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 52

Aṭṭhaka-Nāgara Suttaɱ[1]

The Portals Of Nirvana

 


[349][251]

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

Once when the reverend Ānanda was staying at Vesālī
in the hamlet of Beluva,
the householder Dasama of Aṭṭhaka Town,
who had gone to Pāṭaliputta on some business or other,
came to an Almsman in the Kukkuṭa pleasaunce
and, seating himself after salutations,
asked where Ānanda was staying,
as he would like to see him.

Being informed that Ānanda was staying at Vesālī
in the hamlet of Beluva,
Dasama, after finishing his business at Pāṭaliputta, proceeded to Vesālī
and the hamlet of Beluva,
where he found Ānanda.

Seating himself after salutations,
Dasama asked Ānanda this question:

Has the Lord who knows and sees,
the Arahat all-enlightened,
indicated one particular state of consciousness
whereby an Almsman who lives the strenuous life
purged of self,
either finds Deliverance for his prisoned heart,
or sees the extirpation of Cankers hitherto rampant,
Or wins at last
that utter peace which was not his before?

Yes, he has.

[350] What is it?

Take the case, householder,
of an Almsman who, divested of pleasures of sense,
and divested of wrong [252] states of consciousness,
enters on,
and dwells in,
the First Ecstasy
with all its zest and satisfaction,
a state bred of inward aloofness
but not divorced from observation and reflection.

Reflecting that this First Ecstasy
is only a product,
evolved by thought,
he comes to know that all products evolved by thought
are fleeting
and must cease.

Taking his stand on this,
he attains to extirpation of Cankers,
or, if he does not attain this,
then by his passion for righteousness
and by his delight in righteousness
he destroys the Five Fetters which entail re-birth
and is translated hereafter
to realms above,
from which he will never return again to earth
but will there win his Nirvana.

This is a state of consciousness
indicated by the Lord who knows and sees,
the Arahat all-enlightened,
whereby an Almsman who lives the strenuous life
purged of self
both finds Deliverance for his prisoned heart,
and sees the extirpation of Cankers hitherto rampant,
and wins at last
that utter peace which was not his before.

Further, an Almsman,
rising above observation and reasoning,
successively enters on,
and abides in,
the Second -
the Third -
and the Fourth Ecstasies.

Reflecting that each of these also
is only a product,
evolved by thought,
he comes to know that all products ...
utter peace which was not his before.

[351] Further, an Almsman dwells
with radiant good-will pervading one quarter of the world -
a second -
a third -
and then the fourth quarter,
pervading the whole length and breadth of the world -
above,
below,
around,
everywhere -
with radiant good-will,
all-embracing,
vast,
boundless,
wherein no hate or malice finds a place.

And, as with good-will,
so in turn he pervades with radiant pity -
and sympathy -
and poised equanimity
the whole length and breadth of the world.

Reflecting that each of these four
also is only a product,
evolved by thought,
he comes to know that all products ... [352] utter peace which was not his before.

Further, by passing altogether beyond perception of material objects,
by ceasing from perception of sense- [253] reactions,
and by not heeding perception of differences,
an Almsman comes to hold space to be infinite
and so enters on,
and abides in,
the plane of infinity of space.

Or, by passing altogether beyond this plane,
the Almsman comes to hold consciousness to be infinite
and so enters on,
and abides in,
the plane of infinity of consciousness.

Or, by passing altogether beyond this plane,
the Almsman comes to hold that Naught is
and so enters on,
and abides in,
the plane of Naught.

Reflecting that each of these three planes
also is only a product,
evolved by thought,
he comes to know that all products ...
utter peace which was not his before.

At the close of these words,
the householder Dasama from Aṭṭhaka Town said to Ānanda:

Just as a man who,
being in quest of a single treasure-trove,
should at one haul find eleven,
[353] even so have I,
in my quest for a single portal to Nirvana,
been told of eleven portals.

Just as a man with an eleven-doored house,
could, if a fire broke out,
escape to safety
by any single one of those eleven doors,
even so shall I be able to escape to safety
by any single one of these eleven portals of Nirvana.

Those of other creeds
will always look for a fee for the teacher;
so why should not I show worship to the reverend Ānanda?

So, assembling together the Almsmen from Pāṭaliputta and Vesālī,
Dasama provided them with an excellent meal
of food both hard and soft,
which he served to them with his own hands,
till all had had their fill.

Moreover, he presented two lengths of cloth
to each Almsman for apparel,
but a suit of three robes
to the reverend Ānanda,
for whom further
he caused a cell to be built
at a cost of five hundred pieces.

 


[1] Identical with the Sutta at Anguttara V, 342-7.


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