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 67

Cātumā Suttaɱ

Of Land Sharks

 


[456] [324]

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

Once when the Lord was staying at Cātumā
in the myrobalan wood,
there came to visit him five hundred Almsmen
headed by Sāriputta and Moggallāna.

These newcomers,
while they were being greeted by the resident Almsmen
and were being shown their billets
and while they were [325] putting away their bowls and robes,
talked loud
and made a great noise.

Said the Lord to the reverend Ānanda:

Who pray are these loud-voiced noisy persons,
like so many fishermen over their catch?

There have come to visit you, sir,
five hundred Almsmen headed ...
a great noise.

Tell them from me, Ānanda,
that the Master desires their presence.

Ānanda having duly done so,
those Almsmen obediently [457] came to the Lord
and with proper salutations
took their seats to one side,
there to be asked why there was all this clamour and noise,
as of so many fishermen over their catch.

It was these five hundred Almsmen, sir,
headed ... a great noise.

Depart, Almsmen; I bid you begone;
you cannot dwell near me.

Yes, sir, said they obediently,
as, rising up from their seats,
they took reverential leave of the Lord,
folded up their bedding,
took their bowls and robes,
and went away.

At that time the Sakyans of Cātumā
were met together in their moot-hall
on some business or other;
and, when from a distance
they observed these Almsmen going away,
they went up to them
and asked where they were going.

The Lord, sirs, has bidden us all begone.

Mollify. I know you know what it means, but do you know what it means? > L. molli = soft. To soften.

p.p. explains it all — p.p.

Sit down for a while, reverend sirs;
we may be able to mollify the Lord.

So these Almsmen sat down
while the Sakyans of Cātumā went off to the Lord
and, seating themselves after salutations,
spoke thus:

Let the Lord show favour to the Almsmen
and extend a welcome to them.

As in the past the Lord has been kindly to the Confraternity,
so let him be kindly to them now.

Among them, sir, are young recruits
that have but recently joined
and are fresh to this Doctrine and Law;
to these it would be a shock and a set-back,
if they fail to see the Lord, -
just as drought to young crops
[458] or as losing sight of its mother to a young calf.

As in [326] the past the Lord has been kindly to them,
so let him be kindly to them now, -
showing favour to the Almsmen
and extending a welcome to them.

Then Brahmā Sahampati,
divining with his own heart
the thoughts of the Lord's heart,
vanished from out of his heaven
to re-appear in the Lord's presence, -
as easily as a strong man might stretch out his arm
or draw back his outstretched arm.

With his right shoulder respectfully bared,
Brahmā stretched forth folded palms
in homage towards the Lord, saying,
as the Sakyans had said: -

Let the Lord shew favour ...
a welcome to them.

[459] Now the Sakyans of Cātumā
and Brahmā Sahampati
by their illustrations from young crops
and the young calf
succeeded in mollifying the Lord.

Said the reverend Mahā-Moggallāna to those Almsmen:

Arise, sirs, and take up your bowls and robes;
the Sakyans of Cātumā
and Brahmā Sahampati
have succeeded in mollifying the Lord
by illustrations from young crops
and the young calf.

So at his bidding the Almsmen arose,
took up their bowls and robes,
went to the Lord,
saluted him
and took their seats to one side.

Sāriputta was sitting hard by,
and the Lord asked him what he had thought
when those Almsmen were sent away.

I thought, said Sāriputta,
that the Lord did not want to be troubled just then
but to enjoy present bliss,
and that we too would do the same.

Go away. 'Get on with you!' 'Forget that!' 'No way!'

p.p. explains it all — p.p.

Go away, Sāriputta;
go away
and never let such an idea cross your mind again.

Turning to Moggallāna,
the Lord asked him the same question
and received the answer that he had thought,
when those Almsmen were sent away,
that the Lord did not want to be troubled just then
but to enjoy present bliss,
and accordingly that he and Sāriputta would look after the Confraternity.

Quite right, Moggallāna;
for, either I or you two
must look after the Confraternity.

Then, addressing the Almsmen, the Lord said:

[327] Four terrors await a man who goes into the water, - namely
waves,
crocodiles,
whirlpools
and sharks.

And just the same four terrors
await the man who goes forth from home
to homelessness as a Pilgrim.

[460] First, what is the terror from waves?

Take the case of a young man
who for faith's sake
has gone forth from home
to homelessness as a Pilgrim,
feeling beset by birth, decay and death,
by grief,
lamentation,
ills,
woes
and tribulation,
beset by ills
and spent with ills,
and asking to be shown how to make an end
of all that makes up the sum of Ill.

When enrolled accordingly as a Pilgrim,
he is plied by his fellows in the higher life
with orders and with directions, -
how to approach
and how to withdraw,
how to look in front of him
and how to look behind him,
how to stretch out his arm
and how to draw it back,
and how to carry his bowl and robes.

Thinks he to himself:

In the old days
before I left home,
it was I who gave orders and directions to others;
but these people here
seem to think they must order me about
and direct me like my own children and grandchildren.

So he throws up his training
and reverts to the lower state of a layman.

Such a man is said to be so terrified by waves
that he throws up his training
and reverts to the lower state.

Terror of waves signifies temper.

What is terror of crocodiles?

Take the case ot a young man ...
sum of Ill.

When enrolled accordingly as a Pilgrim,
he is plied by his fellows in the higher life
with orders and directions -
to eat this but not that,
to touch this but not that,
to drink this but not that,
and each according to rule
at an appointed hour only,
and never out of hours.

[461] Thinks he to himself:

In the old days before I left home,
I used to eat and drink what I liked
and not to eat or drink what I did not like,
without any regard to rules and hours at all.

Nowadays, however,
when faith moves people to give me a good meal
to eat late in the day
out of hours,
methinks these people here bolt
and bar my mouth.

So he throws up his training
and reverts to the lower state of a layman.

Such a man is said to [328] do so from terror of crocodiles.

Terror of crocodiles signifies gluttony.

What is terror of whirlpools?

Take the case of a young man ...
sum of Ill.

When enrolled accordingly as a Pilgrim,
he goes for alms in the morning,
duly robed and bowl in hand,
into a village or township,
unguarded of body and speech,
without having mustered up mindfulness,
and with his faculties not under control.

There he sees a householder
or his son
indulging in the five pleasures of sense
to which they are addicted and devoted;
and the thought comes to him
that in the old days
before he left home
he too used to indulge in these pleasures
to which he was likewise addicted and devoted
and that, as his family has plenty of substance,
he could enjoy that substance
while doing good works.

So he throws up his training
and reverts to the lower state of a layman.

Such a man is said to do so
from terror of whirlpools.

Terror of whirlpools
signifies the five pleasures of sense.

Lastly, what is terror of sharks?

Take the case [462] of a young man ...
sum of Ill.

When enrolled accordingly as a Pilgrim,
he goes for alms in the morning,
duly robed and bowl in hand,
into a village or township,
unguarded of body and speech,
without having summoned up mindfulness,
and with his faculties not under control.

There he sees a woman
not fully dressed and attired,
at the sight of whom
passion defiles his heart
so that he throws up his training
and reverts to the lower state of a layman.

Such a man is said to do so
from terror of sharks.

Terror of sharks signifies women.

Such are the four terrors
which await those who,
in this Doctrine and Rule,
go forth from home to homelessness as Pilgrims.

Thus spoke the Lord.

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


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