Majjhima Nikaya


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Majjhima Nikāya
II. Majjhima Paṇṇāsa
1. Gahapati Vagga

Sacred Books of the Buddhists
Volume V
Dialogues of the Buddha
Part IV

Further Dialogues of the Buddha
Volume I

Translated from the Pali
by Lord Chalmers, G.C.B.
Sometime Governor of Ceylon

London
Humphrey Milford
Oxford University Press
1926
Public Domain

Sutta 51

Kandaraka Suttaɱ

Against Asceticism

 


[339][246]

[1][pts][ntbb][upal] THUS have I heard:

Once when the Lord was staying at Campa
by the banks of the lake (of Queen) Gaggarā
with a great following of Almsmen,
there came to him Pessa, the elephant trainer's son,
and Kandaraka the Wanderer.

Saluting the Lord,
Pessa took a seat to one side,
while Kandaraka, after exchanging courteous greetings,
remained standing.

Marking the universal silence of the Confraternity as he stood there,
Kandaraka said:

It is wonderful, Gotama,
it is marvellous,
how you have schooled your Confraternity, -
even to that perfection
which Arahats all-enlightened reached of yore
and Arahats all enlightened will reach in ages to come.

Yes, Kandaraka; as it is now,
so it has been of yore
and so it will be in ages to come.

For, in this Confraternity
there are Almsmen who are Arahats, -
in whom the Cankers are eradicated,
who have greatly lived,
whose task is done,
who have cast off their burthens,
who have won their weal,
whose bonds are no more,
who by utter knowledge
have found Deliverance.

Here too there are Almsmen
still under training,
uniformly virtuous
and uniformly good in their lives,
men of understanding,
with understanding shown forth in their lives,
whose hearts are stablished
in the four applications of mindfulness,
as in the case of an Almsman who -
realizing
(i) body,
(ii) feelings,
(iii) heart, and
(iv) states of consciousness
to be just what they respectively are -
lives the strenuous life,
purposeful and mindful,
quelling all worldly hankerings and frets.

Hereupon Pessa said:

It is wonderful,
it is [247] marvellous
how well the Lord has indicated the four applications of mindfulness
so as to cleanse men's hearts,
to raise them above sorrow and lamentation,
to annihilate pain of body and of mind,
to achieve the system,
and to realize Nirvana.

Even we who live in houses
and wear the white clothes of the layman,
even we from time to time
have our hearts stablished in the four applications of mindfulness
and - realizing body,
feelings,
heart,
and states of consciousness
to be just what they respectively are -
live the strenuous life,
purposeful and mindful,
quelling all worldly hankerings and frets.

Yes, it is wonderful and marvellous
how - in this human tangle
with all its bitterness and guile -
the Lord knows man's weal and woe.

For men are indeed a tangle,
whereas animals are a simple matter.

I myself can train a young elephant
to remember, whensoever he is going in or out of Campa,
to display every naughty and roguish trick he possibly can.

But those that are styled our slaves
and messengers
and servants
do one thing,
say another,
and think a third.

Yes, it is wonderful and marvellous ...
animals are a simple matter.

Quite right, Pessa.[341]

Men are indeed a tangle,
whereas animals are a simple matter.

There are four types of individuals to be found in the world.

One torments himself
and is given to self-torment;
a second torments others
and is given to tormenting others;
a third torments himself and others,
and is given to tormenting both;
while the fourth torments neither,
and is given to tormenting neither, -
dwelling, here and now,
beyond appetites,
consummate,
unfevered,
in bliss,
and in holiness.

Now which of the four, Pessa,
commends himself most to you?

I am not drawn, sir,
either to the self-tormenter
or to the tormenter of others;
nor can I commend him who does both.

The individual who commends himself most to me
out of the four
is the fourth,
the man who neither torments himself nor others,
who dwells, here and now, beyond appetites,
consummate,
unfevered,
in bliss,
and in holiness.

[248] And why, Pessa, do you not approve of the first three?

I do not approve of the first, sir,
because he torments and tortures himself,
despite his yearnings for pleasure
and despite his repugnance to pain;
nor do I approve of the second,
because he torments and tortures others,
despite their yearnings for pleasure
and repugnance to pain;
nor of the third,
because he torments and tortures both himself and others,
despite his and their yearnings for pleasure
and repugnance to pain.

But I do approve of the fourth,
because, tormenting and torturing
neither himself nor others,
he dwells, here and now,
beyond appetites,
consummate,
unfevered,
in bliss,
and in holiness.

And now, sir, I must be going,
for I have much to do and attend to.

Do not let me detain you, Pessa.

So, with grateful thanks to the Lord for what he had heard,
Pessa, the elephant trainer's son,
rose up, saluted, and withdrew with deep veneration.

Pessa had not been gone long
when the Lord said:

Pessa, Almsmen, is informed
and has great understanding.

Had he but sat on a little longer,
while I set out in detail
the distinctions between the four types of individual,
he would have carried away with him
what would have profited him greatly.

Now, Lord, is the time for that;
now is the time, Blessed One;
the Almsmen will treasure up the Lord's utterance.

Then the Lord proceeded to address the listening Almsmen, as follows:

What kind of individual
is he who torments himself
and is given to self-torment?

Take the case of an individual
who, naked,
flouting the decencies of life,
licking his hands after meals,
never heeding when folk called to him to come or to stop,
never accepting food brought to him before his rounds
or cooked expressly for him,
never accepting an invitation,
never receiving food direct from pot or pan
or within the threshold
or among the faggots or pestles,
never from (one only of) two people messing together,
never from a pregnant woman
or a nursing mother
or a woman in coitu,
never from gleanings (in time of famine)
nor from where a dog is ready at hand
or where (hungry) flies congregate,
never touching flesh
or fish
or spirits
or strong drink
or brews of grain.

He visits only one house a day
and there takes only one morsel;
or he visits but two
or (up to not more than) seven houses a day
and takes at each only two
or (up to not more than) seven morsels;
he lives on a single saucer of food a day,
or on two,
or (up to) seven saucers;
he has but one meal a day,
or one every two days,
or (so on, up to) every seven days,
or only once a fortnight,
on a rigid scale of rationing.

His sole diet is herbs gathered green,
or the grain of wild millets and paddy,
or snippets of hide,
or water-plants,
or the red powder round rice-grains within the husk,
or the discarded scum of rice on the boil,
or the flour of oilseeds,
or grass,
or cow-dung.

He lives on wild roots and fruit,
or on windfalls only.

His raiment is of hemp
or of hempen mixture,
of cerements,
of rags from the dust-heap,
of bark,
of the black antelope's pelt
either whole or split down the middle,
of grass,
of strips of bark or wood,
of hair of men or animals woven into a blanket,
or of owls' wings.

In fulfilment of his vows,
he plucks out the hair of his head
and the hair of his beard,
he never quits the upright for the sitting posture,
squats and never rises up,
moves only a-squat,
couches on thorns,
goes down to the water punctually
thrice before nightfall
Sutta No. 12) ... [343]
to wash (away the evil within).

Such are the divers ways
in which he is given to tormenting his body.

Such a man is said to torment himself
and to be given to self-torment.

What kind of individual
is he who torments others
and is given to tormenting others?

Take the case of the individual
who butchers sheep
or sticks pigs,
or [249] who is a fowler,
deer-stalker,
hunter,
fisherman,
robber,
cut-throat,
or gaoler,
or who follows any other cruel trade.

Such a man is said to torment others
and to be given to tormenting others.

What kind of individual
is he who torments himself and others too?

[1] Take the case of an individual
who becomes an anointed king of Noble race,
or a brahmin magnate.

East of the town,
he orders the building of a new sacrificial hall,
into which - after first cutting off his hair and beard
and donning the rough pelt of a black antelope -
he goes with his queen-consort
and his brahmin chaplain,
with his body anointed with ghee and oil,
and scratching his itching back with an antler.

His bed is grass and leaves
strewn on the bare ground.

For the whole party,
there is only one solitary cow,
with a calf by her side,
which must be coloured precisely like its mother;
and on this solitary cow's milk
[344] the king has the first call,
the queen-consort takes the second turn,
the brahmin the third,
the fourth makes the fire-oblation,
while the calf has to get along on what is left.

Says the king:

Let there be slain for the sacrifice
so many bulls,
so many steers,
heifers,
goats,
and rams.

Let there be felled
so many trees for sacrificial posts.

Let so much kusa grass be cut
to strew round the sacrificial spot.

And all persons known as slaves,
messengers,
and servants,
harried by stripes and fear,
then set about the preparations
with tearful faces
and voices of lamentation.

Such a man is said to torment himself and others,
and to be given to tormenting both.

Lastly, what kind of individual
is he who, tormenting neither himself nor others,
dwells, here and now, beyond appetites,
consummate,
unfevered,
in bliss,
and in holiness?

Take the case
that there appears here in the world
a truth-finder,
Arahat
all-en- [250] lightened,
walking by knowledge,
blessed,
understanding all worlds,
the matchless tamer of the human heart,
teacher of gods and men,
the Lord of Enlightenment.

This universe -
with its gods, Māras,
Brahmās,
recluses and brahmins,
embracing all gods and mankind, -
all this he has discerned
and realized for himself,
and makes known to others.

He preaches his Doctrine,
which is so fair in its outset,
its middle,
and its close,
with both text and import;
he propounds a higher life
that is wholly complete and pure.

This Doctrine is heard by the head of a house
or his son
or by one of other birth,
who hearing it
puts his trust in the Truth-finder,
and in this trust
bethinks him that -
A hole and corner life
is all a home can give,
whereas Pilgrimage is in the open;
it is hard for a home-keeping man
to live the higher life
in all its full completeness
and full purity and perfection;
what if I were to cut off hair and beard,
don the yellow robes,
and go forth from home to homelessness as a Pilgrim?

Later, parting from his substance,
be it small or great,
parting too from the circle of his kinsfolk,
be they few or many,
he cuts off hair and beard,
dons the yellow robes,
and goes forth from home to homelessness as a Pilgrim.

A Pilgrim now,
schooled in the Almsmens precepts
and way of life,
he puts from him all killing
and abstains from killing anything.

Laying aside cudgel and sword,
he lives a life of innocence and mercy,
full of kindliness and compassion
for everything that lives.

Theft he puts from him and eschews;
taking only what is given to him by others,
and waiting till it is given,
he lives an honest and clean life.

Putting from him
all that does not belong to the higher life,
he leads the higher life in virtue,
abstaining from low sensuality.

Putting from him
and abstaining from all lying,
he speaks the truth,
cleaves to the truth,
and is staunch and leal,
never deceiving the world with his lips.

Calumny he puts from him and eschews,
not repeating elsewhere
to the harm of people here
what he hears there,
nor repeating here
to the harm of people elsewhere
what he hears elsewhere;
thus he heals divisions
and cements friendship,
seeking peace
and ensuing it;
for in peace is his delight
and his words are ever the words of a peacemaker.

Reviling he puts from him,
and abstains from reviling people;
his words are without gall,
pleasant,
friendly,
going home to the heart,
courteous,
agreeable
and welcome to all.

Tattle he puts from him
and abstains therefrom,
he speaks, in season
and according to the facts,
words of help
concerning the Doctrine
and the Rule,
words to be stored in the heart,
words duly illustrated,
fraught with purpose,
and pithy.

He sedulously avoids hurting the seeds
or plants of a village.

He takes but one meal a day,
never eating at night
or after hours.

He refrains from looking on at shows of dancing,
singing,
and music.

He eschews all use and employment
of smart garlands,
scents
and perfumes.

He sleeps on no tall or broad beds.

He refuses to accept gold
or coins of silver, -
uncooked grain or meat, -
women or girls, -
bondwomen or bondmen, -
sheep or goats, -
fowls or swine, -
elephants or cattle or horses or mares, -
fields or land.

He refrains from the practice
of sending or going on messages.

He neither buys nor sells.

He never cheats with weights,
coins,
or measures.

He takes no part in bribery,
cozening,
cheating,
or other crooked ways.

He never joins in wounding,
murdering,
and manacling,
or in highway robbery,
brigandage,
and fraud.

Contented is he
with whatever robes are given him
as clothing,
and with whatever alms are given
for his belly's needs.

Wheresoever he goes,
he takes all his belongings with him.

Just as a winged bird,
wheresoever it goes,
carries with it its feathers and all, -
so, wheresoever he goes,
he takes all his belongings with him.

A master of this noble code of virtue,
he enjoys unsullied well-being within.

When with his eye
he sees a visible shape,
he is not absorbed by either its general appearance
or its details;
but, since the eye uncontrolled
might lead to covetousness and discontent,
to evil and wrong states of mind,
he schools himself to control it,
to keep watch and ward over it,
and to establish control.

And he does the like
with his five other faculties of sense.

A master of this noble control over his faculties,
he enjoys unalloyed well-being within.

Purposeful is he in all his doings, -
whether in coming in or going out,
in looking ahead or around,
in stretching out his arm
or in drawing it back,
in wearing his clothes
or carrying his bowl,
in eating or drinking,
in chewing or savouring food,
in attending to the calls of nature,
in walking
or standing
or sitting,
in sleeping or waking,
in speech or in silence; -
he is always purposeful in all he does.

A master of this noble code of virtue,
a master of this noble code of control of his faculties of sense,
and a master of noble mindfulness and purpose in all he does,
he resorts to a lonely lodging, -
in the forest under a tree,
in the wilds in cave or grot,
in a charnel-ground,
in a thicket,
or on bracken in the open.

After his meal,
when he is back from his round for alms,
he seats himself cross-legged
and with body erect,
with his heart set on mindfulness.

His life is purged
(i.) of appetite for things of the world,
for he has put from him
all appetite therefor; -
(ii.) of all spiteful thoughts,
for he is filled only with loving-kindness
and compassion for all that lives; -
(iii.) of all torpor,
for all torpor has left him,
driven out by clarity of vision,
by mindfulness,
and by purpose in all he does; -
(iv.) of ail flurry and worry,
for he is serene,
and his heart within is at peace
and quit of all worries; - and
(v.) of all doubts,
for his life is unclouded by doubt,
he is troubled by no questionings,
right states of mind
have purged his heart of all doubting.

When he has put from him these Five Hindrances,
those defilements of the heart
which weaken a man's insight,
then, divested of pleasures of sense
and divested of wrong states of consciousness,
he enters on,
and abides in,
[345-7] the First Ecstasy
with all its zest and satisfaction,
a state bred of inward aloofness
but not divorced from observation and reflection.

Rising above reasoning and reflection,
he enteres on,
and abides in,
the Second Ecstasy
with all its zest and satisfaction, -
a state bred of rapt concentration,
above all observation and reflection,
a state whereby the heart is focussed
and tranquillity reigns within.

By shedding the emotion of zest,
he enters on,
and abides in,
the Third Ecstasy,
with its poised equanimity,
mindful and self-possessed,
feeling in his frame
the satisfaction of which the Noble say
that poise and mindfulness bring abiding satisfaction.

By putting from him both satisfaction and dissatisfaction,
and by shedding the joys and sorrows he used to feel,
he enters on,
and abides in,
the Fourth Ecstasy, -
the state that,
knowing neither satisfaction nor dissatisfaction,
is the consummate purity
of poised equanimity and mindfulness.

With heart thus stedfast,
thus clarified and purified,
clean and cleansed of things impure,
tempered and apt to serve,
stablished and immutable, -
it is thus that he applies his heart
to the knowledge which recalls his own earlier existences.

He calls to mind his divers existences in the past, -
a single birth,
and then two ...
(and so on to) a hundred thousand births,
many an aeon of disintegration of the world,
many an aeon of its redintegration,
and again many an aeon both of its disintegration
and of its redintegration.

In this or that existence, he remembers,
such and such was his name,
his clan,
his class,
his diet,
his joys and sorrows,
and his term of life.

When he passed thence,
he came by such and such subsequent existence,
wherein such and such was his name and so forth;
[348] and thence he passed to his life here.

Thus does he call to mind
his divers existences of the past
in all their details and features.

That same stedfast heart
he now applies to knowledge of the passage hence,
and re-appearance elsewhere,
of other beings.

With the Eye Celestial,
which is pure
and far surpasses the human eye,
he sees beings in the act of passing hence
and of re-appearing elsewhere, -
beings high and low,
fair or foul to view,
in bliss or woe;
he sees them all faring according to their past.

Here were beings given over to evil
in act, word and thought,
who decried the Noble
and had a wrong outlook
and became what results from such wrong outlook -
these, at the body's dissolution after death,
made their appearance in states of suffering,
misery
and tribulation
and in purgatory.

Here again were beings given to good
in act, word and thought,
who did not decry the Noble,
who had the right outlook
and became what results from right outlook; -
these, at the body's dissolution after death,
made their appearance in states of bliss in heaven.

That same stedfast heart
he next applies to knowledge of the eradication of Cankers.

He comprehends,
aright and to the full,
I11,
the origin of Ill,
the cessation of Ill,
and the course that leads to the cessation of Ill.

He comprehends,
aright and to the full,
what the Cankers were,
with their origin,
cessation,
and the course that leads to their cessation.

When he knows this
and when he sees this,
then his heart is Delivered
from the Canker of sensuous pleasure,
from the Canker of continuing existence,
and from the Canker of ignorance;
and to him thus Delivered comes [251] the knowledge Of his Deliverance
in the conviction -
Rebirth is no more;
I have lived the highest life;
my task is done;
and now for me
there is no more of what I have been.

Such a man is said to torment neither himself nor others,
and not to be given to tormenting either himself or others,
but to dwell, here and now,
beyond appetites,
consummate,
unfevered,
in bliss and in holiness.

Thus spoke the Lord.

Glad at heart,
those Almsmen rejoiced in what the Lord had said.

 


[1] This Buddhist satire depicts, not unfaithfully, the brahmin ritual enjoined for a yajamāna who wishes to perform Soma-sacrifices, - as described by Hillebrandt in his Ritual-litteratur {in Bühler's Grundriss) p. 125 ff.


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