Majjhima Nikaya


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Majjhima Nikāya
II. Majjhima Paṇṇāsa
3. Paribbājaka 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 75

Māgandiya Suttaɱ

Of Keeping Watch and Ward

 


[501] [353]

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

Once when the Lord was staying in the Kuru country -
Kammassadhamma is the name of a township of theirs -
in the fire-hut of the brahmin Bhāradvāja-gotta, in which a grass mat was laid.

In [354] the morning early,
duly robed and bowl in hand,
the Lord went into the township for alms
and was on his way back after his meal
when he came to a wood
into which he went to spend the noontide,
seating himself under a tree for the heat of the day.

[502] Now the Wanderer Māgandiya,
in the course of his roamings and peregrinations afoot,
came to this fire-hut
and, seeing the grass mat laid,
asked the brahmin whom it was for,
observing that it suggested the pallet of a recluse.

It has been laid, Māgandiya,
for the recluse Gotama, the Sakyan,
who has gone forth from a Sakyan home on Pilgrimage.

Such is the high repute noised abroad concerning him
that he is styled the Lord,
Arahat all-enlightened,
walking by knowledge,
blessed,
understanding all worlds,
the matchless tamer of the human heart,
teacher of gods and men,
the Lord of Enlightenment.

It is an annoyance
to set eyes on the pallet of Gotama,
that rigid repressionist.[1]

Take care what you say, Māgandiya;
take care what you say;
for, many are the sages
among Nobles, brahmins, householders and recluses
who are earnest believers in him
and trained in Noble knowledge,
in the Doctrine,
and in what is right.

If I could see him face to face,
I would tell him to his face, Bhāradvāja,
that he is a repressionist, -
because our Scriptures say so.

If you do not mind my doing so,
I will tell this to the recluse Gotama.

Pray do not scruple to tell him
what you have been told.

[355] With the Ear Celestial,
which is pure
and far surpasses the human ear,
the Lord heard the conversation between these two.

Rising up towards evening from his meditations,
the Lord betook him to the brahmin's fire-hut
and sat down on the grass mat laid out for him.

To him came the brahmin,
who, after salutations,
took his seat to one side
and was thus by the Lord addressed:|| ||

There was some talk, Bhāradvāja,
between you and the Wanderer Māgandiya [503]
as touching this same mat.

Greatly surprised and startled,
the brahmin said:

Why that is precisely what I was about to tell you, sir,
when you anticipated me!

Their talk was interrupted
by the return of the Wanderer to the hut,
who, after salutations,
sat down to one side,
to be thus addressed by the Lord:

The eye, Māgandiya -
of which visible shapes
are the domain
and the delight
and the satisfaction -
has been subjugated,
shielded,
safe-guarded
and kept under watch and ward
by the Truth-finder,
who preaches the Doctrine of its watch and ward.

Was it with reference to the eye
that you said
the recluse Gotama is a rigid repressionist?

Yes, it was; -
because our Scriptures say so.

Was your remark made with reference to the ear -
which has sounds for its domain -,
to smell -
which has odours for its domain -,
to the tongue -
which has tastes for its domain -,
to the body -
which has touch for its domain -,
to consciousness -
which has states of mind for its domain?

Was it with reference to these -
all of which have been subjugated by the Truth-finder,
who preaches the Doctrine for their watch and ward -
that you said
the recluse Gotama is a rigid repressionist?

Yes, it was; -
because it is on these lines
that you criticize our tenets.

What do you think of this, Māgandiya?

Take a man who [504] aforetime
revelled in the visible shapes
of which the eye takes cognizance, -
shapes which are desirable, agreeable,
pleasant and attractive,
bound up [356] with pleasures of sense,
and exciting.

Suppose that later on,
through coming to know them for what they really are -
through coming to know their origin
and cessation,
the satisfaction
and the troubles they entail,
and their final outcome -,
he discards all craving for them,
dispels the fever they bring,
loses all appetite for them,
so that he dwells with his heart at peace within him.

What have you to lay to his charge?

Nothing, Gotama.

Or take the case of a man
who similarly discards sounds,
odours,
tastes,
or touch.

What have you to lay to his charge?

Nothing.

Now, I myself, Māgandiya,
in those days when I had a home,
was lapped in the pleasures of the five senses
and revelled in sights,
sounds,
odours,
tastes
and touch, -
which are desirable, agreeable,
pleasant and attractive,
bound up with pleasures of sense,
and exciting.

Three palaces were mine,
one for the rainy season,
another for the winter,
and another for the summer.

In the palace for the rainy reason
I lived during the four months of the rains,
ministered to by bands of women musicians,
never coming down to the lower floors.

Later on,
through coming to know these pleasures for what they really are -
through coming to know their origin
and cessation,
the satisfaction
and the troubles they entail,
and their final outcome -,
I discarded all craving for them,
dispelled the fever they bring,
lost all appetite for them,
so that I dwelt with my heart at peace within me.

I observed others
still held by pleasure in passion's meshes,
still the prey of pleasure,
still afire with the fever of pleasure,
still the votaries of pleasure;
I envied them not
nor took delight in such things.

And why?

Because there is a delight which is aloof from pleasures of sense
and from things which are wrong
and is based on the attainment of bliss Celestial;
[505] and it was in the enjoyment of this delight
that I neither envied the lower
nor took delight therein.

It is like a wealthy householder or his son,
of great [357] treasures and substance,
who, while living a life
lapped in these divers pleasures of the five senses
that are so desirable,
agreeable, ... and exciting,
lives aright in deed, word and thought
so that at his body's dissolution after death
he passes to bliss celestial
to consort with the Thirty-three gods,
and there, surrounded by a throng of nymphs
in the Grove of Gladness,
is lapped in every celestial pleasure of the five senses.

Supposing now that he sees a householder or his son
on earth
lapped in divers pleasures of sense.

What do you think, Māgandiya?

Would that new deity,
who lives surrounded by a throng of nymphs
in the Grove of Gladness,
lapped in every celestial pleasure of the five senses, -
would he envy that earthly householder or his son
or their earthly pleasures?

Would he turn again to earthly pleasure?

No, Gotama; he would not; -
because celestial pleasures are choicer
and more excellent
than human pleasures.

It was just the same with me
who in bygone days, Māgandiya,
when I had a home,
was lapped in the pleasures of the five senses
but later on,
through coming to know. ...
[506] I neither envied the lower
nor took delight therein.

It is like a leper
who, with his limbs all sores and rottenness,
is being eaten alive by worms
and tears his open wounds with his nails
and scorches his frame over a pit of hot embers.

Suppose now his friends and kinsfolk
bring him a leech
who makes him up a medicine
whereby he is cured of his leprosy
and is hale and well,
able to get about
and go where he will.

If now he sees another leper
in the selfsame plight, -
do you think he would envy that leper
either his pit of embers
or his course of medicine?

No, -
because medicines are wanted not in health
but in illness.

It was just the same with me, Māgandiya,
who, in those days
when I had a home,
was lapped in all pleasures of the five senses
and revelled in desirable and agreeable sights,
but later on,
through coming to [358] know those pleasures
for what they really are ...
I neither envied the lower
nor took delight therein.

[507] It is like a leper
who, with his limbs all sores ...
able to get about
and go where he will.

Suppose now two strong men
dragged him along by the arms
towards a pit of embers, -
do you suppose he would struggle and resist?

Yes, Gotama; -
because the fire and contact with it
would greatly torture and scorch him.

Is this something new,
or was it all there before?

The fire
and the contact
and the scorching
are no different now
to what they were.

The difference is that,
in the former instance
the leper, - when his limbs were all sores and rottenness,
and when he was being eaten alive by worms
and was tearing his open wounds with his nails
and was beside himself - actually -
found in the pain of contact with the fire
a change of sensation
to what seemed bliss.

Precisely in the same way, Māgandiya,
pleasures of sense
always have been,
always will be,
and always are
painful in contact,
always torturing and scorching.

And those who are held by pleasure
in passions meshes,
who are still the prey of pleasure,
still afire with the fever of pleasure,
still the votaries of pleasure
and beside themselves, -
all these actually find
in the pain of contact with pleasures of sense
a change of sensation
to what to them seems bliss.

It is like a leper
who, with his limbs all sores and rottenness,
while he is being eaten alive by worms,
and while he tears his open wounds with his nails,
scorches his frame over a pit of embers.

The more that leper does so,
the more do his open sores
[508] stink with the noisome stench of putrefaction,
and he finds but sorry relief and satisfaction
from scratching their itching surface.

It is just the same with those
who, being held by pleasure in passion's meshes,
who, being still the prey of pleasure,
still afire with the fever of pleasure,
and still the votaries of pleasure,
continue on with pleasures of sense; -
the longer they go on,
the stronger grows their craving for passion,
and the hotter [359] rages the fever of passion within them,
and they find but sorry relief and satisfaction
from their indulgences.

Have you either seen or heard of a prince
or great lord
who, being lapped in pleasure,
has ever lived -
or is now living -
or indeed will ever live -
with his heart at peace within him,
unless he has first discarded all craving for sensuous pleasures,
has dispelled the fever they bring,
and has lost all appetite for them?

No, Gotama.

Quite right, Māgandiya; -
nor have I.

But all recluses and brahmins
who have been -
or now are -
or hereafter will be -
triumphant over pleasures of sense,
with their hearts at peace within them, -
all,
all,
achieve their triumph
through realizing how pleasure originates
and how it ends,
and what are its satisfactions,
perils
and vanity.

This was the occasion of the Lords solemn utterance:

Chief boon is Health; Nirvana's bliss stands first;
Of Deathless Paths the Eightfold leads to Peace.

Hereupon, Māgandiya said to the Lord:

It is wonderful, Gotama,
it is marvellous
how truly you say that

[509] Chief boon is Health; Nirvana's bliss comes first.

I myself have also heard it said
by the Wanderers of old,
teachers themselves
and the teachers of teachers, that -

Chief boon is Health; Nirvana's bliss stands first.

There is complete accord here, Gotama.

In this line which you have heard from the Wanderers of old, Māgandiya,
what is Health?
and what is Nirvana?

Here the Wanderer stroked his own limbs and said: -

This is Health, Gotama;
this is Nirvana.

For, at the present time
I am in health and well-being,
without any ailments at all.

It is just like a man blind from birth, Māgandiya,
who [360] cannot see dark and light things,
or blue or yellow
or red or pink things;
who cannot see level or rough ground,
the stars,
or the sun and moon.

Suppose, on hearing a man with sight say
that a goodly white robe without blemish
was a fine thing to possess,
this blind man were to sally forth
to get one for himself,
only to be fobbed off
with greasy, grimy, trashy stuff
which was vouched for as all right.

Suppose now he took it,
put it on,
and expressed his delight
by saying that a goodly white robe without blemish
was a fine thing to possess.

Do you suppose that,
if the man blind from birth
had had knowledge and vision,
he would have taken that greasy, grimy, trashy stuff
and have been so pleased with it?

Or did he take it on trust
from the man who could see?

Only from lack of knowledge and vision,
and out of trust in him who could see,
would the blind man have been deluded like that.

[510] Just in the same way
non-conformist Wanderers,
being blind and without eyes,
lacking knowledge of Health and Vision of Nirvana,
yet utter the verse -

Chief boon is Health; Nirvanas bliss stands first.

It was the Arahats all-enlightened of old who uttered the verses -

Chief boon is Health; Nirvanas bliss stands first;
Of Deathless Paths the Eightfold leads to Peace.

By degrees it has now filtered down to the everyday man.

Though this body, Māgandiya,
is a disease,
a pustulence,
a pang,
an anguish,
an ailment,
you say that here is Health and Nirvana.

For, you have not that Noble Eye
wherewith to know Health
and to have vision of Nirvana.

I believe the reverend Gotama
can teach me how to know Health
and have vision of Nirvana.

It is just like a man
blind from birth, Māgandiya,
unable to see dark and light things ...
or the sun and moon,
to whom his friends and kinsfolk bring a [361] leech
who makes him up a medicine
whereby he fails to give him eyes
or to clarify them.

Do you not suppose the leech
will have taken a lot of toil and trouble over it?

Yes, Gotama.

Just in the same way, Māgandiya,
I might teach you what Health and Nirvana are,
but you would not either know Health
or have vision of Nirvana; -
but I should have trouble and travail.

[511] I believe the reverend Gotama
can teach me how to know Health
and have vision of Nirvana.

It is just like a man blind from birth, Māgandiya,
unable to see anything,
who hears a man with sight say
that a goodly white robe without blemish ...
vouched for as all right.

Suppose now that he takes it and puts it on;
and suppose further that his friends and kinsfolk
bring him a leech,
who makes him up a medicament
for application above and beneath,
and solvents,
and cooling ointments,
and nasal injections,
so that he gives the blind man his eyes
and clarifies them, -
with the consequence that he quite loses his passion
for that grimy, greasy, trash
and regards the fellow who sold it him
as no friend
but as an enemy
who ought to be put to death
for having cheated, tricked and deluded him
by saying that greasy, grimy trash
was a goodly white robe without blemish.

Just in the same way, Māgandiya,
if I were to teach you what Health is
and what Nirvana is,
and if you came to knowledge and vision of them,
then, so soon as you got eyes to see with,
you would quite discard your passion
for what breeds the five-fold maintenance of existence,
and your thought would then be:

Long have I been cheated, tricked and deluded
by this heart of mine;
for, I was for ever engaged in encouraging things material,
feelings,
perceptions,
plastic forces,
and consciousness,
so that this encouragement led to existence,
which led to birth,
which led to decay and death
with sorrow and lamentation,
Ill and tribulation.

[512] Thus originates all that makes up the sum of Ill.

[362]

I believe the reverend Gotama
can teach me how I shall be blind no more
when I rise from this seat.

Then, Māgandiya,
consort with the good.

Consorting with the good,
you will hear sound doctrine,
and so will walk in accordance with the Doctrine,
and thereby will come -
of and by yourself -
to know and to see
that these things are diseases,
pustulences
and pangs;
that here they are stilled for ever;
that to still the stuff that makes them
leads on for you
to the stilling of continued existence,
which in turn leads on to the stilling of birth
and so of decay
with sorrow and lamentation,
Ill and tribulation.

Thus ends all that makes up the sum of Ill.

Hereupon, the Wanderer Māgandiya said to the Lord:

Marvellous, Gotama;
quite marvellous.

Just as a man might set upright again ...
(etc., as in Sutta No, 73) ... [513]
was admitted and confirmed of the Lord's following.

Nor was it long before the reverend Māgandiya,
dwelling alone and aloof, ...
(etc., as in Sutta No. 73) ...
was numbered among the Arahats.

 


[1] Bhūnahu (an archaic word purposely put into the mouth of this paribbājaka, as huveyya was put into the mouth of Upaka the ājīvaka at I., p. 171, vide supra, p. 121), is here interpreted by Bu. as hata-vaddhin and mariyāda-kāraka, i.e. "repressing growth and regulation-making." He explains that, whereas the Buddha prescribed watch and ward over the senses, this Wanderer believed in giving them full scope, advocating not 'a cloistered virtue' but complete experience ('tout savoir') as a stage to ultimate mastery.


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