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Buddhist Suttas

Translated from Pāli by T. W. Rhys Davids

Oxford, the Clarendon Press
1881
Vol. XI of The Sacred Books of the East
translated by various Oriental scholars and edited by F. Max Müller

Public Domain
This work has been reformatted for presentation on BuddhaDust
Thanks to J.B. Hare's Internet Sacred Text Archives for originally posting this material
Digitized and formatted for Internet Sacred Text Archives by Cristopher M. Weimer

I
The Book of the Great Decease


Mahā Parinibbāna Sutta
The Book of the Great Decease

Chapter I[1]

[1][stor][bit][pts][than] THUS HAVE I HEARD. The Blessed One was once dwelling in Rājagaha on the hill called the Vulture's Peak. Now at that time Ajātasattu, the son of the queen-consort of Videha origin[2], the king of Magadha, was desirous of attacking the Vajjians; and he said to himself, 'I will root out these Vajjians, [2] mighty and powerful[3] though they be, I will destroy these Vajjians, I will bring these Vajjians to utter ruin!'

2. So he spake to the Brāhman Vassakāra, the prime-minister of Magadha, and said:

'Come now, O Brāhman, do you go to the Blessed One, and bow down in adoration at his feet on my behalf, and enquire in my name whether he is free from illness and suffering, and in the enjoyment of case and comfort, and vigorous health. Then tell him that Ajātasattu, son of the Vedehi, the king of Magadha, in his eagerness to attack the Vajjians, has resolved, "I will root out these Vajjians, mighty and powerful though they be, I will destroy these Vajjians, I will bring these Vajjians to utter ruin!" And bear carefully in mind whatever the Blessed One may predict, and repeat it to me. For the Buddhas speak nothing untrue!'

3. Then the Brāhman Vassakāra, hearkened to the words of the king, saying, 'Be it as you say.' And ordering a number of magnificent carriages to be made ready, he mounted one of them, left Rājagaha with his train, and went to the Vulture's Peak, riding as far as the ground was passable for carriages, [3] and then alighting and proceeding on foot to the place where the Blessed One was. On arriving there he exchanged with the Blessed One the greetings and compliments of friendship and civility, sat down respectfully by his side [and then delivered to him the message even as the king had commanded[4]].

4. Now at that time the venerable Ānanda was standing behind the Blessed One, and fanning him. And the Blessed One said to him: 'Have you heard, Ānanda, that the Vajjians hold full and frequent public assemblies?'

'Lord, so I have heard,' replied he.

'So long, Ānanda,' rejoined the Blessed One, 'as the Vajjians hold these full and frequent public assemblies; so long may they be expected not to decline, but to prosper.'

[And in like manner questioning Ānanda, and receiving a similar reply, the Blessed One declared as follows the other conditions which would ensure the welfare of the Vajjian confederacy[5].]

'So long, Ānanda, as the Vajjians meet together in concord, and rise in concord, and carry out their undertakings in concord — so long as they enact nothing not already established, abrogate nothing that has been already enacted, and act in accordance with the ancient institutions of the Vajjians as established in former days — so long as they honour and esteem and revere and support the Vajjian elders, and hold it a point of duty to hearken to their words — so long as no women or girls [4] belonging to their clans are detained among them by force or abduction — so long as they honour and esteem and revere and support the Vajjian shrines[6] in town or country, and allow not the proper offerings and rites, as formerly given and performed, to fall into desuetude — so long as the rightful protection, defence, and support shall be fully provided for the Arahats among them, so that Arahats from a distance may enter the realm, and the Arahats therein may live at case — so long may the Vajjians be expected not to decline, but to prosper.'

5. Then the Blessed One addressed Vassakāra the Brāhman, and said:

'When I was once staying, O Brāhman, at Vesāli at the Sārandada Temple[7], I taught the Vajjians these conditions of welfare; and so long as those conditions shall continue to exist among the Vajjians, so long as the Vajjians shall be well instructed in those conditions, so long may we expect them not to decline, but to prosper.'

'We may expect then,' answered the Brāhman, 'the welfare and not the decline of the Vaggians when they are possessed of any one of these conditions of welfare, how much more so when they are possessed of all the seven. So, Gotama, the Vajjians cannot be overcome by the king of Magadha; that is, not in battle, without diplomacy or breaking up their alliance[8]. And now, Gotama, we must go; we are busy, and have much to do.'

[5]'Whatever you think most fitting, O Brāhman,' was the reply. And the Brāhman Vassakāra, delighted and pleased with the words of the Blessed One, rose from his seat, and went his way.

6. Now soon after he had gone the Blessed One addressed the venerable Ānanda, and said: 'Go now, Ānanda, and assemble in the Service Hall such of the Brethren[9] as live in the neighbourhood of Rājagaha.'

[6]And he did so; and returned to the Blessed One, and informed him, saying:

'The company of the Brethren, Lord, is assembled, let the Blessed One do as seemeth to him fit.'

And the Blessed One arose, and went to the Service Hall; and when he was seated, he addressed the Brethren, and said:

'I will teach you, O mendicants, seven conditions of the welfare of a community. Listen well and attend, and I will speak.'

'Even so, Lord,' said the Brethren, in assent, to the Blessed One; and he spake as follows:

'So long, O mendicants, as the brethren meet together in full and frequent assemblies — so long as they meet together in concord, and rise in concord, and carry out in concord the duties of the order — so long as the brethren shall establish nothing that has not been already prescribed, and abrogate nothing that has been already established, and act in accordance with the rules of the order as now laid down — so long as the brethren honour and esteem and revere and support the elders of experience and long standing, the fathers and leaders of the order, and hold it a point of duty to hearken to their words — so long as the brethren fall not under the influence of that craving which, springing up within them, would give rise to renewed existence[10] — so long as the brethren delight in a life of solitude — so long as the brethren so train their minds[11] that good and holy men shall come to them, and those who have come shall dwell at ease [7] — so long may the brethren be expected, not to decline, but to prosper. So long as these seven conditions shall continue to exist among the brethren, so long as they are well-instructed in these conditions, so long may the brethren be expected not to decline, but to prosper.'

7. 'Other seven conditions of welfare will I teach you, O brethren. Listen well, and attend, and I will speak.'

And on their expressing their assent, he spake as follows:

'So long as the brethren shall not engage in, or be fond of, or be connected with business — so long as the brethren shall not be in the habit of or be fond of, or be partakers in idle talk — so long as the brethren shall not be addicted to, or be fond of, or indulge in slothfulness — so long as the brethren shall not frequent, or be fond of, or indulge in society — so long as the brethren shall neither have, nor fall under the influence of, sinful desires — so long as the brethren shall not become the friends, companions, or intimates of sinners — so long as the brethren shall not come to a stop on their way [to Nirvāṇa[12]] because they [8] have attained to any lesser thing — so long may the brethren be expected not to decline, but to prosper.

'So long as these conditions shall continue to exist among the brethren, so long as they are instructed in these conditions, so long may the brethren be expected not to decline, but to prosper.'

8. 'Other seven conditions of welfare will I teach you, O brethren. Listen well, and attend, and I will speak.'

And on their expressing their assent, he spake as follows:

'So long as the brethren shall be full of faith, modest in heart, afraid of sin[13], full of learning, strong in energy, active in mind, and full of wisdom, so long may the brethren be expected not to decline, but to prosper.

'So long as these conditions shall continue to exist among the brethren, so long as they are instructed in these conditions, so long may the brethren be expected not to decline, but to prosper.'

9. 'Other seven conditions of welfare will I teach you, O brethren. Listen well, and attend, and I will speak.'

And on their expressing their assent, he spake as follows:

[9]'So long as the brethren shall exercise themselves in the sevenfold higher wisdom, that is to say, in mental activity, search after truth, energy, joy, peace, earnest contemplation, and equanimity of mind, so long may the brethren be expected not to decline, but to prosper.

'So long as these conditions shall continue to exist among the brethren, so long as they are instructed in these conditions, so long may the brethren be expected not to decline, but to prosper.'

10. 'Other seven conditions of welfare will I teach you, O brethren. Listen well, and attend, and I will speak.'

And on their expressing their assent, he spake as follows:

'So long as the brethren shall exercise themselves in the sevenfold perception due to earnest thought, that is to say, the perception of impermanency, of non-individuality[14], of corruption, of the danger of sin, of sanctification, of purity of heart, of Nirvāṇa, so long may the brethren be expected not to decline, but to prosper.

'So long as these conditions shall continue to exist among the brethren, so long as they are instructed in these conditions, so long may the brethren be expected not to decline, but to prosper.'

11. 'Six conditions of welfare will I teach you, O brethren. Listen well, and attend, and I will speak.'

And on their expressing their assent, he spake as follows:

[10]'So long as the brethren shall persevere in kindness of action, speech, and thought amongst the saints, both in public and in private — so long as they shall divide without partiality, and share in common with the upright and the holy, all such things as they receive in accordance with the just provisions of the order, down even to the mere contents of a begging bowl — so long as the brethren shall live among the saints in the practice, both in public and in private, of those virtues which (unbroken, intact, unspotted, unblemished) are productive of freedom[15], and praised by the wise; which are untarnished by the desire of future life, or by the belief in the efficacy of outward acts[16]; and which are conducive to high and holy thoughts — so long as the brethren shall live among the saints, cherishing, both in public and in private, that noble and saving faith which leads to the complete destruction of the sorrow of him who acts according to it — so long may the brethren be expected not to decline, but to prosper.

'So long as these six conditions shall continue to [11] exist among the brethren so long as they are instructed in these six conditions, so long may the brethren be expected not to decline, but to prosper.'

 


 

12. And whilst the Blessed One stayed there at Rājagaha on the Vulture's Peak he held that comprehensive religious talk with the brethren on the nature of upright conduct, and of earnest contemplation, and of intelligence. 'Great is the fruit, great the advantage of earnest contemplation when set round with upright conduct. Great is the fruit, great the advantage of intellect when set round with earnest contemplation. The mind set round with intelligence is freed from the great evils, that is to say, from sensuality, from individuality, from delusion, and from ignorance[17].'

[12] 13. Now when the Blessed One had sojourned at Rājagaha as long as he pleased, he addressed the venerable Ānanda, and said: 'Come, Ānanda, let us go to Ambalaṭṭhikā.'

'So be it, Lord!' said Ānanda in assent, and the Blessed One, with a large company of the brethren, proceeded to Ambalaṭṭhikā.

14. There the Blessed One stayed in the king's house and held that comprehensive religious talk with the brethren on the nature of upright conduct, and of earnest contemplation, and of intelligence. 'Great is the fruit, great the advantage of earnest contemplation when set round with upright conduct. Great is the fruit, great the advantage of intellect when set round with earnest contemplation. The mind set round with intelligence is freed from the great evils, that is to say, from sensuality, from individuality, from delusion, and from ignorance.'

 


 

15. Now when the Blessed One had stayed as long as was convenient at Ambalaṭṭhikā, he addressed the venerable Ānanda, and said: 'Come, Ānanda, let us go on to Nālandā.'

'So be it, Lord!' said Ānanda, in assent, to the Blessed One.

Then the Blessed One proceeded, with a great company of the brethren, to Nālandā; and there, at Nālandā, the Blessed One stayed in the Pāvārika mango grove.

16. [18]Now the venerable Sāriputta came to the [13]place where the Blessed One was, and having saluted him, took his seat respectfully at his side, and said: 'Lord! such faith have I in the Blessed One, that methinks there never has been, nor will there be, nor is there now any other, whether Samaṇa or Brāhman, who is greater and wiser than the Blessed One, that is to say, as regards the higher wisdom.'

'Grand and bold are the words of thy mouth, Sāriputta: verily, thou hast burst forth into a song of ecstasy! of course then thou hast known all the Blessed Ones who in the long ages of the past have been Arahat Buddhas, comprehending their minds with yours, and aware what their conduct was, what their doctrine, what their wisdom, what their mode of life, and what salvation they attained to?'

'Not so, O Lord!'

'Of course then thou hast perceived all the Blessed Ones who in the long ages of the future shall be Arahat Buddhas comprehending [in the same manner their whole minds with yours]?'

Not so, O Lord!'

But at least then, O Sāriputta, thou knowest me as the Arahat Buddha now alive, and hast penetrated my mind [in the manner I have mentioned]!'

'Not even that, O Lord!'

'You see then, Sāriputta, that you know not the hearts of the Arahat Buddhas of the past and of the future. Why therefore are your words so grand and bold? Why do you burst forth into such a song of ecstasy?'

17. 'O Lord! I have not the knowledge of the hearts of the Arahat Buddhas that have been, and are to come, and now are. I only know the lineage [14]of the faith. just, Lord, as a king might have a border city, strong in its foundations, strong in its ramparts and toraṇas, and with one gate alone; and the king might have a watchman there, clever, expert, and wise, to stop all strangers and admit only friends. And he, on going over the approaches all round the city, might not so observe all the joints and crevices in the ramparts of that city as to know where even a cat could get out. That might well be. Yet all living things of larger size that entered or left the city, would have to do so by that gate. Thus only is it, Lord, that I know the lineage of the faith. I know that the Arahat Buddhas of the past, putting away all lust, ill-will, sloth, pride, and doubt; knowing all those mental faults which make men weak; training their minds in the four kinds of mental activity; thoroughly exercising themselves in the sevenfold higher wisdom, received the full fruition of Enlightenment. And I know that the Arahat Buddhas of the times to come will [do the same]. And I know that the Blessed One, the Arahat Buddha of to-day, has [done so] now[19].'

 


 

18. There in the Pavārika mango grove the Blessed One held that comprehensive religious talk [15] with the brethren on the nature of upright conduct, and of earnest contemplation, and of intelligence. 'Great is the fruit, great the advantage of earnest contemplation when set round with upright conduct. Great is the fruit, great the advantage of intellect when set round with earnest contemplation. The mind set round with intelligence is freed from the great evils, that is to say, from sensuality, from individuality, from delusion, and from ignorance.'

 


 

19. Now when the Blessed One had stayed as long as was convenient at Nālandā, he addressed the venerable Ānanda, and said: 'Come, Ānanda, let us go on to PāĀaligāma.'

'So be it, Lord!' said Ānanda, in assent, to the Blessed One.

Then the Blessed One proceeded, with a great company of the brethren, to PāĀaligāma.

20. [20] Now the disciples at PāĀaligāma heard of his arrival there, and they went to the place where he was, took their seats respectfully beside him, and invited him to their village rest house. And the Blessed One signified, by silence, his consent.

21. Then the PāĀaligāma disciples seeing that he had accepted the invitation, rose from their seats, and went away to the rest house, bowing to the Blessed One and keeping him on their right as they past him[21]. On arriving there they made the rest [16] house fit in every way for occupation[22], placed seats in it, set up a water-pot, and fixed an oil lamp. Then they returned to the Blessed One, and bowing, stood beside him, and said: 'All things are ready, Lord! It is time for you to do what you deem most fit.'

22. And the Blessed One robed himself, took his bowl and other things, went with the brethren to the rest house, washed his feet, entered the hall, and took his seat against the centre pillar, with his face towards the east. And the brethren also, after washing their feet, entered the hall, and took their seats round the Blessed One, against the western wall, and facing the cast. And the PāĀaligāma disciples too, after washing their feet, entered the hall, and took their seats opposite the Blessed One, against the eastern wall, and facing towards the west.

23. [23] Then the Blessed One addressed the PāĀaligāma disciples, and said: 'Fivefold, O householders, is the loss of the wrong-doer through his want of rectitude. In the first place the wrong-doer, devoid of rectitude, falls into great poverty through sloth; in the next place his evil repute gets noised abroad; thirdly, whatever society he enters — whether of Brāhmans, nobles, heads of houses, or Samaṇas — [17] he enters shyly and confused; fourthly, he is full of anxiety when he dies; and lastly, on the dissolution of the body, after death, he is reborn into some unhappy state of suffering or woe[24]. This, O householders, is the fivefold loss of the evil-doer!'

24. 'Fivefold, O householders, is the gain of the well-doer through his practice of rectitude. In the first place the well-doer, strong in rectitude, acquires great wealth through his industry; in the next place, good reports of him are spread abroad; thirdly, whatever society he enters — whether of nobles, Brāhmans, heads of houses, or members of the order--he enters confident and self-possessed; fourthly, he dies without anxiety; and lastly, on the dissolution of the body, after death, he is reborn into some happy state in heaven. This, O householders, is the fivefold gain of the well-doer.'

25. When the Blessed One had thus taught the disciples, and incited them, and roused them, and gladdened them, far into the night with religious discourse, he dismissed them, saying, 'The night is far spent, O householders. It is time for you to do what you deem most fit.' 'Even so, Lord!' answered the disciples of PāĀaligāma, and they rose from their seats, and bowing to the Blessed One, and keeping him on their right hand as they passed him, they departed thence.

And the Blessed One, not long after the disciples [18] of PāĀaligāma had departed thence, entered into his private chamber.

26. At that time Sunīdha and Vassakāra, the chief ministers of Magadha, were building a fortress at PāĀaligāma to repel the Vajjians, and there were a number of fairies who haunted in thousands the plots of ground there. Now, wherever ground is so occupied by powerful fairies, they bend the hearts of the most powerful kings and ministers to build dwelling-places there, and fairies of middling and inferior power bend in a similar way the hearts of middling or inferior kings and ministers.

27. And the Blessed One, with his great and clear vision, surpassing that of ordinary men, saw thousands of those fairies haunting PāĀaligāma. And he rose up very early in the morning, and said to Ānanda: 'Who is it then, Ānanda, who is building a fortress at PāĀaligāma?

'Sunīdha and Vassakāra, Lord, the chief ministers of Magadha, are building a fortress there to keep back the Vajjians.'

28. They act, Ānanda, as if they had consulted with the Tāvatiṃsa, angels. [And telling him of what he had seen, and of the influence such fairies had, he added]: 'And among famous places of residence and haunts of busy men, this will become the chief, the city of PāĀali-putta, a centre for the interchange of all kinds of wares. But three dangers will hang over PāĀali-putta, that of fire, that of water, and that of dissension[25].'

[19] 29. Now Sunīdha and Vassakāra, the chief ministers of Magadha, proceeded to the place where the Blessed One was. And when they had come there they exchanged with the Blessed One the greetings and compliments of friendship and civility, and stood there respectfully on one side. And, so standing, Sunīdha and Vassakāra, the chief ministers of Magadha, spake thus to the Blessed One:

'May the venerable Gotama do us the honour of taking his meal, together with the company of the brethren, at our house to-day.' And the Blessed One signified, by silence, his consent.

30. Then when Sunīdha and Vassakāra, the chief ministers of Magadha, perceived that he had given his consent, they returned to the place where they dwelt. And on arriving there, they prepared sweet dishes of boiled rice, and cakes; and informed the Blessed One, saying:

[20] 'The hour of food has come, O Gotama, and all is ready.'

And the Blessed One robed himself early, took his bowl with him, and repaired with the brethren to the dwelling-place of Sunīdha and Vassakāra, and sat down on the seat prepared for him. And with their own hands they set the sweet rice and the cakes before the brethren with the Buddha at their head, and waited on them till they had had enough. And when the Blessed One had finished eating his meal, the ministers brought a low seat, and sat down respectfully at his side.

31. And when they were thus seated the Blessed One gave thanks in these verses: --

'Wheresoe'er the prudent man shall take up his abode
Let him support there good and upright men of self-control.
Let him give gifts to all such deities as may be there.
Revered, they will revere him: honoured, they honour him again;

Are gracious to him as a mother to her own, her only son.
And the man who has the grace of the gods, good fortune he beholds[26].'

[21]32. And when he had thanked the ministers in these verses he rose from his seat and departed thence. And they followed him as he went, saying, 'The gate the Samaṇa Gotama goes out by to-day shall be called Gotama's gate, and the ferry at which he crosses the river shall be called Gotama's ferry.' And the gate he went out at was called Gotama's gate.

 


 

33. But the Blessed One went on to the river. And at that time the river Ganges was brimful and overflowing[27]; and wishing to cross to the opposite bank, some began to seek for boats, some for rafts of wood, while some made rafts of basket-work[28]. Then the Blessed One as instantaneously as a strong man would stretch forth his arm, or draw it back again when he had stretched it forth, vanished from this side of the river, and stood on the further bank with the company of the brethren.

34. And the Blessed One beheld the people looking for boats and rafts, and as he beheld them he brake forth at that time into this song: --

'They who cross the ocean drear
Making a solid path across the pools --
[22]Whilst the vain world ties its basket rafts-
These are the wise, these are the saved indeed[29]!'

 


 

END OF THE FIRST PORTION FOR RECITATION

 


 

 


[1]Sections 1-10, inclusive, recur in the Vajji Vagga of the Sutta Nipāta in the Anguttara Nikāya; and there is a curiously incorrect version of Ī 3 in the Fa Kheu Pi Hu, translated from the Chinese by Mr. Beal, under the title of 'The Dhammapada from the Buddhist Canon,' pp. 165, 166.

[2]Ajātasattu Vedehiputto. The first word is not a personal name, but an official epithet, 'he against whom there has arisen no (worthy or equal) foe;' the second gives us the maiden family, or tribal (not personal) name of his mother. Persons of distinction are scarcely ever mentioned by name in Indian Buddhist books, a rule applying more especially to kings, but extended not unfrequently to private persons. Thus Upatissa, the earnest and thoughtful disciple whom the Buddha himself declared to be 'the second founder of the kingdom of righteousness,' is referred to either as Dhamma-senāpati or as Sāriputta; epithets of corresponding origin to those in the text. By the Gains Agātasattu is called Kūṇika or Koṇika, which again is probably not the name given to him at the rice-eating (the ceremony corresponding to infant baptism), but a nickname acquired in after life.

[3]Evammahiddhike evammahānubhāve. There is nothing supernatural about the iddhi here referred to. Etena tesan samagga-bhāvan kathesi says the commentator simply: thus referring the former adjective to the power of union, as he does the second to the power derived from practice in military tactics (hatthisippādīhi). The epithets are, indeed, most commonly applied to the supernatural powers of Devatās, Nāgas, and other fairy-like beings; but they are also used, sometimes in the simple sense of this passage, and sometimes in the other sense, of Buddhas and of other Arahats. See M. P. S. 12, 43; M. Sud. S. 49-53; Jāt. I, 34, 35, 39, 41.

[4]Ī 2 repeated.

[5]In the text there is a question, answer, and reply with each clause.

[6]Cetiyāni, which Sum. Vil. explains as Yakkha-cetiyāni.

[7]The commentator adds that this was a vihāra erected on the site of a former temple of the Yakkha Sārandada.

[8]'Overcome' is literally 'done' (akaraṇiyā), but the word evidently has a similar sense to that which 'done' occasionally has {footnote p. 5} in colloquial English. The Sum. Vil. (fol. Āī) says akaraṇiyā, akatabbā agahetabbā: yadidaŋ, nipāta-mattaŋ: yuddhassāti, karaṇatthe sāmi-vacanaŋ, abhimukhena yuddhena gahetuŋ na sakkā ti attho. Upalāpanā, which I have only met with here, must mean 'humbug, cajolery, diplomacy;' see the use of the verb upa-lāpeti, at Mahā Vagga V, 2, 21; Jāt. II, 266, 267; Pāt. in the 70th Pāc. Sum. Vil. explains it, at some length, as making an alliance, by gifts, with hostile intent, which comes to much the same thing. The root I think is .

[9]The word translated 'brethren' throughout is in the original bhikkhū, a word most difficult to render adequately by any word which would not, to Christians and in Europe, connote something different from the Buddhist idea. A bhikkhu, literally 'beggar,' was a disciple who had joined Gotama's order; but the word refers to their renunciation of worldly things, rather than to their consequent mendicancy; and they did not really beg in our modern sense of the word. Hardy has 'priests;' I have elsewhere used (monks' and sometimes 'beggars' and 'members of the order.' This last is, I think, the best rendering; but it is too long for constant repetition, as in this passage, and too complex to be a really good version of bhikkhu. The members of the order were not priests, for they had no priestly powers. They were not monks, for they took no vow of obedience, and could leave the order (and constantly did so and do so still) whenever they chose. They were not beggars, for they had none of the mental and moral qualities associated with that word. 'Brethren' connotes very much the position in which they stood to one another; but I wish there were a better word to use in rendering bhikkhu.

[10]'Ponobhavikā' punabbhava-dāyikā. (S. V. fol. Āū.)

[11]'Paccattaṃ yeva satiṃ upaṭṭhāpessantī' ti attano abbhantare satiṃ upaṭṭhāpessanti. (S. V. fol. Āū.)

[12]'Oramattakenā' ti avaramattakena appamattakena. 'Antarā' ti arahattaṃ appatvā 'va etth' antare. 'Vosānan' ti .... osakkanam idaṃ vuttaṃ hoti. Yāva sīla-pārisuddhi-mattena vā vipassanā-mattena vā sotāpanna-bhāva-mattena vā sakadāgami-bhāva-mattena vā anāgāmi-bhāva-mattena vā 'vosānaṃ' na 'āpajjissan' ti.nāma 'vuddhi yeva bhikkhūnaṃ pāĀikaṃkhā no parihāni.' S. V.(fol. tri). This is an interesting analogue to Philippians iii. 13: 'I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark,' &c. See also below, Chap. V, Ī 68.

[13]The exact distinction between hiri and ottappa is here explained by Buddhaghosa as follows:
'Hirimanā' ti pāpa-jigukkhana-lakkhaṇāya hiriyā yuttacittā. 'Ottāpī' ti pāpato, bhaya-lakkhaṇena ottappena samannāgatā:
that is, loathing sin as contrasted with fear of sin. But this is rather a gloss than an exact and exclusive definition. Ahirikā is shamelessness, anotappaṃ forwardness. At Jāt. I, 207 we find hiri described as subjective, and ottappa as objective, modesty of heart as contrasted with decency in outward behaviour.

[14]For a further explanation of the meaning of anattaṃ see Gotama's second discourse in the Mahā Vagga I, 6: 38-47. Buddhaghosa makes no special comment here on either of the seven perceptions.

[15]Buddhaghosa takes this in a spiritual sense, 'tāni pan' etāni (sīlāni) taṇhā-dāsavyato mocetvā bhujissa-bhāva-karaṇato bhujissāni:' that is, 'These virtues are bhujissāni because they bring one to the state of a free man by delivering him from the slavery of craving.'

[16]'Taṇhā-diṭṭhīhi aparāmaṭṭhattā, idaṃ nāma tvaṃ āpannapubbo ti kenaci paramaṭṭhuṃ asakkuṇeyyattā ca, 'aparāmaṭṭhāni' (S. V. fol. 116), that is, 'These virtues are called aparāmaṭṭhāni' because they are untarnished by craving or delusion, and because no one can say of him who practises them, "you have been already guilty of such and such a sin."' Craving is here the hope of a future life in heaven, and delusion the belief in the efficacy of rites and ceremonies (the two nissayas) which are condemned as unworthy inducements to virtue.]

[17](mo: combines 2 notes) 1. This paragraph is spoken of as if it were a well-known summary, and it is constantly repeated below. The word I have rendered 'earnest contemplation' is samādhi, which occupies in the Pāli Piṭakas very much the same position as faith does in the New Testament; and this section shows that the relative importance of samādhi, paññā, and sīla played a part in early Buddhism just as the distinction between faith, reason, and works did afterwards in Western theology. It would be difficult to find a passage in which the Buddhist view of the relation of these conflicting ideas is stated with greater beauty of thought, or equal succinctness of form.
2. The expression 'set round with' is in Pāli paribhāvita, which Dr. Morris holds to be etymologically exactly parallel to our phrase 'perfected by,' on the ground that facio is a causal of the Latin representative of the Sanskrit root bhū. In the Cetokhila Sutta of the Majjhima Nikāya eggs are said to be paribhāvitāni by a brooding hen. Buddhaghosa says simply sīla-paribhāvito ti ādesu yamhi sīle ṭhatvā magga-samādhiṃ nibbattenti so tena sīlena paribhāvito. 'The samādhi belonging to the (Noble Eightfold) Path is said to be paribhāvito by that virtue, in which they (that is, the converted) are steadfast whilst they practise the samādhi.']

[18]This conversation is given at length in the Sampasādaniya Sutta of the Dīgha Nikāya, and also in the Satipaṭṭhāna Vagga of the Saṃyutta Nikāya. I have compressed mere repetitions at the places marked with [ ] where the preceding clauses are, in the text, repeated in full.]

[19]The tertium quid of the comparison is the completeness of the knowledge. Sāriputta acknowledges that he was wrong in jumping to the wide conclusion that his own lord and master was the wisest of all the teachers of the different religious systems that were known to him. So far — after the cross-examination by the Buddha — he admits that his knowledge does not reach. But he maintains that he does know that which is, to him, after all the main thing, namely, that all the Buddhas must have passed through the process here laid down as leading up to Buddhahood. The Pāli of 'the full fruition of Enlightenment' is anuttaraṃ sammāsambodhiṃ, which might be rendered 'Supreme Buddhahood.'][mo1.1]

[20]From this sentence down to the end of the verses at Chap. II, Ī 3, is, with a few unimportant variations, word for word the same as Mahā Vagga VI, 28, 1, to VI, 29, 2.

[21]It would be very rude to have left him otherwise. So in Europe a similar custom is carried still further, persons leaving the royal presence being expected to go out backwards.]

[22]With reference to Oldenberg's note at Mahā Vagga, p. 384, it may be mentioned that Buddhaghosa says here, 'sabba-santharin' ti yathā sabbaṃ santhataṃ yeva. (S. V. fol. Āe.)

[23]The following sentences contain a synopsis of what was merely the elementary righteousness, the Ādi-brahma-cariyaṃ, quite distinct from, and not for a moment to be compared in glory with the Magga-brahma-cariyaṃ, the system developed in the Noble Eightfold Path. It will have been seen above, Ī 11, that the latter, to be perfect, must be untarnished by the attraction of the hope of heaven or the fear of hell.]

[24]Four such states are mentioned, apāya, duggati, vinipāto, and nirayo, all of which are temporary states. The first three seem to be synonyms. The last is one of the four divisions into which the first is usually divided, and is often translated hell; but not being an eternal state, and not being dependent or consequent upon any judgment, it cannot accurately be so rendered.]

[25]This paragraph is of importance to the orthodox Buddhist as proving the Buddha's power of prophecy and the authority of the {footnote p. 19} Buddhist scriptures. To those who conclude that such a passage must have been written after the event that is prophesied, it is valuable evidence of the age both of the Mahā Vagga and of the Mahāparinibbāna Sutta; — evidence, however, that cannot as yet be applied to its full extent, as the time at which PāĀali-gāma had grown into the great and important city of PāĀali-putta is not as yet known with sufficient certainty. The late Burmese tradition on this point given in Bigandet's Legend of the Burmese Buddha, vol. ii, p. 183, can scarcely be depended upon, though it doubtless rests on older documents, and is mentioned also by Hiouen Thsang.
The curious popular belief as to good and bad fairies haunting the sites of houses gave rise to a quack science, akin to astrology, called vatthu-vijjā, which Buddhaghosa explains here at some length, and which is frequently condemned elsewhere in the Pāli Piṭakas. See, for instance, Ī 1 of the Mahā-sīlaṃ, translated below in the Tevijja Sutta. The belief is turned to ridicule in the edifying legend, No. 40, in my 'Buddhist Birth Stories,' pp. 326-334.]

[26]This passage gives Buddhaghosa a good deal of difficulty, as it apparently inculcates offerings to the gods, which is contrary not only to both the letter and spirit of Buddhism, but also to the practice of Buddhists. He explains away the gifts to the deities by saying they are gifts of merit only (patti) — the giver giving the four necessaries to Bhikkhus, and then expressing a wish that the Devatās should share in his puñña. I am inclined to think, on the authority of the Deva-dhamma Jātaka (No. 9 in 'Buddhist {footnote p. 21} Birth Stories'), that by the deities are here meant the good and upright men of self-control,' mentioned in the previous clause. The verses were perhaps originally non-Buddhistic.]

[27]Samatittikā kākapeyyā. See the note on Tevijja Sutta I, 19, translated below, where the same expression occurs.

[28]Ulumpan ti pāraṃ gamanatthāya āṇiyo koṭṭetvā kataṃ; kullan ti valli-ādīhi bandhitvā katabbaṃ, says Buddhaghosa. The spelling u'umpaṃ would correspond better to the Sanskrit form uḍupa, and has been chosen by Childers in his dictionary, and by Oldenberg in his transliteration of this passage (Mahā Vagga VI, 28: 11, 12).]

[29]That is, those who cross the 'ocean drear' of taṇhā, or craving; avoiding, by means of the 'dyke' or causeway of the Noble Path, the 'pools' or shallows of lust, and ignorance, and delusion (comp. Dhp. v. 91), whilst the vain world looks for salvation from rites, and ceremonies, and gods, — 'these are the wise, these are the saved indeed!'
How the metre of the verses in the text fell into the confusion in which it at present stands is not easy to see. One would expect --
 
Ye visajja pallalāni taranti aññavaṃ saraṃ
Kullaṃ hi jano bandhati tiññā medhāvino janā.

 
That a gloss can creep into the text, even in verses, is clear from the indisputable instance at Jātaka II, 3 5; and the words setuṃ katvāna would have been a very natural gloss had the passage once stood as above. Then supposing that a copyist or reciter had found the words ye visajja pallalāni setuṃ katvāna taranti aññavaṃ saraṃ, he might have corrected, as he thought, the order of the words so as to avoid any possibility of the words being taken to mean that the setu, the solid causeway, was made over the aññavaṃ saraṃ, the vastly deep, which would be palpably absurd. Buddhaghosa found setuṃ katvāna in the text, but it is not possible to tell in what order he found the words. The Turnour MS. of the Sumangala Vilāsinī has pabandhati, but a Ceylon copy of the Samanta Pāsādikā confirms the Burmese reading bandhati at Mahā Vagga VI, 28, 13. I need scarcely say that the translation follows the printed text. We know too little about the history of the Pāli Suttas to be able to do more than make a passing note of such curiosities.
On vanishing away from a place, comp. below, III, 22.]

 


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