Majjhima Nikaya


[Site Map]  [Home]  [Sutta Indexes]  [Glossology]  [Site Sub-Sections]

The Pali is transliterated as IAST Unicode (āīūṃṅñṭḍṇḷ). Alternatives:
[ ASCII (aiumnntdnl) | Mobile (āīūŋńñţđņļ) | Velthuis (aaiiuu.m'n~n.t.d.n.l) ]

 

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 76

Sandaka Suttaɱ

Of False Guides

 


[513] [362]

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

Once when the Lord was staying in Kosambī
in the Ghosita pleasaunce,
the Wanderer Sandaka was living at Pilakkha-guhā
with a great company of Wanderers,
some five hundred in number.

Rising from his meditations towards evening,
the reverend Ānanda proposed to the Almsmen
to go to Deva-Kaṭa Pool
to visit the cavern.

They agreeing, Ānanda took a number of them there with him.

At the time, Sandaka was sitting with his great company of Wanderers,
who were making a great noise
with their voices raised and loud
in all manner of low and beastly talk, -
about princes,
bandits,
great lords' armies,
terrors,
battles,
meats and drinks,
clothes,
beds,
garlands,
perfumes,
relations,
villages,
[363] townships,
cities,
countries,
women,
warriors,
roads,
wells,
kinsfolk departed,
and all the rest of it,
with chatter about world and ocean,
and [514] about being and not-being.

When from some way off Sandaka saw Ānanda coming,
he hushed his company by saying:

Be quiet, sirs;
do not make a noise;
here comes the recluse Ānanda,
the disciple of the recluse Gotama.

All the time disciples of Gotama have been staying at the Kosambī,
Ānanda has been one of them.

These recluses are lovers of quiet,
are trained to quiet,
and commend the quiet;
if he observes quiet reigning in this gathering,
he may decide to approach.

So they became quiet,
and Ānanda came up.

Said Sandaka:

I beg the reverend Ānanda to join us;
he is truly welcome;
it is a long time since last he managed to get here.

Pray be seated;
here is a seat for your reverence.

Ānanda sat down accordingly,
asking Sandaka, who took a low seat to one side,
what had been their theme
and what was the discussion
which had been interrupted.

Let that pass for the moment, answered Sandaka;
you can easily gather that later on.

What I should like,
would be if you would think of some discourse
on your own teacher's tenets.

Well then, Sandaka, listen and pay attention,
and I will speak.

Certainly, answered Sandaka;
and Ānanda began:

The Lord who knows and sees,
the Arahat all-enlightened,
has specified four antitheses to the higher life,
and four comfortless vocations,
wherein a man of intelligence
will assuredly not follow the higher life,
or, if he does follow it there,
will not advance to knowledge,
the Doctrine,
and what is right.

What are the four antitheses, Ãnanda?

[515] First,[1] there is the teacher who affirms and holds
that there is no such thing as alms,
or sacrifice,
or oblations;
no such things as the fruit and harvest of [364] deeds good or bad;
no such thing as this world or the next;
no such thing as parents,
or beings translated to another sphere;
no such thing in this world
as a recluse or brahmin who has triumphantly walked aright,
so that, of and by himself,
he has comprehended this world and the next
and makes them known to others.

A man - he avers - is composed of the four Elements.

At his death the earth resumes and absorbs his earthy elements,
water his watery elements,
fire his fiery elements,
and space his faculties.

A bier and four bearers
go off with the dead man,
whose remains are visible as far as the charnel-ground
where his bones whiten and bleach.

Oblations are words and nothing more;
alms-giving is nonsense; -
it is a sham and a lie and idle chatter
to assert the contrary.

At the body's dissolution
sages and fools alike
are cut off and perish,
without any future after death.

In a hearer of intelligence,
this pronouncement awakens the following reflections:

If all this teacher says is true,
then, without my doing a stroke,
my task is done,
and I have lived the higher life
without essaying it at all.

The pair of us are on precisely the same level of recluse-ship, -
though for my part I do not aver
that at the body's dissolution
we shall both be cut off and perish,
with no future after death.

It is all supererogation for this reverend teacher to go naked,
to shave his head,
to hop about a-squat,
and to pluck out his hair and beard by the roots;
while I, - living with a host of sons around me,
revelling in sandal from Kasi,
decked out with garlands and scents and perfumes,
not refusing gold and silver -
shall yet fare hereafter
no whit worse than he.

What do I see or know in this teacher
that I should follow the higher life under him?

And, when it is recognized
that this is an antithesis to the higher life,
off goes the man in disgust.

Such is the first antithesis to the higher life,
as specified by the Lord.

[516] Secondly, there is the teacher who affirms and holds
that no evil is done by him
who either acts himself
or causes another to act,
who mutilates
or causes [365] another to mutilate,
who punishes
or causes another to punish,
who is the author of grief or torment or terror,
or causes another to terrify,
who takes life, steals, is a burglar, robber, house-breaker, footpad, adulterer or liar.

If with a cleaver
as sharp as a razor
he were to slay earth's living creatures
and pile up their corpses in a single heap and mound of flesh,
no guilt proceeds
and no result of guilt ensues.

If he were to make his way up to the southern bank of the Ganges
killing and wounding,
maiming and causing to be maimed,
punishing and causing to be punished, -
no guilt proceeds
nor any result of guilt ensue.

If he were to make his way up 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
and no result of virtue ensues.

No merit proceeds
nor does any result of virtue ensue
from alms-giving
or temperance
or self-control or truthfulness.

In a hearer of intelligence,
this pronouncement awakens the following reflections:

If all this teacher says is true,
then, without my doing a stroke,
my task is done,
and I have lived the higher life
without essaying it at all.

The pair of us
are on precisely the same level of recluse-ship, -
though for my part
I do not aver
that the actions of the two of us work no evil.

It is all supererogation ...
off goes the man in disgust.

Such is the second antithesis to the higher life,
as specified by the Lord.

Thirdly, there is the teacher
who affirms and holds
that there is no cause or reason
for either depravity or purity; -
it is without either cause or reason
that some are depraved and some pure.

There is no such thing as intrinsic strength
or energy
or human [517] might
or human endeavour.

All creatures,
all living things,
all beings,
all that has life, -
all are devoid of power, strength and energy;
all are under the compulsion
of the individual nature
to which they are linked by destiny;
and it is solely by virtue
of what they are born as
in the six environments
that they experience their pleasure or pain.

[366] In a hearer of intelligence,
this pronouncement awakens the following reflections:

If all this teacher says is true,
then, without my doing a stroke,
my task is done,
and I have lived the higher life
without essaying it at all.

The pair of us are on precisely the same level of recluse-ship, -
though for my part
I do not aver
that both of us will become pure without cause or reason.

It is all supererogation ...
off goes the man in disgust.

Such is the third antithesis to the higher life,
as specified by the Lord.

Lastly, there is the teacher
who affirms and holds that,
there are seven substances
which are neither made
nor commanded to be made,
neither created
nor commanded to be created,
engendering nothing,
immovable as mountain-peaks or massive columns;
they neither budge nor change;
they neither molest one another
nor can they impart to one another
either pleasure or pain or both.

These seven substances are earth,
water,
fire,
air,
pleasure,
pain,
and life.

With them there is neither killer nor slayer,
neither teller nor told,
neither teacher nor taught.

No one[2]
who with a keen blade
chops a head in twain,
thereby robs anyone of life;
all that happens
is that in its descent
the blade has opened up a passage
between just these seven substances.

Thrutty. Thirty.

p.p. explains it all — p.p.

Of principal forms of life
there are fourteen hundred thousand,
with another three score hundreds,
and a further six hundred to boot;
actions (kammuno) are five hundred in number;
there are five acts
and another three acts;
and there are activities
and half activities;[3]
there are three score and two paths to tread;
three score and two aeons of time;
six environments;[4]
eight Ages of Man;[5]
nine
and forty [367] hundreds of livelihoods (ājīva),
and as many classes of Wanderers (paribbāja)
[518] and of abodes of Nagas;
a score of hundreds of faculties (indriya),
'thrutty' hundreds of purgatories;
six and thirty homes of filth;
seven types of a conscious foetus,[6]
seven of an unconscious foetus,[7]
and seven propagations by striking slips;[8]
seven kinds of gods,
of men,
and of goblins;
seven Great Lakes;
seven Sages;[9]
seven major Precipices,
and seven hundred other Precipices;
seven major dreams
and seven hundred other dreams;
eighty-four hundreds of thousands of aeons
through which,
birth by birth,
wise and simple alike
must pass in transmigration
before they make an end of Ill.

Herein, there is no chance,
whether by virtue
or observances
or austerities
or the higher life,
of ripening unripe karma
or of getting rid of ripened karma
by continually interfering with it.

Pleasure and pain are meted out in full measure;
there is nothing over,
no more or less,
when transmigration ends.

"Dreed their weird": to endure one's destiny. Dree Scottish dial. according to O.E.D., to suffer, endure trouble and grief; weird: destiny.

p.p. explains it all — p.p.

Just as a ball of twine,
when hurled from you,
continues on its course
as long as there is string to unwind,
even so will wise and simple
make an end of Ill
only when they have dreed their weird of transmigrations.

In a hearer of intelligence,
this pronouncement awakens the following reflections:

If all this teacher says is true,
then, without my doing a stroke,
my task is done
and I have lived the higher life
without essaying it at all.

The pair of us are on precisely the same level of recluse-ship, -
though for my part
I do not aver that the pair of us
have only to transmigrate in order to end Ill.

It is all supererogation ...
off goes the man in disgust.

Such is the fourth antithesis to the higher life,
as specified by the Lord who knows and sees,
the Arahat all-enlightened.

[368] [519] Wonderful, Ānanda,
marvellous,
how the Lord has specified these four antitheses.

What now are those four comfortless vocations he speaks of?

Take the case of a teacher
who is 'all-knowing and all-seeing,
with nothing outside his ken and vision,
who claims that,
whether he is walking or standing still,
whether he is asleep or awake,
his ken and vision stand ready,
aye ready.'

This teacher goes to a house which is empty
and gets no alms given him;
is bitten by a dog;
encounters a violent elephant or horse or bullock;
asks a man or woman their name and clan;
or needs to ask the name of,
or the way to,
a village or township.

When asked how he explains this,
he answers that he had to do each of these things
and was constrained to do as he did.

In a hearer of intelligence,
this pronouncement awakens the following reflections:

All-knowing and all-seeing though he is,
this reverend teacher yet does all these things and must!

So, observing this to be a comfortless form of the higher life,
off he goes in disgust.

Such, Sandaka, is the first comfortless vocation
which the Lord who knows and sees,
Arahat all-enlightened,
has indicated as one [520]
wherein a man of intelligence
will not follow the higher life,
or, if he does follow it,
will not advance to knowledge,
the doctrine,
and what is right.

Then, there is the teacher
who derives from tradition
and holds by traditional truth,
preaching a doctrine which is traditional,
which has been handed down the line,
and is scriptural.

Now traditional orthodoxy is partly sound
and partly unsound,
right here
and wrong there.

In a hearer of intelligence,
this awakens the reflections
that it is all hearsay,
and a comfortless vocation;
and off he goes in disgust.

Such is the second comfortless vocation
indicated by the Lord.

Next there is the teacher
who is a rationalist of pure reason and criticism,
preaching a doctrine of his own [369] devising
evolved for him by his own reasoning.

Now your rationalist teacher reasons sometimes well
and sometimes badly,
being right here
and wrong there.

In a hearer of intelligence,
this awakens the reflection
that it is individual speculation,
partly right and partly wrong,
and a comfortless vocation;
and off he goes in disgust.

Such is the third comfortless vocation
indicated by the Lord.

Lastly, there is the teacher
who is stupid and deficient,
so that he [521] meets this or that question
by equivocation and tortuosity, - saying:

I do not affirm this,
I do not affirm that,
I do not affirm otherwise,
I do not affirm the negative,
nor do I deny the negative.

In a hearer of intelligence,
this awakens the reflections
that the teacher is stupid and deficient,
that he is sitting on the fence,
that this is a comfortless vocation;
and so off he goes in disgust.

Such is the fourth of the comfortless vocations
indicated by the Lord
who knows and sees,
the Arahat all-enlightened,
as those wherein a man of intelligence
will assuredly not follow the higher life,
or, if he does follow it there,
will not advance to knowledge,
the Doctrine,
and what is right.

It is wonderful and marvellous, Ānanda,
how the Lord has exposed the futility
of these four comfortless vocations.

Tell me now his own gospel of the higher life
and of the advance to knowledge,
the Doctrine,
and what is right.

There appears in the world here, Sandaka, a Truth-finder,
Arahat all-enlightened -
and so forth as in the Kandaraka Sutta (No. 51) -
dwells in the First Ecstasy
with all its zest and satisfaction,
a state bred of inward aloofness
but not divorced from observation and reflection.

Under whatever teacher a disciple attains to this degree of excellence,
[522] there indeed will a man of intelligence
follow the higher life,
and, if he does,
there will he advance to knowledge,
to the Doctrine
and what is right.

[370] And so too in succession
with the Second,
Third
and Fourth Ecstasies.

With heart thus stedfast,
thus clarified and purified,
clean and cleansed of things impure,
tempered and apt to serve,
stedfast and immutable, -
it is thus that he now applies his heart
to the knowledge of recalling his former existences;
he calls to mind his divers existences in the past ...
(etc., as in Sutta No. 4) ... in all their details and features.

Under whatever teacher ...
and what is right.

That same stedfast heart
he now applies to the knowledge of the passing hence,
and the reappearance elsewhere,
of other creatures.

With the Eye Celestial ...
(etc., as in Sutta No. 4) ...
states of happiness in heaven.

Under whatever teacher ...
and what is right.

That same stedfast heart
he next applies to the knowledge of the eradication of Cankers.

He comes to know as what they really are -
Ill,
the origin of Ill,
the cessation of Ill,
and the path which leads to the cessation of Ill;
he comes to know for what they really are -
Cankers,
the origin of Cankers,
the cessation of Cankers,
and the path which leads to the cessation of Cankers.

When he knows and sees this,
his heart is delivered from the Canker of lusts,
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 conviction that -

Rebirth is no more;
I have lived the highest life;
my task is done;
and now for me there is no more
of what I have been!

At the feet of whatever teacher
a disciple attains to this degree of excellence,
there indeed will a man of intelligence follow the higher life,
and, if he does,
there will he advance to knowledge,
the Doctrine,
and what is right.

Would the Almsman, Ānanda,
who is an Arahat -
in whom Cankers are dead,
who has greatly lived,
whose task is done,
who has cast off his burthen,
who has won his weal,
whose bonds are no more,
and who by utter knowledge
has been entirely Delivered -,
would he [523] indulge in pleasures of sense?

[371] There are five things, Sandaka,
which the Arahat of entire Deliverance
is incapable of having truck with; -
he is incapable of taking life wittingly,
of stealing,
of fornication,
of deliberate lying,
or of revelling in pleasures of sense
as in the days when he still had a home.

In the Almsman of Entire Deliverance -
whether he is walking or standing still,
asleep or awake -
is his ken and vision ready,
aye ready,
to assure him
that his Cankers are extirpated?

I will give you an illustration, -
which often helps a man of intelligence to comprehend.

It is just like a man whose hands and feet have been cut off;
whether walking or standing still,
whether asleep or awake,
his hands and feet remain always off, -
as observation assures him.

It is just the same
with that Arahat of Entire Deliverance;
whether walking or standing still,
whether asleep or awake,
his Cankers remain always extirpated, -
as observation assures him.

How many such shining lights
are there in this Doctrine and Rule, Ānanda?

Not a mere hundred;
not two,
three,
four
or five hundreds;
we have many more of them than that.

Wonderful and marvellous, Ānanda!

And therewithal
no extolling of fellow-believers,
no disparaging of non-believers!

Let the scope of the teaching but be example enough, [524]
and there will appear many a shining light!

As for these Mendicants,
they are children of a childless mother;
they extol themselves
and disparage others,
yet have only produced three shining lights,
to wit Nanda Vaccha,
Kisa Sankicca,
and Makkhali Gosāla.

Addressing then his own following, Sandaka said:

Come, sirs;
our higher life is with the recluse Gotama,
though it is no light matter
for us to abandon presents,
repute
and fame.

With these words
the Wanderer Sandaka counselled his followers
to lead the higher life with the Lord.

 


[1] Cf. Saleyyaka-sutta (No. 4) for these heresies.

[2] There are traces of archaic dialect throughout this contemptuous synopsis, with its sneer at kamma (in three declensions, tentatively indicated by actions, acts, and activities).

[3] Some (says Bu.) assigned one kamma to each of the five senses. He indicates that the three acts represent the triad of deed, word, and thought, though some ranked thought as only half a Kammo.

[4] See hereon note at p. 293 supra.

[5] See note 2 at Dial. I, 72.

[6] E.g. cattle (Bu.).

[7] E.g. cereals (Bu.).

[8] E.g. canes (Bu.).

[9] On pavuṭā Dhammārāma's Colombo edition of the Commentary adds the note: - Pamuṭā ti pāliyam pabuṭā ti paṇḍitā B. Pavuṭā ti nigaṇāhi kā Ai. M.3.


Contact:
E-mail
Copyright Statement   Webmaster's Page