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 68

Naḷakapāna Suttaɱ

The Stimulus Of Example

 


[462] [329]

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

Once when the Lord was staying at Kosala at Naḷaka-pāna in the Butea grove,
there were a number of highly distinguished young men
who for the Lord's sake
through faith in him
had gone from home to homelessness as Pilgrims, -
the reverend Anuruddha,
Nandiya,
Kimbila,
Bhagu,
Kundadhana,
Revata,
and Ānanda,
together with other highly distinguished young men.

At the time the Lord [463],
sitting in the open air
in the midst of the Confraternity,
asked the Almsmen whether those young men,
as Almsmen,
found joy in the higher life.

The Almsmen were silent,
and silent they remained
though asked the same question a second
and a third time.

Then it occurred to the Lord
to put the question direct
to those young men themselves,
and he asked Anuruddha
whether they found joy in the higher life.

Certainly we do, was the answer.

Good, very good, Anuruddha
and the others of you.

It is meet and right
that you should do so.

You have left home
for homelessness as Pilgrims
when quite young -
with black hair untouched by grey
and in all the beauty of your early prime -
at the very age when you might have been
leading a life of pleasure.

It was under no stress from kings or robbers,
or debt or fear,
or poverty
that you left your homes; -
did you not in faith go forth as Pilgrims
because - feeling beset by birth, decay and death,
by grief,
lamentation,
ills,
woes and tribulation,
beset by ills and spent with ills, -
you were asking to be shown
how to make an end
of all that makes up the sum of Ill?

Yes, sir.

And what,
when enrolled as a Pilgrim,
has that young man to do?

If, on the one hand,
he attains not [330] to that zest and satisfaction
which is divested of pleasures of sense
and all wrong states of consciousness,
if he attains not to this
or to something higher still,
his heart is possessed by covetise,
malevolence,
torpor,
flurry and worry,
doubts,
[464] dislikes
and slackness.

But if he does attain
to such zest and satisfaction,
or to something higher still,
his heart is not possessed
by any of these things.

That zest
and that satisfaction
are his.

What is your idea about myself?

As touching the Cankers -
which are depraved and entail re-birth,
which are burthensome
and ripen unto Ill,
with birth,
decay
and death
in their train-,
do you think that these have not been put away from him
by the Truth-finder
and that this is why he knows
that this Canker is dealt with by practice,
that by endurance,
this by avoidance
and that by removal?

No, sir; we do not think this.

What we think is
that the Truth-finder has put away from him
all Cankers
and that this is why he knows
how Cankers are severally to be dealt with.

Right, quite right.

The Truth-finder has indeed put from him
all these evil Cankers,
has grubbed and stubbed them,
like a palm-tree that has been rooted out
from where it stood,
a thing that once has been
and now can be no more.

Just as a palm
with its crown lopped off
can never grow again,
even so have all these evil Cankers
been grubbed and stubbed,
like a palm that has been rooted out
from where it stood,
a thing that once has been
and now can be no more.

And therefore it is
that the Truth-finder knows
how Cankers are severally to be dealt with.

What think ye?

"future state" is not in the Pali, and it would not be a future state. The Pali is 'Asu amutra upapanno, asu amutra upapanno': "That [one] [has] arisin that place; that [one] [has] arisen that place." Translating literally would have forced the reader to imagine inflection and jesture.

p.p. explains it all — p.p.

With what end in view
does the Truth-finder indicate the states hereafter
of his disciples dead and gone,
declaring that this one has passed to one,
and that one to an other
future state?

[465] All our ideas are derived from the Lord,
guided by him
and fortified by him.

We pray that the Lord
may be pleased to explain what he has said,
so that the Almsmen may treasure up his words.

[331] My end in view is not to cajole or delude folk,
nor is it to get for myself gains or repute or fame or profit,
nor is it to advertise myself
as revealing the respective states hereafter
of my disciples dead and gone.

No; it is because there are young men who believe
and are filled with enthusiasm
and with gladness,
who, on hearing this revelation,
concentrate their whole hearts on imitating it all, -
to their own abiding good and welfare.

An Almsman hears
that such and such an Almsman has died
and has been declared by the Lord
to have been stablished in knowledge.

From personal observation
or from hearsay
he knows what was this departed Almsman's conduct,
peace of heart,
lore,
life,
and Deliverance;
and when he recalls the faith,
virtue,
learning,
renunciation
and lore of the departed,
he concentrates his whole heart
on becoming like him,
so that his life is blessed.

Or the Almsman hears
the Lord has declared that,
by having burst asunder the Five Bonds
which bound him to the world,
the Almsman departed
has been translated to a heaven
never to come back thence to earth.

From personal observation ...
life is blessed.

Or he hears the Lord has declared that,
by having burst asunder the Three Bonds,
and by also reducing passion, hatred and delusion to a minimum,
the Almsman departed
will come back only once more to earth,
and will, when he comes back that last time,
make an end of Ill.

From personal observation ...
[466] life is blessed.

Or he hears the Lord has declared that,
by having simply burst asunder the Three Bonds,
the Almsman departed
has embarked on the stream of salvation,
is safe from future states of punishment,
is sure of his future
and destined to win full enlightenment.

From his personal observation ...
life is blessed.

Similarly, an Almswoman hears the Lord has declared
that such and such an Almswoman
has died and has been declared by the Lord
(etc., as in all the four foregoing cases of the Almsman departed).

[332] [467] Similarly a lay-follower - man or woman -
hears that such and such a lay-follower has died
and that the Lord has declared that,
by having burst asunder the Five Bonds which bound him - or her - to the world,
the departed has been translated to a heaven
never to come back thence to earth ...
(etc., as in the 2nd., 3rd. and 4th. cases of the Almsman departed) ...

[468] his - or her - whole heart
is concentrated on becoming like him - or her -,
so that his - or her - life is blessed.

Thus the Truth-finder's end in view
is not to cajole or delude folk,
nor is it to get for himself gains or repute or fame or profit,
nor is it to advertise himself
as revealing the respective states hereafter
of his disciples dead and gone.

No; it is because there are young men who believe
and are filled with enthusiasm and gladness,
who, on hearing this revelation,
concentrate their whole hearts
on becoming like these, -
to their own abiding good and welfare.

Thus spoke the Lord.

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


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