarreling
quarreling is vexation,
vexation is injury.'

Thus seeing,
in his mind's eye,
disputation and
quarreling and,
vexation and,
injury for himself,
he lets that view go, and
takes up no other view.

This is his having let go of this view.

This is his having rejected this view.

Now then Fire-clad,
as to those shamans and brahmans that speak thus,
hold this view:

'All pleases me not,'

those of these as are intelligent good men
reflect thus to themselves:

'If, of my view:

'All pleases me not,'

fixing on that,
tenaciously holding to it,
I were to state:

'This is the truth
anything else is foolishness.'

there would result conflict with two —
those shamans and brahmans
who speak thus,
hold this view:

'All is pleasing to me,'

and those shamans and brahmans
who speak thus,
hold this view:

'Some things please me,
some things please me not,'

there are these two
with whom I would come into conflict.

This disputation is quarreling
quarreling is vexation,
vexation is injury.'

Thus seeing,
in his mind's eye,
disputation and
quarreling and,
vexation and,
injury for himself,
he lets that view go, and
takes up no other view.

This is his having let go of this view.

This is his having rejected this view.

Now then Fire-clad,
as to those shamans and brahmans
that speak thus,
hold this view:

'Some things please me,
some things please me not,'

those of these as are intelligent good men
reflect thus to themselves:

'If, of my view:

"Some things please me,
some things please me not,"

fixing on that,
tenaciously holding to it,
I were to state:

"This is the truth
anything else is foolishness."

there would result conflict with two —
those shamans and brahmans
who speak thus,
hold this view:

All is pleasing to me,

and those shamans and brahmans
who speak thus,
hold this view:

All pleases me not,

there are these two
with whom I would come into conflict.

This disputation is quarreling
quarreling is vexation,
vexation is injury.'

Thus seeing,
in his mind's eye,
disputation and
quarreling and,
vexation and,
injury for himself,
he lets that view go, and
takes up no other view.

This is his having let go of this view.

This is his having rejected this view.

Junket: a cheese-like, flan-like, custerd-like milk pudding, also known as 'curds and whey'. "Little Miss Muffet, sat on her tuffet, eating her curds and whey. Along came a spider that sat down beside her and scared Miss Muffet away."

p.p. explains it all — p.p.

Then further Fire-clad, this body,
formed from the four great components of life[7]
born of father and mother
raised on rice porrage and junket
an unstable,
beaten-up,
worn-out,
broken down,
scattered-round thing,[8]
should be regarded as
unstable,
painful,
a disease,
a boil,
a stab,
a failure,
an affliction,
an 'other',
a breaking asunder,
empty,
not-self.

When this body is regarded as
unstable,
painful,
a disease,
a boil,
a stab,
a failure,
an affliction,
an 'other',
a breaking asunder,
empty
not-self,
whatever there is regarding body
that is desire for body,
love of body,
conformity to body,
such is let go.

Then, Fire-clad, there are three sensations:

Pleasant sensation,
painful sensation,
not-painful-but-not-pleasant sensation.

At such a time, Fire-clad,
as a pleasant sensation is experienced,
neither is there at this time painful sensation experienced,
nor is their not-painful-but-not-pleasant sensation experienced,
there is at that time only pleasant sensation experienced.

At such a time, Fire-clad,
as a painful sensation is experienced,
neither is there at this time pleasant sensation experienced,
nor is their not-painful-but-not-pleasant sensation experienced,
there is at that time only painful sensation experienced.

At such a time, Fire-clad,
as not-painful-but-not-pleasant sensation is experienced,
neither is there at this time pleasant sensation experienced,
nor is their painful sensation experienced,
there is at that time only not-painful-but-not-pleasant sensation experienced.

Then, Fire-clad, the experience of pleasure is unstable,
own-made,
conditionally self-arisen,
a destructable thing,
an aging thing,
a vanishing thing,
an ending thing.

Then, Fire-clad, the experience of pain is unstable,
own-made,
conditionally self-arisen,
a destructable thing,
an aging thing,
a vanishing thing,
an ending thing.

Then, Fire-clad, the experience of what is not-pain-but-not-pleasure is unstable,
own-made,
conditionally self-arisen,
a destructable thing,
an aging thing,
a vanishing thing,
an ending thing.

So seeing, Fire-clad, the well-trained student of the Aristocrat
wearies of pleasant sensation,
wearies of painful sensation,
wearies of not-painful-but-not-pleasant sensation.

From wearyness comes dispassion,
from dispassion comes freedom,
in freedom he knows:

'I am freed!'

And he understands:

'Left behind is rebirth,
lived is the godly life,
done is duty's doing,
no further it'n-n-at'n me.'"

Then, Fire-clad, a beggar
thus freed-in-heart,
does not voice agreement with anyone,
does not voice disagreement with anyone,
but when speaking,
uses the expressions of the world
without investing in them."

 

§

 

Āyasmā Sāriputto: The Ancient, or Elder. But Sāriputta was not at this time an elder. He was apparently only two-weeks a member of the Saṅgha.

p.p. explains it all — p.p.

At that time then,
the Lucky Man was being fanned
by the Ancient Sāriputta
who was standing behind him.

There then the Ancient Sāriputta
thought to himself:

"Indeed here The Lucky Man speaks
of letting go of this and that
through higher knowledge!

Indeed here the Wellcome One speaks
of letting go of this and that
through higher knowledge!"

And as The Ancient Sāriputta thus reflected to himself
his heart found release
without further fueling
from the corrupting influences.

And further, in Longnail the naked ascetic
there arose the dispassionate,
stain-free
Dhamma eye:

'Whatsoever that is a self-arisen thing
all that is an ending thing.'

There then, Longnail, the naked ascetic,
[1] having seen Dhamma,
[2] having reached Dhamma,
[3] having found Dhamma,
[4] having penetrated Dhamma,
[5] having overcome perplexity and wavering,
[6] having eliminated doubt and uncertainty,
[7] having secured certainty
about the teacher's instruction
without depending on another,
said this to The Lucky Man:

"Wonderful good Gotama!

Wonderful good Gotama!

Just as though, good Gotama,
one were to set upright the upside-down,
or uncover the covered,
or to show the way to one who was lost,
or were to bring a light into the darkness
so that creatures there might see:
'There are Forms!'

In the same way, the good Gotama has
in many a figure
presented his Dhamma.

I take myself to the Venerable Gotama for refuge,
I take myself to the Dhamma for refuge;
I take myself to the Saṅgha for refuge.

May the Accomplished Gotama remember me
as a lay disciple
who from this day
and for as long as life lasts
has taken refuge.

Longnail, the Naked Ascetic

 


[1] The etiquette is interesting. In the Buddha's system one honors the Dhamma or one who is or will be teaching or explaining the Dhamma. This honor is demonstrated by the listener by (among other things such as not showing the soles of one's feet, wearing a hat or head covering, wearing sandals, asking to be taught in a rude way, etc.) taking a position that does not 'confront' (that is, to one side) and is lower than the honored teacher.
Approaching some honored person to listen or question, one walks along if the honored person is walking, stands still if the person is standing, sits if the person is sitting, reclines if the person is reclining [see: DN 3 § 11]. Here Longnail chooses to stand.
Horner footnotes: "MA. iii. 203 says that he stood at a respectful distance because the Elder (Sāriputta) was standing fanning the Lord..." Longnail is, according to Horner quoting MA, Sariputta's nephew, so he may be giving respect to Sariputta.
My interpretation is that this does not then give disrespect to the Buddha [whom we assume is sitting although we have not been told this] because Sariputta is giving respect (serving) the Buddha. Paying respect to one paying respect, one pays respect to the one the one one is respecting is respecting, regardless of that one's position relative to the most honored one. Follow?
Although this does not look quite right to my eye (Sāriputta is not at this time an elder in the Saṅgha and is 'only' a streamwinner), I suspect it is in fact the correct behavior according to some scheme or another as the compilers would unlikely have let pass without comment an act of disrespect to the Buddha.
On the other hand, The Buddha may actually be standing as well. However, I vaguely recollect that the naked ascetics did not give respect to anyone and always stood in such situations, giving their naked behinds a rest from the hot hard dusty pebbly earth! ... but also, by the fact of always standing in such situations being their convention, such behavior would not be taken as giving disrespect and consequently baring a talk on Dhamma. (One doesn't take offence at the behavior of a wild animal, for example.)

[2] Aggivessana.

[3] In other words: a little shady, problematic, a mixed bag.
"Taɱ p'assa tādisam'eva,||
taɱ p'assa tādisam'evā" ti.||

that would indeed be a bit of this and a bit of that,,
that would indeed be a bit of this and a bit of that.'
Horner: 'This would be like it too, that would be like it too.'
Ñāṇamoli/Bodhi: 'It too would be the same, it too would be the same.'
Bhk. Thanissaro: 'it would still be the same, it would still be the same.'
None of these really make sense.
"That" or "This" (the commending?) is the same as what? (Is like what 'it'?)

Some other possibilities: In the negative this could be: 'Neither here nor there'; 'Same same'; 'com-si, com-sa'; 'six-of-one, half-a-dozen of the other' 'neither fish nor foul' ... in straight talk this needs to say: 'If it were the fact that I held this opinion of mine to be pleasing, then the fact that I hold this view would be 'a little of this' (holding that things were not pleasing to one) 'and a little of that' (holding that something was pleasing to one), in other words, a confused position that should be abandoned. The following statements of the Buddha show that this is the intended meaning: the error of holding a dual stance.

[4] Neither Ñāṇamoli/Bodhi's 'yet they do not abandon that view and they take up still some other view', nor Horner's 'they do not get rid of that very view, and they take up another view' make the idea here clear: that is that 'by' not abandoning this view they take up another view, that is: that this view of theirs that some things are commendable and some things are not commendable is a little of this and a little of that. That is a view. They just add confusion to the confused.

[5]Bhavaɱ. PED: Bhavant [cp. Sanskrit (and Vedic) bhavant, used as pron. of the 2nd; but constructed with 3rd person of the verb. Probably a contraction from Bhagavant, see Whitney, Altind. Gr. 456] pron. of polite address "Sir, Lord," or "venerable, honourable," or simply "you."
I hear it more like another way of saying Tathāgata. I.e., from bhava, 'developed one'. So here Ñāṇamoli/Bodhi's 'Master' is closer than Horner's 'Good'. Neither translator comments.

[6] Yā hi kho nesaɱ khamati sā'yaɱ diṭṭhi. Ñāṇamoli/Bodhi's 'the view of theirs as to what is acceptable' correctly points to the view, while Horner's 'that which in this view is pleasing to them' mistakenly shifts the object to the thing viewed.
I see this 'dual view' as a single view with two aspects with the resulting statement meaning: That [aspect] of their view which holds [some things] to be commendable is close to...'
Ñāṇamoli/Bodhi seem to be saying that these shamans and brahmans hold two opposing views.

[7] Earth, water, firelight and wind; solidity, liquidity, heat, and motion.

[8] Rhys Davids: "subject to erasion, abrasion, dissolution and disintegration";
Lord Chalmers: "transitory and subject to attrition, abrasion, dissolution and dispersal;
Bhikkhu Thanissaro: "subject to inconstancy, rubbing, pressing, dissolution, and dispersion;
Horner: of a nature to be constantly rubbed away, pounded away, broken up and scattered;
Bhks. Ñāṇamoli/Bodhi: "subject to impermanence, to being worn and rubbed away, to dissolution and disintegration."


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