Majjhima Nikaya


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Majjhima Nikāya
II. Majjhima-Paṇṇāsa
4. Rāja 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 85

Bodhi-Rāja-Kumāra Suttaɱ

Aptness to Learn

 


[91] [46]

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

Once when the Lord was staying in the Bhagga country
at Suɱsumāra-gira in the Bhesakaḷā grove,
in the deer-park there.

Prince Bodhi's palace,
called the Lotus,
had just been finished
but had not as yet been inhabited by recluse,
brahmin, [47] or any person.

Said the prince
to a young brahmin named Sañjikā-putta: -

Go to the Lord
and in my name
bow your head at his feet,
ask after his health
and invite him to be so good as to take his meal with me to-morrow
and to bring his Confraternity with him.

The message was delivered to the Lord
who, by silence, signified acceptance, -
as was duly reported to the prince.

[92] When night had passed, the prince,
having ordered an excellent meal
to be got ready in his palace
and a carpeting of white cloth
to be laid to the foot of the stairs of the Lotus palace,
told the young brahmin to announce to the Lord
that all was ready.

This was done;
and early that day the Lord,
duly robed and bowl in hand,
came to the palace
where the prince was awaiting him,
outside the portals.

Seeing the Lord approaching,
the prince advanced and saluted him
and moved in his train towards the palace.

At the foot of the stairs
the Lord stood still.

Said the prince: -

I beg the Lord to step up on the carpeting;
I beg the Blessed One to do this, -
to my abiding weal and welfare.

But the Lord kept silent.

A second time did the prince appeal,
and still the Lord kept silent.

A third time he appealed,
and now the Lord looked towardsĀnanda,
who [93] asked that the carpeting
should be rolled up and removed,
for, the Lord would not tread
upon carpeting of cloth underfoot,
as the Truth-finder is looking towards those
that shall follow hereafter.

So the prince ordered the carpeting to be rolled up and removed,
after which he ordered seats to be set out
upstairs in the palace,
and the Lord, proceeding upstairs,
sat down on the seat set for him,
with the Confraternity.

With his own hands
the prince served that excellent meal
without stint to the Confraternity
with the Buddha at its head
till all had had their fill.

The Lord's meal over and done,
Prince Bodbi, seating himself on a low seat to one side,
said to the Lord: -

My view, sir,
is that true Weal must be sought
not through things pleasant
but through things unpleasant.

[48] In days gone by, prince,
I too held the same view, -
in the days before my enlightenment,
when as yet I was but a Bodhisatta
without full enlightenment.

Time was when,
being quite young -
with a wealth of coal-black hair untouched by grey,
and in all the beauty of my early prime -
despite the wishes of my parents
who wept and lamented,
I cut off hair and beard,
donned the yellow robes,
and went forth from home to homelessness as a Pilgrim.

A Pilgrim now,
in quest of the Good
and in search for the road
to that utter peace
which is beyond all compare,
I came to Āḷāra Kālāma and said:

It is my wish, reverend Kālāma,
to lead the higher life in this your Doctrine and Rule.

Stay with us, venerable sir,
was his answer;
my Doctrine is such
that ere long an intelligent man
can for himself discern,
realize,
enter on,
and abide in,
the full scope of his master's teaching.

Before long,
indeed very soon,
I had his Doctrine by heart.

So far as regards mere lip-recital
and oral repetition,
I could say off the (founder's) original message
and the elders' exposition of it,
and could profess,
with others,
that I knew and saw it to the full.

Then it struck me
that it was no Doctrine merely accepted by him on trust
that Āḷāra Kālāma, preached,
but one which he professed to have entered on
and to abide in
after having discerned and realized it for himself;
and assuredly he had real knowledge and vision thereof.

So I went to him
and asked him
up to what point
he had for himself discerned and realized the Doctrine
he had entered on
and now abode in.

Up to the plane of Naught,
answered he.

Hereupon, I reflected that Āḷāra Kālāma was not alone in possessing faith,
perseverance,
mindfulness,
rapt concentration,
and intellectual insight;
for, all these were mine too.

Why, I asked myself,
should not I strive to realize the Doctrine
which he claims to have entered on
and to abide in
after discerning and realizing it for himself?

Before long,
indeed very soon,
I had discerned
and realized his Doctrine for myself
and had entered on it
and abode therein.

Then I went to him
and asked him whether this was the point
up to which he had discerned and realized for himself
the Doctrine which he professed.

He said yes;
and I said that I had reached the same point for myself.

It is a great thing, said he,
a very great thing for us,
that in you, reverend sir,
we find such a fellow in the higher life.

That same Doctrine which I for myself have discerned,
realized,
entered on,
and profess, -
that have you for yourself discerned,
realized,
entered on
and abide in;
and that same Doctrine
which you have for yourself discerned,
realized,
entered on
and profess, -
that have I for myself discerned,
realized,
entered on,
and profess.

The Doctrine which I know,
you too know;
and the Doctrine which you know,
I too know.

As I am,
so are you;
and as you are,
so am I.

Pray, sir,
let us be joint wardens of this company!

In such wise did Āḷāra Kālāma,
being my master,
set me, his pupil,
on precisely the same footing as himself
and show me great worship.

But, as I bethought me
that his Doctrine merely led to attaining the plane of Naught
and not to Renunciation,
passionlessness,
cessation,
peace,
discernment,
enlightenment
and Nirvana, -
I was not taken with his Doctrine
but turned away from it
to go my way.

Still in search of the right,
and in quest of the excellent road
to peace beyond compare,
I came to Uddaka Rāmaputta and said:

It is my wish, reverend sir,
to lead the higher life
in this your Doctrine and Rule.

Stay with us, ... vision thereof.

So I went to Uddaka Rāmaputta
and asked him up to what point
he had for himself discerned and realized
the Doctrine he had entered on and now abode in.

Up to the plane of neither perception nor nonperception, answered he.

Hereupon, I reflected that Uddaka Rāmaputta was not alone
in possessing faith ... show me great worship.

But, as I bethought me
that his Doctrine merely led to attaining the plane of neither perception nor non-perception,
and not to Renunciation,
passionlessness,
cessation,
peace,
discernment,
enlightenment
and Nirvana, -
I was not taken with his Doctrine
but turned away from it to go my way.

Still in search of the right,
and in quest of the excellent road
to peace beyond compare,
I came, in the course of an alms-pilgrimage through Magadha,
to the Camp township at Uruvela
and there took up my abode.

Said I to myself on surveying the place: -

Truly a delightful spot,
with its goodly groves
and clear flowing river
with ghats and amenities,
hard by a village for sustenance.

What more for his striving
can a young man need
whose heart is set on striving?

So there I sat me down,
needing nothing more for my striving.

Spontaneously, there came to me three
similitudes till then unknown.

Just as there might be a green,
sappy stick flung into the water,
and a man came along with his drill-stick,
set on lighting a fire and making a blaze.

Do you think he could succeed
by rubbing with his drill-stick
that green sappy stick from the water?

Toil and moil as he may, he couldn't; -
because the stick is green and sappy in itself,
and moreover had been in the water.

It is just the same with all recluses or brahmins
whose life is not lived aloof from pleasures of sense
in the matter of their bodies,
and who have not inwardly discarded
and rightly quelled the appetite,
taste,
infatuation,
thirst,
and feverish longing for pleasures of sense; -
they are alike incapable of understanding,
vision,
and the plenitude of Enlightenment,
whether or not paroxysms of unpleasant,
acute,
and painful feelings assail them.

This was the first allegory,
unknown till then,
which flashed in on me.

The second allegory
was of a green sappy stick
lying on dry land.

Do you think the man could light his fire with that?

Toil and moil as he may, he couldn't; -
because, though the stick had been thrown
not into the water but on dry land,
yet it is green and sappy in itself.

It is just the same
with all recluses or brahmins
whose life is not lived aloof ...
painful feelings assail them.

This was the second allegory,
till then unknown,
which flashed in on me.

The third allegory
was of a dry stick,
with the sap out of it,
lying on dry ground,
with a man coming along with his drill-stick,
bent on lighting a fire
and making a blaze.

Do you think he could light his fire
with that dry stick?

Yes, he could; -
because the stick is dry and sapless in itself
and moreover had not been in the water
but was lying on dry ground.

It is just the same with all recluses or brahmins
whose life is lived aloof from pleasures of sense
in the matter of their bodies,
and who have inwardly discarded
and rightly quelled the appetite,
taste,
infatuation,
thirst,
and feverish longing for pleasures of sense; -
they are alike capable of understanding,
vision,
and the plenitude of Enlightenment,
whether or not paroxysms of unpleasant,
acute
and painful feelings assail them.

This was the third and last of the three allegories,
till then unknown,
which flashed in on me.

Thought I then to myself:

Come, let me,
with teeth clenched
and with tongue pressed against my palate,
by sheer force of mind
restrain,
coerce,
and dominate my heart.

And this I did,
till the sweat streamed from my armpits.

Just as a strong man,
taking a weaker man by the head or shoulders,
restrains and coerces and dominates him,
even so did I,
with teeth clenched
and with tongue pressed against my palate,
by sheer force of mind
restrain,
coerce,
and dominate my heart,
till the sweat streamed from my armpits.

Resolute grew my perseverance
which never quailed;
there was established in me
a mindfulness which knew no distraction, -
though my body was sore distressed and afflicted,
because I was harassed by these struggles
as I painfully struggled on.

Yet even such unpleasant feelings as then arose
did not take possession of my mind.

Thought I to myself:

Come, let me pursue the Ecstasy that comes from not breathing.

So I stopped breathing, in or out,
through mouth and nose;
and then great was the noise of the air
as it passed through my ear-holes,
like the blast from a smith's bellows.

Resolute grew my perseverance ...
did not take possession of my mind.

Thought I to myself:

Come, let me pursue further
the Ecstasy that comes from not breathing.

So I stopped breathing, in or out,
through mouth and nose and ears;
and then violent winds wracked my head,
as though a strong man were boring into my skull with the point of a sword.

Resolute grew my perseverance ...
did not take possession of my mind.

Thought I to myself:

Come, let me pursue still further
the Ecstasy that comes from not breathing.

So I kept on stopping all breathing, in or out,
through mouth and nose and ears;
and then violent pains attacked my head,
as though a strong man had twisted a leather thong round my head.

Resolute grew my perseverance ...
did not take possession of my mind.

Thought I to myself:

Come, let me go on pursuing the Ecstasy
that comes from not breathing.

So I kept on stopping breathing, in or out,
through mouth and nose and ears;
and then violent winds pierced my inwards through and through, -
as though an expert butcher
or his man
were hacking my inwards with sharp cleavers.

Resolute grew my perseverance ...
did not take possession of my mind.

Thought I to myself:

Come, let me still go on pursuing
the Ecstasy that comes from not breathing.

So I kept on stopping all breathing, in or out,
through mouth and nose and ears;
and then there was a violent burning within me, -
as though two strong men,
taking a weaker man by both arms,
were to roast and burn him up in a fiery furnace.

Resolute grew my perseverance ...
did not take possession of my mind.

At the sight of me,
some gods said I was dead;
others said I was not dead but dying;
while others again said that I was an Arahat
and that Arahats lived like that!

Thought I to myself:

Come, let me proceed to cut off food altogether.

Hereupon, gods came to me
begging me not so to do,
or else they would feed me through the pores
with heavenly essences
which would keep me alive.

If, thought I to myself,
while I profess to be dispensing with all food whatsoever,
these gods should feed me all the time through the pores
with heavenly essences which keep me alive,
that would be imposture on my part.

So I rejected their offers, peremptorily.

Thought I to myself:

Come, let me restrict myself to little tiny morsels of food at a time,
namely the liquor in which beans or vetches,
peas or pulse,
have been boiled.

I rationed myself accordingly,
and my body grew emaciated in the extreme.

My members, great and small,
grew like the knotted joints of withered creepers;
like a buffalo's hoof
were my shrunken buttocks;
like the twists in a rope
were my spinal vertebrae;
like the crazy rafters
of a tumbledown roof,
that start askew and aslant,
were my gaunt ribs;
like the starry gleams on water
deep down and afar
in the depths of a well,
shone my gleaming eyes
deep down and afar
in the depths of their sockets;
and as the rind of a cut gourd
shrinks and shrivels in the heat,
so shrank and shrivelled
the scalp of my head, -
and all because I ate so little.

If I sought to feel my belly,
it was my backbone
which I found in my grasp;
if I sought to feel my backbone,
I found myself grasping my belly,
so closely did my belly cleave to my backbone; -
and all because I ate so little.

When I wanted to retire
for the calls of nature,
down I fell on my face; -
and all because I ate so little.

If for ease of body
I chafed my limbs,
the hairs of my body
fell away under my hand,
rotted at their roots; -
and all because I ate so little.

At the sight of me,
some men said I was black;
others said I was brown;
while others again said I was neither black nor brown,
but dusky like a fish.

To such a sorry pass
had my pure clear complexion been reduced, -
all because I ate so little.

Thought I to myself:

Of all the spasms of acute and severe pain
that have been undergone through the ages past -
or will be undergone through the ages to come -
or are now being undergone -
by recluses or brahmins,
mine are pre-eminent;
nor is there aught worse beyond.

Yet, with all these severe austerities,
I fail to transcend ordinary human limits
and to rise to the heights
of noblest understanding and vision.

Could there be another path to Enlightenment?

A memory came to me
of how once,
seated in the cool shade of a rose-apple tree
on the lands of my father the Sakyan,
I, divested of pleasures of sense
and of wrong states of mind,
entered upon,
and abode in,
the First Ecstasy,
with all its zest and satisfaction, -
a state bred of inward aloofness
but not divorced from observation and reflection.

Could this be the path to Enlightenment?

In prompt response to this memory,
my consciousness told me
that here lay the true path to Enlightenment.

Thought I to myself:

Am I afraid of a bliss
which eschews pleasures of sense and wrong states of mind?

And my heart told me I was not afraid.

Thought I to myself:

It is no easy matter to attain that bliss
with a body so emaciated.

Come, let me take some solid food,
rice and junket;
and this I ate accordingly.

With me at the time
there were the Five Almsmen,
looking for me to announce to them
what truth I attained;
but when I took the rice and junket,
they left me in disgust,
saying that luxuriousness had claimed me
and that, abandoning the struggle,
I had reverted to luxuriousness.

Having thus eaten solid food and regained strength,
I entered on, and abode in, the First Ecstasy.

Yet, such pleasant feelings as then arose in me
did not take possession of my mind;
nor did they
as I successively entered on,
and abode in,
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,
stablished and immutable, -
it was thus that I applied my heart
to the knowledge which recalled my earlier existences.

I called to mind my 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,
I remembered,
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 did I call to mind my divers existences of the past
in all their details and features.

This, brahmin, was the first knowledge attained by me,
in the first watch of that night,-
ignorance dispelled and knowledge won,
darkness dispelled and illumination won,
as befitted my strenuous and ardent life,
purged of self.

That same stedfast heart
I now applied 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,
I saw beings in the act of passing hence
and of re-appearing elsewhere, -
beings high and low,
fair or foul to view,
in bliss or woe;
I saw 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 did I see with the Eye Celestial;
and this, brahmin, was the second knowledge attained by me,
in the second watch of that night, -
ignorance dispelled and knowledge won,
darkness dispelled and illumination won,
as befitted my strenuous and ardent life,
purged of self.

That same stedfast heart
I next applied to knowledge of the eradication of Cankers.

I comprehended,
aright and to the full,
I11,
the origin of Ill,
the cessation of Ill,
and the course that leads to the cessation of Ill.

I comprehended,
aright and to the full,
what the Cankers were,
with their origin,
cessation,
and the course that leads to their cessation.

When I knew this
and when I saw this,
then my heart was delivered
from the Canker of sensuous pleasure,
from the Canker of continuing existence,
and from the Canker of ignorance;
and to me thus delivered
came the knowledge of my Deliverance
in the conviction -
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.

This, Brahmin, was the third knowledge attained by me,
in the third watch of that night, -
ignorance dispelled
and knowledge won,
darkness dispelled and illumination won,
as befitted my strenuous and ardent life,
purged of self.

I have won, thought I,
to this Doctrine
profound,
recondite,
hard to comprehend,
serene,
excellent,
beyond dialectic,
abstruse,
and only to be perceived by the learned.

But mankind delights,
takes delight,
and is happy in what it clings on to,
so that for it,
being thus minded,
it is hard to understand casual relations
and the chain of causation, -
hard to understand the stilling of all plastic forces,
or the renunciation of all worldly ties,
the extirpation of craving,
passionlessness,
peace,
and Nirvana.

Were I to preach the Doctrine,
and were others not to understand it,
that would be labour and annoyance to me!

Yes, and on the instant
there flashed across my mind these verses,
which no man had heard before:

Must I now preach what I so hardly won?
Men sunk in sin and lusts would find it hard
to plumb this Doctrine, - up stream all the way,
abstruse, profound, most subtle, hard to grasp.
Dear lusts will blind them that they shall not see,
- in densest mists of ignorance befogged.

As thus I pondered,
my heart inclined to rest quiet
and not to preach my Doctrine.

But, Brahma Sahampati's mind
came to know what thoughts were passing within my mind,
and he thought to himself: -

The world is undone,
quite undone,
inasmuch as the heart of the Truth-finder
inclines to rest quiet
and not to preach his Doctrine!

Hereupon, as swiftly as a strong man might stretch out his arm
or might drawback his outstretched arm,
Brahmā Sahampati vanished from the Brahmā-world
and appeared before me.

Towards me he came with his right shoulder bared,
and with his clasped hands stretched out to me in reverence,
saying:

May it please the Lord,
may it please the Blessed One,
to preach his doctrine!

Beings there are
whose vision is but little dimmed,
who are perishing because they do not hear the Doctrine; -
these will understand it!

And Brahma Sahampati went on to say:

An unclean Doctrine reigns in Magadha,
by impure man devised. Ope thou the door
of Deathless truth. Let all the Doctrine hear
from his pure lips who first conceived its thought.
As from a mountains rocky pinnacle
the folk around are clear to view, so, Sage,
from thy truth!s palace, from its topmost height,
survey with eye all-seeing folk beneath,
- poor thralls of birth and swift decay, whose doom
is that same sorrow thou no more wilt know.
So up, great hero, victor in the fight!
Thy debt is paid. Lead on thy Pilgrim train
through all the world. Thy Doctrine preach;
- among thy hearers some will understand.

Thereupon, Almsmen, heeding Brahmas entreaties
and moved by compassion for all beings,
I surveyed the world with the eye of Enlightenment
and therewith saw beings with vision dimmed little or much,
beings with acute or dull faculties,
beings of dispositions good or bad,
beings docile or indocile,
with some among them alive to the terrors hereafter,
of present wrongdoing.

As in a pond of lotuses,
blue or red or white,
some lotuses of each kind
are born and grow in the water,
never rising above the surface
but flourishing underneath;
while others, born and growing in the water,
either rise level with the surface
or stand right out of the water
and are not wetted by it; -
even so with the eye of Enlightenment
did I see beings with vision dimmed ...
wrong-doing now.

Thereon, I made answer to Brahma Sahampati in these verses;

Nirvana!s doors stand open wide to all
with ears to hear. Discard your outworn creeds!
The weary task ahead made me forbear
to preach to men my Doctrines virtues rare.

Mine has it been to secure from the Lord the preaching of the Doctrine!

said Brahma Sahampati,
and, so saying,
with due obeisance
and reverently keeping his right side towards me as he passed,
he vanished there and then.

I now asked myself
to whom first I should preach the Doctrine,
and who would understand it quickly.

The thought came to me
that there was Āḷāra Kālāma,
who was learned, able, and intelligent,
whose vision had long been but little dimmed;
suppose I chose him to be my first hearer,
for he would be quick to understand?

Word, however, was brought to me by deities
that he had died seven days before,
and insight assured me this was so.

Great nobility, thought I, was his!

Had he heard my Doctrine,
he would have understood it quickly.

Again I asked myself
to whom first I should preach the Doctrine,
and who would understand it quickly.

The thought came to me
that there was Uddaka Rāmaputta, who was learned ...

Word, however, was brought me by deities
that he had died yesterday at midnight,
and insight ... understood it quickly.

Again I asked myself
to whom first I should preach the Doctrine
and who would understand it quickly.

The thought came to me
that there were the five Almsmen
who had served me so well
in my struggles to purge myself of self;
suppose I chose them to be my first hearers?

Wondering where they were dwelling now,
I saw with the Eye Celestial -
which is pure
and far surpasses the human eye -
those Five Almsmen
dwelling at Benares
in the Isipatana deer-park.

So, when I had stayed as long as pleased me at Uruvela,
I set out on an alms-pilgrimage for Benares.

On the highway from the Bo-tree to Gaya,
Upaka the Mendicant (ājīvika) saw me and said:

Reverend sir, your faculties are under control,
and your complexion is clear and bright.

To follow whom
have you gone forth on pilgrimage?

Or who is your teacher?

Or whose Doctrine do you profess?

Him I answered in these verses:

All-vanquishing, all-knowing, lo! am I,
from all wrong thinking wholly purged and free.
All things discarded' cravings rooted out,
- whom should I follow? - I have found out all.
No teacher's mine, no equal. Counterpart
to me there's none throughout the whole wide world.
The Arahat am I, teacher supreme,
utter Enlightenment is mine alone;
unfever'd calm is mine, Nirvāna's peace.
I seek the Kāsis' city, there to start
my Doctrine's wheel, a world purblind to save,
sounding the tocsin's call to Deathlessness.

According to your claim, sir, said Upaka,
you should be the Universal Conqueror.

Like me, those conquer who the Cankers quell;
- by conquering bad thoughts, I'm Conqueror.

When I had thus answered, Upaka
the Mendicant said:

Mebbe, sir,
and, shaking his head,
took a different road
and went his way.

In the course of my alms-pilgrimage,
I came at last to Benares
and the deerpark of Isipatana,
in which were the Five Almsmen.

From afar the five saw me coming
and agreed among themselves as follows:

Here come the recluse Gotama,
the man of surfeits,
who has abandoned the struggle
and reverted to surfeiting.

We must not welcome him,
nor rise to receive him,
nor relieve him of bowl and robes.

Yet let us put out a seat;
he can sit on it if he wants to.

But, as I drew nearer and nearer,
those Five Almsmen proved less and less able
to abide by their compact; -
some came forward to relieve me of my bowl and robes;
others indicated my seat;
while others brought water
for me to wash my feet.

But they addressed me by my name
and by the style of reverend.

So I said to the Five Almsmen: Almsmen,
do not address the Truth-finder by his name
or by the style of reverend.

Arahat all enlightened is the Truth-finder.

Hearken to me, Almsmen.

The Deathless has been won;
I teach it;
I preach the Doctrine.

Live up to what I enjoin,
and in no long time
you will come - of yourselves,
here and now -
to discern and realize,
to enter on and to abide in,
that supreme goal of the higher life,
for the sake of which young men go forth
from home to homelessness on Pilgrimage.

Said the Five Almsmen: -
Reverend Gotama,
the life you led,
the path you trod,
and the austerities you practised, -
all failed to make you transcend ordinary human scope
and rise to special heights
of discernment of the truly Noble Knowledge.

How now shall you rise to those heights
when you surfeit,
abandon the struggle,
and revert to surfeiting?

To which I made answer:

Arahat all enlightened is the Truth-finder.

Hearken to me, Almsmen.

The Deathless has been won;
I teach it;
I preach the Doctrine.

Live up to what I enjoin,
and in no long time you will come -
of yourselves, here and now -
to discern and realize,
to enter on and to abide in,
that supreme goal of the higher life,
for the sake of which young men go forth
from home to homelessness on Pilgrimage.

A second time did the Five Brethren
repeat their words to me;
and a second time did I return them the same answer.

But when they repeated their words yet a third time,
I asked these Five
whether they agreed
that I had never heretofore spoken like that;
and they admitted that I had not.

Arahat all enlightened -
repeated I -
is the Truth-finder.

Hearken ... homelessness on Pilgrimage.

I succeeded in convincing the Five.

I instructed two of their number,
while the three others went abroad for alms;
and what those three brought back from their round,
maintained all six of us.

Or, I instructed three,
while two went abroad for alms;
and what those two brought back from their round,
maintained all six of us.

In the course of receiving
this teaching and instruction from me,
those Five Almsmen -
being themselves subject to rebirth,
decay,
disease,
death,
sorrow,
and impurity -
saw peril in what is thereto subject,
and so sought after the consummate peace of Nirvana,
which knows neither rebirth nor decay,
neither disease nor death,
neither sorrow nor impurity;
and there arose within them
the conviction,
the insight,
that their Deliverance was now assured,
that this was their last birth,
nor would they ever be reborn again.

[Between the above, picked up from Chalmer's translation of Sutta 26 (not 36 as in the book) and the point where he picks up the thread again in this sutta there is a disjoint which I cannot reconcile. The meaning is clear enough, but the words do not match.]

... that prize of prizes in quest of which young men go forth from home to homelessness as Pilgrims.

And how long,
sir,
would it take an Almsman,
with the Truth-finder as his guide,
to win this prize of prizes?

I must ask you in turn, prince,
a question,
which please answer as you see fit.

Are you expert in riding and driving elephants?

Suppose a man came to learn the art from you,
as knowing all about it.

Suppose now he lacked confidence
and therefore failed
where confidence was essential;
and lacked health and strength
and therefore failed
where health and strength were essential;
and was dishonest and crooked in his ways
and therefore failed
where honesty and straightforwardness were essential;
and was inert
and therefore failed
where resolution was essential;
and lacked wits
and therefore failed
where wits were essential. -

Could he learn from you
how to ride and drive an elephant?

[49] Anyone of these shortcomings,
sir,
would be fatal to his ever learning,
not to speak of the whole five of them together.

Now suppose a man came [95] to be taught,
who had confidence
and therefore could succeed
where confidence was essential;
who had also health and strength,
honesty and straightforwardness,
resolution,
and wits
and therefore could succeed
where these several qualities were respectively essential. -

Could he learn from you
how to ride and drive an elephant?

Any one of these qualifications
would ensure his learning, -
not to speak of the whole five of them together.

It is just the same
with the five qualities for striving after the truth. -

(i) An Almsman has confidence,
is confident,
is sure of the Truth-finder's enlightenment,
namely that his Lord,
arahat all-enlightened,
walks by knowledge,
is blessed,
understands all worlds,
and is the matchless tamer of the human heart,
teacher of gods and men,
the Lord of Enlightenment;
(ii) he has health and strength,
having a good digestion
maintained by humours
neither too hot nor too cold
but medium and apt for the struggle;
(iii) he is not dishonest nor underhand,
but reveals his true nature to his master
or to sage brethren in the higher life; (iv) he is resolute,
ever discarding wrong states of mind
and fostering right states,
ever staunch and stout of purpose,
persistent in right mindedness; and
(v) he has a wit
that pierces through the rise and fall of things,
that is noble and penetrating,
that leads to the utter destruction of Ill.

With these five qualities, sire,
an Almsman who has the Truth-finder as his guide
will win this prize of prizes [90] in seven years.

Nay, waive seven years;
he will succeed within six,
five,
four,
three,
or two years,
or in a single year;
or in seven,
six,
five,
four,
three,
or two months,
or in a single month
or half a month;
or even in as many days
or a single day.

Nay, waive a whole day;
- why, with these five qualities within him,
and with the Truth-finder as his guide,
an Almsman, if instructed [50] at sunset,
will master it all by dawn,
or, if instructed at dawn,
will master it all by sunset.

Said the prince to the Lord: -

What a Buddha!

What a Doctrine!

What an exposition of Dcctrine!
- when an Almsman,
if instructed at sunset,
can master it all by dawn,
or, if instructed at dawn,
can master it all by sunset.

Here the young brahmin Sañjikā-putta observed to the prince that,
though he had testified thus,
yet he had not gone on to say
that he sought as a refuge
the Lord
and nis Doctrine
and his Confraternity.

Say not so, my friend;
say not so; for,
I have heard from the lips of my lady mother how,
[97] when once the Lord was staying at Kosambl in the Ghosita pleasaunce,
she, being then pregnant,
came to the Lord,
saluted him,
and took a seat to one side, saying: -

Be it a boy or be it a girl
that I carry in my womb,
my child unborn seeks refuge with the Lord
and his Doctrine
and his Confraternity;
and I ask the Lord to accept the child
as a follower who has found an abiding refuge
from this time forth while life lasts.

Another time,
when the Lord was staying here in this Bhagga country
at Suɱsumāra-gira,
in the Bhesakaḷā grove
in the deer-park there,
my nurse carried me to the Lord and,
standing before him,
said: -

Here is Prince Bodhi
who seeks refuge with the Lord
and his Doctrine
and his Confraternity.

Now, in person,
for the third time
I seek such refuge
and ask the Lord to accept me as a follower
who has found an abiding refuge while life lasts.


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