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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


[40]

Mahā Parinibbāna Sutta
The Book of the Great Decease

Chapter III

[1]Now the Blessed One robed himself early in the morning, and taking his bowl in the robe, went into Vesāli for alms, and when he returned he sat down on the seat prepared for him, and after he had finished eating the rice he addressed the venerable Ānanda, and said: 'Take up the mat, Ānanda; I will go to spend the day at the Cāpāla Cetiya.'

'So be it, Lord!' said the venerable Ānanda, in assent, to the Blessed One. And taking up the mat he followed step for step behind the Blessed One.

2. So the Blessed One proceeded to the Cāpāla Cetiya, and when he had come there he sat down on the mat spread out for him, and the venerable Ānanda took his seat respectfully beside him. Then the Blessed One addressed the venerable Ānanda, and said: 'How delightful a spot, Ānanda, is Vesāli, and the Udena Cetiya, and the Gotamaka Cetiya, and the Sattambaka Cetiya, and the Bahuputta Cetiya, and the Sārandada Cetiya, and the Cāpāla Cetiya.

3. 'Ānanda! whosoever has thought out, developed, practised, accumulated, and ascended to the very heights of the four paths to Iddhi[2], and so [41]mastered them as to be able to use them as a means of (mental) advancement, and as a basis for edification, he, should he desire it, could remain in the same birth for a kalpa, or for that portion of the kalpa which had yet to run. Now the Tathāgata has thought them out, and thoroughly practised and developed them [in all respects as just more fully described], and he could, therefore, should he desire it, live on yet for a kalpa, or for that portion of the kalpa which has yet to run.'

4. But even though a suggestion so evident and a hint so clear were thus given by the Blessed One, the venerable Ānanda was incapable of comprehending them; and he besought not the Blessed One, saying, 'Vouchsafe, Lord, to remain during the kalpa! Live on through the kalpa, O Blessed One! for the good and the happiness of the great multitudes, out of pity for the world, for the good and the gain and the weal of gods and men!' So far was his heart possessed by the Evil One[3].

[42] 5. A second and a third time did the Blessed One [say the same thing, and a second and a third time was Ānanda's heart thus hardened].

6. Now the Blessed One addressed the venerable Ānanda and said: 'You may leave me, Ānanda, awhile, and do whatever seemeth to thee fit.'

'So be it, Lord!' said the venerable Ānanda, in assent, to the Blessed, and rising from his seat he saluted the Blessed One, and passing him on the right, sat down at the foot of a certain tree not far off thence.

 


 

7. Now not long after the venerable Ānanda had been gone, Māra, the Evil One, approached the Blessed One, and stood beside him. And so standing there, he addressed the Blessed One in these words:

'Pass away now, Lord, from existence; let the Blessed One now die. Now is the time for the Blessed One to pass away — even according to the [43] word which the Blessed One spoke: when he said[4]: "I shall not die, O Evil One! until the brethren and sisters of the order, and until the lay-disciples of either sex[5] shall have become true hearers, wise and well-trained, ready and learned, versed in the Scriptures, fulfilling all the greater and the lesser duties, correct in life, walking according to the precepts — until they, having thus themselves learned the doctrine, shall be able to tell others of it, preach it, make it known, establish it, open it, minutely explain it and make it clear — until they, when others start vain doctrine, shall be able by the truth to vanquish and refute it, and so to spread the wonderworking truth abroad!"'

8. 'And now, Lord, the brethren and sisters of the order and the lay-disciples of either sex have become [all this], are able to do [all this]. Pass away now therefore, Lord, from existence; let the Blessed One now die! The time has come for the Blessed One to pass away-even according to the word which he spake when he said, "I shall not die, O Evil One! until this pure religion of mine shall have become successful, prosperous, widespread, and popular in all its full extent--until, in a word, it shall have been well proclaimed to men," And now, Lord, this pure religion of thine has become [all this]. Pass away now therefore, Lord, from [44]existence; let the Blessed One now die! The time has come for the Blessed One to pass away!'

9. And when he had thus spoken, the Blessed One addressed Māra, the Evil One, and said: 'O Evil One! make thyself happy, the final extinction of the Tathāgata shall take place before long. At the end of three months from this time the Tathāgata will die!'

 


 

10. Thus the Blessed One while at the Cāpāla Cetiya deliberately and consciously rejected the rest of his allotted sum of life. And on his so rejecting, it there arose a mighty earthquake, awful and terrible, and the thunders of heaven burst forth. And when the Blessed One beheld this, he broke out at that time into this hymn of exultation:

'His sum of life the sage renounced,
The cause of life immeasurable or small;
With inward joy and calm, he broke,
Like coat of mail, his life's own cause!'

 


 

11. Now the following thought occurred to the venerable Ānanda: 'Wonderful indeed and marvellous is it that this mighty earthquake should arise, awful and terrible, and that the thunders of heaven should burst forth! What may be the proximate, what the remote cause of the appearance of this earthquake?'

12. Then the venerable Ānanda went up to the place where the Blessed One was, and did obeisance to the Blessed One, and seated himself respectfully at one side, and said: 'Wonderful indeed and marvellous is it that this mighty earthquake should arise, awful and terrible, and that the thunders of [45]heaven should burst forth! What may be the proximate, what the remote cause of the appearance of this earthquake?'

13. 'Eight are the proximate, eight the remote causes, Ānanda, for the appearance of a mighty earthquake. What are the eight? This great earth, Ānanda, is established on water, the water on wind, and the wind rests upon space. And at such a time, Ānanda, as the mighty winds blow, the waters are shaken by the mighty winds as they blow, and by the moving water the earth is shaken. These are the first causes, proximate and remote, of the appearance of a mighty earthquake.

14. 'Again, Ānanda, a Samaṇa or a Brāhman of great (intellectual) power, arid who has the feelings of his heart well under his control; or a god or fairy (devatā[6]) of great might and power, — when such a [46] one by intense meditation of the finite idea of earth or the infinite idea of water (has succeeded in realising the comparative value of things[7]) he can make this earth move and tremble and be shaken violently. These are the second causes, proximate or remote, of the appearance of a mighty earthquake.

15. 'Again, Ānanda, when a Bodhisatta consciously and deliberately leaves his temporary form in the heaven of delight and descends into his mother's womb, then is this earth made to quake and tremble and is shaken violently. These are the third causes, proximate or remote, of the appearance of a mighty earthquake[8].

[47] 16. 'Again, Ānanda, when a Bodhisatta deliberately and consciously quits his mother's womb, then the earth quakes and trembles and is shaken violently. This is the fourth cause, proximate and remote, of the appearance of a mighty earthquake.

17. 'Again, Ānanda,' when a Tathāgata arrives at the supreme and perfect enlightenment, then this earth quakes and trembles and is shaken violently. [48] This is the fifth cause, proximate and remote, of the appearance of a mighty earthquake.

18. 'Again, Ānanda, when a Tathāgata founds the sublime kingdom of righteousness, then this earth quakes and trembles and is shaken violently. This is the sixth cause, proximate and remote, of the appearance of a mighty earthquake.

19. 'Again, Ānanda, when a Tathāgata consciously and deliberately rejects the remainder of his life, then this earth quakes and trembles and is shaken violently. This is the seventh cause, proximate and remote, of the appearance of a mighty earthquake.

20. 'Again, Ānanda, when a Tathāgata passes entirely away with that utter passing away in which nothing whatever is left behind, then this earth quakes and trembles and is shaken violently. This is the eighth cause, proximate and remote, of the appearance of a mighty earthquake.

 


 

21. 'Now of eight kinds, Ānanda, are these assemblies. Which are the eight[9]? Assemblies of nobles, Brāhmaṇas, householders, and Samaṇas, and the angel hosts of the Guardian Angels, the Great Thirty-Three, Māra, and Brahma.

22. 'Now I call to mind, Ānanda, how when I used to enter into an assembly of many hundred nobles, before I had seated myself there or talked to them or started a conversation with them, I used to become in colour like unto their colour, and in voice like unto their voice. Then with religious discourse [49] I used to instruct, incite, and quicken them, and fill them with gladness. But they knew me not when I spoke, and would say, "Who may this be who thus speaks? a man or a god?" Then having instructed, incited, quickened, and gladdened them with religious discourse, I would vanish away. But they knew me not even when I vanished away; and would say, "Who may this be who has thus vanished away? a man or a god?"'

23. [And in the same words the Blessed One spake of how he had been used to enter into assemblies of each of the other of the eight kinds, and of how he had not been made known to them either in speaking or in vanishing away.] 'Now these, Ānanda, are the eight assemblies.'

 


 

24. 'Now these, Ānanda, are the eight positions of mastery [over the delusion arising from the apparent permanence of external things[10]]. What are the eight?

[50] 25. 'When a man having subjectively the idea of form sees externally forms which are finite, and pleasant or unpleasant to the sight, and having mastered them, is conscious that he knows and sees — this is the first position of mastery.

26. 'When a man having subjectively the idea of form sees externally forms which are boundless, and pleasant or unpleasant to the sight, and having mastered them is conscious that he knows and sees — this is the second position of mastery.

27. 'When a man without the subjective idea of form sees externally forms which are finite, and pleasant or unpleasant to the sight, and having mastered them, is conscious that he knows and sees — this is the third position of mastery.

28. 'When a man without the subjective idea of form sees externally forms which are boundless, and pleasant or unpleasant to the sight, and having mastered them, is conscious that he knows and sees — this is the fourth position of mastery.

29. 'When a man without the subjective idea of form sees externally forms that are blue in colour, blue in appearance, and reflecting blue, — just, for

[51] instance, as the Ummā flower is blue in colour, blue in appearance, and reflecting blue; or, again, as that fine muslin of Benares which, on whichever side you look at it, is blue in colour, blue in appearance, and reflecting blue, — when a man without the subjective idea of form sees externally forms which, just in that way, are blue, blue in colour, blue in appearance, and reflecting blue, and having mastered them, is conscious that he knows and sees-that is the fifth position of mastery.'

.32. [The sixth, seventh, and eighth positions of mastery are explained in words identical with those used to explain the fifth; save that yellow, red, and white are respectively substituted throughout for blue; and the Kaṇikāra flower, the Bandhu-jīvaka flower, and the morning star are respectively substituted for the Ummā flower, as the first of the two objects given as examples.]

33. 'Now these stages of deliverance, Ānanda [from the hindrance to thought arising from the sensations and ideas due to external forms[11]], are eight in number. Which are the eight?

34. 'A man possessed with the idea of form sees forms — this is the first stage of deliverance.

35. 'Without the subjective idea of form, he sees forms externally-this is the second stage of deliverance.

[52]36. 'With the thought "it is well," he becomes intent (upon what he sees) — this is the third stage of deliverance.

37. 'By passing quite beyond all idea of form, by putting an end to all idea of resistance, by paying no attention to the idea of distinction, he, thinking "it is all infinite space," reaches (mentally) and remains in the state of mind in which the idea of the infinity of space is the only idea that is present — this is the fourth stage of deliverance.

38. 'By passing quite beyond all idea of space being the infinite basis, he, thinking "it is all infinite reason," reaches (mentally) and remains in the state of mind to which the infinity of reason is alone present — this is the fifth stage of deliverance.

39. 'By passing quite beyond the mere consciousness of the infinity of reason, he, thinking "nothing at all exists," reaches (mentally) and remains in the state of mind to which nothing at all is specially present — this is the sixth stage of deliverance.

40. 'By passing quite beyond all idea of nothingness he reaches (mentally) and remains in the state of mind to which neither ideas nor the absence of ideas are specially present — this is the seventh stage of deliverance.

41. 'By passing quite beyond the state of "neither ideas nor the absence of ideas" he reaches (mentally) and remains in the state of mind in which both sensations and ideas have ceased to be-this is the eighth stage of deliverance.

42. 'Now these, Ānanda, are the eight stages of deliverance.

 


 

43. 'On one occasion, Ānanda, I was resting under the shepherd's Nigrodha tree on the bank of the [53] river Nerañgarā immediately after having reached the great enlightenment. Then Māra, the Evil One, came, Ānanda, to the place where I was, and standing beside me he addressed me in the words: "Pass away now, Lord, from existence! Let the Blessed One now die! Now is the time for the Blessed One to pass away!"

44. 'And when he had thus spoken, Ānanda, I addressed Māra, the Evil One, and said: "I shall not die, O Evil One! until not only the brethren and sisters of the order, but also the lay-disciples of either sex shall have become true hearers, wise and well-trained, ready and learned, versed in the Scriptures, fulfilling all the greater and the lesser duties, correct in life, walking according to the precepts — until they, having thus themselves learned the doctrine, shall be able to tell others of it, preach it, make it known, establish it, open it, minutely explain it and make it clear — until they, when others start vain doctrine, shall be able by the truth to vanquish and refute it, and so to spread the wonder-working truth abroad!

45. '"I shall not die until this pure religion of mine shall have become successful, prosperous, wide-spread, and popular in all its full extent — until, in a word, it shall have been well proclaimed among men!"

46. 'And now again to-day, Ānanda, at the Cāpāla Cetiya, Mara, the Evil One, came to the place where I was, and standing beside me addressed me [in the same words].

47. 'And when he had thus spoken, Ānanda, I answered him and said: "Make thyself happy, the final extinction of the Tathāgata shall take place [54] before long. At the end of three months from this time the Tathāgata will die!"

48. 'Thus, Ānanda, the Tathāgata has now to-day at the Cāpāla Cetiya consciously and deliberately rejected the rest of his allotted term of life.'

49. And when he had thus spoken the venerable Ānanda addressed the Blessed One, and said: 'Vouchsafe, Lord, to remain during the kalpa! live on through the kalpa, O Blessed One! for the good and the happiness of the great multitudes, out of pity for the world, for the good and the gain and the weal of gods and men!'

50. 'Enough now, Ānanda, beseech not the Tathāgata!' was the reply. 'The time for making such request is past.'

51. And again, the second time, the venerable Ānanda besought the Blessed One [in the same words. And he received from the Blessed One the same reply].

52. And again, the third time, the venerable Ānanda besought the Blessed One [in the same words].

53. 'Hast thou faith, Ānanda, in the wisdom of the Tathāgata?'

'Even so, Lord!'

'Now why, then, Ānanda, dost thou trouble the Tathāgata even until the third time?'

54. 'From his own mouth have I heard from the Blessed One, from his own mouth have I received this saying, "Whosoever has thought out, Ānanda, and developed, practised, accumulated, and ascended to the very heights of the four paths to saintship, and so mastered them as to be able to use them as [55] a means of (mental) advancement, and as a basis for edification — he, should he desire it, could remain in the same birth for a kalpa, or for that portion of a kalpa which has yet to run." Now the Tathāgata has thought out and thoroughly practised them [in all respects as just now fully described], and might, should he desire it, remain alive for a kalpa, or for that portion of a kalpa which has yet to run.'

55. 'Hast thou faith, Ānanda?'

'Even so, Lord!'

'Then, O Ānanda, thine is the fault, thine is the offence-in that when a suggestion so evident and a hint so clear were thus given thee by the Tathāgata, thou wast yet incapable of comprehending them, and thou besoughtest not the Tathāgata, saying, "Vouchsafe, Lord, to remain during the kalpa. Live on, O Blessed One! through the kalpa for the good and the happiness of the great multitudes, out of pity for the world, for the good and the gain and the weal of gods and men." If thou shouldst then have so besought the Tathāgata, the Tathāgata might have rejected the appeal even to the second time, but the third time he would have granted it. Thine, therefore, O Ānanda, is the fault, thine is the offence!'

56. 'On one occasion, Ānanda, I was dwelling at Rājagaha on the hill called the Vulture's Peak. Now there, Ānanda, I spoke to thee, and said: "How pleasant a spot, Ānanda, is Rājagaha; how pleasant is this Vulture's Peak. Whosoever has thought out, Ānanda, and developed, practised, accumulated, and ascended to the very heights of the four paths to saintship, and so mastered them as to be able to use them as a means of (mental) advancement, and as a basis for edification — he, should he [56] desire it, could remain in the same birth for a kalpa, or for that portion of a kalpa which has yet to run. But even when a suggestion so evident and a hint so clear were thus given thee by the Tathāgata, thou wast yet incapable of comprehending them, and thou besoughtest not the Tathāgata, saying, 'Vouchsafe, Lord, to remain during the kalpa. Live on, O Blessed One! through the kalpa for the good and the happiness of the great multitudes, out of pity for the world, for the good and the gain and the weal of gods and men.' If thou shouldst then have so besought the Tathāgata, the Tathāgata might have rejected the appeal even to the second time, but the third time he would have granted it. Thine, therefore, O Ānanda, is the fault, thine is the offence!"

57. 'On one occasion, Ānanda, I was dwelling at that same Rājagaha in the Banyan Grove — on one occasion at that same Rājagaha at the Robbers' Cliff — on one occasion at that same Rājagaha in the Sattapaññi cave on the slope of Mount Vebhāra — on one occasion at that same Rājagaha at the Black Rock on the slope of Mount Isigili — on one occasion at that same Rājagaha in the Sītavana Grove in the mountain cave Sappasoṇṃika — on one occasion at that same Rājagaha in the Tapoda Grove--on one occasion at that same Rājagaha in the Bambu Grove in the Squirrels' Feeding Ground — on one occasion at that same Rājagaha in Jīvaka's Mango Grove — on one occasion at that same Rājagaha in the Deer Forest at Maddakukkhi.'

58. 'Now there too, Ānanda, I spoke to thee, and said: "How pleasant, Ānanda, is Rājagaha; how pleasant the Vulture's Peak; how pleasant the [57] Banyan tree of Gotama; how pleasant the Robbers' Cliff; how pleasant the Sattapaññi cave on the slope of Mount Vebhāra; how pleasant the Black Rock on the slope of Mount Isigili; how pleasant the mountain cave Sappasoṇṃika in the Sītavana Grove; how pleasant the Tapoda Grove; how pleasant the Squirrels' Feeding Ground in the Bambu Grove; how pleasant Jīvaka's Mango Grove; how pleasant the Deer Forest at Maddakukkhi!

59. '"Whosoever, Ānanda, has thought out and developed, practised, accumulated, and ascended to the very heights of the four paths to saintship, and so mastered them as to be able to use them as a means of (mental) advancement and as a basis for edification — he, should he desire it, could remain in the same birth for a kalpa, or for that portion of a kalpa which has yet to run." Now the Tathāgata has thought out and thoroughly practised them [in all respects as just now fully described], and might, should he desire it, remain alive for a kalpa, or for that portion of a kalpa which has yet to run.'[edfn3.1]

60. 'On one occasion, Ānanda, I was residing here at Vesāli at the Udena Cetiya. And there too, Ānanda, I spoke to thee, and said: "How pleasant, Ānanda, is Vesāli; how pleasant the Udena Cetiya. Whosoever, Ānanda, has thought out and developed, practised, accumulated, and ascended to the very heights of the four paths to saintship, and so mastered them as to be able to use them as a means of (mental) advancement and as a basis for edification — he, should he desire it, could remain in the same birth for a kalpa, or for that portion of a kalpa which has yet to run." Now the Tathāgata has thought out and thoroughly practised [58] them [in all respects as just now fully described], and might, should he desire it, remain alive for a kalpa, or for that portion of a kalpa which has yet to run.'

61. 'On one occasion, Ānanda, I was dwelling here at Vesāli at the Gotamaka Cetiya — on one occasion here at Vesāli at the Sattamba Cetiya — on one occasion here at Vesāli at the Bahuputta Cetiya — on one occasion here at Vesāli at the Sārandada Cetiya [and on each occasion I spoke to thee, Ānanda, in the same words].

62. 'And now to-day, Ānanda, at the Cāpāla Cetiya, I spoke to thee, and said: "How pleasant, Ānanda, is Vesāli; how pleasant the Udena Cetiya; how pleasant the Gotamaka Cetiya; how pleasant the Sattamba Cetiya; how pleasant the Bahuputta Cetiya; how pleasant the Sārandada Cetiya. Whosoever, Ānanda, has thought out and developed, practised, accumulated, and ascended to the very heights of the four paths to saintship, and so mastered them as to be able to use them as a means of (mental) advancement, and as a basis for edification--he, should he desire it, could remain in the same birth for a kalpa, or for that portion of a kalpa which has yet to run. Now the Tathāgata has thought and thoroughly practised them [in all respects as just now fully described], and might, should he desire it, remain alive for a kalpa, or for that portion of a kalpa which has yet to run."

63. 'But now, Ānanda, have I not formerly[12] declared [59] to you that it is in the very nature of all things, near and dear unto us, that we must divide ourselves from them, leave them, sever ourselves from them? How then, Ānanda, can this be possible — whereas anything whatever born, brought into being, and organised, contains within itself the inherent necessity of dissolution — how then can this be possible that such a being should not be dissolved? No such condition can exist! And this mortal being, Ānanda, has been relinquished, cast away, renounced, rejected, and abandoned by the Tathāgata. The remaining sum of life has been surrendered by him. Verily, the word has gone forth from the Tathāgata, saying, "The final extinction of the Tathāgata shall take place before long. At the end of three months from this time the Tathāgata will die!" That the Tathāgata for the sake of living should repent him again of that saying — this can no wise be[13]!'

 


 

64. 'Come, Ānanda, let us go to the Kūṭāgāra Hall, to the Mahāvana.'

'Even so, Lord!' said the venerable Ānanda, in assent, to the Blessed One.

Then the Blessed One proceeded, with Ānanda [60] with him, to the Mahāvana to the Kūṭāgāra Hall: and when he had arrived there he addressed the venerable Ānanda, and said:

'Go now, Ānanda, and assemble in the Service Hall such of the brethren as reside in the neighbourhood of Vesāli.'

'Even so, Lord,' said the venerable Ānanda, in assent, to the Blessed One. And when he had assembled in the Service Hall such of the brethren as resided in the neighbourhood of Vesāli, he went to the Blessed One and saluted him and stood beside him. And standing beside him, he addressed the Blessed One, and said:

'Lord! the assembly of the brethren has met together. Let the Blessed One do even as seemeth to him fit.'

65. Then the Blessed One proceeded to the Service Hall, and sat down there on the mat spread out for him. And when he was seated the Blessed One addressed the brethren, and said:

'Therefore, O brethren — ye to whom the truths I have perceived have been made known by me — having thoroughly made yourselves masters of them, practise them, meditate upon them, and spread them abroad; in order that pure religion may last long and be perpetuated, in order that it may continue to be for the good and happiness of the great multitudes, out of pity for the world, to the good and the gain and the weal of gods and men!

'Which then, O brethren, are the truths which, when I had perceived, I made known to you, which, when you have mastered it behoves you to practise, meditate upon, and spread abroad, in order that pure religion may last long and be perpetuated, in order [61] that it may continue to be for the good and the happiness of the great multitudes, out of pity for the world, to the good and the gain and the weal of gods and men?'

They are these:

The four earnest meditations.
The fourfold great struggle against sin.
The four roads to saintship.
The five moral powers.
The five organs of spiritual sense.
The seven kinds of wisdom, and
The noble eightfold path.

These, O brethren, are the truths which, when I had perceived, I made known to you, which, when you have mastered it behoves you to practise, meditate upon, and spread abroad, in order that pure religion may last long and be perpetuated, in order that it may continue to be for the good and the happiness of the great multitudes, out of pity for the world, to the good and the gain and the weal of gods and men!

 


 

66. And the Blessed One exhorted the brethren, and said:

'Behold now, O brethren, I exhort you, saying, "All component things must grow old. Work out your salvation with diligence. The final extinction of the Tathāgata will take place before long. At the end of three months from this time the Tathāgata will die!"

'My age is now full ripe, my life draws to its close:
I leave you, I depart, relying on myself alone!
Be earnest then, O brethren! holy, full of thought!
[62]Be steadfast in resolve! Keep watch o'er your own hearts!
Who wearies not, but holds fast to this truth and law[14],
Shall cross this sea of life, shall make an end of grief.'

 


 

END OF THE THIRD PORTION FOR RECITATION

 


 

 


[1]The whole of this passage down to the end of Ī 10 recurs in the Iddhipāda Vagga of the Saŋyutta Nikāya.

[2]Iddhi. The four paths are, 1. Will, 2. effort, 3. thought, and 4. investigation, each united to earnest thought and the struggle against sin. The Iddhi reached by them is supposed in works on Buddhism to be a bodily condition (power of flying, &c.), by which the body rose superior to all the ordinary limitations of {footnote p. 41} matter — a bodily condition corresponding to the mental condition of exaltation and power by which it was reached. On this curiously perverted exaggeration of the real influence of the mind over the body see, further, the translator's Buddhism,' pp. 174-17 7. Two of the string of participles — yānikatā, which may possibly mean 'made use of as a vehicle,' and susamāraddhā, 'most thoroughly ascended up to' — might seem to allude to Iddhi as a power of flying bodily through the air. But the whole set of participles is used elsewhere of conditions of mind highly esteemed among the Buddhists, and incapable of giving support to any such allusion. So, for instance, of universal love (mettā) at Jātaka II, 61.

[3]Yathā taṃ Mārena pariyuṭṭhitacitto. Here taṃ is the indeclinable particle, yathā taṃ introducing an explanation. My MS. of the Dīgha Nikāyaand the Turnour MS. of the Sumangala Vilasinī read parivuṭṭhita, and either spelling is correct. The {footnote p. 42} fact is that the y or v in such cases is even less than euphonic; it is an assistance not to the speaker, but merely to the writer. Thus in the Siñhalese duwanawā, 'to run,' the spoken word is duanawā, and the w is written only to avoid the awkward use in the middle of a word of the initial sign for the sound a. That the speakers of Pāli found no difficulty in pronouncing two vowels together is abundantly proved by numerous instances. The writers of Pāli, in those cases in which the second vowel begins a word, use without hesitation the initial sign; but in the middle of the word this would be so ungainly that they naturally prefer to insert a consonantal sign to carry the vowel sign. The varying readings I have pointed out are a strong confirmation of the correctness of the pronunciation of modern native scholars; and we may the more readily adopt it as the question is not really one concerning the pronunciation of Pāli, but concerning the use which modern native copyists make of their own alphabet. I would pronounce therefore pari-uṭṭhita-citto.

[4]The words here quoted were spoken by the Buddha, after he had been enjoying the first bliss of Nirvāṇa, under the shepherd's Nigrodha tree (see my 'Buddhist Birth Stories,' pp. 109-111). The Evil One then also tempted him to die (see below, paragraph III, 43), and this was his reply.

[5]The whole paragraph is repeated, here and below, for each of these classes of persons.

[6]Devatā is a fairy, god, genius, or angel. I am at a loss how to render this word without conveying an erroneous impression to those not familiar with ancient ideas, and specially with ancient Buddhist ideas, of the spirit world. It includes gods of all sorts; tree and river nymphs; the kindly fairies or ghosts who haunt houses (see my 'Buddhist Birth Stories,' Tale No. 40); spirits in the ground (see above, Ī I, 26); the angels who minister at the great renunciation, the temptation, and the death of the Buddha; the guardian angels who watch over men, and towns, and countries; and many other similar beings. 'Celestial being' would be wholly inapplicable, for instance, to the creatures referred to in the curious passage above (Ī I, 26). 'Superhuman being' would be an inaccurate rendering; for all these light and airy shapes come below, and after, man in the Buddhist order of precedence. 'Spirit' being used of the soul inside the human body, and of the human soul after it has left the body, and figuratively of mental faculties — none of which are included under devatā — would suggest ideas inconsistent with that of the Pāli word. As there is therefore no appropriate general word I have chosen, for each passage where the expression occurs, the word used in English of the special class {footnote p. 46} more particularly referred to in the passage of the text. Here all kinds of devatās being referred to, and there being, no word in English for them all, I have ventured to put the word devatā into my version, and to trouble the reader with this note.

[7]Yassa parittā paṭhavi-sañña bhāvitā hoti appamāṇā āposaññā, on which Buddhaghosa says simply, Parittā ti dubbalā: appamāṇā ti balavā, and then goes on, as a note to kampeti, to tell a long story how Sangharakkhita Sāmaṇera, the nephew of Nāga Thera, attained Arahatship on the day of his admission to the order; and at once proceeded to heaven, and standing on the pinnacle of the palace of the king of the gods, shook the whole place with his big toe; to the great consternation and annoyance of the exalted dwellers therein! There is no doubt a real truth in the idea that deep thought can shake the universe, and make the palaces of the gods to tremble, just as faith is said in Matthew xxi. 21 to be able to remove mountains, and cause them to be cast into the sea. But these figurative expressions have, in Buddhism, become a fruitful soil for the outgrowth of superstitions and misunderstandings; and the train of early Buddhist speculation in this field has yet to be elucidated. There is much about it in the Mahā Padhāna Sutta of the Dīgha Nikāya, where Chap. III, ĪĪ 11-20 recur.

[8]The Bodhisatta's voluntary incarnation is looked upon by the Buddhists as a great act of renunciation, and curious legends have {footnote p. 47} gathered about it. One is that on the night when she conceived his mother dreamt that a white elephant entered her side. The account will be found at length in my 'Buddhist Birth Stories' (pp. 62-64), and the earthquake is there mentioned in terms identical with those in the text. The sacred event is also one of those represented on the ancient bas-reliefs round the Bharhut Thūpa, a full description of which will be found in General Cunningham's most interesting work, 'The Stupa of Bharhut.' General Cunningham says of the description placed above this sculpture: 'Above it in large characters is inscribed Bhagavato rūkdanta, which may perhaps be translated, "Buddha as the sounding elephant," from ru, to sound, to make a particular sort of sound.' Now the first word of the inscription is in the genitive case, so that if the second word could mean an elephant, the whole would signify, 'The Buddha's, elephant.' But the characters which General Cunningham reads rūkdanta are, I venture to suggest, okkanti (? ūkkanti); and the inscription simply says, 'The descent of the blessed One.' As I have pointed out in 'Buddhism' (p. 184), the white elephant legend is one of those hallowed sun stories by which half-converted Hindus have striven to embellish the life story of the Teacher whose followers they had become. In the Lalita Vistara. (Calc. ed. p. 63) the entrance of the elephant into Māyā precedes the dream; but though the ignorant may have therefore accepted it as a fact, it is of course only a figure of speech — and I venture to think from the Hindu standpoint, a beautiful figure of speech — to express the incarnation of divine mildness and majesty in a human form. The use of such a figure is not confined to India. In the earliest of the Apocryphal Gospels, the Gospel according to the Hebrews, the incarnation of the divine gentleness and love is expressed by saying that a dove from heaven 'entered into' the human form.

[9]The connection, or rather want of connection, between this and the last paragraph seems to me to be very suggestive as to the way in which the Sutta was composed. The narrative is resumed at paragraph III, 43. On vanishing away, comp. 1, 33.

[10]Abhibhāyatanī ti abhibhavanakāraṇāni. Kiṃ abhibhavanti? Paccanīka-dhamme pi ārammaṇāni pi: tāni hi paĀipakkha-bhāvena paccanīka-dhamme abhibhavanti puggalassa ñānuttaritāya ārammaṇāni, says Buddhaghosa. (Sum. Vil. ṭhī.)
This and the next paragraph are based upon the Buddhist belief as to the long-vexed question between the Indian schools who represented more or less closely the European Idealists and Realists. When cleared of the many repetitions inserted for the benefit of the repeaters or reciters, the fundamental idea seems to be that the great necessity is to get rid of the delusion that what one sees and feels is real and permanent. Nothing is real and permanent but character.
The so-called eight Positions of Mastery are merely an expansion of the first two of the following eight Stages of Deliverance, and the whole argument is also expressed in another form in the {footnote p. 50} passage on the nine successive 'Cessations,' of which an abstract will be found in Childers, sub voce nirodha.
The two lists have been translated and commented upon by Burnouf (Lotus de la Bonne Loi, pp. 543, 824-832), who took the texts from the Mahā nidāna Sutta and the Sangīti Sutta respectively. The former has been reprinted in Grimblot's Sept Suttas Pālis, where the passage will be found at pp. 261, 262. I regret that in my interpretation I have been compelled to differ so greatly from Burnouf. Though I have devoted much care and time to the subject, I do not suppose that I have understood it better than he did. We cannot hope to get to the bottom of what these old Buddhists thought about matter and mind from such curt lists as these.

[11]These are the Aṭṭha Vimokkhā. Buddhaghosa has no comment upon them; merely saying, 'The passage on the Vimokkhas is easy to understand' — which is tantalizing. The last five Vimokkhas occur again below, in Chap. VI, ĪĪ 11-13, where it is clear that they are used to express the progress through deep meditation, into absent-mindedness, abstraction, and being sunk in thought, until finally the thinker falls into actual trance.

[12]That paĀigacc'eva means 'formerly, already' is clear from Mahā Vagga I, 7, 1; X, 2, 3, though its derivation would seem to render the meaning 'frequently, recurringly' more natural. The {footnote p. 59} phrase occurs pretty often. Trenckner (milinda-pañhaṃ, p. 422) proposes a correction into paṭikacc'eva. Palujjīti just below is noteworthy as an unusual contraction of palujje iti.

[13]I do not understand the connection of ideas between this paragraph and the idea repeated with such tedious iteration in the preceding paragraphs. The two seem to be in marked contrast, if not in absolute contradiction. Perhaps we have here the older tradition and certainly the latter utterance of the two is more in accordance with the general impression of the character, and with the other sayings, of Gotama as handed down in the Pāli Piṭakas.]

[14]Dhamma and vinaya. The Buddhist religion, as just summarised, and the regulations of the order.
It is of great interest to notice what are the points upon which Gotama, in this last address to his disciples, and at the solemn time when death was so near at hand, is reported to have lain such emphatic stress. Unfortunately we have only a fragment of the address, and, as it would seem from its commencement, only the closing fragment. This, however, is in the form of a summary, consisting of an enumeration of certain aggregates, the details of which must have been as familiar to the early Buddhists as the details of similar numerical terms--such as the ten commandments, the twelve tribes, the seven deadly sins, the four gospels, and so on--afterwards were to the Christians. This summary of the Buddha's last address may fairly be taken as a summary of Buddhism, which thus appears to be simply a system of earnest self-culture and self-control.
The following are the details of the aggregate technical terms used in the above summary, but it will be understood that the English equivalents used give rather a general than an exact representation of the ideas expressed by the Pāli ones. To attempt more would demand a treatise rather than a note, and it has given me peculiar pleasure to learn, as these sheets are passing through the press, that my friend Dr. Morris intends to devote a book to the treatment of these seven 'Jewels of the Law,' as the Culla Vagga calls them (IX, 1, 4), which form, when united, the bright diadem of Nirvāṇa.
The four Earnest Meditations (cattāro Satipaṭṭhānā) are --

1. Meditation on the body.
2. Meditation on the sensations.
3. Meditation on the ideas.
4. Meditation on reason and character.

{footnote p. 63}
The fourfold Great Struggle against sin is divided into
which are --

1. The struggle to prevent sinfulness arising.
2. The struggle to put away sinful states which have arisen.
3. The struggle to produce goodness not previously existing.
4. The struggle to increase goodness when it does exist.

The four Roads to Saintship are four means by which
(see above, Ī 3, note) is to be acquired. They are the Cattāro Iddhipādā:

1. The will to acquire it united to earnest meditation and the struggle against sin.
2. The necessary exertion united to earnest meditation and the struggle against sin.
3. The necessary preparation of the heart united to earnest meditation and the struggle against sin.
4. Investigation united to earnest meditation and the struggle against sin.

The five moral powers (pañka Balāni) are said to be the same as the next class, called organs (Indriyāni). It is no doubt most remarkable that, in a summary like this, two classes out of seven should be absolutely identical except in name. The difference of name is altogether too unimportant to account, by itself, for the distinction made. Either the currently accepted explanation of one of the two aggregate terms must be incorrect, or we must look for some explanation of the repetition other than the mere desire to record the double title. Is it impossible that the one class was split into two to bring the number of the classes up to the sacred number seven, corresponding to the seven Ratanas of a Cakkavatti?

The details of both classes are --

1. Faith.
2. Energy.
3. Thought.
4. Contemplation.
5. Wisdom.

The seven kinds of Wisdom (satta) are --

1. Energy.
2. Thought.
3. Contemplation.
4. Investigation (of scripture).
5. Joy.
6. Repose.
7. Serenity.

The Noble Eightfold Path (ariyo aṭṭhangiko Maggo) forms the subject of the Dhamma-cakka-ppavattana-Sutta, translated in this volume, and consists of --

1. Right views.
2. High aims.
3. Right speech.
4. Upright conduct.
5. A harmless livelihood.
6. Perseverance in well-doing.
7. Intellectual activity.
8. Earnest thought.

 


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