WARREN: BUDDHISM IN TRANSLATIONS

308

 

 


 

 

Ī 67. Going Further and Faring Worse
The First High Power

Translated from the Kevaddha-Sutta of the Digha-Nikāya (xi.67).

[1][pts][ati] Once upon a time, O Kevaddha, a reflection occurred to a certain priest of this very congregation: "Where do these four elements, to wit, the earthy element, the watery element, the fiery element, and the windy element, utterly cease?" Then, O Kevaddha, the priest entered upon a state of trance of such a nature that, his thoughts being in this state of trance, the way to the gods became revealed to him. Then, O Kevaddha, the priest drew near to where the Gods of the Suite of the Four Great Kings were; and having drawn near, he spoke to the Gods of the Suite of the Four Great Kings as follows:

"My friends, where do these four elements, to wit, the earthy element, the watery element, the fiery element, and the windy element, utterly cease?"

When he had thus spoken, O Kevaddha, the Gods of the Suite of the Four Great Kings spoke to the priest as follows:

"We, O priest, do not know where these four elements, to wit, the earthy element, the watery element, the fiery element, and the windy element, utterly cease. However, O priest, there are the Four Great Kings, who are more glorious and more excellent than we, they would know where these four elements, to wit, the earthy element, the watery element, the fiery element, and the windy element, utterly cease."

Then, O Kevaddha, the priest drew near to where the Four Great Kings were; and having drawn near, he spoke to the Four Great Kings as follows:

"My friends, where do these four elements, to wit, the earthy element, the watery element, the fiery element, and the windy element, utterly cease?"

[309]When he had thus spoken, O Kevaddha, the Four Great Kings spoke to the priest as follows:

"We, O priest, do not know where these four elements, to wit, the earthy element, the watery element, the fiery element, and the windy element, utterly cease. However, O priest, there are the Gods of the Suite of the Thirty-three, who are more glorious and more excellent than we, they would know where these four elements, to wit, the earthy element, the watery element, the fiery element, and the windy element, utterly cease."

[The priest then made a visit to the Gods of the Suite of the Thirty-three, and to their ruler, Sakka; to the Yama gods, and to their ruler, Suyāma; to the Satisfied Gods, and to their ruler, the Satisfied One; to the Gods Who Delight in Fashioning, and to their ruler, the Well-fashioned One; to the Gods Who Have Control of Pleasures Fashioned by Others, and to their ruler, the Controller; in each case putting the same question, and being directed to apply further on. The Controller's speech was as follows:]

"I, O priest, do not know where these four elements, to wit, the earthy. element, the watery element, the fiery element, and the windy element, utterly cease. However, O priest, there are the Gods of the Retinue of Brahma, who are more glorious and more excellent than I, they would know where these four elements, to wit, the earthy element, the watery element, the fiery element, and the windy element, utterly cease."

Then, O Kevaddha, the priest entered upon a state of trance of such a nature that, his thoughts being in this state of trance, the way to the Brahma-world became revealed to him. Then, O Kevaddha, the priest drew near to where the Gods of the Retinue of Brahma were; and having drawn near, he spoke to the Gods of the Retinue of Brahma as follows:

"My friends, where do these four elements, to wit, the earthy element, the watery element, the fiery element, and the windy element, utterly cease?"

When he had thus spoken, O Kevaddha, the Gods of the Retinue of Brahma spoke to the priest as follows:

[310] "We, O priest, do not know where these four elements, to wit, the earthy element, the watery element, the fiery element, and the windy element, utterly cease. However, O priest, there is Brahma, Great Brahma, the Supreme Being, the Unsurpassed, the Perceiver of All Things, the Controller, the Lord of All, the Maker, the Fashioner, the Chief, the Victor, the Ruler, the Father of All Beings Who Have Been and Are to Be, who is more glorious and more excellent than we, he would know where these four elements, to wit, the earthy element, the watery element, the fiery element, and the windy element, utterly cease."

"But where, my friends, is Great Brahma at the present moment?"

"We do not know, O priest, where Brahma is, or in what direction Brahma is, or whereabouts Brahma is. But inasmuch, O priest, as signs are seen, and a radiance is noticed, and an effulgence appears, Brahma himself will appear. This is a previous sign of the appearing of Brahma, to wit, that a radiance is noticed, and an effulgence appears."

Then, O Kevaddha, in no long time, Brahma appeared. Then, O Kevaddha, the priest drew near to where Brahma was; and having drawn near, he spoke to Brahma as follows:

"My friend, where do these four elements, to wit, the earthy element, the watery element, the fiery element, and the windy element, utterly cease?"

When he had thus spoken, O Kevaddha, Great Brahma spoke to the priest as follows:

"I, O priest, am Brahma, Great Brahma, the Supreme Being, the Unsurpassed, the Perceiver of All Things, the Controller, the Lord of All, the Maker, the Fashioner, the Chief, the Victor, the Ruler, the Father of All Beings Who Have Been and Are to Be."

And a second time, O Kevaddha, the priest spoke to Brahma as follows:

"My friend, I am not asking you, 'Are you Brahma, Great Brahma, the Supreme Being, the Unsurpassed, the Perceiver of All Things, the Controller, the Lord of All, the Maker, the Fashioner, the Chief, the Victor, the Ruler, [311] the Father of All Beings Who Have Been and Are to Be?' But this, my friend, is what I ask you, 'Where do these four elements, to wit, the earthy element, the watery element, the fiery element, and the windy element, utterly cease?'"

And a second time, O Kevaddha, Great Brahma spoke to the priest as follows:

"I, O priest, am Brahma, Great Brahma, the Supreme Being, the Unsurpassed, the Perceiver of All Things, the Controller, the Lord of All, the Maker, the Fashioner, the Chief, the Victor, the Ruler, the Father of All Beings Who Have Been and Are to Be."

And a third time, O Kevaddha, the priest spoke to Brahma as follows:

"My friend, I am not asking you, 'Are you Brahma, Great Brahma, the Supreme Being, the Unsurpassed, the Perceiver of All Things, the Controller, the Lord of All, the Maker, the Fashioner, the Chief, the Victor, the Ruler, the Father of All Beings Who Have Been and Are to Be?' But this, my friend, is what I ask you, 'Where do these four elements, to wit, the earthy element, the watery element, the fiery element, and the windy element, utterly cease?'"

Then, O Kevaddha, Great Brahma took the priest by the arm, and led him to one side, and spoke to the priest as follows:

"O priest, these gods of my suite believe as follows: 'Brahma sees all things; knows all things; has penetrated all things.' Therefore was it that I did not answer you in their presence. I, O priest, do not know where these four elements, to wit, the earthy element, the watery element, the fiery element, and the windy element, utterly cease. Therefore it was a sin and a crime, O priest, that you left The Blessed One, and went elsewhere in quest of an answer to this question. Turn back, O priest, and having drawn near to The Blessed One, ask him this question, and as The Blessed One shall explain unto you, so believe."

Then, O Kevaddha, the priest, as quickly as a strong man might stretch out his bent arm, or might draw in his stretched-out arm, disappeared from that Brahma-heaven, and appeared [312] in front of me. Then, O Kevaddha, when the priest had greeted me, he sat down respectfully at one side; and seated respectfully at one Bide, the priest, O Kevaddha, spoke to me as follows:

"Reverend Sir, where do these four elements, to wit, the earthy element, the watery element, the fiery element, and the windy element, utterly cease?"

"When he had thus spoken, O Kevaddha, I spoke to the priest as follows:

"Once upon a time, O priest, some seafaring traders, having a land-sighting bird, sailed out into the sea with their ship; and when the ship was out of sight of land, they set free that land-sighting bird. Such a bird flies in an easterly direction, in a southerly direction, in a westerly direction, in a northerly direction, towards the zenith, and to the intermediate quarters; and, if it sees land anywhere about, it flies thither, but if it does not see land anywhere about, it returns to the ship. In exactly the same way, O priest, when you had searched as far as to the Brahma-world, and had found no answer to this question, you returned to me. O priest, this question ought never to have been put thus, 'Reverend Sir, where do these four elements, to wit, the earthy element, the watery element, the fiery element, and the windy element, utterly cease?' But this, O priest, is how the question should have been put,

"O where doth water, where doth earth,
And fire, and wind no footing find?
And where doth long, and where doth short,
And fine and coarse and good and bad,
And where do name and form both cease,
And turn to utter nothingness?

"And the answer is,

"In consciousness invisible
And infinite, of radiance bright,
O there doth water, there doth earth,
And fire and wind no footing find.
And there doth long, and there doth short,

[313]

And fine and coarse and good and bad,
And there do name and form both cease,
And utter nothingness become.
And then, when consciousness hath ceased,
This all hath turned to nothingness."

Thus spake The Blessed One, and the delighted householder, Kevaddha, applauded the speech of The Blessed One.

The Kevaddha-Sermon.

 


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