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REVISED
Saturday, May 02, 2015

Saṃyutta Nikāya:
IV. Saḷāyatana Vagga
35: Saḷāyatana Saɱyutta
Paññāsaṃ Tatiyaṃ
3. Gahapati Vagga

Sutta 133

Verahaccāni Suttaṃ

Respect Worthy Dhamma

Translated from the Pali by Michael Olds

 


 

[1][pts][bodh] I HEAR TELL:

Once upon a time, the Ancient Udayin,
Kamandaya town,
Brahmin Todeyya's mango grove,
came a revisit'n.

Then one time a young man,
a student of a Nobel Lady of the Verahaccani clan,
came visiting Bhante Udayin,
and there,
after exchanging common courtesies,
he sat down to one side
and listened as Bhante Udayin taught,
grounded,
raised up,
and made that young man happy with dhamma talk
worthy of respect.

Then, after being taught,
grounded,
raised up,
and made happy
by that worthy Dhammatalk of Bhante Udayin,
that young man returned to his residence
with the Nobel Lady of the Verahaccani clan
and said:

"If it please your Ladyship,
I would inform her
that the beggar Udayin is presently teaching Dhamma
that is helpful in the beginning,
helpful in the middle
and helpful at the end.

He lays out the way
to live the best of lives,
the way to perfect and refine
the best of lives,
and he does so both in the spirit
and the letter.[1]

"Well then, young man,
please invite this Beggar Udayin
for tomorrow's meal."

"Very good, My Lady.

And at that command
the young man returned to Bhante Udayin and said:

"May Bhante Udayin accept
a token of gratitude[2] as our teacher;
may he accept tomorrow's meal
from the Nobel Lady of the Verahaccani clan."

And Bhante Udayin accepted silently.[3]

Then Bhante Udayin,
rising up in the early pre-dawn,
attending to bowl and robes,
set out and eventually arrived at the residence of the Nobel Lady of the Verahaccani clan,
where he sat down on a "seat-made-ready".[4]

Then the Nobel Lady served Bhante Udayin
with excellent food,
both solid and liquid,
with her own hand,
until he had had his fill.

And when she perceived
that he had finished his meal
by the fact that he had withdrawn his hand from the bowl
and had given it a rinse with water supplied
(hand-out bowl clean'tup),
she sat down on a high seat
without removing her sandals,
and with her head covered with a veil,
and said:

"Teach me Dhamma, Beggar."

But at that[5], Beggar Udayin, said:

"There will be a time for that, sister."
and got up from his seat
and left without saying a further word.

 


 

Then a second time the young man,
a student of a Nobel Lady of the Verahaccani clan,
came visiting Bhante Udayin,
and there,
after exchanging common courtesies,
he sat down to one side
and listened as Bhante Udayin taught,
grounded,
raised up,
and made that young man happy with dhamma talk
worthy of respect.

Then, after being taught,
grounded,
raised up,
and made happy
by that worthy Dhammatalk of Bhante Udayin,
that young man returned to his residence
with the Nobel Lady of the Verahaccani clan
and said:

"If it please your Ladyship,
I would inform her
that the beggar Udayin is presently teaching Dhamma
that is helpful in the beginning,
helpful in the middle
and helpful at the end.

He lays out the way
to live the best of lives,
the way to perfect and refine
the best of lives,
and he does so both in the spirit
and the letter."

"Young Man,
although you have been singing the praises of Bhante Udayin,
when I said:
"Teach me, Dhamma, Beggar,"
he just said:
"There will be a time for that, sister,"
and got up and departed
without saying a further word."

"But My Lady,
were you not wearing your sandals?

Did you not sit on a high seat?

Did you not cover your head with a veil?

And did you not say:

'Teach me Dhamma, Beggar.'?

The Dhamma is greatly honored by these Aristocrats, my lady.

They have great respect for the Dhamma."

"Very well, young man.

Will you please invite the Beggar Udayin,
in my name,
to tomorrow's meal?"

"Very good, My Lady"
replied the young man
who then set out and did just that.

And things transpired as before except that,
at the end of the meal,
the Nobel Lady of the Verhaccani clan
removed her sandals,
took a low seat,
removed the veil from her head,
and asked:

"There being what, Bhante,
do Arahants
point out pleasure and pain?

There not being what do Arahants
not point out pleasure and pain?"

"Where there is eye, sister,
Arahants point out pleasure and pain.

Where there is no eye,
Arahants do not point out pleasure and pain.

"Where there is ear, sister,
Arahants point out pleasure and pain.

Where there is no ear,
Arahants do not point out pleasure and pain.

"Where there is nose, sister,
Arahants point out pleasure and pain.

Where there is no nose,
Arahants do not point out pleasure and pain.

"Where there is tongue, sister,
Arahants point out pleasure and pain.

Where there is no tongue,
Arahants do not point out pleasure and pain.

"Where there is body, sister,
Arahants point out pleasure and pain.

Where there is no body,
Arahants do not point out pleasure and pain.

"Where there is mind, sister,
Arahants point out pleasure and pain.

Where there is no mind,
Arahants do not point out pleasure and pain."

At that, the Nobel Lady of the Verhaccani clan said:

"Most Excellent, sir!

Most Excellent Indeed!

In the same way as one who sets upright that which had been upside down,
or points out what had been hidden,
or shows the way to one who is lost,
or brings a light into the darkness so that anyone
with eyes in their head that can see
can see the objects there —
in so many ways has the worthy Udayin set out The Dhamma.

I, myself, Teacher Udayin, go to the Lucky Man for refuge;
I, myself, Teacher Udayin, go to the Dhamma for refuge;
I, myself, Teacher Udayin, go to the Order for refuge!

Let the worthy Udayin look on me as a lay disciple who,
from this day forth
as long as this life shall last,
has gone for refuge to the Buddha,
The Dhamma,
and the Sangha."

 


[1]For Udayi's method, see: Udayi

[2] Buddhist teachers do not accept money for teaching the dhamma; but as it was a tradition at the time in other systems to pay a "teacher's fee", now and again in the Suttas you will hear about a "teacher's fee" being offered and accepted, sometimes with an artificial circumvention of the practice of not accepting fees, sometimes, as here, without raising the issue ... most likely because of the nature of the "fee" (that is, Food). For more on the issue of accepting money for teaching, see: He Handles Gold and Silver)

[3]The usual translation: "accepted by his silence"; is somewhat misleading. Depending on the perception of the giver and the power of the acceptor there will have been a "silent communication" of some sort...from a nod of acceptance to an indication of no objection.

[4] Such a "seat-made-ready" in the home of a householder would have been prepared in anticipation of this event; it is a Beggar's habit to prepare an empty seat in any location where he is likely to reside for a while (even just for the afternoon's sit-down session) — this in anticipation of the arrival of a guest or even, perhaps, a visit from The Master. This seat, also, is known as a "seat-made-ready".

[5] I am sure completely emotionally indifferent, perceiving the best method to raise up the Nobel Lady.

 


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