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 57

Kukkura-Vatika Suttaɱ

Of Emulating Dogs

 


[387] [278]

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

Once when the Lord was staying among the Koḷiyās
- Halidda-vasana is the name of a township of theirs -
there came to him
Puṇṇa Koḷiyāputta who was a Bovine,[1]
and Seniya, a naked ascetic (acela) who was a Canine.

Puṇṇa, after saluting the Lord,
took a seat to one side,
while Seniya, after greetings of courtesy and civility,
squatted down like a dog.

Said Puṇṇa to the Lord:

This naked ascetic Seniya the Canine
has set himself an austere task;
he subsists by scavenging,
and has for a long time
punctually discharged the vows of his [279] Canine vocation.

What future state
and what destiny
await him?

Stop, Puṇṇa;
proceed no further;
question me not hereon.

A second time
and yet a third time
Puṇṇa repeated his enquiry,
receiving the third time this answer from the Lord:

Though I told you I disapproved
and asked you to stop
and proceed no further with your enquiry,
yet I will tell you the answer.

If, Puṇṇa, a man fully and completely develops the dog's habits,
the dog's principles of conduct,
the dog's mind
and [388] the dog's behaviour,
then at the body's dissolution after death
he will pass to be with dogs thereafter.

But, if he holds the view
that by such principles
or practices
or austerities
or higher life
he will become a greater or a lesser god,
then he holds a false view;
and I say that the man of false views
has before him one of two future states, -
namely purgatory
or rebirth as an animal.

If he is lucky,
he becomes a dog;
if he is unlucky,
he goes to purgatory.

At these words Seniya,
the naked ascetic who was a Canine,
burst into tears and wept.

Then said the Lord to Puṇṇa:

I told you to stop
and proceed no further with your enquiries.

Said Seniya:

It is not because the Lord spoke as he did concerning me that I weep.

But oh!

I have - so long
and so punctually
discharged the vows of my Canine vocation!

Puṇṇa here,
the Bovine,
has for a long time punctually discharged his Bovine vows.

What future state
and what destiny
await him?

Said the Lord:

Stop, Seniya;
proceed no further;
question me not hereon.

A second time
and yet a third time
Seniya repeated his enquiry,
receiving the third time
this answer from the Lord:

Though I told you I disapproved
and asked you to proceed no further with your enquiry,
yet I will tell you the answer.

If, Seniya, a man fully and completely develops the habits of kine,
the principles of conduct of kine,
the mind of kine
and the behaviour [280] of kine,
then at the body's dissolution. ...
[389] kine,
if he is unlucky,
he goes to purgatory.

At these words Puṇṇa Koḷiyāputta the Bovine
burst into tears and wept.

Then said the Lord to Seniya:

I told you to stop
and proceed no further with your enquiries.

Said Puṇṇa:

It is not because the Lord spoke as he did concerning me that I weep.

But Oh!

I have so long
and so punctually
discharged the vows Of my Bovine vocation!

I have faith in the Lord
that he can so preach the Doctrine
that I shall renounce my bovine practices
and Seniya his canine practices.

Give ear then, Puṇṇa,
and hearken;
and I will speak.

Then to the listening Puṇṇa the Lord began:

I affirm four kinds of actions (kamma)
which I have independently discovered and proved.

What are the four?

There are
(i) actions which are black,
with black outcome,
(ii) actions which are bright,
with bright outcome,
(iii) actions which are both black and bright,
with both a black and a bright outcome, and
(iv) actions which are neither black nor bright,
with an outcome neither black nor bright,
conducing to the destruction of karma (kamma).

(i) What action is black,
with black outcome?

Take a man who evolves a harmful complex of body,
speech
or thought
and passes in consequence
to a harmful realm
where harmful impressions beset him,
so that he experiences feelings of harm
which are painful in the extreme, -
as do beings [390] in purgatory.

Thus, from the creature
proceeds its own future state;
what it does
determines what it passes to,
and the impressions which then beset it.

So I say creatures are the heirs of their own actions.

This is action which is black,
with black outcome.

(ii) What action is bright,
with bright outcome?

Take a man who evolves a harmless complex of body,
speech
or thought
and passes in consequence
to a harmless realm
where harmless impressions beset him,
so that he experiences feelings
devoid of harm
which [281] are pleasant in the extreme, -
as do the Subha-Kiṇṇa gods.

Thus from the creature proceeds ...
heirs of their own actions.

This is action which is bright,
with bright outcome.

(iii) What action is both black and bright,
with both a black and a bright outcome?

Take a man who evolves complexes of body,
speech,
and thought
which are both harmful and harmless,
and passes in consequence
to a realm at once harmful and harmless,
where both harmful and harmless impressions beset him,
so that he experiences mixed feelings,
some harmful and some harmless, -
as do human beings,
some gods
and some whose lot embraces suffering.[2]

Thus from the creature proceeds ...
heirs of their own actions.

This is action which is both black and bright,
with both a black and a bright outcome.

(iv) [391] Lastly, what action is neither black nor bright,
with an outcome which is neither black nor bright,
conducing to the destruction of Karma?

In this case, it is the mental resolve
to discard all action
of the three foregoing types
which is called action which is neither black nor bright,
with an outcome which is neither black nor bright,
conducing to the destruction of Karma.

Such, Puṇṇa, are the four types of action affirmed by me,
which I have independently discerned and proved.

Hereupon, Puṇṇa the Bovine said to the Lord:

Wonderful, sir; wonderful!

Just as ... etc. down to ...
may the Lord accept me as a disciple
from this day forth while life lasts.

And Seniya, the naked ascetic who was a Canine,
said the same but ended by saying:

I come to the Lord as my refuge
and to his Doctrine
and to his confraternity.

Be it mine to receive admission
and confirmation as an Almsman with the Lord.

[282] A former sectary of another school, Seniya,
who seeks admission and confirmation
in this Doctrine and Rule,
first resides for four months,
at the end of which four months
proved Almsmen admit and confirm him as an Almsman.

This is the distinction between persons
which I recognize.

If, sir, former sectaries of other schools
have first to undergo this four months' probation
before their admission here,
then I will reside for four months,
at the end of wrhich period
let proved Almsmen admit and confirm me as an Almsman.

So the naked ascetic Seniya the Canine
was admitted and confirmed as an Almsman of the Lord.

And not long after his confirmation
the reverend Seniya,
dwelling alone and aloof,
strenuous,
[392] ardent
and purged of self,
after no long time
won that prize in quest of which
young men go forth from home to homelessness as Pilgrims,
that prize of prizes
which crowns the higher life, -
even this did he think out for himself,
realize and attain,
and in this did he dwell,
convinced that for him
rebirth was no more,
that he had lived the highest life,
that his task was done,
and that now for him
there was no more of what he had been.

So the reverend Seniya was numbered among the Arahats.

 


[1] To support his bovine character, says Bu., he wore horns and a tail and affected to browse on grass. See Dhammasangaṇi translation, p. 261.

[2] Bu. explains that the devas here referred to are earth's devatās, and that the vinipātīkas in question are the vemānika-petas.


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