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 60

Apaṇṇaka Suttaɱ

The Sound Doctrine

 


[400] [289]

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

Once when the Lord was on an alms-pilgrimage in Kosala with a great company of Almsmen,
he came to a brahmin village of the Kosalans named Sālā.

It came to the ears of the heads of houses there
that the recluse Gotama [401] ...
(etc., as in Sutta No. 41) ...
and others again in silence.

When they were seated,
the Lord asked these brahmins
whether they had got a favourite teacher
in whom they had confidence.

No, sir, was their answer.

Well, as you have not got a favourite teacher of your own,
you should embrace and fulfil the Sound Doctrine,
to your lasting happiness and welfare.

And in what does it consist?

Among recluses and brahmins
some there are who hold and affirm
that there is no such thing as alms
or sacrifice
or oblations;
no such thing as the fruit and harvest
of actions good or bad;
no such thing as this world
or the next;
no such thing as either parents
or spontaneous generation;
no such thing in this world
as recluses and brahmins who have achieved success
and walk aright,
who have, of and by themselves,
apprehended and realized this world and the next
and make it all known to others.

Others again [402] maintain
that there are indeed such things as these.

What think you, sirs?

Are not these two schools of recluses and brahmins
diametrically opposed,
one to the other?

Yes, sir.

Of those who hold and affirm
that there are no such things as the foregoing,
it may be predicated that,
scouting the three right principles
of good behaviour in body, word and thought
they will embrace and follow
the three wrong principles
of bad behaviour in body, [290] word and thought.

And why?

Because such recluses and brahmins
see neither the peril, vanity and foulness
of the wrong qualities
nor the blessing which comes
of Renunciation allied to sanctity.

Although there is indeed a next world,
he holds the view there is not,
and this is his wrong view;
he resolves there is not,
and this is his wrong resolve;
he says there is not,
and this is his wrong speech;
he insists there is not,
and therein goes counter to Arahats
who are versed in worlds beyond this;
he persuades others there is no next world,
and so diffuses false doctrine;
and in diffusing it
he exalts himself and disparages others.

Consequently, his earlier virtues are shed
and vices are now installed;
and this wrong view,
this wrong resolve,
this wrong speech,
this antagonism to the Noble,[1]
this diffusion of false doctrine,
this self-exaltation
and this disparagement of others, -
all these several bad and wrong principles
thrive apace because of his wrong views.

[403] In this case
a man of intelligence says to himself
that, if there be no world to come,
then this individual,
at the body's dissolution after death,
will fare well;
but, if there be a world to come,
will pass to a doom
of tribulation and woe
or to purgatory.

If, however, it be granted that there is no other world
and if it be assumed
that the negative view is true,
then the individual stands condemned here and now
by men of intelligence
as a bad liver,
a holder of wrong views
and an apostle of vanity.

But, if there is another world,
then this individual loses both ways,
first by being here and now-condemned
by men of intelligence
and secondly by passing at death
to a doom of tribulation and woe
or to purgatory;
so the sound doctrine
is not embraced and followed by him;
he is one-sided;
he misses the right conclusion.

Of those, on the other hand,
who hold and affirm
that there are indeed such things as the foregoing,
it may be predicated that,
scouting the three wrong [291] principles
of bad behaviour in body, word and thought,
they will embrace and follow
the three right principles
of good behaviour in body, word and thought.

And why?

Because such recluses and brahmins
see both the peril, vanity and foulness
of the wrong principles
and the blessing which comes
of Renunciation allied to sanctity.

There being a next world,
he holds the view that there is,
and this is his right view;
he resolves that there is,
and this is his right resolve;
he insists that there is,
and therein goes not counter to Arahats
who are versed in worlds beyond this;
he [404] persuades others
that there is a next world,
and so diffuses right doctrine,
and in diffusing it
neither exalts himself nor disparages others.

Consequently, his earlier vices are shed
and virtue is now installed;
and this right view,
this right resolve,
this right speech,
this unison with the Noble,
this diffusion of right doctrine,
this absence alike of self-exaltation
and of disparagement of others, -
all these several right principles
thrive apace because of his right views.

In this case a man of intelligence says to himself
that, if there is a world to come,
then this individual,
at the body's dissolution after death,
will pass to a happy state or to heaven.

If, however, it be granted
that there is no other world
and if it be assumed
that the negative view is true,
then the individual is here and now
extolled by men of intelligence
as living a good life,
holding right views,
and preaching what is salutary.

But, should there be a world to come,
then this individual gains both ways,
first by being here and now extolled by the intelligent,
and secondly by passing at death
to a happy state or to heaven;
so the sound doctrine
is embraced and followed by him;
he is two-sided;
he seizes on the right conclusion.

Other recluses and brahmins there are
who hold and affirm that
no evil is wrought by him
who either himself acts
or causes another to act,
who maims or causes another to maim,
who causes grief or misery,
who tortures or causes another to torture,
who sets folk quaking
or causes another to do so,
who slays,
[292] who steals,
who is a burglar
or a dacoit
or a housebreaker
or a foot-pad
or an adulterer
or a liar.

If, say they,
with a cleaver as sharp as a razor
he were to make a single heap and mound of flesh
out of all that lives on earth,
no guilt proceeds therefrom
and no consequence of guilt ensues;
nor does guilt proceed or ensue
if he were to march to the southern bank of the Ganges
killing and slaughtering,
maiming and causing to be maimed,
torturing and causing to be tortured.

Nor again, say they,
if he were to march to the northern bank of the Ganges
distributing alms
and causing alms to be distributed,
offering sacrifices
and causing sacrifices to be offered, -
no virtue proceeds therefrom
and no consequence of virtue ensues;
no virtue proceeds or ensues from alms-giving
or self-control
or temperance
or from speaking truth.

Other recluses and brahmins there are
who hold and affirm [405] on the contrary
that guilt does proceed in the former case
and virtue in the latter.

What think you, sirs?

Are not these two schools of recluses and brahmins
diametrically opposed one to the other?

Yes, sir.

Of those who hold and affirm
that neither guilt nor virtue
proceeds from what I have described,
it may be predicated that
scouting the three right principles. ...
Renunciation allied to sanctity.

Although there is indeed an after-effect,
he holds the view there is not,
and this is his wrong view; ...
[406] all these several bad principles
thrive apace because of his wrong views.

In this case a man of intelligence says to himself
that, if there be no after-effect,
then this individual,
at the body's dissolution after death,
will fare well;
but if ... misses the right conclusion.

Of those, on the other hand,
who hold and affirm
that there are indeed such things as after-effects,
it may be predicated ...
[407] all these several right principles
thrive apace because of his right views.

In this case a man of intelligence says to himself
[293] that, if after-effects there are,
then this individual ...
seizes on the right conclusion.

Other recluses and brahmins, again, there are
who hold and affirm
that there is neither cause nor reason
either for the depravity
or for the purity of creatures;
that it is without reason or cause
that they grow depraved or pure;
that there is no such thing as strength or will,
no human courage or stedfastness;
all creatures,
all beings,
all that has life, -
they are all impotent weaklings
with no power of will,
they are engendered as what fate dictates,
encountering pleasure or pain
within one or other of life's Six Environments.[2]

[294] Other recluses and brahmins there are
who hold and affirm on the contrary
that there is a cause and a reason
for depravity and for purity
and that creatures are not impotent weaklings
without power of will,
dominated by fate
and bound by life's hard and fast environment.

What think you, sirs?

[408] Are not these two schools
diametrically opposed one to the other?

Yes, sir.

Of those who hold and affirm
the hard and fast barriers of environment,
it may be predicated that,
scouting the three right principles. ...
Renunciation allied to sanctity.

Although there is indeed
a cause and a reason for depravity and for purity,
he holds the view that there is not,
and this is his wrong view; ...
all these several bad principles thrive apace
because of his wrong views.

In this case
a man of intelligence says to himself
that, if there be no cause or reason,
then this individual,
at the body's dissolution after death,
will fare well;
but if ... [409] misses the right conclusion.

Of those, on the other hand,
who hold and affirm
that a cause and a reason exists alike
for depravity and purity,
it may be predicated ...
all these several right principles thrive apace
because of his right views.

In this case
a man of intelligence says to himself
that if there be a cause,
then this individual ... [410] seizes on the right conclusion. ...

Some recluses and brahmins, moreover,
hold and [295] affirm that there exist no Incorporeal Brahma-realms at all,
while others assert the contrary.

What think you, sirs?

Are not these two schools
diametrically Opposed One to the Other?

Yes, sir.

In this case a man of intelligence says to himself
that he personally has neither seen what those affirm
who deny the existence of Incorporeal Realms,
nor discovered what those others affirm
who preach the existence of such Realms;
nor does he feel it proper,
without knowing or seeing for himself,
definitely to commit himself
to one side or the other
as representing the absolute truth
while all else is error.

If, he says, those speak truly
who deny the existence of Incorporeal Realms,
it may be that I shall surely get hereafter
to the Corporeal Gods
who are the product of mentality (mano-maya);
whereas if the exponents of Incorporeal Realms speak truly,
it may be that I shall surely get to
the Incorporeal Gods
who are the product of perception (saññā-maya);
at any rate we see
that the Corporeal results in assaults with clubs and swords,
in wrangles, strife, contentions and quarrels,
and in slander and lies,
whereas nothing of the kind occurs with the Incorporeal.

Led by these reflections,
he sets his course towards viewing the Corporeal
without interest and without zest,
and towards stilling it for ever.

Some recluses and brahmins there are
who hold and affirm that there is no such thing
as the stilling of continuing existence,
while others again assert the contrary.

[411] What think you, sirs?

Are not these two schools
diametrically opposed one to the other?

Yes, sir.

In this case a man of intelligence says to himself
that he personally has neither seen what those affirm
who deny that existence can be stilled,
nor discovered what those others affirm
who assert that it can;
nor does he feel it proper,
without knowing or seeing for himself,
definitely to commit himself to one side or the other
as representing the absolute truth
while all else [296] is error.

If, he says,
those speak truly who deny that existence can be stilled,
I shall surely get to the Incorporeal Gods
who are the product of perception;
whereas, if those are right who say
existence can be stilled for ever,
I may win Nirvana here and now;
as regards the negative view,
it is the neighbour of passion,
attachment,
of cherished delight,
of cleaving and clinging to things;
while the positive view
has the precise opposites of all these things
for its neighbours.

Led by these reflections,
he sets his course towards viewing all continuing existence
without interest
and without zest,
and towards stilling it for ever.

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

First, there is he who tortures himself
and is given up to self-torture.

Then there is he who tortures others
and is set on torturing them.

Next, there is he who tortures both himself and others;
while, lastly, there is the man
who tortures neither himself nor others.

And this [412] last individual,
who tortures neither himself nor others,
dwells - here and now -
beyond all appetites,
consummate,
unfevered,
blissful
and perfected.

Now, what kind of individual is he
who tortures himself
and is given up to self-torture?

Take the case of the individual
who goes naked
and flouts the decencies of life ... etc.,
as in the Kandaraka-Sutta (No. 51).

Such are the various ways
in which he tortures his own body;
and such a man is called a self-torturer,
given up to self-torture.

What kind of individual is he
who tortures others
and is given up to torturing them?

Take the case of the individual who
butchers sheep or swine ... (etc., as in No. 51)
... other cruel trade.

Such a man is called a torturer of others,
given up to torturing them.

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

Take the case of the individual who
is an anointed king of the race of Nobles ... (etc. as in No. 51) ...
and voices of lamentation.

Such a man is called a torturer both of himself and of others. [297] Lastly, what kind of individual is he who,
torturing neither himself nor others,
and given to torturing neither himself nor them,
dwells - here and now -
beyond all appetites,
consummate,
unfevered,
blissful
and perfected?

There appears in the world here a Truth-finder,
Arahat all-enlightened ... (etc., as in No. 51) ...
[413] and now for me
there is no more of what I have been!

Such a man is called
one who tortures neither himself nor others
and is given to torturing neither himself nor them,
but lives - here and now -
beyond all appetites,
consummate,
unfevered,
blissful
and perfected.

At the close of these words,
the brahmins of Sālā said to the Lord:

Wonderful, Gotama; wonderful!

Just as a man might set upright again
what had been cast down,
or reveal what had been hidden away,
or tell a man who had gone astray
which was his way,
or bring a lamp into darkness
so that those with eyes to see
might see things about them, -
even so, in many a figure,
has the reverend Gotama made his Doctrine clear.

To him as our refuge we come
and to his Doctrine
and to his Confraternity.

We ask him to accept us as his followers
from this day forth while life lasts.

 


[1] Here clearly the plural Ariya is a synonym for the Arahats supra.

[2] See Charpentier on 'The Leśyā-theory of the Jainas and Ājīvikas' in the Särtryk in honour of K. J. Johannson (Goteborg, 1910). But the Jain 'colours' arose as the direct product of Karma, which Makkhali is here represented as flouting. At D. III, 250 only two abhijātis are particularized as colours (the 'black' and the 'white'), but at D.A. I, 162 Bu. completes the six (as colours) by adding blue, red, yellow and very white. The Cy. (here) goes on to explain that - in an ascending scale - the black or lowest are bird-fowlers, pig-stickers, fishermen, robbers, robbers' executioners, and all others who follow cruel callings. Buddhist almsmen are 'blue.' - It is said that these, putting 'thorns' in the Four Requisites (of an Almsman), eat them, and so an Almsman is a 'thorn-liver,' this being their creed; or 'thorn-livers' are certain Pilgrims (pabbajitā), for, in their belief, recluses (samaṇas) are 'thorn-livers.' - The 'red' are Nigaṇṭhas who wear one garment, and are reputed to be whiter than the foregoing two classes. The 'yellow' are lay folk who are followers of the unclad (gihi-acela-sāvakā); thus they make their own donors of requisites higher than the Nigaṇṭhas. Nanda Vaccha and Sankicca are classed as 'white,' being spoken of as whiter than the foregoing four classes. The Ājīvakas are spoken of as 'whitest of all,' being reputed whiter than all the others.

On our Majjhima passage, Bu. concludes his exegesis by saying that: - first of all (paṭhamaɱ) all people are bird-fowlers etc. In the successive stages of being purified (tato visujjhamanā) they become Sakya Recluses; then Nigaṇṭhas, then disciples of the Ājīvakas; then Nanda etc.; and then Ājīvakas;. Such is the doctrine held. The 'white' class is to be explained as the converse to what has been said (of the othei classes).

In the Sumangala-Vilāsinī version (I, 162), apart from minor differences, Makkhali Gosāla is added to Nanda Vaccha and [Kisa] Sankicca, - the trio being raised from the white category to the whitest of all, while ājīvakas [and female ājīvakas] descend to the merely 'white' and there is no specific mention of Samaṇas (as above) in connection with bhikkhus.

In adopting the two colours, black and white, Buddhism characteristically adopts also the familiar number of six abhi-jātis (D. III, 250-1), but transmutes their meaning ethically. Thus, a man born into a black (or dark) environment may evolve therein (i) a black character and life or (ii) a white character and life or (iii) Nirvana. And so also threefold possibilities lie before the man born into a white (or bright) environment.


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