Majjhima Nikaya


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Majjhima Nikāya
II. Majjhima Paṇṇāsa
2. Bhikkhu 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 65

Bhaddāli Suttaɱ

Of Obedience

 


[437] [311]

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

Once the Lord was staying at Sāvatthī in Jeta's grove in Anāthapiṇḍika's pleasaunce,
he addressed the listening Almsmen as follows:

"I have only one meal each morning
and find that on this regimen
I am healthy and well,
buoyant,
hale
and hearty.

Do like me
and you too will benefit in the same way.

[312] Hereupon, the reverend Bhaddāli told the Lord he could not do this, because, in so eating, he would be a prey to scruples and misgivings.[1]

Well then, Bhaddāli, eat a portion only at your place of entertainment
and take a portion away with you to eat later on.

Eating on this plan, [438] you will get along all right.

No, sir, I could not do this,
because here too I should be a prey to scruples and misgivings.

So, while the Lord was laying down a rule of conduct
and the Confraternity was vowing obedience,
the reverend Bhaddāli protested his inability
and for three whole months
never came near the Lord,
as one who was not conducting himself according to the Master's teaching.

At the end of the time
a number of Almsmen were busied on making up robes for the Lord,
expecting that, when his robes were ready
at the end of the three months,
the Lord would set out on an alms-pilgrimage.

To them came Bhaddāli
and seated himself after greetings,
to learn from them their expectation
and to be urged by them
to lay the Lord's monition to heart
lest worse should befall him hereafter.

Accepting their advice, Bhaddāli betook him to the Lord
and after due salutation
took a seat to one side, saying:

I confess my fault, sir; -
foolish and misguided and wrong that I was
to protest my inability to conform
while the Lord was laying down a rule of conduct
and the Confraternity was vowing obedience thereto.

I ask the Lord to pardon my transgression as such,
with a view to my keeping watch and ward in future.

Yes, Bhaddāli; you did transgress,
foolish and misguided and wrong that you were
in protesting your inability to conform
while I was laying down a rule of conduct
and the Brotherhood was vowing obedience thereto.

[313] You failed too to realize the circumstances, Bhaddāli.

You failed to realize, firstly,
that the Lord was in residence at Sāvatthī
and would know you were not conducting yourself according to the Master's teachings;
secondly, that a number of [439] Almsmen - and of Almswomen too -
were spending the rainy season in the city
and would also know it;
thirdly, that in the city there were living a number of lay disciples - both men and women -
who would also know it;
and, fourthly, that there were a number of recluses and brahmins of divers schools
also spending the rainy season in the city,
all of whom would know that the Almsman Bhaddāli,
a senior disciple of the recluse Gotama,
was not conducting himself according to the master's teachings.

I confess my fault, sir; -
foolish and misguided ...
vowing obedience thereto.

What do you think, Bhaddāli?

Take the case of an Almsman
who has found the twofold Deliverance,
both through the heart and the intellect.

If I bid him make himself a bridge for me across the mire,
would he do so?

Or would he turn in a different direction,
or flatly refuse to do my bidding?

He would not refuse, sir.

Take the case of Almsmen
who have found Deliverance through the intellect -
or by comprehending the body -
or by sheer vision -
or by trust -
or by living up to the Doctrine -
or by living up to their trust.

If I bid any one of these six
make himself a bridge for me across the mire,
would he do so?

Or would he turn in a different direction,
or flatly refuse to do my bidding?

He would not refuse, sir.

What do you think, Bhaddāli?

When this happened,
had you found the two-fold Deliverance [440]
or any of the six other forms of Deliverance?

No, sir.

Were you not at the time
empty and vain and blameworthy?

Yes, sir.

I confess my fault, sir;
foolish and mis- [314] guided and wrong that I was
to protest my inability to conform
when the Lord was laying down a rule of conduct
and the Almsmen were vowing obedience thereto.

Yes, Bhaddāli; you did transgress,
foolish and misguided and wrong that you were
to protest your inability ...
obedience thereto.

But, inasmuch as you see your transgression as such
and duly atone,
we pardon it unto you.

It marks progress in the Rule of the Noble
when a man, seeing his transgression as such,
atones and keeps watch and ward over himself for the future.

Take the case of an Almsman, Bhaddāli,
who does not conduct himself according to the Master's teachings.

To him comes the yearning to resort to some solitary habitation -
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 -
in the hope of realizing some height
of noblest knowledge or vision
transcending the ordinary.

So to the solitary habitation of his choice
he betakes himself
and dwells aloof and alone there, -
contemned by his Master,
contemned by the judgment of the discreet
among his fellows in the higher life,
contemned by the local sprites,
and contemned by himself.

Thus universally contemned,
he fails to realize knowledge or vision
transcending the ordinary.

And why?

Because this is what comes to all
who do not conduct themselves
according to the Master's teachings.

Take now the case of an Almsman
who does conduct himself
according to the Master's teachings,
to whom comes the same yearning to resort to solitude
[441] with the same hopes.

Dwelling aloof there,
he is contemned neither by his Master,
nor by his fellows,
nor by the local sprites,
nor by himself.

Not contemned of anyone,
he succeeds in realizing a height
of noble knowledge and vision
transcending the ordinary.

Divested of pleasures of sense
and wrong states of consciousness,
he develops and dwells in the First Ecstasy,
with all its zest and satisfaction,
a state bred of inward aloofness
but not divorced from observation [315] and reflection.

And why?

Because this is what comes to all
who conduct themselves according to the Master's teachings.

And so in succession,
and for the same reason,
he develops and dwells in the Second,
Third
and Fourth Ecstasies.

With his 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 earlier existences.

He calls to mind his divers existences in the past, -
a single existence,
then two ...
(etc., as in Sutta No. 4)
... in all their details and features.

And why?

Because this is what [442] comes to one
who conducts himself according to the Master's teachings.

That same stedfast heart
he now applies to the knowledge
of the passing and re-appearance of other creatures.

With the Celestial Eye ...
(etc., as in Sutta No. 4)
... and heaven.

And why?

Because this is what comes to one
who conducts himself according to the Master's teachings.

That same stedfast heart
he now applies to the knowledge
of destroying the Cankers.

He has absolute comprehension of Ill,
the origin of Ill,
the cessation of Ill,
and the course that leads to the cessation of Ill;
he has the like absolute comprehension
of the Cankers.

When he knows and discerns this,
his heart is delivered from the Canker of sensuality,
from the Canker of continuing existence,
and from the Canker of ignorance;
and to him thus delivered
comes the knowledge of his deliverance
in the confidence that he has lived the highest life,
that his task is done,
and that now for him
there is no more of what he once was.

And why?

Because this is what comes to one
who conducts himself according to the Master's teachings.

Hereupon Bhaddāli asked the Lord
what was the cause and reason
why the Almsmen prolong proceedings against one Almsman
longer than against another.

Take the case, answered the Lord,
of a frequent and habitual offender
who, when spoken to by his brethren,
[316] skips off to something irrelevant,
changes the subject,
evinces rage and hatred and resentment,
does not take it well,
bristles with indignation,
fails to atone,
and does not declare himself willing to do
what the Confraternity pleases.

In such a case his brethren,
who have duly noted all this,
[443] deem it well
to conduct such an enquiry into his case
as to preclude any speedy settlement of it.

Take now the case of another frequent and habitual offender
who, when spoken to by his brethren,
does not skip off to something irrelevant,
does not change the subject,
does not evince rage and hatred and resentment,
but takes it well,
is humble, atones, and declares himself willing
to do what the Confraternity pleases.

In such a case, his brethren,
who have duly noted all this,
deem it well so to restrict their enquiry into his case
as to ensure a speedy settlement.

Next take the case of a casual
and not habitual offender,
who, when spoken to by his brethren,
skips off to something irrelevant ...
[444] preclude any speedy settlement of it.

Next take the case of a casual
and not habitual offender,
who, when spoken to by his brethren,
does not skip off to something irrelevant ...
ensure a speedy settlement.

Lastly, take the case of an Almsman
who gets along just by trust and affection.

Recognizing this,
his brethren deem it well not to protract the proceedings
lest he lose even his trust and affection.

Just as if a man possessed only a single eye
and his friends and kinsfolk guarded that one eye of his
lest he should lose even that too, -
even so do the Almsmen take heed
lest he should lose even his trust and affection.

Such, Bhaddāli, is the cause and the reason
why the Almsmen prolong proceedings against one Almsman
longer than against another.

What, sir, is the cause and the reason
why in bygone days
[445] there were fewer rules of conduct
and more Arahats,
whereas nowadays there are more rules
and fewer Arahats?

[317] It is because, when men fall away
and the truth wanes,
rules are multiplied
and there are fewer Arahats.

The Master does not prescribe rules for his disciples
so long as there is no sign in the Confraternity
of states of consciousness bred of the Cankers.

But as soon as he sees signs of this,
he prescribes rules to combat those states of consciousness.

Such states occur only when the Confraternity has grown big,
and then it is that rules against them must be prescribed.

They do not appear till the Confraternity has risen to wealth,
fame,
learning,
and standing;
but, when it has got standing,
then there occur states of consciousness bred of the Cankers
and the Master prescribes rules to combat them.

Few were ye when I preached the homily with the parable of the thorough-bred Colt.

Do you remember it, Bhaddāli?

No, sir.

To what cause do you attribute that?

I have not been conducting myself
according to the Master's teachings
for a long time.

That is not the cause or the reason.

For some time past
my heart has been fathoming yours,
seeing how, while I was expounding the Doctrine,
you, in your folly,
were not listening intently,
with grip and grasp and whole-hearted apprehension.

Well, I will tell you that homily
with the parable of the Colt.

Hearken and give ear
[446] and I will speak.

Then to the attentive Bhaddāli the Lord began thus:

Just as an expert horse-breaker,
when a fine thoroughbred is put in his hands,
first schools it to the bit,
and during the process the colt exhibits
every twist, wriggle and contortion
you would expect from one constrained
to do something wholly novel,
until he is perfected by constant use
and gradual practice therein.

After the bit comes the yoke
and in this process too the colt exhibits ...
practice herein.

Next the colt is schooled successively to the ring,
to being clipped,
to gallop,
to neigh (defiance),
to bear himself like a royal charger of birth and breeding,
peerless in speed,
in points,
and in [318] manners;
and in this process too the colt exhibits ...
practice herein.

Lastly, the horse-breaker grooms and braids the colt to perfection
and so it becomes with its ten points
a charger for a king to be proud of,
and is styled a royal treasure.

Just in the same way
an Almsman who has his ten points
grows worthy of oblations
and offerings
and gifts
and homage
and is the richest field in which to sow the seed of merit.

What are these ten points?

His are the Arahat's right views,
the Arahat's right aspirations,
the Arahat's right speech,
the Arahat's right action,
the Arahat's right mode of livelihood,
the Arahat's right effort,
the Arahat's [447] right mindfulness,
the Arahat's right rapture of concentration,
together with the Arahat's right knowledge
and right Deliverance.

The Almsman, Bhaddāli,
who has these ten points
is worthy of oblations
and offerings
and gifts
and is the richest field in which to sow the seed of merit.

Thus spoke the Lord.

Glad at heart, the reverend Bhaddāli rejoiced in what the Lord had said.

 


[1] Apparently he was afraid of not finishing his msal within the prescribed hours, and so of eating at the wrong time, i.e. after the meridian. (Cf. Vinaya Texts I, 40.)


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