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Saɱyutta Nikāya
IV. Saḷāyatana Vagga
40. Moggalāna Saɱyutta

The Book of the Kindred Sayings
IV. Kindred Sayings on the 'Six-fold Sphere'
Chapter 40: Kindred Sayings about Moggallāna

Sutta 1

Savitakka Suttaṃ

With Thinking

Translated from the Pali by Michael Olds

 


 

[1][pts] I HEAR TELL:

Once upon a time Old Man Moggallāna The Great,
Sāvatthī-town revisiting,
Jeta Grove, Anāthapiṇḍika's Park.

There then Old Man Moggallāna The Great addressed the beggars:

"Beggars, my friends!"

"Friend! the beggars responded to Moggallāna.

Old Man Moggallāna The Great said to them:

"Here, friends, as I had retreated into solitude
there arose in my heart
this train of thought:

'"The First Knowing!
The First Knowing!"
so they say.

Now what then is the First Knowing?'[1]

So then it recurred to me, friends:

'"Here a beggar,
just separated from sensuality,
just separated from unskillful things,
with-thinking,
with pondering
in the pleasant enjoyment
born of solitude
abides getting a grip
on the first knowing."

This is what they call the first knowing.'

Then I, friends,
just separated from sensuality,
just separated from unskillful things,
with-thinking,
with pondering
in the pleasant enjoyment
born of solitude
abided with a grip
on the first knowing.

But then, friends,
as I abided in this abiding,[2]
there arose and came about me
attention of mind to
perceptions connected to sense-pleasures.[3]

There then, friends,
The Lucky man, through his magisty[4],
approached me and said:

"Moggallāna!

Moggallāna!

Do not, brahmin,
be careless with the first knowing!

Set your heart on the first knowing!

Make one with your heart the first knowing.

Steady[5] your heart in the first knowing!"

So then I, friends
after a time,
just separated from sensuality,
just separated from unskillful things,
with-thinking,
with pondering
in the pleasant enjoyment
born of solitude
abided getting a grip
on the first knowing.

He who would, speaking highly of one, friends, say:

"The Master brought the student to attainment of great higher knowledge,"

would, speaking highly of me, say:

"The Master brought the student to attainment of great higher knowledge."

 


[1] Jhāna Woodward's 'trance' here, elsewhere 'musing'. The jhānas, at a certain point definately resemble or might as well be called trances, but the implication of the word distorts the reality. What these states are is wide-awake, fully conscious awareness of higher than ordinary states of reality. The word 'jhāna' is the root of our word 'knowing' and it would be best to emphasize that aspect of jhāna over the fact that from the outside the individual highly concentrated in jhāna seems to be in a trance state.

[2] Woodward, citing the commentary, inserts in brackets here "(and had emerged from trance)." I object. This is to impose on the jhānas a term and construction not found in their descriptions and by that to build the foundation of the bias that the jhānas are a mysterious state no longer attainable. The jhānas are as they are described. The first knowing is adjacent to the normal state of the mind. It is subject to being harassed by lower things and that is what is happening to Moggallāna at this point. He is bouncing back and forth and it is to steady his mind in the position above worldly things that the Lucky Man appears to him.

[3] Bhk. Bodhi adds "accompanied by thought and examination", which is not in PTS, BJT or CSCD Pali.

[4] Iddhi. Magic power.

[5] Samādahā. This could be saṃ + ādahati, con-flagrate, kindle, per PED, or samā dahati, even-burn per me. What it means is to bring the fire from the point of being lit to the point where it is a steady flame.


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