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Saŋyutta Nikāya,
V: MahāVagga
51. Iddhipāda Saŋyutta
III. Ayoguḷa-vaggo

Sutta 22

Ayoguḷa Suttaṃ

The Glop of Iron

Translated from the Pali by Michael Olds

 


 

[1][pts] I HEAR TELL:

Once upon a time Bhagava, Savatthi-town revisiting.

2. There then the Elder Ananda approached The Lucky Man and drew near.

Drawing near Bhagava and giving salutation he took a seat to one side.

Seated to one side then, the elder Ananda said this to The Lucky Man:

3. Has the Lucky Man, then bhante,
mastered the power of appearing in the brahama-world
in a mind-made body?

Indeed I have mastered, Ananda,
the power of appearing in the brahama-world
in a mind-made body.

4. But then bhante, has the Lucky Man mastered the power
of appearing in the brahma-world
in this great fourfold organic body?[1]

Indeed I have mastered, Ananda,
the power of appearing in the brahma-world
in this great fourfold organic body.

5. Omitting,[2] bhante,
that the Lucky Man has the power
to appear in the brahma-world
in a mind-made body,
that The Lucky Man, bhante, has mastered the power
to appear in the brahma-world
in this great fourfold organic body —
this is the working of a miracle[3] bhante,
an act of super-normality, Lucky Man.

It is a miracle, Ananda,
— the Tathagata is possessed of miraculous things —
and it is an act of super-normality, Ananda,
— the Tathagata is possessed of super-normal things.

6. At such a time, Ananda, as the Tathagata abides
with body aligned[4] with heart,
and heart aligned with body,
and body is steeped in
perception of pleasure,
perception of lightness,
at such a time Ananda,
the Tathagata's body becomes light,
maluable,
workable,
glowing.

7. In the same way, Ananda,
that a glop of iron heated all day
becomes light,
maluable,
workable,
glowing,
at such a time, Ananda, as the Tathagata abides
with body aligned with heart,
and heart aligned with body,
and body is steeped in
perception of pleasure,
perception of lightness,
at such a time, Ananda,
the Tathagata's body becomes light,
maluable,
workable,
glowing.

8. At such a time, Ananda, as the Tathagata abides
with body aligned with heart,
and heart aligned with body,
and body is steeped in
perception of pleasure,
perception of lightness,
at such a time, Ananda,
the Tathagata is able,
with little difficulty
to separate off
and rise up into the air
and he experiences not just one variety of magic power:

Being one he also becomes many,
being many he also becomes one.

Manifest here, transported beyond notice,
transported through walls,
transported through fortifications unsticking,
he goes whithersoever as if in space.

He jumps into and out of the earth
as though in water;
goes on water without parting it
as though on solid ground.

He goes through space cross-legged
like a bird on the wing.

He touches and feels with the hand
the Moon and Sun,
as great and powerful as they are.

He turns up in the body even in the Brahma world.

9. In the same way, Ananda,
as a light tuft of thistle-down
or cotton-down
is with little difficulty
able to separate off
and rise up into the air
carried by the wind,
at such a time, Ananda, as the Tathagata abides
with body aligned with heart,
and heart aligned with body,
and body is steeped in
perception of pleasure,
perception of lightness,
at such a time, Ananda,
the Tathagata is able,
with little difficulty
to separate off
and rise up into the air
and he experiences not just one variety of magic power:

Being one he also becomes many,
being many he also becomes one.

Manifest here, transported beyond notice,
transported through walls,
transported through fortifications unsticking,
he goes whithersoever as if in space.

He jumps into and out of the earth
as though in water;
goes on water without parting it
as though on solid ground.

He goes through space cross-legged like a bird on the wing.

He touches and feels with the hand the Moon and Sun, as great and powerful as they are.

He turns up in the body even in the Brahma world.

 


[1] Cātummahābhūtikena. The equivalent of the four great data: Earth, Water, Firelight, Wind. The meaning of Bhūta here would then be 'elemental properties of a living thing.' The term is used to denote a living organism and an inanimate natural object. Generally the translation 'the four great elements' is used for 'mahā dhatu'.
Bhk. Bodhi: this body composed of the four great elements,
Woodward: this (physical) body of the four great elements.

[2] Opāti > Opāteti2. to drop, to omit. Bhk. Bodhi and Woodward struggle to make the word fit the meaning that appears to be most reasonable to them, that is that Ananda is praising both powers. They make a big deal about the difficulty caused by this term and then, essentially, ignore it. I suggest that we think in terms of the skeptic: "OK, so he can imagine himself in the brahma world. Big deal." So Ananda to emphasize what would astound which is his ability to go there in this body, puts to the side, puts down, drops, the first power as not so miraculous. This reading is supported by the elaboration that follows which deals with how the Tathagata so works the body that it is able to arise in the Brahma world, and also by the description of this magic power in the list of magic powers as being the ability to appear in the body in the brahma world.

[3] In SN 51.14, I have translated these two terms 'an act of sorcery' and 'an abnormality' to emphasize the likely emotions of the bhikkhus in that situation.

[4] Samādahati. In the phrase: Kāyam pi citte samādahati, cittam pi ca kāye samādahati. For those seeking to actually learn the techniques for acquiring magic powers, and for those seeking to create accurate translations, this is the critical word to decipher.
PED: Samādahati [saŋ+ādahati1] to put together S I.169. jotiṃ s. to kindle a fire Vin IV.115; cittaṃ s. to compose the mind, concentrate
Ādahati1 [ā + dahati1] to put down, put on, settle, fix Vism 289 (samaṃ ā. = samādahati). Cp. sam* and ādhiyati.
Ādahati2 [ā + dahati2] to set fire to, to burn J VI.201, 203.
Dahati1 (dahate) [Sanskrit dadhāti to put down, set up; *dhe = Gr. ti/qhmi, Latin facio, Ohg. tuon, Ags. don = E. to do. See also dhātu] to put, place; take for (acc. or abl.), assume, claim, consider D I.92 (okkākaṃ pitāmahaṃ = ṭhapeti DA I.258); S III.113 (mittato daheyya); A IV.239 (cittaṃ d. fix the mind on); Sn 825 (bālaṃ dahanti mithu aññamaññaṃ = passanti dakkhanti, etc. Nd1 163). Pass dhīyati (q. v.); grd. dheyya (q. v.). Note. dahati is more frequent in combination with prefixes and compositions like ā-, upa-, pari-, sad-, san-, samā-, etc. pp. hita.
Dahati2 = ḍahati to burn; as dahate Pv II.98 ( = dahati vināseti PvA 116).


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