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 VI
Dialogues of the Buddha
Part V

Further Dialogues of the Buddha
Volume II

Translated from the Pali
by Lord Chalmers
G.C.B.
Sometime Governor of Ceylon

London
Humphrey Milford
Oxford University Press
1927
Public Domain

Sutta 79

Cūḷa Sakuludāyi Suttaɱ

So-Called Perfection

 


[29] [16]

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

Once when the Lord was staying at Rājagaha
in the Bamboo grove where the squirrels were fed,
the Wanderer Sakuludāyi was living with a great company of Wanderers
in the Wanderers' pleasaunce
where the peacocks were fed.

Early in the morning,
duly robed and bowl in hand,
the Lord went into Rājagaha for alms
but, deeming the hour too early as yet for this,
he bethought him of going to Sakuludāyi in Wanderers Pleasaunce;
and thither he repaired.

At the time, Sakuludāyi 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,
townships,
cities,
countries,
women,
warriors,
roads,
wells,
kinsfolk departed,
and all the rest of it,
with chatter about world and ocean,
and about being and not-being.

When from some way off Sakuludāyi saw the Lord coming,
he hushed his company by saying:

Be quiet, sirs;
do not make a noise;
here comes the recluse Gotama,
who is a lover of silence and commends the silent;
if he observes silence reigning in this gathering,
he may decide to approach.

So they became silent and the Lord came up.

Said Sakuludāyi:

- I pray the Lord to join us;
he is truly welcome;
it is a long time since he last managed to come.

Pray,
be seated;
here is a seat for the Lord.

The Lord sat down accordingly,
asking Sakuludāyi,
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 Sakuludāyi;
[80] you can easily gather that later on.

When, sir, said the Wanderer,
I am not in act to join my followers,
they sit talking all manner of beastly talk;
but when I am approaching,
they sit with their gaze fixed on me alone,
to hear what Doctrine I shall expound.

But when [31] the Lord approaches us,
then both I and they
all sit with gaze fixed on the Lord alone,
to hear what Doctrine he will expound.

Be it yours, Udāyi,
to open against me.

Of late, sir,
there has been one who,
professing to know and see everything,
with nothing further to know and see,
declares that,
whether walking or standing still,
whether asleep or awake,
his ken and vision are always at the full.

When I asked him a question about the past,
he skipped from one thing to another
and dismissed the matter,
evincing irritation,
bad temper and resentment.

Thoughts of the Lord
brought me satisfaction
as I said to myself:

Ah, the [17] Lord,
the Blessed One!

He knows aright these states of mind!

And who was that person?

It was Nātaputta, sir,
the Jain.

If a man recalls his own past existences,
from one onwards,
in all their details and features,
he either questions me
or is by me questioned on the past,
and either his exposition satisfies me
or mine him.

Or if a man, with the Eye Celestial
which is pure
and far surpasses the human eye,
can observe creatures
in act to pass hence and re-appear elsewhere
according to their respective deserts,
[32] he either questions me
or is by me questioned
on the past,
and either his exposition satisfies me
or mine him.

But let past and future alone.

I will preach the Doctrine to you: -

If that is,
this comes about;
the rise of that makes this arise;
if that is not,
this comes not about;
the ceasing of that makes this cease.

For my own part, sir,
I cannot recall all that has happened to me
in this present life,
much less recall my past existences
in all their details and features,
as the Lord can.

I cannot see a hobgoblin,
much less can I see with the Eye Celestial -
as the Lord can -
creatures passing hence
and reappearing elsewhere
according to their respective deserts.

And I am wholly at a loss
to follow the Lord's utterance
about this and that.

I should like to satisfy the Lord
about our own tenets
by an answer to a question.

What do your tenets say?

Our tenets say: -

Here is perfection;
here is perfection!

What is this perfection?

The perfection than which
nothing is higher or more excellent.

And what is this perfection
than which nothing is higher or more excellent?

[33] The perfection than which
nothing is higher or more excellent.

This argument of yours,
Udāyi,
would be protracted.

You affirm perfection
but never define it.

It is just as [18] if a man were to say
his longing and his heart's desire
was for the belle of the land
but were to confess,
on being questioned,
that he did not know
what rank she belonged to;
or what her name was;
or what family she belonged to;
or whether she was tall,
short,
or middle-sized;
or whether she was black or brown or dusky;
or what village or township or city she belonged to; - and,
finally,
that he did not know her nor had ever seen her.

In such a case,
does not the man's statement prove unhelpful?

Certainly, sir,
it would be, -
in such a case.

Just in the same way you affirm perfection but never define it.

Even, sir, as a gem -
bright and of the purest water,
with eight facets,
excellently cut,
and strung on a yellow thread
- shines and glitters and sparkles,
with the like perfection
shows the hale Self after death.

Which think you shines and sparkles the most, -
your gem [34] or the fire-fly of the night?

The fire-fly.

How does a lamp compare?

Better still.

And a conflagration in the night?

Better still.

And the morning stars,
at dawn in a cloudless sky?

Better still.

And the full moon
in a clear sky at midnight?

Better still.

[35] And the sun at his zenith
at the end of the rains?

Better still.

Further, it is within my personal cognizance,
Udāyi,
that many, very many, deities
are so luminous in themselves
that they draw no light from sun or moon.

Yet I do not speak of a perfection
than which nothing is higher or more excellent,
whereas you declare your perfection to be less than,
and inferior to,
a fire-fly,
but never define it.

The Lord has settled it!|| ||

The Blessed One has settled the question!|| ||

What do you mean?|| ||

[19] I mean that though our tenets say:

Here is perfection,
here is perfection,
yet, when pressed,
examined and questioned by the Lord
concerning our tenets,
we prove empty and vain and faulty.

Tell me, Udāyi;
is there a world of absolute bliss?

Is there a sure way to realize it?

Our tenets so declare.

What is that sure way
to realize the world of absolute bliss?

Take a man who,
putting from him all slaying,
abstains from the taking of life;
who,
putting from him the taking of things not given to him,
abstains from such taking;
who,
putting from him sensual misconduct,
abstains therefrom;
[36] who,
putting from him all lying,
abstains from lies;
or who practises some austerity he has vowed to observe. -

This is the sure way to realize the world of absolute bliss.|| ||

Do you think that,
when the man puts from him all slaying and abstains from the taking of life,
his Self finds absolute bliss
or bliss mingled with pain?

Bliss mingled with pain.

And is the same true
of all the other things you mentioned?

Yes, sir.

Do you really think it is by mingled bliss and pain
that the sure way to absolute bliss is found?

The Lord has settled it!

The Blessed One has settled the question!

What do you mean?

I mean that,
though our tenets say there is a world of absolute bliss
and a sure way to realize it,
yet,
when pressed, examined and questioned by the Lord
concerning our tenets,
we prove empty and vain and faulty.

Now, is there, sir,
a world of absolute bliss?

Is there a sure way to realize it?

[37] Yes.

What is that sure way?

Take the case of an Almsman
who develops in succession
the first three of the Ecstasies. -

That is a sure way
to realize the world of absolute bliss.

[20] That is not the sure way, sir,
to realize the world of absolute bliss;
for that world would already have been realized.

No, Udāyi only the sure way to realize it.

At this point Sakuludāyi's following
broke into tumult and uproar,
shouting out that they were undone,
they and their master too,
for their knowledge ended here.

Hushing his Wanderers to silence,
Sakuludāyi asked at what point
the world of absolute bliss was actually realized.

When an Almsman enters on,
and abides in,
the Fourth Ecstasy,
when he stands and talks and holds converse
with the deities who have passed to a world of absolute bliss,
then is that world actually realized.

Is it in order to realize this world of absolute bliss
that the Almsmen lead the higher life with the Lord?

No, Udāyi;
there are other states of consciousness
beyond and above that;
and it is in order to realize these
that Almsmen lead the higher life with me.

[38] What are they?

Take the case
that there appears in the world a Truth-finder,
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.

This universe -
with its gods, Māras,
Brahmās,
recluses and brahmins,
embracing all gods and mankind, -
all this he has discerned
and realized for himself,
and makes known to others.

He preaches his Doctrine,
which is so fair in its outset,
its middle,
and its close,
with both text and import;
he propounds a higher life
that is wholly complete and pure.

This Doctrine is heard by the head of a house
or his son
or by one of other birth,
who hearing it
puts his trust in the Truth-finder,
and in this trust
bethinks him that -
A hole and corner life
is all a home can give,
whereas Pilgrimage is in the open;
it is hard for a home-keeping man
to live the higher life
in all its full completeness
and full purity and perfection;
what if I were to cut off hair and beard,
don the yellow robes,
and go forth from home to homelessness as a Pilgrim?

Later, parting from his substance,
be it small or great,
parting too from the circle of his kinsfolk,
be they few or many,
he cuts off hair and beard,
dons the yellow robes,
and goes forth from home to homelessness as a Pilgrim.

A Pilgrim now,
schooled in the Almsmens precepts
and way of life,
he puts from him all killing
and abstains from killing anything.

Laying aside cudgel and sword,
he lives a life of innocence and mercy,
full of kindliness and compassion
for everything that lives.

Theft he puts from him and eschews;
taking only what is given to him by others,
and waiting till it is given,
he lives an honest and clean life.

Putting from him
all that does not belong to the higher life,
he leads the higher life in virtue,
abstaining from low sensuality.

Putting from him
and abstaining from all lying,
he speaks the truth,
cleaves to the truth,
and is staunch and leal,
never deceiving the world with his lips.

Calumny he puts from him and eschews,
not repeating elsewhere
to the harm of people here
what he hears there,
nor repeating here
to the harm of people elsewhere
what he hears elsewhere;
thus he heals divisions
and cements friendship,
seeking peace
and ensuing it;
for in peace is his delight
and his words are ever the words of a peacemaker.

Reviling he puts from him,
and abstains from reviling people;
his words are without gall,
pleasant,
friendly,
going home to the heart,
courteous,
agreeable
and welcome to all.

Tattle he puts from him
and abstains therefrom,
he speaks, in season
and according to the facts,
words of help
concerning the Doctrine
and the Rule,
words to be stored in the heart,
words duly illustrated,
fraught with purpose,
and pithy.

He sedulously avoids hurting the seeds
or plants of a village.

He takes but one meal a day,
never eating at night
or after hours.

He refrains from looking on at shows of dancing,
singing,
and music.

He eschews all use and employment
of smart garlands,
scents
and perfumes.

He sleeps on no tall or broad beds.

He refuses to accept gold
or coins of silver, -
uncooked grain or meat, -
women or girls, -
bondwomen or bondmen, -
sheep or goats, -
fowls or swine, -
elephants or cattle or horses or mares, -
fields or land.

He refrains from the practice
of sending or going on messages.

He neither buys nor sells.

He never cheats with weights,
coins,
or measures.

He takes no part in bribery,
cozening,
cheating,
or other crooked ways.

He never joins in wounding,
murdering,
and manacling,
or in highway robbery,
brigandage,
and fraud.

Contented is he
with whatever robes are given him
as clothing,
and with whatever alms are given
for his belly's needs.

Wheresoever he goes,
he takes all his belongings with him.

Just as a winged bird,
wheresoever it goes,
carries with it its feathers and all, -
so, wheresoever he goes,
he takes all his belongings with him.

A master of this noble code of virtue,
he enjoys unsullied well-being within.

When with his eye
he sees a visible shape,
he is not absorbed by either its general appearance
or its details;
but, since the eye uncontrolled
might lead to covetousness and discontent,
to evil and wrong states of mind,
he schools himself to control it,
to keep watch and ward over it,
and to establish control.

And he does the like
with his five other faculties of sense.

A master of this noble control over his faculties,
he enjoys unalloyed well-being within.

Purposeful is he in all his doings, -
whether in coming in or going out,
in looking ahead or around,
in stretching out his arm
or in drawing it back,
in wearing his clothes
or carrying his bowl,
in eating or drinking,
in chewing or savouring food,
in attending to the calls of nature,
in walking
or standing
or sitting,
in sleeping or waking,
in speech or in silence; -
he is always purposeful in all he does.

A master of this noble code of virtue,
a master of this noble code of control of his faculties of sense,
and a master of noble mindfulness and purpose in all he does,
he resorts to a lonely lodging, -
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.

After his meal,
when he is back from his round for alms,
he seats himself cross-legged
and with body erect,
with his heart set on mindfulness.

His life is purged
(i.) of appetite for things of the world,
for he has put from him
all appetite therefor; -
(ii.) of all spiteful thoughts,
for he is filled only with loving-kindness
and compassion for all that lives; -
(iii.) of all torpor,
for all torpor has left him,
driven out by clarity of vision,
by mindfulness,
and by purpose in all he does; -
(iv.) of ail flurry and worry,
for he is serene,
and his heart within is at peace
and quit of all worries; - and
(v.) of all doubts,
for his life is unclouded by doubt,
he is troubled by no questionings,
right states of mind
have purged his heart of all doubting.

An Almsman, when he has put from him these Five Hindrances
and has understood how the heart's shortcomings weaken it,
then, divested of pleasures of sense,
divested of wrong states of consciousness,
he enters on,
and abides in,
the First Ecstasy. -

This is a state of consciousness beyond and above,
for the realization of which
Almsmen lead the higher life with me.

Again, the Almsman rising above reasoning and reflection,
enteres on,
and abides in,
the Second Ecstasy
with all its zest and satisfaction, -
a state bred of rapt concentration,
above all observation and reflection,
a state whereby the heart is focussed
and tranquillity reigns within.

This is a state of consciousness beyond and above,
for the realization of which
Almsmen lead the higher life with me.

Again, the Almsman, by shedding the emotion of zest,
enteres on,
and abides in,
the Third Ecstasy,
with its poised equanimity,
mindful and self-possessed,
feeling in his frame
the satisfaction of which the Noble say
that poise and mindfulness bring abiding satisfaction.

This is a state of consciousness beyond and above,
for the realization of which
Almsmen lead the higher life with me.

Again, the Almsman, by putting from him both satisfaction and dissatisfaction,
and by shedding the joys and sorrows he used to feel,
enteres on,
and abides in,
the Fourth Ecstasy, -
the state that,
knowing neither satisfaction nor dissatisfaction,
is the consummate purity
of poised equanimity and mindfulness.

This is a state of consciousness beyond and above,
for the realization of which
Almsmen lead the higher life with me.

With heart thus stedfast,
thus clarified and purified,
clean and cleansed of things impure,
tempered and apt to serve,
stablished and immutable, -
he applies his heart to the knowledge which recalls his earlier existences.

He calls to mind his divers existences in the past, -
a single birth,
then two ... [and so on to] ... a hundred thousand births,
many an aeon of disintegration of the world,
many an aeon of its redintegration,
and again many an aeon both of its disintegration
and of its redintegration.

In this or that former existence,
he remembers,
such and such was my name,
my sept,
my class,
my diet,
my joys and sorrows,
and my term of life.

When I passed thence,
I came by such and such subsequent existence,
wherein such and such was my name and so forth.

Thence I passed to my life here.

Thus does he call to mind his divers existences of the past
in all their details and features.

This is a state of consciousness beyond and above,
for the realization of which
Almsmen lead the higher life with me.

That same stedfast heart
he now applies to knowledge of the passage hence,
and re-appearance elsewhere,
of other beings.

With the Eye Celestial,
which is pure
and far surpasses the human eye,
he sees beings in the act of passing hence
[21] and of re-appearing elsewhere, -
beings high and low,
fair or foul to view,
in bliss or woe;
he sees them all faring according to their past.

Here were beings given over to evil
in act, word and thought,
who decried the Noble
and had a wrong outlook
and became what results from such wrong outlook -
these, at the body's dissolution after death,
made their appearance in states of suffering,
misery
and tribulation
and in purgatory.

Here again were beings given to good
in act, word and thought,
who did not decry the Noble,
who had the right outlook
and became what results from right outlook; -
these, at the body's dissolution after death,
made their appearance in states of bliss in heaven.

All this does he see with the Eye Celestial;
and this is a state of consciousness beyond and above,
for the realization of which
Almsmen lead the higher life with me.

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

He comprehends,
aright and to the full,
I11,
the origin of Ill,
the cessation of Ill,
and the course that leads to the cessation of Ill.

He comes to know Cankers as what they really are,
[39], to know their rise,
their cessation,
and the course which leads to their cessation.

When he knows and sees this,
his heart is Delivered from the Canker of pleasures of sense,
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 for him no more,
that he has lived the highest life,
that his task is done,
and that now for him
there is no more of what he has been. -

This too is a state of consciousness beyond and above,
for the realization of which
Almsmen lead the higher life with me.

Hereon, the Wanderer Sakuludāyi said to the Lord:

Wonderful, sir,
wonderful!

It is just as if a man should set upright again
what had been cast down,
or reveal what was hidden away,
or tell a man who had gone astray
which was his way,
or bring a lamp into darkness
so that those with eyes to see
might see the things about them, -
even so, in many a figure, has the reverend Gotama made his Doctrine clear.

I ask to receive admission as a Pilgrim,
with confirmation therein.

Hereon, Sakuludāyi's company of Wanderers besought and implored him
not to lead the higher life with the recluse Gotama;
not to come down from teacher to pupil, -
from pitcher to pipkin.

In such wise did the Wanderer Sakuludāyi's company
oppose his choice of the higher life under the Lord.


Contact:
E-mail
Copyright Statement   Webmaster's Page